Saturday, June 02, 2012

Review: Her Best Worst Mistake by Sarah Mayberry

Ugh, I tried really hard to have this review done earlier today, but just didn't manage. This week has been really long and I think it caught up to me at the end of the day, both physically and mentally. Lots of running around, lots of traffic jams and let just say that a lot has been happening in my corner of the world ^_^; I shouldn't complain because in the spectrum of things, it's not horrible or horrifying or anything. Just very annoying and it sucks your energy... And seriously, everything just seems to be happening at the same time ^_^;

Okay, I'll stop whining :) Let's talk about something more cheerful. First, Monroe, Ames and I are discussing the new releases for June over at Breezing Through :) Come and take a look at what books we're looking forward to!

And now, a review!! Enjoy!

Her Best Worst Mistake by Sarah Mayberry
self-published by May 2012
She thinks he's stuffy. He thinks she's spoilt.
Then the gloves come off and so do their clothes!

For six years Violet Sutcliffe has known that Martin St Clair is the wrong man for her best friend. He's stuffy, old before his time, conservative. He drives Violet nuts - and the feeling is entirely mutual. Then, out of nowhere, her friend walks out just weeks before her wedding to Martin, flying to Australia on a mission of self-discovery. Back in London, Violet finds herself feeling sorry for suddenly-single Martin. At least, she tells herself it's pity she feels. Then he comes calling one dark, stormy night and they discover that beneath their mutual dislike there lies a fiery sexual chemistry.

It's crazy and all-consuming - and utterly wrong. Because not only are they chalk and cheese, oil and water, but Martin once belonged to her best friend. A friend Violet is terrified of losing. What future can there be for a relationship with so many strikes against it?
Genre: Contemporary romance
Series: connected to Hot Island Nights

The Story: The blurb does a really good job at describing the book. LOL, perhaps it's because this is self-published and Ms Mayberry or someone of her entourage (there who has read the book) actually wrote this blurb! :)

I'll still do a quick recap. So for six years, Violet Sutcliffe and Martin St Clair have tolerated each other for the sake of Elizabeth, her best friend and his girlfriend/fiancée respectively. Violet think Martin is just not the guy for Elizabeth: he's boring and stifling her life, just like her grandfather. What Elizabeth needs is a man with whom she can let go and be passionate. As for Martin, he disapproves of Violet because of her wardrobe and loudness, but also because she had everything (family with means and name) and threw it away, while he's working so hard to attain the same level. The only thing they have in common is their love for Elizabeth.

Both their lives are thrown upside down when Elizabeth discovers the identity of her biological father and that he's still alive... in Australia. Calling off the wedding, she jumps on a plane on an identity quest, leaving both Martin and Violet bereft; him because he lost his perfect girlfriend for the perfect life he'd imagine and now, is stuck announcing the break-up to everyone and dealing with the wedding cancellation and her, because she just lost her anchor.

Then, Violet reaches out to Martin because while she didn't think he was the guy for Elizabeth, she knows he's a good man. One thing leads to another and Violet and Martin realize the reason for their mutual, intense dislike and why they got on each other's nerve so much is that they are actually incredibly attracted to each other. As the two embarked in a red-hot affair, Martin discovers how wrongly he's judged Violet and Violet struggles with her sense of loyalty and her feelings of betrayal towards Elizabeth.

My Opinion: I'm going to start this review by a confession... I don't like self-published books ^_^; I know most of my reasons is all about prejudices, but I can't help it. So while I did enjoy Ms Mayberry's books in the past, when I found out that she self-published Her Best Worst Mistake, I was a bit wary. Then, good reviews started popping up and after reading Hilcia's, I knew I had to give this book a try. Especially since the story trope was opposites attract and the hero was a stuffy shirt!

In the end, I'm soooo glad I read Her Best Worst Mistake because I have only one word to describe it: wow! I can with assurance that it is my favorite Sarah Mayberry book to date! Yep, that's how much I looooove Her Best Worst Mistake and it's all thanks to Violet and Martin, because they made the book for me :) The characters were likable, well developed and the chemistry - so hot that it burned the pages! I thought it was clever from Ms Mayberry to have the two characters not really understand each other. Yes, they've been interacting for years, but always kept their distance... so they had misconceptions about each other. And those cleared up as time passed in their relationship. That way, the readers really got to know the characters :) I also really liked how Martin and Violet came together and how their relationship progressed. Yes, it was lust and sex at first, but it quickly deepened into something more. I think the turning point was when they both admitted they wanted each other... and I liked that they precised that if Martin and Elizabeth had married, neither would have made a move. Also, Ms Mayberry proved that you don't need that much conflict in your romance to be interesting. Instead, I like how honest and upfront Martin and Violet were. Of course, my favorite part in all this was how Martin was supportive of Violet, especially after he learned about her estrangement with her family.

Interestingly enough, once Martin and Violet became a couple, the focus of the story shifted away from the "opposites attract" trope. In fact, it turns out that Martin wasn't boring at all. Perhaps a little bit of a stuffy shirt, but not as much as the readers were made to believe. I think that when Martin and Violet finally hooked up, the real Martin surfaced. It seems that while he was with Elizabeth, Martin didn't only stifle her, but himself as well in his quest of betterment and respectability. With Violet, he was able to be more himself and I liked that. I also found it refreshing that Her Best Worst Mistake was not about changing either characters. Yes, Martin was able to let loose, but it wasn't because Violet suddenly showed him how to relax and have fun. I mean, Martin didn't change his work habits or clothing habits... He was just less stuffy because Violet made him more comfortable. Instead, the conflict shifted towards Violet's insecurity and emotions about the relationship and her friendship with Elizabeth. I thought it was extremely well-executed by Ms Mayberry and way more interesting and refreshing.

My only complaint about Her Best Worst Mistake is I think Violet kept the truth from Elizabeth a bit too long... and I have to say, I didn't care much about Elizabeth ^_^; It always seemed to be Violet listening and being there for Elizabeth and not vice-versa. True, Violet withhold the truth, but for two best friends, Elizabeth didn't even seem to realize something was going with Violet, that she wasn't acting differently. Also, it didn't seem to me like Elizabeth inquired about Violet's life. I know Elizabeth was going through a lot at the same time, but she seemed a bit like a crappy friend ^_^; However, I did like Elizabeth's reaction when she finally found out :)

All in all, I loved Her Best Worst Mistake :) If this is the quality level of Ms Mayberry's self-published books, well please, write more LOL. Obviously, there were great characters, good story and good writing, but in my opinion, it also worked because Ms Mayberry was able to crank up the sexiness level :) And amazingly, while Her Best Worst Mistake was a short book, it didn't feel short... so kudos to Ms Mayberry for an excellent book :)

My Grade: A-