Learning from the BIG Mistakes

Roxy Harte
Learning from the BIG Mistakes
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Publisher
Loose Id
Release Date
January 2016
ISBN
9781682520543
Series
Book 4 of Van Zant Siblings
Genre
BDSM, Contemporary Romance, Erotic Romance, Ménage or more

SUMMARY
Geneticist Alexandra Van Zant has reached her breaking point. Tired of her fiancé's sexual secrets, learning that the basement holds a blood-red playroom, and Jonathon is Gabe's submissive...it's the final straw. The ménage a quatre's future turns shaky when she informs her men the relationship is on paper only, but with a madman still intent on humanity and killing anyone who gets in his way, her reliance on Gabe, Jonathon, and Conor to keep her alive makes avoiding them impossible.

When POTUS gets involved, chasing disease outbreaks, glamorous photo shoots, interviewing on talk shows, and clandestine meetings at twenty thousand feet become the new typical day in the office for the woman more comfortable in a lab coat. Vacationing in Ireland is a welcome respite but ignoring her men in the middle of nowhere is impossible. With time for quiet reflection, will Alexandra dismiss the ménage forever or allow all her men back in her bed?

When a strategic attack lands both Alexandra and Jonathon in the hospital with life-threatening injuries the ante ups dramatically. While Alexandra is unconscious, her pregnancy reveals the secrets are getting deeper and more dangerous by the day. Will this new discovery heal the ménage or be the breaking point for them all?

Book Review by Delta (reviewer)
Mar 21, 2016   [ OFFICIAL REVIEW ]
118 people found the following review helpful
I'm utterly and completely in love with this world that Ms. Harte has created, and I hope that this isn't the end of Alexandra and Co.!

After deciding to make their one time menagé à quatre a more permanent thing, Alexandra Van Zant is terrified something is going to go wrong between her, Patrick "Gabe" Gowan, Conor Larkin and Jonathon O'Donnell. But so much can go right, if they just let it happen. With the bad guys still after Alexandra, her men would die to keep her safe...that's if they don't kill each other first. Between secrets, lies and rampant jealousy, nothing seems to be working the way Alexandra thought it would when she signed up for this foursome. Will their insecurities destroy this unconventional relationship before it even gets off the ground?

LEARNING FROM THE BIG MISTAKES is the 4th book in the Van Zant Siblings series, which is best read in sequence. I'll be honest – there's not a whole lot of books out there that make a huge emotional impact on me, but every book in this series has given me a gut punch, especially when Ms. Harte is detailing the highs and lows of Alexandra's bipolar disorder. It's a disease that's often joked about ("god, you're so bipolar!") and misunderstood ("it's not a 'disease' to be moody"), and while obviously I am well aware that this is a fiction book, even if real bipolar episodes are ½ of what are described, it's heart-wrenching.

The jealousy between Jonathon and Alexandra was wild – very realistic and sometimes jaw dropping. And when she tops him? I saw crazy, erotic stars, I'll swear it. The entire power exchange dynamic between the four was completely brilliant, and the insecurities and uncertainties just made it more REAL and delectable for me. Jonathon acted like a little bitch a lot of the book, so I can understand why Alexandra was a wee cranky around him! Gabe was beyond clueless about what was going on with Alexandra and even Jonathon. Conor, on the other hand, didn't miss a thing. They're all utterly in love with one another, but with Gabe constantly pulling the strings, everyone is getting frustrated by his high handedness.

Alexandra is a character I've grown to love over the course of this series, and seeing her so unhinged made my heart hurt a little. The end felt unfinished in so many ways, so I'm desperately looking forward to the next chapter in the Van Zant saga, Shibari Presence.

Bottom Line: Kudos to you, Ms. Harte, for tackling the tough stuff and not prettying up their world. This is truly one of the best series out there and I wholeheartedly recommend adding all of the books to your TBR pile, STAT!
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Book Review by BookAddict (reviewer)
Mar 25, 2016   [ OFFICIAL REVIEW ]
107 people found the following review helpful
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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September 18, 2018 11:10 PM ( EST )