October 8, 2014

REVIEW: Status (Social Media #4)

Status (Social Media #4), by J.A. Huss
To Be Published October 7, 2014
Publisher: self-published
Format: ARC, provided by the author
Genre: adult contemporary romance/suspense
To Buy: Amazon * Barnes & Noble

Rating: 5 STARS

(From Goodreads) MovieStar @VaughnAsher
@FilthyBlueBird #DirtyHeaven is mine tonight.

Grace @FilthyBlueBird
@VaughnAsher I own #DirtyHeaven, bitch. #VaughnAsherIsMyBitch

MovieStar @VaughnAsher
@FilthyBlueBird #FlashbackTime Get ready.

Grace @FilthyBlueBird
Come here and take off my lip gloss @VaughnAsher #OnMyKneesWaiting

MovieStar @VaughnAsher
@FilthyBlueBird #Flashback to last night. Oh, you weren’t wearing lip gloss. But you are now. #GetOnYourKneesAndWait

Grace @FilthyBlueBird
@VaughnAsher - Dabbing lips with a napkin. #ThatAllYouGot?

Finally... Grace sees me in a different light. The banter is flirty, the sex is fun, and the future looks fabulous.I just hope she feels the same way when she finds out what I did.

You might think you have J.A. Huss' Social Media series pegged. You might read the books' descriptions and pigeon-hole the series as a raunchy romp. While reading STATUS, you will realize that everything you thought you knew about this series was completely wrong. So, I'm going to do something a little different with this review. I'm going to clear up a few misconceptions for you (without spoilers, of course). Let's call it my good deed for the day. I feel like I need to do this, because I'm afraid there are people out there missing out on this completely, astoundingly amazing series because they think they know what it's all about already and pass over it in favor of something else. 

Misconception #1: These are "erotica," "BDSM," etc. books.
This is only partially true. To slap the Social Media series with either of those labels would be doing it an incredible disservice. Is there sex in it? Hell yes. Is it explicit? Sometimes, but not always. Is there BDSM? A bit. There was in Follow (#1) and Like (#2). There was none in Block (#3) and Status (#4). In Status, Vaughn and Grace reconnect in an explosive way, and there's no doubt these two remain very attracted to one another. But, something has changed, and it's the depth of their feelings for one another. It completely colors the sex in a different light. That kind of growth is natural and necessary in any real relationship. It's what give this series real depth. 

"I know that last night we were playing a little game with the word like, but I don't just like you, Grace. I'm falling in love with you. I am. I can't help it." 

Misconception #2: The sex is the focal point of the story.
Ho my... are you in for a surprise. In the beginning of the series, it seemed as if Vaughn's sexual proclivities were going to take center stage in this story. Honestly, at times during my reading of Status, I completely forgot where these two started - with him fronting on that beach, trying to get in Grace's pants, and her playing hard-to-get. They are light years from that point by the time we get to this fourth book in the series. The story is no longer about that. The focus has flipped to something far more serious and dark. It's shifted to an outside, as-yet-uncontrollable force that threatens everything these two are trying to build. The sex is less frequent (though, no less nuclear), and more page time is spent building up these characters' pasts so that when the spectacular cliffhanger ending happens (do not groan - the next book is only two weeks away), it holds so much more impact. 

She leans in and kisses me softly on the lips. It's just a quick kiss, one that you'd give someone who is familiar to you. A peck, really. But I swear to God, that kiss means everything to me. 

Misconception #3: With the silly Twitter banter in the book descriptions, there can't be much substance within the pages.
Shut your face. Status is all about substance. It's been obvious for a long time that Grace didn't have the best time when she was younger. Everything that happened to her is finally laid out in tragic detail in Status, and I promise you, your heart will break for her. A hundred times over. It's when you get the full picture that you realize how resilient and incredible Grace is. You also understand completely why she acted the way she did with Vaughn when they first met and he tried to assert his control with her. But, it's not just about Grace. We learn so much more about Vaughn in Status too. How his motivations have changed, and what being in the spotlight really feels like to him, especially now that he has someone he loves to protect. You learn about the lengths that someone will go to in order to keep the ones they love close to them, both figuratively and literally. And, it will blow your mind. 

Grace @FilthyBlueBird @VaughnAsher #CommandMe and I'll comply. #AskMe and I'll give in. #LetMeChoose and I'll #BeYours. Which do you want more? 

Misconception #4: This is about Vaughn's journey from kink to commitment.
In Status, it because oh so clear to me that the Social Media series is all about my girl Grace. Sure, there's the underlying satisfaction of watching Vaughn's aloof asshole persona chipping away piece by piece as he learns more about Grace Kinsella. But, readers started to get the impression in Block that there was more to Grace than just a sad childhood. In Status, that became the understatement of the year. Vaughn has forced her to look at things long buried, which is a good thing, but painful. And, since Vaughn is Vaughn, it's also very public. Grace's determination and strength is evident. And, I have a feeling, we've only skimmed the surface. 

"One upon a time," he finally says a few moments later, "in a land far, far away... there was a princess. And she was strong and brave and didn't need a prince to save her..." 

I hope this helped to show you that J.A. Huss' Social Media series is one you don't want to miss out on. There are two final parts left - Profile is due out on 10/22 and the story concludes with Home on 11/5. You can pre-order Profile now for only $0.99. I want to hear from you. What do you think so far of this series?


Unknown said...

I like the the misconceptions being cleared up This will actually give me a better idea of looking toward this series for a read.

Lisa Mandina said...

I've heard of this author, but don't really read this type of book. I do enjoy looking at these covers though!