Friday, April 3, 2009

Windy City Love Affair by Jane Leopold Quinn

TITLE: Windy City Love Affair
AUTHOR: Jane Leopold Quinn
LENGTH: Novella (roughly 20k)
GENRE: Contemporary erotic romance
COST: $3.00

When Lorren Samples runs into a sexy cowboy on the streets of Chicago – literally – an instant attraction offers the possibility of something a little bit more. Not much more, though. Because Jess Croften is about to be shipped to the Middle East, and he can’t give any woman what she needs…yet.

Sometimes, there are so many elements of a story that don’t work for me that I don’t know where to start. In this case, probably one of the biggest things was my sheer and utter dislike for the heroine. It seems like Lorren is meant to be a chick-lit-ish type of heroine – professional, slightly self-absorbed, and trying to be funny and/or sharp and/or observant. How she comes across to me is vulgar and a bitch. There is one section where she is trying to find fault with Jess – because he just seems too perfect – and settles for (and amuses herself with) the fact that he must fart, loudly and smellily (her word, not mine). It’s meant to be played for laughs – at least, I hope so – but it just falls flat on its face. There’s also the section she goes out on a day-long date with Jess, that ends with him getting her off in public (in the shadows) under fireworks. It ends there because Lorren freaks out, and without even a kiss goodnight, demands to be taken home, leaving him frustrated and annoyed. Now, I’m not saying if you get some, you give some, but in this case, Lorren is so callous and unthinking of anybody but herself that I lost absolutely all sympathy I might have had for her. It never came back.

Without liking the heroine, I’m left looking for enjoyment elsewhere. In a short erotic romance, that usually falls on the sex scenes. Here, though, I couldn’t stop laughing at some of the descriptions and word choices. Manly nubs refers to Jess’ nipples, and apparently, he ejaculates with Olympic proportions. Lorren’s sex talk never flows, while her anal orgasm from being penetrated by his thumb alone made me roll my eyes. Of course, it excited Jess to the point where he had to flip her over and immediately go at it sans condom. I’m glad someone was enjoying themselves.

So, no heroine to like, no sex scenes to enjoy. That leaves the plot. Jess is being shipped off to Afghanistan and is in Chicago for a last fling. Okay, I have no problem with that. It seems like a completely male instinct. The first half of the story deals with their time spent together. Then, there is this incredibly awkward time jump where we get told, Almost two years later somewhere in the mountains of Afghanistan. There is a very brief section (less than nine hundred words) describing the horror Jess is going through in the war and what happens to him. It is graphic, unamusing, and actually pretty well written. It also sticks out like a sore thumb, and doesn’t fit the style or pacing of the rest of the story at all. Right after, we go back to Chicago and his attempt to find her after he’s been discharged, at which point we get some forced drama (she witnesses one of his nightmares and he kicks her out of bed in the middle of the night) and such details like, Her green eyes had turned blue with the swimming tears. Neat trick, that. But the entire effect is disjointed, and I finished the story unsure what exactly the author was trying to achieve with it.


6/10 – Editorially clean, but when the humor and sex scenes don’t work for me, it makes for slow reading


5/10 – His reasoning for his secrets is practically nonexistent, and he’s a tad boring but at least I don’t hate him


2/10 – I haven’t actively disliked a heroine this much in a while

Entertainment value

3/10 – Uneven pacing, an unlikable heroine, and sex scenes that made me laugh (not in a good way) keep this low

World building

7/10 – I see the efforts to make Chicago come to life, but giving me a Zagat’s guide to sights doesn’t actually make it happen.



No comments: