Obsession (Feral #1) by Nora Ash

Feral: Obsession by [Ash, Nora]

Obsession (Feral#1)
116 pages
5 ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Lillian Dorne’s dream has finally come true. As a bioanalyst, she has been chosen to work with her long-time role-model, Dr. Axel, on a top-secret project for the government that performs tests on male alphas that were once on death row and females that have agreed to the study in exchange for shorter prison sentences. Lillian’s world quickly comes crashing down when she learns first hand just what kind of experiments Dr. Axel and his colleagues are up to and the extent of horrible treatment being done to the subjects. Still, even though her conscience is telling her it’s wrong, Lillian feels she has little control over the matter. That is until she meets one of the male subjects, #351, and in the process creates an oddly close relationship with him. 351 is an alpha that is injected with a special serum that causes feral behavior, limiting his speech and human-like interactions. Despite not being able to communicate very effectively with 351, Lillian becomes so connected with him that she soon makes it her duty to help the alpha in any way possible, even at the risk of her own job.

Even though 351 only has the ability to grunt some words, his behavior speaks volumes. Ash does a wonderful job describing the look in his eyes, his reactions, even his breathing pattern in such a convincing way that it’s easy to connect with him. Lillian is a little TSTL at times, but desperate times call for desperate measures, so she gets a pass. Together, 351 and Lillian have some of the most intense chemistry you could imagine between two people that barely speak to one another. And hopefully, 351 will eventually regain some of his communication skills in the future books, and their passion will only burn brighter. I can’t wait.

I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

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The Duke Who Ravished Me by Diana Quincy

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The Duke Who Ravished Me
Full-length novel
2 ⭐⭐

I first met Sunny in From London With Love, which I don’t remember much of, but I do recall Sunny with a different woman or women in his lap at any given time. Seriously, Sunny is such a prolific manwhore, I’m surprised he’s survived as long as he has without catching syphilis. Needless to say, I expected to struggle liking him… and I did.

The book opens with Sunny entertaining two women in his playroom when his butler informs him that two children have just arrived with their governess (the heroine) and they are now his new wards. Terribly put out and eager to return to his exploits, Sunny tries to send them away that instant despite the fact they just traveled six days straight. Luckily, one of the girls gets sick and the governess, Isabel, convinces the doctor to tell Sunny that the girl needs at least a week’s rest before she can travel again.

Upset that he had to send his two “doxies” away due to the unexpected intrusion, Sunny sets out to do everything in his power to push the governess and the girls away. First point of business? Host an orgy in his famous playroom the next evening, making sure plain, unbeautiful, long in the tooth Isabel gets a jarring eyeful of him and his guests in flagrante. After that, he temporarily stalls his parties and resorts to going out every evening, staying out all night with random women, and returning late the following day hungover to high hell.

So, once beautiful but now soft in the center Sunny isn’t the least bit attracted to Isabel and annoyingly, harps on it endlessly.

With her lackluster wheat-colored hair and ordinary features she was more plain than pretty. At least half the women in the metropolis were better looking than Finch [Isabel] and most definitely had a better countenance. 

But don’t worry about Isabel getting the wrong idea however, because he has no qualms about sharing his feelings.

*The night before, he saw Isabel in his nightclothes and found her surprisingly attractive in her near-naked state, so he kissed her and grabbed her breast. This is his apology:

“I realize what occurred last evening must have been a shock for someone like you.”
A crease appeared between her well-defined eyebrows. “Someone like me?”
“An unmarried woman of limited means and”-he waved in her general direction with his hand-“limited… erm… assets, if you take my meaning.”
Her eyes narrowed[…]. “Limited assets.”
“I just mean to say, I understand that a woman such as yourself, given your age and general situation, has likely not had to suffer the attentions of men.”
 

Ah, but this quickly changes when he realizes his friend and doctor, Tom, has shown an interest in Isabel and clearly plans on courting her. No worries, though, because Sunny nips that right in the bud and demands Tom stay away.

Soon after, Sunny hosts a ball and demands Isabel attend purely for the satisfaction of seeing her uncomfortable, but that bites him in the ass when most men in attendance, Tom included, seem to take an extreme liking to Isabel. Ahhh, now he sees her in an entirely new light and he ends up seducing her that evening. The next day, Isabel returns with the girls to their previous guardian’s residence due to her regret and fear of having to live in Sunny’s home and watch him continue with his playroom romps.

Over a month passes and in that time Sunny has remained celibate- not for lack of trying, he simply can’t get it up with other women anymore- and his friend points out that he’s becoming domesticated. Well now Sunny can’t stand for that, so he hosts another orgy in his playroom that evening. Conveniently, the same evening Isabel and the girls make their surprise return. Not expecting them to be home, Sunny doesn’t bother to shut the door, so Isabel has the privilege of seeing a partially nude woman riding a clothed Sunny as he fondles her breasts and kisses her. Isabel, feeling sickened, retreats before she witnesses Sunny sending the woman away because he again couldn’t get aroused.

Soon after that evening, Sunny sets an appointment with a widow with plans of making her his mistress. But again, as he’s undressing her, he realizes he still isn’t aroused. But he just can’t figure out why.

After that, Sunny and Isabel settle on being friends, but things again progress into more and I resume crossing my fingers that he doesn’t pass a deadly STD onto poor Isabel. Sunny develops a warm relationship with the girls and actually starts acting like a decent man, even though at the 86% mark he was still doubting his ability to ever be satisfied with only having sex with Isabel.

“However, as enchanted by Isabel as he was at the moment, he couldn’t envision never again bedding another woman.” 

Gosh, Sunny. Don’t start getting all romantic on me or anything.

The climax of the story occurs when Sunny mistakenly believes Isabel has betrayed him by attempting to get his guardianship removed, and that’s when any softening I’d had toward him stopped. He tosses her out, but not before threatening to ruin her reputation by spreading stories about how she, a lowly servant governess, chased and seduced the licentious Duke of Sunterford. Honestly, it was one of the cruelest threats a hero has ever uttered.

Surprisingly, there’s a pretty significant twist at the end that was actually pretty impressive. That, and the fact that I mostly liked Isabel and that the writing was decent, are the reasons I didn’t DNF the story. I can only take so many characters excusing his behavior all because he had cold and distant parents and a philandering father. It wasn’t enough.

I’ll leave you with two parting quotes that were so untrue and absurd, I have no idea why the author included them:

“Promise me you’ll never leave me again.” 

Sunny, Sunny. You fired and then tossed her out with nowhere to go and then threatened to destroy her reputation. Get it right.

“I haven’t even looked at another woman since you and the girls came into my life.” 

Did he keep his eyes closed every time he slept with one of his countless bed partners? Because if not, this is a blatant lie and the fact that the heroine didn’t call him on it practically ruined the already rushed and unsatisfying ending.

Safety: Not

I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Relentless by Elizabeth Knox

Relentless
Full-length novel
1 ⭐

SPOILERS throughout.

For sake of saving time, I’m going to write this review as a list.

What I liked: the characters were likable. Butch and Bellamy were ok, nothing special. Slash was good, though. He was funny and sweet, but sometimes jerkish and grumpy. His behavior seemed the most natural and believable out of everyone in the book.

What I didn’t like:

  1. It was practically all telling and no showing, which made it so slow and dull that it took me three days to finish when it should’ve taken one afternoon. Seemingly important scenes kept dropping before anything significant happened, and were always wrapped up with “then we did this and then we did that” type of conclusion. It was very anticlimactic.
  2. Butch and Bell’s romance was contrived. I never felt the connection or why they even liked each other, especially Bell. She almost never thought of Butch when outside of his company, but was head over heels when he was around. And their insta-lust turned to insta-love was too fast to be believable. Just because the author writes that the characters stayed up all night talking and learning about each other, didn’t mean I was convinced. Scenes like that are important to the reader if we’re supposed to feel connected to the story. I didn’t.
  3. So! Many! Exclamation! Points! This is a personal preference, but I get annoyed when exclamation points are used to excess outside of character dialogue. And the quote, “An exclamation point is like laughing at your own joke” exists for a reason.
  4. “H-E-double hockey sticks.” I looked past when Bell would think “fudge” instead of the f-word, but this was going too far. Just say hell. I realize that Bell’s hesitancy to use swear words was a way of portraying her innocence and naivety to the reader, and that brings me to my next point:
  5. Sweet, innocent, only-ever-been-with-one-man-and-the-last-time-was-months-ago Bell, doesn’t just turn into a vixen during sex, she turns into a professional porn star. They have anal sex two times in the book, and neither time is she prepped or lube used. Worst of all, during one of those times, Butch also fists Bell while having sex outside on his motorcycle. The chick has very little experience and has been celibate for several months, but he manages to get his fist into her while still in her backdoor without any lube or prep? That doesn’t happen without some serious injuries and pain.

    Just, no.
  6. The writing was bouncy. It had characters going from one situation to another and I had no idea how they got there because the descriptions were too vague.
  7. This is me being super-duper picky, but I’ll list it anyway. I’m from the Philadelphia/Camden area. They are literally a three minute drive from each other, all you need to do is cross the bridge. Considering Bell and the band she toured with were interviewed by tabloids, I got the impression they were pretty famous. And unless a musician or band is unknown, almost garage band status, never are two shows scheduled in both locations so close to each other.
  8. None of the conflicts in the story were resolved. The unsolved murder of Bell’s parents? Nothing. The threat of Bell’s ex-boyfriend releasing their sex tape? Nothing. Bell’s insecurities about the one time she saw a club whore touching Butch? Never discussed. The disappearance of Bones and Reed’s dad? They say they’re searching for them, but that’s it. The aftermath of Bell and Slash’s kidnapping and torture? Yeah, they get out, but I still A) have no idea why what happened happened and B) the club never discusses retribution for any of it. It made no sense.

I haven’t read the previous books in the series, and if I had time I would’ve tried, because even though it’s claimed this can be read as a standalone, there were too many references to characters and events from the previous books for me to know what was going on. I plan on trying this author again in the distant future, but it was too sloppy and slow for me to take that chance anytime soon.

I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

She’s Still Too Young by Jessa Kane

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She’s Still Too Young
69 pages
2 ⭐⭐

Second book of She’s Too Young. First book can only be obtained through the author’s website jessakaneauthor.com

Romances with underage characters getting with much older characters isn’t normally my thing, but since the heroine was just shy of 18y/o, and Jessa Kane writes some amazing jealous/possessive heroes, I figured why the hell not? (Going outside my comfort zone helps keep me on my toes.) The first book (which isn’t available on Amazon since one of the characters is underage) was pretty good. I liked the hero’s intensity and resourcefulness, but I didn’t like that he verged into doormat territory. Yes, apparently I don’t like it when men OR women are walked all over, it just took this book for me to realize since it’s the first opportunity I’ve had to figure that out. Anyway, yes, Ramsey let Veda get her way too. Effing. Much. I get that she’s young, and dances around aimlessly an obscene amount in public like a toddler wearing a tiarra.

*Note: Real-life representation of how Veda was described dancing. You’re welcome.*

And I really admired Kane’s ability to write such a believably immature teenage female, but when Veda started demanding Ramsey fire all of the “pretty” women that worked for him, I wanted to slap her. And then I wanted to slap him, because he really should’ve pointed out that not only is it illegal to fire people based on appearance (he didn’t technically fire them, just transferred them all to different buildings/cities), but that it’s really heartless to demand something so harsh based on jealousy alone. Who knows if those women have families to support? What if they’re single mothers? If Ramsey was going to take on the responsibility of an underage girlfriend, he should’ve contributed to her growth and maturity rather than enable her selfish behavior.

Then there’s the dad. I wasn’t a huge fan, but he really didn’t have much of a choice but to give Ramsey what he wanted, because he realized Ramsey was going to get his way no matter what. Then he disappeared for the remainder of the first book. Second book, he’s like a totally different person. He’s self-medicating with alcohol to cope with the guilt of selling his daughter, so he definitely doesn’t have his shit together. But that doesn’t erase the fact that he was – albeit overprotective and possessive of Veda and her mother – a decent father that had a pretty good relationship with his daughter. So when he watches Ramsey and Veda *mild SPOILER* have sex from the shadows, it didn’t fit. He went from like a 2/10 creepiness factor to a hard 10. Seriously man, walk the hell away.  But still, even with that, he didn’t deserve the ending he got. He tried to *SPOILER*attack Ramsey with a knife and in the process accidentally cut Veda. He seemed devastated but doesn’t get the chance to talk to Veda before he’s hauled off by security. And then apparently murdered off-page by Ramsey for challenging his relationship with Veda. Being a creep + accidentally injuring your daughter + having a drinking problem that makes you act like an asshole should not equal a death sentence. Really, Ramsey should’ve used his buckets of coin to send the guy to rehab and to get some damn therapy, giving him the chance to rebuild a relationship with his daughter. And after all of that, I was bothered the most by Veda’s reaction to being told that Ramsey had just killed her father.

“It would be impossible to visit him ever again. Do you understand what I’m telling you?”
She’s very still, but I watch understanding dawn in her gaze. Understanding, relief…. and possibly a new awareness of the man into whose arms she so recently leapt. “I won’t tolerate people who come between us. Nod if you understand.”

[…]she nods slowly. “I understand, Ramsey.”

“Then marry me, Veda. Leave this place as my wife and remain that way until my time on this earth is over.”

[She sees that he has a priest on standby to marry them AT THAT MOMENT.]

“Of course I’ll marry you,” Veda whispers with a flirtatious curve of her lips. “As long as you don’t mind picking your wife up from school.”

WHAT THE EVER-LOVING HELL IS THAT!? You learn he killed your father and literally three seconds later you’re flirting and agreeing to marry him? THE HELL?

That ending just ruined it for me. Oh well…

Tangled Love by Hayle Jenner

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Tangled Love
277 pages
4 ⭐⭐⭐⭐

After the death of Parker’s mother when he was just 14 y/o, he and his older brother Rocco overhear their father and uncle discussing the man responsible for her death: Dominic Rein. Eighteen years later, Rocco and Parker finally initiate a plan of revenge to get back at Dominic for the pain they endured. The plan ultimately ends with the death of Codi, Dominic’s youngest daughter, but Parker becomes so taken with her that he asks Rocco for some time to have fun with her before carrying the plan out. Codi ends up being so much more than Parker bargained for though, and he eventually must decide where his loyalty lies: with Rocco and his mother’s memory or Codi.

This is an angsty read, mostly because during Parker and Codi’s relationship, Parker is hot then cold then hot again. He’s so conflicted over his feelings for her that any time he finds himself falling more in love with her, he pushes her away by being an asshole. Codi doesn’t stand for it though and tries to walk away a few times, but Parker just keeps coming back. Fortunately, Codi isn’t a doormat, but she is a very forgiving person, and that always works in Parker’s favor. They’re both complicated characters, and their chemistry was believable and intense.

I’m not giving this book 5 stars for two reasons: first, because the giant final confrontation worked out in such a weird way, that it seemed unrealistic. Especially because one character that has almost no reason to show up does, and it’s quite convenient when that happens. Second reason is because of how often Rocco and Parker used “bitch” in reference to women. I understand they had a difficult childhood, but none of it was caused by women. Their mom and aunt were the only good people in their lives, so their common disrespect for women as a whole made no sense to me.

Safety: I’d say safe. No OM, but the first time Parker is on a date with Codi, he gets jealous of the attention men are giving her, so he puts his arm around a random woman’s waist. It lasts about 2 seconds, because the moment he does it, Codi leaves. He catches up with her and she basically tells him she’s not playing his games and walks out.

I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

::Release:: Relentless by Elizabeth Knox

**Review to Come**
Title: Relentless
Series: Skulls Renegade MC #4
Author: Elizabeth Knox
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Blurb
Bellamy:

My life was supposed to be so simple; getting the rest of my inheritance at 25.
I would invest it in my music career and become history, literally.

What I didn’t expect was to find out that everything I believed to be true
about my family was a complete lie. I didn’t expect to find out that I had a
half-sister by my real father; a man that was the devil reincarnate. I didn’t
expect to find that I had family who had run a criminal MC club in Texas. And I
sure as heck didn’t expect to be thrown full force into the MC life from the
time I walked into Bubba’s and revealed who I was.

I was no longer a daughter, friend, and singer. I was Bellamy Mason,
sister-in-law of the Skulls Renegade MC Prez, and I had a target on my back.

But there was something else that hit me like a ton of bricks too, and his name
was Abe “Butch” Warren.

And let me tell you, he was a pleasant surprise.

Butch:

She walked through that fuckin’ bar just like her sister did. Her red hair
flowing down her back, that ass that I wanna take a bite out of. Those were the
thoughts I had about her before I got to know Bellamy.

I don’t know what it was, but the fuckin’ second my eyes locked on hers she was
mine. She was pure, she was innocent – she wasn’t cut for this lifestyle, and I
knew that.

Here’s the thing, I’m not cut out for relationships and Bellamy Mason is not a
girl you just fuck. She’s the real deal, the girl you take home to your momma,
the one you lock down as soon as you can.

I was bringing danger to her doorstep, and she had no idea. I knew the risks,
and I ignored them. Selfishly, I wanted her.

What will destroy us first; my enemies, or my need to not define us?

 

99c for release day only!
AMAZON US / UK / CA / AU
Free in Kindle Unlimited

 

Taming Ryock by Sara Page & Sean Moriarty

 

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Taming Ryock
274 pages
4 ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Alien species, the Crima, has been abducting members of other species for research purposes. An Argmarath, Ryock, has been a subject of theirs for years, having his regenerative abilities repeatedly tested with daily inflictions of pain. He’s resiged to his fate and barely has the will to live anymore. When the Crima toss in a petite human woman, Isla, with another test subject for breeding purposes, Ryock’s anger finally surfaces. He can smell the human and he’s not sure why, but he needs her, so he demands the Crima give her to him. They acquiesce on the condition that he breed her, and if he fails, she’ll be given back to the other alien who’ll most likely rape then kill her.

Ryock and Isla made an amazing couple. Even before they could communicate verbally, they had a connection that was both sweet and intense. I loved that Isla wasn’t a pure and perfect virgin. She’d made mistakes in her life after the death of her parents, and her personality shows her ability to withstand even the harshest of situations. And Ryock, I loved everything about him. First of all, he’s a virgin which always excites me because it’s so rare for the man to be a virgin in romances. (The intimate scenes certainly don’t read like he is, though.) He’s been shunned by his own people, and he never bothered to hide his vulnerabilities, especially when he did something to upset Isla. Being from a matriarchal society, he’s felt insignificant and useless his entire life, and the fear he could possibly push Isla away unintentionally was heartbreaking.

I don’t often read sci-fi because it can sometimes be too descriptive and drawn out, but Taming Ryock doesn’t do that. It has a good balance of world-building and just enough information to keep you interested, but not bored.

Taming Ryock is the second book of the Star Joined series, but can be read as a standalone. It has a HEA for the couple, but it ends with the set-up for a following book in the series.

I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Inferno Parts 1-4 by T.K. Leigh

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Inferno Parts 1-4
742 pages
3.5 ⭐⭐⭐⭐

After catching her fiance in bed (<i>their</i> bed) with his secretary, Ellie decides not to go through with their wedding and instead escapes to Italy for ten days in hopes of finding herself. On the plane, she meets a man named Dante that comes on pretty strong, but they both walk away never expecting to see each other again. Until the next evening, Ellie goes to a restaurant and once again, Dante’s there. Encouraged by her best friend to have some good sex before returning back to reality, Ellie propositions Dante. Dante is a little hung up on the idea of fate though, and considering how often fate seems to keep putting Ellie in his path, he quickly starts to push the idea that they’re meant to be more than just a fling, but Ellie’s not convinced.

Part 1 is the shortest part of the series, and focuses mostly on Ellie and Dante’s romance. It’s a little slow at times since there isn’t much conflict, but does end on a pretty significant cliffhanger.

Part 2 of the Inferno series brings more drama and intrigue than the first part. Ellie and Dante are still playing house until she returns to the US, but after the cliffhanger of the first book, there’s more tension between them brought on by Dante’s lies of omission. Ellie’s quick to believe Dante’s reasoning though, and soon the plot starts to evolve into a story of mystery that hits closer to Ellie than she ever realized.

Part 3 of the Inferno series is probably my least favorite of the four because it seems longer than necessary. The reader learns more about the mystery surrounding some mysterious deaths related to a cancer drug, but otherwise the plot drags. Dante doesn’t show up until about 80% through the story so the romance is minimal, and in the meantime, Ellie is just roaming around trying to figure out what she has to do to make it on her own.

Part 4 of the Inferno series finally gives the answers to questions you’ve been asking since part 2. For the first time, we get Dante’s POV, but it doesn’t last long. It opens with the climax of the story, then jumps back in time two months and returns to Ellie’s POV. And after that opening, it’s pretty difficult to put down.

I wasn’t surprised when the villain was revealed, but it did take a different direction than I expected in regards to violence. I don’t mind violence (but some readers do), and there’s very little in the first three parts but a significant amount in part 4, so heads-up. I was a little disappointed that I figured out the mysteries earlier than I’d wanted, but it was still a good ending to a good series.

Safe-read. No OW. Some OM drama, but it’s not romantic.

I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

::Release:: Tangled Love by Haley Jenner

  **Review to Come**

Title: Tangled Love
Series: Chaotic Rein #1
Author: Haley Jenner
Genre: Romantic Suspense

Blurb
Codi Rein is a means
to an end. A bloody and vengeful penance for wrong doing. She was our way to
inflict pain and suffering on those who took away what was most important to
us.

She was supposed to be a no one. Insignificant.
She wasn’t supposed to make me smile.
She wasn’t supposed to make me laugh.
She sure wasn’t supposed to make me feel something other than hate.
She wasn’t supposed to make me love her.
She was a means to an end. Now the bloody and vengeful end looks to be mine.
Because it now comes down to love or loyalty and it’s on me to decide what
reigns absolute; heart or family.

 ADD TO GOODREADS

AMAZON US / UK / CA / AU
 Free in Kindle Unlimited
Excerpt
The fury in
her blazing eyes dares me to disagree. They challenge me to argue against the
fact that I’m the biggest fucking asshole to ever walk this planet. The men I
so fiercely despise; my father, Marcus, Dominic; their indiscretions, their
flaws, the evil that lives inside them, is nothing, fucking nothing compared
to the rotting soul I seem to host within my body.
I can’t
dispute her words. No one single spoken syllable. She gave me all of
her. Every inch of her body. Every fragment of her soul. Every morsel of her
mind. And every last shred of the love inside her oversized heart.
Everything.
“I’m sorry
your mom died,” she spits, the fury inside her eyes having claimed her
completely, coursing through her veins with unrelenting control. “I’m sorry she
was taken from you. I’m sorry you’ve let your pain manifest into hate. I’m
sorry the both of you are so black inside you can’t see any light when it
shines down on you. I’m sorry that all your mother would feel is disappointment
that the two people she spent her short life loving, turned so hateful.”
Her words
hit hard. They steal the breath from my lungs and cause my feet to stumble
backward with the force behind them.
Because
they’re true.

 

::Release:: The Inferno Series by TK Leigh

 *Review to Come*
The Inferno Series
Author: T.K. Leigh
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Blurb

From a USA Today bestseller comes a thrilling new saga of passion,
power, and betrayal.
I never believed in fate.
That was something for the dreamers, not someone as practical and
pragmatic as I. 

Fate had nothing to do with me walking in on my soon-to-be husband in a
compromising position with his secretary.
Fate had nothing to do with me hopping on a plane to Rome just hours
before I was supposed to be married.
And fate certainly had nothing to do with the handsome stranger sitting
across the aisle from me, one who would open my mind and heart to things I
never thought possible.
Because if fate is real, she’s cruel and unforgiving.
He could never be mine.
I could never be his.
And his deception may just be my breaking point.