Mixing it up a bit this week with a bit of erotica with a solid story backing it up. I’m going to warn you ahead of time, this one offers few safe points.
Book Review: Body by Audrey Carlan
Trapped out of town on a business trip, feeling a bit out of place among the swanky crowd of the hotel bar, Gillian Newcastle is on the verge of a major life change, not just for her but for several of her friends as well. It starts when she notices a strikingly handsome man across the bar from her, their eyes meet, and yes, sparks fly. But there’s so much more to it than you might think.
Gillian works for a non-profit organization called Safe Haven, the organization that once saved her life. The memories have faded, but they have had their effects. Resistant to the idea of a new love but encouraged by her soul sisters to have a little fun, she finds herself consumed by his intensity. He’s controlling, confident, arrogant, demanding, intelligent, incredibly hot and rich and power to boot. She tries to run, but discovers she can’t simply run away from this one.
What I like about this book
First, the story. It’s interesting, provides numerous unexpected twists, and allows for several characters to grow and develop. The characters are multi-faceted, each having their own personality and perspective on life, each shaped by the realities of their pasts, their hopes for their futures and the triumphs and frustrations of their present. Although there is a kind of instant connection between the main characters, there is resistance to the idea of simply jumping into bed together because of the obvious draw. Relationships are allowed to develop slowly over time, each working through their own barriers in their own time and space. Plus, there is intrigue and suspense built into the storyline just in case you aren’t riveted by the intense sex scenes sprinkled liberally throughout.
Second, the presence of more than one strong woman. Gillian has friends, really gorgeous friends, and they are there to support each other. No punches are held back, but they are only delivered when they are needed for one of the others to face something they’ve been avoiding. And strong doesn’t mean invincible. Each of these friends has their own insecurities and their own inner demons, taking strength from the group when it’s needed and lending strength back to each other as things progress.
What is challenging about this book
Putting it down. Seriously. There was not one moment in the book when I thought, okay, I can put this down for a while. At every moment, there was something more I wanted to know, right up to the last page. And guess what? The sequel cannot come out too soon. Some of the situations and characters might seem a little canned if you just look to the surface of things, but the storyline happening among these characters adds that necessary depth so many erotic stories lack. So if I had to pick out something challenging about this book or something to warn you about, it’s that it can be addictive. You won’t want to put it down and you won’t want it to end.
This is important. If you are offended by explicit detail or strong language, some might label it crass language, you will not enjoy this book. There is rarely derogatory intent behind any of the actions or dialogue and, when there is negative connotation, it is clearly associated with unacceptable behavior. The steamy scenes are deliciously steamy and occur frequently throughout the pages, so there will be no skipping over the raunchy bits to get the story only. To me, that’s another thing to love about the book, that it doesn’t feel full of overly gratuitous sex. Okay, maybe a little bit, but mostly it appears when there is an important reason for it within the characters’ development and/or the course of the story.
Audrey Carlan has done a masterful job at providing a deliciously erotic romance full of story and characters you can love in Body. Not only does it provide some amazing sex scenes to get the blood pumping, but it includes strong characters fully fleshed out with strengths, fears, courage, insecurities, less-than-ideal pasts and enduring friendships among equal but very different people. There’s also an enticing degree of suspense and mystery as Gillian struggles to navigate the new world she finds herself in after having fallen under the magnetic power of the insanely handsome and insanely wealthy Chase Davis. Overall, I give this book 5 out of 5 stars because anything that keeps me this riveted deserves at least that much.
Also, if you’re a writer, don’t forget to join us in the new #WOW555 Challenge. You can vote for your favorite story today and the new prompt goes live Monday morning.