Friday, October 23, 2015

Christie's review: Dirty English by Ilsa Madden-Mills


Title:A Love of Vengeance
Series: Wanted Men #1
Author: Nancy Haviland
Release Date: November 11, 2014
Rating:4 stars
Cliffhanger: No

A scarred fighter. A girl with rules. One night of unbridled passion. There are three things you need to know about Elizabeth Bennett: she’s smart as a whip, always in control, and lives by a set of carefully crafted rules. She’s learned the hard way that people you love the most always hurt you in the end. But then she meets Declan Blay, the new neighbor at her apartment complex. A tattooed British street fighter, he’s the campus bad boy she’s supposed to avoid, but when he saves her from a frat party gone bad, all her rules about sex and love fly out the window. She gives him one night of unbridled passion, but he longs for more. With only a cardboard-thin wall separating their bedrooms, he dreams of possessing the vulnerable girl next door forever.

One night. Two damaged hearts. The passion of a lifetime.

*A modern love story inspired by Pride and Prejudice*

I had two reasons for wanting to read this book.

1: That masterpiece of a cover.
2: This book is being called a "modern retelling of Pride and Prejudice", or "inspired by Pride and Prejudice". Now, I don't know if anyone realizes...but I'm kind of a fan of P&P. HUGE fan. Soooo...Let's just say when I saw the connection, I rushed like a mad woman to find myself an arc. As this was my first book by this author and I wasn't sure what to expect, but with the promise of the synopsis I was willing to risk disappointment. As you can see by my rating, it was a success by anyone's standards. What I was really missing here was it's comparison to P&P. Yes, it played a part in the book, but I wouldn't go so far as to say that the stories were comparable enough to call it a "retelling". I was really hoping for more corresponding in the actual structure of the two stories, but that's okay.

The prologue starts you off as an introduction to Elizabeth's past and gives you an understanding why she's distrustful and wary of getting close to people. I think this was necessary to be empathetic with her behavior and why she's hesitant to get close to anyone. Right away, I was drawn into the story and wanted to know more.

A horrific betrayal occurred to her in high school by a boy she trusted. It forever changed her outlook on love, and who she was as a person. Her method of self-preservation was avoiding relationships and casual sex to feel like she was in control. But now that she' s a junior, her roommate pushes her to go to a party with her (this is so very NA cliche). Her very first college party brings her face-to-face with two very exceptional male specimens. Hot. British. Twins. Need I say more? I loved this aspect of the story, the unique characters gave a fresh twist to a rather common NA plot.

Declan was one of the high points of the book for me. He was everything you'd want in a NA hero.

He was an underground fighter, so he had a bit of a rebel side to him. But he was also the kind of guy who could appreciate Jane Austen and wasn't afraid to admit to it. That sensitive side to him made him even more appealing.

I found myself leaning over further, arching my neck to see more of him. Something about a big dude that read Pride and Prejudice made me breathless.

After a very clumsy attempt to get in Declan's pants misfired, they begin a tentative friendship with poorly concealed attraction of both of their parts. They both have their reasons for holding back. He sees her fragility that she tries to hide, and she's worried he may be able to get past her barriers. I enjoyed their getting to know one another phase. It had it's sweet moments and a nice amount of underlying emotion between the two. When her past comes back to cause trouble, Declan steps up and teaches her confidence through some self-defense techniques. And before long, their attraction can't be refused anymore.

I wanted sex on a mat in an un-air-conditioned gym with a hot as hell British guy pounding into me, no matter the consequences. Fuck my silly sex rules. I wanted him.

Both Declan and Elizabeth had parents who caused them heartache and pain. I really felt for Declan after learning about the loss of his mother and his father's cruelty. And Elizabeth's mother is just plain evil. She had no rights to the title of mother in my opinion. I really wanted to claw her eyes out.

Elizabeth's pushing away was very persistent. I understand why she behaved that way, but after a certain point it got to be very frustrating. Despite that, I thought this was a different take on your average New Adult book. It had nicely plotted characters, and potential for intriguing follow up books about Declan's twin and Elizabeth's best friends. I'm hooked and ready to read more about the rest of the group of friends in the future.

The writing was well done and I'm no expert, but the two British boys seemed to really come off the pages as natural. Their slang and speech were consistent and appeared realistic-to this American girl. I would recommend this book to New Adult fans who are looking for a new series to follow.


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