25 May 2013

Until I Break by M. Leighton - Review

Until I Break is non longer available to buy purchase, but I felt it deserved a reread. M.Leighton recently withdrew Until I Break for purchase because a lot of people were uncomfortable with the concept. I'm not going to start a rant about Internet trolls etc because I don't want to open that can of worms, but it is worth noting that not everybody can like or even appreciate the same ideas and stories. This is an adult book with some distressing and controversial themes, but a wonderful story!

What they say: "I’m intrigued. Tempted beyond what I’ve ever been before. To know her, to open her up. To break her." In love, sometimes what you fear most is exactly what you need. Laura Drake is an author. She writes bestselling paranormal romances that continue to top the charts. She is sharp. She is confident. She is in control. And she doesn’t exist.

Samantha Jansen is the woman behind the wig, the woman most of the world doesn’t know exists. She is shy. She is insecure. She is nothing like her main character or her alter ego. She is scarred—deeply scarred—by a past she can’t let go of and a present she can’t make peace with.

Samantha’s dreams are consumed by one man, the broken hero from her books. Mason Strait is both her wildest fantasy and her most terrifying nightmare. When Samantha meets Alec Brand, a corporate consultant, it is as though Mason has come to life. Alec is handsome to a fault, as elegant as he is arrogant, and more intense than any man has a right to be.

Samantha is soon sucked into a world that mirrors the fiction she writes. Just like her main character, Daire Kirby, Samantha finds herself unable to resist the forbidden lure of Alec. And just like Daire, she also finds that she is faced with taking a chance on a man who could either set her free or destroy her.

The scale tilts toward destruction when Samantha finds out that Alec is as much a work of fiction as Mason. And he has scars of his own, scars that could ruin them both.

What I say: I first read Until I Break way back when it was first released, but after hearing that M. Leighton had decided to pull it from sale last week I felt I needed to read it again to see if I could understand exactly what some people found so offensive.

I can honestly say that although the book does encompass some controversial subjects (and I genuinely do not know how I would react to Alec's secret myself) I really enjoyed Until I Break and have read far more controversial books that this.
I'm a big fan of the story-within-a-story concept, or in this case, a story where elements mirror or parallel a fictional book-within-a-book. Samantha is a vampire romance writer who hides behind the persona of Laura Drake. Sam had a horrible childhood and is fearful of people getting close to her. She has a complex history with sex and relationships. M. Leighton does a great job of showing Sam's confusion between fact and fiction. Sam is Laura, but to some extent she is also Daire (the lead character from her novels) - it's not as confusing as it sounds!
The male lead and sexy vampire from Sam's books, Mason Strait, is Sam's ultimate fantasy man. Enter Alec Brand, the living embodiment of Mason. Alec is an extremely complex character, with a very dark past. I didn't guess the twist with Alec's backstory, but I have to say that the big reveal really explains a lot of Alec's issues and lack of self worth. I hadn't expected the plot to take the turn that it did here, but it was a very unique twist, one which obviously some people have a real problem with. I personally liked the story but I can see why some people are uncomfortable with it. I think the key point is that Alec/Mason and Sam/Laura/Daire are fictional characters and it is a made up story.
Sam's sister Chris was a real breath of fresh air and always managed to lighten the mood. Chris does a great job of keeping Sam grounded when she is at risk of becoming too absorbed in her own stories.
Until I Break is a gripping story and I think it is such a shame that it has been removed from sale. I also believe that authors should be free to write what they are passionate about and shouldn't be bullied or attacked for their choices!
4 Stars in my Sky!
My fav non-spoilery quotes:
  • All I have to do is walk away from this man, from what I see in his eyes. It sounds so simple. And it might be. If he were anybody but Mason. My Mason, come to life.
  • Ohmigod, this is like cheesy porn gone wrong. All I'm missing is the bow-chicka-wow-wow music.
  • I'm in over my head and I know it. But what's possibly worse is that it's all over a guy who began as the embodiment of a fictional character. It's psychotic!
  • "I think, in many ways, you're Daire. And I think, in some ways, I'm your Mason."
  • "Please tell me you didn't sleep because you were stuck between a mattress and a hard man."

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