Mastered Anthology Review: Working Out by Marie Harte (DNF)

Mastered: 10 Tales of Sensual Surrender

An ex-Marine with a kink for dominance, Mac is Maggie’s boss. But Maggie doesn’t seem to realize he’s in charge…until he shows her that Sir is more than a title. It’s a lifestyle that could suit them both. That’s if Maggie sticks around long enough to wear his collar.

 
 
I started reading Mastered: 10 Tales of Sensual Surrender to help break up the other two anthologies I’m reading right now. Yeah, I’m neck deep in anthologies. O_O

Working Out is the first book I decided to read in this anthology…simply because I split the book up and it was the first one I chose.

Everything was fine for the first 20+ pages…and then I got to a kicker: the hero, Mac, really likes the heroine, Maggie, but she won’t give him the time of day. So he begs her best friend (who is dating his best friend) to help him out. Guess how she does this? She lets the jackass into Maggie’s apartment without her knowledge…to allow him to be there when Maggie gets home from work. WHAT IN THE FUCK?? What kind of friend would do shit like that??! The following few pages has him wandering around Maggie’s house and poking in her fridge. Not gonna lie…that turned me off big time. My immediate reaction to this was to DNF the rest of the book.

I pushed myself to read a few pages more…to the point where Maggie gets home from work. She walks in, sees Mac ans screams in startlement. But she doesn’t make him leave. And she doesn’t get angry…I was more angry for her than she was for herself.

At this point I started to poll my female friends – both readers and non-readers – and realized that I wasn’t alone in my pure horror regarding this situation. Most of my friends reacted in wide-eyed disbelief.

I decided to DNF Working Out because I can’t get past the hero being in the heroine’s house in this manner. I feel that the only appropriate response to the situation Maggie found herself in was to 1) call the police; 2) change her locks and 3) get rid of the BFF because obviously the BFF is TSTL and cannot be trusted regarding safety. Since this did not happen…I had to stop reading because I have no desire to destroy my ereader.

I read a lot of different and wild things…I have enjoyed quite a bit of work that pushes my buttons and the envelope…so why was I having such a strong reaction to this situation? I wasn’t sure at first…then I remembered a series of articles at Dear Author that discussed “reader consent.” Ah ha!

“…authors have to win over the readers’ consent to move on to the next stage in a story. Most debates over books arise because readers have different limits on when they’ll withhold consent.”

“Reader’s limits come less from the trope or acts than the execution skills of the authors and the reader’s own bias.”

“But gaining a reader’s consent takes time. It can be built through previous good books. There are some authors I just trust can take me anywhere with them. New to me authors are treated with much more skepticism.”

“But the reader’s consent depends upon the text itself and the reader doesn’t always know if she’s going to give up that consent, that willingness to forgive an a character’s behavior or be convinced of a character’s genuine repentance or just be convinced the relationship will last beyond the last page of a book.

When readers express their dismay over a particular storyline, so often they are saying this didn’t work for me and couching it in terms like “I hate secret baby tropes” when they really mean they hate secret baby tropes as executed by that author in that story. Or they are saying the author didn’t convince her of the rightness of this situation. The ability to pinpoint and then articulate exactly what didn’t work is really difficult. I have a hard time doing it and I’ve been writing reviews for the blog for years.”

– Jane, The Reader’s Ever Changing Hard Limits

I realize now that I simply cannot consent to this relationship – at least not at this moment – so I am releasing myself from the pressure of completing this book. I may come back to it later but for now, DNF.

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2 thoughts on “Mastered Anthology Review: Working Out by Marie Harte (DNF)

    • I know!! I thought about adding a snippet from Kat #5 where she reminds that wolf that when Curran showed up at her house she put a knife to his throat AND changed the locks.

      if this book had something like that – or at least a major temper tantrum – I might be able to deal.

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