Snarkling Clean

Snarkling Clean- because you don't have to cuss to make fun of stuff. Two dedicated readers discuss romance novels- from what made us weep with joy to what made us want to poke pencils through our eyeballs.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Seducing Simon by Maya Banks

Maya Banks being the pen name of our friend Sharon Long, BTW. She just released her new book, Seducing Simon, for Samhain Publishing. It's my first experience with e-books, but not my last. I'm going to have to invest in one of those e-book readers that looks like a real book. I love reading stories any way I can get them, but there's just no feeling like curling up on the sofa with a paperback.

Seducing Simon starts with Toni Langston crying on her couch because one of her roommates, the man she's secretly loved forever, is at some other woman's place asking her to marry him. Only he comes home somewhat drunk; he caught his would-be fiancee canoodling with another man. Simon gets drunker as he pours out his heart to Toni, and she decides to give him a little comfort.

She basically kind of jumps him. And he's willing. Of course, after the deed is done he calls out the cheating fiancee's name before he passes out, mortifying Toni. Simon doesn't even remember the event the next morning, because he was so drunk. Toni's too humiliated to let him in on it, guessed it. She gets pregnant.

That's the set up. And you know, my first thought was that Toni was an idiot. But that's okay; we've all made idiots of ourselves over men. My second thought was that, in my experience at least, if a man is so drunk he can't remember sleeping with a woman, he was more than likely unable to git 'er done in the first place. Especially peeling both of their clothes off and giving her a memorable One with the Cosmos. (Although men all over the world would love this, wouldn't they? "Honey, I can't even remember boinking her senseless. I was drunk. But I'm sure I thought it was you, honest.")

But I figure every book deserves one free pass in the suspension of disbelief department, so I bought it and read on. The roommates are Simon, A.J., and Toni's brother Matt. Toni and Matt's parents, now deceased, left them the childhood home. A.J., Simon, and Matt are firefighters, yum, and buddies from way back. They all treat Toni like kid sister, and you get it. One day A.J. accidentally finds her pregnancy test in the trash, and they come on all macho but she refuses to name the father. Life goes on.

Okay. Toni's an assistant to the local vet in their small town, and doesn't make a lot of money. She was trying to move out, but the guys convince her to stay so they can take care of her. She does get a second job as 911 dispatcher, and here's my thing. Toni has obviously decided to have and keep the baby. As unpleasant as the situation surrounding the conception was, why not tell Simon then? He's a firefighter. They have pretty darn good insurance from what I've heard, and no matter how guilty she may feel over jumping him when he was down, so to speak, she didn't rape him. Just another example of romance heroine ethics.

She and the roommates go on, and over the next seven months or so she gets Simon's attention. With the help of another firefighter (That's four! What do I have to do to live in this town?) she even makes him a little jealous. Do Toni and Simon become a couple? Yes, they do. Does she tell him about the baby?

She does. And he is predictably upset. Not so much at becoming a father, which he'd already embraced by becoming engaged to her while she's preggers, but because she lied. He gives her an extremely cold shoulder and refuses to talk to her for a couple of weeks. It's hard for me to paint him as a villain at this point. He needs a good hard case of GET OVER IT opened on him, but I got that he was angry. He had a right. But our heroine has to escape to a neighboring city to think things over while she's about to December...and drive home in a Jeep at 2am in the middle of an ice storm. Sorry. I know people get caught in crappy weather all the time, but dang. And you know what happens next. Ice storm...pregnant woman...hunky firefighter rescue guy who's just realized he's been a whiner baby who gets the accident call... and after a few days in the hospital she's okay and the baby's okay and she and Simon hash it out and get together.

Sharon writes really good characters, and I for one wanted to see more. This book felt a little rushed; I wanted her to take some time with Toni, especially. Toni has to come to grips with some life-changing things, and I liked those glimpses into her. I liked that she was so independent and capable, but still such a goober over Simon. Although I don't go wild over uber-introspective heroines, I wanted to know Toni better. Ditto with Simon. I never found out what really made him tick.

I do appreciate that Matt has his own romance in the book, and the other firemen aren't automatically set up as sequel fodder. I wouldn't mind reading one featuring A.J., though. He was a very unexpected voice of wisdom, though you think he might talk like a goomba.

It was a good read; but I still wonder what would have happened if she'd told him the next morning and punched him in the gut as well. Congrats, Sharon, and I'm looking forward to more from you. Just don't close the door so quickly- lemme into their heads a little longer!


Anonymous Sharon said...

ROFL Robyn, you crack me up! I now remember why I love you so much hehe.

Thanks for reading it.

SS was SUCH a departure for me. I wrote it a few years ago (maybe two?) when I was burnt out on my plot heavy historicals. It was my first attempt at "character" and "relationship" story as opposed to a story with 100 twists and turns, dead people, revenge, betrayal, you know all the stuff in a suspense type story ;)

I'm glad it's my first published story though because I feel I've gotten a lot better in the time since I wrote this. And I like to follow the natural progression of an author "improving" rather than having a really good first release and then subsequently flopping *g*

of course I'll come back and eat all my words if my next release is horrid ;)


8:28 AM  
Blogger Jen said...

I think that's the tough part with the shorter books. It has to drive all the way through and (I think) sometimes the characters get left behind. *Shrugs* Yet, some short story writers are able to do this. I love getting inside the characters head.

6:57 PM  
Blogger Bernita said...

What a nice review!
But then, I'm one of those silly types who like to know the ending before I buy a book, 'cause it's the "how", not the "what" that interests me.
Thank you, Robyn.
It sounds a lovely read, Sharon.

4:39 AM  

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