Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Review: "As Good As New (Something New, #4)" by Jennifer Dawson (Contemporary Romance)

As Good As New (Something New, #4)
by Jennifer Dawson

Other Books in Series: Take A Chance On Me (#1), The Winner Takes It All (#2), The Name of the Game (#3)
Publisher: Kensington Books
Genre: Contemporary Romance, Erotica
Publication Date: March 29, 2016

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Description from Publisher: At the tender age of six, Penelope Watkins fell for her best friend's brother, Evan Donovan, future hunk. By the time they were teenagers, they were having heart-to-hearts…and hot and heavy top secret make-out sessions. All that changed when Evan's father suddenly died. Abruptly, Penelope lost him to grief—and to his true love: football. But now an injury had ended Evan's NFL career. The notorious bad boy was in a depression no one could penetrate, except maybe the one woman who still knew him best—and still wanted him most…

Penelope is the last person Evan wants to witness the wreck he's become. So when she shows up at his door he's less than welcoming—even though the sight of her brings back the same old rush of desire. As a teenager, the emotions overwhelmed him. Now, when he wanted to be overwhelmed, Penelope wasn't playing. She was telling the golden boy it was time to man up. It may have taken a concussion for Evan to realize it, but that's exactly what he wants to do—starting with her…

My Rating:
Sexiness Rating:

I received a digital ARC from the publisher through NetGalley.com for an honest, unbiased review. My opinion is my own.

This was written well, with believable dialogue and a variety of characters. It didn't take more than about 8% in before I got the feeling this book wasn't really for me, however. I'm a "rated R" type romance novel reader, and this is definitely more of an NC-17.

I hadn't read any of the series before and this was the 4th installment, which is generally fine. Books written in a series where they focus on different characters are generally very standalone. I didn't quite feel that with this one as much though. I hadn't actually realized it was the 4th book in the series when I started reading, but it was very, very obvious by halfway through, to the point that I felt that I was missing something. This didn't necessarily bring Evan and Penelope's story down as it was still enjoyable, but it just seemed less standalone than others I'd read.

At the start of this, you like Penelope and Evan is basically just an a-hole. The exposition of their past is done well and the pacing feels right. As the story unfolds, I started to like Evan more and more, but unfortunately, Penelope less. We are supposed to see Penelope as this strong woman, but she really just isn't. At all. In fact, she's incredibly submissive to the extent that I wanted to smack her. But I think that is likely what's intended, since the story feels like it's supposed to be a fantasy for those who are into Alpha males and submissive females. If that's your thing, then this would be great for you. I'm just not a "50 Shades" kind of girl.

Which brings me to the most obvious D/s parts of the story: the sex scenes. There are a lot of them, and they are filled with Penelope literally begging Evan to do things to her, Penelope whimpering, Evan commanding her "Tell me what you want," Evan putting his hands on her throat, Evan commanding "You're mine! Say you're mine!", talk of "being marked", Penelope telling him to stop but not actually wanting it so he ignores her... It was one thing for 15/16-year-old smitten Penelope to be so submissive, but she's supposed to be a grown woman now with more self-confidence than that (at least enough to communicate "I like it when you dominate me, but if I say 'peas and carrots' I want you to stop"). There were several scenes that made me actually cringe a bit. But, as I said, "50 Shades" just isn't my thing.

I considered tossing this book into the DNF pile about 5 times throughout, especially the first 60%. By that point, I did like enough of the story to keep going, but the amount of sex throughout was a bit over-the-top. We're supposed to believe that Evan and Penelope have more going for them than sex, but I think less sex scenes would better sell that idea.

Overall, this was okay and, for the right person, might be great. Just not my cup of tea though.

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