Review: Untouchable by Sam Mariano

UNTOUCHABLE
Genre: Dark Romance
Author: Sam Mariano
Release Date: December 16, 2018

The bully isn’t supposed to win.

Senior year was off to a rough start: lube in my locker, panties on my front porch, unimaginative name-calling. See, I got a player suspended from the football team for harassing me, and in my small Texas town, you don’t mess with the football players—even if they mess with you first.

I didn’t care if it was an unpopular thing to do; I stood up for myself… and in doing so, opened Pandora’s Box.

I never dreamed I would attract the attention of locally worshipped star quarterback, Carter Mahoney. Never imagined his coveted attention would turn out to be such a nightmare. Beneath his carefully constructed façade lurks a monster, a predator looking for the perfect prey to play with. Now, since I’m the girl no one likes or believes, I guess I’m the perfect target for his dark games and twisted desires.

After surviving my first encounter with his casual depravity, all I really want is for Carter to leave me alone.

But all he seems to want is me.

Warning: This book is provocative. It is categorized as DARK ROMANCE for a reason. It will not be for everyone. If you are a reader with certain triggers or sensitivities common to the dark romance genre, please heed the author’s note at the beginning of this book.

AMAZONSpoilers to follow…

It’s terrifying, his disregard for right and wrong. The pleasure he gets out of making me powerless.

I have sat on the rating for this book for a solid week, totally and completely conflicted. On the one hand, the writing is solid and the story interesting enough to have me continuing after the HOLY SHIT DID I JUST READ WHAT I THINK I DID in the first 5%. Yes, the warning does a good job of preparing the reader and making them understand that this is not a typical angsty high school romance. It’s dark (but not in the usual sense). Yes, the author does an incredible job of painting two very well developed characters that you can’t help but be curious about. Yes, it had me reading well into the night to see how it all ends.

But…and this is a big BUT. I’m talking about the but of all buts here, people. You may argue with me that this is fiction. You may argue with me that you have to suspend your disbelief because you’re reading a darker book. But here’s the thing, no matter how you spin it, FOR ME, this book romanticizes sexual abuse. It is not, I repeat, NOT a dub con. It is sexual abuse. Pure and simple. And there is nothing dark, interesting, captivating, or intriguing about the hero to me. He’s a rapey asshole. No matter how much the author tries to justify him, or explain his actions (and she does) at the end. He’s not an anti-hero I can get behind, because there is just nothing redeemable about him to me.

I’ll be honest, this is a book that you will either love, or hate. There is no middle ground. No gray area.

HIGHLIGHT TO VIEW SPOILER This “anti-hero” forces the heroine to give him a blowjob as part of sexual blackmail/bullying in the first 5% of the book. And no, it’s not the kind of blowjob where she secretly wants it but he can see through it. She hates it. She doesn’t want to do it. And he forces her into performing the act in front of his two other jock buddies that have been making her life miserable in high school after she reported one of them for touching her inappropriately and getting him kicked off the football team. END SPOILER

I’ll let you think on that for a second here. Is that a character you can read about? If so, you’ll fall into the side of readers that would love this book.

And if you’re like me and couldn’t see past this for the entirety of the book? Welp. I’ll tell you that this book just isn’t for you.

And here’s the thing. He CONTINUES this behavior for the entire fucking book.HIGHLIGHT TO VIEW SPOILER [He takes her virginity because HE decides that she’s ready even after she repeatedly asked him not to and told him she wants to wait. He repeatedly fucks her without a condom even when she begs him to wrap him up and is scared to be a teenage pregnancy statistic. END SPOILER

And the heroine? No matter how smart, sassy, strong willed, or backboned she is…just takes it all.
Again, you’ll say to me, but Lana, it’s fiction, calm your tits.

And I’ll say to you that what it is, is tone-deaf. It spins a tale of a completely fucked up rapey asshole and shows that all he needs, is to find a woman that “understands” him and doesn’t want to change him. Because that’s just who he is, and so long as she “gets him”, it’s all ok. And it’s all ok because he only does that to her. He doesn’t feel those urges towards any other unsuspecting female victims women. Just her.
And in the midst of the #MeToo movement, I’m quite honestly shocked that a book like this is written.

I’m not a delicate snowflake. I LOVE a dark romance and I’ve read my fair share. Just take a look at my shelves. But this book is just not one I can get behind. Nor do I even consider to be a dark romance. Aside from the rapey aspects of the book, there is nothing dark about it. Perhaps if it was written as a true dark romance, it would have been a different case entirely. The author is clearly a talented writer, and I’ll be trying some of her other books. Sometimes a character just isn’t for you, and this was that case for me. Again, it’s a matter of taste. And as I’ve said, you’ll either love or hate it. So read it and judge for yourself.

Review: ★Behind Your Back★ by Chelsea M. Cameron

Behind Your Back 
Author: Chelsea M. Cameron
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Release Date: March 26, 2015

To get to him, I need to use her.I’ll play her like a violin and have her falling in love with me before she even knows what’s happening.

It will be easy. I’ve done it before and I’ll do it again.
She’s just a girl.
A tool to get what I want.When I’m done with her I won’t think twice about walking away.
At least, that was what I thought.

Until I met her.

Warning: slight rant to follow
I’ve loved and I mean LOVED Chelsea’s Fall and Rise series. So when I heard she’s coming out with a new book and I read the blurb for Behind to Back, I didn’t even have to think twice jumping at the chance to read it. Then I started reading it…and I swear I kept checking the cover to make sure I was reading a book by the same author.

This book puts Kristen Ashley’s descriptiveness to shame. I have never read so much mundane and unnecessary details in a book before. But while KA’s descriptiveness somehow works in her books, here it was just empty and pointless. I mean for gawd’s sake, I knew what the hero ate, what he wore, what he thought about wearing, what he drove, what he thought about driving. I swear, if I had to read about his bowel movements; (1) I actually wouldn’t have been surprised given everything else that’s described and (2) I would have chucked my kindle out the window.

I originally DNF’d this at 35% because I had no connection with the story or the characters. None. How could I? Let me give you a cliff notes version of the first 30%.
Spoiler alert: nothing happens.

We meet the protagonist. He has a name, but it’s not his real one. He shares this with you through his internal monologue at least 5 times. He goes into a coffee shop and notices the heroine, who’s wearing a disguise…but you have no idea why. (Cue intrigue)

He goes out and does a bunch of stuff while having a lot more internal thoughts.
He gets home. Goes to sleep. Oh and he has a cat named Leo.

He wakes up. Talks about his mission to punish all the bad men for the bad things they did through their money, but you have no idea why. He has a team of people that do this with him, but you have no idea how they work. Oh and one of them is gay and the other is a manwhore….because every book needs those.

He wakes up the next day. Has a shave. Thinks about what he’s going to wear. Decides on the Briani. (my uncultured self had to look up Briani). Thinks about whether to take the Royce or the Ferrari. Goes out. Does stuff… But you still have no idea what he does aside from his “day job”. Comes home. Goes to sleep.

He wakes up. Eats something. Thinks about his cat. Hangs out with his friends who also work with him, they talk about a bunch of stuff. Goes home because he has a migraine and goes to sleep.

He wakes up. Talks to his friend/”team mate” about what to wear to better attract the heroine. Goes out. Does a bunch of stuff. Comes home. Goes to sleep.

Bla bla bla next 20% bla bla bla.

He’s still looking for the heroine. But you have no idea why. Because her daddy did a bad thing but you have no idea what. He goes home again because he has a headache. Cuddles his cat. Goes to sleep.

Wakes up the next day. Goes looking for the heroine. He has a coffee. Can’t find the heroine. Goes home. Talks with his teammates about updates…though at this point I just don’t care..

Wakes up the next day. Sets up another failed attempt to meet the heroine. Flirts with a girl at a bar. Takes his fancy suit and fancy car home. Goes to sleep…his cat is also home. Because…you know…he has a cat and stuff.

Wakes up again. Meets with his teammates to complain how he can’t seem to set up the “accidental” meet with the heroine. Thinks about more mundane stuff. Oh he also does some work and stuff. Goes home and goes to sleep.

7 weeks later, 7000 mundane details later and he still hasn’t met the heroine.

Oh but wait, when he finally DOES meet her, all it takes is their eyes to connect for him to burn for her. (Cue eye roll)

At this point I was actually forcing myself to keep reading in hopes something, anything would happen. But any connection I could have had for the characters or their story was lost somewhere between the hero’s metrosexual percolating over his car and wardrobe choices and the really bad analogies.

Analogies like this

She’s…fragile. Like a glass holding a bouquet of beautiful flowers that would shatter if you bump it too hard.

or this

She tastes like fire. Hot and sweet.

And cheesy lines like this

My heart always seems to know when Saige is in range and speeds up. It’s not something I can help. It’s just a bodily response to a beautiful and funny and sexy woman. My biological need to mate and continue the species.

or this…

You’re like a walking piece of art. And I really, really like art.

I felt like the entire story was being told to me as opposed to shown. There really wasn’t any depth to the characters, aside from the hero’s internal monologue of details that have no added value to the actual story.
The only saving grace for me was the twist at the very end. Unfortunately by then it was just a little too late. I don’t care enough about the couple to be curious as to what happens with them in the next book. I don’t like the hero, and I’m simply not intrigued enough by the heroine.

Will I read future books by this author? Absolutely and without a doubt. Even the best of authors can write a book that won’t work for you once in a while. I don’t expect them all to be winners, and just because I didn’t enjoy this particular book, doesn’t mean other readers won’t. I’ve loved her other work, and I’d never judge an author’s talent by one book alone. So if this is your first book by this author and you didn’t enjoy it, please don’t let it stop you from reading her other work because it really was fantastic, as I’m sure her future books will be.

Copyright © 2015 · Dirty Girl Romance

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