Thursday, May 30, 2013


Pages: 376
Date: 30/05/2013
Grade: 4-
Details: no. 2 Stark Trilogy
              Received from Random House
              Through NetGalley
Own / Kindle

The blurb:

“For Damien, our obsession is a game. For me, it is fiercely, blindingly, real.

Damien Stark’s need is palpable—his need for pleasure, his need for control, his need for me. Beautiful and brilliant yet tortured at his core, he is in every way my match.

I have agreed to be his alone, and now I want him to be fully mine. I want us to possess each other beyond the sweetest edge of our ecstasy, into the deepest desires of our souls. To let the fire that burns between us consume us both.

But there are dark places within Damien that not even our wildest passion can touch. I yearn to know his secrets, yearn for him to surrender to me as I have surrendered to him. But our troubled pasts will either bind us close . . . or shatter us completely.”

I have to say I’m conflicted about this book. It is very well written, the story is captivating and the characters are intriguing; so far so good. And yet I can’t help feeling there is a lot wrong with this book as well. 

First of all there is the amount of sex; there is a lot of it. The characters in this book resort to sex for every occasion; when they’re celebrating something, when they’re upset, when they’re angry or just when they haven’t touched each other for what appears to be a few hours the clothes come off and the fun and games begin. In fact I wouldn’t be surprised if there were more words dedicated to sexy scenes in this book than to overall story-line. On the other hand, and much to the author’s credit, this didn’t read like the sort of book in which the story-line is only there to facilitate the sex-scenes. Those scenes seemed to fit both the story and the characters in it very well.

My second issue with this book (and its prequel, “Release Me”) is that it reminds me too much of the books by E.L. James and Sylvia Day. I couldn’t escape the feeling that I had read this book before (which I hadn’t) and that I knew exactly what would be happening next. On the other hand though, every time I feared the story was getting predictable the author surprised me and took a turn I hadn’t quite seen coming. That was a very pleasant surprise, especially since this meant that there wasn’t any of the forced drama that I encounter in a lot of romance and erotic book these days and which never fails to exasperate me.

But, I had the most problems with the two main characters in this story and their relationship. I realise this is, of course, a work of fiction but I can’t help looking at the story and the characters through realistic eyes. And if these two were a real-life couple and I knew them I would tell them to stay well away from each other. I’m all for two people falling for each other completely and without reservations, but that is not exactly what is happening in this story. This seems to be a sort of co-dependency and it scares me as much as it fascinates me.

“But I have come to need Damien as potently as the air I breathe, and I sometimes fear that while our desire is mutual, my need is one-sided.”

There were as many scenes in this book that made me melt as there were scenes that made me uncomfortable and at times even a bit angry. I mean did they really expect their secrets to remain known only to them?

Having said all of that though, I also have to admit that I couldn’t stop reading this story. Despite the fact that this story seemed all too familiar, despite my issues with the characters and even though the book might have benefitted from more story and less sex it did manage to captivate me. The only reason I ended up worrying about Nikki and Damien is because the author managed to make them realistic enough for me to care.

Another thing I really appreciate is that the author didn’t opt for a huge cliff-hanger to end this book with. Yes, there is definitely a huge issue that needs to be resolved, as well as several smaller ones but the book ended in what felt like a natural place rather than one designed to keep the reader on edge.

Which leads to one final question; will I be reading the third and final book in this trilogy? And the answer will have to be yes. Despite the fact that there can’t be any doubt about how this story is going to end, I want to experience that resolution with these characters. It is not so much about needing to know how they will get to their happy ever after but more about whether or not they will be able to resolve all their issues before they get there. So I guess it won’t be long before I read “Complete Me”.

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