Book Review: You Don’t Have to Say You Love Me by Sarra Manning


General Fiction > Chick-Lit > Contemporary

Sweet, bookish Neve Slater always plays by the rules. And the number one rule is that good-natured fat girls like her don’t get guys like gorgeous, handsome William, heir to Neve’s heart since university. But William’s been in LA for three years, and Neve’s been slimming down and re-inventing herself so that when he returns, he’ll fall head over heels in love with the new, improved her.

So she’s not that interested in other men. Until her sister Celia points out that if Neve wants William to think she’s an experienced love-goddess and not the fumbling, awkward girl he left behind, then she’d better get some, well, experience.

What Neve needs is someone to show her the ropes, someone like Celia’s colleague Max. Wicked, shallow, sexy Max. And since he’s such a man-slut, and so not Neve’s type, she certainly won’t fall for him. Because William is the man for her… right?

Somewhere between losing weight and losing her inhibitions, Neve’s lost her heart – but to who?


…I think Sarra Manning and I are going to be good friends. *beams happily*

Oh, I read romance, sure. But not this thick. And definitely not this author. You Don’t Have to Say You Love Me has been sitting on my shelf for two years now, and I want to smack myself senseless on why I bother just now to pick it up. It was highly entertaining! Yeah, Neve‘s obsession on her weight was annoying, but it was irrelevant to me. What I love the most is how Manning portrayed Max. Absolutely delicious, that one was. 😀

End of Chapter Two. I was already swooning with delight. Man, does Manning really writes like this? It was addicting. But then, Max flopped the swoon. How? He doesn’t know Neve’s name. To think that he was all sweet and mesmerizing to Neve. Ha! Now that was fun. Absolutely hilarious. 🙂

I love Celia, Neve’s sister. She’s very supportive and very attached to Neve. I liked that there wasn’t any sibling rivalry between them, considering Neve has weight problems, and Celia has no issues with her body (or beauty) at all.

The verbal sparring between Neve and Max were amusing and most times, hot. You know? There’s something about two intelligent people who cannot see how right they are for each other, because they are two busy thinking on the reasons on why they should not be together. That’s Neve and Max. I should be irritated with that, but surprisingly, I was not. It even added to the swoon factor! Ah, must be the love bug this February, hitting my inner romantic. 🙂

It would not do you any good if you cross out this book just because of it’s too ‘chick-lit’ cover. You Don’t Have to Say You Love Me is endearing, charming, and fetching read. It was not perfect by my ‘contemporary’ standard, but the ‘lovey-dovey’ feel it gave last Valentines? So worth it!

#10 Off-the-Shelf Challenge 2013



Paperback, 555 pages

Published February 1st 2011 by Corgi Books

5/5 stars

Book Review: The Lover’s Dictionary by David Levithan

Rating: StarStarStarStar

basis, n. 

There has to be a moment at the beginning when you wonder whether you’re in love with the person or in love with the feeling of love itself. 

If the moment doesn’t pass, that’s it—you’re done. And if the moment does pass, it never goes that far. It stands in the distance, ready for whenever you want it back. Sometimes it’s even there when you thought you were searching for something else, like an escape route, or your lover’s face. 

How does one talk about love? Do we even have the right words to describe something that can be both utterly mundane and completely transcendent, pulling us out of our everyday lives and making us feel a part of something greater than ourselves? Taking a unique approach to this problem, the nameless narrator of David Levithan’s The Lover’s Dictionary has constructed the story of his relationship as a dictionary. Through these short entries, he provides an intimate window into the great events and quotidian trifles of being within a couple, giving us an indelible and deeply moving portrait of love in our time.


livid, adj. 
Fuck You for cheating on me. Fuck you for reducing it to the word cheating. As if this were a card game, and you sneaked a look at my hand. Who came up with the term cheating, anyway? A cheater, I imagine. Someone who thought liar was too harsh. Someone who thought devastator was too emotional.


The Lover’s Dictionary turned me into this mushy lil marshmallow. I felt a lot of emotions when reading this: i smiled a lot because i can relate. i harbored resentment when trust was broken. i felt complete when despite the frustrating times, the couple worked out their differences. Truly, The Lover’s Dictionary is a haven for hopeless romantics!

I love how Levithan presented his story – through snippets of the couple’s lives encased in vocabulary words. I basically have to read between the lines and i loved that. This kind of storytelling was so unique and effective it made me think: a word can really have a whole lot of meaning, right? Arrears. Dumbfounded. Libidinous.

The Lover’s Dictionary is a quick read (211 pgs) but the writing will stay with me for a very, very long time. If you’re in a mature relationship who needs guidance, or you just can’t resist a romantic read, try this Levithan book. It sure made me sigh and realize how wonderful it is to have someone to love… and love me back that much. =)

Special thanks to Tina for lending me her copy while we were on vacation!



.: maria :.

“giving up is the ultimate tragedy.”

Book Review: Tell Me More by Janet Mullany

Rating: StarStar

Jo Hutchinson is obsessed with a man she’s never seen—only heard. Her late–night calls from the office to the mysterious “Mr. D.” grow increasingly intimate, until they finally become full–blown phone sex. Still, Jo doesn’t dare meet him. Instead, she embarks on a series of sizzling sexual escapades with other guys, sharing every sweaty moment with Mr. D. afterward, a passion–by–proxy arrangement they both get off on. But even as she’s charting brave new naughty worlds, Jo knows that it’s all really for Mr. D. Every pleasure she experiences—eagerly, athletically, vocally—is to please him.

Immersed in fantasy, reality just slips away—even the chance at that elusive combination of love and lust. Her new tenant, Patrick, an Irish hunk in geek’s clothing, is totally into her. And in her lucid moments, Jo knows she feels the same. Can she tear herself away from her kinky dreamworld long enough to appreciate what’s right in front of her? Or has Mr. D. ruined her for real life?



I started Tell Me More and really liking it, but when the moment came Jo can finally have closure with Mr. D., I found myself disgusted with her. I thought this erotica novel has a little substance in story, but that moment completely ruined it. That being said, Jo does not deserve even the smallest affection from Patrick. Ugh.

Jo went into sexual experiments but Mullany barely bother to explain Jo’s past so I as a reader can sympathize with Jo. Patrick could’ve have been a great male lead if not for his lax acceptance for Jo’s transgressions and secrets. Jo & Patrick’s relationship develop only in the middle of the book (i was impatient on where the story will lead me because Jo’s sexcapades is starting to bore me). The ending was kinda cute, perhaps too cute for an erotica book but it suits me fine.

I could’ve given this a 3 star-rating but the Mr. D.-Jo closure scene definitely irritated me.


Publisher: Harlequin

Imprint: Spice Books

Pub Date: 07/26/2011

Thank you NetGalley and Lisa Wray for granting my galley request.



.: maria :.

“giving up is the ultimate tragedy.”

Book Review: The Ideal Man by Julie Garwood

Rating: StarStarStar

Dr. Ellie Sullivan has just completed her residency at a large urban hospital. While jogging in a park nearby, she witnesses the shooting of an FBI agent in pursuit of wanted criminals, a couple identified as the Landrys. The only person to see the shooter’s face, Ellie is suddenly at the center of a criminal investigation.
Agent Max Daniels takes over the Landry case. A no-nonsense lawman, he’s definitely not the ideal man that Ellie has always imagined, yet she’s attracted to him in a way she can’t explain.

Ellie heads home to Winston Falls, South Carolina, to attend her sister’s wedding. Shortly after she arrives, though, she receives a surprise visitor: Max Daniels. The Landrys have been captured, and she’ll be called to testify. But they’ve been captured before, and each time the witnesses are scared into silence-or disappear before they can take the stand. Max vows to be Ellie’s shadow until the trial, and it isn’t long before sparks fly.



The Ideal Man is just an average Julie Garwood book. I was disappointed because I’m a Garwood fan for years now. The plot is predictable, the story is okay, and the characters seemed recycled from her previous novels.

Ellie  is a trauma surgeon and a prodigy. Having been separated from her family for years now, she has nothing to look forward to. Her gruesome past is preventing her to have a future, but that doesn’t mean she’s now willing to finally confront the demon that’s been plaguing her since childhood. Ellie is not weak, but she’s not that strong, either. One thing i don’t get is her ‘animalistic’ attraction towards Max. TRANSLATION: Ellie wants to jump his bones every single time. Ugh. A little respect please, for yourself. Thank you 😉

Max is an FBI Agent who can make a living out of his casual relationships with women. He’s as tough as any agent can be, but knowing what Ellie went through all her life, he can’t help but say that she’s tougher than he is. I love Ellie’s dad; I hate her mom. I also like her sister, Annie; obviously i despise the twin sister, Ava. Evan Patterson is scary – his character is the one i look forward to reading. 🙂

The Ideal Man is a passable read for any Julie Garwood fan. Slightly humorous and sexy, it might still steal hours from you when reading it.

Publisher: Penguin Group (USA)

Imprint: Dutton

Pub Date: 08/09/2011

Thank you NetGalley and Kirby Rogerson for granting my galley request.



.: maria :.

“giving up is the ultimate tragedy.”