REVIEW: Sex, Spies and Sapphires by Shelley Munro
Dear Ms Munro,
For a book as short as this is, with three main characters, lots secondary characters and several long sex scenes, I should have gotten the feeling that every word was being used for a purpose, that every scene counted, that maximum use was made of the entire story. Instead, what I felt a a lot of while reading it was bored.
An heirloom sapphire. That’s where Sarah Walsh’s troubles began. Oh and sex. That came into the equation when she met Flynn Wangford. Now he has her sapphire and she wants it back.
Bad boy Flynn is causing trouble again. Sarah and fellow spy, sometimes lover Thomas MacIntyre are assigned to protect the British prime minister and royal guest Princess Leila from Mundavia while keeping an eye on Flynn. For Sarah it’s a chance to retrieve her sapphire. Somehow, she’ll juggle official duties and best the cocky Australian. But before she knows it, Sarah is alone with Flynn and they end up horizontal. The sex is explosive and hot, hot, hot, but she can’t stop thinking about Thomas. Two men. They’re so different yet both are delectable and very distracting for a woman with a mission.
Sarah must concentrate on recovering her sapphire but it seems she and Flynn aren’t the only players in the quest to secure the gemstone. Thomas wants the sapphire as well.
I should also say that what I ended up getting with this book was nothing like what I thought. Throughout the story, I kept thinking “spies wouldn’t act like this/do this/be like this.” The guests at the event where most of the action takes place were acting strangely. The main characters seemed more focused on sex than on what I thought was the plot. In other words, up until the end, when I knew what was going on, it felt disjointed and amateurish.
Now I know the reason for it but instead of being pleasantly surprised, it left me feeling that I’d wasted my time, that this was an hour of my life down the drain for a book that ended up doing nothing for me. I didn’t care for Sarah, Thomas or Flynn, I didn’t care who shagged who, and I ended up speeding through the sex scenes which is not a good sign for an erotica novella. And when it was all over, all I could think of was
After my first good experience with your writing, I’m sorry that this one hardly worked at all for me.
Dear Ms. Munro:
I have to say that I felt the same way as Jayne but I would have given a slightly better grade although the ending left me just as perturbed. Your style and voice are appealing but the book was poorly crafted. The main characters had no discernible motivation other than to have sex with each other. Despite the declarations of love and feelings for each other, the actions of the character belied those with the frequent bed hopping. It did not feel romantic at any part of the story.
The plot is a caper, a mystery, a whodunit. In those books, the ending has to fit the clues that the author leaves the reader so that when the ending comes, the reader can go back and enjoy either the sense of discover or the cleverness of the foreshadowing. In this book, however, the ending does not match the clues. Frankly, the ending seemed like a cheat to me. If you tell me that your characters feel jealousy, hurt and betrayal, and then wipe that all away, it makes me wonder whether I can trust any characterizations in the future. C-.