I’d like to preface this review by pointing out that I don’t read romance. It’s not a true conscious avoidance of the subject, and I always have romantic subplots in the stories I write myself. I simply don’t seek it out. Romance and erotica just tends to come off shallow and predictable for me. Obviously this is not always the case, but it’s often enough that I’d rather bury myself in the Fantasy/Sci-Fi section of the bookstore.
That being said, Aila is a fantastic friend of mine. She asked me to read her book to check for formatting and technical issues that may have come up that she missed. I actually didn’t even have time to glance at it for a few days, but I finally decided to skim it during a slow day at work.
Two hours of reading time later, I was done.
Title: Sex, Love, and Technicalities
Author(s): Aila Stephens
Published: July 26, 2016, self-published
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Length: 280 pages, softcover
Turning thirty isn’t easy for most women, but Briella Logan never expected it to be quite so traumatic.
Just weeks before her dreaded day, the restaurant which Briella has loved for years is reduced to ash–taking with it the young life of Annalise: a coworker, frenemy, and ex-girlfriend to Brie’s best friend. Despite the fire being ruled an accident, Brie’s instincts tell her otherwise, especially after being questioned by the police herself.
Concentrating on crime proves difficult, however, when an old flame from high school, Paul, makes her a generous job offer and the irresistible Liam lands in Tennessee. Brie finds herself caught in a flurry of secrets between her past and her future and suddenly instead of celebrating with champagne, Brie is hiding at the bottom of a tequila bottle. When the smoke finally clears, will there be justice? And will Brie finally believe in happily ever after?
First Impression: *GASP!* What happens next?!
This book is a very easy read. I practically devoured it. The story moves at an appropriate pace, and the author clearly understands when to pause on a moment and when to push forward. I was not left in the lurch feeling confused, but I also didn’t feel as though I was bored and slogging through unnecessary scenes. The series of events makes sense and seems almost inevitable while still remaining unpredictable. At several points, I sent Aila a message to demand answers. She, of course, ignored my pleas for knowledge and waited for me to actually read the damn thing. The only reason I would not rate the story as an A is because there were a few moments that I feel were similar to a book I did not enjoy reading. Because of this, it pulled my attention away from the story, but this is obviously a personal bit that won’t apply to everybody.
Character Development: A+
The main character of the story, Briella Logan, has to go through a lot of shit in this book. I would almost feel bad if I didn’t get so much enjoyment out of it. You go with her through several events, and it’s obvious that the events are impacting her in a way that lasts more than a paragraph or two. The character adapts to the story, as it should be. In addition, the side characters are just as well developed as the main characters, and the personalities work well. These people will have you chasing red herrings left and right, sending the reader on a highly enjoyable ride.
I was supposed to be paying the most attention to this and the technical formatting while I was reading this, remember? If you do remember me saying that, congratulations, you did better than I did. Honestly, I was so intrigued by the story, I didn’t pay much attention. I do tend to pick up on things like that easily, though. There was nothing out of place that distracted from the story, and even the layout was fantastic.
Sex, Love, and Technicalities was a lovely read. I would recommend this to anybody looking for a romantic book that has more to offer than a bleeding heart and a few good sex scenes. [Though, be assured, there are a few good sex scenes.] In addition to the lovey doveyness, there is also a mystery to be solved and several instances where the emotional fortitude of the characters is well and truly tested. I am looking forward to reading the next book in this series, and I have already demanded to beta read for it.
Recommended read? Yes. Now go buy it.