All The Books I Can Read

1 girl….2 many books!

Review: Mr. Nice Guy by Jennifer Miller & Jason Feifer

on October 25, 2018

Mr. Nice Guy 
Jennifer Miller & Jason Feifer
St Martin’s Griffen
2018, 400p
Copy courtesy of the publisher via NetGalley

Blurb {from the publisher/}:

Lucas Callahan gave up his law degree, fiancée and small-town future for a shot at making it in the Big Apple. He snags an entry-level job at Empire magazine, believing it’s only a matter of time before he becomes a famous writer. And then late one night in a downtown bar he meets a gorgeous brunette who takes him home…

Carmen Kelly wanted to be a hard-hitting journalist, only to find herself cast in the role of Empire’s sex columnist thanks to the boys’ club mentality of Manhattan magazines. Her latest piece is about an unfortunate—and unsatisfying—encounter with an awkward and nerdy guy, who was nice enough to look at but horribly inexperienced in bed.

Lucas only discovers that he’s slept with the infamous Carmen Kelly—that is, his own magazine’s sex columnist!—when he reads her printed take-down. Humiliated and furious, he pens a rebuttal and signs it, “Nice Guy.” Empire publishes it, and the pair of columns go viral. Readers demand more. So the magazine makes an arrangement: Each week, Carmen and Lucas will sleep together… and write dueling accounts of their sexual exploits.

It’s the most provocative sexual relationship any couple has had, but the columnist-lovers are soon engaging in more than a war of words: They become seduced by the city’s rich and powerful, tempted by fame, and more attracted to each other than they’re willing to admit. In the end, they will have to choose between ambition, love, and the consequences of total honesty.

I’m not going to lie, this book was really disappointing.

I requested it based on the blurb because it seemed so funny and that it’d be one of my fave thing, a kind of hate to lovers. Or really I guess sleeping together, to hate, to lovers in this case. I felt like it had so much potential to give me all the angsty feels but it did not pan out like that at all. It’s interesting to note that this has been tagged a romance on Goodreads multiple times because for me, this does not fit the definition of a romance novel (happy ever after for the core couple or at least a strongly defined happy for now with potential for the ever after).

Firstly, it’s quite slow. There’s a lot of background about Lucas and how he fulfilled his dream to move to New York, leaving behind his southern family and their social climbing ways and his former fiancee. He works as a fact checker on a big magazine for a pittance and looks up to the editor, generally referred to as “Jays”. Lucas wants to move into writing features but his ‘break’ comes when he unknowingly has a one night stand with the magazine’s sex columnist and finds out that he’s the topic of her column. His roommate, not knowing that the column is referencing Lucas, suggests that “Nice Guy”, which is what the column refers to him as, should write a rebuttal. Incensed, Lucas does and it’s published after he proves that he is the “Nice Guy” although he keeps his actual identity a secret. This segues into Jays deciding that the columnist, Carmen, and Lucas should meet up weekly, have sex and then write about it from their opposing sides.

This had so much potential – I liked a sort of role reversal, where Carmen was the one who appeared to have all the power and the experience. She’s an actual well known columnist, love her or hate her she brings in business and her frank portrayals of her sex life seem to give women a power over their own sexuality and an attempt to smash through the double standards of sexual interaction. Lucas is very inexperienced, has only really been in one relationship and he’s the one in the invisible job, slaving away in a cubicle fact checking articles on Manhattan restaurants and boring socialites.

Lucas and Carmen had zero chemistry. Nothing. They honestly just did not work for me at any stage of this book, not when they first met before Lucas knows who and what Carmen is/does for a job, not afterwards when they’re doing the experiments. Lucas even gets some sort of ‘sex tutoring’ to try and impress Carmen and it falls spectacularly flat as she rips him to shreds basically in column after column (Lucas rebutting in his ‘Nice Guy’ way) until randomly, for no real reason, she doesn’t. And to be honest, Lucas isn’t particularly a very ‘nice guy’ at all. He’s horrid to his former fiancee (and the true callousness of his actions towards her isn’t revealed until quite late in the book, after Lucas has acted in appallingly jealous and small minded ways), he’s selfish and entitled and actually, pretty boring.

The one thing that was sort of interesting was the shenanigans Lucas uncovers about the magazine and the profiles it was doing on prominent New York identities but this was kind of done in such an over the top manner about people that were complete caricatures that I think it lost its impact. I spent a large portion of the book wondering if I was supposed to take anything seriously or if it was just satirising a city and industry I don’t know well enough to be sure about. I didn’t really get the whole point of Jays and Carmen, or Lucas and Sonia. Overall this was just really not what I was expecting and what I got was not for me.


Book #180 of 2018

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