Ten Things About… Unsticky by Sarra Manning

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Money makes the world go round—that’s what twenty-something Grace Reeves is learning. Stuck in a grind where everyone’s ahead apart from her, she’s partied out, disillusioned, and massively in debt. If she’s dumped by another rock-band wannabe, squashed by anyone else at her cut-throat fashion job, or chased by any more bailiffs, Grace suspects she’ll fall apart …

So when older, sexy and above all, wealthy art-dealer Vaughn appears, she’s intrigued against her will. Could she handle being a sugar daddy’s arm candy?

Soon Grace is thrown into a world of money and privilege, at Vaughn’s beck and call in return for thousands of pounds in luxurious gifts, priceless clothes—and cash. Where’s the line between acting the trophy girlfriend, and selling yourself for money?

And, more importantly: whatever happened to love?

1. This is a modern day Pretty Woman – but there is one essential difference that might affect your enjoyment of the novel. Grace is not a prostitute. She is a normal girl, albeit one with a difficult past and huge amounts of debt. She is not used to putting out her services for money. This could up the ick factor for some readers.

2. Sarra Manning’s writing is utterly addictive, and, for what seems to be a light-hearted romp, she uses language exquisitely to convey emotions and a sense of place.

3. Vaughn is a difficult character to like. Very difficult. Again, your mileage may vary, but I like my leading man to resist mentally or physically abusing the main female character.

4. Most of us read fiction for escapism, and this really is the purest form of escapism. Travelling all around the world, a life where money is simply no object, an existence that many of us would dream to have – it truly does take the reader away from real life.

5. Hot, hot, hot sex scenes – damn, E L James badly needs to read this book before plunging into ‘erotic’ fiction again! What I also loved was the realism of the sex scenes. Grace doesn’t come the first few times that she and Vaughn are together. She realises her previous partners have been selfish. She believed she was unable to orgasm through penetrative sex. Hats off to Manning for this, and for the fact that Vaughn works hard to pleasure Grace. Sex scenes that are hot and realistic? Yes, please!

6. Unsticky is full of shallow scenes and shallow people. I don’t know if that is due to the nature of the industry that Grace works within – fashion – but it does make a few of the secondary characters hard to like.

7. I only put this novel down a couple of days ago, and I cannot for the life of me remember the name of Grace’s best friend. So I thought I would quickly browse a handful of reviews to see if I could find the name. And not one of those reviews – not one – talked about any characters apart from Grace and Vaughn (except for one idle mention of the boss, Kiki). This says a lot – either the main characters are completely dominant, or the secondary characters are weak. Probably a little of both.

8. The treatment of debt is well done. It would not surprise me to know that Manning had suffered from being up to the limits on all credit cards, and struggling to make ends meet – in this situation (one I have also experienced), could we honestly say that we would do differently than Grace?

9. I would say the novel was about 100 pages too long. Towards the end, a few of the scenes felt a little repetitive in terms of the soul searching of Grace, and the descriptions of different fashion items.

10. Intensely readable, above all else. Considering the shallow characters, the unlikeable nature of Vaughn, the presentation of what is a rather icky ethical dilemma, I blasted through this in a couple of days and overall enjoyed the experience.

A slightly grossed out 7/10 – and definitely intending to read more of Manning’s work.

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