Saturday, September 17, 2011

♥♥♥♥♥♥: Cheri on Top by Susan Donovan

Cheri on Top (Bigler, North Carolina #1)
Susan Donovan

Release Date: August 30th, 2011
Publisher: St. Martin's Press (Macmillan)
Page Count: 308
Source: Complimentary ARC provided by Carolyn at Romance Novel News in exchange for an honest and unbiased review (thanks, dear!)


Sun-drenched beaches, designer-label clothes, drop-dead-gorgeous boy-toys... all paid for with a series of high-risk real estate deals. That’s the lifestyle Cherise Newberry and her BFF Candy enjoy after leaving rural North Carolina for Tampa—until the market tanks and they lose everything. Cheri is surviving on Ramen Noodles and temp jobs when she gets a call from home to come back and run the family’s small-town newspaper. Just one catch: She’ll become the boss of her high school crush—and former brother-in-law—who might have the power to crush her all over again...


But Cheri is surprised to see how “bad boy” J.J. DeCourcy has grown into the hard-working and principled managing editor of The Bigler Bugle. Still, according to Cheri’s bitter sister, he’s not to be trusted. If Cheri’s going to co-exist at the with this sexier-than-ever man from her past, she needs to stay professional—and keep her distance—even though he sets her on fire. When they’re handed the biggest news story in the town’s history, Cheri must trust J.J., even it means putting her life in danger... and her heart on the line.
What Stephanie Thinks:  I'm normally a fan of contemporary romances, especially the ones with twisted plots: once-shy, past-heartbroken heroine kicks back into town with intentions of leaving a bruise and a seemingly unstoppable ferocity in her heart. Of course her childhood heartthrob is going to see her and think "Wow, I missed out...". Of course.

Because essentially, that's really all that happens. I wish there could have been more plot, more structure and depth, to this story, but there certainly isn't. While Donovan does a great job of describing J.J. as the ultimate sexy hero (drool drool), and while Cheri herself is pretty likable of a character, their so-called "romance" really doesn't do anything for me.

I hesitate to even call this one a romance. It mostly evolves around a long-term dispute over Cheri's family's newspaper business, The Bigler Bugle. Someone's been snatching funds from it, which has slowly been leading to its decline over the years. Maybe this book could have made for a good sexy mystery, but considering a) the perpetrator is revealed at the very beginning, and b) the romance isn't sexy in the least, I can't find myself thinking it too special.

Stephanie Loves: "'I laughed so hard once, I fell out of the boat.'
'I think the twelve-pack of Bud Light probably had something to do with that, Cheri.'"

Radical Rating: 6 hearts: Satisfying for a first read, but I'm not going back. ♥♥♥♥♥♥