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Erotic Romance Audiobook Review: First Touch by Laurelin Paige

First Touch by Laurelin Paige (First and Last #1)

audiocopy courtesy of Audible Studios

Synopsis from Goodreads
When Emily Wayborn goes home to visit her mom while on hiatus from her hit TV show, she receives a voicemail from her former best friend, Amber. Though the two were once notorious party girls, they haven't spoken in years. Although the message might sound benign to anyone else, Amber uses a safe word that Emily recognizes, a word they always used to get out of sticky situations during their wild days. And what's more chilling than the voicemail: it turns out that Amber has gone missing.

Determined to track down her friend, Emily follows a chain of clues that lead her to the enigmatic billionaire Reeve Sallis, a hotelier known for his shady dealings and play boy reputation. Now, in order to find Amber, Emily must seduce Reeve to learn his secrets and discover the whereabouts of her friend. But as she finds herself more entangled with him, she finds she's drawn to Reeve for more than just his connection to Amber, despite her growing fear that he may be the enemy. When she's forced to choose where her loyalty lies, how will she decide between saving Amber and saving her heart?

 Audible US | Amazon US/UK | Amazon kindle US/UK | The Book Depository


* * *
 Erotic romance is very individual, isn't it? It's really hard to find the books which would really connect with us on a deep, subconscious level, and as you can guess this one didn't.

There are very few authors in this genre I respect and love, probably no more than seven or eight names in total. Tiffany Reisz, Roni Loren, Emma Holly, Tamsen Parker, Lilah Pace, Kit Rocha, C.D. Reiss, Madelynne Ellis. Erotic romance and its subgenre, - bdsm romance for me has to straddle a fine line between clear consent and unspoken lines which WILL NOT be crossed. And I can not stand dark romance subgenre which is what happens when those lines ARE crossed: there is way too much abuse in it. The closest I got to it without stopping reading the book altogether were some of Annabel Joseph's novels which were pretty hot.

First Touch was a mistake from the get go. First of all, while requesting this book I mixed Laurelin Paige's name with Lorelei James, whose novels I know and like, secondly this was most definitely a dark romance. Our relationship was doomed from the beginning.

The narrator tried her best, but the writing itself was just too clanky and awkward, and not in a cute way. The very few plot threads which seemed promising - human trafficking investigation, Emily's past exploits, Amber's disappearance, and Reeve's connection to mafia were buried under a constant relationship drama, his huge insecurities and rough sex thrown in between. Add to it a very abrupt cliffhanger of an ending, and I was not a happy bunny! Hence, the low rating. 

Emily as a character disappointed me. She started with clear intentions and ballsy attitude. All of it disappeared a few weeks into her relationship with Reeve. She lost all desire to proceed even when the information she needed was offered to her on a golden plate! There was also no description of her work or anything to do with it even if it was a big part of her life.

Don't let me start on Reeve. I felt like he was Roarke wannabe with his blue eyes and black hair and billion dollar empire. At the same time, everything about him was generic. There were no hobbies, favorite foods, clothes, reads, nothing about the way he operated. We are told that he is a billionaire and that he owns resorts, however there are only a couple of interactions between him and other people with might give us an insight into who he is, and it's not enough, peeps.

Overall, a promising start which did not deliver. Some scenes offended me on some level, as they do in this subgenre, so if you are of a similar mindset, I do not recommend it.

* * *
Эротический роман - это очень индивидуальное чтение, не правда ли? Довольно трудно наткнуться на книги, которые затронут нас на глубоком, подсознательном уровне, и как вы наверное догадались, Первое Прикосновение - не одна из них.

У меня очень мало любимых авторов в этом жанре, не более 7-8 имён. Тиффани Райс, Рони Лорен, Эмма Холли, Тамзен Паркер, Лила Пэйс, Кит Роча, С.Д. Рейсс и Маделин Эллис. Эротический роман и его субжанр, роман бдсм, должны оседлать хрупкую линию между ясным согласием и подразумевающимися границами, которые НЕ ПЕРЕСЕКАЮТ. Тёмному роману, с другой стороны, на эти границы похер, и я его изо всех сил избегаю, так как насилие как физическое, так и моральное, если оно не приветствуется обоими сторонами, я просто не переношу. 

Первое Прикосновение, безусловно, книга, написаная в жанре тёмного романа. Автор этот для меня неизвестный, и поняла я что затребовала на рецензию только несколько первых глав спустя. В общем, мы с ней сразу же не пришлись друг другу по душе.

Рассказчица пыталась изо всех сил, но работала она с очень бедным лексиконом. Стиль книги неуклюжий, тяжёлый, постельные сцены жуткие. Характеризации никакой. Эмили начинает сюжет уверенной в себе, дерзкой охотницей, а заканчивает слезливой тряпкой, не способной на независимые решения. Рив очень хочет быть похожим на Рорка, однако кроме голубых глах и жгуче чёрных волос, а также статуса милиардера у них нет ничего общего. Он вообще внутренне слабый, неуверенный в себе, ревнивый мужик, без каких-либо отличительных черт. У него нет хобби, предпочтений в еде, музыке или книгах. Нам неизвестно чем и как он занимается помимо постоянных драматических выснений отношений с Эмили. Добавьте к этому резкий клиффхэнгер под конец книги, и кроме раздражения у меня и Эмили и Рив больше ничего не вызвали.

Все потенциально интересные сюжетные линии - расследование в работорговлю, исчезновение Амбер, связь Рива с мафией оказались погребены под тривиальностью скандалов между главными героями, так что книга в принципе не может ничем похвастаться - сюжет сошёл на нет, характеры ничем не примечательны, постельные сцены ужасны. Так что, не советую.
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