SURPRISE! I didn't hate this one! It was a refreshing experience. I wasn't overwhelmed with the urge to snort in disgust or scream at my e-reader. I didn’t think “EW” with the descriptive words used in the sex scenes. I didn’t screech at my husband about how absurd the story was. No throwing my e-reader down on the counter because I couldn’t handle another sentence of the crap. Awesome!
The blurb dangerously hinted at Instalove, which I can’t stand, but the author handled it nicely in the book. Sofia and Alexei realize that this is attraction and lust, for both physical & emotional needs, but know they need to delve deeper if they want anything real to develop. (YES! Thank you.)
Here’s what I loved about this book
I'm aware that our ex-love interests can negatively affect our self-image. (Been there a couple times myself.) When we’re involved with people who are selfish and/or abusive, us crazy humans can start to blame ourselves for their asinine behavior. That being said, I’m SO tired of reading about heroine's who can't see their own worth until a man convinces them how great they are. In this story, Sofia is full of self-doubt from years of being with the wrong men, but her friendship and one night stand with Alexei allows her to be a little more courageous and acquire power on her own. He’s the tool she uses to fix herself, not some God who cures her with the touch of his penis. (Sorry. Those story lines REALLY bother me!)
I did have a few issues:
1) I didn't feel like it should be classified as Erotic Romance. Erotica might be a better fit, although it does skirt the line. In my opinion, Passionate Ink's FAQ page states the differences in the sub-genres well and by their standards, this is Erotica. Mild Erotica... but it is.
2) There was a LOT of phrase repetition. I'm sure it was done for effect, but it didn't seem necessary and bothered me just a little bit. Maybe the character repeats herself and that’s how the author hears the voice. (Who am I to judge?) But I prefer it when you break it up a little and phrase it differently each time.
3) The ending. I enjoyed the writing style for the most part and getting to know these characters... until the end. The last part of the book was a bit confusing and felt random. I got what the author was trying to do (there WAS a purpose) but it was a bit hard to read.
4) Too flowery for my taste. I don’t know if that’s the right adjective. Flowery? Stilted? Unnatural? At first, I assumed it was due to the language pattern on Sofia’s home planet. The dialogue and inner voice would flow along and feel right, then suddenly a line or two would sound forced. It was easy enough to move past the handful of times that happened, though.
All in all, I felt like this book is worth reading. I’ll even be following this author’s career to see what they write in the future. I feel like authors “loosen up” the longer they write anyway. It seems like with more experience, words become fluid and more satisfying to the ears.
Full disclosure: We received an ARC from the author, free of charge.
Does this book contribute to or help crush the romance stigma?
It’s stigma neutral. Not really doing anything to contribute or crush it.
Other reading suggestions
We honestly don’t read a ton of erotic romance here. But I did enjoy Bronwyn Green’s Drawn That Way.