I'm honored to be hosting the sexy story, Vivian's List by Haleigh Lovell today and apologize to Ms. Lovell, and all those who came here earlier looking for her, for being late in posting. I thought using two calendars was enough to keep me organized but I apparently need three. But let's get to the good stuff now as you've all waited long enough. Keep reading for a glimpse of this book, along with my impressions of it, as well as getting others impressions of it too by visiting the other blogs hosting this tour. Make sure to fill out the form below for your chance to win a $10 Amazon GC and a Kindle copy of this book!
Vivian Sorenson is in a verbally abusive relationship, and all the abuse has left her feeling lost and disoriented. When her boyfriend, Brody, calls her "frigid" and "boring ol' vanilla," Vivian ends the toxic relationship and embarks on a journey of sexual self-discovery. Hence, the sexual bucket list or as she calls it: Vivian's List.
Liam Sykes has known Vivian all his life. He's always been overly protective of her and perhaps half in love with her, too. When he happens upon Vivian's sexual bucket list, he agrees to be her sexual partner. Soon it becomes more than just sex as Liam picks up every jagged little shard of Vivian's shattered heart and pieces it back together, replacing it with a piece of his own.
Unable to meet his gaze, I picked up my fork and pushed the food around the plate in a circle. “He accused me of sleeping with you.” I inhaled sharply. “And he called me frigid again.” I paused and took a swig of wine to cover my distress. “Sometimes I can’t help but wonder … if I wasn’t so frigid in bed, he wouldn’t have needed to find it elsewhere.”
I heard Liam exhale. “Don’t do that, Viv.”
As I fiddled with the stem of the wineglass, I forced myself to meet his gaze. “Do what?”
“Doubt yourself. Blame yourself. Don’t do that.” His voice was nothing but kind. There was no hint of condescension in it.
I tried to speak, failed, so I drank some more wine.
“Listen.” Liam set his fork on the table. “If a girl is frigid, it is usually because the way she is treated outside of bed has left her frigid.”
“But there has to be something wrong with me. I mean, what twenty-two-year-old has never experienced the Big O? You know, I can be a little uptight, even high-strung at times. So really, it could just be me.”
“It’s not you,” Liam said firmly. “Don’t let Brody mess with your head. Do you know that about ten percent of women have never experienced an orgasm? And most women aren’t able to climax with intercourse alone. They need other sorts of …” He paused, seemingly to search for the word. “Stimulation.”
The word made a blush rise on my neck and throat.
Liam leaned back in his chair and regarded me steadily. “And from what it sounds like, Brody is a fucking moron. No guy should ever expect you to function with the predictability of a machine. And if he does, then he should just have sex with his car.”
I smothered a giggle. “So I take it you’ve had plenty of experience helping girls reach the pinnacle of sexual passion.”
His lips turned upward in a semi-grin. “Not really.”
“C’mon,” I teased, swirling the wine in my glass. “What about all those Jessicas you dated? Jessica Neal, Jessica Cena, Jessica Long, Jessica Alba?”
He let out a dismissive laugh. “I never dated Jessica Alba.”
As I forked a mouthful of ravioli, I pointed out, “You had the biggest crush on her, though.”
He didn’t deny it. “Me and every other guy I knew.”
I arched an eyebrow. “So did you love all the other Jessicas?”
He shrugged. “Truthfully, I don’t think I even knew what love was back then.”
I eyed him curiously. “Do you know now?”
He shoveled in a bite, chewed then swallowed. “I think I may have some idea.”
I leaned back in my chair and ran a fingertip around the rim of my wineglass. “What do you think love should feel like? Fireworks? Crazy intense, mad passion?”
The look he gave me was long and considering. He lifted his glass and took a swig before answering. “I think a slow burning candle produces more warmth and light than a brief explosion.”
We stared at each other as his words hung in the air between us. “With Brody …” I spoke into the silence. “It was crazy intense. I met him in college my freshman year. And right from the start, we had instant fireworks … the brief explosions you were just talking about. He pretty much swept me off my feet, and I kind of jumped off the diving board into the deep end.”
Liam had a deep and intent expression on his face as he listened to me.
His eyes were open and accepting. Nonjudgmental.
When I finished, he grew quiet for a moment. Then he said, “I think the idea that love must be crazy intense all the time is what keeps people from being satisfied with the normal, boring day-to-day love. The sort of quiet love that is tucked away in the corner instead of shouted from the rooftops. That kind of simple day-to-day love … that quiet love, it might seem dull to others.But for me—” He gave a short shrug— “that’s love.”
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MY IMPRESSIONS OF THIS BOOK:
Those looking for a quick read with surprising depth and steamy interludes will find exactly that in this book by a new-to-me author. Though the theme might be a bit cliched the thoroughly likable characters, strong emotional connection, and intriguing dual point of views make for an engaging and compelling read that has me looking forward to the next book to get a resolution to the burgeoning romantic relationship between Vivian and Liam.
Vivian has recently come to the conclusion that her boyfriend is mentally and emotionally abusive and in a moment of empowerment she kicks him to the curb and creates a sexual Bucket List to banish his final words to her. Being told she's frigid and boring in bed has her wanting to prove her ex Brody wrong in a steamy assortment of sexual interludes. Helping her in her sexual endeavor is her brother's best friend Liam, who's in town before deployment, which adds a constant sense of urgency to their time together. Vivian is a likable character who has a strong-will but just got lost along the way after being with Brody for so long. She's wholeheartedly regaining her independence now though in a larger than life way which leads to numerous hot and heavy encounters that are nicely spaced throughout the story and shows a strengthening of the bond between Vivian and Liam.
Liam has known Vivian for many years and is happy to see her get rid of her abusive boyfriend. As she feels safe around him she's counting on him to help her meet each of the goals on her sexual list. Though he doesn't want to jeopardize his relationship with her and her brother he knows he'll be leaving soon for deployment so is willing to enjoy the steamy encounters Vivian's offering as he doesn't think there will be time for their interludes to become something more powerful....and enjoyable he makes their time together! But unfortunately their relationship does become more profound as neither wants to let the other go. They want to see where things can lead and it's with a heavy heart and fear of the unknown that ends this story. Liam's immensely likable and supportive and his relationship with Vivian felt believable in its intensity and quick evolution due to their past history. He's truly heroic in relating his fears in how war is changing him and his final scenes with Vivian brought a tear to my eye.
Also enjoyable are the friends surrounding them who are playful and supportive in their own ways that added realism to the story. I saw my own friends reflected in them as well and appreciated the humor they provided that balanced out the other heavier moments in the story. Just when things are getting good we have to deal with Liam's deployment and the ramifications of it. I look forward to seeing where things go for them in the future as this beginning glimpse of their HEA is immensely satisfying. In this emotional yet familiarly-themed package Ms. Lovell has grabbed hold of me and convinced me to come back for more.
My rating for this is a B+
*I received this book from the author in exchange for my honest opinion.
Haleigh Lovell lives in the west coast with her husband and three rescue dogs. Haleigh received a B.A. in Journalism and a B.A in Sociology from the University of Wisconsin--Madison. Despite training as a journalist and a sociologist, Haleigh soon found she preferred making up her own stories--stories with heat and heart.
An expert at the art of procrastination, Haleigh is easily distracted by food and can often be found snacking on Flamin' Hot Cheetos, Pringles, Kit Kat bars, Toblerones and sushi.
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