Thursday, July 13, 2017

REVIEW: The Unrequited by Saffron A. Kent



Title: The Unrequited
Author: Saffron A. Kent
Genre: Contemporary/Erotic Romance
Release Date: July 13, 2017

OUR REVIEW:


Shel: A little while I ago Saffron A. Kent appeared all over the blogs I follow with her release of A War Like Ours. Unfortunately, I haven't read it yet so I can't speak to anything about it other than it sparked reactions and, to me, when people are talking about the inner turmoil and emotion caused by a book, I can't help but be intrigued. Knowing what I knew about her first book, when we had a chance to review The Unrequited I immediately made (*forced*) room in our reading schedule to check it out. Court: yes, and exactly as she says...this book too highlights the inner turmoil and emotion in me...the characters...and oh my what a roller coaster ride it was! 

Shel: So here's what happened with my reading: the ARC showed up and I immediately downloaded it and stared at it knowing I couldn't get to it until I finished reviewing two other books. The curiosity and anticipation were at peak levels when I finally got to start it a few days later....at 7 pm. Starting The Unrequited at 7 pm probably wasn't my smartest idea ever because once I started it I had to finish it. There was no way I was going to sleep without knowing how Kent was going to end this story. Having never read anything by her, I wasn't entirely convinced there would be a HEA...maybe a HFN but HEA? I wasn't sure. And you know what, because of the way Layla and Thomas were written, I was really going to be okay with however it ended with them because I believed the characters could handle it.  So I read all evening and early morning until I finished, which was about 3 am and holy hot hell, Layla and Thomas are some fucked up characters (and I mean that in the nicest way possible, I think). Court: I think so too. There is so much against them that makes this an unlikely story but how Kent really pushes boundaries between them, blurs the lines of what is taboo and right or wrong, and has the most beautiful descriptions of poetry and writing and emotion and how to tap into that deep, dark part of ourselves that I could not stop reading until the early morning hours either. Blew my mind.

Shel: I don't want to rehash the synopsis (scroll down to read it) and we're not going to spoil things, so here are some unrelated, rambling thoughts on this morning after my 3 am read (where I'm now going on 1 cup of coffee):

  • Layla and Thomas, as initially introduced, are hard to like. She's got a history that makes her appear to be pretty hard and manipulative; he's broody and sarcastic and cold. Then they meet. They talk. They clash. They spark. They flame. They burn. We burn. Their relationship is tumultuous, to say the least.  (Court: It really is, he is sometimes bordering on more than I can handle. I kept hoping we wouldn't cross a certain line, but was really relying on Saffron A. Kent to hold my hand through it!)
  • If I were a gambler, I'd bet that there are some people who just cannot with these two. They do things that are NOT OKAY and yet even as I shook my head at them and what they were doing, somehow the more I got to know them and try to understand them, the less those things mattered (which is where the conflict comes in because those things were so very wrong but ..ugh...it's fiction, so....).  (Court: I think the writing helped so much with that, as well as the moments of "normal" we get with her finally making friends with Emma and going out to the poetry nights and slams, and as things get a little off the road, those things really keep our story in reality, at least to me!)
  • On the other hand, I bet so many readers will love how deliciously horrible these two are; and will love that they have this taboo relationship and that the forbidden nature of it amps up everything (especially the sex scenes--they're scorchingly hot hot hottt). Many readers will be able to forgive many things about Thomas and Layla's relationship, especially the closer to the end they get. (Court: Ugh. And that is the part that makes me hate myself just a little bit, but love the book more.)
  • POETRY. Omg. There's a poet as a love interest. *dies* Anyone who knows me knows that I have a thing for poetry and poets. I write it, I read it, I process it, I research it. Even though this novel isn't actually filled with poems, there are entire sections that are written in this staccato- like poetical fashion. The first section with "The Bard" had me grasping for something to write with just to write verses of response to him. (Court: Sigh, right? I knew Shelley would be just dying for this, and while I'm not as good as her...I love it too. Writing it is so cathartic, and the way that Thomas is and embodies his writing like it is a living part of him that he cannot escape gives a high for his character as we read that even I couldn't escape. He's someone who draws people in for being aloof and on another emotional plane and it was very exciting.) 
  • The writing and pacing are two things that I've been thinking about. As I was reading, I kept thinking about how austere the wording was -- not in a bad or good way, just that it was. The wording isn't overly pretty or overdone; it wasn't always the way something was worded that would have me stop and think, it was what was happening with the action or in a scene that had my mind going. I think the reason this stands out to me is because I bet many readers would expect a poet to be this wordy, emotive person and that simply wasn't the case. I think the lack of prose for prose's sake gave space for the actions of the story to speak to us rather than a bunch of empty, pretty sounding words. I think the stripped down descriptions and pacing of the dialogue also helped bring out the personalities and experiences of Layla and Thomas. The only thing that I had a little bit of a hang up with was the span of time this covered. It felt like, sometimes, that what was happening covered the span of weeks and months, instead of days, and even though the time span would be mentioned, it felt so crazy and intense for such a short period of time. (Court: I agree on that, sometimes it would feel like they were doing things while the world was going on around them and they ceased to exist in it. Like...certain scenes i can't mention to not spoil but wouldn't people notice them at some point? 
Shel: After reading Unrequited, I can definitely see why so many people are buzzing about Saffron A. Kent and I'm hoping to find some time to try her first novel now that I know. If you're looking for a taboo romance--one that isn't a "dark" romance--that is hotter than hot, this novel is the one for you. Court: It is all of these things! And if I haven't elaborated enough already: the writing is stellar. I was engaged, enthralled and could not get enough even when the characters were really trying to push me over the edge. 



Blurb

Layla Robinson is not crazy. She is suffering from unrequited love. But it’s time to move on. No more stalking, no more obsessive calling.

What she needs is a distraction. The blue-eyed guy she keeps seeing around campus could be a great one—only he is the new poetry professor—the married poetry professor.

Thomas Abrams is a stereotypical artist—rude, arrogant, and broody—but his glares and taunts don’t scare Layla. She might be bad at poetry, but she is good at reading between the lines. Beneath his prickly fa├žade, Thomas is lonely, and Layla wants to know why. Obsessively.

Sometimes you do get what you want. Sometimes you end up in the storage room of a bar with your professor and you kiss him. Sometimes he kisses you back like the world is ending and he will never get to kiss you again. He kisses you until you forget the years of unrequited love; you forget all the rules, and you dare to reach for something that is not yours.

NOTE: Please be aware that this book deals with sensitive topics like cheating and death. 18+ Only.










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Excerpt

I’m hit by a storm of desire to kiss him better. It’s a tornado, an avalanche in my body, and in one breathless moment, I decide to go for it. It’s okay. I can take the blame for it later.
I break the rules and reach up and kiss him. A feathery peck on his plump lips, it’s a kiss of solidarity, a kiss that intends to tell him I understand—but one isn’t enough. It only manages to ratchet up my lust. So I give him another, this time on the corner of his mouth, and then another one on his jaw.
It’s not enough, these small, barely-there touches. I want more, but I won’t take it. I’ll be good; I’ll only give.
Abruptly, he fists my curls and stops me. I look at him fearfully, ready to apologize—not for the kiss, but for being the kisser. His gaze reflects passion, stark, raving need, and I shiver, despite wearing layers and sweating with his heat.
“Are you trying to kiss me, Layla?” he rasps, flexing his fingers on my makeshift ponytail.
He couldn’t tell? Blush rises to the surface and I know I’m glowing like a neon sign. Swallowing, I nod. “Yes.”
He inches closer to me, still not touching—as impossible as that is—but infinitely closer. “You want to kiss me, Miss Robinson, you do it right.”
Oh God, does he have to call me that? Now, here? My spine arches on its own and my heavy tits graze the contours of his shuddering chest.
“H-How?” I ask innocently, belying the daring action of my body. His stern, professor-y voice is doing things to me, making me wild, uncontrolled.
For a second, he’s silent, just watching. I’m afraid he’ll back out from whatever this is, whatever insanity we’re about to commit—but then I sense the shift in the liquor-laced air as he opens his mouth and growls, “Like this.”






Author Bio

Writer of bad romances. Coffee Addict. White Russian Drinker. Imaginary Ballet Dancer and poetess. Aspiring Lana Del Ray of the book world.

I'm a big believer in love (obviously). I believe in happily ever after, the butterflies and the tingling. But I also believe in edgy, rough and gutsy kind of love. I believe in pushing the boundaries, darker (sometimes morally ambiguous) emotions and imperfections.

The kind of love I write about is flawed just like my characters. And I hope by the end of it, you'll come to root for them just as much as me. Because love, no matter where it comes from, is always pure and beautiful. 




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