Category Archives: not as hot as it should have been

Mad Love

mad loveMad Love
by Colet Abedi
Published by Bird Street Books
262 pages
Genre: erotica, romance 
Thanks to NetGalley for the preview
4 / 5


On the one hand, it must be nice to be Sophie Walker. An adored only child, she has enjoyed a privileged upbringing, wanting for nothing (nothing material, anyway). She got accepted into law school, and destiny holds that she will take over her father’s successful law firm one day. When she decides to jettison those plans, she doesn’t go live in a fifth floor, roach-infested walk-up in the Bronx; instead, she hops onto a plane and heads first class to the Maldives, where she plans to spend a week relaxing with spa treatments, her gay best friend, and his partner.

On the other hand, it wouldn’t be so nice to be Sophie Walker. She is almost too adored. Her parents strive so earnestly to protect her that they don’t even let her go on a school trip to Washington, DC. Granted, that’s clear across the country from her LA home, but still. They have charted their course for her life, and they expect her to follow it. When she quits law school to become an ARTIST, of all horrors, they threaten to withdraw all financial support. Worse, they withdraw emotional support.

Yes, Sophie (somehow) has the wherewithal to head to the Maldives, but she deserves this chance to decompress. I mean, it must be exhausting hoisting that silver spoon.

Okay, so the premise is utterly contrived. Not many college grads can afford a first class trek to the Maldives, and even fewer can do so knowing that they have no professional support now that they detoured off their career trajectory. You will need to make that logical leap in order to enjoy this story, and it is quite enjoyable indeed.

While in the airport, Sophie meets Clayton Sinclair, a wealthy, older (by eleven years) Brit. (Sing it with me, faithful readers: THEY ARE ALWAYS WEALTHY AND OLDER.) As we are told several times, Clayton’s immediate attraction to Sophie is “new” for him and out of character.

But attracted he is, and attracted she is. Before too long, they act on their attraction.

Naturally, emotional chaos ensues.

I did like this book. In fact, it ends on a cliffhanger that I want resolved, like, NOW. So come on, Colet Abedi, and publish that sequel. (An aside: please don’t traipse down the trilogy path; keep it to two books and buck the trend, would you, please?)

I did not like it without reservation, though. For one thing, I can’t figure out why Sophie’s self-esteem is so low. She’s gorgeous. Her friends, Clayton, his friends – EVERYONE tells her how gorgeous she is. I’m not saying she needs to be narcissistic, but her apparent total unawareness of her looks seems a bit odd, as does her inability to see that she is a valuable, contributing member of the human race. Yes, Mommy and Daddy were controlling, but her conversation with her father makes him seem somewhat supportive of her.

So there’s that.

But the ending … dear sweet mother of Michelangelo, the ending. It is as artificial as they come. I know we need a mechanism to make us want to read the sequel – and it worked, because I do – but I also feel manipulated, and I don’t like that. For one thing, Sophie’s best friend is a Hollywood stylist. He, of all people, ought to know the perils of believing the tabloid press. Yet there he is, cheering along the questionable conclusions she draws.

Still, though, Sophie is likable. Yes, she’s a bit too prone to fits of pique and drama (if I were Clayton, I would have left her because of her immaturity, but then we wouldn’t have the book, would we?), but she’s a loyal friend, and she’s fairly kind-hearted. Clayton is … well … he just IS. And what he IS is hot and gorgeous.

One more complaint: the sex scenes are not detailed enough. Yeah, I’m a big fat perv, but I would have liked MORE, Colet Abedi. More, more, more. This book has an “erotica” tag (per the publisher), by the way. So let’s have some EROTICA. There is a hint that Clayton has a Dominant streak in him, but it is not pursued. Yet, anyway. We do have a sequel coming.

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Filed under erotica, not as hot as it should have been, please not another trilogy

Slow Seduction (Struck by Lightning)

slow seductionSlow Seduction (Struck by Lightning)
by Cecilia Tan
Published by Forever (Grand Central Publishing)
272 pages
Genre: erotica 
Thanks to NetGalley for the preview
1 / 5

Join me, will you, in emitting a heavy sigh for yet another erotica trilogy.

Is there a law somewhere – a regulation – that all erotica must come in threes? Is it not possible for a writer to just tell a story and end it on the last page of ONE BOOK?

Apparently not.

Oh, what E. L.  James hath wrought. And, no, Cecilia Tan, that is not a compliment.

So here we have the second book of the threesome. I didn’t read the first one, and while having done so would have helped understand one of the major plot points, I have a feeling that said major plot point would still be a mystery.

Following the predictable course of erotica, we have Karina, in the last year of her graduate studies (yes, she’s another young one), getting over the broken heart left her by James (yes, he’s another older, richer one), who apparently did not like that Karina “broke through his walls” and “saw the real him” and “forced him to realize that he can love.”

Does this sound like other erotica we’ve read? Yes, it absolutely does.

So Karina heads to London to work at an art gallery, but more importantly to try and track down James. It turns out that, in addition to his BDSM lifestyle, James is also an international rock star. And apparently also an artist.

To find him, she accepts an invitation to The Crimson Glove, a BDSM playground. Damon George, another purveyor of spanky panky, wants to take Karina under his black leather belt, so to speak, and help her understand the Mind of the Dominant in hopes that she can get James back.

One thing leads to a spanking leads to another thing, and Karina’s plan works. Sort of. I mean, it can’t work too well, because a third book must be written.

We know nothing about James, and that’s what I wonder about the first book. Is he in it more? Do we know him? Or is he still a mystery? I suspect the latter, and I suspect I would end reading Book One much like I did Book Two: asking what in the world is so great about Karina.

Yet again, we have the dull heroine. Oh, she’s supposed to be high spirited, but she isn’t. She’s a sniveling, whiney, woe-is-me-I-miss-James-I-love-James-my-heart-cannot-go-on-without-James kind of character.

Now, Damon is a bit more interesting, but even then, we’ve read him before.  Nothing about him or Karina, or James, for that matter, stands out.

Which brings us to the sex scenes.

Again, nothing new here. They’re hot, but since Karina has a “no penetration allowed” clause, you might suffer from blue, er, ovaries for most of the book. I don’t think you will need to strap on your vibrator for this one.

Give it a pass and read Blindfolded Innocence instead, which at least has an interesting heroine AND super hot headboard rockin’.

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Filed under Christian Grey continues to cause problems, erotica, not as hot as it should have been, sometimes the book just isn't good

One Night in the Spa

One Night in the Spa
by Kathy Lyons
Published by Entangled
77 pages
Genre: romance
Thanks to NetGalley for the preview
3 / 5

The title is a dead giveaway, isn’t it? Pride and Prejudice this is not. Nor is it Gone Girl, The Husband’s Secret, or Dangerous Girls. This, my friends, is pure entertainment.

Kim is a former professional squash player, forced to retire due to injury. She works at a fitness gym, and David, the spa’s manager, offers to give her a stress reducing massage. In the spa. One night.

David, you see, doesn’t want to be relegated to the friend zone for one more moment, so he plans to let Kim know that he’s interested in more than something platonic. She, meanwhile, is in a delayed onslaught of puberty and finds herself all horned up in general, toward David specifically.

There is some sort of corporate mumbo jumbo going on regarding ownership of the spa, but who cares about that? You want to know about the one night! In a spa!

Let’s just say that it could be hotter.

I’m sure Kim enjoyed it.

But I wanted more.

We learn a lot about Kim’s backstory, but not as much about David’s. Like I said … I wanted more. It’s as if you’re getting half a massage, so to speak.

Sometimes you need something utterly fun and forgettable to read, and for those moments, this is as good a pick as any, I guess.

I just wish there had been more.

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Filed under not as hot as it should have been, romance