Release Date: August 28, 2015
Genre: New Adult Romance
He’s living a lie.
Dante Ramos: Champion. Ladies’ man. Party animal. Women want him, and men either want to be him or put his lights out for sleeping with their girlfriends. It’s all an act. Inside, he’s so full of self-loathing he’s on a fast-track to self-destruction.
She’s living in the shadows.
Meeting Michelle at a support group for assault survivors shows Dante a new world of possibilities. Finally, someone in his life might understand him, and she creates in him a fierce need to protect. Trouble is, Dante lives his life in the spotlight, and the only thing Michelle wants is a place to hide.
I am thanking my lucky (book) stars because I've been stretching myself, picking up books that I won't usually read, and so far my daring has been paying off. Then again, Elisabeth Staab has yet to disappoint me so even if I am not a fan of sports romances and the NA genre, I have to say ACTS OF CREATION surprised me in the best possible way.
- ACTS OF CREATION is half New Adult., half adult romance Is there such a thing? Well I say this because Michelle is 19 while Dante is 26. The age difference was a bit of an issue, I mean if you're in your late 20's up, it doesn't matter. But if the other person is still technically a "teen", it does become a point of concern.
- I loved how Dante respected their age difference, made sure that Michelle was sure and comfortable. He didn't use her attraction to him to push a romantic relationship, they took their time until both were ready to take the next step.
- Surprisingly, it's not very angsty considering the age gap not to mention, both Dante and Michelle are survivors of sexual assault and abuse. They dealt with their baggage in the most steadfast, honest way possible. Dante and Michelle have stretched their emotions from the get-go, and there's an openess in their relationship that made it easier to share and bare than pose and hide.
- It's clear from the very beginning that these two click and I love the absence of typical plot devices like, miscommunication or misplaced jealousy, to concoct a conflict. The entire story from beginning to end flowed and was consistent to Dante and Michelle's personalities.
- Dante's survivor story got to me. His vulnerabilities side by side with him being a heavy weight boxer was a powerful contrast to me. Looks are deceiving.
Once again, EStaab delivered a heartrending, but not too angry, NA love story that packed a serious punch. ACTS OF CREATION is an earnest story about family, friendship, and finding love amidst the scars of the past. It won't tear you to shreds, but it will still touch you nonetheless.
Domestic violence and violence/crimes against women is no laughing matter. Michelle, can you give us guidelines on how to spot a "victim" and the best way to offer help? What's the best possible approach a guy can do if they're interested in dating someone who's been through such horrible experience? What's the "best first date" scenario looks like?
Wow, that’s a huge question, and I’m not sure really how to answer. I mean, I only know what I know, right? I’m no expert. So, the thing is I guess it depends. If by victim you mean someone who was just attacked, I’m thinking if we really look around we can see it in things as little as shaky movements or as big as bruises. I tried to hide what happened to me at first, but I was so shaken I couldn’t stop trembling or crying so my parents still asked what was wrong. When I walked home from that awful party, though? Nobody said a word. My dress was torn and I’m sure my makeup was a mess. The few people who passed me probably thought I was, you know, doing the olde walk of shame. So I guess if you see a person who seems shaken or shell-shocked or like they’ve been in a struggle, offering support and getting them to a hospital if you can is the best move. From there, police can be called. New clothes can be brought. Whatever else they need. I don’t know. Like I said, I’m definitely not an expert. I know I went home and showered that night, which was a mistake. The police needed evidence, and I washed it away.
If you’re talking more after the fact though, I personally like the word SURVIVOR more than victim. I can’t say what happened didn’t change me, but I’m still me and I’m still living. Survivor is a positive word, and those of us who survive come in all shapes and sizes. I don’t think that there’s any way to spot one without being told in some way. Dante is a great example. I wouldn’t have known he’d survived sexual abuse if we hadn’t met the way we did. Not of he didn’t tell me. Statistically, you probably know more survivors than you realize. And I think the best thing you can do is be a good friend to those people if they choose to tell you their story.
Thanks for the tips. And yes, SURVIVOR is a better word.
Thanks for the tips. And yes, SURVIVOR is a better word.
Let's talk about romance. What's the best possible approach a guy can do if they're interested in dating someone who's been through such horrible experience?
Hmmm, you might not know at first. Like I said, I don’t think survivors look a certain way, and some don’t share that history unless they’re with someone for a while and they’ve decided it’s the right time. Other than that? Uh… Gosh. Patience and understanding are big ticket items. Dante and I have an agreement not to spook each other needlessly, because it’s the nice thing to do, and someone might accidentally get smacked (he’s been teaching me self-defense, so it’s a real concern). Oh. Trust. Trust is HUGE. Especially after being assaulted by an ex boyfriend, it’s crucial to be able to count on the guy I’m with to be honest. But, you know what? I think I’d need those things anyway. I’d like to think we survivors have pretty much the same relationship needs, even if our history is a little complicated. Maybe we just need them a little harder. I think it’s an aspect of our history—something to be aware of, but not constantly focused on. One thing Dante and I are working on together, is living our lives without letting our pasts hang over us like a dark cloud.
What's the "best first date" scenario looks like?
Oh! Our first “real” date was dinner at a great restaurant, like many couples. And it was great. Before that, we spent time talking and hanging out. Getting to know and trust one another. I think it’s the best way to start any relationship, don’t you?
Yes, I agree, and I love how you two met, became friends, and developed a romantic relationship.
Elisabeth Staab loves passionate stories and happy endings. Her books have been called “emotionally delicious,” “action-packed,” and “gloriously snarky.” When not writing romance, she enjoys date night with her husband, reading Harry Potter with her kids, and marathoning her favorite books or TV series.