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REVIEW: Ask for It by Sylvia Day

Dear Ms. Day:

Ask For ItI know I’ve read worst books this year, but not by much. I’ll tell you straight off, I am giving the book a D because I can’t find one thing redeeming in this book other than the plot of who killed the heroine’s husband was mildly interesting. The rest of it? Wall banger material.

Elizabeth, Lady Hawthorne was engaged to Marcus Ashford, the Earl of Westridge. She came to his house one evening (as most sheltered society misses did in Regency England) and caught him in a state of dishaibille with a wet head. Because all Earls answer their own doors and no butlers ever give their employers warning. Ensconced in the house is a woman, unknown to Elizabeth, also with a wet head. Again, because strange women are often found cavorting around Earl’s homes when he is receiving his fiance. Elizabeth jumps to a conclusion that Marcus is lacking in fidelity and races home and subsequently elopes. Somehow this all transpires quickly enough that Marcus doesn’t have the opportunity to explain or stop Elizabeth.

Elizabeth’s husband dies about a year after the marriage and after three years of mourning, Elizabeth and Marcus meet at a society event. From there, we engage in a tiresome but consistent course of Elizabeth saying she doesn’t want Marcus whilst succumbing to his seduction at every turn and Marcus denying that he is in love with Elizabeth whilst wanting to own her at every turn. This stale, tired plot device reminds me of the scene in Singing the Rain wherein sound lags behind the picture so that Lina Lamont’s head is shaking “no, no, no” while the voice is saying “yes, yes, yes.” Comical in SITR, but a dead bore in this story.

“You think you can build barriers between us with words and clothing?” he asked harshly. “Every time you attempt it, I will take you just like this, become a part of you so that all your efforts will be for naught.”
There was no place to hide, nowhere to run.
“This will be the last time,” she vowed.

“Bloody hell. You and I. Just made love. In that bed.” He gestured with an impatient thrust of his chin. “And the chair. And the floor in a moment, if you don't cease irritating me.”
“We made a mistake,” she said softly, icy fear settling in her stomach.

Violet eyes widened, melting, and she backed away from him. “I don't want you anymore.”
Stepping closer, Marcus didn't stop until he had her pressed against the wall, his thigh between hers, his hand curling around her nape. Burying his face in her neck, he breathed in her fragrance of warm, aroused woman.
She trembled in his arms. “Marcus– ”

I particularly loved this sentence and thought it showed perfectly how incongruous your characterizations were because everytime she is barebreasted in the story she is well on her way to be tupped to death.

“Only Elizabeth could sit bare breasted on a man and be so remote.”

The book seemed to be replete with historical anachronisms which bothered this neophyte historian. I kept asking myself whether these things would really happen: William, Elizabeth’s brother, and Marcus engage in a public spat at a ball wherein they talk (in front of others) about Elizabeth in an unseemly fashion. Elizabeth and a male companion go from ending one set to immediately preparing to dance another set. Later on, you mention that couples could only really dance one dance together. You have Elizabeth abandoning Marcus in the middle of a set (not a waltz) and I wondered what happened to the other people. Elizabeth runs off from London to an estate outside of London without any clothes, her maid, or anyone. I am still not sure how she got there. Maybe transported herself?

The scenes seemed to be missing parts because it skips from one emotion to another without any seque. An perfect example of this appears when Elizabeth and Marcus are in their bedroom, fighting, of course. In one paragraph, Elizabeth thinks that Marcus is a brute. Four paragraphs later, Elizabeth thinks about Marcus’ tenderness. The hell? Where did that come from. I had about a dozen “the hell” moments and wondered if the ebook version I bought was somehow defective.

Nothing in the story made sense. William, Elizabeth’s brother, was filled with righteous indignation that Marcus would be pursueing Elizabeth. Hello, William, but it was your sister who jilted Marcus. Then you explain that Elizabeth’s fear of Marcus had to do with the fact that she thought he would be unfaithful like her father and her brother. Then we find out that William is happily married and that her father had affairs after her mother died. Marcus has a mortal enemy. He believes this enemy threatens Elizabeth’s safety and is responsible for ambusing Marcus’ shipping lines. Yet, when Marcus has the opportunity to place this man in custody, he just bruises his face and then leaves. And later, no one can find this villian. Christ on a crutch. I could cite more examples of the incomprehensible nature of this book but for everyone’s sake, I’ll stop.

The whole book seemed amateurish, like you are just learning how to write, plot, characterize. There was little character growth and virtually no payoff from the constant push pull of the protagonists. It’s a disjoined, inconsistent, incoherent mess. It’s a huge disappointment after all the buzz you received from Bad Boys Ahoy. As I said at the top of the letter, D.

Best regards,

Jane

Jane Litte is the founder of Dear Author, a lawyer, and a lover of pencil skirts. She spends her downtime reading romances and writing about them. Her TBR pile is much larger than the one shown in the picture and not as pretty. You can reach Jane by email at jane @ dearauthor dot com

18 Comments

  1. Karen Scott
    Aug 04, 2006 @ 06:10:56

    The Big Misunderstanding has to be one of the most tiresome plots out there, especially when it’s executed badly, and the heroine is in dire need of a bitchslap.

    Funnily enough I was going to include this in my next Amazon order, because I read one of her stories in a Black Lace anthology and liked her voice, but I may just have to give it a miss now. I Hate TSTL heroines.

  2. Jayne
    Aug 04, 2006 @ 11:59:25

    Where is the suspense if one character always wins a confrontation? Why even bother to read these scenes if you already know how it’s going to turn out?

  3. seton
    Aug 04, 2006 @ 13:24:55

    what a hilarious review.

    the SITR analogy is particularily inspired.

    now I kinda want to read this book now to see if its really that bad. :-)

  4. Kristal
    Jan 18, 2007 @ 12:12:43

    Wow, what an awful site. I have read two of your reviews and think you woman are incredibly rude to authors. Why would anyone want you to review their books? There is such a thing as class, which you ladies obviously lack. Sylvia Day spent long hours writing this book and you just trashed it mercilessly.

  5. Janine
    Jan 18, 2007 @ 14:09:18

    Kristal, if you click here you will see all the A reviews Jane and Jayne have given. Click here you will find all their B reviews. As you can see, there are a fair number of both. In fact, if I’m not mistaken, Dear Author gives more positive reviews than negative ones.

    The purpose of this blog is to serve readers by giving honest opinions. Yes, authors spend hours writing books, but readers also spend hard-earned money on them, and they need honest opinions to help them decide which books to buy. Obviously, not every reader will share Jane’s tastes or her opinions, but her reviews are helpful to those readers who do.

    And actually, to answer your question, why anyone would want their book reviewed here? Because Dear Author gets a lot of traffic and provides free publicity to authors. Even negative reviews can entice readers to try a book, especially if readers who liked that book post the reasons they liked it in the comment section.

    Quite a few authors post here, including some authors whose books have gotten negative reviews here in the past. So obviously there are many authors who don’t share your opinion of this site.

    I invite you to post your honest opinion of Ask for It here. Maybe if you tell us some of the things you liked about the book, readers who haven’t tried it yet will decide to give it a chance.

  6. Jane
    Jan 18, 2007 @ 15:05:33

    Kristal – you should post why this book worked for you. The comments section is only as good as the commenters. Readers love to have differing viewpoints to compare.

  7. Kristal
    Jan 22, 2007 @ 07:51:31

    Obviously my point has been lost. I can see that maybe you didnt like the book, that is your own perogative. But, there is a way to be objective and there is a time when it becomes author bashing.

  8. sybil
    Jan 22, 2007 @ 14:15:54

    [quote comment="21007"]Obviously my point has been lost. I can see that maybe you didnt like the book, that is your own perogative. But, there is a way to be objective and there is a time when it becomes author bashing.[/quote]
    Not at all, I got your point… you don’t have any reason for liking the book. Jane is just a big ol meanie!

    bad jane… bad bad! No Soup For You!

    Really Kristal, tis a big internet, I am sure if you search you will find a fangirl place that will only speak of books with sweetness and light. As for the review, where did she bash the author?

    Jane is speaking of the book. She does speak to what she feels is Sylvia’s skill as an author. That is Sylvia’s job. She is a writer. And it has always been my experience Sylvia is a professional, who appreciates honesty.

    As a reader I would rather have the honest opinion of Dear Author than a ‘omg I liked this book’! I disagree with jane on many, many… many a book but I can’t see ever telling her not to have an opinion unless it mirrors mine. Really how tacky would that be of me to tell someone else how to run their blog.

  9. Kristal
    Jan 22, 2007 @ 14:40:29

    That’s funny. I think I actually laughed out loud when I read your post. Point taken, sybil. I suppose I will go to a site where only “sweetness and light” come into play, although that isn’t what I am looking for at all when I read a review on a book. I am sure that Sylvia Day was wonderfully overjoyed with this review. What ever was I thinking?!! And wow, I am not sure that I EVER said anything about her opinion having to mirror mine , just that I thought the way she put it out there was unfair. I shall have to go and read this tacky post of mine and see what I missed. Thank you ladies for all of your “insight”. It’s been fun, but I’m off to surf the big internet to wrap my little mind around something else for today.

  10. Karen Scott
    Jan 22, 2007 @ 15:44:18

    This post is waay old, I wonder how long it took her to scrabble around and find it. Dontcha just hate trolls Syb?

    Incidentally, reading only two reviews, on a website that posts at least two a day hardly qualifies you to comment Einstein.

  11. Kristal
    Jan 22, 2007 @ 20:20:15

    Unfortunately I have read more than two posts on this site, I just havent posted. You ladies have a ton of class over here. Oh and is there a statute of limitations for how long a post has before it can no longer be commented on?? Hmm… that’s new, sweeheart.

  12. Karen Scott
    Jan 23, 2007 @ 02:23:48

    Kristal, everybody here has been extremely polite to you, but I certainly don’t mind taking this conversation to it’s base level and calling you a dickhead.

    For somebody with so much class, I’d have thought you’d have taken the high road and ignored women who have the audacity to say when they don’t like a book, at least not in a sweet and polite way.

    If you want somewhere to vent, you should probably start your own blog. That would be a sure-fire way of making sure you never hear from us again. And I mean that from the bottom of my heart.

  13. Kristal
    Jan 23, 2007 @ 06:00:35

    You are saying that the people here have been polite to me? Are you kidding me? I give an opinion and every one of you has attacked me. That was my point and case from the very beginning. I will definitely never come back to this site so you have nothing to worry about there. I certainly never expected to be swore at because of my opinions, but, again I have made my point and case there as well. You people are ignorant and horribly disrespectful to authors and viewers alike. I happen to review AND blog for a site that would never treat their viewers so horribly regardless of what their opinion was. Good riddance.

  14. Jayne
    Jan 23, 2007 @ 06:42:31

    I wish you the best of luck with your review/blog site, Kristal.

  15. sybil
    Jan 23, 2007 @ 09:17:57

    [quote comment="21121"]I wish you the best of luck with your review/blog site, Kristal.[/quote]
    pppssttt… jayne

    she is gone she won’t see this cuz she is never ever, evah coming back

    So does that mean karen is like fangrrl pest control?

  16. Jayne
    Jan 23, 2007 @ 09:49:29

    Yeah Sybil, I know she’s gone. I was just trying to show her our “tons of class” as she headed for the door. I’m sure it won’t hit her on her way out.

  17. sybil
    Jan 23, 2007 @ 10:20:45

    [quote comment="21139"]Yeah Sybil, I know she’s gone. I was just trying to show her our “tons of class” as she headed for the door. I’m sure it won’t hit her on her way out.[/quote]
    Of course it won’t hit her! After all it is a revolving door.

  18. Karen Scott
    Jan 23, 2007 @ 18:47:46

    So does that mean karen is like fangrrl pest control

    I am rather good at this aren’t I?

    Bye, bye, my dearest Krystal, parting is such sweet sorrow…

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