2015 Reading Challenge – Book #11 – Almost Perfect

Book #11 – A trilogy – Almost Perfect by Julie Ortolon (Perfect Trilogy #1)
Succeeded by: Just Perfect and Too Perfect
Genre: Romance/Chick Lit
Published: 2005
Country: USA

Almost Perfect by Julie OrtolonI’ve fallen in a bit of a reading and blogging slump recently. I finished this e-book about two weeks ago but just got around to reviewing it (I blame it on the lazy spell that’s hit me). I also think it’s because I really had no thoughts about this book.

The reason I chose this series was because I felt it was necessary to have some light-hearted reads in between heavy ones. Hence, I chose not to read all three books in succession but reach out to them whenever I fell into a reading slump, much as one reaches out for some chocolate to get a bit of a ‘happy kick’. If you haven’t guessed already, chick lits are my candy.

The premise of this trilogy attracted me. Three best friends – Maddy, Christine and Amy – in their early thirties, get very miffed when they find out that their very successful old college flat mate has used them as examples in her best-selling book How to Have a Perfect Life of people who did not face their fears and settled for less. The three make a pact amongst themselves that they would prove their friend wrong by doing the very things that scare them and complete them in a year’s time.

The first installment of this trilogy, Almost Perfect is about Maddy, a widowed artist who tries to face her fear of rejection by setting out to sell her work to art galleries in Santa Fe, New Mexico. As a first step to achieving this goal, she accepts a job offer to be an Arts and Craft Coordinator at a summer camp in New Mexico. The catch? The offer was sent by the matchmaking adoptive mother of her ex-childhood sweetheart who now owns the camp.

But what happens when two exes – a woman who doesn’t trust her own abilities and a man who doesn’t trust anyone else – come together? Fireworks, of course! Maddy doesn’t trust her own talent because her father belittled her as a child and made her lose her self-confidence. Joe doesn’t trust anyone because he had a hard time growing up in foster homes and trusts Maddy even less because she had broken his heart fifteen years ago. Things get very awkward when Joe finds out she is his new staff member and is going to work with him for two whole months. They agree to a truce for the sake of a working relationship and eventually give in to the attraction that never died down even after all these years.

Maddy is a cheerful, free-spirited, gypsy-like woman who wears impractical shoes and colourful clothing whereas Joe is a tough ex-army guy who strives for order and control in his life. The only thing they have in common is their love of art and their battered and bruised souls.

This book is a classic example of the ‘trust issues’ cliché in romance novels that has been done to death. The book was not a terrible read per se, however the theme was nothing new barring the ‘completing a challenge’ aspect of it. There were a few cheesy dialogues, some double entendres, lots of things-said-in the heat-of-the moment and explanations and justifications that had me rolling my eyes each time.

The main reason I was instantly hooked onto the premise of this trilogy was to read the writer’s take on how the three overcome their fears and complete their challenges while having fun and unexpectedly finding love. I didn’t expect it to be anything like a self-help book obviously (and it wasn’t!) but the almost-overnight success of Maddy in the art world was surreal and unbelievable. It all seemed so easy and effortless that the challenge part of it was completely non-existent. Yes, the story focused on the root of the cause – Maddy and Joe’s trust issues – but I just wasn’t convinced.

I also found it silly that Maddy and Joe were able to easily pick up their love life where they left off fifteen years ago only for Maddy to screw it up again towards the end. Those trust issues just kept getting more and more complicated.

However, the only part I sort of liked was that she was in touch with her best friends Christine and Amy via email whenever she needed any advice and the two would virtually dispel her self-doubts. From their brief conversations, I gathered that Amy was the cautious, sensible and staid one and Christine was the slightly more adventurous and reckless kind.

I was bored by this one but am more keen on reading the third installment, Too Perfect when I get to it and hope it lives up to its more exciting synopsis.

Book Rating: 2.5 stars out of 5.

You can email me at thistlesandwhistles@hotmail.com
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