Thursday, December 12, 2013

Before by Nicola Marsh (Review)

New Adult, Romance, Contemporary
Publication.Date  December 2, 2013
Published By:  Nicola Marsh
WebsiteNicola Marsh

Before on Goodreads
My review copy:Review copy provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.

Where to get:,%201

Good girls finish last? Screw that.

Being a small town girl isn’t so bad. Unless Mom’s the town joke and I’ve spent my entire life shying away from her flamboyance. College in Las Vegas should be so much cooler. But it’s not. Bad things happen. Real bad.

So when my brother Reid offers me an all-expenses paid vacation to Australia for a month, I am so there. Discounting the deadly snakes on the outback cattle station, I should be safe.
Until I meet Jack.

Jack defines bad boy and then some. He’s big, buffed, bronzed, and hotter than any guy I’ve ever met. His sexy Aussie accent makes me melt. And the guy can cook.

But he’s my brother’s new bestie and he lives on the other side of the world. There’s no future for us.
Is there?

Me? I had nothing but a spatula in one hand and a stack of cookbooks in another. Not quite the excitement I craved but hey, a guy had to start somewhere.
This was all Chantal's fault, putting stupid ideas about hot Aussie movie stars into my head. Because the fact was, Jack did look like Chris Hemsworth. A lot.
Because if Jess kept staring at me like I'd hung every damn one of those stars, I'd lose it for sure.

The premise of this book is amazing. From the first sentence of the synopsis, I was intrigued by this book. A strong female character, no doubt about it. Then reading the rest, this book sounds fantastic. Interesting. And Jack? Downright YUM. All of that combined should have made for an unquestionably delicious read for me. Sadly, however, this book ended up not working out for me. 

A major reason I wasn't a fan of this book was the characters. Jess (ha! I like this name) is strong. That's for sure. She doesn't take any of Jack's crap and she honestly does grow throughout the novel. But other than that...I've got nothing. She's a pretty boring character and there's not much to her. And then Jack...he hooks up with a random chick when we first meet him. Not quite how I'd like to be introduced to a character I'm supposed to end up liking. Or loving. I'd much rather we have seen him in the kitchen first, doing his regular thing, and THEN we got to see his manwhore ways and how he wanted to change them. 

Another thing about Jack--he's supposed to be a bad boy, yes? I don't see it. He hooked up with that one lady that one time and we know he's hooked up with loads of other girls, but other than that, I don't see how he's "bad." Can't keep it in his pants, sure. But BAD? I'm not feeling that. I actually kind of liked him once I stopped thinking about the way he was introduced.

This whole story moves along rapidly. In a way, that's good because it doesn't drag. It never really has a chance to get boring. But the fast pace also bothered me somewhat because nothing went too deep. People were talking, things were kind of happening, but I didn't feel really connected to any of it. I was just observing. And then there were some parts of the story that just...they made me facepalm. They felt so farfetched and sort of silly. Like, I couldn't imagine things happening in that way. And I couldn't even imagine the characters doing these things. They just...did them. 
The end to this was nothing like I ever would have expected it to be, which was really disappointing, actually. I know I don't want to be able to predict everything ever, but the way this one ended...I didn't like it. This is a prequel novel for Nicola Marsh's series Burlesque Bombshells which I didn't know going into this and did explain why this novel ended the way it did...but still. Meh.

All that said, there are definitely redeeming qualities in this story. It's dual POV, which I always love. And the female MC truly is strong, and I like that a lot. And there were several sweet moments throughout the story that made me smile. Sweetness is my weakness, y'all. The likability of Jack was a pleasant surprise as well after the way we met him. And Nicola Marsh's writing was good. Mix all those things together and those are some pretty solid reasons to give this book a shot, even though this novel didn't end up working for me.

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