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:~: Thursday, May 31, 2007 :~:

Review: HANDS ON by Amie Stuart

I had a conversation with a colleague yesterday about the fact that, as a literary criticist, I am a deconstructionist who likes feminist literature.

What, you ask, does that have to do with Amie Stuart's new Kensington release, Hands On?

Well, being a deconstructionist in terms of literary criticism, means I'm always looking at layers and meaning. (Wayne, by the way, is a literary theorist -- something to do with centers and margins. He's pre-Modernist, I'm post-Modernist. We agree to disagree on books a lot.)

Having a strong bent toward feminist literature means I'm always looking at how women are portrayed in books. I like strong female characters. One thing that interests me about the rise in erotic novels targeted to women is how sexual relationships can be used to show female empowerment.

Stuart definitely delivers.

Lexi, Lanie, and Carlotta have blue-collar, mostly male-dominated professions (construction, auto repair, electrical work). They're not intimidated in the least by gender issues thrown their way, and come Friday night, when they hit one of Houston's hottest nightclubs, these ladies are definitely in control.

Although the book is divided into three novella-length sections, it really works as a whole. Each female protagonist has her own story (full of veddy, veddy hot sex), but the three pieces add up to a bigger story, one of female friendship, support and triumph. These women are winners through their own grit, strength and determination.

Although I really liked the rather sweet (yet sexy) romance between Lexi and her hero and I loved how Lanie's novella ended with a major personal triumph on her part, after re-reading, I've found that Carlotta and Devon's story resonates with me the most. Carlotta is definitely a woman in control, determined not to need anyone. Devon is all about teaching her lessons in trust and that giving up control can lead to deeper strength. (Can you tell I loved Devon?!) His show of vulnerability when he tells her he loves her is fantastic and sigh-inducing.

Okay, let's talk style. Stuart rocks. In three first-person voices, each character is distinct and strong, yet Stuart's writer's voice shines through, sassy and fresh. Because I can't read without mentally editing and picking now, I did notice one "swelling" description that comes up more than once, but hey, I can overlook that for a strong voice, awesome characters, great conflicts, and satisfying resolutions.

Oh, and did I mention the really hot sex? If you like a spicy read where the sex is connected to the plot, not serving as the plot, this is definitely a must-read.

All-in-all, Stuart's Hands On was a book that I couldn't let go of (I read it straight through in one sitting, something I don't do often and reread to savor, something I do even less often).

Go hence. Buy a copy. You won't be sorry. (And you don't have to be a literary theorist or deconstructionist to enjoy it. I promise.)

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Blogger Amie Stuart said...

Thanks Linda!!!!

I'm so glad you liked it *g*

5:16 PM  
Blogger Shelli Stevens said...

I can't wait to read this... unfortunately I'm still waiting on Amazon to send it. Damnit. Pre-ordering blows.

5:17 PM  
Blogger Linda Winfree said...

It was my pleasure, Amie!

Shelli . . . it is soooo worth waiting for, believe me!

6:25 PM  
Blogger Elisabeth Naughton said...

Now THAT'S a great review! I'm gonna have to run out and buy that book.

Amie, will you be signing in Dallas?

6:59 PM  
Blogger Linda Winfree said...

Eli, go buy it. It's soooo good.

8:15 PM  
Blogger Elisa said...

Okay, I definitely need to add that to my list when I go shopping on payday. It sounds like a great book.

3:06 PM  
Blogger Amie Stuart said...

Shelli never fear....I know Lauren got hers like Wednesday.

Liz I'll definitely be there!
Elisa I hope you like it!

6:57 PM  

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