Review for Real (Real #1) by Katy Evans

Real by Katy Evans

SERIES: Real #1
AUTHOR: Katy Evans
PUBLICATION DATE: September 3, 2013
PUBLISHER: Gallery Books, a division of Simon & Schuster Inc
PAGES: 320 pages
SOURCE: Edelweiss
RATING: 1 star

Brooke’s life changed forever when she busted her knee. Her dreams of becoming an Olympic medalist went up in smoke. Now, six years later, she’s finished her degree to go into rehabilitation to help those who get hurt but can go back to the sport they love. One night she allows Melanie, her best friend, to drag her to an underground fighting match and when Remington Tate walks into the ring, her life has changed forever. Remington sets eyes on her and ultimately hires her to prevent him from injury during training and fighting. It’s obvious the two have chemistry, but it’s also clear that there is something Remy isn’t will to share with the class. Brooke wants him enough to look past whatever he’s hiding, but his secret is such a biggie that it’s keeping them apart. Can they beat the odds?

So I was browsing Edelweiss’s review copy catalogue one day and came across this. This gem was on the list of books you could download instantly, no waiting for approval, if you were willing to review it. Awesome!

I’ve heard amazing things about this book and couldn’t wait to dive in. A few days ago, I was really in the mood for a NA novel and instead of picking up Losing Hope by Colleen Hoover like I wanted, I compromised and chose to read this because it’s on my massive eARC list and it should satisfy the contemporary love drama craving for a while, right?

…About that.

I really did not enjoy this. This book is a classic example of why I seriously debate DNF-ing books sometimes and why I don’t actually stop reading them. I feel like if I DNF it, I don’t have a right to review it. After all, amazing things can happen after I stop (like in Days Of Blood And Starlight) and I did request to read this for review of my own free will, so I should at least see it to the end, right? Yeah, the more books I read like this, the ones that are like pulling teeth, the more I seriously think about creating a DNF shelf. Okay, let’s get on with it.

From page one, this is told in Brooke’s perspective, so it’s pretty important that we like the leading lady, but I didn’t. I didn’t hate her (initially), but she felt like a contradiction, claiming that sex wasn’t an important part of her life right now and then melting into a needy puddle the minute Remington walks into the ring. Then, when she goes to leave and he follows her and demands her name, she just gives it to him! What’s worse is then, he fucking kisses her and she just stands there stunned.

Look lady, an massively muscular guy you do not know walks up and assaults you with his mouth with no warning or permission, you get angry! You kick him in the nads and threaten to call the police or SOMETHING. You don’t just dissolve into fits of “Omigod, he’s ssssssoooo hot!” And if he invites you to watch him fight again or to go to his hotel room, you say “FUCK NO,” okay? Got it? Unless you want to end up bleeding to death in an alley after being violently raped, grow a brain or a little common sense. But I’ll buy it because the whole premise of the book would fall to pieces if I don’t, so let’s just assume that this is a good idea. Remington hires her and she’s jetted off in whirlwind fashion to the next city he is scheduled to fight in. Though she’s as a rehab specialist, her main job seems to be masseuse and stretcher because that’s all she does. She rubs out (tehehe) any knots in his muscles and helps him stretch before and/or after workouts. Is he not capable of stretching on his own?

Then there is Remington. An arrogant, selfish, asshat who gets off on beating the shit out of other men and having half a dozen prostitutes waiting for him when he’s done. Seriously ladies, did we read about the same guy, because I didn’t find him attractive, like at all. Maybe the one thing he does for Brooke at the end was swoon-worthy, but it doesn’t make up for everything else. He’s overbearing and obsessive, not to mention controlling. He gets jealous if Brooke so much as speaks to the male members of his staff!

I get that he’s got issues, but that’s not enough of an excuse. ****SPOILER****He basically blames all his problems on the fact that he is bipolar and doesn’t use medication because it zones him out. Here’s a thought: TRY A DIFFERENT MEDICATION. Try unorthodox methods. Do something. My husband is bipolar, so don’t you dare tell me it isn’t manageable. Maybe his real problem is that he is a 300 pound rage monkey? That couldn’t possibly be it, right?
****END SPOILER****The world is in a sad state if this is what women want. A controlling guy with uncontrollable fits of rage that literally needs to be tranquilized so that he doesn’t do any serious harm. THIS is what you find attractive?

Well, it’s no wonder I’ve always been to type to not follow the crowd. This is like a caricature of what I don’t want in my life.

Putting aside the characters I can’t stand, I still couldn’t love it. It reads like bad porn. I can honestly see why some book stores have started shelving New Adult in the Erotica section, even though the two terms aren’t synonymous. The first half of this novel is all about building a “relationship” between the two main characters, along with a good deal of sexual tension. But it’s so overly descriptive that instead of drawing me into the story, it pushes me further away because I’m left questioning the word choices. The majority of Brooke’s inner monologue (and the majority of the story is her inner monologue) is nothing but her describing how “male” and “manly” Remy is and how her vagina clenches every time she sees/smells/hears/touches/imagines Remy doing ANYTHING. The term “clenches” is used more than 50 times in this short novel and I cringed every time. I openly admit that there isn’t a single synonym or euphemism for vagina that I like, but I think Evans uses the worst of the choice here. Seriously Brooke? I get that you are apparently sex-starved and you find Remington to be lust worthy, but don’t you think you are taking it a bit too far? And all the things he does that she finds attractive, I find repulsive. She goes nuts when he sniffs her.

No, you read that right, when he “scents” her. Don’t get me started on the amount of clenching that happens then. Sniffing people is creepy. And she is OBSESSED with his smell. I’m sorry, but after he has been beating someone’s ass in a fighting ring and he’s all sweaty, there is no way that smells good. And there is no way in hell anyone in their right mind would truly want to lick the sweat off.

Then, when they finally do get it on, it’s so far from attractive that it was difficult to read. I’ve read erotica and I’ve read smutty fanfic, but this was by far the worst sex scene ever. They fuck like 5 times without stopping and somehow Remy stays hard through the whole thing even though he gets off…yeah, that’s realistic. Then after it’s over, Brooke is “sticky” with the evidence of their lovemaking and doesn’t want to shower or wash herself off so she can keep his scent on her a little longer.

I understand that everyone has different preferences, but really? You are covered in semen and you want to lay there an wallow in it? I don’t even think there are words to express my feelings about that, beyond go clean yourself up! I also found it disturbing that they don’t use any protection. She states at some point that she knows he gets tested regularly and, later, mentions that she’s on that birth control implant so there won’t be any babies, but still. You know he has slept with a copious amount of prostitutes on a regular basis. I wouldn’t touch him with a ten foot pole until I was positive that he was clean. Actually, I wouldn’t touch him anyway because I don’t find egotistical, controlling men who are as big as Dwayne Johnson attractive, but to each her own.

I really believe I missed something here. Can someone (anyone) explain to me why this novel has fuckloads of 5 star reviews consisting of nothing but fangirling about its awesomeness? I really didn’t see it at all. The plot was predictable and borderline offensive in the way they handled the mental disorders/addictions. The writing was sloppy, with a very unedited feel to it. The characters were so far off the mark that I couldn’t like or relate to a single one. Maybe I should just read NA from authors I know and trust like Jessica Sorensen or Colleen Hoover or Tammara Webber, because if this is what I get for trying new ones, I think I’m better off not attempting anymore.

****Thank you to Gallery Books, a division of Simon & Schuster Inc, for providing me with an eARC via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review****

Review for Devoured (Devoured #1) by Emily Snow

Devoured by Emily Snow

TITLE: Devoured
SERIES: Devoured #1
AUTHOR: Emily Snow
PUBLICATION DATE: October 9, 2012
PUBLISHER: Touchstone, an imprint of Scribner, an imprint of Simon & Schuster Inc
PAGES: 202 pages
SOURCE: Borrowed
RATING: 4 stars

Sienna’s career is finally starting to pickup with a steady wardrobe job on a tv show, then she gets a call from telling her that her grandmother’s home is being foreclosed on. Taking time off work, she flies home to Nashville just in time to see Lucas Wolfe sitting across from her family in the courthouse. It’s been two years since her almost tryst with Lucas and she’s done everything she can to bury those memories. Now she’s faced with the ultimate decision. Allow Lucas to take her childhood home from her grandmother or work as his assistant for ten days to win back the deed. The right answer is obvious, but can she make it through the week without succumbing to Lucas’s…charm?

I’ll be honest here. The main reason this particular series caught my attention is because Dusan Novakovic is on the cover. The last novel I read with him on the cover was Easy, which blew me away. I realize that the cover model has no direct relationship with how good the story will be, but I couldn’t help myself. It’s the same way if I see Pepe Toth on the cover of something. I can’t promise I’ll read it immediately, but it does get added to my TBR pile. You can say that I had high expectations for this. It wasn’t perfect, or nearly as good as Easy, but it was worth a read.

Sienna is an interesting character, the opposite of what you’d expect from a red-headed woman. I think red, I think fiery and filled with attitude, but Sienna is rather submissive in the beginning. She allows everyone except Lucas to push her around and verbally abuse her. Watching Lucas push her to stand up for herself a bit more was interesting to see. As for Lucas, well, I don’t have much to say. Though we see a lot of them interacting, this is told entirely from Sienna’s perspective. This was shocking to me since All Over You was told in dual perspectives and I sorely missed getting Lucas’s side of things. Without his point of view, he seems a bit shallower than I expect him, much more focused on sex than anything else, including his music and that wasn’t exactly how he came off in AOY.

Really, this gets a 3.5 from me. It was good, but overall, it felt too short. It is a scant 200 hundred pages and while there are some writers that can get their point across well is that short space, this just wasn’t one where I felt like there wasn’t room for more. It felt a bit insta-love-y to me and everything felt a bit more forced than necessary. I realize that the concept is she has 10 days with him so everything must fall in that time frame, but, in my personal opinion, this book would have been much better if we got some of Lucas’s perspective as well. In fact, take this, combine it with the novella Snow is currently publishing chapter by chapter on her website, and combine them into one book instead of two. That would be the real winner.

Another issue that really isn’t entirely related to this book particularly but New Adult in general is the sex. I get that New Adult is for an older audience and much more explicit than YA, but I feel like too much of it reads like erotica, which isn’t what I’m looking for when I pickup one of these novels. Yes, I want more description than a YA would provide, but I’m not looking for a play by play of every single sexual activity the couple participate in. There are some points where less is more. Maybe it’s just me, but some of that seems overdone.

Either way, this is a pretty good read that really knows how to build the tension. It leaves off with a bit of a cliffhanger because we still don’t know what’s going on with Lucas’s ex or how they will resolve their issues, but one thing is certain and that is Sienna and Lucas will find a way to make it work.

Review for All Over You (Devoured #0.5) by Emily Snow

All Over You by Emily Snow

TITLE: All Over You
SERIES: Devoured #0.5
AUTHOR: Emily Snow
PUBLICATION DATE: January 1, 2013
PUBLISHER: Touchstone, an imprint of Scribner, an imprint of Simon & Schuster Inc
PAGES: 57 pages
SOURCE: Borrowed
RATING: 4 stars

Sienna Jensen does all kinds of internet research when she gets the job assisting wardrobe for Your Toxic Sequel’s latest music video, but she learns nothing that will help her when she comes face to face with the band’s lead singer. Lucas Wolfe is not used to hearing no, but when Sienna refuses to go on a date with him, he’s determined to turn that particular no into a yes. He has three days to make it happen before the video ends to make Sienna his next conquest, before she walks out of his life forever.

Like all good prequels, this just leaves you wanting more. The ending leaves much to be desire and I immediately starting reading the next book. You don’t get enough to properly gage Sienna’s or Lucas’s personalities, beyond Lucas’s need to be in control and Sienna’s normally submissive nature. Sounds like a match made in heaven, right? Nope because Lucas seems to be the one person she can tell no. You’ll have to read on to book two to see if they ever work it out.