Monday, February 4, 2013

Review: Crystal Cove

Reviewed by Jen
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.  Here's the blurb:




In New York Times bestselling author Lisa Kleypas's Crystal Cove, Justine Hoffman has made a comfortable life for herself on the island of Friday Harbor. She is the proprietor of a successful boutique hotel, and she has the safe, predictable life she has always wanted. Growing up with her flighty, nomadic mother, Marigold, has instilled in her a deep longing for stability. But in spite of everything Justine has achieved, there is still something missing. Love. And after years of waiting and dreaming, she is willing to do whatever it takes to change her destiny.

What Justine soon discovers is that someone cast a spell on her when she was born, with the result that she will never find her soul mate. Determined to change her fate, Justine finds a way to break the enchantment, never dreaming of the dangerous complications that will follow.

And when Justine meets the mysterious Jason Black, she accidentally unleashes a storm of desire and danger that threaten everything she holds dear . . . because Jason has secrets of his own, and he wants more from her than fate will ever allow.

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 Griffin

Click to purchase: Amazon
Crystal Cove
by Lisa Keypas
Release Date: February 5, 2013
Publisher: St Martin's Griffin

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At Monday, February 4, 2013 at 8:55:00 AM CST , Anonymous Tori said...

:( I love Kleypas historicals, but I have yet to read any of her contemps though. I definitely won't start here. lol

At Monday, February 4, 2013 at 9:12:00 AM CST , Blogger Unknown said...

I read her Travises books and enjoyed those. This is my first time trying her back out, I'm about 80% or more through the book. I'm enjoying it so far, but I do see your points.

The book really feels like a contemporary romance too me, but then wait....witches, magic, huh? It almost throws you off. I love PNR, Contemp Rom, Erotica, and BDSM, so....maybe that's why I'm enjoying it. I don't normally like a lot of witches but I'm not finding it to be over the top witchy, if that makes sense.

LOL, I also had REALLY low expectations going in too. :-P

At Monday, February 4, 2013 at 9:21:00 AM CST , Blogger Jen at Red Hot Books said...

I have one of her historicals at home on my shelf. Perhaps I should give it a try.

At Monday, February 4, 2013 at 9:24:00 AM CST , Blogger Jen at Red Hot Books said...

I am glad to hear you are enjoying it! Do you like Jason? He made me so mad.

At Monday, February 4, 2013 at 10:35:00 AM CST , Blogger Jo said...

I read the first Friday Harbor book, hated it, and have never went back to this series. I LOVED her Hathaway historical series and the Travises contemporary series, so I was so very disappointed.

At Monday, February 4, 2013 at 10:40:00 AM CST , Blogger Jen at Red Hot Books said...

Good to know! I have to go see which one of her historicals I have.

At Monday, February 4, 2013 at 11:25:00 AM CST , Anonymous Jamie Beck said...

Wow. I'm a big Kleypas fan (mostly for her historicals)...but that she wrote something with BDSM is shocking. It makes me wonder whether everyone is going to sell out to follow the Fifty Shades money machine.

I haven't read this book yet, but have read others in this series. I agree, this series has had a magical or (in Dream Lake, a ghost) element. I did like the ghost, but not the other magic elements.

I prefer her other contemporaries (Sugar Daddy, etc.). Those are great love stories, well written and sexy.

I'm glad to see this review. I wouldn't like to be surprised by the BDSM element here.

Definitely give her historicals a try. They are the best. In the Hathaway series, I loved Beatrice's story. In the Wallflowers...The Devil in Winter rocks. Sebastian starts off as a terrible jerk with the best dry humor, but turns into a very great hero (IMO).

At Monday, February 4, 2013 at 11:38:00 AM CST , Blogger Jen at Red Hot Books said...

You guys are really selling me on her historicals!! I'm not a big contemp fan, so I think one of the Hathaway books will be my best bet.

At Monday, February 4, 2013 at 10:20:00 PM CST , Blogger Lover Of Romance said...

Oh wow...I haven't heard much about this one yet. I have loved each and every one of her books that I have read so far though. You should try her historical's, they are awesome. It actually shocks me she put bdsm elements into this one, since she never has done that in all the other books I have read from her. She actually has written some of the best romances I have ever read, so I hope you don't give up on the author.

At Tuesday, February 5, 2013 at 7:33:00 AM CST , Blogger Jennifer @ The Book Nympho said...

I also read (listened) to her Travises series and LOVED it. They are the main reason that I'm still trying contemporary. I picked up one of her other books at a used book store and will try it soon. The cover suggests it's a historical which I've not read many but I really liked her writing style so I'm going to give it a try.

I grabbed the 1st book in this series on audio when it was on sale. My fingers are crossed that I enjoy it.

At Tuesday, February 5, 2013 at 8:40:00 AM CST , Blogger melindeeloo said...

Thanks for your review, the cover blurb would have tempted me too and you dislikes are things that would have irked me too.

At Thursday, February 7, 2013 at 10:59:00 AM CST , Blogger Jen at Red Hot Books said...

I checked my bookshelf and the other Kleypas book I have is Seduce Me at Sunrise.


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