As you may have seen from my status update yesterday, I was very unimpressed by this book. I know that everybody else loves it, and that’s okay too. I just really did not. I didn't even like it a little.
In my status update I listed things that were simply silly in the writing, things that were so unimaginative that I was bored out of my mind—not putting me in the right mindframe for some hot sexing.
Here in my review, I would like to go deeper into what I thought was fundamentally wrong with the actual story, and why I said I prefer to read m/m romance books.
You see, I am sick and tired of the girl/woman always being portrayed as the weak one, as the one who has never experienced anything, (and by this, it is almost universally understood as meaning she's never had a real orgasm, and needs the man to show her the good life). I'm so sick of it that trope that I prefer my romance stories to involve only men, so that I don't have to get pissed off. Every Single Day.
In this story, the MC, Lacey, is an introvert, a young woman whose upbringing has both sheltered and controlled her. Or so the story goes.
But already here, I react, because she has been friends with these two free spirits all her life, her two neighbor siblings, Cat and Galen, and it is close to impossible to continue a friendship between spirits so different in sparkle for decades—it is impossible, without changing herself a bit, too.
And if Lacey was just a tiny bit more like Cat (which, by my reasoning, she would be after 20+ years of exclusive friendship) she wouldn’t be in the situation that she was when she found her husband of one hour fucking her third best friend in a closet at the wedding reception. (Omigod, don't get me started on that trope).
So the whole set-up is wrong for me. The whole instigating factor is moot. She would never have fallen for her lame husband in the first place. So the whole line of thought is out the window. I felt like screaming “Objection, Your Honor!” at most every paragraph in those first chapters.
Then she goes off with Galen to Puerto Rico, right? Because that is exactly what a repressed and disheartened woman does, she takes off during her wedding reception, leaving her gown in a heap on the parking lot, riding away on Galen's bike (into the sunset) in her frilly undies. They go to his cabin down by a lake. And then proceed to go on her planned honey moon. Totally in character. Right?
A couple of days later, in Puerto Rico, to seduce him (!!), she pulls on the little black dress that Cat had convinced her she needed. She pulls it out of where exactly? Her ass? She left straight from the church in her undies. There was absolutely no luggage anywhere, she even had to borrow Galen's sweats in the cabin, for cryin' out loud.
Editor, where were you?
Oh, well. He then proceeds with showing her what life and lovemaking is supposed to be like. Actually, he’s the only thing that saves this book from falling into an abysmal one star, not because he is fangirly-hot-OMG-hot-OMG, no, but because he actually seems to have a heart, and listens to her. Quite unusual with a male lead who listens, so there is that. Too bad the sexing is fraught with all those unsexy words.
Problem is, she’s rambling. RIGHT THERE could have been a great moment to empower women, do something good with your writing, enlighten. Instead, it’s just the same old trite tropes, she falls for him, but oh he can’t ever be interested in her, can he, and why would he be, she is such a grey little mouse. He's just doing this to be nice, oh oh oh my. Fuck that.
There is a crack in their relationship when her mother visits (yes! That trope too!), and Galen, a badass mofo of a boxer, walks away, defeated. And Lacey lets him go.
I wanted to vomit all over it.
Everything that follows, from mark 75% to the mandatory final fixing of shitz at the end, is just silly, and the problem could have been solved with one four-minute conversation. I love it when there is absolutely no communication, don't you? It is a lazy substitute for real content. It is a non-situation. Four minutes of convo, and pronto, problem would have been solved.
Sloppy writing. I mean, seriously sloppy. ONE Spanish sentence, and it’s a drink everybody can spell to, and she goes and calls it cubre libre? I mean, seriously?
In addition to all the other trope-expressions I listed in my Status Update (here, if you want to read it), there are words like “pink folds,” “heavy sex,” “her juices,” and it just squicked me out instead of sexing me up.
By the end I hardly even react any more when, “she purred low in her throat,” and, three sentences later, “her ears perked up.”
It’s like a fucking zoo, full of animals down there, in Puerto Rico.
(OMG—is she LASSIE!?)
I’d like to finally add that I loved that Galen gave her a golden necklace with a boxing glove on it. Not because he is a fighter, but because he thinks that she is. That was actually cool.
I just wish the rest of the book was as cool as that. It wasn't.
I can’t believe I paid for this. Oh well, you live and learn.
Everyone loves this book.
For me, it just underlines why I don't read het romance anymore.
In het romance, the women protags are are always doubting that they are good enough for the hero, they are always complimented for their looks and meek/sweet behavior, never for their smarts, strengths or cool.
It pisses me off. So much so, I'm fuming while reading this.
At least in m/m there is a better chance (I said "better chance," okay?) of there being a bit more of an equilibrium.
Add to this mess, all the instances of
"peering from beneath her lashes"
(seriously? how that fuck do you DO that? I try, and I look like a moron with something in my eye)
"lining up the swollen head of his cock with her entrance"
("entrance"? really? you write cock and dick and swollen and hard and everything else, but you're a scared little sissy and can't write pussy?)
(also, "with"? I would have thought "at," but I'm a preposition hoor)
(again, how HOW??? how do these dicks always get impossibly harder? and just how hard IS that? so hard it is impossible! wow, yeah, that IS hard)
Then the mother lode:
"column of her sex clamping over him"
(whaaaaaa? column? sex? clamping? over? I thought he was IN her)
(and god, my machinery must be faulty, because my column never clamps)
so sexy writing, innit? and people fall all over themselves and fawn.
I dunot get it.
god, these sex scenes make me want to go into serious celibacy.
I'm just sitting here reading, and I'm waiting for the classic:
"releasing a breath she didn't know she was holding" for this story to finally culminate.
in 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1...
Sorry about this. I just had to get it out of my system.