A Perfect Storm

A Perfect Storm - Lori Foster Slooooow pacing and TMI inner monologue killed this one for me. It started off strong. I haven't read the other books, but I like Lori Foster, and this one reads well as a stand alone. I don't love romantic suspense, but I do like books with heroes/heroines with "tortured pasts." Well it doesn't get any more tortured than Arizona, former sex slave saved from a near drowning by big burly alpha-male bounty hunters. That was a GOOD setup for me. A few other people have commented on the oddness of Arizona's character. I agree with that her character is pretty difficult to wrap your head around. I believe that you could go through a trauma (or traumas) in this case and come out the other side wanting to get vengeance in a major way. Arizona exhibits very little concern for her own safety and despite her own very real issues as a result of her captivity enjoys using herself as bait. So that felt, strange, but plausible to me. The issue that I couldn't understand was why Arizona had the emotional maturity of a teenager. It is explained in the book that she has never experienced any normal relationships with men. Okay, but...she was sold into slavery when she was 17. What about any other experiences she might have had with boys in high school or growing up. I'm not discounting the horror of what she went through, but she would have SOME idea of how relationships work, or of how people treat one another. She is explained as having horrible parents, her dad was a drunk and sold her to human traffickers. Again, fine, she would have a lot of baggage from that, but she wouldn't need to spend a lot of time asking Spencer what he likes about women. Or how and why a man wants to sleep with a woman.

So I started to get irked with her when she just didn't seem to grasp any sort of normal human interaction. It is strange to me that Foster struggled to portray Arizona's character, who is struggling with many demons well, because in several of her other books she deals with damaged characters so well. But where I really lost patience was with the amount of time that we spent in each scene. I felt that the majority of the scenes DRAGGED by, they were weighted down with pages and pages of inner monologue. Tedious, obvious inner monologue. Now, some of that is just the romance genre, and I get that, I usually just ignore it. The character speaks, shows how he feels and then reflects in his head about what he just said and how he just acted, letting the reader know EXACTLY how he feels, explicitly. It just got too much. Scenes that could have been accomplished in 3 pages took 10. As a reader I need a little space to think about things on my own. I don't like to be spoon fed every single nuance of every single emotion the character is feeling. Especially when the author is good at explaining through actions and dialogue how the character is feeling, and Ms. Foster IS good at that. She doesn't need to be so explicit. And I feel like she isn't usually, but maybe I'm getting romance-jaded in my old age.

I also hate books where the author wants to show all the other happy couples living in fairy tale land from earlier in the series. Even if I've read their stories, as long as they got their HEA I don't wanted to hear about how much they now love each other when we are in someone else's story. There was a lot of flowery nonsense around the other couples: Jackson etc.

One last complaint...Arizona is described as having "lush" and "firm" assets at least 20 times. By 50% I got it, she is REALLY, REALLY good-looking. I mean like really. It was like getting beat over the head with her lush, firm hotness. Enough already!