Kimani, $6.50, ISBN 978-1-335-21688-5
Contemporary Romance, 2018
If you’re a size queen who wants the guy to be big everywhere, not just there, you’re going to like Carter Diallo. He is described as a “muscled, hypermacho-looking man” with “massive chest”, “narrow hips”, and “trunk-like thighs” (tree trunk, I’d imagine, not elephant trunk), and everywhere he goes, women swoon and fan themselves between their legs. In fact, everything about him is hyped up as super virile, masculine, massive, et cetera that I find myself thinking that the sex scenes are going to be off the roof.
Sadly, those scenes are more of the “Oh, let me get a cold drink and… wait, that’s it? It’s over?” variety. Maybe the editor had a heart attack while reading them, and those scenes had to be tamed down considerably as a result.
Her Perfect Pleasure pairs two fixers. Carter is the unofficial one, having to run around cleaning up his super wealthy family’s messes. Oh, that brat had been unwise in letting the wrong men photograph her naked and now she’s being blackmailed? Oh, the other brat gets himself blackmailed by his newest squeeze too? Okay, here he goes to eliminate evidence, intimidate the guilty parties, that kind of thing. Don’t worry, no dead bodies are harmed in the process. Meanwhile, our heroine Jade Tremaine gets paid as an official fixer. His family hires her when Carter’s 19-year old brother is accused by his newest fling of stealing her idea for his new soon-to-be-super-profitable app and she now wants a big cut of the pie. These two have to work together, but the thing is, they had a shag pile back then in college before his silly “I’m too proud to communicate” posturing and her neurotic insecurities tore them apart.
The plot may sound interesting, and you may be envisioning a fast paced tale of two smart people zipping through town to deal with all kinds of ruffians and gangstas, but like the love scenes here, this story builds things up to be interesting only to doesn’t deliver. Instead of actually fixing things, Carter and Jade soon fall into the same bog that sinks so many Kimani stories these days: they spend more time instead meeting up with various sequel baits to talk about mundane things, just so that readers will know that there are other books related to this one, when they are not engaging in circular monologues about the same old thing again. Yes, her parents are a terrible example of a happily ever after and she has issues because of that, while on his part, he just doesn’t understand communication 101. It’s not the most exciting internal conflict ever, especially as I can close my eyes and pick any random book in this line to find that same old internal conflict playing out the same way. Hence, I can only sigh at what this story could have been.
As for the “plot”, there is hardly any actual fixing in action, so these two’s jobs end up being just another cosmetic variation to pretty up what is essentially another same old “rich hot dude boinks neurotic chick, just insert college break-up back story” crock
Oh, and there are also conflicting messages galore here. Jade keeps hammering about how men shouldn’t be dogs to the women they love, but at the same time, the hot guys in this story are celebrated for their promiscuity, which is used as a hook to make me pant after the notion of reading their books and imagining me as the woman they are spreading their STDs to. Oh right, hot guys in romance novels are immune to STDs. So which is which, really? Should men ho around town, and if yes, am I supposed to salivate at thought of reading about those overused dipsticks finally being bared in the open, or am I suppose to see them as heartbreakers that hurt poor women like Jade?
And then there is this.
Nessa Bannon was raised poor, was now working to pay her way through college, and had an Instagram account filled with gorgeous selfies and intimate details about her everyday life, including her desire to get into fashion one day.
Jaxon, at barely nineteen years old, was a proven genius and already one of the leading minds in tech. A young and very attractive member of the superrich Diallo family of Miami, he had every advantage growing up. Good schools, resources, people paving the way for his success.
Which of these nineteen-year olds was more likely to have come up with the idea of the million-dollar app in question? The answer was clear.
I’m supposed to say “Alex, I’d take the hot brother of the hero because he’s very likely having a book out next AND I CAN’T WAIT, EEEE!” by the way. But how does the logic work? Is Nessa incapable of coming up with ideas because she has an Instagram full of hot pics of herself and she wants to be a fashion model, which this line considers to be actually three steps below prostitution as the vilest thing a woman can do? I’m supposed to cheer for a spoiled brat in a silver spoon getting whatever he wants since he was born, but at the same time I’m supposed to view the women who are attracted to Carter’s wealth with utmost disdain. So what is the lesson of the day here? That wealthy men are attractive, regardless of their actual personalities, but if I admit an attraction to their wealth, I’m a whore? How does that kind of self-loathing logic even begin to work?
Of course, if Her Perfect Pleasure had actually focused on the mystery of the app, instead of discarding it like used toilet paper after the hero and the heroine meet up, and if, say, Nessa is revealed to be the actual brain behind the idea and Jaxon is just a spoiled, bratty user of women, things may become interesting as our main characters as well as the reader are all forced to reevaluate their initial impressions of the situation. But no, here’s another same old, mediocre Kimani fare instead. Sigh. If only I were so easily entertained.