Learning Curves

Learning Curves - Elyse Mady 2 STARS Seriously where are all the good stripper/hooker books? Everything that I've read have been a miss for me.This actually started out pretty well. While written in third person POV, there was a distinct variety to the narrative when the focus shifts from Leanne to Brandon. I thought it was pretty clever, as if the characters themselves were telling the story:"He was putting words in her mouth. Butcher, baker, candlestick maker—it didn’t matter what he did. What mattered were the consequences to her nascent career if she got a reputation for sleeping around.”"But the ones in the audience never saw him as a person but as some sort of sexual automaton. Sexy but sexless. Tall and strong and lean but when the fantasy was over, not someone they’d ever want to see in the light of day."It has a bit of academic erotica going on with a lot of words you don't necessarily see often in these kinds of books. This actually worked in favor of rendering the right amount of steam in the sex scenes not too explicit mixed with believable dirty in the dialogue. Though at some points it definitely bordered on showing off on the part of the author, not that the size of one's vocabulary impresses me much.I really liked Brandon's character, an unapologetic former exotic dancer well on his way to getting a degree in choreography. I liked his flaws and appreciate his self-awareness especially in the face of Leanne's intimidating intellectual pedigree. I was looking for that dynamic between a stripper and an academic when I picked this up and it did deliver to a point. But their insecurities and emotional baggage didn't really give much credence to their attraction to each other which costed this story in the chemistry department.What I hated most and lost this book its stars was Leanne. Good grief, woman! I don't think I've hated a heroine this much… she's a close tie with KA Linde's Jack (who I still want to be raped by a bear, literally). First she invites Brandon to accompany her to Gillian's rehearsal dinner. Because inviting the stripper to the bride's party is totally reasonable with no worries whatsoever that Gillian will recognize him (seriously, there was no mention of it until sh*t hits the fan). . Honestly, I was very lukewarm towards her until her backstory with Gillian was revealed where she comes across as an intellectual snob who loves taking the moral high ground to compensate for her physical insecurities:While they were in college, Gillian asked her sorority's pledges to write some essays for her and Leanne TOLD AND TURNED HER IN.   Maybe I'm in the minority here, but this didn't sit well with me. I was waiting for some explanation (maybe she confronted Gillian ahead about it) for Leanne's actions but the self-righteousness just suffocated me to not caring. Now I don't condone cheating, but brown-nosing is part of that list too and I'm finding myself feeling sorry for the bad guy. I'm a firm believer of karma biting you in the ass at some point but here, Leanne prefers to do the biting herself. Not stopping at the moral high ground:"Her mother gestured with the tips of her fingers, mouthing broadly "Smile." Leanne wasn't sure just what her mother expected her to do - burst in a warbling rendition of "Tomorrow" or sashay past the judges in heels and a bathing suit?"Snark: Condescending Nerdy Daughter Edition. Doesn't have the same charm, really.This was when she was about to present her dissertation for an academic prize which led to a ridiculous public discussion of her relationship with Brandon. The author glossed over what the actual presentation was about in place of this implausible drama. Because these people, who are implied as PhD holding professors and college deans, are really going to believe the word of a random member of the audience and ask about THAT.The final nail was courtesy of Edith Piaf and a striptease scene. La Vie en Rose? For a striptease?Really?