Phenomenal X by Michelle A. Valentine (Released April 2014)
“Good Girl. Notorious Bad-Boy. One Phenomenal Love.
From the mean streets of Detroit rises the newest superstar of professional wrestling, Xavier Cold, better known as Phenomenal X. His muscular physique makes men cower before him and women lose their minds with desire.
Anna Cortez is fresh out of college and naive to the harsh realities of the real world. Tired of living under the thumb of her conservative family, she defies them when she accepts a job as the assistant to wrestling’s most notorious bad-boy. Phenomenal X has an animalistic nature that even good girl Anna finds hard to resist.
One night forced to share a bed in a sold-out hotel, lines blur between them and they quickly learn that one lustful night changes everything and neither one of them will ever be the same.”
Honestly, the blurb does not do this book any favours. It coloured my view of the story before I even started reading it and I was wary of the heavy press of cliche and been there, done that.
But! I was pleasantly surprised by the actual read itself. It grabbed me! And I ended up reading this book in one sitting (and one very late night.. I need sleep! LOL)
FYI – This book was part of my ‘Shaking up my Bookshelf’ effort. This kind of book isn’t what I’d normally go for, so I’m a bit of a newbie when it comes to the expectations or possible ‘rules’ when it comes to this genre.. if there are any! Oh heck, you know what I mean right?
Lemme just get on with it..
So, what did I like?
Phenomenal X – The man himself. Hell yes. He’s big, he’s bad and he has a freakin’ motorbike! I was so on board with this guy. And oh yeah, a badass wrestler? Now, I used to be quite the fan of wrestling, so I found it really easy to imagine all these big, badass mofos. I used to have a poster of The Rock on my bedroom wall.. *cough*
The emotion – I really admire how the author pitched the tone of this book. It had natural ups and downs, highs and lows of feeling and reaction and has those wonderfully ‘human’ moments where you want to shake the characters by the shoulders and say ‘don’t be stupid!’ – but that’s what we are most of the time.. stupid. Heh heh. I also got proper caught up in the excitement when Anna watches the wrestling from the side of the ramp! I felt like clapping! Ha!
The plot – Yeah. I was a little worried at first that it was gonna go down with the hot and sweaty and not much else, but I really enjoyed Anna’s story and also the glimpses into Xavier’s past. It was well balanced.
The writing – The narrative style was smooth (for the most part. See below) and it made it really easy to sink into the story and let it take me along for one heck of a ride!
What didn’t work for me?
Anna – Sometimes, only sometimes, she didn’t show quite enough grit for me. I like my women strong and feisty and where there are definitely glimmers of wit and punch from this girl, she’s not quite there yet. I hope she develops into a more confident and ‘spunky’ character in the next installment. Like her cousin Quinn! She’s so much fun!
Dialogue – This was a little awkward in places, a little clunky, and I was hoping the author would just let the characters relax into a more natural exchange of speech- and it does work really well for the most part, but there are a few places that jarred enough for me to notice. You know? Xavier had some of the best lines, but also some of the worst.. didn’t make me love him any less though.
This book was so much fun and I was surprised how easily the author’s writing had me emotionally invested in these characters. My only real issue was that it was so short! I felt like I could have read on and on and on and on… 🙂
An easy 4 out of 5. There were some small niggles with the dialogue and the characterisation at large, but that said, I can’t ignore how much I enjoyed reading this book, and so that’s why I have to give it a happy four stars. I cannot WAIT to read the next book!