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Vanilla by Megan Hart
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Vanilla

by Megan Hart

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Showing 5 of 5
Thanks to Goodreads and Harlequin for a free copy!

So, I'm going to start off by saying that erotica is waaaay outside of my comfort zone, both for reading and for reviewing. But this story still grabbed me, which is, I think, a testament to two major factors.

The first is the writing itself. Megan Hart knows how to turn a phrase. There are some really great, poetic descriptions and reflections that pop up in this book.

And the second is the other aspects of the plot. Which is to say... yes, this is erotica/romance, but that is not the only thing going on in this story. The book also explores the main character's interactions with her boss, her family, her friends. It's definitely not one of those stories where one relationship takes over the main character's entire life. And I really appreciate that. ( )
  bucketofrhymes | Dec 13, 2017 |
When the book first came out I purchased it (auto buy) and then forgot about it sitting on my Kindle. Time went by and I was looking for a new Megan Hart book to read. I then noticed that it was an Alex Kennedy series book. When I went to purchase it I saw that I already had it. Yay!

I didn't really know what to expect, just as with all of Mrs. Hart's books. I thought the book started really strong but 3/4 of the way in it just dropped a bit for me. With that said, it was still a 4 Star read. ( )
  tiffsaddictiontobook | Jul 18, 2017 |
Review courtesy of Dark Faerie Tales

Quick & Dirty: Vanilla is a realistically raw look into a damaged and flawed mind. This is not your typical happy love story. I loved Megan Hart’s stellar writing style, I just couldn’t get into this relationship.

Opening Sentence: The hum and the sting.

The Review:

Vanilla is not your typical love story and it definitely was not what I was expecting. If you go into this novel thinking that you will be surprised. Vanilla is a realistically raw look into a damaged and flawed mind. Elise has suffered from a past relationship. A relationship that she compares everything to yet she never really discloses what happened to make her the way she is. Elise doesn’t hide the fact that she likes to dominate men in the bedroom. She even likes to model for pictures doing what she loves, something that her mother really hates. Elise has a lover that she meets once a month satisfying both of their fetishes. Her love life does take an abrupt turn when her lover gets clingy. Then almost, a third of the way through the novel we finally glimpse Niall, the man she is going to fall in like/lust/love with. I have a really hard time trying to define their relationship.

The bulk of the novel was Elise dealing with her relationship issues and hoping to have a real loving relationship with a man instead of just having sex. Elise loves to dominate during sex but she does believe that if she finds the right guy then maybe things could change. All she is asking for is a little give and take with both parties as willing participants.

Elise is damaged and flawed. Vanilla is also about her working through her issues and coming to peace with her life. Her character does change and evolve over the course of the story. I had more of a like/hate relationship with her as the novel progressed. I liked how she acted as the voice of reason at times, especially with her family but she really frustrated me with her clinginess and stubbornness. She would keep things in instead of talking it out, she would rather be mad. Although, there is one scene where I totally agreed with her anger so I will forgive her for that. Elise is also not ashamed of the choices that she makes in life. She stands by what she believes in and doesn’t make excuses for it.

One thing that I really loved about Vanilla. It felt very realistic in the issues that Elise faced. Her conversations were spot on about everyday life and how people deal with their issues and talk to one another. I really did enjoy her interactions with her family and friends. I felt like there was a lot of depth to everyone. It is the little things that really make a story. It almost felt like a real life story, because no one person or family is perfect.

I had two really huge beefs with this story. One of them was Elise’s obsessive/stalkery personality. As soon as she began sending messages to the guy who hurt her, I wanted to drop out of the story but I kept going. She would also obsessively check to see if he saw her messages or was even online. My other issue was the frustration with her relationship with Niall. I just didn’t get it. I would get so upset by their interactions that I wanted to throw my Kindle just because their arguments would make me mad.

Vanilla is told in the first person. It has a bit of a gloomy air to the story, because this world isn’t all sunshine and happiness, but there are some really funny scenes especially the ones that involve her boss.

I would recommend Vanilla for those who like a more realistic story. Vanilla wasn’t wrapped up with a happy little bow, more of a happy “for now” ending.

Notable Scene:

“It’s a big responsibility, you know. Keeping me happy,” I said against his mouth. My fingers toyed with the length of his hair in the back, and when he shivered, I grinned. “I can be very particular.”

“I know, I know,” Niall said. “Lime in the iced tea, not lemon.”

I’d been dreamy, teasing, but at this I pushed away from him then so I could turn and keep my face from him. Not because I was mad or sad, but because in all my life, there’d never been a man who’d bothered to pay attention to such a small detail…or who got it right.

And then he hit a home run.

“You were left-handed as a kid,” he continued in a low voice from behind me. “But someone must’ve made you switch, huh?”

Slowly, I turned, my heart pounding so hard it’s a wonder it didn’t block out the sound of anything but its beating. “Yes. My mother. Evan was right-handed, and she thought I should be, too. The kindergarten teacher said nobody forced lefties to switch any longer, but my mom insisted anyway. I learned to write right-handed, but yeah…I’m a leftie. I’ve never told anyone that.”

“You didn’t have to tell me. You automatically reach with your left hand,” he said. “I’ve watched you do it with just about everything. I figured.”

That was it, then. The moment I knew. Despite how strangely it had begun, the time I’d so far spent with him still so short it was hardly time at all, when I stood in front of him and knew that Niall Black knew me, really fucking knew me, that was it. I was done.

I was in love.

FTC Advisory: Harlequin Mira provided me with a copy of Vanilla. No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review. ( )
  DarkFaerieTales | Jun 27, 2015 |
3.5

Megan Hart es la reina de los romances eróticos.

Siempre feminista, siempre con protagonistas maduras e impredecibles.

Adoración total. Lo mejor que hay en el género. ( )
  LaMala | Jun 7, 2015 |
While Elise's sexuality in VANILLA is femdom, this story is about a woman's life and how she fits her sexuality into it. Elise is a single woman who co-owns a company where her partner wants to play more than work. She is involved in a sexual relationship with a man whose significance is that he is only a sexual partner. She is the mediator and voice of reason between her mother and sister and her sister-in-law. War is breaking out within the family over her nephew's Bar Mitzvah. Her twin brother has opted out of the war. Elise is the only one who seems to care about her nephew and his needs and wants.

I liked Elise. She is independent. She was broken in the past and she is wary of romantic and emotional involvement. She must deal with the put downs of her mother on choices she has made. When she learns the truths of the past she has to decide if she wants verification and validation of those truths or if she will let it go.

When the opportunity for romance occurs she wants him but will he accept her as she is including her sexuality. Niall, her brother's co-worker, believes in the stereotype of female Dommes. Elise has to determine whether she can teach him the truth of her choices or let him walk away. The uncertainty on both their parts is painful but necessary to build trust between them if their relationship is to succeed.

VANILLA is more than a story of sex. It is a woman's story of learning to let go of the past, live in the present with the choices she has made and not allow others to shame her for those choices, and building for a future with pride, dignity, and love. Elise does that ( )
  Sheila1957 | Mar 1, 2015 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0778318044, Paperback)

It's an acquired taste…he just has to acquire it 

Elise knows what she wants in the bedroom, and she makes sure she gets it. Her thirst for domination has long been quenched by a stable of men only too happy to bow down before her. 

But sexual satisfaction isn't the same as love, and she's been burned in the past by giving her heart too freely. 

Niall is handsome, smart, successful and sweet—sweet as vanilla. When they meet, their romantic connection is electric, even though he's way on the opposite end of the kink spectrum. Despite how she fights it, Elise falls for him—but how can a relationship work when both lovers want to be on top? 

 

"Hart wields her pen like a scalpel…in this soul-searching, emotionally sensitive story. Strong characterization and smooth, yet forceful, writing captures your attention and holds you hostage."  

—RT Book Reviews on The Space Between Us

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:19:57 -0400)

Elise knows what she wants in the bedroom, and she makes sure she gets it. Her thirst for domination has long been quenched by a stable of men only too happy to bow down before her. But sexual satisfaction isn't the same as love, and she's been burned in the past by giving her heart too freely. Niall is handsome, smart, successful and sweet--sweet as vanilla. When they meet, their romantic connection is electric, even though he's way on the opposite end of the kink spectrum. Despite how she fights it, Elise falls for him--but how can a relationship work when both lovers want to be on top?… (more)

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