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Control Freak by Brianna Hale

I am obsessed with Brianna Hale. Don't believe me? Check out some of my other reviews for her books: Vow of Obedience, The Protege, The Necromancer's Bride, and Come to Daddy. I also featured Brianna Hale in an Author Spotlight!

Moving on to Control Freak... (please be warned that our heroine suffers from an eating disorder and it is a major plot point of this novel).

Blurb: Total control. I need it in every aspect of my life. Some would say that makes me an asshole. A freak. But as long as everything’s exactly how I want it, I’m completely flexible. I’m kidding. Okay, I’m not kidding.

Lacey needs someone in her life who’s bigger and scarier than her demons, and she wants that man to be me. Her boss. The Viking in a suit.I hope she understands what she’s getting into. This daddy isn’t going to pat her on the head and tell her she’s a good girl for nothing. Especially not when she’s spinning out of control.

Author's note: this book includes depictions of eating disorder recovery.

Review: Control Freak was not my favorite novel by Brianna Hale. That honor will always and forever go to Midnight Hunter (which is probably the book I recommend most to readers). And while all Brianna Hale novels are wicked and filthy, Control Freak felt different to me than her previous works. Let's see if I can pinpoint why below...

All Brianna Hale characters are imperfect. You won't find blonde billionaires whose only flaw is a cocky attitude between the pages of her books. All her heroes and heroines suffer from internal or external struggles that are both relatable and absolutely insane. Balance.

In the case of Lacey, Control Freak's heroine, we have a young woman suffering from anorexia. I do not and have never suffered from an eating disorder and--understanding that this disease manifests itself differently in each and every person who suffers from it--it was interesting to see inside of the mind of someone struggling to overcome such a difficult disease. The reader gets an upfront seat to Lacey's thought processes. I found myself drawn into her thoughts and experiences more than I have with almost all of Hale's previous characters. She shows such strengths and perseverance that it's hard not to be in awe of her as you read.

Stian is everything you ever want in a hero. He's tough and confident, relentless and intense. He knows what he wants and he'll get it, one way or another. You definitely don't want to be on his bad side...or maybe you do. I guess it depends on what you're into. Anyone who doesn't fawn over Stian is a cold-blooded monster. Just kidding. Sort of. There is nothing better than a severe man whose life gets flipped upside down by a smart, competent woman with a penchant for being punished.

And thank god Brianna doesn't fall into the problem of pretending a dick can fix anything in a woman. Stian doesn't magically eliminate Lacey's lifelong struggling with anorexia just by being domineering nor does he personally try to take her problems on his shoulders. He works with Lacey to make sure that she's taking care of herself and never oversteps her boundaries in an attempt to make her "better". Control Freak follows Lacey's personal development and recovery (including meeting with her therapist) just as much as it follows her relationship with Stian.

The relationship between our hero and heroine is different than some of the previous relationships Hale has created. She's known for explosive sex, dominant/submissive behaviors, and intense language. And while there were certainly hints of those within this novel at various times, the relationship between Stian and Lacey always felt more than that at the same time. There was a tenderness, a special bond between them, that tugged at my heartstrings and decimated my heart.

Another winner all around. I strongly suggest that you pick up Control Freak. And then every other Brianna Hale book. You won't regret it.


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