Monday, July 30, 2018

Karen Kelley - Close Encounters of the Sexy Kind

Sex with the perfect man is overrated, especially if your Mr. Perfect is a robot, and you know there's something better out there. Can Mala help it if "out there" is way out there? Her grandmother, an intergalactic traveler, left a diary behind describing the exceptional lovemaking talents of Earth men. There's also a documentary that depicts a comely young woman and a rugged-looking person she calls "Sheriff." There are no Sheriffs on Mala's home planet. Solution? Head for Earth and get one of her own... 
Sheriff Mason McKinley is having one hell of a week. First, the local conspiracy theorist called a bunch of reporters to town in search of Bigfoot, and now he insists he's seen a UFO land out near Devil's Bend. But when Mason rides out to investigate, instead of little green men, he finds the sexiest woman he's ever laid eyes on. Though Mala's odd behavior-an obsession with the naked channel, straightforward offers of sex-might have something to do with amnesia, what red-blooded American male wouldn't feel lucky? Still, Mason doesn't want to take advantage of a lost soul...however much she wants to be taken advantage of.

Comment: I got this book years ago, when I first started to get ebooks (even before I got my e-reader, which is a million times better than the PC for obvious reasons) but as it happens, I can't seem to get the ebook pile down, pretty much as the paperback one doesn't either, and this was among the several files I've collected trough the years. Honestly, I can't remember why anymore.

In this book we meet Mala, an alien living in a women only planet (they do have robots to impersonate men, sort of) but everything in her planet is controlled, perfect and without challenges. Mala has videos left by her grandmother from when she was able to travel to Earth and those videos show a more sensual and emotional life on a planet now considered "primitive". Nevertheless, Mala wants to go there for a while, just to experience life in a different setting.
However, things don't go as easily and as quickly as she imagined and during her experiences on Earth, she lives closely to Mason, a man she seems to keep developing feelings for...but hat about when she will need to go home?

Despite the apparent fluffiness of the description I wrote and the blurb, I thought the premise of this book wasn't that bad if ne considers sci-fi romances.
I knew the story would focus a little too much on the sex scenes but I was surprised to see it wasn't as erotic as I imagined. Yes, there are things that don't make much sense but considering the alien detail, it wasn't as bad as that.

My biggest issue with this book and why my grade isn't higher is that the author chose to highlight situations I think aren't the important ones (like the sex and the differences between planets (which is obvious to expect) and the conviction Mala would always know best) and perhaps different things (like a better notion of Mala's difficulties, abetter comprehension of how time was passing by and she didn't fit so well) but in the end what really feels off to me is how the author inserted this comedy tone - understandable - but the result was something that reads very silly at times. I think a better structure of the plot within the rules expected would have worked better... like more emphasis on Mala's relationship without it being too focused on sex.

The romance has interesting scenes, especially when they clearly can't see things the same way but because of a certain detail, the romance is very unbalanced and I didn't enjoy it as much. I would have preferred Mala to be equally surprised by her feelings and emotions as Mason but it wasn't the case, not completely. This means, we always know what Mala thinks but never what Mason is going through... considering the fact they are not from the same species,and there's no talk of cultural differences for one or two reasons, it felt unfair.

The story also involves some things which I assume were done to be funny (like Mala's weird reaction to "common" things and the paparazzi and news cast teams as villains, etc) because of the interactions they provoked and how that highlighted the differences between Mala and humans. However, some situations were too silly to even be considered comedy. I just think the author tried several approaches and none felt part of a whole, so the story lacks direction, to me.

All things considered, I think the characters weren't that well "created" in order for this story to feel more complete or richer. Things do sound superficial at times and if not for one or two details, this would feel even weaker to me. The tone wasn't well done, the balance of the story wasn't achieved. It has nice details but that's it, I'd say.
Grade: 5/10

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