BLOG REVIEW: Devoured by Adriana Cruz

Puerto Rican house-cleaner heroine is dazzled
from meeting her new boss Hero, who's large penthouse suite she'll be cleaning. Hero became famous for his blockbuster action movies many years ago.  
At almost 40y.o., he's now a producer-director & just as hot. 
Especially when he keeps checking her out. 
Making her hot & bothered. So much so that she hoped to relieve the sexual arousal Hero stirred up with her loser live-in boyfriend, when she goes back home. 
However, catching her boyfriend in the act with a neighbor puts a quick stop to her plan.
It doesn't stop her though from feeling giddy about seeing Hero again. His personal questions over the breakfast he cooked for them turns up the heat. 
However, his model-actress ex-girlfriend's unexpected visit & plea for another chance made things awkward. 
His pretense that heroine was his current girlfriend, even more so. The kiss he planted on her in his ex-girlfriend's presence bumped their relationship at hyper-sped. 
Next thing you know, they're doing it on his kitchen counter-top. 
Did that jeopardize her job as his house-cleaner?

This novella is sex-based with an iffy romance. The romance seemed 1-sided on Hero's part & was far-fetched. I know that most romance novels have implausible plots but the author can write it in a way to make it seem more believable. This one just came off as cheesy & OTT(over-the-top). For example, it was OTT to have Hero say that heroine is the most beautiful woman he'd ever seen, despite being surrounded by many beautiful women in his line of work over the years.  Because 1.) heroine was portrayed as an average-looking Puerto Rican woman with piercings 2.) their 2 interactions before their kitchen sex were brief & lacking in emotional connection 3.) there was nothing else about heroine that touched Hero so to convince me that she truly was THAT beautiful to him.  It just seemed like a cheesy line in order to:

1.) put a little romance in their insta-sex
2.) make us buy how someone rich, famous, & attractive like him could be so into someone like her (see more about heroine below)
3.) make sense of how Hero would promote her from being a cleaning lady to his movie "script consultant" for the movie script he's currently planning that will be based on their relationship.
Totally not buying any of it. Hero and heroine weren't falling for each other, despite Hero's romantic words. Overall, the book lacked emotional pull so I didn't feel connected with the characters or their romance.

Their attraction to each other seemed more out of novelty than it was anything else. Heroine's looks & job was vastly different than the slim European-Caucasion models & actresses he usually dated. Hero was also in a funk so it's quite likely that somebody so different like heroine was exactly what he needed at that time. Whatever it was, their attraction to each other was superficial & very likely  fleeting. They hardly conversed about anything of real substance to build on.
Heroine's attraction to Hero was based on his looks  & movie-star status. She kept giddily saying his name & acting fan-girly about it & bragging about working for him to her mother.  Heroine was used to dating men in her blue-collar neighborhood. She had 2 school-aged kids by another man who was no longer part of their lives & who seemed as irresponsible as her currently jobless & unmotivated boyfriend. Heroine wasn't that motivated to better her life either. She seemed the type to accept her lot in life & not actively change it. She was critical of her “chubby” boyfriend's inability to get a job for 1 year yet she let him continue to live with her & her 2 kids and financially supported him anyway.  They smoked pot & did other drugs together for fun. She would've continued keeping him around if it wasn't for his cheating. She wasn't my kind of heroine. 

The progression from being boss-employee to lovers happened at their second meeting. The sex scenes were explicit . And odd (i.e., rubbing his genitals on her forehead & neck on down), making me laugh. Except for the finger-on-her-mouth thing...The finger that could possibly be the same finger that Hero used to anally stimulate her. One minute his finger is inside her rear. The next, the finger (not specified if the same or not) is stroking her face, which he then puts inside her mouth & she licked it. Ewwwwwww!!! So not sexy.

I hardly recommend this book.
1.5-star

BLOG REVIEW: A Savage Adoration by Penny Jordan

It's been 8 years since heroine left her parents' home by the English Border hills. 
She'd been a carefree 17-year-old then,
known for her crush on the 23-year-old son Hero of her parents' closest friends.  
Until she listened to her new close friend.
And got a harsh & thorough reprimand from Hero instead of the sexual yielding she was expecting from her seductive attempts.  
It shook her up so much
that it made her leave her parents' home for London immediately and turned her into the detached 25yo woman she is now.  
Heroine doesn't reciprocate the warm welcome of the village's general-practitioner 33 yo Hero,
leaving him puzzled and wondering.
Finding out about the special favors her attractive & married recent former-boss gave her answered some questions for him,
seeming to drive him closer to the interested woman in their village hospital committee.
But their continued interactions, no matter how belligerent, 
serve to smolder their mutual passion beneath it all. Until the village ball
that set their relationship ablaze.
However, their new intimacy only causes more misunderstandings and hurts.
How do they begin resolving their multiple misunderstandings & misjudgments?

Sexual tension galore in this Jordan book.I loved it! However, I didn't like how it was broken up with pages worth of info about the dance their village committee was planning and other secondary-character materials. Those valuable pages should've been used for the ending scene instead, with maybe 1 page for an epilogue. All that sexual tension and huge misunderstandings ended with only a little pop. It left me dissatisfied. Hero and heroine had lots of issues they should've discussed more before the final I-love-yous and love scene.
 
     ----------------SPOILERS: Don't read below if you don't want to know the book's details---------------

    1.) heroine's emotional trauma and sexual/physical frigidness due to Hero's rejection of her 8 years ago (i.e., does she tense up when others try to hug/touch her now that she's ok with Hero's touch?, did she date or let any other man kiss her during their years apart?)
    2.) heroine's social isolation due to Hero's rejection and her former friend's manipulation of her 8 years ago (i.e., has she forgiven her friend & Hero? Is she open to making close friends again now?)
         3.) Hero's perception of himself as some kind of pervert due to his strong attraction to
         under-aged heroine when he was 24 on up (i.e, does he still have lingering guilt over
         this now? How did he deal with his forbidden love/attraction to heroine then?)

         4.) Hero's returning to live and work in their village (i.e., did he come back in hope of 
         reuniting with heroine? Or was that strictly to continue his paternal family's medical 
         practice? Did he plan on contacting or visiting heroine in London if she didn't come 
         back to visit her parents yet?)


     ---------------------------------------------------------END SPOILERS----------------------------------------------


All their mud-slinging and awful rejections of each other couldn't have been resolved with the little that they confessed at the end. Right? <sigh> The things authors try to make us believe.

Good characterization. Both Hero and heroine were strong and passionate people. They're the type of couple that have tumultuous arguments and equally-passionate reconciliations. I liked that they knew it about themselves. We only get heroine's POV (point of view) and they're full of acknowledgements of her part in the problem. She may blame Hero or others for the problems she's having but she eventually accepted her responsibility in it. It made her not seem like such a volatile and impulsive drama queen. She had maturity enough to know herself and try to do something about it. Problem was she kept things to herself and was limited by her usual defensive reactions. Her loss at knowing what else to do was apparent.

Hero was more of a mystery due to not getting his POV. What we know of him is from what he confesses to heroine and his non-verbal reactions. The way he watched heroine or his eyes would glaze & skin got flushed because of her was telling and sexy. I loved his berating of himself as a pervert over his attraction to heroine 8 years ago. It showed his struggles between his feelings of desire and guilt and condemnation due to family honor and general morality. I felt bad for him and relieved that the whole age issue was now no longer a barrier.

Good romance culmination after Hero and heroine's fight to stay apart from each other. The single sex scene was great. Cut short though by their accusations. There's much more volatility between them and not sufficient appeasement at the end. I read the last page in this book still feeling tense. Had to hug my sleeping husband after.

I recommend this book.
3.5-star