Monday, August 14, 2017

Review: Disorderly Conduct by Tessa Bailey

Disorderly Conduct by Tessa Bailey
Book One of The Academy series
Publisher: Avon
Publication Date: August 29, 2017
Rating: 3 stars
Source: eARC from Edelweiss

Summary (from Goodreads):

You don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone…

Police academy cadet Charlie Burns can’t believe his luck when the gorgeous blonde he meets in a bar murmurs those magic words: “Nothing serious, ’kay?” Mind-blowing, no-strings sex with Ever Carmichael—it’s the holy grail of hookups for a guy who’s too busy following in his law enforcement family’s footsteps to think about getting serious. Charlie’s all about casual…that is, until Ever calls it quits and his world tilts on its axis.

Ever knows that when you control the relationship game, you can’t get played. But for the first time, she wants more than short-term satisfaction. Step one: end her fling with commitment-phobic Charlie. Step two: sacrifice herself to the ruthless NYC dating scene. Yet everywhere she turns, there’s Charlie, being his ridiculously charming self. No online match or blind date compares to the criminally hot cop-in-training, but they’re over. Aren’t they?

If love is a four-letter-word, why does the idea of Ever seeing someone else tie Charlie up in knots?  Now he’s desperate to win her back…and a little date sabotage never hurt anyone, right?

What I Liked:

I love Tessa Bailey and her books - very few have been misses, and I've read nearly all of her books. I've been very excited about this new series, not only because the publisher is one of my favorite adult romance publishers, but because it sounds like a great series. I love men in uniform, and as romance heroes, they are totally my type. Most are alpha types who love to give orders. Charlie Burns is no exception, and I loved that part of his personality. This type of romance isn't my usual, but I didn't dislike it (like I thought I would). I had some issues with Charlie's behavior to get Ever to be with him, and I'll talk about those issues and how they caused the drop in rating. But overall, I liked this book a lot more than I thought I would, which is a win!

Charlie Burns and Ever Carmichael met in a bar one evening, and it was lust at first sight. Ever is only looking to hook up temporarily (for one month maximum), and only with "unavailable" guys. Guys like Charlie, who are single but completely married to their job. Charlie Burns doesn't do relationships, not while he is in the police academy, training to become lieutenant and sergeant and follow in his brother's, father's, grandfather's, and great-grandfather's footsteps. So when he and Ever meet, it is perfect. They see each other every day, sometimes more than once, to have sweaty, hot, fantastic sex. But one month ends, and so does their fling, when Ever tells Charlie that she can't do it anymore. Ever wants to date for real, and she doesn't think Charlie wants real. But when they part, Charlie begins to realize that he wants Ever, all of Ever, and he wants real with her. What follows is the story of a man who is desperate to make a woman realize that he is good for her, and she is good for him.

Like I said, this isn't my usual kind of romance. I don't mind the whole lovers-to-more kind of thing, in which they go from casual hook-up to relationship status. But this romance isn't like that - it goes from lovers to nothing to friends to lovers to relationship status. Which, realistically, is not my thing. I always hate the types of romance that involve "getting someone back" for the majority of the book. At the climax/towards the end of the book? I don't mind. But for the entire book (like second-chance romances)? No thanks. This romance wasn't a second-chance romance, but it wasn't a lovers-to-more type of romance. Still, I was surprised when I found that I actually really liked this kind of nonlinear romance. I liked seeing Charlie get a kick in the pants when Ever gives him the book (see what I did there?). I liked seeing Ever feel so guilty and upset about giving him the boot, because she loved him but didn't think he wanted "more" from her. I liked that both of them suffered during their "break-up", and not just Charlie. Although, it was Charlie who was trying to win over Ever, and not the other way around.

The other thing about the romance that I thought would have pissed me off was the fact that Ever was trying to go on dates and put herself out there, even when she knew she was in love with Charlie. This would usually make me irritated and hate the book. BUT. I actually didn't mind this plot very much, mostly because Ever never goes on real dates (they are all interrupted or terrible), and she never even tries to form a connection with her "dates", because she is always thinking of Charlie. Seriously, none of them even kissed her or touched her. So it wasn't so bad for me! Things definitely could have been worse.

I wasn't sure if I liked Ever, at first. Her whole "mistress rules" thing is the stupidest garbage I've seen in a long time. Basically, she hooks up with a guy for a month, and then moves on to the next. Always the "mistress", being with an unavailable/forbidden guy. In her case, guys who are more preoccupied with the job. In her mother's case, married men. Ever has lived by the mistress rules her entire life, because her mom drilled it into her head that men are unreliable and should never be trusted. (Yeah. Okay.)

But as the story went on, I definitely understood Ever better, and I liked her. I still hated the mistress rules thing, but I felt like I knew where Ever was coming from. She is lonely and miserable without Charlie, and she doesn't enjoy any of her dates. She wants more, but doesn't know how to form those emotional connections. And as Charlie makes more of an effort to be her friend and get to know her, she realizes that she has loved him all along, and she wants him. Ever's character development was very well-written; she goes from someone who likes what she has but wants to change, to someone that changes and knows what she wants better than she has for her entire life.

Charlie, oh Charlie. I loved him overall, though there were times when I couldn't believe what he was doing. He is confident, a little arrogant, oh-so charming, noble, and selfless when it comes to Ever. He is also selfish when it comes to her. He has a good heart and a lot of patience. I have to hand it to him, he never stops trying to win Ever's affections, even when she shoots him down time after time.

Both characters think the other isn't looking for anything serious (which was their plan, upfront), so when both of them start to have thoughts to want something more permanent, they are sure that the other wouldn't want that. Which is sometimes frustrating, but very understandable. It was nice to see Ever and Charlie make the effort to try to be friends, even when they crossed the friends line several times. It made it obvious that they never tried to get to know each other during their month-long hookup, which they both ended up regretting.

So I ended up liking the romance a lot. I was cheering for Charlie but I was also pulling for Ever, for her to wake up and realize that she didn't need the mistress rules, and that she was pushing away Charlie for all of the wrong reasons. 

Worth mentioning is how hot this book is. Tessa Bailey's books usually are, but phew! Alpha male + girl who likes it a little rough = super sexy romance. Especially since this book starts with Ever and Charlie meeting and doing their sex-only hookups. 

Props to Bailey for including so many great friendships in this book. Ever and her best friend Nina are such great friends, so supportive of each other. Charlie has two great friends who are also his roommates - Jack and Danika. Jack and Danika are like brother and sister, and all three of them are good buddies at the academy. It's good to see so many friendships, on both sides (Charlie and Ever).

This book ends in a lovely HEA, which made me so happy. Things work out for both Charlie and Ever, and not just in terms of them. I like how both Charlie and Ever think more on what they want in life, and not just romantically. The ending is so sweet and hopeful. I loved it!

What I Did Not Like:

What made me drop my rating from four (or five) stars to three stars was some of Charlie's behaviors and actions, when he was trying to win her over. She had dates lined up, and he would literally sabotage her dates. He pulled the fir alarm in a fancy restaurant where Ever and her date were having dinner. He paid his fellow academy friends to crash the speed-dating event that Ever was attending, so that she would get frustrated with their weirdness and leave. Charlie did a lot of things that seemed sketchy and borderline stalker-y. Yes, we as readers are rooting for him and hoping things work in his favor. On the one hand, all of his crazies might seem sweet (he's trying to win over his lady!). But on the other hand, it's a little creepy and overbearing. Ever had every right to go on dates, regardless of how she felt about Charlie, and regardless of how Charlie felt about her. While I do think that Charlie and Ever are a wonderful pair, I don't condone some of his behaviors. 

Would I Recommend It:

I do recommend this book because it is a great romance, but I also hesitate to recommend it because of Charlie's stalker-y actions to interrupt Ever's dates. I think readers could definitely look past his actions since (1) this is fiction and (2) we know what Charlie is thinking (i.e. he isn't a criminal or a perv or a "bad guy"). Charlie is the type of guy that you instinctively root for, and I definitely was. I liked him a lot, but would have loved him (and the book) more if he hadn't been so active in trying to ruin Ever's dates. I mean, come on. That's weird. And not really okay.

Also, even though Ever and Charlie are 23 years old, this is definitely an adult novel. I mean, I suppose that age would be adult no matter what. But just to be clear, this isn't a New Adult novel. Not to say that New Adult readers wouldn't enjoy this book! But it's 100% adult, rated R, etc.


3 stars. Without the weird stalker-y stuff, this probably would have been a five-star novel for me. I liked it a lot more than I thought I would. But I have hopes for the rest of the series! I have Indecent Exposure (Jack's book) queued up and I can't wait to start it. Greer's will be fun too, I'm sure!

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  1. I haven't seen any overwhelmingly positive reviews for this one yet. I normally really love Tessa Bailey's romances so I'm really surprised. I'm not sure if I could get into this one because of the stalkery aspects, but it does sound like a fun concept. I like that it's the guy chasing the girl. I'll probably still give it a chance because I'm curious. lol! Great review, Alyssa!

  2. If a guy doing stalker-y stuff, it sure sounds like weird to me, but when it's the girl who do it, haha, I find it quite fun to read *wink.

    Haven't tried anything from this author before but she sure sounds good. Great review Alyssa :)

  3. I'm not sure how I feel about the stalkery tendency of a main character but boy does this sound like a roller coaster of a read, I'll have to add this to my tbr.

  4. I enjoyed this one but have to agree with you on some of your points *nods*

  5. Ohh, I haven't read any books in this series and it concept sounds great! However, I don't think I'll be picking this one up. From the sounds of it, I would just end up frustrated and upset with the Hero. I'm glad you liked it for the most part!

    Great review, Alyssa!

    Ashtyn @ Wonderland’s Reader!

  6. The concept sounds good but from what you say I think Charlie would drive me nuts. I have a ton of Tessa books I still need to read so should probably get to those first haha. Great review!

  7. I actually haven't read this author before but I know a lot of people love her work. This sounds like it had a few issues so this may not be the best place to start with her work.

  8. I'm glad you liked this book despite the problems Alyssa! Honestlyyy, idk if I'd be okay with Charlie's actions, as romantic as they are. I feel like there's a way to write groveling and chasing without being TOO much? And I used to be okay with these but now as I'm older (and actually reflecting on my friends' toxic relationships), I feel like they're maybe a tad too much out of touch with reality and not quite a good example (especially for a hot romance). Either way, the few books I've read from Tessa have been a hit and I'll be on the lookout for your next 4 or 5 from her!

    - Aila @ One Way Or An Author

  9. I've liked a lot of Tessa Bailey's books in the past, but this one wasn't a good fit for me at all. I thought Charlie's behaviour was totally unacceptable, creepy, and selfish. If someone did those things in real life (especially the online stalking and date ruining) there's absolutely no way I'd support a friend dating them. It's too bad, because I think Charlie's brother's story will be awesome.

  10. Not sure if I would like the stalker like aspect and the whole going from lovers to friends to serious relationship would make me feel like a ping pong ball hehe And I would like to say I like this author, but I actually normally have a hard time getting into her books. I just don't think she is the right author for me. But glad you liked this book.

  11. Lovely review Alyssa :D Yay for reading more books by this author. <3 And aw, enjoying a book more than you had hoped is always good :) And yay for hot scenes :D But ugh, some of the romance things sounds a bit weird, like with him ruining her dates :\ First he sounds awful for doing that, lol. And it doesn't sound like a book for me at all, considering that she's going on different dates :\ Aw. But glad the book wasn't all awful :D Yay.


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