Author: Sophie Jordan
Release: November 5th 2013
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary, YA
#1 in the Ivy Chronicles
Sequels: Tease (#2), Wild (#3)
Before she goes after the life she’s always wanted, she’s about to find the one she needs.
Pepper has been hopelessly in love with her best friend’s brother, Hunter, for like ever. He’s the key to everything she’s always craved: security, stability, family. But she needs Hunter to notice her as more than just a friend. Even though she’s kissed exactly one guy, she has just the plan to go from novice to rock star in the bedroom—take a few pointers from someone who knows what he’s doing.
Her college roommates have the perfect teacher in mind. But bartender Reece is nothing like the player Pepper expects. Yes, he’s beyond gorgeous, but he’s also dangerous, deep—with a troubled past. Soon what started as lessons in attraction are turning both their worlds around, and showing just what can happen when you go past foreplay and get to what’s real…
This was so full of clichés, stereotypes and common tropes, I should have been sickened by it, should have sighed and rolled my eyes. Instead, I am actually a little amazed to find that I enjoyed it — looking back, I really can't tell you why.
Maybe I'm just a perv and liked the steamy scenes? Because it really couldn't have been the characters, or the plot itself: the wholly predictable plot, where she would realize that the guy she's using to gain experience in order to seduce another guy, is actually the one she loves and stuff, and it's drama and this and that and, overall, ugh. I mean, Jordan has made no secret about the endgame of the novel, but it was still a little ... tedious, watching the whole back-and-forth, when you know that in the end, Pepper would end up with Reece anyway, and not with Hunter. Maybe it's this part of me, the one that is annoyed with the unnecessary cheesy stuff, that's always kept me from really enjoying contemporary novels, but ... I just don't see the sense in it.
As for the characters themselves, they were all obviously extremely serious and stoic figures with tragic backgrounds that is still haunting them today, yaddi yaddi yadda. You know, when Pepper started thinking Reece looked like "he should be in prison, lifting weights with the other convicts" because of his abs and tattoos, I was almost ready to drop the book like it's hot (I didn't though, mainly because I read this on my kindle and I would have had to drop the kindle, which I don't think would have been good for my baby). Like I said, Foreplay was very stereotypical and judgmental, while it wasn't too bad — I've definitely seen worse cases around — it was still there, and irritated me, kind of like a pebble in your shoe, you know? Anyways, I don't feel like there was a lot of character development going on really, unless you consider the usual hot boy who doesn't usually pick up girls suddenly falls for that one schpeschial girl and does everything for her an actual character arc. I liked that Pepper was ready to 'fess up about her troubled past in the end, but that's also the only thing really going on with her. I kept waiting for something to happen to actually move anything along for them, like maybe Reece confronting his dad about being a dick, or Pepper hunting down her mom and reconciling maybe? I don't know, but there was nothing. These backstories only served the purpose of making the reader sympathetic towards them and to excuse some of their behavior. Dull.
Somewhere halfway along the novel, a thought popped into my head: These two, Pepper and Reece, they're really similar to Davy and Sean from Uninvited. That's when I did a double take, and realized — it's the same author. Damn. Seriously, the similarities were endless, which ... make of that as you will. Obviously, I didn't mind too much, since I still sort of enjoyed the novel, but honestly... not cool, recycling your characters.
The sex scenes are good, there is definitely something in here, somewhere in between the pages that made it worthwhile and entertaining enough, but if you really look at this book closely, it starts to fall apart and crumble, because it's built off of nothing. No real, tangible plot except for the I'll-teach-you-foreplay, no interesting, unique characters; this book is a real house of cards. Personally, I enjoyed Uninvited a lot more, and I'm still not sure about my feelings for Sophie Jordan. I do have Firelight on my kindle, but as of now, I'm still hesitant...