Touch of Fondness (Stay in Touch, #1) by Joy Penny – eARC Review

Touch of Fondness (Stay in Touch, #1)Publication Date:

May 2nd, 2017


Snowy Wings Publishing

Goodreads Synopsis:

Four friends. Four college grads. Four people figuring out that life doesn’t always turn out the way you expected.

Brielle Reyes may not have post-college life planned out like some of her friends do, but she figures she’ll work for her mother’s home cleaning service while job hunting for something that makes use of her history and philosophy degrees. It’ll work out as long as she doesn’t fall in love. Her last relationship was a disaster and she has no idea where she’ll be in a few weeks, let alone the rest of her life. Since the only guy in her age range she sees now on a regular basis is cantankerous if handsome client Archer Ward, she probably won’t have a hard time sticking to that vow. Probably.

Archer Ward likes very few things: illustrating as a somewhat-celebrated comic artist and his privacy. When his meddling mother hires him a cleaning service on an almost daily basis because she doesn’t fully trust her son to live on his own with his disability, he’s at first annoyed—even if his house cleaner is the most beautiful woman he’s ever spent more than a few minutes with. When he realizes her dreams may take her far outside of his restricted orbit, he has to decide whether to stifle his interest in her or risk messing up her plans to explore if there’s something more between them.

Neither can deny they’re growing a little fond of each other, even if falling in love just now makes no sense whatsoever. But how often does love ever make perfect sense?


*I was provided a copy by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review

Once again this was a buddy read with Cristina @ My Tiny Obsessions so click HERE to read her thoughts about this book :). Actually be sure to check her review because she also ranted a little bit about this book.

When I read the blurb for this book on NetGalley I was kind of excited to read it. I love new adult and this one looked really cool, especially because it featured a disabled character. However, this might have been the worst book I’ve read this year so far. I had so many problems with it that I don’t even know were to start from. So today I decided to change a little bit and talk about this book in topics so it doesn’t end up being a big mess. Also, as a heads up, this review will have spoilers so if you don’t want to be spoiled don’t keep reading please. Btw, this is going to be a long review so I’m sorry in advance XD.

The Characters

I’m going to start by talking about the characters. I hated every single one of them. First we have Brielle, one of the main characters of the book. At first Brielle looks like a normal girl who just got out of college and is looking for her first job but as soon as we got to meet her better I hated her. For starters, she has no ambitions at all and has no idea what to do with her life. That’s pretty normal, especially if you just graduated. I graduated a couple of years ago and I’m not even sure what I want to do with my life (I do have a slight idea). However, the way the she acts and thinks got me so mad. She complains the whole book how she can’t find a job and how no one answers to her when she applies but she also stats during the book how she hasn’t even applied for that many jobs. She’s just expects her dream job will fall from the sky (which actually happens and which actually made me mad because that’s not real life). It really got to my nerves every time she was talking or thinking about getting a job because she wasn’t even trying.

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Then we have the way she acted towards her mom. Her mom wasn’t a great character to be honest (but no one was) but the way she acted was so her daughter would have a nice life. Basically Brielle is working for her mom and living with her mom while she’s trying to figure out what she should do with her life and her mom keeps pushing her to find a job which leads to Brielle be constantly complaining about her. However, the way she behaves towards her own mother is stupid and childish because her she only wants the best for her daughter and she knows the best is not be a cleaning lady. These are a few things I hated in Brielle but the worst thing was how judgemental she was. I just can’t deal with that, especially how judgemental she is towards Archer’s disability. Also, she thinks the stupidiest things about his disability but that will come later.

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Talking about Archer… he wasn’t better than Brielle. He was a douchebag who thought a girl can’t enjoy comics especially if it’s a hot girl). So yeah, he was a sexist bastard and I don’t care if he changed his mind throughout the book because as soon as I hated him I hated him for real. There’s not a lot more I can tell you about Archer because, to be honest, I didn’t even really know him by the end of the book. That’s how developed these characters were.

Everything could have been better if there was some kind of enjoyable character, but guess what?? There wasn’t even one. Brielle’s friends were terrible and I hated that they kept appearing in the book even if they weren’t even nearby her. Her little sister was a stupid little brat and Archer’s mom… I don’t even know what to say about her. Almost every character in this book sucked, and the decent ones barely appeared, which made everything worse because the characters are one of the most important part of books, you know? Most of the times it’s pretty difficult to like a book when you don’t care a little bit about the characters.

The Plot

I don’t even know what to say about the plot because there wasn’t one at all. I’ve been trying to understand what this book was about for almost a week. Was it about Brielle finding herself and her passion?? Was it about her relationship with Archer?? Maybe even about be in a relationship with a guy with a disability?? I HAVE NO F*CKING IDEA! This was all over the place. Sometimes you could think the focus of the book would be something but a few chapters later that wasn’t important anymore and the focus would be something else. The problem was that the author tried to include a lot of things that ended up not working together and she might have ended up losing the focus about the plot. I really don’t know. At one point this book had dealt with, a girl trying to find what she loves to do, a disable guy, abuse, rape, a possibly ace character, a friend dating the main character’s douchebag ex-boyfriend, sexism… and a lot more. Sometimes it might be better to stick to only a couple of storylines and maybe keep the rest for the followup books (that I won’t be reading at all).

The Romance

The romance was so bad on this one. First of all, there’s instalove. I FREAKING HATE INSTALOVE. Most of the action of this book is set in the period of one or two weeks. By the end of that time Archer is practically in love with Brielle and Brielle cares “deeply” about Archer. I wouldn’t be that mad about it if they had tried to get to know each other, but they didn’t. There’s even a point, when they are fighting, that both acknowledge they know nothing about each other… but at that point they already fell in love.

There was also no chemistry at all between them. Their scenes together were weird and I don’t even want to think about the only sex scene in the book because it was cringy as hell. First of all, Brielle thought about everything but about Archer during that scene. It went from her lack of job, to her asshole friends… she even tought about her douchebag ex. What happened before was also kind of weird and it felt like Brielle was using Archer… because she was, without even thinking about him. Then we have the fact she didn’t know he was a virgin. My problem is not that she didn’t know he was a virgin because that can happen. My problem is with how dum she was. Archer had told her the previous day how inexperienced he was. He even told her he had never been kissed (which led to the most awkward kiss ever). Did she realize he was a virgin after all of this?? NO! She only realized after. Maybe it wouldn’t have happened if she could think a little bit about other people and not only about herself.

Everything about them was weird and I couldn’t feel the chemistry at all. For me it looked like one of those couples who wouldn’t last long.

The Representation

Here’s the biggest problem I had with this book… the bad representation. In my opinion, the way the disability was shown and the way people acted towards it was terrible and offensive as hell. I don’t have a disability but I was still extremely offended by some of the things I read and, to be honest, I don’t want a person with a disability to ever read this book. First of all, there’s the fact that Archer is babied by his mom. She’s against him moving by himself because she needs to be there all the time. She hires a cleaning company so they can keep an eye on him everyday. He can’t have his license because she’ll freak out. If he doesn’t show up at a certain place at a certain time she freaks out. I could go on but it’s not necessary. I really hated this because it was showing that a disable person in a wheelchair can’t live by himself and have a normal life due to that disability. The problem is that everyone around him thinks he can’t have a normal life… even Brielle. Brielle is a whole different situation because I hated every single tought she had about his disability since meeting him. There were a lot of moments that made me roll my eyes because of what would come to her mind. I can give you some examples. There is a point where she thinks this:

“Despite his top half being rather buff–his arms especially–his legs were awfully thin. So skinny, he looked sickly. Brielle immediately felt dumb for even thinking that.”

Then there was this:

“Wow. Suffer from self-confidence issues much? Brielle felt bad for thinking that. He was disabled, after all. He certainly had more going on than most jerks to excuse his behavior. Brielle felt bad for thinking of him as a jerk, too.”

Then there was this conversation between her and one of her friends:

“‘But if he’s disabled, how would you two–‘ ‘Okay,’ said Brielle, loudly. ‘Change of subject.’”

“Look up how to have sex in a wheelchair–“

“‘I wasn’t sure he could even…’ Pembroke gestured with one hand, not very clearly, but there was little else she could mean.”

I could go on but then I would have to put a big part of the book in a single review and it would be too long XD. However you can see what I’m talking about. This went on and on the whole book.

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Then there’s the fact we never know what disability Archer really has and that kind took something out of the book because it’s kind of important to try to understand those things. What makes everything worse is that the author says she lives with someone who has the same disability as Archer and she based the book in real life experiences. If this was based in real life experiences I have to tell you that a lot has to change in this world.

Also, as I said before, there’s an ace character in the series and she’ll have her own book. I never read a book with an ace character, and I really want to, but it won’t be this one for sure because if the author messed up so much with the disability representation, when it’s something she’s basing in someone she knows, I really don’t want to see the train wreck a book with an ace character can be.

The Writing

By now you would think I wouldn’t have more problems with this book right?? Well, wrong. There’s one more thing I hated… the writing. It just didn’t work at all for me. This book is told in a third person dual POV. I don’t normally like third person POV for a few reasons but mainly because it’s more difficult to connect with the characters. However, the dual POV was also a problem because at some points I couldn’t distinguish Brielle and Archer’s voices. Then we have the fact that the book wasn’t that well written. I got confused a ton of times and it didn’t help that the story was all over the place. At one point they cold be talking or thinking about something but one second later they would be talking or thinking about something completely different. The writing didn’t work for me at all.

Overall, this book was a huge disappointment. As you can see I had a lot of problems with this book and it wasn’t an enjoyable read. I don’t even know how I was able to finish it. There were a lot of things that happened and I wasn’t okay with most of them. Also, I hope I didn’t look too mean in this review. This is my honest opinion about this but I’m not, in any way, attacking the author. I’m sorry if it feels like I might be because that’s not what I want to do.


2 stars

Have you read this book? If so, what did you think about it? If you haven’t read it would you read it?

3 thoughts on “Touch of Fondness (Stay in Touch, #1) by Joy Penny – eARC Review

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