Thursday 2 April 2020

#CBR12 Books 13-15: "The Redhead trilogy" by Alice Clayton

Combined page count: 960 pages
Rating: 3.5 stars

Grace Sheridan is 33. She's an aspiring actress who completely failed to make any kind of impression her first go-around in Hollywood. After a few years away from the limelight, when she went a bit reclusive and gained far too much weight, she's now healthy and happy and back in Los Angeles, temporarily living with her BFF Holly, who also happens to be a very successful talent agent, while waiting for her new house to be redone. Grace isn't really looking to date anyone, but when she meets Jack Sheridan, she's very quickly swept off her feet.

Jack Sheridan is 24 and very likely to become a massive movie star once the time travel adventure movie based on a series of sexy romance short stories is released. Jack plays the Super Sexy Scientist Guy who travels through time, romancing women in each time period and the movie is one of the most anticipated properties in Hollywood. He's tall, gorgeous, smart, funny, has an incredible English accent and already a considerable fan base. He's instantly smitten with Grace and determined that they have a 'tryst', but no matter how off the charts the chemistry between Grace and him is, publicity-wise, it would be best if Super Sexy Scientist Guy remains single and available in the eyes of his adoring public. Dating a woman nearly a decade older than him would certainly not be advisable. Any romancing would, therefore, have to take place away from the prying eyes of the paparazzi and celebrity journalists.

I'm reviewing this trilogy of contemporary romances as one because I'm not entirely sure I agree that there is enough story or character development to have these extended into three whole books. There is maximum two books worth of story here, probably more like one and a half. The rest is sex scenes. So many sex scenes. By the middle of the second book, I was skimming these scenes, because they were all much of a muchness and really didn't add anything to the further development between the characters. If Alice Clayton had cut about 80% of the extensive and after a while, really rather repetitive sex scenes, and streamlined a bit more of the rest of the plot (there didn't exactly need to be quite so much behind the scenes in show business stuff), this could easily have been one or two books, which would still be a lot more steamy than your regular contemporary romance.

I'm also reviewing the whole trilogy as one because it's now been about a month and a half since I finished the books, and I no longer remember which events happened in which books, they all blur together into one big whole.

What I liked about the books:
- Grace is a fun heroine. She doesn't really want to become huge and she certainly doesn't want to be a favoured target of the paparazzi and gossip press. Once it becomes clear that she and Jack are actually an item, she faces all sorts of crap because of her age (clearly at past thirty she's nearly a crone), her general looks and especially her body size. I liked that after a certain point, Grace refused to give in to the pressure and stood up to the body shamers publically.
- I liked the friendships Grace has. She's extremely close with her agent, and later also becomes close with an old college friend, who writes the off-Broadway production that brings Grace a relative level of fame once it gets picked up as a TV show.
- A lot of the early romance between Grace and Jack is very sweet.

What I didn't like so much:
- I've already mentioned that the books are way too long and feature a frankly ridiculous amount of love scenes. There's not enough plot to sustain three whole books, and padding them out with chapter upon chapter of smexy times doesn't good storytelling make.
- The love triangle that is introduced between Grace, Jack and Grace's old college friend, who she once had a massive crush on.
- Grace's crazy insecurities ruining Jack's opening night and the drama both leading up to and following on from that event.
- The whole storyline where Jack's fame goes to his head and he goes off the rails, drinking and partying and being led astray by douche-canoes. It goes on for too long, and I did not feel Jack necessarily groveled enough to get Grace's forgiveness. It's not a very good romance when I feel the heroine may be better off with someone else.

These books were a fun read, but I had to skim a lot more of books two and three than I entirely liked. Alice Clayton's Hudson Valley series feature books that are a lot better paced.

Judging the books by its cover: The covers are quite cute, with the pretty, redheaded cover model partially visible in each of them. They convey a playful tone, which fits well with the books. The plain, white backgrounds of books 1 and 2 could have been more exciting, though.

Crossposted on Cannonball Read.

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