>Month of Love Review: Call Me Irresistible, Susan Elizabeth Phillips

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Call Me Irresistible: A NovelR.S.V.P. to the most riotous wedding of the year . . .
Lucy Jorik is the daughter of a former president of the United States.
Meg Koranda is the offspring of legends.
One of them is about to marry Mr. Irresistible—Ted Beaudine—the favorite son of Wynette, Texas. The other is not happy about it and is determined to save her friend from a mess of heartache.
But even though Meg knows that breaking up her best friend’s wedding is the right thing to do, no one else seems to agree. Faster than Lucy can say “I don’t,” Meg becomes the most hated woman in town—a town she’s stuck in with a dead car, an empty wallet, and a very angry bridegroom. Broke, stranded, and without her famous parents at her back, Meg is sure she can survive on her own wits. What’s the worst that can happen? Lose her heart to the one and only Mr. Irresistible? Not likely. Not likely at all.

I guess this review really needs to begin with a question: Can you like a book and really dislike it at the same time? If I had to go by Call Me Irresistible I think my answer would be yes.

Susan Elizabeth Phillips (SEP) is an author whose books have been on my ‘buy on sight’ list for years. Her tales of modern love always make me laugh and when I close her book, there is usually a smile on my face.

Does she have a certain style that she follows? Yes. Are some elements repeated in the books? Of course – but that doesn’t mean they are any less enjoyable. So, why this ‘prologue’? Well, because Call Me Irresistible had all the elements to make this an SEP classic, and yet… It wasn’t.

This book brings together the children of heroes and heroines from SEP’s earlier books – Ted Beaudine is Mr. Perfect, he really is. Mayor of the small town of Wynette, Texas, a genius who made millions from his own inventions , gorgeous to look at, in fact, he’s so perfect that a halo appears when he comes into a room and birds launch into song….It’s freaky.

Now he’s found the perfect bride – Lucy Jorik, the daughter of the former president of the United States… can’t get any better right? Well, wrong. Lucy is having second thoughts and Maid of Honor and sort-of-former wild child Meg Koranda takes one look at Ted and decides that Lucy needs to listen to those thoughts. She thinks he’s totally wrong for Lucy and doesn’t hesitate to tell her just that – one day before the fairytale wedding.

When Lucy becomes a runaway bride, we all know that Meg should be running out of Wynette right behind her, but Meg is broke, unemployed and has been cut off by her wealthy parents and uber successful siblings.

So, she’s stuck in a small town that worships the ground Ted walks on, with Saint Ted himself still in residence. This is where I started thinking this was going to be an amazing book – what a great premise…

Slight problem – one too many of SEP’s previous plots came into play. Down on her luck heroine who feels like the family failure? Check! Successful nearly perfect hero? Check! Small town where everyone hates heroine? Check!

Truth is, there were a few reasons why this time, it just didn’t cut it. First of all, the way everyone in Wynette treated Meg? Not ok – and all with St. Ted’s approval. Now, I get that SEP is trying to show that our heroine is resilient but even Mother Teresa would have struck a match, lit the town and glided out of there.

If that isn’t enough, Wynette is in deep economic trouble and the wealthy sugar daddy that could save it – wants Meg. Well, if that’s what he wants – the entire town, including Ted are willing to give her to him. The pimping, because there is no other way to call it – was where the story really lost me. It starts out funny but what can be funny for a few pages becomes slightly sordid after a few pages more.

Then there is the fact that Ted who absolutely hates Meg, from what we can see at least, decides to start a ‘friends with benefits’ style relationship with her. There is no build up to the friends part, he admits to not liking her… why the hell are they sleeping together? Why is Meg doing this? Why is Ted? It just didn’t make sense.

It was at this point that I realized something – I had no idea what Ted thought or felt because while this story is in the third person, we only get Meg’s perspective. There was nothing from Ted’s perspective until almost the final chapters of Call Me Irresistible. It’s very difficult to sympathize with a character when you have no idea where they are coming from.

When Ted’s perspective finally comes into play, it does change things, it made Meg (and me) realize what made Ted tick and it was a great reveal, but it came a bit too late.

So, where’s the ‘like’ in the equation? Well, it is SEP so you do always get a beautifully written story and Meg was intelligent, spunky and filled with my favorite type of humor – snark (though I really wish people would realize that snark can come with a softer side.The heroine doesn’t always need to seem like she’s a hard ass). Then there is the fact that she does see through Ted’s facade. She might be the only one, but it’s still a lot of fun to ‘watch’.

And finally, we have Ted and Meg’s little problem… At the beginning of the book Lucy tells Meg that sex with Ted is incredible, something every woman has to experience…. Yet when Meg gets her chance? She seems underwhelmed every. single. time. SEP was truly original in how she portrayed Ted’s sexual prowess and uses it to get Meg to understand Ted’s character.

Then she goes and ruins it – because Meg and Ted don’t discuss it. In fact, most of Meg’s realizations about Ted are kept to herself. If only she would have actually had a conversation with him, if only he would have let her in…

I guess that really sums this book up – ‘if only’. I really liked Call Me Irresistible for what it could have been but disliked many aspects of what it was. Especially since many of the things I disliked could have been fixed if there was some sort of resolution towards the end. Instead SEP ties all the problems up with a big pink bow without really addressing what caused those problems to begin with.

Final thoughts? You can like a book and dislike it at the same time, but unfortunately writing this review was sort of like writing a pro-con list – it isn’t the list that tells you what decision to make, it’s how you feel when you see the results that ultimately leads you to make a decision one way or another. In this case, this book left me feeling a bit down. No smile for me. It just wasn’t what I hoped for.

Maybe I’ll re-read my favorite SEP books (Football Series) to get back in the groove…I would thoroughly recommend that series to anyone willing (or unwilling) to listen.

Happy Reading,

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