Diamond Dreams
by Zuri Day, contemporary (2012)
Kimani, $6.25, ISBN 978-0-373-86253-5


Zuri Day's Diamond Dreams has a familiar story. Billionaire meets girl, they fall in love, the end. That's pretty much the story. Oh, there is something about Jackson Wright being hounded by threatening letters from a hater, but that aspect of the plot is pretty much filler. For the most part, this story reads like a shopping list of tired romance novel clichés.

Diamond Drake is the only daughter of Donald Drake, the wine mogul of South California. Our heroine decides to impress her beloved father by supervising the setting up of Drake Wine Resort & Spa business. To do this, she works closely with Jackson Wright, a construction company boss who is, of course, another millionaire. In romance novels, a guy can sell shoe soles at a street corner and still make millions of dollars out of the venture, don't you know. Despite being said to be a good PR person, Diamond just keeps annoying everyone she meets, but Jackson seems to equate annoyance as an excuse for a dalliance. And that's about it.

This story is boring. The early parts of the book serve as nothing but information dump on various secondary characters who show up for a while to advertise their books only to vanish or show little relevance to the rest of the story. The bulk of the story wander around aimlessly without an apparent direction. Early on, I'm told about Jackson's problems with the letters from the hater, but this aspect of the plot then takes a backseat until the author decides to trot it out again very late in the story for some kind of dramatic action in the story. This story is just dull and tedious.

The characters are flat. Diamond is a one-dimensional twit who goes around judging people harshly, speaking before she thinks, and generally doing all kinds of silly things to endear herself to the hero. Right before she trips and falls into his arms, of course, because this kind of comedy never gets old. Oh, and she doesn't like men much because of a lousy ex. Jackson is a typical hero of this sort of stories - beyond those pecs and the huge bank account, there isn't much to qualify him as a character.

So, this story is boring and the characters are flat. It is perhaps a good thing, therefore, that the author decides to incorporate an endless barrage of Buffyspeak so that her characters, especially Diamond, always sound perky, sassy, and precious regardless of context. Sometimes these people come off as perpetually high on something fun, creating an unintentionally humorous effect that keeps me from falling asleep while reading this book. And then, there are the love scenes. With good stuff like this, I'm nearly convinced that the author is having a laugh at my expense:

Jackson was quick to RSVP. He rubbed one nipple and licked the other, lapping as if it oozed Drake Wines' pinot noir 2002, one of the vineyard's most popular winners. His fingers found the edge of her thong, and one of them slid inside, running along the folds of her pleasure then slipping inside for a more thorough greeting. Diamond's head dropped back, her legs spread of their own volition. Another finger slipped inside, and he began playing her box like she was a piano and he was Duke Ellington. Taking the "A" train would have been too fast. So Jackson tapped her like a satin doll, and her slippery folds mimicked that material.

Sure, I chuckle at some of the good stuff here and there, but can this book be considered good if the best bits about it are unintentional on the author's part?

Rating: 49


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