Mia Saunder’s father is in the hospital. He’s been beaten nearly to death for not paying his gambling dept. If he cannot pay it back within a year, the lone sharks will kill him.
Mia needs money, and she needs a lot of it, fast. She becomes a high-priced escort girl for her aunt’s company. Every month for a year, she is sent to a rich man to be his escort, and she doesn’t have to sleep with if she don’t want to. Easy money. Or is it?
First line of the book: “True Love doesn’t exist.”
Author: Audrey Carlan
My Edition: an e-book edition by Cappelen Damm. Translated to Norwegian by Kurt Hanssen.
Series: Calendar Girl
Genres: Romance, Chick lit, Adult Fiction, Contemporary, Erotica
It’s been on the best selling list for a long while now in Norway, and we’re selling a lot of the books in the bookstore I’m working in. After reading the fifty shades trilogy, and sincerely hating it, I figured it would be exciting to check out if this was something for me.
Okay, so first things first, I want to explain the fact that you have to take this genre for what it is. Romance is not my genre at all, mostly because I feel that most of the romance I’m reading is so easy and light. I’m more into books with depth, plot twists and action. I rarely find that in Romance books. Erotica has so far proven to be a shitty genre for me as well, but that is entirely based on the fifty shades series, which I cannot ever describe how much I really disliked.
With these things in mind, I knew what I was going to get when I started reading this book, and that is why I’m giving the plot three hearts. Because considering the genre, the plot is okay.
So, Mia has to become an escort-girl in order to save her father from his gambling dept. She has one year to pay it, and will be sent to one client per month for the next year. She does not have to sleep with them, but she will get an extra 20.000 for doing so. That’s the plot, simply enough.
In January, we are introduced to this whole situation and get to know Mia as she prepares for her new life. Mia’s love life has been shit so far, and every time she thinks she has found true love, it turns out to be a complete waste. Although she is a little skeptical about being a escort-girl, she also feels ready to take advantage of the situation and actually have a little fun.
After being prepared for her new life, Mia is sent to her first client who is a rich movie producer who needs to bring a “girlfriend” to all of the formal parties he needs to attend. Gorgeous-looking Wes is everything you want in a man, and it does not take long before Mia is starting to realize that this year might not be so bad after all.
What I actually liked about the plot (or perhaps more the writing?) is that everytime I read something I was skeptical about, there is an explanation. Mia reflects over her actions and her feelings. For instance, my first thought about this book was that it would be weird if Mia just accepted being an escort-girl without having any kind of thoughts about how special this job is. But just as I was thinking it, Mia starts reflecting over it. When Mia was told about her first client, I was wondering what kind of men would atually hire an escort girl. And at the very page, Mia actually asks that question and we get an explanation.
The reason I’m giving the plot three hearts is because both before, during and after I read this book, I’m actually curious about Mia and how her year will be. I have to admit that I am a litlle surprised that I actually care, because as I have mentioned, this is not my kind of genre and it will not ever be. I found most of what happened way too clichè, and I have yet to decide if I atually like Mia or not. Liking the MC is important for me, and I’m just not sure yet. I’ll come back to that.
January probably scores some extra points from me because I’m automatically comparing it to Fifty Shades. It’s the only other series in the romance/erotica genre that I have read, and most people compare these to series to each other. Since I (and I can’t emphasize it enough) really, truly hated Fifty Shades, it’s easy to score some extra points for Calendar Girl here. I’m thinking about writing a comparison post when I’m done, but here’s the main reasons to why Calendar Girl so far is a better choice than Fifty Shades:
- Mia is already a far better MC. She has some sort of depth, and she manages to think on her own and stand up for herself. Which Anna in Fifty Shades rarely do. Also, no freaking inner goddess. Mia also knows what a penis looks like, and does not have to scream “HOLY COW” in her head anytime she sees one, which is a relief.
- There is no crazy, psychopathic, violent, over-controlling, so-mysterious-and-dark man in this book. Which also is a relief.
- Mia is actually doing things and not just laying there wondering how it is possible for a woman to have sex with a man without freaking out and shouting for her inner goddess to take over and describe the sex with bad adjectives
I’m digressing a bit, and I have a bad habit of using every chance I get to describe my hatred for Fifty Shades, so I’m going to save it for the comparison post, but you get where I’m going with this. Keep in mind that I’ve only read the first book of this Calendar Girl. But so far, Calendar Girl wins by many, many points. And that’s a little bit of the reason to why I’m giving the plot three hearts.
What I like about the writing, is that it is easy. I read this as an e-book, and I finished the book in one day both because it was short and because the writing is light and easy. That suits this genre fine, and I like that.
What I don’t like about the writing is that it lacks the depth that I’m looking for (although you rarely find that in this genre anyway). Carlan scores some points from me for having a MC with the ability to reflect a bit. But then she loses some points from me for being a bit too slack with the pen. For instance, this sentence actually made me laugh and then write it down so I could tell Marley so we could laugh together:
“She had on a white blouse that was soft as silk, probably because it was silk.”
I mean that shit is just so deep. I know I bragged about Mia being able to reflect, but this sentence really brings reflections to a whole new level or what?
As I mentioned, I’m still not sure if I like Mia or not. Since I’m automatically comparing her to Anna in Fifty Shades, I kind of liked her from the start. You get a sense of who Mia is from the very beginning, and as mentioned, she has some sort of depth. She has opinions on her own and she’s the kind of girl you don’t mess around with. She also takes responsibility, even when she’s not the one who’s supposed to do so. That makes her kind of easy to like. She also reflects over her actions, and I kind of support her plan of taking advantage of a messed up situation and make it fun. That’s the way she has to think if she’s going to be able to actually enjoy her life, and I love that she thinks so herself. Still, I find her a little…slutty? I don’t know if it’s the right word, because it’s harsh to call her that in a book with this kind of plot, but there’s just something about her I can’t seem to relate to and that makes me unsure if I like her or not.
Wes, the January Guy, is okay. He does not have much depth, but he plays his part and he does it well. So he’s okay. I kind of liked him, and he’s not a manwhore who just wants to get laid. As far as Romance goes, he’s probably going to be my favorite Calendar Guy. Team Wes and all that. But I’ve just read one book, so we’ll see.
I feel like every other character in this book is not even worth mentioning because they don’t take much part in the book. Her aunt is okay and her best friend is okay, and it’s hard to comment them more than that because they’re not a big part of the book.
This is a kind of book that works for me when I need something really light-hearted to read. Like when you watch a scary movie and you need to watch a chick flick after to calm down. I had just finished Horn by Joe Hill, which was amazing but deep and demanded some attention. So it was really nice to read something light-hearted. It’s not exactly the kind of book series I need in my bookshelf, but it worked as something to read on the bus.
No. I appreciate this book because it’s an e-book so I can take five minutes reading here and five minutes reading there. It is not a kind of book I’d consider reading again either. So this is not bookshelf-material for me.
I would however find this to be bookshelf-material for a lot of people. We are selling this a lot at the bookstore, and I really understand why. I would recommend it to everyone who wants something really easy and light to read. There’s no need to concentrate in this book, you just read the pages like licking ice cream. I would also recommend it to everyone who liked the Fifty Shades Triology. I strongly believe that everyone who liked those books will like Calendar Girl (although it does not work the other way; You won’t neccesarily like Fifty Shades if you liked Calendar Girl).