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This is a review of the 2006 book which is tantalisingly titled 'Sex, lies and online dating'. Whilst I'm not an online dater, I've had a few friends that dabbled and their anecdotes are usually entertaining so I obtained this book expecting a good read. The cover of the book describes it as a ' little black dress book ' so I was expecting it to be a staple read which just ticked all the boxes and left you feeling warm and cozy. I was a little disappointed with it actually. The book is based around a serial killer, a woman who online dates then kills her men in the throes of passion. We find Lucy (a writer) dating Quinn (a detective) both are under cover, the former doing research for her next book and the latter trying to work out if Lucy is the killer. I thought I had the outcome worked out in my mind, the killer and their motive and when it got to the reveal I had it completely wrong (I still think *my* ending was better LOL!) but I did think the book left it too late to get to the whodunnit. I was running out of pages fast and thinking, when is it going to happen?! Some of the scenes in this book are a bit racy so if you don't like reading sexy undressings etc. then perhaps this book is not for you. It's not really detailled though so will be acceptable reading to most. I didn't realy warm to the main character Lucy in this book. I just wanted her to be a bit tougher. Her writing genre, (crime) should mean she is used to a bit of shock but she needed a man by her side to feel safe. Overall, I quite liked this book but wouldn't rave about it. It needed a bit more and didn't feel like a proper murder mystery story as it only touched on the details of the murder. I also felt that it didn't really explain how the online dating community really works and someone picking up this book may be expecting a little bit more on that. Having said that, it is nearly six years old so perhaps online dating has moved on a bit since then - I wouldn't really know. I will give this book three out of five as it was an OK read but the sort of book I would expect to get free on a magazine rather than pay for! Perfect for holiday reading and lazing by the pool.
Sex, Lies and Online Dating is the first book in Rachel Gibson's contemporary romance series, Writer Friends and the first of her books that I've read. I was so convinced that I was going to enjoy this series (mostly due to recommendations) that I bought the first three books in this four book series. Due to owning the majority of the series I really really wanted to like this book. The series is about a group of friends who are also writers. Each friend writes in a different genre. Lucy, the main character in this book is a crime fiction writer. Lucy's posing as a nurse on online dating sites so that she can meet men to base her characters on. Quinn's posing as a mechanic so that he can catch a killer. Breathless is suffocating men after sex and Quinn knows that if he doesn't catch her soon she'll kill again. Quinn meets Lucy on the dating website, she's a suspect but when he dates her he can't believe that she's really Breathless. But will he think differently when he discovers that the crime in her latest unpublished book is very similar to the recent murders? And will Lucy be able to forgive him when she discovers that he only dated her because he thought she was a murderer? I wanted to like this book. I really wanted to like it. At points I even thought that I might like it but it was too flawed in too many ways. The first problem was that it took me so long to get into it. At 50 pages I looked at the page number and thought "soon I'll get into it" then again 103 I thought it has to pick up soon. By 172 pages I just wanted to get it finished. To be fair to the book I did get into it at around 200 pages but when the book is less than 300 pages this is really too little too late. I think there were a lot of reasons why the book didn't draw me in earlier, partly it was lack of interest in the romance, partly failure to engage me in the crime part of the story and partly I just didn't click with the characters. The characters were written well enough and at points I even felt that I had things in common with them, I related to certain aspects of the storyline and the characters lives. The problem was that I didn't click with them. I think this was probably largely due to not really knowing the characters. At the beginning of the book each character is pretending to be someone they aren't, they put up a façade for the other character that I failed to get past. It was difficult at times for me to separate what was true about the characters and what had been made up as part of their online persona. I guess it's always challenging to write a romance that the reader will enjoy if the reader didn't engage with the characters but I don't think that I would really enjoy this romance novel even if I liked the characters. I don't think that basing a relationship on lies is a good plot and I felt that Quinn's betrayal of Lucy was just too big for her to get over as easily as she did. If I was in her position I wouldn't be able to forgive someone for deceiving me in such a huge way (Lucy tells him her secret earlier than he does) and I certainly wouldn't forgive so easily. I think that the author could have made this work but that she really took quite a lazy route and had Lucy forgive him too quickly and easily. Putting aside the deceit issues I didn't really think there was any foundation for the relationship. You know when you meet someone and you feel instant lust for them? They're physically attractive, you feel a spark. Sometimes that turns into something more but more often it's just fun and you both walk away at the end of it. I felt that both characters were experiencing this. They barely knew each other, they were obviously attracted to each other and maybe that could have been something more eventually but at this point it didn't feel like it was there yet. I didn't even feel like they were particularly compatible, it just all felt so superficial, like it was mostly physical attraction. The crime side of this novel wasn't much better, although I have to admit that it was this aspect of the book that eventually drew me in and made the final part of the book more enjoyable. A lot of the story passes with very little happening. The premise is set, there's occasional activity in the case but really this part of the story doesn't take off until the last hundred pages of the book. I found this aspect of the book quite frustrating in parts because you have two characters who are supposed to be intelligent and they're just so stupid when it comes to this case. I just wanted to shake them and tell them to see what's right in front of them. Sometimes in books you know things that the characters don't but in this case the characters don't even put together the most simple of clues. I guess this was a plot device to push the romance along or drag out the book but it was really frustrating. I also felt that Lucy behaved really stupidly at points during the book when if you were really in the situation she was in you would be much more cautious (trying not to give anything away here!). You know how in a horror film you're screaming at the victim to run out of the house, not up the stairs? This was so similar to that. In terms of realism I didn't think this book was realistic. I don't know much about law in America so I admit that I could be wrong but I thought that it was unlikely that the police would be allowed to try to secretly film a woman having sex just because there is some flimsy evidence that she is possibly a murderer. I'm giving this book 2 stars because although it wasn't a good book it wasn't a terrible book. The last hundred pages would have been worth reading if it wasn't for the fact that you have to get through the first 200 in order to get there. I hope the series gets better.