Coco Fierce is my girl, and she makes my reviews look like 7th grade book reports! Here is her review of Taming Val by Trevion Burns. Reprinted with her permission of course. Brace yourselves…
Taming Val By: Trevion Burns
Zoey has always been very adamant about not wanting kids at all. Due to the circumstances surrounding her parent’s death she doesn’t want a child to feel the hurt and abandonment she did as a child. Although taken in by the Romanovsky clan since the age of 12 she still doesn’t feel like she is quite yet a member of the family. Older brother Val makes a point to tell her every day that she is not his “sister” nor will she ever be. The need to belong mixed with hopelessness and lust Val and Zoey find themselves in a very precarious situation.
Val’s and Zoey’s “relationship” started off a bit rocky. Val has kept Zoey at a distance for so many years its a hard transition for him to just open up and let her in. Zoey wears her heart on her sleeve and although a bit naïve she does love hard and very deep. In the beginning of their growing relationship Val seemed emotionally abusive. At times I wish Zoey would stick up for herself and stop allowing him to jerk her around. When she finally did grow a spine she forgave him so easily. One cute and funny part in the story was Zoey’s lasagna. I won’t give too much a way but this was a very light part of the story.
Although this is a story about Val the elder brother we get a glimpse into the other three brother’s storylines as well. For instance brother Roman finds out some life altering news in this book but the author merely glosses over the issue. I know this is a novella and Roman’s story will be next. But why bring up such a dramatic shift in the story and just leave it hanging there? The family called but didn’t try to find him.
As a reader I would have liked to have seen more about the parent’s perspective on this issue. There were a lot of issues in this story that could have been given more attention or not brought up at all. As a reader I like to visualize what the characters look like and in order for me to do that physical descriptions are needed. In this story there were no real descriptions of Zoey except that she had long hair down her back and that she was black. The author kept making mention to Zoey’s “blackness” in the story. For example after agreeing to help Val the old fashion way Zoey brings up some issues about the two having a child together. One of them being that the child will be black and that the name would have to reflect that. She goes on to say that Marcus is a black name and a suitable one for the child and Val needed to accept that as a name for their kid because the kid would be black. I know you might be thinking that I am nitpicking here but that whole scene was problematic for me. For one the superficial concern of Val and her having a kid would be the name not the fact that he was to be like a brother for her since the age of 12. But to assign color to a name? I don’t understand why this was even brought up in the story if race was an issue I think there could have been a better way to tackle the issue.
One of the biggest issues in this story were the inconsistencies. (Possible Spoilers) If the doctor Val was seeing was said to be a hack why didn’t Val expose the doctor as being unethical? With his personality he seemed like the type to try to ruin this doctor. For someone who got devastating news why not research all your options? I understand it was an emotional time and to receive such news is devastating but when Zoey and her friend gave him new information he just jumped on board with no reservations. Throughout the story the author kept mentioning that Val was incompetent. The word is impotent. If he was incompetent how is he running a billion dollar online real estate business?
Despite my issues with this story it wasn’t all bad. I did find the “fling” Reggie storyline to be interesting and added some depth to the story. Val’s secret and how he and Reggie know each other make for a good follow-up story. But is this to be uncovered in the next story because the next story seems about Roman and Val’s friend? Like I mentioned before this is a novella and unfolds through the length of four stories about each brother. I just wished as a reader some issues regarding Val and Zoey were explored before moving on to the next storyline and brother. For instance we only got information on Val’s hate for Zoey out of a dying attraction but not much on their newly developed relationship except sex scenes. Hopefully the next story will be more fleshed out.
Note to the author and other readers: This is not a personal attack on the author or my attempt to bash the author in any way but the thoughts of one reader and reviewer. I know lately a lot of authors have taken to social media about “hurtful” reviews. This is not intended to be hurtful in any way just my thoughts on this book. And let’s face it not everyone is going to like your work. Not everyone finds my reviews helpful and that’s ok. I know I stated my truth and I will leave it at that. Judge this book for yourself and not based solely on this one review.