Thursday, May 30, 2013

REVIEW: UNTIL I BREAK BY M. LEIGHTON


"I’m intrigued. Tempted beyond what I’ve ever been before. To know her, to open her up. To break her."

In love, sometimes what you fear most is exactly what you need.

Laura Drake is an author. She writes bestselling paranormal romances that continue to top the charts. She is sharp. She is confident. She is in control. 

And she doesn’t exist.

Samantha Jansen is the woman behind the wig, the woman most of the world doesn’t know exists. She is shy. She is insecure. She is nothing like her main character or her alter ego. She is scarred—deeply scarred—by a past she can’t let go of and a present she can’t make peace with.

Samantha’s dreams are consumed by one man, the broken hero from her books. Mason Strait is both her wildest fantasy and her most terrifying nightmare. 

When Samantha meets Alec Brand, a corporate consultant, it is as though Mason has come to life. Alec is handsome to a fault, as elegant as he is arrogant, and more intense than any man has a right to be.

Samantha is soon sucked into a world that mirrors the fiction she writes. Just like her main character, Daire Kirby, Samantha finds herself unable to resist the forbidden lure of Alec. And just like Daire, she also finds that she is faced with taking a chance on a man who could either set her free or destroy her.

The scale tilts toward destruction when Samantha finds out that Alec is as much a work of fiction as Mason. And he has scars of his own, scars that could ruin them both.


Where to Find M. Leighton:

Since this title is no longer available, do look for these titles instead:


***3 Stars***

Courtney and I read that other readers were not pleased with Until I Break--so much so that the author decided to remove it from sale. Since Courtney and I aren't afraid of controversy and were intrigued by the outcry, we quickly downloaded it to see what all the hubbub was about. Maybe I'm just a jaded reader or life doesn't shock me as much as others, but I honestly didn't see why people were so up in arms with outrage about this book.

1) Samantha/Laura. She has been scarred by a horrible childhood at the hands of her mother. Because of the damage done by her mother, Samantha has created a life for herself that is divided between her fictitious public persona and an extremely private one. As these two worlds of hers collide we read about the reasons for her trust issues and how the walls she has built are begging to come tumbling down. She struggles with opening herself to a relationship because she's convinced that it will fail like all of the other ones have. When she meets Alec, she's mesmerized by him and cannot seem to resist him even though her instincts tell her to run far, far away. 

2) Alec. This man is cold and hot all wrapped up into one. He's manipulates women to his will and then leaves them when he's had enough. He's somehow convinced himself that since he's honest with the women he sleeps with before he sleeps with him, he's not doing anything wrong. Like Samantha, Alec has convinced himself that he cannot be in a relationship. You can imagine, then, that when he meets her his resistance to anything other than sex with her is running high. It is. He does his whole 'I can't do relationships but I can hot sex with you' thing ...in his own Alec way. What is interesting, though, is that he's damaged like she is and the more involved they get, the harder he finds it to resist her.

3) Damaged goods. The reason why Samantha and Alec aren't supposed to work is because they are both so deeply wounded by the damage from their pasts that they couldn't possibly be good for each. They've created barriers to hide behind and to keep people out. Their secrets are horrifying and neither of them can imagine a partner that could be accepting and patient enough to actually help them overcome their pasts. Here's the thing...aren't many of us damaged in someway? Or is that just me? Just because we've had some horrible experiences doesn't mean we don't deserve goodness and happiness. Samantha and Alec continually exclude themselves from the prospects of good and happy and it's frustrating.

4) Foster care. Finally! A story about the good works of the foster care system. I know the foster care system is rife with abuse, but it certainly is nice to read a story of good foster parents. Samantha and her sister, Chris, were taken in by amazing foster parents and were shown love and care and what healthy relationships look like. I have so much admiration for people who take in foster children and give them a healthy home environment and I love that Leighton wrote her foster care parents as she did.

I wish that we could've had more of Samantha and Alec's story. I wanted to know more about his background and how she came to be a writer and more about how they were able to work through their issues--that felt a little glossed over to me. And, obviously I'm clueless because I still don't really understand why this novel received such a backlash after it was released. I hope M. Leighton decides to re-release it and ignores the naysayers; I bet she'd find she has more cheerleaders than she'd expect.




*3 Stars* 

Shelley couldn't have said it any better. We read that one blog post about this book being taken off the market, and we couldn't one click it fast enough (I will cite Amazon One-Click as my reasons for Bankruptcy at some point). It's a lot like when they ban a book and we're the type who are basically suckers for emotionally damaged characters. Is this the worst of the worst in terms of emotional baggage and angst that we've read? NO. Was it too progressive? Not really....Maybe a little bit risque alongside the other M. Leighton book's I have read before this, but the craziest BDSM book on the market...again. NO! 

1) Samantha/Laura. I thought this plot idea was pretty cool. While we have absolutely no idea what happened in her past to make her the way she is, it is obvious by her thoughts and actions that she is pretty emotionally damaged and insecure. As a reader, it intrigued me when she meets this man who could be her leading man that she made up incarnate. Is she so attracted to him because she sees him as her Mason? Maybe. The first half of the book was slow, and without a lot of information it took me quite a while to get into her as a leading character. I didn't fall in love with her like I thought I would, and her judgmental qualities late in the game of Alec that almost ruined everything could be what might turn some off. To each their own on this one, for sure.

2) Alec. He definitely has just as many secrets as Samantha does. I was much more sympathetic to his plight, although I am still contemplating as to why. Maybe because he was accepting of himself and of Samantha and didn't see their problems as dirty or disgusting. Maybe I don't get or have the same desires for his vices, but I liked him better because he was much more honest with himself than she was. They were both teens when their problems started so she doesn't exactly have the excuse of innocence being stolen because he was young too. His dominating attitude at first made me think he was going to turn out to be this really crazy sadist, so I took a while to warm up to him at all as well. Maybe he wasn't my favorite hero ever, but I had to stick around to find out what was up! His growth was what did it for me. 

3) Damaged goods. Now isn't that just something that we enjoy reading about. I haven't figured out exactly why this is but I think it might be that we want to see that there is redemption out there for even those who think they don't deserve it. And you'd be hard pressed to meet two people who think they deserve anything less than these two. Sheesh. Happiness is apparently something that is taken for granted. 

4) Foster care. I too loved the foster care aspect of Until I Break. Usually when it is written about, the foster parents are in it only for the money and are not good parents in any way, shape, or form. It was refreshing to see that these good people used the wealth that they are given to help two kids get a better life. To see that they are mostly fully functioning adults, at least they pretend to be to their parents, was at least one happy ending to this story.  

I read something today that said "Don't like it, don't read it." I love this philosophy, and we definitely try to be objective and are hard to offend, so what I guess I'm trying to say is I also hope that this is released again at some point. M. Leighton handled everything amazingly well and made the best decision for her. Since curiosity does kill the cat, I am glad we snatched it up before it was too late! 

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