Tell Me a Story

Surrender Your Love

Surrender Your Love - J.C. Reed A paint by numbers New Adult book that lifts the Fifty Shades formula but fails miserably at anything resembling believable characters, motivation or emotion.

And what is UP with authors trying to pretend their characters are a certain nationality they know nothing about?! Raine Miller tried to pretend the hero of her book was British when it was blatantly obvious Ms. Miller has never set foot in Blighty (mini malls in Central London. I'm still snerking.)

Now Ms. Reed would have you believe her characters are American. But they talk about punters, weekend breaks, snogging, shagging, say "Cheers" for "Thanks," and the heroine's jaws drops to the floor when she sees the hero wearing only his navy blue CK pants.

Yeah, but an American jaw would NOT drop - because, my dear Ms. Reed, "pants" in American means "trousers" in British. "Briefs" in American = "pants" in British.

Let me demonstrate for you. This is what you meant:

But this is what you wrote:

Oh, word choice. Yes, it is matters, especially between continents.

While it was painfully obvious Ms. Miller never graced London with her presence, it is equally - and just as painfully - obvious that Ms. Reed never once visited New York City. A broke real estate assistant living in Brooklyn would not drive her own car to Manhattan. See, NYC has a pretty decent public transportation system, and a dearth of available (and affordable) parking spaces. The whole thing is too silly to be believed. As is calling NYU "NY University."

But all of the above are mere nitpicks compared to the very real problems with the story: namely, its plot and characters.

Jett (yes, that's his name) pretends to be someone he's not in order to meet Brooke. It's supposedly a business meeting, but it's set in a strip club and Brooke is already well into her second margarita before he shows up. So, yeah, they're both the epitome of believable young professionals. Then Jett comes onto her in a way that's both cheesy and sleazy - "I'd rather have Sex on the Beach," "Can't have your pretty little face getting wet" - yet Brooke thinks he's the sexiest thang with three legs.

No, Brooke, he's a douche and you're an idiot.

OF COURSE Jett turns out to be stalkeriffic - hey, you get fined by the New Adult Self Publishing Money Grab police if you don't make the hero a stalker - and Brooke is stunned to wake up next to his naked body the next morning, after a night out with her severely judgement-impaired best friend. Did something happen? He implies yes. Does Brooke wonder about birth control or STDs? Does she even stop to consider that since she didn't consciously consent to sex, this would constitute rape? Does he?

Oh please. No, this book is set in a mythical New York City inhabited by residents whose brains would be rejected by fleas as too small. Case in point two: Brooke goes to work only for her boss to tell her she's fired. Why? What did Brooke do? What is the cause?

Nope, no cause. See, a bigwig real estate honcho blackmailed Brooke's boss into firing her, because he wants to hire her instead.

This is so fucked up three thousands ways to Sunday that I can't even type.

And Brooke the nano-skulled goes along with it, showing up to her new job without asking: 1) What is my new position? 2) What are my new responsibilities? 3) What is my new salary? 4) What about benefits? - y'know, all the questions that anyone over the age of 12 would automatically demand to be answered.

But perhaps Brooke is more savvy than I give her credit, because she doesn't really need to know any of that. Her new boss is JETT!!!!!!!1!1! Betcha didn't see that one coming. And he's taking her to ITALY!!!!1!!!1!!!

Because that's how bigwig real estate honchos roll. They take brand new assistants to Italy for sensitive deals, and then after one platonic night in a hotel, they install them in their Lake Como villa.

Oh, and because this is taken direct from the 50 Shades formula book, here comes the sexual services contract, which is supposedly de rigueur for all corporate executives and Hollywood types (funny, I know the corporate Hollywood world fairly well, and yeah, but NO. But hey, we already established this is some mythical bizarro alternate universe.)

There's some sort of mystery with a neighboring estate and a twist that couldn't be more telegraphed if Western Union knocked on every reader's door.

And yet, this stuff apparently has an audience. Is it really just a hunger for the formula, which is nothing more than the old gothic romance (young, sweet girl meets wealthy man with secret past and hijinks ensue until he learns to let her in) with explicit - and often with the boundaries negotiated between the partners first - sex?