Sunday, February 12, 2012

Adult book review: Collide by Megan Hart

Paperback: 352 pages
Publisher: Spice; Original edition (June 21, 2011)

Summary: A childhood accident left Emmaline vulnerable to disturbing fugue states that last only minutes, but feel like an eternity. The blackouts are unsettling but manageable…until she meets Johnny Dellasandro.

The reclusive painter gained notoriety in the '70s for his debauched lifestyle and raunchy art films. His naked body has achieved cult status, especially in Emm's mind—she's obsessed with the man, who's grown even sexier with age. Today Johnny shuns the spotlight and Emm in particular…until she falls into a fugue on his doorstep.

In that moment she's transported back thirty years, crashing a party at Johnny's place in his wild-man heyday— the night is a blur of flesh and heat that lingers on her skin long after she's woken to the present.

It happens again and again, each time-slip another mind-blowing orgy, and soon Emm can't stop, though every episode leaves her weaker and weaker. She's frightened by what's happening to her, but she's even more terrified of losing this portal to the Johnny she wants so badly. The one who wants her, too, and takes her—every chance he gets.

My review: This is the third book by Megan Hart that I've had a hard time getting into. The first one hundred pages seemed to be a hazy mess as the main character, Emm, deals with her 'fugues' and then obsesses about her hunky neighbor, Johnny Dellasandro. There were times I put the book aside to read something else, but I'm the type of person who likes to finish what I've started (a habit I seriously have to rethink).

I have to say the biggest problem I had with this book was the lack of character development for both Emm and Johnny. Emm is finally living on her own, driving to work, proving her independence to herself as well as to her protective mother. But when she spots Johnny inside the coffee shop she frequents A LOT with her girlfriend, she fixates on him and her fugues return big time. These momentary trips involve a younger Johnny where she interacts with his friends and even his wife, and then she beds the movie star constantly. Yet I felt like I never understood their connection, their relationship. In the present time she is in her early 30s and he's 57 and still hot

As for the romantic male lead, I certainly wasn't crazy about Johnny. First of all, his name was laughable and his New York-ese way of speaking seemed typecast. I'm from NY and I do not speak like th-aat. Considering the decade when Johnny was a B-list movie star (or should I say soft porn star?) was not careful about drug use or sexual partners, the modern day sensibilities of Emm would have red sirens wailing about his health and disease before she even contemplated having a present day relationship with him. Emm may have been in her early thirties but when it came to Johnny, her stalker-ish behavior first made her come across like a screaming tween at a pop star concert until her attraction deepened, unhinging her until it practically consumes her. If it wasn't for the interactions between her best friend and Emm's mom, this woman may have been stuck in a fugue permanently.

were so many questions left unanswered, such frustration when I finished. The slow, languid pace the book began with picked up over halfway through for me and then I didn't mind reading because i sensed (or hoped for) some kind of closure. . . . But it didn't seem to happen and those lagging questions still bothered me. Ms. Hart can write such passionate, gut-wrenching and emotional love scenes and Collide had some of them. What I couldn't do was connect the physical aspect of the story with the logical and the science. Why did Emm love him so? Why didn't he react differently to her when he first sees her as an adult? What happened during her accident to make the fugues begin? Why does it have to be with someone so much older?

With a novel that featured time traveling like The Time Traveler's Wife, I still wonder about certain aspects of their past encounters. I could ramble on about this book but I won't. I had such high expectations when I began reading Collide but most of them weren't satisfactorily met by the end. Despite some emotionally riveting sex scenes, most of this story left me with such mixed feelings I, too, felt like I was stuck in some type of reader's fugue.

Rating: Okay. 
About halfway in I did enjoy the story but I'm still not sure I 'liked' it.

Favorite excerpt: "I'm crazy," I said aloud.

"I told you, I don't care." Johnny reached for my hand. "I'm gonna take care of you, Emm. I told you that, too. It don't matter about anything else. Okay?"

"I love you," I told him. "No matter what else happens, promise me you won't forget that. And. . .forgive me?"

"For what?" Johnny said.

The smell of oranges swept over me, overpowering, and I fought against it. I turned. I had never gone in front of him. I didn't want him to see it. But I was going, I couldn't stop it, and somehow this time felt different.

This time felt like the very last time."

Cover comment: This was what drew me to the book in the first place (along with the summary).

Book source: Purchased.

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