Well…guess, I’m in the minority with this book. Again.
This is my first book from Stevie J. Cole, so I didn’t have any expectations except for what was revealed in the blurb. And the blurb was decidedly intriguing: a down on her luck actress who got fired from her role as a lead actress on a kid’s show meets the hot, up-and-cumming (sorry, can’t resist) pornstar who just happens to be her ex! Sounds like a freaking good time read, right?
Unfortunately, it wasn’t. And I could point to several issues I had with this book which severely affected my overall rating and review.
Issue #1 – Lack of depth in both the plot and the characters.
Lack of depth – Yes, this is erotic romance and not War and Peace but I still expect my romance to have a decent plot and a decent character development. Unfortunately, the only thing that’s deep about Exrated is the depth of Johnny Depth’s thrust.
The plot never really went anywhere. The reason for their first break-up was mentioned but it wasn’t expanded on. I’m still confused as to why. Tyler supposedly went off the rails and fell in with a bad crowd but again, nothing concrete was shown. It was all very superficial.
Issue #2 – Tired and clichéd characters
Apart from the plot, the main characters have no dimension to them. They’re all very clichéd and two-dimensional. Ditto with the secondary characters. Jemma’s best friend Heather is annoying and foul-mouthed. She’s basically there to make dirty jokes and of course, to highlight how amazing and wonderful the heroine is. Basically, all the women who isn’t the heroine in this book are nothing but cardboard cutouts. Same goes for Tyler’s dude-bro, wingman whatever. Just tired and clichéd.
Jemma is just unlikable. Jemma is an actress who got fired from her lead role in a kid’s show after a (view spoiler) I thought it would be a good plot point to showcase her character. But most of the time, it was mentioned as a jest or as a joke. And the jokes weren’t very funny nor were they clever.
She also acts sanctimonious bitch most of the time. I get her issue with Tyler being in the industry. I get it. But instead of thinking about it like an adult and hearing Tyler out, she accuses Tyler and basically the people he works with as the scum of the earth because they do porn. Instead of showing how people in the industry are still people with lives and ambitions, this book basically confirms every single cliché about porn stars that you could think of. Jemma’s attitude towards one of Tyler’s co-stars made me dislike her more.
And Tyler? What can I say? There’s nothing about him that would make me take notice. He just bored me. There’s nothing remotely interesting about him.
Issue #3 – Lack of chemistry
I absolutely did not feel any chemistry between Jemma and Tyler. The only thing I liked about their relationship was when they were still kids. The flashbacks to their childhood was actually the only thing I liked about this book. The rest of the time, I just wasn’t feeling why they even want to be together. They were supposed to be in love but between Jemma’s judgmental attitude against Tyler and porn stars and Tyler’s flakiness, I was over their “relationship” before they even began. I couldn’t care less if they get together or not.
Issue #4 – The underdeveloped conflict
The only conflict this book has was Tyler’s job. Jemma wants him and he wants her but because he’s a porn star, she can’t do it. As I said above, this was understandable. Jemma does have a good point but there comes a point where as a reader you actually want the characters to confront and work on their issues and not, say, drag it out throughout the whole book. Which is what happened here.
Jemma gets turned on by Tyler and her heart goes pitter-patter but oh no, he’s a porn star. He’s scum! The lowest scum. Jemma is back to feeling things again but a few pages later, she’s again disgusted because yuck, porn star.
Wash. Rinse. Repeat.
I found myself vacillating between irritation and boredom. There was a lot of things going on but none of it was pushing the story forward. I would have liked to get more insights into what broke them up in the first place and how Jemma’s sex tape changed her character but nope. Instead, I get lame jokes about gay sex, period jokes, etc. All of which not funny in the very least.
In hindsight, maybe I should have just DNF’d this book but apparently, I like self-flagellation so much I went and finish it.