Thursday, 27 April 2017

ARC Mini Review: Haven (Beards and Bondage #1) by Rebekah Weatherspoon

Haven
(Beards and Bondage #1)
by Rebekah Weatherspoon
Publisher: Rebekah Weatherspoon
Genre: Contemporary romance
Release Date: April 25th, 2017
Rating: ★★★
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A week-long getaway…

City girl Claudia Cade's carefree life is plunged into chaos when a camping trip with her brother in the national forests of Northern California turns into a deadly dash for her survival.

A solitary world turned upside down…

Nature photographer Shepard Olsen has resigned himself to a quiet existence, with only his dog by his side, until a woman in need of his protection shows up on his doorstep and throws his universe into disarray.

Two lives linked by tragedy…

Claudia is desperate to heal from her traumatic loss, but can’t stop thinking about her run-in with evil….or the grizzled mountain man whose quick thinking and good aim saved her life. When she shows up on Shep's doorstep again, she finds she isn't the only one who can't move on.

…saved by bliss.

The two begin an intense, passionate relationship of Dominance and submission, pleasure and pain, but with dark memories haunting them and decisions about the future rapidly approaching, Claudia can’t help but wonder...how long can they be each other's haven?

*** WARNING: This book contains a sexual relationship between a fashionista and a cranky mountain man who are dealing with physical and emotional trauma. And a very big, cuddly dog.***


Review:

Lisa: I'm a big fan of Rebekah's Sugar Baby trilogy (I mean, who can resist Michael Bradbury and his *coughs* oral skills?) and I was excited for this one purely because a) bearded hero, and b) sex in the woods. Hey, pretty much all I need a book, to be honest. Unfortunately I'm a tad disappointed that I didn't enjoy this as much as I hope I would, and I managed to pinpoint it to two reasons.

Firstly I applaud how the story started because it definitely grabbed my attention and made me go what the hell (I am, obviously, among the people who sometimes don't pay attention to book blurbs), but the momentum sort of fizzled out by the third chapter. Things did pick up again by the 60-70% mark so there's that, but I wish I was hooked from start to finish instead of struggling to make it halfway.

Secondly, I love both Shep and Claudia (extra love to Shep's dog), and I especially found it entertaining to be in Shep's head. I love how Shep is so gentle with Claudia despite his appearance and grumpy rep, and how Claudia challenges Shep all the time, and they're sure as heck hot together, but I feel like there's something missing? I'm not opposed to the insta/fast love in books (Shep and Claudia were technically only together for a week, after all) but I need that Moment, the Turning Point when Everything Becomes Clear, you know? And it's not present in this read.

There are some cute moments (the ending bit was my ultimate favourite) and sexy times are sexy but overall, I wish I had loved this more.


Eri: Like Lisa, I liked this book, but I didn't love it as much as I wanted to or the hype surrounding it made me want to. Rebekah writes so well and I have really enjoyed her other books I've read but this one was a tragic case of it's not you, it's me.

The beginning is definitely a bit startling since the action starts you right off and it really hits you on the back of your head, but after the initial shock, I really liked how the book began with the intense connection that Shep and Claudia form. The pacing afterward did feel a little slow for me, before picking up again towards the end, which I struggled a bit with.

Something I really liked is while instalove books are quite common especially in romance, they're often rarely backed by a solid ground that builds on the intital attraction. With Haven, the characters are well aware that they're in over their heads because they've only just met and the characters around them express that fear as well. I did think that their time together was depicted well, but I'm not sure how much I buy into the emotional love connection.

Shep is surprisingly soft for a dominant hero, considering how often they aren't, and while he does turn intense and broody once he is in that headspace, he is so caring and sweet towards Claudia and I found that rather endearing. I liked how serious he was about his lifestyle and being careful with intitaing Claudia into bdsm, especially because I find often that my biggest frustration with the depictions of bdsm is a lack of official warning or explanation to the heroine about the lifestyle.

I do like how Claudia is direct and she maintains good communication with Shep throughout the book, and while Shep might be the one who intially protected her, she is equally protective of him and the fact that they do care about each other is clear. Also the sex was pretty good, quality smut is always a bonus. I also loved the ending and the grand gesture, which I found really sweet.

All in all, this is one of those books that I would recommend to others, because it seems like something that just didn't work for me personally, and if you're not as into bdsm, this is a good starter as Rebekah does a great job with easing you in.


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