Monday, August 5, 2013

Review: LICK by Kylie Scott

lick cover

Evelyn is celebrating her 21st birthday in Las Vegas, hoping to have some fun for once and maybe get a little action. Then she hits the tequila and the next thing she knows, she's waking up on a bathroom floor with a ring on her finger and a shirtless guy with tats looming above her. Yup, Ev just got drunk-married in Vegas because her life is a total cliché. Somehow she's managed to land the lead guitarist of a rock band called Stage Dive, of which she is of course completely ignorant even though they're the most famous rock band in the world. Evelyn tries to go back to her normal life and divorce David, but circumstances conspire to bring them together. Will these two crazy kids find a way to work things out?

Hey! It's time to play Tasha's least-favorite book game: Where the Hell was the Editor? Supposedly Lick was published by an actual publisher, but you'd never know that from the book itself, which contains more silly typos than I've seen in many self-published books. Whoever edited this book—if anyone did, and I wouldn't be surprised if the answer was no one—apparently didn't have an English degree, or they'd have noticed the author erroneously believes "alright" is a word. Alright is not a word, it is a misspelling of the phrase "all right" by people who believe words and phrases such as "all ready" and "already," and "all together" and "altogether" are interchangeable. They're not, they have separate meanings; whereas "alright" doesn't mean anything because, to repeat, IT IS NOT A WORD. I'm willing to let the use of "alright" go with my friends' Facebook postings and the like, but if you're writing professionally, you damn well better know what is and isn't a word.

Aside from "alright," Kylie Scott uses words and phrases in ways that are really awkward and kind of make me wonder if English is her first language or not. I don't usually include quotes in my reviews, but I just have to share some of the weirder moments:

I flailed. It seemed the only proper response. 
Like, literally flailed? Like a muppet flail?

muppet flail

(Evelyn flails several times during the course of the novel, actually. I have no idea what this is supposed to mean, since in context it makes no sense either literally or metaphorically.)

Saying no under these conditions was a big ask. 
A big task? A lot to ask?

"You're frowning." David walked up behind me slowly. 
How does he know she's frowning if he's behind her? (The locations/times in this book are really inconsistent and show no attempt at continuity.)

"Right." He pinched his lips between his thumb and forefinger. "Well, I think not fucking around on each other would be a good start." 
Wait, what? Why is he making a duck face?

Martha gave him a hazardous smile. There was no other word for it. 
You should probably try to find another word, though, because "hazardous smile" isn't really, you know, a thing. Dangerous smile, perhaps? Seems like someone was using the thesaurus.

And on and on. All that wouldn't even bother me too much, though, if the subtext of Lick didn't reinforce gender stereotypes and feminine subjugation to male authority in the most insulting way possible. The way David treated Ev seemed designed to press every single this-guy-is-a-controlling-shithead button I have. During the course of the novel, he:

  • Picks out Evelyn's clothes for her.
  • Implies her own choice of clothing is inappropriate.
  • Tells her what/when/how to eat; comments on her weight.
  • Treats Ev, on multiple occasions, like "a doll" and "a child."
  • Undresses her when she's unconscious, then expects kudos for not banging her passed-out self (why is this a thing?? My mom had a bunch of Glenna Finley books where this always happened, too).
  • Wakes her up at five in the morning because he's bored. Poor baby!
  • Makes her lie in bed while he's sleeping even though it's the middle of the afternoon and she's not tired, because apparently she's his personal cuddle bunny.
  • Has the emotional maturity of an 8-year-old and throws temper tantrums when he doesn't get his way (such an attractive quality in a man).
  • Won't let her talk to other guys and immediately accuses her of cheating on him when she does.
  • Follows up an incident where Evelyn is sexually harassed in a bar by accusing her of wanting it, then giving her a taste of "rough sex" (not rapey, not rapey AT ALL).
  • Undermines her plans to become an architect.

The last point was particularly upsetting, because Evelyn seems to believe this is a good thing. When the book first starts, she's going to college and plans to become an architect like her dad. Everything's hunky dory until David starts in with the, "Are you SURE you want to be an architect? You don't really sound too excited about it. Are you ABSOLUTELY CERTAIN you want to do that with your life?" Well of course she isn't, she's 21 years old and has no hobbies or interests outside of school and being David's personal dick warmer! After David plants the seeds of doubt in Evelyn's mind that maybe she doesn't *really* want to be an architect, she decides she's going to drop out of college altogether (or all together? ha!) and be a barista, because that's the only thing she's good at. It might be interesting to note that David himself never graduated from high school. Coincidence? No wonder her parents hate this guy. I'm sure she'll be very happy cooking and cleaning for him and trailing after him on tours. Way to write a woman's story, there.

Lick is probably the worst book I've read since Fifty Shades of Grey. The writing style is sloppy bordering on nonsensical and the message is awful. The sex scenes are hot, I will say that much; but they're used gratuitously when actual conversation would have done a lot more to advance character development and plot, and Evelyn's never an equal participant in them. David might as well have been jerking off.

So, yeah, I was pretty annoyed by the time I finished this novel. I think I'm pretty much an outlier in that opinion, though.

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