- Paperback: 292 pages
- Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (August 14, 2014)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1500847232
- ISBN-13: 978-1500847234
- Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.7 x 9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds
- Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars See all reviews (1,721 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,038,906 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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About the Author
Alessandra Torre is a New York Times Bestselling author who focuses on contemporary erotica. She has written six full-length novels, many of which have become international bestsellers. Alessandra lives in the gulf coast of Florida and is married, with one young child. She enjoys reading, spending time with her family, and playing with her dogs. Her favorite authors include Lisa Gardner, Gillian Flynn, and Jennifer Crusie. Learn more about Alessandra on her website at www.alessandratorre.com, or you can find her on Twitter (@ReadAlessandra) or her Facebook fanpage.
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Top Customer Reviews
Black Lies is the second book I've read by Alessandra Torre. Having read Sex Love Repeat and now this book, I see a trend in Torre's writing and storytelling styles—she likes plot twists. As a whole this book didn't work for me. I had a big issue with how the twist was handled. Because it's nearly impossible to convey my feelings without spoilers, I will break my review up into a non-spoiler section and a spoiler section.
"My love burns as bright as hers, as does my possession. But my anger, my emotion, doesn't simmer on the surface. It hides, in wait, for the moment when it needs to erupt."
As you read in the synopsis, the heroine, Layana is in love with two men. She sleeps with two men and is in relationships with both of them. Brant is a high-powered billionaire and the first guy she dated. His wealth is the product of a computer empire more successful than Apple, a company that he built with his business partner and aunt, Jillian, from the time he was 11-years old.
It doesn't take long for Brant and Layana to develop strong feelings for one another. Brant wants to marry her, to have children, to grow old with her. But on the eve of his first marriage proposal Layana discovers a secret. The secret. A secret that Jillian has been desperately trying to hide from the everyone—the public, Brant's family, and from Lana. After finding out the big secret, Lana agrees to help Jillian bury the secret and protect Brant's image and his business.
Many months into her relationship with Brant, she meets another man, Lee. He's the complete opposite of the wealthy businessman she fell in love with. He's crass and extremely rough around the edges. While Brant is more white collar, Lee is a get-your-hands-dirty blue collar kind of guy. He mows lawns for a living, a striking contrast to Lana's usual suits and tie lovers. She starts sleeping with him, maybe "sleeping" is too soft of a word. Screwing. F*cking. That's really all I'll say about the plot.
Aside from the "big secret" (I will go into more detail in the spoiler section of the review), one of my biggest issues with this book was the character development. I didn't find the three main characters to be compelling, interesting, or three dimensional. I knew very little about Layana, aside from the fact that she is wealthy and desperately wanted to help keep Brant's secret. What did she like to do? Did she have any friends? Likewise, I found Brant and Lee's characters to be lacking in that area. What I knew about both of them is that they loved Lana and loved worshiping her body with lots of sex. Brant had the usual billionaire characteristics—extremely intelligent and...well....rich.
Between Lee and Brant, I liked Brant the most, mostly because he was sweeter. I didn't like Lee at all. I found him to be completely unromantic and unlikable. I wasn't invested in Lee and Lana's love story at all. I didn't see what she saw in him (or really what he saw in her for that matter).
I have to say that prior to reading this book, I stupidly read the author's note. It contained a spoiler. However, I can say with a fair amount of certainty that I would have figured out the "big twist" early on in the book. I read another book this year that had a similar plot twist, so that was already in the back of my mind. Additionally, the clues about "the twist" were not very subtle. That, however, did not affect my rating. Sometimes, figuring the twist out can actually enhance the reading experience.
This is the second book that I've read recently that had a such high praise from other bloggers and readers. I thought that I would truly love it, given the incredibly high ratings. I am really bummed that I didn't like it.
THE SECRET: The big twist in this book is the fact that Brant has Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID). He witnessed a horrific thing as a young boy and created another identity to protect his mind from that trauma. Like I said earlier, I found this to be rather apparent. Plot-wise, the entire book hinged on this one secret. Everything leading up to the big reveal and everything that came after relied on this one true thing. When it was finally confirmed in the book, I found many plot holes and inconsistencies. When books have this sort of big reveal in the end, all plot points leading up to that reveal need to be solid and to make sense. This book fell short in that area, which leads me to think that the addition of this disorder was used simply for shock value.
I have a problem when authors take a serious issue, such as mental illness, and over-dramatize and fictionalize to the point that it is utterly unbelievable. I reached a point in this book (specifically when Lana met Lee), where I had to pause and think about the logistics. I had a hard time believing that no one in the community recognized Brant's other identities. As someone in the public eye, I can't fathom the possibility that no one recognized Brant as Lee when he's mowing lawns or drinking in dingy bars. The author explained that away with the fact that Jillian had people follow him at all times, but I didn't buy it. Similarly, I didn't believe that they were able to hide this from him for nearly 20 years.
The author's note talked about the fact that she did research DID as she wrote this book, but admitted that she took creative liberties with the disease and fictionalized it. Obviously, for the sake of reader enjoyment, authors sometime dramatize mental illness, but this was too much for my liking. I can suspend reality to a point. Personally, I don't need every book with these types of elements to be 100% rooted in scientific fact; I am okay with some dramatizations, but this book went too far in terms of believability. I can't imagine that the therapy sessions that occurred in the end are based on scientific fact.
What drove me to keep reading instead of putting the book aside was my belief that there was going to be something else, some other big reveal that would flip the story on its head. I had a theory that Layana was going to be the crazy one.
Overall, there was really very little about the book that I enjoyed. I respected Brant's devotion to Lana, despite Lana repeatedly turning him down. Similarly, I liked that Lana's devotion to Brant, loving every side of him. But that wasn't enough for me to enjoy the story.
* I received a copy via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Layana tired of playing by everyone else's rules decided when she turned twenty-five to take her trust fund and break away from the prestigious expectations of a socialite. Layana meets Brant at her charity gala where Brant donates a large sum of money. Layana takes the aggressive and uncouth approach by inviting Brant back to her home for a night of sex.
The story is told from both Brant and Lana's POV. The stories broken into three parts. Some chapters have a timeline that is winding down from about 2 years.
The sexual chemistry is what initially keeps them together. The sex scenes are explicitly delicious. The warning to stay away from Brant lingers as time moves forward. Questions to his whereabouts when having missed a date with Lana.
Alessandra uses every sexual adjective in the thesaurus to describe the most intense sex scenes. I'm exhausted and breathless.
It's a witty game of trying to unravel the black lies of Layana loving two men and screwing two men. Alessandra hid those clues to that secret well but my mind found them early on. I took a chance with my resolution and came out victorious. What a difference it made unlocking the clues.
My thoughts and original concepts for this story are not the same as they were from the beginning. I'm near the end and feel as if I've read a completely different story of characters. Alessandra did an amazing job creating these characters and moving the story into an unfamiliar area. Alessandra never one to plot the familiar offers a story so riveting that my mind will not allow me to let go. I immensely enjoyed this journey created by Alessandra.
The worst part and most disappointing part of this story were the two words at the end declaring, "the end". These are my favorite types of stories ones that make your mind work hard to figure out the clues to unlock the secrets. I definitely had not heard this story before. The synopsis for this story has you geared for a completely different story than what you were given but in a good way.