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Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Like Melanie Jacobson? Then, You're Going to Love Smart Move, Her Best Yet (With a Giveaway!)

(Image from Deseret Book)

If you're a fan of Melanie Jacobson's LDS romances, particularly Twitterpated, then the name Sandy Burke will definitely ring a bell.  No?  In case you're coming up blank, I'll help you out—Sandy's the snarky, redheaded fashionista who rooms with Jessie Taylor, the workaholic heroine of Twitterpated.  Yep, she's that Sandy, the girl who upstaged Jessie pretty much from Page 1.  If you—like me—wondered about the story behind Jessie's colorful roomie, then you'll be thrilled to know that all your questions are answered in Jacobson's new novel, Smart Move.  

After her adventures in Twitterpated, 27-year-old Sandy Burke is now living in the Washington, D.C. area where she runs a branch of New Horizons, an organization that provides job training for underprivileged women.  Not only has she returned to the church, but she's feeling confident about the vibrant LDS singles scene in her new town.  With her own place, a job that both challenges and satisfies her, and a fun set of girls to hang with, things are going better than Sandy ever could have expected. 

Then, Sandy gets the shock of her life: Jake Manning.  That Jake Manning, the gorgeous guy she connected so strongly with when she met him at a dance club in Seattle.  The guy whose failure to call almost destroyed every ounce of Sandy's confidence.  Not only has Jake, by some crazy-weird coincidence, moved into her ward on the other side of the country, but he's still trying to put the moves on Sandy.  The nerve!  Sandy's prepared to flirt with every guy in sight to get revenge on the man who caused her such emotional distress, but the thing is, the more time she spends with Jake, the more she's remembering why she was so attracted to him in the first place.

When Sandy discovers what Jake's really doing in D.C.—representing a home owner's group in its attempt to stop New Horizons from building an annex in their neighborhood—she knows she has to stop thinking of Jake as anything but her enemy.  As Sandy braces herself to fight Jake on every front, a surprise visitor arrives to stir things up.  Dealing with her flighty, granola-girl of a mother while trying to save her job and resist the man who's growing more disarming by the day may be more than even Sandy Burke can handle.  It also might be the best thing that's ever happened to her.  

Because I've read and reviewed all four of Melanie Jacobson's novels this year, I consider myself somewhat of an expert on her work.  Which is why I can say with complete, unabashed confidence that Smart Move is the best thing she's written to date.  Yes, the novel's predictable.  Yes, it gets cheesy.  And yes, once again, Jacobson's leading man lacks a discernible personality.  BUT, this time around, Jacobson gives us a likable heroine who's complex, interesting and just a whole lot of fun (her mother's even more so).  The sparring between Sandy and Jake keeps things interesting, while the plot of Smart Move moves at a pace that feels perfect.  Overall, this is a light, funny ("scripture Twister"—I'm still laughing at that one!) romance with a contemporary feel that will appeal to both older teens and "new adults."  Because it's not at all preachy, Smart Move would also be a good novel to hand to non-Mormon fans of sweet, clean romances.  Even though I'm kind of a hater when it comes to LDS fiction, I can say this for sure:  If Melanie Jacobson writes it, I'll read it.      

(Readalikes:  Reminds me of Jacobson's other novels—The List, Not My Type and, especially, Twitterpated)

Grade:  B

If this were a movie, it would be rated:  PG for mild sexual innuendo

To the FTC, with love:  I bought a copy of Smart Move from Amazon with a portion of the millions I make from my lucrative career as a book blogger.  Ha ha.

Thanks to the very generous Melanie Jacobson, you can win your very own copy of Smart Move.  All you have to do is leave me a comment telling me about the smartest move (literal or figurative) you ever made.  Promoting this giveaway on Facebook, Twitter or wherever else will, of course, get you more entries (one per method of spreading the word).  I'll choose a winner (using on November 6th.  Good luck! 


  1. Pretty sure the smartest move I ever made was to marry my husband. I was only 18 when we met and 19 when I married him, and I was way too young and inexperienced to know how great a catch he was. I got very very lucky.

  2. Marrying my beloved, crazy husband

  3. OH man. smartest move ever. Going to BYUI. I got my degree, met my best friends, and my husband!

  4. Not to be unoriginal, but yes, marrying my husband was by far my smartest move. Looking forward to reading this one!

  5. Hahaha! Love this review. Although Tanner Graham had the best personality ever so I have to disagree with that part. But my editor agrees with you. She says SMART MOVE is my best book, too. :-) Thanks for reviewing it and hosting the giveaway!

  6. Same answer as above above :) hubby.

  7. Smartest move... hmm... Probably always listening to the promptings of the Spirit. :)

  8. The smartest move I ever made was marrying my husband.

  9. Not taking AP Literature last year (I already had a tough schedule and I didn't need one more headache) was a smart move I have made!

  10. Moving east to experience life before marriage, then moving west to get married. Both smart moves.

  11. The smartest move I ever made was to join sorority in college. Made my best friends ever. :)

  12. Smartest move...marrying my husband!

  13. Darn! I was going to say my hubby too... So my second best is becoming a mommy. :)

  14. Smartest move? Choosing to have children :)

  15. I've not even heard of these. :( They sounds perfect for my distracted mood.

  16. Marrying my husband. I may have been only 19, but I must have been pretty smart even back then. Now I'm 38 with 5 kids and still love the guy I married. He's pretty great.

  17. Smartest move I ever made (literally) was to Kansas with my family. It's awesome here! =)

  18. So... like everyone else... :) Marrying my husband. I'm the person I am because I married him... and that's a very good thing! It could be much... much worse.

  19. I love Melanie's books! The smartest move I ever made was to go to Utah State--cuz that's where I met my husband. :)

  20. Your responses to this question are making me smile :) It makes my heart happy to know that so many of you have such strong, lasting relationships with your spouses. That's a rare thing in this world! Keep those responses coming. I'm loving them.

    Also, I thought I should share my own smartest move. It's going to sound familiar, but it's true: When I was considering colleges, I was debating between BYU and Ricks (now BYU-Idaho). I had a good scholarship offer for Ricks, which would have helped financially and with the educational path I wanted to take at that time, but I really, really wanted to go to BYU. After lots of debate and prayer, I went with BYU. It's a move (both literal and figurative) I've never regretted. My four years there were some of the best of my life, not just because I met my husband (I guess my story's not very unique!), but because I made lifelong friends, got a wonderful education and gained a stronger testimony simply by being in that incredible BYU environment. Cheesy, but true :)

  21. My smartest move was to move from rural Idaho (where I grew up) to Salt Lake City, where I met my amazing husband and we started our family!

  22. Well, to change the tone just a bit, I'll mention my smartest physical move - three years ago we moved from Texas to Missouri to be closer to my amazing sister and her family. We have learned so much from being around them!

  23. Totally marrying my husband.

  24. My smartest move....hmmmm....i make so many smart moves, its hard to pick just one. ;-) just kidding. Mine, like many of the above comments, was when i dumped the freak i was dating and started to date the man of my dreams.

  25. My smartest move was to transfer from UCLA to BYU where I met some amazing professors, people and most especially my handsome hubby :)

  26. Smartest move I ever made was to Florida when hubby was going to law school. Disneyworld with three small kids? YES PLEASE.

  27. Debbie Cardon Redman27 October, 2012 07:53

    Smartest move? I was just beginning a new year at BYU and my dad came to visit me and brought along a box of pears from our orchard back home in Hood River OR. There were way too many pears for me and my roommates to eat so we decided to share them with the guys of my new ward (church congregation). we went from apartment to apartment sharing pears and meeting guys and I ended up marrying one of them (the guys, not the pears.

  28. My smartest move ever was to join the sci-fi fantasy writing group on my college campus. Met my husband there and made the best friends ever.

  29. My smartest move ever was to join the Sci-fi fantasy writing group on my college campus. I met my husband there and made some awesome lifelong friends.

  30. Smartest Move I ever made was packing up in an hour's notice and leaving for college... I didn't say goodbye to anyone... I just left.

    At some point, you just have to let go of the people who hold you down and just do... no matter how other people will look upon you.

  31. I returned a phone call from a guy I was not that interested in ( when we were in high school) now we have been married 11 years.

  32. My smartest move? Gee, I guess I would say the smartest thing I ever did decide to be strong and committed in everything I do--be that marriage, the gospel, my testimony, my job, etc. etc. (Wow, I'm a little sad how long it took me to think of my smartest decision! Yikes!) ;)

  33. I think I did well with college, marriage, etc. but in trying to think of something different, I think my smartest move was getting my husband on board for reading aloud to our babies from day 1. Now we have two super boy readers and while they might not become brilliant, they both love reading which will be a lifelong blessing!

  34. I wish I could think of my smartest move right now, other than getting up and facing a new day every morning. (That and marrying my husband and things like that) :)


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