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13 November 2010

Unbelievable-Lori Foster

Lori Foster's two story compilation entitled Unbelievable includes the stories Fantasy and Tantalizing.  Interestingly, these stories are from the late 1990s, which means certain things in the stories seem odd, such as the car phone one of the men has and the impressed reaction the female in the story has to it.  Overall, however, it's not the anachronisms that damage the stories but the basic ideas of the stories themselves.

The first story, Fantasy, involves an incredibly sexy man named Sebastian Sinclair who is taking part in a charity auction of handsome men and a woman named Brandi who sees him and is enchanted by him.  When her sister "buys" him for a five-day vacation for her birthday, Brandi is introduced to a world of romance and seduction that helps her to become a real woman after a trauma years earlier. Cue the wedding bells. 

The second story, Tantalizing, involves a woman named Josie Jackson who goes on a blind date with a man her sister arranges for her, but in fact the man is a friend of her supposed date, Nick Harris, and they spend a night together that changes her life forever.  She ceases to be the straitlaced workaholic and becomes sexually adventurous, and of course, marriage comes at the end.

Both stories are similar in that they involve big, strapping men as the romantic heroes who are protective of the women they love.  Both have small, very feminine women as heroines. None of this is bad.  I like the old fashioned man who takes charge.  It's sexy.  What I don't like are female heroines as virgins. Both of these stories revolve around the central theme of a big man introducing a sweet virgin to sex.  You know what that means?  Lots of discussing of sex.  Sex is good in romance.  Talking about sex isn't good or sexy.  It's awkward. And the changes the women go through in the span of mere days just don't work in stories that have no supernatural or paranormal elements to them. Once again, the issue is if a writer has decided to stay within the confines of everyday life, then the stories must reflect this.  Characters can certainly be swept up in the romance, but fundamental changes in personality in the span of just a few days is ridiculous.

The additional problem that both stories in Unbelievable have involves conflict.  In the first story, the conflict is psychological, but it's taste specific and unbelievable (no, I'm not trying to be cute here).  If a reader is turned off by the type of psychological conflict or that it's unrealistic then Fantasy won't work for them.  The second story suffers from a lack of interesting conflict.  Sure, the sister's intruding in Josie's life is conflict, but it's common and boring.  Nick is reported to be a womanizing SOB, but he never acts like it, so there's no real conflict.  He likes Josie, she likes him, and the only problem is that the sister doesn't like him.  Yawn. 

Overall,  Lori Foster's Unbelievable is an easy read and may be enjoyable, if you prefer your romances to be the sweet and everyday variety. This Broad, however, likes her romances a little less pedestrian. 


A Ridiculous Fantasy......

Bidding on men at a charity auction seems scandalous to Brandi, but her sister, Shay, thinks a get away vacation with Sebastian Sinclair is exactly what Brandi needs.  Out bidding the crowd, Shay wins the gorgeous Sebastian, whom she knows quite well, and gifts him to Brandi for her birthday.  The two are attracted to one another - and alone for the next five days, nestled in a mountain cabin.  It won't be smooth sailing, though.  Brandi has a past trauma that threatens to steal away her chances at happiness.

Foster wrote a great male character in Sebastian Sinclair.  Strong, smart, and sexy, Sebastian projected confidence and trustworthiness - two characteristics this Broad adores.  Unfortunately, Foster's storyline in, Fantasy, is one of my pet-peeves in romance, and in revealing my aversion to her topic of choice, I become the spoiler.  It must be done.  Like many authors, Lori Foster writes her female character, Brandi, as a past victim of rape.  For eight years, this woman has been haunted by a consuming fear, leaving her unable to be near another man, but amazingly, she hauls her cookies to a remote cabin for a five day getaway with an unknown hunk of man meat.  Even more astonishing is the idea that in less than forty-eight hours, Brandi succumbs to the patient charms of the delicious Sebastian, engaging in a long overdue sexual awakening.  Bloody infuriating!
The idea that the trauma of rape, with all its ugly after effects, will be vanquished in mere days by a prince charming and his incredible penis of "com-passion" just doesn't sit well with this Broad.  A romance writer could tackle this topic realistically and write a great story of grown love and trust in which the heroine does overcome (with the help of a prince charming), but, Fantasy, is not that story.

Tantalizing ........Timid To Terror In Less Than A Ten-Count......

The second story in, Unbelievable, introduces Josie Jackson, a young woman/possible workaholic tired of being the straight-laced good girl her sister requires. When her blind date switches places with his wild counterpart of a business partner, sparks fly.  Virginal Josie and her love interest, Nick Harris, go from blind date assessment to freak-hair-fly affair faster than a leg kick from Mirko Cro-Cop sends his poor opponent sprawling to the mat in unconsciousness. 
Tantalizing, is more sex than story, and while a great love scene is a very welcome addition to romances, interesting characters, a developed plot, and dialogue are must have ingredients to truly tantalize, something this story didn't deliver for this Broad.

1 comment:

  1. Can I just say, I also hate stories where the female character is a virgin? It might be believable if she is really young, but in her twenties??

    Seriously, the love interest angle sounds creepy here - 5 days in a lonely cottage with a stranger? who would do that???

    Totally agree with you :)
    Following you from the hop - hop you visit me back and perhaps follow!
    - Dee, hopping from e-Volving Books


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