Book Review: Love By Design

cover51247-mediumRules are meant to be broken… only, he chooses which ones to break.

Renowned, self-taught baker Tristan James has everything going for him. Great friends. Women. Business success. His ultimate goal is to host his own TV show. All is perfect… until Mandy walks into his life. Tristan fears she’ll make him unearth the secrets he keeps.

She plays by the rules.

Amanda Roberts dreams of becoming a famous shoe designer, but her insecurities stand between her and her dream. She’s ready to give up when Tristan dares her to pursue her goal. Falling prey to his charms isn’t something she counts on, yet it’s unavoidable.

As their dreams finally become a reality, they must choose between love or the opportunity of a lifetime.

2.5 Stars

*Arc provided by Netgalley*

Let me start by saying that I adore this cover. It’s what caught my eye in the first place and the premise of the book sounded incredible. Bad boy with angst? Check. Good girl with big dreams. Check. It had all the ingredients to be a great, steamy story.

It started a little slow, and I didn’t immediately connect with the characters, but I didn’t want to give up because I knew there was something in there that could definitely work and make this book great. The characters had such potential! And for me, what makes a great story even more than any plot is the characters. There were some issues with the plot for me, and I thought I could overcome it by watching the characters’ relationship grow. But unfortunately that’s exactly what ended up turning me off from the story. The characters.

I didn’t like Tristan. That’s right, I didn’t like Tristan. I am all about angsty, conflicted, flawed MCs; I love watching their growth and the transformation they go through to find their happiness and be worthy of love. I don’t feel like Tristan transformed at all. I mean, on paper, yes, he went through all the right actions but the transformation didn’t feel deep enough for me, I could see him resorting back to his don’t give a shit, see ya later attitude in the future. Even worse, I found some of his behaviour bordering on abusive; there’s a fine line between being jealousy and being overbearing and he was definitely on the wrong side of that line for a lot of this book. I felt like he bullied her into a lot of decisions and she just let him.

Which brings me to Mandy. Again, she just didn’t hook me enough. I wasn’t rooting for her. In fact most of the time I was kind of annoyed that she was such a pushover and let him treat her badly without repercussions. I could have forgiven it in the beginning of the book, before she came into her own and realized her potential and all that good stuff. But again, I feel as if she didn’t change in the end; she was still trying to do everything in a way that pleased him and put her own dreams aside for it.

I really wanted to like this one, and overall I don’t think it was horrible. It had a great premise and some pretty decent writing, I just wish those MCs had hooked me in like I thought they would.


3 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Alysha Kaye
    Nov 10, 2014 @ 22:51:12

    Sounds like my kind of read. Great review style:)

    Hope you check out my debut- THE WAITING ROOM!


  2. E. Jamie
    Nov 13, 2014 @ 22:54:25

    Looove that cover and you had me at a baker hero! Did it at least have some yummy descriptions of food in the plus column? Lol! So frustrating when the book has such potential (Fifty Shades, I’m looking at you) but falls flat.


    • Marissa Knox
      Nov 14, 2014 @ 09:29:51

      I know, the potential was definitely there…but it just didn’t fit right. Plus there were some other things plot-wise that just rubbed me the wrong way and I couldn’t get over it (I don’t like having spoilers in my reviews, so I won’t go into detail).


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