by Geralyn Dawson, historical (2000)
Sonnet, $6.50, ISBN 0-671-03448-0
Sizzle All Day, the unofficial sequel to Simmer All Night, tells the story of Jake Delaney (his sis got shackled in SAN) finding love with Gillian Ross. The Delaneys are still on the trail of the last copy of Texas' Declaration of Independence, and Jake's search brings him in contact with the Rosses.
Gilly and her twin sister Flora are trying to sell their home, but the only buyer wants a haunted house. Therefore, Gilly decides to try haunting the place herself, and makes Jake her first guinea pig. Unfortunately, Jake's doggie attacks her and rips her gown so that her precious esmeraldas are exposed for Jake's ooh-la-la's.
Jake decides to postpone his trip to visit countries where women go about topless. And mortified, Gilly poses as her twin sister Flora to throw the man off-balance. Jake soon finds himself roped in to play the Ghost to haunt his mother (don't ask), while Gilly's old boyfriend starts sniffing around for the obligatory kidnap-rescue scene in the last few chapters.
I must admit that Sizzle All Day is pretty amusing at places, and Jake packs a mean punch in the Rogue Factor. I like Jake, he's funny, witty, and he does naughty things with his fingers. But as the story degenerates more and more into what seems like a cold soup of clichés, it becomes harder to remember what I find amusing about Sizzle All Day in the first place.
Gilly? She has predictability down to a tee. Martyr. Broke. Bad ex. Bad sex. Innocent. Inexperienced despite bad ex and bad sex above. Shy. Unable to match Jake in the charisma department. Serious. Likes to read rather than gossip. Doesn't trust men. If I don't respond to anyone calling me, I have fallen into a coma out of boredom - call the doctor.
Add in the bad ex and his bad wife. The matchmaking momma of Jake. The cute sister. The absent-minded uncle. The whole machine-gunning of clichés can go on and on interminably, but I'll stop here.
Of course, one could argue than the whole romance genre is one Big Cliché and that the term creative writing is a paradox. Maybe I should just be content with some cheap easy laughs here and there. But heck, with Sizzle All Day's lightweight fluff of an emotional drama, I'm afraid it is nothing more than a comfortable, adequate, but ultimately unmemorable read. Heck, with so many clichés bombarding me, even Jake's foot fetish ends up feeling like some sort of Fergie-rip-off act.
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