Out of Time (Out of Time #1) by Monique Martin

This is not one star, this is one half a star. And that is a generous half star. This was a Book Bub bargain but I still felt duped and that the blurb set an expectation that was far from met. Caveat – I do not like romance novels. Especially those of the Harlequin variety. And I am not a fan, at all, of Fifty Shades of Grey – not because of the subject matter, but because I don’t feel the subject matter was handled well. But I digress.

When I chose this title, what I was expecting was a time travel novel with a supernatural/horror element. The first chapter was fine. An introduction of Professor Simon Cross, occult studies and his teaching assistant Elizabeth. The implication was that they were attracted to one another and there was the introduction of the items that would aid the time travel component. This book is 254 pages on my Nook.

For the first 200 pages, literally not figuratively, the story was nothing more than burning, flashing eyes, sensuous curvature of her breasts, his hard manhood, her thighs and ass, his ass and back and the sexual tension that drove them to have endless cold showers in a seedy hotel room in the year 1929, to which they had been transported.

At some point, they finally had sex and then the story became about how much they dropped the whole idea of anything they were supposed to be investigating or doing on this time travel trip and ran back to their seedy motel/apartment and had sex. Or when they went to Coney Island for the day, wanting to have sex on the train and the roller coaster and at the movies. And in their job at the speakeasy (he as a piano player, she as a barmaid) watching each other, lusting after each other and dipping into the back room for a quickie or a make out session.

In between the sex, they went to an occasional diner and ate breakfast every day at 1pm and then had more sex with an occasional glass of bootleg scotch or bourbon. Occasionally, one or the other would be assaulted for various reasons and they would clean each others wounds and have sex.

The last 54 pages concerned the story about the supernatural, crammed in amongst more sex/sexual tension and lots of loose ends, unexplained ideas and half thoughts. The book finally ends with a list of follow up books with these same characters presumably screwing their way through time.

I’m not a prude. Sex is great. Well written sex scenes within the context of a story are great. This is not that. This is Harlequin romance stuff with Fabio on the cover. If you are into that, then this is a book for you and hell, maybe it’s a 5 star read for those who go in knowing that is what the content consists of and wanting that kind of novel.

But this is not a good time travel novel. Both time travel devices (a ring and a watch) that were supposed to be so important to the story were poorly explained and in the case of the ring, barely even covered making it at most an afterthought. Characters would come in with no explanation as to the hows and whys (Simon’s grandfather who incidentally had died about 38 years earlier in Chapter 1) and in the last 10 pages, a mysterious council who controlled time travel was mentioned in passing but Simon was too busy worrying that he would never have sex with Elizabeth again to stop for the explanation. I’m not kidding. Father Cavanugh, a priest who seemed to be important in the beginning, dropped in and out…I could list a lot of things but the truth is, the inconsistencies are so many that those are a book in themselves.

As for the horror portion… A 1920’s era bootlegger/gangster who is a cross between a vampire and demon with yellow eyes. He made himself into this incidentally with Egyptian artifacts that he acquired from King Tut’s tomb. How a low level rum runner acquires Tut’s treasures 5 years or less after the discovery – well, yet another poorly explained plot point. He ran around ripping the throats out of men, women and children thus controlling the Bowery. Oh yes, lest I forget, the power of love was his undoing. He also spent a lot of time ogling and leering at Elizabeth and there was of course a pissing contest about who would have her.

It has been a long time since I have read a book I would rate so low. I suppose I am a book masochist because I make myself finish every book I start to give it and the author a chance to make me a believer. This one defied all efforts to do so. One for fans of the romance genre and probably needs to be put into a more accurate category so as not to deceive readers as to what it’s really about.

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