I’ve never read Courtney Cole before, and it’s my understanding she writes mostly Young Adult. Confessions of an Alli Cat is her first “adult” contemporary. I had high hopes for Confessions because the synopsis looked interesting, and it sounded like a funny read. Thirty-five-year-old Allison Lancaster is divorced and in a dating funk. Well, actually not a funk as she’s not dating anyone. Her best friend Sara buys her a night with a gigolo, and encourages to her to try new things such as sex toys and a Brazilian. What ensues is supposed to be a hilarious account of a woman getting her groove back; however, the book falls flat for me. While it’s a fast-paced read, I had several issues with the plot and its execution.
First of all, the language used in several places seemed forced and unnatural. I felt the author was trying too hard to be funny, and it just failed. Sure, there are a few funny moments but none that were really memorable. The constant referral to Alli’s ex-husband as “Rick the Dick,” got old really fast. A few times here and there would have been okay, but it’s overused. The language ultimately felt very juvenile to me. I couldn’t quite place why it felt this way. The only times it felt natural was when Alli’s 15-year-old daughter and Alli’s assistant were talking.
Second, with the exception of Alli’s daughter and Alex, everyone else seemed to be a caricature. I found myself asking what mature, 35-year-old woman acts the way Alli’s best friend does? I’m not saying the “Sara’s of the world” don’t exist because I’m sure they do, but the entire dynamic between Alli and Sara felt fake. Alli asking if the Brazilian was THE Brazilian just felt off. Also, Alli complains how everything is Sara’s idea and doesn’t want to go along with them, such as the Brazilian experience. She’s a grown woman and can put her foot down and say no, but does she? Nope. Yes, we see Alli grow from this shy, sexual woman to a woman confident in her sexuality; but I believe the experience could have been achieved without the exaggeration used.
Finally, the big plot twist ended up more of a “yuck fest” than anything at all. I’m not a prude; but when the big reveal came, all I could do was put my e-reader down and walk away. It took a few days to get back into it. I know a lot of reviewers don’t have an issue with this; and that’s okay, but I do. Part of the issue is that nothing is said to Alex, and all I can imagine is the future when he does find out. I know it’s fiction, but I don’t need a Maury Povich moment in my books, even if I imagine what the future could be. Judging from the reviews, no one has a problem with it, and that’s fine. Everyone is entitled to their opinion, but I couldn’t move past it. Even trying to think of Shade as Shade, etc. I just couldn’t.
A lot of reviewers have focused on the sex and saying they are scorchers, etc. I found myself skimming them. One scene in particular involving Shade and a masseuse had me rolling my eyes and skimming the rest of the scene. I don’t have a problem reading a love triangle; but in most, the third wheel isn’t expanded, and it’s easy to cheer on the underdog or the one giving lessons in seduction. In Confessions, we don’t have that. A large chunk is devoted to Shade and Alli’s relationship and I kept wondering if it was Shade she was going to wind up with and what the heck Alex had to with the book.
I’d also like to bring up the concept of gigolos. The gigolo genre isn’t very popular, and there’s a reason for it. I’m not sure how the author got the idea, but I think she must have been watching Nightline’s story on “Secrets of Gigolos” or Showtime’s Gigolos, that focuses on the Cowboys4Angels website. Here is where the author failed the legal aspect of it. While paying for an escort is perfectly legal in several states because you are paying for companionship, paying for sexual services is illegal. The novel takes places in Clark County, which includes Las Vegas, so paying for sex is therefore illegal. While the author, does state that Shade is an escort, the fact remains Alli and her friend pay to have sex and it’s illegal in Nevada to exchange money for sex the way the author describes the scenarios. In fact, in Nevada legalized brothels outside metro cities is acceptable with the rest being prostitution. Shade even admits he got into the business because he likes to have sex. I can suspend disbelief in fiction, however; in this case I can’t separate fact from fiction.
The story had potential, but quickly fell flat. I debated over the rating. It would have been a three if we would have had more moments with Alex because I truly believe those are the best scenes in the book.