Auctioned to Him 1-3 – Charlotte Byrd

Auctioned to Him 1-3

Auctioned to Him 1-3
3 short novellas

2 ⭐⭐

Ellie is stuck in a job she hates and still dependent on her stepfather financially. While attending a yacht party, a surprise auction is introduced where the women have the choice to auction themselves off. Inspired by the money she expects to receive she enters and goes for a whopping $250,000. Her mystery buyer turns out to be Aiden Black, rich and successful owner of Owl, Amazon’s main competitor.

I found myself skimming a lot. The writing is repetitive and sloppy. There’s an awful lot of explanation about Aiden’s business that felt unnecessary and slowed the plot down.

Ellie is really hard to like. Her internal monologue is loaded with “How dare he”s and “who do they think they are” type of reflections that gives her a holier than thou air that’s hard to get past. Even when it’s warranted, it’s so constant that her character surpasses the label of ‘strong woman’ and becomes ‘is there anything this woman likes kinda woman’. Aiden is weaker than I’d like, but he’s also really unreliable as a character. One chapter he’s musing to himself that there are millions of hotter women in the city he could get with so why waste his time on Ellie. Shortly after he’s telling her she’s the most beautiful woman in the world and oh how he wishes she would believe him. It was as genuine as Donald Trump’s tan: I just wasn’t buying it.

Here’s my biggest problem with the story. In book 2, the opening scene is of Aiden knowingly going on a date with another woman, Kristina, he regularly sleeps with after meeting and sleeping with the heroine and telling her he wanted to see her again. He and Kristina go back to his place with the full intention of having sex. And he is EAGER (as in solid as a rock, if you get my drift) to make it happen. Just because he gets a moment of consciousness after initiating sex with another woman and he feels guilty for almost sleeping around on Ellie doesn’t make it cool. He went to the friggen opera, which he openly loathes, just to make this other woman happy so he could sleep with her. Yes, this crap happens in real life, but this is a romance purposely billed as having no cheating and it’s misleading. Romance authors don’t write hideously ugly heroes because they’re undesirable. Well, so are (almost) cheaters.
No, there’s no technical cheating, but it’s awfully close.

The book falls under too many clichés to stand out amongst thousands of other books that do the same thing, only better.

I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Advertisements

The Billionaire’s Toy – Penny Wylder

billionaire's toy

The Billionaire’s Toy
101 pages

3 ⭐⭐⭐

Delia has just lost her retail job and her rent is already late. Desperate for some cash, her best friend convinces her to attend a modeling audition for a famous designer, Andrew Xellum. Luckily, he’s taken with her the moment he sees her and she gets the job. Hopefully her crush on the intense man won’t screw up her chances of keeping it.

It was hard to connect with the characters. I probably would’ve been able to if it were longer, but in the end I just didn’t get to know much about them. Delia was a little desperate in her pursuit of Andrew and he kept avoiding her for professional reasons, so when they finally get together and their love is declared two days later, I have no idea why. Andrew said Delia was his muse and that I understood, but love? I was left feeling that if Delia ever lost her figure, even if the reason was a pregnancy by him, he would soon replace her with a newer, younger, fitter model to inspire his creativity. Their entire relationship just wasn’t convincing enough, even for a HFN ending.

For a story this short, the characters need to be more complex than Delia and Andrew if I’m going to believe their romance. It’s not a bad story, but it’s not one of my favorites by Wylder.

I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

In His Silks – Patricia Eddy

in his silks

In His Silks
403 pages

3 ⭐⭐⭐

Elizabeth Bennett (no, not THAT Elizabeth Bennett),giphy (10)

is fired by her accounting firm for a mistake on a client’s tax forms. As she’s leaving the office, the pouring rain causes her box of belongings to soften and break, spilling the contents all over the sidewalk. Thank goodness billionaire heartthrob, Alexander Fairhaven, is there to rescue her and sweep her away in his limo. Too bad she’s not having it and plays hard to get up x1000.

Alexander is borderline obsessed with Elizabeth and I’m not quite sure why, because she’s a testy b*tch much of the time. Anytime he says something she doesn’t want to hear, not even offensive, she’ll snap at him and then hang-up or suddenly leave. Alexander is a saint to put up with her, but before long starts to venture into doormat territory. He wants to do something nice, but she’ll see it as him trying to control her and reacts irrationally and he ends up apologizing. If only his cajones were as large as his bank account, he would’ve been a more desirable hero.

The love scenes are tame for a BDSM novel. For instance, Elizabeth refers to having had four serious relationships in her past and admits to a few hookups in college, yet she’s only once given a bj? There’s no explanation like she finds it disgusting, either. She’s just only done it once. That’s… that’s really hard to believe for me.

There’s some corporate suspense, but the book still manages to be slow and predictable. Alexander’s dialogue was incredibly stilted which managed to drag it out even further. I was consciously aware every time he spoke that he wouldn’t use contractions. There’s no rule that if you’re British and loaded with cash that you can’t use contractions.

The book’s not bad, there’s just many better options out there.

I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

The Bonus – AJ Adams

the bonus

The Bonus
177 pages

2 ⭐⭐

*I agreed to review this entire series, so be prepared for similar posts soon.*

Kyle is right hand man to his brother, Arturo, head of the Zeta cartel. The book starts off with the two of them watching a woman hanging from a noose and standing on a block of ice. Her offense? She was caught with a guy trying to buy product with counterfeit money. Once the block melts, she’ll slip off and slowly strangle until Arturo’s men decide to cut her down and play with her. The woman, Chloe, figures it’s better to deprive them of their entertainment and jumps off the block hoping to break her neck. The fall is too short so she starts to strangle. Arturo doesn’t like losing his entertainment and tells his guys to cut her down. Well, they screw up and she makes a run for it, right into the arms of Kyle. She offers to do anything and everything for Kyle as long as he saves her from further torture and a potential gang-rape. He takes her up on the offer and their love story begins.

*Spoilers scattered throughout*
I’ve read about and liked a lot of despicable heroes, but Kyle falls into the small bunch that, in my eyes, can’t be redeemed. His first time screwing Chloe he reminisces on the woman he raped and murdered earlier in the day. He even gets inspiration from that attack for things to do with Chloe. How. Friggen. Sweet. It’s a detailed scene, both the sex with Chloe and raping of victim. We even find out that raping the woman was kind of pointless because her husband still didn’t give him the info he wanted… until Kyle threatened to do the same thing to the man’s daughter. His four year old daughter. Guy finally gives up and tells Kyle what he wants right before he slits the wife’s throat and then crucifies them both. Literally crucifies them.

Kyle has recollections of things he’s done in his past, like the time he threatened a man’s six year old daughter. And even though he got what he wanted from the guy, after disposing of him he still ’wanted that kid’. Meaning, he still wanted to do bad things to that six year old girl. But not because he’s evil, it’s because he was trained to do that for his country. And now he just uses his skills working for his brother’s drug cartel.
I guess all’s forgiven when he changes and suggests to Arturo that they stop going after kids and innocent women and his brother agrees. Why? Well, they’ll get more respect that way and Kyle developed a tiny conscience after seeing Chloe’s trauma induced behavior. Right? A little true, but it’s also because Chloe was jealous of the idea of Kyle having sex I mean raping other women for his job.

Chloe’s messed up (as evidenced by her opinion of Kyle’s history of rape) after being a sex slave for two years a long time ago. And then she’s abducted again and attacked repeatedly, but her recovery is skimmed. She refuses to see a therapist and chooses Kyle to tell her problems to. The guy that initially planned on keeping her as a sex toy. A guy with a history of doing whatever he is told to do without question.
Or in Chloe’s words:
“Unless the mission demands it, and then he would set a match to an orphanage stuffed with puppies and watch it without a qualm as it went up in flames.”
Give me a hero that thinks for himself and doesn’t walk around indiscriminately going full terminator and we’ll talk about his redeem-ability. Until then, he’s just a thoughtless machine I’d rather throw in the trash than risk dealing with.
People like Kyle don’t deserve HEAs. Whether he’s raping and torturing innocent people for his country or his brother’s drug business, I don’t GAS, he abandoned his chances at hero status a long time ago.

I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Daddy Dearest – Isabella Starling

 

daddy dearest.jpg

Daddy Dearest
250 pages

1 ⭐

Step-dad Levi gets a dirty letter from one of his barely 18y/o twin step-daughters. It’s unsigned, but he’s definitely sure it was Kendall, the sweetly demure twin that wrote it. He’s never liked Amanda, the other, since she’s obviously their mother’s favorite and she bounces around with her goodies on display. Anyway, the moment he finishes the letter he aggressively pounces on Kendall while in bed.

*Spoilers*
So surprise, surprise when Levi finds out that *GASP* horny little Amanda was the one that wrote the letter. Well, he still wants Kendall only, so he plays it off as if he never read it. But once Amanda finds out step-daddy is boning her boring twin, she concocts a little plan to get Levi to like her just as much.

First warning: the blurb of the book makes it seem like it’s not a menage, but it totally is. And the scenes are written in such a way to just narrowly squeeze by Amazon’s incest ban. I mean, these are sex scenes that can make you feel a little sick, but may still manage to turn you on just enough, leaving you draped in so much guilt you’ll have to bathe in acid to get it off. Or maybe not. Point is, the potential is there.

Second warning: I liked not a single character. Kendall was sweet until she suddenly turned into an evil sex fiend. Amanda was pathetic and played dirty. And Levi is a habitual cheater that makes the assumption that the virginal twin wrote him a penthouse-style letter rather than the more obvious option. He goes out of his way to pin the twins against each other because gets off on their jealousy of one another. He’s as swoon-worthy as a rotten piece of cheese.

Third warning: Glaringly obvious inconsistencies that may confuse the reader. Specifically, the letter which is written by Amanda, the twin Levi hates, makes references to watching him sleep with several of his female employees in which he apparently shouted her name. But, he’s been in love with Kendall this whole time. Why would he shout Amanda’s name?

I can’t think about this book anymore. It literally hurts my brain.

Deep in You – Penny Wylder

deep in you

Deep in You
<100 pages

3.5 ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Carmine has a kink. One that not many men seem to be into, leaving her to ‘entertain’ herself. Her business partner/BFF makes a joke suggestion that she should try an escort to satisfy her. She’s hesitant at first, but ends up making the leap and hiring Caleb Bishop, escort extraordinaire.

First thought was ‘ut-oh, the H is an escort?’ If that’s a problem for you rest assured, no cheating takes place.

The story is short and sexy. Insta-lust, almost insta-love. Carmine and Caleb know each other for three days before they confess they’re falling for each other, but it comes off realistically.

There is a plot hole or two… I think. What 6y/o has a birthday party on a Monday morning? Even if it’s the summer or a holiday, it’s a really strange detail that I couldn’t stop wondering about. Obviously, since I’m still obsessing over it.

The story is unique. I really appreciated that Carmine’s kink wasn’t just your typical ‘I want to be a submissive’.

I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Twisted Love – Lily Knight

twisted love

Twisted Love
Full-length

DNFed at 66% (Lucky me!! Two intolerable books in a row)

Benito Sciotti is head of the Sciotti family, a branch of the mafia based in Detroit. Being a mobster, he’s used to making questionable agreements with people. One such was a contract with the condition that if Sal, a diner owner, couldn’t repay the money he borrowed, that Benito would get possession of Sal’s stepdaughter, Bethany. A month after Sal dies Ben decides it’s time for Bethany to pay up what he’s owed. Ben’s job is made easier when Bethany is assaulted and threatened by two gang members, telling her she also owes them money that Sal promised, giving him leverage against her and promising her safety.

The book is slow. The H/h hardly ever see each other, even after they live together. They both see and speak to Tino, Bethany’s bodyguard, more than each other. It was at least three-quarters of the way into the book before they so much as hugged. And I didn’t really like them, either. Bethany lost all control when she got angry and yelled a whole hell of a lot. Ben was an asshole and talked down to everyone. Before he had access to Bethany he would screw other women and imagine her the whole time. Then afterwards, he’d treat them like garbage and kick them out. Do people really do this? Use others while imagining someone else that they claim to be obsessed with? It’s just so skeezy. All of that, but I’m supposed to believe he gave money to underprivileged boxers and helped meth-heads sort out their lives? I felt like the author was trying to convince me he’s not a bad guy by throwing in some Sister Theresa-like behavior while he acted like a jerk all the time.

The story is littered with typos and inconsistencies that should’ve been an easy catch for any proofreader. The format didn’t make time-jumps easy to catch. And don’t even get me started on the stereotypes all throughout. Take a pass. This one isn’t worth the effort.

I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

All The Best Men – Cassandra Dee

all the best men

All The Best Men

292 pages

DNFed at 44%

Katie is a bridesmaid for her friend when she meets the three best men, Mason, Kane and Tyler. Everyone’s smitten with everyone from the get-go. All three men think Katie’s their perfect girl and Katie finds all three men equally attractive. Considering they were all described the same way (dark hair, bright blue eyes, tall and buff, etc), who’s surprised?

Let’s start with the easy part first. Was this book even proofread? I’m always amazed when books manage to change a character’s name, so when Stacy becomes Kacey to become Stacy again in only six paragraphs it’s practically unforgiveable.

I’ve given Cassandra Dee the benefit of the doubt for a while now, but I think I’ve reached my limit with that. A few of her stories are actually unique and varied, but the past few, specifically the menage ones, haven’t been.

I’ve been reading and hoping that Dee’s writing style would evolve with her stories and become better, but it remains just as juvenile. ‘Boobies’.
giphy (9)

These are adults saying and thinking ‘boobies’ in a sexual context and holy crap I’m sick of seeing it. And how many 40y/o highly educated, successful, billionaire men call each other ‘bros’ nonstop? And using ‘the alpha’ and ‘the female’ instead of a character’s name or a pronoun reads like a NatGeo wildlife show turned porno. That applies to most of her stories, too, which makes me extra tired of it.

The characters. All of Dee’s characters from book to book are the same: a virgin, BBW with dark hair and milk skin with double-D ‘boobies’. And the virgin always goes from timid and shy and “oh my, this is the first ding-dong I’ve ever seen’ to a dirty talking seductress calling the multiple men she’s sleeping with ‘big boy’ in the blink of an eye. I can’t with this anymore. I’m done.

I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Master Class – Linnea May

master class

Master Class
219 pages

2 ⭐⭐

Lana is in her final year of graduate school at an Ivy League university, working towards her Master’s in Sociology. In order to graduate, she has to take a class related to her Minor in Economics. The class is being taught by a guest lecturer slash successful billionaire Jackson Portland. Considering he’s not actually a professor, Lana finds him to be sorely lacking in his skills as a teacher and isn’t afraid to let him know it. Too bad her defiance only turns him on.

The plot is unique for a teacher-student romance because there isn’t much risk if Lana and Jackson are caught together since he’s only a guest lecturer. Still, they try to keep it under wraps for the sake of their reputations. The real conflict of the story focuses more on Lana’s confusion about where she stands with Jackson and a later perceived betrayal concerning a project Jackson is mentoring Lana on. Characterizations of secondary characters weren’t realistic, particularly the other females in Jackson’s class. They behaved like immature, jealous high schoolers rather than grad students. Maybe some chicks fall into that stereotype, but every girl other than Lana was portrayed as such and it got old, fast.

The plot was steady and I enjoyed it, but I had a problem with the story: I didn’t like the characters. Lana was self-righteous and stuck-up, but the moment she starts sleeping with Jackson that behavior magically goes away thanks to good sex. Jackson was a typical guy that wanted to dominate a pretty little student, until I learned his backstory and true intentions. His entire attraction to Lana is explained through a few flashback chapters as a kid.
*Spoilers*
Jackson was bullied as a kid, but a sweet, smart, beautiful classmate named Aileen was the light of his days. Until one day he embarrasses her and she dismisses him just like the rest of his peers. After that he becomes determined to make more of himself, lose weight, become successful. That way once he does he’ll have the power to degrade and humiliate girls that remind him of Aileen, just like she made him feel. Lucky Lana just happens to be the perfect substitute for him to ‘teach a lesson to’. And he does a wonderful job of it, the entire time demanding Lana stop playing games when she asks him to give her time and stay away. All the while he’s literally playing a game of ‘How to Punish Girls That Remind Me of Aileen’. After all of that came to light- to the reader, Lana never learns this- their relationship became extra unhealthy and unbalanced. I couldn’t stop thinking that maybe he should see a therapist instead of obsessing over petite brunettes with dark blue eyes.

Jackson never really talks to Lana about his desire to embarrass and humiliate her beyond telling her that she needs to be punished. And once he starts giving her orgasms, of course she accepts this and they live HEA. Because we all know that the best way to resolve conflicts in our relationships is with plenty of orgasms and a heaping side of neurosis.

I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Bed Shaker – Penny Wylder

bed shaker

Bed Shaker
108 pages

4 ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Ram has a reputation around town that he’s beyond amazing in bed and has been given the unfortunate nickname of “Ram Bed Shaker”. Cadie’s boyfriend just left her with no warning. Upon hearing that he’d been cheating on her for the last year, she understandably turns to liquor. Encouraged by a friend and wine, she texts the Bed Shaker with some naughty pictures. But when Ram arrives at her house, he doesn’t get the easy lay he was expecting.

Despite having a reputation for doing any woman that asks, Ram was adorable in his vulnerability. I was constantly rooting for Cadie’s walls to come down and to give Ram a chance. I only wish there were a bit more scenes of the two of them getting to know each other.

The story is short and sweet with a HFN ending.

Sidenote: Thanks to Penny Wylder for the title she gave this book. Who knew alarm clocks existed that actually shake the bed? Let’s see my husband try to sleep through that.

giphy (8)

I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review.