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REVIEW:  Torn From You by Nashoda Rose

REVIEW: Torn From You by Nashoda Rose

Torn from You (Tear Asunder #1) by Nashoda Rose

Dear Nashoda Rose:

This book was recommended to me by someone in my twitter stream. It’s a weird disjointed story. The prologue introduces the main protagonists as Emily and Logan. Emily is a young woman with body issues from her evil mother but she’s captured the attention of Logan, an illegal fighter and a budding musician. The book reads like a potpourri of trendy cliches – fighter, musician, dark angst, bad boy, mob, etc. etc.

And then names are ridonkulous. Sculpt. Ream. Kite. Deck. Crisis. CRISIS, you guys.  Then there’s “Slexing” which is supposedly sleep after sex. If that is a play on words like sexting it misses the point. Sexting is texting sexy words. Slexing should be sex while sleeping. But hey, with names like Crisis, should I really expect the made up words to make sense. No.

In the PROLOGUE, Logan begs Emily to come on tour with him even though she wants to attend college and then he takes her virginity. The next 100 pages or so is Emily kidnapped by a sex trafficking group that includes Logan. She’s tortured, beaten, digitally penetrated but still thinks Logan is the hottest thing this side of the sun so she can’t help but fall into bed with him repeatedly. I can tell by the obvious hints in the book (Logan’s clenched jaw and fists flying into the wall) that he does not want to humiliate Emily and treat her like an animal, he only does so because he is forced.

The second half of the book takes place two years later as Logan returns and pursues Emily relentlessly. And then everyone gives her shit for not taking Logan back because he walked back into hell for her. I think this conversation pretty much sets the stage for it.

“Jesus,” he growled. “Not once did I take you without your consent. And you know it.”

“That’s because if I didn’t, the consequences were worse.” Okay, I was lying, because I was mad and hurt and yes, I was a little scared too. I had no clue why Sculpt was here, and the thought of going back … no, I’d never go back.

His voice was quiet, “I never beat you, Emily. I tried to protect you.”

“Is that how you live with yourself? No, you just took away my choices. You watched while other people beat me. You bled my self-esteem. Damn it, you tore my fucking heart out.”

“I got you out when I could.”

“Yeah, in pieces.”

“You bled my self-esteem” is indicative of the writing along with ““Go repair from this place, Emily.”  I get what the intentions are of the sentence but I have to mentally rewrite them just as I had to fill in a lot of the character development and justification.

The real problem with this book is that I’m supposed to go places with the author but there is no real preparation. Emily’s narrative slips in and out of being a captive. One minute she’s just totally lost in desire for him and the next she’s thinking “I needed to make certain I wasn’t sold.” It’s like sex scenes were written independent of the narrative. Within any given scene, the reader jumps forward and backward in time without any warning.

The last 60% of the story is Logan pursuing Emily and bascially telling her she had no right to be mad at him because he was really just doing the very best that he could in a bad situation. So she got knocked around a little and was water boarded. He didn’t let anyone rape her other than that one time she was forced to suck someone’s fingers or the time that another person digitally penetrated her. And every time he took her she wanted it. And he didn’t want to do these things to her so she should just suck it up and forgive him.

As Tori from SmexyBook said, the first part is written for shock value and the second part is an emo fest. It’s as if the author tried to fit a longer trilogy into one book in order to avoid the dreaded cliffhanger. But I spent most of the book confused about the motivations and the poorly thought out plot didn’t help.

There’s no authenticity in the book, not in the sex trafficking ring, not in Emily’s escape, not in the “rock star” bit. And I just kind of laughed to myself when Logan is transformed into this signing, guitar playing rock God from his illegal fighting, sex trafficking self.  (We don’t know how involved he was in the sex trafficking only that he doesn’t like it and whatever he did was to save Emily). Weirdly in the last 80% there are a few scenes from Logan’s point of view even though the rest of the story is told in first person from Emily’s POV. That felt like very lazy storytelling. The suspense plot kicks in much later and much like the preceding pages, it’s kind far fetched. I guess on the plus side there’s a lot of story in one book even if  a lot of it is eye rolling.

According to Goodreads, this book is full of the feels. I’m just dead inside. D

Best regards,

Jane

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REVIEW:  Coven, Sweet Coven by Cheryl Dragon

REVIEW: Coven, Sweet Coven by Cheryl Dragon

Coven, Sweet Coven Cheryl Dragon

Dear Ms. Dragon,

Right up front I have to ask this question – how much was “Coven, Sweet Coven” influenced by the Kevin Kline demi-classic In & Out, in which a male high school teacher in Greenleaf, Indiana comes out as gay during his wedding, in front of the entire, very supportive (albeit surprised) small town? Granted, the movie didn’t have any covens or triad relationships, but the “feel” of both your novella and the big screen plot harmonized well together.

Natalie is a small town witch who’s coming home to Green Leaf, Indiana from the big city of Chicago, following a dark vision that is drawing her back – back to her coven, back to her disapproving brother, and back to the two handsome, supportive men she calls her own. Zach and Logan have spent the last year missing the balance in their triad, a balance that had been present through high school and the “growing up” years, but chose to let her search for her powers and strength while they remained at home, loving each other despite the loss of a vital part of their relationship. With the help of her support system, can Nat unearth the threat to her hometown before the moon sets on Samhain and it’s too late?

I’ll admit that I was absolutely intrigued when I saw this was a story about a triad relationship. It’s so rare to see those and even more rare to see them done well. For the interested erotic romance reader, finding the marvelous menage masterpiece is like finding a winning lottery ticket under your plate after a five course gourmet meal (complete with dessert) that someone else cooked and will clean up after. Unfortunately, this story was more like finding the extra packet of ketchup at the bottom of a McDonald’s bag – after you’ve eaten all the fries.

While it was wonderful to see a menage story, this one suffered from several stumbles from which it just couldn’t recover to be wholly successful. To begin with, the story focused very heavily on how much Zack and Logan needed Nat while there was utterly no indication that Nat needed them for anything other than convenient prongs upon which to hang herself and the occasional cuddle after she pushed herself too hard. I appreciate the female-centric nature of the Goddess worship portrayed, but it seemed like anything with a Y chromosome was turned into a “why” in the story. It was outright stated why the men needed Nat in their lives, but never examined why Nat needed the two men for balance.

The “something wicked this way comes” plot did create some interest, but there was too little focus on pulling it into fruition beyond Nat having bad dreams and seeing something dark coming in her meditations. I appreciated the nod given to Wicca and the supportive community that can come from a coven, but I didn’t care much for what felt like the use of Wicca as a prop, rather than something sacred to be respected.

But what about the sex, you might ask. It was wanktastically…average. The amount, for a novella of this length, was gratuitous and felt more like something out of a Penthouse Letter than a creative expression of lovemaking between three people. The paint-by-numbers vibe left little to the imagination and, occasionally, had me tilting my head from one side to the other wondering if those combinations were anatomically possible in normal human beings – or if one or both of the men had side jobs in a Cirque du Soleil show. While I won’t go so far as to say it was bad, it was lukewarm, at best.

I think the main issue was that the story needed much more space than it was given to grow. It felt like you were trying to land a 747 on twenty feet of unpaved dirt road rather than the paved runway it deserved. There was so much potential in the story, so many places it could have, and should have, grown and expanded to truly explore the relationships not only between Nat, Zack and Logan, but also between Nat and her coven, their families and the townspeople. I honestly felt a little cheated at the end. D

Still Searching for the Perfect Triad Story,

Mary Kate

As a reader who’s old enough to know better and young enough to not care, I’ve breezed through the gamut of everything books have to offer.  As a child, I used to spend summer days happily ensconced in one of the Philadelphia public libraries, reading everything and anything I could get my hands on, thanks to the love and support of my parents and aunts – teachers, mothers and/or librarians all.  One aunt started me with Nancy Drew books (whose pages are worn from hundreds of re-reads) while another thought I needed introduced to C.S. Lewis’s land of Narnia.  By the time I was 8, I’d read everything the library’s children’s section had to offer and had “graduated” to the adult room downstairs.  Fortunately for my very supportive parents’ sanity, I didn’t discover romances until college.  My days are currently spent working in law enforcement (dispatchers unite!), working with first responders, and trying to dig my writer/editor/reviewer husband out from his latest pile of books.  I’m a devoted fan of all manner of romance (though I prefer my romance to have a hint of laughter and self-awareness), mysteries, and urban fantasy.

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