Madam Read: This Man Series by Jodi Ellen Malpas

I hate to give a bad review of books and I was going to skip this one but I just couldn’t let it go, the story just wouldn’t let me be. I kept remembering scenes from it and get getting irritated about the whole thing. This book is quite possibly the worst book I’ve read. Worst. I would call it a fan fiction based on a fan fiction, its awfully similar to Fifty Shades of Grey… isn’t every erotic fiction though? The main character’s name is Ava and her BFF is Kate…  Ana and Kate were BFFs in Fifty Shades as you already know. Ava falls for “Lord of the Manor” Jesse Ward who is into kinky stuff and the Manor happens to be a sex club. Still with me? Good.

this man2Book One, we meet Ava, a nice, normal pretty girl, with a promising career as an interior decorator. She is really good at her job and is going places. Her work on Lusso, an apartment complex in London, unbeknownst to her, put her in the sights of one of its chief occupants Jesse Ward aka Lord of the Manor. The Manor happens to be a “hotel” in need of an extension and Ava’s firm is recruited to handle the project. She “rocks up” to her appointment with the owner of The Manor, expecting the atypical smarmy, older, stuffy gent but she is shocked to find the Lord is some young, hot sex “god”. Remember when Ana meets Christian whom she assumes would be an older man because of the vastness of Grey Holding. Still here? Good.

Ava meets Jesse and he’s drop dead gorgeous, heart-stoppingly handsome and the whole enchilada. Jesse too likes what he sees, when Ava shows up for their meeting, she is not what he expected. And so from there this game of cat and mouse ensues. Jesse is the cat who wants to trap the mouse, Ava, because there is something about her… wasn’t there something about Ana for Christian too when they first met…fine that may be an unfair comparison because its the norm for most boy meets girl happily ever after series, but a lot of this book echoes Fifty Shades and terribly too.

Ava puts up a weak fight but eventually lets Jesse all up and through her business which is pretty much how this story goes from start to finish. We know Jesse is hiding something from Ava, he won’t tell her his real age, he doesn’t speak to his parents, and there is something about The Manor that makes Ava feel ill at ease, not to mention Sarah, Jesse’s friend, who does not take to Ava. By the end of book one we know what The Manor really is and Ava is not cool with it…

Book Two, was the worst of the lot, a lot of this was sex, sex and more sex, it wasn’t even racy stuff it wasthis mann just borderline sex. It had me rolling my eyes each time they did it. Jesse used sex as his weapon against Ava, as punishment and reward. Much of this book particularly left me uncomfortable because Jesse devolved into a psychopath, stalking Ava, telling her what to do, who to see, what to wear, heck she wasn’t even allowed to go out to lunch alone with her stupid BFF Kate. He stalked her to meetings with clients… but, she let him. All in the name of some bullshit concept of Love. I don’t know where she gets her idea of love from, but this is not love, not even remotely.

Ava becomes a shell of the promising, feisty young woman we met in book one, she has no sense of self, she practically loses her personality and morphs into something of a Jesse doll. The few times she dares fight back she gets trampled all over and bends to Jesse’s will because its Jesse’s world and she lives in it not the other way round. If she misbehaves, she gets sexed up until she sees things his own way; he called this the “sense fuck”. I promise you I am not exaggerating. He needs constant reassurance and Ava is only too willing to give it. Simperingly. His worst behaviour, and there are plenty, is when he tries to knock her up so she can be beholden to him forever and the way he goes about it, has to be the most disgusting, underhanded thing ever. He constantly tells her to watch her language whilst using the same appalling language…dude I’m a grown ass woman if I want to curse I will curse the hell I want and no one is telling me what to say. But Ava takes it. Like she has taken everything else. And Jesse is an alcoholic, though no one dares admit that to themselves much less to Jesse but when he starts he cannot stop…but he is not an alcoholic. He drank himself into a coma BUT HE IS NOT AN…OF FUCKIT HE IS. And Ava blames herself for it. For all his problems as if Jesse is a child and not a grown man, owner of a sex club. He guilts her into it too- if he does drink he blames her because she makes him “crazy mad”…BYE. And in one of the most senseless stuff that happens in this book, Ava sets herself up for a whipping, to punish herself for making Jesse into the “fraught mess of a man…neurotic freak” that he always was anyway… okay Ava. FOH.

this man 3by Book Three my hate fully blossomed into rage laced hate and I promise you if I ever meet these two in real life, I will kill them and gladly serve time for it. These two cantankerous morons. Book three was not as bad as book two but it was still so terribly bad. Ava and Jesse are getting married, as if you didn’t already know she would of course marry him because girls like this are so stupid they redefine the word. They are getting married at The Manor, a place she hates and has had to lie to her family about it. Jesse has planned EVERYTHING and as usual she hasn’t had a say and has agreed to his every detail, like the yes-girl she is. He has no respect for her family even, he is rude to her mother and disregarding of her father and her brother, who is his own brand of foolishness. When Ava is being walked up the aisle by her father Jesse leaves the altar, walks up to them and handcuffs her to him…they stay that way for most of the ceremony. But you know, that’s just Jesse love…idiot. Jesse wants what Jesse wants, regardless of who is being hurt and Ava can go $%&! herself. Essentially.

He cheats on her, lies to her, manipulates every sense of her being to get her to stay with him…what a needy twat. Ava soon finds out that Jesse was stealing her pills to get her pregnant at which point she redeems herself for all of five seconds by packing a bag and leaving… they’ve only been married a day or two at this point but this was one step gone too far for Ava. She finds out that she is pregnant and then proceeds to get wasted because you know… Jesse love and all. But they get back together, OF COURSE THEY DO, she’s a sucker for punishment. Ava blames pregnancy for upending her life, she gags at the thought of giving a blow job and that’s just not on.

Jesse confesses a lot about his past and secrets, hence the title but it also felt like the author wanted our sympathies for him, and hoped to redeem him somewhat but nothing can make up for his abusive behaviour; in one incident he pins her down in the middle of a restaurant, and straddles her until she gives in to his demands, WHILST SHE IS PREGNANT… JESSE LOVE!! I had to step back and take a breather in the scene where he makes her pee on a stick right in front of him to prove she is indeed pregnant…YES HE DID. He went past redemption to hell from that instant.

Characterisation is the salvation of a story, good characters can elevate the power of a story and take a simple narrative into the extraordinary, this story might have been good if only the characters were likeable. None were. The story itself is padded out with too much sex scenes, at times it felt like one big bang fest going on rather than what I suppose should’ve been a love story. Jesse uses sex as a reward and punishment for Ava when she steps out of line or behaves in a way he deems appropriate.

Ava is weak and annoying, I have never been so irritated by a character in my whole life. If she were real I wouldn’t want to know her. She lets Jesse ride roughshod over her, telling her what to do and who to see, what to wear and basically how to live her life. It so damn pathetic I couldn’t believe I was reading such. Her best friend is the worst best friend in the history of best friends and she should be fired from ever having best friends. She sees Jesse’s aggression with Ava as his display of deep love and affection. She seems more bothered by his well being than hers. Tell me what best friend sees a man rough handling her best friend, even if she is his girlfriend, and takes his side because he is “misunderstood” and “loves” her? She is the worst. I hate her as much as I hate Ava if not much more, because best friends are supposed to be the sense when you are being senseless. 

But no one comes close to Jesse Ward. THE WORST CHARACTER EVER WRITTEN. Worst. Bar none. The author tries to make him out to be something of Christian Grey type but it pales ridiculously. He is weak and abusive, mentally and emotionally. At times he physically rough handles her and Ava allows him to all in the name of this blinded love she feels for him. He tramples all over her feelings without regard and is downright selfish and petulant. He is obsessive and possessive, like she is his play thing and doesn’t want to share with all the other kids. He needs to control Ava because it makes him feel good about himself, which he really shouldn’t because he is the worst type of guy. He uses her as an outlet for his frustration and blames her for everything he does wrong. He is pathetic and a bad cliché.

The first book made me angry because the extent of Ava’s idiocy and Jesse’s possessiveness was made clear, this man is a stalker, weakling and abusive, this woman is weak, Christ on a cracker she is WEAK. But the end of book one gave me some glimmer of hope that we would get more to the story. Book two- what story? This was on big sexathon and a few words thrown in there. I read the second book hoping for better, hoping that the character would improve much like Ana did in Fifty Shades, because that is what this book is, an imitation, regardless of what people say, it is. But Ava didn’t improve, when Jesse’s misdemeanour and revelations came to light she just accepted it without putting up much of a fight. The extent of her stupidity jars me something awful. He is obsessed with her, not in the endearing, acceptable way, you know if obsessions could be endearing and acceptable, but the obsession where he doesn’t even want her having lunch with her stupid best friend. When she questions him the answers we get are borderline basic and uninspiring, and it doesn’t justify why the hell he acts like an idiot. By the third book I was over everything and anything that these two had to throw at me.

There is a lot unforgivable in this story- its unrealistic and wholly un-relateable, I doubt any woman would put up with the extent of such nonsense, the characters are very unlikeable, flighty and wayward. Kate, Ava’s best friend is another bottle of idiocy but I cant even talk about her without losing more of my cool. In parts the story is rushed, especially when there could have been more depth to it. These were missed opportunities to elevate the story, we sped through the revelations and got right down to the sex scenes, even more sex scenes…ugh. By the end of the third book I was exhausted. We got to understand why Jesse was such an arsehole but it does not excuse his appalling behaviour.

In conclusion, I never should have read these books. If you’ve read these books and you feel different please enlighten me… I would appreciate it.