Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Book Review: Love Story by Jennifer Echols

Love Story by Jennifer Echols
Release Date: July 19, 2011
Publisher: MTV Books
Pages: 256
Received: ARC from publisher 
Rating: 2 out of 5 stars
Goodreads Page


From Goodreads:

She's writing about him. he's writing about her. And everybody is reading between the lines..

For Erin Blackwell, majoring in creative writing at the New York City college of her dreams is more than a chance to fulfill her ambitions--it's her ticket away from the tragic memories that shadow her family's racehorse farm in Kentucky. But when she refuses to major in business and take over the farm herself someday, her grandmother gives Erin's college tuition and promised inheritance to their maddeningly handsome stable boy, Hunter Allen. Now Erin has to win an internship and work late nights at a coffee shop to make her own dreams a reality. She should despise Hunter . . . so why does he sneak into her thoughts as the hero of her latest writing assignment?

Then, on the day she's sharing that assignment with her class, Hunter walks in. He's joining her class. And after he reads about himself in her story, her private fantasies about him must be painfully clear. She only hopes to persuade him not to reveal her secret to everyone else. But Hunter devises his own creative revenge, writing sexy stories that drive the whole class wild with curiosity and fill Erin's heart with longing. Now she's not just imagining what might have been. She's writing a whole new ending for her romance with Hunter . . . except this story could come true


This is not the real review

I sat down and spewed out a review and it was completely honest and maybe even a little funny. But man was it brutal. You could probably even call it snarky. Now, would the Queens of Snark call it brutal? Probably not. They'd probably consider it pretty weak, actually. 

But I'm just not that kind of person. Brutal snark makes me very uncomfortable. What if the author saw it? What if someone who loved the book read my review? I would feel terrible. So I'm not sharing that review. Sorry! If you're really dying to know and you swear an Unbreakable Vow that you will not share my review, then maybe I'll email it to you if you ask nicely.

But, I also can't really write a good and honest review without resorting to snark because, well, that's how I feel about the book. So this is sort of a pseudo-non-review kind of review. I hope it's still at least somewhat helpful.

What I liked

  • There's a scene at the racetrack that was fun to read.
  • The fictional stories they write are good and I found myself looking forward to reading them. Erin's first fictional story was particularly good.
  • I liked reading about the secondary characters. I didn't really like the secondary characters, but I was interested in reading their scenes. 
  • Jennifer Echols' writing. I LOVE her writing.
  • John After! *SWOON* Oh, wait, wrong book. He's from Jennifer Echols' other book, Going Too Far (which you should totally read).

What I didn't like

  • Erin
  • Hunter
  • The idea that Erin found it completely unfathomable to both oversee her grandmother's multi-million dollar horse farm (that she actually loves) AND be an author
  • The awkward sex scene that didn't make me swoon at all 
  • The complete lack of sexual tension
  • The complete lack of chemistry or anything close to love
  • The constant back and forth Erin does between I-hate-him/I-love-him for no good reason
  • Hunter (he's a dirty, manipulating, lying jerk)
  • Erin 
  • Erin's pointless martyr kick.
  • Erin's constant "mind reading" of the psychological motivations of the other characters.
  • The fact that the stories they wrote for class were about things like dead mothers and science projects and not illicit relations behind the stables between Erin and her farmboy.
  • Erin torpedoing her education because she's too focused on her borderline personality relationship/non-relationship with Hunter.
  • The secret tragic past that failed to wow me.
  • The lack of "forbidden love" that I thought I was getting.
Bottom line

I'm sorry, but I just can't muster up any sympathy for Erin. It's the wave of the future honey! You CAN have your multi-million dollar horse farm legacy that you actually love AND be an author! The fact that she stubbornly refuses to see this solution is something I just couldn't get past and her stupid everything left me with a major case of eyeroll sprain (See, Logan, I told you I was so using that!). I also can't think of Hunter as anything but a lying, manipulative, self-serving jerk.

Chapters are on the shorter side and the book reads quickly. Don't go into it expecting a flirty or fun book with a lot of sexual tension or heat. Expect a character-driven book about two deeply flawed people who try to follow their dreams and get hung up on a lot of past issues. 

Explanation of rating system: Star Rating Key 

Do you have any questions about Love Story that I haven't addressed? 
Feel free to ask in the comments!


  1. Wow! OK, staying away from this one. Thanks for the review! I'm curious about your snarky one though ;)

  2. Thanks for the review. I was going to start this one, not sure I will now.

  3. I have been reading a lot of mixed reviews for this one and they all pretty much say no swoon. And that is one of my favourite things about Echols novels so if it is not there than I am definitely not in any hurry to get this one.

    Good honest review :)

  4. *hugs* you're a strong person to walk away from the snark, I personally feel guilty when I'm very snarky - and I can be, but the guilt sort of spoils the effect for me :P

    And I still totally count this as a review because you made all your points and now I know some of the good and the bad about this book - though honestly, I wasn't very interested on it due to the summary, somehow it didn't ring right for me.

  5. Hey not bad at all! I was thinking about picking up this book because I love horses and farms and if one day my own grandparents could bequeath me their horse farm (they DO have one! Honest!) I would take up horse training and be an author. Not a question in my mind.

    Anyways, your reviews crack me up and this one was funny and honest. Love it!

  6. I would love to read the snarky one but it's your blog and you need to post what you feel comfortable with. I also had huge problems with the characters but I still love Echols' writing so hopefully the next book will be better.

  7. I felt much the same way as you about this book. I didn't care for the main characters, at all. Erin was annoying, and Hunter was a jerk. I really wanted to like this book, because I really like Jennifer Echols. It just didn't do it for me, unfortunately.

    I'd love to read your snarky review! lol! I'm uncomfortable about posting reviews like those as well.

  8. Why is 'awkward sec scene' jumping out at me?

    Yikes. A protag you can't really support and a romance that lacks heat. No thank you. I trust your thoughts, and will be skipping this one.

    P.S. Care for a massage for that sprain?

  9. I've heard that both Erin and Hunter are problematic characters and a bit difficult to like in general. I have to like or at least relate to the characters I'm reading about or I just can't get into the story. Don't think this one is for me!

  10. Right now I'm glad that this expired on Galley Grab before I got to it. The story didn't grab me, but I was going to read it because I've never read Echols before, and everyone tells me how great her books are. I'm thinking that this isn't the best book of hers for me to start with!

  11. Great review! I debate using a "Things I liked", "Things I didn't like" point system when I feel my reviews have too much exposition and not enough analysis in them.

    And I totally know what you mean about writing snarky reviews! Some people have the awesome skill for it, and others (like me) just don't. There's a certain art to coming across as delightfully mean-spirited without just seeming like a jerk. I don't write all positive fluff, but I'm not a super-snarker either.

    It's weird to say, but lots of times a review of a so-so book actually makes me want to read it more, so I can judge it for myself.

  12. LOL I think I got way too excited seeing John After but then I was disappointed :P I really loved Going Too Far but it seems like everything I loved about that book isn't in this one :( Thanks for your honest review, Small, I don't think I'll be picking this up. Might just go reread Going Too Far and SWOON! :P

  13. John After!!! YEAH! But so sorry to hear that this one wasn't as good as her other two. I bought it already and have been saving it for a reading slump. I'm with you on the snark...sometimes it's unavoidable but it's easy to take it too far.

  14. Thanks for the honest review Smalls! At first when I was reading about what you liked, I thought that those points made the book sound like a good read. Then I scrolled down to your dislike points. Let's just say I won't be reading this one anytime soon :)

  15. I liked this book but I can totally see where you are coming from. This one was nothing like Echols' other two books so it was a bit disappointing. I can see why you wouldn't want to post your actual review. I have gotten to the point in a few of my reviews where I feel really mean so I have to take a break and come back later to rewrite them. Thank you for your honesty! =)

  16. I haven't read anything by Echols but she does seem popular at my library. I'm going to pass on this one. I can't read a book where I can't relate to any of the characters. Plus a romance with no romance, well that's just boring and frustrating. Thanks for an honest review!

  17. EYEROLL SPRAIN! And you linked me! *claps excitedly* I'll get you some ice.

    I cannot withhold comment on the cover. These breezy covers on the front of every contemp YA Drive. Me. Bonkers. I want to rip it off the book and shove it under the bookshelf. Ooooh, I'm looking at a flower. Oooooh, aren't my eyes dreamy? I'm thinking *really* hard about the boy I love.

    BARF. On your shoes.

    That said, I appreciate your bullets. It reinforces my snap judgment that this is not the book for me.

    Also, pretty please can I read your review? I swear under pain of death never to speak of it.

  18. I've heard a lot of mixed reviews about this book. It's either love or hate. Way to go on not posting a mean review. Although I'd like to see it :-)
    I thought you fairly laid out the good and bad parts of this book.

  19. Yeah, I was kind of disappointed by this one too. The ending of it wasn't great either. I was expecting to see what Erin had written in her story titled "Love Story" but the book just ended. After seeing all the other stories that she had written that I couldn't care about, the one I wanted to read was missing. Ugh!

    Oh, and while I thought Hunter was just meh, I didn't like the character of Erin.

  20. Girl, you crack me up haha I also totally appreciate your honesty - while brutal, it's still tactful. Some books don't work for us. I think you were generous with 2 stars ;)

  21. What I like best, Small, is that you just don't say you didn't enjoy a book. Instead, you really make a case and back it up with facts as to why the book didn't work for you.

    Its this type of review that a reader can really glean the information needed to decided for his/herself if the book will be one to read.

    I appreciate your tactfullness and honestly - a rough combo.

  22. I had a lot of the same problems with this book, too. Let me know if you'd like to see my review. (I'd love to see your original review, if you're still willing to share ...)

  23. I always enjoy reviews that are snarky and clever but I can completely understand where you're coming from. It's just not my style either so I can appreciate your feeling.

    As for the book, I am sort of strangely interested in reading it just to understand how you were able to write such a snarky review from reading it. But certainly not interested enough. I have many other books that I need to read!

  24. I’ve sent a copy of the snarky review to everyone who asked!

    Belle, You’re welcome!

    Jana, You’re welcome. If you haven’t read Going Too Far, then I’d recommend starting with that one first.

    Nic, Me too! I looove the way Jennifer Echols writes swoony scenes. I was so disappointed that they weren’t here.

    Alex, Haha, I was overwhelmed with guilt. :P The summary is also misleading, I think. I thought it would have to do with horses and flirting, but it didn’t at all.

    Book Geek, You have a horse farm in your family?!?! Wow, ok, that’s awesome! And see, you’re so much smarter than Erin because you realize that you CAN have your horse farm and be an author (a combination Erin apparently finds impossible!) The book also has very little to do with horses, unfortunately. Most of it takes place in NYC.

    Bookworm1858, Agreed. I couldn’t stand the characters, but I still love her writing. I hope I like her next book.

    Christy, Exactly how I felt! I wanted to like it, but I just couldn’t get on board with those characters. I’d be happy to send you my snarky review, but I can’t find your email address on your blog. :)

    Missie, “Awkward sex scene” is jumping out at you because you have priorities. :) Have you read Going Too Far? Seriously NOT awkward sexy scenes and soooo much heat :) I will take you up on that massage, thank you!

  25. Jenny, I’ve seen people who have liked both Erin and Hunter, but I just couldn’t get on board with them. I kept waiting for Hunter to redeem himself, but he kept digging his hole deeper instead. Erin started out better for me, but then she got worse and worse.

    Leanna, Oh, you MUST read Going Too Far then if you haven’t read any Echols books yet! I adored it. I want to make John After real :)

    Madigan, I think I can write a snarky review, but then I get consumed with guilt. I don’t think it’s weird to say negative review make you want to read the book more. I think half the people who read Twilight did so because of negative reviews :P

    Audrey, Haha, yes I love John After, too :) You’ve got the right idea: go reread Going Too Far. You’ll be much, much happier!

    Kelli, I’m thinking there should be a John After fan club :P I hope you like Love Story more than I did. I have seen positive reviews for it.

    T.B., You’re welcome! Haha, yeah, my dislikes FAR outweighed my likes.

    Bailey, I agree, I always like getting my thoughts out and then taking a break before posting. I think that’s a good way to make sure you write a good review, but not a mean one. I’m glad you liked Love Story more than I did!

    Rummanah Aasi , Try Going Too Far instead. I loved that book!

    Logan, haha, told you I’d use it! And god was it appropriate with this book. Erin drove me crazy. Lol, yeah, I’m not feeling the cover either. Her dewy gaze is sooo barf.

  26. Alison, Thank you! I have seen a lot of mixed reviews too. I don’t understand the positive ones, but I’m happy that at least all those people had a better experience than I did.

    A Canadian Girl, You know, I don’t even remember that part! I think I’m blinded at this point by my disappointment and frustration with the characters.

    Melissa, Thank you :) I think I was too generous with two stars too. I’m still blinded by how awesome John After and Going Too Far were :P

    Gina, Thank you! I do try to explain why I didn’t like it because someone reading my review might look at those reasons and decide those are exactly the types of things they’re looking for or not looking for.

    Ham, I’ve read your review! I agree, especially about what you said about Erin’s father. What was up with that??

    Aylee, Haha, well, if you want you can see my snarky review to get a better idea of what the book was about and what spurred my snark.

  27. Small- I just new you wouldn't like this one after we discussed Forget You. I didn't read that one and new, from reviews I've read, that it would be about the same. Don't know what the author is doing. Loved Going Too Far. And I agree with Logan about these covers, especially with this author and the soft background. Bleh!
    Good review!



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