I’ve got to stop reading Jacob Chance. I’m lured in like a sucker by delicious cover pictures of abs. Every single time. Granted, I also found the premise for Manfax quite promising. Unfortunately though, none of my hopes for this read were realized.
Synopsis: Roxanne runs a company named Manfax that specializes in investigating the romantic history of prospective dates/partners/lovers. After having four women requesting a Manfax for the same man – Adam Winter – during a short period of time, Roxanne gets curious. And when she discovers that Mr. Manfax is actually the brother of her best friend’s fiancé, she doesn’t know how to act. Adam is obviously a manwhore. But he’s hot as heck and when he sets his sights on Roxy, her resolve starts to crumble.
I hated the first part of this book. And by hate, I mean that I thought it was crap and was about to DNF it. And by first part, I mean the entire first half of the novel.
There were plenty of reasons for my dislike but I’ll keep it short(ish) and focus on the three main ones.
First, there’s such a chauvinist vibe to the writing that I just can’t stomach it. Adam is just such a sleeze-bag and his chapters are peppered with old-fashioned sexist remarks. How about such gems as
My neck and shoulders are tighter than a virgin on her wedding night.
“I know I never banged her. I’d never forget that face or rack”
And the horrible first kiss that I guess is supposed to be romantic but feels more like an attack. After a weekend of Adam trying to get into Roxanne’s pants, and her shooting him down, this is what happens:
“Adam, you need to listen to me. There’s nothing you can say to make me change my mind.” Nothing I can say… Gripping her upper arms, I tug her forward, pressing our lips together.
What the actual f*ck! It’s just so rape-y.
But Adam and Roxanne are equally obnoxious. And that’s the second reason for my dislike of Manfax. They’re both remarkably unlikable. Adam is that sleezy guy who won’t take no for an answer but keeps pushing anyway, thinking that crass remarks are somehow charming. And Roxanne is no better. She’s very clear, bordering on rude, when repeatedly turning Adam down, However, in between she flirts with him in quite a crude way. She’s basically a tease. I mean, who acts like that? I’m thinking that these crude exchanges between Adam and Roxy is meant to be sexy banter. It isn’t though. I love banter. Banter is funny. It’s good humoured and can absolutely be suggestive. And the bickering in Manfax isn’t banter. It’s just offensive.
The third and final reason for my dislike is the unrealistic and stereotypic depiction of Roxanne’s interaction with her friends. It’s stilted, ditsy and overly girlish. It’s bloody embarrassing how Roxanne and her girlfriends talked to each other. Like it was written by a man who’s never met a woman in his life. No, women don’t spend all their time talking about men or diets or disparaging their own bodies. Except the women in Manfax, obviously.
So, that was the first half of the book. It was truly terrible. For some reason though, I actually kept on reading. And – how unbelievable it may sound – the second half was actually pretty good. Both Adam and Roxanne seemed to go through some kind of personality transplant and mostly stopped acting like morons. So from being totally cringe-worthy, it went to being a cute romance with some high-quality steamy moments. Unfortunately, since the first half was so bad, it was hard for me to appreciate the ending. My dislike for the two main characters was already firmly in place and them acting normal and decent couldn’t change that I’m afraid. And my overall rating of this read is a weak two out of five stars.