Sunday, October 20, 2013

Review: Shut Out

Shut Out by Liz Crowe
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

One of the hardest things to do as a reader when given a free book in exchange for an honest review is to find that you didn’t like a book in the end.  I hate to hurt anyone’s feelings, especially an author who poured their time and passion into writing a book, but I believe in honesty, so I will do my best to explain why SHUT OUT was not my favorite read this year by far.

I have noticed since starting this series that the author has a tendency to jump back and forth in third person point of view between the characters.  In this third book in the series, the storyline was so jumpy, I almost felt like I was missing key portions of the plot.   It was abrupt and required me to constantly re-evaluate who was speaking and what I may have missed.   I prefer a more streamlined and smooth flow if an author wants to write in third person.   The epilogue appeared in the story roughly, right at the climax of the plot;  the full story wasn’t really seen to fruition in my opinion.  If I had been beta-reading this book, I would have had many things to say to this author.  I don’t like being confused when reading.

The other thing I have noticed since starting this series is the author seems to be unfocused in her plot lines in the series.  I should probably qualify what I mean by that statement.  The first book was a male/male romance, the second book had a completely different focus and barely had any soccer at all, and this third one attempted to focus in on the BDSM lifestyle (unsuccessfully in my opinion).  To me, it almost felt like the author wanted to take popular themes/tropes in romances these days and link them together through a series.  Unfortunately, I didn’t feel it was successful with cohesion between the books. Though there were shared characters, it didn’t feel like the same series to me.  If there was a fourth book, I wouldn’t be surprised to see a paranormal romance.   

Getting back to this particular installment in the series, I was very disappointed with the lackluster BDSM lifestyle portrayed in this book.  Though I don’t partake in the BDSM lifestyle, I have absolutely no problem reading books that focus on the Dom/sub theme.   I was disappointed in how the author presented such a thought-provoking lifestyle. Sophie, the heroine, is not what I would look for in a Domme.    In one of the opening scenes where she is shown in this capacity, her mind is wandering while her client is tied up.   Unsafe.  Not fun.  Very bad in my opinion.      I didn’t feel that there was enough exploration of why Sophie would have been in this lifestyle.  What did she get out of it?   Why was she such a switch?   It didn’t make sense to me;  I feel that the mental exploration in a BDSM book is the majority of what makes it interesting.     

Outside of the BDSM theme in  SHUT OUT :  there are other unrealistic things throughout this book:  unsafe sex,  a character is attacked and then frisky and ready to ‘make-love’ a page or two later, villainous females that refer to themselves in the third person, etc.     The worst thing to me was a plot device that I cannot reveal here (to save spoiling the book), yet it was so bad that it makes the story feel more like a soap-opera.    From the characters own mouths:  “We’re both so fucked up.”   I also was not attracted to the heroine’s thoughts.  As an example, I was truly bored reading about her talking about her yoga class.  I suppose I was supposed to be intrigued as a reader as the hero was in the same class, but it did nothing for me.   Her reactions were illogical, especially when it came to how she handled the second half of the book (sorry, I can’t spoil it for you so I have to be brief).

All in all, I am fairly certain I would not choose to continue this series if a fourth book is written.  Maybe I am just picky.  Your mileage may vary.

✳✳ Copy provided by the author/publisher for an honest review.

✳✳ Reviewed on I ♥ Bookie Nookie Reviews by Guest Reviewer, FlibBityFLooB

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