Kimani, $6.50, ISBN 978-0-373-86465-2
Contemporary Romance, 2016
A Vow of Seduction is a collection of two stories tied together by a common theme: finding love at a buddy’s wedding. Okay, if you have read enough of books in the Kimani line, you may be thinking, “Wait, that’s not something new, they put out stories with this theme every month or so!” Well, I’m sure if we write nicely to the marketing department people, they may be able to come up with a convincing reason as to why this one is special.
Nana Malone kicks things off with Hot Night in the Hamptons. Elina Sinclair is focused on her career at the moment, and she doesn’t have time for love. In fact, she doesn’t think love exists, because her mother was in a series of messy relationships that ended up messing Elina a bit in the head too. Meanwhile, Gabe Anderson believes that he is also too busy for love. He wants to focus on raising enough funds to finance a movie based on his beloved grandmother – that woman was the first female movie executive in Hollywood. The former bad boy child star also wishes to clean up his image. While he has cleaned up his act, his reputation as a bad boy too fond of the good times still linger, and this makes it hard for him to get potential investors to take him seriously.
Still, they are attracted to one another since the beginning, and when they meet again at the wedding of her BFF to his BFF, the clothes have to come off. Still, Elina feels that he is too cute to be a good catch, so she’s adamant that the whole thing is a one-time special. But not if he has his way.
This story is really grasping at straws when it comes to internal conflicts. Elina claims that she isn’t looking for love, but the moment she’s gotten laid by Gabe, she’s all, oh, he’s too pretty and she’s been heartbroken by pretty boys before so this can’t be love. If she doesn’t want love, then what’s the problem? Go ride that guy to her heart’s content, then! But no, she’s the first to moan about love, instead of putting her whining into action and start hooking up with plain to ugly guys on Tinder.
Still, this one does see the author doing some things to keep things fresh. Elina’s mother turns out to be more human than anticipated, and by the time the story ends, the silly people have mellowed and come to appropriate realizations to convince me that the happily ever after may just work after all.
Jamie Pope’s Seduced Before Sunrise, on the other hand, is straight up by the book stuff. Marcus Simpson and Willa Arthur were each other’s first in every way back in high school, but their best love story ever – at least in her mind – came to a crashing end when she overheard him telling his friends that he’d never hook up with a weirdo like Willa. Today, they meet again at the wedding of her BFF to his BFF, and he wants her back. She’s like no, but then because we have only have so many pages to go, she’s then all yes, and yes, and YES YES YES and then it’s the end. This one is everything that stories of this nature tend to be, and the predictability makes this one a pretty dull read – especially since it follows a story that feels more inventive in comparison. Add in some eye-rolling sweeping negative generalizations about politicians and women who paid for boob jobs, and the whole thing is a yawner of a half-baked romance.
The first story is alright, while the second one is a snoozer. Average that out, and A Vow of Seduction gets three oogies.