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Meentje63

The Way She Reads

My thoughts on everything I read; good, bad and indifferent.
Eighty Days Amber - Vina Jackson I received this book from Orion, the publisher, and rated it 4.5 stars.

Lubov Shevshenko (Luba) was born in the Ukraine and raised both there and in Russia while she trained as a ballerina. Attracted to bad boys from her teenage years she has been known to give them pleasure and ecstasy without ever giving herself to them. It isn’t until she moves to New York and meets Chey, not so much a bad boy as a bad man, that she feels enough of a connection to fully surrender herself. Luba and Chey are made for each other and their relationship is exciting, exhilarating and filled with passion from the start. But bad man Chey has a darker side. Officially a dealer in rare amber, Chey often disappears without a word for months on end and his house contains many locked places. Uncomfortable about the secrets Chey is clearly keeping from her, Luba is nevertheless content to stay in their relationship until the day she makes a shocking discovery. Unable to live with either the secrecy or the implications of what she’s found Luba leaves without a word, determined to make her life without the man she loves so very much.
On her own Luba extends the career as an exotic dancer she started while living with Chey. A career that will lift her to exquisite heights on a secret but very exclusive circuit and provides her with the means to live as she pleases and set her own demands. While dancing her way through life, and various exotic locations, Luba drifts from short-term relationship to one-night-stand and back again, never able to find anything that comes close to the perfection she had with Chey. But even a reunion with Chey won’t bring the easy happy ending she might have dreamed up. Chey’s bad man past will have to be dealt with before life can settle down again.

This is the fourth book in the Eighty Days Series and the first one not to centre on Summer and Dominik, although they do make several appearances in this book. And they’re not the only familiar characters the reader gets to reacquaint themselves with. It was nice to have an another opportunity to read about our playful rock-star, Viggo Frank and Lauralynn, the cellist with very dark desires as well as other, more minor, characters from the earlier books.

It would be wrong to call this book a sequel to the three earlier books though. In many ways this book stands on its own. Although the story in this book intersects with the earlier narrative on several occasions, it isn’t necessary to have read those books in order to enjoy this one. Luba’s story can easily be read as a stand-alone without the reader ever feeling that they are missing out on vital information. Having said that, I do feel that this book would be more fun if you had read the other books first. Several scenes from the earlier story are revisited here but from a different perspective giving the reader a new insight into Summer and Dominik’s story. And, conversely, this book gives the full story of Luba who was a rather mysterious and enigmatic character in the earlier books.

Although I have labelled this book as “erotica” I wonder how accurate that description is. This is contemporary fiction with a higher than average sexual content. But the erotic scenes in this book are mostly written as if from a distance. There are few, if any, excruciating details. Details are either not mentioned or referred to later on, in a memory, rather than in the moment. And because everything that happens in the story is completely normal for the characters it is easy for the reader to treat it as such as well. Some of the acts as described in this book may be far from what most readers will have experienced or even imagined, but to me it never felt shocking or blush-worthy.

Vida Jackson (who is in fact two authors collaborating) seems to be hitting her stride better with each subsequent book. The writing is getting smoother all the time. Although there was one occasion in this book when I consciously thought that I had reached a point where one author had handed over the keyboard to another, the rest of the book could easily have been written by one single person.

One side remark; I’m still not sure why this series is called “Eighty Days”, but there is absolutely no mystery why in this case that part of the title is followed by “Amber”.

As far as I know there is at least one more “Eighty Days” book to come, giving the story of yet another background character and I am very curious about what is still to come and look forward to what I think will by Lauralynn’s personal road of discovery. Although I’m also very curious about the girl with the tear-drop tattoo and can’t help hoping that we’ll hear more about her too.