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anew ANEW: Book One: Awakened by Josie Litton | Rating: ★★★☆☆ (3.5)

“This idea you have that I’m a piece of p r o p e r t y is nothing short of repellant. You do not own me. No one can. Not ever.”

As a note, an e-galley of this novel was sent to me via NetGalley by the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not effect my opinions in any way.

Anew: Book One: Awakened provides us with a retelling of the much beloved children’s story Sleeping Beauty; set in the near future and pulled together in all its erotic glory. It promises intrigue, mystery and all kinds of tension tied together with vivid, unique writing by Josie Litton who put quite a lot of work into this vibrant and startling world of desire and discovery.

We open our story to find our leading lady, Amelia, awakening from her slumber and embracing her obvious freedom. Although she is able to function in her thoughts, her mind is filled with haziness when it comes down to her memories. These thoughts haunt her and beyond the knowledge of life and much of its meaning, her memories grow thinner when it comes down to her past.

Her past, we will soon learn, is… well… I can’t say without giving away the most massive piece of information in the plot. It’s frightening, actually. It’s unique and surely fits the plot. I have to admit I didn’t see it coming and was surprised in more ways than one. Amelia’s got questions and the answers may not come to her easily; in fact, they are very well devastating.

She has no clue who she is, where she is or why she is in the situation she is in. Amelia is very lost in her own questions – where did she come from, why is she here and yet she finds herself drawn to the mysterious man who came to greet her the day she’d woke: Ian. She just cannot resist him, their chemistry is unexpected and off the charts.

Ian, of course, has a past of his own. Mysterious and often frightening because of how easily he pushes people away. He is a tortured soul: dark and oddly gentle. Blah, blah, blah, lost the woman he loved and finds himself unable to resist Amelia.

It’s nothing we haven’t read before: Amelia and Ian’s relationship is nothing extraordinary for the genre. The two have mind blowing sex and cannot keep their heads straight a good chunk of the time. Which is hot, don’t get me wrong: Josie Litton knows what she is doing and you’ve got to give her a round of applause for her vivid scenes throughout.

Although the relationship seems oddly generic, the other points in the plot are what draw you in further into the mystery and surprise of it all. Litton creates a beautiful and chilling story for us to embrace and although it’s not my favorite read of the year, I am completely looking forward to more installments. It’s flawed but just too steamy for me to resist.

Onto the flaws…

Well, first things first: there are moments when you crave more knowledge of what is happening in the world they live in, more from the plot and that can be frustrating. Ian’s past, Amelia’s past and all she discovers are spoken of but not quite enough. It takes away about of the quality because it’s such a unique premise that seeing it fall flat or go slow from time to time is just devastating because you just want more.

And then there’s the ending. I mean, really? It just ended. It didn’t feel like an ending to the story it just felt as though I paused reading a book halfway through and it was rather disappointing.

I’m very mixed up on what rating I’d truly give the story because…

Erotic novels can find it difficult to incorporate more into the story and for the most part this is one of them. It didn’t always hit the right notes. Josie Litton had an extraordinary idea for this retelling and fell flat on some details but still keeps readers engaged.

Because of its genre, this part is important to note. Litton writes some of the best smut I’ve read and it was very difficult to keep a straight face reading this little guy on the train. If you are reading it for just the romance of it all, the sex, then you’re definitely going to enjoy this baby right off the bat. It’s just genuinely so good and while I did want more from it, it was still a thoroughly enjoyable novel.

After all, who can possibly resist a good old futuristic retelling of a fairy tale with a lot of sex and twists? I know I couldn’t.

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