Romance, Historical, Contemporary, Paranormal, Young Adult, Book reviews, industry news, and commentary from a reader's point of view

REVIEW: Rev It Up by Julie Ann Walker

Dear Ms. Walker:

I really enjoyed book 2 in the series, but the problems that affected my enjoyment of book 1 and in book 2 were magnified in this one and I am sorry to say I will be leaving this series behind after “Rev It Up”.

Rev It Up by Julie Ann Walker“Rev It Up” like the two books before it in the series is about unrequited friends to lovers. I wished there had been some kind of change in the dynamic. Why three books with such similar tropes?

Jake the Snake* Sommers and Michelle Carter had feelings for each other but Jake pushed Michelle away, fearing he would not be good for her. She ended up marrying one of his Navy SEAL teammates who subsequently died in gunfire in Afghanistan. Jake is beset with guilt but five years later, Jake is working for Michelle’s brother and determined to win her over. The series centers around a paramilitary organization, Black Knights, Inc., headed by Frank (“Boss”) Carter which is headquartered in Chicago and operates out of a custom bike and car shop. Jake has left the SEALs to join the group.

The dialect that everyone spoke with in the book was distracting. The number of apostrophes used in place of letters in this book must be a new record. Everyone was dropping letters from Shell thinking about Jake (A California surfer ’til the day he died) to a Cajun member of the team (How d’ya think she’s gonna feel about havin’ you back around?”) to Jake (“Dunno, brohah,” he wheezed).

The romance read weak for me and and I suppose that is why there is plenty of time given to a secondary unrequited love storyline that I presume is a sequel and the suspense angle which involves a bounty being placed on each one of the BKI operators and conveniently places Michelle in danger so that she is in need of protection from Jake.

There are at least five different points of view in the story: Michelle, Jake, Vanessa (future heroine), Rock (future hero) and the villain. I wasn’t even sure why we got the creepy villain’s POV as it did not add tension to the story.

The storyline involving the kid seemed ridiculously over the top and used only to provide conflict in the relationship in order to elongate the romance given that Jake was chasing Michelle around declaring his undying love from the opening of the book.

In the end, I was just worn down by the predictability of the romance.  It didn’t bring anything new to the table, not in terms of the villain driven by revenge, nor in the “I’m not good enough for you” romantic conflict.

This may be a case where “Rev It Up” would work better for newcomers to the series than long time series readers. I was frustrated with the lack of series continuity, the repetitive emotional trope, and the overuse of dialect to create flavor and character differences. Newbies to the series wouldn’t be as adversely affected.  C

Best regards,

*(I know, it was SO HARD for me to get over this guy’s name)


Jane Litte is the founder of Dear Author, a lawyer, and a lover of pencil skirts. She self publishes NA and contemporaries (and publishes with Berkley and Montlake) and 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


  1. sabrina
    Oct 20, 2012 @ 13:20:03

    I agree with everything you said. I actually read the second book first (it got such good reviews ) and really enjoyed it. I read the first book and HATED it and the heroine. I was kind of hoping the author would continue in the vein of the second book, but, this was too much like the first. I was annoyed at all the things you were (why can’t any of the characters enunciate words!) and I am really, really sick of the hero moaning that he’s not good enough for the heroine. These guys seem to have really low self esteem for special ops guys. And the sequel bait (which I hate in books) seemed to have the same trope. That the hero doesn’t have anything to offer the heroine, he’s seen to much, blah blah blah. I didn’t think alpha males would be okay with letting their women go with other men because they’re too scared of emotions, but I guess these aren’t Lisa Marie Rice heroes.

  2. Jane
    Oct 22, 2012 @ 14:39:09

    @sabrina: I really liked the second book as well. I think the dialogue mangling is my least favorite thing in these books.

%d bloggers like this: