I See London by Chanel Cleeton

February 7th, 2014 Kimberly Review 48 Comments

7th Feb
I See London by Chanel Cleeton
I See London
by Chanel Cleeton
Series: I See London #1
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Source: Publisher
Purchase*: Amazon *affiliate
Rating: One StarOne StarOne StarHalf a Star

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 twentysomething British guy, she finds herself living the life she 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.

I See London is the debut novel for author Chanel Cleeton and the first in the, I See London series, a new adult contemporary romance. A coming of age  novel with friendship, firsts and romance this proved to be an interesting tale. Mini review: Romance, friendship, parties and exploration abroad made this a fun read.

Maggie Carpenter spent her whole life striving to attend Harvard, and when she is rejected, she accepts a scholarship to the International School of London, an elite university that caters to the privileged. She steps out of her comfort zone loosens up and tried to embrace the social side of the college experience. She is seriously attracted to the college bad boy and finds herself casually dating a slightly older British man while dreaming of the bad boy. Filled with firsts, and friendship this romantic contemporary has us traveling Europe and sharing forbidden moments.

Cleeton introduced an array of multi-culture characters and gave them unique voices while exposing their flaws, problems and social interactions. Maggie was abandoned by her mother, and raised by her grandparents while her absentee father traveled extensively for his job. Her teen years were spent studying to achieve her goals leaving her little time for friendship let alone kisses. She is eager for love and to embrace life to the fullest. Sometimes she is confused, awkward, and a tad smitten by a ridiculously wealth half French, half Lebanese ladies man. Samir Khouri doesn’t do relationships, and he confuses the heck out of Maggie as he befriends her, and then flirts relentlessly. There are these moments when he says the most tender things, unlike a boy looking for just a good time. Cleeton slowly peeled back Samir’s layers allowing us to see that he is more than the shallow, fun loving tramp he personifies. Enter, Hugh a successful twenty-eight year old bar owner who shows an interest in Maggie. They are dating, but he’s made it clear he isn’t looking for commitment and while he seems like the perfect guy, thoughts of Samir keep popping up. While this appears to be a triangle trust me when I say, it isn’t really. Maggie may be sharing some kisses, but she honestly is conflicted. Watching her figure it out was quite a ride. Maggie has roommates and friends at the university, and I loved how diverse and complex they were. We actually get threads of their lives as Cleeton forms a little small-town community vibe.

I See London offered some uniqueness to this already saturated genre from the university abroad to the travels amongst the elite and privileged. Cleeton has a nice flow to her writing, and the prologue shows us an event and then we step back in time to ten months prior. The characters were all a little damaged or unsure of themselves making this coming of age tale about everything from first loves to family issues and I enjoyed seeing this side of the characters. Maggie was sweet, unsure and at times snarky. She struggles as her body and heart tell her one thing, and her brain screams no. While I would have preferred a little more communication between the characters, Cleeton acknowledges their fears and insecurities, but  I wanted someone to put it out there. Instead, we encountered a game of cat and mouse and suffered through some hot and cold moments. Thankfully there was no insta-love and the other characters created a nice balance to the romantic thread. I never doubted whom Maggie would end up with and while we see progress the ending still left things tender and unresolved. Cleeton is taking her time developing this romance, and I appreciated it, even as it frustrated me. Despite the bumps and twists, it felt tender and genuine. I have to talk about the setting, we see a lot of Europe, and while Cleeton talks about a lot of wonderful sites I wish the details were more than those of the people in their hustle and bustle down busy streets.

A solid start to a new series, I See London offered a unique twist to the new adult genre. For those looking for a small-town vibe in a university setting I think you will enjoy this fresh new tale.  London Falling the second book is scheduled to release this year as Maggie begins her sophomore year of college.

Three and half cups of coffee out of five
One StarOne StarOne StarHalf a Star

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About Kimberly
Kimberly is a coffee loving book addict who reads and listens to fictional stories in all genres. Whovian, Ravenclaw, Howler and proud Nonna. She owns and manages Caffeinated PR. The coffee is always on and she is ready to chat. Twitter | Facebook | Instagram

48 Responses to “I See London by Chanel Cleeton”

  1. Michele

    I was intrigued with this one when you spotlighted it, and even more so now that I’ve read your review. This sounds great!

    • kimbacaffeinate

      :snort: you are not the first person to sing that too me…

  2. Braine Talk Supe

    It does sound like a promising start. I’m happy to see more NA books like this where it feels like the genre is evolving from super sexy and angsty romance to more situations where the transition from young to new adult is better explored in the psychological and emotional level.

    Shiz, that sounds so nerdy but you know what I mean. 😛

    • kimbacaffeinate

      I know exactly what you mean and I loved that while the romance was a focus so were the friends and their problems

  3. Candace

    I do like stories like this one! The setting sounds wonderful too. I might have to go look at a few more reviews and consider adding this to the TBR!

  4. Berls

    Sounds pretty good. I love that we’re not looking at insta-love but a slowly developed romance. Too bad the location wasn’t more detailed, since it’s such a great place to have as a backdrop. I think I watch and see where this series goes. Great review 🙂

    • kimbacaffeinate

      I enjoyed this romance and ya know I thought about it most eighteen year old students would probably care more about what people where wearing then historical sites..unless they were me…because I would have a list a mile long of sites I want to see..who cares about the people..lol

  5. Giselle

    I love the variety of characters this book has! And for some reason I love books that has to do with the elite and privileged I think bc I live in such a small town when everyone is basically in the same class we don’t have any of those upper class school or ways of living so I always find it fascinating. Prob why I loved Gossip Girl so much >.<a

  6. Andrea

    It really seems that the author managed to pull off what could have been some tricky scenarios, particularly with the potential love triangle, since readers are tough on them. Sounds like a great coming of age story!

    • kimbacaffeinate

      Agreed, and I can hear some peeps yelling cheating, but it wasn’t no commitments were made and both guys straight up said, “I don’t do relationships” I loved that we got to know the different characters and that we saw the downside of being a privileged child as well.

  7. Melissa (Books and Things)

    This is how I know I still have to grow up… I keep saying… “I see France…” in my head after reading that title. :p

    Anyhoo… 😉 This does sound like a good book. I love that it has multicultural theme going through it. Want to read it for that. I also like that despite the frustrations you found the romance genuine. Darn it! Stop finding me books no matter how immature I am!

    • kimbacaffeinate

      hehehe…we don’t have to grow up Melissa as long as we learn how to play fair in the sandbox of life..we can still be kids.

  8. Lauren

    I like the idea of a slow-developing romance, but it’s a shame you didn’t get a definitive HEA in this one. I loved traveling abroad during school and I think this will bring back wonderful memories. Great review!

    • kimbacaffeinate

      It is a series, and while we know who it isn’t quite resolved, but that is how relationships are sometimes. Can you let me know if you get this response. For some reason I do not get emails notifying me you left a comment..it is so weird. So I am curious if you get my responses.

  9. Carmel

    I thought this was a paranormal title from the cover but I see you have it categorized as contemporary. I need to make an effort to read more debut novels though (new authors deserve love too!), so thanks for the recommendation.

    • kimbacaffeinate

      A few of us were discussing that, and yes the cover has a paranormal vibe to it but it is a straight up contemporary.

  10. Kim

    I’m glad to read that I See London was a good, solid start to a new series. I love the cover, and every time I see it, I can’t help but think it’s paranormal instead of contemporary! The unique twist with multi-culture characters as well as the fabulous setting all sound great. I’m excited to check this one out myself. 🙂

    • kimbacaffeinate

      Yeah I agree the cover does have a paranormal vibe to it 🙂

  11. Liz

    This sounds like it has quite a few unique plotlines; I like the sound of it. And Samir really seems like a unique hero, at least from what I’ve read in other books. Thanks for posting about this, I’ll be keeping my eye on it!

    • kimbacaffeinate

      This was fun Liz and I like that we get to know each kids background etc.

  12. Jenny

    Hm. I don’t love the idea of the hot and cold moments you mention Kim, but it doesn’t seem like they detracted too much from your overall enjoyment. A huge yay for no insta-love though!!! That alone makes me incredibly happy, and I’m glad to know you think this was a solid series start!

    • kimbacaffeinate

      I think because this is a series she is letting this romance develop slowly, and they both have some issues, but like I said it felt genuine even if I was in a hurry..hehehe

  13. Lexxie

    See London sounds pretty good! I love reading stories that happen somewhere else than in the US, even if I don’t live in the US myself – so there is always some kine of travel involved when I’m reading.

    I hadn’t heard of this before, but I’m adding it to my TBR now 🙂 Thanks for sharing!

    • kimbacaffeinate

      Enjoy Lexxie, I like the school abroad setting as well, and going to London clubs..LOL

  14. Mary

    I just got this one and, while I’m disappointed it didn’t rate higher for you, I’m also excited to read a travel story, one that’s a little different than the other NAs out there (they really need to branch out. Seriously.).

    • kimbacaffeinate

      It is a worthy read, and of course it is a relationship series, so we shall see how it all develops.

  15. Wendy Darling

    I spent several summers abroad in high school/college, so I always love seeing books with this kind of set-up! It definitely does sound very different from the typical New Adult story, and despite a few issues, it sounds like it was an enjoyable read overall. Besides, hot British guys, c’mon.

    • kimbacaffeinate

      How wonderful that you got to travel like that, this was fun and since it is a series, we will get to know the characters more and see the relationship develop.