May 1, 2012

Posted by in Reviews | 7 Comments

Review: The Girl’s Guide to (Man) Hunting by Jessica Clare

Contemporary Romance
May 1 2012
Trade Paperback
336 pages
Berkley Trade
Received from publisher

Yummy Man – Dane Croft
Kick Ass Chick – Miranda Hill

From Goodreads –
Once, Miranda felt a little exposed…

Miranda Hill can’t believe her eyes—her cocky ex-boyfriend, pro-hockey player Dane Croft, is back in Bluebonnet, Texas, after all these years. He ditched her – and their little town – just as some rather shocking photos showed up on the internet for the whole town to see. Miranda wasn’t so lucky. Stuck in Bluebonnet and left to fend for herself, she’s never really shaken the scandal — or his betrayal. After nine long years, he’s back, and she has the chance to turn the tables on Dane…

It’s time she got even.

Former NHL hotshot playboy Dane Croft has returned home to open a survival training school on an old ranch, and reinvent himself. When his former high school girlfriend enrolls in his school, he has no idea that Miranda’s plan is to get him in a compromising position—not the one he’s imagining, anyway. But soon Miranda realizes that to carry out her deviously sexy revenge, she’ll have to get up close and personal with Dane all over again. Being a good girl got her nowhere for nine years, and now it’s time to be a little naughty. But falling in love with the man that broke her heart was never part of the plan…


When I picked up The Girl’s Guide to (Man) Hunting by Jessica Clare, I really needed a light and fun read.  I had just finished reading a very heavy and dark urban fantasy book and needed a complete change of direction.  I needed to giggle and blush.  When this book arrived, I thought it would be just perfect to lighten my mood.  But even if it did fit the ‘complete change of direction’ requirement, it didn’t work well to make me giggle and blush.  I just didn’t connect with the characters.  *insert sob*

Right from the beginning, I just didn’t love Miranda.  And it’s sort of important to like her since she is the main heroine of the story.  When she was eighteen, she went into the ‘make-out closet’ with Dane and while they were making out (meaning her shirt was lifted over her breasts and his hand was in her pants) photos were taken and posted on the internet.  Dane left pretty much the next day to pursue his career in the NHL leaving Miranda alone to deal with the scandal.  The photos going online caused Miranda’s mother to have a nervous breakdown and forced Miranda to stay in her little town instead of leaving for the big city to pursue her dreams.  She gained a horribly cruel nickname and even though it’s nine years later, people are still talking about the incident and are still calling her by that rude nickname.  But her mother is finally well enough so Miranda is moving to the big city in a few weeks time.

That’s how the story starts off.  That and Dane is no longer playing hockey and has moved back into town with two of his high school buddies to open up a wilderness training camp.  I think that just about covers it.

I know we are supposed to feel sorry for poor Miranda and the fact that her life was essentially ruined thanks to these photos that Dane supposedly put online but I just couldn’t get myself to really care.  Instead I wondered why her mother was so affected by it.  Really that is what put Miranda’s life on hold:  not the photos themselves but her mother’s reaction.  And when Dane comes back, Miranda wants revenge.  I did think that her inner dialogue about ‘good Miranda’ and ‘evil Miranda’ was cute.  Basically she wants to bring the same humiliation that Dane caused back to him.  And since he is now running a wilderness survival training business, she goes to him and signs up for a week in the woods learning how to survive.  And shock and surprise, Dane is her instructor.

I did like the idea of Miranda and Dane in the forest together for a week.  Mind you they are with 5 other men – one of which is really full of himself and causes many eye-rolling moments – but they still manage to find time to ‘be alone’ in the woods.  *wink wink nudge nudge* Hot steamy time in the woods.  I liked the language that was used in this book.  Some erotic titles use overly harsh words and I find that isn’t necessary to get the ‘sexy’ point across.  Jessica does well with that in this book.  The book is hot, the scenes steamy, without being crass.  The only thing that sort of threw me off about Miranda being on a wilderness survival training thing for a whole week is that she survived a little too easily…after having only brought with her a bunch of fancy lingerie to help in her plan to seduce and embarrass Dane.  She’s not really an outdoors person yet she had no problem being out there with no shelter, no food and no…well nothing!  And she’s not allowed a camera out there yet she plans on exacting her revenge out there…  That part wasn’t really clear either.  If there was a little more focus on her feeling about being there in the woods and about her mother and less on ‘must get revenge even though my plan doesn’t really make sense’, I think it would have worked better for me.  Made things more realistic.

And that’s what made this book meh for me:  Everything just happened without much explanation behind it and the people were not really well developed.  You knew their back stories but only in the most minimal of details.  Just enough to get by but not enough to really create that bond that is so important in a book.  And I find it especially important in an erotic book because you have to truly feel for the characters in order for the book to be more to the reader than just sex.

I did like Dane though and not once did I truly believe that he was responsible for Miranda’s humiliation.  He’s suffered his own public humiliation over the past few years.  He’s known as a womanizer even though that is not even a little bit true.  In fact, he hasn’t touched a woman in over three years!  Yet his friends believe the hype like everyone else and treat him like a man who can’t keep it in his pants.  Mind you things happen pretty fast with Miranda in the woods, but that’s not really the point.  I just don’t understand why Dane just didn’t tell his friends the truth.  Instead he suffered their jabs and teases every day.

The scene at the end where all is fixed and Dane…  I won’t tell you more but basically it’s the scene where all is resolved, that scene is charming.  It made me smile.

This book has an interesting premise but I just didn’t mesh well with the way it was executed.  Miranda was a little too all over the place and Dane was good but not enough to save the book for me.  I may still check out the second book in this series, The Care and Feeding of an Alpha Male due out October 2nd 2012.  This is Colt and Beth Ann’s story.  I liked Colt a lot in this first book and Beth Ann was interesting enough.  She’s the type of character that you know there is more to (at least I hope).  And Colt is just a wilderness yummy man.    As for The Girls Guide to (Man) Hunting, due to the fact that I just didn’t connect with it well, I give it…

2.5 stars

  1. Oh pooh :/ Sorry that this book did not work better for you

  2. Thanks for the honest review! I’ve read reviews on both extremes for this book and at trade price, I might have to wait for a sale or borrow. I usually like Jessica/Jill’s books so I’ll probably give this a try eventually. The revenge trope can be either cringe worthy or truly engaging. It’s a fine line.

  3. Michele says:

    Julie, I couldn’t agree with you more. I love Jill Myles’ Succubus Diaries series and also her Midnight Liaisons series written as Jessica Sims, so I was really looking forward to this book. Unfortunately, I was seriously disappointed. The Girl’s Guide to (Man) Hunting felt like a porn flick– with a barely there storyline & copious amounts of sex. Don’t get me wrong, I love a great sex scene, but this was ridiculous…it just got tiresome after a while. Very tiresome! And the storyline…lame. Just lame. It started out strong, but very quickly petered out. Miranda was so wishy washy & I found myself just wanting to kick her & scream at her to just freaking ASK HIM if he did it. Towards the end, I’d firmly placed her in the TSTL category. Pretty sure I won’t be picking up the next book in the series.

  4. Sorry you did not connect with it, but I always have my doubts with tropes like this. It never works for the girl.

  5. Great review. I think I’ll pass on this one. It seems like tons of bloggers are reviewing this book right now so I was tempted. I just think I wouldn’t connect with the story. I really don’t care for stories where one life event (minor at that) holds up someone’s life for so long.
    Cute cover and that was the draw for me.

    Thanks for your honest thoughts.

  6. blodeuedd – 🙁

    erinf1 – It IS a fine line, and it will work for some and not for others. I’ve noticed people either really like this book or really don’t. Proof of your theory about revenge plots. 🙂

    Michele – YES!!! I don’t know why she just didn’t ASK him!!!

    aurian – You’re so right.

    Michelle – I love the cover. It drew me too. And the fact that I’ve read the author before and enjoyed her humor. Oh well…what can you do? lol

  7. We have very similar taste in books, if this book didn’t work for you I’m sure it won’t work for me.

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