Format: Kindle edition
Plot: For $100, Sebastian Hawkins’ alter-ego, the Hook Up Doctor, will help you win the guy of your dreams. It’s a small price to pay for a patented technique that never fails. Drawing on his many experiences with girls and relationships, Sebastian knows how easy it is to manipulate guys. The only problem is that Sebastian has never been in love and only knows how to get a girl a guy, not to keep him. The latest request for help starts out simply enough but when Sebastian begins to suspect that this request is from his friend, Aspen, and she’s attempting to win him over, it’s a whole new ball game. Sebastian slowly allows his heart to open and realizes how much Aspen means to him. When the two finally start a relationship, all seems right in the world. That just comes crashing down though when Sebastian’s mother ends her own relationship with the man perfect for her. Sebastian decides that love can’t exist after all and wanting more for Aspen, he unceremoniously dumps her. Aspen is devastated but begins seeing another guy which infuriates Sebastian, especially when she uses the techniques the Hook Up Doctor taught her. In the end, Sebastian has to decide if the love he and Aspen share is enough to take a chance on and if the Hook Up Doctor can continue to exist even in a relationship.
Review: You know when you jump into a book and there’s a scene early on where some anonymous girl communicates with the hero, and you go, “A-ha! The anonymous girl communicating with this guy is totally going to end up being his best friend and love interest. Let it be known that on page 2, I called it!” Well, have to admit that I am guilty of that here. On page two, I turned to hubby and said, “This email from some random girl to the Hook Up Doctor is totally going to end up being Aspen! And Sebastian is going to spend the majority of the book trying to help her hook up…with HIMSELF!” Hubby replied with this gem: “huh? Who? What’s a Hook Up Doctor? And who’s in Aspen?” before burying his face once again into his Ipad 3. But what makes this unique is that I was wrong. WRONG, people. So rarely does this happen that when I got to the part in the book where even Sebastian finds out that Aspen never wanted to hook up with him, it’s–well, it’s shocking. That’s the sign that something is definitely right with this book. Now let me get the bad stuff out of the way before I jump on the good: the writing is a bit sloppy in parts and it’s one of those super fast reads you sort of forget about after the fact. There’s expletives liberally laced throughout but being that the protagonist is male that didn’t bother me too much, just seemed a bit explicit and unnecessary at times. The plot was a bit banal and the outcome extremely predictable. But for all that, I liked it. It was light and romantic and the guy gets the girl. The fact that there’s a twist that shocked yours truly should also be considered a good reason for bonus points. Now, the love between Aspen and Sebastian, which is the focal point of the entire book, is extremely predictable. You can see it coming on page 2! But the manner in which it happens and the reasons she goes to the Hook Up Doctor in the first place are definitely not. One thing I felt was forced was Sebastian’s reasons for breaking up with Aspen 3/4 of the way through. Using the fact that your mother is unlucky in love as a reason to break it off with the girl you adore is not cool. It actually seems pretty stupid and far fetched. In high school, most kids want to do the opposite of what their parents would do, so the fact that Sebastian so easily ditches Aspen so he and mommy dearest can wallow in their lack of love together, well, that’s just plain dumb. But still this is what I would term a good “summer read”: it’s quick, doesn’t require a lot of thought, and gives you a satisfying outcome with no tears involved. A win win for all involved.
Based on the following criteria:
How much did I like the heroine: 7. Aspen lacks a bit of originality: she’s from a crunchy granola family yet isn’t very crunchy or granola. She loves her best friend but is unwilling to do anything about it. She’s the ultimate wisher washer and when Sebastian as the Hook Up Doctor calls her out on it, she tries to pretend that she’s something different. I like that she’s willing to move on quickly from the heartbreak of Sebastian leaving her but otherwise she’s a bit ho hum.
How much did I like the love interest: 7. Sebastian seems like my kind of guy: hunky and smart with a good head on his shoulders and to top it off he’s a mama’s boy. Plus he values friendship and is infinitely sexy with all the right moves. Only problem is he practices them on anyone! The best quote I ever read involving man-hos is this, from Megan Crane’s English as a Second Language, (paraphrased by me of course), ”You’re sweet, a good friend, incredibly intelligent but have the morals of an alley cat.” And that is why Sebastian loses points in my book. Boyfriend loves to make his way around the block if you know what I’m saying and I really didn’t want to read about it being that I knew on page 2 that he and Aspen were going to end up together.
How believable is the plot: 8. I’ll admit it: this sort of plot is believable mainly because it’s been done so many times. Girl has secret crush on boy. Girl tells intermediary that she loves boy. Boy tries to help her win the object of her desires. Boy is shocked to discover it’s him but luckily realizes that he loves her TOO! And so on.
How much did I like the writing style/editing/etc: 7. The writing is light and fresh, matching perfectly to the subject matter. There’s not many typos which is refreshing in a self-published book. There’s a lot of cursing done by the main character and at first I thought it meant to be shocking, but soon caught on that that’s boy speak and meant to be mimicking boy vernacular. That made it less annoying because sometimes all the expletives felt completely out of place. The dialogue was very good though and the pacing, while a bit slow in parts, was decent.
How much did I want to keep reading: 5. Hey, if you know the outcome on page 2 then your desire to keep reading pretty much wilts away to nothing…
Final Score: 7/10. Pretty solid read though you may find the subject matter and plot a bit tired. All in all, I’d say get it for the beach and enjoy Sebastian until he starts cursing at you at which point you can skip to the shocking part that you probably won’t have seen coming. Probably. Unless you happen to be smarter than me in which case, get outta here.
****Disclaimer: I got this book for free from the author. I swear I didn’t bribe her in any way, or get paid for my review. And we might not be legit enough to need this disclaimer but after working at a law firm for many years it’s better safe than sorry!****