Callie Unwrapped by Amy Jo Cousins (Play It Again #1)
Released November 17, 2014
Reviewed by Sheena
Blurb: Callie isn’t sure just how kinky anyone can get on a Tuesday before Christmas, but she’s willing to find out. That is, assuming this first drink at a pool hall with her ex, Gabe, and his girl, Kate, doesn’t send anyone screaming from the bar. Newly divorced after years of sleep-walking through occasional sex, she’s hoping to find her way back to the fiery confidence of her youth, when she saw what, or who, she wanted and grabbed it with both hands.
Callie discovers that letting herself be sexually confident again is harder than she imagined. She’ll need to bare both her body and her heart to find out if she can still reach fearlessly for adventure.
I am straddling the hell out of this fence I can’t stop riding regarding Callie Unwrapped. The premise. Cute. Sexy. Interesting. Woman rediscovers her inner sexual hedonist that previous lay dormant during her (now) failed marriage. I can dig it! But Jaysus, Joseff and Murry- it took too damn long to get to the-climax (pun intended). There is an issue of balance that I just could not shake. The author drops this sounds-good-on-paper heroine in my lap, I barely know her, let alone become invested in her journey and then the brakes are slammed on the action. I mean, I don’t want my characters screwing by page 3, but come ON, the pace felt like frozen molasses. I can take an indecisive heroine. The “will they-won’t they” push pull is par for the course when it comes to my beloved romance novels. BUT it is almost cruel to dangle before my eyes a heroine who has made her decision and then have me bumble about in her head for 50 pages while she psychoanalyzes every nuance! I was beyond ready for Gabe and Kate to tell her to effing shat or get OFF the damn pot already! All the pissing around the toilet seat Callie was doing, did nothing but bore me to tears. When things finally get going between the threesome, the author definitely brought the heat, but by then I was so worn from all the extensive mental foreplay that I could barely muster my interest in seeing things explode. Like having an orgasm with one eye open. Too much work!
The missed opportunities are the unexpected dialogue gems buried in the hum drummery of it all. Pockets of time where we discover Gabe is a wounded male who has sworn off giving his heart to a woman after suffering past emotional pain. I was intrigued when Kate let her sex-kitten co-ed facade slip and was vulnerable for 15 seconds- and we see that she yearns for Gabe, but is satisfying herself with the emotional shards of affection- mere pieces of himself, that he is willing to share with her. This is novella-ish so perhaps there is only so deep to delve, however, more time should have been devoted to these quiet moments when we actually learn something to bond us to the characters. As it were, I didn’t get to know any of them particularly well and besides kudos for being a cool ex and patient ménage à trois proctor, I don’t know much about Gabe. Kate was a prop and Callie was finally unwrapped after all. Though given her hyper psychoanalyzing tendencies- I’d save the wrapper. *shrugs*
Callie Unwrapped appears to be the start of a new series, unfortunately I’m hopping off the fence with this one.
Goodreads l Author Website l Series
Whew. I’m wore out from your review. Sad it didn’t work for you.
I don’t think I was as frustrated as you were, but I think maybe this story would have worked better if it had been released closer in time to the next story. If it had been presented as a prequel novella to a longer story, I think it would have served its purpose in making me want to read the longer story. Pitched as a standalone, it just feels incomplete… and it’s made more frustrating by the fact that I feel like we’re not really given cues as to what the next phase of the story will be, so I’m not even sure whether or not to expect a HEA and if so, how many people might be involved.