October 2, 2013

Review: Tragically Flawed

Tragically Flawed by A.M. Hargrove
Age Group: Adult
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: September 19, 2013
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Book Description:

Riviera Benson’s past has been nothing but horrific. It’s filled with secrets that she intends to keep tightly locked away...terrifying secrets that keep her awake at night...that prevent her from getting close to anyone...anyone that is, until her work as a muralist drives her into the arms of the hot and sexy Shan. 

Benjamin Shandon, owner of Shandon Homes, works like a thousand demons are chasing him...because perhaps they are. His business has boomed, ever since the forest fire swept through the canyon and destroyed hundreds of million dollar homes. He demands excellence in everything...from his employees to his women. He slows down for nothing, keeping a schedule that no sane person would want. But Riviera interrupts everything, twisting his guts inside out, and wedging her way into his heart, destroying a promise he made to himself. 

Will they let their pasts control their future, or will they decide to let go and allow their hearts to discover each other’s? 

♥ ♥ ♥

Tragically Flawed follows Riviera Benson, a talented mural painter running away from her abusive past and attempting to move on with her life. After fleeing from her sadistic boyfriend Riviera finds herself in a small rural town where she meets Benjamin Shandon, owner of Shandon Homes. Shan see’s Riviera’s potential and after encouraging her to leave her evil vindictive boss Marsha Sue, he offers her a place as his lead painter at Shandon Homes and soon falls head over heels for our leading lady.

I had to sit on my review for Tragically Flawed for a few days and process the story and what wanted to say about it. There are some really great things about this novel. I love Riviera. She’s bright, beautiful inside and out, and she’s a survivor. Her character is well thought out and incredibly realistic.
I think A.M. Hargrove does an amazing job of showing the reader how the life Riviera has lived and the personal horrors she’s overcome shapes the person she is. It was so hard reading what Jasper did to her and the detail actually made my stomach turn, but that is just a testament to how good of a writer Hargrove is. I didn’t just read what happened; I was there, in the moment with Riviera experiencing her horror with her.

But seeing how she picked herself up out of the situation and got away from him, well it was just a really amazing message being sent to people who might be in the same position as Riviera. There’s always hope. I also really liked Shan and I felt his backstory was solid and gave him valid reasons for why he was the way he was in the story.

That being said, there are also some things that felt wrong to me. Riviera has been abused most of her life and while I absolutely believe women or men that have been victimized can get their lives back and be intimate with people in a healthy way, I felt like the physical part of their relationship happened way too quick.

We see Riviera being scared of Shan when she first meets him because he has a temper when it comes to things being done correctly and really she just caught him at a bad moment, but even after they got to know each other and as the readers we can see the attraction, I still felt it was too soon. And then on top of that, after the first time they were together it was Riviera that started initiating sex all the time.

She becomes this aggressive sex fiend and while I’m in no way against some smut (gotta love the sexytime) it just felt wrong to me, like it shouldn’t be happening and it actually took a bit away from my enjoyment of the story. After a while I actually started skimming the sex scenes and sort of skipping over them.

Another thing I would have loved to see is some expanding on Riviera’s roommate. She seemed so helpful and like she had her own story to tell, but at the same time she seemed to have two different personalities, one really serious girl and comforting friend and another who was constantly talking about sex acts with a victim of sexual abuse. That also felt off.

All in all I did enjoy the plot of the story and it was well written. Seeing Riviera overcoming the odds and dealing with her past was really great. Knowing that she was going to get to be happy after everything she went through was really great and I would recommend the book just for that.

♥ ♥ ♥

Author Bio:

One day, on her way home from work as a sales manager, A. M. Hargrove, realized her life was on fast forward and if she didn't do something soon, it would quickly be too late to write that work of fiction she had been dreaming of her whole life. So, she rolled down the passenger window of her fabulous (not) company car and tossed out her leather briefcase.

Luckily, the pedestrian in the direct line of fire was a dodge ball pro and had ├╝ber quick reflexes enabling him to avoid getting bashed in the head. Feeling a tad guilty about the near miss, A. M. made a speedy turn down a deserted side street before tossing her crummy, outdated piece-of-you-know-what lap top out the window. She breathed a liberating sigh of relief, picked up her cell phone, called her boss and quit her job. Grinning, she made another call to her hubs and told him of her new adventure (after making sure his heart was beating properly again).

So began A. M. Hargrove's career as a YA/NA and Adult Romance writer. Her books include Kissing Fire, Edge of Disaster, Shattered Edge, the series the Guardians of Vesturon (Survival, Resurrection, Determinant, Beginnings and reEmergent), Dark Waltz and the upcoming release Tragically Flawed.

Other than being in love with being in love, she loves chocolate, ice cream and coffee and is positive they should be added as part of the USDA food groups.

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