Saturday, January 4, 2014

[Review] Raw by Belle Aurora

***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.

Monsters don't always lurk in the shadows.

Sweet baby, Jesus.  What did I just read?  Nothing but awesomeness from Belle Aurora!  Talk about dark, broody, scary, hot alphaliciousness!  I couldn't put this book down and I know I will be dreaming of Twitch for a long time to come.  This is the first book I've read by Aurora, and it made quite the impression on me.  I won't be missing any of her books in the future.

First, let me go to the ending.  WTF was that??!!??  The ending of this book tore my heart out, ripped it to shreds and then stomped on it until there was nothing left but tiny, raw pieces.  So much happened in the last 10 percent of this book, my head is still spinning.  Just when I thought I knew how this book was going to end, Aurora pulled the rug out from under me.  One of the themes of this book was the power of hope and what it can do to a person, both good and bad.  This book ended with a kernel of hope that fit in well with the main message.  Was it a cliff hanger?  I don't know.  It would only be considered a cliff if I knew there was a follow-up book.  If there isn't, then Aurora is an evil genius.  I can only hope with my shattered heart that there will be a sequel...and soon.

There's something about Twitch.  He's just...raw.  Everything about him is raw.  And gritty.  And unbound.  He's a raging fire.  And I'm a fragile moth fluttering into the flame.

Twitch is a bad dude.  I mean, really bad.  There is nothing I can do to sugar coat him.  He does some disgusting things in this book.  He's on the wrong side of the law.  You will hate him, and you will love him.  He will hurt you, and he will warm your heart.  One minute, you will be screaming for Lexi to get as far away from him as possible, and the next you will be begging her to run to his side.  He's an enigma that I ultimately admired and loved.  Another theme of this book aside from the power of hope is the power of "labels."  Twitch hates labels for anyone or anything.  Twitch isn't good or bad - he's a mix of both.  He doesn't do things to impress others - he acts in a way that makes him comfortable with himself.  He came from a terrible life - things that were bad ended up being good in his mind.  Although Twitch does some awful things, he does them all to survive.  He is an apex survivor at all costs.  

Lexi - God bless her - is an innocent, smart and sweet heroine.  Smart with the exception of her feelings toward Twitch.  Lexi makes some really screwed up choices.  I don't want to spoil the book, but there are several times when she should run far away from Twitch, yet she does the opposite.  At her heart, though, Lexi is everything "good."  She comes from a rough childhood background, but she looks for the good in people.  She works with disadvantaged kids, loves her job and is a loyal friend.  When she sees that someone has been wronged, she tried to fix the situation.  

Damaged doesn't even begin to cover what I am.  I don't think a word has been invented for the level of fucked up I am.

Lexi and Twitch have a past, although Lexi doesn't know the extent of it.  Their relationship is unconventional (there I go with labels again) to say the least.  Twitch is very dominant, but his feelings towards Lexi change as the book progresses.  Once he understands Lexi, he wants to be a better man - someone that Lexi would approve of.  He'll never give up his kingdom, but he knows he has issues that require outside help.  What I really loved is the development of his character.  He began as a hurt and angry man looking to make someone pay for giving him false hope, to a man that would make the most unselfish decision to protect those that he loves.  Lexi and Twitch have growing pains like all couples, but they seem devoted to working out those issues.

The one thing in this book I just couldn't understand was the character Ling.  She is a co-worker of Twitch and she has a past with him.  She has some serious issues, as well.  Ling is a bitch to Lexi and goes out of her way to hurt her.  Lexi finds out soon enough that Ling, along with another employee/friend, live with Twitch.  Hello?  If my man was living with a crazy woman who made my life miserable and also had a sexual past with him, I would be anything but okay with it.  A scene we didn't get, but I would have loved, would have been Lexi bitch smacking Ling.  

"Not everyone can be a fairy-tale hero."  He pauses a moment, then adds, "The world needs villains, too."

All in all, this was a steaming hot book that left me wanting more.  I want more Twitch.  I want more Lexi.  I never thought I'd be happy with a book where a stalker gets the girl, but Aurora proved me wrong.  This book is very erotic and very well written.  If you are a fan of dark, angsty, erotic romances, then I highly recommend that you pick up a copy of this book.

***EDITED***  I don't normally do these types of things, but I wanted to let our readers know that if you are NOT a fan of open endings, then this isn't the book for you.  I think open ending are cop outs.  I did not know when I posted this review that this was a stand alone book.  Belle Aurora posted today that she has no sequel planned but that she would "never say never."  

I don't require a HEA in all of my books, but I do require some form of closure.  My best example is the incomparable Karen Marie Moning.  Did she ever reveal what Barrons is?  No.  Is there closure in Shadowfever?  Absolutely.  

I also want to address the "bullying" comments that were started by a few folks on a Raw fan group over on Facebook.  Fans that LOVED this story and the characters who are begging and screaming for a sequel are not bullies.  Some folks seem to think that criticizing or disagreeing with an author = bullying.  That's bull shit.  Here is what I think about the ending of Raw that I posted on the FB fan page (I removed any spoiler-y comments):

Raw dealt with the change of Twitch's character. He remained true to himself, yet also grew by leaps and bounds. Heck, by the end of the book he was admitting that he needed help. So wouldn't it make sense to see some character growth where he understand that "good" to him doesn't always equal "bad" *for* him? If that's the logic, then Twitch really didn't grow as much as I thought he did. He is just falling back into old habits with the exception of loving (and really, if he's stalking her and AJ it's just another form of his addiction/obsession) his family. For me, this isn't an unselfish act. It's controlling the situation like he always has. 

(There are additional "big" questions surrounding the ending of this book, but to post any of them would ruin the ending.)

I'm not slamming Raw - I loved it and gave it 5 stars. Just pondering the ending.


Neyra said...

i haven't read this yet, but i'm looking forward to it! i don't want a HEA atm because honestly, i'm just plain sick of them! i need something different and this sounds about right :)

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