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review 2018-03-10 21:54
Review: Hate to Want You
Hate to Want You: Forbidden Hearts - Alisha Rai

Sex positive and a great heroine, the first half was hard to put down. The second half was really more a matter of personal taste than anything wrong. I'm just not into this kind of hero, and there were no dragons or robots to distract me from that.


Good, but my favorite part was the preview for the next book in the series.

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review 2018-03-10 20:19
Hurts to Love You by Alisha Rai
Hurts to Love You: Forbidden Hearts - Alisha Rai

I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

The youngest in a power family, Eve has felt more comfortable hidden away in her shell. However, when a chance to make a move on a long standing crush arises, she begins to realize that being herself and letting others see her is the only way to get what she truly wants.
Growing up the housekeeper's kid kept Gabe slightly on the outside looking in. Getting close to people has always been difficult but when he gets some alone time with Eve, the girl he's tried to stay away from because of her age, he begins to realize that she's a woman now and getting close to someone can be the best thing in the world.

Imperfections were what made a piece unique. Impossible to replicate. 

Book three and the last in the Forbidden Hearts series, gives us Eve and Gabe's story. Eve is Nicholas' (Hate to Want You) younger sister and has made appearances as the bullied by her father, overprotected by her brother, standing up for her brother, and crushing on Gabe, shy girl. Here we get the full depth and breadth of her character. The author does an amazing job showing the growth Eve goes through as the story progresses. She goes from hiding her wants and desires to allowing herself to express them and making no apologies for them. Eve's personal growth kind of dominated the story for me as her character was so well thought out and written.

She was Eve. A Chandler. And he had far too many problems to get tangled up in a Chandler. 

Gabe has also made appearances in the last two books, as Livvy's (Hate to Want You) boss and Jackson's (Wrong to Need You) too talkative want to be friend. He's been the genial, nice, and open guy who is big in stature with a heart of gold. Here we learn about a deeply held secret and the hidden pain this has caused him. I had a harder time connecting with Gabe as the story seemed to not have quite enough room for his character to breathe on the pages. The secret takes a while to get revealed and as a consequence, his closed off persona and constant pushing and running away from Eve was lacking context and his commitment issues began to get tiresome. 

“Can I have you?” he murmured. 

The basis and continuing thread of this series has been the family drama between the Chandlers and the Oka-Kanes, this book is no exception. It stole some time away from Eve and Gabe; this crosses the line into feeling more like an encompassing series wrap-up than Eve and Gabe's story more than once. From the glimpses we got from them in the series I was, personally, hoping for more of a spotlight on them. They have great chemistry but I would have liked more intimate scenes between them (a strong suite of this author) and just general more bonding interaction. Eve also does more of the heavy lifting as Gabe had a tendency to push her away; the lusting but "oh no, I can't!" rinse and repeat wore a bit thin. However, the glimpses we did get of Gabe's nice and sunny in the streets and hair pulling, dirty talking in the sheets will give you the thrills. 

The hurt, pain, anger, and love this series has been full of and the amazing characters have made Alisha Rai a must read author here on out for me. She incorporates tough issues (depression, family dynamics), provides authentic joining and melding of people from all walks of life, writes brilliant women characters, and does it with such a beautiful ease, with added hot and sexy intimate scenes. Shy Eve and sweet Gabe get their happy ending, along with more Chandler and Oka-Kane revelations, heartache, and closure. Emotional ups and downs with hot sexy loving, read this series. 

Here was love. Deep, unconditional love. And she deserved it. 

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text 2018-03-09 17:20
Hurts to Love You: Forbidden Hearts - Alisha Rai

His big hands came up to brace himself on the tree on either side of her head. He leaned in close. She breathed in.

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text 2018-03-08 01:58
Reading Update: 15%
Hurts to Love You: Forbidden Hearts - Alisha Rai

She opened her eyes, and he wanted her to eat more cake. Hell, he wanted to buy her a whole cake and feed it to her, have her lick lemon and cream from his fingers.



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review 2018-03-06 22:41
Relationships written so normal and beautifully
Wrong to Need You: Forbidden Hearts - Alisha Rai

She was a mother, a widow. To a lot of people, she’d discovered, those two titles took precedence over being a woman. 

It is no secret I loved the heck out of the first in this series and with a pairing I was worried/not feeling (sister-in-law/brother-in-law), this was always going to have a hard time measuring up. 
The writing is superb, no problems there, but the components just weren't to my personal liking. 
This is, by my guess, 30-40ish% our main couple Jackson and Sadia and 70-60ish% family issues/drama; for a very long time it feels way more contemporary fiction romance instead of what I was anticipating for romance contemporary fiction.

The lusting from Sadia starts right away and the comments she makes in the first 20% felt almost immature (when she realizes the mystery man is Jackson) because of the issues/relationship between them. It was hard for me to move from the emotional pain and relationship complexities to Sadia saying hot Jackson's butt was. After the 20% those kind of comments and tone kind of fade off, to the betterment, I think. 

As with Livvy (we get snippets of her and Nicholas here!), I thought Sadia was a great complex, multi-faceted heroine. Her inner family stresses along with grief, motherhood, money, and sexual desires are laid out so bare and real. It feels weird to wax poetic about a "normal" woman character as if other heroines aren't "normal", because what is normal and all that but dang it, I feel like I don't read a lot of normal heroines. Sadia is all of it, a mother, stressed, a daughter, horny, a sister, a list maker, bisexual, a widower, hurt, and etc. Loved her character.

I love me some broody, quiet, and strong types and while Jackson was all of that and a muscle tattooed bag of chips, he felt too closed off to me as the reader; I selfishly like to be let in, as the reader, before or more than the other book characters. His shyness for being such a big dude was refreshing and endearing but I never reached a solid place of "knowing" his character. 

This line had me primal screaming/giddy/high: 
There was a reason he’d never gotten along with many men—these absurd power plays were too foolish. 
How bleeping amazing to have men relationships/dynamics called into the spotlight instead of the tired "women can't be friends because of jealously and/or competitiveness". I don't know, some justice was served for me with this line, lol.

It was a little tough to wade through the family drama and dynamics that steal the time and show from Sadia and Jackson. Tough because I wanted more romance/relationship from them but if I had gone in with the expectation of more contemp fiction, the writing and characterization is amazing. At around the 55% mark Sadia and Jackson's relationship heats up with some voyeurism and it is sexually on from there. It felt a little packed in (get your mind out of the gutter) with the sex scenes so grouped together but the emotional baggage of the sis/bro-in-law probably required the wait, I just would have liked them to have more talking/together scenes before.

Anyway, if looking for a fantastically written family drama with some explicit sex scenes this should be your next purchase. There were some Gabe and Eve appearances in this and I'm dying to see them together in the next book.

“It’s hard to make your peace with someone who isn’t around anymore. Or more accurately, to make your peace with never making your peace.” She smiled sadly. “But sometimes it’s the only thing you can do.”

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