Book Review

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Lisa Valdez’s PASSION

I’ve been in a bit of a slump reading wise for weeks(?) Could be a month, now, actually. I’d make it anywhere from a couple of pages to a couple of chapters into a book, put it down and never feel particularly inclined to take it up again. It wasn’t due to any fault of the books per se, it was just that *at the time* they didn’t hold my interest--the writing didn’t engage me, nor the characters intrigue me enough to want to know what was going to happen next.

That all changed yesterday, I’m not sure where I heard about this book first, I’m not even sure, exactly, what it was I read/heard that made me want to seek it out. It could have simply been the combination of Victorian setting and a very sensual, sexy, HAWT(!) read. heh.

Anywho, I inhaled this book yesterday; finished it in one day. I’ve been crabby, crampy, achey, hot, sticky, sleep-deprived, over-caffinated, and miserable, but this story totally made me forget my various discomforts and irritations. It starts off with a bang. [insert] Beavis & Butthead chuckling heh,heh,heh,heh [/off]. K, I’ll be more mature, it starts off with a happenstance sensual encounter between two strangers who find themselves inexplicably attracted to each other. There's a sense of a 'cat-&-mouse at play' here that contributes greatly to the tension, with the H/h's feelings of being drawn in despite knowing better, the simmering excitement of 'the illicit', and the craving for more, very well done, despite the reader having to suspend disbelief due to the acts performed and the setting. But it’s the stuff of (secret) fantasy, so going along for the, er, ride, is, uhm, easy. ::grin::

No, I can’t be totally serious in this review, because there’s a sense of 'larger than life' to the book and the (in some places, overwrought) writing that will make you smile to yourself…. at the same time you're squirming in your seat. The first half of the book is *heavily* sexual, with copious amounts of fluid being exchanged, milked, flooded, weeping, etc. And there were concerns on this reader’s part regarding the heroes ten and a half inches of Manaconda, that seemed to rearrange the heroine’s internal organs several times. [B&B]heheheheh[/off] But the author never lets the emotional component or characterization lag at these times, either.

**this para added from a recent email exchange**: "Yes, I had a little fun regarding Marcus' ten incher in my review, but I did understand that on a larger level it was symbolic of *his* issues with acceptance. Passion opened to him fully-- emotionally and physically --not just in trusting him to love and pleasure her body, but also in accepting his body (and then some) *completely*, and giving back to him a full measure of satisfaction he'd never achieved before."

Another thing I liked, regarding the love/sex scenes, was the language used. It was explicit/raw, and definitely added to the ‘heat’ of the story, but fit right in with the characters and didn’t feel gratuitous. There weere no 'steaming love grottos' for her or 'purple-helmeted warriors of love' for him. And as torrid as the scenes were, they didn't read like mefuckee-youfuckee-melickie-youlikie-lickylikey,lickylikey, weeeeeeeeeeee!!!! There was a bit more to it than that, ya know?

And the threads of the plot, which dominates the second half of the book, are also carefully woven in. As for the plot and characterization, it is also very well done. Where you would expect a cliché the author delivers unexpected twists. She ups the tension, then twists the knife, and even though you know this is a romance so the Happily Ever After is guaranteed, there were times I wonder how the hell she was going to pull if off with any believability. She did. And the route she took did not feel like ‘filler’. Neither did the sex/love scenes, btw. She wrung ever ounce of emotion out of the H/h in that second half.

The secondary characters were also fleshed out well, even the villains, who could easily have been from central casting, were given believable motivations. And the two sisters of the heroine, who will be the leads in the next two books, were introduced into the story in a way that made their presence necessary, and not just ‘sequel bait.

There’s an excerpt of her next book at the back, and it looks just as hot/intriguing as this one. Can’t wait to read it; in fact I went online hoping that the writer had a backlist of books I could buy right away. Alas, she didn’t. Looks like she’ll be doing 1 release per year; but I made sure to sign up for her newsletter just in case that all changes. This was her reply to my gushing fangirl squealy email:

"PATIENCE will be released in June, 2006 (sorry for the wait) and PRIMROSE will be out January, 2007. After that Charlotte and John Crossman will find love together--but no release date for that yet (I'm guessing July, 2007)."

I’d say if you like Historical Erotic Romance writers of ilk of Emma Holly, or Robin Shone, or ‘old school’ Susan Johnson, et al, there's a good chance you’ll love this book.

Since I know I write pretty sucky reviews, here’s the links to several other reviews/opinions I came across when I was searching for her website (which btw, I hope she gets professionally redesigned, soon, it's sort of 'blah' and doesn't reflect her writing):

Fresh Fiction
The Romance Reader's Connection
AAR's messageboard
Romantic Times messageboard (Romantic Times Book Club gave the book 41/2 stars, btw)
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Amie Stuart said...

Ok Seeing as how I love emma holly's erotic regencies I'm totally going to have to check this out =)

Anonymous said...

I just started this book last night. I started late at night, thinking to read a little before going to bed - ha - I forced myself to stop reading at 1 a.m.

I'll race through it tonight!!

Lori :)

Jaye said...

Cece, I thought you didn't care much for erotic historical romances, or I would have emailed you about it. I'm actually tempted to reread the book again. I just might. The thing with Emma's historicals, is there's always some improbably plot twist or Over The Top villian that spoils the book for me. I was expecting that with this book, but Ms. Valdez nailed it. And did I mention how freakin HOT this book was? Dayum, I was 'flushed' all day. lol And, I'll reiterate about the emotion, she really put these two characters through the wringer. :-P Get the damn book!!

Jaye said...

looks like we simulposted, Lori. See, I was smart, I read the little excerpt on the inside cover and the first page, and I put the book down, turned off the light and went to bed. I just *knew* it was going to be the type of read that once started, you wouldn't want to stop. But I read it every spare moment I got the next day and finished it. I can't remember if I've *ever* finished a single title in one day before.

riemannia said...

This is a good review, not a sucky one. Is this a new author? You've got me curious.

Amie Stuart said...

I'm not a big historical person, but I did love Emma's. I haven't read her parnormals though.

Blame it on Barbara Cartland and all the regencies I used to read when I was young. *g*

Jordan Summers said...

Thanks for the heads up. I'll definitely grab it. :-D

Larissa said...

I'm not big on Regencies, but this sounds really good! Plus, I need something to get me out of my reading slump. :)

Jaye said...

I really think you ladies will love this one. If anybody reads it, pls come back here (or email me) and let me know what you thought of it.

sybil said...

I completely agree. It is a great first book and I really look forward to her next one.

riemannia said...

Hey, Jaye, I reviewed Passion. Mixed reaction but I'm glad I read it :)

I'm even curious what she'll do with Matt since he obviously has Issues.

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