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May 12th, 2010

Sculpting Clay by Linda Reilly

When reading this novel, you have to be careful, this is clearly a book more aimed to a female target, and more, to the female readers who like their hero pretty and cute, even maybe a bit girlish. Then yes, if you consider that the pretty and cute boy really exists out there (he is not yet an endangered species), you can find also a niche of the male target that could be interested in this story. Said that, I also highlighted all the element that made me think on this novel: the sometime hyper-highlighting of some “girly” characteristics of the heroes, above all Taran (I remember, for example, a cherry flavoured mouth that made me think to lipstick, even if Taran was not wearing it); the obvious objectification of the male, Taran is an Armani model, Clay an independent wealthy fantasy writer who doesn’t really have to work; even Taran’s “innocence”, his almost absolute virginity (he had only a previous sex experience, one shot, and with a woman)… they are all points that I can easily link to the classical rules of romance, and romance usually is for women; again, I’m not saying the book was not interesting, it was and I will proceed now to say why it was, and I’m not saying the book is “not for men”, we all know that there are men who read (and write romance), even among the heterosexual crown, mine is only a fairly warning.

I like romance, you all know that; I even like the pretty boys, and Taran is a clear example of that. Taran is innocent in many aspect, he is a young fairy, and not, it’s not slang, he is really a fairy, little man with wings, but he decided to live in New York City with the external look of a young and cute man of 27 years old but with the experience of a barely legal boy. I don’t know if it was his main purpose from the beginning, but almost as soon as he arrives in NYC, he falls in love for Clay, a more than 46 years old man living in the near building. It’s obviously no fair game, even if Clay is rebounding from the breakup with his 10 years partner Javier, when Taran decides to meet him, Clay is taken. Taran, in his human form, is beautiful, long black hair, olive skin, and coquettish attitude. He is also a bit of a teaser, since he is very forward in his sexual innuendo, but he has not the experience to match them, and so, when they soon arrive to THE moment, Clay has to play the role of the “training ship”.

Even if Clay is way older than Taran, truth be told, I didn’t feel so much the age difference between them; maybe Taran, being 27 years old only as illusion, is for real older than his age, but he is also very young in comparison to his people; maybe Clay, living a life without obligations, has the chance to be younger in attitude if not in age… in a way or the other, those almost 20 years between Taran and Clay were not a limit at all, and didn’t create any friction.

The story is also very much focused on the two men, Clay and Taran; there was a subplot, something that could be also scaring and potentially angst, but all in all, it didn't interfere so much with the love story, in the end the "villains" are not so dangerous.

One other thing I noticed of this story is that, even if quite heavy on the sexual innuendo, and very sensual in the description, when we arrive to the real sex scene, the author doesn’t linger so much; she spends more time on the foreplay, maybe even a bit on the first touches, and tastes, but not in the main course. It’s strange, since for sure this is not a sweet romance (meaning the formal use of the term, sweet romance is a romance without sex), there is sex, and I couldn’t say that the sex is not graphic, during the foreplay there are a lot of details, but it’s like the author prefers the anticipation to the realization. Sometime also I am like that, so, if you want something in the middle, not exactly sweet romance, not exactly erotica, probably this is a good compromise.


Amazon: Sculpting Clay

Amazon Kindle: Sculpting Clay

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Cover Art by Anne Cain


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