Sexiest Man Alive
by Diana Holquist
(Warner Forever, PG) ISBN 978-0446617987
****
Ready for a fun, sexy, quirky romp?  Well, Jasmine Burns and Josh Toby are ready to give one to you ... even if they're a little pokey about giving one to each other.  Sexiest Man Alive, the follow-up to 2006's Make Me a Match, includes pretty much the same lineup as its can't-put-it-down predecessor: gypsies, stubborn streaks, sibling rivalries, quirks, fate, quirks of fate, and the all-important One True Love ... if you can find the person that goes with the name.

Jasmine Burns didn't have a normal childhood and hasn't developed a normal adulthood yet, either.  This seems par for the course in her family, as her sister Amy is a wandering (and scheming) psychic who has lost her power to read a person's One True Love.  However, at least Amy has functional - if somewhat odd - people skills; Jasmine is terrified of men who are even the slightest bit attractive. And not in a cute, shy way; Jasmine makes a habit of running out on men, no matter how casual the exchange.  Sometimes, if she doesn't make it out in time, she vomits.  

Jasmine is aware of the fact that these traits don't necessarily make her the most attractive specimen in her own right, but she has resigned herself to the fact that she probably won't be overcoming this fear.  In fact, if not for the perfect job opportunity presenting itself, she would probably have stayed in her apartment working as a seamstress for the rest of her life.

However, between Amy dropping in for an unexpected and unwelcome stay and the call she receives to interview with one of the leading designers in the country, Jasmine is forced out of her shell.  At least a little bit.

Unfortunately, not only is her new boss pretty hot (for the five seconds she gets to see him before he disappears — as she later discovers - to pursue his own One True Love, as imagined by Amy), but this dream job comes attached to the sexiest man alive. Really. Josh Toby has been voted Sexiest Man Alive three years and counting.  Now, he's in New York trying to be incognito so he can try his hand at "real" acting - off-Broadway playing a suburban Romeo.  

And although she can't be certain if it's fortunate or unfortunate for her, Jasmine is Josh's best bet to remain anonymous.  After a great deal of hemming and hawing, she agrees to costume him.  Josh is drawn to Jasmine immediately, but even though Amy tells Jasmine that a man named Josh Toby is her One True Love, Jasmine cannot seem to relax around the man.  Not to mention there's another Josh Toby in NYC - a librarian, who seems much more to Jasmine's taste.  Except that he's pretty sure she's nuts.

Filled with warmth, humor, and the kind of things that make a reader wince in sympathy, Sexiest Man Alive is an entertaining way to spend a few evenings, even with the cheesy title.  Admittedly, the book has its own fair share of cheese also, but the playfulness and wit more than balance it out, and the fact that everything ends up perfectly only adds to its appeal.  Nothing about the many characters many flaws makes them unlikable, which makes this an easy read that, while slightly shallow, is not in any way flat.  It's not necessary to read Make Me a Match to understand Sexiest Man Alive, but once Holquist has cast her gypsy mojo on you, you'll probably want to.

--Sarrah Knight


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