J. Bailey's Reviews > Seducing Cinderella

Seducing Cinderella by Gina L. Maxwell
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Jul 21, 12


I am thrilled to review Gina L. Maxwell's debut novel Seducing Cinderella. In order to do this, though, we need to discuss the word debut. Debut generally indicates the first published work by an author, or an introduction to an author's work. Many times, as a reader, I am more tollerant of a debut author's work, a little nicer, more likely to forgive minor mistakes or awkwardness. After all, few people are perfect their first time out the gate. Also, Seducing Cinderella is considered a Category Romance, and I don't tend to spend a lot of time reading category romances. Readers have certain expectations when reading a category romance, including a generally shorter length and a heavy reliance on tropes of the genre.

Lucky for me, did not have to overlook or forgive any amateurish "mistakes" or awkwardness--Maxwell is truly gifted. Not only did she write an engaging, sexy book, she maintained the expectation of a category romance--using the "tried and true" tropes of the industry while at the same time keeping it fresh and unique.

The Cinderella theme has been used for decades--the idea that a fairy godmother (or hero) puts the unassuming, unremarkable Cindy into a beautiful dress and suddenly the world is hers to take. I've always sort of disliked this trope--it seems to me that it is telling us that a fancy dress and a dab of makeup is all it takes to snag Prince Charming. I find this kind of superficial thinking dangerous. Maxwell taps into what I consider the truth of the Cinderella transformation. Yes, upgrading the exterior can help, but it's a sign of building confidence--and it's the confidence and positive self-esteem that make a woman sexy and unforgettable. Reid doesn't just tell Lucie to get a haircut, pluck her eyebrows and put on a pretty dress, he forces her to acknowledge her own inner and outer beauty, and helps build her confidence.

Seducing Cinderella succeeds because of two complex characters--Reid and Lucie. Lucie is a disorganized soul who needs predictability and schedules. A previous relationship leaves her disillusioned about the merits of passion and love at first sight, she decides that it would be better to build a relationship on mutualinterests and goals. She's got the insecurities most women face, but she isn't defined by them. She's good at what she does and knows it. She knows what she wants and will go after it. These kinds of traits are what make her a strong and realistic character.

"For whatever reason, Lucie acted as though it was her place not to create any more ripples in life's pool than necessary. As for Reid? He preferred the cannonball approach."

As should be the case with the hero in any good romance, I am in complete love/lust with Reid. He's a macho MMA figher with an artists sensitivity. That combination is PERFECT! You've got this guy who is bad-ass in the cage, agressive and determined to overcome his injury to get back into that cage, yet one who will stop to chat with children who idolize him and make sure they understand the difference between fighting in the cage and using violence to get what they want. He's dedicated and disciplined and way too sexy for his own good, without the obnoxious arrogance that could come with it.

What makes Maxwell's writing so exciting is her voice. She keeps the prose and dialogue exciting with a fun blend of snark and attitude that adds humor, but keeps enough warmth and sensitivity to smooth over the potential for sharp edges. Not only that, she has a way of looking at things that is both unique and universal. For example, she was able to use one sentence to set the mood and atmosphere of a location: "The club was like a frat house on steroids with a country club clientele." This combination of disperate universal images gives the reader an immediate sense of the location. This is a skill seen by many experienced, successful authors--I've noticed it with Richelle Mead, author or several paranormal series, for example.

Published under Entangled Publshing's newly introduced Brazen imprint, Seducing Cinderella is smokin' hot. The love scenes are explicit and sexy as hell, but they are not gratuitous in the least. Every intimate encouter moves the story forward, complicates the plot and is so filled with emotion that the impact his huge. While reading them, I wanted to break out my fan to cool off and, at the same time, hug my teddy bear and sniffle at the emotion laced within the heat.

There is only one bit about the story that I kind of wish was expanded. Reid is an MMA fighter and it plays a huge part in his character and his motivation. Maybe it's because I don't watch MMA matches and don't know much about the sport, but I would have loved a little more detail about it and what it entails. Unfortunately, from a plot and writing perspective, I understand that extra info in this regard isn't necessary and would likely slow the pacing, so I get why it's not there. Not even as a reader, but as me, I'm fascinated by this sport and the way it can define and shape characters. There's hope for me, though. A little birdie told me (and it's on the cover) that this is the first in a series, so I expect I'll get to know more about these guys and the sport. :)

So, to sum up: This book if fantastic and I encourage people to pick it up. Maxwell is a gifted author and I suspect we'll be seeing a lot more from her.

Happy reading!
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Denise - Shh Mom's Reading ™  Interview with Reid Andrews from Seducing Cinderella along with book Trailer Premiere and chance to Win A Signed Paperback!!! of Seducing Cinderella
http://tinyurl.com/alk3tog


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