I See London
by Chanel Cleeton
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Published by: Harlequin HQN on February 3, 2014
Genres: New Adult, swoon-worthy romance, London
Rating: 5 Stars
Maggie Carpenter is ready for a change—and to leave her ordinary life in South Carolina behind. But when she accepts a scholarship to the International School in London, a university attended by the privileged offspring of diplomats and world leaders, Maggie might get more than she bargained for.
When Maggie meets Hugh, a twenty something British guy, she finds herself living the life she has always wanted. Suddenly she's riding around the city in a Ferrari, wearing borrowed designer clothes and going to the hottest clubs. The only problem? Another guy, the one she can't seem to keep her hands off of.
Half French, half Lebanese and ridiculously wealthy, Samir Khouri has made it clear he doesn't do relationships. He's the opposite of everything Maggie thought she wanted…and he's everything she can't resist. Torn between her dream guy and the boy haunting her dreams, Maggie has to fight for her own happy ending. In a city like London, you never know where you stand, and everything can change in the blink of an eye.
O.M.G. Move over Anna and St. Clair - Maggie & Samir are here!
To say that I'm obsessed with this book is an understatement. Once I started reading, I couldn't stop! The storyline, the characters, the hot chemistry, and the sexy scenes were written to perfection! Absolute perfection. Hats off to Chanel Cleeton for writing this enticing book AND for writing a sequel due out in July - London Falling.
Although the book blurb makes it sound like I See London is about a love triangle between Maggie, Hugh and Samir, it is anything but. If you are one of those readers who abhors love triangles, don't be dissuaded by this book's description. There is more to this supposed triangle than meets the eye.
Maggie Carpenter is a 19-year-old first year student at the International University in London. Her dreams of getting into Harvard dashed, she leaves her semi-sheltered life and moves to London for school abroad. She knows little about who she is and what she wants out of life at the beginning of her journey, but will soon learn all sorts of things about herself - her power as a woman, her life goals, her willingness to let people different from her into her life, and that the powerful connection between two people isn't something to take for granted. It may only come along once in a lifetime. Sometimes, you have to go out on a limb to truly be free.
Samir Khouri is a junior at the International College. Part French, part Lebanese, Samir runs with a posh crowd including Maggie's Ice Queen roommate Fleur and friend Mya. He has a different girl on his arm every week and admits to being a player. Despite his clear rules about the opposite sex, and Maggie's determination to stay away from players, there is a very real connection between them. From the start, there is heat in their locked gazes and sexual tension whenever they're in proximity to one another. That said, Maggie and Samir are friends. They slowly reveal things about themselves to one another, things they perhaps haven't even realized prior to meeting. Maggie opens up about her absent father and the abandonment by her mother. Samir reveals that his father is a strict dipolmat that expects Samir to follow in his footsteps following graduation, something he doesn't want. And while Samir makes it very clear that he'd like Maggie in his bed, he doesn't pressure her. He respects her and cares a great deal about her - more than he probably wants to admit.
To get Samir's body out of her mind, she throws herself into a relationship with Hugh, a sexy bar owner several years older than her. Hugh is nice, respectful and easy on the eyes. Maggie likes him and likes that she is in control of her body and heart unlike the way she is around Samir. With Samir, her animal instinct takes over and she ends up in some compromising positions with him. She can't help herself, and it frightens her. With Hugh, she feels safe and able to guard herself. She keeps telling herself to make things work with Hugh even though in her heart, it's Samir, and only Samir, who is the one for her.
The secondary characters are also well-formed and complex. Roommate Fleur's Ice Queen exterior slowly melts away over the arc of the book, revealing her to be nothing more than a heartbroken girl who lost the love of her life. Her bitchiness is a front for a more fragile person inside. And friend Mya struggles to deal with her father's affair and come to terms with what this means for the future of her family. Michael is the only character who is not overly complex, but he is more of a tertiary character in the story.
I devoured this book in two days, sneaking in reading whenever I could. I couldn't get enough of Maggie and Samir and I can't wait until July when the sequel comes out!
My only complaint about this book is the cover. It looks very cheesy and gives me a different vibe than the story that's actually inside. They don't match. If the author is able to get a new cover, I'd highly suggest that. :)