Tag: contemporary fiction

Tear You Apart by Megan Hart

tear you apartBook: Tear You Apart

Author: Megan Hart

Format: Uncorrected ARC

Review by: Onnica

Basic story: Elisabeth has been married for twenty-something years to Ross. Her twin girls have flown the nest and are at college. This leaves a lot of time to think about her life and the way things were and how they are now. At a gallery showing she meets Will. Enigmatic, open and interested in what she has to say, Beth is intrigued. Ross, her husband hasn’t noticed her for years. Their life is steeped in routine, non-communication and apathy has crept into their relationship.

Beth comes into contact with Will, an artist, more and more. Meeting innocently through her job it soon becomes obvious that their meetings are anything but innocent. One encounter turns into several and soon Beth is unable to think of much else beyond how alive she feels. Will has woken her up inside in a way that Ross was never able. The only rule is not to become too attached, not to form strong feelings for the other. Each person can walk away any time it stops being fun. But life isn’t like that. Beth has fallen out of love with her husband and her homelife. Routines and housework and an absent husband who takes her for granted press upon her, until she has to ask herself, whether she can give it all up to be happy…

Why you should read this: perhaps this book doesn’t really belong on a romance site, but I felt I needed a change from the usual stuff I’ve read lately. Megan is a super smart writer who isn’t afraid to go to difficult and even taboo places. Infidelity is an ugly topic, but it’s not uncommon – it’s fascinating to delve into the reasons why people find themselves cheating on their partners. I felt for Beth at times and then there were times when I wanted her to pull herself together. The dialogue and the encounters she has with Will are spot on – I couldn’t put it down I was so absorbed in the story and how things would end up. Megan didn’t disappoint – don’t expect a happy ending, but enjoy the journey and if you needed further proof that life isn’t black and white, you will find it here.

What you might hate: the subject matter. I know a lot of people can’t even read about fictional infidelity – and I get it, I do, but I do enjoy reading about human frailty. We make mistakes. It is worth reading for Megan’s ability to write real characters, who are realistic and flawed.

Rating: 4/5 for this bitter-sweet tale of forty-somethings trying to find happiness outside of themselves. I was absorbed from the start and if you enjoy original writing that doesn’t shy away from the darker side of human nature, you should read this! It’s hot – for some of the scenes between Will and Beth my mouth must have been hanging wide open. Even my other half guessed I was reading one of ‘those’ books!

Tear You Apart is out September 6.

Naked by Megan Hart

Naked by Megan Hart
Naked by Megan Hart

Book: Naked

Author: Megan Hart

Reviewed by: Onnica

Basic Story: Olivia Mackey has a very complicated life. She’s an adopted, bi-racial, Catholic/Jewish twenty–something. Her ex-fiancé Patrick effectively ended their relationship when he finally admitted to them both that he was gay. After some time apart, they somehow managed to remain friends and as part of his entourage, she suffers the pitying looks from others and still loves him desperately.

At his annual Christmas party, Olivia is drawn to the mysterious and seemingly gay Alex Kennedy. Convinced he can never be anything to her, she allows herself to openly admire him and gradually, the pair become friends. Ex-fiancé Patrick is not happy and soon he is warning them both off the other. Olivia wants to guard her heart from more heartbreak, but when Alex makes it clear he wants her, how can she resist?

Why you should read it: It’s no secret I am a HUGE Megan Hart fan – she’s a smart writer of erotic fiction and her study of human relationships is always heartbreakingly real. She writes flawed and complex characters every time and nails it. Not only is this book about the blurred lines of sexual identity, but it’s also about human relationships and how our sense of self isn’t easily defined.

What you might hate: A story about sexual ambiguity may not be for everyone, but trust me, it’s a compelling story.

Rating: 5/5 the sexual tension between the main characters is palpable. I was rooting for them from the start, but always with a sense of impending dread. Alex is sex on legs and he appeared in an earlier book, called Tempted, which you may want to read first. Again, how hot is that cover?

All In by Raine Miller

All InBook: All In

Series: (The Blackstone Affair, part 2)

Author: Raine Miller

Review by: Onnica

Basic Story: All In picks up immediately where Naked left off. A distraught Ethan Blackstone has just watched the love of his life walk out and he is powerless to stop her. Desperate not to crowd her, he formulates a plan to win her back. He resolves to tell her the full extent of what he knows about her past; no matter how painful that may end up being for them both.

When Brynne’s safety is threatened, Ethan finally has the chance to prove his feelings go way beyond doing her father a favour. He is a transformed man, eager to show her how much he loves her, but do Brynne’s feelings run as deep? Being in a relationship is new territory for Ethan and he soon finds that saying I love you is just the beginning. Soon he is dealing with potential rivals for Brynne’s affections – jealousy and insecurity rearing their heads – leaving the normally controlled, calculating Ethan Blackstone totally out of his depth.

Why you should read this: I normally loathe making comparisons between books, but if you enjoyed Fifty Shades and Sylvia Day’s Bared to You series, then this is the book for you. The elements are there: the dominant male bachelor, captivated by the either virginal/damaged younger woman. You know the format, you know how it’ll end up too but the journey is the fun part. The author also hasn’t skimped on the sexy bits – which are hot, don’t get me wrong, but don’t always move the story along. There are also some nice scenes where Ethan’s getting to grips with the pitfalls of a new relationship and the inner workings of a woman.

What you might hate: Unlike FSoG and the Bared/Reflected/Entwined series, Ethan is dare I say a bit girly? He’s constantly thinking about ‘his girl’ and how no-one better be looking at her and then he’s analysing her text messages and their meaning – we’ve all been there, right? But honestly, I like my alpha males a bit less navel-gazing – and a lot more well, dominant! Just saying!

Also the language – being English, I have to say that some of the English slang was a bit unfortunate – shagging really IS more vulgar than I think some people realise (I blame Austin Powers) and calling lady parts ‘fanny’ – well, people over the age of 14 don’t really do that! It just seemed a bit clunky paired with the more US ‘voice’ of the book.

Rating: difficult – as in some ways, you’ve read this story before in many different guises, but then again there were bits that made me chuckle and fancy Ethan to bits. As an incurable romantic, I do find myself rooting for Ethan and Brynne, despite everything. So for that, I give it 3/5.

Naked by Raine Miller

NakedBook: Naked

Series: (The Blackstone Affair, part 1)

Author: Raine Miller

Reviewed by: Onnica

Basic Story: When Ethan Blackstone, Head of Security receives an e-mail from Tom Bennett, asking him to look after his daughter, he has no idea his life is about to change beyond all recognition. He’s busy planning security in London for the Olympics and has no time to grant a personal favour, no matter how much he likes his friend. Then he sees her picture and everything changes.

Brynne Bennett, young, beautiful and talented has moved to London to escape past trauma. As well as her studies in conserving masterpieces, she poses as a nude model. The night she meets Ethan Blackstone at an art show, she has no reason to think it more than a chance encounter. However, Ethan has bought an intimate picture of her in the gallery and is determined to have the photograph’s subject in his bed as soon as possible.

After that night Ethan leads a charm offensive, leaving Brynne in no doubt of his intentions. His natural dominance shines through and it’s clear that he is used to getting his own way. A passionate liaison quickly develops into the beginnings of a relationship, but can past secrets buried? Will a fledging love affair be enough to erase the scars of the past?

Why you should read this: There’s a strong alpha male in Ethan Blackstone. Hot – check. Confident – check. Wealthy – check. Wounded – check. The sex is explosive – he likes to talk dirty – a lot! It’s a novella, so it’s a quick read you can get through on a quiet rainy afternoon. It’s also a trilogy – which seems to be so popular now. Look out for All In and Eyes Wide Open, which will be out in the near future.

What you might hate: This book has a very similar outline to many other books on the market at the moment – the setting may be different, but you know what you’re in for.

Rating: I’m a sucker for the thrill of the chase – the point in a book before the couple gets together, where the alpha is being a bit stalkerish, but it’s ok because it’s in a book? So for that I’ll give it 3/5 – because despite their obvious issues, I do genuinely like these characters.