Flavorful Seductions (Patti Shenberger)

2 out of 5 stars

Cut to the Chase:
While I get that novellas are going to be short by nature, it wasn’t just the plot and pacing that felt rushed in this novella (yes, because it’s shorter, it has to progress more rapidly).  The writing seemed to trip along itself, and other than the fact that these two characters are very, very attracted to one another, you never quite get anything to hold onto in order to believe that they will be together, or make it, in the long haul.  Though the sex is sensual, I would have almost preferred a little less sex (gasp!) and a little more interaction to let me believe that these two characters are meant to be together.  Otherwise, I’m left with interesting, funny characters who get together, but in a way that makes it more believable they’ll have a passionate affair that burns out than a longer lasting happily-ever-after.

Greater Detail:
The main strength of this novel are its two very likeable main characters — you’ve got Kate Carlisle, who’s kind of a cute, perhaps a little klutzy (she dumps a container full of iced cupcakes on our main hero by way of introduction), do-it-yourself entrepreneur who’s trying to make a success of her bakery. You’ve also got Adam Belfour, a self-made marketing/imaging businessman who is sexy, powerful, and used to getting his own way.

That these two characters are immediately attracted to one another is clear — both use food as their medium to kind of toy with each other, which makes for some entertaining scenes.  And the sex (as well as each of the characters thinking about the sex they’d like to have) is sensually written.

The problem is that they just don’t interact enough, or converse enough, to make you believe that there’s anything other than lots and lots of lust binding the two together. Though there are some interesting thoughts here and there (at one point, while Kate is catering to the bigwigs via Adam’s sister’s baby shower, she starts to wonder about whether she’d ever be okay having this much staff, or if part of the fun is the do-it-yourself-ness of her current business), there just isn’t’ enough space to expand upon these possibilities. Also, as I said before, the writing feels rushed (some of the details get confused in terms of timeline, which is small, but makes it feel like the author really rushed to complete this one).

Though it was a quick and light read, and I don’t regret spending time on it, it’s really not something I can recommend.

Comparison to Other Authors/Books:
I’ll admit it’s been a long time since I’ve read a romance novella… and I’ve never really been a fan.  Most of the novellas I’ve read are author collaborations where there’s a common theme (so a collection of three novellas, like Julia Quinn’s The Further Observations of Lady Whistedown, or holiday-themed novels that tell you the story of some side character).  Usually, I find them kind of unsatisfying… none of the character development I like, and just a rush, rush, rush to the finish line.  That said, Patti Shenberger has written better, and you should check out some of her other books (like Secrets of the Heart) before picking up this one.

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Posted in Romance

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