(Writing this at 21:22H on Friday)
I really like reading trilogy-books in sequence, and reading one book immediately after reading its predecessor is normally satisfying after a long drudging day. Tessa Bailey’s Broke and Beautiful series started off well for me, but now that I’ve just finished the second book, I am in serious want of a good barfing session.
Book 1 – Chase Me: Roxy is a struggling actress. Louis is a litigation lawyer with a heart of gold. They meet when Roxy, a singing telegram performer (a job she took since the acting gig wasn’t panning out), was sent to Louis to sing an ode to his penis. Louis, a.k.a. playboy extraordinaire, falls instantly in love with her when she kisses him after he insults her in her telegramming bunny costume. Ms. Bailey proceeds with the story with extremely long descriptions of her characters’ inner monologues/thoughts. There were a couple of sexy scenes. The climax wasn’t anything surprising, but it was believable and relatable. In the end, I find that Roxy wasn’t as annoying as I initially thought she would be. Louis was as corny as his name sounded, but I can imagine he’s all right (Ms. Bailey didn’t fall into the predictable trap of having her hero have 6/8-packed abs… I LOVED this, because, hey, the dude is a paper-pushing lawyer). “Chase Me” wasn’t so bad. No cringes or eye rolls – which is a yay for me. Hence, a 3-star rating.
Book 2 – Need Me: Oh, god. At the 75% mark of this book, I am hoping book 3 of this trilogy is NOT as bad as this one. I highlighted so many things I didn’t ever want to see again in a book. Funny thing was when I first started this book, I didn’t think of myself as a prude. I mean, I’ve read teacher-student love stories before. “To Professor, With Love” by Linda Kage and “Pushing the Limits” by Brooke Cumberland were two I sorta liked. However, I think “Need Me” is the straw that’s breaking this camel’s back. Honey is 19 years old and a freshman in college. Ben is her 25-year-old non-tenured English professor. Only six years separate them. If she were 21 and he were 27, I don’t think I’d mind. But, the heroine is juuust squeaking by as a legal adult. That’s what disturbs me the most, I think. Ben has these caveman tactics (in hindsight, so did Louis in “Chase Me”), and Honey, at times, seem whiny and bratty. As in, she’s a “I want him, therefore, I’m gonna get him” kind of bratty. She seemed really selfish, too, which Ben initially thought, too (i.e., she wants to seduce her English professor; the consequences to him be damned). Then, he succumbed to her Lolita-esque temptations – which just goes to show how the big head can really be ruled by the little head. (I sincerely hope this is not true with the majority of decent men in the real world.) This story reminded me of a really hot Math (male) teacher in my own college who hooked up with a batch mate of mine (female) when we were still in our 3rd year of university. They walked around campus together freely, and at the time, I thought “well, she’s a lucky bitch.” In hindsight, I’m now thinking “Oh. Our Jesuit-owned university must not have rules against this type of relationship… Or, maybe, somebody’s parents contributed a hell of a lot of money to the school.” My oh my. How did I become such a cynical prude, you may ask? I don’t know. I guess reality does bite. 1-star.
(My reading of the last “Broke and Beautiful” book was thankfully interrupted when I received an ARC I requested from NetGalley. Amelia LeFay’s “The Anatomy of Jane” was exactly what I needed to make my Saturday waaaay more interesting than it normally is.)
(Writing this at 20:16H on Sunday)
Book 3 – Make Me: Ms. Bailey came through for me. This book ain’t so bad. There was a little bit of surprise. She threw in some BDSM tendencies here for both H and h. Judging from the cover, that kinda threw me for a loop. A good loop. Like all trilogies, there’s a similar thread going on amongst all three books in the “Broke and Beautiful” series. Hero and heroine fall instantaneously in lust/love with each other. Hero has major issues he needed to get over, because he screws up royally at almost the end of every chapter or every sexy scene. Heroine also has some angst or problem in her professional life/career, but Ms. Bailey makes her girls seem like strong women who are NOT damsels-in-distress, so kudos to the author.
That’s essentially the gist of the story in “Make Me.” Russel, however, is a little bit older than his friends, Louis and Ben. His lady, Abby, I think, is also older than her friends, Roxy and Honey, but she’s a virgin. (LOL virgin + BDSM = 50 shades of ho-hum) What I liked about this is Ms. Bailey’s portrayal of her women as strong, independent girls who, if you were to take them out of the love story context, are what 21st century women should be like. What I didn’t like, ironically enough, is that because “Make Me” is a love story, Abby takes Russel back way too easily, even after the emotional roller coaster ride he takes her on. He was just tiring, TBH. Anyhoo, “Make Me” was a better way to end the trilogy than I originally thought it would be. Plus, the epilogue closes out the 6 characters’ stories with a very explicitly written “happily ever after.” 3-stars.