...and I wonder if I should quit reading this romance sub-genre. I think my last rage review was about a book labeled 'erotica'.
This book is a mess.
I guess I should first say that I'm going to read the sequel, and here's why; The book left off on a highly emotional unresolved note and, usually, if I dislike the book I could care less about the HEA and happily put it aside. But in this case, the ending 'fight', which was really a monologue from the mouth of Amery, was so good that I am intrigued.
I am not intrigued that Ronin can somehow fix her justifiably hurt feelings, but rather, how Amery could EVER come back from what she says and forgive him.
Because everything she said was pretty kick-ass. I'll sum it up as 'You are horrible and I don't need you'. Right on. If this was a stand-alone book that ended as such, I might have given it an extra star because her walking away would be good HEA here -- I do see however that there is a sequel, so no such luck.
Also, of note was the inclusion of the artistry of Kinbaku/Shibari. It was so interesting to me that I actually Wiki'd it. The BDSM world is very, very hazy to me, and believe me, I'm 100% okay with that. So when I hear the term 'bondage', I think of something nearly medieval. This is so not the case here and perhaps for that reason only, I continued to read through umpteen various sex scenes that make up most of this book.
So those are the positives. Why the 1 star?
Like I said, this book is a mess.
The first third is so silly it's nearly a joke.
First was the case of lust at first sight - at 5%:
"They stared at each other, locked in an eye-fuck that was better than any sex she’d ever had."
Then the sass-mouth attraction - at 8%:
"Your attitude . . . intrigues me.”
“Defiance. Especially since I don’t think that’s a natural reaction for you.”
Because this has never been done before. Because being a bitch the first time you meet a guy is totally cool and hot. Because...give me a freakin' break already.
So yeah, after some sassy conversation and that earth shattering 'eye-fuck' (roughly 5 minutes of their lives right there) we now can trust a guy with your safety as evidenced here - at 8%:
"Molly’s gaze darted to the right.
“Master Black said he’d be happy to handle it for you. That’s okay, isn’t it?”
“Of course it’s okay,” Chaz inserted. He squeezed Amery’s shoulder. “She’s exhausted and who better to trust her safety with than her self-defense instructor?”
Okay, and let's talk about Chaz - one of her self-proclaimed 'besties'. Here's thing. I am not normally or easily offended when it comes to race/ethnicity/orientation in books or lack thereof. I'm one part naive and one part ignorant, but mostly I'm color blind. I don't give a friggin' fig if the guy or girl is black, white, mulatto, Asian, Korean, Brazilian or from Mars. I typically find intelligence, wit and charisma sexier than the package they're wrapped in anyway. And as for orientation, whatever! It's just ONE PART of who people are, so please, dear author, hash out the rest for me. So, given my blaise attitude, imagine my surprise when I was geniuinely offended by the token gay friend AND, to be fair, the OTHER bestie is a lesbian - at 8%:
“Did she call you and your lesbian Mafia connections for help?” Chaz asked snottily.
“They could protect her better than that gay brotherhood you hang around with,” she shot back."
WTactualF. And if you want to know, every cliché I've read before is in here - Chaz is a complete man-whore who cheats and is a selfish bastard towards his friend Amery. Actually, every friend Amery possesses has a selfish dick moment in the book. Is it impossible for a girl to have normal, even-keeled friends? I...can't even go on.
Oh, and not to be left out - @ 8%
"The African-American cop approached her while the other cop, a young Hispanic woman, talked on a phone."
I don't even effing know why the race of the police officer was important to the story. Maybe because later in the book, the losers who try to jump Ronin and Amery are Hispanic so we have to show some equality.
And along the lines of me being offended - Amery is an idiot. Ronin is a whatever-level-I-don't-even-know black belt, owner of a dojo and all around martial arts expert. This is heavily played on. Amery, in her infinite classiness, calls Ronin a ninja all the freakin' time - and everything out his mouth is 'so Zen':
"I learned many skills there, including finding the balance between what I need and what the world requires from me.”
Amery sighed. When he said Zen stuff like that, she wanted to curl into him and absorb his strength and wisdom, while surrounding herself with his enticing scent."
Ronin is an idiot too though - he's so cardboard for the first half of the book. I suppose that's what 'ZEN' is, having complete clarity and delivering your dialogue much like Tarzan. "Me Ronin. You Amery. Me, Master. You, get naked."
He also can get EVERYTHING done by calling in a favor - in true billionaire (though not, as yet, revealed here) fashion. Here, with a standard health test - @ 39%:
“You have my word.” Ronin rolled on top of her. “I’ll set up the appointments for Monday afternoon. We should have the results the next day.”
“A guy owes me a favor."
Because waiting 5-7 days to get your STD results like the rest of the world would just...totally throw off the pacing of this book. We must get condom-less now for the boinking from here on out. This just annoyed me.
As did this -
“No, I mean like ivory. There aren’t many moles or freckles to mar the perfection.”
I'm am so sick of perfection. This is a completely personal annoyance. I'm freckled to the hilt. I hate the fact that this chic is unrealistically perfect skin (Nicole Kidman is an exception to the rule people) and that oh-so-rare strawberry blonde hair.
So, after this I sorta quit highlighting and numbed out to just finish the book. I already figured that I spent way too much time thinking about source material that was meant for the brainless. So, I got into the spirit of things and went with it.
Besides all the crap mentioned above, there was a part in the middle that really bothered me - after Ronin binds her the first time (after declaring that she has 'no boundaries' with him), she completely freaks out. Her reaction, which was that she thought he was going to KILL her, was so out of left field that I was a little disturbed. She then throws some pretty heavy accusations at him and storms off without explanation.
Obviously, she gets over it after a week and realizes that bondage is so very freeing and wonderful for her. Commence with round 2 of the boinking extravaganza, with ropes now instead of just whatever was lying around before that he'd use (chaise lounge straps, scarves, belts, all of which she was fine with before).
Whatever. I said this book was a mess and could have just left it at that, but there were things here so obviously wrong that it made it very easy for my very small brain to point out.