Second off - this will NOT be a nice review! You have been warned.
Okay, as some of you may know I am an avid reader - and by avid I mean I would go to the library during the summer, check out 6 to 7 books (some times 10) and have them all done by the end of the week and going back to get more. I can read 1 - 2 a day if I'm not interrupted.
The first: a book I don't even remember the name or author of that my Mom checked out for me in maybe 8/9 grade an effort to get me out of my 'reading hole' - that being scifi/fantasy/YA since I was always checking out the same books and refused to try any other genre. She actually checked out 2 books, one I liked the other I got halfway though and couldn't stand. She never picked out another book for me and I eventually (on my OWN!) branched out into other genres but not until college.
The second: Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West by Gregory Maguire. I LOVE the musical. Honestly, I've seen if multiple times and I love it; the music, the costumes, the story, everything! The book......not so much. I tried. Really I did. But I couldn't get past....maybe chapter 3 or 4. It didn't hook me and I just couldn't force myself to read any more of it. My Mom did better - she got halfway before she stopped. My sister owns all of the books in the series and loved them. I *might* give it another shot sometime....but I doubt it.
The following is a review on the third book that I couldn't finish that I got off of a book blog recommendation list.
I am very glad I only checked this book out of my local library and didn't buy it. Honestly, unless a book is by an author that I already know & love (ie: Tamora Pierce, Mercedes Lackey, David Eddings, Pierce Anthony, or pretty much any StarWars book) I will check it out or borrow it from a friend first before I spend $$ on it. Which drives my Mom crazy, in her mind why spend money on a book you already read? My answer: because I want to reread it at some point. I know.....strange concept.
Now, I like a good romance novel as much as the next gal. I honestly didn't until I started reading paranormal ones and have since given the genre more range.
I read 50 Shades of Grey because I wanted to see what the whole controversy was about - it was badly written and since I KNEW it was originally a Twilight fanfic that made sense, but this review isn't about it and there are enough out there that you don't need to read one more.
THIS book claims to be for fans of 50 Shades and others of that ilk with the whole rich man/billionaire/guy with issues/control/dominate meets girl and insta love happens with lots of sexy fun times.
So you might be asking yourself, Krystal - what is this book and just get to the review already? Well fine - here is my review and I warn you - there ARE spoiliers and I will not spare the language or descriptions so if anything about sex or cursing offends you, leave.
The culprit: This Man by Jodi Ellen Malpas
The crime: being a waste of time and a God awful book!
Lets meet the characters:
"Hero": Jesse Ward - a "devastatingly handsome, utterly confident, pleasure-seeking playboy who knows no boundaries"
"Heroine": Ava O' Shae - a young interior designer who's been pretty successful and works at a well known and prominent design firm. I don't remember her age....I think it's late 20s.
Kate: Ava's roommate and BFF. Owns a cake decorating business and apparently used to date Ava's brother.
Sam: one of Jesse's friends. We first meet him at "The Manor" when Jesse shows Ava around, and he and Kate hook up after meeting at a later date.
We find out at the end of the book that "The Manor" is a sex club - surprise! Not
On to the book content
Offensive item right off the bat: when Ava first gets out of her car, she's greeted, at the door by "[...]the biggest man I've ever seen [...] He has on a black suit - specifically made for sure because that's no regular size - a black shirt and a black tie. His skin is the color of rich ebony, his shaved head looks like it's been buffed to a shine, and wraparound sunglasses conceal his eyes. [...] This man is a mountain and everything about him screams bodyguard."
So, basically she's greeted by a giant, bald, black guy. And what is her reaction to this? "I'm suddenly slightly concerned that I've turned up at some Mafia control center, and I search my brain trying to remember if I transferred my panic alarm to my new handbag" - ie: her 'rape whistle'
Really? A person you think is a body guard - at a VERY WEALTHY person's house greets you and you think you've suddenly gotten involved with the Mafia or that the guy is going to rape you or something? WTF Jodi - seriously? Because he's black??
The guy's name turns out to be John or something. Idk - not important.
So the whole billionaire/dom/insta-love thing really doesn't bug me. If done right, it works and I enjoy the book. This, obviously, isn't one of those.
The 'insta-lust/love' thing is there for sure. But controlling/dom thing from Jesse is abusive - NOT sweet.
1) When Ava leaves to use the restroom, to talk herself down from the insta-lust/attraction she has when meeting Jesse, he digs through her purse and programs his number and a custom ringtone into her phone without her knowledge or permission. You don't find out about this till later when he calls her. He changes her ringtone on several more occasions - again without permission. And Ava says/does nothing - just accepts hit.
2) Jesse will call multiple times a day and get pissed when Ava doesn't answer. Ie: She's in the shower and misses 8 calls, with him OUTSIDE HER HOME, and he's pissed because she didn't take her cell phone with her. Um.....phone + water =/= mix. And that's just one example. But all is forgiven with "reminder sex" because she needs to remember how utterly amazing Jesse is in the sex department and how amazing and earth shattering the orgasms are when they have sex.
When she doesn't pick up at work (after 8+ calls) because she's avoiding him or working, he calls her work and berates the secretary/receptionist.But don't worry - he makes it up by sending both Sally (the receptionist) and Ava giant bouquets of flowers.
3) Her birth control pills go missing on several occasions - two that I read of, apparently it's a total of three times, after she spends the night with him. Conclusion 1- he's getting rid of them because NO girl is THAT clueless/forgetful when it comes to her birth control and she's sleeping with a guy without condoms - hell, even WITH condoms. NO ONE! Conclusion 2 - he wants to get her pregnant because it's one more way to bind her to him and control her.
4) Double standards: he has no problem cussing but anytime Ava says "fucking" or "shit" or anything he will tell her (more like yell at her) to "watch your fucking mouth!"
Bitch please! Last time I check anyone over the age of like....5 are held responsible for their own actions. Actually I take that back, kids younger are probably held responsible for their own actions to a point as well.
He also counts down from 3 to 0 to goad her into doing something he wants but that she doesn't want to do - ie: get on his motorcycle when she's already expressed concern about it and said no when it's in front of her job and she can get in trouble for being seen with him. News flash: she's an adult, not a child (although honestly I can't tell with the way she acts at times). If she doesn't comply by the time he reaches 0, he picks her up and throws her over his shoulder or does something else equally embarrassing.
Spoiler: we find out at the end (cause I skipped to read the last few pages just for this review) that Jesse is/was? an alcoholic. When Ava gets upset for him not telling her anything about "The Manor" - a sex club for BDSM or whatnot - he gets drunk - like shitfaced drunk. Ava gets upset when she finds this out because he never told her
5) He ignores her when she says "no" during sex - or even before sex. Basically he doesn't lay off the touching or anything until she caves and has sex with him. Um....NO means NO! Unless this is a BDSM book and they have safe-words established - it's not and they don't. I don't care that she's 'conflicted internally' which is why she caves- she said no at the start, end of discussion. Do not pass Go, do not collect $100. Or in this case - continue to pressure her into having sex with you. THAT'S RAPE!
6) He gets super insane jealous whenever she's talking to another guy - her ex or her GAY coworker - it doesn't matter - he doesn't like it and basically tells her she can't talk to them. He doesn't like the very expensive dress she bought because it's "too short" and she's "for his eyes only" - so he cuts it up (apparently I didn't get that far because I stopped reading before he did it). But that's okay everyone cause apparently he buys her another dress that HE picked out and that HE likes and that makes it okay, all is forgiven and we can go on to have MORE SEX! He's rich, well endowed, and good in bed so all his actions are forgiven and not at all illegal/questionable. *eye roll*
Ava goes with Kate to deliver a giant cake and while Kate is inside talking to the customer/getting payment/whatever - an old fat guy in some sports car gets pissed because Kate's old broken-ass van is double parked or something so he starts going after Ava to "move the fucking van" and when she panics, and looks for the keys - to no avail, he moves in and physically assaults her. But don't worry loyal readers - Jesse shows up OUT OF NO WHERE and saves her! How the hell did he even know where she was? Apparently he had people following her - or he was, it's unclear from later reviews. But don't worry all, he gets so upset that Ava a bruised ass from riding in the back of the van (without a seat-belt on) to prevent the cake from being destroyed as they go up a hill with speed bumps - he buys Kate a new van. Which means he's a keeper and Ava should stay with him no matter what!
Now this bugs me - first off there's no reason for the old bald fat guy to get as pissed off at Kate/Ava's parking as he did because he SAW them pull a giant ass cake out of the van and bring it inside. So he knows what's going on. I pretty much served no other purpose than to serve as a plot point for the "hero" to come in and rescue the "heroine" from danger. Proving how much he loves her or some shit.
And it's not just of men - at one point, he puts her clothes IN THE FRIDGE and won't tell her where they are because he doesn't want her to go to work, for which she's already late for because OMG THE SEX from the night before was just soooooooo amazing, until she agrees that she won't drink anything when she goes out on Friday with Kate - to a BAR. Oh yeah, that's another thing - he gets upset because she says she has plans to hang out with her friends and can't stay the night with him. Um....excuse me? No. Just no.
7) He shows up at her work to pay a late invoice, because she got lectured by her boss for him not having paid it and so she lets him know, and he proceeds to take her work diary, that has all her appointments with her other clients in it, erases them because they are in pencil, and then takes a black marker and draws a line through the days before writing his name. Claiming that she's his and he only wants her to spend time with him. AND SHE FUCKING LETS HIM DO IT!!!
This right here is where I said 'forget it!' I'm done!
Apparently he goes on to move her into his house with out asking or even talking to Ava about it, even going so far as to enlist Kate and Sam's help to pack up stuff for her and does some other stuff.
And we never do find out how old Jesse is. He starts off by saying "21" when asked how old he was when he got "The Manor" or something and just adds one more year to the answer anytime she asks him how old he is. Annoying to say the least - and really? WTF cares? Why not just tell her your age? He's already sleeping with her! This is NOT need to be a big mystery. The random ass scar he has? Sure. His issue with drinking? Okay. But he age? No.
Now Ava isn't much better - she starts off strong what with her career and all but she caves soooooo easily when Jesse does something she doesn't like. She'll leave him - or fight back - but she just can't stay mad at him because he's just so damn sexy and OMG is he amazing in bed!
They never actually TALK about anything - Ava ignores Jesse, puts her hands over her ears and hums so she can't hear him talking (what is she 6?!), while Jesse just shuts down completely, uses sex to distract her from the question/problem, or just refuses to answer.
This book is 470 pages with 33 chapters and a bonus chapter at the end (making it 34) that's from Jesse's POV about the night Ava and Jesse first have sex at an open house party showing off the fancy house Ava helped decorate. That's pretty long for a book of this type. There is a LOT of sex in here. It's repetitive and not well written.
One of the first times Ava/Jesse have sex they have anal sex, excluding the aforementioned party. Not an uncommon type of sex in these books, but not normally one of the first things that occurs. There is NO prep, no lube used (because she's just so wet he doesn't need to use it) and it's just amazing! Best orgasm ever, OMG! But they don't talk about it after or really any other time and it never occurs again. At least not in this book. I don't know about in the other 2, and have NO desire to find out.
Now, either Jodi has never actually HAD anal sex - or she's a complete moron. Or both.....but I'm going with moron. That is NOT something you jump into! And in any other book I've read that has that type of sex involved - there is ALWAYS prep of some sort and some sort of lube used. Always!!
The simultaneous orgasms - look, I'm sorry but it's NOT going to happen every fucking time! Nor is it THAT big of a deal if it doesn't, as long as the guy doesn't just get off and leave the girl hanging - that's just plain mean. And I get that that's a thing with the genre but it's never annoyed me as much as it had in this book. It just really really bugged me. Probably because I already disliked the characters and everything just annoyed me more and more as I kept reading.
Jesse uses sex to get what he wants - control over Ava. He's constantly asking her "who has the power"/"who's in control" and the answer he wants is him. The one time she said that he didn't have control over her, he got pissed and yelled at her. RED FLAG!!! Dom/Sub relationships, at least the ones in GOOD books, aren't like that! But oh no, Jesse isn't a Dom....he just likes to have control - totally a separate thing guys I swear!
Seriously though people - this book is just one big red flag of domestic abuse after another.
The sad thing? The amount of 5 star reviews online. Many of them were along the lines of "I don't know what all those people are talking about. There's NO WAY this is anything like abuse. It's amazing!" "Jesse Ward is amazing! I luv him." "I want a Jesse Ward of my own." "OMG THE SEX IS SO AMAZING IN THIS BOOK" "It's like 50 Shades but better! Can't wait to read the next 2" etc etc etc. I think those people just like all the sex scenes and don't actually pay attention, or think, about what they are reading.
There are 2 more books in this series - I will NOT be reading them. I won't even waste my time reading reviews of them. I just don't care. I also won't touch anything by this author ever again. She's on my shit list.
PLEASE for the love of God, don't waste your time on this book. I skimmed chapters and still couldn't finish it. It's not worth the time you would loose or the utter aggravation you will develop for the characters and author.
Okay, end of rant/vent/review. I'm off to bed. Here's hoping the next book I have waiting for me at the library isn't as disappointing.
Don't worry, we'll be back to your regularly scheduled cross-stitching post next time. Till then,
here's hoping you have some good books to read! ^_^