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

REVIEW: She’s Got It Bad by Sarah Mayberry

Dear Ms Mayberry,

037379468101lzzzzzzzJane has given some of your books rave reviews and since Jane knows her contemporary authors well, I was looking forward to trying you. The tattoo artist heroine working her hero into a sweat then enjoying some hot sex sounded like just the book to try.

Liam’s had a hard life until he gets taken in by the Ford family. Which all changes the night Zoe Ford takes her courage in her hands and offers herself to Liam. Which almost breaks Liam. He owes the family too much to take her up on it and regretfully realizes he has to leave.

Twelve years later, Liam discovers that Zoe is now a tattoo artist who sings in a thrash band at night. Determined to help the young woman he knows he still cares for, Liam barges into her life, offering her a job at his wildly successful custom bike shop.

It doesn’t take their smoldering passions long heat up. But is there more for these two than one custom build-off bike, hot sex and a kitten?

First off, I love the tattoo artist and the bike builder. What a great use of contemporary occupations. Miami Ink and LA Ink along with Orange County Chopper have brought these to the forefront. At least Liam and his workers don’t bicker like the OCC father and son duo.

After watching these custom bikes built, I’m not surprised at the effort that goes into this specialty market. And I’m constantly amazed at the detail and workmanship that are lavished on these one of a kind creations. I would like to have seen a little bit more of the bike building in the book since it’s so important to who Liam has become in the 12 intervening years. But it’s a perfect way to bring Zoe’s art together with Liam’s business.

I’d also like to have seen more of Zoe as the tattoo artist. Though I don’t have one myself, several of my friends do and one has told me a lot about what went into her selection of her tattoos and about the woman who owns the shop where she got them.

Zoe and Liam are both wounded people who feel inadequate despite what everyone around them tells them. What’s the saying, it takes 10 words of praise to make up for one critical one? Liam was bullied and beaten by his drunkard father and had to watch his mother be treated even worse. He’s afraid he’ll never be good enough or that he’ll become his father.

Zoe acted out after Liam rejected her youthful advances. She allowed herself to be used by a high school sleaze then suffered from lifelong changes wrought by the experience. Since then, she’s felt worthless. Her “Vixen” persona does allow her some sexual power over men thereby letting her regain a little of what she lost when she was 15.

I did like that when Liam shows up at the tattoo parlor, all set on “saving” poor Zoe in his guise as a Do-Gooder, she tosses his offers back in his face and tells him what he can do with them. I do get tired of the heroines who’ve been done wrong by the hero who melt at the first sight of him even if it’s years later. Bully for Zoe that she doesn’t fall into this.

The only way I could accept Liam’s highhanded interference in Zoe’s life was because 1) he really did want the best for her and 2) it was a way for him to deal with the martyr feelings he still has for leaving her without a word all those years ago. If not for this, I’d have gotten a little pissy about how he would run roughshod over her stated desires as to what happened in her life.

I was bummed that Zoe wasn’t that true rarity – a real bad girl. When she first throws Liam out on his ass then heads off to play at the thrash club, I was excited. Zoe drinks. Zoe has sass and attitude. Zoe teases her music fans and demands what she sexually wants from Liam. And then we learn that she only does this to mask the pain of her empty life, blah, blah, blah. I wanted her to be a tattoo artist and sexually provocative singer just because she wanted to be.

There are some great scenes in the story such as Liam’s losing his mind when Zoe offers herself to him the first time. Like any older teenage boy, his brain heads downwards. Ditto Tom’s reaction to the news that his best friend has the hots for his sister. Punches are what I would expect and what I got.

Zoe helps Liam fight off his fear and feelings that he’ll be just like his dad. She realizes that she can’t just keep telling Liam that she loves him and knows he would never hurt her or anyone else. It’ll take more than words to overcome a lifetime of his feeling inadequate and apprehensions. She gives him the best gift she can by finding his father and urging him to confront the man. I think Liam truly needed to do this in order for these two to have a HEA. But does Zoe ever confront her own feelings of emptiness?

I’m not a fan of martyrs or of characters who immediately throw in the towel when the HEA of a lifetime is at stake. Liam is both of these. Like Zoe, I wanted to shake him til his teeth rattled. I’ll cut him some slack since he did have a horrible childhood but unfortunately, this book didn’t live up to what I’d hoped it would be. I liked the cat, though. B-

~Jayne

This book can be purchased in mass market from Amazon or ebook format from the Sony Store and other etailers.

Another long time reader who read romance novels in her teens, then took a long break before started back again about 15 years ago. She enjoys historical romance/fiction best, likes contemporaries, action- adventure and mysteries, will read suspense if there's no TSTL characters and is currently reading very few paranormals.

12 Comments

  1. Jessica
    Apr 04, 2009 @ 14:21:01

    I was bummed that Zoe wasn't that true rarity – a real bad girl. When she first throws Liam out on his ass then heads off to play at the thrash club, I was excited. Zoe drinks. Zoe has sass and attitude. Zoe teases her music fans and demands what she sexually wants from Liam. And then we learn that she only does this to mask the pain of her empty life, blah, blah, blah. I wanted her to be a tattoo artist and sexually provocative singer just because she wanted to be.

    I’m 2/3 of the way through this one ( I swear I am the only reader around who cannot finish a category in one sitting!) and I could not agree with you more on this. It’s made worse when you consider WHAT has “ruined” her and made her “an empty shell”.

    I am also wondering at this point where the conflict is. But I admit, when I turn my brain off, I am enjoying it!

    ReplyReply

  2. Jane
    Apr 04, 2009 @ 15:18:51

    I liked this book quite a bit more than you did, Jayne. I had the same issues with Liam and his inability to “love” or settle down with anyone. I think the problem is that the episode that shows Liam’s fear the best happens to far to the end of the story. Liz Fieldings’ first Marlow book (Love in the Valley) has the same conflict but the hero doesn’t seem the same martyr, in part, I think because he mostly just resists any interaction with the heroine or you can tell it the interaction is against his will.

    ReplyReply

  3. Jayne
    Apr 04, 2009 @ 17:23:30

    ( I swear I am the only reader around who cannot finish a category in one sitting!)

    Nah, you’re not the only one. It took me about 2 1/2 days to finish this one. But I was also trying to finish up my taxes! And I almost hate to say this but at least with this book, we’re not going to be presented with a miracle pregnancy in the epilogue due to the hero’s uber-sperm. That’s harsh, I know, but I’m so tired of the heroine who can’t conceive until she meets the hero. It seems to me to, in the end, negate the real pain that infertile couples endure in real life.

    ReplyReply

  4. Jayne
    Apr 04, 2009 @ 17:31:40

    LOL Jane. I figured you’d like it more than I did. Martyr characters just make me break out in hives.

    ReplyReply

  5. Marie Force
    Apr 04, 2009 @ 18:57:02

    I really liked this one a lot, Jayne, for the reasons you stated at the outset–two professions you don’t see very often. LOL on the miracle sperm. That’s funny. I agree that I wanted to say “enough already” to Liam at the end, but I did love that she knew he needed to confront his father and to realize the balance of power had shifted before he could commit to her.

    ReplyReply

  6. JulieLeto
    Apr 04, 2009 @ 19:26:12

    I’ve never finished a book in a day. Not even a short contemp. I am the slowest reader on the planet. Has nothing to do with the books!

    ReplyReply

  7. Jane
    Apr 04, 2009 @ 19:41:35

    I really appreciated how unapologetic Zoe was about her sexuality and how Liam didn’t try to change that. He was jealous, of course, but he didn’t try to make her stop doing things that she loved to do even though it made him uncomfortable.

    ReplyReply

  8. Jayne
    Apr 05, 2009 @ 08:42:18

    But I wonder, after that last enounter Liam had with a certain someone from Zoe’s past at the thrash club, if she’ll go out and keep singing anymore? Or if she’ll give it all up so Liam won’t be able to do what he did that night?

    ReplyReply

  9. Maili
    Apr 05, 2009 @ 09:10:13

    I was bummed that Zoe wasn't that true rarity – a real bad girl. [...] And then we learn that she only does this to mask the pain of her empty life, blah, blah, blah.

    That’s actually a bummer. I was looking forward to reading it because I thought she would be an atypical heroine, but judging by what you say above, apparently not. It’s a shame.

    I think slow readers are the best kind. I’m a bad reader because I think I read too fast, which isn’t good. When I read fast, I skim the boring bits (mostly long sex scenes and certain repetitive parts, such as internal monologues about she/he doesn’t deserve him/her and blah blah). This means I’m likely not to notice certain nuances in these scenes. I don’t think slow readers could miss these, therefore they’re better readers.

    ReplyReply

  10. Cindy W
    Apr 06, 2009 @ 05:32:49

    I read the book and really enjoyed it! I thought that Liam was a bit too tied up in the past, but it was such a different setting in a book, loved the freshness of it!

    Although I didn’t get some of the landmarks, I just went with it.

    ReplyReply

  11. Jayne
    Apr 06, 2009 @ 17:58:28

    Although I didn't get some of the landmarks, I just went with it.

    Cindy, do you live in that area? I read a short series of books once that was set in my neck of the woods and it was cool to say, “I know that street! I know that building! I know that exit off the interstate!”

    ReplyReply

  12. Reading List of What Dabney read in April and May
    Jun 11, 2012 @ 12:58:35

    [...] for Him, She’s Got it Bad (I love the bad girl heroine of this one! Jayne’s review is here.) and Take on Me. Ms. Mayberry has been reviewed here at DA positively several times and [...]

Leave a Reply

Notify me of followup comments via e-mail. You can also subscribe without commenting.

%d bloggers like this: