Dear Ms. Eros:
I requested this book because I have yet to read a New Adult romantic suspense and I thought that this book might bring something different to the genre. Unfortunately the suspense portion of the story hinged on rather dumb people and highly suspect coincidences lending a feeling of unbelievability to the entire story. The best part of the story was the heroine’s love for ballet. That was the only thing that came off authentic in the entire book.
Jess Mackey is the missing daughter of a presidential candidate. She has moved to Seattle and because of hair dye and colored contact lenses, she is completely incognito. No one can recognize her! And she’s able to afford going to another college without any family help. If only college was so cheap, right? Jess is tormented by a memory of hiding in a closet while her best friend is bludgeoned to death by her step brother. Her answer to this is to run away. The fact that a presidential candidate’s daughter was missing would be such huge news that unless the chick is living in an underground, closed off silo this storyline doesn’t work at all.
At her new college, she has made friends with a couple of girls and is meandering her way through classes because she misses her true love – dancing. Her friend and roommate knows this and arranges for her to “secretly” audition for the Seattle Pacific Ballet which is selecting a student from her University to be part of the ballet company.
Jess is also the hottest thing on campus apparently because gorgeous male specimen A, Marcus, asks her out and continues to pursue her even though Jess is embarking on a sex only relationship with gorgeous specimen B, Camden. She also has a hottie she sits next to in Biology class that defends her from jocks who make rude remarks to her. Everyone loves her and wants her from her killer step brother to the random stranger hanging around campus on his motorcycle.
In an effort to maintain suspense, the backstory of why Jess has run away and what trauma she has sustained is dribbled out in vague references and isn’t even fully explained in this book. I started the companion book on a whim and it was fully explained in the first chapter. Why we didn’t get this kind of closure in book 1, I’m not entirely sure. (The companion book is the same story from the male POV). Suspense isn’t driven by Jess’ flight from her PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE FATHER but rather some brute on campus that is repeatedly trying to rape Jess. After the third attempt on Jess’ body, I’m not horrified or scared for her, I’m rolling my eyes at the clumsy use of this plot device.
There were two areas that I thought was decently done – the sexual tension and the dancing. The love of ballet exudes from the pages as the heroine spins on her toes and sweats blood and tears through each practice. A true ballerina. But as a romantic suspense, vagueness and lack of a believable plot really drags the story under. The whole tone of the book is vague and melodramatic with Jess constantly telling us how not pretty, not talented, and ordinary she is. Given that everyone else thinks she is beautiful and desirable and the best ballerina ever, her Eeyore attitude is wearying and comes off as false modesty.
A tiny bit of racism at the end. Thanks a lot. But seriously, if I see a white chick do that in a nail salon, I think I might punch her out. Really not funny.
FANCY NAILS, the sign claims. Uh-huh.
We sit down and strip our winter boots and socks off.
“I make your feet look pretty,” an Asian pedicurist promises.
But he hasn’t seen my feet yet . . . really looked.
Though anything would be better than what’s going on now. He looks at my beaten feet and asks, “What do you do to your feet, pretty girl?”
“I dance,” I answer.
“You pay extra for more work.” His syllables pop like second- language gunfire.
“Okay.” I relent and Carlie shrieks laughter beside me.
“I love you long time,” she giggles while she shakes her ample bosom back and forth and my face flames in embarrassment.
I realized at the end of the story that this was a good idea and I’d love to read some New Adult suspense but something that was better executed than this. D