A Sheikh for Christmas – Leslie North

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A Sheikh for Christmas
146 pages

3 ⭐⭐⭐

After leaving her fiancé, Heath, for another man, Melody finds herself disowned and alone with nowhere to go. As a last resort, she goes to Heath’s apartment hoping for some help, but when she arrives, Heath isn’t there, but his friend Daveed is. Finding it too hard to kick Melody out on the curb, Daveed gives in and allows her to stay with him until she gets back on her feet.

The plot is light and sweet, but it moves slowly and has little drama. Melody and Daveed weren’t perfect, cookie cutter characters, which I liked, but Melody was always left looking like a fool when it came to Daveed. Their chemistry is mild and hard to grasp. There’s plenty of insight into how they feel about each other, but little action actually shows it. So when it takes mere days for them to fall in love, I was sort of left scratching my head wondering how the heck it happened.

I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

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Big Man – Penny Wylder

big man

Big Man
320 pages

4.5 ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

After receiving a letter from her deceased mother’s attorney telling her she’s now responsible for their family estate, Sasha finds herself having to go back to the town she’s avoided for the last fifteen years. But when she arrives to find her old childhood friend, Grant, fixing up things on the property, she realizes she’s in for a bit more than she expected.

The plot is sweet and heartwarming, but still sexy with plenty of angst. Grant is impossible to dislike. Sasha is stuck-up at times, but in reality she’s very down-to-earth and pleasant. Their chemistry is off the charts, making for some very steamy intimate scenes.

This is one of my more favorite stories by Wylder. What kept me from giving it 5 full stars is due to some timeline inconsistencies that kept confusing me. IE she hasn’t been back to her hometown since she left for college fifteen years ago, but she receives the letter on her 25th birthday? It’s nothing major, but it managed to pull me out of the story a few times.

I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

 

Destruction – Jennifer Bene

destruction

Destruction
306 pages

2 ⭐⭐

Lianna Mercier has lived a charmed life. Despite losing her mother at a young age, her father has always managed to spoil her and keep her happy. Now working for his company, she expects to spend more time with him. Unfortunately, she’s devastated when he breaks off vacation plans with her in order to go on a business trip. But all of that becomes insignificant when a stranger breaks in and violently kidnaps her for reasons she doesn’t understand.

Look, this is a dark romance and dark things certainly do happen. However, I don’t understand why the word ‘rape’ is not once used in the entire book. Not once despite the fact that David does indeed rape Lianna, repeatedly. I get the feeling that the author purposely ignored the word, instead choosing to use the ‘F’ word to misrepresent what David does in order to trick the reader into thinking that maybe what happens to Lianna is consensual. But it’s not, at least not for the entire duration of her captivity, and I’m pretty unhappy that the author chose to go about it the way she did.

I liked Lianna. She’s strong and fights back and after the secrets are revealed, she’s still standing. I understand that she is confused about the way she feels with David, and don’t fault her for it at all. But just because she’s willing to try to look past what happened to her, it doesn’t change the fact that David is indeed a rapist. Yes, his story is sad, but not really as traumatic as I expected, making his whole revenge plan seem even more deranged. He had no proof that Lianna was a part of her father’s doing, yet he just assumed she was guilty? A better person would’ve at least let her explain or defend her innocence before attacking. David had a few likable characteristics, but not enough for me to sympathize with him. And when he says that he regrets nothing, that he would do it all again… c’mon. That’s the hero?

I liked Bene’s Thalia Series, even though the first book was difficult for me to like… until I realized that the man in that book was actually the villain, and another man comes in later as the hero. That saved the entire series for me. But with Destruction, I’m left with a ‘hero’ that’s actually the villain.

I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Christmas Sale!!

Title: Damaged ( Dirty & Filthy Box Set )
Author Michelle Horst
Genre: Dark Romance 

**The Damaged Romance Box Set is on sale for a limited time only.**

Betrayed. Used. Broken.

A damaged love story that survives darkness and tragedy.

Through all the horror, they remain strong. Degraded and abused, they have to suppress their fierce nature to fight back.

Thoughts of his brother’s safety, keep Jack from giving up.
Wanting to belong somewhere in this brutal life, keeps Sophia’s hope alive.

People pay thousands just to have a taste of them. It’s the only life they’ve ever known … until they’re given their freedom.

But freedom is only a word if captivity is all you’ve ever known.

DIRTY ~ Book 1

Degraded. Ravaged. Dirty

I f@ck. It’s all I’m good for.
People pay thousands just to have a taste of me.
I have to obey for the sake of my brother. As long as I’m the perfect slave, David remains safe.

A life of depravity and cruelty is all I’ve ever known … until her.

I might be damaged, but I’m not destroyed. I crave revenge for what was done to me. I have a need to kill, to feel their lifeless blood dripping from my fingers.

But I also crave her. She makes me feel. She makes me want. I just have to make her see me. The man. The fighter.

Freedom. No one is ever truly free. She doesn’t want to enslave me, but damn, I’ll willingly be a slave to her heart.

When my past threatens to take her from me, revenge and wrath burn hot through me.

She’s not just worth living for. She’s worth killing for.

FILTHY ~ Book 2

Fractured. Unwanted. Filthy.

I’m only good for sex. That’s what I’ve been trained for my whole life. I’m a puppet. I only know how to be your perfect fantasy. It’s the only life I’ve ever known … until him.

I’ve been replaced, discarded like trash. Beaten, damaged, treated like an animal, I’m forced to leave the only home I’ve ever known.

With a warped perception of what life is really like, no dignity, and no one to call my own, I’m on the verge of giving up.

But then he saves me. For the first time in my life I’m given a choice. I can stay and have a purpose again, or I can leave and face the unknown on my own.

I choose to stay. I choose to belong. I choose to become something more than damaged goods.

Hope. It’s the one thing that kept me going. At first I hoped that I would be the perfect slave, but now I hope to be the perfect woman. He’s my damaged hero.

I want him to see me. The woman. The survivor.

He gives me strength. But all I want is his heart.

Dark romance with sensitive scenes. All books have HEA and no cheating.

Amazon US
Amazon CA
Amazon UK
Amazon AU

Everest – S.L. Scott

**Releases December 7, 2017**

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Everest
Full-length novel

3 ⭐⭐⭐

Ethan Everest walks into a house party and is instantly taken by the beauty across the room. After some eye flirting and asking people about her, he finds out her name is Singer. When he sees her alone on a fire escape, he makes his move and is hoping for something more than just a night. But when he’s pulled away by another woman, a year passes before Singer and Ethan speak again, and he finally takes the plunge… well, sort of.

I liked so much about this book: it’s beautifully written, there’s enough steam without over doing it, and it really brings out every emotion possible. But there was something about it that kept me from connecting with the characters.
Here’s my problem with this story: “You’re the most gorgeous woman I’ve ever seen, but it was deeper with you from the minute I saw you. I felt a connection, something real.

So, Ethan’s obsessed with Singer the moment he sees her, yet when he’s two seconds away from kissing her, another woman pulls him away and back to the party. Instead of trying to find Singer after that, or asking for her number before returning to the oh so important task of talking to his best friend, he instead decides to date the woman, Dariya, that had pulled him away. For several months. After all of his determination to have Singer, his obvious desire to claim her, the romantic words he spoke freely… to just turn away from that and hook up with some other hot chick, I just couldn’t invest in Ethan as an honest guy or a worthy hero. So all of his charm, his poetic words to woo Singer whilst still pushing her away… it didn’t match his actions and I just couldn’t feel he was genuine.

The first half of the story moved slowly and I wasn’t sure where the plot was going, but it did eventually pick up and the tears did flow. I really wanted to like this story, and to an extent, I did. I just couldn’t get past the fact that Ethan makes a stupendously stupid and questionable decision, and Singer never once questioned it. No, he didn’t owe any loyalty to her, he barely knew her. But the entire book I kept wondering and waiting to see if he was strong enough to fight for Singer if necessary, or if he was just going to give up and settle for someone else. I doubted him every step of the way.

If I’m at a dessert buffet and I’m only allowed ONE choice, and the cheesecake has just run out but will soon be replenished, I’m not going to turn around and scarf down some second-rate dessert and waste my chance. I’m waiting for that cheesecake, and if there’s a line, I’m certainly fighting for it.

I just really wished Ethan had waited for his cheesecake.

I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Scarred – Willow Winters

**Releases December 5, 2017**

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Scarred
300 pages

4 ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Scarred is the fourth book in the Sins & Secrets series, but is the sequel to book #3, Damaged, and should be read after that.

*Possible Spoilers throughout if you haven’t read Damaged*
I was super excited for this book and it did not disappoint… for the most part.

More of the plot is focused on the police investigation into Tony’s death than in Damaged. It moved steadily and was interesting, but by the 35% mark, I figured out who the killer was and my frustration with Evan’s short-sightedness just increased every chapter after that. (Can’t go into specifics without spoilers, sorry.)

I love angsty romance, and Damaged is a Mount Everest of angst, so I was giddily prepared for the yelling, the slapping, the jealousy, the angry make-up sex – but I wasn’t prepared for the shitshow that was Evan’s and Kat’s ability to communicate with each other. I understood it in the first book, but the more I learned about Evan’s problems, the more I pulled my hair and thought, ‘Good God that is the stupidest idea I’ve ever heard’, and after a while, it surpassed exciting into frustrating.

Kat keeps her backbone in Scarred and even manages to bite back a little (although it borderlines into crazy territory after a bit), but by the last confrontation, I didn’t see enough growth and enlightenment from Evan to justify her forgiveness. Really, all Evan did was listen to what Mason told him to do. I wanted him to think for himself and stop acting like such a dunce.

The book didn’t really go the way I wanted it to go, but it was still great and Damaged was so amazing that I’d reread it again just for that.

I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Under the Influence – Nikki Belaire

Under the Influence
171 pages

3.5 ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Just months ago, Gio did the unspeakable and wrecked Chryseis’ heart. Now, just as she’s trying to move on with another guy, Gio crashes in like a bulldozer and reclaims her. But the last thing Chryseis wants is to get back with him… at least she keeps telling herself that.

Gio is really possessive and jealous, which is hot… until it’s not. Some of the things he does crosses the line, and considering he never gets called out for most of it, it left a bad taste in my mouth. The plot is super angsty, which I love, but Chrys gave in more easily than I’d hoped. Gio broke her heart and she’s been struggling to get over him for six months, but the amount of time it takes for her to forgive him is laughably short.

The climax comes out of nowhere. It’s an interesting twist, but a little far-fetched. The relationship between Gio and Chryseis carries the story, and it’s rough to read at times, but in the end, it’s worth it.

I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

A Mother’s Lie – Jo Crow

a mother's lie

A Mother’s Lie
478 (I know, right?) pages

3.5 ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Ten years ago, Clara McNair’s parents disappeared and she became the lead suspect, causing her to run away from the whispers and threatening townspeople. Today, she’s back in her hometown recording a documentary in anticipation of the ten year anniversary. Despite the townspeople following her every move and making their desire for her to leave obvious, she sticks with the film in order to make enough money to pay for her two year old son’s, James’, cancer treatment. But when bones are found on her parents’ property and attempts are taken on her life, is she strong enough to endure it all for her son?

Clara was a little frustrating. She’s a highly educated woman with a sordid past that has experienced quite a bit in her young life, so when she just keeps making dumb decision after dumb decision, I stopped caring. A lot of the secondary characters were kind of cookie cutter and it was easy to predict their actions.

The writing is spotless and the story moves steadily (despite being a longer read) and is difficult to put down. It is a psychological thriller, so of course there’s a twist, and I really want to say I didn’t see it coming, but to an extent I did. I don’t want to give anything away but *not really a spoiler but SPOILER* when a character is presented as nothing but good and perfect and 100% on the main character’s side, I get suspicious. And so when the villain was revealed, I just had a ‘yup, knew it’ reaction when I really wanted a ‘NO EFFING WAY’ reaction.

Despite my hang-ups, the author has a lot of potential and I’ll be keeping an eye out for her future works.

I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Survive – Sally Mason

survive

Survive
286 pages

5 ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Survive is the second book in the Trapped series but can be read as a standalone.

Aeree has survived a horrific trauma. Unfortunately, that trauma led Aeree to do something drastic, landing her in jail for a bit. Her lawyer, Mitch, manages to get her out and marries her immediately after. Now, despite living a comfortable life, she’s stressed. Stressed about not being able to keep a job, about keeping Mitch happy, about her father, and more. So Mitch decides a short get-away to the mountains is just what she needs. But it doesn’t take long for her little trip to not only worsen her stress, but to put her life in danger.

Just like Mason’s previous book, Trapped, you need to go into this book blind. Knowing too much of the story would definitely ruin the experience. The plot is unique and something I’ve never come across before. It moves steadily and never slows down. Something I always love about Mason’s writing is that her heroines are strong and resilient, and Aeree is an amazing heroine. When she fights back… god, it’s beautiful.

There are references to rape, violence, and bulimia, but it’s never gratuitous and is just enough to make the reader on edge. Still, keep it in mind if those are triggers for you.

I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Thirty Days of Shame – Ginger Talbot

Thirty Days of Shame

Thirty Days of Shame
218 pages

3.5 ⭐⭐⭐

Thirty Days of Shame is the second book in a three-book serial. It ends with a cliffhanger. If you haven’t read Thirty Days of Pain, the first book in the series, beware because this review may contain SPOILERS.

TDoS picks up a month or two after the end of TDoP. Willow has managed to get her cousins and aunt away from her uncle and Sergei, her captor. She’s careful to take any and all precautions to prevent being found, but it doesn’t last and she’s soon back with Sergei, forced into another thirty day agreement to be his captive. Willow doesn’t go easily, but when she realizes she’s safer with him than without, she gives in and Sergei resumes his torment.

By the end of book one, Willow has become fed up with everything: Sergei, her uncle, herself. She gets angry and doesn’t hesitate to show it. Unfortunately, as book two progresses, she becomes even more enamored with Sergei and loses a lot of her fire. Yet, Sergei is just as abusive as he was before, if not more so. He goes out of his way to hurt her (emotionally and physically) and she knows it, yet it’s still her sobbing and begging, always. I wanted her strong and mad, not desperate and broken.

The reader is finally given an explanation of Sergei’s past, explaining why he does what he does. And even though I cried at his backstory, his violence was excessive and I wouldn’t mind much if only Willow wasn’t falling more in love with him every time he beat her. He’s the villain and the hero, and I realize it’s not easy to write such characters. My problem is more with Willow’s reaction to his violence. She justifies that she deserves what he doles out, that no matter what he does to her she’ll always love him, and that she will fight for him. Sergei needs to show more growth and emotion and fight for her, not the other way around.

I love dark romances, but their relationship is more fitting for a thriller about Stockholm Syndrome rather than a romance. Sergei is too manipulative and domineering of a character for me to want to root for, but I’m still going to see this series out to its end. And hopefully, book three will finally give Willow the upper-hand.

I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review.