Hell’s Knights by Bella Jewel

You know, throughout the entirety of this novel I lost track of the number of times Cade told Addison to “shut the f*ck up”. After a while, it almost became a phrase of endearment, which I didn’t even know was possible.

What’s it About?

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Addison has had a hard life. Her mother is useless, and her father hasn’t been in her life for years. When her mother dies, she’s left with no money and an angry man after her. She goes to the only person she knows can take care of her right now – her father. She knows her father is the President of an MC club, but she doesn’t quite realize just how much she will come to rely on that club.

Cade is everything she knows she should stay away from, and yet she can’t seem to keep herself from wanting him. He’s the club VP, gorgeous, rugged, charming and he makes her feel again. She should be running, she should be escaping the demons of her past, but instead she finds herself falling for the gorgeous biker. Come on this whirlwind romance with two broken people, who figure out how to put each other back together.

First Impressions

I think I need to take a break from biker romances for a while. I always end up finding the male lead to be way too dominating, and sometimes the sex scenes can even be too descriptive for my tastes…which is definitely saying something. When it came to this novel, not only was I not a huge fan of Cade as our male lead, but I found Addison to be a rather annoying character as well. I think part of this had to do with the voice of the audiobook narrator, who made the character come across as whiny and always in the midst of throwing a tempter tantrum.

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Porn Vs. Romance

When it comes to the relationship between Cade and Addison, it sort of felt like I was reading a porno for a good amount of the time, rather than a romance blossoming between them. It starts off with Addison peeking in on Cade having sex with another woman, and progresses to them having sex on his bike, on a bar, exploring a rather acrobatic oral sex move, and a detailed scene involving a few ice cubes.

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Outside the Bedroom

As for the events taking place out of the bedroom, Addison seems dead set on getting herself into trouble, even though it was ridiculously avoidable in most cases. She refused to listen to any voice of reason from either her father or Cade, even when they were trying to keep her safe from a murderous pimp who has set out to kill her.

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Spoiler alert! This pimp captures her, and it was so incredibly frustrating because you just knew it was going to happen. What’s more, it didn’t have to happen! It was also incredibly easy to spot how it would all come about from a mile away. Throughout this entire novel, I started to get a headache from rolling my eyes so much.

Series: The MC Sinners, book 1. I might give book 2 a try, but it will probably be a while before I do.

Should you read it? I’d recommend reading this book over listening to it. The narrator’s voice contributed to Addison coming across even more whiny and childish than she already was. If you like biker romances you might get a kick out of it, but it wasn’t my cup of tea.

Smut Level: This book is overly descriptive, especially when it comes to the scenes of Addison’s tragic rape throughout her teenage years at the hands of a monster. Very hard to read at times.

Get it on Amazon: Click Here. $2.99 Kindle Price. Amazon Digital Services LLC. 211 Pages.

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Redemption Road by Katie Ashley

After I finished listening to the final book in the Outlander series, I was really looking forward to listening to something new on my walk to work. You could say there was an extra spring in my step that morning! Redemption Road begins with Rev being drugged and raped as a young adolescent, followed by Annabel being kidnapped, gang raped and sold as a sex slave to a Mexican human trafficker. Probably one of the more depressing walks to work I’ve ever had.

What’s it About? 

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Looking for a walk on the wild side, Annabel Percy, the daughter of a powerful politician, gives in to an attraction to a sexy biker she meets one night. But she finds herself living a nightmare when she’s kidnapped and transported into a hell on earth she never could have imagined. Born and bred into the Hells Raiders MC, Nathaniel “Reverend” Malloy lives and dies for his brothers. But when he becomes the unexpected savior of a rival club’s captive, Rev makes it his personal mission to nurse Annabel back to health—and to shelter her from the nightmares that torment her. Once Annabel heals, she’s stunned to realize she is falling for the seductive man who saved her. Faced with their impossible attraction, can she accept the life he leads, or will Rev walk away from the only life he’s ever known for the woman he was never supposed to love?

First Impressions

This book obviously deals with some extremely sensitive topics, and they are described in enough graphic detail that it can be very difficult to read/listen to at times. Let’s just say the author doesn’t sugarcoat the harsh reality of Annabel’s capture, or her heart-breaking suicide attempt after being rescued. However, I must say I think this was a very important aspect of the novel which added a sense of realness to the story. It might not have been the happiest of reads, even though you can predict the eventual romantic relationship between Rev and Annabel, but I think the author did an amazing job of bringing their mutual hardships to the forefront. It showed that life can in fact be ugly and gruesome, but we’re able to see through Annabel’s initial friendship with Rev that things can get better, even though it seems impossible at the time.

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Guilty Flirtation

After Rev rescues Annabel from her hellish prison, it seems at first that the two of them would quickly jump into bed due to their obvious attraction and mutual flirtation. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for sex in romance novels, but I definitely questioned how wise this move would be considering how much Annabel had just been through. But I must say, the author addresses this topic superbly through a conversation between Rev and Annabel.

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Following the dramatic rescue, Annabel and Rev drive back to the United States, which means a lot of alone time together in the car and various hotel rooms. Annabel finds she can trust Rev after he confesses the details of his own rape. She starts to relax with him, and the two even start to flirt with each other. This quickly turns Annabel’s sense of happiness to guilt. She thinks something must be wrong with her to openly flirt with a man after all she’d been through. Rev shares his personal experiences of moving on after his own traumatic experience, and convinces her that there’s no reason to feel guilty. It’s simply a part of her old self trying to break through.

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Oh my, getting a little emotional over here! I must say I was very impressed that the author didn’t shy away from tackling such a difficult discussion. She easily could have had these two characters try and find solace through sex, and brush aside Annabel’s rape as though it never happened. Instead, they actually have these discussions about what life is like after their rape, and find comfort in sharing their own thoughts and emotions about what happened to them. After that, you can’t help but root for Rev and Annabel to eventually find happiness and love with each other.

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A Slow Blossom

The blossoming romance between Rev and Annabel does take some time to fully develop as he helps her learn to live life again after such a harrowing ordeal. Once they do start to feel something more for each other, Rev thinks she’s experiencing some kind of reverse Stockholm Syndrome, and doesn’t want to take advantage of her feelings if she’s just falling for her knight in shining armor. On the other hand, Annabel knows her feelings of love are true, and has to convince Rev that he’s good enough for her considering she comes from a wealthy background. She explains that their shared traumas bring them closer together than any societal differences may have pushed them apart.

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It does take them a while to finally have sex, but in my opinion the wait was absolutely necessary. If they’d had sex too soon after Annabel’s rescue, I think it would have seemed a bit rushed, as well as unrealistic to overcome all of the physical and mental atrocities which befell her so quickly. By waiting, Rev and Annabel are able to connect as friends before becoming lovers, which makes their eventual coupling so much more meaningful.

Last Minute Climax

We do get a few mentions here and there throughout the book that Annabel’s captor, Mendoza, is coming after her with the intention to kill both her and the scum biker who dared to steal away what belonged to him. It isn’t until the absolute very end of the novel that he finally makes his grand reappearance, and I must say it was kind of a let down. The climax was pretty much over as soon as it began. All of these characters have already been through so much, and the return of Mendoza almost seemed like an unnecessary after thought.

*A copy of this audiobook was provided by Recorded Books for an honest review*

Series: Vicious Cycle, book 2. Each book focuses on a different couple, but you need to read them in order.

Should you read it? This book dealt with much more sensitive topics than the first book in the series, and could have triggers for some people. I don’t think the narration was the best, but the writing was pretty great. It felt like two people were actually telling you their story of survival.

Smut Level: These two definitely bring out the best in each other, including their naughty sex kitten vibes.

Get it on Amazon: Click Here. $5.99 Kindle Price. Signet Publishing. 338 Pages.

Meant to Be by Laramie Briscoe

The narrator of this audio book reminded me of a mix between Dr. Phil and that informative talking DNA strand from the original Jurassic Park film. While he was relating the amorous exploits of our lead characters, I kept expecting him to switch gears and talk about dinosaurs.

What’s it About? 

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Single mother. Laid off factory worker. Drug runner for the Heaven Hill Motorcycle Club. When Denise Cunningham is served with foreclosure papers on her birthday it’s the last straw in a long line of bad luck. Sitting and crying about things has never been how she solved her problems, but this time she decides to do just that. A phone call interrupts her pity party and changes the course of her life forever.

Loyal brother. Grease monkey mechanic. Vice President of the Heaven Hill Motorcycle Club. William Walker Jr., known as Liam to his club, needs a new recruit that is just naïve enough and desperate enough to do what he asks without question. When Denise Cunningham lands in his lap, he decides to hire her – not because he wants to, because he has to. Neither are comfortable in their new roles, but he needs help and she can’t stand to lose anything else. As bullets fly and a local Bowling Green, KY reporter works to bring the club down, Liam and Denise find themselves getting closer to one another. When the stakes get high and outside forces try to keep them away from each other, they have to decide if they really are meant to be.

First Impressions

Obviously, the narration wasn’t exactly what I was expecting. Of all the romance novels I’ve ever listened to in audio format, this is the only one I’ve come across with a male narrator. Not too shabby. As for the storyline itself, I must say I’ve never been a huge fan of books featuring motorcycle clubs, as the male leads are almost too alpha for my taste. However, for a biker book, this one was pretty tame as far as the whole “me Tarzan, you Jane” mentality.

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Although, something I never understand in these biker gangs is when the guy refers to his woman as his old lady. I know it’s supposed to be respectful, but what 20-year-old woman wants to be referred to as old? And then there’s the whole aspect of having her wear his cut, which declares her as his property. Hell, if I were in that situation I’d be like, “Alright, now what are you gonna wear that proclaims you to be my property?” Sorry, consider that rant to be over.

Motorcycle Club My Ass

I feel like in most romance novels revolving around a motorcycle club, the members of the club are just minding their own business when they are somehow drawn into a kerfuffle with another club/gang. They just want to be free and ride like the wind. This book was a little different. Instead of it focusing on our biker bad boy rescuing his woman from a rival gang, it tells a tale of Liam drawing Denise further into his  world. And it doesn’t necessarily consist of law-abiding citizens.

sonsThese particular bikers are criminals! No other word for it. At the start of the book, they are dealing drugs, and by the end of it they are considering selling guns to a Mexican cartel. They took advantage of Denise’s desperate financial situation to get her to abet them in smuggling drugs, and I personally had difficulty liking them because of that. Sure, they’re all about protecting their own, and Liam treats Denise like she’s his old lady (charming!), but that doesn’t eliminate the fact that the police are after them for a reason.

*This audio book was provided for an honest review*

Series: Heaven Hill, book 1. There are a lot of books in this series.

Should you read it? There were definitely some conflicting emotions revolving around this book. On the one hand, you are really rooting for Denise and Liam to get together, but on the other you don’t really want Denise to be drawn further into this criminal world. Although this book doesn’t necessarily end on a cliffhanger, there are a lot of important questions left unanswered.

Smut Level: There aren’t too many sex scenes, and you have to wait a bit before you get to the good stuff. But the build-up of sexual tension is delicious, and the scenes themselves are pretty steamy.

Get it on Amazon: Click Here for free Kindle version. Click Here for $17.95 Audible version.  Self-published. 255 Pages or 6 hours and 27 minutes.