Sunday, August 16, 2015

Double Review: Need Me and Make Me by Tessa Bailey

Need Me by Tessa Bailey 
Book Two of the Broke and Beautiful series
Publisher: Avon Impulse
Publication Date: April 21, 2015
Rating: 2 stars
Source: eARC from Edelweiss

***Warning: this is an adult book, and for the eyes of mature readers***

Summary (from Goodreads):

When Honey Perribow traded in her cowboy boots for stilettos and left her small Kentucky town to attend Columbia University, she never expected to find a dirt-cheap apartment or two new best friends. No stranger to hard work, Honey is completely focused on her medical degree … until she sees newly minted professor Ben Dawson, and her concentration is hijacked. Honey is fascinated by her gorgeous young English professor and vows to find a crack in his tweed-wearing, glasses-clad exterior.

At an off-campus party, an accident lands Ben in a dark, locked closet with a sexy-sounding Southern belle … and their chemistry is explosive. But when he discovers that the girl in his arms is the same beautiful student he can't stop thinking about, he is stunned. Student-teacher relationships are strictly forbidden … yet no matter how hard he tries, Ben can't stay away from Honey.

And when his attempt to fight their attraction nearly ruins the best thing that ever happened to him, Ben will do anything to prove how much he needs her.


What I Liked:

Tessa Bailey writes some of my favorite Brazen novels, like Officer Off Limits, Asking for Trouble, and more. If you're not familiar with Brazen, an adult imprint of Entangled Publishing, get familiar! So many steamy romances, and so many great authors! Tessa Bailey is one of many authors that I've discovered through Brazen. Nevertheless, I heard about this Broke and Beautiful series, and decided to give the books a shot. Tessa's books have been great, but this one disappointed me.

Honey Perribow has had a more-than-crush on her young English professor since the beginning of the semester, and she is going to seduce him. Ben happens to be the friend of one of Honey's roommates' boyfriends, so one steamy encounter in a dark closet has Honey and Ben left with some delicious memories. Too bad Ben had no idea who Honey was at the time, and immediately shuts it down when he finds out. Yet Ben can't stop thinking about the student whose work blows him away, whose body calls to his. Student-teacher relationships can't happen, and try as he might, Ben finds it impossible to let her go. 

Obviously (and unfortunately) I didn't like this book, but there were things that I really enjoyed. For one, the chemistry between Ben and Honey is almost tangible. Sparks fly between them even before the closet encounter. And all the steamy scenes are, well, steamy. Classic Tessa Bailey, leaving readers breathless. Ben might be a tweed-jacket-wearing professor, but he's also a hot, dirty-talking twenty-five-year-old who can please a girl.

Also, I really liked Ben. He tried to do the right thing and stay away from Honey, for as long as possible. He's intelligent, thoughtful, caring, and he likes Honey for her brain, not just her body. Ben is a friend of Louis, who is Roxy's boyfriend (Roxy is a roommate of Honey's). He might be a professor, but he is a young man and a good friend. He has his own issues, and I like how he attempts to problem-solve anything and everything. I wouldn't mind a Ben of my own!

And of course, the ending is wonderful, which is basically a requirement of mine. I love a good HEA!

What I Did Not Like:

Moving on to the bad parts, which dominated the book, for me. I didn't like Honey. This is one of the biggest issues I have, when I dislike a romance novel. Usually, I don't like the female protagonist. In Honey's case... she's a freshman at Columbia, and she has the hots for her professor. She goes after him in revealing dresses, thongs, what-have-you, without thinking about him getting removed from his position as a professor. She does not think AT ALL. 

And then she wants to be hurt when he rejects her. Girl. Please. The man's life could be ruined because you want him to kiss you, f*** you, etc., and you're butthurt because he won't touch you. Priorities much? Honestly, Honey doesn't have any common sense, and I'm convinced whatever "brain" she has is run on one brain cell. Because clearly, thinking to seduce her professor is the SMARTEST ideas. And then being hurt over it later? Can you blame him? You brought this on yourself, child.

To think she's only a year younger than me and doing that s***.

Insta-love runs rampant in this one. Insta-lust, I can handle. But Honey is basically in love with Ben from the beginning - which is "fine". But then Ben is suddenly in love with her after getting to second base with her in the closet? Hmmm. I don't enjoy insta-love. Insta-lust was fine.

The push and pull of the romance of this story was agonizing, irritating, maddening. I didn't find it cute. I didn't find it fun. The "chase" was not entertaining to me at all. Ben pulls away once he learns she's his student. Honey comes right back after him, they collide, he pulls away again, she's angry, he follows her, they collide, he pulls away... seriously, this dynamic was not pretty, and not cute. I was not amused. The flow of the romance was choppy and very juvenile. 

Honey is a child and I did not like her. She's immature, impulsive, quick to emotional swings. When her brother gets hurt from riding a tractor at home, she IMMEDIATELY goes back, not for concern over her brother, but to run the tractor at the farm. That girl did not need to do that. It just showed me that she is scared of leaving home, even after being away for three months. She jumps on a plan and runs home even though I don't even think the brother's legs were broken, barely bruised perhaps. Not a mature decision. A homesick, slightly selfish one.

I could probably go on and on about how much I didn't like Honey, her impact on the romance, her dumb decisions. The climax/Big Issue of this book is THE WORST. Ben is one who has to apologize and do The Grand Gesture to Get Back The Girl. I'm putting those in caps because these are general and VERY cliche plot arcs in romance novels. Why in the world is Honey not the one to go to Ben and apologize? Buy him off, his forgiveness? She needed to apologize more than he did, and yet, he's the one begging. I HATE THIS. Feminists are probably all "you go girl, make him work for it" or whatever, but the sentiment "she's always right" is not in fact true. In this case, Ben was good to apologize and try and fix things, but Honey was the one that needed to do the same. Huge pet peeve of mine!

I leave you all with that, before I say anything TOO specific. Trust me, I've been very general so far.

Would I Recommend It:

I wouldn't recommend this book at all. I haven't read the first book in the series, Chase Me, but the series is one of companion novels, so I don't need to. But I imagine people who read book one will want to read this one. I've seen many people say that Need Me was their least favorite. So... even if you're a Tessa Bailey fan, or you liked Chase Me, I personally recommend against reading this one.

Rating:

1.5 stars -> rounded up to 2 stars. This is part generosity, but also partly because I LOVE the chemistry of this book. The steamy scenes are off the charts! But the story and characters (well, Honey) were not so good.



Was this review helpful? Please let me know in the comments section!


Make Me by Tessa Bailey
Book Three of the Broke and Beautiful series
Publisher: Avon Impulse
Publication Date: August 11, 2015
Rating: 4 stars
Source: eARC from Edelweiss

***Warning: this is an adult book, and for the eyes of mature readers***

Summary (from Goodreads):

Construction worker Russell Hart has been head-over-work boots for Abby Sullivan since the moment he laid eyes on her. But he knows a classy, uptown virgin like her could never be truly happy with a rough, blue-collar guy like him. If only she'd stop treating him like her personal hero—a role he craves more than oxygen—maybe he could accept it.

With the future of her family's hedge fund on her shoulders, Abby barely has time to sleep, let alone find love. And her best friend Russell acting like a sexy, overprotective hulk any time their Super Group goes out in public definitely isn't helping her single status. But after a near-tragedy lands Russell in her bed for the night, Abby's suddenly fantasizing about what he looks like shirtless. Chest hair and tattoos—who knew?

As Russell struggles to keep Abby at a safe distance, she begins to see through his tough-talking exterior—and acknowledge her own feelings. Now she's ready to turn the friend-zone into foreplay…and make him lose control.


What I Liked:

Much, much better. This one was so much better than Need Me. I haven't read Chase Me, so I can't speak for that novel. I am a huge fan of Tessa Bailey's Brazen novels, so I had hoped that I would love this Avon-published series as well. While I really disliked Need Me, I really liked Make Me!

Russell has been in love with Abby since he met her. He's a friend of Louis and Ben's, and she's a roommate of Roxy and Honey's. Sadly, Abby is totally oblivious to Russell's feelings for her, and treats him as her best friend. He IS her best friend, and vice versa. She thinks his gruffness is cute, and loves that he is always irritated with her, bothering her about her safety and comfort. Abby is currently keep her family's hedge fun afloat, unknown to her roommates and friends. She loves that Russell worries about her... until one day, he's taking care of her and she sort of wakes up, and notices Russell as a guy. Friendship turns into something more, but will what's standing between them keep them apart?

Ahh, Russell. I really like Russell. He is a humble guy, working as a construction worker with his brother. They have their own company, but Russell knows one thing: his humbles means will never compare to Abby's lush lifestyle. Her family could buy his company one hundred times over (that might be a slight exaggeration - or maybe not), and he knows it. Russel has seen how his mother and father grew apart, because she came from money, and no matter how hard he worked, it wasn't good enough. So Russell knows he isn't good enough for Abby, but he cares about her regardless. He's a good guy, caring and sweet. I hate seeing him beat himself up over thinking he isn't good enough for her - because he totally is!

Not to mention that he is one swoony guy. He's sweet and caring, like I said before. He's also super hawt in the bedroom. When he and Abby finally collide, it's like fireworks. Their chemistry is explosive. It's amazing how they were only friends before. Abby unknowingly tortured Russell for months, and all that sexual frustration finally spilled over one day.

I actually liked Abby, especially in the first half of the book. She is kind and a bit naive, a hard worker, taking on way too much responsible. She's a twenty-four-year-old virgin, but she's not actively trying to change that, which I really respect. Abby is smart, yet blind to Russell's affections. Until something happens between them, and suddenly she isn't!

Like I said before, the chemistry is explosive! I loved the steamy scenes between these two. Russell has misgivings several times because he feels guilty for wanting her so much even though he's not good enough (or so he keeps telling himself, the big dummy), but it's not like the push and pull of Need Me. Not nearly as bad. The conflicts and Big Issue at the climax are not as one-sided. They both mess up, and this time, Abby is the one to try and fix things (rightfully so, in this case). Everything isn't rainbows and sunshine between them, but it makes their relationship all the more passionate and steamy! Also, keep in mind that they were friends for months. Lots of character and relationship development has already occurred! I like best-friend-to-lovers romances.

Overall, I so enjoyed this book! I was hesitant about reading it, after the disaster that was Need Me, but I'm glad I kept going with the series. I'm actually sad that it's over! Though I still have to Chase Me in the series, that I have not read. Should I read it? Someone advise!

What I Did Not Like:

Sometimes the drama in this book was a little bit too much... as was the miscommunication. The drama wasn't terrible, but I also had to roll my eyes at times. Abby is a bit stuck-up at times, instead of simply approaching Russell. But then, Russell is a bit proud at times, not wanting to hurt her, when he would be indirectly hurting her. LE SIGH. These two.

Would I Recommend It:

I really liked this one, and I would recommend it to contemporary romance fans! This book felt more like a Tessa Bailey novel that I'm familiar with reading. Maybe because the heroine wasn't as young and stupid (sorry, Honey). Or maybe because the male protagonist was more of an alpha (yaaaassss, Russell). Either way, it was more enjoyable than Need Me!

Rating:

4.5 stars -> rounded down to 4 stars. If you read one book in this companion-novel trilogy, read this one! It was more bearable, more realistic, and more developed! When I see Tessa at the Baltimore Book Festival, I will definitely try to get a signed copy! This is one romance novel that I wouldn't mind having on my shelf to reread.


Was this review helpful? Please let me know in the comments section!


***Note: I received both of these books from Edelweiss for free, via the Avon Addicts program. This did not in any way affect my opinion of the books or my review.***

14 comments:

  1. I just finished Make Me and really enjoyed it! I agree about the miscommunication definitely getting to be a bit much, though.

    I've read Chase Me and definitely would recommend giving it a read :) I think Make Me was the best in the series, but Chase Me was still enjoyable and definitely funny at times.

    Lovely reviews, Alyssa! :)

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    1. YAY! It was great, wasn't it? I'm glad you liked Chase Me as well - I'm leaning towards buying and reading it.

      Thank you, Montana! <3

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  2. I really liked Chase Me....such a entertaining read. I haven't read books 2 and 3 yet. I will read Need me though since I have it on my nook, but Make Me does sound pretty snazzy. Looking forward to it now.

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    1. *pushes Make Me* That one was super good!

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  3. Whew that's some heroine hate happening. I loved Honey. I'm sorry to hear you had such a bad reaction to her :( Can't win em all, right? But yay for Make Me working for ya!

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    1. I wish I had liked it (and Honey) more! But yeah, Make Me was really great, more on my wavelength! :D

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  4. Your reviews are always gorgeous. <3 Not books for me, hih :) But glad you liked the second one :D Though the first one sounds awful, ugh. Thank you for sharing about them :)

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    1. Thank you so much, Carina! I loved Make Me. But Need Me needed some work! lol

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  5. Just from the descriptions, I was leery of Need Me, so I think I'll pass and just read the second one. Good reviews!

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    1. Yes! Definitely skip it, consider Make Me instead!

      Thank you! <3

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  6. I actually have a copy of CHASE ME sitting around at home and am excited to try the first in the series. I loved MAKE ME but was often frustrated by Russell's need to push Abby away. That always annoys me in romances, though. Great review! I love how you break them up by what you loved and what annoyed you.

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    1. I know exactly what you mean! That miscommunication and drama is so unnecessary. But I could look past it if there is a good reason - but still...

      Anyway, thank you so much! I appreciate the kind words. <3

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  7. Clearly, if I were to add one of these two it'll be Make Me for sure!
    Great reviews as always Alyssa!

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    1. Yup, if you ever decide you want to read one of these books, Make Me is the one! Though Tessa Bailey has GREAT Brazen novels that I could recommend... ;)

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