Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Head Over Heels by Lena Matthews

TITLE: Head Over Heels
AUTHOR: Lena Matthews
LENGTH: Novella (roughly 35k)
GENRE: Contemporary erotic romance
COST: $4.50

In this modern re-telling of Cinderella, Cyn Elder runs the family business, a shoe store in San Francisco called The Glass Slipper. When her best friend insists on taking her out to a brand new club opening, she never expects to run into one of the owners, or to be completely taken by his looks and personality. Parker Maguire is used to be kowtowed to. As so-called Hollywood royalty, when he runs into someone who is unimpressed by his money or career – or ignorant of it entirely – he always looks a little bit closer. Cyn is beautiful, intelligent, and speaks her mind, whether he wants to hear it or not. Intrigued doesn’t even begin to cover how he feels about her…

When I think of Lena Matthews, I think of HOT. So when I saw this novella come up at Samhain, and the excerpt made me smile, I snapped it up. But honestly, of all the work I’ve read of hers, this isn't nearly as hot as other books. It still has its sizzling moments, but those are overshadowed by the banter between the two leads, and the sheer energy that whips the story from beginning to end.

Cyn and Parker have chemistry from the very start. Cyn is no-nonsense, smart, and funny, and Parker is a little taken aback when he first meets her. He’s used to people bending and scraping because of who he is, so her fresh attitude immediately interests him. She plays it cool from the beginning, and they go back and forth, giving as well as taking, until there’s little doubt these two are perfect for each other. It’s this relationship that fuels the entire story. There are secondary characters, like Cyn’s gay best friend and her drag fairy godmother, but the story shines brightest when Cyn and Parker are on the page together. As a character, Parker isn’t as fully fleshed as Cyn is, but for a stereotype, he’s likeable enough.

I must admit to being a little disappointed by some of the editing. I’ve come to expect sharper things from Samhain, so I’m always taken a little surprised when I find easy mistakes in their books. In this one’s case, it’s things like Parker’s last name changing spelling, or using stripped for striped, that pulled me momentarily out of the story. They’re little things, though, and to be fair, most readers probably wouldn’t even notice them. In the end, it certainly wasn’t enough to turn me away from enjoying this. It’s a sharp, entertaining tale that flashes by before you even realize it’s over.


8/10 – Not as cleanly edited as most Samhain works, but the sharp dialogue keeps it popping


5/10 – A little flat and stereotypical, but he definitely had chemistry with the heroine


7/10 – Spunky and fun

Entertainment value

7/10 – The snappy dialogue and swift pacing, along with the chemistry between the leads, made the story for me.

World building

6/10 – There’s not a ton there, but then again, the focus is on the zing, not the world around them



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