Reaching Lily - Vivacia K Ahwen

I received a free copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

This book was so uneven for me.  There are parts I really liked, but other details I really had trouble with.  

Let's start with the good stuff.  I expected this to be a fast, smutty read.  In this respect, it did not disappoint.  Lily is your typical "doesn't know she's beautiful/diamond in the rough" heroine, while Dorian is the all-powerful, gorgeous dude that sees her potential.  I liked that we begin at the end, with Lily taking off after Dorian has obviously broken her heart.  I also liked that Lily isn't all virginal and naive when it comes to some kinky stuff.  It's good to see a character that embraces her kinks.

The biggest downer for me were the British-isms.  Both Lily and Dorian pepper their speech with British slang and phrases like "snog" and "I've rung you..." instead of "kiss" or "I called you..." which is the American terminology. Also, common words are spelled with the British spelling (ex. storey vs. story).  None of this would be a problem if the book were set in England or the characters were ex-pats living in the US, however, it's set in Boston with American characters.  Oops.  I also disliked the use of "wicked".  It's tossed in a couple of times like "wicked sorry" or "wicked smart", but it's so out of place with the way that the rest of the dialogue is written that it's really jarring.  It feels like the author is trying too hard, like "See, see! We're in Boston!"  Also, I know 50 Shades is the template for this (and a million other books), but please, PLEASE never type the words "inner goddess" again.  Anyone.  EVER.

The plot started out well, but toward the end it got jumbled and I had to re-read several sections to figure out what was going on.  It felt like the author and/or editor got tired of checking to make sure the plot was clear and internally consistent somewhere around chapter 12 and just called it good enough.  For example, in Chapter 15, Lily gets home to her apartment and kicks off her shoes.  A few pages later at the beginning of Chapter 16, she sits down on her futon and takes her shoes off again while talking to her mom on the phone.  The same shoes she already took off, no more than 10 minutes ago.  There's really no reason that detail (among others) should have slipped through.  

This is also the point in the book where the plot starts to really rush together. I really don't understand what the rush is, because there's a cliffhanger "ending" and there are clearly more books on the way.  No need to cram some of this info into book one if you're writing several of them.  The whole thing with Dorian taking Lily's mom to the ballet, then having dinner at her house? Weird.  That needed a LOT more set up and development to fit into the story and should have been moved to a later installment if it was going to work.  Not to mention the cliffhanger "ending" itself.  Most cliffhangers bring you to a point where a decision needs to be made or a significant event has just occurred in order to set up the next book.  This book just ends at the end of a chapter where nothing significant has happened with "to be continued".