“The wealth of the city lived in a different bubble than the rest of us. One where there were no worries of minor problems, the majority of which were easily solved by money. One comprised of beautiful women, powerful men, the drug of success heavy in the air, punctuated by diamond, caviar, and ego. For the first time, I was an outsider…”
Alessandra Torre is, without a doubt, one of my favorite authors. She’s such a skilled writer that whatever she writes is always a joy to read. Every sentence and paragraph is so well-crafted and always draws me in.
This book’s origins are a little different than usual though. It began as an online serial for Cosmopolitan where the author would write one episode (chapter) at a time and they’d be posted a few times a week over the course of a week. Consequently, this book actually has 100 chapters, or episodes in Chloe’s life. After it was finished, she took that whole story and cohesively bound them together into one standalone book.
I actually didn’t know that fact until after I read the book, but now that I do know, it makes perfect sense. You’ll notice the pacing of this book is a little different than normal. This is more of a “life story with romance”, than specifically a Romance novel. To explain it another way, if you could compare a normal standalone book to a movie, then this book would be better compared to a TV show. Y’know? Like where the characters have episodic things they go through over the course of the story that are sometimes tangential but overall, when you put them together, create a larger story arc that makes it into a complete story. So there are things that you just might not necessarily see in a ‘normal’ style book. But it worked! It totally worked! And it kept me reading the whole day on and off. Honestly, I kind of felt like I’d just binge watched a NYC-based TV show by the end of the day. It was a lot of fun! Witty, sassy, smart fun!
The story is about Chloe — a nice but materially spoiled girl from a rich family who had come to take a lot of things for granted in life simply because she’s never really had to work for anything she had. When her parents get involved in some shady business, their money evaporates and she goes from riches to rags overnight. Now, stuck with tuition that needs to be paid off before she can get her diploma, no job and no home, she has to navigate life in NYC starting from pretty much scratch. So, she gets a job as a personal assistant to a snooty socialite (*chuckles* just wait til you get to that part) and slowly but surely her life starts to come together and she even falls in love along the way in the last place she’d ever have expected…
“You know, you’re different than I expected.”
I stopped listening to the sounds of the city and turned to him, our hands still linked. “In what way?”
“I don’t know.” He looked away, back up at the sky. “I’m still figuring that out.”
“Good luck.” I let out a soft laugh. “I’m still figuring it out too.”
While this is certainly well described as a ‘sexy standalone’, you could almost actually call this a coming-of-age story too as Chloe figures out her life and navigates love’s ups and downs. Chick lit really. But I do have to admit that as much as I liked reading Chloe’s story, all my favorite parts of the book were about her and Carter. I’m a romantic at heart and a Romance genre addict so those were definitely the highlights of the book for me. And you should know that while the focus of the book is not solely the romance, the romantic parts are very hot and steamy. No closed doors here! Much sexy! Here’s an intro to the hero…
I was late to work, a piece of banana in my cheek, unprepared to meet perfection. But there he stood, one hand on my doorframe, his head lifting when I opened the door. Pure beauty, dripping with masculinity. Real dirt on the work boots that shifted on the carpet, real wear on the jeans that hugged his thighs and hips, tan skin, and biceps that bulged when he pushed off the doorframe and put his hands on his hips. I stood in place, my jaw hanging, and stared.
“Miss Madison?” His voice was gruff and sexual, the drawl you wanted to hear right before he bit your earlobe, the rasp that, should he moan your name, would combust panties.
I swallowed. “Yes?”
The chapter headings and Instagram pictures incorporated throughout the book were an awesome touch! So much fun and totally fit the “personality” of Chloe and the overall vibe of the book. A few examples…
2. Interview With a Condom Heiress
7. Canines, Couture, & Conversation
10. Prawns & Porn
22. Have Morals, Will Sell
29. How to Lie Without Lying
40. Codeword: SugarTits
54. Just The Two Of Us
57. Getting Clean Never Felt So Dirty
63. Negotiation Works Best Naked
76. Breaking Up With Balenciaga
82. Finally Saying The Words
88. Chanel No. WTF
98. Chloe & Carter, Sitting In A Tree
… and so on! I liked how you really felt like you were right in Chloe’s head. We see this girl go through a complete life transformation when her privileged life abruptly ends leaving her penniless, in debt, and in need of a place to live in one of the most expensive cities in the world. Her struggles to find a job and pay the bills, as well as navigating her love life, made for a wonderful afternoon read. Even though this isn’t typically the kind of book I’d go for, I really enjoyed it!
My most favorite part of all was the epilogue. The whole book up until this point is told from Chloe’s perspective, but the epilogue is Carter’s, and it was such a beautiful, heart-felt look back on their lives together from the moment they met. I could have easily highlighted the whole thing. All the swoon!
I smiled, laughed, and swooned the whole time I was reading. If you’re looking for a fun, light-hearted, sexy, and well-written story, then definitely try this!
“You could have had that life, either with him or a million other guys in this city. But you didn’t. You stayed with me. You didn’t even hesitate… I love you, Chloe. Everything else fades away from that.”
Rating: 4 stars! Standalone.