24 May 2010

Review: A RELUCTANT CINDERELLA by Alison Bond ***

Samantha Sharp turned seventeen, left her old life behind and moved to London, determined to make her fortune.Ten years later and she’s a super-agent to the stars, with her name in the papers, millions in the bank, and one success after another. Love has taken a back seat because her past has put her off relationships for good.
Everyone's got a history but Samantha’s is particularly murky. What’s more, she hasn’t got to the top of her game without collecting a few enemies along the way. So when she meets a man who might be a little bit dangerous, someone she’s finally close to loving, is there anyone to tell her what a terrible mistake she’s making?
Will Samantha find her happy ever after? And if her carefully hidden past comes into the light,will her fairytale coach turn back into a pumpkin? Samantha Sharp needs to find a way to cling onto her sparkle …

After you look at the cover and read the blurb above, what do you expect this book to be about? My lovely boyfriend suggested, "A girl looking for her Prince Charming?" Yep, that's what I thought too, but after I finished the book, I just stared at the cover for a while, wondering what the hell just happened, heh. The cover is gorgeous and I can easily admit that it's the main reason why I was so eager to read the book, but WHOA - the cover, the title and the blurb couldn't possibly be more deceiving ...

Firstly, this is no fluffy chick lit story - it's far darker and more serious. There's no ditzy heroine, no comedy scenes, but instead the story tackled foster homes, death, alcohol, drugs, prison, revenge etc. Overall, it's not depressing and I quite liked these themes though, they made the book more gripping than the usual chick lit novel. However, there was another very prominent theme that I wasn't too keen on, but we'll get to that later.

Secondly, there is no love story whatsoever (apart from a couple lusty affairs) - our main character Samantha Sharp isn't even remotely interested in looking for her Prince Charming or her happy ending, she's out there to succeed and to make money and that's it. She been through some tough times and is hiding quite a few dark secrets, but when we meet her at the beginning of the novel, she's at the top of her game. She's very driven and she uses every single moment she can to succeed. When her life starts to crumble and someone's obviously out to get her, she doesn't break down, but she's determined to clear her reputation and get back to the top again. I thought she was a fantastic character and I really admired her determination, plus she quite a refreshing change from the typical chick lit characters!
Sam is many things, but she certainly has nothing in common with the drawing on the cover. After reading the story, I still have no idea or explanation where this cover came from?! As I said, this is not your typical chick lit read, even though the cover screams otherwise. However, I'm convinced that this book deserves a far more powerful cover - I'd imagine something black and red and white and strong, not this romantic thingy, which is completely wrong (albeit pretty). I'm honestly wondering if there's been a mix up and they've stuck the wrong cover on the book??
And I can't explain the title either - where did the Cinderella bit come from? Reluctant or not, Sam and Cinderella have about as much in common as a tiger and a kitten. To top things off, the blurb doesn't do the book justice either - it doesn't sum up the book and it doesn't even remotely hint what the book is about. Which brings me to my next point ...

Thirdly, based on the cover and the blurb, would you ever in a million years expect the main topic of this book to be FOOTBALL - in Poland??? Nope, me neither, LOL. The blurb describes Sam as an agent to the 'stars' - well, as it turns out, those are all *football* stars and Sam earns big bucks discovering and representing them. Actually, Sam is only one of the main characters - the other two very prominent characters are Gabe and Joe, two more or less professional footballers, and quite a big portion of the book is dedicated to their misadventures on and off the football field (*yawn*) in Poland (where they play and Sam represents them). I'm not football fan by any means so if someone told me that there was SO much football in this book, I'd never pick it up - I'm sorry, but that's just not what I signed up for. Just look at the cover again - and then imagine that this book revolves mostly around football - how on Earth did that happen? I'm still baffled.

The basic story was rather good (although the twist was slightly predictable and the ending felt a bit rushed) - Sam's secret past, her relationship with her brother, someone trying to ruin her etc., but I could really do without Gabe and Joe's subplots. I could even handle Sam's job as such (I'll admit it was quite fascinating to read about such a strong woman in a typically male profession), but with these two footballers there was just TOO MUCH FOOTBALL TALK - in my supposedly chick lit book ... QUE? *still confused*

All in all, this was honestly NOT a bad read and I finished it in one day, but unfortunately it just wasn't the book I expected. The only problem I have with this book is that the marketing for it is completely wrong and very deceiving - the exterior is very pretty so the book will sell, yes, but it just won't read the target audience. With the World Cup approaching, this would be the perfect time to give the book the cover it deserves and maybe boldly stick a football on it or something to do it justice. Granted I personally maybe wouldn't pick it up, but I'm sure many others would and with this cover they might just miss it. Or maybe they'll be pleasantly surprised - that's what Chloe thinks so go read her review to see another point of view on this book.

I can't help but laugh at my WOW post from a few months ago, when I described this as "another silly romcom" - ha, how wrong was I! As I said, the exterior of the book is very deceiving and after reading the book, what I personally imagine on the cover is a fierce business woman (or a silhuette) with one foot on a football and standing next to her office desk, and the title would read something like She's Got Balls (pun is related to a scene in the book). It could even be quite chicklity looking - maybe something like what I put together in 2 seconds (see picture on the right), LOL. Does that look and sound stupid? Possibly (well, it was just an idea, heh), but at least it's a tiny bit more true to the book itself. ;) As pretty as the original cover may be, I just think this book ~needs moar fierce~ ... and definitely a football on the cover, whether I personally like it or not. ;)

overall rating:
plot: 3/5 | writing: 3/5 | characters: 3/5 | cover: 3/5

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A good company deals with cell phones & breitling watches when you will buy two packages either polar watches or the bundle of gold watches and pulsar watches.

13 comments:

Luisa at Chicklish said...

Fascinating review - it has really made me think. And while I'm thinking, can I just say that I love your mocked-up cover and title?! :)

Bookalicious Ramblings said...

Heh, thanks, Luisa - I just had some fun with it, even though my attempt probably comes across as slightly arrongant etc., but it's just harmeless fun. :)

Ah Yuan // wingstodust said...

lol reading this review makes me happy that I started participating in the book blog sphere. I currently have no interest in reading chick lit, but females doing sport related things?? I'm very keen. And I would never have known about this title if it weren't for your review. I'll be looking forward to reading this title.

Christina T said...

That is a shame about the cover and the blurb, especially since the "stars" are athletes not actors like you'd expect. Maybe they did it on purpose to sell more books but it is stupid because people who look at the cover and think "here is the perfect fluffy beach read" will instead get something very different.

Great review. I liked your cover idea much better! You should send it to them :)

This Miss Loves to Read said...

The cover is sooo pretty, so I'm also totally confused: football??? lol Well, not my cup of tea. It was ten years ago, but not anymore.;) However, I loved your review, it was really fun to read! And since it's about football, maybe your boyfriend might give this book a chance, hehe.

Juju at Tales of Whimsy.com said...

Awesome review doll :)

blueicegal said...

oh no the cover is so pretty and cute tis a shame! great review though hehehe :D

Nina said...

Covers are somethimes way to deceivinng. I thought that it was about a girl looking for prince charming too, but football? Mmmm.. No thank you. I loved reading your review, really good!

Susan said...

Fun review of what sounds like a very interesting book. I don't usually read this kind of thing, but it sounds fascinating ...

Chloe said...

I loved the story and HATED the misleading cover and blurb - couldn't be more different hey?!

Rhiana said...

It sounds totally different to what I was expecting (more football? ugh), so thanks for the heads up!

kay - Infinite Shelf said...

Wow, you're right : the title and cover are extremely deceptive! Which is sad, because people will pick it expecting something they won't get, while other readers who would have enjoyed it will be turned off by the cover. It's a cute cover though.

bondgirluk said...

Fascinating to read the comments on this post and the WOW. By the way, the title wasn't my idea either.

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