Book Reviews: Erotic Paris, NY, Hawaii, Elsewhere

“Come straight home after school! No stopping for ice cream or tramp stamps!”
“Space already taken,” she smiled sweetly on her way out.

A New York Minute
A TV personality whose dream of having her own talk show came true finds it gone when a big corp buys up the network and cancels the show. Her wallet and ego force her to accept a contract with the new owners, not knowing she’ll get a job she hated earlier in her career—at least it’s in Hawaii—and be put in the proximity of a guy she can’t stand/wants to have sex with.
Yes, it’s one of those plots where the two characters—arrogant guy, arrogant girl—hate each other but can’t deny the sexual attraction, and angry sex somehow becomes love. Even though I could see why she was so mad, it got tiring after a while. Of course what happened between them might not have if there wasn’t someone way worse to make her look so good in comparison, and it’s not like he’s a prize either, at least till the obligatory redemption. The positive note I have for her is that, even though she had every right to hate Bridgette, she earned my respect when she admits the girl actually does pretty well in front of the camera.
For having a plot I can’t stand, I actually enjoyed the writing quite a bit. I didn’t expect to like these characters considering how they started, and they’re still not amongst my faves, but their witty banter grew on me.

The Handy Men
A woman defies her idiot parents by buying a small hotel by the seashore, and is in lust for the two handymen even though she knows they’re a couple. The guys want her too, but it’s never that easy, is it? Especially when three’s a crowded bed.
What always saves these silly premises is the banter, which is witty here. Loved the female main character, and thankfully the guys weren’t jerks. The parents and ex-husband were sick one-dimensional villains, but Barbie was a pleasant surprise, though I have no idea why she’s marrying the ex; he’s not that rich.
There is one plot point that annoyed me. Toward the end she’s in need of $60,000. She tries to scratch it together, and so do the guys, and there isn’t one single thought of combining. Communication, people!
But there is one part that I so thoroughly loved it inspired me to raise the score half a point. Here’s the passage:
“It’s from Jerry Maguire.”
“The‘show me the money’ movie?”
“You’re hopeless with the classics,” Dean said.
“No. The classics are movies that happened before we were born. Casablanca and Somewhere in Time.”
Dean shook his head. “Bogart didn’t get the girl, and Christopher Reeves slowly withered away and died.”
“Because of love.” Jack sighed in contentment. “Isn’t that romantic?”
“You have issues.”
“Love hurts.”
Other than it being Reeve instead of Reeves, spot on. Can’t believe my two fave movies are the example!

26 Hours in Paris
(I had to restart this about halfway through because a power outage screwed up the kindle and I lost all my notes; hopefully my annoyance of that doesn’t come through.)
Reporter plots a trip to Paris to write about finding love, only to have her friend/boss tell her “one true love” from the past that she’s on her way. So things do not go as she expected.
It takes one hug from this guy and all her plans evaporate; wonder what it’s like having so much power over women. Though his inner thoughts about not taking no for an answer. . . there’s a fine line between determined and psychopath, especially when they’re rich.
Having read this author’s Greece story before this one, I can say I didn’t like Kat anywhere near as much as Bethany, and Marko is a far cry from Paul and Justin. The story of his cousin is nice, but not enough to overcome how I felt about him. In the other story Paul and Justin could be jerks at times, but Marko takes that far beyond. I can honestly say I hate him. I’ve been having to deal with guys like this all my life, who screwed up women’s lives and expectations until they assumed every guy was like that.
The writing is just as excellent as the other story, though. Their banter, when he’s not being a pompous ass, is close to scintillating. There’s a few places where there’s way too much inner monologue, which was my main beef with the other book. Even Marko tells her at one point, “No thinking. . . you promised.” There’s a few really good scenes, particularly their trek up the Eiffel Tower and when Antoine makes himself the third wheel. The sex club was a strange twist though, changing the tone of what had up to then been more of a romance with sex rather than romantic erotica.
The plot twist toward the end was only to show her insecurities and have him do his “I know what’s best” routine some more, which is annoying but apparently necessary in the genre.
I probably would have liked this a little bit more if I’d read it before the Greece one; I know I’m not supposed to compare, but I can’t help it. I still wouldn’t have liked it more, though.

Serious warning: do not read this book without having read the previous ones; it just didn’t work with so much having happened that I haven’t read, and brief mentions aren’t enough. Most of what happens here is how the three are dealing with what happened in the earlier stories.
What I do get is that a married couple have invited another man to bed with them; the two guys have been friends for years. But it’s not just so he can get it on with the wife while the husband watches; the two men are lovers with each other as well. In his inner monologue the husband isn’t so sure about this, his objections being more about his new bisexuality than jealousy. And the friend can’t understand that she actually loves him just as much and is treating him like a second husband. A lot of his introspection deals with how weird the situation is for him.
And yes, there’s so much introspection! No wonder this book is so long. In fact, this story is all introspection and sex except for his dad visiting and her quilting class, along with various parental responses to the unorthodox relationship; nothing much happens until the end. Most of her story deals with her being the happy homemaker and lover to two men, although she does get jealous at the relationship her husband has with his AA sponsor, especially when she learns something that happened in a previous book. . . which of course leads to another long introspection. It is a valid point, though; the people in AA know more about her husband than she does, even though he’s supposed to be more forthcoming with her.
In the end I’m just not sure how I feel about this. Didn’t love it, but liked it enough, mostly because of the funny moments, of which there are a lot. There’s plenty of good writing when it’s not taking forever to get to the point.



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