Thursday, March 27, 2014

REVIEW: I See London (I See London #1) by Chanel Cleeton

February 3, 2014
Harlequin HQN (Digital First)
New Adult Contemporary Romance

Maggie Carpenter is ready for a change— and to leave her ordinary life in South Carolina behind. But when she accepts a scholarship to the International School in London, a university attended by the privileged offspring of diplomats and world leaders, Maggie might get more than she bargained for. 

When Maggie meets Hugh, a twentysomething British guy, she finds herself living the life she always wanted. Suddenly she’s riding around the city in a Ferrari, wearing borrowed designer clothes and going to the hottest clubs. The only problem? Another guy, the one she can’t seem to keep her hands off of. 

Half French, half Lebanese, and ridiculously wealthy, Samir Khouri has made it clear he doesn’t do relationships. He’s the opposite of everything Maggie thought she wanted…and he’s everything she can’t resist. Torn between her dream guy and the boy haunting her dreams, Maggie has to fight for her own happy ending. In a city like London, you never know where you stand, and everything can change in the blink of an eye.

This is a New Adult romance recommended for readers 17 and up.

My Thoughts:

He saw too much, noticed too much, knew too much about me. He looked at me like he saw through the facade, through the image I put up for the rest of the world. I wasn't sure I liked it.

The first thing that comes to mind after finishing I See London is how torn I was. One minute I would be absolutely loving what I was reading, and then the next I wasn't too sure how I felt. And it all came down to the characters. I was so frustrated by them at times. Especially Maggie. But also Samir and Hugh. All three of them did my head in at different times.

I was a bit put off at first by all the partying and talk about clothes and hairstyles. Everyone seemed fairly superficial and there wasn't a great deal of emphasis placed on the learning side of college. But I eventually settled into a groove with things. I think that came down to how easy it was to read Chanel Cleeton's writing. It was smooth and really free flowing.

A lot of my frustrations were with Maggie. I think that when she arrived in London and began her studies at the International School, she was taken in by the glamour of her new friends. I think that comes down to being quite naive for her age. She's never really ventured beyond her hometown before. She's never had a boyfriend and never been kissed, so everything is new and exciting for her. I totally got that side of things. But when it came to Samir and Hugh, I think she was just as confused as me about what she wanted. But under that confusion was a layer of vulnerability and loneliness, and I couldn't help but feel for her.

Hugh was a really likeable character although I don't feel that I got to know him really well. He was much older than Maggie and that really came across loud and clear to me. For a lot of the time she seemed to really be out of her element. There was definitely an attraction between the two of them and in the end I was more than happy with the way the author took things between them.

He made me feel like everything I'd ever wanted to be. He made me want.

The character that I liked the most was Samir. Even given all his flaws, and there are many, there was something about him. I can't say it was an instant like that I felt for him. It was much more a slow developing thing. I think it was the many facets to his personality that eventually pulled me in. Besides him being utterly gorgeous, he was an incredibly loyal friend. He would drop everything and do anything to help out those that he cared about. There were so many times that I would have loved to be inside his head just to get some idea of what he was thinking and feeling. I think that there's so much more to learn about Samir and I really look forward to all his layers being revealed.

Despite my frustrations, when I got to the end, I had ended up enjoying it. The writing was great, the characters grew on me and the setting was perfect. There were different points in the book where to me it had a real Gossip Girls feel to it. I could definitely use another Samir fix so I will be reading the next book in the series. 

3.75/5 Loving Samir Stars

Originally a Florida girl, at seventeen Chanel moved to London to attend an international university.  In the four years that followed, she received her bachelor’s and master’s degrees, learned how to dance, travelled through Europe, and made lifelong friendships.  Chanel fell in love with London and planned to stay there forever.  But fate intervened on a Caribbean cruise, when an American fighter pilot with smooth dance moves, swept her off her feet.  
Now, a happily ever after later, Chanel is living her next adventure in South Korea.  An avid reader and hopeless romantic, she is happiest curled up with a book.  She has a weakness for handbags, puppy cuddles, and her fighter pilot husband.  Chanel writes New Adult contemporary romances and Young Adult thrillers.  Her New Adult debut, I SEE LONDON, will be released by Harlequin (HQN) on February 3, 2014, followed by a sequel, LONDON FALLING, later in the year. 

Author Links: Website l Facebook l Twitter l Goodreads

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