The Red Diary

The Red Diary - Toni Blake You'd think you could count on an erotic romance about a woman's sexual fantasies to be sex positive, so I was especially shocked at all the slut shaming in this. The heroine Lauren has a friend named Carolyn, who is the story's poster girl for bad behavior; the phrase "not like Carolyn" is used numerous times to mean "not a filthy slut." It went way over the top when hero Nick thinks,"He loved that she wasn't like Carolyn. He loved even more, though, that she was like Carolyn for him." Could someone please crawl into the book and shoot him for me? Of course Carolyn reforms at the end, because really she just wanted to be loved, and if she's very good and monogamous maybe she'll earn true luv like Lauren someday. *eyeroll*Other than that -- and an infuriating unsafe sex episode* -- I really enjoyed this. It's smoothly written and kept my attention all the way through. I particularly liked a subplot about Nick's brother Davy, whose mental development was stunted by a severe episode of child abuse, but who is starting to develop romantic feelings towards girls. Davy comes off as a bit of a cliche at first, always smiling and happy, but we actually get to see his perspective and discover there's more going on with him than people realize. I thought it was very well done.The primary romance between the "poor little rich girl Lauren" and the housepainter who blames her father for all his family's woes is very hot. There's a lot of sex scenes, more than I personally really enjoy, but balanced and integrated into the story as a whole. So despite some irritations, this was a really good read.*After already having unprotected sex once, they have that annoying romance novel "I'm clean so it's okay" conversation. Nick assures her he's always been careful. Right, like THAT LAST TIME WITH HER?