Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Review - Smooth Talking Stranger

Title: Smooth Talking Stranger
Author: Lisa Kleypas
Publishing Date: April 2009
Genre: Contemporary
Rating: B
Sensuality: Hot

Ella Varner has carved out a niche for herself after cutting off family ties from her mother and sister. After two years of not speaking to either of them, Ella gets a call from her mother that changes her life. Her sister Tara has abandoned her one week old baby and her mother wants Ella to come and get it or she is taking it to social services. Ella doesn't want to lose the the baby so she takes responsibility for him on her shoulders. She is determined to get the baby's father involved, as well. Once she suspects that Jack Travis is the father, she confronts him about it.

After reading Blue-Eyed Devil and Sugar Daddy and loving both of those books to pieces, I was really looking forward to Smooth Talking Stranger. I'll admit that my expectations were pretty high. Let's be honest here, they were tremendously high! I don't want to give the impression that I didn't like Smooth Talking Stranger, because I did, very much so. I started reading it at 11:30 at night and next thing I knew it was 2:00 in the morning! But, I didn't think it was as good as Blue-Eyed Devil or Sugar Daddy.

Jack Travis is just the type of hero that I love in my romance books. He is strong and smart and confident enough to know what he wants and go after it. He doesn't let a smart woman scare him away. After taking one look at Ella, he knows she is exactly the right woman for him. In no uncertain terms he bulldozes his way into her life, whether she likes it or not. Oh yeah, baby! *waggles eyebrows*

Where the book stumbled a tiny bit for me is with Ella and her problems with her family. In Blue-Eyed Devil and Sugar Daddy, much of the focus of the book is centered on the heroine and her growth throughout the story. As a matter of fact, Blue-Eyed Devil dealt with spousal abuse very heavily. With Ella, she too suffered from a tramatic childhood. She never really confronts these problems head on and they get pushed to the side as an after thought. Even the resolution of the book was very quickly done and not very satisfactorily at that.

Here is what others had to say:

Avid Book Reader
I Just Finished Reading
Musings of a Bibliophile
The Book Smugglers
Dear Author
Ramblings on Romance
Stacy's Place on Earth
The Happily Ever After...
Good Books, Bad Books & Everything in Between


Lori said...

I've heard a lot of people say the exact same thing about the book about Jack being great and the book faltering with Ella. It's still on my TBR, but I find with LK's contemps, I'm willing to wait to read them. Not like her historicals, which I gobble up asap.

Anonymous said...

Wonderful review. I'm a HUGE LK fan. I prefer her historicals to her contemps, though. Just my preference is all, nothing against the books.

I did love Suger Daddy & Blue Eye Devil. I still have yet to read this one. It's weird, I know one Tempt Me At Twlight comes out I won't make it home fast enough to read it, lol.

She is a fantastic author, though.

nath said...

I actually think this book would be more my style than Sugar Daddy or Blue Eye Devil. I haven't read those two books yet, that's why I have Smooth Talking Stranger on reserve at the library instead of my TBR pile.

I'm glad you enjoyed it :)

Tracy said...

While some of the issues that Ella had were ignored I personally didn't think it detracted from the book at all - I still gave it 5 stars. IMHO I think that Kleypas centered more on the relationship between Jack and Ella (along with the baby) and I loved that. As much as I loved SD and BED (both 5 star reads for me as well) I couldn't possibly compare the books to each other even though they were related. They all seem so different even though the family members are intertwined in the book.

Great review Jill!!

Kristie (J) said...

Yep - what you said. While I quite enjoyed this one - it's not with quite the same enthusiasm I had for Sugar Daddy and BED

Christine said...

Your review is spot on, Jill. You're exactly right about Ella not really facing and overcoming her past and present issues. She learns to accept them, maybe... but she doesn't seem to quite address them. Especially when comparing her to Liberty and Haven and their stories, and that is exactly what I think makes STS the weaker of the three LK contemps. Oh, it was a fantastic read and I loved it... but not as completely as SD and BED.

Did you hear that LK doesn't have any plans right now for writing a story for Joe. *sad*

Jill D. said...

Lori and Barbara, I can't say that I wait to read any of Kleypas's books. I will read anything she writes. I just love her style. Heck, if she delved into paranormal, I'd read that too.

Nath, I definitely think you would be entertained if you read any of her contempories. It just that Sugar Daddy and BED are more like women's fiction than romance and STS is more straight romance, although Ella does narrate in first person. Give STS a try, I think you will enjoy it.

Tracy, You bring up a great point. The relationship is definitely more the focus and I was expecting it to be more about Elle and her own issues. I really think if I had read this book first I would have given it an "A" rating.

Kristie, Great minds think alike!! :)

Christine, You put is so well...that Elle doesn't address her issues. It seems we once again are on the same page!! :) I did not know that she didn't have anything in the works for Joe. AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!! WHAT??? Especially, with how things were left hanging in the balance. That is crazy talk. She needs to get busy writing!! I mean that in the most respectful way possible :)

Kwana said...

Thanks for your review. I'm really looking forward to reading this.

Christine said...

Your words/review is what inspired me to compose those thoughts about Ella in the first place! I'm actually wishing I thought of all that when I wrote my review in March. LOL!

I know. I had the same reaction about no story for Joe. I don't think LK actually said NEVER... just that she doesn't have plans right now to do so. *sigh* But I agree... he needs an HEA. Especially after that ending, you know?

The Fat Chick said...

I am actually impressed with L.K.'s contemps. Though I love her historicals. I just love reading about The Hathaway Family in her historicals. I still think her contemps are just as great. I read Sugar Daddy and loved it. I have not read blue-eyed devil. I know I should, but I am reading smooth taking stranger and caught myself forcing the book away from my eyes LOL!!! So Far it seems to be really good, but I shall see!

Jill D. said...

Hey Chickie! I love Kleypas too, I would say she is easlily one of my top five all time favorite authors. Blue-Eyed Devil was my favorite of her contemps. And because it was so good, Smooth Talking Stranger wasn't as good for me. I think had I read STS first I would have liked it more - not that I didn't like it. I stayed up til 2 in the morning reading because I couldn't put it down. I can totally relate to having to force yourself to put the book down :)