"Carter at least gave me a concerned look and did that half-sitting, half-standing thing
like he was getting ready to vault over the table to make sure I was okay. His concern for me was hot."
- Claire as she chokes from embarrassment
Seduction & Snacks (Chocolate Lovers #1) (by Tara Sevic)
Bebe’s Book Club pick for February
TBR Challenge 2013 for February
Conflict: "Surprise! I had your baby!"
Surprise Baby conflict pretty much says it all. The first three chapters are about Claire expressing her dislike/disinterest in giving birth and having kids, but then she explains how she became pregnant after a drunken frat party hook-up. She moves back home and has the baby, Gavin, who is now four years old (more on this shithead later). This is all mixed in with slapstick hijinks, sexual tension, hot sex, supreme embarrassment, candy descriptions (I'll be looking up recipes online - good LORD there's a lot of chocolate going on) and A LOT of alcohol. ...and the dirty frat party just continues throughout the pages.
Chapter 4 is from the mystery father’s perspective, which surprised me for a moment when I first read it. Major kudos to Tara for tackling a dual first-person POV in a contemporary romance – and still making me laugh out loud on my Metro ride into work. Mystery-dad Carter ends up meeting Claire – and I really felt like this part was the highlight of the story. The BEST is when he finally realizes that Gavin is his kid and Claire (whom he's been obsessing over since that drunken hook-up), is the mom.
The rest of the book stops being “truly romance-y” and becomes more of a sexy comedy about Carter and Claire resolving how to date, all while raising Gavin, being a family, and working out other awkward logistics since not knowing/seeing each other for the past four years.
Like Bebe mentioned - there is a resolution/confrontation of the exes - which mostly happens “off page”, but the reader still gets the impression that there is never going to be an opportunity for an ex to re-enter the picture. I felt disappointed with Carter's rude behavior in front of Claire’s “ex” (if we can even truly call him that). Claire really did not convey the message of “What you just did there was not cool. Plus, you made yourself look like a huge jerk.”
It's no matter though, because the past is in the past, and Claire and Carter are the only future… with Gavin. Now this little fucker… I don’t even know where to start or end. He swears, he hits, etc., and then he gets a finger-wag scolding. (?!?) I was at least hoping for “time-out” or taking his toys away, but no. I can only echo Bebe’s sentiment, although I am currently not a mother, “PLEASE, do not raise your kids this way”. Mostly, I had to remind myself, "This is fiction, this is fiction, four-year-olds don't really behave this way. This is fiction."
Why do I empathize with this heroine: I don’t. Yes, I feel embarrassed for her (many times) – but she goes through her own drama and just narrates it as she sees it. Claire can take care of herself. I never got the impression that she was “needy”. All immaturity and fart jokes aside, she had to grow up fast since her mom ditched her at a young age. She owns up to her “mistakes” – her word not mine. She is not lukewarm porridge, and Claire is very opinionated – and she seems to have an attitude of not giving a shit (unless it involves Gavin and Carter). I can see how this might turn off readers who disagree with Claire in any way. I happened to roll with it. It funny because Claire is a bar-tender, however, I ended up feeling like I was the one behind the bar, wiping down the counter with a soggy towel, slowly shaking my head, while Claire and Cater were the ones sitting down, dramatically telling me about all the insanity.
Overall: Seduction and Snacks becomes my most extreme standard for “funny romance novel”. (I would ask in my best Joe Pesci Goodfellas voice, “Funny how? - Like Seduction and Snacks funny? How is it funny to you?”)
This is the habanero of romance novels – some readers might be turned off right away, others might not be able to handle it after taking one bite, and others - they'll take it and they'll like it (maybe with tears in their eyes). Because it’s that extreme. I felt like I watched a marathon of Family Guy, while eating (I wish) amazing chocolate covered potato chips. At the end of the day, I’ll admit to myself that none of it was healthy, but I still laughed and enjoyed myself.
Looking forward to the next two books in the Chocolate Lovers series: Futures and Frosting (Claire and Carter 2.0!) and Trouble and Treats (Drew and Jenny's story - which intrigues me because Drew was just SUCH an asshat, and I want to read Tara work her magic and make me enjoy the story...) Plus, I've already downloaded the FREE PDF on Goodreads of Hearts and Llamas.
Things I loved:
- The scene where Carter thinks that Claire is dating her dad (Lots of snort-lolz from that one.)
- Claire getting the HEA that I wanted her to have
- The Disney Princess/Feminist debate
(and I have the original VHS cover of The Little Mermaid with the penis on the front!)
- The movie references (Heathers!)
- The cover is quickly becoming one of my favorite covers of all time