Talk Me Down by Victoria Dahl
Why this one: I’ve seen good buzz on it and it’s a contemporary and I want to help the cause for this genre.
Steam Level: This’ll burn your tongue if you aren’t careful!!
Amazon Blurb: Molly Jenkins has one naughty little secret: her job as a bestselling erotic fiction author. Until her inspiration runs dry—thanks to a creepy ex—and it's time to skip town and move back to tiny
One look at former high school hunk chief of police Ben Lawson and Molly is back in business. The town gossip is buzzing at her door and, worse still, a stalker seems to be watching her every move. Thankfully, her very own lawman has taken to coming over, often. The only problem now is that Molly may have to let the cat out of the bag about her chosen profession, and straitlaced Ben will definitely not approve.…
My Thoughts: This one has been getting good buzz and I can see why. It’s immensely readable; it took me no time to get through it. It has a Great hero – I adored Ben. He was macho with soft edges. He was Very Sexy!! Yummers. He wore a cowboy hat – any hero gets bonus points for that. It’s a great story line – friends turned lovers. The writing is excellent and it had me smiling in more then one place.
And I really do hate to go on because one would think that I too, am going to give this one high marks. Sadly – oh so sadly I’m not. I go into each book wanting to love it. I mean I pay good money for books and who does that wanting the book to be found lacking? Not me. But I had SERIOUS issues with Molly, the heroine.
Although I love a good hero, it’s the heroine who makes or breaks the book for me and *heavy sigh* Molly broke this one. After I finished it, I went looking for other’s opinions and there was an interesting discussion concerning Molly at Dear Author. It appears that some of the low grades for this book at other places may have been because Molly is quite open and honest about her sexuality and the thought is this turns some readers off. Not so for me. Although at moments, Kristie, my middle-aged self thinks she’s a bit too strong in what she wants, Krisite – my much younger alter ego was thinking ‘We are women, hear us roar! We are going after what we want ‘cause we aren’t middle aged women”
(You can see the two of us have a lot of differences, but Krisite always wins out in these mind battles and I agree – she should!)
So that wasn’t the issue I had with the heroine. Nope – it was that I found her to be a self-centered young woman who put her own needs ahead of Ben’s time and time again without giving his feelings so much as a thought. Ben’s feelings? P’ffffttt – what do they matter to Molly as long as she get’s what SHE wants? She keeps secrets from Ben – for the flimsiest of reasons. She plays with him – just for the heck of it. And by playing with him, I don’t mean in a sexual way – though she does that too – and I like that part of it. I wouldn’t mind a bit of sexual play myself. No – I mean she keeps from telling him things just to mess with him ‘cause it’s fun to her. For example, she gets a nasty note pinned to her door. Now by this time Ben knows that there are strange things going on. So she goes to see him and then at the end of the conversation she just kind of lets slip, ‘oh, by the way, someone stuck a hate letter to the front of my door.’
She has an ex-boyfriend that’s stalking her. Does she tell Ben? Of course not. Instead it’s all about her and how she thinks he will react. She doesn’t have enough respect for him to be honest despite knowing him most of her life. So instead of leveling with Ben and saying ‘look, this is what’s going on and this is what’s happened in the past’, she just ignores the situation until the ex shows up in town and Molly, in order to defend herself against something really indefensible, feels the need to tell everyone within hearing distance, about her and Ben’s sex life, in explicit detail, because she’s upset about a situation that she created in the first place. And then she goes on to tell about a trashy episode she had with said stalker after she broke it off with him. In front of all Ben’s coworkers. Yep – if I were a guy, that’s just what I’d want my girlfriend to shout to my co-workers. Yikes! What a self-centered little witch. She knows Ben has issues about privacy because years ago, he was humiliated by the fall-out of his father’s indiscretions. But does Molly care about this?? No, of course she doesn’t because in her universe, she’s the only one who really matters –not those around her.
Honestly, there were times when I was reading this book I picked it up and slammed it down on the counter and thought enough!! I just can’t read another word about this childish, self-centered woman.
If she had shown any signs of maturing at all, I might be a bit more lenient – but she doesn’t. Instead right near the end, when all has been exposed; what she does, what she’s done, and it involves Ben, wonderful, adorable Ben, he is Very Angry with her – with due cause. So – does she wait until he has some time to figure things out? To forgive her? Of course not. ‘Cause it’s all about her don’t you know. Instead, she tries to make him jealous by seeing other guys. At one point she says to a friend, ‘I can take it back to junior high as easily as he can.”
Uh, no. First of all, he’s not getting junior high. He’s taking time to work out his feelings of betrayal of the deepest kind. And second, it’s not junior high on her part – its kindergarten!!
Often readers wonder about a HEA for the couple after the book is over. I never do. I just assume it’s a given. But for the first time in longer than I can recall, I doubt a HEA for this couple. Once Ben get’s past his stimulated hormones, I think he will sit up and notice what Molly is really like; a liar, immature, self-centered and not even close to being worthy of someone like him.
Now – if you’ve made it this far, I want anyone reading to do something unusual. Forget what you just read. If you were planning on getting this book still go ahead and get it. Because it truly does have some excellent things going for it. Ben, Ben, Ben, Ben – what a great hero he is; serious but with a wicked sense of humour. The dialogue was snappy and when I didn’t have my hate on for Molly, I was laughing. She really had some funny moments. I can totally see why this one is getting good buzz. I’d be rating it very high myself if it wasn’t that this kind of heroine really hit’s a hot button. And very probably a lot of readers will have a totally different take on her then I do.
In order to give this one a fair representation, I hunted down a number of reviews
Kati of Adventures in Katidom - C-
Romance Novel TV - Andrea Williamson - 4.5 (out of 5)
SB - Sarah - B+
Dear Author - Jane - B+
The Romance Reader - Mary Benn - 4 *'s (out of 5)
AAR - Ellen Micheletti - D
So you can see, there is a wide range of opinions on this book which is why I say to give it a try.
Now for the grade. This is the toughest one I've done in a LOOOONG time. Ben gets a 5 out of 5. The storyline a 5. The writing a 5. But I just can't get past how much I disliked Molly. Again I have to emphasize it's not because of her love of sex. It's....her.
This is really tough!!
Grade: 2.5 out of 5
I WELCOME any one who's read this one and wants to disagree with me on Molly because I'd love to be turned around and rate this one higher!