Monday, August 19, 2013

Nice and Hot Men of NA: Matt from Flat-Out Love

Here we are again in my never-ending pursuit of the perfect non-alpha hero. Of course there's nothing wrong with a good alpha, but I've noticed a trend toward heroes who skip past alpha right into scaryland. I can't help my tastes, and also, I'm a mental health professional, so I don't find it romantic to read about relationship dynamics that, to me, seem to have potential for abuse in the future.

ANYWAY, I want to tell you about another book with a NICE GUY hero that I just read and loved. You may have already read it, because it is a best seller. Sometimes I'm a little slow on the uptake, and it takes me a while to read super-popular books. When I do, I always approach with caution, wondering if the book is really worth all the raves. I've been disappointed before.

And so it was that I began Jessica Park's Flat-Out Love with supreme caution. But the concern had evaporated within a few pages, because I was laughing about burritos. This book just made me smile. It was lovely and witty and clever and quirky, confidently written and absolutely fascinating.

Also, there was Matt.

Matt is a very unusual romance lead--he's the nerdy, super-smart, not exceptionally good-looking guy. The one who keeps to himself. He's so buttoned-down that Julie, the heroine, simply can't read him. Jessica Park did such a fabulous job restraining his character and keeping him from showing his cards until just the right time. I loved it because I think Matt is really a realistic guy. Apart from the astronomically high IQ, I mean.

Matt is unselfish and giving, but not in an effusive, emotional way. He is principally concerned with the well-being of his younger sister, Celeste (also a solidly awesome character). He's dependable and calm, but he has an edge to him. He's utterly fierce when it comes to protecting his family. He's no alpha, but he's really strong in a way that I think is more real than a lot of romance heroes. He's more complicated, less likely to give you exactly what you expect. Because Ms. Park was so masterful in her portrayal of him, when he finally shows his vulnerability, it's heartbreaking and powerful.

I expected to like this book, but I didn't expect to love it, let alone REALLY LOVE it. I haven't read anything else like it, and I'm so glad Ms. Park believed in her book and took the path she did to get it to readers. Matt falls into the category of damaged-yet-nice, but he's unique and almost makes me want to put him in a separate category all his own. If you haven't yet read this book and you're looking for something different from the usual fare, you must check out FLAT-OUT LOVE (which happens to be $1.99 at the moment).

What do you think? Have you read this book? Do you agree with me about Matt? Any other reading recommendations for me? (And if you're wondering, yes, Flat-Out Matt is now on my Kindle, because I can't say NO to more Matt!)

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