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REVIEW: Black Butterfly by Sienna Mynx

Black Butterfly Sienna Mynx

Dear Ms. Mynx:

In the grand tradition of harlequin presents, you bring us a multicultural story of a down on her luck heroine and a magnetic billionaire determined to possess her. I picked this book up after reading a positive review for Buttercup, another Mynx title, at Karen’s blog.  Her complaints were that Buttercup was too short and the villain’s motivations were confusing.  In Black Butterfly, the book is 140,000 words and there is no vvillain. Unfortunately it didn’t work for me as I had hoped.

Sydney Allen is a dancer but not one with classical ability. From the descriptions in the books, it sounds like she dances with a lot of passion but not as much technique as is necessary.  I struggled a bit with Sydney because she just didn’t appear to be as strong as the other dancers. The only training she received was through her mother’s dance class in church.

I think if Sydney’s presentation was modern dance instead of ballet, her lack of technique and training wouldn’t have concerned me. But she wanted to be the prima ballerina in a major production. Sydney has this exchange with the choreographer:

“But you are not a dancer.” The comment delivered the desired blow to her pride. Sydney felt small in front of the tiny woman. Gustav moved in closer. “You’ve no discipline, no training, and doze feet are unmanageable.”

“I disagree, Madame. I’ve earned my spot, and I’ll earn your respect. I hurt my foot, but—”

The reason that Sydney gets a position in the production is because she catches the eye of Nolen Adams who was helping to bankroll the production; not because she was a superior dancer. Sydney’s refusal to accept that her position was given to her because of Nolen’s interest grated.  The dancing aspect tapers off in the book. We are told that Sydney is a great singer too and I was left wondering why this gorgeous and talented dancer/singer wasn’t a pop star instead.

There is a strange secondary romance between a really awful photographer and one of Sydney’s roommates, Trish. I don’t even know if  I should label it a secondary romance because it seemed to take up as many pages as the romance between Sydney and Nolen. I was frustrated at how Portia, the third of Sydney’s roommates, a woman who used her body to move ahead, was portrayed as villainous when Sydney was doing essentially the same thing. I didn’t care that either of them were doing this, only that it was hypocritically portrayed.

The entire book was really a romance featuring anti heroes and the women they loved. Neither man felt as magnetic as he was written. Nolen, in particular, was a horrible bastard. In a scene with a previous lover, he tells her that she is bland and boring and “mine for the taking.”

“Don’t embarrass yourself, Xenia.”

Stopping her striptease, she froze. “What did you say to me?” Sitting forward, he stared at her coldly. “I said, don’t make a fool of yourself. I know you’re mine for the taking.”

Blushing, she ran her hands through her long curls. “Well, that’s true . . . What we have . . .”

“What we had was fun for a moment and pretty bland toward the end. I’m bored with it, and I’m bored with you,” he said, well aware that his words were like a slap across the face.

There were some serious spelling errors like ““Owe Nolen, not so hard.”

Also frustrating for me was the writing technique. The story would switch, in the middle of scenes, from one couple to another. One moment you would see Nolen and Sydney eating a late night snack and in mid scene, the reader would be taken to Todd and Trish eating a midnight snack. Or Nolen and Sydney would be having sex and then we would see Portia and Ricky having sex. It was jarring and I didn’t understand the purpose.

This book was over 140,000 words long and I guess it had to be that long to accommodate both love stories but I couldn’t help but wonder, as I labored for the finish, whether this wouldn’t have been better served as two separate books.  C-

Best regards,

Jane

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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

14 Comments

  1. Katherine
    Oct 25, 2012 @ 08:45:19

    Jane – you did better than I did with this book. I slogged through two thirds of it before I gave up. As I said in my review, I found it dated like an 80′s episode of Fame, including the depiction of the heroine and secondary female characters sexuality.

    I picked it up as a freebie from ARe, so my expectation were low. Unfortunately they were met…

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  2. Patricia Eimer
    Oct 25, 2012 @ 09:25:30

    I think this one might be a pass. I can’t do books with heroines who sleep their way into a job. I never get past it enough to do more than want to see them lose everything and never get HEA.

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  3. Renee Q
    Oct 25, 2012 @ 14:11:38

    140K of dreck! Twice the standard for romance!
    I am reminded of your tag line of a few weeks ago…”I read them so you don’t have to.”
    I for one appreciate it.
    :-)

    ReplyReply

  4. Janine
    Oct 25, 2012 @ 14:29:58

    Can I just say what a turnoff that cover is to me? I hate the smell of cigars. Hate it.

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  5. hapax
    Oct 25, 2012 @ 15:38:58

    I give up. I read the review and stared at the cover (eww) and I can’t figure out where the “multi-racial” part is.

    On the one hand, yay that apparently this isn’t an “issues” novel, but a hint would be nice?

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  6. Jane
    Oct 25, 2012 @ 15:46:56

    @hapax – it is the heroine. she is the “black” butterfly.

    ReplyReply

  7. Dabney
    Oct 25, 2012 @ 17:32:14

    Why is he a billionaire? The US has less than 500 billionaires. Why do they keep showing up in Harlequin romance novels? Why isn’t a plain old millionaire hot enough any more?

    ReplyReply

  8. Sienna Mynx
    Oct 25, 2012 @ 18:54:41

    Wow! My book got reviewed! Thanks so much for the review!

    ReplyReply

  9. Anna Cowan
    Oct 26, 2012 @ 00:53:14

    @Dabney this made me LOL. On the other hand, the first time I tried to explain my Regency romance to the husband I got as far as, “So there’s this duke,” and he was like, “Wait, wait. Do you know how many dukes there actually were in Britain? It’s really not that many.”

    @Jane the line you picked to showcase the spelling errors made me snicker. Well-picked!

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  10. Anna Cowan
    Oct 26, 2012 @ 00:54:44

    Also, yes, her dance ability would annoy me too, if she never gets self-aware about it. Even in Centre Stage the chick who has all the passion and none of the technique ends up realising her destiny isn’t classical ballet.

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  11. Katherine
    Oct 26, 2012 @ 08:43:03

    @Dabney: Why is he a billionaire?

    Here is my theory: Dukes are to Historicals as Billionaires are to Contemporaries.

    Profound, innit?

    ReplyReply

  12. Dabney
    Oct 26, 2012 @ 11:19:50

    @Katherine: But it used to be millionaires. I’m concerned that, in five years, it will be “The Trillionaire’s Bride’s Secret Baby.”

    ReplyReply

  13. paganalexandria
    Oct 26, 2012 @ 13:15:45

    I actually really enjoyed this book. Any book featuring dancers or ballet always gets an extra star from me. Yes, Nolan was an Ass, but I kind of liked that about him. I could have done without Tod and Trish’s b story.

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  14. Naillik
    Oct 26, 2012 @ 17:00:10

    Ugh… This book… This was the book that inspired me to first put my ranting online in the form of a blog entry that, point by point, dissected how much I loathed the entire thing. Looking back, I really don’t know why I finished it. It was a like a train wreck that kept on going from the main characters, to the side characters, to the massive hypocrisy, to the strangulation sex (first and, hopefully, last time I read that). Just… Ugh… So glad it was free from ARe.

    But… I will forever remember that it was the first book rant I ever wrote down for posterity so… there is that.

    ReplyReply

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