REVIEW: Simon Says by Lori Foster
Dear Ms. Foster:
It’s probably unfair for me to have read this book for you are an author that “I gave up on” or rather “to whom I have never felt a connection”. Unfortunately for both of us, I kind of got sucked in by the cool cover and the idea of a fight club hero.
Simon Evans is a retired ultimate fighting champion (known as Supreme Battle Championship in this series) who comes home to find a picture of his girlfriend having sex with another man. He breaks up with Bonnie who turns out to be a villianness from Sluts-R-Us central casting and plans to return to the fighting arena. In the first of many character inconsistencies, Simon tells the reader that he is emotionally untouched by Bonnie’s cheating “So… was he okay? Simon queried himself, his mind and his heart, and actually… yeah, he was A-OK.”, but this event spurs him to re-enter an aggressive and physically taxing sport. So I guess what I learn right off the bat is that I should either a) not believe anything that Simon says (despite the title of the book) or b) not believe anything Simon does. I still am not sure which I should follow.
Dakota Dream lost her mother and feels that she owes something to her slimy step-father. Her step-father asks her to make contact with Simon, his son whom he has not had contact with since Simon’s youth. Not only is she to make contact with Simon, but she must convince him to come home and meet with her step-father, Barnaby. Dakota agrees to do so when Barnaby promises to give her a deathbed letter her mother wrote to her. Dakota and her mother were estranged and Dakota is desperate to get that letter. Fortunately for Dakota, she loves SBC and she’s always had a crush on Simon so hunting him down and spending some time in his presence isn’t going to be a hardship.
When Dakota first walks into the gym, Simon says that she looks like a Barbie doll, but then you go on to describe her as follows: Dressed in tattered jeans, black lace-up work boots, and a thick coat, Simon couldn’t really see her body other than to note her height. How that makes her a “Barbie Clone”, I am not quite sure.
Dakota is supposed to be this 23 year old chick who is all tomboy-ish, who is a big sports fan, and knows the ins and outs of ultimate fighting better than almost anyone. I thought I could identify with her. I am kind of a tomboy and am a huge sports fan who knows the ins and outs of alot of sports better than the pot bellied drunk next to me (and Ned, honey, you know I am not talking about you).
Unfortunately, the characters had a mass of inconsistencies which made me giggle at inappropriate times, like during a really cheesy movie when the killer is creeping around the audience is laughing instead of screaming? I knew it was going to be bad after Dakota walks into the SBC training Gym and faces skepticism and harassment and within minutes has the entire gym eating out her delicate (or is not delicate) hand. “Chatting with people, examining machines, and assessing biceps, Dakota flitted around the room. She admired a few tattoos, and two fighters even went to the back to retrieve photos of their wives and kids to show her. Like the belle of the ball, she charmed them all”
And not only does she know the ins and outs of prize fighting, this completely untrained woman can sing well enough to join any band, play the drums, fight like a ninja but, of course, is sexually a mess who needs to be healed by the loving touch of a good man.
I also knew that this book wasn’t going to work for me with the hero, the bad boy of ultimate fighting, mentions that a shower sounded “heavenly”. I consulted my guy manual and it says that guys who say “heavenly” generally aren’t interested in tomboy girls.
All your characters are caricatures. The tomboy is beloved by all men (and I mean every guy that makes even the slightest appearance wants her), even the bad sexual harassers are turned into loveable guys at the touch of the good tomboy. The bad boy fighting hero who isn’t at all hurt by his girlfriend’s cheating on him thinks showers are “heavenly” goes from not liking said tomboy to totally wanting to change her life by inviting her to live in his home, cook her dinner, treat with her heavenly tender care, inviting her to stay in his hometown all the space of a couple of days. Then there’s the ex girlfriend who Simon caught cheating on him (you go girl!) who shows up drunk and sluttified all the time; wearing whor-ish clothing; going home with another guy and then turning up at Simon’s house claiming that Dakota is the real slut. That’s some deep characterizations there.
What was good was the depiction of the SBC. It was clear to me that you knew your stuff and that writing about this sport was a real passion for you. The fighting, the training and the sport itself was interesting and probably the only thing that kept my attention. I sludged through to the bitter, awful end though to see Simon and Dakota have their heavenly HEA but all the intricate insider details about the SBC couldn’t save this book. D