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Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Bitten to the Core by Robin Slick

Bitten to the Core by Robin Slick
Publisher: Phaze Books
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Full Length (195 pgs)
Other: BDSM, M/F
Rating: 5 Cherries
Reviewed by Xeranthemum

In Three Days in New York City, she fled a stagnant marriage and a job she hated, looking for a temporary fix of passion. Instead she found the courage to be herself for the first time in years. In Another Bite of the Apple, she persued her dream and pined for the man she loved, and won both. Or did she?

Yes, Elizabeth is back, and this time...she's in New Jersey.

Frustrated by the disintegration of her relationship with the absentee restaurateur Rob, Elizabeth flees to the Jersey Shore to paint and wallow in self-pity. A chance encounter with the handsome (and younger) writer Andrew spins her into a whirlwind of domestic and sexual bliss. Question is, will it last, and what becomes of Andrew when it's time to return to normal?

What is normal for Elizabeth, anyway? Find out in the long-awaited third novel of Robin's Slick's bestselling series!

Bitten to the Core is a first person POV hysterical romantic journey of a woman falling in love with a younger man.

Elizabeth’s personality is total fun. I have never read a first person POV where I truly felt I was experiencing a person’s thoughts as they have them. Ms. Slick has her character doing monologues that would have done Johnny Carson proud. At no time did I ever feel the internal dialogue spiraled into an info dump. It was fresh, witty, comical, and relatable. When she made reference to the old Match Game game show from the 1970s, I found myself bobbing my head in agreement, excitement heating my veins. I remembered that show! I loved that panel and the tongue-in-cheek comments they would make that would just squeak by the censors.

I found myself relating to Elizabeth in the way she over thinks things. You know, when you think about it and you know you shouldn’t so you feel guilty about over thinking so you do it some more because you are over thinking? And you still just can’t help it? I understood her character and I really liked her. I even enjoyed the fact that she was a woman who escaped a loveless marriage, went on to make mistakes but learned from them and whose attitude is onward and upward, just don’t buy that T-shirt ever again.

I commend Ms. Slick with imbuing Elizabeth with a well rounded and healthy attitude. I could respect her, cheer for her and be envious of her. I even enjoyed how she pleasured herself because even then, I found reasons to smile and giggle. Most books have the person oh, so serious and passionate about it all, but Elizabeth has this extra something that not only makes it sexy and hot, but endearingly adorable too. Hard to imagine it being both but Ms. Slick pulls it off remarkably well.

And speaking of hot, the love interest, Andrew, is a total dream. At times I thought the author was making him too perfect for Elizabeth, and then he’d do the opposite of what you’d expect a man to do. By doing that, Ms. Slick made him unique and a strong character in his own right. He might be young, compared to Elizabeth, but he’s already lived through a period of intense, for lack of a better term, debauchery, and had matured enough to realize the truth of Elizabeth when he saw her. Timing is everything.

I think any woman would adore having a man like Andrew for real in her life, even if only for a few times a year because it would revitalize any long standing marriage. I mean the husbands out there could take some lessons from someone like Andrew. Sometimes you need to be in touch with that impulsive, happy youngster inside to see the world again in all its optimistic potential. And that is what I think Andrew does. He embodies the positive and the hopeful that should be part of a healthy relationship. He showed that men are capable of communication, compromise and empathy in their masculine way that is just as effective as the feminine version. Andrew was a man you wanted to hug, squeeze, pinch his cheeks and then go at him like a frenzied bunny. I liked him too.

The conflict is an internal one and is focused solely on Elizabeth making the choice to let go and accept that what she thought she had wasn’t real and to accept what she thinks is temporary and too good to be true is actually the very thing that is real. It’s that waffling that made her character all too human and believable. It’s a major decision she has to make and she doesn’t shy away from the guilt and uncertainty that dogs her throughout the story. It’s what makes her strong and what makes her final decision all the more realistic. And satisfying.

There are a few secondary characters that help showcase their relationship and Elizabeth and Andrew’s individual personalities. Again, Ms. Slick shows she has a tap into the emotions of her characters because of how she leads us down one path of thought and then hits us readers and her characters with the other side of the coin. Every story has two sides and people shouldn’t jump to conclusions and pass judgment on others until you’ve heard both. I just said, “Wow” when I found out about Dottie. I never expected it.

Bitten to the Core is a very hot, sexually open, hysterically funny and enlightening story about love and trust, following impulses, getting second chances and giving yourself permission to be happy. Although the tone was humorous, the message is as serious as it gets. No matter how old you are, be young at heart, believe you deserve happiness and grab it with both hands. For real love is the greatest gift of all. This is a must read story.

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