Almost This is another gift from my glorious benefactor at Ellora’s Cave the kind and generous Laura Garcia, who I scolded during the holidays when I received this book on Christmas Eve.

For a good long time I carried the belief that I did not like books about Christmas, aliens or cowboys. They were my big three ‘No’s’. Then I read Laurann Dohner’s Cyborg Seduction Series first book and I began to reconsider that thought. So I read a book about a cowboy, which wasn’t too bad. Christmas books still stimulate my gag reflex, but sometimes when you are rediscovering things about yourself… one of those things you learn is that you were right the first time. I requested this book because one of the new things I’ve learned about myself is not only do I like alien books–I really like sci-fi and futuristic novels. Almost Real is an erotic romance that is loosely framed in a futuristic sci-fi shell.

Charlotte Stein is an author that I had encountered on one other occasion and I actually really liked her book, Sheltered, so I’m unsure why I’ve not picked up any of her other titles. There is absolutely no parallels between Sheltered and Almost Real at all, yet I would have to say that I liked them almost equally with a pretty incredibly humongous OMG, BUT! The ‘gettin’-it-on’ scenes are so freakin hot in Almost Real that I almost needed to have medical assistance for my hot flashes. The thing is that most of those fiery scenes happen before Margot and Sergei actually knock boots. Holy Hannah and all her Heavenly sisters, Charlotte Stein does it right in this book and writes the most mindblowing erotica between two people who are resisting one another that I may have ever had the joy and pleasure to have read.

Now that I have sung Charlotte’s praise, let us rewind to the story of the book. Margot and Sergei have entered into a faux marriage in the name of technological advancement; Endocon needs a cover for a lab where their clones will be manufactured, Margot needs to oversee the Lab, and Sergei needs to oversee Margot. At first the large and stoney protector strikes Margot as awkward and unapproachable–fascinated she finds she watches Sergei more than her clone charges. Soon her blood sings in his presence and her body leads her where her mind cautions her not to go. Once she finds that the attraction is returned the fire inside her threatens to burn them both up. He might be telling her stop with his every word, but Margot likes to think that the lullaby he is singing in moaning, groaning and gasping isn’t the sweetest ‘yes’ she has ever heard.

Sergei of course is a wounded hero and he has big bad baggage and no matter how freakin’ hot the man is he puts up unmeasurable amounts of resistance. Margot is my hero in this story because the woman is kickbutt and she really takes no prisoners. As much as I find alpha men irresistible, there is something flippin’ awesome about a strong and capable woman who makes and takes action. As nice as it is to have a hero who will protect a heroine… I think a heroine who can take a hit and keep going and ultimately save herself is one that makes the best of books. Especially when they aren’t some powerful superhuman, goddess or otherworldly creature. A real woman with strength is not just a great heroine she is an amazing example that not all women are damsels.

YES! Read this book. I do recommend it. Sheltered is very, very good as well but way different subject matter. It is a new adult, contemporary romance dealing with domestic abuse, mental crises and identity issues. It is not as erotically intense as Almost Real, although it is much more emotionally intense. I would actually recommend Sheltered for readers who enjoyed novels like Hopeless by Colleen Hoover, Stay by Kelly Mooney, or Beautifully Damaged by L.A. Fiore.

Charlotte Stein’s Web Tracks: Website, Twitter, Facebook, Ellora’s Cave, Goodreads, and Amazon Author’s Page.

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Reader, writer, gamer, nerd, and kpop lover; Ms. Ali Cat lives deep in her own imagination within the grand city limits of San Diego, CA. A proponent of afternoon naps, kitten cuddles, and hashtags, she will be voting: #COFFEFFORPOSITIVECHANGE in the next presidential election.
Tongue Wagger – Almost Real by Charlotte Stein
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