Sunday, January 13, 2013

BOOK REVIEW "The Man Plan"-well planned love arc

The Man Plan Author: Elise Ackers
"A Well-Planned Love Arc" by Nakeesha J. Seneb

There are four elements to every love story that make up The Love Arc. First, we must start out with a man and woman (or any variation or number thereof in 21st century Earth) who have internal and/or external needs. Second, a problem arises that creates conflict between the two. Then as our hero and heroine try to solve this conflict their internal and external baggage gets in the way, creating wonderful tension down the path towards love. And finally, as they realize their love is once in a lifetime stuff, they find a way to claim their baggage and start their journey towards happily-ever-after together.

That's every romance novel in a nutshell.

The Man Plan followed this arc perfectly with a simple, yet quirky, plot; likeable, well-thought out characters; and well-written prose. Cora, our heroine, has recently lost her father and she's having trouble dealing with that loss (her internal baggage). She meets Matt, our hero, who has commitment issues because his family is seriously dysfunctional (his internal baggage). Christmas is fast approaching and Cora is determined to be in a pair-bond by that family-themed Holiday. So, she devises a Man Plan to achieve this goal.

Her Man Plan is truly inspired and all single gals should take note. From the flat tire in Daisy Dukes to her attempts at giving out her number at red lights using hand signals, Cora is on a mission to eradicate her single status. Matt, who's at first amused, comes to detest the plan (conflict), but his banged up, grinchy heart keeps his mouth shut and his hands to himself. Matt begins to monopolize all of Cora's time and throw wrenches into her Man Plan. But still, he can't man up even though he's coming to realize what he's feeling is indeed love. And for her part, Cora is terrified to trust Matt with her heart when she knows he has no clue what to do with it.

Ackers takes this simple, predictable plot and tells a sweet story. Cora and Matt's chemistry is a slow burn. There's no heavy loaded exposition where we learn each characters' entire life story in chapter one before the word "go." All backstory is woven in and appears when appropriate to the storyline -thank you Ms Ackers! Other than an intense, uncomfortable emotional in-burst at the top of the story; and an intense, uncomfortable emotional out-burst at the tail of the story, I thought this was a perfectly paced romance. But I have to say that I was quite taken aback at the Breakfast at Tiffany's style love scene. You know the scene: Holly Golightly and Paul hang up their masks and start kissing. Then fade to black and its the next morning. I think that must be Destiny Romance's style. I wanted something with a few more jalapenos!

ARC courtesy of Net Galley and Penguin Books Australia/Destiny Romance.

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