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You, Me & Her by Tanya Chris #BookReview #Polyamory
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You, Me & Her by Tanya Chris #BookReview #Polyamory

by May 16, 2018

*** This review is SPOILER-FREE! Read on with confidence! ***

Don’t judge Tanya Chris’s You, Me & Her by its cover. This story has a lovely flow, a lyrical beauty that pulls you in right from the start. The lead character, Nate, is no angel, but he sure makes a hell of an impression. And he’s real. Down to earth. A confident guy struggling to own his identity through the backlash of everyone else’s criticism and judgement. He’s a playboy, sure, but that’s just him, and his relationships are more long-term than one-and-done; he simply has a lot of them going on at once. He loves women, and he doesn’t want to be tied down. Nate isn’t commitment phobic—he simply doesn’t fit into the traditional one-person-for-everyone mold, and Joshua and Sherry totally get that. This story celebrates the beauty of open relationships and explores the challenges that come along with them. It is refreshing and different. You know what else I loved? This story is beautifully bi-racial (maybe tri-racial, if that’s a thing) and shows just how blind love is to skin color.

That said, the start of this book was a little rough for me. One of the characters—Nate’s ex-girlfriend—is a real piece of work, and I found myself fervently hoping she wasn’t a main character. It turns out she’s a significant secondary (whew, not a romantic lead!) whose story arc drives part of Nate’s (which works out nicely, indeed). And Nate himself is a bit of a quandary at first, amicable enough but also seemingly listless and unfocused. The guy you meet in the beginning of the story has some growing up to do.

“I do like you.” I nuzzled into her hair, burrowing into the warm, wild fragrance. “Even though I barely know you. Talk to me about your singing. Did I tell you how good you were tonight?”
“Briefly. You can lay it on a little thicker if you want.”
“Your voice is like iron drenched in molasses. All of you is like that. You feel soft, but you’re not.”
“You know me better than you think.”

But after Nate met Joshua and Sherry—a couple with an open marriage—I was hooked. Joshua is smooth, confident, and easy-going. The kind of guy level enough to casually hang out with and affectionate enough to enjoy a good, fun romp. And he doesn’t back down from jealous ex-girlfriends.

“Jealous shrew? Nice. I suppose that’s what you call your wife when she complains about you flirting with other women.”
“My wife and I have an open marriage, and no, I don’t call her jealous shrew. I call her Sherry, because that’s her name. Sometimes I call her baby, ’cause I’m sweet that way. You’re very interested in what people call each other.”

The sex scenes in this story are explicit, and I think I even learned a thing or two from Nate’s mad (and nicely visualized) skills.

“Friday, then?” He braced a forearm on the wall behind me. His hand toyed with one of the curls at the nape of my neck. “No rehearsal Friday night, no work Saturday morning. Sherry’s playing at a wedding—not something I can crash. Come watch a movie with me and when Sherry gets home, if you’re into it and she’s into it, I’ll make myself scarce.”
I looked into the depths of Joshua’s eyes. His irises were a three-dimensional shift of shades of brown.
“Did you just pimp out your wife so you could spend time with me?”
He sighed and straightened up. “I did say ‘if she’s into it,’ but yeah. Not good.”
“Not necessary.”

Stylistically, the writing and story feel reminded me of Damon Suede’s homey, New York big-family vibe in Hot Head and Cardeno C’s laissez-fair, easy-going, natural style of pacing a romance. Maybe it’s the setting of the New York area or maybe it’s the big-family dynamic on Nate’s side, but the narrative is welcoming and comfortable. This story feels like a comfy pair of pajamas—something soft and warm you want to spend a lot of time in, but nothing too fancy or thrilling. This story is tenaciously sexy, in all the best ways. The first-person storytelling draws you in until you are Nate, until you must have Joshua, even though you think he’s not for you.

Ultimately, You, Me & Her is an exploration in polyamory. Nate is never going to be a one-person kind of guy, and everyone keeps trying to convince him that he could be, that he should be. But that’s not his truth, and I loved how he respected his own needs even when it hurt the most. The threesome really gets him going, and his attraction to Joshua builds at a natural rate. Nate’s journey of self-discovery and self-acceptance parallels what a lot of people go through even in today’s more open atmosphere.

In all the years of knowing what those words meant in modern English, I’d never before considered the ongoing burden behind them, the fact that some people were required to announce their sexuality to their friends and family in order to have it understood and respected. I’d never told anyone I liked women. Why did I need to tell them that I might, at times, also like men? I wasn’t ashamed of it. I just didn’t want to discuss it with my mother.

A solid, well-crafted menage romance with beautiful layers of polyamory, open-relationships, and self-discovery, You, Me & Her is a gem. Tanya Chris’s writing gave me the best feels, and I wanted to bundle up all the characters and snuggle them into bed with me. True threesome relationships, where each character romantically loves every other character, are extremely difficult to do well, and Tanya Chris has delivered an authentic, must-read story that stands out and demands attention in its own easy-going way.

This content warning from the author is important, especially for readers averse to open relationships in romances:

Content warning for alcoholism. This book describes an open relationship that remains open after a romantic bond is formed. It’s not suitable for readers who consider open relationships to be cheating. This book includes both M/F and M/M loving.

This review copy was provided by the Author. No compensation was received for this review.

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You, Me & Her by Tanya Chris #BookReview #PolyamoryMy star rating: four-half-stars
You, Me & Her by Tanya Chris
Published by Self-published or LLC on May 15, 2018
Genres: Contemporary Romance, Open relationship, Erotic romance, Menage
Pages: 279
Source: Author
Add it to your To Read shelf: Goodreads

Nate wasn’t made to be monogamous, a fact he never fails to disclose to his partners. No matter how much he loves the women he’s with, he sees potential in others. Does that make him a horrible person? His on-again, off-again lover and current co-star, Deb, certainly thinks so.

But his other co-star, Joshua, understands. Joshua, who’s fast becoming the best friend Nate ever had, doesn’t even mind when Nate hooks up with his wife, Sherry. Well, he does mind a little, but only because he has the hots for Nate himself.

Nate’s always known he’s polyamorous, but is he also bi? He loves being with Joshua. He loves being with Sherry. He definitely loves being with Joshua and Sherry together. Can he make the transition from loves-being-with to just-plain-loves? And even if he can, how does he fit into another couple’s relationship?

Meanwhile, the situation with Deb is growing ever more toxic, the future of their show is at stake, and not all of Nate’s friends are on board with the whole poly/bi thing. It’s a minefield Nate can only navigate with the help of one very special man.

Content warning for alcoholism. This book describes an open relationship that remains open after a romantic bond is formed. It’s not suitable for readers who consider open relationships to be cheating. This book includes both M/F and M/M loving.

*This post contains affiliate links you can use to purchase the book. If you buy the book using that link, I will receive a small commission from the sale.

Review Score Details
GraveTells Score
GraveNation Score
Writing style & finesse
9.0
Originality
9.0
Authenticity
9.5
World-building
8.7
Character development
9.0
Likeable/relatable characters
9.3
Plot tension
8.7
Flow & pacing
9.0
Heat &/or sexual tension
9.0
Technical style
9.5
Overall enjoyment
9.0
Final Thoughts

A solid, well-crafted menage romance with beautiful layers of polyamory, open-relationships, and self-discovery

9.1
GraveTells Score
GraveNation Score
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About The Author
davincikittie
Sue "DaVinciKittie" Brown-Moore is a veteran romance blogger and reviewer and the primary voice for GraveTells.com. Sue has been shamelessly pimping book boyfriends since 2010 and has won several blogging awards with GraveTells. Sue is also a freelance Developmental Editor passionate about helping authors bring out the best in their stories. She loves reading romance, fantasy, and sci-fi and edits any genre she reads for pleasure. You can follow Sue's editing blog, with tips and tricks for authors, at DaVinciKittie.com.

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Writing style & finesse
Originality
Authenticity
World-building
Character development
Likeable/relatable characters
Plot tension
Flow & pacing
Heat &/or sexual tension
Technical style
Overall enjoyment