Tuesday, August 18, 2015

ARC REVIEW: Fearless (Pretty Smart Girls #2) by Shae Ross

Title: Fearless
Series: Pretty Smart Girls #2
Author: Shae Ross
Publisher: Entangled Embrace
Published: August 18th 2015
Format: eARC | Pages: 208
Genres: New Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Source: Publisher
★★✩ (2.5/5) Stars

Shae Ross | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads

A new adult romance from Entangled's Embrace imprint...

Every fighter has a weakness...

Devi Dalton won't let anyone hold her back. With the help of her friends, she's taken control of her future and traded her messed-up family life for a new job in Manhattan. Her only obstacle? Ben Winslow, the sexy friend she's desperately trying to resist. If she's going to succeed, she can't afford to be distracted, no matter how hot the chemistry burns between them.

Cage fighter Ben spent six months trying to convince Devi to take a chance on a relationship. Now that they've reunited in New York, he's not letting her push him away again. They're more than friends-always have been-and he'll do whatever it takes to prove it to her. First, he has a few demons of his own to slay...one of which could ruin his chances with her for forever.

But every fighter has a weakness. Ben's is Devi. And this time, she'll need more than just her favorite "Fearless Red" lipstick to protect her heart if she lets him in...

I received a copy of this book, from the publisher, in exchange for an honest review. In no way did this sway either my review or my rating!

It's really hard for me whenever I have to give a book such a low rating. I don't like to do it and I always try so hard drumming up enough positive feelings to not end up doing so. But, in all good conscience, I couldn't possibly go higher and still feel as if I were being honest. It's especially hard when I felt like I was clicking so well with Fearless at the beginning. At the halfway point, though, it started to go downhill. Fast.

I feel like describing Ben as a cage fighter was a bit of a deception. There were only two cage fighting references in the book. One towards the opening, when he was supposed to be in a fight but do to a spoiler type of an incident he didn't end up getting in the cage. Not that I'm complaining about that scene. It happens to be one of the few I truly loved completely before my views on this book got jaded. The second is at a time when he and Devi were at his family home and an MMA medal is talked about. It was the only thing that made me say huh maybe he really is a cage fighter. I mean there was what I guess you could consider a fight towards the end but you'll have to trust me when I say that it so does not count. So it was a pretty huge let down to go in expecting Mr. Tough-Guy-Cage-Fighter and end up with Mr. Suit-And-Tie-Boardroom-Guy.

But that ended up not really mattering anyhow. Because cage fighter or businessman Ben had some extreme jerk-like tendencies. The first time they showed I was just so shocked. I had been sitting here Ben's enthusiastic little cheerleader the whole time. Ben's so sweet. Ben's so charming. Look at Ben and his perpetual smile and positive air. Devi really needs to pull her head out of her rear and give sweet Ben a chance! 

And then this thing comes out. The demon that was hinted at in the blurb that could ruin his chances with her forever? Yeah. That one. Devi has every right to be upset and unsure if she wants to stay with him. Every. Right. Because this "demon" is a huge freaking deal. And yet when he comes after her after she's run off crying, taking herself out of the situation, he gets mad at her and starts throwing every insecurity and terrible thought about herself that she's ever had in her face. And then has the nerve to say he's always been able to "look past" those things about her? And don't even get me started on the whole scene with his mother where, not only did he sit back and not defend her, he then got pissed at her when they were alone and blew up at her telling her she owed him an apology.

Once again, don't even get me started on his b-word of a mother and her passive-aggressive ways of tearing down her own children and Devi for that matter. Odious woman.

Devi wasn't exactly perfect either. That girl had more issues than a magazine rack. Her insecurities and self-depreciation, which at first had me really feeling for her, ended up grating on me after a while. I don't mind a character with a bit of insecurity now and then, but the constant belittling of one's self gets old. Add to that the fact that she was constantly pushing Ben away because he was "too good for her" and then she'd be all over him and flirt with him, and then she'd throw around the friend word and then get mad when he doesn't introduce her as his girlfriend. I wanted to scream with the head games. I get it. She feels like crap about her upbringing compared to his. It was just hard to understand because in all other areas of her life she is bold and, well, fearless. She's not afraid to stand up to anyone and I loved that about her. It was just a really hard contradiction to accept.

My only conclusion was that Ben and Devi, though adorable at first, were just toxic for each other and brought out the other's bad sides and self-doubts. And that toxicity ended up sucking up 95% of the positive feelings I had been feeling up to that point. I no longer felt the desire to see them finally get together and stay together. It just seemed like a bad, bad idea.

When I think about all the huge negatives I wonder how on earth I kept going. Curiosity maybe? The need to know how this was all going to pull together in the end? Which I will give the book credit for. The end was pretty good and even had me laughing pretty hard at one point. But still it was almost like too little too late.

Maybe I should have given up and not pushed forward to the end. I mean, there was plenty of good and believe it or not I did laugh out loud at different times from beginning to end. It's just that all the negative things I felt towards the book really overshadowed anything positive I came across and drowned it out completely. I really wish I could have liked this one. And up to about 53% I really, really did and was excited to start singing it's praises. Unfortunately, in the end, Fearless and I did not get along.

Thanks to Entangled Publishing for the opportunity to read and review this book.

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