Thursday, June 23, 2016

Book Review: How Not to Fall (The Belhaven Series) by Emily Foster

Data, research, scientific formulae--Annabelle Coffey is completely at ease with all of them. Men, not so much. But that's all going to change after she asks Dr. Charles Douglas, the postdoctoral fellow in her lab, to have sex with her. Charles is not only beautiful, he is also adorably awkward, British, brilliant, and nice. What are the odds he'd turn her down?

Very high, as it happens. Something to do with that whole student/teacher/ethics thing. But in a few weeks, Annie will graduate. As soon as she does, the unlikely friendship that's developing between them can turn physical--just until Annie leaves for graduate school. Yet nothing could have prepared either Annie or Charles for chemistry like this, or for what happens when a simple exercise in mutual pleasure turns into something as exhilarating and infernally complicated as love.

When I first read the blurb for this book, I was pretty intrigued. I liked the idea of a "brainy romance" ... pun not intended (the characters study brainy stuff). I was looking forward to some witty banter, some British slang and one imagined (very sexy) accent. Things didn't go as planned.

To be completely honest, I was surprised with how juvenile Annie (the main lady character) sounded. I was constantly asking myself if I had read her age correctly because instead of a graduating college student, she sounded like a high school student. She just didn't have the maturity that I was expecting and it put me off of the story a little bit because it was so damn distracting. I'm not sure if the author wanted Annie to seem so very young and immature just because she's a virgin or if this was unintentional but it was a turn off. AND this chick is studying doctor-y brain mumbojumbo and she says the words "A Thing" and "The Thing" at least 37 times when talking about her attraction to Charles. That doesn't sound like a lot because out of a crap-ton of words, it only showed up about three dozen times but I'll tell you this, it felt like it was on every single page. After the first dozen, I would just cringe every time Annie said it.

Since I seem to have an axe to grind with Annie, I might as well continue with the tar and feathering ... Annie has this self doubt that is irritating. She's in a constant stage of need for affirmations about herself and that also was irritating. She's constantly begging for compliments. This happened a lot more than a few dozen times. It literally WAS constantly. She needed to be told that she was attractive and desired and doing the right thing and desired ... it mostly centered around being told that she was worthy of getting laid. Like there is such a thing. I'm telling you, this Charles dude was more patient that he should have been because if I was a dude, I would have kicked her to the curb after the first 59 times of her asking me if I wanted her. I just found it very draining to read because I was irritated about the whole damn thing and then for Charles to NOT be irritated just irritated me even more. 

There was one interesting thing was happening with Annie but it's more of a compliment to the author than the character ... Annie's inner monologues were interesting in the beginning of this book because they seemed to speak directly to the reader. I found that whole thing refreshing and I wanted more of it because it read like I was talking to a friend. But it didn't last long and when it was gone, I really missed it. 

Since I'm on the subject of characters, Charles needs to be addressed. Ugh. I wanted to love this guy. And I did ... at first. I thought that he was a charming Englishman and I really loved him. But then stuff shifted. He went from this stuffy Englishman to a dirty-mouthed, hormone crazed dude that talked with this American vernacular. That would be all fine and dandy but that is not how he was portrayed at first. It was this massive switch when he started getting some action and it wasn't just in bed ... it was all the time after that first piece of nooky. It didn't help the book flow correctly and it really took something away from the entire novel because it didn't seem authentic. Either he's a stuffy Englishman type character or he's not. Can't go both ways. Some slightly British sayings were thrown in sporadically but it wasn't enough to redeem the Charles character for me.

The rest of the novel was slow. That could be attributed to the abundance of sex scenes, I think. There were SO. MANY. After a while, I just started skimming them just so that I could move on to the rest of the story and there was one scene that was like a damn dissertation ... it was AT LEAST 785 pages long. 

By the end of the book, I was just done. I was done with the rock-climbing stuff, I was done with the medical/science stuff and I was more than a little excited for the book to just be over. It became boring from about the middle of the book and then when it ended in this horrible cliff-hanger, I was praising all things holy that I had reached the end.

Not the book for me and not the author for me, it seems. But as I've found myself so frequently lately, I'm once again in the minority. A lot of people have enjoyed this book and I'm one of the few that found issues in it. Maybe I'm too critical or maybe I just need to brush it off and move on to the next book on my list. Either way, good luck and I hope that you enjoy this one more than I did. 

* I received this novel in exchange for an honest review *

Available: June 28th, 2016

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