It took just one tweet from Mandi of Smexy Books to convince me that I needed to read The Story Guy by Mary Ann Rivers as soon as I can. Thankfully, I found it on NetGalley and immediately requested a copy. I was thrilled when I got accepted soon after. I downloaded a copy on my Kindle right away. I finished it in one gulp and understood what the fuss was about because The Story Guy was a really good one.
Here’s the summary from Goodreads:
Carrie West is happy with her life… isn’t she? But when she sees this provocative online ad, the thirty-something librarian can’t help but be tempted. After all, the photo of the anonymous poster is far too attractive to ignore. And when Wednesday finally arrives, it brings a first kiss that’s hotter than any she’s ever imagined. Brian Newburgh is an attorney, but there’s more to his life… that he won’t share with Carrie. Determined to have more than just Wednesdays, Carrie embarks on a quest to learn Brian’s story, certain that he will be worth the cost. But is she ready to gamble her heart on a man who just might be The One… even though she has no idea how their love story will end?
When I saw the premise, I felt that it had echoes of Big Boy by Ruthie Knox. I was right, they do have similarities, not the least of which is how well-written they both are. Seriously, what is it with novellas filled to the brim with emotion? I’m surprised at how short fiction can make you feel so much. It was so easy for me to relate to Carrie, who is a librarian for teens, that in itself is enough reason for me to like her. I have a fondness for characters who get what it’s like to love books. I feel like she’s the kind of person I can be friends with, we would have long conversations about books, life and love. Carrie knows she has a pretty good life – she has a job she is passionate about as well friends and family who are always there for her – and yet a sense of ennui washes over her. She knows that she should be content and on most days, she is. But she can’t help feeling that something is missing in her life. She’s restless and couldn’t sleep one night so she peruses MetroLink ads because there’s something about the Men Seeking Women section that speaks to her. And one jumps right out at her. She answers the ad because she’s intrigued, and feels like she could use a little adventure in her life. The guy wants to meet on a weekly basis, only for kissing.
I have never had a first kiss like this. Is it that he’s a stranger? So beautiful? If so, I am ruined for anything but beautiful strangers for the rest of my life.
With that one encounter, Carrie knew right away that she would want more than just lunch hour on Wednesdays with this guy. But he’s not willing to share more of himself apart from those stolen moments. Carrie gets a lovely piece of advice from a friend, saying that she should try and see where this thing with Brian will lead because he might be a story guy.
“A story guy?”
“Yeah, a good guy with a bad story doing something stupid.”
“Explain to me why a story guy is better than a pervert.”
“Story guys are like life highlighters. Your life is all these big blocks of gray text, and then a story guy comes in with a big ol’ paragraph of neon pink so that when you flip back through your life, you can stop and remember all the important and interesting places.”
I like the idea of story guys because that’s something that is applicable to all of us. In the course of our lives, we have met (and we are bound to meet) people who stand out from the rest. I was more than happy to read about Carrie doing her best to unravel Brian’s complex layers and to see whether he really is a story guy. And just like how we meet remarkable people, we also come across wonderful books that are worth taking note of. If I had to write down a list of romance books that I’ve read, The Story Guy would have to be highlighted in neon pink because it’s just that good. I gave a happy sigh after I finished reading this debut. So if you are a romance reader, go forth and pre-order a copy. The Story Guy will be released on July 8, 2013. I can’t wait to see what Mary Ann Rivers writes next. If she had a back list, I would have downloaded those titles right after reading this one. As it is, I just have to try and be patient for her next title.