Where I Want To Be

March 25, 2014 Fiction, Romance 8

20877119Title: Where I Want To Be
Author: Cortney Roudebush
Source: from author for review
Rating: ★★☆☆☆
Review Summary: Although this book seemed like a good fit for me, I didn’t love the writing, the obsessive focus on dating bothered me, and I couldn’t relate to the main character.

Olivia Goldstein has a very successful career in LA, but her timidity generally prevents her from enjoying life. She doesn’t like her career, has few friends, and rarely dates. The only thing she truly enjoys is wine. With some encouragement from her best friend, she makes one of her first spontaneous decisions and enrolls in a wine class in Napa Valley. Once there, she begins to make friends who teach her about wine and talk her into being more courageous about dating. Although she starts her trip certain that she’d like to return to LA, by the end of the summer she’s not so sure.

I was thrilled to accept this book for review because it seemed perfect for me. I love happy books and there’s not much happier than someone moving to a beautiful place and finding a life they love.  I was also excited about the potential for character growth. Unfortunately, it just didn’t work out for me. The focus on dating was greater than I expected from the description. I’ve never been especially boy-obsessed and just couldn’t like our insecure, boy-crazy main character. Her attempts at dating ended badly in every cliched way possible. Although I believe the main character might have gotten to know these men well enough to judge them, I didn’t. They all felt like very poorly developed characters to me. Although the main character becomes more confident, the turning point where she realizes she might be attractive comes when she notices that the women in Napa Valley are less pulled together than those in LA. Her gain in self-confidence at the expense of putting down others didn’t endear her to me.

I had some problems with the writing as well. I don’t always mind brand names in books, but in this case, they pulled me out of the story because I was always surprised by them. There were a handful of instances where a similar sounding but clearly incorrect word was used in a sentence. And the constant listing of wine names and flavors got old fast. This surprised me because I expected to like learning about wine, but what I learned was too specific to be helpful to me. I didn’t love the plot either, because there was very little conflict. Even the biggest problems were generally resolved a few paragraphs after they started. In general, the main character doesn’t even do anything to solve the problems; they simply resolve themselves.

Having accepted this book for review and having had high hopes for it, I hate to give it a bad review. However, the major problems I had with the main character, the plot, and the writing made anything else impossible. That said, I do think this book could work better for someone else. Many of the goodreads reviews are very positive and I think if someone picked this up expecting the focus on dating, I think they might enjoy it much more than I did.


8 Responses to “Where I Want To Be”

  1. Charlene @ Bookish Whimsy

    It’s too bad this didn’t wow you – it has such a promising premise! Though I’m not really into wine, I think it would be nice to learn more about it too. But I’d need a very general overview. Great review though, you did a wonderful job of reasoning out why some things didn’t work for you!

    • DoingDewey

      Thanks Charlene! I feel the worst giving a book a bad review when the author contacted me directly, so I do like to at least do my best to make sure that the review is fair and specific. Since I live in a region with a lot of local wineries, it’s definitely something I’d like to know about, but learning about specific vintages from California wasn’t the most helpful.

    • Cortney Roudebush

      Hi Charlene, then this book might be a good fit for you. The wine education imparted in my novel is very basic stuff. According to many of the people who reviewed my book and liked it, they enjoyed the specific brands and varieties mentioned. I realize that my writing can’t possibly be loved by all, but it has generally been well received by other readers.


      • DoingDewey

        You make a great point Cortney! Especially if someone is looking for specific wine varieties to try, they could love that part of the book. I could imagine picking up the wines you mention and seeing if you can recognize the tasting notes the characters mention. I’m sorry I didn’t enjoy it more and agree that while every book won’t work for every reader, the goodreads reviews suggest many readers have been thrilled with your book 🙂

  2. Katie @ Words for Worms

    Oh man, that’s rough. I’ve been there, when you think it’s going to be like the perfect book for you and then it just doesn’t deliver. I’m sorry it was a disappointment for you!

    • DoingDewey

      Thanks Katie 🙂 I feel like I’m generally pretty good about knowing whether or not I’ll like a book, so I was very surprised by this one.

    • DoingDewey

      I know everyone has different tastes, but I was surprised more people on goodreads didn’t share my concerns! Boy-obsessed heroines are some of my least favorite protagonists.

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