Great Premise that Falls Short: Settle Down Now Book Review

Great Premise that Falls Short: Settle Down Now Book Review

Settle Down Now Leenna NaidooSettle Down Now by Leenna Naidoo

About the book:

Billionaire Charmaine Donnet’s search for Mr Right has gone public in the most humiliating way. Her dating coach, and trusted friend Joss, has decided to turn introvert Charmaine’s quest into a hit reality TV show. Charmaine finds herself interviewing potential Mr Rights live on air, and being wooed on the Indian Ocean while on board the beautiful yacht, The Sunflower. But it’s not all plain sailing. There’s Captain Robert Hart, the one man who truly hates Charmaine and whom, she suspects, would do anything to hurt her again. There’s Joss who’s behaving more like an enemy; and there’s the six potential Mr Rights–some of whom will do anything to win. Events take a dark turn when one of the potential Mr Rights goes missing at sea. Will Charmaine survive this desperate Hart’s cruise?

★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆
I swoon for romance novels, especially contemporary, and this novel seemed to fit the bill on paper. It was even set in South Africa which seemed like a blast to me. I imagined I’d see a romance unfold in this beautiful, unique setting, while also learning about the culture. The premise is great as well; a contest for Mr. Right. What a great form of entertainment. We get to enjoy how wrong every Mr. Right contestant actually is, while noticing that one guy, who is not in the contest and who Charmaine has always consider Mr. Definitely Wrong, has actually been Mr. Right all along.

Although the story was entertaining, it did not satisfy my romance-loving needs. As a romance reader, the chemistry between Hero and Heroine is the most important part of the story. In this story, our Hero is set up as this terrible, vindictive, and selfish guy. Not much of a Hero, in my opinion. He blamed Charmaine for their troubles in the past, and never got over it. When they meet again, he planned to ruin her, as revenge. Even though he broke her heart. I didn’t feel sexual tension between the two, I didn’t see their need to want to be together, and most importantly, I didn’t see how they would be better together than apart. They didn’t better each other until the very end of the book when all hell broke loose and danger was upon them. That’s the only time I felt our H/H really connected. However, even then, I didn’t have many feels because even though the story was told from Charmaine’s first person POV, she didn’t give us many of her feels either.

I really wanted to get into this story, and sometimes I found that I was, but then almost immediately after I got swept up, the scene was broken up with time hops. The time hops were the most distracting feature in this book. From the beginning of the story, we start in present day. Before we get to know our Heroine very well, there is a scene break with the heading, “Nine and a half years earlier…” If this had happened just once, to set the stage before this time now, I might have been able to get behind it. However, after that scene, it jumped back, “Nine years later…” moving us into present day again. Then it was done with hours earlier, hours later, days later, back nine years again, forward again…. So each time I became invested in the story at hand, I was pulled out of it and throw somewhere else. In a place in time I couldn’t care less about, because I still didn’t know or care about our Heroine. This happened for the majority of the novel, and made it very difficult to follow.

The best thing about an author knowing all of a character’s backstory is that they only need to share with the readers the parts that matter. We don’t need all of it. Heck, we hardly usually need any of it. What we do need should come out organically throughout the novel in bits and pieces. If flashbacks are necessary (although I’m not a fan) then they should play into the present scene and relate somehow. How did X moment right now remind character of X moment in the past? And why does it matter in the story?

I believe our author definitely has talent in story-creating, but I do feel this novel would have benefited from some deep restructuring and revising. I believe that all writers only improve with each novel, so I wish this author all the best in the future projects as I’m sure they will be pleasing to her readers!

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. 

Grab your copy of Settle Down Now on Smashwords, Barnes & NobleKobo, Apple iBookstore or the author’s website.

About Leenna Naidoo
Leenna NaidooLeenna was born asking, ‘Why?’, grew up surrounded by books, and looking for answers. She’s still on a quest for an answer, having travelled to the furthest points on Earth from her home to do so. She’s hoping to have the answer by next October or in her next book.

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To read more of my reviews or submit your book for review, click here.

About Katie McCoach

KATIE McCOACH is a developmental book editor at KM Editorial, LLC working with authors to help them create their best story! Be sure to follow her on Twitter @KatieMcCoach.

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