Hearts Aligned by Cheri Marie

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Before I know it, we’re intertwined. All hands, tongues and feverish kisses.

I struggled with the star rating for this, I couldn’t come up with one until last minute and after a discussion with Ash. It’s a very strong three stars for me, almost moving into a four, but then is it quite a four? I think I’ve decided to go with a three stars – but I’m giving it plus meaning that it’s so, so, so very close to being a four for me. I really enjoyed this author and feel that we can expect some really great things from her. I’m being picky and fussy, but only because as I’ve said before, erotica and romance are my favorite genres – so my reviews are in respect of everything I’ve read. So while Cheri Marie, for me, is good, she’s not quite 4* like Jessica Scott, Christine Feehan or Sherrilyn Kenyon- yet.

The storyline is sweet and endearing. Arianna runs a company that helps military men and their families after they’ve finished active duty called Angels for Heroes. At the beginning of the book she has an emotionally and then physically abusive boyfriend Liam. Things turn nasty with Liam and while going through a messy break up, Arianna tries to hold it all together and keep dedicating herself to her work. Despite everything going on, she puts on her favourite dress (the one Liam said she was too fat for), slaps some makeup on and goes to the fundraiser she’s arranged for her Angels. There she runs into a gorgeous man named Landon and the attraction is instant.

As I’ve said in a previous review (Torn by Scarlet le Clair) erotica has the issue of repetition. Here it’s not actually too bad; it’s certain words rather than phrases. I found the words nip, flick and slam in almost every sex scene.  As for the actually sex scenes, they’re very steamy and well written. Outside of these scenes the other repeated words were giggling/giggled and wink/ winked. It feels like someone giggles or winks in every chapter. However, I’m not sure if this is done slightly tongue in cheek as the author, Cheri Marie, appears to be aware that she’s repeating words as she often adds in ‘giggled again’. It works in the context it’s in, as Arianna is nervous and Landon super confident but I think it’s one of those things the author needs to keep an eye out for.

Another issue that I had was with the Landon/Liam characters. They are both possessive and at times, aggressive (certainly Liam). If we weren’t offered Landon’s perspective then I think that it may feel like Arianna was trading one abusive relationship for another, slightly less abusive relationship. But because we have Landon’s viewpoint, we know that he’s fallen hard for Arianna and would do anything to protect her and make her feel beautiful. This takes the abusive edge off for me, but only just. There’s a thin line between sexy alpha male and possessive controller.

Which leads me on to something that I love reading about in books: normal women! Arianna  is self-conscious, doesn’t have the perfect body and questions the things about herself that others love.  Landon does everything he can to convince her and make sure that she knows she’s beautiful. This is easy to relate to and I think it adds extra charm to the character. Overall it’s a good debut novel, I liked the storyline, loved the chemistry and I would recommend it as a quick, easy read.

*I was given a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review*

 

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