Happy Holidays, book-people!
It’s been a good few months for book lovers and lovers of books. How do I know this? Because I have watched as Aestas has squeed and sobbed through new stories and I’ve noticed that she has been purchasing vast quantities of “fantastic books on sale” at a prodigious rate. To be honest, I’m just grateful that they’re mostly eBooks. Her library-sized collection of paper books will be a pain in the ass if we move. And you know who’ll be carrying those boxes.
But anyway, last night I found myself in need of a good book. Naturally, I asked Aestas, and she told me to read Night Owl. So, with little idea of what I was in for (something to do with owls, I assumed?), I grabbed my kindle and started reading. And then I did nothing else for the rest of the evening.
Now, I’ve read a fair number of Aestas’s books. A few I’ve loved, many I’ve liked, and some I’ve had problems with. As you may have seen, occasionally one will inspire me to write out some thoughts, which Aestas then posts. Lately, however, I’ve been holding out for a story that really grabbed me.
And this is the book I’ve been waiting for.
To give some perspective here, I read a lot of books. I also read a lot of different kinds of books, spanning everything from niche science fiction books to even the classics. Naturally this also includes stuff like Game of Thrones or the Fever series, historical fiction, assorted non-fiction, and of course some romance! And I feel like it’s important to explain all this, because I don’t make this next statement lightly.
Night Owl is one of the best books I’ve ever read. Period.
It’s a risky book to recommend to others, because it contains a great deal of raw, sizzling sexuality. Not everyone can handle this kind of heat but, for those of us who relish it, this book delivers. I can’t describe the sex scenes as “steamy”. Steam is soft, obscuring. The sex in Night Owl is so hot it burns, and there is nothing soft or obscured about it. It’s rough and merciless, sharply defined by a touch of desperate savagery, but at the same time it’s passionate. The words sear across the pages and leave your brain glowing from the heat. The lovemaking isn’t just for show, either. Instead, it’s integral to both of the characters, and it evolves in tandem with them and their relationship. I would argue that it’s actually a part of how they forge their relationship. To beat my “sex-as-fire” metaphor completely to death: each sex scene burns away little pieces of the facades that Matt and Hannah hide behind, revealing a little more of their true nature, to us and to each other, and leaving them permanently changed as a result. This book has some of the sexiest sex I’ve ever read, but it’s sex overlaid with a lot of meaning, and it is very, very good. That said, you may want to think carefully before handing the book over to your elderly aunt. After she reads it, you’ll have to make eye contact with her eventually, and doing so may be difficult after you’ve both read this book. You’ll realize that you know that she knows what you know, and maybe worse, she’ll tell you how much she enjoyed it. On the other hand, if you can give this to a friend, you really should because it is a really great story.
On a related topic, I consider myself a fairly manly man. I’ll be having a 40 oz rib eye steak for dinner tomorrow. That’s right. Forty ounces. Did I mention that I love steak? Anyway, I’m big and strong, I like fighter jets and explosions and climbing snow-capped mountains as much as the next guy, and I fucking loved this book. I FUCKING LOVED THIS BOOK. It left me in a tangle of feelings, and it was amazing. There was this manatee, and…and…yeah. That manatee. If you’ve been rooting around for a book you can give to the man in your life, or unspecified multiples thereof (hey, I don’t judge!), or you are a man yourself, then I would suggest that this could be the one.
In all seriousness, however, some of the romance books I’ve read do have a strong fairy-tale-for-women vibe about them, and I’m totally okay with that because men have been making stories like that for, I don’t know, thousands of years? It’s long past time for the ladies to start having their fun too. However, I strongly feel that the fairy-tale-for-women vibe is something that turns the occasional male reader away, probably because the mainstream world is still largely composed of narratives that are designed for men. It’s my guess that many guys just aren’t able to appreciate this relatively new form of literature in the same way that they do the more-common male equivalents (I’m looking at you, action movies).
Night Owl isn’t really gender-specific in that way. I really believe it can be read by anyone. Well, anyone who can handle SERIOUSLY HOT SEX. Hehehehe. Joking aside, though, the characters within this book have that little something undefinable and special that makes them feel real. You’ll know what I mean if you’ve ever finished a book and felt you just made a new best friend in one of the characters. For this, and many other reasons, it’s entirely possible to enjoy Night Owl simply as a dramatic novel because the writing itself is so damn good. The pacing is so tight you can practically hear the twanging as you turn the pages. That is, if you are actually able to tear your attention away from the story long enough to realize you are actually turning pages and not just firehosing the story directly into your brain. The dialogue is snappy and utterly delectable. The flow and rhythm of the words is superb. As someone who appreciates good writing in any form, this book was a real pleasure to read.
Yet, as I’m sure you will agree, there is a very important difference between writing something good and writing something well. A good book can be written very poorly, with plots that smell iffier than last week’s turkey stuffing and chunky dialogue being dragged along like seaborne garbage in the wake of a really engaging storyline. Then, on the other hand, we can also have books with impeccable writing, cleanly structured plots, and textbook-perfect use of all the right literary devices that we simply don’t give two rabbit turds about. In both cases, there’s always something holding us back from experiencing the ecstasy of reading a damn good book. It is so, so wonderful to be able to sit back, after reading the last line of a story, and realize that you have zero complaints. That’s what I felt at the end of this book. It was perfect. Night Owl is both well-written and good, and that makes it a rare and precious thing. I’ll definitely be re-reading this book, and that’s not something I do often.
There are several layers to the delicious cake that is Night Owl, and each one is uniquely enjoyable. As previously stated, the romance and the sex are incredibly well-written. The characters are fantastic. They have hidden depths, they’ll make choices that disappoint, surprise, and impress you by turns. You really get to know them as the narrative slowly reveals their inner strengths, flaws, and private demons. By the end of the story you’ll find that you’ve come to care deeply for them. Matt, for example, is the rare believable male lead. His fiery charisma and intellectual prowess is offset by flaws so genuine that your heart will probably break as you follow his struggles. This is particularly special, given the tendency for male protagonists in this genre to be a little too perfect. Hannah, on the other hand, is an adorable mix of amazing strength and warmth. She, perhaps more than any other character in the story, undergoes a series of intriguing transformations as the story unfolds. Even the side characters are memorable, and brought many smiles to my face. The plot is winding and complex, and the author does a really good job of bringing in little details that enrich the story without going overboard. I also appreciated the use of evocative description. For instance, I was much happier reading how Matt’s wealth affects his character, and how it makes Hannah feel, rather than how many thousands of dollars each gift cost him. That kind of character-focused subtlety pervades Night Owl, and if that’s something you like then you will enjoy the book.
There’s a believability to this book that shows the author to be a very insightful person. For example, the way that Matt’s all-consuming attraction to Hannah is written so perfectly captures the masculine, ravenous fixation that accompanies love. I have a hard time accepting that this is M. Pierce’s first novel. I’m not a stickler about spelling, grammar, or convention errors, but I do notice them. This book had only one mistake in it, a misspelling. One. That’s impressive. I wish there were other books out there by this author because I would read the hell out of whatever M. Pierce writes. Even a comparative analysis of the migratory patterns of jellyfish, you might ask? Absolutely. Cover to cover. I’m sure that I’ll wind up caring about those damn jellyfish more than is healthy, and find myself begging for a sequel.
So, that pretty much sums up my experience with Night Owl. I loved it, and I want more. I’d do filthy, unprintable, depraved things if I could just have a little more. Aestas tells me there are sequels coming, but not till next summer. I’ll have to find a way to survive till then. Maybe I can enter hibernation, like a bear, or build a time machine. If I figure something out, I’ll let you know. If you read the book, you’ll need it.
Click covers to purchase/pre-order.
Erika Chavez says
Ha! Loved your husband’s review! Gonna have my man read it! Thanks for a fantastic blog!!!!
haha I’ll be sure to show him your comment 😀
Tracey Kruger says
I love that you read this book, and that you were as blown away as the rest of us!
Mr Aestas: Thank you for taking the time to read my review!
I agree with your review 100%… except… the epilogue. I hated it. =) Glad you enjoyed the book. I never considered having my husband read it and now I just might put it in front of him and tell him that manly men really liked it. Then cook him a steak. lol
hahahahaa!!! Mr. Aestas didn’t read the epilogue – I told him to wait til the next book 😉
Man, I love your husbands reviews! So well written! He gives you a good run for your money 😉
That said, agree with him 100%! This was my top read of 2013 for sure.
hahahaa!! Yup, definitely one of the best of 2013!
I read a lot of books! And I read a lot of bloggers. Many times I realize that bloggers and I really don’t have the same taste so I find that I often skip the books that bloggers “flame” about. Now, I have NOT read Night Owl YET!!! But after that review from”Mr. Aestas” I have bought the book and am actually excited about it. What a great review! Ms. Aestas, what a treasure you have. I do enjoy your reviews and often read books you review, but I must say, I wish more reviewers gave reviews like this one! Thank you
I’m so glad you enjoyed the review!! I’ll be sure to pass your comment on to Mr. Aestas 😀
And, HAPPY READING!!!! This book really is awesome!
Andrea Rivera says
Oh how I wish hubby liked reading as much as Mr. Aestas. I loved this review and love that he loved this boom as much as I did. Thank you for sharing his POV.
So glad you loved the review! 😉
Sam Nastasia says
Wow! This is fantastic. Loved your review, Mr. Aestas!
He says thanks!!!
Flove this review! Read it to my husband and he’s agreed to read Night Owl. Yay!!
That’s so awesome to hear!! I hope he loves it too 😀
Janet W. says
My hubby read it this week and really liked it!
oh cool!! So glad he loved it too :))
M. Pierce says
What an incredible fucking review. I could write a 5-star review of this review. It’s immaculate. Your language, your spelling, your sentence structure. I can’t begin to tell you what it means to me to have someone so obviously intelligent and well-read treat my book with this degree of attention. I was laughing at points, then grinning like an idiot. I don’t know how to thank you for this (apart from assaulting you and Aestas with ARCs for the rest of your lives).
Now, I’ve just surfaced from an hour of book 2 research and… having read this review, I don’t know how to continue writing. My ego has become too large for the office. (I know; I’ll go meditate on my 1-star reviews.)
Thank you, truly, for reading my book and taking the time to write this review. I’m incredibly moved, and in danger of overstating how grateful I feel. It’s when I read things like this that I know it was worthwhile to proof and re-proof the book, to tighten the pace to the point of pain, to cut out the pointless paragraphs I loved, to agonize over the diction and syntax. I figured many people would appreciate most of it (the plot or the characters or the prose), and a few people would appreciate all of it. You fall into the latter category, and that makes you my ideal reader. Thanks again, and don’t hesitate to let me know if there’s something I can do for you.
– M. Pierce
Thank you for taking the time to respond to my review of your book, and thank you for writing it in the first place! It was a genuine pleasure to read, and I’m honored that you found my thoughts valuable and meaningful. I too have spent a great deal of time recently grinning like an idiot and laughing out loud, so I’m happy I could return the favor in some small way.
At the risk of becoming stuck in a recursive loop of mutual compliments, I will also say that I really appreciated the depth, detail, and sincerity of your response. It was a wonderful experience to actually see how you felt about my experience as a reader, and I deeply appreciate your compliments as well.
I think it’s clear at this point that we are of similar mind about writing, and stuff. And, though it probably could go without saying, I will happily read anything you write.
Holly Craft says
Wow, awesome review! I believe that Mr. Aestas needs to start reviewing books himself as he thoroughly provides great detail of how he feels.
So glad you liked it! He’s got 2 other reviews if you’d like to check them out 🙂
Cristy Karamanolis says
OMG…I have never read such an amazing review in my life, especially coming from a male husband. I am impressed and simply agree with every word and thoughts expressed by him. I also wish I could hibernate, it will be hard to wait. It was one of my favorite book as well and we all should go at Goodreads website and vote for M.Pierce for the Best First Book by New Author. Anyway it was an brilliant review and a wonderful book. Loved it.
Mr. Aestas says thank you!! And I agree with you both – the book was definitely one of my top favs 🙂
Michele of the Skills says
This is a great review! Very well done.
Michelle M says
What a great review! I loved this book also but never thought of letting my husband read it. Definitely will after reading your review.
Woohoo!! I hope he enjoys it too 😀
Cristy Karamanolis says
Correction… sorry Mr. Aestas , It was “a” brilliant review.
Wow!! Fantastic review Mr. Aestas! As soon as I’m done writing this coment I’m buying Night Owl.
Aestas with all that reading and wonderful writing Mr. Aestas definitely deserves that 40 oz. stake!
LMAO!!! Happy reading 😀
WOW!!! What a powerful review!! If I hadn’t already read this book I would have ran to the nearest bookstore to get it. You can definitely tell that Mr. Aestas is your other half. You both have a special way with words that just ……..I cant explain it. It’s beautiful and inspiring. You both have an uncanny ability to describe your feelings towards things that happen in the books without giving it all away. Loved the point you made about passing it others – so true!! I completely agree with you on every point you made. The characters are so true and unforgettable. The sex scenes were HOT HOT HOT. The writing style is flawless and I would also read anything and I mean ANYTHING M. Pierce wants to write about. Because of everything that this book has to offer, plus the mysterious of it all – I think this book is in a league of it’s own!
If Mr. Aestas can read this book being the manly man he is and love it, the next time my hubby tells me he is bored I’m giving him some NIGHT OWL! 🙂
Thank you from both myself and Mr. Aestas!! And we both agree with you that this book is in a league of it’s own and hope your hubby will read the book too 🙂
What a great review on a great book!!
Aestas you are so lucky that Mr Aestas loves to read and on occasion reads the same books as you! I would love that, but my husband didn’t even read the prescribed texts in high school so I have no hope!
Thank you to both of you and of course to M Pierce for putting a smile on my face.
I’m so grateful that he reads them and am hoping to get him to read a few more of our favorites this coming year. So glad you enjoyed both the review and the book 😀
Wow, wonderful review. I echo M Pierce’s words that the review was so well written from your language to your choice of words to the sentence structure. It was so nice to read such an intelligently written review. Looking forward to read more book reviews from you 🙂
Mr. Aestas says thank you!! And, I have a bunch more book I want to give him to read so hopefully he’ll write more reviews to post on here 🙂
Nitzan Schwarz says
Mr. Aestas, that was a great review! I was curious about this review because obviously… you’re a man (a funny and well spoken man at that!). I don’t usually read reviews before reading a book – I like having a clean slate, but this time… this time I was intrigued enough to give it a go. Because as you said, most men shy away from “romances”, maybe because of the Fairy Tale vibe as you put it, or maybe because most romances I’ve read have in fact focused on the romance – not much action, or things ‘outside’ the romance. That can be good in a book, and it can also be bad, depending on the story. But I won’t get into that. So anyways, I was curious about what a MAN thought about this book. It definitely says something strong about a romance when even men can enjoy it and find it good, in today’s world.
So, I just wanted to say that you managed to make me want to read this book so very much. You also managed to make me laugh, and keep my attention throughout the whole review. I was actually surprised when it was over! lol
So, great review, and now I’m off to drooling over the book *wink*
WHAT A PERFECT REVIEW BY MR. AESTAS!! Like some of the others commentators, if I hadn’t already read this book I would have bought it immediately after reading this review!
This review captured EVERYTHING I loved about Night Owl!
Sara J says
Jumping on board the Mr. Aestas’ fan club lol. Loved this review! This book was easily added to my all time favs shelf.
Abdul Mahmood says
You know Mr. Aestas should make a blog too where he post his reviews so we could read it. Hehehe I would love to read his review more. Aestas make him read more books. He is good.
Mr. Aestas, I thoroughly enjoyed your review as I have all your reviews. Yet again I completely agree with you. This book was honest, gritty, oh and HOT and I loved every minute of it. Now comes the hard part……. The wait for book 2. Looking forward to your next review.
Karina G. says
Thank you Mr. Aestas, you just moved that book way up on my TBR! What a wonderful change, I love that it was from a manly man’s point of view! Good luck with that Steak!
Since I read Night Owl right after Aestas’ review, and LOVED EVERY WORD OF IT!!!! I was so excited to get the Mister’s take on it. I loved the review…laughed a bit…appreciated a male perspective.
Audrey Carlan says
Already one clicked the book Night Owl because of the review by Mr. Aesta. Great review. I also sent it to my CP who’s male and will greatly appreciate a man’s perspective. Thanks for sharing!
Fantastic Review!! I have yet to read Night Owl. However, after reading this review it will be next on my list! Thank you Mr. Aestas!!
WOW! That review was AMAZING!!! A laugh out loud, I am sitting here smiling at my computer screen review! From a guy!! I am so impressed!! Happy New Year to the both of you!
Without a doubt this was a 5 star book for me as well. While reading Night Owl I texted my husband at work and told him I was reading the most awesome book (and I never do that). So after reading your fabulous review I have decided to tell him to read it, and why have I not thought about having him do this sooner? In fact I think there are a few more of my books he may enjoy. So thank you for your male perspective!
M.J. Handy says
I’m a man, and I can prove it – I just finished eating a 40 oz rib eye steak. I also read and write erotic fiction.
Men read romance novels. In fact, nine percent of sales in the Romance category are attributed to men. It doesn’t sound like much until you consider that Romance racked up 1.4 billion in sales for 2012, which means that men spent 129 million dollars on books last year.
Men are buying books that we cannot read in public. The invention of eReaders allows us to read whatever we please without having to worry about getting beat up by the lumberjack sitting next to us on the airplane. You’ll never see me board an aircraft with the paperback edition Fifty Shades of Grey in my hand. I’m not that brave.
Great review form Mr. Aestas. I loved Night Owl. After just one chapter, I was on the phone with my husband telling him I had found a book he just had to read…. and he loved it too. 🙂
Kimberly Talbot says
First, I cannot believe I am just now discovering your blog. I’m going to blame it on living in China. 🙂 Anyway, I found it because I was looking for a recommendation on the order in which to read Kristen Ashley’s books & series. I signed up for you newsletter once I saw you ranked “Making Faces” (absolutely gorgeous – I also loved “Running Barefoot” and “A Different Blue” by Amy Harmon) and “Tangled” (lol – that is all) as two of your top 2013 reads. I was intrigued by “Night Owl” after seeing your husband reviewed it. I stopped reading the review and immediately bought it after he said it was one of the best books he’s read. I finished it within a few hours and then came back to finish the review, which I enjoyed almost as much as I loved the book.
So, so happy I’ve found your blog. Thank you both for giving such exquisite, captivating and thoughtful reviews.
Aestas Cross says
Hi there!!! *waves in the direction of China*
So glad you’re loving the blog!!! I hope you find lots of books you love here!
Happy reading 🙂
Ali Gamez says
All I can think to say is: Why the hell can’t all men be like your husband?????!!!! I loved this review.
LOVE all your comments everyone!!! <3
Always enjoy a visiting a NO review; this one is special :). Very cool.
This is a great review! Thanks for sharing this with us.