Disclosure: I downloaded the free sample of this Kindle book from Amazon. I encountered the author in a Twitter thread but I do not know her nor have I ever communicated with her about this book or any other matter outside that Twitter exchange. I am an author of historical romances and contemporary romantic suspense novels.
I have to say that the description of the book on Amazon wasn't exactly enticing. I personally am turned off by misused semi-colons.
Putting aside the punctuation errors, I still wasn't enticed by this outline. Guy who has everything except the woman of his dreams finally meets her but then might have to give up something to keep her. Ooh, wow, isn't that a new, unique, never-before-used plot line! Not.
And when this kind of ho-hum story comes from someone who has already voiced her disdain for the romance genre, well, my enthusiasm isn't exactly enhanced.
The book opens with a poem, which is fine. It was kinda weird, and gave no real hint as to how it tied to the story, but again, that's fine.
The first chapter, however, utterly failed to pull me in. By about the fourth or fifth sentence, I was already bored.
Now, let me back up a bit. The cover was meh. I can be grabbed by a super cover and ignore a whole lot of opening weaknesses if the cover gives me a fantastic sense that something fabulous is going to happen. I'll wade through extra pages of blather just on the strength of a great cover. This book didn't have a great cover to draw me in.
The description didn't hold much promise either, so the reading pump hasn't been primed. I'm not excited about this book at that point.
The poem didn't do anything positive in terms of whetting my appetite for this book. It didn't promise any great drama or threat or adventure or passion that might have stirred my interest. By the time I reached the first actual page of text, nothing had roped me in, but three things had kind of pushed me away. That meant the opening was going to have to be pretty damn fantastic.
The opening scene is of the hero, Chris, sitting in an airplane and waiting to take off. The two-page-long first paragraph is little more than an expansion of the listing description. The oh woe is me, I have everything in life except the one thing I want, and I wish I had a drink. All telling, no showing, and no drama or tension. I think the first five sentences began with "He," so there wasn't even the distraction of great writing.
Very shortly thereafter, before the plane has even taken off, the heroine, who is seated next to Chris, touches his arm and asks if he's okay. He pretty much falls in love with her right then.
Punctuation errors stopped me again.
"My name is Jenna, by the way. Jenna Lindsay," she extended her hand to shake his, but he took her hand and pressed his lips to it, never taking his eyes off hers.
Barnes, D. H. (2017-02-18T22:58:59). Like Real People Do (Kindle Locations 70-71). D H Barnes. Kindle Edition.
". . .[E]xtended her hand" isn't a speech tag. There should be a period and closed quotation marks after "Lindsay," followed by a capital S for "She" at the beginning of the action sentence. Does this matter? It does to me. If you're a reader who doesn't mind this sort of thing, that's fine. For me, however, I'm now wondering just exactly how strong are the author's writing mechanics, because those are the tools she has to use to tell her story, to build drama and tension, to pull the reader into the world of the novel.
Again, it may not matter to you.
Several pages in the small talk begins, and I've lost interest. He's English; she's from North Dakota but headed to Houston. She's a waitress. Flying first class from London to Houston. Yeah, right. My eyes are starting to roll.
Then the focus shifts to Chris's physical description, and my eyes are rolling even more. He's on the short side, slim of build, with brown eyes and curly brown hair, and an under-sized penis.
Rationally, he was aware that his dick was probably about average in size, and all the better that he was slight of build, pornography was just too all pervasive these days. And he'd seen too many too much bigger. He also had a few experiences with women who had ridiculed him and it had become an insecurity that he just couldn't shake.
Barnes, D. H. (2017-02-18T22:58:59). Like Real People Do (Kindle Locations 114-117). D H Barnes. Kindle Edition.
Chapter Two opens with another two-page long paragraph of telling, not showing, and I gave up. Life is too short.
P.S. I have a few other suspicions about this book and author, but I'll save them for later.