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Cooking Up A Storey
by Donna George Storey
Have More Good Sex
I Can Do Better ...
Trying to Get the Feeling
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Be Bad to Be Good
E-Book Revolution
Naked for Halloween
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The Music of Words
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The Fine Art of Submission
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Nailing the Query Letter
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Serious about Smut
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Beating Up Your Scenes
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'10 Smutters Lounge

Ashley Lister Submits
by Ashley Lister
St Valentine's Day
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Between the Lines
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Emerald
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Lucy Felthouse
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Tresart L. Sioux


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Plenty of Miles Left
Don't Worry, Be Happy
Fly the Unfriendly Skies
Coffee Time
Castrated Words
Virtual vs. Actual Romance
Bait
The View from Gallows Hill


Get All Worked Up
with J.T. Benjamin
The Fashion Industry
The Same Old Same Old
Writing Porn
About the Closet
... About Spirituality
Making Sense of Religion
Worked Up About Monogamy
What's Next
All Worked Up About Nature
Still All Worked Up...


Sex Is All Metaphors
by Jean Roberta
Holiday Ghosts
Love and Romance
An "Interracial" Epic
Trying to Make It Go Away
Sexual Etiquette
Sex and Children
People Against Bad Things
Virtual Acceptance
His Cold Eyes, His Granite Jaw
A Flash of Northern Light

Naked

by Megan Hart

Book Review by Lynne Connolly

 

Naked

This is a beautifully written book in the first person about a woman’s coming to understand herself and the world around her.

The book is a follow-on from Tempted in order to read Naked. but I haven’t read that book, so I read this one as a standalone, and it stood alone very well. I don’t think you have to read Tempted in order to read Naked.

Olivia has always had an identity problem. A black child adopted by white parents, one Jewish, one Roman Catholic, she’s never really known where she fitted or what she was. That’s compounded by her engagement to a man (Patrick) who came out two weeks before their wedding and turned very publicly, and very promiscuously, gay. Despite that, she is friends with Patrick and it’s at his house that she meets Alex, who she thinks is gay, for very good reasons.

Despite that, she offers Alex the apartment in the house she owns and it’s not long before they become lovers. The rest of the story is how Olivia comes to terms (or doesn’t) with her identity.

Hart’s prose is gorgeous, and while she does engage in a little reminiscence on Olivia’s part, it comes at appropriate parts of the story, when the reader is interested in Olivia and wants to know more about her, and when it’s right that Olivia should have a reflective moment. We get into Olivia, as much as we can, because the story is all about her. And she’s an interesting person to know about.

What this isn’t, is a romance, IMO. The story contains a romance, but Alex, Patrick and all the other characters are vehicles toward Olivia coming to terms and understanding herself. Olivia’s doubts come close to giving her BPD (Borderline Personality Disorder) but she doesn’t have the black/white, on/off approach that people with that condition have.

I didn’t understand the other characters half as well as I understood Olivia, and that’s my main quibble with this book. I write one series in the first person (the Richard and Rose books) and I chose as my narrator, a quiet, self-effacing person, an observer, for exactly that reason. Olivia is an observer, in that she is a photographer, but the photos she takes are about standing outside looking in, or she thinks it is, but really it’s not, since she relates the photos she takes to her and her experiences.

I would have loved to go deeper into Alex, who is a fascinating personality, with a variety of sexual identities that he’s reluctant to trust Olivia with. I’d have enjoyed going into his head from time to time, to share his uncertainties and reflections, but since the story is first person, that was impossible without changing the first person narrator.

Patrick, the gay man who is Olivia’s ex, also comes across as inconsistent. Sometimes he’s wonderful, so that at the beginning of the story Olivia comes across as something of a fag hag, hanging around gays so much that she doesn’t connect with other people.

Until the end of the book, Olivia and Alex tend to have sex rather than talk things over. At times, he initiates sex to avoid talking, and when I got to the end and they finally talked, I wondered why they hadn’t done it before. Don’t get me wrong, there are no big misunderstandings in this book, nothing that will infuriate you with its stupidity, but at times I thought there was.

I thought Alex had this big, nasty secret that Olivia would have to discover and get through to get her happy ending. Well, not really, and if there was one, it passed me by. I can’t say too much without spoilers, but I did get a “is that it?” feeling towards the end when I realised what Alex had done and why.

I wouldn’t really call the book erotic, although it’s in the Harlequin Spice line. Perhaps I’ve read too many Ellora’s Cave books! It has the words, but most of the sex scenes are straight m/f and perhaps the weakest part of the book, since they didn’t really add anything to the understanding of character or plot development. The only gay interaction that you “see” is a blow job. I rarely skip a sex scene, but I did skim one or two of these, but that didn’t really affect my enjoyment of the story.  I’d have preferred it with less or minimal sex, and more of Alex and Olivia’s relationship development.

The other part that puzzled me a bit was that Alex was supposed to be a gazillionaire. Not that he took the apartment—he could spend his money how he wanted—but it didn’t chime with his childhood home or his friends, or even his way of life. He made one business trip during the story. It just didn’t seem to fit as well. Or perhaps I read too many Harlequin Presents!

Publisher’s blurb:

No strings. No regrets. And no going back.

I didn’t think he wanted me. And I wasn’t about to get involved with him, not after what I’d heard. Alex Kennedy was tall, dark and unbearably hot, but I’ve been burned before. Maybe it was stupid of me to offer but he needed a place to crash and I needed to pay the rent, but now he’s my tenant…with benefits. And now that we’ve crossed that line, I can’t seem to find my way back.

But I can’t give my heart to a man who’s so…unconventional. His last sexual relationship was with a married couple. It’s enough that my ex-fiancé preferred men, I won’t take that chance again no matter how much my body thrives on Alex’s touch. I can’t risk it, but I can’t resist it, either.

Alex can be very convincing when he wants something.

And he wants me.

Lynne Connolly
August 2010

Naked by Megan Hart
(Spice, August 2010; ISBN-10: 0373605463)
Available at: Amazon | Amazon UK


______
© 2010 Lynne Connolly. All rights reserved. Content may not be copied or used in whole or part without written permission.

About the Author:† Lynne Connolly - Reader, Writer, Lover.
You can find Lynne at her website at www.lynneconnolly.com



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