This book got off to an interesting start. It immediately went into some decent character development that was enjoyable for the few chapters it lasted. Jules is an only child, slightly spoiled and not my cup of tea. Reed, I don’t know how to describe other than he’s adamant that she will belong to him no matter what is happening around them, and some bad stuff is going down. Jackie, who I always got confused with Jules since they both start with J and are about the same length, is a terrible person. More on that later. Her parents are adoring and extremely wealthy. I liked them. And to round it out is Gavin, the psycho ex-boyfriend.
Then her folks are murdered. The only reason I was surprised is because I hadn’t read the jacket, but it’s stated right there, so no spoiler. It was sad, but led to a lot of bad story. First of all, she gets over it frighteningly quick. She has a small freak out, but the bodies are miraculously processed through the system and buried three days later. That’s more of a shocker, especially for murdered people who spend a bit more time with the mortician. If only everyone could have a service and burial planned and executed that quickly. That was unrealistic, but the worst part of the murder is that there is no reason behind it and she doesn’t care at all who the guy is. What should have been part of the plot is quickly written off. I wish that everyone could get over the murder of, not just one but two, loved ones so fast. They died early on, but every time she thought or said it’ll get better I cringed. In real life, it doesn’t get better; it becomes an accepted part of life.
Then there’s Jackie who was cheating on her supposed best friend with her boyfriend for several years. Then, when she is caught she actually blames Jules, telling her that it’s her fault the psycho ex and Reed want her so badly. Sounds pretty unforgivable to me, but it doesn’t stop Jules from mending their relationship at the end. Honestly, I felt like it was a response to her guilt over Jackie being beaten by the psycho ex-boyfriend. In real life, no one would be able to move on and be BFFs again. It was hard to read.
The inner dialogue was extremely repetitive. Reed obsessed over his love for her and how he will never let her go, even right after telling Jules that her parents were murdered. Why was he thinking about how to woo her when she was mourning, no matter how brief it was? She kept thinking, when she was remembering them, how her parents would want her to be happy, so she felt validated moving on less than a week after they died. Using sex to try and deal with a traumatic experience like murder makes sense, but that’s not what she did. She was suddenly madly in love with him.
Which leads me to the sex. It was very graphic, yet unmoving. When it started it was constant for a good portion of the book, with only a few pages of reprieve. Just one of the multiple scenes stood out and that’s only because of the dirty talk that it entailed.
The story starts off strong, but then less than a quarter of the way through it, it peters out. The bulk of the book is spent on mundane tasks that are far too detailed and dull. They have absolutely nothing to do with what should have been the plot: murder and psycho ex-boyfriend. Instead those topics are pushed completely to the side and I was left reading drawn-out conversations that were basically the exact same thing as the ten previous and tasks that were given way too much attention. I did not enjoy reading play-by-play descriptions about her checking in to a hotel or a trip to an antique store that had zero value to the story. I found myself skimming quite a bit, because it drew away from the storyline and was down-right boring.
The ending was the most anti-climactic one I have ever read. With romance novels it is very common for a suspense ending to be too short and underdeveloped, but this was hard to read. Psycho returns and then he’s dealt with completely off screen. There is no satisfaction when the story just drops off and you’re given two sentences about he’s dead. This was followed by one page of her not wanting to go to his funeral. Why would she after he tried to kill her? Then Reed convincing her that she needs to see his dead body for closure.
On the plus side, there were very few grammatical errors. Most of them were towards the end of the book, which is common. It seems as if the author just wanted to finish the book and paid less attention the closer it got to completion. I can forgive that, though, because by the end of this book I couldn’t wait for it to end either. It is apparent that the author tried very hard to develop the relationship between Jules and Reed, but it came off as annoying and his prolific use of the nickname Sweetness was nauseating. Cut out seventy or so pages, and the nickname, and focus on conversation that has a purpose, and it could be much tighter.
Now for the ratings:
- Genre and general audience – romance and definitely mature.
- The level of sexuality – very high and very dry.
- Was there graphic language? There was some use of the f-word, but it wasn’t excessive. What is a romance novel without it?
- Did I cry? Not a drop, not even when her parents were killed. We never even find out how they died or the name of the guy who did it. So, the only potential cry point is too weak for tears.
- Is this part of a series? Not that I know of.
- Level of character development – they were rather shallow after a decent start and they never evolved through the course of the book.
- Did I laugh? Only at the audacity of Jules recovering from her parents’ murder in the span of a few days. They were in the ground and she was mooning over Reed.
I had high hopes and the beginning kept me glued, but it lost me less than a quarter of the way in. It is obvious that the author really tried, so I give it ⭐️⭐️ stars.