Review: Off the Record by K.A. Linde

off the recordReviewed by Carrie

I really liked KA Linde’s Avoiding Commitment series with its deeply flawed characters and soap opera-like drama.  When I began reading this book, I had to double check a few times that it was actually the same author.  All the energy that was present in the writing of the aforementioned series was missing in this book.

It’s the summer before her junior year and Liz Dougherty has been busting her butt trying to work her way up the ranks at her college newspaper.  Liz seizes an opportunity to show her editor, Hayden Lane, her journalistic skills and grills the slick young Senator Maxwell on his flawed policies.

Senator Brady Maxwell may only be 27, but he comes from a powerful political family.  His course is set and winning a House of Representatives seat is only the first stop.  Brady is so driven and confident that nothing will stop him from attaining all of his goals.  Yet, when a cute reporter from his alma mater manages to knock him for a loop with her questioning, Brady can’t help but be drawn to her.  When Brady Maxwell wants something, he gets it.

Liz can’t help but to be drawn to Brady’s innate charisma and smoking hot looks.  Brady wants her but politically can’t afford to be in a relationship with a college reporter, so he offers an all or nothing deal. They can have an illicit affair only on his terms – their involvement has to be secret, Liz has to remain physically anonymous in her newspaper, she’s not allowed to see anyone else, they can only meet when he’s available and Brady will drop her in a hot minute if she interferes in any way with his campaign.  Apparently Liz was not educated on abusive relationships, because she readily agrees to his terms.

As summer moves on, Liz begins to shape her life around their chance meetings. Even though she agreed it was only physical, Liz, predictably, develops feelings for Brady.  Their meetings in public become charged with her longing and she morphs into a sad puppy dog following Brady around happy to accept any kind of attention he throws her way.  Brady treats her like a mistress filling her head with false promises and just enough to keep her on the hook.  When the campaign takes a turn, Brady and Liz have to decide how much they are willing to risk to continue their relationship.

The first half of this book dragged.  I felt there was so much extraneous information/characters that probably pay off in later books, but bored me to tears in this one.  I’m all for flawed characters but they have to be framed in a way that makes them sympathetic (for example, Olivia and Fitz’s relationship on Scandal).  For all of Liz’s supposed intelligence, she comes off as whiny, naive and just a bit stupid.  I didn’t believe Brady’s supposed feelings for Liz for one moment.  He’s greedy, cold and distant.

The book ends at a decent stopping point, but it is another dreaded trilogy, so the story is far from over and many ends are left dangling.  I can see the love triangle(s) being set up already and I’m just not interested in any of the characters to continue reading.

Rating: C-

*ARC provided by Montlake Romance via NetGalley

Click to purchase: Amazon

Off the Record
by KA Linde
Release Date: March 11, 2014
Publisher: Montlake Romance

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