The Bro-Magnet

The Bro-MagnetBy Lauren Baratz-Logsted

Publisher: TKA Distribution
Publication Date: December 11, 2011
Genre: Contemporary Romance/Humor
Source: Purchased

Women have been known to lament, “Always a bridesmaid, never a bride.” For Johnny Smith, the problem is, “Always a Best Man, never a groom.” At age 33, housepainter Johnny has been Best Man eight times. The ultimate man’s man, Johnny loves the Mets, the Jets, his weekly poker game, and the hula girl lamp that hangs over his basement pool table. Johnny has the instant affection of nearly every man he meets, but one thing he doesn’t have is a woman to share his life with, and he wants that desperately.

When Johnny meets District Attorney Helen Troy, he decides to renounce his bro-magnet ways in order to impress her. With the aid and advice of his friends and family, soon he’s transforming his wardrobe, buying throw pillows, ditching the hula girl lamp, getting a cat and even changing his name to the more mature-sounding John. And through it all, he’s pretending to have no interest in sports, which Helen claims to abhor.

As things heat up with Helen, the questions arise: Will Johnny finally get the girl? And, if he’s successful in that pursuit, who will he be now that he’s no longer really himself? THE BRO-MAGNET is a rollicking comedic novel about what one man is willing to give up for the sake of love.

Goodreads Summary

I first noticed this book when it came through my top friends feed at Goodreads. I didn’t see any reviews of it, just some comments about how funny it was and suggestions that it should be read. I like to keep a wide variety of things on my Kindle and this isn’t expensive so I didn’t need a big push to buy it. It’s definitely nothing weighty, but a great light story that had moments of ridiculousness, some laugh out loud parts and a sweet little romance.

Johnny Smith is something worse than a guy’s guy – he’s a dude’s dude. In middle school, he was the bra-snapper (hey, it was better than telling her she had a nice rack, right?). In high school, he couldn’t get a date for prom so he went stag and hearing that, seven of his friends decided they would too, just to be like him. At each of the eight weddings he was the best man for, he gave the exact same toast and only one person (the bra-snappee who’s always hated him) cared. In a way only dudes can, they recognize one of their own and like him on sight. Even though he’s attractive, where women were concerned, Johnny had “jerk” tattooed on his forehead.

Johnny did well in college and was planning on law until his dad talked him into coming home and joining the family painting business (“paint never lets you down, Johnny”). During a job for a defense attorney with a problem client, Johnny made himself very useful – enough to earn him a prime baseball seat, even if it was at a Mets game. Only familiar with the cheap seats, a dive for a foul tip caught by the net behind home plate ends with Johnny and his hot dog in the lap of the delectable Helen Troy, D.A.

Even though she initially turned him down flat when he asked her out, Helen keeps coming up with rooms for Johnny to paint and half the fun of the book is watching Johnny try to keep Helen from finding out he’s not particularly refined. He pretends he loves opera and takes her to one – that’s held in a barn and is a cross between Tosca and Children of the Corn. He asks his married friends for help and gets horrendous, hilarious advice, including making sure he watches and knows all about “GH,” which Johnny and his BFF Sam end up hooked on, buying throw pillows with the right trim and getting a cat.

Since their relationship is going really well, there’s obviously a moral to the story. Johnny has several older friends and people he comes across who’ve been married a long time and of course their advice is always along the lines of don’t ever forget a special date and always listen to what your partner is telling you. I could see the twist in this coming a mile away but it was still fun to read just because I was wondering how Johnny was going to get himself out of the corners he kept painting himself into. He really was a dork sometimes.

My Summary: This is completely escapist fun reading, which was exactly what I wanted it for. There isn’t really a lot of technical romance since it’s more about Johnny figuring out how not to screw up and lose the girl for once but that was romantic enough for me. I lost track of how many times I’d be reading and come across something that would make me snort (I dare anyone who reads this not to find the names of the popcorn bucket sizes at the barn opera funny). Sure, there were some stereotypes and some clichés but the book is named The Bro-Magnet. C’mon, it sort of works anyway.

My Rating: B

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