Monday, February 17, 2014

A Million Guilty Pleasures by C. L. Parker

The Basics:
A Million Guilty Pleasures by C. L. Parker
Second in the Million Dollar Duet
Published February 11, 2014
Source: Received from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Why I picked up this book:

I was curious about the emotional aftermath suggested in the book blurb and how it would play out in erotic terms.

Two million dollars secured Noah Crawford the most enticing woman he has ever known. Initiating Delaine Talbot into a sensuous world of pleasure took them both to the brink—again and again. But when Noah discovers why the beautiful innocent sold her body to the highest bidder, he’s faced with the hardest thing he ever had to do: Set her free. 

Lanie can’t believe Noah would let her go. Doesn’t he know they share a bond deeper than sex—a connection too powerful to sever? Not even a treacherous enemy out to destroy Noah or the dark secret haunting the multimillionaire can keep them apart. But first Lanie has to show him that he belongs to her, even if it means risking everything for a love that can never be bought or sold.

My thoughts:

Up front, I did not read the first book in this series, and I had a really hard time connecting with A Million Guilty Pleasures. I wanted to like it - the virgin selling herself to save her mother's life, the multimillionaire falling in love with her and setting her free premise seemed like a good place for an erotic story. Sadly, it never came together for me

Lanie's entire personality was overshadowed for me by her use of cutesy pet names for body parts. It made her sound, to me, juvenile, and while I could accept she was pretty innocent, only recently tapping into her sexuality with Noah's guidance... I was extremely put off by the language. It made her seem immature, which was also a turn-off. She also thought of her parents by their first names, but called them Mom and Dad - I thought that Mack was her stepfather for the first third of the book.

The erotic parts were okay, but nothing spectacular. There was a certain convenience to some of it - as though these scenes were manipulated for the best effect in the moment rather than to serve the overall story and character arcs. I preferred when they were narrated by Noah because then I didn't have to try to tune out Lanie's pet names.

The biggest frustration for me was that some of the story didn't seem logical. For example, a section that occurs early in the story: Lanie doesn't want her parents to find out about how she and Noah knew each other, so they decide to come up with a lie about how they met. It takes hours to come up with what they deem a suitable lie. How hard is it, really, to say you met at, say, a coffee shop? Or a club? Or an art gallery or *something*? Instead, they had to call in Noah's cousin to assist, and it read to me like an excuse to have the cousin show up in this book - perhaps she was a fan favourite from the first one? 

Stylistically, this simply wasn't for me. The language often irked me, there were story choices that didn't seem to make sense or that seemed contrived to me, and the erotic scenes were trumped by my general sense of disconnect.

Bottom line:

Unfortunately I couldn't get into this book - the book wasn't erotic *enough* to overcome what I thought were some weak plot components. I think in the hands of the right reader, it might all come across as fun, but it didn't do it for me.

2 stars
For fans of contemporary erotica.

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