Review: Never Loved, by Charlotte Stein

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Part of a series? Yes.

Cliffhanger? No.

Category/Genre: Contemporary Romance, a mix between NA and Adult erotic romance.

Publisher: Loveswept

Pages: 207

Blurb:

Perfect for fans of Abbi Glines, the first novel in the Dark Obsession series tells the story of a beautiful wallflower who falls for a chiseled street fighter—and learns just how dangerous love can be.

Beatrix Becker spent most of her life under the thumb of her controlling, abusive father. And now that she’s free and attending her dream college, she has no idea how to act like the normal crowd: partying, going on dates, even having a conversation. Then she meets Serge Sorensen. Big and surly with a whole host of riotous tattoos, Serge is supposed to scare the hell out of her. But beneath his harsh exterior, Beatrix discovers a kindred spirit who knows what it’s like to be a misfit. Most exhilarating—and terrifying—is what he does for a living: illegal street fighting.

There’s nothing like the rush Serge gets from the intense athleticism and brutal glory of combat—though his chemistry with Beatrix comes close. Slowly at first, he introduces her to his world, where he lives by instinct, passion, and desire. He even helps her out with her equally traumatized brother. But when Serge gets in too deep with the wrong people, he ends up paying in blood. And suddenly, just as Beatrix has been drawn into Serge’s perfectly sculpted arms, she’s thrown once and for all into the fight of his life.

ADD IT TO GOODREADS


Review:

I received this book via Netgalley for an honest review. 

This is the first book in the Dark Obsession series, but it is a standalone.

Before you read my review, I apologize. I didn’t like this book at all and it was quite difficult for me to finish it actually. While I see the potential and the intent, the end result is a complete miss for me. I will try and express my thoughts as much as possible without giving too much away of the storyline if you decide to pick the book up.

The premise of this novel is good and when you state in the blurb that this book is for fans of Abbi Glines, you have to hold on and expect readers to be very demanding. I was eager to read this book, was sure I’d fall for the story and characters, but in the end I could only focus on what bothered me and think of ways the author could have made this book amazing.

Bea, short for Beatrix, is supposed to be very new to everything related to friendship, relationship, sex and life as a whole. She went through a lot before going to college and I’m sad that the author didn’t give us more of a background for Beatrix. That’s my first issue. The author decided to give a very awful upbringing to her main character who happens to be the narrator of the whole book, so I think it’s important to give us something to work with so we can understand the character fully and feel for them. The author gives us a very tiny peek into Beatrix and her brother’s past that raises more questions and disbelief than serves the characterization. The characterization lack depth in my opinion.

You see, considering Bea is so new to this freedom, to feeling drawn to a man, to friendship and considering what her and her brother went through, I don’t understand her. She doesn’t seem as innocent as you’d expect, she doesn’t have any hangups once she’s with Serge, we barely see her with her brother or her supposedly friend (and roommate). Other than Serge, nothing else matters it seems.

Speaking of Serge… He has everything to be an interesting character but ends up being rather strange to me. His hangups are barely talked about, we don’t know anything about him and it’s like he’s Bea’s savior and protector five seconds after meeting her.

Bea and Serge’s relationship is quite made of insta-love mixed with insta-lust. Maybe I could have bought it if only the dialogues flew and if the character’s voice (Bea’s voice) didn’t overtake everything to make the dialogues and the descriptions stilted, sometimes all over the place and overblown. I understand what the author tried to do here, but I don’t think it’s working that well. At least it doesn’t work for me.

Now, the plot itself is basically nonexistent. I’m fine with stories focusing on characters and on their journey to overcome their issues if I see the growth of said characters, but here? I don’t exactly see that. It’s mostly about sexual tension and sex scenes with no real plot, no major conflicts that could have been woven throughout the book. The only real conflict happens at the end and comes out of nowhere to be solved so easily it’s maddening.

I’m sorry, but while I see the author has a certain talent, here the story and characters didn’t do it for me. I’m very disappointed and unfortunately it doesn’t make me want to read the second book featuring another set of characters.

RATING:

1.5 to 20140103-095135.jpg

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Review: Penalty Play, by Lynda Aicher

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Part of a series? Yes.

Cliffhanger? No.

Genre/Category: Contemporary, Romance, Sports.

Warning: Explicit sex scenes.

Publisher: Carina Press

Blurb:

Minnesota Glaciers’ starting defenseman Henrik Grenick is good at two things: hockey and sex. He’s got it all—the career, the biceps, the babes. But the steady parade of women through his bedroom just leaves him wanting more, hunting for the next distraction. Until he meets Jacqui, who awakens a hunger he never knew he craved.

Fiercely independent Jacqui Polson has no time for the seductive hockey player demanding her attention. More band geek than bimbo, she’s in an entirely different league, and growing up with four hockey-crazed brothers left her with no interest in that world. But damn, Henrik’s hot. And when it comes to sex, Jacqui knows exactly what she wants.

As their relationship moves beyond games, Henrik needs more—not just of Jacqui’s touch, but of her. Jacqui discovers there’s more to Henrik than just the gruff facade. But after a lifetime of fighting their own battles, neither has ever let anyone get so close. As they soon find out, needing someone isn’t a weakness, it’s the only thing that matters…

ADD IT TO GOODREADS


Review:

I received this book via Netgalley for an honest review.

This book is the third novel in the Power Play series. Each books feature a different hockey player. While some references to previous books threw me a bit while reading this book, it didn’t impact my reading even though I have yet to read the previous two books.

I can honestly say that I’m lost now that I’ve finished reading this book. While sometimes it can be difficult to rate a book, this time around is a bit different. In the end, I both dislike and enjoy this book.

While I think both main characters have something to make them great and help me as a reader to empathize, there’s also a big part that prevents me from fully buying their relationship and the ordeals they have to overcome.

In the end, I feel a distance and at first I had thought it’s because of the third person narration, but it’s not it. The thing is, some of the characters have the same thoughts over and over and while I understand the circling thoughts that shows us how hard it is for them to push through some of their hangups, it’s done in such a way that I couldn’t see the relevance of repeating the same thing without delving deeper.

There’s something that you discover at some point while reading about Jasqui that I think is very interesting and adds a little something to the story and to her and Henrik’s relationship (but I can’t tell you without giving away something), and while it makes me feel sad for these characters, I don’t think the author uses this thing at its fullest to truly gut the readers and make us root for this couple more fully. It’s hinted at once, then forgotten. Then it’s broached again with a bit more details and forgotten once again. I think that if it had been used gradually throughout the book I would have understood a lot more Jacqui’s hangup and felt more invested in the story.

When it comes to Henrik, he’s a sweetheart. Actually, he’s almost too much of a sweetheart and while it’s nice to have an access to his thoughts, I didn’t see much of a difference between his thoughts and Jacqui’s. I also don’t think his family issues are showed enough. Once again, it kept me at arm’s length in a way.

Also, and I’m sorry to say this, but the sex scenes supposed to be sexy didn’t to it for me. At all. I think it’s a lot due to the lack of involvement I feel for the characters, but somehow they feel forced and I can’t feel the full extent of the characters’ chemistry. Something held me back.

But while the story and characters didn’t win me over, the writing did. It’s great. It flows and the sentences have a way of never being similar so it kept me reading even when I wasn’t that thrilled by the plot.

In a few words, I don’t know how to rate this book and I don’t know if I’ll be reading other novels in the series. It’s a nice read in the genre, that much is sure.

RATING:

3