Category Archives: some hot romance and some not so hot romance

A Little Too Far

A Little Too Far
by Lisa Desrochers
Published by William Morrow
336 pages
Genre: romance; New Adult
Thanks to edleweiss for the preview
3.5 / 5

Have you ever read a book that doesn’t quite know what it wants to be? Perhaps you’ve read a Hot Romance Novel that attempts to address an issue. Abuse, hubris, societal prejudice. And it does neither very well. Or perhaps you’ve read a book that addresses one of those issues but decides to throw in some slapstick comedy. You’re left trying to figure out what you just read.

That, to some degree, is the problem with this book.

Oh, it’s fun, and the sexy times are very hot. But right when it finds its groove, it veers off into another type of book.

The basic plot entails Lexie Banks, an intelligent and gorgeous college co-ed, jetting off to attend a year of college in Italy within hours of rocking the headboard with her irresistible stepbrother, who also happens to be her best friend and confidante. Lexie struggles with guilt. Well, she struggles to a degree. How can she truly regret the vigorous and glorious session of headboard rocking when she would really like to do it again?

Trying to help her understand her conflicting emotions is priest-in-training Alessandro, every bit as irresistible as Lexie’s stepbrother.

And here is where Lisa Desrochers seems to lose the script she started out with. There are chuckle-out-loud comedic moments involving Lexie making a confession, and then there are the question-your-calling moments with Alessandro. Lexie being the super swell girl she is appears designated as Alessandro’s mother confessor of sorts, and that navel gazing bogs down the story.

The good news is that the storyline with Lexie and her stepbrother is quite well done. We empathize with the two of them and the mess that their emotions cause. They are siblings, but not really siblings. They are best friends and soul mates, yet they also share parents. They love each other, as siblings and lovers. Desrochers presents these complications truthfully and unflinchingly, respecting her characters and asking that we do as well.

Unfortunately, however, there is the secondary storyline. I liked that Alessandro questioned his clerical path; Desrochers unfolded his questioning in a natural, almost organic way. I suppose it is intended as a parallel storyline, with a character second-guessing something he’s always assumed to be true. Much like Lexie questioning the platonic nature of her relationship with her stepbrother, Alessandro questions his with the priesthood. But then we wind up in a sort of comedic no man’s land, with Lexie bumbling through Rome like a Keystone Cop.

Despite the occasional veering away, though, this is a fun book to read. Lexie is annoying and frustrating, but we like her. We want her to figure out her feelings and find peace in her life.

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Filed under New Adult lit, some hot romance and some not so hot romance, sometimes a book doesn't know what it wants to be

Riptide Rentboys: The 2012 Collection

Riptide Rentboys: The 2012 Collection
by Anne Brooke, Cat Grant, Heidi Belleau and Violetta Vane
Published by Riptide Publishing
Available on Amazon.com
Thanks to NetGalley for the preview
3 / 5 cupcakes

If this is THE collection of 2012 for Riptide Rentboys, I’d hate to read what was left on the cutting room floor.

This trio of stories is kind of like Goldilocks and the Three Bears: one is unfathomably bad, one kind of meh, and the third is cute.

Let’s start with the one most likely to result in a WTF? reaction.

“Cruce de Caminos,” by Heidi Belleau and Violetta Vane (the authors’ names sound like romance novel heroines, don’t they?) seems to be one of those paranormal, “this is what the underbelly of society is really like” kind of tales, but really it’s just an awful short story. Sean, who is Irish but apparently looks Hispanic (don’t ask – seriously, do yourself a favor and DO NOT ASK), has a girlfriend with whom he fights and rocks the headboard. An industrial, entrepeneurish kind of guy, Sean decides to make bank by selling his services. But good old Sean either has appallingly inferior gut instincts or he is just plain stupid. He winds up in the clutches of one of New Orleans’ famed netherworld practitioners, with whom he shares quite the night, as the two service a wealthy businessman. It isn’t so much that the story is convoluted and ridiculous (and it is), but rather that the sex scene is so unfulfilling. Evidently, the best part happened after Sean passed out, so we don’t even find out about it except in a rather cursory way. This short story is a Fail.

What “Cruces de Caminos” lacks in depth and compelling characters, “Priceless”, by Cat Grant, makes up for, almost too much for a short story. Connor is a college professor whose bestie decides to fix him up with young Wes, a hot student. The socially repressed and stifled Connor turns Wes down, however, but the two later are reunited most fortuitously. And then reunited again. A lot of time is spent discussing Connor’s isolation and Wes’s financial desperation. A whole lot. Still, though, you can’t help but like Connor, even if Wes is a bit too annoying and helpless for me. The sex scenes are hot, although there aren’t enough of them for this type of story. It’s a cute tale, if too long.

Thank goodness, then, for Anne Brooke’s “Where You Hurt the Most,” which is the jewel of the collection. Adrian is an escort for hire whose boss fixes him up with his cousin Dan, whose face was horribly disfigured in a car wreck. Dan hides his face in a hoodie, and Adrian is sensitive to Dan’s fears and vulnerabilities. The two share a HOT night together, and then Dan disappears. Of the three, this is the most romantic tale, not to mention the hottest.

So this collection is hit or miss. I can’t hep but wonder how much better it would have been if “Cruces de Caminos” had been replaced by something better written and certainly something hotter.

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