Tuesday, December 26, 2017

NEW + GIVEAWAY: Whore by Willow Aster

Whore by Willow Aster is now LIVE!!!

OUR REVIEW:

Willow Aster's stark prose in Whore was very emblematic of the existence that the protagonist, Lilith seemed to exist. Her days were filled with very transactional, mechanical sex where she was beholden to the whims of her mother; it was only when Soti becomes part of her daily life that her the drab that colored her days burst into technicolor. This was also, in my opinion, when the novel seemed to go from a curious, but flat, read to a read that was fuller and engaging and lively.

As with all novels, there must be conflict and Aster went for a huge one. Whore didn't contain your run of the mill, typical romance type conflicts. Nope. She went big. And horrific. And the drab of Lilith's existence returned, colored at the edges with sadness and horror. Thankfully, the romance community never fails to deliver a HEA so we get to see Lilith have something better than where we started with her, and so we end with a softer, rose colored hue by the end.

SIDE NOTE: As a native Louisianian, and dweller of the New Orleans area, I am thrilled with all the details Willow Aster used and got right when it came to New Orleans. Not only did she get small details like names of restaurants (and the causeway!) right, she also didn't make a mockery of our accents and traditions, like so many like to do. I'm always so impressed when writers do their research and do it well, and it is so evident that Aster did more than a cursory look at a map when it came to writing this novel. Kudos to you, Willow Aster--I appreciate the time and effort you took to make it right.

Final thoughts? As this was my first time reading Willow Aster, I wasn't sure what to expect and I walked away thinking I'd definitely pick up something from her backlist and read it. Whore had an interesting premise--one that didn't try to spin Lilith's job as anything but what it was for her--in this case a lack of a choice--and didn't try to stigmatize or stereotype. It had interesting subplots and secondary characters that I wish had been a smidge more developed because I was curious about how and why, when it came to some of the things that happened. And it was a quick read that pulled me in and had me reading my day away, which is always the best, right? 

PURCHASE YOUR COPY OF WHORE TODAY!

“I need a reason to exist.”
Beautiful, intelligent, independent, strong-willed, wealthy—Lilith Fontenot seems by all appearances, to have it all. But that’s not how the highest paid prostitute in New Orleans sees herself.
A stain on society. A scourge. A waste. Outsider. Prisoner…
Any idyllic dream of the normal life she may have once imagined, Lilith buried long ago. Her only plan now is survival.
But mob boss Nico Santelli and community center owner Soti Christos have not given up on Lilith. Each has his own very specific, very opposing, plans for her, and neither will rest until it becomes a reality.
WHORE is a singularly bracing take on an ancient tale of tireless love, betrayal, and the possibility of redemption.
I take a sudden deep breath and my breasts brush against his chest. The contact surprises us both. I do it again, intentionally this time, trying to gain control in the only way I know how. His neck flushes and he takes a step back. I enjoy the rush it gives me, knowing that I affect him too. “Hey, would you like to come around the corner with me to—” I swallow my surprise and shake my head, holding my hand up before he says anything else. “Please,” he says louder. “What’s your name?” “I am Sotirios … Soti.” “Soti, what makes you think you know anything about me?” He tries to make eye contact, but I focus on a spot just past his left ear. “I just want to help you…” His words trail off. The wind blows my hair forward, a sheet of black coming between us until I smooth the long strands down on either side. I gaze down the street and see a blurry little girl with black hair down to her waist in middle school, standing shy and hopeful in front of a group of girls. “We know what you are,” they said. They hurled spit and names on her and she stood there, taking it, until the teacher came and helped her. Help only got me so far. “You listen to me, okay?” I say so softly he leans in to hear me. “I was born for this.” When my eyes finally land on his again, I know his face will haunt me forever. He looks as bleak as I feel. I clear my throat. “Now, if you’ll excuse us.” With that, I loop my hand through the arm of my next income source, calculating how I can get the most money out of him for the least amount of time. It takes every ounce of willpower I own to not look Soti’s way one more time. Once we round the corner and I know he’s out of sight, all the adrenaline leaves my body, and I’m actually glad to have someone to hold onto. I avoid my reflection as we walk back to the house. I don’t want to know what the rest of the world sees when they look at me.

Willow Aster is the author of True Love Story, In the Fields, Maybe Maby, Fade to Red, and the upcoming release, Whore. Willow loves nothing more than writing the day away—anywhere will do. Her husband and two children graciously put up with her endless daydreaming and make fun of her for reading while cooking.

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