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REVIEW: Simon Says by Lori Foster

Dear Ms. Foster:

Simon SaysIt’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

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

14 Comments

  1. Wendy
    Jun 28, 2007 @ 15:27:36

    I tried two full length books by Foster before I declared her “not for me.” I think her sex scenes are great – but her characters and plots drive me half crazy. That said, her short stories tend to work a little better for me – so I’m thinking she might be one of those authors I like in one format, but not the other….

  2. Robin
    Jun 28, 2007 @ 15:49:08

    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.

    I think this is one of the reasons why Foster’s formula is so popular — her alpha heroes are physically male and emotionally female.

  3. Holly
    Jun 28, 2007 @ 16:39:32

    Unfortunately for both of us, I kind of got sucked in by the cool cover and the idea of a fight club hero.

    Ha! You crack me up.

    I’ve never been able to get into her, either. I think out of the 7 novels of hers I somehow managed to get sucked into reading, I like 1. This one isn’t going on my list.

    her alpha heroes are physically male and emotionally female.

    Would they truly be “alpha” then? I would consider them more metro, I think. Or something.

  4. Josie
    Jun 28, 2007 @ 18:29:54

    I’m the same as Wendy. I’ve also only read two of her books (Say No to Joe & Jamie) and I don’t think I’ll bother reading anything else as I had been told they were her ‘best books’ and I just couldn’t get into them at all.
    In saying that – the ultimate fighting hero does sound pretty cool. Damn, what a shame.

  5. Ann Bruce
    Jun 28, 2007 @ 19:15:29

    Unfortunately for both of us, I kind of got sucked in by the cool cover and the idea of a fight club hero.

    Once again, this proves the importance of a good cover. Makes me want to submit to certain publishers just for the cover artists.

  6. Gwen
    Jun 28, 2007 @ 21:59:41

    Jane – I’m right there with you. When I read CAUSING HAVOC, I had the same reaction: meh to didn’t like it. Reading your review of this book, it sounds like she followed the same formula, changing up a few details. Great sex scenes but not so great character development or continuity.

    Not for me.

    And, Wendy, ditto.

  7. Jane
    Jun 28, 2007 @ 22:02:17

    I do think Foster has a formula but it works for her. She’s writing this supposedly dark paranormal horror series and I just can’t see it but curiosity, oh the curiosity.

  8. Robin
    Jun 28, 2007 @ 22:38:34

    I like it when a reader gives an author another try, because you never know — it’s all about the book after all.

    Would they truly be “alpha� then? I would consider them more metro, I think. Or something.

    I don’t count them as alphas, but most readers seem to, in part, I think, because they’ve often got that hulking physique. But then again, most of what is called alpha in Romance doesn’t correspond to what I think of as alpha (like in the animal kingdom). I tend to see alphas as natural leaders, as those who command respect because of who they are, and who are only aggressive when the safety of the pack requires them to be. Sometimes I think there’s a confusion between controllers and leaders. IMO, being domineering, dominating, or controlling doesn’t equate to leadership. Frankly, I wish there were more natural leader types in Romance, because THAT’s sexy to me — men who garner respect and admiration through their ability to provide direction and protection and the wisdom to know how to apply it. Yummy.

    To me, Foster’s Romance is very much fantasy fiction, and the kind of guy she writes is just not my fantasy — at least not in the handful of Foster books I’ve tried.

  9. Sam
    Jun 28, 2007 @ 23:41:51

    Two things:

    One, none of the straight guys I know have ever used the word “Heavenly” in my presence unless they are asking where I picked up the spiral sliced ham. DH’s commentary about showers usually runs along the lines of, “Man, I need a fuckin’ shower dude” often followed by a remark about the sweatiness of his balls.

    Two, why, oh why do so very many of the “light” contemps today have the H/H falling in love in a week or less? Even if an author is worried about word count, at least consider starting a chapter with “A few weeks later…” or leaving the relationship open at the end, sans proposal or declaration of undying love. The fifth day marriage proposal is one of those things that, unless the writer is unusually skilled, smacks of laziness to me. It’s as if the author can’t or won’t flesh out the relationship, and the belivability of a HEA goes to pot as far as I am concerned.

    I suppose that the fifth day proposal happens in other romance niches besides light contemps, but it seems somehow that I see it more often there.

  10. Jackie
    Jun 29, 2007 @ 05:09:13

    DH's commentary about showers usually runs along the lines of, “Man, I need a fuckin' shower dude� often followed by a remark about the sweatiness of his balls.

    See, it’s comments like this that prove to me that drinking coffee while reading the posts here is a Very Bad Thing.

    Jackie, wiping up coffee

  11. Ann Bruce
    Jun 29, 2007 @ 08:21:53

    DH's commentary about showers usually runs along the lines of, “Man, I need a fuckin' shower dude� often followed by a remark about the sweatiness of his balls.

    OMG! Your DH and my significant other were separated at birth!

  12. dionne galace
    Jun 29, 2007 @ 11:46:28

    DH's commentary about showers usually runs along the lines of, “Man, I need a fuckin' shower dude� often followed by a remark about the sweatiness of his balls.

    OMG! Your DH and my significant other were separated at birth!

    That’s my husband’s too. He’s sophisticated, the coolest guys I know, sensitive, and one might say “urbane” but on Saturday mornings: “Oh, dude, smell this. I fucking need a shower, dude. For real.”

  13. Ann Aguirre
    Jun 29, 2007 @ 17:07:55

    Huh. Mine doesn’t do that. He’s quite refined, I guess, because he simply says, “I need a shower.”

  14. Maddie
    Jun 29, 2007 @ 21:35:41

    I’ve just exchanged a book where the hero who was a cop, vice no less, that kept rolling his eyes, sorry but for some reason this just struck me as so effeminate and put me off, and some of the dialog between him and his sister did not make sense…….. the book was so bad that I did not even finish it or didn’t care what happen to the hero and his lover……so I have to agree with the heavenly thing.

    Lori Foster was on my auto buy list, but not any more. I did buy her last book but did not finish it.

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