Sugar Kisses by Addison Moore

The first thing we learn about the main character in this novel is that she hates people. Sounds like an utterly delightful person!

What’s it About? 

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Roxy Capwell couldn’t be more miserable. She just had her heart stomped on by her cheating boyfriend, and the last thing she’s looking for is love. She hates men. Cole Brighton couldn’t be happier. He’s a player of the highest order, there’s not a girl at Whitney Briggs University that he can’t tag and bag. He loves the ladies. Roxy’s dream is to own and operate her own bakery one day, but with no oven in her dorm, and a lucrative baking competition on the horizon, she agrees to move in with her best friend’s brother, the obnoxious, womanizing, Cole Brighton. Between the heavenly scent of baked goods, and Roxy’s perfect body strutting around the apartment, Cole can’t think straight. So when Roxy’s ex starts sniffing around again, Cole volunteers to play the part of her new boy-toy and things get heated both in and out of the kitchen. Roxy discovers she might not hate every man on the planet, and Cole discovers nothing tastes better than Roxy and her late night SUGAR KISSES.

Roxy is a ball of stress and anger.

Cole is all ego and sex.

Their attraction is unstoppable.

And when their bodies collide—its combustible.

First Impressions

The novel definitely starts off strong, as our main characters have a delightful love/hate flirtation going on which is just bursting with fabulous sexual tension. Unfortunately, as the book progresses things head pretty steadily downhill. Almost from the get-go you can tell how the story is building up for everything to eventually go wrong. I don’t know about you, but personally I find this kind of set-up unbelievably frustrating. Just waiting around for the shoe to drop always makes the story drag on and on. Combine that with some rather unlikable lead characters, and this just wasn’t my cup of tea.

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Don’t Blow It!

Roxy and Cole go to one of those ridiculously small college towns where it seems like everybody knows everybody. As someone who went to college in a big city with over 30,000 students, it was a feature of the novel I found a bit hard to relate to. The entire book is told from the dual alternating points of view of both Roxy and Cole. Again, it starts off well enough, but once we get to the half-way point I was about ready to pull my hair out. Each of Cole’s chapters ends with the same sentiment of, “oh she’s the love of my life”, while Roxy’s end with, “he’s so great, I love him so much, I hope nothing screws this up/I don’t ruin this/it ends”. It was a continual foreshadowing of dread, and the delay of the inevitable that I found particularly annoying.

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Small Town Means Big Drama

On top of the continual foreshadowing of an eventual clusterf*ck, I also felt like the characters were rather unrealistic. It seemed like so many of them would say or do things with absolutely zero filter. From her mother who demands that Roxy decide between cooking cupcakes for a high-end benefit or her relationship with Cole, to a famous singer who loves to be in the spotlight in college and is used in all of their advertising materials, and finally to multiple catty/stalkerish females who go to unbelievably crazy lengths to snag Cole and mess with Roxy. Each drama individually I can kind of get, but having so many present in one short book was too over the top.

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Series: 3:AM Kisses, book 3. Going into this I actually didn’t know I was dealing with the third book in the series. I think it could have been helpful to read the others beforehand, although at this point I can’t really say I have a desire to start from the beginning.

Should you read it? I will say I did crave cupcakes like a madwoman while reading this one. If you do attempt it, maybe have some mini ones on hand. That being said, we don’t have the most endearing or likable characters here. She hates everything and everyone except baking and, eventually, Cole. However, she also has a short fuse that causes her to have many an unnecessary tempter tantrum.

Smut Level: There is one particularly sexy scene involving a food fight with jam and powdered sugar that eventually needs to be washed off. Lather it up!

Get it on Amazon: Click Here. $4.99 Kindle Price. CreateSpace Independent Publishing. 304 Pages.

The Wrong Kind of Compatible by Kadie Scott

The verbal sparring matches between the two main characters in this novel is just the most delicious kind of foreplay. You simply want one of them to push the other up against a wall and start pulling clothes off. Which…they actually do at one point come to think of it.

What’s it About?

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Data analyst Cassie Howard may be brilliant (and, okay, a little awkward), but she’s worked hard to get where she is. She definitely doesn’t need some sexy new analyst coming in and taking credit for her work. Or the inappropriate thoughts that keep popping out of her mouth she’d rather he not hear. For undercover FBI agent Drew Kerrigan, computers have always made more sense than people, but he’d better develop some slick social skills in a hurry if he’s going to win over the too-tantalizing-for-his-sanity Cassie. Hacking their systems was easy. Now he’s just got to hack the one person in the company most likely to see through his ruse…

First Impressions

This novel is fully representative of what some would call a “geek” or “nerd” romance. Basically, our two main leads are extremely intelligent, and their love of Star Wars is mentioned at least once. Although, instead of calling it a geek romance maybe we should just call it a romance between geniuses, because these two are wicked smart. Both are tech gurus, but Drew is actually an undercover FBI agent infiltrating the company Cassie works for. Drew quickly starts to develop feelings for Cassie, which poses a problem as she is also his #1 suspect. On top of that, Drew is not the best at the whole undercover thing, which was adorably cute. His somewhat inept sleuthing starts to draw the attention of Cassie herself, and she is suspicious of his actions. She begins to do some sleuthing of her own, and goes from being the one watched to being the watcher herself.

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That’s What She Said

There are two main things which draw Cassie and Drew together: their intelligence and their tendency to speak through blatant sexual innuendos. One particular quote that I think captures the first sentiment to perfection is, “She was used to out thinking every person around her, and so was he.” They quickly enter into a battle of wits and discover that in addition to appearance, they are also attracted to each other’s brains and intelligence. Love it!

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And as for the sexual innuendos, good God they were utterly delightful, and probably my favorite aspect of the novel. From the classic, “I could go all night” to the tech savvy “should I bring my dongle?” Then of course there was my particular favorite, “You’re turning my floppy into a hard drive.” I’ve seriously got to remember that one. Nerdy? Yes, but also sweet and endearing, as Cassie and Drew can just be themselves with each other. Their relationship has a basis which goes beyond the physical.

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Son of a Bee Monkey!

Another one of my favorite features of this novel was Cassie’s rather unique swear-word repertoire. I always thought I had some pretty unique outbursts, but Cassie simply put me to shame. However, I took notes, and I plan to adopt some of these classics into my own lexicon, including: hopping toadstools, Gorgonzola on a stick, fiddlesticks, and fahrvergnügen.

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*A copy of this book was provided for an honest review*

Series: Love Undercover, book 1. I’ll definitely be reading the next book featuring one of Drew’s FBI co-workers, who just might be even more socially awkward than Drew and Cassie combined. Can’t wait!

Should you read it? A cute and funny read! The first chapter starts off with quite a bit of inner dialogue and mutual staring going on, with plenty of heated moments and heavy breathing. Overall though, I loved the connection between Drew and Cassie. They are both equally socially inept, yet can just be themselves with each other. I also enjoyed the investigative story line, which added an interesting twist to their relationship. As all evidence increasingly points to Cassie being guilty, Drew doesn’t know how to deal with this as his feelings for her also increase. Juicy!

Smut Level: Who knew office cubicles could be the prime location for ultimate seduction?

Get it on Amazon: Click Here. $2.99 Kindle Price. Entangled Publishing. 270 Pages

Knight by Kristen Ashley

Knight? Well, that’s definitely a…unique name for a human being. Talk about pressure! Certainly a name you’ve gotta live up to.

What’s it About? 

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Anya Gage has learned that to get anything good in life, you have to work for it. She has no expectations, no dreams. Then she finds herself at a party where she doesn’t want to be and she meets Knight. Knight Sebring knows who he is, what he wants and what he likes. And he gets it. But he never expected something as sweet as Anya Gage to wander into his bedroom during a party he did not expect to be having to borrow his phone.

Knight tries to leave Anya to the life she deserves of white picket fences and a man who watches football on Sundays – good, normal and clean. But when Anya comes to his nightclub and finds herself in a situation, he knows someone has to look after her, he can’t fight it anymore and he decides that man will be him. Knight teaches Anya that, just as with the bad, in life you should also expect the good. And he teaches her this by giving it to her. But Knight has a dark past and just as he desires Anya for exactly who she is, he fears when she finds out exactly the man he has become and always intends to be, she’ll leave him for good, normal and clean.

First Impressions

I will say I did enjoy how this novel started off. I think we can all relate to being at a party at some point in our lives that we simply wanted to escape from. This is how our story opens; with Anya feeling totally out of place surrounded by such splendor in her knock-off shoes and out of season clothing. Luckily for her, she ends up meeting a sexy man who is prepared to take her to pleasure town. With a layover in orgasm city. Unluckily for her, said man also happens to scare the dickens out of her.

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Fear and Control

Anya repeatedly acknowledges throughout the novel that Knight scares her. He’s intense, overbearing and controlling. She honestly doesn’t know what he’ll do if she disappoints him, or doesn’t follow his directions. When she admits her fears to her friends, what do they do? They repeatedly tell her to just “forget the scary.” That…seems like dangerous advice to follow when fearful of an overbearing guy you just met.

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Anya tries to convince herself that since meeting Knight he’s only made her life better. While I do think that he’s made her feel more confident in her own skin by constantly saying how beautiful she is, she never lists this as one of his influences. Every single reason she gives for the impact he’s made in her life relates to material possessions. If we were to take all that away, I think Anya would just be left with an uber controlling guy who scares her. And yeah, sure, gives her lots of orgasms.

A D/S Daddy

I’ve been reading romance and erotic novels almost exclusively for about 3-4 years now. I’ve read a lot of novels in that amount of time which have featured dominant/submissive relationships, and I’ll admit I’m finally just now starting to fully understand what they’re all about. Took long enough! As Anya’s close friend comments, “that’s bedroom, not in life.” For her in particular, she leads a very stressful life where she’s the one in charge and making all the decisions. By giving up control in the bedroom, she’s able to let go, relax and let someone else make the decisions for once. I can sort of see how such a relationship could be freeing. When it comes to Anya and Knight though, it seems his controlling ways do expand beyond the bedroom. He even says “Unless I tell you what to do or not to do, do whatever you wanna do.” Umm…that’s not really what I consider to be the definition of freedom there buddy.

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So I might just now be understanding of how some women could get into the whole d/s relationship without it being considered misogynistic. I’m learning here. Something I still don’t for the life of me understand the appeal of though is calling your lover “daddy”. Like…no. Not the time or place I want to make reference to dear ole dad. I mean, I feel like it doesn’t go both ways, which simply isn’t fair, right? I’ve never read an erotic novel where the guy calls his girlfriend “mommy” as she spanks his ass. I just don’t get it!! Can someone out there explain the appeal of calling your lover daddy? Seriously, I’d really love to get a discussion going.

Series: Unfinished Heroes, book 1.

Should you read it? The writing was just ok. Pretty basic descriptions were used, with “very” as the descriptor of choice. Very expensive, very tall, very pretty. By the end I thought if Anya said “Oh God” or “Oh my God” one more time I was gonna scream. About 145 times actually. When it comes down to it, repeatedly using the term “daddy” is a sure-fire way to kill my mood. Also, you shouldn’t be afraid of your significant other! She never really communicates her fears or misgivings to Knight, so he has no way to address/resolve them.

Smut Level: He sure does like to use the “c” word in reference to her…lady bits.

Get it on Amazon: Click Here. $3.99 Kindle Price. Self-Published. 285 Pages.

A Reason to Stay by Melissa Ellen

The male lead in this novel is named Rhett. You’ve got a lot to live up to Rhett ole’ boy when you have the same name as one of the most dashing and suave of literary characters, Mr. Rhett Butler. And now I’m thinking of Clark Gable. And now I need to re-watch Gone with the Wind for the millionth time. You wouldn’t mind waiting around for about, oh, four hours, would ya? Thanks!

What’s it About? a reason to stay

From Two Different Worlds. With Pasts that haunt them. An Undeniable love that heals them. Will one tragic night break them? Ava Conner is a smart, beautiful, independent, focused architecture student that has her life ahead of her. She knows what she wants and she is determined to let nothing stop her from getting it. She has no time for men and she is content with being alone. That was until she got knocked flat on her ass by Rhett Blackwood. Literally.

First Impressions

This is a meet cute as timeless as can be: the two literally bump into each other at a coffee shop. They exchange a heated glance, but not much else. Ava is decidedly shocked when she sees this man again at a party she’s helping to cater, and he’s accompanied by another woman no less! Our dashing lad seeks Ava out in a back hallway, insisting that he’s not actually “with” this other woman, and that he’ll find Ava later on. Let’s say the heated look in his eyes promises much more than conversation. And oh boy does he deliver.

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First Romps and One Night Stand Discussions

I will say I found it pretty interesting that for a man with such an intense presence as Rhett, their first time in the bedroom was relatively tame. Passionate, yes, but not too raunchy. Personally, I also delighted in the rather awkward discussion afterwards on what the status of their relationship was. Ava is understandably hesitant to pursue anything too serious after her last boyfriend cheated on her. I loved that she tried to be upfront with Rhett, and say if this is just a one night type of dealio, then that’s more than fine with her. Rhett’s insistence that this will not just be a one night romp in the hay will make you gasp in an “oh my” kind of moment.

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Admirable Leading Lady

You know, I’ve gotta hand it to Ava, I admire this chica for her willingness to stand up to Rhett when it really mattered. She wasn’t going to cower at his oftentimes dominant personality. The perfect example of this was during their first weekend together. They spend one glorious morning beneath the sheets, and he wants her to call off work, or get someone else to fill in for her so they can spend more time in bed horizontally. However, her work is really important to her, and gives her a sense of purpose and independence, so she refuses to relent to his insistence. Even when he has her pushed up against a wall, whispering into her ear with his deep and sultry voice. That’s one strong willed woman right there!

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Another example is with her friends. Ava actually has some close male friends who are almost like brothers. She’s pretty affectionate with them; with lots of hugs and cheek kisses involved. Now, obviously we all know this will undoubtedly cause Rhett to have an eventual coronary. That being said, Ava insists she won’t cut these men out of her life completely, and she does her best to bring Rhett and her friends together for some male bonding time.

Exes and Ohhhhs

So when it comes to this woman that Rhett took to the party, obviously it was more complicated than simply accompanying a family friend to a social gathering. The two were intimate as teenagers. Although it’s over between them now, Serena holds a tragic event from their past over Rhett’s head to keep him in her life, and manipulate his feelings of guilt. Again, I really admired Ava in that she saw right through this woman, and didn’t shy away from telling Rhett how she truly felt. Things do eventually reach a breaking point between Ava and Serena in a heated argument which takes place in a public restroom. This scene convinced me once and for all that no good can possibly come from using a public restroom in a romance novel. They might as well be called the cat-fight facilities. It’s practically a guarantee.

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Glossy Conversations

I will say I was slightly disappointed that what felt like some key scenes/discussions were glossed over, and I’m not just talking about the sex scenes! For example, after leaving the party where Rhett and Ava first meet, they head back to Rhett’s place. It mentions how they talk for hours getting to know each other. Next thing you know they have a deep emotional connection, and he’s uber possessive of their relationship. Now, I’m not expecting to be privy to every single thing they discussed, but I felt that their connection seemed rather abrupt and sudden by not going into detail about at least some of their conversation. What was it exactly that brought them together beyond just a heated exchange at a party?

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*A copy of this book was provided for an honest review*

Series: Blackwood Series, book 1. Things do end on a cliffhanger as the situation with Serena, Rhett and Ava gets kind of out of control. It’ll be interesting to see how things come together in the next book.

Should you read it? A unique relationship with a lot of moving pieces that come together for the cliffhanger ending. Things did sort of drag a bit towards the end as preparations are outlined in detail for Ava’s sister’s wedding. However, it has an emotional ending which really demonstrates the importance of family. I’ll admit I did kind of want to smack Rhett upside the head by the end of it, considering his inability to reach out to Ava during her time of need via phone, text, email, handwritten letter, sky writer, or even a freakin’ carrier pigeon.

Smut Level: They spend a lot of time in bed doing the deed, but we usually aren’t privy to the details.

Get it on Amazon: Click Here. $4.99 Kindle Price. Independently Published. 423 Pages.

Henry by Andria Large

I love me an office romance. However, I think I can safely say this is the first one I’ve ever read where we aren’t privy to any office sex scenes. Shocking!! It’s definitely implied they do it at least once in his office, but we don’t get any of the juicy details. The scene “fades to black” as it were.

What’s it About?

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Henry Beck, the gorgeous CEO of an advertising company, was in need of a new personal assistant. He expected HR to hire someone older, more experienced, maybe even with gray hair. Who he got instead was the beautiful, young, single mother – Claire Russell. A woman who he is having a hard time keeping his eyes off of…Claire never expected her new boss to be the most gorgeous man she’s ever laid eyes on. She also never expected him to be sweet to her two year old son, Ethan. But Henry is her boss and there is no future with him. Or so Claire thinks…Will Henry and Claire be able to fight the obvious attraction between them? Will Henry’s overbearing mother come between them? Or will a freak accident change their perspectives on life and what’s most important.

First Impressions

As mentioned, this is an office romance, so right off the bat we know we’ll be dealing with some ethical dilemmas. Sex between boss and employee? Yikes! However, I will admit office romance novels are kind of a guilty pleasure of mine. That sense of the forbidden can really amp up the lust. Therefore, I couldn’t help but be surprised that it takes these two so long to do the horizontal deed!! About 60% of the way through the book as a matter of fact. Their desire for one another is extremely palpable, so you’ve gotta give it to them for waiting a few months and getting to know each other outside of the office before tearing their clothes off. Unfortunately, just because Henry waited so long before officially pursuing Claire, I can’t really call the man a professional, and here’s a few reasons why.

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Professionalism in the Workplace

Henry is the head honcho in the office, and Claire is his personal assistant. Within the first month of her working for him, he already has a pet name for her: darlin’. In addition to Henry, we see anther co-worker in the company, who just happens to be Henry’s best friend, refer to Claire as sweetheart. I’m sorry, have we lapsed back into the days of Mad Men? I get pissed when someone refers to me as “girl” in the office. I’d probably have a coronary if someone went as far as to call me “darlin'”. 

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From Near Death to Smooth Sailing

The flow of the plot was rather interesting in this novel. On the one hand it was good, on the other…not so much. As previously discussed, these two don’t officially start a physical relationship until 60% of the way through the book. The influencing factor which finally tipped the scales was that Henry experienced a terrifying near-death experience. In that moment, he was able to admit to himself that Claire and her son were the most important people in his life. He wasn’t going to wait anymore. Life’s too short for that. Claire also realized in that moment that the thought of living without Henry wold crush her. In that sense, I kind of appreciated how they came together.

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After that though? I kept waiting around for one final twist to the plot. Surely everything can’t come together at 60% without one final hiccup or problem to come along. Nope! Everything is basically smooth sailing from that point on, and it all ends with a Merry Christmas kind of happily ever after. Almost like a build-up of anticipation that leads to nowhere. Usually with these kinds of books there’s some kind of argument or drama surrounding another woman, like an ex-girlfriend. In this case it was Henry’s overbearing mother who didn’t approve of Claire, someone who had a child out of wedlock. Again though, Claire and his mom’s main disagreement came at that 60% mark. They eventually make up with no real fuss.

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Series: The Beck Brothers, book 1. I might read the next book featuring Henry’s brother Sebastian. No rush though.

Should you read it? Meh. It was just ok. The characters were likable for the most part, especially Claire’s adorable son Ethan, but the writing was rather sub-par. There were many grammar mistakes, including your standard your/you’re and there/their errors. However, this might be the first time I’ve ever seen “heals” used instead of “heels”.

Smut Level: These two get naughty in his garage. Seems like the ultimate private location. That being said, garages do have the tendency to echo, and in this case the noise drew the attention of Henry’s mother, who proceeds to walk in on them. Oh my!

Get it on Amazon: Click Here. $0.99 Kindle Price. Self-published. 177 Pages.

Little Red by Caroline Lee

Alright, before we even get started with the review, I think we all need to take a moment to fully appreciate the sheer beauty of this cover art. Seriously, just look at it! The juxtaposition of the red cape against the white backdrop; the flow of the cape that makes you want to reach out and touch it. I wonder if I could get away with wearing a cape like that?

What’s it About?

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She’s gone over the river and through the woods, but who will protect her from the Big Bad Wolf? Rojita is in trouble; all she needs to do is get to her grandmother in Everland, but she’s being chased by El Lobo, one of the West’s most notorious gunslingers. It isn’t until she’s thrown herself head-long into danger that she realizes the old adage about frying pans and fires applies. She’s in desperate need of a protector, and hires the first man who comes along to get her safely to Everland.

Bounty hunter Hank Cutter is more than ready to retire to a lonely little cabin in Arizona, to hang up his gun and find peace. He’ll begrudgingly help the reckless young woman get to the nearest train station, because he figures she’d get into even more trouble on her own. But when El Lobo struts back into his life—Hank still has the scars from their last encounter—he knows that he can’t leave Rojita at the gunslinger’s mercy. Maybe he’s nobler than he’d thought, because he’s soon setting a trap to save the lovely, impetuous Red. The only problem is that she’s still keeping a secret that could destroy his trust.

First Impressions

I’ll admit, I really do love a fairy-tale adaptation. I grew up reading fairy-tales. Looking back I can’t really say I was drawn to the princess finding her happily ever after with Prince Charming per se. Rather, I loved the locations. The adventure! Growing up in suburban Ohio, basically any story that took me to another part of the world was a plus. When it came to this adaptation of the classic “Little Red Riding Hood” tale, there was an added unique feature of the story being transported to the Wild West. Gunslingers and all! It was such fun to see the mention of other classic fairy-tale characters as well, from Aurora to Snow White! Then when our main characters arrive in the small town of Everland, we see classic elements drawn into the names of streets and houses too. So cute!

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Classic Western and a Classic Tale

I will say I thought it was extremely unique to adapt a fairy-tale into a good ole’ western romance, with a bounty hunter, gunslinger, not to mention an orphanage that needs saving! I also enjoyed the interesting twist to catching our wolf. In this adaptation we see grandma is the one who dons the disguise instead of the other way around. That being said, I do feel that unfortunately some of the essential elements of the original story were lost in the adaptation.

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When I think of the original “Little Red Riding Hood” tale I think of two primary characters: Red and the Wolf. If I put more thought into it I remember the grandma. If I reaaaally push it I remember in some variations you have like, a huntsman, who helps Red kill the wolf and rescue grandma. In this version you have Rojita as Red, Hank as our manly hero, and grandma is, well…grandma. One character was noticeably absent though for a rather large portion of the book. The wolf!! Infamous gunslinger, El Lobo, is our villain, but he’s only in a few scenes and doesn’t actually appear until a large portion of the book is already finished. Kind of disappointing.

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Series: Everland Ever After, book 2.

Should you read it? Not a whole lot of action until the very end. We also don’t really understand the full connection of the characters and the villain until pretty late in the game. I did enjoy the unique take on this fairy-tale, but I wish it had drawn a few more elements from the classic telling.

Smut Level: Clean read. No sex, yet still full of passion!

Get it on Amazon:  Click Here. FREE. Amazon Digital Services LLC. 164 Pages.

Falling Away by Penelope Douglas

Man, who knew such a small group of friends in an unassuming Illinois suburban town could lead such dramatically complicated lives. Every single one of them!!

What’s it About?

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K.C. Carter has always followed the rules—until this year, when a mistake leaves her the talk of her college campus and her carefully arranged life comes crashing to a halt. Now she’s stuck in her small hometown for the summer to complete her court-ordered community service, and to make matters worse, trouble is living right next door.

Jaxon Trent is the worst kind of temptation and exactly what K.C. was supposed to stay away from in high school. But he never forgot her. She was the one girl who wouldn’t give him the time of day and the only one to ever say no. Fate has brought K.C. back into his life—except what he thought was a great twist of luck turns out to be too close for comfort. As the bond between them grows, he discovers that convincing K.C. to get out from her mother’s shadow is hard, but revealing the darkest parts of his soul is nearly impossible.…

First Impressions

I really really really hate to say this, but I’m sort of falling out of like with this series. I can’t even say “love” because it was never really one of my ultimate favorites to begin with. I definitely liked book 1, that’s for sure, and my feelings towards book 2 were sort of lukewarm. However, when it comes to this 3rd book, I think I have to say I actually disliked it. Both KC and Jaxon come from troubled pasts, but that’s definitely not the reason why I had an overall negative impression of this book. Rather, I couldn’t help but feel that Jaxon and KC had a pretty toxic relationship that made me slightly uncomfortable at times, and even worrying for KC’s safety at others.

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Love/Hate Continues Again

As is the theme with most of the novels in this series so far, our lead couple starts off with some feelings of animosity towards one another instead of love. Eventually, their mutual feelings of enmity build up to a boiling point until they can’t help themselves, and they start attacking each other’s mouths. However, in this book I was somewhat disturbed at a few of the ways Jax pursued KC. Let’s look at a few examples.

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Stalking is as Stalking Does

Let’s start with the less threatening (if you can call it that) of his pursuits. So, Jax pretty much cyber stalks KC when she’s away at college out of state. This includes, but is not limited to, logging in to check her class schedule, grades, setting off pranks to push back a test she was unprepared for, and hacking her police record so she could complete her community service at their local high school where Jax just so happens to volunteer as well. Eventually, KC uncovers the extent of how closely he’s been monitoring her activities while she was away at school, and she is understandably confused and disturbed.

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But then Jax manages to talk his way out of these stalker tendencies to the point where KC just brushes off the whole thing rather quickly. He explained that the reason she was so upset with his monitoring of her was because she doesn’t want anybody else to get too close to her. Umm, actually it’s called an invasion of privacy! You wanna know what’s going on in her life, maybe you should give her a call, or send her an email. Not hack her school records.

The Heart of the Matter

I suppose if you really want you could write off his computer stalking as him being overprotective, and wanting to check up on her. Whatever. What disturbed me even more was their physical relationship. At times, it was scorching hot. At others, I was legitimately concerned I was about to read a rape scene. There are many instances in this book where Jax pins KC up against a wall in the heat of an argument, and starts to devour her mouth in a passionate kiss. But there are also many times where KC tries to pull away from these ministrations, saying “no” and trying to push Jax away.

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Now, I listened to this as an audio book, and the narrator for KC was amazing, but in these particular scenes she verbalized some very convincing “no’s” and also had an element of fear in her voice. For Jax though, it would appear that when it comes to KC “no” doesn’t necessarily mean “no. It just means keep kissing her until she submits and says “yes”. The fact that at one point he even pulled a knife and started taunting her with it while pinned against a wall made me feel that this relationship has a lot of serious problems. Sure, KC would eventually always succumb to his seductions, and pull him towards her instead of pushing him away, but I felt like Jax must not respect her very much if he used intimidation to bend her to his will instead of talking things out.

Troubled Pasts and Vicious Characters

Jax and KC both come from troubled pasts. Her parents had her in order to supplement their previous daughter who died, and Jax was physically and sexually abused at the hands of his father and his father’s friends. While we aren’t privy to all of the specific details of Jax’s abuse, it was still definitely very hard to read at times.

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His abusers are disgusting people with zero redeeming qualities. It’s heartbreaking to think of what he endured as a child, and how his past has influenced his actions as an adult. Jax attempts to push KC away once she starts to develop loving feelings for him, as he doesn’t want her to deal with his toxic past. Especially when his past comes back to haunt him, as his father has been harassing him more and more as his parole from prison draws ever closer.

Series: Fall Away, book 3. Will I continue with this series? Maybe, as the next book revisits the couple from book 1. It just might take me a while before I go there.

Should you read it? Jax is a troubled individual, and the horrors of his past definitely influence his relationship with KC. I get pushing her away because he doesn’t think he’s good enough, and we’re supposed to admire KC for sticking through all of this to eventually find the loving Jax hiding underneath. I still couldn’t help but feel disturbed though at some of the ways he treated her, especially when it came to their sexual relationship. The whole pulling a knife scene left a really lasting negative and frightening impression on me. If others have read this one and had a different view of their sexual relationship I’d love to discuss it!

Smut Level: Let’s just say they do some pretty…creative things with a popsicle.

Get it on Amazon: Click Here. $5.99 Kindle Price. Berkley Publishing. 429 Pages.

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