Real - Katy Evans image
I am conducting what I'm shelving as a "New Adult (NA) Experiment". I'm going to work my way through some of the popular New Adult books and see if I can weed out the crap and hopefully find some surprising gems. Here's hoping!

This was bad. I know there's a certain lack of believability in all romance novels, but [b:Real|17617277|Real (Real, Raw & Ripped, #1)|Katy Evans||24581234] took it to an all new level. There's not a single character here who's anything other than a caricature, rarely a piece of dialogue that's anything other than cringy, and definitely never a description of the hormones and muscles in Brooke's body that sounds vaguely normal. On top of that, perhaps most damning of all, it was so so boring. I feel like I can sum this novel up simply as a 266-page description of Remington Tate's muscles.

I cannot deal with this level of physical description. Every time Remy walks into the room, speaks or breathes, Brooke's eyes are wandering over his perfect body, describing his perfect smile, just in case we didn't realise how he looks the last hundred times she's mentioned it. I find it amazing that there are four more books planned for this series! What can possibly happen? There's no plot beyond the adventures of Remy's rippling muscles. Books that offend me are more entertaining than this. At least I can see the root of the bestseller status with them - the intense (read: borderline abusive) relationships - but [b:Real|17617277|Real (Real, Raw & Ripped, #1)|Katy Evans||24581234] is just brain-numbingly dull. Also, I'd like to know what's going on with this weird trend in NA. [b:Losing Hope|17340050|Losing Hope (Hopeless, #2)|Colleen Hoover||24075414], [b:This Girl|15784909|This Girl (Slammed, #3)|Colleen Hoover||21502991], [b:Walking Disaster|15745950|Walking Disaster (Beautiful, #2)|Jamie McGuire||21436019], [b:Remy|17830559|Remy (Real, Raw & Ripped, #3)|Katy Evans|/assets/nocover/60x80.png|24946137]... these books are all retellings of the first book from the POV of the guy. Why? I don't get the appeal. What's the point? Where's the tension, the suspense, in reading the story again?

Anyway, let's meet our protagonist. Brooke Dumas. The woman who is plucked out of a crowd of screaming female fans by Remington Tate. The woman who, despite having plenty of evidence to suggest Remy is obsessed with her and only her, still claims to be oblivious to his affections. "Does he feel anything for me even remotely as strong as I do? There's this mean little part of me, the girl who broke her ACL and who failed to accomplish her dream, the girl who doesn't believe I can really have anything wonderful, makes me wonder if he really wants me at all."


Moving on. The physical description of Remy is predictably pleasing: tall, dark hair, muscles, panty-dropping smile. And, of course, the character description of him predictably ruins it: angry, violent, arrogant, controlling. "I can see he thinks he's the ultimate creation, and he seems to believe every woman here is his Eve, created from his ribcage for him to enjoy." He sounds delightful. His sexiness evaporates further when he storms up to Brooke, grabs hold of her even though they've never met before, and this exchange happens:

"Your name," he growls, panting, his eyes wild on mine.
"Uh, Brooke."
"Brooke what?" he snaps out, his nostrils flaring.

Then he kisses her because he can and he wants to and he will. SEE-WANT-TAKE. It's so rude and presumptuous and I understand why some might find his confidence sexy, but I can't. And I'll tell you why.

A couple of years ago there was this guy I knew. A guy everyone knew, actually. He was incredibly good-looking but it was more than that too. He had an arrogant level of confidence that many women (and some men, for that matter) found attractive. Unless you know someone like him, I imagine it's hard to understand what he was like and the way people responded to him. He had such self-confidence that he would walk up to women he barely knew and sling his arm around their waist, lean in for a kiss on the lips. He did it so naturally, with such an air of certainty in the action that no one questioned it. Looking back, I can't believe no one questioned it. He kissed people, he touched them so casually, and any surprise the person initially had quickly disappeared in favour of delight that this hot guy had his arm around them and acted like it was the most natural thing in the world. Sometimes he went further. No one but him could get away with saying to someone "I'll see you later" with a promising wink and have them instantly agreeing without question. No one said no to him. Not even me, though thankfully I only kissed him. His way of behaving like everything he did was just the most obvious, most natural thing to do made it so no one thought to question it. Until one night this girl I only vaguely knew back then did question it. Actually, no, "question" is an insult to her, she told him a very firm "fuck off". And, whether because he was a bastard behind the pretty smile or because he genuinely couldn't believe someone meant NO when it was said to him, he didn't listen.

And it is books like this and characters like Remington that trigger such negative associations from me. Whenever I read about these men who are so used to getting a "yes" that they assume it's okay to grab someone's face because they want them, they make me uncomfortable. Their SEE-WANT-TAKE attitude makes me uneasy. No one is so beautiful and charming that it is impossible for anyone to say no to them. No one is above other people's right to decline.

Mel, Brooke's friend, particularly pissed me off with this. Remy is so gorgeous that she refuses to believe for a second that her friend might say no to him. Honestly, she is one of the worst friends in the world. What kind of friend gives your number to a guy without asking you, especially when she knows you probably wouldn't want her to? Brooke actually says to her: "How could you give him my number? What do we even know about this man, Mel? Do you want me to end up murdered in some dark alley and my body parts tossed into some trash can?"

And what does Mel say? "That's never going to happen to someone who's taken as many self-defense classes as you." I can't even deal with the stupid in that statement. And then Mel says this gem: "Remington Tate may have a bad rap, but he's sexier than sin, Brooke. Yes, he was banned for poor conduct because he's a naughty, wicked boy."


Okay, let's get onto the "sexy" aspect of this novel. Sometimes these NA novels do that fairly successfully even if they fail at everything else. But, I swear, Brooke's descriptions remind me of David Attenborough describing mating rituals of some mammal or other. It's just bad, cringe-worthy writing. Like this: "I'm familiar enough with the subject to know that wired into my genes and DNA is a natural desire for healthy offspring, and with it comes a desperate urge to just full out mate with whoever I deem is the prime male of my species. I have never in my life met a man before who sparks up my crazy mating instincts like him."

And, oh my god, the clenching. The author loves the word "clench". If Remy's muscles aren't clenching, then it's Brooke's vagina. Every page someone is clenching. Hands clench, teeth clench, abs clench, vaginas clench, facial muscles clench. Things I didn't even know could clench somehow clench. This is from the second page: "My sex muscles clench every time he hits his opponent." Seriously, girl, you oughtta get that checked out. And you especially oughtta get this checked out: "Maybe the cramp I thought I was getting in my ovaries was not cramp at all."

o_O Ladies, do you all have this problem? Because, frankly, I'm not experiencing this confusion over whether it's cramps or horniness. Just sayin'. There's a whole bunch of eyebrow-raising phrases like this...

"He keeps making sexual foreplay to my ear."

"Remy inhales me."... "Remy scented me." I think this means he's sniffing her. Mmm 'kay.

"Why won't you take me, Remington?"
"Because I want you too much."
- Give me a break.

"Remington, whose jaw seems even squarer than I remember, like it's made of the most gorgeous, most priceless piece of granite the world has ever found."

[b:Real|17617277|Real (Real, Raw & Ripped, #1)|Katy Evans||24581234], in short, is just annoying, boring and poorly written. I have completely exhausted myself and I hope I never again hear anything about Remy's control issues and Brooke's "breast tips" and "nubbin". FYI, Brooke, that's your nipples and clitoris.