First Love – Book #1 of Oakville Series
By Kathy-Jo Reinhart
2 stars – SPOILER ALERT
I was thoroughly excited to get to this book on the list when Reinhart sent it to me for an honest review. The cover of this book drew me in. The expressions of love on both of the models faces truly grabbed me. When I started reading, I still felt the anticipation of a relationship destroyed and then rekindled. Unfortunately, those rekindle moments appeared in the first ten percent of the book so the rest of the book left me feeling bereft for a romantic story.
Amber and Kyle are long time best friends and lovers. Miscommunication drives the couple apart. The story is not about how they got back together. It is about when they are reunited, how their individual pasts threaten to tear them apart over and over and over and over. This book has the main components of a New Adult/ Erotica/ Suspense/ Fan fiction book. I don’t know what category I would put it in but I certainly hope it isn’t YA. The cover is deceptive so please, no one under 18 years old should read this book.
The couple doesn’t have any conflict between each other besides their initial breakup, so the reader can enjoy vivid sex scenes between the main couple. After the first two scenes, I skimmed the rest. I have read “Fifty Shades of Grey” and have become immune to the book porn. It just doesn’t do anything for me. I wanted a love story of conflict, of trust and character development. This book is about tragedy and sex. Cheating, sex, stalkers, sex, abduction, sex, car explosion, sex, parent still alive, sex, car crash…. It’s a cliffhanger but I am sure there is sex in the next book. When I see this list, it dawns on me that this is a spin off of Tina Reber’s series, “Love Unscripted”, compressed into 180 pages.
I understand that fan fiction and book boyfriends are so popular these days and I love them, too. We all want to find our night time hot rock star or movie star and cuddle up tight with him. Tina Reber and S.C Stephens both succeeded in their stories because of the large impact the star’s career had on their respective partners. We don’t see what being a rock star looks like in this book. Kyle does a few gigs but there aren’t any fans or a manager or anything that says, “Hey, this guy made it in LA!” This story would have been just as good if he wasn’t a rock star, but a business man who returned home from travel.
This is the reason I rated it so low. Music lyrics make up about ten pages but they are not original lyrics, they are taken from bands that exist in the real world. This is called copyrighting. You must get permission from musicians to use their words in both books and movies and it is extremely hard to do for bestselling authors. Here is a tidbit – “According to the thread on Zoetrope, which came from an article in the Guardian, it cost one author $1500 to quote two lines from a Bob Marley song in his novel. The concept of fair use doesn’t apply to lyrics, which is why this particular author, Blake Morrison, had to pay £500 to quote one line of ‘Jumpin’ Jack Flash’ by the Stones, £535 for a line of ‘Wonderwall’ by Oasis and £735 for one line from ‘When I’m Sixty Four’.” (http://www.writing-world.com/dawn/lyrics.shtml) If I were Reinhart, I would remove this book from circulation immediately and re-publish without the lyrics and then tell her publisher that they are fired. A way to include lyrics is easy! You will notice in most books, the titles of songs are mentioned (that is okay) and the character talk “about” certain lines in a roundabout way but authors may not use direct quotes from musicians in their books. Original lyrics written by the author are fine.
Ms. Reinhart, It takes guts to be an author. It takes blood, sweat and tears to write out 180 pages, completely ignore your friends and family and then put yourself out there. My review is a tough one and I apologize for that. I didn’t hate this book. I felt like a lot of the ideas were regurgitated and then throw in copyright issues and I can’t rate it any higher.