Review: Beyond Repair, by Charlotte Stein

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Part of a series? No.

Category: Adult with some explicit sex scenes. (Some classified it as erotica).

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Publisher: Ellora’s Cave

Pages: 164

Blurb:

When Alice Evans finds a bona fide movie star on the floor of her living room, she has no idea what to do. Ordinary men are frightening enough, never mind someone as famous and frankly gorgeous as Holden Stark.

However, once she realizes that Holden is suffering behind that famous facade, she knows she has to help. He needs someone like her to give him a taste of sweetness and desire and love. He needs normality. The only problem—Alice is hiding a secret that is far from normal. In fact, her name isn’t even Alice at all.

And once Holden finds out, the intense connection they are just beginning to build may well be torn apart.

A Romantica® contemporary erotic romance from Ellora’s Cave

 

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REVIEW:

I received this book via Netgalley for an honest review.

This standalone book completely caught me off guard. I wasn’t expecting to love it that much, to laugh or to actually fan myself when the hot scenes started.

Beyond Repair shows two characters not necessarily broken, but lost. They’re lost and in pain and use each other to forget the real world, the world outside of Alice’s home. It’s well-brought by the author and even though the scenes are almost exclusively taking place in Alice’s house, it’s not repetitive.

Holden and Alice have a really different chemistry that you can find in books like this one. They’re not going at it immediately, in fact it takes a little while and I enjoyed this very much, they’re also not necessarily opening up easily to each other and yet they do have an instant connection. They’re both very much into weird talk with some geeky references that made me smile a lot. Also, Alice’s weirdness is very fun to read and consequently the way Holden rolls with it is what completely won me over almost instantly.

The plot is very centered on Holden and Alice and I like it. I thought I would get bored at one point, but no. I enjoyed reading their relationship evolving and the way it did. It’s both sweet and completely hot. Let me tell you, Charlotte Stein wrote some very hot scenes here, without them seeming vulgar or over the top.

What happened to Alice is pretty clear early on, at least I picked up on it early on, but it didn’t ruin my reading pleasure at all. In fact, I was even more eager to see how she’d talk about it and while I do think it’s well-done, somehow I was expecting to feel something more.

The writing of the author is great in this book. It didn’t take me long to get into this story and to buy Alice’s voice. It’s very well done. The descriptions aren’t slowing down the rhythm of the story, the dialogues are flowing perfectly and are quite funny. I can’t seem to find a flaw other than the end that is, in my opinion a little fast.

For a long while we see Alice and Holden being sort of friends and then more, but it takes a really long time. Don’t get me wrong, that’s the thing I love the most in this book because it feels natural. But if I compare the way the plot and the relationship happen and how long it took, I think the ending is a little bit rushed. I couldn’t feel the warmth in my heart anymore, or the ache and fear for Alice and Holden’s relationship. I think a few more pages would have been welcomed. But honestly, I’m being a little picky.

What do you think of Holden? Which book by this author would you recommend me?

 

RATING:

4 to 4.5

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Review: More Than Words, by Lilly Avalon

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Part of a series? Yes.

Cliffhanger? No.

Category: Adult.

Genre: Contemporary Romance (with a few sex scenes)

Self-published

Pages: 67

Blurb:

All of her friends know her as Dana Darling, the clean romance writer. She’s never written a steamy novel, not even in her head, but now her publisher needs her to write one. It doesn’t appear too difficult at first, but then Dana’s lack of sexual knowledge creates writer’s block.

That’s where her friend Landon comes in. She needs pointers on positions and dirty talk, and he owes her a favor. They agree that it’s strictly business and clothes are mandatory, but once they get to work, it’s another story entirely… one that’s being written between the sheets and not on paper.

*More Than Words is an erotica novella*

 

ADD IT TO GOODREADS

 

REVIEW:

I received this book via Netgalley for an honest review.

This the first novella in a series and is rather cute. I was hoping for something with more heat, something with a love story more thrilling, but it was a nice story to read.

I’m in the mood for novellas and serials these days, probably because I don’t have that much time to read, and this one really appealed to me. The premise makes it sound like a fun story and it is, to a certain extent. I didn’t laugh out loud if that’s what you’re wondering, but I did smiled a few times while reading.

The writing itself is efficient. It’s easy to read, fast paced and it flows pretty well. But it really is a short novella. In a way I think that’s the issue I have with More Than Words. I couldn’t really feel the main characters and their attraction to each other. Also, the sex scenes while nice aren’t that mind blowing. I’ve read better, I’m afraid.

The plot is straight forward which is a good thing considering the short length of this story and it holds pretty well on its own. The fast pace of the story makes it interesting and we’re not turning in circles. There’s no dull moment and there’s no time for the characters to doubts, to make mistakes or things like that. It really is a very straight forward story.

I was expecting some dilemma since the main characters are friends exploring a more physical aspect of their relationship, but it’s not there. I would have loved that and it could have been dealt with in ten pages or so. It’s the author’s choice of course, but I think it could have given a little more depth to this story and in turn I would have been way more invested.

But as I said, it’s a nice read. It’s perfect if you want something short and nice in between reads or when you don’t have much time to read. If you’re not expecting anything more than some distraction, then it could be a good choice.

To end this very short review, I’m a little disappointed. I was expecting more undeniable heat between the main characters, a real twist and some more depth when it comes to the characters and I didn’t find it or maybe I didn’t look in the right place.

 

RATING:

 

3 to 3.5

Review: The Stark Affair: Heat

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Part of a series? Yes, it’s the first part of a serial.

Cliffhanger? Not really.

Category: Adult.

Genre: Contemporary, Thriller, Romance

Self-published.

Pages: 126 (according to amazon)

Blurb:

Book 1 of the 4-book series THE STARK AFFAIR by Skylar Cross
Colton Stark is filthy rich. A billionaire playboy who drives fast and plays hard, he enjoys an endless stream of party girls… at his mansion, on his yacht, and in his private jet.
He’s also top of Miami-Dade Police Department’s list of suspected narcotics traffickers.
Tough girl cop Sofia grew up on the mean streets of Miami, unafraid to kick anyone’s ass. When asked to investigate Colton, she doesn’t even consider it a challenge.
Until she comes face-to-face with Colton Stark’s penetrating blue eyes.
After a steamy meeting at his South Beach club, Sofia finds herself playing a dangerous but sexy game with her own principles. As evidence mounts of Colton Stark’s dirty
dealings, together they spark a bonfire of passionate heat.

Mature content. 18+ only.

 

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REVIEW:

I received this book via Netgalley for an honest review.

This is the first part of The Stark Affair serial. It’s very, very short and ends on a sort of cliffhanger. As of right now I think I will read the second part out of curiosity, but I’m not that eager.

I enjoy it when characters have a strong voice and when we see their quirks, but here I find the characters just over the top. If only it was a comedy it would be fine, but it’s not and it ruins the overall dark atmosphere I think the author wanted to go for. I don’t know, maybe the next part will be better.

The last chapter is better in my opinion. Maybe because I have a better feel of the main characters instead of just being launched into it without even the time to warm up to the plot and characters. I think the author wanted to start the story too fast and that’s not something I say often. Usually, it’s the contrary.

The plot itself is a little bit different and yet not exactly unique. The whole investigation thing isn’t exactly unheard of, but the execution is slightly different. I wasn’t surprised, but I don’t think the author is going to take the easy way here and that’s a good thing. But, I’m afraid that it’s posing as a thriller when the plot isn’t exactly centered around the investigation. I’m going to keep an open mind for when and if I read the next installment.

The writing style is very simplistic. It’s easy to read, it’s quite fast paced but it took me a little while to start and “enjoy“ this first installment. I kept thinking that the writing was immature for the characters’ age and that the characters came off as, as I wrote above, over the top. Somehow it bothered me quite a bit.

I don’t really know what to think right now. I’m annoyed by the characters, by the writing not that thrilling and the way the main characters seem to be so, so attracted to each other and the stereotypes they’re representing but it’s not all bad. I’m not buying this story yet, but I think I will read the next part just because I’m curious about a few things. I guess it means this first part did the job. I just hope the author goes all the way in the second part, that she keeps the pace the last chapter started and that the story doesn’t fall into the overruling sex scenes to lack of plotline like I’m afraid of.

What do you think of Colton Stark?

 

RATING:

2.5 to 3

Review: Swept Away Part 3, J. Haymore

As of today, I don’t have the cover to add to the review. As soon as it’s revealed I will add it to my review. Thank you for your understanding. 

 

Part of a series? Yes, it’s the third part in a four-part serial.

Category: Adult.

Genre: Contemporary Romance Mysteries

Self-published.

Pages: 130

Blurb:

 

It’s yet another bomb. The past week has been full of them, exploding when least suspected. This one, though…this one shatters me. Like all the other bombs have combined into one nuclear missile, and Ethan has just rammed it into my chest.

Survival was what should’ve been foremost on my mind. But Ethan’s lies consumed me instead. I trusted him, and the devastation of his betrayal cut so deep, I was surprised I wasn’t bleeding.

Warning: Swept Away is a 4-part serial. This story is messy and twisted and very, very sexy. It is not for people under 18.

 

ADD IT TO GOODREADS

 

REVIEW:

I received this book via Netgalley for an honest review.

I really enjoyed this third part. There’s only one part left and I’m looking forward to it. Though, I do think that this part is a little bit more of a filler than the second one. But, that doesn’t mean nothing happened! Far from it. 😉

While reading this part I felt like the author truly was comfortable with her story and characters. Her descriptions weren’t overruling the rest, the rhythm was there, the plot was unraveling nicely and while I do think some things were a little too much for me, I can only praise the author the way she managed in keeping some mysteries while slowly but steadily revealing things to better anchor us, readers, for the final part.

The characters are interesting even though Ethan is maybe almost too perfect for me. Tara shows a little bit more of her pain, of her struggles and I enjoyed that. I’m just a little put off that she’s so easy to fall for Ethan, but it’s a matter of personal taste of course. And I must not forget that it’s a serial and things must happen fast in term of number of pages.

Kyle, the best friend, is still kept a little too much aside. He’s more mentioned than actively there in the story even though I enjoyed his little talk with Tara. It was really nice and showed him on a different light and I hope the author will keep that up in the last installment.

Am I rooting for Tara and Ethan? Yes, but I’m not necessarily overwhelmed by their romance. I enjoy them now, but I’m way more interested in the actual plot than in the romance. It doesn’t happen that often.

There are some things I see coming, some things I knew would happen in this installment, but I’m still completely riveted. I didn’t think it would happen after reading the first part, but this story slowly and sneakily wormed itself in my mind to stay until I can finally read this last part.

 

RATING:

4

Review: Swept Away Part 2, J. Haymore

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Part of a series? Yes, it’s the second part in a 4-part serial.

Cliffhanger? Yes.

Category: Adult.

Genre: Contemporary Romance Mysteries

Self-published.

Pages: 105

Blurb:

Ethan Williams is the worst man for me. The dangerous choice. The choice most likely to hurt me. Ethan will never give me the long-term happiness I yearn for.

Of course I choose him. He’s the bigger risk. The man I know very little about. The man who’s almost guaranteed me that he’ll do nothing but hurt me. That’s the one I want.

What the hell is wrong with me?

I was falling in love with Ethan—even though he was going to walk away from me forever in less than three weeks. But I wasn’t going to think about that. I’d enjoy this time we had together on the open ocean, then, once we got to Hawaii, I’d let him go. No regrets.

But Ethan’s secrets were deeper and darker than I could have ever imagined. I’d put my trust into someone who gave me almost nothing of himself.

And if I wasn’t careful, his secrets could kill me.

Warning: Swept Away is a 4-part serial. This story is messy and twisted and very, very sexy. It is not for people under 18.

 

ADD IT TO GOODREADS

 

REVIEW:

I received this book via Netgalley for an honest review.

This is part two in the Swept Away serial that counts 4 parts. While the first part partially won me over, this second part completely finished the job. I’m so glad to have the third part already because I can’t wait to read it!

As usual with serials, this part ends on a cliffhanger and while one half of the big revelation isn’t a surprise at all because I saw it coming from the very start, the second half of the revelation blindsided me. I’m very much looking forward to the third part. 🙂

In this second part we’re not spared. There’s no lull, the descriptions are way more vivid, way more purposeful in my opinion. The plot is tighter and takes a new turn, not once letting us off. The mysteries both thicken and yet unravel in a wonderful way. I truly enjoy the turn of events and while some things are a little too much for me, it’s a matter of personal taste, I still had a really good time with this second part.

The main characters, Tara and Ethan seem to be better characterized, and the secondary characters, while still a little too weak for me, seems to be a little more characterized too. I like that we’re able to see a little bit more of the sailing crew work.

The relationship between Tara and Ethan while a little fast is starting to slowly thaw me. I’m not fully buying it yet, but I do enjoy the way things are fast unraveling and my curiosity is picked as to know how things will evolve from now on.

The writing style is really good here. I think the author didn’t lose time describing things that don’t really have an importance and it’s a good improvement. I think now the story is on the right track, following the perfect upbeat rhythm.

I’m going to dive in the third part immediately! And I think I’m going to curse because I don’t have the fourth part yet. But that means this serial works. 😉

 

RATING:

4

Review: Swept Away Part 1, by J. Haymore

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Part of a series? Yes, it’s a serial.

Cliffhanger? Yes.

Category: Adult

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Self-published.

Pages: 130

Blurb:

He is everywhere. He surrounds me, wends his way under my skin. I can’t escape his strength, his intensity, his presence.

I’m trapped.

There’s nowhere to run.

Nowhere to hide.

But even if I could escape… would I be strong enough to leave?

I needed something — something big — to get myself out of the rut I’d fallen into after the car accident that killed my sister. This sailing trip was meant only to mark a new chapter in my life. Until Ethan Williams stepped on board.

Ethan radiated confidence. His darkly handsome good looks and ocean-blue eyes mesmerized me. But it was the way he looked at me that drew me in. He wasn’t looking at my past or at my scars, but the real me behind all that baggage I was trying so hard to leave behind.

But Ethan had secrets—dark, dangerous secrets. I was trapped in the middle of the ocean in a tangle of lies, sex, and violence. The problem was, I was happy to be trapped forever…if it meant I could have him.

Warning: Swept Away is not for people under 18.

 

ADD IT TO GOODREADS

 

REVIEW:

I received this book via Netgalley for an honest review.

This is the first part in a serial that will count 4 parts. As you can imagine, there’s a cliffhanger, but somehow it’s not one that I find that big or that surprising. Maybe it’s because I’m not yet fully into this serial, but I have the next two parts waiting for me and I hope it’ll change. 😉

What I enjoy in serials it’s when the action is ever present and the voice is very distinctive. Here, in this first installment I don’t think that’s what happened. The voice is very common and I couldn’t fully feel the main character. She’s supposed to be in pain, recovering after some very traumatic events and somehow I couldn’t feel it. Not really.

Also, I think the descriptions while well-written are too numerous and too long for such a format of story. The descriptions tend to slow down the pace of the story and even breaks the rhythm at times. At least, that’s how I felt while reading.

The plot itself has some mysteries and in fact that’s the one thing I enjoy. I have many questions left unanswered and that’s why I’m going to start the next part as soon as I’m finished with this little review. I hope the author will give us some answers while still keeping a few mysteries for the next parts. But there’s something that frustrated me… The time lapses. It broke the rhythm and I think without so many we could have seen more of the sailing crew dynamic, something I think would have been a real benefit for the story, but also for the characterization. Of course, it’s just my opinion and I’m trying to explain why I wasn’t that into this first part.

The whole thing regarding Tara’s best friend was very, very predictable. I don’t think he’s used the best of way so far and I hope it’ll change. I don’t see the real struggles here. I mean, I think Kyle (aka the best friend) is just convenient in this first installment and it’s a disappointment.

Ethan, the male interest, while obviously hot and mysterious, is not a character I like. I don’t get him and while it’s great not to really understand him or get him right now, I still needed to feel something. I don’t hate him, but I don’t love him and that’s an issue when he’s the male interest. Hopefully, I’ll warm up soon.

Just for the mysteries I want to read the next installment and I have high hope that the next parts will up their game. I often better enjoy the next parts in a serial. 😉

What do you think of Ethan?

 

RATING:

3

Review: No Time Like Forever, by Zoe York

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Part of a series? Yes, but can be read as a standalone.

Cliffhanger? No.

Category: Adult

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Self-published

Pages: 188

Blurb:

It started with a kiss…

Mari Beadie needed a boyfriend, and Chase Miller happened to be in the right place at the right time. The kiss that followed wasn’t necessary, strictly speaking, but it sure was hot.

Hot enough that when the tables are turned, Chase knows just who to ask to be his pretend girlfriend. Only this time, it’s not a one-time deal.

 

REVIEW:

I received this book via Netgalley for an honest review.

I didn’t know this author or this series of stand alone novels before reading No Time Like Forever. I have mixed feelings regarding this book. On the one hand I enjoyed a few chapters, really loved some scenes, but on the other hand the overall story/plot fell flat for me.

The word I’d use to describe how I feel toward this book is average.

I can see how many readers must love this book, enjoy this light and even sweet blossoming love between Chase and Mari, but in the end I’m not among these readers.

I was expecting to read a real love story and in the end I couldn’t connect with the attraction between Mari and Chase, not when it went so much deeper so suddenly. We’re spending a very long time witnessing Mari fighting against her attraction toward Chase, then the two characters putting the breaks between them (that’s something I truly enjoyed) and then suddenly the L-word is said and Mari and Chase’s hang-ups are relegated to the background without a real transition. Not one I find satisfying at least.

The plot itself is a little all over the place, almost as if many things are broached but nothing is truly dug deep. That’s something I tend to get very frustrated over. :/

The whole pretend girlfriend/boyfriend thing happened and that’s fun, but then it’s not really used fully. I don’t get it. Then, there’s the thing with Chase’s ex-girlfriend and it’s not really used either. I can think of a few more things, but I don’t want to put any spoilers so I’ll stop here.

The whole book started as a 4 stars for me and slowly, but steadily fell to an average read, something I enjoyed reading, but that didn’t suck me in.

 

RATING:

2.5 to 3