Writing Her In

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 11 Apr 2019

Member Reviews

I was really uncomfortable with the way Stacia’s choices and boundaries are completely disregarded throughout the book. At what point does she want this relationship with these two people? When does she choose? But also when does anyone choose this arrangement besides Dara. It’s actually pretty off putting the way the other two disregard their own needs and boundaries for her. I’m not sure why the endgame is a relationship I’m supposed to root for. That dismissal of everyone else’s needs to make Dara happy made her insufferable by the end. And I’m still completely unsure of why Stacia wanted to be with them. She seems great: talented and accomplished. They’re.... idk there and she thinks she’ll never get better? In general I was deeply uncomfortable with this depiction of polyamory and the power dynamics along many lines. I wish this relationship had been more carefully written so I could root for it.
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Did not finish. I was excited about the premise, and I certain enjoy good smut, but everyone was falling into bed together before I knew them well enough to care.
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OMG this was so amazing. I absolutely loved it. I loved the way the different relationships developed and how they all got their happy ever after in the end. Cannot wait for more by this author.

Full review soon!
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Well, it's unpopular opinion time. I've seen so much praise and love for this book but...it didn't work for me. I just found it really boring. If this wasn’t a galley I requested I might have DNF’d it. This isn’t a bad book but it’s one of those “talky books” all about internal conflict, emotional labor and communication that don’t ever work for me. I was just wanted more external conflict.

I do kind of think this would have worked better for me as a novella because as a full length book it felt like a slog. I also never felt any spark between any of the characters. I felt like Stacia had more chemistry with her publicist (the hero of the next book) than Daria or Adrien. I may give another Trent book a shot, but this one was a no for me.
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I am an absolute sucker for a good ffm poly romance and whooo boy does this hit the mark with two complex and extremely compelling heroines and one supportive and endearing hero along for the ride.

Cranky mystery author Stacia Leonard is on a business trip in LA, when the cover model for her series slides into her DMs with an invitation to meet up for a drink and a photo op. She would much rather hit the hay than socialize, but her publicist would never let her live it down and she’s intrigued enough to say yes. Adrien and his wife Dara are not what she expected, and when they throw an intriguing proposition her way, she can’t resist.

Stacia is a successful business woman who does what she wants and answers to few. She’s also nursing a fair amount of baggage from past relationships with men who continuously tried to diminish her. A one-time sexual encounter with a married man with his spouse’s express permission isn’t something she does every day, but she’s game. The sexual attraction that develops between Stacia and Dara is something no one saw coming. Emotional entanglements of any kind are not on Stacia’s agenda and entering into a romance with a committed pair is a sure way to be left on the outside when the dust settles.

Dara Valliere has loved her husband deeply since they were high school sweethearts, but she doesn’t believe that sexual attraction is something she’s capable of. Opening their marriage up is something the Vallieres discussed at length, but neither of them could have predicted the changes Stacia would bring to their lives. Dara struggles with independence and overcoming anxiety, but watching her come into her power and refuse to allow her loved ones to make decisions for her without her input is down right exhilarating.

This is a very heroine-centric poly romance and I have jokingly referred to it a few times as “f/f with a side of dick.” Adrien may not be the focus of the book, but he is a supportive partner who wants the best for his wife and for his lover, and he’s a refreshing alternative to overbearing asshat men.

I thoroughly loved watching Stacia and Dara and Adrien navigate their problems and fall in love and I can’t recommend this book enough. I feel like menage romances tend to either lean hard into the sex or lean hard into the angst, but this book had the perfect balance of weightiness, eroticism, romance, and affection. I can’t wait to read more in this vein from Holley Trent. In the meantime, I’ll just have to keep swan-diving in her extensive backlist of paranormals, sci-fi romances, contemporaries, and erotic romances. Come on in, folks, the water’s fine.
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Writing Her In by Holley Trent was a book I was so excited for because it’s a contemporary from an author I love. This is a polyam romance and I generally really enjoy those and I wasn’t disappointed in this one! What I loved about this book is that it circles around a married couple but really centers around Dara and her journey. Dara has never had any interest in sex, she has a deep love for Adrien, but their sex life has gone pretty much nowhere. They are committed to stay together because of their love.
But again, what I love was Dara. Everything was centered on her which was just exactly what was needed here, in my opinion. Adrien was supportive and encouraging of her figuring out what she needed and I loved that he was in the background. Stacia is the 3rd to their pair and they are respectful of her, her desires, her fears, all while pursuing her. I loved that Trent really focused so much on the women of this story because I feel like I’ve seen a version of this story from the male POV in a not-so-great way multiple times. 4 stars.
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I was originally interested in this book because of the subject matter but was turned off almost immediately by the character Raleigh. I didn’t like the way he used the word bitches, couldn’t keep track that Raleigh was a man with that kind of name (place names like Brooklyn or Paris are usually given to females), and living near Raleigh itself, just found this weird. That’s on me, not the author. 

The problem with the book was the lack of communication between the characters. I thought that was the whole point to polyamory. Without it, it’s cheating. That’s a hard nope for me in romance. 

I’m ok with Stacia not coming out as gay until later in life, I don’t believe it never occurred to her before.
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Two disclosures before I start this review: 

1) I'm not sure I'm able to be objective about it since my response is so strongly emotional

2) There's a bit of a spoiler in the second paragraph but not really a spoiler? You'll see.

 Writing Her In is a polyamorous romance with a married couple and a woman they both fall in love with. It is not a menage in a physical sense, but it absolutely is in a romantic sense. Adrien and Dara have been in love since high school. In her words, Dara's family is essentially a cult without the followers - her father is a religious tyrant and her family disowns her for being with Adrien. (This is the history of trauma referred to in the tags above. It's not depicted on page, but his emotional abuse is referred to several times.)

Here's the wee spoiler...

As you can tell from the blurb, Stacia is a writer and Adrien is the model on a few of her book covers. What you can't quite tell until the morning after Adrien and Stacia sleep together (with all three parties consenting) is that Dara isn't asexual. I worried for a bit at the beginning that the book would be a bit ace-phobic, but as far as I (an allosexual) can tell, the ways Dara's sexuality is described aren't harmful to people who are ace. Dara and Adrien tried to have sex a couple of times and it just never really worked for Dara. She doesn't know why, but Adrien isn't an a-hole about it. They have a deep and true love, and Dara encourages Adrien to sleep with Stacia. 

So what happens the next morning? When Adrien has left for work and  Stacia is doing the awkward morning-after shuffle... Dara finds herself sexually attracted to Stacia. What follows is two complicated character arcs for the women and a more straightforward arc for Adrien. I don't want to spoil anything else for you, but let's just say Dara figures some things out that her restrictive religious upbringing didn't teach her, Stacia learns to receive love, and Adrien continues being a sexy marshmallow.

Now for the part where I blubber my feelings onto a digital page. Writing Her In is one of those very niche books that appealed to me for about a million reasons, but mostly because of the way Trent writes Stacia and Dara together. Adrien is lovely, yes, but he's just sort of there. He's not the star of the show and WOW am I tired of f/f/m that's really f/m/f. This book puts the women and their needs front and center, rather than the 1,000,000 porn and erotica plots that are not-even-thinly-veiled male power fantasies. Dara is biromantic and homosexual (and possibly also demisexual, she doesn't use the words) and she's allowed to be herself. Adrien just rolls with it. There's no "big scary reveal" scene, and the conflict mainly comes from Stacia worrying that she's extraneous to their relationship - that she'll be left behind.

So why was I crying while reading both the digital copy (provided by Carina Press) and the audiobook (thank you, public library/Hoopla)? Because Holley Trent wrote a triad that managed to not be fetishistic or queerphobic or unnecessarily harmful in any way.

None of this is to say that I loved this book simply because it didn't do bad things. It does a lot of wonderful things and they made my queer-but-not-visibly-so heart very, very happy. Stacia and Dara (and Adrien, fine) are complicated characters who start out in a good place and end in a better place. (There's also some very excellent f/f sex.) I could see myself in all three characters, and not even just the pieces I don't like. It was like a very sexy hug of a book, and I'm possibly going to go read it a third time now.

Content Warnings: terrible parents/history of emotional abuse, history of being used for career gains, intrusive media, borderline agoraphobia

Suzanne received a copy of this book from the publisher for review via NetGalley.
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Reviews by the Wicked Reads Review Team

Sarah – ☆☆☆☆☆
This is a seriously steamy read! It’s the story of an author who agrees to hook-up with the handsome cover model for her most popular series. It would be a simple story, except the cover model is married, his wife encourages the hook-up – and there’s also a whole lot of chemistry between the author and her cover model’s wife. Whew. It’s all a bit complicated but I thoroughly enjoyed the story and the characters.

I enjoyed the women in this story more than the men. Stacia is a successful author but her personal life is a bit messy. After a messy break-up, Stacia enjoys no strings hook-ups and an otherwise solitary life. I love her strength, her humour, and her warmth. Dara is equally solitary – as an artist she works alone, and past experiences have made her feel quite socially awkward. She’s also pretty sure she’s asexual. These two women complement each other beautifully and I love the way Dara grows into her sexuality in this story. Adrien doesn’t feel quite as fully fleshed as the two women he cares for. He’s physically gorgeous but a little bit blander than Dara and Stacia.

I love well written polyamory and this is a really beautiful story about three people who try a more unconventional relationship after realising that their more normalised relationships just aren’t meeting their needs. At times, this is a crazy, sexy book – the scenes between Dara and Stacia are electric and there is wonderful chemistry between all three. The tone of this book is light and I love that there is very little angst in the story.
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Now a little different from this author which was a delight to read. First you have this couple Dara and Adrien whom seem to happy then along comes Stacia. Things take a unexpected turn with you becoming attached to their story. This author gives a full bodied story with one of the characters being a author also which added spice to me. The romance is stunning in this with you getting your HEA.
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I’m a big fan of Holley Trent’s Jekh Saga books, so when I saw she had a new contemporary coming out, I had to read it! Having never read one of her contemporary menages before, I was curious to how it’d work (what works for me in a paranormal or scifi doesn’t necessarily work for me in a contemporary), but I was pleased with how it turned out.

“You read my books.”
He couldn’t tell if she were asking him a question or not, but she seemed to need validation. He was happy to provide it. “Yeah. Every word of every one of them.”
“Did you start that before or after you ended up on one of my covers?”
“Busted,” Dara said softly.

Stacia may be a bestselling mystery author, but all she wants to do after her latest signing is go back to her hotel and sleep. When the cover model for her series reaches out to her for a photo op, she agrees to meet him and his wife for a few drinks. Adrien and Dara seem like the perfect couple – best friends since they were teens and well suited for each other in every way – except sexually. After a few disastrous attempts, Dara accepts that she’s not interested in Adrien – not interested in anyone, really – sexually, and so gives him, basically, a kitchen pass to have an affair with someone else, and the woman who’s caught his eye is Stacia. Their one night stand is electric, but it’s complicated by Dara discovering that she’s interested in Stacia, as well. As they gradually start to realize how incomplete each person’s life is without the other two in it, can they navigate geographical differences, fame, and their own past hurts to find their own happiness together?

Stacia was my favorite character, which is no surprise as she’s a prickly hedgehog of an author, whose relationships are constantly scuppered by her devotion to her job.  Prickly heroines are my favorite, and Stacia certainly doesn't disappoint!  Dara’s an absolute sweetheart, a born caretaker, even of her husband’s one night stands. Adrien’s life revolves around taking care of Dara, but he’s also ashamed that he feels like he needs more than her. Thrown altogether, on the surface they seem too disparate to even be friends, but each pair balances the strengths and weaknesses of the other member. I loved how obvious the love between Adrien and Dara was, and I loved how Stacia responded to each of them differently – taking gentle care of Dara and being more demanding with Adrien.

“Whatever the thing was that animated human bodies nearly launched itself out of Dara at the touch. It was frenetic and bewildered, and couldn’t process what any of the cues meant, or even if they were cues. Adrien’s touches didn’t panic her in that way. She was inured to them. She found them comforting, not inciting, but there was no reason why she should have found Stacia’s curious examination of an old scar inciting, either.”

I’m not sure how exactly to categorize Dara’s sexuality. She was raised in an extremely religiously conservative family and was homeschooled until high school, so in some ways it’s no surprise that she’s repressed sexually. What I’m not sure of is if she’s somewhere on the asexual or demisexual spectrum or was just so repressed that she didn’t know she was a lesbian. Regardless of labels, while I found her sexual awakening sensitively handled, I’m not sure how an ownvoices reader would feel about it.

I liked the pacing of the book, and that it was set alternately between Stacia’s home on the east coast and Adrien and Dara’s on the west coast. Besides the relationship, there’s also a subplot about Stacia’s books being adapted to TV and the added fame that will bring her – and when Adrien interviews for the main role, Adrien and Dara as well. I thought that was well explored and also empathized hard with Adrien and Dara’s neighbor issues. I also liked that Stacia got a chance to start establishing a relationship with each person individually, even though that did lead to some communication issues. And, at the heart of it, most of the conflict in this book stems from lack of communication on all sides. Adrien doesn’t tell Stacia that he’s gunning for the lead role in her TV show, Dara doesn’t tell Adrien about her dalliance with Stacia, Adrien refuses to talk about his worries about how fame would affect Dara… it’s a giant cycle of “let’s not talk about stuff!” and it’s one of my least favorite conflict types, so that did bring the book down a bit for me. That was ameliorated, though, by the fact that all the characters had understandable reasons for communicating (or not communicating) the way they did.

Overall, I very much enjoyed this book, and I’m looking forward to reading about Raleigh – Stacia’s PR guy/handler – in the next book!

I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
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I enjoyed this sexy menage relationship romance! Adrien and Dara are best friends who love each other and have a fulfilling though sex-less marriage due to Dara's lack of sexual interest. She's given her husband permission to find a sexual partner but he hasn't been interested in anyone, until a chance meeting with a writer for whom he's had success posing as a cover model for her books. 

Stacia isn't sure what to make of the proposition from Adrien but with an understanding of the circumstances and clear permission from Dara they engage in a sexy and fun encounter. But even more interesting is that something about Stacia awakens Dara's dormant sexuality. The possibility of being a lesbian had never occurred to Dara, nor would her restrictive religious upbringing have ever allowed for it. But with a sexually open woman like Stacia, she gets the chance to explore this new discovery.

Of course figuring out how to navigate the feelings and emotions of three people is the tricky part that must be figured out in order to give this threesome an HEA. Complicating that is Adrien's new acting contract to be not just the face but the popular character in a TV adaptation of Stacia's books. Keeping their real relationship a secret is also important to protect their reputations and their privacy. The author does a great job of balancing sexy scenes with the realistic complications of a threesome. I'm looking forward to continuing this series, with Stacia's PR guy Raleigh up next!
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Not your usual (romancelandia) menage. Which is a great thing,, really. We need to explore more sexuality and polyamory combinations anyway, and this one was interesting and well done. It was pretty hot, though not overtly sexy (at least IMO, but I'm truly a "give me all the hot sex" kinda reader, so your mileage may vary). Can't wait to see where this series goes.
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Such an interesting concept for a romantic story. Dara and Adrien have been in a loving, supportive marriage without a sexual component. Stacia is an author who comes into their orbit due to Adrien being a cover model for her books.
What follows is a parallel love story of sorts. Adrien and Stacia share a connection and begin a sexual relationship with each other. 
Dara and Stacia have an encounter which leaves Dara confused as to what she wants. 
I did find the lack of communication between Dara and Adrien initially hard to understand. You have a great marriage but don't tell your husband you're both attracted to the same woman? 
I also found the resolution was a little rushed but I did appreciate this unconventional love story. Stacia being the woman for BOTH of them is a refreshing twist on a ménage theme.
As always, Holley Trent writes beautiful characters.
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I enjoyed the start to this series. The characters were so intriguing. My faves were definitely Dara and Stacia. Adrien was there but the ladies stole the book for me. 

So i initially thought Dara was not into sex/sex-repulsed. She is presented as such, and this is the catalyst for Adrien reaching out to Stacia since Dara feels she cannot satisfy her husband in that regard, so they both agree to explore things with other ppl if the opportunity arises. side note: I did feel like Adrien being all no! when Stacia asked if he would be okay with Dara finding someone too was just plain selfish. like my guy, get over yourself. 

Anyhoo back to Dara, she then realizes that because her being attracted to women was never an option she was allowed to explore, she does have these feelings of attraction to and arousal with Stacia. I felt this was handled well. These are valid emotions. But i'll admit i was also worried because i hoped it wouldn't go the route of making it seem that Dara's desire not to have sex was now cured by Stacia. But it never came off as such IMO, which whew. I really had mixed feelings while reading, when realizing this was where it was going. I would love some reviews by Ace readers on this though, since i'm not Ace. 

I did also have some issues with this: "You're human, sweetheart...This is what animals are designed to do." For one, can authors just stop dropping lines like these all willy nilly? Here Stacia and Adrien are having sex and once again it comes off as another person saying ah yes the desire to have sex makes you human. this is especially jarring, to me, when Adrien and Stacia are getting intimate because A's wife, as mentioned above, is presented as not into sex at all, agrees to him doing this with Stacia. It just didn't even have to be included. Maybe not the intention but perhaps phrasing it so the character makes it clear they're referring to themselves and not the population in general would have made this less like you're calling persons who aren't like this not human. 

Dara isn't in the room when this is said but i feel people just need to start being more mindful to how supposed throw away lines like this can affect their ace readers. I repeat i'm not ace but i've seen ace pals talk about this enough for it to stick out to me. 

I was also not too keen on Adrien and Dara just showing up at Stacia's place when she clearly said she didn't want to see them. it's a bit sketchy >.> 

But i loved how Dara grew. How we see her struggling to figure herself out in a real way. Well, felt real to me because i've been there. When you think hey this s who i am for all these years and wham lol no life is like but what about this??? I think she also found her voice as well. When she called out Stacia and Adrien for acting like she couldn't have a mind of her own when they were trying to do something to protect her, without consulting her. Yes giiirl! 

Anyhoo I'm intrigued about book 2's MCs so i'll be reading that too!
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Writing Her In by Holley Trent (contemporary, Carina, March 2019)

Series: Plot Twist, book 1

Writing Her In by Holley Trent is a romance about love and the various ways in which it can be expressed. Dara and Adrien are married. They love each other, but they do not have sex because Dara does not enjoy it.

These two did not learn that Dara wasn’t interested in sex until after they were married. They have tried several times, but now live as husband and wife without sex. But Adrien does have sexual needs, and Dara suggests that Adrien find an other woman to meet them.

Adrien has reservations about having sex outside of his marriage until he meets Stacia online. When Stacia happens to be in town, Dara pushes him to meet Stacia and to find out if she would be interested in having sex with him.

Stacia is indeed interested. But Dara finds herself interested as well - in a way she never expected - sexually. Dara is confused and not sure what to make of her newfound sexual feelings, because she has never felt them before.

This makes Writing Her In a story with multiple romances: Adrien and Stacia, Stacia and Dara, Dara and Adrien and also Adrien, Dara and Stacia. Dara and Adrien have to deal with what their newfound feelings for Stacia mean for the marriage.

Adrien and Stacia have to deal with their growing feelings and how they might impact Adrien and Dara’s marriage. The same is true for Stacia and Dara. They all are also finding their way as a threesome.

One thing that stuck with me about Writing Her In is that while the ending feels complete in terms of Dara, Adrien and Stacia and their all finding love, there is also a sense that these three have just started to figure out how their relationships are going to change things.

Adrien and Dara live on the west coast while Stacia lives on the east coast. Adrien is a model who is about to get his big acting break (which just happens to be as the hero of a character created by Stacia. And Stacia is a famous author. 

Their new relationships are definitely going to complicate their lives. When Writing Her In ends, there is a sense that there is much these three must work out even as they are committed to do so. I bought the HEA even as I realized they still had work to do.

I love that Writing Her In explores that love can mean different things to different people and can be expressed in a multitude of ways: romantic, sexual, aromantic, etc. This book has great romantic and sexual tension depending upon which pairing or grouping.
I loved Writing Her In. I don’t think there are enough romances that examine non-traditional expressions of love (especially polyamorous relationships). This book is sexy at times, romantic at others but always emotionally satisfying.

Book Disclosure: An ebook was provided by the publisher via NetGalley.

#WritingHerIn #HolleyTrent #contemporary #romance #polyamory #Carina #mf #ff #ffm #romancestagram #bookstagram #romancerocks #HEAsForever 

Full review at https://bit.ly/2EZ6BFk
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3.5 stars. If you’ve ever wondered about the relationship between an author and their cover model, this is the book for you! Author Stacia doesn’t know her cover model Adrien but she sure enjoys looking at this Instagram photos and the way putting his photo on her book covers made her series really take off. But she doesn’t know much about him or his wife until she happens to be in town for an event and they extend an invitation.

I really enjoyed reading this story but it felt incomplete. It was too short and left me with so many questions, questions which easily could have been addressed had it had been a book instead of a novella. A triad relationship has many layers in and of itself but this one was more complex because Adrien and Dara are married but do not have a sexual relationship and this is the first time Adrien is acting on the fact that they have an open marriage so his sexual needs can be met. 

It appeared at first Dara might be asexual. I wanted to know more about Dara and Adrien's relationship and sexual history. I just couldn't quite conceptualize how their relationship developed and then how they got married when she wasn't attracted to him. I get that it worked for them but at the same time it didn't since they were going to have an open relationship. Did they fool around at all before they got married? Is she okay with him kissing her? Adrien was upset at the thought of Dara being with other people even though he'd already slept with Stacia and that felt like a double standard but it also made me curious if they both made the arrangement thinking Dara would never act on it.

One of the most interesting parts of the book was watching Dara come to understand her sexuality, as she came to realize she was attracted to Stacia as well. Although, again,I would have liked more clarification. I know she grew up sheltered but had she really never considered liking women before? Was she asexual, lesbian, or is Stacia the exception to the rule? Maybe it’s supposed to be left open ended as she’s still processing everything but since the book ends with all three in a relationship, I would have liked to know at least how she views Adrien and how they’ll relate to one another.

As Dara is exploring her sexuality with Stacia, I struggled with her decision not to tell Adrien anything, especially not for so long, especially not to even say she saw Stacia when she was in Richmond. I was surprised he wasn't angry about her essentially lying to him. It felt like she got a free pass for behavior most partners or spouses would be really hurt by.

There was a lot of promise there but I wanted more. It would have been interesting to see how they function as a triad too, beyond making the decision to give it a try. It ends on a good note but I was left wanting more.
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I really enjoyed this book in so many ways. I love a marriage in trouble story, and although this isn't really "classic" marriage in trouble story, it was really affecting. 

I thought the relationship between Dara and Adrien was fascinating. Best friends and so well suited in every way but in the bedroom. the agreement is for him to look for someone else, and Stacia fits the bill. But it turns out she's the key to unlocking not just Adrien but Dara as well. I liked how this developed Stacia's relationship with each of them individually and then the three of them together. In some ways, I would consider this an HFN ending bc I think there is still a lot of ways the three of them will be exploring their relationship. It's not a cliffhanger! It has a satisfying ending, but I liked these characters a lot and was sad to see it end.
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DNF @ 19%

I was excited for this when I heard the premise and the cover is beautiful and I love most books I’ve read that Carina has published, but the moment MC says “You’re human darling [...] this is what animals are designed to do,” regarding sex, I’m done.

This book already had some acemisia and anti-ace microaggressions with Dara feeling broken/unworthy for not having/being interested in sex with her husband, but I was going to continue giving this a try. But straight up insinuating that asexual folks aren’t human? NOPE NOPE NOPE. Sorry, but I have heard enough similar sentiments in real life without having it proclaimed so strongly in romance.
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This storyline isn't a normal read for me.  That said it was a very good book.  Unexpectedly lovely story about a complicated situation.  It's very well written and totally believable even with the different romance situation.
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