Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Book Review: Eyes Wide Open

Eyes Wide Open  (The Blackstone Affair, #3)
Eyes Wide Open by Raine Miller
(The Blackstone Affair Part 3)
May 14, 2013
Atria Books
272 pages
Source: NetGalley for honest review
Genre: Adult Romance
Content: Includes erotic sexual elements, mature language
Book Blurb:
The third part in The Blackstone Affair series: A love on the brink of being destroyed. The fight of a lifetime to keep it alive.

Big surprises are on the horizon for Ethan and Brynne as they struggle to adjust to what life has thrown at them. Demons from the past are threatening to destroy the passionate bond they’ve forged despite their vow that nothing will ever keep them apart. A truly devastating loss coupled with the promise of a new hope opens their eyes to what is most important, but is it possible for the lovers to move on from the painful histories that continue to haunt them? A stalker is still lurking in the shadows, plotting evil amidst the distraction of the 2012 Olympic games in London. Brynne and Ethan are on the cusp of losing everything as the stakes rise. Will they yield to circumstances beyond their control or will they give every ounce of fight they have left to save each other and win the ultimate prize of a life together?

Eyes Wide Open is a passion-wrought story that shows us what pure love can achieve when tested and what the heart can accomplish despite danger and adversity.

My Review:

My review of Naked (here)
My review of All In (here)

If you've read my reviews of the previous two books in this series, you've seen that while I liked the books, there was something missing for me, and they weren't my favorites. But I still liked Ethan and Brynne and hoped that this book would be above the others and finally fill in the missing piece(s) that would push my feelings beyond so-so. I'm happy to say that my wish came true. Eyes Wide Open, for me, is the best of the series so far. I finally felt like I wasn't just looking at story and character potential, but was getting the story I had been hoping for.

The storyline picks up where All In left off. If you haven't read All In in a while, like me, there are enough summary bits thrown in to get you caught up. And where the previous two books were from either Brynne's or Ethan's POVs (excluding the prologues), Eyes Wide Open alternates between Brynne and Ethan. This back and forth of the POVs I loved. It was so helpful to be in both their heads, and it felt like Raine did the switches at just the right time. From the very start, Raine pulls the reader right into Ethan and Brynne's world and doesn't let us go until the end.

Raine Miller brought the depth of character and storyline beyond the previous novels, which is exactly what I'd hoped for. I felt the maturity of Ethan and Brynne's relationship, and really loved how they came together as two parts of one whole, helping each other, and neither being above the other. They had to deal with a lot of drama, but I enjoyed the way they dealt with it without the author beating us over the head with excessive drama and antics that in real life wouldn't be tolerated. The pace was far improved from All In, and there were enough twists and turns to keep the plotline interesting and suspenseful at times. Some parts were predictable, but I didn't feel like that took away from the story. If anything, even though I predicted certain things, Raine's writing felt honest and what the characters went through felt real, despite the nature of this whirlwind romance, and it made me embrace the journey the characters were on. I also enjoyed the spots of humor thrown in and found myself literally laughing out loud in certain scenes, which I didn't expect. There were even emotional scenes that didn't quite bring me tears, but still made me feel for and empathize with the emotions of the characters.

Additionally, I felt like Raine did a better job bringing in the secondary characters and pulling them into the storyline, emphasizing their importance not just to the story, but to Ethan and Brynne's lives as well. There are also a few secondary characters I really want to know more about, and felt potential relationships were hinted at, and hope they are a part of the next book, or perhaps get their own book/series. And lastly, the sex scenes continue to be steamy and hot. With Ethan as a character, this aspect of the story will never be lacking. Where initially I felt the relationship was super fast, in this book their relationship felt strong and honest, and the chemistry was spot on, regardless of whether they were in bed or not. While their relationship is still very physical, I was glad to see that the emotional and mental side was right at the top as well.

Bottomline: Eyes Wide Open is the best of this series so far. If you've been on the fence, then this might be the book you're looking for like I was. I'm also thrilled that Raine has added another book. The ending to this one will leave you in a satisfactory spot, and another book is not necessary, but it is entirely welcome. I definitely want to see what is in store next for Ethan and Brynne.

4 -1/2 STARS


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