Author: Katy Evans. This is the first novel in her Real series, which were originally self-published and are now being distributed by Gallery Books.
Readers: Editor Lori, bookkeeper Tykira, small business owner Samantha, professor Michal and at-home parent Dana.
Summary: Remington Tate has a bad-boy rep in and out of the ring, a granite-hard body, and a raw, animal power that sends his female fans into a frenzy. But from the moment their eyes lock, the only woman he wants is Brooke Dumas. His desire is pure, all-consuming, and REAL.
Hired to keep his perfect body working like a machine, Brooke finally has the lucrative sports therapy job she’s been dreaming of. But as she tours the dangerous underground fighting circuit with Remy and his team, Brooke’s own body becomes alive with the most primal of hungers. If what happens between Brooke and Remy is ever as light as a flirtation, it quickly becomes an erotic obsession for them both, and promises so much more.
But their white-hot lust has a dark side—and when Remy’s deepest secret comes to light and Brooke’s familial duties demand action, will the pair be able to hang on, or will everything that once seemed so real suddenly fade away like an illusion?
Our Take: We wanted a little more spark and a little more flavor out of this bad-boy romance novel that didn’t do enough to break out of its formula.
Full disclosure – I don’t typically read romance novels. I think my unfamiliarity with the genre is why I found myself scoffing at the whole alpha-male/swooning female storyline at the beginning. That being said, I couldn’t stop reading through the first 100 pages or so.
Basically Brooke, a sports trainer, finds herself taking a job where she’s touring with a very handsome ultimate fighter bad boy named Remy. The sparks fly, and they struggle to keep their hands off each other and maintain a professional relationship. They decide to finally get together but an ugly situation arises at a hotel party and it seems like they may be doomed.
The latter half of the book involves a lot of hotel room encounters and Brooke fretting over Remy’s true feelings. A plot line involving Brooke’s sister and a rival fighter seemed a little far-fetched, and Brooke fretting about Remy thinking she’s too fat made me roll my eyes quite a few times. Despite those failures it really is a pretty entertaining read and would be great for a beach vacation.
I may not have been the best person to review this book. I haven’t read 50 Shades of Grey, because I didn’t think I’d like it. I have read The Claiming of Sleeping Beauty, though. I guess you’d have to be pretty cold not to be titillated by the sexy scenes. But barely. I just have a hard time with the dynamic of a man so powerful and alluring that a woman can’t resist even if she wanted to–a man who expects his orders (and his sexuality) to be obeyed and the woman who falls prey–regardless of his mental health. I mean, I know what kind of of book I was reading, but doesn’t even a sexual relationship have to have some sort of something to hold it together besides sex? The prose was average, the plot was average, the genre sets women back a good 30 years.
I rarely read romance novels, although I was a fan of Fifty Shades of Gray. To that end, I didn’t read Real expecting prize-winning literature, and that is definitely not what I got. The writing was unsophisticated, and at times so trite that I groaned at the cheesiness of the dialogue and descriptions.
If you want a novel that builds sexual tension, this may be the book for you. However, I felt like the tension built for so long that I was bored by the time the main characters got together. How many times do I need to be told how desperately she wants the guy? Not that many. I also had an issue with the way mental illness is presented. It was no surprise to find out the “bad boy” suffers from Bipolar Disorder, but I felt it was presented in an irresponsible and potentially damaging way.
Despite all of my misgivings, I was inexplicably engrossed in this book. I’m not sure why; perhaps I am just a sucker for a love story, regardless of how dysfunctional it is. However, I don’t really have any interest in reading the other books in the series.
This novel is explicit in language and sexual situations; be aware of this before you read. If you are a regular reader of these types of romance novels, you may enjoy this book and the other two in the trilogy.
What can I say about this book? Although it did eventually have some delicious scenes to read, overall I didn’t care for the book. I felt myself annoyed with the author and how she created the characters. It appeared that the only way that Brooke could possibly be consumed by Remington and his passion for her was to have him be bipolar… and to have Brooke be somewhat of a weak-minded / idiotic female character. I also didn’t grasp the emotional shift that Brooke felt when she discovered that it was more than lust she felt… because honestly it appeared to be lust and only lust from my point of view as the reader. And that would be fine if that is what the author wanted for her characters…. However, you can clearly tell that she wanted more than a sexual relationship (albeit a very satisfying one) between Remington and Brooke.
I know there are additional books following the lives of Remington and Brooke. This book didn’t leave me with the desire to care what happens next for our two main characters. I would say skip it even if you are reading it just for the juicy parts. The sex scenes weren’t all that creative as far as the words used to describe what is going on.
Let me first start out by saying that this isn’t my typical genre. But I love to read in general so I tend to request anything that gets suggested and see where it takes me. This one didn’t take my anywhere. It almost seemed as though Evans was writing for a movie in the way that she described her characters and their mannerisms. If I want to watch a movie, I’ll watch a movie. My problem was the over arching unbelievability. Yes, I know that romance novels probably aren’t the place for believability but even if you stripped away the sex scenes and just focused on the relationship between Brooke and Remington, there wasn’t much there.
Evans seemed to be trying but whether they did and she just didn’t write about it or not, they never seemed to just sit and have a conversation and get to know each other on a non-sexual level. If you want your characters to have a relationship that’s not just about sex, you have to have them do something that doesn’t involve sex. I felt like they knew nothing about each and there was nothing to base the relationship on other than their over-powerful lust/love/whatever for each other. I really don’t care to read any of the other books about Brooke and Remington, mostly because I care so little about them as characters.