Review: Custom Made by Chantal Fernando (2021)

Fast & Fury, Book #2

Review of Fast & Fury, Book #1

Heat Factor: It’s not not sexy

Character Chemistry: I confess I’m not sold

Plot: Lots of expectation re honesty and owed information

Overall: I just…what even…I don’t know

Book 1 in this series, Custom Built totally did not work for me, so I really waffled about picking up this book… But also I have really been wanting to read about bad boys this month (someone just rec me a list of morality chain books please) and maybe this book would be better than the last? So I grabbed it.

It was better… But also I was extremely conflicted about pretty much every single thing that was going on. And also confused as to what the deal was with Nadia-the-PI. 

Me with every Nadia scene. I thought they must be relevant to the plot. I was wrong.

And I don’t understand what Fernando has against contractions in dialogue.

Tangential unsolicited recommendation to authors: Read your dialogue aloud to make sure it doesn’t sound stilted. Because most people who talk use contractions and elisions, so not using them feels weird unless there’s a reason not to use them.

Cam went to prison for helping her then boyfriend steal cars. She moved to the city to start over and began working as a mechanic and creative designer at the Fast & Fury custom bike shop. She is all about not messing up her life again and also about being herself.

Orion is an uber wealthy business owner who is mostly uber wealthy because he launders money. He is a Nice Guy™ – you know, the guy who is nice and charming and says all the right things but also doesn’t take no for an answer when you’ve said you’re not interested. 

Her primary reason for refusing to date Orion after their one-night stand is because he didn’t call her after and he gave her a different name. …But she gave him the wrong number and also went into the one-night stand with the same motivation as he did so she acknowledges his reasoning…but still says no. Which is fine, even important if she felt uncomfortable…but this is where they started with the mismatch of expectations vs. reality vs. communication, and it really didn’t get any better as things progressed. 

Of course Cam and Orion work out their issues and start dating, so the real issue becomes the relationship that they both have with Cam’s ex. Orion is related to him and feels that family is really important and he needs to be there for his cousin during a rough patch, while Cam thinks the ex is a violent sociopath and doesn’t feel safe.

Cam’s ex was abusive, and she is dealing with feelings of shame about being a victim of abuse. So after the ex re-enters her life because of Orion, she struggles. She told him that her ex was a bad dude, but she doesn’t tell Orion that he was abusive to her, so he never really takes her fear as seriously as she needs him to. He acknowledges her concerns and tells her that he’ll make sure the ex stays away from her, but he doesn’t immediately end the relationship with his relative or take…other action. Meanwhile she does tell her friend and former boss from the Motorcycle Club (MC) that the ex abused her, so the MC goes into hyper protective mode and is basically out for this ex dude’s blood.

And then Cam gets angry that the MC is taking the threat to her more seriously than her boyfriend.

So I was really conflicted because people should believe victims of abuse…But Cam never actually told Orion what the real problem was, so he was not fully aware of how deep her concerns were. And he’s dealing with his own feelings that the MC does not have. They don’t feel responsible for a man who’s been rejected by his entire family but needs help after being released from prison. I felt like Orion’s hesitation to immediately and unequivocally end things there was understandable given his characterization as a caregiver, especially in view of the fact that he didn’t really have the full story about why Cam wanted this dude gone.

On the other hand, I wasn’t totally sure that Cam should have to tell Orion the whole story. I did in some ways understand Cam’s feelings that Orion wasn’t believing her and prioritizing her and their relationship because his actions made her feel like that was the case. 

Mostly though, I was confused about the MC vs. Orion angle. Fast & Fury is owned by the MC but Cam’s not really a part of the MC life. And yet they’ve adopted her, so she is? But she has boundaries because she doesn’t want to do stuff that will send her back to prison…but she is KNOWINGLY friends with AND DATING all the criminals. Then she gets really mad at Orion for not permanently ending the ex problem. He does meet with the guy and offers him something in return for the guy getting out of dodge…but that’s a really big problem for her? Because Orion still talked to the guy? So…she didn’t want to go back to prison but she does want someone to kill this dude? And also not go to prison?

Other readers may very well feel like all of this is consistent and understandable, but I, um, did not. Especially because I had in the back of my mind that while one expects misogynistic toxic masculinity and paternalistic behavior in an MC book, in pretty much any other context, Orion’s behavior is probably really…normal. Like, normal non-criminal guys don’t automatically jump to “I’m going to put surveillance on your house, have men on hand to be menacing to threats, and murder that bad guy” right? So if Cam’s life is not that MC life and she’s trying not to be a criminal anymore…what is her deal?

And because the primary reason for the black moment was Cam feeling like Orion wasn’t prioritizing her, I also didn’t understand or buy into the resolution.

Such a bizarre blend of maturity and immaturity and I-don’t-even-know-what’s-happening-right-now. I don’t think I’ve ever felt this way about a book before.

I voluntarily read and reviewed a complimentary copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own. We disclose this in accordance with 16 CFR §255.

Buy Now: Amazon

Looking for something similar?

Other books by Chantal Fernando

Hey! We talked about one-sided courtships earlier this week! Here are even more to pick from!

Books set in California

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