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Review for Real (Real #1) by Katy Evans

Real  - Katy Evans

Brooke’s life changed forever when she busted her knee. Her dreams of becoming an Olympic medalist went up in smoke. Now, six years later, she’s finished her degree to go into rehabilitation to help those who get hurt but can go back to the sport they love. One night she allows Melanie, her best friend, to drag her to an underground fighting match and when Remington Tate walks into the ring, her life has changed forever. Remington sets eyes on her and ultimately hires her to prevent him from injury during training and fighting. It’s obvious the two have chemistry, but it’s also clear that there is something Remy isn’t will to share with the class. Brooke wants him enough to look past whatever he’s hiding, but his secret is such a biggie that it’s keeping them apart. Can they beat the odds? So I was browsing Edelweiss’s review copy catalogue one day and came across this. This gem was on the list of books you could download instantly, no waiting for approval, if you were willing to review it. Awesome! I’ve heard amazing things about this book and couldn’t wait to dive in. A few days ago, I was really in the mood for a NA novel and instead of picking up Losing Hope by Colleen Hoover like I wanted, I compromised and chose to read this because it’s on my massive eARC list and it should satisfy the contemporary love drama craving for a while, right? …About that. I really did not enjoy this. This book is a classic example of why I seriously debate DNF-ing books sometimes and why I don’t actually stop reading them. I feel like if I DNF it, I don’t have a right to review it. After all, amazing things can happen after I stop (like in Days Of Blood And Starlight) and I did request to read this for review of my own free will, so I should at least see it to the end, right? Yeah, the more books I read like this, the ones that are like pulling teeth, the more I seriously think about creating a DNF shelf. Okay, let’s get on with it. From page one, this is told in Brooke’s perspective, so it’s pretty important that we like the leading lady, but I didn’t. I didn’t hate her (initially), but she felt like a contradiction, claiming that sex wasn’t an important part of her life right now and then melting into a needy puddle the minute Remington walks into the ring. Then, when she goes to leave and he follows her and demands her name, she just gives it to him! What’s worse is then, he fucking kisses her and she just stands there stunned. Look lady, an massively muscular guy you do not know walks up and assaults you with his mouth with no warning or permission, you get angry! You kick him in the nads and threaten to call the police or SOMETHING. You don’t just dissolve into fits of “Omigod, he’s ssssssoooo hot!” And if he invites you to watch him fight again or to go to his hotel room, you say “FUCK NO,” okay? Got it? Unless you want to end up bleeding to death in an alley after being violently raped, grow a brain or a little common sense. But I’ll buy it because the whole premise of the book would fall to pieces if I don’t, so let’s just assume that this is a good idea. Remington hires her and she’s jetted off in whirlwind fashion to the next city he is scheduled to fight in. Though she’s as a rehab specialist, her main job seems to be masseuse and stretcher because that’s all she does. She rubs out (tehehe) any knots in his muscles and helps him stretch before and/or after workouts. Is he not capable of stretching on his own? Then there is Remington. An arrogant, selfish, asshat who gets off on beating the shit out of other men and having half a dozen prostitutes waiting for him when he’s done. Seriously ladies, did we read about the same guy, because I didn’t find him attractive, like at all. Maybe the one thing he does for Brooke at the end was swoon-worthy, but it doesn’t make up for everything else. He’s overbearing and obsessive, not to mention controlling. He gets jealous if Brooke so much as speaks to the male members of his staff! I get that he’s got issues, but that’s not enough of an excuse. He basically blames all his problems on the fact that he is bipolar and doesn’t use medication because it zones him out. Here’s a thought: TRY A DIFFERENT MEDICATION. Try unorthodox methods. Do something. My husband is bipolar, so don’t you dare tell me it isn’t manageable. Maybe his real problem is that he is a 300 pound rage monkey? That couldn’t possibly be it, right? The world is in a sad state if this is what women want. A controlling guy with uncontrollable fits of rage that literally needs to be tranquilized so that he doesn’t do any serious harm. THIS is what you find attractive? Well, it’s no wonder I’ve always been to type to not follow the crowd. This is like a caricature of what I don’t want in my life. Putting aside the characters I can’t stand, I still couldn’t love it. It reads like bad porn. I can honestly see why some book stores have started shelving New Adult in the Erotica section, even though the two terms aren’t synonymous. The first half of this novel is all about building a “relationship” between the two main characters, along with a good deal of sexual tension. But it’s so overly descriptive that instead of drawing me into the story, it pushes me further away because I’m left questioning the word choices. The majority of Brooke’s inner monologue (and the majority of the story is her inner monologue) is nothing but her describing how “male” and “manly” Remy is and how her vagina clenches every time she sees/smells/hears/touches/imagines Remy doing ANYTHING. The term “clenches” is used more than 50 times in this short novel and I cringed every time. I openly admit that there isn’t a single synonym or euphemism for vagina that I like, but I think Evans uses the worst of the choice here. Seriously Brooke? I get that you are apparently sex-starved and you find Remington to be lust worthy, but don’t you think you are taking it a bit too far? And all the things he does that she finds attractive, I find repulsive. She goes nuts when he sniffs her. No, you read that right, when he “scents” her. Don’t get me started on the amount of clenching that happens then. Sniffing people is creepy. And she is OBSESSED with his smell. I’m sorry, but after he has been beating someone’s ass in a fighting ring and he’s all sweaty, there is no way that smells good. And there is no way in hell anyone in their right mind would truly want to lick the sweat off. Then, when they finally do get it on, it’s so far from attractive that it was difficult to read. I’ve read erotica and I’ve read smutty fanfic, but this was by far the worst sex scene ever. They fuck like 5 times without stopping and somehow Remy stays hard through the whole thing even though he gets off…yeah, that’s realistic. Then after it’s over, Brooke is “sticky” with the evidence of their lovemaking and doesn’t want to shower or wash herself off so she can keep his scent on her a little longer. I understand that everyone has different preferences, but really? You are covered in semen and you want to lay there an wallow in it? I don’t even think there are words to express my feelings about that, beyond go clean yourself up! I also found it disturbing that they don’t use any protection. She states at some point that she knows he gets tested regularly and, later, mentions that she’s on that birth control implant so there won’t be any babies, but still. You know he has slept with a copious amount of prostitutes on a regular basis. I wouldn’t touch him with a ten foot pole until I was positive that he was clean. Actually, I wouldn’t touch him anyway because I don’t find egotistical, controlling men who are as big as Dwayne Johnson attractive, but to each her own. I really believe I missed something here. Can someone (anyone) explain to me why this novel has fuckloads of 5 star reviews consisting of nothing but fangirling about its awesomeness? I really didn’t see it at all. The plot was predictable and borderline offensive in the way they handled the mental disorders/addictions. The writing was sloppy, with a very unedited feel to it. The characters were so far off the mark that I couldn’t like or relate to a single one. Maybe I should just read NA from authors I know and trust like Jessica Sorensen or Colleen Hoover or Tammara Webber, because if this is what I get for trying new ones, I think I’m better off not attempting anymore. ****Thank you to Gallery Books for providing me with an eARC via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review****