Edited 8/24/13: Sugar Daddy is the book that initially made me a Lisa Kleypas fan, but I love everything she’s writ...more5++++ stars – Contemporary Romance
Edited 8/24/13: Sugar Daddy is the book that initially made me a Lisa Kleypas fan, but I love everything she’s written. I’ve reread this several times now and it’s still one of my top all-time favorite beloved romances. I can’t wait for Joe’s story!
I really wish this series would get made into a movie!
Original Review 4/24/09:
This is the first novel I have read by Lisa Kleypas, and I mainly read it in order to have the necessary background to read “Blue-Eyed Devil” and “Smooth Talking Stranger”, both of which had sparked my interest. I honestly didn’t have very high expectations of “Sugar Daddy” based on the mediocre book jacket description, after reading some of the mixed reviews referring to it as chick-lit rather than romance, and that it’s written solely in first person point of view, which isn’t my preference.
Needless to say, I was very pleasantly surprised and completely blown-away by this book. I read it on a plane and made an utter embarrassment of myself because I cried and laughed out loud through the entire book, often feeling both emotions on the same page! It’s extremely funny, touching, and emotionally moving.
I simply adored Liberty’s character and found myself rooting for her like a bubbly cheerleader. She goes through so much pain, turmoil, and hardship and yet maintains such a positive outlook on life. Witnessing her transition from an awkward, shy, self-conscious adolescent to a strong, independent, courageous, beautiful woman is heartwarming, especially since she always remains true to herself and her roots and puts her sister Carrington’s needs before her own. Liberty is funny, brave, selfless (almost too much so), caring, loyal, and innocent yet wise. She’s one of the most lovable heroines of any book I have ever read.
I agree that “Sugar Daddy” is perhaps more chick-lit than romance considering that the romance element doesn’t pick up pace until about a third of the way through the book, but I loved sharing Liberty’s life journey so much that I really didn’t mind it. Once the romance factor does heat up, it takes center stage in the story, and although it’s PG-13 and I usually prefer my romance to be a little (okay a lot) steamier, it’s absolutely engaging and beautifully written. There were moments when I would have liked for some of the narrative to come from Hardy's and Gage’s points of view, but the bottom line is that it’s Liberty’s tale and her life struggle and perspective are what drive the story.
As far as romantic interests for Liberty, there are two main hunks in the story, Hardy and Gage, and initially I thought I would be a Hardy fan, but I found myself being Team Gage all the way (at least as the best love interest for Liberty). Hardy might be sinfully sexy and devilishly charming, but I found myself rooting for steadfast Gage. He treats Liberty with so much respect and tenderness that it melted my heart like butter. He’s an absolute dreamboat once she manages to get past his tough exterior and defenses. The romance between Liberty and Gage is syrupy sweet...I couldn’t get enough of it!
Here are some random/favorite things that I loved and/or laughed about in “Sugar Daddy”: the emu story, Liberty giving her mom’s delivery nurse a folder with birthing instructions and preferences, the tender sister moments, references to how Texans love to deep fry everything (very true) and southern cooking and recipes (including my own sister’s favorite red velvet cake), accurate depictions of the differences between people from Dallas, Austin, and Houston, the sign “property of Liberty Jones” moment when Liberty gets custody of her sister (serious tears shed there), the relationship development between Liberty and Gage, and there are so many great life quotes and valuable life lessons in this book that it’s impossible to mention them all.
I grew up in Fort Worth/Dallas, have spent time in Houston for work, have lived in Austin for the past 8 years, and have family from/in various parts of Texas, and I can tell you that Kleypas’s portrayal of Texans and Texas culture in all three of her Travis’s series books (“Sugar Daddy”, “Blue-Eyed Devil”, and “Smooth Talking Stranger”) is quite fair and accurate.
Tammy’s review here on GR is great and includes a spot on story background, so I highly recommend checking it out.
“Sugar Daddy” is an utter delight, full of laughs and heartwarming moments, with characters to love and cheer for and terrific writing. I absolutely loooved it, and I would give it much more than 5 stars if I could...so big 5++ Texas stars!
The Travis’s series has turned me into a big Lisa Kleypas fan, and I plan on reading all of her historical romances now as well.
I wanted to read “Blue-Eyed Devil” because Hardy Cates seemed like such a sexy and magnetic bad-boy character. I mainly...more5+ stars – Contemporary Romance
I wanted to read “Blue-Eyed Devil” because Hardy Cates seemed like such a sexy and magnetic bad-boy character. I mainly read “Sugar Daddy” in order to have the necessary background on him to read this, so color me surprised that I wound up not liking this as much as “Sugar Daddy”.
Don’t get me wrong, Hardy Cates is everything I thought he would be and then some, but to me, this book is seriously inhibited by not having his point of view. It’s told strictly from the first person point of view of heroine Haven Travis, and she’s just no Liberty Jones folks. I thought this was Hardy’s story (I mean the title refers to him after all), but it’s actually Haven’s, and I just couldn’t get over being somewhat disappointed about that.
I empathized with Haven’s painful ordeal: she endures domestic violence by her narcissistic husband, including a brutal rape (thank you Tammy and Kim for the warning), and I was moved by her struggle to survive the aftermath and to build a new life for herself. I just couldn’t relate to her, and the first part of the book was difficult for me to get through.
When Hardy finally enters the picture and the sparks fly between him and Haven, that’s when things get interesting. Hardy is the ultimate bad-boy hero and impossible to encapsulate: he’s sexy-as-sin, devilishly charming, crude, arrogant, self-built and self-reliant, bold, flirtatious, and volatile. He’s so complex, and unfortunately without having his point of view, we never get enough insight into his thoughts, emotions, motives, and struggles and are left to wonder what’s really lurking behind his haunting blue eyes.
Also, the story ended way too abruptly for me and when things were finally coming together, felt rushed and left me wanting more of Hardy and Haven, especially more Hardy!
When reading about Hardy, I couldn’t help but daydream and do some imaginary casting. I kept picturing actor Josh Lucas from the movie Sweet Home Alabama or actor Josh Holloway, Sawyer from LOST, because both of them have the cocky swagger and sexy blue eyes.
Overall, “Blue-Eyed Devil” is a great read and saved by Lisa Kleypas’s masterful writing. I just can’t help being a little disappointed because it had the potential to be even better with a beguiling character like Hardy Cates, but just doesn’t fully deliver without giving us his side of the story. We are left to ponder too much and he remains an elusive mystery, which is just a shame because damn, the boy is smoking H-O-T! Even so, it's a terrific story, and I can’t seem to rate it less than 5 stars.
******Revised after finishing the series and completing a reread******
After reading so many contemporary romances, this is still a favorite keeper and definitely worth a 5+ rating!
Boy oh boy did I love this book!! “Smooth Talking Stranger” is a sinfully decadent treat for contemporary romance lover...more5+ stars – Contemporary Romance
Boy oh boy did I love this book!! “Smooth Talking Stranger” is a sinfully decadent treat for contemporary romance lovers! It’s like Godiva for chocolate lovers and a good French roast for coffee lovers...just yum!
I loved “Sugar Daddy”, despite that it leaned more towards chick-lit and really liked “Blue-Eyed Devil”, even though it was heavy on the drama and lacked Hardy’s viewpoint, but “Smooth Talking Stranger” is straight up romance and nice and steamy, just the way I like it!
Bachelor playboy Jack Travis is positively delicious...pure male and completely irresistible. Miss Independent Ella Varner tries mighty hard to resist his charms, but she’s delusional if she thinks for one minute that would ever work against a sexy, sweet, confident, enticing man’s man like Jack. I kept screaming...girl, if you don’t hurry and snatch him up you are crazy!
There are so many funny, tender, sexy moments in this book that it’s impossible to do it justice. The banter between Ella and Jack is a real delight. And good lord, the scenes with Jack caring for and playing with the baby nearly made me faint! He’s just absolutely swoon-worthy! There’s really no other way to describe him.
Ella hales from Austin (where I happen to live) and Kleypas’s description of the hippie Austin boyfriend Dane, with his hemp shirt and Birkenstocks, cracked me up because it’s just so true. Being an independent-minded, liberal vegetarian living in the conservative Lone Star State myself, I identified a lot with Ella’s character, but knew she stood no chance against a force like Jack Travis! He could pursue me any day girlfriends!
Even if you didn’t care for “Sugar Daddy” and/or “Blue-Eyed Devil” or avoided them because of the mixed reviews, don’t miss out on the sheer pleasure that is “Smooth Talking Stranger”, and I think it would be okay as a stand-alone novel. It’s utterly delightful and a contemporary romance lover’s dream...big 5 stars!(less)
I liked SEP’s witty writing, laugh-out-loud humor, and steamy love scenes, but the hero’s crappy treatment of the h...more4-4 ½ stars – Contemporary Romance
I liked SEP’s witty writing, laugh-out-loud humor, and steamy love scenes, but the hero’s crappy treatment of the heroine made me spitting nails mad at times. I just kept thinking, “why does she put up with his sh*t”?!?!
Retired football legend Bobby Tom Denton might be a sexy as sin, insatiably flirtatious, happy-go-lucky, infectiously funny, womanizing, hellraising, aw shucks ma’am cowboy with killer bedroom skills and a sh*t-eating grin, but he’s also an egotistical, immature, cocky, and sometimes mean jerk who treats Gracie like a pity friend, mercy f*ck who should be kissing his royal purple cowboy boots, for almost the entire book. Gracie Snow is a prim, quirky, sexually frustrated, 30-year-old virgin, Ohio wallflower who’s insecure about her supposedly Plain Jane looks, but she’s also funny, smart, strong-willed, giving, sweet, feisty, selfless, loving, spirited, and kind. And she deserves a whole lot more than someone who acts like they’re doing some huge, inconvenient cosmic favor by just spending time with her. I actually found myself thinking that Gracie might be better off just driving into the sunset, without Mr. Bobby Tom Denton, and I was a little disappointed with the ending because I wanted about two more chapters and an epilogue of some serious groveling on his part.
I really liked the secondary romance between Bobby Tom’s widowed mom Suzy and the former local bad boy turned wealthy, powerful corporate executive, Wayland Sawyer. In fact, I thought their intriguing relationship almost stole the spotlight from main couple, Bobby and Gracie.
Overall, I really enjoyed this fun, sexy contemporary romance, but I would have liked it even more and given it full 5 stars had the playboy charmer been taken down a peg or ten and done a little added soul searching and a whole lot more begging! (less)
An alpha cowboy hunk + pleasure giving vampire + present day Texas setting (including my very own city of Aust...more4 ½ stars – Vampire/Contemporary Romance
An alpha cowboy hunk + pleasure giving vampire + present day Texas setting (including my very own city of Austin) + Blaze’n hawt, hawt sex = Shawna one very happy girl! *naughty grin*
Cody Braddock is a hot, angst-laden, guilt-ridden, adrenaline junkie, alpha, champion bull-riding rodeo cowboy, and also happens to be a vampire, who draws his strength and invincibility from women’s orgasms, seeking vengeance against the master vampire who murdered his family, burned his ranch homestead to the ground, and turned him into a blood-and-orgasm-thirsty immortal.
Cody has a strict pleasure’em and leave’em, no strings attached policy, especially since all he cares about in his endless life is winning one more champion title belt and exacting his revenge, now that he’s finally tracked his family’s killer to the small Texas town of Skull Creek. On his way there, his path of retribution takes a slight detour when he meets sweet, innocent, passionate Miranda Rivers in an Austin bar, who’s looking to sow some wild oats and experience her very first man-induced orgasm, before tying the knot and succumbing to a life of boredom.
Although Miranda has a strict no cowboys rule, she decides that a wild, wanton, one time only tryst with the stud is exactly what she needs to get her long buried, dormant lust completely out of her system, for good. After one taste of Miranda, love’em and leave’em Cody can’t stop craving more, and suddenly she’s having second thoughts about her cowboys off limits code. But Cody is hell-bent set on vengeance and refuses to let a woman sidetrack him, no matter how much she stirs his lust or warms his cold heart. Can Miranda convince Cody that they belong together, forever?
Cody is the first book in a new Braddock Brothers off-shoot of Raye’s Love at First Bite Blaze series, and some of those characters make appearances in this. If this story is any indication of the fun and heat factor of the previous books, then you can bet I’ll be picking them up, and very soon! It’s an entertaining, super fun, smokin’ hot quickie read with a sexy vampire, cowboy stud and a great way to fantasize away a few hours. In fact, it’s my top favorite Harlequin Blaze read so far! 4 ½ stars! (less)
5 stars – Paranormal/Vampire/Urban Fantasy Romance
Thoughts Before Reading:
The fact that this takes place in Austin, TX and the addictive sample on Kin...more5 stars – Paranormal/Vampire/Urban Fantasy Romance
Thoughts Before Reading:
The fact that this takes place in Austin, TX and the addictive sample on Kindle that gave an awesome glimpse of the author's writing and of the unusual storyline definitely have me intrigued.
Thoughts After Reading:
I'm partly biased because this is set in my own city of Austin, Texas, which definitely contributed to my reading experience, but it's a very well-written, intelligent, and dark paranormal/urban fantasy romance that manages to be unique, despite that there are so many vampire series out there. Miranda's healing and personal transformation is emotionally powerful, gripping, and moving, and Prime vampire of the South David Solomon's sexy, intriguing mix of badass warrior, computer genius, ruthless political leader, and caring protector was swoon-worthy. Their connection is magnetic and believable, and the relationship development is realistically paced, especially considering Miranda's draining gifts and that she's a survivor of a brutal assault. They're wonderful, complex characters, and I really loved them as a couple. There's also a fascinating cast of secondary characters that I look forward to learning more about.
It's a gritty, affecting, and compelling series debut, and I can't wait to see what's next for Miranda and David in Shadowflame. 5 stars!