I’m taking a different approach with NaNoWriMo this year so I figured that reading a novel would be a good idea. And obviously, it had to not be in the genre as I was writing so I decided to go as far away as possible and chose to read this book sitting in my Kindle for about two years. Well, kind of far away so I chose a contemporary romance/family saga (as Amazon categorizes it). Here’s Miss Taken, the first book of Miss Taken Identity. I didn’t read the synopsis before I started this up….how many times do I say that I shouldn’t do that.
Let’s check it out!
by Cleo Scornavacca
Rain and Raven Medici are identical twins. Although they come from a loving close-knit family their childhoods couldn’t have been more different. Once grown, Raven becomes a lawyer at their dad’s firm Kane & Medici in NYC. Rain along with her only childhood friend Tommy Conte, builds a very successful business as professional photographers. Dominick Kane is a product of his upbringing. He’s powerful, self-assured and knows he can achieve anything he desires. There is only one thing he has ever failed at. A relationship with his father Vincent Kane. Upon his father’s death, Dominick vows revenge. In a bizarre twist of fate, Dominick kidnaps Raven as part of his plan for revenge. Only to discover afterward, he has taken Rain by mistake. Rain knows she can never survive being confined again. So she strikes a bargain with the devil and agrees to help Dominick get back what he feels rightly belongs to him. His father’s share of Kane & Medici.- Goodreads
Note: The synopsis on Goodreads is much more detailed. I just took snippets. Click on the Goodreads link to read the full version.
…sigh… Before we start, I think I should be totally clear that I took two weeks off after reading this before writing to minimize the frustrations I felt as I was reading this. There is a few good points that Miss Taken does but mostly, the way they executed and took the novel got me really frustrated. I mean, its kind of the frustration I felt for Tasting the Boy Next Door (review HERE). I want to start with the good points, just to maybe calm my nerves a little because thinking of this novel again makes me feel the anger boiling up again. But somehow, my good points can’t be backed with talking about the frustrations I had. Before we start, let me reiterate that I’m not extreme feminist or anything. I just don’t quite believe in particularly writing female characters like the way that they are done here. You will see what I mean below. And also, if you are going to have detailed sex scenes, it is in the erotica zone. Just saying that because then readers will know what they are buying into. Yet again, I’m not that uptight but I felt a little surprised. Its my fault. I had my suspicions just by the title of the book and I still went ahead with it. At least it also exactly fits the criteria of what I was looking for.
Miss Taken starts off okay. We learn about Rain and her growing up problems and health issues and her weird relationship with this douchebag best friend Tommy that she owns a business with. First problem is here. Rain is made into a girl who really seems like she just got out of confinement which isn’t the case, from what I derived at least. Actually she fears confinement because of her illness at a young age. Starting the business and living in a certain way, Tommy is this guy that really cares about her but he isn’t her boyfriend or doesn’t sleep with her. Yet, he calls her “baby” after every single sentence he says. Reading Tommy’s dialogue was torture. To be fair, near the end, Tommy’s character seemed to have developed more than anyone else and was the most logical and acceptable person, in some ways. Sad to say, because Tommy is really small potatoes here.
The main issue I had with Miss Taken was the main character Rain who hated confinement so much that she was willing to strike a deal with this unknown stranger that kidnapped her by accident. She wasn’t suspicious of his past or why he wanted what he wanted as revenge. She thought that she could change his mind from a vengeful plans that he’s had all along that could hurt her family. Rain is very selfish and self-centered and yet, she keeps talking about how its wrong to be attracted to handsome and hot man in front of her that she has to fake a relationship with and pretends to put a cold front and have all these boundaries. In a quick turn of events, it turns into a toxic relationship that everyone reading should see coming a mile away. Dominick resembles kind of Christian Grey (Fifty Shades of Grey, if you don’t know). He is troubled but more aggressive. He is temperamental and possessive, and on top of that, he is manipulative. Yet, Rain, in the whatever time frame has fallen in love and just forgives and forgets like the snap of your fingers of everything that he does. When she gets mad, Dominick comes up and rips off her clothes (or whatever sexual act) to turn her on and they are all lovey-dovey and forgets the whole thing, thinking that it has changed. Sex doesn’t change anything. A hot guy doesn’t make you fall in love and forget who you are. That is what frustrates me. And it keeps happening for at least half of the novel and we never learn much from any of these developments except that Rain is so easily manipulated and really stupid. This is what I don’t agree with. Writing this makes me angry because it gives women this really horrible superficial image. What I hated the most was that Rain always talks about leaving and then Dominick has sex with her or sweet talk her in one way or another and she forgets and gives him another chance. I’m not a hard ass and I’m a huge romantic (and I’m even going to admit that I love sex as much as the next person) and I even forgive people who don’t deserve it more than they should but Miss Taken takes it to another level.
I know I ranted up there. I’m sorry about that. My point is: this is a bad portrayal and one that I can’t back because this character has no personality. She’s gone through so much in her younger days and yet, she has no personality and no values especially when Dominick is confining and restricting her more than her growing up with an illness ever was and yet, she went for this deal that turned into a real “relationship” instead of going back home and doing what is right. Why not dig deeper to see why Dominick’s history was like that, why not learn more about it. She does but only so much later. I guess, the good part of Miss Taken is that it starts off reasonably well, except for the dialogue choice. It heads in a good direction then just falls apart. Then the ending is kind of acceptable but then, its only leading up to the sequel, which I probably won’t read because I already looked at the synopsis and I kind of have an idea where its going and I’m not ready to get this worked up again.
There are ways to write novels like this. I’ve read some that are sensual and sexy to read and yet not degrading or portraying women characters as people who just will do anything and forget all of themselves because of a hot guy that turns them on. Best example I can think of right now: King’s. Getting attracted to a hot guy and being manipulated into a situation is normal as a story, it is in the way an author approaches and builds those characters that changes the equation. Maybe for some, this could be a guilty pleasure especially since the sex scenes are done very well, unfortunately for me, it was not enjoyable for the lack of depth in the characters.