Review: Insider by Olivia Cunning

insiderReviewed by Shelly

This is my first Olivia Cunning story and the first in her ‘Exodus End’ series. What I didn’t know before I started this is that there’s an entire library of books and stories that are related to this. From what I can gather this is an off shoot from Cunning’s ‘Sinner’ series which is coincidently about another rock band. I think there might also be another series, but I’m neither sure nor curious. Honestly, if they’re anything like this story, I’ll kindly pass. I’m sure if you’re a fan of either the author or her any of her series, then this might be a story you’d enjoy.

Buckle in because this is a long one. What got my interest was the blurb. It sounded interestingly different from many of other the romance stories that are currently out there. Toni Nichols has happily given up much of her hopes and dreams and instead has chosen to live with her mother and younger special needs sister. In spite of what one might suspect as a secluded life style, especially for someone so young, Toni flourishes in her work and is smart enough to have developed software that allows her to produce interactive stories. I found it quite funny that her audience is the easily distracted bunch needing pictures to learn.

Having developed this software and working for her mother’s publishing company, Toni decides that she’s the best choice journalist; this is her first assignment. So what I’m supposed to believe here is that her first assignment as a journalist is to accompany the rock band Exodus End while they’re on a U.S. tour. Logan Schmidt is the bassist for the band. He’s a pus*y hound with no interest of settling down and along with enjoying the ladies, likes to dabble in some high energy hobbies.

Having left home for the first time without any published works using this software (or any anything else) under her belt, I’m not really sure that someone like the band’s business focused manager, Sam, would have approved Toni for this assignment. But maybe he just assumed that Toni was a boy. But I’ll go with it. Here is where the story completely lost me – when the prim, proper, conservatively dressed and mannered, 25-year-old virgin who is Toni, sleeps with Logan exactly one hour after meeting him. As this happens in the first 9% of the story… what a first impression of a heroine who I’m pretty sure I’m supposed to like. There’s even conversation between her and Logan about her virginity that she held on to for so long, but had no significant reason for doing so.

Wait. Why hold on to that if you’re going to just give it up to the first guy who doesn’t even buy you a happy meal? There’s more. The location of the sex – it’s in the back of the tour bus with all the band members present and accounted for (within hearing distance) in the front of the bus. She was so caught up in it, neither of them minded being overheard. My jaw dropped because I couldn’t believe this was the direction the story was going, but I kept reading because I was sure this wasn’t happening. But what’s even funnier is that Logan had bet his band mates that he would have sex with her within 3 hours. Classy.

I wasn’t sure how this would turn around. For me, it never did. I’m no prude by any stretch of the imagination, but I still believe in romance and dates and getting to know the person you’re going to have sex with. After their initial sexual interlude on a stained couch in the back of the bus, Toni overhears Logan telling his band mates that it wasn’t very good. What followed almost made me put this book down but again I was sure, a turnaround was coming just a few more pages away.

For the first 93% of this story Toni was a pushover and really weak. I was tremendously disappointed in her easy acceptance of Logan and his sexual prowess. She was so easy about that last thing; she was perfectly okay with them having unprotected sex knowing that his history of women included hundreds. If I tell you that there was too much sex, I might shock you, but there was. It was constant and this heroine didn’t even care where they had it – back of a limo (day 2) was one of my laugh out loud moments. I understand the lack of privacy that being in a bus means, but do these people not have any understanding of sense or decorum?

Now you might wonder when she had a chance to actually do the damn job she was sent to do. Yeah, I wondered the same. As a reporter/journalist there to do video recordings (remember the book is interactive) – Toni was absolutely terrible.That probably had a lot to do with both her inexperience as a journalist, her overall pushover attitude, and her ineptness as a journalist – the clich├ęs could go on.

Logan was a 32-year-old man trapped not in a teenager’s mind. Absolutely never would I ever consider him to be a strong hero and certainly not the kind of character that I would ever care about. There was nothing likable about this guy, nothing. Another laugh out loud moment was when Logan tells Toni he loves her immediately after telling her that they’re just friends. His reasons for the ‘just friends’ was an asinine attempt at keeping his sex supply going and stringing Toni along – I couldn’t believe she continued to fall for that. Every. Single. Time. But between the continued sex education that Logan taught and the so-called interviews Toni was supposed to be conducting, I’m thinking that was supposed to be sexy and romantic.

Had the heroine’s character development remotely stayed in the direction that Toni’s character was presented and introduced, I’m sure my enjoyment would have reflected that, but instead I ended up with all the craptastic stereotypes for when a good girl loves a bad boy.

Happy Reading Folks!

Rating: D

*Book provided by publisher via NetGalley for review

Click to purchase: Amazon

by Olivia Cunning
Release Date: June 30, 2015
Publisher: Vulpine Press

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