Thursday, October 3, 2013

Smooth Talking Stranger by Lisa Kleypas | Book Review

TITLE: Smooth Talking Stranger
AUTHOR: Lisa Kleypas
PUBLISHER/YEAR: St. Martin's Press / 2009
SERIES: Yes, Travis Family Series
SOURCE: Public Library

Goodreads / Author's Website

Every once in awhile I feel like I need to read a good, adult romance novel as like a palate cleanser. Lisa Kleypas is kind of my go to author when I get in a mood like that; she just writes such swoon worthy characters that I can't help myself. Smooth Talking Stranger did not disappoint and even though there were parts that had me super frustrated I could get past that and just enjoy the romance. I may have my complaints, but I could still get swept away with the story which is really all I want when I pick up a romance novel.

So I haven't read any of the other books in this series, but I don't think it hurt my enjoyment of this novel one bit. It may be related to the previous books, but it definitely stands on its own. Ella Varner is happy with her life; she has a great job and a boyfriend. Her life is stable. Until, that is, her sister drops a baby off and she's left to care for it. She immediately assumes the child is Jack Travis', playboy millionaire, who threatens to throw her entire world up in the air.

Babies in books can be kind of a turn off for me; I find they take up too much time and don't add enough to the story in a lot of cases. Plus, they're just not something I'm that interested in at this point in my life. That having been said, I didn't mind the baby in Smooth Talking Stranger it's kind of what the plot revolved around, but for whatever reason, I got past it. I picked up this book specifically for the romance and that was delivered in droves. Jack Travis is the epitome of the alpha male, but he seems to actually care about Ella. He may come across as a cad at first, but he knows responsibility. So swoon worthy aspects, super attractive, gets what he wants, but still respectful, cares about kids should I go on?

The downside to Smooth Talking Stranger I hate to say was Ella. I wanted to like her; she had a pretty kick ass career as a columnist and cared deeply about her family even if they weren't always there for her. That having been said, she was lacking some serious backbone. I don't need my female protagonists to be perfect. In fact, I get so tired of seeing the "strong female character" trope. I don't want them to be kick ass and strong all the time, I want complex, well drawn female characters. I want to see women written with flaws and all. Here's the thing, Ella just didn't seem to know who she was at any point of the novel. She was an environmentalist and vegetarian at the beginning of the novel, but it was only because of her boyfriend. She totally changes once she meets Jack. Like abandons all of her deeply held convictions at the drop of a hat kind of deal. I just never got a sense of her outside of the man she was with.

All that having been said about Ella, I do appreciate that Kleypas touched on some issues that aren't really discussed in contemporary romance novels. Ella was neglected and abused as a child as was her sister. She's been through a lot in life, but she's come through it. She's clearly not done with the healing process (no matter how much she denies this), but she's survived. She's found a way to bond with a child and moves away from the ultra safe boyfriend to somebody she really wants. I'm kind of against her healing because of this relationship (maybe that's what all of my previous complaints actually boil down to), but it is a romance novel.

Overall, I really enjoyed Smooth Talking Stranger. The banter between Ella and Jack was fantastic and I felt like they matched each other well. The scenes with the baby were acceptable on my cute to annoying scale, so more cute than annoying. It was a good lose yourself in the story romance and exactly what I was looking for at the time.

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