Monday, February 29, 2016

Book Review: Be With Me by Maya Banks



This is an older book (published in 2008) I picked up used because I was looking for reads that featured multiple pairings. This storyline involves a three guys/one girl foursome.

Maya Banks “Be With Me” features Regina (a police officer) who falls in love with three of her childhood friends: Cam, Sawyer, and Hutch (who were raised in a foster home together and as adults live together and also run a construction company together). All three men love her back and instead of making her choose between them, assert that they will all get along and live together, and she will be with all of them. There’s a mystery story line weaved into the plot along with the romance, but that’s the basic setup.

Well, besides learning how to choreograph a m/m/m/f sex scene, this book didn’t do much for me. It simply wasn’t my cup-o-tea. The foursome part wasn’t shocking – I’ve read multi-partnered stories before and I’ve seen it work in real life. Considering how a lot of the book plays out as a somewhat cheesy soap opera, I’m thinking the pairing was supposed to be some kind of catalyst for readers. Then again, Maya Banks has several books featuring multiple partners so perhaps that aspect wasn’t supposed to be shocking? Either way, where I live, that is shocking. I’m fairly certain someone would have a stroke if they found this book in the donation bin at the library. (Or at least write a strongly worded letter.) Then again, some readers I know would gladly smuggle the book home and bask in the shocking depravity. Either way, I'm sure the pairing is shocking for anyone who is not a seasoned erotic romance reader.

Moving on with my thoughts, there were several reasons this book didn’t click with me.

First off, I was hoping that the guys would be sexually involved with each other, not just with Regina. I guess all my previous experience reading m/m/m or f/f/f pairings kind of conditioned me to thinking that each person would have a relationship with the others. In the scenario of the book, the boys are all straight, they are physical only with Regina and only come in contact with each other if it happens to be an accident during sex. Fair enough, I suppose. At first I just found it kind of unbelievable that three straight guys would do that. At the same time, it was refreshing to see this kind of pairing. It's the opposite of the stereotype where the guy is ridiculously set on having a three way as long as he’s the only guy involved.

Second, even though there were four characters in the pairing, I wasn’t drawn to any of them. They were so generic that even their “quirks” were kind of bland. Around page 40 I had a hard time keeping them apart. So I had to cast them with people I knew. A bit awkward, but it made the reading go better. Then again, maybe that was the goal? The author didn’t want to be too descriptive because the reader is supposed to put in their own version of whoever they think is hottest? Well, my friends aren’t all the hottest, but at least they’re interesting.

Third, the motivations of the characters were contrived to fit the plot and arguments happened out of nowhere just to get characters out of the house or to show how “hard” this multi-partner thing is. As a result, most of the dialogue was repetitive and as a reader, you weren’t kept guessing. Ugh, it was just a tiff, this doesn’t mean they’re going to break up! And they never did. Thus I got to imagine my friends having more sex. Hooray?

Finally, the storytelling was just kind of blah. The sex scenes were decent, but I’ve read better. There was a lot of emotion, but I’ve read deeper, more convincing emotion. This was an easy/quick read, but at nearly 400 pages I was bored and ready to move on by the end.

In my view, this book is supposed to be a packaged fantasy. A quick read, everything turns out great, everyone’s in complete, fulfilled, mind boggling loooove and having complete, fulfilled, mind boggling sex. It’s my own fault for wanting something a bit more realistic.

Overall, I wouldn’t NOT recommend this book. I didn’t hate it by any means. I just felt for the characters and story line like I do for an oven mitt. It's useful, but it's not exactly spectacular.

….Unless I imagine my guy friends wearing said oven mitt.

While having sex with each other.

But, that’s not what this book was about.

So…

I put it in the donation bin at the library. I’m awaiting the strongly worded letter to the library board.

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