ETA: June 2017:
The other day I requested this book through NetGalley, having (for some unfathomable reason) forgotten I had read (and greatly disliked) this book last year. If you continue reading my review you will also wonder how I could have forgotten. I’m going to blame it on the cover, which is different for this new edition, though not nearly as attractive as the original cover. And now that I think about it, I really liked that old cover, which is about the only thing this book had going for it.
So, um, thanks NetGalley for allowing me the chance to review this book…this just might stretch the definition of “honest review” more than one would like.
(Honestly, I’m not nearly this bitchy in real life, I swear…no, really!)
Original Review: May 2016
First off, something to note: Of the ones who rated/reviewed this book, nearly all my GR friends or people I follow highly rated this book so this may be a case of it’s me, not the book. I guess this means, for those of you interested in this book who are reading this review I would probably check out some other reviews in addition to this one. I usually love J.L. Merrow‘s books so yeah, it is probably “It’s not you, it’s me” with this.
Disclaimer over, on to the review.
Oh, thank God that is over.
This was an incredibly painful read, as in the “I skimmed most of the last 30% in desperate hope it would get better” painful, not the “Oh, this is such a great book filled with endearing, yet tortured, characters” kind of painful.
I seriously do not want to devote any more of my life to this book but I always feel like I should explain why I give a book such a low rating. Ironic, really, considering I rarely review my five-star reads, though in my defense I am usually unable to do justice to those books or have so many notes and highlights I never know where to start.
1. From my one and only status update: I’m 58% done with Caught!: I’m really struggling with this book. I read book three, Out! first, which I loved. That book had the POVs of both MCs whereas this just has Robert’s POV. I am not really feeling much of Sean at all. Even the sexy times are not that exciting. Yawn…
2. Exposition. Exposition. Exposition. Exposition. God, will he ever just shut up? Robert spends so much time in his head and, unfortunately, the writer tosses us in there right with him.
3. I already said I never connected with Sean. I guess this is partly due to a lack of his POV (something I ALWAYS hate in a romance novel) but it could also be from the fact that he doesn’t really appear very much in the book, or at least not as much as the MC’s love interest would be expected to appear.
Which slides easily to my next point:
4. If so inclined to go back and count pages (and trust me, I am not so inclined), I would not be at all surprised to find Robert spent more time with his co-worker/friend Rose than he did with Sean. And I would feel rather confident betting ALL of the scenes with Rose were longer than any of Robert’s scenes with Sean. Since I’m most assuredly not a betting person -hell, I won’t even commit to betting I have a face full of freckles (which I do)- it’s saying something when I tell you I’m willing to bet anything.
5. Big Misunderstandings, especially when due to the idiot MC muddling things up with outright lies or even lies by omission, are annoying and a huge waste of my time.
6. There were so many minor storylines that took up way too much page time (naughty children, an evil school secretary, a parent questioning their child’s sexuality/gender identity, I could probably go on). And don’t forget (though I’d like to very much) the not-so-short breaks in the story to go do other things (his entire visit home for the holidays and his God-awful step-sister, for example).
7. Robert’s big secret. Yeah, it was a big deal, but eventually I just wanted to slap him and tell him to just tell Sean already (see #5).
I am so glad I read Out! first because had I read Caught! first I never would have given Out! a chance. Considering the fact that I very much enjoyed Out! that would have been a shame. I’ve read a handful of books by Merrow and have liked all of them, so I’m bummed about how much I did not like this one.