Thursday, 26 March 2009

Review – Stranger – Megan Hart

 



The Blurb:

I pay strangers to sleep with me. I have my reasons….

But they're not the ones you'd expect.

For starters, I'm a funeral director taking over my dad's business. Not exactly the kind of person you'd expect to fork over cash for the lust and urgency only live skin-to-skin contact can create. Looking at me, you wouldn't have a clue I carry this little secret so close it creases up like the folds of a fan. Tight. Personal. Ready to unravel in the heat of the moment.

Unsurprisingly, my line of work brings me face-to-face with loss. So I decided long ago that paying for sex would be one of the best (and arousing) ways to save myself from the one thing that would eventually cut far too deep.

But Sam was a mistake. Literally. I signed on to "pick up" a stranger at a bar, but took Sam home instead. And now that I've felt his heat, his sweat and everything else, can I really go back to impersonal?

Let's just hope he never finds out about my other life.…

 

 

The Review: 

 

Characters:

The main protagonist are Sam – the less than useful son, the brother that is loved and hated in equal measure, the son a mother just loves unconditionally and the Stranger that Grace picks up in a bar.

Then there is Grace, what can i say, She knew what she wanted from quite early in her life, she has little or no illusions about the realities of life and sets her own rules and create her own fantasies as she enjoy life. She’s also the daughter trying to hold it together in a father son business. Peripheral character are families and friends of either Sam or Grace, and then there was Jack.

Most of the characters are fully developed, there were no grey areas here, i definately bonded with these people the more i read i either love or loathe them in equal measure. I love the by play between Grace and her family. I would have loved to see a bit more on Sam and is family. 

 

The Fishtank wasn't my usual hangout, though I'd been inside it once or twice. Recently redecorated, it sought to compete with a bunch of brand-new bars and restaurants that had opened in downtown Harrisburg, but though the tropical theme and aquariums were pretty and the drinks cheap enough, The Fishtank was too far away from restaurant row to really compete. What it did have that the other, newer bars didn't, was the attached hotel. The Fishtank, "where you hook 'em" was sort of a joke with the young and single crowd of central Pennsylvania. Or at least with me, and I was young. And blessedly, purposefully, single.

Stranger

(c) Megan Hart

 

 

Plot:

The author clearly spend some time on this one, the build up was not easy to grasp especially if you are a bit queasy about dead people – I must be morbid, i jump right in. The main story line, flowed smoothly – (no confusion there, we knew who was doing what when and to who), lots of sexually charged moments, despite that there was actually a story.

Along with the main storyline, there are a few additional stories running through this books as well. They are all tied in perfectly and they all provide us with some of the more hilarious and shocking scenes in the book.

While the general concept is not really new, the sting is in the details and Ms. Hart clearly has some sting going on with STRANGER.

 

Surprise Element:

What sort of surprise was i looking for – for heaven sakes the setting was created around a morgue for god sakes. That being said, there was a moment there when i thought is this book going where  i think it is going – and it did and WOW. Both Sam and Grace  are not conservative about there views or action – however when all the chips are laid on the table i must admit i was surprised at how some details emerged and how unpredictable some the characters were in their attitudes and mannerisms.

 

Predictability:

Other than the fact that i knew this was a HEA read, the getting there was a real treat. There are twist and turns a plenty and what Sam and Grace does not provide in story line, the supporting cast eagerly makes up for with their panache for being nosy and their almost single minded attitude in getting their own way.

 

Smut/Ick Factor:

Hell yeah there was smut factor, and lots of it, and in many different position and with different people. The sex scenes were not only hot but Grace is some creative woman. Lots of emotional moment in and out of the bedroom. Be warned you will laugh out loud, but be prepared to reach for the tissue box a time or two.

 

Positives:

I actually got this book as a gift after  reading a review on  Romance Book Wyrm site and i loved her built up to it. Ms. Hart is a new to me author, and with that in mind i was prepared to be as objective as possible. I love the book – there I've said. I like the story line, most of the characters were endearing and i doubt the average person would have an inkling of what the world of a mortician is all about. I am not squeamish about death and all it entail by any means, however  Ms. Hart has simplified the workings of a mortuary in such a way that i not only now have a healthy respect for that particular profession, but it also highlight the strength of this authors writing.

I also like Grace’s role as the boss and how she tackle day to day event, even with all the drama happening around her. It’s nice having a woman take charge from the get go and is determined to get as much out of life as she can on her own terms.

 

Negative:

The only draw back for me was probably Sam’s character, he is clearly different from the heroes that i am used to. While is character was not as developed as grace  - i knew him, i empathise with him and i knew what he wanted. However there  was too much of a laid back quality to him or probably he was just too real for me to appreciate.

To be fair to him, i kept on comparing him to the “other man” in the book and he was not winning any points. Probably after re-read  i might adjust my opinion – i doubt it though – I wanted something more for Grace.

 

Cover:

It didn’t blow me away when i initially looked at it, but you know when you read a book and some where about a third in you just have to look at the cover to see if it portray anything of the book in any way shape or form – well i did and the cover is a true reflection of the book. There is an element of the unknown and a little voyeurism about the cover, and in alot of ways that sums up the book - I like it.

 

Another brilliant review of Ms Hart Stranger is Vamp Fan Girl - Lovin Me some Romance 

E.H>

 

 

8 Speak To Me:

Amy C on 26 March 2009 at 11:11 said...

Hi there,
I really enjoyed reading your thoughts on Stranger. (thanks for the mention of my blog!) I have to agree with you. I didn't think Sam's character was as developed as Grace, or maybe even Jack, but there was something about him that it still worked and you still knew Sam. I liked that. And also his character was a little laid back as you said. Almost too much. I agree. I think I read so many books where the hero is so Alpha and possessive that I had to step back a bit and think of Sam as a more real type of guy, and consider a few men I know and I can see his character being real. It was a little odd at first. No growling, muscle flexing guy is Sam!

Cecile on 26 March 2009 at 14:04 said...

Hey EH, I saw this book on someone else's blog and the blurh caught my attention. What truly caught it was that the background was set in a morgue. You must not be the only morbib person then (haa!). Your review is awesome. I love the detail of your thoughts. I had only read the blurh of the book, so I really enjoyed your in depth thoughts without giving it all away. I will definitely be putting this book on my TBB list (my wish list at Amazon is getting long). Thanks!! Hope you have a great day!

Erotic Horizon on 26 March 2009 at 16:16 said...

Hey Amy C,

Thanks for the feedback on the review - i liked your take on the book as well, it pushed me to read it.

While Sam was not well developed, he worked well and for some insane reason - the reality of life is that the partnership between the two will last because of this quality - Grace zest for control and Sam obvious pleasure at handing over the reign.

After reading this book, I thought here is a book that clearly highlight the stereotype our hero has become - I just could not relate to Sam, because I am used to a "growling, muscle flexing guy" and that was definately not Sam.


Hi Cecile

Great to have you just right in on the comments - I try not do spoilers as there is enough of that on the web, if you search hard enough.

I did hear positive and negative things about the book, but as much as Amy C review open my eyes to the book, what really push me to read it was a absolute trashing of the book that i read on another blog - but from past experience, everything trashed on that blog, will end up on my TBR list (LOL).


I agree with you, the morgue scenario made the book.


E.H>

Cecile on 26 March 2009 at 18:30 said...

I normally go to Amazon and read what they have to say there; then the author's web site.
I like reading what other people thought of the book; especially if our taste differes. I enjoyed most about your review was that you gave good and bad; which I was thought was thorough.

Cecile on 27 March 2009 at 01:40 said...

Okay, I just left amazon and they gave an excerpt and OHHH MYYY GOOOSSSHHH... okay. I was on a book diet for a while because I as I would see I would buy, so I could read in the future... but after reading that... book diet smoock diet... I am ordering the damn thing!! Once I get it and read it, I would like to share my thoughts with you if you don't mind. But I don't know how long it will be - if that is okay with you??

Erotic Horizon on 27 March 2009 at 01:44 said...

Not a problem hon,

When you have put your thoughts down - email me off the post at erotichorizon@googlemail.com and we can sort out something.

I think you will love this book.

E.H>

VampFanGirl on 1 April 2009 at 22:23 said...

Wonderful Review E.H.!

LOL, I loved this comment "What sort of surprise was i looking for – for heaven sakes the setting was created around a morgue for god sakes."

I must be morbid as well because the whole morgue issue simply wasn't an issue for me and I think that had to do in part with Grace's comfort with the whole process and how she really views herself as someone who helps people. She doesn't just embalm the dead.

I also agree with your thoughts about Sam. He certainly isn't your typical hero if he was even a hero really. But I did feel that he and Grance were meant for each other and I was truly happy that they achieved their HEA. I was worried that Hart might roll out another ending like 'Tempted' and I was relieved that an HEA was granted. It was well deserved.

Have you read Hart's 'Broken'?

Erotic Horizon on 1 April 2009 at 22:37 said...

Hey VFG,

I do have a sarcastic sense of humour - so it's all cut and dry with me... but really you hear the word morgue - what the hell sort of surprise would anyone be expecting.

I was as well impressed with how Grace's character was so well defined - she was the ultimate professional but also had a wickedly sexy side to her.

Sam - the jury is still out on him with me and it's so sad - because he genuinely makes Grace happy and one bit that really picked him up off the floor with me is - when Grace needed him - he had no quibbles - he was just there. Hooray for Sam

When I do a re-read I'll see how I feel about him.

Thanks for following me....

E.H>