Sweet Spot – Stella Ryhs

sweet spot

No idea of page numbers since there is no print edition. But there’s about 3500 locations, if that helps.

5 ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

I’ve been on kind of a reading slump lately, but Sweet Spot changed that. It was the first book in a while that I just had to keep reading. It literally made me shush my family when they tried to speak to me.

Lia and Lukas meet under some pretty unconventional circumstances. As he is struggling to unlock the door to his sister’s (and his temporarily for 1 month) apartment, Lia bursts into the hall soaking wet from the bath in only an open robe. Sexual tension, commence! From the first moment they meet, the attraction is intense and funny and cute. I was a bit wary that Lukas would continue his playboy ways after meeting Lia, but was super relieved that he didn’t.

Neither one of them is interested in anything other than sex… or so they say. Lia insists she must be single to focus on her career, Lukas is convinced he never wants to settle down. They both expect to tire of the situation and move on soon enough, but instead they become addicted to one another.

The book was predictable at times, fitting the mold of “damaged woman finds broken man, can they fix one another” pretty well. However, I did appreciate that they communicated maturely, so there wasn’t a typical misunderstanding that leads to unnecessary drama (I see that way, way too much). What’s special about the book is how it managed to bring out every emotion in me. I got angry, sad, I laughed out loud, I felt anxious, I got the tingles.. aka turned on. I look forward to more from Stella Rhys.

I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

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Small Town Daddy – B.B. Hamel

small town daddy

Not sure about the length, since I read an ARC e-book, which doesn’t tell us, still, for some reason, but I’d guess around 180p?? If I’m totally off, my apologies.

3 ⭐⭐⭐

It started out a little slow, but picked up around the 60% point. I didn’t really feel the connection between Mia and Lucas unless they were being intimate, and even then, it seemed a little fake, and the whole “daddy” play seemed really out of place. They appeared more like platonic best friends than two people who can’t keep their hands off of one another. I read romance for the connection, the intense feelings between the H/h, but this was lacking.

I have a problem with books (any media, really) being misrepresented. When I go into a new book expecting one type/style of story, but get something different, it alters my opinion of the story and not usually for the better. I feel let down, so I enjoy it less.
Thing is, I don’t think dark romance means what some people think it means. If a book is sub-labeled as “dark romance”, I expect some roughness (sexual or not). There should be a dire situation that leaves the H or h feeling helpless for a time, usually something serious enough to be life-changing. There’s a large array of situations that fit a dark romance, but Small Town Daddy just doesn’t. It’s suspenseful, sure. There is some violence, fist fights and whatnot. The antagonists are pretty douchebaggy and threatening, and one of them does hit the h, but it’s not a very suspensful scene.
And I’m ok with the book not being overly violent! I just request that books with a mildly suspenseful subplot stop being labeled as dark and depriving “darkness” of its meaning.

I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Sights on the Seal – Alexis Abbott

sights on the seal

2.5 ⭐⭐ (first half, 1 star. Second half, 4 stars. Bada bing! Average of 2.5 stars)

Adrian and Becca met two years ago in Afghanistan while stationed there for their jobs. Within the first few pages, you learn that they haven’t spoken to one another since, and that the last time they saw each other wasn’t long after their intense one-night stand in a tent in the middle of the desert.
From there you get alternating viewpoints between the two, cluing us in on their past as well as how they feel about each other.

Be prepared, because right out of the gate you’re bombarded with nonstop declarations of love interspersed with some adequate love scenes. Personally, I found the sex scenes to be corny, especially when from Adrian’s perspective. Why? Ahem:

“She’s so w**, so needy for me, and my massive, muscular body is ripe with lust to pour out and lavish all over her.”

“My shaft is enormous, and every time…”

“…whimpering and sighing with every lick of my monstrous c**k.”

Those are just within the first 15% of the book, but there are plenty of examples thereafter to choose from.
The author is being descriptive in order to enhance the enjoyment of the scenes, and when those thoughts are coming from the partner’s perspective, it’s great. When you have a first-person POV from the hero and he’s constantly referring to himself in this manner, it just makes me roll my eyes.

Becca has a secret (I won’t disclose it here to prevent spoilers), one that causes her constant musings of “but if I tell him the truth, this and that and a bag of crap can happen, oh no”. She mentally hems and haws about telling him practically every two pages for the first third of the book. The reason she doesn’t tell Adrian is because she feels as if she doesn’t know him well enough to trust him with this big secret, but I certainly expected her to last a little longer than 24 hours before making her ultimate decision. And within literally minutes of telling him, they are ring shopping.
Insta-lust is understandable, but this is beyond even insta-love. The rate at which this couple progresses reminds me of people that marry in Vegas just after meeting, only to annul their marriage as soon as the alcohol has worn off. I get the super attraction and intense feelings, I even get that they want to start a serious relationship ASAP, but it was too contradictory to Becca’s thoughts and hesitations and Adrian was just soooo poetic that it was hard for me to believe.

The book picks up after the first half when Adrian and Becca realize that they are being followed by someone from Adrian’s past. The action scenes are entertaining, but a bit far-fetched. I think my favorite thing about the book was when Becca and Adrian took the time to talk and learn more about each other. A lot of the information was expected, but the delivery was enchanting.

It’s not overly violent, and the sex scenes are quite descriptive with, IMHO, nothing I consider to be triggers.

I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Ill Will – Dan Chaon

ill will

481p.

3 ⭐⭐⭐

The book consists of eleven “Parts”, rather than chapters. Each part alters between characters and POV. One part is first-person Dustin, another is third-person his cousin, then first-person his son, then…. you get the idea. I’ve read countless books told from different view points and alternating characters or timeline, and I’ve enjoyed them, but Ill Will was too disorganized to pull this off. Maybe a contributor to the messy organization was the formatting.
WARNING: Don’t read this on Kindle if you don’t have to. There are instances in the book where the script suddenly goes into three columns, and the columns can’t be read left to right, but up and down, so you’re going forward, then back a few pages, then forward again… It also froze my kindle and I had to restart it three times while reading that format.

I was really excited to read Ill Will. The blurb sets the story up around Dustin, a psychologist whose parents were killed when he was a child by (allegedly) his adopted brother, who is now getting out of prison. All the while, Dustin chases a serial killer of young men with one of his patients.
All of that is true, yet despite being almost 500 pages, not much actually happens concerning those conflicts. A lot of it is just unnecessary and sometimes, confusing.
You experience Dustin’s life as a child; how his cousins dealt with the loss of their parents; how Dustin’s son deceives his father in order to feed his drug habit, and more. What you don’t get much of is the background on the deaths of the young men that keep drowning. There is a lot of speculation surrounding both the deaths of Dustin’s family and the possibility of a serial killer in their midst, but practically no answers.

If you’re hoping for an exciting thriller with a satisfying conclusion, move along. If you want to read something that will invoke absolute hopelessness and depression, this is the book for you.

I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Rock Hard Daddy – Rye Hart

rock hard daddy

200p.

2 ⭐⭐

Nope.

I just couldn’t like Conner, especially knowing he continued to sleep with other women after reuniting with the heroine, despite having feelings for her. It’s not technically cheating, but if I’m going to read a romance, I want the illusion that the H/h are consumed with one another. Instead, I was left feeling that Conner settled for Chloe, when she really deserved better.

I think I’m getting tired of the alpha male, virginal woman plot that so many romances take.

Wicked Billionaire – Luke Steel

wicked billionaire

96p.

3 ⭐⭐⭐

First, the editing and proofreading were almost impeccable, which is always a big plus for me. But in regards to the story, this was surprisingly tame for Luke Steel. The build-up between Havana and Jet was evident, but it wasn’t as tense as I expected. There were a few hiccups in their quest to be together, but nothing significant, nothing powerful enough to make me want to keep reading past my bedtime.

I really wanted to like this more, because I’m a fan of Luke Steel’s, but this didn’t feel like it was written by the same author. It was lacking in the dirtiness I’ve come to look forward to (yay for smut!) and the anxiety of “can they overcome this” or “will they survive this” just wasn’t there.

I still really look forward to Luke Steel’s next book.

I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Own Me – Penny Wylder

own me

124p.

3 ⭐⭐⭐

Corbella is a first-time escort, desperate to pay off a debt to her stepfather. Tall, dark, and handsome Giovanni, conveniently for her, ends up being her first client. And soon after he is officially her only client.
Their chemistry is off the charts, and their hesitations about becoming more than client/escort is believable.
The premise was unique, although the story was a bit too short to explain as much as I would’ve liked. The ending felt rushed and I was hoping for a more satisfying outcome in regards to her stepfather. Overall, it was one of my more preferred stories by Penny Wylder.

I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review

Keep Me Safe – Alyssa Coolen

keep me safe

185p.

4 ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Abby has returned to her “home” in Port James, a small town on the coast of Massachusetts, after being attacked by her faceless stalker back in NYC. Not long after her return, she runs into her ex, Knox, whom she broke up with 5 years ago after dating for 5 years. It’s sort of vague and left up to the reader to interpret how Knox and Abby broke up, but it’s implied that it was bad.
The plot was good, but the characters really drove the story for me. It’s incredibly easy to imagine them as real people since their personalities are all different and maintained realistically. Knox and Abby’s relationship evolves naturally with plenty of sexual tension. Thankfully, there wasn’t a huge focus on their sex lives while they were separated, which I appreciated. I was more than happy to not have to imagine either H/h sleeping with other people, which is always a turn off for me.
It was kinda obvious to me early on who the stalker was. I wanted to be blown away and surprised, so when I found out that my guess was correct, I was a little disappointed. Also, the book would’ve benefitted from better proofreading, as there was a good amount of typos and misused words.
Overall, I look forward to more from Alyssa Coolen.

I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Possessive Daddy – B.B. Hamel

possessive daddy

240p. (approximately)

3 ⭐⭐⭐

Connor marries Julia, mother to 19 year-old Sydney, as a ruse to convince her dying father that she is a responsible, married mother… or something. Julia is in contention with her younger brother, Evan, for control of the family company. I didn’t really get the relationship between Julia and Evan. *Spoilers* Evan just hated her so much, and all because he wanted to be in charge? I was hoping for some secret reason to be revealed to explain his crappy behavior, but it never came.
The story was a little vague and confusing at times. For the longest time I was under the impression that Connor was younger than Julia, only to find out he was 39. Not a huge deal, but it kept making me overthink things, thus pulling me out of the story. Also, when Julia’s dad was finally dying, Connor said something like “he’ll be coughing blood up soon and it’ll get messy”. It never states what he is dying from, but from my years of being a nurse, and the plethora of patients I’ve had die of natural causes, none of them coughed up blood. Not even a little. I just wish that scene had been better reasearched or explained more.
The sex was great and Sydney and Connor had some nice sexual tension.
It wasn’t quite a dark romance, but more of a suspenseful erotic romance, in my opinion.

I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review.