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My name is Jen. I read too much. I drive my husband crazy. I share books with my friends and we spend too much time talking about them. I enjoy Urban Fantasy & Romance (mostly PR & Historicals.) I’m also a mother of two and work full-time as a tv news Executive Producer.
Crystal Cove - Lisa Kleypas I'll tell you a little secret. This is my first Lisa Kleypas book. I generally don't read contemporary romance, but the description on this felt a little PNR-ish and I have long heard positive things about this author. So I figured this was a great opportunity to give her a try.

Take a look at the blurb. Frankly, she had me at "Man-Without-A-Soul." Unfortunately, when I actually started reading, I was sorely disappointed. I think the description of the story is accurate, but let me tell you about some of the things it leaves out.

This is not PNR. Maybe everyone else already familiar with Lisa Kleypas knew that. This is a contemporary romance with paranormal elements. That may sound nitpicky, but for lack of a better explanation, the two genres have a very different feel. And I'm not sure who the audience is supposed to be. Readers looking for PNR are going to unsatisfied, and I am not sure that anyone looking for a contemporary will love the magic woven in. It's an uncomfortable blend.

The hero is a conceited, self-absorbed ass. He is heavy handed. He lies to Justine. He makes choices that satisfy his own needs, and she is expected to just get over it and accept it. Then... she does... which goes on to frustrate me even more. Yeah, he tried to make a noble sacrifice at the end, but it was still to get what he wanted, which --by then-- was Justine.

There are BDSM elements in the story, which both surprised and perturbed me. I don't like BDSM and actively avoid it. I am a strong believer that if it's part of a book, the blurb or cover art or SOMETHING needs to tip me off that it's in there. Folks on Twitter and Goodreads asked me if I was sure Kleypas was writing BDSM. I'll tell you what I told them... he trusses her up in a hemp rope like a turkey at Thanksgiving, and went at her while she couldn't move. --Yes, definitely bondage, and in the other scenes, he's still clearly dominating. Let's look at the cover and read the blurb again. Did I miss something??

There was absolutely no reason to believe that these two are in love. Jason goes from wanting Justine for her magic to being in love with her instantly. There was no basis for it and they were proclaiming their love within just a few days.

I just couldn't invest in the romance. I didn't like the hero. And I didn't enjoy the sex. Not a winner for me.

Rating: D+

*ARC Provided by St. Martin's