Ridley's Reviews > Never Have I Ever

Never Have I Ever by Alisha Rai
Rate this book
Clear rating

's review
Dec 05, 2010

liked it
bookshelves: ebook, 3-star, erotic-romance, read-2010
Read from December 05 to 06, 2010

I emailed the author after seeing a call out to reviewers on Twitter and Alisha Rai was kind enough to send me an ARC of her book. It's an erotic romance with a paranormal twist with a lot to like about it, but it was just a little too unfocused to be a great read. It's definitely somewhere between a 3 and a 4.

Teacher Ana Hudson has been happily married to her architect husband Taylor for a little over a year. Marrying after a brief courtship and engagement, they'd settled into a quiet and comfortable, Middle-America sort of life. When a packet of old pictures featuring her husband as a young man is anonymously emailed to her, she feels her world shift. With her he's staid and conservative, but these pictures show him enthusiastically taking part in a wild threesome with his best friend Eli and an anonymous woman. Insecurity takes hold of her as she wonders which version of Taylor is the real man and whether he's merely settling for her.

Borrowing his friend's cabin in the Adirondacks for the weekend, Taylor plans for a nice, romantic weekend with his wife, who he'd noticed had been out of sorts in the past few weeks. When she starts putting the moves on him, moving past the respectable and squarely into the realm of the kinky, he feels torn between the delight of rougher, wilder sex and his need to control himself. After an out of control period when he was younger and up to his eyeballs in hormones, he's clamped down on himself, afraid to permit himself to lose control. Ana, however, seems determined to shake it out of him, and his friend's unannounced arrival does nothing to help him avoid his past.

Truly, the book's focus is on the couple's changing sexual dynamic, and I think it acquits itself extremely well on this front. Rai makes sure you get a feel for the extant relationship before she has them start changing it. You get to see Ana psych herself up to masturbate in front of her husband for the first time, and his complete shock that shy, quiet Ana would do such a thing. It's clear that sex between them was more about comfort than adventurousness.

So the sex is done right for an erotic romance. It's not just a regular romance with more sex shoehorned in, as if to meet a quota. Each scene knocks down a previous barrier in their relationship, thereby advancing the plot. It's hot, loving, adventurous and explosive without ever devolving into plainly told play-by-play sex writing. It's all about how the sex affects them and changes their relationship. Rai shows Taylor worrying about how his behavior looks to Ana, even as he can't seem to resist taking what she offers. Ana mixes a bit of surprise with her enjoyment, shocked that she'd enjoy the bondage and spanking so much. Even the culminating threesome sticks to their personalities and stays as squarely in the realm of reality as a threesome can by avoiding the common m/f/m trap of "how many freaky positions can we get into."

Where the book is weakest is the paranormal element. It's not as intertwined with the story as it should be, leaving the werewolf theme a bit in the land of MacGuffin. It's invoked to explain Taylor's wild, horny youth and Taylor and Eli's quick recovery time, and that's pretty much it. It reads a bit more like a prequel than a first in series, as it hints at a paranormal setting more than it establishes one.

Had this been a straight contemporary ER, I'd rate this a solid 4. The characters are fully-realized, the sex well written and the conflict natural, but the wishy-washy paranormal plot takes it down a peg. Still, I'd read more from this author. You've got to appreciate an author that can write characters who are something other than white - Ana is Latino - without making it a plot point or a conflict catalyst.
7 likes · flag

Sign into Goodreads to see if any of your friends have read Never Have I Ever.
Sign In »

Reading Progress

12/05 page 27
24.32% "Heroine thinks "om nom nom" to herself right before going down on her man. Best blow job POV ever." 1 comment
05/21 marked as: read

Comments (showing 1-4)

dateUp arrow    newest »

message 4: by K. (last edited Dec 08, 2010 09:33PM) (new) - added it

K. Wow! Great review Ridley. Her writing/plot line sounds a lot like Megan Hart's "Tempted." At least it does from your review. Love your ability to "communicate" the meat of the book ... makes it easy for me to determine if it would be for me. Anything with menage is a rarity for me to be interested in. Not my thing, so I'm usually only intrigued if the author has an absolute gifted talent for writing more psychologically in-depth generally (because the situation isn't romance to me, just lust. I know how to identify "why" I read any given subject for myself).

I might give this a shot. And THANKS for the "wishy-washy" paranormal warning (LOL!). Especially sounds like something I need to IGNORE to enjoy the read!

Ridley Thanks K! I own Tempted but haven't psyched myself up enough to read it yet, so I can't say if your comparison is apt or not. I read Broken and *loved* it, but it did give me a sad at the same time. So, I need to be in a mood to start another Hart novel.

As for the paranormal aspect in this book, I'm not sure you'd need to ignore it. It makes itself pretty scarce on its own.

message 2: by K. (new) - added it

K. "I read Broken and *loved* it, but it did give me a sad at the same time. So, I need to be in a mood to start another Hart novel."

Go ahead and put "Tempted" in line Ridley. I think you'd really enjoy it. Unlike "Broken's" heart-shattering mental "choices," it's more a life-journey type story for the heroine. Hart manages yet again to engage the reader with a bit of a "double hero" delemma, but not nearly in such an emotionally devastating way that she did in "Broken." She's just an exceptionally talented writer in my opinion, so I'm never disappointed overall. Subject matter with her is really secondary, if you know what I mean.

Good to know that the paranormal is that scarce in this one ... I'm a picky reader on paranormals generally.

message 1: by MelissaB (new)

MelissaB Great review Ridley! So they need to be werewolves to be young and horny and have a quick recovery? Huh.

back to top