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Monday, January 9, 2012

Stud by Cheryl Brooks

Stud by Cheryl Brooks
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
Genre: Sci-Fi/Fantasy
Length: Full Length (383 pgs)
Other: M/F
Rating: 5 stars
Reviewed by Xeranthemum


Even for a Zetithian, Tarq Zulveidinoe's sexual prowess is legendary. Believing it's all he's good for, Tarq sets out to perpetuate his threatened species by offering his services to women across the galaxy...


Lucinda Force is the sensitive dark horse in a self-absorbed family, repeatedly told that no man will ever want such a plain woman. Lucy longs for romance, but is resigned to her loveless lot in life—until Tarq walks through the door of her father's restaurant on Talus Five...

The first two chapters made me want a box of tissues and a bull horn with a side of fried chicken and chocolate pie. Ms. Brooks totally ensnared my emotions when she took turns introducing me to Tarq and Lucy and the problems that beset them. Both hero and heroine have some serious issues with no one to save them or turn to, except each other. It’s how they help each other out and what they discover about one another along the way that made me alternate between giggles, sadness, indignation, hope and total joy. Stud is like the stock market with its ups and downs but there’s a guaranteed payoff at the end.

Why would I want a bull horn? To blow out Lucy’s father's eardrums and tell him to stop treating her way he does in the story. He’s not the villain but he certainly could be. Lucy is more like Cinderella in that regard. And Tarq is as imperfect a Prince Charming as one could be. In fact, I wanted to hug him because he needed a Princess Charming to show him that he’s worth more than he thinks. I think that’s what endeared his character to me the most. He had poor self esteem and confidence issues along with something else that was seriously holding him back. However, the one thing that both Lucy and Tarq are not, are quitters. These two fight the only way they can to reach for the dreams that other people believe that are impossible for them. All they needed was one chance. One opportunity to show them the way and it was so romantic that they found it in each other.

The reason that I wanted the chocolate pie is because Lucy is a great cook and it sounded like her pie would be chocolate nirvana. As for the fried chicken, that’s an inside joke that I’m not sharing. I get the biggest kick out of Ms. Brooks’ sense of humor and it’s still strong and present in this latest adventure for a Zetithian male.

Another yummy aspect of Stud besides Tarq's purring, was the sex. Of course it’s written well, and those scenes were fun, energetic and plentiful, but there’s more. There was meaning and it evolved. How? The author was brilliant in allowing a reader to see their emotions change from lust, to fledgling trust and hope, to seduction with future dreams in mind. It sounds so simple but it wasn’t because neither Tarq or Lucy were on the same page most of the time. They were awesome in bed but both wanted more from the relationship without realizing that they both already wanted that same level. One could argue that all they had to do was communicate but once I understood what internal struggles bedeviled them, I could see that communication was easier said than done. It provided wonderful emotional conflict.

A great thing Ms. Brooks did was give both the hero and heroine chances to shine and show off what they are really good at. Lucy is a lot stronger than she thought and she has an opportunity to show her fortitude and gumption. Tarq’s turn had him acting a role that reminded me of Daniel Boone and Man Vs. Wild. I was quite impressed, even more so when I found out that the author did some serious research and all those cool things Tarq did were actually possible to do in real life – mostly. Now if I could find some Snard in real life, I’d be either really happy, or in a lot of trouble. *vbg*

Once again, Ms. Brooks populated her story with imaginative and intriguing alien species that spiced up the plot and character action. Of them all, I was the saddest for Vertigan. My secret wish is that he’ll someday have his own story where he’d be in a relationship that fits his species’ needs. What a challenging story to write that would be but I’d bet, oh, so hot. As it is, I thought he and the others were well developed, entertaining and a credit to the tale.

The final chapter of Stud was undiluted romance with satisfaction and happiness just oozing from the pages. There were wonderful moments where all the best things finally happened and all the loose ends were tied up in a sweet and delightful way. I loved the optimistic future they planned and how all their dreams were coming to fruition. It couldn’t happen to a nicer couple.

Stud is filled with emotional candy that makes reading an addiction. The depth of human emotions that Ms. Brooks explored in this book was very poignant and effective. It touched my heart and made me feel. The great thing was that it wasn’t melodramatic or depressing. It was empowering and righteous while being naughty and adventurous all at the same time. Ms. Brooks delivers romance and fills each chapter with page turning events that entertain and amaze. I just adore exploring her universe of the Zethithian men and look forward to more happily ever afters in the future because they’re Snard-elicous!

1 comment:

Nancy Bristow said...

Excellent review! I'm a fan of Cheryl Brooks and I agree with your take on her talent. Quite simply, the Cat Star Chronicle books have been delightful to read (even if I didn't read them in order) because they contain all the elements as you have described. I'm looking forward to devouring STUD:)