Friday, January 19, 2018

TBQ's Review: Scoring with the Wrong Twin

Scoring with the Wrong Twin by Naima Simone
Publisher: Entangled: Brazen (January 15, 2018)
Genre: Contemporary Romance


Shy, awkward Sophia Cruz has a hard time telling her vivacious identical twin “no.” But when her sister begs her to swap places for a modeling shoot, she caves … again. Then Zephirin Black walks onto the set. The brooding, aloof, and gorgeous tight end for the Washington Warriors. But she can keep it professional… She has to. Because the adorkable Cruz twin has no luck with guys once they compare her to her sister.

After a bad break-up, Zeph hasn’t been big on second chances—and even less with trust. But he finds himself giving please-call-me-by-my-middle-name-Sophia both. The woman he’d dismissed as a spoiled cover model is different from the first time he met her. Quirkier. Funnier. Definitely sexier. What started as one night turns into another…and another…and another…

Still, Sophia can’t go on keeping her secret from him. But telling Zeph the truth will mean losing him for good.



Where to Buy*:
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My Review:



One of my reader/blogger goals for 2018 was to read more books from new authors (or new to me authors). Another was to read more romances written by women of color (and just in general read more diversely). What better way to start off 2018 than by picking up a book that is by a new (to me) author who is also a WOC? And I’m glad I did because while I do have a few things to complain about, overall I very much enjoyed Scoring with the Wrong Twin.



Our heroine, Sophia, is Puerto Rican-American. She’s got tattoos, dyed hair, and piercings (everything but the clit, basically, because she chickened out; I don’t blame you, girl, not one bit!). Basically, she’s awesome. But wait, there’s more: she’s also super smart and nerdy; she’s an app developer. Her twin sister, Giovanna, is a model, and when she accidentally overbooks her gigs, she begs Sophia to help her out. After all, Giovanna can’t be in two places at once . . . at least not without the help of her identical twin! Sophia agrees and takes the Sports Illustrated-like shoot in the city, while Giovanna goes off to do a shoot out of the country.



(By the way, I’m still not sure how Sophia managed to take her place and NOT create any problems or make anyone suspicious since, you know, the model they know and hired does NOT have dyed hair, or piercings, or tatts. And Sophia has all of these things. But whatever, I guess you just have to suspend your disbelief about that in order to get to the setup for how Sophia is going to meet her man.)



Zeph is a black NFL player, originally from the South. He also has tattoos, though I admit I’m a bit mad still that the cover model for this book does not have tatts (I also have a few other thoughts on the cover, but we’ll save that for later, shall we?). But whatever, I’m just happy that we got a black model on the cover. And said model is fine as hell. So I’ll let the lack of tatts pass, especially since it’s rare that tatts are done well when Photoshopped onto a cover.



Wow, tangent much, TBQ? Back to Zeph! Zeph had a bad experience with an ex-girlfriend who used him, his fame, and his money. So obviously, in true romance hero fashion, he now has a hard time trusting women, doesn’t do relationships, and hates lying.



Can we see where this is going to be a problem? Remember, Sophia is playing her sister for this photoshoot, which is where she meets Zeph, as they two are partnered up.



The photoshoot scenes were pretty intense, and you could all but feel the chemistry coming off the pages from those two. At one point, Sophia even takes change of their poses and sprawls at his feet, kinda like Princess Lei and Jabba the Hutt. Except it’s much hotter in this book, obviously. And seeing her that close to his groin is giving him allll sorts of inappropriate thoughts, which he pushes away so he can be a professional and just get the shoot done.



Since they definitely have chemistry, Zeph is very much interested in hooking up with Sophia. Sophia is hesitant to do so at first; not because she doesn’t find him insanely attractive, but because she doesn’t want to ruin anything for her sister’s career. Which means she has to continue the charade of being Giovanna. Which also means that when they do finally sleep together, the name he calls out is not her name. Yeah, that’s going to burn.



Speaking of their first time: all I can say is DAMN.



If a kiss could be deemed sex, she considered herself well and truly fucked. And yet, she still needed more.



Seriously, their first kiss --- FIRST KISS, NOTHING MORE IS HAPPENING YET – and I just about died while reading it.



Breaking his erotic hold on her neck with some regret, she turned, balling her fingers in his shirt and arching up on her tiptoes to deepen the kiss. To taste more of him, all he had to give—and then demand more. What she couldn’t put into words, she voiced with her tongue, her lips, her moans, the restless, almost frantic clench and release of her fingers. With a growl that rumbled in his chest and over her breasts, he cupped her face, taking what she freely offered, until all she could do was gasp and tremble. When those big hands slid down over her shoulders, her knees buckled as if they had been the only thing holding her up. But he was right there, catching her. In a show of casual strength that left her even more breathless, he hiked her up, palming her ass and bracing her until she locked her legs around his waist.



And then they starting touching and grinding and . . . .oh, yeah, I definitely died then.



“Fuck,” he muttered, his head falling back, granting her lips and tongue easier access, his fingers flexing over her ass. Taking that as a sign of appreciation, she rolled her hips again, using him as leverage. Once more, she bucked against that delicious length, a half cry, half whimper catching in her throat with each grind over her clit and folds, the thin material of her skirt a laughable barrier. She shuddered, a wicked heat sliding through her, settling on the quivering flesh between her thighs. 
“Jesus,” she gasped, tilting her head back and rubbing over him in complete abandon. And he stood there, supporting her with his strength, allowing her to use his body to get off. And that craved for, but often elusive, release glimmered on the horizon behind her closed lids. So near, but… A whimper escaped her, and she dug her nails into the nape of his neck, clutching him as she tried to get closer. Tried to push herself over that edge… 
“You need help getting there, baby?” he asked, already striding from the room, but not going far. In seconds, her back met a wall in a corridor, his body pressed between her spread legs keeping her in place.



I’ve got to hand it to Simone; she knows how to write some A+ tension, chemistry, and release. Ha! Pun intended, of course.



Slowly, he straightened and crossed the space separating them. Flattening his palms on the bar counter, he leaned forward until their faces were centimeters apart. Until she could taste his kiss on his breath. “I want you. I want to suck on that full, sexy-ass bottom lip, taste you, touch you. It’s taking everything in me not to pull you on this counter, pull down those jeans, and bury myself inside you until you come, screaming my name.” His gaze dropped to her mouth, remained there for several seconds before sliding up again. “Now I’m finished.”



Well fuck, Zeph. THAT’S NOT PLAYING FAIR!




But as much as I adored the sex, I do have one complaint that came up during that first sex scene. It’s when she first sees him naked, and she refers to his cock as



“[...] the thick, long part of him that made him a man.”



No, authors, don’t do this. This is transphobic, and implies that to be a man, he must have a penis – or that having a penis makes one a man. Either way, that’s a no-no. Sex and gender are not the same thing. I’ll leave it at that because I admit I am not the one to explain it fully and accurately, so I won’t bother and risk butchering it. Instead, I’m here to remind you that a statement like that is not only NOT NEEDED, period, but it’s hurtful and transphobic. I was very disappointed that it made it through edits.



As far as I could tell, there were no other transphobic remarks in the book. But I’m not letting that throwaway comment off the hook.



Before I move on, there is one more sex scene I want to talk about, though it’s more like lovingly laugh at. They start having sex in a car, which, okay, fine. But here’s the part that made me laugh, twist my head a dozen different ways trying to make it work, and cringe while reading it. Because while the sex itself was hot, the position was NOT. At least not if attempted IRL! He’s in the driver’s seat, and he pushes his seat all the way back and reclines it. Okay, fine, that will give you, what, a few extra inches of wiggle room. But then she gets down on the floor by his feet – so she’s CROUCHED UNDER THE STEERING WHEEL, MIND YOU – and proceeds to give him a blow job. He’s a big football player and she’s 5’11” and I don’t care how fucking huge this truck/SUV/whatever-vehicle-of-masculinity-he-drives is, there’s no way that’s going to be comfortable for her. AT ALL. Damn, my neck/back is killing me just at the thought of this position!



[…] she wiggled further down his body, settling between his spread legs and the steering wheel. Quickly, she released the button on his jeans and lowered the zipper."



Sharing that scene on Twitter did lead to a fun convo about romancelandia sex positions though and how authors could use a virtual-sex-position app that tells them if what they just wrote is possible or not. I love when we have those convos, so for that reason I’m not exactly MAD at the BJ Car scene. But I am still side-eyeing it and calling BS on the positioning.



While the first half of the book was hot and fun and really good, I did feel like the last half was a bit more bogged down and moved very slowly – without actually accomplishing much.



Also, the fact that her real identity doesn’t come out until 75% -- and then it’s not because she tells him, but rather because he sees the sister back in town and puts the pieces together – ugh. I get that this might be fairly true to form for this trope, and especially for a category romance, but still! This was annoying and meant we didn’t get enough time for them to come BACK from the whole “technically we built this relationship on a lie…” issue. Remember, he had such major trust issues with women, and even though Sophia wasn’t doing anything wrong with this lie – that is, it didn’t hurt anyone, and especially not him – I found it difficult to believe that he would go from learning about the lie to accepting her apology and then riding off in sunset together, in only the span of a few chapters. I just needed the pacing of the book to be a bit more even.



Another minor thing, really, but I was a bit confused about how she managed to accomplish all her degrees and experience in her career. . .  and she’s only 24. Not that it’s impossible for a person to do so, mind you, but the way it was all described, the timeline just didn’t quite add up and left me trying to puzzle it out.



One thing that I did enjoy, and it has nothing to do with the romance, was seeing the sexism in her workplace brought up. I was frustrated alongside her at the way she was treated and how her boss would take credit for all her hard work. I wish I could say this is magically fixed, but ultimately she quits and goes after her own dream instead, which I was fine with. However, she does have more than a few scenes leading up to that when she puts her foot down and tells them off, and I loved seeing that.



“You go right ahead,” she said, her voice calm, strong. “You start your little smear campaign against me because I dared to stand up for myself and demanded to be treated with the dignity and respect I deserve. Because the moment you do, I plan to respond with my own story. Of how you said I should just be patient and my time would come, while you took credit for my ideas. Of how I know for a fact I don’t get paid as much as the newest male hire. Of how FamFit prides itself on equal opportunity but really allows misogynistic, little men to get away with promoting other men in their company while expecting women to toe the line and wait their turn for recognition and the opportunities men are simply afforded because they have dicks. As a matter of fact, I’m begging you to try it. You think you can shut me up just because I’ve allowed you to do it for the last three years? I have breaking news for you, Brian. The media just adores a David and Goliath story. And that’s where I plan on waging this war. And let me tell you, the court of public opinion is a bitch.” 
She straightened, giving him a broad smile. “Now, you have a nice day.” 
Not waiting for a reply, she turned on her heel and strolled out of his office. Goddamn, that had felt good.







And the quote that might have made me swoon the most?



“You want to slay my dragons?” she murmured. 
“If you’ll let me.”



This was my first time reading Naima, and for the most part this was a very hot and enjoyable read. At times, especially towards the front of the book, I was leaning towards 4 ½ stars, but at other points I was down to a 3 ½. Regardless, I’ll definitely be back to try more from her in the future because I did have a good time with this one. I was happy to see these characters in a romance, especially from a mainsteam publisher, and I want that to continue in 2018 (and beyond).



4 STARS! 



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I received an e-ARC of this book from the publisher, via NetGalley.

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If you want to read more quotes that I highlighted, check out my Twitter! 

Oh! And about the cover: look, the guy is fine, no questioning that. But there's something . . . off about his body, or at least how it was manipulated on this cover image? It's like his arms don't quite match up to the rest of the body or something? IDK how to explain it but the longer I look at it, the more off it looks. So I'll just stick to staring at his face instead, because I have zero complaints about THAT. :)


Have you read Naima Simone? 



Enjoy!



Until Next Time,



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