4.5 BEAUTY STARS! ★★★★☆
“I want to learn how to trust a man. I wanted to know what true, physical pleasure felt like. I wanted to find the courage to be vulnerable on my own terms, as my own choice.”
So I've finally made it to the Nina Lane party & after reading Arouse, I can definitely see what's the hype about ;) Also, GR really needs to start implementing the 0.5 stars in ratings because while I really did enjoy this book, it just didn't give me the 5-stars winner feel that I was hoping for.
Arouse is the story of Olivia & her husband, Professor Dean West. Being in marital bliss for 3 years, their marriage began to hit a rough patch when a certain event occurred which in turn, triggered a series of events that would lead our blissful couple to question everything about their relationship.
With secrets and old pasts coming to light, the question is, will their marriage survive through it all?
I'm starting to think that I really enjoy reading these marital books because they deal with the real issues everyone faces in their relationships. I love how realistic and relatable these stories are, we get to see that everything is not all sunshine and rainbows. Sometimes, the imperfections are what make all these reads very honest and real.
Our marriage has always been an island, a safe place where sea-dragons and monstrous creatures can’t reach us. Now we’re letting them in, gnashing teeth and all, and we are failing to protect each other.
Arouse is exactly the type of story that I described above. It's beautifully written and despite them being a married couple, Nina Lane still managed to portray their relationship as a passionate and intense one. Sure there were moments that were a bit slow-moving at the beginning, but overall I found the story to be well-paced and did not rush into anything that is overly dramatic.
Also, I must commend Nina for doing a damn fine job in weaving the past and present together very well. Usually I'm not a huge fan of these past/present flashbacks because they confuse me and might give me a whiplash. But in this one, I thought it was brilliantly done at the right moments in the book, allowing us to experience and understand the very strong foundation of their relationship in the first place. Reading the past flashbacks definitely gave me the flutters as I witnessed first-hand their courtship days and how their relationship blossomed beautifully.
"For years, Dean has been my best friend , my confidante, the love of my life. We’ve fought for each other. My demons have cowered in the face of his strength. My secrets have always been safe with him."
Well, what can I say about Professor Dean West? A sexy professor is definitely someone right up my alley! He is wonderfully described as the white knight in this story; he's protective of Liv and you can just sense how strong his love is for his wife. The way Nina wrote Dean's character has certainly got my heart all mushy and nothing short of swoon-worthy. Sexy, brilliant, confident and possessive; Dean West fits the bill perfectly of my kind of man ♥
“Liv,” he said, his voice rough with tenderness, “you don’t have to be afraid.” “Why not?” “Because I’ll slay monsters for you.
Honestly, I thought I was going to settle for 4-stars but once I hit around 70% and the author gave us Dean's POV, that really made me upgraded my rating a little. Having it from Dean's perspective and understanding what he's equally going through really tugged at my heartstrings. Also not to mentioned, Kelsey was an amazing secondary character. Trust me, we all need someone like Kelsey in our lives ;)
Only a minor thing that bugged me was how the miscommunication between them was being dealt. I wasn't entirely happy when either one always walk out on each other after an argument and well, I kinda expected better from these two. But that's just my personal opinion ;)
Overall, Arouse is the first instalment of a heart-achingly beautiful story of Liv & Dean as you watched them overcome the trials and tribulations of their marriage. It also has the perfect balance of angst and erotica which keeps you captivated throughout the book.
Although it ends off with a minor cliffhanger, this book seems to be a very promising start to a great series.