Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Virgins, Playboys, and Wallflowers

My reading slump continued last week with The Virgin and the Playboy by Kate Richards. This was a quick read, but the premise was so ridiculous, the book crashed and burned for me. In theory (it's bad when  I start a sentence that way), this had potential to be a good concept for a story. A woman (Julie) tired of still being a virgin decides to hire a company to de-flower her. The company doesn't actually de-flower her, an escort sent by the company is supposed to de-flower her. (Of course the company's name is 1NightStand.com....heh heh). Anyhow, Mark is the ultimate playboy. He enjoys a different hot supermodel every week in his bed. Mister Experienced, Mister Player, Mister...well, Playboy! His friends dare him to join this 1NightStand group, and he gets paired with Julie.

Normally, I like very fast-paced stories. These two meet at a hotel and get right to it. No fooling around! However, I had two major problems with this book. One, I hate stories that take instant sexual attraction and mega-boinking and make the characters fall for each other emotionally in the blink of an eye (or the flutter of an eyelash, or the bob of a......never mind). Second, I find it EXTREMELY hard to believe that Mr. Playboy-Gets-More-Action-Than-Hugh-Hefner is so totally blown away by the sex with this inexperienced virgin, that he is completely smitten with her immediately. Not buying it. One night stand with inexperienced virgin = the best sex of his life = I must see her again. I don't think so. I think this premise could work with a longer story, where there is time to develop an emotional connection between the characters, but as a quickie it just didn't work for me.

Grade: C+

Finally, a winner! Courtney Milan's new novella, Unlocked, was very sweet. I adore wallflower books, but this one was especially touching since the hero is the cause of years of emotional turmoil for the heroine. Courtney Milan is such a gifted storyteller. I love how this story unfolds....how we see that the hero has grown and matured and is eaten up by guilt about his past behavior. I love that the heroine is torn between her love for her clueless, brilliant mother, and trying to paste on a brave front for the ton. The scene in this book where her mother is giving a lecture and Evan has invited scholars to attend in order to save her mother humiliation by a fickle audience is superb. I sighed out loud reading it. I know, it doesn't sound romantic, but it was one of the most romantic scenes I have read in a very long time. I had a bit of a problem with the virgin turning up at the hero's house for a night of de-flowering, but what do I know? Overall, this story is a beautifully written, charming, and romantic tale, and I adored the hero, Evan. There is nothing better than a flawed man turned hero. Lovely book!

Grade: B+

Happy Reading,