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Book Review – This Man by Jodi Ellen Malpas

Book Review – This Man by Jodi Ellen Malpas

3.5 stars.

“Just tell me one thing before you leave, Ava.” His voice prickles at my senses… His face is serious, but still stunning. “How loud do you think you’ll scream when I fuck you?”

I’m not a fan of comparing books, I prefer to let each one stand on its own. But in the case of this book, after the huge impact of the last 2 mega-successful controlling billionaire series, its inevitable that some comparisons will be made. But, personally, if I were to do so, I honestly feel like Jesse was maybe a bit more like a non-kinky Knight (by Kristen Ashley) than Christian (by EL James) or Gideon (by Sylvia Day).

Let’s start out from the beginning. Because I felt differently about this book in the beginning than I did at the end.

To say that the beginning melted my panties and set my heart a-flutter is a mega understatement. I swear, after their first meeting, I was ready to just throw a 6 star rating at the book. I was hooked and utterly captivated by their chemistry.

When Ava, an up-and-coming interior designer lands a job at The Manor in the country side, the last thing she expects is for the proprietor, or Lord of the Manor, to be drop dead gorgeous. He is beyond intense and she is so strongly affected by him that he just takes over her mind every time she sees him. She jumps to several conclusions about him and decided though that its all too much for her and walks away. But Jesse is not one to be deterred from getting what he wants. He relentlessly peruses her until finally the combination of his determination and her intense desire for him make her give in.

“I’m sorry,” he whispers softly… “I lied, I’m sorry. I told you, I can’t stay away… I need to have all of you, Ava. Say I can have all of you.”

Jesse gave me shivers!!! He was a gorgeous, controlling, domineering, self-assured British billionaire with a husky accent. I mean, holy hell, can you just picture that?? *fans self* But… he was also an unreasonable control freak and pretty much a stalker. I do love me a controlling, possessive hero but… I felt he went too far. Even I was feeling stifled and I wasn’t the object of his attention.

He was just … too much sometimes… like too stalker-ish, too rude, too demanding, too extreme, too unreasonable, too neurotic, borderline immature (especially at the end). And Ava just gave in every time. I wish she stood up a bit more.

And honestly, if he told her to “Watch your mouth!one more time… *mimes throttling* . I mean, its not like he was a saint or anything. He swore all the time, but every time she’d swear at all, he’d yell at her. Every. Time.
It got old real fast.

Let’s just say that, in real life, I’d personally actually put up with a Christian or a Gideon, but a Jesse would have been kicked to the fucking curb if he said/did the things he did in this book to me. That being said, this is fiction. And, in the spirit of appreciating him for the fictional character that he is, I tried to be more lenient in my judgement.

But I guess I just found Jesse too extreme overall. At the same time, I really did like him and felt like I wanted to know where his story went, but I couldn’t really look past a few of his demands.

Ava. hmmm I don’t know what to say about her. I didn’t like a lot of what she did but at the same time, I didn’t dislike her. She didn’t make me mad or anything, but her actions/reactions just didn’t make me admire her. First of all, I’m really surprised she didn’t see the “twist” at the end. I had my suspicions from the beginning and after that, there was a lot that hinted at it and she never had a clue. Second, I didn’t like how, on her own she was an intelligent, relatively strong, independent woman, but the second she shared the same air as Jesse, she pretty much turned into a doormat. So many moments when he’d say things to her like “Who has the power?”, I really just wanted her, at some point, to stand up to him, but she completely gave in every time. Even when she did “rebel”, it was always relatively short-lived. I felt that Jesse took things to an extreme  and what would have been needed to balance him out was someone that wouldn’t like outright defy him per say, but that would have stood on her own enough to not give him complete and utter power.

Also, with many other such controlling, possessive heroes, I guess what makes me accept them so readily, is that, no matter what extremes they’ll go to to control their women, they are still always thinking of the woman first. But there were several times here where I felt that Jesse put his need to control her above her comfort.

There are a few examples, but the one I’ll reference is the scene at 25%. I found it very unrealistic and unbelievable. I don’t have any problem with butt sex – if its done well. But the fact that it was her first time doing it, that it was only their second time having sex at all, that she wasn’t even like ‘looking forward’ to it and then he just rammed her so suddenly like that (and that was after it was made very clear how well-endowed he was)…. I didn’t like how he handled it. I mean sure the scene was hot, and she did enjoy it in the end but I guess it was about as un-realistic as their always-perfectly-timed mutual orgasms… lol, I felt sometime like they were taking a photo or something “three…two…one…COME!”  o_O

This book takes place in England and has a LOT of “Bristishisms” –> Sodding. Knickers. Jumper. Quiff. Plum. Posh. Tart. Tube. Lush. Dribble. Bloody. Tosser. Bin bags. Knackered. Bird. Shag. Cheeky fag… there’s a lot. It didn’t bother me or anything, this isn’t a complaint, but it definitely jumps out at you.

The plot wasn’t overly gripping. The whole story was about them figuring each other out. Again, it wasn’t bad, I just didn’t feel like there was too much change in the characters by the end of the book and wasn’t really sure if the story had gone anywhere except at the very end.

There was only one thing in the books that really made me mad. Now, I understand that this book came out after Fifty Shades and that it’s got to fight to be appreciated on its own terms and not be labeled a copy or a wanna-be. But regardless, there IS the blatant fact that it is in a similar genre and, although it did stand on its own, it is without a doubt along the same lines and as such, given the context, I did NOT appreciate the blatant dig at putting down Dominants. I thought it was petty and disrespectful because there is NO doubt what was being referred to there. I hope that if this book ever gets published officially (currently, it is self-published) that that line gets taken out.

That being said, you should know that this is not a BDSM book. In fact, Jesse is relatively anti-kink. Its all straight-up, albeit intense, vanilla sex.

Parts of this book thrilled me and excited me. Parts of this book annoyed me and frustrated me. I’m torn here because I know a lot of people rated it with 5 stars. But I’m just trying to really be honest and something about the book didn’t fully sit right with me. At the same time, I did like it. I really did. I didn’t hate it. Please don’t think I hated it. Its not a bad book. I just had some issues with it.

It really helped that Jesse was totally hot. And when he wasn’t being overly control-y and stalker-y, I could really see myself falling for him. He had him moments of tender and sweet to be sure and I really did get the feeling like he was just out of his league with this relationship.

“I want to look after you forever,” he whispers, pressing his lips against my temple.”

I am intrigued by him. I do want to know more about his past. Where did he get that scar?? How old is he???? What happened in his past to make him so utterly terrified of loosing her? There are a lot of questions still to be answered and I’ll definitely be going on to the next book. I hope he gets over some things though in it. I didn’t feel like he ‘grew’ at all as a person in this story. In fact, you could almost say it ended on a major low point for him. So I’m really, really hoping that in the second book (that is supposed to be out in December, so thankfully not too long a wait) he makes some progress at learning to be more reasonable and finding a more balanced way of being controlling and possessive.



Here is his description: “This man is so perfect, I’m almost in pain. His dirty blond hair looks like he’s half attempted to get it into a semblance of a style but given up. His eyes are sludgy green, but bright and way too intense, and the stubble covering his square jaw does nothing to conceal the handsome features beneath it. He’s lightly tanned and just… Oh God, he’s devastating.” 

Jesse –> Click here

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  1. I totally agree with your review.

  2. Oh thanks! I’m so glad to hear that

  3. Aestas, I liked your review. Actually, I loved these series. BUT, the Editing on the first book DROVE ME CRAZY. ( normally it doesn’t bother me, but the first did it..a Now, THE SECOND BOOK IS WAYYYYYYY BETTER. YOU SHOULD read “Beneath this Man”. Because you’ll LOVE HIM, and understand more. I found that for all his issues, his age was one of the most APPROPRIATE and realistic of this kind of books I’ve seen lately. Read it. You. Will. Love. It. I promise you
    And…I agree with you a lot abt First book. But, like I said…2nd one gets way better..:)

  4. Aestas,

    I completely agree with your review, I have mixed feelings about this book. I soooo wanted to smack Ava in the head so many times so she came snap out it and grow a back bone. I’m on the fence about reading the second book…I did read the sample of book two and it seemed so much better that the first one. I don’t know what to do……. I’m sure if you reviewed the second book yet but I look forward to your opinion.

  5. I agree completely with your review, it was good, but there wasn’t much substance. I also didn’t like the blatant dig at fifty!

  6. I totally agree. I kept shaking my head wondering what they heck I had just read??!! Loved the following two books. Better editing and you actually find out what makes Jesse so nutty. I really ended up loving Jesse & Ava as a couple by the final book.

  7. I totally agree wit u! D book looks like a fifty wanna-be dats trying too hard nt to be called a fifty wanna-be! D characters r jst confusing! D book basically has no story line, I almost skipped d whole thing until d end! It didnt capture me, Jesse is too controlling and Ava, smh, shes jst too….phew! Well d, “watch ur mouth, Ava” gets sooooooo old! He shuda given up since! I was only interested in wat happened at d end, I jst wanted to know d end! I wud def nt be reading dis book again and I hope dey dnt think of making a movie! Jeez

  8. Wow! Finally…I almost 100% agree with you. Felt the same way when I began reading. I’m into more than half the second book, and mostly continuing, cause I have this crazy philosophy of finishing every book I start, and also I want to know what happens. But I admit, I jump various scenes, specially the erotic ones. They are not that creative, they mostly make me mad. Jesse basically rapes her…she doesn’t say no wholeheartedly, but it makes me uncomfortable reading it. And as the author shows little respect for woman (i.e. self-respect), the heroine has almost no dignity, nor respect for herself, she’s being manipulated, bullied and violated…but hey, it’s love. I get mad, cause it’s one thing to like romantic or erotic storylines, but it is much different to find what is written in this first 2 books as just that. I kind of am reading a bit too much, but that ideal (Jesse) and that loss of their integrity (Ava) is just what us women, DO NOT NEED. We can fall head over heels for a man, but we shall not lose ourselves. And Jesse’s character doesn’t have that story that appeals to my pity or love. I dunno…it has just rubbed me wrongly. And so many cliches…it’s like she read Fifity, Bared mushed it all up. Enough… :)

  9. Totally agree with this review! I don’t like to compare but I have a question, I don’t reads reviews often and I don’t really share opinions either but… I was just wondering, in America or the rest of the world is not consider being a copycat when you take somebody else’s work and twist it a little and do a pretty tacky job with it just low and plain disgusting?… I’m not here to offend anyone or to defend what writer was first or who was the one that really “inveted” this kind of stories but after reading one of them regardless of which one it was written first I felt completely ripped off!! I have to say the truth and the character of Chistian Grey is a trillion times better in every way, Anastasia is just a better character than Ava in every way… I just feel ashamed of my self for reading this book so I threw it away in page 141… Yeah I tried to give it chance… Everything about this book is unrealistic, exaggerated, unreal or plain boring, no matter how hot the scene tries to be. I’m really sorry for me because I spent money on this and also because I was at an airport and had a long flight yet to go and with major stupidity got carried away by the title (come on! Give me a break, I wanted some romantic erotica novel for my beach vacation with hb) and I bought another book by J.E.Malpas!!!! OMG I want to smack my self , and it’s called One Night: Promised… Jeez.. If somebody has read that one just give me a good new and tell me this is going to change my mind about this writer because now I just dislike her… I feel like I want to yell and scream at her and the publisher and also give my finger to whoever put this book in the market…. New York Times… I’m sorry for you… I know it’s not your fault that dorks like me actually buy this kind of books and put them in #1 place and make this “writers” absurldly rich… Sorry I just had to let this out, also I have to give credit to E.L. James because she did a pretty good job with her work, she wrote a romantic-erotic novel yet she didn’t get tacky and completely unrealistic… She kept it cool and I enjoyed it. I did not get all crazy about it like many feminas around me LOL, but it was fun to read it. So, ladies, if you have some taste and don’t like copies and fakes and boring just stay away from This Man, by J.E. Malpas… My gosh I can’t believe I didn’t notice this had SH*T written in the covert of the book as a warning sign… The name of the writer is a J.E blablabla like E.L. James…? Is that a coincidence? Well, for being a non English reader that just seems completely ridiculous when you think about it…

    • I couldn’t agree more! I ended up this book feeling frustrated for such a waste of my time, and most of all really pissed about the fact that this has been written by a woman. (Sorry for my bad english)

  10. aimeesch says:

    Ava was ten times better than Anastasia, lemme just tell you, but its not even a question that Christian Grey was 5000000times better than Jesse Ward and Gideon Cross put together :* but! Jesse Ward was still the sweetest thing ever, especially when he was counting down and throwing her over his shoulder in public, and a little childish but adorable!!!

  11. The entire series made me angry. I didn’t even want Ava with Jesse, especially after finding out about “the four days.” Respect for Ava as a human and respect for their relationship was just missing here. He protected her, but he didn’t protect the relationship. Jesse didn’t demand that others respect it either. This author doesn’t deserve to be mentioned with James or Day. When you read that Malpas left her husband because he didn’t compare to Jesse, that kind of explains why respect for a relationship might not be an area of strength for Malpas.

  12. This book is amazing and it’s hard to find another to even come close the being this great! You know she is one of the best out there and she is really hard to beat honestly.

  13. I love this review. Though I have read it after reading all the three books, but I still totally agree. I don’t hate the books,they are just definitely not my best. Jesse…just too much,and Ava…lets just say that even though its fiction,i can’t put up with the situation.

  14. Michelle Parker says:

    Loved the series. The characters stay true to who they are unlike other series in which a man changes because of the girl and vice versus. Sure you can grow but I feel in many books the characters change not grow. To me it gives a much more realistic aspect.

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