Start Me Up by Victoria Dahl
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
After reading "Talk me Down" I wasn't sure how any other contemporary romance could win my heart. But, after reading Start Me Up, I've learned that my heart can be an incredibly fickle bitch! Start Me Up is more funny, more sexy, and more romantic than Talk Me Down. Of course, I'm a sucker for the "old friends" vehicle so I was already pre-disposed to like this book. (I'm also a sucker for exes getting back together if anyone is keeping score!)
Because I didn't talk a lot about the sex in Talk Me Down, let me make up for that here. Wait....can I do that without giving anything away? There is one sex scene in here that made my book catch on fire. Seriously. I burned my fingers turning the pages. It is spoilerific to tell you what it is, but, trust me when I saw you'll know it when you see it! Hot. Now that sex is all the rage in romance books, the scenes can range from ho hum, to pretty damn ridiculous. It is the rare writer who can write sex in a way that isn't just believable, but incredibly exciting. Worth re-reading. Again. If it sounds simple to you, that's because you haven't read enough bad examples. Quinn and Lori weren't exceptionally hot separately, but they were combustible when together. It just reinforced my already widely held beliefs: Nerds (and Geeks) are hot. But please, don't take my word for it. That means more for me!
The characters, alreeady introduced in Talk Me Down, were developed nicely here. Although, I have to admit, I had a hard time picturing Lori in my head. The description was there, but that isn't what I wanted her to look like so I could never get a focus on her physical appearance. Her personality, though, was crystal clear. Dahl gets a bad rap on her heroines, but I happened to love Lori Love. I don't think she was unsympathetic at all. I thought she was a bit hard headed at times, but never in a way that seemed uncharacteristic. It always seemed to be in the way of someone who was used to fending for herself and not relying on the kindness of strangers, or even friends. She wasn't whiny about the things she'd given up, just matter of fact. She wasn't asking anyone to feel sorry for her, and she didn't waste time feeling sorry for herself either. If anything, that made her more sympathetic because who wants to read 300+ pages of someone feeling sorry for themselves? And who doesn't have a longing for something more? Something else? You can be happy with what you have and still wish you had something different. Travel? College? Or whatever it may have been you feel you've missed out on. That is a universally human characteristic (even if you don't want to admit it) which made Lori seem all the more likeable.
Quinn surprised me. The impression I had of him from Talk Me Down didn't go away -- he lived up to my geeky expectations -- but there was an entirely different side to him that I was surprised to meet. His interactions with Ben were especially entertaining. And just thinking about him speaking Spanish is taking....away....the chill....of the air conditioner..... ahem. Right. Geeks (and nerds) = sexy. All I'm saying....
The only "complaint" I might have about this book is that the ending and resolution seemed a bit rushed. You got an explanation about "who did it" and why. And, you know, it solves the mystery, but didn't seem particularly satisfying as endings go. I almost wish it had been an ongoing thing, continued into the next book, so it could be more exciting. But, it certainly wasn't disappointing enough to move this off the five star mark. All in all, it was a fantastic book. Run, don't walk, to pick it up.
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