Review: Raw by Belle Aurora

***Author Note: This is not a love story. This is a story of love gone wrong.***

Growing up the way I did, you’d think I’d be more screwed up than what I actually am.

Soon as I turned sixteen, I left that bump in the road I called home and took my chances on the street.

Best decision I ever made.

Now, at the age of twenty six, I’m educated, employed and damn good at my job.

My friends have become my family. Like me, they know what it’s like to grow up unloved.

But the saying is true.

The world makes way for those who know where they are going.

That’s me.

I know where I’m going and I’ll get there eventually. On my own terms and at my own pace.

But then there’s him.

I feel his eyes on me. I see him hiding in plain sight. He watches me.

He makes me feel.

It’s unconventional.

But it’s real.

I’m sure you’re wondering how a person falls in love with their stalker.

So am I.

This isn’t a story.

This is my life.

The title really delivers on the story. When I finished the story I found myself raw. My heart was beating faster than normal, my emotions seemed to be heightened and if anyone would have started talking to me I don't think I could have said anything back.

That tagline on the cover and the author note are very true. You go in still hoping for a HEA or at least some overall good feeling. Nope, not the case here!

Another warning I feel should be ushered with this book that there are a lot of very mature scenes in this book, not just sexual, but also violence and psychological.

Lexi has had a stalker for nearly a year and instead of reporting him, she hasn't done anything. He has always kept his distance and she gets the feeling that he will not harm her, that he is actually there to protect her, like some guardian angel. Which turns out to be somewhat true. When Lexi gets attacked, her stalker saves her.

Now I can understand she feels gratitude towards him and even feeling somewhat safe. Still letting him inside your house and sleep in your bed for the next week seems like a big jump for me. It was one of my biggest issues. If they met pretty much any other way, I could have understood it more. This is the first sign that whatever will happen between these two is not healthy, at all.

I wouldn't say they get to know each other slowly. It's more like he already knows everything about her, she knows next to nothing about him and what happens between these two is very dark.

Lexi is an amazing woman. She is strong, passionate, has very strong morals, still somehow she ends up with a guy like Twitch. Also she does things she would have never expected she would ever do. There were a lot of scenes I kept wondering why she was doing this and that she must realise this is toxic. Belle Aurora adds that very beautiful in the book. Indeed Lexi's conscious has issues with what she's doing and we get to follow her inner thoughts. This all helps us to understand the dynamic between Lexi and Twitch. It is still so wrong and unhealthy, but I can understand it better.

Twitch isn't your regular bad boy. He is truly bad. He is a criminal and a sociopath. The man is wrong on so many levels, still I could see the appeal. His way of thinking was very twisted. Not just in every day events, but also his view on relationships and his morals were all turned upside down. The guy doesn't deal with positive emotions very well, he doesn't understand them so he turns them into negative emotions, which he can understand. With anger being the foremost. Anger management classes wouldn't cut it for him and he needs help badly.

These two people should not be together. They are toxic for each other, pretty much the whole relationship is physically and mentally unhealthy. Still they can not let each other go. They are addicted. If one of them would try to walk away, the other would break and never be whole again. There is a lot of pull and push between them, always aiming for that breaking point. This all leaves you constantly on the edge, wondering what is going to happen next.

Then that last 10% of the book, I admit I was crying the whole way through. No spoilers, but the intensity of the entire story and characters will leave you feeling vulnerable. Raw was such an amazing read. If I could give it six stars I would. This is a book you won't forget easily, not even if you wanted to. It doesn't just take Lexi and Twitch out of their comfort zones, but also you as a reader.

It isn't a real love story, but a story about love and how fucked up it can be. You get thrown on a wild ride that will leave you roughed up and not sure knowing what do to now.

I think I need some more time recovering from this, talk about a book hangover!

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