REVIEW: Booked on a Feeling by Jayci Lee
Lizzy “Overachiever” Chung, Esq. has her life mapped out neatly:
* Become a lawyer. Check.
* Join a prestigious law firm. Check.
* Make partner. In progress.
If all goes to plan, she will check off that last box in a couple years, make her parents proud, and live a successful, fulfilled life in L.A. What was not in her plans was passing out from a panic attack during a pivotal moment in her career. A few deep breaths and a four hour drive later, Lizzy is in Weldon for three weeks to shed the burnout and figure out what went wrong. And what better place to recharge than the small California town where she spent her childhood summers with her best friend, Jack Park.
Jack Park didn’t expect to see Lizzy back in Weldon, but now he’s got three weeks to spend with the girl of his dreams. Except she doesn’t know of his decades-long crush on her–and he intends to keep it that way. She’s a high-powered attorney who lives in L.A. and he’s a bookkeeper at his family’s brewery who never left his hometown. He can’t risk their friendship on a long shot. Can he? When Lizzy decides that the local bookstore needs a little revamp, of course, Jack is going to help her bring it back to life. But the more time they spend together, the harder it becomes to ignore there might be more than just friendship among the dusty shelves and books…
Sometimes the path to the rest of your life has been in front of you all along.
Dear Ms. Lee,
Even though I haven’t read either of the first two books in this series, “Booked on a Feeling” sounded cute and based on the title obviously there would be books involved. So I asked to read it. I liked it. It has many (very) funny moments and incidents in it that had me laughing. But by the halfway point, I could pretty much tell how things were going to wind up and when I got to the end, I saw that I had guessed correctly. After I figured out the ending, the plot seemed to drag.
I will give the book points for a good start. Lizzy Chung’s decision to step back from her high stress career isn’t the instantaneous one that the blurb led me to believe it would be. Instead, it’s more than just a panic attack in court that gets Lizzy to think about what she wants. She actually puts some time into making the decision about her career, how she feels about it, and what she needs before sending her mentor an email and then getting into her car.
Meanwhile Jack Park is desperate for something to do. He’s fixed his family’s bookkeeping for the brewery but he’s no chef like his mom and his two siblings are the brewers so beyond doing fix-it jobs, there’s really no future for him there. He’s pinning his hopes on getting an entry level business analyst job he’s applied for in LA, one that will both challenge him and get him in the same city with the person he’s loved for twenty years.
When Lizzy suddenly shows up in Weldon and decides to spend her three week vacay helping fix up a bookstore, Jack eagerly offers to help and soon the two are caught in the throws of mutual attraction that they first hide before deciding, after a hot kiss, to investigate. Will they end up in a relationship or destroy twenty years of friendship?
“Booked on a Feeling” has a good initial set up and introduction of the characters and secondary characters. We can see that neither Lizzy nor Jack are truly happily satisfied with where they are in life now and are searching for a change. Clear cut reasons are given and these actually make sense. It’s kind of disappointing that neither of them tell their families about these but there are reasons (not wanting to disappoint her demanding parents – for Lizzy and not wanting his family to be worried and anxious in case he doesn’t get the job for which he’s applied – for Jack) which aren’t too out of whack with reality so, okay.
Lizzy is used to always being occupied with Something To Do so even though she is giving herself a rest from her soul sucking lawyer job, she’s bored and jumps at the chance to help revitalize the local indie bookstore above the Vrbo in which she’s staying while she’s in town. The reasons the charming owner (she and Lizzy discuss romance novels)
“Find something you like back there?” There was a smile in Shannon’s voice.
“You have a romance section,” she gushed. “Some bookstores don’t carry romance at all.”
“I can’t imagine not having a romance section in my bookstore.” Shannon joined her near the back. “Romance novels mean so much to so many people.”
“I couldn’t agree more.” Lizzy ran her fingertips over the spines of the lovely books. She saw many of her recent favorites as well as some from her wish list. Despite her vow not to buy any more books—she could almost feel the accusing glare of her TBR stack back home—
hasn’t done so are a bit lame but since Lizzy needs to do this for Reasons which I think I see coming, again okay. The owner even had a To Do List which Lizzy clutches to her chest like Gollum and then gleefully begins to check off the items once they’re done. I have to admit that I enjoy crossing things off a list, too.
“I know.” Shannon slumped in her seat. “It’s been on my to-do list forever.”
“A to-do list?” Lizzy closed her eyes and steadied her breath. “Is this a real list or a figurative list?”
“It’s an actual list. A long one.” Her friend stacked her hands a yard apart.
“Lists. Are. Everything.” Lizzy might as well have said, *My precious.* It wasn’t creepy at all.
“Not if they keep getting longer without anything getting checked off.” Shannon sighed and sank farther into her chair, too dejected to notice Lizzy’s brief transformation into Gollum.
But around the 1/3 mark, the plot begins to circle around and around while it reminds us, several times, about Jack’s need to find a new job that will Challenge Him and allow him to Spread His Wings. Also he and Lizzy fall into rabbit holes of public attraction to each other that tend to go on and on until the one feeling this at the moment snaps out of it. I found my attention wandering since I’d just read all this only 8 pages ago.
And yet Lizzy and Jack are just so darn cute! Or at least I thought so until they began to act more like older YA rather than thirty year olds and cute became a little cringey. Then yet one more reminder about Jack’s hoped for job and Lizzy’s bossiness in getting the bookstore rearranged were trotted out. It began to dawn on me that this was pretty much all of a plot I was going to get. Mutual lusting, moving bookshelves, and being burnt out in their jobs. Conflict? No, not much. Still I pushed through to the obligatory third act break up followed by the reconciliation that took place exactly where I thought it would.
People looking for something lite and frothy, plus yummy sounding Korean food, will find it here. These characters are nice but with the thin plot and meh conflict, I doubt I will remember much about them. C