Title: Build a Man (Serenity Holland #1)
Author: Talli Roland
Publication date: November 5th, 2011
Publisher: Notting Hill Press
Length: 352 pages
Genre: Chick lit
Age group: Adult
Add it: Goodreads
Buy it: Amazon US | Amazon UK | The Book Depository
The perfect man is out there . . . he just needs a little work.
Slave to the rich, rude and deluded, cosmetic surgery receptionist Serenity Holland longs for the day she’s a high-flying tabloid reporter. Unfortunately, every pitch she sends out disappears like her clients’ liposuctioned fat, never to be seen again. Then she meets Jeremy Ritchie — the hang-dog man determined to be Britain’s Most Eligible Bachelor by making himself over from head to toe and everything in between — giving Serenity a story no editor could resist.
With London’s biggest tabloid on board and her very own column tracking Jeremy’s progress from dud to dude, Serenity is determined to be a success, even going undercover to gain intimate access to Jeremy’s life. But when Jeremy’s surgery goes drastically wrong and Serenity is ordered to cover all the car-crash goriness, she must decide how far she really will go for her dream job.
When I won a copy of Talli Roland’s book a while ago, I just couldn’t hide my excitement. After reading her Christmas novella Miracle at the Museum of Broken Hearts, she soon became one of my soon-to-be favourites. I had really high expectations about this book and I have to say, Build a Man didn’t disappoint.
What I love about Talli’s stories -in this book in particular – is that they are incredibly optimistic. Not in a “let’s all be happy” and everything is pink and wonderful way because they are also quite emotional and touching but in terms of the ending and moving on. You just don’t feel bad when the story ends – you feel reassured that life goes on and everything will be all right.
The characterisation was great! Serenity is definitely someone who you just can’t associate yourself or sympathise with. She’s working as a receptionist at her boyfriend’s clinic but it’s obvious that she’s a, she’s over-skilled for this job and b, she’s bored out of her skull all day long. On top of that we have Peter, her boyfriend AND her boss (which always a bad combination, mind you), who’s a workaholic and cares more about his cat Smitty than his own girlfriend. And he couldn’t be any more different from Serenity’s laid-back personality. I wouldn’t like to give too much away but I can tell you, it’s going to cause a few problems.
The story itself is really fast paced which is great – believe me, there’s never a dull moment. The only thing I didn’t enjoy that much -and in fact the reason why I’m “only” giving this book 4 stars- was repetition. You see, both Serenity and Peter work at this clinic – they work together, and they live together. So there came a time in the book where all I remembered reading was “we went to the clinic…we closed up and went home.” And the same thing happens every day. They get up, they go to the clinic, they close up, go home. I know Serenity’s life was dull and due to the fact that Peter was a workaholic, they didn’t even see each other during working hours and when they got home, he was too tired to do anything but watch telly and sleep. The going to-and-fro work bit was just a bit repetitive for me, that’s all. The good news is, even if you find this work routine a bit monotonous, you’ll completely forget about it by the time you reach the second half of the novel and you get utterly absorbed in what’s going on and what’s going to happen.
All in all, I really enjoyed Build a Man – it has the right combination of humour, emotion and optimism – it will make you laugh, make you emotional and most importantly, fill you with hope. Serenity’s character really grew on me throughout the story and I’m very curious to see where her life is heading so I will definitely be adding book #2 (Construct a Couple) to my wishlist! If you like chick lit or contemporary romance, do pick it up – it’s worth it!!