I had a hard time starting off writing this review because I just didn’t know quite where to start. Do I mention the cringe-worthy giggles, the bust-a-gut laughter, the blushing snickers, the eye-popping ‘I Can’t Believe I Just Read That!’ shock or I need a tray of ice cubes because the sex is so hot while alternating to giggling at the ridiculous snafus the heroine gets herself into? My emotions were all over the place while reading How Hard Can It Be?. I can say with all confidence that I have never, ever, in all my years of reading come across a villain as … colorful, creepy, coarse, corrupt and comical as the one in this novel. I could not believe my eyes. The villain also inspires awesome alliteration.
Seriously though, I can’t be serious. Yes there is the mystery of what kind of information the villain has on Rena’s new writer friends that they’ve been blackmailed for almost twenty years; yes there is the fact the heroine has to be arrested for violating a restraining order; yes there are mysteries that abound that though different in nature are the binding that holds the book together and allows for all the hijinks and hilarity to have reason to exist. Even with all those potentially heavy and dire conflicts, Ms. Peterman kept me on the edge of my seat with suspense. Not for something bad to happen, but for the next madcap adventure, over-the-top description or comment, or Rena’s internal dialogue as she tries to make sense of the alien world of writers that she’s stumbled upon. Don’t EVEN get me started on the book, Pirate Dave and His Randy Adventures I’d fall off of my chair and never get up.
I had to classify this book under the erotic genre only because it overwhelmed me with sexual weirdness. How does a person use a garden gnome or garden tools for sex? BDSM references and jokes bounded off my eyeballs like ping pong balls. And please don’t ever mention silly putty to me – I’ll never look at it the same way ever again. But handcuffs are definitely all right, even more than alright if Jack is the one wielding them because he is so sexy and hot and he knows what he’s doing. Oh my!
If a reader is uncomfortable with the F-bomb being used as a verb, noun and adjective, then be warned. The F-bomb practically does calisthenics in this story.
There are a ton of surprises in store for readers because most every character in the novel isn’t quite what they seem. Nothing is as they believed and the truth is just as bizarre. But not as bizarre as the villain’s decorating taste. That has to be read to be believed.
How Hard Can It Be? is a solid romance because there is a happy ever after that is as grin inducing as the rest of the novel. Ms. Peterman has a wild imagination that is stunning. I guess this is book one of a trilogy; the other two involve Rena’s friend and Kristy’s eventual love’s sister. I’d read the second book first so it’s a safe bet that the three novels can be read in any order. However, now that I’ve read all of them, the little innuendos and subtext in the other two books make so much more sense that I feel like I should read them all in order to get the full effect. That would not be a hardship. I just need to make sure that I leave myself plenty of time for my reading pleasure. If readers are in the mood for hilarious kinkiness woven through a fun romance, then this is the book to try. Just watch out for the aliens in Aunt Phyllis’ toaster.
Editor's note: This article was originally published at Long and Short Reviews. It has been republished with permission. Like what you read? Subscribe to the SFRB's free daily email notice so you can be up-to-date on our latest articles. Scroll up this page to the sign-up field on your right.