Hey all, I’m back to doing book reviews! Why you ask? Because I need to read and blog more, so why not do book reviews again? Today I’m reviewing Chasing Eva by Camellia Hart, and this is her first novel. This is a very long review, so prepare yourselves. Before I get into it, let’s get some disclaimers out of the way…
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Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book for review through NetGalley.
Warning: If Fifty Shades of Grey or Twilight triggered you, maybe skip this review.
Chasing Eva by Camellia Hart
From the blurb, Chasing Eva seemed like an interesting take on the Second Chance and Billionaire Playboy romantic/erotic tropes. However, once I started reading it, I was sorely disappointed. Since it was the author’s first book, I was prepared to give it the benefit of the doubt, but there were too many problems to ignore.
The book starts off with Eva, the heroine who inherited her father’s company, as she’s with her friends. The introduction had too much tell and not enough show, and too much personal information was given away in the first couple of pages. I also managed to forget who the main character was during Eva’s conversation with her friends, which is not good considering her name is on the title of the book.
Then she meets Clive, who gets jealous and possessive the first time they meet in the book. Why does he get jealous? Because he can’t tell if there’s a ring on her finger when he first sees her. She seems familiar to him, so naturally he hires his bodyguard to dig up information on her. It was after this point where I realized I was reading a different take on Fifty Shades of Grey, and this was further confirmed the more I read the book. It also turns out that Clive and Eva met some years ago when they were teens, and at first Eva didn’t remember but then wondered how she could ever forget those magical moments that were never explained in detail other than Clive telling her “Ryan took you away from me”.
Anyway, Eva has recently lost four clients from her company, and was about to lose Clive as a fifth. Clive convinces her to go out with him and proceeds to stalk her for the rest of the book. He also demands a prize from Eva for helping her. There’s also a federal investigation going on that’s handled so poorly that one wonders how it’s possible to write such a flawed investigation with the myriad of popular law and crime shows that most people grew up watching. There’s an informant in Eva’s company giving out information to their clients who then terminated their contracts with Eva’s company. Clive is former FBI, so he’s helping with the case and keeping it a secret from Eva.
There’s a whole bunch of manufactured drama (vengeful ex, keeping secrets, etc.) that was pretty predictable to anyone who’s ever read a romance book, and it failed to make me actually feel like their relationship would end. Romance and erotica have tropes and beats that are easy to predict, but if your writing is good enough to make me feel that they might actually break up for good, I’ll let it slide. This did not happen here, especially with the rushed and unearned Happy For Now ending.
Now onto a summary of the main problems:
The chemistry between the two characters feels forced and comes out of nowhere. They even allow their emotions and hormones to make business decisions. This book reeks of Fifty Shades of Grey, especially with Clive stalking Eva. He carries her into a helicopter after she tells him no, he knows where she lives, he shows up on her vacation with her friends, and he demands a kiss from her when he helps her with her business. If this was dark romance or dark erotica, it wouldn’t have bothered me, but I’ve read dubious consent erotica that was less creepy and had more consent than this book. The sex scenes were boring and technical with unearned intense emotions that weren’t built up well.
The FBI investigation is written poorly. Suspension of disbelief only goes so far, and it doesn’t work when an FBI agent is discussing an active investigation about corporate espionage at a football game. Also, the investigation ends on a CLIFFHANGER. There’s no warning in the blurb about this, and this alone brought the review down to a one star for me. The investigation was predictable, and I knew who the main suspect would be. But when an already boring investigation subplot ended on a cliffhanger, I was rightly pissed. Getting through the book was hard enough, but ending on a cliffhanger and putting the information for the sequel right after is insulting.
The writing style left much to be desired. It felt like a first draft that was only edited for spelling and grammar not content. There was too much telling in the book instead of showing. The book glossed over things that should have been shown, and showed things that should have been glossed over. For example, on the helicopter ride, most of their conversation is summarized. When two strangers in a romance novel are left alone for a while, there needs to be actual dialogue to show how they relate to each other. Their burgeoning relationship should not be a summary paragraph if they’re practically strangers. Also, a lot of backstory was revealed too soon and would have been better if gradually told over the course of the book. Then there were the phrases “He smelled of something fresh and divinely male” and “Her legs looked soft and feminine in those heels”. These sentences describe nothing. More description was needed since it all came across as cookie-cutter and generic with “chiseled jaws” and “muscles”. A good line editor could have improved the quality of this book.
And last but not least, the unbelievable anti-Mary Sue main character, Eva. She is flawed and makes mistakes, but everything turns out alright because she’s the main character. Um…no. Her father leaves her in charge of his company because he believes she can run it. Eva has no desire to run his company and doesn’t know how to run it. She was a successful chef and happy in her career. He father knew all of this and still left her his luxury design company and had her uncle teach her. I can’t think of a business man that would be this incompetent with his business dealings, but it gets worse. After her father passes away, the company stock goes down and Eva is advised by the board members to lay low until everything stabilizes. But she thinks she knows better than the board members of the company she just inherited and does the opposite and gets the company to stabilize on her own. Yeah, no. Advice is a precious thing in business, and I highly doubt a business person out of her element would scorn the advice of board members who know the company better than she does. For heaven’s sake, she doesn’t even learn the term “corporate fraud” until she’s about to lose her fifth customer! This is simply too much suspension of disbelief to ask from readers.
However, this book hits all the right tropes in the romance genre, even if it was executed poorly. If you liked Fifty Shades of Grey and Twilight, you’ll like this book. If you don’t care too much about consistency or an abundance of clichés, you might find this book enjoyable. This review is my opinion only, and it might vary greatly from others. I personally would not recommend it to anyone. It gets one star.
Link to Kindle Book: http://amzn.to/2FBcCrq
Link to Paperback Book: http://amzn.to/2CZ0XAX
Camellia Hart’s Website: http://www.camelliahart.com/
Camellia Hart’s Contact Page: http://www.camelliahart.com/contact.html
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Much love, Dana Kenzi 🙂