Christmas Possess – Josie Litton

christmas possess

Christmas Possess
100 pages

3 ⭐⭐⭐

Chase is determined to give his girlfriend, Marisol, the perfect Christmas. They’re both busy people, but Marisol always manages to put others before herself, and Chase thinks the season of giving is the perfect time to give her all she could wish for.

Initially, Christmas Possess was supposed to be published after Chase and Marisol’s story, Possess, was published. Unfortunately, the author had to postpone publishing Possess until next year, meaning CP is technically a long epilogue, just without the rest of the story.

On its own, the book is a cute holiday novella and perfect if you’re looking for something light-hearted and short. As a story, though, there isn’t much plot and it comes off like I described earlier; like an extended epilogue. There are numerous references to Chase and Marisol’s past, and since I have no knowledge of that past, I was confused by some of the story. Not only that, but since their relationship was established in Possess, there’s really no development between them. It felt more like peeking in a neighbor’s window rather than actually knowing them.

The steam is light, but good for what’s there. It’s well-written and what I know of the characters, I liked. However, considering there’re no conflicts, Marisol is barely on the page and most of the book is Chase’s inner-monologue, it was just too slow and dull for me to really enjoy it.

I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

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Hard For Her – Sienna Ciles

hard for her

Hard For Her
221 pages

DNF at 29% (skimmed the remainder)

Holly is back on the market after leaving her fiancé for putting his job before her. She’s set-up on a blind date by her best friend, but is embarrassed when the guy stands her up. In swoops “handsome, stylish, charming young man”, Alex, to the rescue. He buys her a drink or five and takes her back to his place where they knock boots even though Holly’s ‘never done anything like this before’ and she’s ‘not that kind of girl’. Holly wakes the next morning to find a note from Alex that he had a work thing and would be back ASAP, and she leaves hurt because he put his job before her, just like her ex.

giphy (14)

I started skimming at the 29% mark because I couldn’t stand the elementary writing style. The flow wasn’t organic and I couldn’t get into the story. It felt like every object, person, piece of lint in the room was being described to me, it was that excessive. And the adjectives. God, the adjectives, so many unnecessary and repetitive adjectives. Here’s a taste: “…glancing over at me with his deep, seductively captivating blue eyes.” Not too bad, but imagine reading stuff like that every two paragraphs. It was too much.

The characters were one-dimensional and nothing I learned about them came naturally. I don’t want to read that Alex is ‘six foot one, 215 pounds with bright blue eyes and a build like his father’s’ all in one paragraph. And I definitely don’t need it repeated back to me ad nauseam. I’m reading a book, not a match.com dating profile. Even worse, I didn’t care for the characters. Alex was a wimp that couldn’t figure out how to tell his assistant, big-boobed (I was reminded of that fact every time she was on page. Every. Time.) Alicia, to stop sexually harassing him. And Holly was childish and irrational. She runs away to Virginia after a misunderstanding? The juvenile banter between her and her best friend didn’t help endear her to me, it just annoyed me that she was an adult woman speaking like a teenager.

The plot isn’t interesting, the writing is hard to get through, and the intimate scenes are corny. Pass on this one.

I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

One More Night – Rebecca Hunter

one more night

One More Night
221 pages

4 ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Alice is settling down for a meal at a pub in Stockholm when a man approaches her. He introduces himself as Jonas Hällström, an author whose manuscript she happens to be looking at. What at first seems like a sexy and intense man hoping to convince Alice to buy his book, turns out to be much different. In fact, Alice caught Jonas’s eye at a book expo earlier that day, so when he sees her at the pub, he’s eager to meet her. Thus begins their passionate love affair that spans three countries and several months.

Jonas is a romantic yet tortured hero with little faith in himself and Alice is just going through the motions of life, afraid of trusting the wrong man. Common sense is telling them that getting involved isn’t right, but their chemistry is too intense to fight. The characters are likable, but both have troubled pasts that are still somewhat in the dark to the reader even by the end of the book.

The segues from each portion of the story are awkward and leave the reader with a lot of questions of what happened in the interim. It doesn’t detract from the romance and intimacy of the story, but it interrupts the flow and experience of getting to know the characters. And by the ending, I was left feeling a little unsure of their future. A more thorough/concise epilogue may have changed that.

Despite some issues with the format, the book is a nice change from the typical ‘ex-con pursues good girl’ trope and is definitely worth the read.

I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Unorthodox Dom – Lilah E. Noir

unorthodox dom

Unorthodox Dom
66 pages

4 ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Unorthodox Dom is a prequel to Unorthodox Therapy, the first book in the Unorthodox Trilogy, but it can be read as a standalone.

Prior to the events that happened between Lina and Thomas in Unorthodox Therapy, Thomas was an insecure young man looking to expand his horizons into BDSM. UD follows his relationship with Kat, his first sub-turned-girlfriend, and gives insight into how she impacted his life. Despite few scenes containing Lina (heroine of Unorthodox Therapy), Thomas’s obsession with her is evident. For a time he manages to refocus his efforts on Kat, but anytime he sees Lina, she unwittingly tempts his demons, leaving Thomas feel dirty as if he had emotionally cheated on Kat.

Much of the story is centered on the process of Thomas training to become a dom, so sex permeates the plot, but not overwhelmingly so. It’s a short, entertaining story if you’re in the mood for something more erotic. Personally, I wish there had been just a bit more of Lina in the story. I missed her.

There is scene that can be construed as MFF, but isn’t technically a menàge, so keep that in mind.

I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Dating My Friend’s Daughter – Penny Wylder

**Release Date: November 21, 2017**

dating my friend's daughter

Dating My Friend’s Daughter

Novella length

4 ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Michael Foster walks into work one day to find an alluring redhead waiting at reception. Running late for a meeting with his business partner, Jack, he’s unable to meet her. That is, until Jack is introducing said redhead, Cora, to Michael as their new intern – and his daughter.

There’s a lot of sex. The plot is thin, but what’s there is interesting. Michael and Cora don’t spend much time getting to know each other… at least, non-sexually. Getting a feel for their love is difficult, but their physical chemistry is powerful and convincing.

It’s a quick, entertaining read that’ll come in handy if you’re trying to ‘get in the mood’.

I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Mr. Control – Maya Hughes

mr. control

Mr. Control
Full-length novel

4 ⭐⭐⭐⭐

One awful afternoon, down-on-her-luck Mel happens to meet a little girl named Esme. Mel’s unable to find Esme’s parents, so she takes her to the diner where she works. When well-known billionaire, Rhys, walks in, heads turn. Mel soon finds out that Esme is in fact Rhys’s daughter and Rhys soon after makes her an offer she can’t refuse… well, she tries to refuse, but he’s all alpha about not letting her so she doesn’t.

Right off the bat, Rhys’s need for control is evident, but Mel isn’t a pushover so there’s a constant push-and-pull. Their silent battles are overwhelming, but sexy. Rhys has this way of speaking into Mel’s ear from behind that just *shudders* gets me every time. As desirable Rhys was, he still managed to eff things up, of course. But Mel doesn’t just roll over and take it. She’s proactive and resilient, and I think that was my favorite thing about the story: Mel’s strength.

The ending is a bit rushed, and for as strong as Mel was, Rhys could’ve/should’ve groveled more. *Subtle Spoilers* The reader is given insight into Mel’s suffering, but not much on Rhys, the one I wanted to see suffer (because like it or not, both of their pain was Rhys’s fault). He even refused acceptance of the gifts and letters Mel sent Esme. No no no, that’s beyond harsh and slap-worthy. But alas, no slaps. 😦

I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Toy – Normandie Alleman & J. Chase

**Release Date: November 14, 2017**

toy

Toy
Full-length Novel

1 ⭐

Marisol has one last chance to keep her job as a journalist for a tabloid magazine, and her best shot is by interviewing rich playboy, Park. But Park isn’t interested in just answering questions for free. No, he wants her body.

I had to force- FORCE- myself to finish this book, it drove me that nuts. For starters, Park was an absolute douchehat. He basically held her job hostage unless she slept with him. He went out of his way to make Marisol uncomfortable and unhappy, all because he was playing a game and he had to win. And Marisol, God, she’s TSTL. She hardly stood up for herself, whimpered or teared up every other page, and her issues with Park were always resolved as such: ‘Grrr, I’m super angry at you oh wait you want to bang me? All’s forgotten!’ No. Just… no.

The plot was just nothing but convenient coincidences and really incompetent villains. *Subtle Spoilers* Example: One villain is so stupid she basically admits, ‘yeah, I did this crime for money and power and your stupid Marisol is just too sweet and loyal and in love with you to betray you herself’. That’s how the author chose to resolve a disagreement between the H/h? Ugh. And then! Two women that were capital ‘C’s to Marisol and Park help save the day at the end? And one just happens to have a dad in the FBI and the other is a genius hacker? Gahhhhhhhh!

Two things I really hate are when a story’s main conflict is a matter of poor communication between the H/h (not the only conflict in this story, but a big one) and when the day is saved by unbelievable coincidences just to save the plot. And this book had both.

I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Obscura – Jaden Wilkes

obscura

Obscura
201 pages

3 ⭐⭐⭐

Obscura is about a university student that gets attacked and violently- and I mean, violently– raped on campus. After a long recovery in the hospital, she is now faced with rebuilding her life whilst crippled with anxiety and fears of anything beyond her mother’s home. Obscura is raw in its confrontation of rape and the debilitations that linger after an attack. It’s not always pretty, but it impresses upon the fact that it’s necessary.

This book is difficult to rate. On one hand, it’s well-written and engaging. I admire Wilkes’ ability to describe very traumatic events without making it overly disturbing, but just enough to shake you. On the other hand, this is a psychological thriller, so of course there’s a pretty significant twist. Unfortunately for me, I figured it out a third of the way into the book. After that point, I was too preoccupied with getting to the reveal to really focus on the story. I was hyper-aware of all clues that seemed to confirm my suspicions about the ending, and I think that prevented me from absorbing the story’s full impact.

I highly recommend going in blind. Trigger warning: rape, extreme violence, references to pedophilia.

Sidenote: But Ms. Wilkes, if you read this, please know that I and others would love to have a Serial IV. Seriously, that story is amazingly depraved and I love it.

I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Single Dad’s Sweetheart – Amelia Wilde

single dad's sweetheart

Single Dad’s Sweetheart
Full-length novel

4 ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Shira’s controlling parents are taking a month-long vacation, leaving her in charge of their candy store while they’re gone. Famous rock musician Wilder’s wife died in a tragic hit-and-run a year and a half ago, and raising his two year old daughter, Isabella, alone can be frustrating. He unfortunately takes that frustration out on poor Shira while visiting her candy shop, but once he gets a good look at her he knows he has to have her.

The story is a perfect combination of sweet and sexy. The way Shira interacts with Isabella is cute and endearing, but it’s the way she manages to make Wilder smile that’s really impressive. The smallest things about her draw his buried happiness to the surface. It takes Wilder time to come out of his shell and let Shira in, but his desire to keep her and protect her is strong and immediate.

There were a few things within the plot that were mentioned and then dropped that I really wanted more insight to, but the main one was this:
*Possible Spoiler*
*Wilder is referencing a beer he’s drinking* “It’s nothing like the vodka I drank straight from the bottle after Courtney died. After I found her note.”

What note? I got the vibe that there was going to be some explanation that Courtney actually killed herself and it wasn’t an accident, but the ‘note’ is never explained nor mentioned again. Maybe I read too much into it, but I finished the story anticipating Wilder opening up to Shira about Courtney’s death and how it affected him, but it never came.

I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Damaged – Willow Winters

**Release Date: November 14, 2017**

damaged

Damaged
300 pages

5 ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

*Warning: This book ends on a serious cliffhanger.*

Evan and Kat are on the outs thanks to a tabloid photo showing him leaving his boss’s wife’s hotel room at 3am. Evan insists it isn’t what it looks like. Kat doesn’t believe him, but she isn’t sure if he’s lying about just that or if something even worse happened. He wants to save the marriage, but she’s convinced they’re leading different lives and should divorce.

I couldn’t put this book down. I felt like I was watching two actual people, not characters, slowly cracking until finally the facade gives and they shatter. It’s so real it’s ugly. Almost the entire plot focuses on Evan and Kat’s push and pull, with a bit of work drama for Evan and a dash of other man drama for Kat. That description might give you the impression that it moves slowly, but it doesn’t. Too many emotions are involved for it to be anything less than absolutely consuming.

These two people are in love. Deep, torturous, can’t breathe, can’t sleep without you love. But love isn’t everything and neither Evan nor Kat are perfect. Kat is determined to not give Evan another chance. She’s lost all trust in him and is tired of him working such a ‘shady’ job. Evan manages to get through her walls a few times, but once the moment’s over, she’s just as stubborn as before, and I’m glad for that. Evan may not have done what the tabloids claim, but he really screwed up and deserves her pushing him away. I wanted to find him more sympathetic, but he was just too immature. He was all words and little action, until it was too late. Maybe I’m a vengeful person (ok, I am), but he made a conscious decision to do the things he did and boy, he needs some serious self-reflection before even trying to win Kat back.

Some people don’t like when authors continue the same series over two books, but Damaged needs a sequel. There’s no way to emotionally connect to the characters and plot and then have a resolution in only one book. My only mistake was reading book one before the release of book two.

I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review.