Review: Beautiful Surrender, by Priscilla West

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Part of a series? Yes.

Cliffhanger? No, it’s the last installment in a three book series.

Category: Adult.

Genre: Contemporary Romance.

Self-published.

Pages: 132.

Blurb:

“What gives you a thrill Kristen?”

The conclusion to the Surrender Series by Priscilla West.

No one is who they seem to be.

Kristen let Vincent into her heart because he seemed so different from everyone in her conservative world of wealth management. She thought they shared something special, but when she realizes that Vincent has been playing her the entire time, her heart is crushed.

As Kristen’s relationship with Vincent reaches a crisis point, a man from Kristen’s past returns looking for a second chance. Is her ex-boyfriend really looking for redemption or is his goal something more sinister?

Kristen struggles to hold herself together, until she discovers a revelation that will change everything.

 

ADD IT TO GOODREADS

 

REVIEW:

I received this book via Netgalley for an honest review.

This last installment in the series is how I predicted it would be. I’ve read the three books in the series in 3 days. Each installment is rather short so in a matter of a few hours I was able to finish them.

When I was finished with the second installment, I was afraid that the author would unleash everything regarding Marty’s plot at once and resolve the issues between Vincent and Kristen fast.

That’s what happens here.

The sub-plot regarding Marty should have been interesting and thrilling in a creepy way. In the end, I was just a spectator of it all, from afar and not feeling very invested. I’m not going to say that I didn’t feel at all for Kristen and Vincent at one point, but the whole thing lacks emotions.

The emotions in the series and especially in this last installment are not developed enough. Everything is told, but not showed. Sometimes I couldn’t even believe in the dialogues. More descriptions, more characterizations would have been very much welcomed.

That doesn’t mean the author isn’t talented, but I think this series could have, should have even, been more developed to fully explore everything from the characters to the plots and sub-plots. The execution is lacking and this last installment disappoints me.

The more I think about it, the more I feel frustrated. In the end, the whole “forbidden“ aspect of Vincent and Kristen’s relationship isn’t used. It’s told several times that she’s not supposed to date him because of her work, etc, but in the end we don’t see any issue with it, we don’t see any consequence. Wasn’t it supposed to be the appeal of this story?

The issues pilling up between Vincent and Kristen just vanish too. Just with one talk. Just one. In my opinion it’s not enough and it negatively impacts the characterization of both main characters.

Also, starting this last installment with a flashback completely breaks the rhythm of the series. It’s a little maddening to be honest. Just like the very small part with Vincent’s POV. I don’t see the purpose, not really at least.

Honestly, it’s a miss for me. I see the potential, see the material for an epic and amazing love story, but I can’t feel any emotions, don’t care that much for the characters and the plot and subplots aren’t well-used and aren’t that well-built.

If you’re looking for a short series, something you’re going to read fast and easily, something that isn’t necessarily deeply emotional, but has hot sex scenes then maybe this series is for you. I was probably expecting something else and that’s why I end up being so disappointed.

 

RATING:

2.5 to 3 for the effort. I almost rated it 2 stars.

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Review: Secret Surrender, by Priscilla West

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Part of a series? Yes.

Cliffhanger? Yes.

Category: Adult.

Genre: Contemporary Romance with some erotic scenes.

Self-published.

Pages: 224.

Blurb:

“What gives you a thrill Kristen?”

I knew that giving in to Vincent Sorenson was a risk, but it was one I was willing to take. I had hidden my heart for so long and for the first time in a long time, Vincent was close to breaking down the walls.

When a trip to Vincent’s exclusive private island reveals the real Vincent underneath the layers of suave nonchalance, I thought we were close to the start of something special.

Just when things were looking up for us, I would discover the one secret that Vincent never intended for me to find.

 

ADD IT TO GOODREADS

 

REVIEW:

I received this book via Netgalley for an honest review.

This second installment has me a little annoyed with Kristen which I find more whining and demanding than I expected. Granted, I understand her behavior to a certain extent, but to be honest her doubts and tears annoyed me pretty fast in this installment.

I still don’t know what to expect from Vincent and I think his characterization is pretty weak. There’s nothing deep so far and many scenes were not detailed which would have otherwise helped his characterization and even Kristen’s.

Though, the sex scenes are very much detailed! In fact, I think these sex scene while very hot and well-written, take too much space in the story instead of the plot and twists. When I think back to what happened so far between Kristen and Vincent, other than the sex I can’t exactly find anything worth mentioning.

Even though the installments in this series are rather short, I think that doesn’t mean the plot, twists and even sub-plots should be overlooked. There is material for something wonderful here and unfortunately the execution is lacking that little something to win me over.

The writing is simple but efficient, the emotions not exactly always reaching out to me and the chemistry between Vincent and Kristen not that interesting to be honest. That’s also because I would have loved something that would have gripped me more firmly, something that would have made my heart flutter instead of just showing me how horny these characters are.

Also, the relationship is getting serious so fast! At least, Kristen is getting serious quite fast. Once again, I don’t understand the evolution here and somehow it’s really frustrating for me. Kristen comes across as insecure and weak which I didn’t peg her that way after reading the first installment.

The whole “sub-plot“ with Marty isn’t developed and I don’t think it’s wise to leave it only for the last installment. There’s no build up there too. There should have been some build up to make the reading experience thrilling and to make us/me fear for Kristen and Vincent’s relationship but also for Kristen’s security. Here, there’s only info dump about him and no real twist or evolution.

The ending was predictable and not that great. I am going to read the last installment very soon, but I’m not sure that I will finally see what I’m craving: something emotional beyond the sex between Vincent and Kristen, something that would finally make me believe in them.

I’m still unsure if my expectations were too high or if my genuine disappointment is justified. I guess it depends if you’re expecting some real contemporary romance on the hot side that will sweep you off your feet or if you’re expecting a contemporary romance with hot scenes just to chill during the weekend.

 

RATING:

 

3

Review: Forbidden Surrender, by Priscilla West

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Part of a series? Yes.

Cliffhanger? There’s no real end, but I can’t exactly qualify the ending as a cliffhanger.

Category: Adult.

Genre: Contemporary Romance.

Self-published.

Pages: 218.

Blurb:

“What gives you a thrill Kristen?”

The minute I saw Vincent Sorenson, I knew he was trouble. Billionaire. Bad boy. And dangerously sexy. He was everything I craved, and nothing I needed.

Unfortunately, I couldn’t just avoid him. The higher ups at my company decided they needed his business, and I was on the team to bring him in. Vincent Sorenson didn’t seem as interested in business as he was in me, but I knew that was a door better left unopened. If I got involved with him, it would only unearth the pain I spent years trying to bury.

I thought I had it under control, but I seriously underestimated Vincent’s seductive charm and silver-tongue. I would soon find out how delicious it would feel to let myself fall into this forbidden surrender.

 

ADD IT TO GOODREADS.

 

Review:

 

I received this book via Netgalley for an honest review.

This book is the first one in the Surrender trilogy, it’s fast paced and is built in such a way that it’s best to have the other books ready on your reading app because this first installment can’t be read as a standalone. More like an introduction.

I have mixed feelings about this book. I enjoyed reading it and even finished it in a few short hours, but I couldn’t shake that feeling of déjà vu. I know that the same tropes have been used countless times in contemporary romance novels and I don’t mind it as long as the characters have that something extra that makes it thrilling to follow them. Though here I think it’s a little bit cliché. I’ll try to explain myself even though it’s complicated to sort out my thoughts on this first installment.

This installment is fairly short which means that the action, the plot and the characters have to be interesting and the author needs to settle things pretty fast. Here, I think the author navigated well in introducing the characters to us, but unfortunately the characters come across as a cliché right now. I don’t mind clichés as long as I have that little spark, that little something sometimes I’m unable to explain, that wins me over. Here, I’m still undecided which makes it rather difficult to rate this book and review it.

While I like Kristen’s background and enjoy how her past is hinted at and I look forward to see it colliding with the present, she’s a little too much like the usual female main characters out there. She’s more shadowing the male character than actually taking actions. I don’t know, somehow I would have loved to see her struggling a little more when it comes to Vincent to make it more believable that it’s a “forbidden surrender’’. I think more build up would have been wonderful and would have won me over completely. And it would have given more power to Kristen and subsequently would have enforced her characterization. Of course, it’s my opinion.

When it comes to Vincent, I’m more unsure of what to think. Somehow, he’s just like the usual CEO borderline “alpha-male“ but at the same time there’s that hint at a bad-boy persona. That’s quite an heady cocktail, but here it’s not fully working on me. I like the little mysteries surrounding him that were hinted at throughout the book, but I’m not fully invested in his story with Kristen to fully be drawn. I think I don’t see enough of that spark between Vincent and Kristen to fully care. Once again, maybe it’s because I have an off day or something. I’m pretty sure I’m one of very few thinking that way.

The plot itself doesn’t evolve much in this installment. Aside from the very short seducing game between Vincent and Kristen, there’s nothing much happening. Many things are hinted at which makes me think of this book as an introduction and not exactly as a full story. That’s an interesting choice made by the author and that also means I’m going to read the next book now because I’m not sure to remember this first installment in a few weeks.

The secondary characters, mainly Riley, are interesting. They’re supporting Kristen’s characters quite well and add some dimension to the story.

The writing of this author is good. I don’t see anything bad even though maybe I would have loved to actually feel more emotions here and there. Somehow, I felt like I was kept at arms’ length.

There’re all the perfect ingredients to make this trilogy really addictive and I hope the next installment will kick start things a little more and fully win me over. I’ll keep my fingers crossed!

What do you think of Vincent?

 

Rating:

3.5 to 4 (I hesitated between 3 and 4 stars).

 

Review: Blue Lines, by Toni Aleo

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Part of a series? Yes.

Cliffhanger? No.

Category: Adult.

Genre: Contemporary Romance. Sports.

Publisher: Loveswept – Random House.

Pages: 384

Blurb:

Opposites do more than just attract in Toni Aleo’s latest Nashville Assassins novel about a very bad boy and the good girl he can’t resist.

The instant Piper Allen sees Erik Titov, she wants him—wants his rock-hard body, sure, but the strength and mystery that lies behind that superstar hockey jock demeanor, too. So when he sidles up to her at a bar and slinks his arm around her waist, she’s lost. What follows is the wildest night of her life . . . followed by inevitable heartbreak the next morning. And then, a few weeks later, a very big surprise: two blue lines on a pregnancy test.

Only a check to the head could make Erik fall for a nice girl like Piper. But since their crazy-sexy night together, he’s been trying to forget about her alluring body by falling into bed with every woman in Nashville, and it’s not working. So when Piper shows up at his house with a baby-bomb to drop, it doesn’t take much for Erik to suggest the nuclear option: marriage. While it’s supposed to be all for show, the second they say “I do,” the ice between them starts to melt into sizzling steam.

Includes a special message from the editor, as well as excerpts from these Loveswept titles: Taking Shots, Trying to Score, and Empty Net.

 

ADD IT TO GOODREADS

 

REVIEW:

 

I received this book via Netgalley for an honest review.

This book isn’t the first one I’ve read by this author. In fact, I remember when I discovered her very first books a few years ago and that’s when I truly realized how I can’t resist Romance novels featuring a hot hockey player. 😉

As usual, the author created a great love story. The characters have their flaws, their hang-ups and screw-ups, but that’s what make them so likable. I can understand them and I truly felt invested in Erik and Piper’s story.

The writing style is pretty flawless. It flows perfectly, the narration is interesting and works well, the dialogues don’t seem forced or fake, the descriptions aren’t overdone and don’t break the rhythm of the story. Honestly, when it comes to Toni Aleo’s writing here, I can’t exactly find something to criticize.

The plot itself is pretty classic, but that’s also why it works so well. The dynamic between the main characters is great even though too repetitive for me. I like the pull and push things going on between characters, but I like it more when circumstances are adding more obstacles triggering the push and pull dynamic. Here, I think it’s too centered on Erik’s issues without putting his issues into perspective with some things that could have happened other than his relationship with Piper evolving. I think it’s too reductive and puts a dampen on the characterization. But honestly, I still had a hard time putting this book down so it’s probably me asking too much like often when it comes to my favorite authors. 😉

As usual, I love the secondary characters. In this series the author created a real little world with hockey as background and I love it tremendously. Though, I’m not going to lie, I would have loved to see a little bit more hockey in this book. Would have been nice.

Also, sometimes I think Piper went a little easy on Erik. I understand her and where her heart is, but still. Somehow it bugged me a few times. That’s also why I wanted to yell at Erik and that’s when I know I’m really into a book.

I’m not disappointed by this addition to the series and I still think that this series is a must read in the genre.

What do you think of Erik? Book Boyfriend material?

 

RATING:

4

Review: The Real Thing, by Cassie Mae

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Part of a series? No.

Category: New Adult.

Genre: Contemporary Romance.

Publisher: Flirt

Pages: 289

Blurb:

In this electrifying novel from New Adult sensation Cassie Mae, two close friends surprise themselves by shifting from platonic love to sexual attraction.

Eric Matua has one friend—his best friend and childhood sweetheart, who needs a place to stay for the summer. Mia Johnson has thousands of friends—who live in her computer. Along with her email chats and Facebook notifications, Mia also devours romance novels, spending countless hours with fictional characters, dreaming of her own Romeo to sweep her off her feet. When she starts receiving supersweet messages from a stranger who thinks she’s someone else, Mia begins to believe that real love is possible outside her virtual world.

When the two friends become roommates, Mia finds herself falling harder than she ever thought she could. But Eric keeps his desires locked away, unsure of himself and his ability to give his best friend what she deserves in a boyfriend. As her advances are continually spurned, Mia splits her time between Eric and her computer. But she soon realizes she’s about to lose the only real thing she’s ever had.

 

ADD IT TO GOODREADS

 

REVIEW:

 

I received this book via Netgalley for an honest review.

I don’t know you, but I’m always a sucker for stories featuring best friends turned lovers. It’s always fun and thrilling to see their struggles from going from best friends to more. In this book, the cuteness was ever present, but the emotions lacked until the last 20% or so. At least, that’s how it felt for me.

It’s a cute story. If there’s something to keep in mind, it’s that. Eric and Mia are cute, good together and have a few funny scenes quite enjoyable. Though, I wasn’t expecting that “chick-lit” vibe at all.

That’s quite strange to be honest. The book is told from both characters’ POV and while I could see a slight different between the two narrations, it’s really difficult to perceive. I’m talking about the voice of the story, not at all the characterization.

Speaking of the characterization… I can’t fault the author there. She made great job at portraying them both, at showing us Eric’s hang-ups and Mia annoying as all Hell behavior. I could understand them to a certain extent, but unfortunately I had a very hard time liking Mia for most of this book. That ruined a little my reading pleasure.

The plot itself is pretty straight-forward and while I do think it’s well-built as it is, the consequences, the twists and sub-plots didn’t play out enough for my liking. In a way, I would have loved a little bit more ups and downs instead of always circling back to Eric’s issues. That way I think I would have been even more moved by Eric and Mia.

Though, them together really work. They’re cute and even hot at times. I could feel their friendship through it all and that’s not an easy fit!

The writing is flowing well, the descriptive parts aren’t too long and the dialogue parts don’t seem off tune. The whole story is pretty dynamic.

If I’m not rating this book more it’s because I enjoyed it, but didn’t love it. I was really annoyed with Mia for a very long time, I even thought I would need to take a break and read something else at one point. But still, I enjoyed it, just not as much as I was hoping for.

If you’re looking for a cute story, something about friends becoming lovers, then maybe this book is for you.

Is/will Eric be your next book boyfriend?

 

RATING:

3 to 3.5

Review: Until Alex, by J. Nathan

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Part of a series? No.

Cliffhanger? No.

Category: New Adult.

Genre: Contemporary Romance.

Self-published.

Pages: 312.

Blurb:

On the outside, Hayden is every girl’s fantasy, brooding and devastatingly gorgeous. He spends his nights losing himself in alcohol and faceless girls, but it’s all just a facade. An elaborate cover for the emotionless shell of a man he is. One who harbors too many secrets and destroys lives the way his was destroyed. It’s the reason he avoids relationships and keeps everyone at arm’s length…

Until Alex

Alex’s life just shattered into a million pieces, leaving her with more grief than she knows what to do with and guilt so deep it’s destroyed the carefree girl she once was. Now she’s hundreds of miles from home, living with an aunt she doesn’t know, finishing senior year at a college she’s never been to, and trying desperately to get through a single day without breaking down. She’s never felt more alone in her life…

Until Hayden

The trouble with Hayden is who he wants to be and who he is are in constant flux. And though he’d die before letting Alex learn the truth about him, he can’t be sure he’s strong enough to let her in…or push her away. She’s the one person who just might see the real him.

 

ADD IT TO GOODREADS

 

REVIEW:

I received this book via Netgalley for an honest review.

This book really got to me. As soon as I was finished with the prologue, I was hooked and my heart was already hurting for Hayden. Right away I knew the author’s writing would leave a mark on me.

It’s been a while since I last felt so much for the characters in books. I often want to read more of the stories, want to know what happens next and such, but to actually feel pain for them, it’s not often that it happens.

Hayden and Alex are amazing. Both characters have that little something that makes me feel attached to them, as if I can actually understand them on a deeper level which means only one thing: the author polished the characterization close to perfection. These characters felt real for me. 🙂

Moreover, I’m one to love flawed characters, broken ones. Their journey to find themselves and get better is what I love the most in books. Here in this book it’s exactly what I witnessed. Hayden is hard to understand at times because his head and heart aren’t at the same place for a long while and even though I understand where he’s coming from, at one point it started to be downright frustrating. That’s the only thing that prevents me from rating this novel higher.

Alex is quite amazing too. With all the pain she’s going through? I can only be in awe and think that the author really didn’t spare her at all! She’s both strong and vulnerable and easily relatable to. At least, that’s how I perceived her.

Hayden and Alex’s connection is interesting and while the attraction seems fast, them acting on it takes a very long time, just like it would be in real life. I mean, their relationship is built in such a way that I understood their hot and cold routine. And I liked it for the most part.

Also, there are quite a few swoon-worthy lines in this book and that only adds that little touch to make me sigh happily. Seriously, I was completely lost to Hayden and Alex.

The plot itself kept throwing twists and turns my way to the point of making it quite thrilling to discover what would happen next, all the while keeping me on my toes as to how and what would happen to the main characters. Some sub-plots could have been a little bit more developed or at least dealt with a little more because I think it leaves us without a true end. But I’m really being picky here.

The writing of this author is pretty flawless. The dialogue and narrative parts flowed perfectly, nothing seemed out of place and the rhythm of the novel was never broken. I can see real talent here.

I’m happy I discovered this book and I will keep an eye on this author.

What do you think of Hayden?

 

RATING:

4.5 to 20131028-173205.jpg

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Review: Alpha Part One, by Abby Weeks

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Part of a series? Yes, it’s a serial.

Cliffhanger? Not exactly, but there’s no end as it is a serial.

Category: supposed to be an erotica serial.

Genre: Contemporary.

Self-published.

Pages: 64

Blurb:

Who is Holden West?
I’m not who you think I am.
Looks can be deceiving.
I’m good-looking, but I’m not a ladies man.
I’m beyond wealthy, but no one knows it.
I’m confident, but my heart has been broken.

Find out who Holden West really is through the eyes of Lucy Mayfair, the struggling waitress who works at his favorite diner. When she first meets Holden, all she sees is a tough, rugged auto mechanic who seems to carry a certain sadness wherever he goes. What she soon finds out is that there is more to Holden than she ever would have guessed.

 

ADD IT TO GOODREADS

 

REVIEW:

 

I received this book via Netgalley for an honest review.

This book is the first part of a serial and while I’m starting to warm up to serials, this one completely missed the mark for me.

I hate writing negative reviews and I’m sure many other readers will not feel the same. After all, we’re all different and sometimes our reading tastes don’t match, so please keep in mind that it’s only my opinion.

That being out of the way now, I’m going to be brutally honest. I really disliked this book.

It’s rare when it happens, but when it happens, I just want to put it aside and forget. While the premise caught my attention, the execution is quite messy. At this point, I can’t even see what the author is trying to do and where the plot is going or even how it’s built. I know, it’s rather harsh, but I truly think this book should have been more polished to better showcase the plot and also the set of characters.

I’m one to enjoy stories told from no more than 2 POVs and in this very short first installment, there are several POVs. Right out of the bat I can tell you there are at least 4 POVs. 4. Without order or anything.

Also, the different voices aren’t interesting. The different narrations are long, flat and don’t exactly reflect the characters’ voice. It’s the issue I think turned me off the most.

Also, while I love Lucy and Holden’s pasts and the fact that they’re not truly interacting with each other yet, I think the author doesn’t delve deep enough in their characterization. I think the issue comes mainly from the multiple POVs and the weak narration. Otherwise, I’m pretty sure I could have been caught up in this story.

I like the few hints about the sub-plots, but the stakes don’t feel high enough for the main characters to actually make me want to read more of this serial. I should be curious at least, but I’m not that much. Probably because some of Lucy’s inner musings were quite repetitive which is, again, an issue that turned me off. Since the format is short, it’s difficult to have repetitions and not expect the readers to be frustrated and annoyed by this.

I’m not going to write more, but truly, this book missed the mark for me and it saddens me. I’m usually quite easy to please when it comes to books so it’s always difficult for me write such a review. Maybe you’ll enjoy it and think I’m crazy for disliking this book. 🙂

 

RATING:

 

1.5 to 20140103-095135.jpg for the effort.