Lila Ray is not not interested in men. Her priorities in life are studying for her major (botany) and caring for her aging father. Then, she meets Jack Hall. Jack is charming, sexy and gives Lila pleasure like no one else has ever done. He's also a vampire.
I was recommended this book by a friend of the author, and this in no way has affected my review. :)
Being a debut novel, Orchids for Lila
has its fair share of issues. However, it has its good points too, and I enjoyed reading it.
Firstly, I admit, when I started this, I thought I was in for a hard-going read. The first few chapters are full of sentences starting in one place and finishing in another, unnecessary backstory and other mistakes you would expect from an amateur writer. Being as this is September Robert's debut novel, I gave it the benefit of the doubt and continued to read. As the book went on, thankfully, the writing got much better. There were still some issues with the text, such as some awkward/stilted dialogue and the occasional lapse into backstory or a sidenote on something mentioned briefly that Lila, our narrator, wanted to expand on.
Also, 'slippery lips' was often used as a descriptor for Lila's lady-parts (too often), and then, once, it was used for Jack's ACTUAL lips and I almost died.
There was also a lot of botanical terminology, some of which I didn't understand (Latin plant names, mainly). It didn't bother me as such, particularly because Lila's major is botany, but I have the feeling it could put off some readers.
Speaking of botany, I really loved that orchids were used throughout the novel in a variety of different ways. I really enjoyed that, and it made me smile every time it came up. Well done, September Roberts, for taking an idea and running with it.
Aside from the issues with the writing, there was only one other big issue with this novel: the lack of conflict. There were no issues with Jack and Lila being together, despite the fact he was a vampire. There was some reference made to 'rules' and the fact it was forbidden for vampires to consort with humans, but nothing came of it. I kept expecting Jack to be caught and punished for it, or something. I don't count Lila almost getting raped by a random vampire and him showing up again once later to be easily dealt with as conflict, by the way. So easily dealt with as to be a non-issue. Lila was jealous for about two pages as well, at one point. Once again, not conflict because it was too easily dealt with. And there was a female vampire who wanted Jack, but nothing really happened there either.
Basically, their relationship was a field of candy and rainbows, aside from Lila's obligatory 'oh no, what if he leaves me and doesn't really want me' internal monologue.
This is not necessarily a bad thing. Despite the lack of conflict, I found myself still interested. I did keep expecting something to happen, so maybe that's part of it.
But that's not the only thing that kept me reading.
I really enjoyed September Robert's portrayal of Jack as a vampire. There were actual consequences for poor Lila's sleep pattern, and Jack's 'day sleep' was actually pretty creepy. Weirdly, I also really enjoyed how Lila's menstrual cycle was handled in the novel. It was nice to see some thought actually put into this.
Lila's father was a great character. Despite being only a secondary character, he was well-developed and very human. It's a shame I can't say the same for the other secondary characters. Lila's friend, Jan, was kind of forgotten about for most of the book after Jack's appearance. She popped up occasionally in dialogue as though the author had just remembered she existed, but that's about it. Either it's the author's fault, or Lila's a very bad friend for forgetting about her friend as soon as she has a man. I also had an issue with Paul because he was so stereotypically 'gay'. That's something that really bothers me in novels with gay secondary characters. Too often they become camp cardboard cut outs.
Lila and Jack, however, were well-developed. I loved Jack. He was not your typical alpha-male of paranormal romance (that is, domineering and ever-so-slightly-rapey). He was gentle, kind and charming, with a boyish quality and a ready grin. Seriously well done on his characterisation, September! Lila was also an interesting character, being quite clever, self-sacrificing (on her father's part, anyway) and accepting of Jack. But, Lila, just because you tell me your antics are hilarious doesn't mean they are!
Their relationship moved SO FAST though. o.o But, I guess that's fine. For some people, it happens that way. I did feel invested in their relationship, at least, despite the whole lust-at-first-sight thing. (That's a problem with this genre, though, not this book.) Jack proposed way too early in their relationship, though. I knew what he was going to do as soon as he spoke to her father!!!
Now, being an erotic novel, there are a lot of sex scenes. I mean, A LOT. As far as sex scenes go, they were scorching hot. A selection of favourites include the snooker scene, sex in the snow and the exhibitionist scene. Occasionally, though, my eyes kind of glazed over when a sex scene started because I just wanted them to get wherever they were going. As a personal preference, there were too many sex scenes for me. However, they were well-written (except 'slippery lips' XD), varied and most felt quite original.
In conclusion, this was an interesting addition to the vampire romance genre. It wasn't full of drama, but it was sweet and easy to read. I would give other books by this author a try! :)