*This book is listed as an erotic adult novel for readers 18+*
Author: Ashley Wilcox
Amazon: not listed
Source: ARC provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.
Editing: Indie After Hours
Book Design: B Design
Summary: From the moment Nolan Pratt walked into Alexa Arnold’s life everything was forever changed. After a year of dating, the ring was on her finger, the house was purchased, and life was heading down Pleasantville Lane. Everything was perfect.
Or so they thought.
With help from his parent’s inheritance, Nolan takes on a new business adventure, utilizing all his free time. What was once their life- carefree with minimal responsibilities, is no more. When Alexa starts to feel the pressure from school, wedding planning, and lack of help from Nolan, exhaustion kicks in and feelings get hurt, testing the strength of their relationship. But, if there is one thing that Nolan will never compromise, it’s Alexa’s happiness. There’s nothing Nolan Pratt won’t do to make sure Alexa is well taken care of, loved, and happy.
When Nolan’s past resurfaces- a past that Alexa didn’t know existed- will it all be too much? Will Nolan’s devotion to Alexa’s happiness cost him their relationship and lose him the only thing that has ever mattered in his life? Or will Nolan discover that his past doesn’t determine his future and he is worth the happiness he doesn’t think he deserves?
Review: Let me preface in saying that I really was in the mood for a really good erotica, just to break up all the monotony of the YA I've been reading lately. Not that I'm a connoisseur or erotica or anything, well, maybe I am. But still, I needed some decent smut to start off the summer. When I was given the opportunity to read this ARC by Ashley Wilcox, I quickly looked her up on Goodreads to see other's people opinions on her books considering I've never read her work before. For the most part, all the reviews for her Forever Series were excellent, so I had very high hopes.
This was pretty much me...
Firstly, I was a little unsettled about how to feel that this erotica began with a couple barely out of high school. It's written that Alexa is eighteen (I'm assuming) in the prologue and no real age is given for Nolan. Again, I'm assuming he's either the same age or a little older. This will come into play later on when I started scratching my head wondering about timelines. Anyway, the couple is on the young side for an erotica in my opinion. Alexa and Nolan started dating a year before they were engaged which puts them both at seventeen. Which when I got into the book later on, still made me scratch my head how these two could have formed a relationship given Nolan's backstory. But be that as it may, the first chapter jumped ahead three years, taking the characters out of their teens and into young adulthood. Safe territory, I guess. Phew! I feel less of a perv.
Alexa and Nolan are living their day-to-day life like any normal engaged couple. It wasn't really stated in the prologue why they waited so long to get married, but judging by a remark Alexa made, "I'd like to be able to legally drink at my own wedding" that was my indicator. Alexa is still in school and planning their lavish wedding and Nolan is ready to open his own gym largely funded by his inheritance. The reader sees how in love Alexa and Nolan are, which is repeatedly reminded to the reader seemingly in every paragraph, and how great their sex life is. (Hey, this is a erotica after all)
I had to keep telling myself that this is an erotica and you can't really judge and critique at the same level you would any other book because the people mainly buying this book are smut lovers like myself. BUT, and I mean a big BUT, I have to say this book was high on sexy times but lacking a credible plot and side plots.
Now let me put this in a very kind way, Wilcox seems to excel at writing real characters and situations, not so much fairytales and unicorns. Which is great. I liked that very much, but what was a plus in realism was a big negative in carrying the reader through this book. It wasn't until chapter nine that anything actually happened. Up until that point, the reader is filled in on all the mundane and step-by-step of Alex's wedding planning and Nolan's gym, their daily routines, and lots of sex. It wasn't really entertaining after the fourth chapter. I kept waiting for something, anything to happen. And when it did happen in chapter nine (Nolen gets all caveman on Alexa's friend Jaime) it all seemed so lackluster and an obvious plot device. (We get it, Nolan has trust issues, but it comes out of left field. I was all like, WHA..WHA...WHAT?)
And then nothing really happened again until chapter seventeen, which I won't reveal because it's a plot spoiler. But after reading about Nolan's backstory with his parents and Margo, I was like this...
I wanted to smack Alexa so many times. Nolan clearly dominates the relationship, but when she gets aggravated (only in the narrative, not so much in dialogue) at him for demonstrating his control (when he orders her drinks at dinner, or makes decisions for her right in front of her) it's quickly blown off because he's so sexy, she's so in love, or it's just Nolan being Nolan. Hello, woman, you're your own person. What is mistaken for love is really control. I kept waiting for Nolan to take her to their old apartment, which he painted red and named the Red Room of Pain ala Fifty Shades. Nolan also has a wicked temper: at work, at Jaime, jumping to conclusions. I was really expecting that this story may take a different direction at times. But it didn't.
Then the climax of the story: ARGH!!! Wilcox vividly describes a miscarriage as it happens, which in itself was very uncalled for and disturbing. I can't image any woman who has gone through what Alexa did would want to read about it in their erotica.
then Nolan pulls a New Moon on her the day after it happens?!!??
I was like Cersei...
The ending was very rushed as well. The wedding was like a another character in this book, Alexa and Nolan were so excited about the planning, and Wilcox took the readers on their many jaunts to planning meetings with vendors. She got the reader excited about the nuptials. I was excited, I wanted to experience the day with them. When it came time to actually write the wedding, it was done in ONE paragraph. ONE! But the wedding night was described in full detail. (Again, this is an erotica, sexy times take precedence) One chapter wasn't enough for something that was so hyped in the entire book.
On a side note: I did like that Nolan made amends with Margo at the end and his parents in extension.
Rating: Two lip bites because this book fell short on so many things: contrived plots, mundane weighed down the story, undeveloped characters, and the rushed ending didn't really leave the reader with the warm and fuzzies. The sex was hot but clinical at times and I ended up skimming most to the scenes. I couldn't root for the male protagonist (Nolan) and I felt sorry for the female antagonist (Margo). Alexa should have been more assertive throughout the book, and especially in the end, but she turned into a groveling mess when it should have been Nolen. And any character who is with a person for over four years, and keep so many secrets is not endearing in the end. Especially if their secrets (Margo, Nolan's parents, his insecurity) is only revealed in the last half of the book.
Some may consider me a jack of all trades, but I consider myself well rounded.
I’ve waitressed, styled hair, answered phones and, most recently, worked full time as mom to my two beautiful little boys.
Then there was this book… Everyone and their brother started talking about this book series titled Fifty Shades of Grey by EL James. I didn’t really pay attention to the craze at first, since I wasn’t a big reader- okay, I didn’t read at all. But curiosity got the best of me, so I downloaded it to my kindle.
I was immediately hooked. I read the whole series in three days. Yes, three books in three days.
I kept finding all these great books that I HAD to read (just ask my credit card!).
Then I started hearing voices. Voices that turned into stories; stories that were begging to get out of my head.
I started writing them down on scraps of paper. Then I transferred them to my computer. Before I knew it, Planning on Forever was born.
The voices in my head are still talking, so I’m still writing.