Saturday, October 18, 2014

Desire Had A Name: The Bad Baker Boys: Matt's Story

Desire Had A Name: The Bad Baker Boys: Matt's Story by Tonya Brooks

Can’t keep her, can’t get rid of her... 
Matt Baker discovered the hard way that you don’t always get what you want. Especially when what he wanted the most was an infuriating woman who blackmailed him into marriage, refused to share his bed and then caught the first bus out of town before the ink on their annulment was dry. He hadn’t seen Harley in twelve long years and now she was back in his life, just as desirable and frustrating as ever. But this time around, he’s determined to make her his, no matter what it takes. 

Some things are better left in the past... 
At least that was what Harley Abbott Baker told herself when she ended the marriage made in hell and left her miserable hometown twelve years ago. She had sworn never to return to Lakeside and she wouldn’t be back now if she had a choice. No sacrifice was too great to make for her son, even if it meant facing his father. Discovering that she was still susceptible to Matthew’s bad boy charm reinforced her determination to get him out of her life once and for all, no matter what it takes. 

2.0 out of 5 stars Was going great until the plot twist happened....October 17, 2014
This review is from: Desire Had A Name: The Bad Baker Boys: Matt's Story (Kindle Edition)
**REVIEWED for EBooks Galore**
Desire Had a Name is a full-length, standalone, second chance contemporary romance. It follows Harley and Matthew – from their chance encounter, stormy and brief relationship, through a fifteen year hiatus before putting them back together.
In a lot of ways, I enjoyed this book. It was well written and edited, it had wonderful secondary characters, and the emotions were believable and relatable. Loose ends were tied up at the end and it’s clear that there will be more books set in this world (Matthew has three brothers). As I read it, I thought it was pretty good.
But there were a few things that played discordantly in my brain after I finished the book, and ultimately it was a tune that I didn’t enjoy. I will admit now that my biggest issue with the story is a personal pet peeve of mine, so your own experience with the book may be different.
Right from the beginning, the feminist in me hated the use of the term “jailbait.” Harley is sixteen to Matthew’s nineteen, thus making a physical relationship between them illegal. But the word “jailbait” implies an intention or a fault on the part of the female – and that is offensive to me. If the author had used the term underage instead of jailbait, I’d have had a much better experience.
Second, and for me, more importantly, there’s a storyline used that is excessive, unnecessary, and out of place within the plot’s framework. We find out near the end of the book that Harley was raped by a stranger the night before she and Matthew have sex for the first time. It was apparently enough to a) traumatize her into alcoholism in a single day, b) send her to her ex-boyfriend for sex the next day, and c) keep her from having sex for the next FIFTEEN YEARS. And yet when she and Matthew reconnect, she jumps right back into the backseat of his car to have sex again. When the story finally came out, I was so aggravated I had to put the book down for several days. I only finished it because I was reading it for the purposes of this review.
Here’s why it bugged me so badly: first and foremost, I HATE when authors do things to their characters without reason. I was pissed at J.K. Rowling when she killed one of the Weasley twins, Lori Otto’s Emi Lost and Found series had put me off her books probably forever, and I’m not sure I forgive Tonya Brooks here, either. The tension of this story is due to the lies and mistakes made by teenage Harley and Matthew. The rape storyline is completely superfluous. The random stranger danger rape doesn’t even come UP until two-thirds of the way through the book, and then time is spent to backtrack and make it look like it was a big traumatizing event. The heroine didn’t behave in a smart, logical way right after the rape – again, probably because heading to the hospital for a rape kit and talking to the police would have ruined Matthew’s chance to beat the crap out of the guy later. It’s a crappy way to treat your characters, it normalizes rape culture and victim blaming (Harley blames herself for her post-rape issues, of COURSE), and it doesn’t help the story. And then, because the book is almost over, the rapist must be quickly put behind bars (after the cop realizes the bad guy has been raping women for YEARS, but they’ve got him now, boy howdy), and the rapist must be so grateful to be alive that he won’t press charges for Matthew LITERALLY castrating him.
I know this review sounds harsh, and due to my personal prejudices it may be exactly that; but what is a review but an opinion, and these words are mine. The writing is strong enough that I would give future Tonya Brooks novels a chance; but one more plot twist like this and I’m done.
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