Friday, November 28, 2014

Review: Illusion (Swept Away Book 1) by JS Cooper

It wasn’t the blurb that convinced me to pre-order this e-book. It was the first three chapters on Amazon.

The only solace with which I walk away from JS Cooper’s Illusion is that I didn’t fall for the whole cliché of ‘girl trapped on a deserted island with a handsome stranger’. The book did have potential. And an interesting plot that could have been made even more intriguing once Bianca London and Jakob No-Last-Name-For-80%-of-the-book found themselves kidnapped and isolated on an exotic island.

It kills me to read books with potential that go bonkers. Truly it does. Why do authors do this to themselves? But more importantly, why do they do this to us?

Bianca is a freelance film writer who has been looking into her mother’s suspicious death when she was 5-years-old after her father died and left her a bunch of papers and a very curious letter. Things start to get scary when she notices a man stalking her at a coffee shop and then again at a pub. She is soon drugged and stuffed into the trunk of a car with Jakob, a man she’s never really met though he did share a table with her at the coffee shop.

Cut to the deserted island. The duo is left tied up on a beautiful sandy beach with no food, water or clue as to why they’re there. They’re disoriented. But obviously not enough to stop them making sexual advances or noticing the other’s anatomy.

Once they gather their bearings after a few bananas, they sit down to talk over why they may be in this situation. Bianca is convinced that she’s there because she was investigating her mother’s murder which involves her billionaire ex’s company. Jakob wastes no time in revealing that he too is a billionaire but he has no connection whatsoever to said ex. Of course, his avoidance of all personal questions thereafter do hint at the fact that perhaps, he isn’t putting all his cards on the table.

This doesn’t stop our Belle from revealing everything about herself – murder investigation, back story, hopes, dreams, aspirations included. After all, Jakob is pretty. How bad can he be, really?  
The first thing that gets my goat is that this dumb woman doesn’t once ask the man she’s stranded with for his last name. Not once! I mean, come on? Didn’t your parents teach you anything other than to barge unprepared into the line of fire of a potentially evil corporation?

Secondly, another character soon appears on the island. He’s named Steve and is just as shady as Jakob though not as pretty. This is somewhat why Bianca sticks to the latter because, I mean, how can she dismiss the time they spent in the boot of the car together? That’s a real connection, right there.

Third, this Jakob character is a real pervert. Sure they’re on a stranded island and clothes will come off what with the heat, sand and the surf. But seriously. What’s with all the inappropriate touching and staring and sexual comments?

And finally: Why is it that most leading men in erotic romances say things like – a) I don’t do girlfriends; b) If you were mine, I would make sure you never thought of another man ever again; c) I’m dangerous. You should stay away from me; d) I can’t help but feel protective about you. Let’s cuddle (or something similar).

I mean seriously? Are these the guidelines they make you memorise when you venture into the genre? Can these men not be totally good looking assholes for once?

Don’t even get me started on Bianca’s character. You start off thinking she’s a bit clueless and obviously naive, even though she keeps reiterating how hard she finds it to trust people. But then she outdoes herself as we see how the presence of pecks, abs and sky blue eyes turn her into coconut jelly.

The book could have worked if Cooper had just focussed on the plot like she initially promised instead of exploring warped male-female sexual dynamics and how they affect the character’s decision making skills. Bad. Very, very bad!

What she delivers however is a plot ruined so totally by forced erotica, you’re left baffled that this is actually just book number 1 of a “series”. Trust me JS Cooper. It may have worked for EL James. But lighting only strikes once.

God help us all! 

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