My rating: 2 out of 5 stars
Format: Free digital ARC from NetGalley
Publication date: May 2017
Heat level: Hot
Sexsomnia: Sleepless in Manhattan by Anya Omah is a contemporary romance novel that, from what I understand, fits squarely in the "billionaire alpha" subgenre. The alpha in question is Jayden King, a man who made his money as an owner of hotels and nightclubs. His status and his good looks have made him a desirable bachelor, and he has taken advantage of that fact so often that now he is bored with women and partying. He has turned the full force of his attention to expanding his business and he needs a good personal assistant to handle the many details. One applicant, Abigail Davis, seems perfect -- except they get off on the wrong foot with each other when they first meet. She tells him in no uncertain terms what he can do with his job, but instead of getting angry, Jayden becomes intrigued by Abigail and the chase is on.
Faithful readers of this blog know that I do something of an "auntie test" with the titles I review: can you hand this book to your aunt/grandma/neighbor lady without blushing? I would say, dear reader, that this book is best saved for the girlfriends you share champagne brunch with. The F-word and other sexual terms that some might find crude are used with abandon and the sex scenes (of which there are several) are definitely not behind closed doors.
My biggest issue with this book is that I didn't like Jayden, our hero. I've heard discussions among romance readers where they talk about alpha heroes who are "broken" and their brokenness makes them misbehave, but since I read mostly Christian historical romances I've never run into that archetype. Jayden was a jerk who acted like Abigail was a toy to be owned and that he didn't want anyone else to play with. Right up until the end I want him to suffer just a bit more for his bad behavior.
I had difficulty thinking of this as a romance, even though that is how it is categorized on Goodreads, NetGalley, and Amazon. Jayden and Abigail never really got to know each other. He decided after one meeting that he needed to own her. To her credit, Abigail showed more restraint, but there still weren't any scenes of them getting acquainted or even having a dinner that didn't end up with them tearing their clothes off before they even took a bite of food. They shared some secrets with each other towards the end but it didn't feel like enough to me.
One positive element was Abigail's strength. The story is told in alternating first-person perspective, and in Abigail's chapters we get to hear her inner fears but then she gives herself a pep talk and presents a strong front. Early on in the book, she calls Jayden out for flirting with her during a job interview:
"You know what, Mr. King? I actually do have a request. Stop flirting with me. I thought you were here to convince me to take the job, not to get me to go out with you. Anyway, you've got the wrong girl for this macho-man shtick of yours."
Throughout the book, there are instances where she stands firm when I expect her to give in to Jayden's power trip. There are also scenes where she shows that she genuinely is a smart woman who is good at her job. Wanting to know what Abigail would do and say next is what kept me reading.
I also felt that the author treated the sleep disorder and the therapy sessions with respect. With a disorder that centers around sex, it could have been easy to exploit it for kinky purposes. Instead, it is discussed seriously and represented as a hardship for the sufferer.
I gave Sexsomnia: Sleepless in Manhattan two stars on Goodreads and three stars, which represent "it's OK" on each service. The novel was well written and I don't feel like I wasted my time reading it, but I would say that it is geared more towards those who want to get their rocks off than someone looking for a romantic tale.
There is no affiliate link in this post, but you can find the book on Amazon and even read it free if you have Kindle Unlimited.