Author: Ronica Black
Publisher: Bold Stroke Books
Publication Date: 1. June 2017
Rating: 3/5. Stars
Diversity: LGBT Characters (lesbian), PoC (Native American)
TW: past character death, scenes with dubious consent
Summary: Johnnie Hamilton has conquered a lot in life. An anxiety disorder, loss of her business, and homelessness have been difficult to overcome. But Johnnie has come through the other side to find success as an artist. Now, however, she’s lost her creative drive and she’s struggling to produce.
Elaine Taylor has an interesting job. She’s a “creative practitioner,” known to awaken her client’s creative side by using many different approaches, including a sensual or sexual approach. Most of her clients are male and she likes it that way. Women are the last thing she wants in her life, having lost the most important woman she’s ever known, her wife.
Fearing she’ll lose all she’s worked so hard for, Johnnie takes her friend’s advice and calls a lone number on a business card, steps into Elaine’s office, and shakes up both their worlds forever.
Disclaimer: I received an e-copy of this book on NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Johnnie is an artist and right now she’s really struggling. Somewhere between dealing with anxiety and her traumatic past, her creative energy has disappeared and she hasn’t finished something in ages. Depending on the money she gets from selling her pictures, she finally takes the advice of a good friend of hers and makes an appointment with a creative practitioner, who helps clients awaken or re-discover their creative sides, sometimes using a sensual or sexual approach to it.
This book gives us two perspectives, switching between Johnnie and Elaine so we get a good look into their lives, thoughts, and feelings. Both of them have pretty tragic pasts and a hard time trusting someone new, so reading them navigate that was fascinating.
I adored the beginning, how they met, the attraction they felt for each other while dealing with what had happened in past relationships. There was quite a lot Will-They, Wont-They and many, many flashbacks that helped make the characters feel more real.
Sadly this was ruined for me a bit further down the road as they finally talked and then BAM drama. And not just a little bit, no, lots and lots of drama. A toxic ex that keeps coming back, a good friend that really wants to make out with you, even though you don’t want then too, a dead wife and guilt over besmirching her memory and a troubled past.
While I really liked Johnnie, sometimes it was really hard to read her chapters. She wants to please everybody and hates making people angry and this was abused quite a lot, mostly by her ex-girlfriend, who caused a lot of drama. And there is a lot of drama going on. Sometimes it feels like too much.
I did like that homelessness was talked about, and about how traumatizing living on the street and always having to be aware of your surroundings can be. I really enjoyed that there were Native American side characters, they were awesome. And I absolutely adored the ending, it was so nice and great.
If you like your romance really, really, really drama heavy, then this is the book for you. If you aren’t a fan of over the top drama (like me) then it is still a nice book, but sometimes gets quite hard to keep reading. All in all, the story was definitely interesting and had a nice premise, as well as great characters, but I could have done with a bit less drama.