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Insider (Exodus End World Tour Book 1) Kindle Edition
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|Length: 487 pages||Word Wise: Enabled||Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled|
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Unlike her other books, this book violates the "show, don't tell" rule of storytelling. Olivia's trademark sparkling, funny dialogue is almost totally absent. Even worse, after having the narrator tell us what happens and what the characters are thinking and wanting, it's all repeated in Toni's journal entries. The book is repetitive and dull as a result. There are moments of wit and sizzle, so Olivia Cunning is still in there, but for the first half of the book I was wondering if it was written by the same person responsible for the other wonderful series.
Toni is just not believable. We meet her as a 25 year-old reclusive, frumpy, duty-bound virgin with no friends who is intent on proving herself as a professional. A few hours later, she has sex with the first person she meets and is suddenly talking and acting like the savvy, sexy, flirty, sex-authority, Myrna, of Backstage Pass. The schizophrenic contradictions continue throughout the book. I think Olivia never quite related to this girl, and couldn't quite figure out who she was.
Logan's attraction to Toni is equally unbelievable. His change from playboy to devoted boyfriend is told in narration, but not conveyed in dialogue or action in any way that makes it believable. His emotional life is suggested, but not shown, even in the scene with his mother (who also is totally undeveloped and self-contradictory).
The most real characters in the book are the ones we know from the other series. The explanation for that is in the author's post-script. She knows and loves those characters, and so do we. It's wonderful to have them appear again, but the contrast to the ill-defined and unrealized characters in this book is all the more striking. I look forward to the remaining books in the Exodus End series, especially Outsider, because those characters and their unusual love is so brilliantly realized already. If Olivia lets herself really get into the characters in this series, we will all be thrilled.
The timeframe for this book is before Sed and Jessica’s wedding, and Exodus End and the Sinners are on tour together, so it was great watching the band members interact with each other. I also liked the concept of Toni being an innocent, ordinary young woman and hooking up with a hot rockstar. The opposites attract storyline works for me. But innocence doesn't equal doormat, and Toni was definitely a doormat. It's okay to be innocent and still have the backbone to stand up for yourself (she did get better by the end of the book). Which leads to one of the reasons for the 3 1/2 star review.
Toni describes herself as frumpy, with frizzy hair, wearing bulky clothes and ugly glasses. I'm assuming she’s pretty in spite of that. I'm okay with her starting off looking that way, but at some point if a really hot guy is interested in you, most women might make an effort to wear contact lenses, find a way to smooth out the frizzy hair and dress a little better. I guess the reasoning here is that a guy can get past the ordinary looks to see the beauty inside and appreciate her caring personality. Toni is a caring, nurturing person, but she’s also extremely nosy. Several times in the book she asks the band members very personal questions about painful issues in their past, saying she would never use that in her book. Then why ask? She’s just that nosy. But since it happened many times in the story I could see that Olivia was going somewhere with the "I would never include that in my book" line. I didn't really care for that.
Probably my biggest issue though was the drug use. In the Sinners series none of the guys used drugs, except ex-member Jon that no one liked anyway (and Trey's temporary addiction to painkillers). I don’t know if all the guys in the Exodus End use drugs, but Logan and Steve like to party with nose-candy, and that was a huge turn-off for me. It was just one time in the book and it was mentioned that Logan doesn't make a habit of it, but to me, guys that do drugs aren’t leading man material in a romance book. That’s just my personal opinion and maybe a lot of folks don’t have a problem with that. Generally if I start a rockstar series and the main characters are doing drugs, I don't get past the first book. But I really like Olivia and this series has great potential, so I will definitely buy Outsider (Reagan's book) and probably the rest of the books, and hope that she leaves out the drug use going forward.
The whole thing is ridiculous. At 35% in, Logan is almost professing his love for her and then they remind me: oh right! They only met 24 hours ago!
Very unrealistic. From player to stayer in one day. Right.
I usually force myself to finish everything. But I just couldn't torture myself any more. Between Toni's wishy washy weak personality and ridiculous plot, mediocre dialogue...it just wasn't worth it. Even if this is my favorite genre--I love everything rock! Except for this.
Also, I didn't know this before I started reading, but there is another series before this one and characters from that series feature prominently in this book. It's pretty annoying because Toni keeps wondering what's going on but if I had read the other books, it wouldn't be a secret so why should it be a secret from her.
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The main characters are Toni Nichols and Logan Schmidt.Read more