Book Review of All the Ways to Ruin a Rogue (Debutante Files, Bk 2)

All the Ways to Ruin a Rogue (Debutante Files, Bk 2)
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I always eagerly anticipate a Sophie Jordan release, more so since a lost copy forced me to wait for a replacement. I began reading with a full smile, but then the story lost much of its shine, and I have to admit that I ultimately wrestled with rating this one.

The tale began as an unrequited love theme (one of my favs), which normally stirs up all kinds of personal conflict and opportunities for gut-punch emotion. Before long, though, this one left a weird taste in my mouth because the lead couple dragged out their antagonism for far too long. Their problems began when teen Aurelia, crushed after spying Max in a compromising situation, vents her disillusionment and hate onto paper with disastrous consequences. Believing she betrayed their friendship, Max, therefore, turned his back on her. When the story picked up briefly seven years later, and then a year after that, the motivation became enemies-to-lovers. Their early friendship was still in shreds, they were barely civil, bitter, and constantly snapping at each other. As teens, their childish behaviors were predictable, even understandable; however, as adults these are very tiresome.

I am not a fan of enemies to lovers, nor do I like reading romances where the main couple argues and tries to best the other, and, as in this case, often cruel about it. Am I really supposed to believe that they even liked each other, that Aurelia never stopped loving Max? Besides, Max was a randy goat and a womanizer. Thinking he could treat Aurelia as a constant one-night stand, using her for his sexual gratification, did not endear him to me. This was one of the few instances where the love scenes didn't feel so lovely. Also, I cringed a little when he used the "it's not you, it's me" line. Yuk. Subsequent events snowball quickly though a little too conveniently and not altogether convincing.

The second in the Debutante Files series is disappointing, so let this not be your introduction to Jordan. She has others that are much better and more satisfying (Wicked In Your Arms, Lessons From a Scandalous Bride). Too bad the unrequited love angle didn't angle toward another, less acrimonious, path.