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Friday, March 14, 2014

Review: Etoile by Olivia Besse

Etoile is the first book in Olivia Besse's Mannequin Series. I had a bit of a tough time getting into this story, but once I stuck with it and got a little further, I really started to like this one. I did have a few issues with this story, but I ended up really enjoying the story despite any criticisms I had. Etoile was different than anything I have read before, and I really enjoyed Olivia Besse's writing style. Her style is a little gritty and raw feeling, and I thought it was perfect for this story. After ending this one on a cliffhanger, I am anxious to read the next two books in there series and see what happens.

Elodie Marais was abandoned as a baby and grew up in an orphanage in France. When she is fourteen she gets discovered and is offered the chance to be a model. She begins modeling at age fifteen and is taken under the wing of the woman who discovered her. Elodie enters the world of modeling and fashion and begins to learn how to advance her career using everything that she has available to her. She ends up in Manhattan at nineteen, living with a group of models and trying to land bigger and better shows and jobs. While in Manhattan Elodie meets an in demand male model named Tyler. They hit it off right away and the passion between them is explosive. She also ends up meeting James, a sweet and sensitive guy in finance. At first she thinks that James is the guy for her and that Tyler is just a cocky model looking to hook up. But the more she gets to know Tyler, she realizes that he is different than what she had first thought.

At first I wasn't sure what to think of Tyler. He comes off as this cocky narcissist, but the more you get to see of him the more he grows on you. I liked getting to see that he is completely different than what you get at first glance with him. He definitely is cocky and a bit arrogant, but he also uses a lot of that to sort of protect himself.You could tell that he was afraid to sometimes admit his feelings out loud. I thought that he did some really sweet things for Elodie and most of the time he did them when she had no clue and he wasn't looking to use them to get her. He just seemed to care about her and was trying to do nice things for her. James on the other hand I liked right off, but as the story went on he completely lost me. At first he is sweet and a bit shy. He is sensitive and seems to really like Elodie, so he takes things slowly. We are talking almost glacial when it comes to slow with this guy. But as the story goes on, we really don't get to know James. I feel like there is very little depth or development with him, and he ran extremely hot and cold. I just could never quite figure out what was going on with him, and by the end of the story I was completely over his character. Elodie was what I would imagine a model to be. She was able to adapt to situations as they called for and could mask her emotions and feelings easily. She was at times a bit shallow and was willing to do whatever it took to get to the top. I can't say that I identified with her character at all, but I really enjoyed reading about her. I thought that Elodie had a ton of chemistry with Tyler and I really liked how they were together. I thought that they were a great couple and that they had a great foundation considering they really understood each other and the business. Elodie and James just didn't seem to really work for me, despite the sweet things that he did for her.

I really loved the writing in this story though. I thought that edge and grit that Olivia Besse brought really enhanced this story, and it felt so real to me. Being an outsider looking in on this world I would have no way of knowing how accurate or real things are when it comes to fashion and modeling, but I imagine that it would be just like Besse described. I did get a bit annoyed with the constant brand name dropping that happened in this book though. I get that that would be a huge part of Elodie's world, but I honestly got a bit sick of seeing so many brands and I could care less who/what so and so was wearing. I wanted to skip whole paragraphs at times because of it, and I think the story would have been fine without as much as there was. I also felt like the plot of this book was almost nonexistent. I was more than half way through the book and still trying to figure out what was going on and where the story was headed. I did still find it interesting though and I am glad that I stuck with it. It was also a bit confusing at times because in the beginning the book sort of jumped around a bit. I think that is why I had a hard time getting into the book at the start. I really did end up liking this one though, and I am interested to see where Besse takes these characters. I can't wait to see what happens next, especially with Elodie and Tyler. If you are looking for a story that is real and raw, I would recommend checking this one out. It is not your typical love story and I think that is what makes it so great.

**Copy provided by Itching For Books**

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