Review: Learning from the BIG Mistakes

Learning from the BIG Mistakes Learning from the BIG Mistakes by Roxy Harte
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The Romance Review

Diving into the fourth book into a series is not recommended. Sometimes it can be a standalone. In this instance, I believe this book should not be read as a standalone. Full disclosure, I read this book without reading the first three and it probably coloured my enjoyment to this book.

In this speculative fiction, Alexandra is a geneticist of the highest caliber. She knows what she can do and she is in high demand. So high that she is the USA President's choice for senior science adviser, despite her unusual relationship status. Alexandra is in a poly relationship with three men. Not only is it poly, it is kinky with her fiancé, Gabe, as a dominant. Conor is her lover who also loves Gabe. Jonathon is a masochist who loves Gabe. Gabe wants it all. Confused? Don't be. Ms. Harte does a great job of showing the dynamics and how each of the characters relate to each other.

I liked the plot of this story. The intrigue, conspiracies and a bit of suspense are all adrenaline pumping goodness. The science part of this story is also fascinating and keeps my attention. I like this world and I like how the bioweapons are deployed. I enjoyed the defense and how dedicated Alexandra is to protecting the nation. Ms. Harte writes a complex story with many moving parts. The romance piece is supposed to be the lubricant to smooth it all out. For me, the romance is a fail because of Alexandra.

Since I did not read the previous books, I may not have the benefit of falling in love with Alexandra. She is a hard character for me to like. From a professional standpoint, I have only the highest respect. As a female in a relationship, I only have disgust. The way she treats her men is horrible for me. She is overly sensitive, gives ultimatums and is unable to have a mature conversation. One could say many real life women are this way. That is true. I just do not hang around this type and I certainly have no interest in reading about it when the female is the lead character. At times, Alexandra comes across as crazy. And technically, it can be argued she is because she is bipolar. Had I know this story was going to contain a main character who is bipolar, I would not have picked this book up. I do not enjoy the manic highs and depressing lows. These extreme swings are not my cup of tea. Ms. Harte does a good job of showing it and having Alexandra behave accordingly. Whilst it makes sense why Alexandra treats her men so shabbily and then showers them with love, it is not a type of relationship I want to be anywhere near. And this is why for me personally, I didn't enjoy the book and did not like Alexandra.

From a BDSM perspective, I am a little irritated. The dynamic is off for me because Alexandria is impossible to trust. She is also unable to communicate effectively. She doesn't understand Gabe and Jonathon's dynamic, judges them and then wonders why Jonathon becomes a catty bitch. This is not to say that Jonathon is justified in his behaviour. It takes two to tango and when one is insecure and the other is bipolar, it makes for a constant train derailment. None of the BDSM in here aroused me. I felt ill at ease the majority of the time. Taking it out of the story completely would have caused this story to miss a key element for why this foursome relationship can be so dysfunctional.

Overall, the plot and story development is good. The romance and the kink is a miss. Recommended for romance readers who like a powerful woman who makes three men dance to her tune.


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