Thursday, 26 January 2017

#CBR9 Book 6: "Deep" by Kylie Scott

Page count: 273 pages
Rating: 3 stars

Psychology student Elizabeth "Liz" Rollins is the younger sister of Anne, heroine of Play, who ended up with the drummer of Portland-based mega rock band Stage Dive after a whirlwind romance. Liz was a supporting character in that book, as well as in the sequel, Lead, and she's been nursing a crush on the band's massive, strong and silent lumbersexual bassist, Ben. Due to a nine year age difference and the fact that Ben is quite obviously not the settling down type (or even the multiple dates kind a guy), both Anne and her boyfriend Mal warn Liz to stay away from Ben, but they keep texting in secret, and this does nothing to diminish Liz' infatuation, until she figures out that Ben really isn't going to piss off his friends, and she cuts off all contact.

They see each other for the first time in a while at Anne and Mal's wedding in Vegas and alcohol and the prolonged absence leads to a one night stand (Liz kicks Ben out of her room - sans pants - once he lies on the phone to Mal about who he's with and what he's doing). Cue a couple of months later, when Liz has discovered that she's pregnant. She's forced to announce the news at a particularly awkward band dinner, where Ben's current date diagnoses both Liz and lead singer Jimmy's girlfriend Lena with probably "bun in the oven"-itis. Anne is worried and disappointed, Mal is outraged at his best friend's betrayal, and Liz pretty much figures she's going to be a single mum, as Ben is clearly not all that enthused about becoming a daddy.

As Stage Dive are going on a months long tour, Ben persuades Liz to come with them, so she'll be taken care of and he and she can try to figure out some sort of friendship, since they'll be sharing custody of a child in about seven months. Liz is disappointed that Ben has no interest in even trying for a closer relationship, but doesn't want to be alone either and agrees to his "let's be friends" suggestion, against her better judgement. Her brain tells her to be rational and not expect too much of him, even as her crazy pregnancy hormones make her even more insanely attracted to him than before. Is she ever going to get him to see her as more than his baby-mama friend?

I'm really not sure what the title Deep is supposed to refer to, as there is nothing particularly deep or profound about this story. While I really did enjoy the first two books in this series, especially Anne and Mal's book, Kylie Scott's writing seems to be a case of diminishing returns. She writes great female characters. I always really like the heroines in her books. Sadly, the heroes just don't seem to come up to scratch. I actively disliked Jimmy in Lead, I though Vaughn in Dirty was incredibly bland and far too commitment shy and Ben doesn't impress me in any way either. A better title for this book would have been Shrug, which pretty much sums up my feelings about the whole thing. It's not an actively bad book, but it's not exactly a life-changing one either. I don't feel at all bad that it's been nearly two years since this book was published until I got round to reading it.

Things I liked:
- Liz is a really good heroine (her baffling love of Ben notwithstanding). She's smart, determined to get a good education and she really has very few expectations of Ben, even after she gets pregnant. Liz and Anne come from a troubled family background and Liz had a time in her youth when she lived a pretty wild lifestyle, but is very grateful to Anne for not giving up on her, and having worked hard to help put her through college. After Ben insists, she agrees to accept a hefty bank transfer from him, but even as she's growing out of all of her clothes, she's reluctant to touch the money, intending to save it all for the child.
- The friendship between the various women in the series. Liz and Anne are sisters, who are very close, but Liz also finds a close and supporting friendship with Evie and Lena, the other wives/girlfriends of the band.
- Most of the supporting characters are actually pretty good.

Things that annoyed me:
- This is yet another contemporary romance where the heroine is apparently so astoundingly fertile that she gets knocked up after having sex once WITH a condom. As someone who has struggled with infertility issues for more than half a decade now, this just feels a bit insulting. Unlike with Rock Wedding, where I was unaware of the pregnancy storyline, I was at least prepared for it this time (as it says in the blurb).
- Ben. First of all, the burly, bearded, man-bunned mountain of a man doesn't do it for me at all. It's pretty much the opposite of the physical type I find attractive. Add to that the fact that Ben is super happy about being the laid-back, happy-go-lucky commitment-phobe who claims he really wants to be 100% involved in his child's life, but doesn't go to a single doctor's appointment with Liz, and just pays a huge amount of money into her account. Only later in the book, when they actually start getting into a more romantic relationship, does he seem like he cares about the details of her pregnancy. He's also super jealous of any other guy who shows Liz any attention, even while he still insisting that they're just platonic friends.
- The baffling inclusion of Ben's super-bitchy sister in the last third of the book. She arrives out of nowhere, is super insulting and even though she seems to be happy living large on Ben's rock star paycheck, dares to accuse Liz of being a gold digger and emotionally blackmailing her into signing a contract in front of her entire extended family. She later shouts abuse at Liz during the birth, claiming that Liz will deliver the baby faster if she's angry.
- This is yet another book where the heroine could do SO much better and therefore the romance just doesn't work for me.

At this rate, it's going to take some very rave reviews for me to bother with another of Kylie Scott's books.

Judging a book by its cover: Each of these books have featured partial pictures of rocker dudes in various states of undress, and I'm guessing that the dude on the cover here is meant to be Ben, what with having tattoos and holding a bass guitar. He doesn't seem big enough or built enough based on the descriptions in the book, and his beard is positively weeny for all the loving descriptions the hero's facial hair gets in this book. Weak cover, guys.

Crossposted on Cannonball Read

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