In A Nutshell

  • Genre: Contemporary Romance, Chick-Lit, Mystery Romance
  • Notes: Perfect books to bring to the beach and get lost in – or – perfect books to give your brain a break from super serious books.
  • Recommended for: People who like their romance with fun, laughter, smut, and a little mystery to stir things up.
Cotton candy has its place on the food chain, just as these books do . . . There are books we read to grow as human beings, books we read to gather knowledge and reflect on our own choices or to help influence our future decisions. These books are important and necessary to the growth of our mind and continuing development of our collective consciousness. But just like eating healthy is vital, there are times when it’s completely appropriate to pick out the food that has zero nutritional value and will give you cavities in excess.
That is why I compare these Victoria Dahl books to cotton candy – they are super sweet, light, they keep you interested, but you know that all you’re gaining from them is a good time.
I’m reviewing these two together because they are written in the same town and the characters intermingle between books. That and I almost wish she had combined these two books into a compilation book. I literally finished both in 2 nights.
The premise for Talk Me Down is as follows:
Molly Jenkins has one naughty little secret: her job as a bestselling erotic fiction author. Until her inspiration runs dry—thanks to a creepy ex—and it’s time to skip town and move back to tiny Tumble Creek, Colorado.One look at former high school hunk chief of police Ben Lawson and Molly is back in business. The town gossip is buzzing at her door and, worse still, a stalker seems to be watching her every move. Thankfully, her very own lawman has taken to coming over, often. The only problem now is that Molly may have to let the cat out of the bag about her chosen profession, and straight-laced Ben will definitely not approve.…

Right off the bat I have to say, what really kept me into this book was how funny Molly was. She’s a hilarious character to read about. I would say she’s like a more savvy Bridget Jones– or more shameless. I really love reading characters like her – because I would never do some of the things she does. But that’s why I’m an escapist reader. I liked Ben too, in his straight-laced-avoids-scandals way. He’s the cautious hot guy – that doesn’t exist in real life but whatever.

The premise for Start Me Up is below:

Lori had always planned to get out of tiny Tumble Creek, Colorado, but when her late dad left her his beloved auto body shop, she’d stayed. Now, according to her crazy best friend, Molly, what Lori needs is some excitement, in the form of hot, no-strings-attached sex…and lots of it.

Quinn Jennings has buildings on the brain—not love and romance. A serious architect, he’s delighted to discover that Lori is willing to skip dating protocols and head straight for the sheets. And aided by the steamy books on Lori’s bedside table, he’s busy indulging both of their wildest fantasies. But when life in Tumble Creek takes a dangerous turn for Lori, Quinn’s protective instincts kick in.

Suddenly he cares. More than either of them ever expected….

I didn’t expect that this story could be much different from the previous, and as far as the overall story structure – there is clearly a formula. But as Nora Roberts will tell you – formulas work.

Once again, Dahl got me with her characters. I loved them. I really liked Lori, who had to sacrifice so much and yet holds herself back. Her dilemma was so real and relatable. Choices are hard when you know you could make a mistake. Quinn is a serious architect who gets overly involved in his work sometimes and forgets the rest of the world. I was afraid Dahl would make it so that Lori cured him of this affliction – which I would find hard to believe. But what she chose to do instead was have it so that Lori wasn’t bothered by it, she accepted it. That is something I find refreshing in a romance novel.

So many authors make it so that the Heroine reforms the rake – what does that even mean? I mean, should you be involved with someone if all you want to do is change them? There is a difference between becoming a better person and changing people. This made the book a refreshing take on a contemporary relationship.

You may ask why I would even recommend such a light and fluffy confection – well I’ll tell you. Both of Dahl’s books (and a third that I am currently reading called Lead Me On) elevate themselves from simple romances by adding a little drama in the form of mystery. For Molly – she has a stalker, one which I dare you to guess who it was in the end. That one really got me, I thought the answer was so obvious, but Dahl has some tricks up her sleeve.

For Lori – she has mysterious vandals destroying her shop, one incident puts her in the hospital. And that drama goes somewhere I didn’t think it would either.

These books are pure fun and I felt like I just swallowed them up in two bites. Remember, they aren’t the next great american novel, but I was looking for something light and silly that I could read and go back to my nutritious reading. Sometimes your brain needs some sugar. So if it sounds good to you: treat yourself!