For the thirty-sixth book in the challenge, I read Bait (Angler series #1) by Annie Nicholas.
The story started out…okay. There are a number of variations on this theme, which does speak to the popularity of the Normal Girl Seduced By Exotic Older Dude trope. To its credit, despite being surrounded by varying degrees of alpha males, the love interest wasn’t the most alpha of them (is that a good thing, choosing the lesser of many assholes?). Rurik tended toward being more sensitive toward Connie’s needs and emotions (except for that whole part where he serves her up on a silver platter, you know…that was politics, so it doesn’t count, right? It’s not proof he’s a huge douche-canoe who doesn’t deserve her loooooooooove) and more respectful than anyone else jabbering in the heroine’s ear. Mostly.
However, this story could have been alternately titled: Connie And The Guys. Technically there was another woman in the story, but she was the cardboard cut-out competition for Connie, not a Real Person. (I could argue the same for the bad guy, really, but there’s some debate over who the “bad guy” in this story really was.) There was hardly even the pretense of other women existing for the heroine at all, except in passing. I can’t decide if this indicates how Connie sees the world, or a general failure on the author’s part to give much beyond surface thought to any but the primary three characters.
For all this, and the sins of stylistic issues (which can be interpreted as being as much my own problem as the author’s) and the occasional misuse of a homonym or just poor editing, I was prepared to give it three stars until the last few chapters. Not only did the editing clearly fall apart (several references to a “shiny baldhead” rather than a bald head, for starters), but the sentence structure, the action, the dialogue, and descriptions just seemed clunky and disjointed. It felt like the book was far more polished and careful at first, but the last third or so was a rush to get the manuscript submitted and got only a rough sanding of edges. I don’t want to go into too much detail for the sake of spoilers; I simply felt the ending needed work, from plot to phrasing.
Do people really use each others’ names every other time they speak to one another? Am I an anomaly?
I suppose I shouldn’t complain too much, since I received this book as a freebie on one of the Barnes & Noble Nook’s Facebook page’s Free Friday selections. I gave it 2 out of 5 stars.