Sunday, January 19, 2014

REVIEW - Raw by Belle Aurora:

Title: Raw
Author: Belle Aurora
Age Group: Adult/New Adult
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: January 2, 2104
Published by: Author
Format: eBook
Pages: Approx. 333

My Goodreads Review Link

Book Blurb:
***Author Note: This is not a love story. This is a story of love gone wrong.***

Growing up the way I did, you’d think I’d be more screwed up than what I actually am.

Soon as I turned sixteen, I left that bump in the road I called home and took my chances on the street.

Best decision I ever made.

Now, at the age of twenty six, I’m educated, employed and damn good at my job. My friends have become my family. Like me, they know what it’s like to grow up unloved. But the saying is true. The world makes way for those who know where they are going. That’s me.

I know where I’m going and I’ll get there eventually. On my own terms and at my own pace. But then there’s him. I feel his eyes on me. I see him hiding in plain sight. He watches me. He makes me feel. It’s unconventional. But it’s real.

I’m sure you’re wondering how a person falls in love with their stalker.

So am I. This isn’t a story. This is my life.

4 Complicated, Twisted Stars!

Quote Spotlight... 
You can only push someone so far before that push sends them walking away in the opposite direction. Everyone has their limits.

The Review: 
This review is going to be mixed. First, let me say, I really enjoyed this book. There were some things about it that completely floored me, unsettled me and took my emotions and rattled them around in its angsty little cage and all those things are things I love in a read. But there were also a few things that I didn’t like and I’ll get to those in a minute.

First, the things I loved about this book...

The Characters...
The heroine, Lexi, was strong, independent and an all around lovely, kind, funny person who wanted to make a difference in the world by giving love and kindness where there was little to be found. In her line of work as well as her past, she’d seen and experienced a lot of troubling things but she took those emotions and did good with them. I really liked her personality and I loved that though she second guessed a lot of her reactions to Twitch, she enjoyed being carefree and open minded with him. She didn’t want to stereotype and she didn’t want to put labels on people which is hard to do in a world filled with words.

The hero, or rather the anti-hero, Twitch, was a complex, layered character. He had troubles and flaws that went well beyond the range of normal and headed straight into sociopathic. He was filled with rage and hate and he was just fine with closing himself off from the world emotionally. His morals were corrupted in the extreme and he no longer could tell right from wrong. But when faced with his obsession, the girl he’d been stalking for a long time, he finds his heart isn’t as decayed as he once thought it was. He was able to smile and laugh and feel, which is something he’d not experienced, ever. His misplaced vengeance soon turned to love and he was slowly changing for the better.

Quote Spotlight... 
I have layers, just like the next person, and if you picked me apart layer-by-layer, you’d find a blackened crust where my heart should be. But ever since Lexi came into my life, a thin bud of greenery sprouted there, giving me hope that even I could be the person who makes someone’s day better. -- Twitch

I also really loved Lexi and Twitch’s chemistry. They totally steamed up the pages with their sexy, sometimes kinky bedroom play.

I enjoyed the circle of friends this read offered up. Lexi’s bff’s, Dave and Nikki were a hoot and I loved all the dialogue between then. Happy, Julius and even Ling, the rival, were in Twitch’s circle and were solid confidants that let us see bits of his personality through their conversations. 

The Story...
We were warned in the blurb that this wasn’t a love story but I disagree. Yes, Twitch was messed up. Yes he did horrific things and yes this was not your traditional love story. But we have the basics. Bad boy meets good girl. Bad boy experiences love for the first time and falls head over heels for the girl of his dreams while keeping secrets and good girl gets hurt but they both learn from their experiences. This author also gave her characters depth by letting the heroine be goofy and fun and that showed through in the writing. And though I really loved the ending because I’m a huge fan of unconventional endings and that’s what makes this read different than most, its also where some of my “dislikes” come into play.

What I didn’t like... 
First, I really disliked the stupid decision making on Twitch’s part which has a most fatal outcome. He gets himself involved in a situation trying to do a good deed but in the end, his immoral judgement leads to disaster. I saw no reason for this either. It didn’t progress the story at all. It seemed to be included for pure shock value. After it happened, there was a moment of strain between the MC’s as well as a moment of clarity where Twitch asks for help but then nothing comes of it. 

Second, how did Lexi not put together who Twitch was? They even had an exact copy of the conversation upon their first meeting which she admitted to thinking about for years afterward. How did she not get it or at least suspect it? It made this brave, intelligent heroine look ignorant.

Third, and this is kind of spoilery, so skip this paragraph if you dont want to know... With no indication of a book two, I hated that at the end, the heroine was broken enough that she wasn’t out there doing what she loved. She stopped helping those kids, something that was a true passion of hers. When a story ends, there’s supposed to be pain and perhaps loss but the characters should come out stronger for having endured all they went through. I wanted her out there helping the world and giving them hope. Not doubting herself or the good she could still do. 

And lastly, Twitch’s “reasons” for vengeance was a bit flimsy but I get it. He confesses more than once he didn’t think like other people so this explains his reasoning but I kept expecting there to be more and there wasn’t.

The Wrap Up: 
This books ends like a tragic Shakespearean play with a bit of hope sprinkled in. I really enjoyed it even with my dislikes. I wouldn’t call it dark but it was definitely heavy and complex. It was written well with beautifully layered characters and an angsty yet sexy and steamy story. I’d love to see a book two in the work because I’d definitely be in the lineup for that one!

Buy the Book!

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