Where Honesty Never Ends.
Genre: Erotic Suspense/Mystery
Disclaimer: This book was provided to The Review Board by the Author in exchange for an honest review.
Blurb via Amazon.com:
Became a tech billionaire by his twentieth birthday. Has been in a relationship with me for 3 years. Has proposed 4 times. Been rejected 4 times.
Cuts grass when he’s not banging housewives. Good with his hands, his mouth, and his body. Has been pursued relentlessly by me for almost 2 years, whether he knows it or not.
Go ahead. Judge me. You have no idea what my love entails.
If you think you’ve heard this story before, trust me – you haven’t.
**This is a STANDALONE full-length novel. It is not part of a series, and does not contain a cliffhanger.**
Hello and Welcome. Today The Review Board brings you “Black Lies” by Alessandra Torre. First, Wordsmith Andi will give us her thoughts.
The Wordsmith Weighs In
Black Lies might just be Torre’s biggest “totally did not expect that!” twist of a novel yet. Revolving around two main characters, Layana Fairmont and Brant Sharp, this novel takes you on an erotic mystery ride worth waiting in line for.
I don’t want to talk too much detail of the plot in this review. Awhile back I had the chance to interview Torre and happened to ask her for more information on the book since it wasn’t yet released. She politely declined providing said teaser information citing the blurb was enough and that going into detail would only spoil the surprise. I respected this even though I didn’t understand what could possibly be so secretive. However, after having read the book I completely comprehend the need for reticence. Despite the fact that this book has been out since August of 2014 I will continue to respect the reticence, leaving the ultimate surprise up to the reader.
At first reading of the blurb I did think oh, wait, another Sex, Love, Repeat. Hasn’t she done this plot line before? However, the blurb is correct. This is not another Sex, Love, Repeat. So not Sex, Love, Repeat. I can’t stress that enough. Yes, Layana sleeps with two different men but … well; you’ll just need to read it to find out exactly how it’s not the same plot line.
While loving the book and all its myriad twists and turns, I can say that Black Lies does not deviate from what I consider Torre’s typical formula in having at least one of her main characters absolutely stinking rich. Layana comes from money, having been bred for high society life. Brant is a self-made billionaire tech head. I understand that being incredibly wealthy opens up avenues in story telling that abject poverty does not but for once I would like Torre to write a novel that doesn’t fantastically transport our imaginations toward a life of never-ending greenbacks and the opportunities such wealth affords. I’d love to see some characters that have to grub about in the poverty-dirt, experiencing life from the ground up instead of from above a plush currency-cushion. Give us less fantasy and more down-to-earth characters that have to struggle with the baser aspects of life. Torre is a deft hand at giving us characters whose emotions and thoughts bleed through, making them relatable in certain aspects, compelling us to love them despite the differences in life styles and financial status. Could she be just as adept at giving us new characters that have to scrounge for a better standard of living while carrying on some exciting erotic adventure? I would love to find out.
Overall I gave this book the highest rating possible. Torre delivers a spectacular tale no one is likely to anticipate. I wasn’t able to put this book down so I suspect others might not be able to either. She kept me guessing from page one, having sculpted a story with genius forethought and creative dexterity. Black Lies is not a novel to be missed!
10 TRB Stars.
Great. Thank you Wordsmith for your thoughts on “Black Lies”. Now let’s see what Mini Truth thinks.
Wow, there is so much that I have to say about this book. It feels almost impossible to collect my thoughts in order to get it all down. This, of course, doesn’t mean I am not going to try.
I should probably start by saying that perhaps my taste in Erotica is s bit different and/or maturer than most. This could very well be the biggest contributing factor in the matter of me not enjoying this story as much as most. If I were to be completely honest, I would have to say that I wholeheartedly loathed it. This isn’t to be mean, it’s just my truth.
Likewise, I’m certain that a high percentage of Erotica Romance readers out there will love this book and gush over it like it was a God send.
Unfortunately, for me that just wasn’t the case. While it may come off snooty and/or arrogant, my taste in Erotica eclipses most of what’s on the market today. I can’t help what I like—I like what I like. I promise you that there is a reason for the previous statement. I’ll get to that soon enough.
Now, as always, before jumping into my thought of this book, I suppose I should disclose a bit of the premise. Not that the premise is complex—it’s actually quite shallow.
Beautiful, rich Cali girl gone rebellious meets handsome rich Cali man whose parents don’t like the girl too much. Against all of their wishes Layana Fairmount and Brant Sharp hook up eventually falling in love and becoming a couple.
When suddenly the “UNEXPECTED” happens …
I’ll get to the reason for my quotations on the word unexpected soon.
Lee, enters the picture. Lee, who seems to be the exact opposite of Brant, making Lana (her nickname) fall for him too. Apparently, she can’t help herself. She desires him so much that she sabotages his love affair with another woman.
The story is chock full of sex, sex and more sex. For the lover of heaping spoon fulls of animal like sex, this story will surely hit the mark.
Now that that’s out of the way, please allow me some time to get into my thoughts of the book. They will be sorted out in the form of Pros and Cons. The Pros focusing more on the positive things that readers prone to reading this type of story would enjoy. The Cons will be formulated with those, like me, who wouldn’t enjoy a book like this.
That’s about it for the Pros. Onto the Cons.
I am the type of reader who loves to dog ear, make notes, and punctuate certain things as I mosey along in whatever book I am reading. There are various reasons why I do that. Sometimes it’s to mark something that I found incredibly interesting, displeasing or probably something I wanted to remember.
“Black Lies” accrued several (and I mean LOTS) of notes and highlighted text from me.
I am a person of reason. Logic always gets my attention. Moreover, as I read a story, whether fantasy or fiction, I I look at if from a logical stand point. “Does this make sense? Why is this here and that there? Hold on … I thought this was supposed to be this.”
With that being said, this book was HIGHLY illogical! Apart from that we find other faux pas that plainly put, make this book ridiculous.
Here we go.
“My brain winced at the crudeness of my thoughts, glancing around casually to make sure my obscenity wasn’t telegraphed.”
I didn’t know that brains can wince! My brain hurt after reading that.
“I clamped my hand over my mouth as a ridiculous giggle erupted from my mouth.”
Why is mouth mentioned twice here, and where else would giggles come from; her elbows?
“I watched him while chewing, blueberries mixing with sugar and flour to make a delicious combination in my mouth.”
Where else would the “delicious combination” be, in her neck?”
I am so sincere in saying that I have no clue what people find in this book. There just isn’t any real appeal.
Long story short, for those reasons above and many more, I genuinely could not like this book. The best I can give this story is 4 stars. 2 because of the spelling, and 2 because this wasn’t the worst book I’ve ever read.
Last, but most certainly not least, No Labels Unleashed.
Hello. My name is No Labels. I am very open to reading any type of genre. As a matter of fact, I tend to get the material that some others don’t want to touch. Yet I do have a few that are my favorite. Poetry is one. Horror is another. Yet another one that tops the list is Erotica. Not just any type of Erotica. The type of erotica that makes the flesh heat up just by using the right words in the right way. The type of erotica that makes the heart race, one’s femininity pulse with happiness, and toes curl in anticipation … just before your lover arrives to make that passion on paper transform into live, vibrant escapades that would have the most seasoned voyeur blushing.
Needless to say, my standard is a bit high. I’ve been sneaking around reading this stuff since I was twelve. (Hope my grandma isn’t reading this.)
I will approach this is a few different ways. The first is what the majority of readers may think of Black Lies. The latter will be my viewpoint, including Pros and Cons that factored into my ruling.
Presentation to the Reader
There is something very exciting about the taboo, the forbidden. In a world where monogamy seems to be the majority, here is Layana flaunting the fact that she not only loves two men but she sexes two men on a frequent basis. One is of wealth, a gentleman, and very suave; the other is a bit rough around the edges. Black Lies is an adventure, a back and forth involving Layana being the person she was meant to be while exploring what decision she makes about the man she really wants to be with Brant or Lee, or will she end up being able to have her cake and eat it, too.
This sounds very thrilling and enough to make one’s panties come right off. Plenty of sex from the gate. Short gruff commands, emphasis on how being penetrated makes Layana feel. Two men being absolutely crazy about her and wanting to do whatever it takes to please her. A dominatrix’s wet dream. Then this incredible twist takes place, making one man seem a lot more appealing than the other.
The majority of the reading audience will love it and clamor for it, may even tout it as an incredible erotic read that lasts long after the last page is read. If I weren’t so particular about my erotica, I could see their viewpoint, even be willing to chime in on the praise.
Like I’ve been the majority of my life, I’ve always been that odd bird.
The best way to describe Black Lies reminds me of this scenario.
One of the things that I do enjoy to eat, although I don’t indulge in it as much as I used to, is a piece of fried chicken. Favorite parts of the chicken are legs and thighs. I decide to go to Popeyes Chicken to get two pieces of chicken–one leg, one thigh, mildly seasoned. I lick my lips with excitement; it’s been a whole year since I’ve had this dish. After blessing my meal, I inhale the cajun spices, grab the chicken leg, and close my eyes as I take the first bite.
Then, out of shock and disgust, I spit out the chicken as quickly as I’ve bitten it, due to the lack of texture and moisture.
Black Lies is that piece of chicken.
Before I explain why Black Lies represents the chicken, let me go into the things that served as pros to the story.
Now back to the piece of chicken known as Black Lies. The cons will be composed of texture and moisture. Texture will be my way of addressing areas of syntax, character development, and pace. Moisture will deal with areas of conflict and overall resolution.
Although spelling was on point, the structure of quite a few of the sentences was not. Many of them read as incomplete. Others had quite a few misplaced modifiers and had repetition that caused slight confusion. Then, there were parts where in the attempt to come across as romantic or hot, they just had me in giggles instead. To keep my part of the review as short as possible, since the other two reviewers have been quite extensive, I will keep my examples to a minimum.
The Heat of Incomplete
This. Part. Here. I suppose the italicized one word is supposed to make for a read that sizzles like bacon grease. For me, it reads very elementary, like one doesn’t know how to compose a complete sentence. This what? This who? This is just a poor attempt at being poetic. Also, even though I’m going to use another example for the misplaced modifier, the sentence reads as if the bed has eyes and hands, not Brant.
Yes. This. For quite a few people, this could be steamy sex done right. However, I’m distracted by the incomplete beginnings, as well as more misplaced modifier action.
” … my body bucking underneath his talented tongue between my legs.” (A comma separating underneath and his could have alleviated my confused visual.)
” … the bury of his cock when he finished, gasping my name … “ (This sounds like a paranormal rendition of Magic Mike because the cock has been giving human properties and gasping Layana’s name)
I could go on, but let’s go beyond this to the next example.
The Lick of Repetition with the Groans of Misplaced Modifiers (continues)
The top highlights reads like a misplaced modifier. I’m seeing fingers made of mayonnaise as opposed to mayonnaise stained fingertips.
The lower part is where the strange repetition comes in. At first, I thought perhaps the author made a bit of a typo and accidentally put the line in twice. Then, I read it again and realized the second “the next week nothing” meant the third week. What would have been wrong with writing, “The week after that nothing” or “The third week nothing”?
Style wise, it doesn’t read very smoothly.
The Climax of Chuckles
Those hips are out of this world, and outside of my comprehension!
I imagine Layana as this fragile doll that each time either guy is having sex with her, she just comes apart. That’s not sexy; that’s just scary!
Character Development: All through the story it is trumpeted how smart, sexy, and intelligent the characters are in the book, particularly Layana and Brant. Yet, the behavior and delivery of these characters is everything the opposite of this learning. For one, the way Layana and Brant express their ideas is the same, in this very elementary way lacking of extensive vocabulary, borderline primal. I’m not sold that the way Layana would express something would be repetitious of the way Brant talks about his ideas or even Lee. Despite the so called “twist”, I didn’t really see the type of growth that warranted my being interested. Layana says she cares about the kids but was willing to throw it all away at the drop of a dime just to have the man she wanted. How can selfless and selfish coincide smoothly in that way? She just felt very disjointed and stagnant. Brant and Lee were the same in that regard. The additional characters seemed there to give the main characters something to do. I found Jillian to be annoying–she acted more like Brant’s former lover than someone who was really being a protector of his best interests. I don’t mind having a character one loves to hate, but it’s worse when you don’t care anything about any character, and that is how I was feeling throughout this read.
Pace: The pacing was a bit slow for me, especially after the big twist was hinted at, then revealed relatively early. Was the sex thrown in to compensate for the twist being revealed too soon? Did the author run out of things to really talk about or lose where she wanted the story to go? The trek from the middle to the end had that ambiance, stuck in one gear and unable to really get out.
Areas of Conflict: There was a part where the aspect of mental illness was revealed. Even though the author did a little bit or research in regard to how certain components were triggered, there were other aspects that screamed high fantasy, to the point where this couldn’t possibly sell. I don’t speak about this just as a reader but as someone who knows people who suffer from the type of illness that garnered spotlight. If it were done in a more sophisticated fashion and drawn out a little later in the book, then I could have stood behind it, although reluctantly and with unease. Yet, as it stands, this was done in a piss poor fashion that took away from my enjoyment.
Resolution: This was one story where the ending was unexpected and fell flat to all of the hype. All I will say is this, some endings should be a bit more complex relative to the schisms in the book.
So, summing up the cons
Unleashed Verdict: 4.5 out of 10
Yes, the majority may adore this write. Sorry folks, Black Lies just wasn’t for me. The lack of sophistication in the writing style along with the presentation of the characters and the sex gave me more chuckles than sounds of bliss. Perhaps if this was touted as comedy or an erotic satire, I’d be able to give it high stars. As it stands, Black Lies is that dry tasteless chicken leg left in Popeyes, the one where you go to the counter and ask for your money back.
Overall Score: 6 TRB Stars
Well, it looks like “Black Lies” by Alessandra Torre accrues six out of TRB Stars.
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