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I read. Mostly Romance. I like to talk about books. The end.

Mystery Man (Dream Man, #1)

Mystery Man (Dream Man, #1) - Kristen Ashley My thoughts were all over the place with this book (this is the first romance I've read that I felt compelled to highlight and take notes). In many ways I enjoyed it much more than the 2 star rating implies, but the story had too many problems that I couldn't ignore, and eventually they drowned out what I did like. This is my first Kristen Ashley book, and I fell in love with her voice immediately. I found myself charmed--or, at least, not annoyed--by things that would normally bug the hell out of me. There's Cabe "Hawk" Delgado, typical romance super-alpha hero with a tortured past, ex-Army, has some business involving a group of commandos (I'm still not exactly sure what it is he does). He's bossy as hell, doesn't share much about himself but has had Gwen followed and investigated in the year and a half they've been fuck buddies, which is creepy as hell but for the most part I was able to just roll with it and go with the fantasy. The one thing that I genuinely liked about him is how he obviously cared about Gwen. Not just lusted, though there's plenty of that, but he so obviously wanted her in his life. That's pretty rare in romance with this type of hero. And considering this story is told from Gwen's first person pov, it's pretty impressive. Then there's Gwen. In Hawk's word:"I found out you showed too much skin when you went out. I found out you talk to strangers like they're your best friends. I found out you don't live in the real world, you live in a dream world where you don't pay a fuckuva lot of attention to what's happening around you and you make questionable life decisions..."Gwen's a ditz, in the best way. She does some stupid shit but not in a tstl way. There's a tiny bit of Manic Pixie Dream Girl in her--she can be quirky, says some off-the-wall things, and pretty much every man she meets falls for her. Normally this would annoy me, but I like her a lot. I have absolutely nothing in common with her, I can't relate to her at all, but I want to hang out with her. And that's all Ashley's writing. Seriously charming. Another thing that I love about Gwen is that she immediately recognizes when Hawk is being an asshole and calls him on it. That's my top requirement for a romance heroine. The plot mostly involves her bad-seed sister, Ginger, screwing over some really bad people, and Tack, the leader of a motorcycle gang, and Gwen gets dragged into it. It was okay, but it involved way too many people. I was having fun with the over-the-topness of the characters and plot, brushing of some WTF behavior because, hey, fantasy right? And then about half-way through it just got old. I got sick of the whole, "Let's not tell the womenfolk everything because we don't want to upset them," shit. Seriously, Hawk tells Gwen's father things that he keeps from Gwen, and leaves him to decide if he wants to tell his wife about Ginger. As much as I loved Gwen calling Hawk out, I got sick of him never, not once, taking her seriously. I got really sick of Gwen letting herself be dragged around by whichever man happens to reach her first. Like I said, she's not stupid, but she can be quite passive when a man shows up to tell her what to do. Sure, this happens in some really dangerous situations, but it got ridiculous after a while. Oh, and the whispering. There's a lot of whispering, mostly by Gwen but most characters do it at least once. And it's not the type of whispering where they're trying to be as quiet as possible, it just happens for no real reason. I think it was supposed to be indicative of strong emotion, but after 250 instances of whispering (yes, I went back to count), it lost whatever symbolic power it was supposed to have. Even after I started having trouble suspending disbelief, there was still so many great moments that I was all set to give this 3 stars. But then I got pissed off. Hawk insists that Gwen is keeping herself distant from him, that she has to give him her all. Excuse me? Look up cryptic in the dictionary and you'll see this man's picture, but he tells her that she has to open up more? And when she rightfully points out that she's been through some hard things (shitty ex-husband) and that she's afraid that if she gives her all he might decide he doesn't want her anymore, he tells her, that yeah, that's a possibility but she needs to let down her walls anyway. And she does! (And I thought she wasn't stupid.) And of course, it happens--he dumps her because he can't handle it because of the things that happened to him. Long story short...it's all her fault. She's the "selfish cow" and she's the one who has to grovel. That's it. The story was completely over for me at that point. I read until the end, right through another dangerous situation to the HEA, and then through the epilogue where ANOTHER life-and-death situation happens. I ended this book pretty much hating everyone. It needed to be at about 1/3 shorter.