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REVIEW: All U Can Eat by Emma Holly

Dear Ms. Holly:

All U Can EatWhenever I think of erotica, my list always includes you. I remember that the first modern erotica book I read was menage. It was such a different story for me at the time. It was the first story I ever read that featured a menage. Since that time, you have moved from traditional erotica to romantica or romance with explicit sex. I liked your work to varying degrees but nothing has ever been a keeper for me.

I appreciate the chances you took in your books before Ellora’s Cave even trademarked romantica. When I was reading this story, I felt that this would be it, my first Emma Holly keeper. To some degree I believe that it could be. It focuses primarily on a romance between Frankie, an experienced woman, who is getting over a bad public breakup and the chief of police, Jack West, who has lusted after her for quite some time but because of a bad divorce has some self esteem issues. (I thought this was great because you rarely see this in romance. It’s almost turning the genre on its head with this type of conflict).

While the heroine, Frankie, does have sex with characters it seemed for the most part in keeping with her personality and with the development of the story altogether. The suspense part of the story featured the slaying of Frankie’s ex’s new fling outside her restaurant. This implicated Frankie and complicated Jack West’s pursuit of Frankie. The suspense plot was a bit flimsy but maybe necessary to move the book along.

Even with the weak suspense plot, I still thought that it was a good read until a certain part of the book in which you inserted a menage that was completely gratuitous. I don’t know if it is part of the erotic romance manual to include this scene or if I missed some character growth/plot development or what. I didn’t even find it titillating because the characters who were involved in the menage seemed like caricatures.

I can’t say that one scene ruined the entire book for me, but it diminish my overall enjoyment. Thankfully, I bought the ebook version, so I am just going to delete that portion from my ebook, pretend like it never happened and I am pretty sure I will enjoy my re-reading of this revised envision. B.

Best regards

Jane

Jane Litte is the founder of Dear Author, a lawyer, and a lover of pencil skirts. She spends her downtime reading romances and writing about them. Her TBR pile is much larger than the one shown in the picture and not as pretty. You can reach Jane by email at jane @ dearauthor dot com

7 Comments

  1. Tara Marie
    Dec 13, 2006 @ 08:02:37

    You and I have similar thoughts about this book, it was entertaining the characters likable, but that scene does seem rather gratuitous. It doesn’t ruin the book, but it does take you out of the story somewhat.

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  2. Chez Moi
    Dec 13, 2006 @ 13:47:58

    Same with me. I enjoyed it right up to this Menage scene. Though I have to say I still keep it on my shelf because Holly is one of the few authors who can make it work somehow. But my alltime favorite Holly’s are Ménage and Beyond Innocent (despite historical inaccuracies). I can’t stand her upyrs and only tried demons once but they aren’t for me either. So I am reduced to buy her one? erotica/year *snief*.

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  3. Robin
    Dec 13, 2006 @ 14:17:09

    I can’t stand her upyrs and only tried demons once but they aren’t for me either. So I am reduced to buy her one? erotica/year *snief*.

    How funny; I’m the exact opposite in that Catching Midnight is my favorite Holly, followed by Demon’s Daughter. And all that, despite the fact that I am not a *natural* lover of paranormal Romance. No Holly is bad, though, IMO. The contrast between the way she handles envelope-pushing sex and, say, Brenda Joyce in The Conqueror (I linked to your blog, obviously), makes me even more appreciative of and grateful for Holly, even at her weakest. I think Holly makes it all work because she demonstrates such a clear respect for her characters and her readers; no matter what, there’s always a good-natured sensibility in Holly’s fiction.

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  4. Chez Moi
    Dec 13, 2006 @ 14:51:55

    I’m completely with you Robin. Holly even works at her weakest because she appreciates her characters. For example Frankie in All U Can Eat sees herself as a slut who loves to enjoy men – and Holly is the only author I know who can portray such a woman in a way that I don’t loose respect of her. The sex scene never appear gratuitous or cheap. I can understand the motivation of the heroine and that she enjoys it – even if I personally prefer no bedjumping in an erotic romance. I truly liked Frankie and Jack and my biggest problem with the story was that Jack went (if I remember correctly) eleven years without sex – somehow that made me crazy to think of *lol*.
    As to Holly’s paranormals. To be honest, I have problems with paranormals in the first case – especially were demons and such creatures are concerned. Except for Ward and Viehl I prefer paranormals were people have special abilities for example, but all those shifters aren’t my thing :-), and I remember one book of her, I bought it with an amazon voucher I got for my birthday. It was The Demon’s Daughter, and I was so anticipating it – yet couldn’t finish it because I was bored to death. After her upyrs and this demon adventure I gave up on her paranormals.

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  5. Melanie
    Dec 13, 2006 @ 20:51:50

    I skimmed the part with the menage. I’d picked this book up because of a good review (it was my first Emma Holly) and loved Jack and Frankie. Just wasn’t sure what was with that scene. I felt like I’d stumbled into another book (and was a bit frightened, frankly).

    But I’d try her again!

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  6. ames
    Dec 13, 2006 @ 23:07:16

    I completely agree re: the gratuitous sex scene. The rest of the book was fine, but that one scene threw me for a loop. She did that in Menage as well (I just finished reading it not too long ago). The scene with the school girl and priest?

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  7. Chez Moi
    Dec 14, 2006 @ 03:33:49

    Well, I don’t care for schoolgirl fantasies either (actually I consider them beeing stupid) but she did make it work – and funnily I didn’t mind with Ménage, because it was from the beginning with two men. I even liked the group scene with the two “outsiders”, damn I think I have to reread this book.
    Perhaps this hopping around are some remnants from writing for Black Lace – where this may be a requirement. I haven’t read many books from that line, but monogamy has NEVER been an issue *lol*.

    I recently read The Tutor by Portia Da Costa, my first Black Lace since my Emma Holly glom. And up to a certain point I really liked the erotica story, even the bed hopping but then it went downhill and ONE scene turned the book from keeper status into to be sold status.

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