Author: C.J. Bishop
Book Name: It Can’t Be You; Hearts in Chaos; Shattered (Abel Trilogy?)
Series: Phoenix Club
Rating: Mediocre/Didn’t Like
Genre: LGBT Romance
I have to say that I really struggled with this review as to where it fell. The only reason it did not fall into the garbage realm is because this book actually seems to have a small level of thought put into the overall story and time was taken to actually clean it up enough to be presentable. Those are pretty much the only positives I can offer.
There are very, very few scenarios when an author can get away with presenting the reader with unsafe sex scenes. Even fewer options when the subject of the book isn’t restricted because of cultural or historical accuracy needed for the scene. There is absolutely zero reason why in this day and age, any author should allow their characters to be having unsafe sex, unless there is a specific reason for it in the basis of the story.
These books do not even allow the reader the possibility of any of the characters having safe sex. Not only are we talking totally unprotected sex, but we are talking sex with multiple partners over an incredibly short period of time. The only attempt at a mention at all was early on in the first book, ONE of the many characters having sex mentions a clean bill of health requirement to be able to work in his job. With the reality of the time it takes for anything to show on tests and how long it takes to get tests back, there is no way any of the characters in this book are practicing safe sex.
Another major issue I have with these books is the entire premise that the books are based on. One part of that is the fact that the two major characters supposedly fall in love pretty much on sight. I’ve read a lot of books where authors can pull this off well and it works. In this case, not at all. For one, this at first sight love is supposed to be so all powerful and consuming as to over come severe past trauma, including rape, yet the main character has no problem immediately having sex with several other people the second there is any kind of drama between him and the love of his life.
Part of the issue with that is the timing of it all. Again, no problem with at first sight thing, but the whole, fall in love, cry, have issues, cry, have sex with other people, cry, have more issues after having sex again, cry some more, more drama and issues, cry, then in the last 10% of the last book, everything is perfect and, after a round of sex (no actual real discussion of the issues and how to resolve those issues ever occur in any of the books, it is just lets have sex and the world is rosy and fixed, no matter the years of nightmares and trauma and fear), the couple lives happily ever after, all in about 3 weeks.
Not only is the overall timeline of the story totally unbelievable, but the issues, how they are dealt with and resolved, are so far outside of the realm of possibility and contradict the personality of the characters that it is offensive to the reader, making them ignorant and gullible to believe any of it.
If your main character is so devoted to his sister, he is willing to prostitute himself to pay for her needed medical care (did I mention she has been diagnosed with HIV, yet not a single character practices safe sex?), then why in the hell would he abandon her the second his feelings get dinged and is gone the entire time she is in the hospital, which is all in that same short time span?
Between every character’s deep moments ending, not in a real conversation to address those moments, but rather with them having sex and then every single person dissolving into tears at the drop of the hat, I’m surprised I made it through to the end of these 3 books that dealt with this couple of main characters.
While, in theory, the general idea behind the book could have worked with actual conversations between the characters and a longer timeline, I don’t think anything could have really made me believe this story in any way, let alone enjoy it. I wouldn’t even complain about the lack of conversation so much if I could have classified this as an erotic romance, but even the sex scenes were so off and wrong for me there is no way it would even fit into that genre.
So, in the end, I can’t say that this is worth the time unless you just like to read really poorly written and thought out stories. I definitely won’t be wasting my time on any of the others in the rest of the series.