Reviewed in the United States 🇺🇸 on January 22, 2022
I do love a good romance, with interesting, empathetic characters, an engaging plot, hot sex, and some redemption thrown in for good measure. This book by Nicole Snow has some huge roadblocks that don't help fit the bill.
SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS AHEAD.
The Plot: It's strictly incredible. A mega rich dude takes his inherited highly respected publishing empire and turns it into a tabloid rag. His reason for destroying others lives? His sibling suffered a catastrophic brain injury at the hands of an evil record executive. Somehow, by doing this, he's a sort of secret hero, an altruistic guy who also tries to help a young girl also under the power of the evil record
executive. And then he buys a reputable publication to enlist the unwilling help of a very young editor in chief (right) so she can operate on the sly to become friends with the young victim of the evil record executive. Somehow, this is all supposed to make the publisher a hero in the reader's eyes. The plot actually gets more unbievable as the story progresses. Why does the publisher basically burn down lots of people's lives in order to seek revenge on one guy who has nothing to do with those people getting burned? The H defends his actions by insisting he's never out a a libel/defamation suit because he only prints the truth. This reader is not seeing the justification in these actions at all.
The H and h: First, I can't imagine how 2 people ever function or get work done in between all the gasping, bosom heaving, growling, extensive and constant eye f#&$!+@, electric skin contact, heavy breathing, and foreplay masked as ake public fighting. It's seriously over the top even for a romance. The reader is supposed to believe that these 2 are so ridiculously attracted to eachnother that they can clear a room using their magical pheromones, all while maintaining their secret feelings for each other. It was just way, way, way overblown, with many pages devoted to each individual encounter, and each encounter more overblown than the last. I guess that's supposed to build the romance to help us readers get to the sexual experience that's also super over the top. It just didn't really work. By the time these 2 supreme horn dogs did the deed, Holy Tasty Snacks, I was over it. Also the sex, while pretty detailed in some ways, had an odd markings that played out in later descriptions of their encounters. For example, in an internal dialogue, the H thinks about the redness he created on the h's bottom when he struck her repeatedly during a last encounter. What? There was spanking? Never mentioned during any of the lengthy sexual encounters. Same for some comments about light bondage, again never mentioned during pre unusual detailed encounters. Sure, not everything has to be spelled out--it's just an example that makes for some confusion to the reader.
The H is a supreme alpha, so physically imposing that he manspreads in every scene. He's described as so muscled, tense, masculine, and tightly strung that I expected his voice to be super high pitched just from the physical tension of maintaining a manly pose. His arrogance, self justification for his misdeeds, and spectacularly overbearing physical bullying all made him a non-hero for me. The h is a more standard romance trope for the times, much younger than her composure displays, physically stunning, a crazy amalgamation of millennial style tropes (something between a pinup, with vintage leanings, to a Lite Brite devotee). She's strong, smart, and of course that other mandatory romance female trope today, snappy. While likeable, she didn't ring true. A good romance h should be relatable, and she just wasn't. It was difficult to buy the enemies to lovers story for these 2, as they literally had nothing in common, and were not opposites, either.
The Pacing: Wow. I found the pacing of the story to be supernaturally slow, then a rush of action at the end. While I can appreciate that action ties up the ending, the very slow pace through the first two-thirds of the book made it drag unnecessarily. I found myself skipping a bit just to get things moving.
I see tons of fantastic reviews her, so I know I'm an outlier. And I'm sure there will be other reviewers who would tell me to just.put the story down if it's so unbelievable. I get that. But I've read other Nicole Snow books that were much better. She's a good writer, but she tends to gets too purpley-prosey with her H characters in particular, and her plots can be very weak at best. Yes, she's written and sold a boatload of books. That doesn't mean she can't do better. The purpose of a review isn't to bash, but to help other readers determine if the story is worth the read. In this case, I'm not sure which way this falls.