Friday, April 4, 2014

Book Review: Love Like the Movies

By Melissa Amster

I must preface this review by pointing out that I have no contact with my ex-boyfriends. (I used to talk with one sporadically, but that has gone by the wayside recently.) I do talk to a guy I dated for a few months about 14 years ago, but we agreed a long time ago about just being friends and we've even attended each other's weddings. Having said all this, most books about women re-kindling flames with their ex-boyfriends hold very little interest for me. I have read some of them though and very few authors get it right (Samantha Stroh Bailey and Beth Kendrick, for example). Victoria Van Tiem now gets the honor of being grouped into this category, as well.

Kensington "Kenzi" Shaw has one thing going for her...she is engaged to a gorgeous guy her family approves of. However, getting in the way of her joy is her sister-in-law who steals her limelight, her backstabbing friend/co-worker, finding out that her job is possibly on the line, and the return of her ex-boyfriend, who promises to infiltrate her life with a special proposal (and not THAT kind). She has to live out scenes from ten of her favorite romantic movies with him and that might just solve most of her other problems.....or will it cause even more chaos?

The premise of Love Like the Movies was definitely a lot of fun. I love chick flicks and romantic comedies. It had me at 13 Going on 30, which was one of the first movie references. I found myself laughing and smiling the most during the movie re-enactment scenes. I won't say what they were because I don't want to spoil the anticipation and excitement for anyone else. I wish the story were full of even more movie scenes. They could have done a montage! The characters were interesting and vibrant, keeping the story upbeat and hard to put down at times. I like that Victoria chose to place the story in Indianapolis, which isn't a common location for chick lit novels, as compared to New York, Chicago, or--oddly enough--Maine. I've been to Indy a bunch of times when my sister was going to college out there, so I was familiar with some of the places mentioned in the book. I also loved the midwest feel it gave off, which I can relate to from growing up in the Chicago suburbs.

What didn't work as well for me was how Kenzi came off as a major drama queen who was self-absorbed for the most part. She would jump to conclusions and run off crying all the time. Seeing that two men were vying for her affections, it was hard to feel sorry for her. However, I did sympathize with her in terms of how her family treated her, as her mom was quite a piece of work how she was more concerned with image than her daughter's feelings. Her brother was an annoying busybody too. So I don't blame her for not wanting to deal with her family. However, the other stuff got to be too much at times. I am sure I've been a drama queen on occasion, but it was more during my teens and early 20s than in my 30s. Given that Kenzi was closer to 30, she came off as immature when it came to expressing her feelings. She also tried to base all her epiphanies on movies. While I can see how something you relate to from a movie (or even a TV show or book) can sometimes affect how you see a situation, Kenzi seemed to do this with every movie she could possibly think of. Given that I've voiced some similar critiques of characters in Anita Hughes novels, if you like those, then you'll like this too.

Overall, I enjoyed Love Like the Movies. For a debut novel, it was strong and stayed entertaining throughout. If you want a feel-good chick lit novel, I definitely recommend this one!

Of course, seeing that it is about chick flicks, I came up with a movie cast!

Kenzi: Michelle Trachtenberg
Shane (the ex): Orlando Bloom
Tonya (the frenemy): Krysten Ritter
Ellie (the best friend): Mary Elizabeth Winstead
Bradley (the fiancé): Aaron Tveit
Ren (the sister-in-law): Amanda Crew
Kenzi's mom: Susan Sarandon

Thanks to Simon and Schuster for the book in exchange for an honest review.


Unknown said...

Sounds like a fun book. Greta review. I think I may be showing my age, but I don't know who half the people are that you listed in your cast!

Unknown said...

Great review! Anxious to read this book!