Monday 2 September 2013

#CBR5 Book 111. "Wallbanger" by Alice Clayton

Page count: 320 pages
Rating: 4 stars

Caroline has many things to be happy about. She's got good friends, a devoted cat, a job she enjoys, a very nice Kitchen Aid mixer and a beautiful new San Francisco apartment. What is missing from her life, and has been missing for over six months, since a particularly disastrous date, is the big O. To make matters worse, the main flaw in her otherwise lovely apartment seems to be that the walls between her bedroom and that of the one next door, are very thin. And her neighbour has a very active, frequent and loud sex life with at least three different women (all of whom Caroline gives snarky nicknames). She keeps losing sleep, and one night, in a fit of frustration, pounds on the wallbanger's door (forgetting that she's clad only in a skimpy nightie) and demands he keep it down. Simon, as the wallbanger is actually called, answers the door wrapped only in a sheet, and seems very amused by the whole situation.

Caroline and Simon start out fairly antagonistic to one another, but when his two closest friends start going out with Caroline's two besties, they are naturally thrown together more often than not. They start out with a tentative truce, which turns into friendship, which eventually seems to blossom into something more. Will Clive the cat ever be united with his one true love, the woman who mieows through Caroline's walls intermittently?Will Caroline ever recover her lost O? Will Simon be able to give up his little harem of women and settle for just one woman?

This is a book that popped up in my recommendations on Amazon, and Goodreads, and which I completely discounted because of both the title and cover, which didn't really appeal to me at all. Only after reading rave reviews of it on a number of romance review sites that I follow and trust, did I decide to give it a chance, and I'm so glad that I did. It's a funny and frothy contemporary romance very much in the style of Jennifer Crusie at her best. The confident and very uncomplicated heroine who loves baking seemed taken straight out of one of her books. She's happy with her life, her friends and her job. I did get a little tired of just how much she obsessed about her missing O (really, this is a very central feature in the first third of the book), but in her position, I'd probably be pretty frantic, myself.

Simon is a great hero. He's not ashamed of his sex drive, or his multiple partners, all of whom are aware that he's not seeing them exclusively, and all of whom are vastly different women, in personality and body type. He travels the world in his job as a photographer, and clearly isn't happy with the idea of being tied down to one person or one place for too long. The secondary cast of friends and employers is also very well done, creating a very believable support network for both characters. The romance between Simon and Caroline isn't instantaneous, and even after they admit their attraction towards one another, without obstacles. It felt like a fairly realistic way for a relationship to develop, and I just wish that the climax, so to speak, of all the tension in their romance hadn't played out quite the way it did.


I'm by no means I very obsessively clean person, but the mess the two make out of Caroline's kitchen, had me cringing and took me completely out of the book. I don't think smexy times and food should mix, and I certainly couldn't be passionately seduced if there was flour and honey and other sticky substances all over myself, my partner and my kitchen. *shudder*


Caroline's somewhat long-winded whining about her missing O in the first part of the novel, and the somewhat messy romantic reconciliation of the couple aside, I really did enjoy this book immensely, and would recommend it to anyone who'd like a fun and quick read. It also made me want to learn to make zucchini bread (which Caroline bakes more than once) and re-visit Spain (where parts of the novel take place). None of those are bad things, though. Highly recommended, especially for Crusie fans.

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