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Archive for the ‘A-’ Category

Copyright: 2005

Pages: 219 (trade-size paperback edition)

Setting/Type: Contemporary/Straight Erotic Romance

Publisher: Virgin Cheek

Grade: A-

Roma Hanson is having a crisis – a common crisis for a twenty-eight year old woman, but a crisis nonetheless. Her problem? Her ten-year high school reunion is approaching fast, and she’s not ready. It’s shallow, she knows, but she wants to set her old classmates on their ears. She’s got a good job, but she needs the whole package if she’s going to succeed. That would, of course, include an awesome car, a killer body, and a mouthwatering hunk on her arm. An eventful visit to the gym shows her that she may be able to get two birds with one stone. Personal trainer Jake Logan is a spine-tingling, knee-weakening, hunk of burning love. She just has to find a way to convince him to be on her arm when the boasting at the reunion begins!

This is me when I have found a perfect PLAIN erotic romance that reminds me why I truly love this genre. No whips, no kink, just good plain old steamy romance that burns up the sheets.

Roma’s ten year high school reunion is approaching and she wants to take revenge on her former torturer Ellie. In order to achieve that, a splendid body, a gorgeous hunk and an impressive car need to be organized. The latter is probably the easiest, but what to do about her bod and companion? A visit to the gym seems to solve all problems. Besides a number of new friends, Roma fights successfully against her weak mind-body relationship and conquers attractive and sexy gym owner Jake.

I usually don’t go for the revenge plot, but Ms Dean has created such an authentic and funny heroine with Roma, that I could truly emphasize with her. Yes, revenge is indeed sweet, and Roma doesn’t loose her head over her goal. In the end she keeps her heart in the right place and shows with her sometimes clumsiness, cuddliness and sharp whit and mind that there’s something very special and extraordinary in every so-called average woman. Roma was a heroine I could fully and totally identify myself with, and that’s something very special for yours “selective” truly.

And the love scenes. THANK heavens there are authors like this one that make me forget boring boinking, silly shagging and grotesque humping sessions. Jake and Roma are passionate and hot and their love scenes wonderfully erotic and compelling.  Btw., there’s also a lovely secondary romance going on between two of Jake’s employee’s. The story between a man in his late thirties and a twenty-something fitness trainer …. hmmm, what a yummi combination (I do have a thing for May-December romances). They make up a hot pair and deliver an interessting addition to the main plot.

I want more of this author, pretty please :-)

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Copyright: 2007

Pages: 352 (trade size paperback edition)

Setting/Type: Contemporary/Straight Romance

Grade: A-

sugardaddy.jpgLiberty Jones fell in love with Hardy Cates when she was fourteen and three quarters and he was seventeen. However, Hardy wasn’t going to let even love stand in the way of his ambition to escape the poverty of his childhood. He had left town – and Liberty broken hearted. But Liberty is also a survivor – and determined to make a better life for herself and her baby sister. Moving to the big city, she finds a job and an unlikely friend in billionaire tycoon Gage Travis. But though Gage’s son is convinced she’s nothing but a gold digger looking for a Sugar Daddy, their relationship goes deeper than most people think. But just as Liberty and her sister begin to feel settled in their new life, Hardy comes back into their lives…

Usually I don’t really like established historical authors going contemporary or romantic suspense. But Lisa Kleypas’s debut novels proves differently. While I am not a die hard fan of her historicals (albeit always faithfully read and enjoyed them), I would KILL for a copy of Sugar Daddy for my keepershelf.

Some might rate this book a chick lit or plain fiction novel, for me it’s a contemporary straight romance, despite Liberty telling the story in the 1st person and the love story only really developing in the second part.

Liberty grew up as a half-orphan, her father died when she was five. Her mother struggles to make ends meet, but trailer park and white trash surrounding notwithstanding, life generally is  good. When Liberty is 18, her mother becomes unintentionally pregnant with Carrington. After the mother’s death two years later, Liberty gets sole custody for her sister and enrols in a beauty college to become a stylist.

About two thirds of the book play directly in Houston. Having never been there I came to really appreciate Kleypas’s humorous and witty and insightful take on the city. If I remember correctly she’s from Texas herself and my personal guess is that she truly enjoyed writing about a different city than London or any other part of Great Britain. It comes through with every written word,  subtle humour and small details about where to go, what to do and quirks  and mannerisms about the residents.

A novel told from the 1st person point of view stands and falls with the reader’s acceptance and love for the narrator. In my case I am glad to say I fell for Liberty. Her development from an immature girl to a self-reliant surrogate mother is simply specular. Everything about her, her personality, humor and views on life made me like her and involved me totally in the story.

And even though the story is first and foremost about Liberty, Gage, the hero, too, does come through strongly. Kleypas allows him enough dialogue and space to develop so that I did what Liberty did and totally fell in love with him.

The reason for why I am giving this novel a A- and not a straight A is because of the ending. Don’t worry, it is satisfying, well rounded and perfect. I just wished Kleypas would have dealt differently with Liberty’s childhood friend Hardy Cates. The ending was a tad too category-ish and easy, but honestly, in the grand scheme of things it didn’t disturb my reading pleasure.

sugardaddy.jpgBtw. how do you like the English cover version? The cover model reminds me of Audrey Hepburn. Well, and Liberty Jones has about as much resemblance with Hepburn as an elephant with a lion. Not that I like the American cover better, actually, both are a rather bad choice.

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