Review: Losing Control by Nina Croft

Losing Control by Nina CroftFormat read: ebook provided by the publisher
Series: Babysitting a Billionaire, #1
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: Aug. 12, 2013
Number of pages: 250 pages
Publisher: Entangled: Brazen
Formats available: ebook
Purchasing Info: Author’s website | Goodreads | Amazon | B&N | Kobo | Publisher’s Website

Four years after escaping her abusive ex-husband, Kim finally believes she’s in control of her life and her emotions and she’s determined to never risk either again with a man. She has a great home, a job as a security specialist which she loves, and Jake for a best friend. But things are a tad lonely in the sex department, so she decides to embark on a no-strings-affair with one of her hot co-workers. And who better to help her remember how to lure a man than her best friend?

Jake has wanted Kim from the moment he first saw her, but four years ago, she was too young and too damaged. So he kept her close and he kept her safe, offering her a job in his security company and the training to feel safe again, and he bided his time. But now, after the long wait, if she imagines he’s going to stand by while she seduces some other guy… Never going to happen

My Thoughts:

I wanted to love this book. I really, really did. Nina Croft’s Blood Hunter series is awesome science fiction romance. I mean totally awesome, she made vampires and werewolves in space completely work.

But Losing Control is a contemporary, and it didn’t just make my willing suspension of disbelief meter go flying out the window, it’s making me put ranty pants on for this review.

Because the story is about a woman who was nearly suicidal while married to an abusive, control freak man and who has spent the last four years pulling herself together. It is, and it should be, a long and scary journey.

Kim works for a security company because she needed to feel more secure about her own damn self. She’s taken all the self-defense courses, she wants to be an agent. She needed to grab control of her own life.

Four years after the end of her marriage, she’s finally starting to feel like sex might be worth trying again. But none of the guys she works with are interested in her. And her husband was only interested in belittling her and hurting her. She’s starting the think that she’s the problem.

No, the problem is that her best friend, her boss Jake, has told all the guys at the job that she’s off limits. He’s saving her for himself. And since he owns the company, and they all like their paychecks, the guys all paid attention to what the boss said.

Kim has no clue. Of course, she had no clue that her ex was gay, either. At least she had the excuse of being 18 for that. But still. Oh, did I mention that her apartment is subsidized by her job? Meaning her protective boss? The one who won’t let her out into the field as an agent because he can’t stand the thought of her being in danger, not that she isn’t qualified.

Kim’s spent the last four years putting herself in charge of her life, getting new friends, taking new risks. But Jake has been making sure she’s safe, checking up on her friends, not necessarily trusting all of her decisions.

Then when she decides that she’s finally interested in getting intimate with someone, he drops the bombshell that he’s been waiting for her all along, and there’s no way he’ll let anyone else into her life. Yes, he makes it sound more romantic than that, but he does control her life.

He’s been her best friend for four years, he’s her boss and his company subsidizes her rent. The first half of the book, was a lot of him ignoring or riding roughshod over all of her attempts to set any ground rules for their new relationship. He always knew better than any objections she might have.

Kim had a LOT of damage that prevented her from having a healthy relationship with someone. She did need to get over it. Her mother died when she was young, her father was cold and distant. She married an abuser because she was easy prey for someone who pretended to love her. (I didn’t hear any mention of therapy, and did she ever need it!)

None of that gets cured by a quick f*ck, no matter how long the guy has loved her, particularly when there’s no protection involved. And yes, that comes back to haunt in the too easy happy ever after.

The fact that she continued to let him walk all over her boundaries made me decide that she still had way too many doormat tendencies left in her.

And after all the come-here/go-away games the two of them play, we get a very fast, tie-up the loose ends happy ending where Kim decides that because Jake lets her tie him up in bed that he isn’t as big a control freak as she thought so marrying him will be okay after all.

Besides she goes to punch her ex’s lights out and she has a lovely reconciliation with her daddy who says that he loves her and no, her mommy didn’t kill herself so everything is sunshine and lollipops. And she’s pregnant.

Verdict: There are people who are going to love this book. I’m just not one of them. My rant-o-meter wouldn’t come down after the first 150 pages where Jake repeatedly blows past Kim’s boundaries and ignores everything she says. He is controlling her, and he has been controlling her. That he’s been nice about it doesn’t matter.

For this story to have had a chance at working, Kim needed to be truly on her own and discover if she could make it without training wheels. She should have been wondering how much of her recovery was really her own doing. Or at least she would have if she had been as kick-ass as the book’s description made her out to be.

Instead she turned out to be a damsel in distress wearing a heroine’s costume, waiting for her Prince to sweep her off her feet and get her knocked up.


I give  Losing Control by Nina Croft 1 disappointed star.

***FTC Disclaimer: Most books reviewed on this site have been provided free of charge by the publisher, author or publicist. Some books we have purchased with our own money and will be noted as such. Any links to places to purchase books are provided as a convenience, and do not serve as an endorsement by this blog. All reviews are the true and honest opinion of the blogger reviewing the book. The method of acquiring the book does not have a bearing on the content of the review.

Dual Review: A Royal Pain by Megan Mulry

Format read: ebook received from the publisher through NetGalley
Release Date: 1 November 2012
Number of pages: 352 pages
Publisher: Sourcebooks
Formats available: ebook
Purchasing Info: Goodreads, Author’s websiteAmazon, KindleBook Depository


Bronte Talbott follows all of the exploits of the British royals. After all, they’re the world’s most preeminent dysfunctional family. And who is she to judge? Bronte’s own search for love isn’t going all that well, especially after her smooth-talking Texan boyfriend abruptly leaves her in the dust.

Bronte keeps a lookout for a rebound to help mend her broken heart, and when she meets Max Heyworth, she’s certain he’s the perfect transition man. But when she discovers he’s a duke, she has to decide if she wants to stay with him for the long haul and deal with the opportunities– and challenges– of becoming a royal.

Our Thoughts: 

Marlene: A Royal Pain was just that, an absolute pain to read. I hate to put it that way, but the pun is just right there waiting to be said. I finished because I said I would. And I was on an airplane and “what the heck”.

Stella: I’m sorry to say but I completely agree. *sighs* Which is even sadder since from the moment I read its blurb I was predisposed and predestined to love it, I mean it is my go-to fantasy the normal, ordinary girl meeting and falling for a handsome guy, who is later revealed is an aristocrat *dreamy sighs* So yes, I was so much looking forward to this book and not only it did not deliver but after 28% I realized I was skipping entire paragraphs because the pages just didn’t hold my interest and found the heroine so frustrating and irritating, that despite several forced attempts to keep on reading, after 60% I gave up, I just hated it, or rather the heroine so much. So all my respect and hats off to Marlene for persevering!

Marlene: This story had all the absolute worst hallmarks of chick-lit, and if I’d known it was chick-lit, I would have steered far, far away. Bronte Talbott is whiny and self-centered. She comes across as TSTL (that’s too stupid to live) on multiple occasions. Max is all too often her doormat, except for the times he gets completely fed up and throws a temper tantrum.

Stella: I wouldn’t have disqualified A Royal Pain based on the fact that it was chick lit, I’ve read some that were so entertaining and funny they remain my go-to comfort reads, but I completely agree as to your comments regarding the heroine. Since the story is told through her POV (even if it’s not 1st person narrative), the reader must feel a connection or at least be interested in the heroine’s story but Bronte was such a whining, bitchy, egotistical, shallow, immature, petulant heroine (and yes I could go on), behaving like a churlish adolescent most of the time feeling sorry for herself, that not only did I not feel any smypathy or connection with her I downright disliked and despised her 🙁 (E.g. when she gets together with the dreamy hero, spend a whirlwind romance but they break up, she calls him after she finds out he’s a duke, so we have no idea if she had called him without that bit of information or if it was part of her motivation to reconnect). Oh and her constantly going on and on about how much she hated her father even though he has been dead for several years now and didn’t do anything exceptionally bad rubbed me the wrong way too. She acted as a whiny teen. She was an ungrateful, spoilt, moody and whiny heroine, who irritated me to no end I would have liked to slap her to make her snap out of her “me me me” egocentric world. Everyhting was only about her, she didn’t care about others they were just there to be her soundingboard, she didn’t give a damn about what was going on with her friends, mom, boss, she just wanted to unload her “problems” on them.

And another one of my problems regarding her character was that she was so crude, look at this scene where they are about to make love and Max confesses his love and proposes:

She wanted him so badly, her body wanted him so badly.
“Say it, Bron.” He was lying along the length of her back now, his voice so close to her ear, it was almost as if it was coming from the inside of her head.
“I’ll say anything, Max.”
“Say you’ll marry me, Bron.”
“Put it in, Max.”
“You have such a way with words, darling.”
“Please, put it in.”

Marlene: Their entire relationship is founded on an incredible lie of omission. Max hides his identity. This is kind of realistic, once you get past the idea that there’s a royal duke running around that no one has heard of, but when he gets mad at Bronte for not being willing to handle his first, but not last, ultimatum, he’s lost all credibility. Not that he had much.

Stella: I found Max a very two dimensional character (not that Bronte had more depth, but she definitely had more “screen time”), he was constantly described as incredibly handsome, warmhearted and the ideal dreamy hero, but not much beside that. He really was all that is considerate, enamored with the heroine (I found it happened way too soon, after weeks of glimpsing her he was already envisioning forever). I would have liked for his character to be better developed.

Marlene: The thing is, Bronte goes into the relationship with Max on the rebound. She tells him this. He’s only going to be in Chicago for 8 more weeks and then he’s going back to England. He never tells her that he’s planning for their relationship to be longer term, because she’s very gun-shy after the way her last relationship ended. (The fact that she was totally stupid about her last relationship notwithstanding).

Max has decided, and he never tells Bronte. In their last two or three days together, Max’ dad has a heart attack, and he has to leave instantly. Of course he does. But while he’s packing, he drops the bombshell that he wants a long-term relationship with Bronte and wants her to go with him to the UK. And if she doesn’t come with him, right now, she’ll never see him again.

Bronte is not a student. She’s a supposedly high-powered advertising exec of some kind. She could drop everything if they already were in a long-term relationship, but for someone who is supposedly just a fling, not if she wants to still have a career when she gets back. And whoever he is, he’s been lying to her. Not to mention, Bronte has some serious commitment issues.

Stella: Hm, I really can’t keep it short if I go into discussing their relationship because I found it completely unbelievable, unrealistic and phony (and not the part of the hero being a duke, but the normal dynamics of their relationship). But regarding that “big” break up point of Max being under shock that his dad was going to die, and he clearly tells Bronte that he is lost and needs her, the person he loves to be with him during this hard time, and that she just says no I found that completely heartless. And interesting how we see this scene completely differently Marlene, because for me when Max asks her to go with him, I understood it as he needed her support during this heartbreaking time and not an immediate answer for the HEA-until-we-die-part. And speaking of Bronte’s job, cue the eyeroll. She is a successful ad exec and she uses her boss and potential top client as her BF/shrink? Tearing up and chatting about her breakup when they are meeting for a business talk?! Talk about unprofessional.

Marlene: It went downhill from there. Both mother-in-laws were shrews of various breeds (of course they were. they always are). They break up once, and nearly fall apart at least one more time. And all of the problems revolve around Bronte’s issues and Max’s high-handedness. That and the expectation that they should read each other’s minds. Spare me.

Stella: Yeah, I couldn’t connect or be interested in their romance either as Bronte and her stupidity just drove me up the wall.


Marlene: I did not like these people. The author didn’t make me care what happened to them, or whether they resolved their problems. Or even whether they ever saw each other again. My iPad is too expensive to bang against the wall, which is the only thing that saved this one from being a wallbanger. Or a bulkhead-banger, since I was on an airplane at the time I read it.

I give A Royal Pain 1 star.

Stella: If it isn’t clear by now, I’ll repeat it once more: I very much disliked A Royal Pain. I hated the heroine and found the way the plot twists and turns were executed immature, the writing didactic and thus irritating, and couldn’t care for the heroine’s romance, because I actually was rooting against her. I know it’s a sacrilege of the romance genre, but I didn’t want her to find her HEA with such a nice guy. He deserved much much better than her. So no, A Royal Pain was truly a torture to get through, and in the end, I couldn’t do it…

I also give A Royal Pain 1 star and I’m still looking for that perfect oridnary-girl-meets-love-of-her-life-aristocrat-contemporary-romance, so if you have read such, please let me know!

***FTC Disclaimer: Most books reviewed on this site have been provided free of charge by the publisher, author or publicist. Some books we have purchased with our own money and will be noted as such. Any links to places to purchase books are provided as a convenience, and do not serve as an endorsement by this blog. All reviews are the true and honest opinion of the blogger reviewing the book. The method of acquiring the book does not have a bearing on the content of the review.