Sugar Daddy by Lisa Kleypas

Sugar Daddy – Lisa Kleypas
My Rating: Rainy Day Read
Suggested Audience: Adults (women)
Page Count: 371
Publication: 2007

 

Background

Liberty grows up on the wrong side of the tracks at the Blue-Bonnet Ranch Mobile Home Estates in the town of Welcome, Texas. Falling in love with town heart throb Hardy Cates, Liberty envisions a happy future – but Hardy does not want to let love stand in the way of his ambitions to leave Welcome forever.

“The late afternoon sun was as round and white as a paper plate tacked to the sky. Heat seemed to come equally from below as above, uncurling in visible waves from the cracked ground. Time moved at a crawl in Welcome, where people considered anything needing o be done in a hurry wasn't worth doing…”

After a tragic incident, teenage Liberty is left to raise her infant sister alone. Determined to make them a better life, Liberty moves to the big city and studies to be a hairdresser, befriending billionaire tycoon Churchill Travis. Will this new friendship be the start of a whole new life for Liberty, or will her past come back to haunt her?

My Thoughts

After hearing glowing reviews of Lisa Kleypas' historical romances, I was so excited to find Sugar Daddy at a school fete book sale! After hearing so much about this New York Times Best-selling author, I expected wonderful things from this novel. I was disappointed.

I initially found the novel to be tedious; it reads less like a typical chick-lit with a moving narrative, and more like a life story of Liberty Jones. Sugar Daddy slowly works chronologically through Liberty's childhood and teenage years, and left me feeling quite bored and uncertain where this narrative was going.

After Liberty is faced with a family tragedy (which, by the way, I thought was thoroughly glossed over and written in a completely unrealistic and unbelievable manner), the narrative picks up, leaving you wondering how she will recover from this adversity. And this is where the biggest issue I have with Sugar Daddy begins.

Put simply, Sugar Daddy felt incredibly set-up and convenient. All of the struggles Liberty faces are resolved very quickly in unrealistic ways. When she has no money and no prospects, her friend offers her a job. When she cannot afford to study at the beauty school, she is gifted a scholarship… This left me feeling frustrated; I wanted some plot development where the protagonist had to really work towards bettering herself, offering the reader a real taste of life. Being handed everything on a silver platter (especiciLly moments after being faced with the issue in the first place) is, to me at least, not realistic.

“I wanted a cosmetology licence so badly, I could hardly stand it. There were so many places I could work at, so much I wanted to learn. I thought I had the right temperament to be a hairstylist, and I knew I had the drive. I had everything but money” (page 149)

“'I have some good news for you, if you're still interested in attending the academy this year?'
'Yes,' I managed to whisper, sudden excitement clutching at my throat.
'It turns out that another place in our scholarship program has just become available for the fall term. I can give you a full financial aid package' “ (page 153)


While it was a highly implausible story, at the risk of sounding thoroughly hypocritical, I must say I did enjoy the simplicity of the storyline. While as I said, so e plot development would have done Sugar Daddy a number of favours, my Christmas-festivity addled head was glad of the mental reprive that is Sugar Daddy. My recommendation is that if you want something romantic and whimsical to read when you're feeling half brain-dead, give Sugar Daddy a go.

By the way – if you liked reading Sugar Daddy, you'll be excited to know that Lisa Kleypas has released two other novels following other characters from the novel (Blue Eyed Devil and Smooth Talking Stranger) with a third, Brown Eyed Girl, being released very soon!

Where Can I Get It?

To buy Sugar Daddy for a great price and have it shipped straight to your door for free, check out the Book Depository.

 

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All Those Ways Of Leaving by Nick Earls

All Those Ways Of Leaving – Nick Earls

My Rating: Must Read! Get It Now!
Suggested Audience: YA – Adults
Page Count: 54
Publication: 2012 (Read Via iBooks)


Background

As she lies in her hospital bed sucking on her hair, upping her morphine and trying not to screech at her mother who is trying to be helpful but is only causing frustration, Shelly contemplates her past and the number of ways she has left various stages of her life as well as all the things she's done that make all the things she'll never do–like have a proper mid-life crisis–slightly more tolerable.

“You are leaving a molecule at a time. You’ve warned him of that now. You are leaving by allowing your abilities to lapse and slip away uncontested, one by one.

It’s night and sometimes you’re asleep and sometimes you’re awake, and you’re dreaming up ways of leaving. You are swelling muscles and striding out, as though this has never happened. You are leaving from the roof by a hang-glider that’s been waiting for you there all this time. You are leaving in a cab, the cab that took you home legless last Melbourne Cup, six days before you stopped being perfectly healthy.”

(Excerpt From: Earls, Nick. “All Those Ways of Leaving.” This material may be protected by copyright.)

My Thoughts

Given my own family history with the absolute hell that is cancer as well as my experience of Nick Earl's exceptional skills as an author, as i began reading All Those Ways Of Leaving, I fully expected that I would need to put the novel down at some point, so difficult and emotional it is to read of a patient dying from cancer.

For this reason, I expected that I wouldn't like or enjoy this short story, but such is my love of Nick Earls' writing that I chose to give it a try anyway.

I am grateful for persevering despite the challenging topic. Shelly is the kind of character I think we all hope we would be should be ever be faced with such adversity. She has an inner voice that is both familiar and distanced from the reader, making her simultaneously a likeable and mysterious protagonist who you cheer on with every turn of the page. I read out sections of this short story to my mother (who has had her own battles with cancer) and she laughed and cried, saying how much she identified with Shelly's voice and feelings.

For a short story, I was entranced by how cleverly Nick Earls paints a picture which is so detailed without the need for many words; In 54 pages, he manages to create what some authors struggle to portray in a trilogy. I think part of the magic was the way he uses second person narration as a way to connect the reader with the protagonists journey. I think it's fair to say that most adults have some experience of cancer or other life threatening illness, and it's Nick Earls' use of the second person that forces the reader to delve into the uncomfortable memories, feelings and emotions and reconnect with these again.

I strongly recommend this short story to anyone looking for a quick but emotionally-stirring read.

Where Can I Get It?

To buy All Those Ways Of Leaving for a great price and have it shipped straight to your door for free, check out the Book Depository.

Free Delivery on all Books at the Book Depository

 

30 Day Book Challenge!

I found this little challenge on That Little Book Blog (awesome book blog, by the way – do check it out and support a fellow book blogger!) and anyway, I thought it sounded like a fun little challenge to undertake!

As I am participating in another challenge and want to keep things interesting (every bloggers plight), I think the best method of attack is doing this challenge somewhat haphazardly, so you'll get to know me slowly but not be totally scared away…

So keep eyes open for these posts, coming soon!