Thursday, January 16, 2014

I See London by Chael Cleeton ~ Review, Guest Post & Giveaway

Source: Received eBook in exchange for a fair and honest review.

Maggie Carpenter is ready for a change— and to leave her ordinary life in South Carolina behind. But when she accepts a scholarship to the International School in London, a university attended by the privileged offspring of diplomats and world leaders, Maggie might get more than she bargained for.

When Maggie meets Hugh, a twentysomething British guy, she finds herself living the life she always wanted. Suddenly she’s riding around the city in a Ferrari, wearing borrowed designer clothes and going to the hottest clubs. The only problem? Another guy, the one she can’t seem to keep her hands off of.

Half French, half Lebanese, and ridiculously wealthy, Samir Khouri has made it clear he doesn’t do relationships. He’s the opposite of everything Maggie thought she wanted…and he’s everything she can’t resist. Torn between her dream guy and the boy haunting her dreams, Maggie has to fight for her own happy ending. In a city like London, you never know where you stand, and everything can change in the blink of an eye.

This is a New Adult romance recommended for readers 17 and up.

Available February 3rd.

(Trying a new review style thanks to my pal, Andrea at The Bookish Babe)

 My Thoughts:

3 stars - More upper YA than NA but a good romance with some culture throw into the mix.

First Impressions...I read the summary for this book before I saw the cover and I was interested.  The idea of going to school in London away from home and everything she knew captured my attention.  Then that half French, half Lebanese guy sealed the deal.

The Story... Here I have mixed feelings.  I really, really liked the fact that there was no insta-love going on.  The characters were definitely given time to develop feeling.  The story lasts for the first year of college but I wish this much story had lasted for the first semester.

The Characters... I really enjoyed the all the characters.  We get to know more than the two main ones.  Some of the those characters were so rich.  I really enjoyed them.  I hope that we will see more of them in the sequels.  I really like Samir.  He's a player but he's up front about it.  I do think he's met his match but hasn't admitted it yet.  He clearly has feeling for Maggie and I don't think he realizes just how deep they are yet.  He's really a sweetheart and takes care of his friends.  When things get real, he's always there.  Maggie kinda frustrated me.  She portrays herself one way but she doesn't act that way.  She's nineteen and never been kissed.  But in London, she hits the club scene and "falls" for a much older guy.  Which brings me to Hugh.  I guess this is a love triangle but does if the other guy doesn't have a chance then is it a real love triangle.  Really, Maggie thinks Hugh has a chance but her own resistance speaks volumes.  And we don't really get to know Hugh much.  He's Maggie's make-out partner and that's all we really know.  He is VERY patient for a guy.  He claims to be a player but waits patiently for months while Maggie tries to figure out the sex thing.  Not sure I bought that.

The Writing... I liked the writing for the most part.  It flowed well and I never had to go back and figure things out after the fact.  I would only change the length.

Could I Put It Down...Yeah, I could and I did.  I read it over three nights.  I could have read it straight through if I had had the time but I needed some breaks.  I think that was my frustration with Maggie coming through.

In The End...I enjoyed this book.  I like the wide range of cultures that were combined into one place and story.  The setting was nice.  There was a visit to Paris that I enjoyed as well.  Then there was a game of strip rummy that was interesting but ended too soon.  It's billed as New Adult for 17 and up but I see it more as an upper YA book.  Definitely for high school students.  There's not a lot of language or explicit scenes in it.  The sex is there but not center stage.  If you enjoy the upper YA romance books, then this one is a good one to try.

About the author:

Originally a Florida girl, at seventeen Chanel moved to London to attend an international university. In the four years that followed, she received her bachelor’s and master’s degrees, learned how to dance, travelled through Europe, and made lifelong friendships. Chanel fell in love with London and planned to stay there forever. But fate intervened on a Caribbean cruise, when an American fighter pilot with smooth dance moves, swept her off her feet.

Now, a happily ever after later, Chanel is living her next adventure in South Korea. An avid reader and hopeless romantic, she is happiest curled up with a book. She has a weakness for handbags, puppy cuddles, and her fighter pilot husband. Harlequin (HQN) will release Chanel’s New Adult debut, I SEE LONDON, on February 3, 2014, followed by a sequel, LONDON FALLING, later in the year.

Author Feature:

Opposites Attract: Maggie and Samir, I SEE LONDON

By Chanel Cleeton

Confession. I love writing a hero and heroine that have seemingly nothing in common and finding ways to bring them together. For me that’s where the magic happens. That’s where sparks fly off the page. I love watching two characters challenge each other; love the transformation that occurs when they’re forced to grow in ways they never imagined possible.

On paper my characters in I SEE LONDON—Maggie and Samir—have nothing in common. He’s not an obvious choice for her. He’s nothing like the guy she imagined herself falling for. She’s American and from South Carolina; he’s half French and half Lebanese and calls several countries home. He comes from a privileged background; she’s a scholarship student. She’s never had a boyfriend; he’s had plenty of girlfriends.

They don’t look like a perfect fit. And when they first meet, there’s no instant love. On the surface, on a superficial level, they’re attracted to each other. She’s pretty; he’s hot. But that’s all it is at first—just an attraction. The important stuff comes later.

What I love about Maggie and Samir is that their relationship unfolds and develops as they get to know each other. Sure, they start with the physical sparks, but the gulf between them and their lives is deep enough that attraction isn’t enough. These are two people who come from two very different worlds and cultures. They look at relationships and the world very differently. Samir’s never had to work for anything. In contrast, everything Maggie has she’s built herself. They have different expectations and responsibilities. Samir lives on the edge and Maggie has lived her whole life playing by the rules. He shakes up her perfectly ordered world in ways she desperately needs. From the start, when they come together, they rub each other the wrong way and challenge each other to be more.

The thing I love about writing fiction is that my characters constantly surprise me. When I started writing I SEE LONDON I didn’t know how I was going to take these two people and bring them together. It wasn’t enough that she was pretty and he was attracted to her or that he was flashy and exotic…there had to be more. I wanted them to see pieces of themselves in each other and to learn that there was something beyond what they saw on the surface.

Finding common ground isn’t easy for them. They both have trust issues; they’re both figuring out who they are. But watching them discover more about each other was what made me fall in love with their story. It’s a gradual process—the attraction might be there early on, but the friendship that grows between them is the real heart of their relationship. And what I love about them is that they push each other’s buttons and challenge each other to be better. They’re not perfect—they make mistakes and screw things up—but that’s one of the fun things about New Adult. Characters are growing into themselves—missteps included—and often the relationships forged during this time have the power to transform. Samir and Maggie have an adventure ahead of them…and a few roadblocks. I hope you enjoy reading their journey as much as I’ve enjoyed writing it!

Are you like me, do you like stories where opposites attract?

 The author has a giveaway going, if you would like to enter it's below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. Thank you for hosting me on your blog today and for reading I SEE LONDON! I really appreciate it :)

  2. sounds like a sweet storyline..thanks for the review.

  3. I'm glad you enjoyed this, despite your frustration.