Thursday, July 1, 2021

Jackie Lau - Mr Hotshot CEO

As CEO of Fong Investments, I’m a busy man. In fact, my family claims I’m an obsessive workaholic, and when they force me to take two weeks off, I have no idea what to do with myself.
While brooding over an espresso, I meet Courtney Kwan, a biomedical researcher who savors the little things in life. And, suddenly, an idea strikes me—I will pay this woman to teach me how to enjoy my vacation from work.
Soon, I find myself doing crazy things like baking cookies, reading for pleasure, buying a phallic cactus, and falling in love. But Courtney is dealing with some serious issues of her own, and I fear that when I return to work, I won’t be able to give her what she needs, and I’ll lose her forever…

Comment: I got interested in this book because I saw several good reviews of it and of other books by the author. The blurbs seemed captivating enough for me so I decided to try with the one that I was more curious about, which was this one. I ended up not enjoying it as much as I hoped but it was still an OK read.

In this story we meet Julian Fong, an workaholic whose family forces to take a vacation. He isn't too eager to do so and almost gives up but upon seeing the woman he constantly watches on the coffee shop they both seem to attend, he decides to be bold and talk to her. As they talk, he realizes she is funny and attractive and he decides to ask for her time, for she seems to be the kind of person who knows how to have fun and do interesting things. 
Courtney is a relaxed person, has a good job but she hides a darker side, namely how her depression comes and goes but keeps affecting her life from time to time. She can feel it coming so she sees the irony when Julian decides to pay her to help him have a vacation but she is intrigued and she could use the money. She wasn't counting on falling in love with him, though....

On the page, this sounded perfect for me. I like stories with opposites attract and by the way their personalities are described, it did seem as if Julian and Courtney were quite different and had different perspectives in life as well. I was eager to see how they would fall in love, how they would take the steps into want to be with the other person and how they could find common ground.

Unfortunately, I think the time between their first meeting and the moment Julian asked Courtney to share his apartment so they could "more quickly" go on with her teaching him on how to have a good time was ridiculously too short. In fact, it was that same night he suggested this idea and I admit I felt immediately irked. I mean! Even in the realm of fantasy or romance fiction, this is hard to accept, especially since they were strangers. My mood in appreciating this book went down very fast.

From that scene on, they start spending time together, feeling attraction of course but they both were aware that starting something was not in their plans, because they claimed they didn't want a relationship. Julian, because he had no time and didn't want to repeat a bad experience and Courtney because she didn't do casual flings and was afraid her depression was coming and that her perspective might be influenced by it. Both valid enough reasons but as this is a romance, easily to overcome. At least, I hope they would, and preferably in a realistic manner, so that when they got their HEA, it would be deserved.

However, for me the whole process/plot development simply didn't work out that well. The reasons they both had - and of which we have several pages with them or telling one other or "inner monologuing" about it - were quickly overlooked by the fact they wanted to have sex with each other. OK, I could see this was the purpose but then why so much explanation on how they didn't want it? I surely didn't have the feeling their personal reasons were that hard to overlook, that's true, but why bother having them when the change of mind didn't even feel natural? They go from one point of view to ignoring their own rule and that's it... I felt this made the story feel a little juvenile and lacking romance.

And it's not even a matter of not being an adult about it, after all they discuss the subject and agree on how the relationship/fling will develop. I just found the whole pacing and timing really off, it didn't feel they were that crazy about one another....I can't explain well, but I was not convinced by their romance.

Julian is, indeed, a workaholic and much of his day is spent thinking about work. He hires Courtney to be his guide into relaxing and enjoying the small things but why not hiring a local at a travel agency or something alike...the process felt very forced. 
Courtney has a steady life but she still feels the stigma of having been diagnosed with depression, which still gets to her once in a while. She has learned copping skills in therapy but she isn't cured. I thought this subject would be addressed more heavily but despite the fact the parts about this being rather informative, it still felt like it happened at a "convenient time" for the conflict between them to reach an impossible level, so they had to deal with things and get back together in full before the end of the book.

I think the execution of this romance wasn't well achieved for me because things happen too fast and intense/serious issues are dealt with too quickly when the main couple hasn't even established they will be a couple. I really think the pace was not convincing, thus, the romance wasn't either.
Grade: 6/10

No comments:

Post a Comment