15 November 2010

Review: An unexpected raw romance -> Alyssa Turner - Bittersweet

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Received .pdf copy from author for review.

Cover Summary:
An intimate tale of love, sex and loss.

What happens when the line between love and despair is blurred? Sabrina must find out if she has room in her heart for both. Her devoted, disabled husband has planned a Valentine’s Day to remember. Her biggest surprise – that unrestrained passion can heal her deepest wound. If Sabrina can let ecstasy wash away her pain, she will have been given the most valuable Valentine’s gift of all: a love that endures through eternity.

About the author,
Alyssa Turner’s writings address a woman’s desire to really have it all – including the things she’s not supposed to want. New to the erotic romance scene, Alyssa enjoys painting pictures in her literary works with a creative use of metaphor and detailed visual imagery. Her publishing credits include, Two For One, a featured story in Best Women’s Erotica 2011, edited by Violet Blue, print publication in November 2010, Bittersweet, Xcite Books e-publication September 2010 and Criminal Behavior, a Mainstream Erotica monthly finalist.

My Review: I’ve been surprised by a few erotic romance writers in the last few months and Alyssa Turner is one of them. I have to admit though that I’m a reader who loves the details in a story. Prolonged scenes full of sensualism, heated dialogues or really delving in to the mind of a character is what brings me to my reader’s happy place. Still, even though Alyssa Turner only gave me a 53 page long story she gave me all of that in the core and with an intensity I love. In mere pages I understood there was a combustible spark between Keith and Sabrina, igniting some fierce emotions. Over a period of time it resulted in a deep love, even if the trope was one of a newly appointed professor at the NYU and his student, which felt a bit corny at first.

I was quickly fast forward to the time where they were married for years but catastrophe had struck in the form of a car accident which left Keith paralyzed from the waist down. Because the story is told from Sabrina’s point of view I initially got to understand how it affected her and how she now perceived their once strong relationship. It is then that Keith comes with an outrageous proposal. Since a while he has a new assistant, Evan, and Keith wants him to give to Sabrina what he can’t anymore.

Well, up till then I was engaged in the story. Curious how this situation would play itself out. It is only pages later that Keith explains his reasoning behind his proposal that Evan should take his place. From there on out there were such conflicting emotions in me. At one hand I understood that Keith and Sabrina had a different outlook on life but what about their love? At one hand I got titillating new emotions blooming with Sabrina but also her devastating pain and a love that is tried and tested. The rawness of the emotions washed over my via the writing voice of Alyssa Turner. I had some initial reluctance to accept the new budding feelings from Sabrina and yet, the proposal, the choices made, it was all born from the love Sabrina and Keith feel.

Keith who is this strong driven personality is stuck in heart breaking circumstances. I got his desperation, his endless love for his wife and his happiness at finding a part lost between him and Sabrina. In between there is Evan, never diminishing the love between this strong pair but supportive, promising a new beginning and to feel a spectrum of emotions again for the first time. The somewhat unorthodox relationship exposed individual wants and needs which captivated me in both its intricacy and its simplicity. Like Keith said to Sabrina:

“That’s what you think you should be doing. Sometimes you have to let your instincts take the lead. There is nothing wrong with your sensibilities or what they are telling you.”
“Stop trying to make this sound so easy.”
He sighed, twisting a lock of my hair around his finger. “But it is, Sabrina. It’s as simple as we make it.”
I’m not saying BITTERSWEET is a perfect story. The quickness of storytelling diminishes some of the flow. Some scenes could’ve used more elaboration to create a deeper connection to the characters. Even though I would’ve enjoyed to have the author explore Sabrina’s double edged feelings even more in this novella I believe the saying “sometimes less is more” fits this story to a tee. What captivated me from the get-go are the conflicting emotions due to a terrible situation. It evoked such strong emotions with me! Alyssa Turner places her characters in the most devastating situations and still manages to let love shine in all its facets. The title is very apt for the story because even though I was torn in two it is the dose of realism that lends a beauty to the story and it struck a chord with me.

I was crying and smiling by the end for the three characters I loved to meet for this short time. Alyssa Turner evokes powerful emotions with her novella; BITTERSWEET. I hope to hear more from her!

4 stars

Quote Sabrina:
Though I would never freely admit that he had the upper hand, he knew when I’d been outdone and preferred to take his spoils in the sound of my pleasured sighs. Disputes always led to sex. Arguments equaled passion. With Keith, it was an outright brawl every time; one that made my eventual submission a delectable turn-on for both of us.
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  1. Nice review..I have never heard of this author..but I'm def on an erotic kick..will check her out. Crying and smiling is always good :)

  2. Sounds like a touching story. I love books that make us feel strongly. Great review as always!

  3. Great Leontine!
    Making this a run and write comment. Gotta go to the hairdresser now

  4. @Mandi - I love it when authors can make me react - good or bad :)

    @Stacy - It is a touching story, it makes me think what i would ever do in such a situation...

    @Blodeuedd - ROFL, get to the hairdresser girl!

  5. Wow, this is definitely going on my to buy list! When it can evoke powerful emotions in such a small amount of pages it makes me curious!
    Wonderful review again, Leontine. :)

  6. O love your review and the sound of this story, very intriguing and emotional.

  7. Great review, Leontine! Geez!! You always seem to find the heart-wrenchers! I can completely understand how you would feel torn with emotions on the unfolding of events and circumstances. Wow! I will say that I'm curious about it despite me knowing it would take me for that emotional ride! And, by-the-way, yay that you said you love stories with details. Me too! :)

  8. Leontine I still remember when you recommend I read Bareback, I sobbed uncontrollably for HOURS! I past due for another tear jerker rec from you ;)

  9. @Janna - the situation is heart tugging and it was so engaging! especially the "what would i do" factor played in my mind quite often.

    @Marissa - Within the span of the pages i was surprised, in a good way. How I was touched and balling by the end :)

    @Smokinhotbooks - LOL Hon, I remember a distinct rave review for ENLIGHTENED where you got me back and then some!! At the end of the story I needed a box of tissues to dry my tears :)) I love 'em like that!!


I love to hear all your voices and opinions so thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment.