Title: Love and the Real Boy (Coming About #2)
Author: J.K. Hogan
Publisher: Euphoria Press
Release Date: September 26, 2014
Page Count: 196
Reviewed by: Renée
Heat Level: 3.5 flames out of 5
Rating: 2 stars out of 5
How much heartache can one man take before he breaks? Rich Langston asks himself that question every day.
A Seattle advertising exec who uses his designer suit and showy car like a suit of armor, Rich refuses to let the world get to him. His traumatic childhood has ruined any faith he had in people, friendship, and love. After a meltdown that led to him alienating everyone in his life, Rich agrees to help with the restoration of an antique sailboat as a form of penance.
Roped into heading up with the boat repair by his mother, marine restorer Patrick O’Dowd finds himself having to babysit a moody, spoiled rich boy with absolutely no carpentry experience. His easy-going nature is sorely tested, but he quickly realizes that things are not always what they seem; sometimes a fancy suit is nothing but an elaborate deflection from what’s real.
Through unavoidable personality clashes and fierce attraction, both Rich and Patrick explore their hidden pain and inner demons, and they end up finding with what really matters—love.
So this was my first and last J.K. Hogan book. I was close to a DNF at one point. I often say that the secret to a good book, for me, is when good writing meets a good story. There are plenty of my favorite authors who write a book where the storyline just isn’t for me. It doesn’t reflect on their talent as an author, though. The opposite could be true too. There will be the bones of a great story, but the writing is just so horrifically bad that there’s no saving it.
What happened in this book was bad storytelling meets “passable” writing. I’d give the writing talent a B minus. It all fell apart with the story. And if this is the kind of storytelling this author is going to do, I can’t say that the writing was good enough to give another story a try.
Rich is a big douchebag. He has his reasons. They are clearly shoved down the readers’ throats throughout the book. They are not enough to make me overlook his douchey-ness. Why? Because he throws tantrums throughout the whole book. He is one of the most immature MCs I’ve read.
Exhibit A: Rich and Patrick sleep together for the first time. The next day (or a very short time later), when nothing has been discussed and it could very well be a one-time thing, Rich sees Patrick with 2 of his friends. They are roughhousing, giving noogies, putting each other in headlocks, etc. And Rich throws the mother of all shitfits. He yells at them (all) and storms off. Wait….what? What the hell just happened?! Douchebag happened. Patrick runs after him and tells him not to be jealous. They’re immediately ok and Patrick wants to introduce him. Wait…what?
Exhibit B: Patrick is trying to get Rich to grow up and snap out of a funk (*cough sulky, tantrum cough*) and he tells him, “Well congrtu-fucking-lations, mate. How does it feel to be a real boy?” Rich throws a punch in retaliation. Patrick gets turned on by the punch. “It was in that moment he knew that this little dance the two of them had been doing, for him, had become something more.” What the everloving fuck? But wait….scene’s not over. He taunts Rich some more, so Rich attacks him by straddling him on the ground and slapping him across the face. Renée is not turned on in the least. I’m actually quite confused. Then Rich puts his hands around Patrick’s neck and squeezes. What’re Patrick’s thoughts at this point? “It was fucking hot.” He asks Rich, “Why do you give a damn what I think anyway?” as he’s squeezing, mind you and Rich magically answers, “Because you’re somebody.”
Exhibit C: There was one point where they’re making out while lying on the living room floor. And the this little gem: “Rich must have found a bottle of lube and a condom hidden somewhere.” Really? No breaking the liplock, no mention of Rich pulling away momentarily to grab them from a drawer next to the couch. Just that tid bit in the quote. Again I say Wait…..what?
Contrived drama starts with Rich’s long-lost brother in the form of a “big misunderstanding,” and then more contrived drama with Patrick’s brother blaming him for a friend’s death. It was all just too much and did my head in.
I don’t have to start off liking an MC if the author makes me understand him. I GOT, loud and clear, why the author said Rich was the way he was. It just wasn’t believable for a grown-ass man to act like a toddler. And so I never understood what Patrick saw in him. He’s a masochist in my eyes.
I honestly can’t believe I stuck this one out. Writing style was passable, but bad story is bad.