Title: Sexiest Man Alive
Author: Diana Holquist
Published: 2007, Forever (Grand Central Publishing)
Category: Contemporary Romance
I picked this up in the bookstore because it got a nice review at Dear Author. When I flipped it open, I noticed that it's dedicated to me! "To everyone who has ever blushed, stuttered, or had their nose twitch like a rabbit's, this book is for you." Okay, I don't think my nose twitches, but I can certainly blush and stutter. Shy heroines are hard to find, so I'm always interested in seeing one get her man. ;)
Jasmine Burns is even shyer than I am (hard to believe), especially around attractive men. She dreams of becoming an important costume designer, but her extreme shyness has made it impossible, so instead she's been running a tailoring business (for women only) out of her Manhattan apartment. But now she's landed an interview with a really important designer to work as his assistant on a production of Romeo and Juliet. She forces herself to go to the interview and makes a sorry mess of it. Luckily, she does manage to leave behind her portfolio, which the designer loves, and Jasmine gets the job. She soon finds out that Romeo will be played by People's sexiest man, super-famous big-screen actor Josh Toby. Josh is trying to do the play incognito so that he can prove that he's not just a pretty face and that he can actually act. Josh begs Jasmine to create costumes that will hide who he is. This is a problem since Jasmine can't be around him without breaking into a cold sweat. And that's compounded by the fact that Jasmine's sister Amy has the power to reveal people's One True Love, and she's declared that Josh is Jasmine's.
So, the premise is a little ridiculous. I had to force my brain to ignore my two biggest problems with this plot: 1)the idea of predestined "One True Love" is a ridiculous notion (sorry, all you romantics out there) and 2) big-name movie stars are actually aliens sent to Earth to make humans feel inadequate (yes, this tin hat I'm wearing is very fashionable, thank you). But this book was obviously written as a bit of fun, and I was able to take it as such and enjoy it. There are some really funny scenes that had me laughing. I also really liked Jasmine's being a costume designer; I just thought it was interesting (plus, she uses the same sewing machine as Twin and I do!)
And Jasmine's shyness was well done. I did at times actually find myself annoyed by the fact that every human interaction Jasmine went through was prefaced by all the nervous hemming and hawing and pepping herself up to behave like a normal person. At times I was like, OMG get over yourself, it's not a big deal! But then I am often irritated by my own shyness, so obviously she's a believable character. ;)
Spoilers whited out:
I wasn't completely sold on the ending, either that these two could actually have an HEA or the way Jasmine's shyness is all but "cured" by lurve. It is mentioned briefly that the real origin of Jasmine's shyness might have been the rejection she felt by her sisters as a teenager – I didn't feel like this got enough emphasis and I thought it undermined the idea that the confidence she gains from Josh's love is what really allows her to lose a lot of her shyness and to manage life in the spotlight as the wife of such a famous person.
But it was a fast, fun read. There is a previous book in the same series about Jasmine's sister Cecilia (Make Me a Match), and Holquist's next book is about the other sister, Amy. (And I'm not sure I can get excited about that, as Amy did not come off as very likable in this book.)