As news of a sequel to Afflicted was released by author Brandon Shire on his Goodreads Fan Group Page, I found myself needing to reacquaint myself with Hunter and Dillon once more. So I decided to join in the group’s re-read on November 26 to visit with these amazing characters again.
I thought it would be nice to make a record of my thoughts and feelings this time around and since what I have discovered has had an impact on my previous review I felt the need to share it with you. It’s the only way I can be comfortable with myself and be fair to you.
First, a little background on my previous read. Afflicted was officially my first author request for my blog and when I read it I was a bundle of nerves. I had to read it on my phone because the Kindle App on my tablet decided not to work and I was too shy to ask Mr. Shire for another copy of the book. In the end, my nerves and my shyness got the better of me and now I realize that I missed some very interesting details. I am not proud of that fact and I am sorry for that, but like they say “Live and Learn”.
As before, the characters were a treat to read, but I felt more of their connection and their chemistry this time around. This I attribute to the fact that I received more insight into each character. Not that it was not provided previously by the author, but honestly, I missed some of Hunter and Dillon’s thoughts that revealed more about their need to fully connect with one another. That was my mistake and again I’m sorry for that.
I also paid more attention this time around to the role the secondary characters played in the story since they were widely discussed in the Goodreads group’s thread. I found that while I enjoyed the interaction between Hunter and Margie, his best friend, this time I felt that she was a nuisance. The first time I overlooked it, but this time I was so emotionally invested in Hunter’s well being and his relationship with Dillon that I found myself wanting to tell her to “shut it and let Hunter be”. I also took more seriously the scene at the restaurant with Dillon’s mother, Lydia, and her lover Travis. I didn’t like Lydia previously and she is still not a favorite of mine. But Travis I just sort of forgot about. I knew who he was and the role he played in the story, but now I am much more understanding of his importance and Dillon’s reaction to him.
And last but certainly not least, was the chemistry. Whoa! If I found it sizzling hot the first time around, this time is was off-the-charts HOT. Between the blindfold scene and the shower scene I am loving Brandon’s muse even more. I felt every touch, every breath and every moan even more since their connection felt so real to me this time.
Of course, the writing was still brilliant, but this time I really got to experience it fully since the writing style didn’t feel foreign to me. I knew what to expect and prepared myself for it. For example, the descriptions of the tastes, feel and smells were a bit overwhelming the first time around. This was solely my fault since my English vocabulary is not that extensive. I took my time and searched for the meaning of the words I was unfamiliar with, which helped me A LOT in understanding what Brandon was trying to get across. I spent a good amount of time on the first couple of chapters and especially on that first description Hunter gave of Dillon after their first time together. I dissected those and came away with a lot of insight into both Hunter and Dillon. I continued to do the same throughout the book and enjoyed it even more this time around.
I am glad to say that this reread has had no negative impact on my feelings about this book.
Afflicted is a compelling story of irresistible lust and unexpected love between two complex characters with a unique writing style thrown into the mix to make it a beautiful and amazing read.
Taking into consideration all the things I have stated above AND knowing that there’s another book has made me rethink my previous 4.5 star rating. The deduction was based on the fact that the ending seemed abrupt to me considering I was not certain there was going to be a follow-up book and that I felt they had not taken their relationship to the next level.
Maybe all these new insights can be attributed to the fact that I was not nervous this time around nor was I constantly losing my way trying to read it on my phone. Who know? Whatever the reasons are, I am awarding Afflicted the 5 star rating that it deserves.
Truly, I am very happy that I decided to read this book again and that I took a good look at my previous review. Although I agree with most of my previous thoughts, I don’t think my review did the book justice.
I didn’t believe those that said I’ve grown as a reviewer, but now I am inclined to agree.