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Draw Me In by Regina Cole
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Draw Me In

by Regina Cole

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In Draw Me In, we're sucked into the world of Hailey Jakes, an art students whose parents have decided to use her college fund to pay for their nasty divorce, and Neill Vanderhaven, a tattoo artist whose last relationship destroyed his ability to trust women.

When Hailey gets the call from her father saying that she needs to drop out because her college fund has been depleted, she decides she's not going down without a fight. She takes to the streets, stopping in every restaurant and shop she comes across until she finds someone looking for help. The one place that's hiring is Sinful Skin, the tattoo shop that Neill owns. Hailey and Neill are immediately attracted to each other, but for the sake of their jobs, they need to keep it professional. Add to that the news of Hailey's parents' divorce and Neill's rocky history with women, and you get two people trying their hardest to avoid a relationship.

The premise of Draw Me In is fine; it's the execution that could use some work.

The first thing that threw me off was the sheer angst running through each of Hailey and Neill's interactions. Yes, Hailey's parents are going through a divorce. My parents are divorced too, but that doesn't mean that I feel like I'm somehow incapable of loving anyone. It just means that my parents weren't right for each other. I thought that Hailey was going to have some deep, dark secret in her past that made her afraid to get close to someone. I couldn't believe it was just because her parents were getting divorced. And Neill -- I'm sorry, but I just didn't understand what Gretchen had to do with anything. I don't think that she was developed enough as a character to play the huge role that she did in Neill's life. So she stole some money from him and took some drugs. You know, that's not cool and obviously it's good that he doesn't trust her anymore, but to not be able to trust anybody is taking it a little far. When Neill revealed what had gone down with Gretchen, I was actually a little disappointed. After all it had been built up to be, the truth was kind of a letdown. I've been reading a lot of angsty romances lately, and these characters had some of the worst reasons for trust issues that I've seen so far.

Of course, the angst between Hailey and Neill doesn't stop once they finally begin dating. No. Why would it? Everything is all fine and dandy until her adviser plants drugs on her so that she'll get expelled and he can kidnap her without drawing suspicion. Oh, and his sister, the president of the college, is in on it too. I'll get back to that later, but what I really want to discuss is the utter hissy fit that Neill threw when he found those drugs in her bag. A) What is it with Neill going through her stuff? B) What reason has she given him not to trust her? C) If she were really using all those drugs -- all the many, many different drugs that were planted on her, did he really think she'd be able to act as normal as she did? D) If she really were using drugs, did he think that she would keep them in a MANILA ENVELOPE in her BACKPACK? I mean, seriously. The guy has serious issues. Add to that the fact that he listed her job when she told him she needed two days off to write a twenty-page paper (which, by the way, his co-owner approved her time off), and I just could not believe that she took him back. He didn't deserve her. She didn't deserve to be treated like that. All he got from her was a slap on the wrist, and then they were back to kissing like nothing happened. It made me so angry.

Onto the hot mess that was her adviser, Dr. Fields. I mean, first off, why is a psych professor her art adviser? I don't know how it works at other schools, my adviser was a professor in my major. How can somebody advise on a major they don't know? Anyway, from the first mention of him, it's clear that Dr. Fields is going to be a problem. Why is Hailey's academic adviser tutoring her? That's what tutors are for. Advisers advise on the sorts of classes you should be taking, how you can get internships and other experience, what you can do with your degree once you finish -- they do not tutor their students in calculus, of all things. Then he got possessive, telling her that she needed to quit her job, following her around campus, showing up at the tattoo shop. Then he was getting all up in her personal space and getting grabby. The clincher was when Hailey went to the administration office to change advisers, and the secretary blew her off until she threatened to press charges for sexual harassment -- and the secretary told her that wouldn't be necessary, that such accusations were handled in-house. I thought Dr. Fields was creepy, but honestly, his stalking could have been handled better. The whole "shrine to Hailey" and kidnapping thing was kind of outside the realm of how he'd previously been written. I could have seen that going a lot of ways, and planting drugs on her was not one of them. I felt like that was just a really convenient direction to go to create the main conflict with Fields and Neill in one swoop.

Draw Me In started out well enough, but the writing was too choppy and the pacing was off. I think that the story is good, and with some extensive editing, it would have been much better. It read like the author felt rushed while writing it and forgot to go back and check things like continuity and pacing. Despite all that, I did enjoy the story for what it was, and it is a very quick read. It would be the perfect book to read at the beach or on a rainy Sunday afternoon.

Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for the free copy. ( )
  Sara.Newhouse | Feb 11, 2016 |
An interesting read. The premise of the book is great but it left me wanting so much more from the story. The heroine Hailey was a bit too whiny and cried way too much for me. She cared way too much what others thought. And the hero Neill needed to make a decision and go for it. For a tatted up, Harley riding dude, he was just a bit to wishy washy to believe. Overall not a bad read but left me a bit frustrated because the story had so much potential to be great. ( )
  Bette_Hansen | Nov 3, 2015 |
Definitely would recommend this story to others. I enjoyed the author's writing style and will look forward to reading more of her works in the future. I received a copy of this ARC through NetGalley in exchange for my honest opinion. ( )
  Debra_Burge | Apr 24, 2015 |
3.5 Stars

This was a New Adult book, which I normally don't read, but this one was alright. Hailey was a pretty fragile girl trying to balance school, work, and her family's breakdown all while finding herself falling for her boss. Neill was just a guy who had been damaged by his father and his ex girlfriend and was running a tattoo shop. The two fight it for as long as they could, have a severe case of miscommunication and finally give in. This story good and I would recommend it to anyone who likes the NA genre.

Thanks to Netgalley for the ARC. ( )
  amdrane2 | Nov 15, 2014 |
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