4.5 StarsGiving It Up
was dark erotic suspense at its finest! In her debut novel, Amber Lin tells an emotionally gripping tale about a young woman driven to place herself in dangerous and questionable situations in an effort to cope with a past that stripped her raw of trust and warped her sense of (sexual) intimacy.
Allie doesn't trust men, and with good reason. She doesn't see men as capable of wanting anything other than sex any way they can get it, and she's learned that saying no doesn't help one iota. Once a month, Allie feels the strong need to find a man, any man, who will give it to her – hard. She seems to think it's all she deserves. By basically going through the motions of being violated all over again, she justifies it to herself as being in control because it's happening on her terms, and no one elses. When she crosses paths with Colin, he seems like the perfect fit for her needs – he's good-looking, has the bad boy vibe going on, and he doesn't say much. Though she questions the sanity of going somewhere very private with him, she can't help herself. There she is, dressed and acting like an easy lay, there he is, strong enough to easily overpower her and prove to her that he's just like all the rest. What happens next is something she never saw coming. Both Colin and Allie are damaged souls, but maybe they are each others salvation. Their secrets will either bring them closer or tear them apart.
For a single mother at 22 years of age, with a child as a result of a rape, the character of Allie was actually very strong and likeable, despite the many times she would do something we wouldn't necessarily approve of. It's debatable whether or not Allie's extracurricular activities and leaving her daughter, Bailey, with her best friend (who happened to be a prostitute) was in her best interest. I admired her ability to still function on a level that she was able to care for her daughter as best as she could. She may have been dependent on Colin for his help, but I'm glad she was able to stand up for herself when it really counted.
As the hero of the story, Colin seemed to exist more on the periphery of the story, like a silent guardian. For the most part, I was only aware of his presence because of his deeds, but not his words. The few times that he does have something to say, they're laced with meaning, and you'd do well to pay attention.
Together, Colin and Allie seem like a train wreck. They both have so much baggage, yet they try so hard to make a go of their relationship, all because they both crave a little normalcy. There were so many heart-breaking moments as they stumbled their way through the minefield of emotions.
He was right. Fuck.
What had I done? I couldn't face him.
A tear slid down my face. That wasn't strange. My face was wet—I'd been crying before we even started. But this one came from near my ear and slid down to my nose.
It wasn't mine.
Ms Lin managed to weave the suspense around these two so craftily, I never knew for sure who could be trusted and who couldn't. I was on pins and needles just waiting for the other shoe to drop, while hoping at the same time that said shoe would stay put. At the end of it all, there are some startling revelations, and a conclusion that is so heart-warming, it soothed my battered soul after reading about the difficult path Allie had to take to get to the end of her dark tunnel.
If you can handle the angst, I highly recommend this read. I would definitely pick up Ms Lin's next book.My sincerest gratitude to the author for providing me with the ARC.