Tuesday, November 12, 2013

[Review] Working It (Love by Design #1) by Kendall Ryan

Emmy Clarke is out of her depth in New York City’s fashion world, but when she lands a job as an assistant at a modeling agency it seems like the perfect mix of business and pleasure. Working under the notorious Fiona Stone is a nightmare, but there’s one distinct perk: ogling the ridiculously hot male models who parade through the office—particularly rising star Ben Shaw.  Ben is everything Emmy’s not: exquisitely gorgeous, highly paid, and well-traveled. He’s also got more issues than Vogue. Emmy looks after Ben on photo shoots, but she refuses to become another one of his lusting groupies. Ben finds Emmy’s refreshingly real attitude to be surprisingly attractive.  Against a backdrop of the most fashionable cities in the world, casual flirting turns into an illicit affair, but when Ben’s twisted past is revealed, and the bitter Fiona catches wind of their relationship, their careers and hearts are threatened.

Note: This book is intended for mature audiences. It contains sexual encounters and graphic language, including a m/f/m encounter.

To say that this book is as addictive as crack is an understatement.  Did I ever think I'd find a novel that had fashion models interesting?  No.  Did I think I could hate a fictional villain more than Otto Sanchez (from Carolyn Crane's The Disillusionists trilogy)?  Nope.  Did I think that I'd end up liking a naive, out-of-place heroine?  Not even a little bit.  But somehow, I did.  From the sexalicious Ben, to the fun and flirty Braydon to the backstabbing bitch Finoa, I fell in love hard with this book.  This is the first book I've read by Kendall Ryan, and it certainly won't be the last.  

Emmy is a recent college graduate from a modest Tennessee background.  She in unpretentious, smart and sweet to a fault.  She just wants to do a good job for her boss, Fiona, and live her life.  Although Fiona is a rude, disrespectful, demanding, petty, condescending bitch, Emmy is fairly happy with her job.  One day, male model extraordinaire Ben Shaw comes into the office.  Emmy thinks he's gorgeous, but doesn't think she has any business with a model.  She also noticed the way that Fiona takes center stage when Ben is around.  Soon, Emmy is invited to accompany Fiona to Paris for Fashion Week as her personal assistant.

Emmy enters a foreign world filled with underfed models and smacking of pretense.  After e-mailing Ben about a job, Emmy and he begin a flirty e-mail conversation.  This turns in to texting, and then into actual dates.  Emmy's and Ben's love story begins, but it's chock full of obstacles and craters.  There are two major obstacles in this romance:  One being the morally bankrupt and selfish Fiona.  The other being Emmy's complete lack of self-esteem.  Fiona and Ben have a history, even though she is 16 years his senior.  Ben doesn't seem to want any romantic relationship with Fiona, but feels like her owes her his loyalty for all of the hard work she has done for his career.  I understood this plot point in the beginning, but Fiona became increasingly unlikeable and crossed the line one too many times for me to have anything nice to say about her.  Read the book - you'll understand.

Emmy, however, grew tiresome in some regards.  I didn't see her as a strong person.  In a way, she is a strong character.  She is able to put her foot down when she sees no other option.  However, she lacks self confidence.  In the beginning, I understood her inferior feelings.  Hello - she's a normal girl hanging out with models.  By the end, it got old.  She received a lot of attention from several people, and there was no reason for her to doubt herself.  If she said how hot, gorgeous or beautiful Ben was one more time, I swear I would have jumped into the pages of this book and strangled her.  She was also way too naive.  Emmy figured out early on what kind of person Fiona was.  When Ben made several bad choices regarding Fiona, Emmy just kind of let it slide.  I won't give it all away, but when your "boyfriend" is shoving you in the bathroom to hide you from your boss so he boss doesn't know you spent the night, you need to think about kicking said "boyfriend's" ass.

I liked Ben a lot.  I thought he was sweet and sexy and real.  I love dark and damaged heroes, and Ben fit the bill.  He has a dark past, but it wasn't uncovered in this book.  We learn bits and pieces of Ben's life, but not the whole picture.  Unfortunately, Ben made bad choice after bad choice.  Emmy needed to literally shake some sense into this man.  Although I believe he really loves Emmy, he continually put her in second place in his life, and this is a really unattractive quality in a male lead.  I know there is more to this story, but after this first book, I think Emmy needs to make him suffer a bit.

Oh, but the sexiness in this book was off the charts!  The sex scenes were hot and detailed.  Ben is a stud and I can see why Emmy is infatuated with him.  Braydon was a nice addition to this series, although I wonder how he'll play out in the future with Emmy's best friends, Ellie.  Even though there were parts of this book I didn't love, I can honestly say that I could not put this book down to save my soul.  The writing grabbed my attention from the very first page and held me captive until the end.  Kendall Ryan did a fantastic job writing this book, and I can't wait to read the next installment, due in March 2014.


Anonymous said...

Great review Jamie. I love the cover in this book, so for that alone I would have picked it up. I'm not sure how I feel about the whole " not being one of his groupie" thing though. Bah, we'll see :)

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