Tuesday, August 19, 2014

BOOK REVIEW: By Referral Only by Lyla Payne

Still hanging on campus with the Whitman U crew, and it's time to rate the boys...
By Referral Only (Whitman University Book 2) by Lyla Payne

(Grades will be given in lieu of stars for these titles)

Does your beau stop in the middle for a snack break? Never get started in the first place? Leave you doing a walk of unsatisfied shame? Well Whitney Brigs theater major, Ruby Cotton has developed just the web site to voice your dissatisfaction.

Yep, that’s right. Ruby has enlisted the help of a computer science geek to help her set up a grading site on the male population at Whitney Brigs. Too many of her female friends have been left disappointed by lack-luster bedroom performances and Ruby’s out to make the spoiled boys at Whitney Brigs shape up and work for their dates.

Ruby’s own neglected lower parts want fellow actor Liam, not Scottish swimmer, Cole Stuart. Despite his blonde hair, green eyes, dimples, charming personality, and accent, Cole’s ratings on Ruby’s new “referral” website are terrible. But when Liam’s big “performance” is a dud, and Cole’s one chaste kiss during a Romeo and Juliet scene for her after-school kids theater is awe-inspiring it makes it hard to get him out of her mind.
 “Everyone knows you can’t wait to fall in love. It happens even if you don’t want it to, like in the Cinderella movies.”
 That little piece of wisdom comes from Caroline, Ruby’s ten year old acting student, but it leaves an impression.

Cole is attentive, chivalrous, adorable with his Scottish colloquialisms, and a big mystery. Oh yes, he’s totally swoon-worthy. He and Ruby have a great attraction to each other (that she fights), and the book (told from Ruby’s POV) moves along at a good pace.

While the story is for the most part a fun and light hearted read, there is plenty of depth to the characters. Though outwardly out-going, Ruby wrestles with self-esteem issues stemming from not being born into wealth like her fellow old and ancient money co-eds.  Yet hurt by love in the past, she’s not as different from Cole as she thinks.

Cole’s secret is a little heart-wrenching (all I’m gonna say so as not to spoil it). Its reveal is a pivotal point in their relationship and a great climax to the story. Emilie and Quinn from Broken at Love also appear, and if you enjoyed Quinn in the first book, he has some gem comments in this one too.

Are the girls rating the guys based solely on bedroom skills and sexual satisfaction or are they letting their feeling and relationship expectations get in the way? What secret is keeping Cole’s ratings low? Can he and Ruby let go of the issues they harbor? And will Ruby finally get to see Cole in his kilt?

The HEA is sweet, sexy, and superb! An amazing ending to this cute campus tale that raises the question of the different ways men and women view sex, dating, emotions, and relationships while showing how two new adults overcome their fears, doubts, insecurities, and pasts to succeed at love.

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