Saturday, April 20, 2013

REVIEW: AVOIDING INTIMACY BY K.A. LINDE


Growing up, Chyna was handed everything on a silver platter. She never wanted for anything, except love—unconditional love from her parents. Love was a foreign emotion, and watching her parents love/hate relationship was never easy.

So when it came to her personal life, she made sure she never had to relive that. With looks that could kill, it was simple for Chyna to be the love 'em and leave 'em kind of girl. And she had always been okay with it. She would rather be single the rest of her life then end up as miserable as her parents. So when a man rescued her after she was drugged in a night club, she never expected to start a relationship with him.

But one chance meeting changes it all. Chyna is offered a once in a lifetime opportunity that could sky rocket her career, and she is forced to make a decision that could ruin everything.





***3.5 Stars***

If you read the first two books in the Avoiding series, you know about Chyna. This book gives us a glimpse into her life.

1) Chyna: She’s a hot mess. By the end of the novella I still wasn’t sure if I liked her or not. I decided that the best way to describe my feelings toward her is that I have a love/hate relationship with her. There is a part of me that admires her confidence…she’s definitely not lacking in that, at all. She knows that she is beautiful and desirable. She knows what she wants and focuses on going after it. Chyna also know where her weaknesses are and is trying hard not to fall prey to them.  Then, there is a part of me that finds her self-absorption a little…off putting. She doesn’t appear to have a humble bone in her body. She doesn’t always seem to know how to handle being in a relationship and when she doesn’t get her way, she doesn’t really handle it well.

2) The men: Adam/John/Marco: Each of these men give us different insights into Chyna. With Adam we get to see her as more vulnerable and desiring of his love. She doesn't ever seem to quite 'get' how the whole relationship thing works but she keeps trying with him. With John we see the 'old' Chyna. She's interested in his bad boy ways and finds him extremely hard to resist (even though he's Adam's brother and should be off limits). With Marco we see Chyna empowered and weak with the temptations of what he has to offer. With each of these men, we see the many facets of Chyna. 

3) The writing: This story is very detailed which shouldn't be a surprise to anyone familiar with the other two books in the series. K.A. Linde uses her words like a paint brush, creating vivid scenes and descriptions of every place Chyna visits. The structure of the novella should seem familiar too--each chapter toggles between the past and the present. As with the other two novels, she also provides a lot of steamy scenes between Chyna and the men she's involved with.

This novella was a gift from K.A. Linde to her readers. She shared Chyna with us. I found myself curious and put off by Chyna all the way through the novel but I don't think that is necessarily a bad thing. I don't think Linde's aim was for us to be in gooey love with Chyna; I think she wanted us to feel conflicted about her. I did. 


***3.5 Stars***


When we started this, I really found myself glad it was a Novella. I really, really like K.A. Linde's writing and style, but I had forgotten (how I still don't know) what a crazy train, circus act this particular group of people are! And you know what, I applauded Linde in the first two Avoiding books and even went with 5 stars because of the myriad of emotions that I felt while reading them. I think the bad taste in my mouth after this one was just because of Chyna. 

1) Chyna. I don't really like her, and maybe this is because Lexie seems like a much more relatable character no matter how many times she falls into the black hole that is Jack. On one hand, like you said, she isn't humble, she knows what she's got and how to use it to her advantage. It works for her, and the title says it perfectly because she has always Avoided Intimacy. Everything she knows, as a product of her raising, really makes it to where she can't recognize real love of any kind until it's almost too late. The situations she finds herself in, just...wow! With Adam, John, or Marco...pick any one at random, everything gets screwed up because of her skewed view of reality. Especially John! I liked how Linde put hints in the dialogue hints that just maaayyybbbeee she was omitting a few of the details because they weren't significant to her. BUT! I felt by the end she realizes things about herself and becomes more vulnerable and was redeemed a little bit with me! 

2) The guys. They are all so very different and as you said, bring out all different sides of Chyna! I wouldn't mind any one of them *ahem* well okay I would pick John, but I felt like her choices and direction of her life would definitely have had a significant impact depending on who she picked. Look at how things turned out after she left Italy. The main thing I take away from this story is how much I want a book revolving around John. I hope that is on the table someday, because she created a really compelling and promising book boyfriend in him! 

3) The story. Your description of the writing was incredible (jealous over here!) and I completely agree. She always does a great job of weaving the past and present and keeping things aligned where we only get information when she's ready for us to. I can't wait to see what is to come from this author! I am pretty sure I read (my memory isn't great) on her website that she is one of those people who like raw, realistic stories for her characters modeling real life and we may not always get the happy ending we're hoping for. We don't usually get what we want without something else being taken is a way that I can describe it, and while sometimes angsty and painful I will always keep coming back for more! 

Ooh, I also wanted to mention that a major selling point for this story is that it is what Chyna is doing during a large portion of Avoiding Responsibility. It really helped me enjoy it more because I knew how things turned out in the end of book two, so I was not feeling like dying during the shit hitting the fan part, as we have dubbed it, or shit/fan for short. I honestly hope that you all give or have given this series a chance, but I definitely recommend reading the first two either with a good friend (Shelley, I wish we had read THAT together!) or a large bottle of wine!

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