Tuesday, February 5, 2019

Review: Claimed (The Outlaws #1) by Elle Kennedy

This review is a little out of the regular schedule and an oldie I dug up because I'm testing the bloggity and setting up some automatic posting from Blogger to Pinterest. My Pinterest boards for my books have been sadly neglected of late. Hopefully this will work and you won't be bombarded with posts from me testing things out. For the record, this review is pretty entertaining because I got kinda ranty.

Claimed by Elle Kennedy

My rating: Small star Small star Small star

Heat rating: Flame  Flame  Flame  Flame

Claimed by Elle Kennedy blurb

I was after something sexy to read, so when a few of my readerly friends were raving (or was it ranting?) about how smutty this book was, I thought I'd give it a shot. I didn't read the blurb before I dove in though I did go back and read it after I started, but more on that later.

Let's get the smutty stuff out of the way first, shall we? There's a lot of sex in this book. If  you do not like a lot of sex, you won't like this. As many have said, there's more sex than substance and I was okay with that since I was looking for a sexy read. I wasn't expecting much. I don't think the sex is as explicit as some erotic romances I've read and certainly not as long when it comes to the sex scenes, but for the average romance reader, I think most would think there was a lot of sex. If I recall correctly, I'd say there were about between six to eight sex scenes (I didn't count them), all of them raunchy but in my opinion, all rather short.

This story is set in a dystopian world. I'm personally not a fan of the dystopian sub-genre since things tend to be rather grim. I think for me, the light touch with the world building and grimness (offset by the sex) worked out well. I think I would have enjoyed it a lot less if there had been a lot more detail and a lot more world building, but I know I am in the minority in this.

With Connor, I loved him. He is such a reluctant hero and leader. I loved that about him. There's something about men who have an inherent quality which causes people to give them their loyalty and people will follow. It's a certain "je ne sais quoi" which is indefinable. Connor has that. I think most of it can be summed up in a lot of the things he said about himself.

Quotes:  He ignored the barb, still thinking about what to do. He was never not thinking, and fuck, it was exhausting sometimes. He hadn’t asked to be in charge, and he resented his men for placing this much faith in him.
He was controlled. Confident. Strong in an intense yet understated way that she couldn’t help but be drawn to.
Connor was compelling without even trying to be. He was a man you looked at and thought leader. It marveled her to think what he could accomplish if he actually embraced the role instead of shunning it.
“I never asked to be anyone’s leader. I don’t want people relying on me, and I sure as hell don’t want to be responsible for anyone’s life but my own.”

I loved Connor's personality. He's controlled, strong, demanding and dominating. All the things I love about an alpha romance hero. It also helped since I was in the mood for a sexy read, he was a sexy, dirty talking dude.

Now for Hudson. I started off liking Hudson. She was brave, sassy, strong and she stood up to Connor when no one dared to. She embraced her freedom and worked hard to integrate herself into the group and to become a contributing, useful part of the small community which Connor had built. Only she was lying to Connor. Right from the start. Lying is a real negative trigger for me and this is where not reading the blurb comes in, only reading the blurb didn't help, because it doesn't mention it. Hudson lied to Connor for a good 80% of the book. I rapidly loss interest in the book after about the 75% mark when she once again chose cowardice over telling the truth. At first it's justifiable. She was scared. She didn't want to be turned away. She didn't trust Connor. But later, by the 75% mark, it was cowardice pure and simple, especially considering her internal dialogue. She had multiple times to come clean with him and she didn't. And then when she did, she was surprised at his reaction.

Quotes:  Connor blinked. Just one blink, while a multitude of emotions streaked across his face. Confusion sharpened into suspicion. Suspicion darkened to anger. Anger became… horror. Horror and betrayal and a glitter of menace that made Hudson wince.

Really Hudson? After everything you've learned about Connor and his past, you're surprised about his reaction?

Of course, then I got really pissed off because of what happens after Connor let's his anger and his feeling of betrayal control his actions because of how everyone else reacted to the news. It pisses me off that even though it was Hudson who was in the wrong, it was Connor who was made into the bad guy, and it became all about how Connor was wrong about the way he reacted and how he was the one who had to beg forgiveness. No, I'm sorry. While Connor was wrong, Hudson was equally if not more wrong. The way Connor was treated in the aftermath of Hudson's lying and big reveal made me really mad. I might have ranted a bit on my status updates on Goodreads ... okay, no might. I really did ... without giving anything away.

And finally, when Connor apologises, first she hits him which is not okay in my book because it's not okay for anyone to hit anyone (we had a discussion about hitting in the Deanna's World Bloggity group recently, and don't get me started on the double standard of the hero hitting the heroine, vs the heroine hitting the hero), and then this is what Hudson says to him:

Quotes:  He rubbed his cheek, but the smile didn’t leave his lips. “You can hit me again if you want. God knows I deserve it.” Hudson glared at him. “You do deserve it. And trust me, that won’t be the last slap you’ll be getting from me. You might have let my brother go – and I’ll never forget that or stop being grateful for it – but that doesn’t mean I’m going to forget what you did back at camp. I’m going to bring it up every time we get in a fight, and every time you piss me off or annoy me or tell me I can’t do something. Every damn time, Connor! You’ve officially made it possible for me to lord this over your head ...

Way to go building a healthy relationship, Hudson. Nothing like lording over a wrong with your partner and bringing it up repeatedly in the future to go about creating something trustworthy and lasting. Well done, you. *sarcasm*

I hope not all Ms Kennedy's heroines are like Hudson because that would be hard to take. I like her writing and I think want to continue to read the rest of the series and find out what happens between the other couples and see how the world develops. Dang, Hudson. I am not a fan of you!

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About the author

Elle Kennedy

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