Review: Chained Hands by T.L. Smith

CHAINED HANDS
Series: Chained Hearts Duet #1
Genre: Dark Romance
Author: TL Smith
Release Date: October 5, 2021

 

Sailor

My husband sold me.
Not only did he sell me, but he told me he loved me while doing the deal.
What lies he tells.
Only fools believe him.
Unfortunately, one of those fools was…
.. me.

Keir

Not in the habit of buying women.
I didn’t need to.
I was a king of my realm, the devil you whispered about in your sleep.
So when his debt fell due, he sold me his wife.
And I was happy because I wanted to play with her like any fool would.
And play with her, I did.
Pity, in the end, I would have to kill her.

 

AMAZON

 

Truth be told, I struggled with my rating on this one. On the one hand, this book is a hot mess. On the other hand, I read it in one sitting. I’m seriously bummed, because that blurb and cover were utterly delicious.

Let’s start with the good. I loved the plot. Our heroine is a previous bad girl who married and lost herself. She became a bit of a doormat to her philandering husband and struggles with this new Sailor. Her douche of a husband takes her to a party, only to sell her as a debt to a ruthless mafia leader who shoots first and asks questions later. Suddenly Sailor finds her lady balls and becomes the sassy, fiery, bad girl that she was.

This is also where the book goes wrong for me. First, there was the writing style. There was no character development and it was extremely repetitive. If I had to read about how Keir plans to kill Sailor and everyone else one more time… Descriptions were reused frequently. Aside from repeating ad nauseam how ruthless and trigger happy Keir is, there’s little to no development for him. The “romance” comes out of no where, much like Sailor’s sudden personality change. And the dialogue was incredibly juvenile. These were grown adults who spoke like teenagers.

There were also Gossip Girl-like choppy bits of gossip/blog articles on Keir, which were weird AF and felt so incredibly out of place in a dark romance of this nature. I also felt there was really no need for this to have been a duet, because there were chapters that did nothing for the story that felt like filler.

Unfortunately, as much as I wanted to love this, I didn’t. But clearly I’m in the minority, so take my thoughts with a grain of salt. I’m a picky ass, clearly. *shrugs* But this now being the third book I’ve tried for this author, I think I can safely say her writing style just doesn’t work for me. Bummer, but it is what it is.

Review: Vik by Belle Aurora

VIK
Series:
Shot Callers #2
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Author: Belle Aurora
Release Date:
September 17, 2021

Nastasia Leokov has loved her brother’s best friend since the very moment she met him.

Understanding that she’ll never be anything more to Viktor Nikulin than a treasure to guard, Nas sensibly hides her feelings.

But when she makes a brash decision to kiss him, everything changes.

That kiss. T
hat hot, explosive, all-consuming kiss.

It haunts Vik.
And suddenly, Nastasia Leokov isn’t just a teenage mob princess.

No.

She is his. Undeniably. Indisputably.

An unbreakable connection. A hidden relationship. A lifetime of firsts.

And yet, something is missing.

Nas desperately craves the one thing Vik has never offered her.

His heart.

AMAZON 

 

I have been sitting on my rating for this book for over a week now going through a gamut of emotions and back and forth. Did I love it? No. Did I hate it? Not…exactly? Did I like it? Not quite. So there we have it and I’ll just go with the middle and a 2.5 star rating it is.

Look, to cut right to the chase, this story was disappointing to me to say the least. It felt forced. It was boring. I honestly found myself skimming most of it because most of it was filled with mundane detail that never added anything to the actual story. And everything that I actually wanted to read about? Well that happens off the pages.

There’s so much that simply doesn’t get fleshed out. Nas has had a crush for her brother’s friend since she was a teenager. They get together then, but we don’t get the development of their relationship. Instead we get to flash forward 13 years later and Nas has broken up with Vik even though she clearly has feelings for him. She does so on the assumption that Vik cannot commit. We learn that in that time she was engaged to another man, but that never really gets more than a mention, so I found myself scratching my head as to why it was even relevant to include at all. It added absolutely nothing to the story arc. And I’m not a reader that minds MCs being with other people while they’re separated. But the thing is, these two never felt separated. They’re as codependent as they come. So it was just…strange.

Ultimately what bothered me the most was the DRAAAAAWN out miscommunication on the reason of their separation that spans the entire. freaking. book. And when you finally get it? You want to throw both Vik and Nas in front of a bus for their stupidity and immaturity. Like COME ON.

Truth be told, their romance was just lackluster. It got lost between the mundane details, the drawn out miscommunication over the stupidest thing, and the set up for Annika’s book. I really felt at times like this was essentially one long set up for Annika and Sasha’s book actually.

So there we have it, friends. It just wasn’t for me and I’m super bummed because my eagerness for this book was HUGE.

Review: Claimed by JR Ward

CLAIMED
Series:
Laird of the Wolven #1
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Author: JR Ward
Release Date: July 27, 2021

A heart-pounding new series set in the Black Dagger Brotherhood world, with a scientist fighting to save the timber wolves—and getting caught in a deadly trap herself…

Lydia Susi is passionate about protecting wolves in their natural habitat. When a hotel chain develops a tract of land next to the preserve, Lydia is one of the most vocal opponents of the project—and becomes a target.

One night, a shadowy figure threatens Lydia’s life in the forest, and a new hire at the Wolf Study Project comes from out of nowhere to save her. Daniel Joseph is both mysterious, and someone she intrinsically wants to trust. But is he hiding something?

As the stakes get higher, and one of Lydia’s colleagues is murdered, she must decide how far she will go to protect the wolves. Then a shocking revelation about Daniel challenges Lydia’s reality in ways she could never have predicted.

Some fates demand courage, others require even more, with no guarantees. Is she destined to have true love… or will a soul-shattering loss ruin her forever?

AMAZON

He’d gotten it wrong. She wasn’t his. It was the other way around. She owned him.

I have been sitting on my rating of this book for almost a week now, struggling to figure out how I felt. Ultimately, while there were definitely things about this book that didn’t really work for me, it did hook me enough to want to read the next one, but just not enough to rate the book any higher than I did.

Now for the story. If you haven’t read the BDB series, you may find yourself a little lost here. This is set in the same world as BDB with an overarching story line for Xhex from Lover Mine as well as events spanning from those that happened later in the BDB series. While you get some explanations, if you haven’t read BDB, you may find yourself a bit confused.

Additionally, this is not a standalone. This caught me completely off guard. I was expecting a standalone in an interconnected series, not a cliffhanger. I wish this was made clear to the reader and the cliffhanger here doesn’t catch you unaware.

But those things aside, let’s talk about the story. I love Ward’s brand of story telling. She’s written some of my favorite PNR books. When I saw she’s taking a step from the vampire world to dive into werewolves, I was so here for it. Now usually book one in a new world, does read slower. You have a whole new world to introduce. But while I expected slower paced, I didn’t quite expect to feel as disconnected from it as I did. I found myself bored, skimming the pages. The mystery is what kept me going, but everything else felt lackluster. I found myself struggling to connect to the romance. I never fully felt the chemistry here. It all just felt a bit…bla to me.

Now don’t get me wrong. While the story didn’t blow me away, it still kept me engaged enough to keep turning the pages. I didn’t love it, but I didn’t hate it either. It was just very bland compared to what I’ve come to expect from Ward. I will say that even though I didn’t expect the cliff, the last 20% off the story is what won me over slightly. That’s when the action really began to take place and the story began to pick up at least a little pace. It hooked me enough to want to read the next book and desperate to see how everything ends. Though it’s still not clear if the next book is the conclusion or if it will be a series focused on one couple.

Review: When Darkness Ends by Marni Mann

WHEN DARKNESS ENDS
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Moments In Boston #3
Author: Marni Mann
Release Date: May25, 2021

An all new angsty, dark, stand-alone Contemporary Romance in the Moments in Boston Series …

You never forget your first love … even when he becomes a memory.

There was before.
When we were together, when we were happy.
When we had nothing but dreams.
When not a single bad thing could ever happen because we were young and in love.

And there was after.
When the unthinkable occurs, how do you count time, knowing how precious it is?
When dreams turn to nightmares, how do you wake up every day and choose to go on?
When you have a chance to save another, how can you not?

Even if it changes everything.
Even if it destroys you.

A harrowing, heartbreaking dark contemporary romance from USA Today best-selling author Marni Mann, the third installment in the Moments in Boston series of stand-alones that explores the darkest nights and brightest dawns of the heart. A book that will leave you aching … and looking over your shoulder.

AMAZON | B&N | KOBO 

You never forget your first love … even when he becomes a memory

I struggled with my rating for weeks on this book. Did I like it? Did I not like it? Did I just dislike parts of it. How to I rate it to reflect my feelings on the story accurately. And ultimately, I’ll say that I love Marni’s writing but I just didn’t love this book.

I wanted to rate it a 3, but for me, a 3 is something that ultimately I still enjoyed in spite of the issues I had with the story. And while I was left a bit polarized upon finishing this, I struggled to find what stuck with me on a positive note.

The story is told in two parts of past and present. The past and first half of the story felt painfully slow and teeth rottingly sweet to me. I struggled to stay engaged and I struggled to connect to the characters. I skimmed chapter after chapter. The second part of the story is the polar opposite and read more like a thriller or suspense. I suppose what was lacking from me was a balance. We jump from super bright sunny story into an incredibly dark and depressing one. Now I love me a dark romance, but this didn’t feel dark to me. It felt depressing. It felt disjointed. It was also just too much. Not only do we get the story for the main characters here, but we get perspective on the events from When Ashes Fall in the hero’s pov. While I get the impact, it added nothing to the story here. It didn’t feel needed. Unless you read the first book, it didn’t quite hit the same way. It just felt like too much was happening. It could have been mentioned but didn’t need the super detailed retelling. I understood why the author may have wanted to include it, but it just distracted me from the main story that was happening.

Ultimately, I just failed to connect with both the story and the characters. I didn’t love it and while I can’t say I hated it, I also didn’t like it either. So that’s where the rating comes in. Will others enjoy it? absolutely. You can clearly see I’m the odd man out with my thoughts here. So this is just a case of its me, not you, as the book goes. Alas, you can’t love them all.

USA Today best-selling author Marni Mann knew she was going to be a writer since middle school. While other girls her age were daydreaming about teenage pop stars, Marni was fantasizing about penning her first novel. She crafts unique stories that weave together her love of darkness, mystery, passion, and human emotions. A New Englander at heart, she now lives in Sarasota, Florida, with her husband and their yellow Lab. When she’s not nose deep in her laptop, working on her next novel, she’s scouring for chocolate, sipping wine, traveling, or devouring fabulous books.

Connect with Marni

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Review: Lexi, Baby by Lynda LeeAnne

LEXI, BABY
Series:
This Can’t Be Happening #1
Genre:
Contemporary Romance
Author: Lynda LeeAnne

Release Date:
November 15, 2012

Alexis Sky Martine thinks of herself as the average girl-next-door who does what she has to do to get by, have fun and enjoy life.

She is madly in love with her sexy, drop-your-panties-at-first-sight, hottie boyfriend who is equally in love with her; more like downright obsessed. He treats her like she is his heart; like he needs her to exist; like he would do anything in his power to make her happy.
Lexi knows Landyn James loves her just as much as she loves him, if not more. Deep down, she also knows high school sweethearts aren’t expected to last, but their relationship is different. They are soul mates. Their connection is unbreakable.

What could possibly go wrong when you have love like that…?
Everything.
What will the future hold…?
Only time will tell.

Author’s Note: Contains Adult Content – Namely, a teenager-turned-woman with a very dirty mouth and fiery temper that may or may not know how to throw a punch. Also includes hot and steamy scenes, and a small glimpse into physical/verbal abuse.

AMAZON

I hated him with every fiber of my being. I would always love him, but I hated him with so much passion that I knew I would never be able to forgive him.

I recently fell down the KU rabbit hole and binge read on all of the books that I’ve been wanting to read for a few years now. This was at the top of my list. Why? The cheating. What? I’m weird like that, okay. I love me some cheating angst. But the cheating has to be written well. Like really well. There has to be a reason I can connect with. There has to be a grovel. Like epic grovel. Like a grovel to beat all grovels. And this book? Well….
I love alpha males. I love imperfect, broody, alpha holes. But toxic men? Not my cuppa. And Landyn felt toxic to me. He was possessive and broody, sure. But beyond that? Meh.

All things considered, I could have still liked it. But then there was Alexis. Annoying heroines are my kryptonite and I simply couldn’t stand Alexis. Spoilers to follow
(view spoiler)
Suffice it to say, I really disliked her for that.

Then there’s her toxic boyfriend that seriously spirals out of control and all of the victim blaming that happens. Oh he had a right to manhandle me because this happened and he was mad.
There was really no dealing with things between her and Landyn. Just a whole lot of sex. And I don’t mind me some sexy times, but a little less freaky deaky and a little more conversation wouldn’t have been amiss.

Between that, the amount of over the top ridiculous drama, grammatical errors, and really juvenile characters and dialogue and I completely checked out of the story. Though it did still hook me enough to be curious to read the next book to see how Trish and Tony’s story plays out.

Maybe if I read this book when it first released, I would have felt differently? But my reading tastes have changes quite a bit over the years and I’ll admit my expectations got different for my books. Sadly this one wasn’t my cuppa.

Review: Reborn Yesterday by Tessa Bailey

REBORN YESTERDAY
Series: 
Phenomenal Fate #1
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Author: Tessa Bailey
Release Date: March 17, 2020

A timeless love story with bite.

It was a night like any other for funeral home director Ginny Lynn, until the exceptionally handsome—and unfortunately deceased—young man on her embalming table sat up, opened his emerald eyes and changed the course of her life
forever, making her feel quite fluttery while he was at it.

Humans aren’t supposed to know Jonas Cantrell, or any vampire, exists. It’s kind of a major rule. Despite his instantaneous bond with perfectly peculiar Ginny, he has no choice but to erase her memories of their one and only meeting.

That was the plan. Before a reluctant Jonas can wipe Ginny’s mind clean, she reveals a secret that brings their worlds crashing together. Human and vampire. Past and present. Darkness and light. And while their love is strictly forbidden, it might be the
only thing that can save them…

Reborn Yesterday is a standalone novel.

AMAZON 

I’ve been thinking on my rating for this book for weeks. And now as I’m posting my review, I’m still torn. Did I like it? Kind of.

Here’s the thing, guys. I love and I mean LOVE all things Tessa Bailey. When I see a new Tessa book, I don’t even bother to read the blurb. I know I’ll be reading it. And when I saw that she’s writing in a new genre for her? I was ALL over it. But here’s another thing. PNR is my first love. It was THE genre that got me into romance. So to say that I’m picky when it comes to it would be a mild understatement. Perhaps that’s what played a big role in my feelings for this story? What I’m saying here is take my review with a grain of salt. Many readers really loved this one and clearly I’m the anomaly.

So what worked for me? The characters. They were adorable. I love me a quirky heroine and Ginny was adorkably quirky. She’s a mortician with a goofball personality that enjoys making clothes on the side. It was impossible not to bond with her immediately. As much as I also wanted to love Jonas, I sort of waffled on two sides. A part of me loved his edgy and somewhat tortured side. Another part of me got frustrated by his purple prose-y side. The man is a dirty talking anomaly. He sounded like he belonged in a Victorian novel rather than a modern age PNR. I suppose he was too sweet for me in parts. God, that hurts to say. Don’t judge me. But he was.

The other thing is that the story itself felt campy. The world was difficult to fully wrap my mind around. The characters got a bit confusing. It was all mostly very…underwhelming. It just didn’t grab me. It took me almost a week to finish because I had to push myself to keep reading in the hopes that it would pick up soon, but it never did. The pacing was simply too slow.

I loved the idea of the series and the concept of the story. Unfortunately it just lacked something to truly grab me and connect me to the story. It did grab me enough to want to read the next book in the series. The set-up sounds delicious. Unfortunately no matter how much you love a certain author, you simply can’t love all of their books. This was that one for me. I still adore Tessa and can’t wait for the next one in this series.

Review: Ache by SM Soto

ACHE
Genre: New Adult, Abuse,
Author: SM Soto
Release Date: April 9, 2019

A second chance romance

What happens when you fall for the boy next door?

Bea Norwood had the market on normal.
Drama free life? Check.
A single-mother who doubled as her confidant and partner in crime? Check.
A neighbor and best friend she trusted more than anyone? Check.
But that was until the day her mother remarried. The day that changed everything.

When her best friend’s cousin, Liam Falcon, is sent to live with his aunt and uncle to clean up his act, Bea finds herself falling for the boy next door. With their hearts so infinitely entwined, Bea turns to Liam as her only escape from her new step-brother’s daily torment at home. Bea thought their love could conquer anything. But she was wrong. Love was for fools, and she was the biggest fool of them all. When Liam left Lakeport, he took her heart with him, shattering the organ to pieces.

Six years later, Liam takes a trip back to Lakeport to visit his family, and to see HER.
His first love.
The girl who holds his heart.
The same girl who shattered it six years ago without looking back.

Liam is hell-bent on seeing Bea again after six years, but what he finds tears his heart in half. Bea Norwood is a shell of the girl he fell in love with. Underneath the baggy clothes, and pale skin, he knows she’s still in there somewhere, he just needs to find her.
Liam will stop at nothing to win his girl back, but sometimes, ignorance is bliss, and Liam isn’t prepared for Bea’s truth.

Warning: Contains themes of abuse. May cause triggers.

AMAZON 

How do you save someone if you don’t know they need saving?

This book has been on my radar for so long that the second it released, I jumped on the chance to read it. Second chance romance is my catnip. The blurb made me damn near salivate because it sounded emotional and angsty.

Truth be told, I struggled with my rating. Because while there were a lot of things that didn’t work for me, it’s clear as day that this author has some real writing chops. I’m definitely a new fan and would eagerly read any of her other books. Unfortunately, not every book is for every reader, and this was that case for me.

First of all, I didn’t find this to be a romance at all. At best, this read like women’s lit with a bit of romance thrown in. But the romance is not center stage. It plays second fiddle to the abuse for practically the entire book. Now normally, I wouldn’t have a problem with that. But since I felt absolutely zero chemistry between the hero and the heroine, the romance did absolutely nothing for me. The way they got together in the beginning felt rushed and entirely unbelievable to me. And then the way they get together in the end felt rushed again.

The story is told in two parts, and I’m not really sure why it’s broken down that way. Aside from one part being set in the past and the second in the present, there’s still flashbacks that continue well into the second half. I suppose because they separate in the first half and reunite in the second? I don’t know. It felt a little…blah. But I digress. I struggled with Liam. As much as I wanted to love him, I just didn’t have enough of him to love. There was zero, and I mean zero character development to him. He just was. He felt extremely two dimensional, and considering that part of the book is in his POV, that was extremely disappointing.

Look guys, I will tell you to heed that trigger warning. It’s no joke. Practically the entirety of this book felt like it was about the abuse. I’m talking graphic, detailed, constantly happening abuse. It got to the point where I just couldn’t take it anymore. And not because I couldn’t handle the heavy subject matter, but because it was just so much that it stopped adding anything to the story. A story can be just as powerful without the repetitive reminders. It felt like that’s all there was to the story, to be quite honest. There’s a little of that second chance romance that’s slapped in there, but it just felt….off.

As for Bea. Man. I really REALLY wanted to love her. But sadly I just couldn’t. This girl was a victim. But as a survivor myself, I wanted to read about her finally finding her courage and being just that. A survivor. But she never came off as that. It takes someone else to constantly ride in to save her. It’s never her. And yes, she has one moment where she takes the leap with something. But it wasn’t enough. She was a victim until the very end to me. I hate stories like this where the man rides in to save the poor helpless little female. And that’s how this felt to me. It was so disappointing.

There’s a little romance that happens at the very end but it felt a little too late and definitely not enough. I think had I connected to the rest of the story, I may have felt different. But sadly, it is what it is. Ultimately there were too many character, plot and overall pacing gaps that just took me way out of the story. The author is an incredible story teller, and I enjoyed her writing style. It takes a lot to pull off a story like this, and I give her so much props for doing it. I’m sad that it didn’t work for me, but I’m sure I’ll be in the minority. So I suggest reading it and seeing for yourself. If you’re in the mood for an emotionally powerful book, this one will certainly fit the bill.

Review: Over Us, Over You by Whitney G.

OVER US, OVER YOU
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Author: Whitney G
Release Date: December 7, 2017

From New York Times bestselling author Whitney G. comes a falling for my older brother’s best friend romance.

Subject: Delete this message after you read it…

Dear Hayley,

I’m assuming you’re still hungover, so I’ll make this brief.

Last night, you slipped under my sheets (without my permission), and we almost had sex. I got the hell out of the bed once I realized it was you, and I took you home.

That’s the story.

The end.

Period.

Just in case you’ve forgotten, you’re my best friend’s little sister. We will never be anything more. (We can’t be anything more.) Our previous friendship is still unresolved–or “over” in your terms, so I’d prefer if we worked on becoming ‘just friends’ again since you’re in town.

Nonetheless, I’m not a man who leaves questions unanswered–even the drunken ones, so to properly close our inappropriate conversation:

1) Yes, I liked the way your lips felt against mine when you were on top of me.
2) Yes, I do “prefer” rough sex, but I’m pretty sure I wasn’t rough with you.
3) No, I had no idea you were still a virgin…

This message never happened,
Corey

AMAZON


Meh. Just meh.

I’ll keep this short and sweet. I adore Whitney’s writing. I haven’t read a book of hers I haven’t thoroughly enjoyed…until this one.

The concept was phenomenal. The set up, delicious. The execution, completely lacking. The characters fell flat and came off as two dimensional. There was nothing endearing about either one of them. The plot felt rushed and unfinished. The flashbacks from present to past felt disjointed.

But ultimately, the nail in the coffin for me was Hayley. I. Hated. Her. HATED. She came across as vapid, immature and ungrateful. Here’s a grown woman that has absolutely no issues taking money from her rich and successful older brother and lying to him for years about what she’s doing with it. When her dream business (set up with her brother’s funds) fails epically, she calls him for help. And on a side note, who in their right mind sets up a boutique coffee shop in Seattle, for sanity’s sake?! Sorry, back to the story. So here she comes crawling back to her brother for help, he gives her a job (that she doesn’t deserve) at his company that he built on his own. And what does she do? Not take it seriously, take unlimited days off, show up late, AND CONTINUE TO LIE TO HIM through all of it about being involved with his best friend.


And with the way everything resolved, she never redeemed herself in my eyes. I absolutely despised her.

Add in the rest of the missing pieces and this story was doomed for me from the start. Unfortunately it just didn’t work for me. I will still blindly read any other books this author releases in the future. This is absolutely a one-off, and all my favorites have had one with me. You simply can’t love them all but I look forward to what this author has in store next.

Review: Moonlight Sins by Jennifer L. Armentrout

MOONLIGHT SINS
Series: de Vincent Series #1
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Author: Jennifer L. Armentrout
Release Date: January 30, 2018

New York Times bestselling author Jennifer L. Armentrout delivers the unforgettable story of a woman whose new life has just begun—but may end in murder…

Julia Hughes has always played it safe until she learned a very painful lesson. Now Julia’s starting over with a job in the Louisiana bayou—and a scorching encounter with a stranger, only to discover he’s Lucian de Vincent… her new employer. The de Vincent brothers share a massive fortune and a dark reputation. Julia cares for their troubled sister, but a menacing presence in the mansion—and the ever-present temptation of Lucian—prove dangerously distracting.

Lucian’s grandmother claimed de Vincent men fall in love once—and hard. Apparently, it’s Lucian’s turn. Julia’s compassionate care of his twin makes Lucian want to lay himself bare. But some secrets are better for Julia not to know.

The recent “suicide” of Lucian’s father is the latest in a string of deaths on the estate. Someone is eliminating the de Vincents. And the best way to get to Lucian may be through Julia…

AMAZON

when the de Vincent men fell in love, they did so fast and hard, without reason or hesitation.

I struggled with my rating for this book. A LOT. On the one hand, the characters were multi-layered and intriguing.

I was immediately sucked into the mysterious world of the de Vincents. These brothers are a captivating mix of cold, ruthless, and totally magnetic. With each piece of information the author feeds the reader, you grow more and more intrigued by their world and the demons that they clearly hide in their dark closet of secrets.

This is screwed up,” she said. “You’re screwed up.”
“I’m not just screwed up, Ms. Hughes. I’m as broken as they come, but I don’t need to be fixed. I don’t want to be fixed.” He caged her in. “I like all my fucked-up shards and pieces. They make me who I am. They make me real. The question is, can you handle real?”

Lucian de Vincent is the playboy. He goes through women like he goes through expensive liquor. He doesn’t do repeats and he doesn’t do feelings. But that suddenly changes when he lays on the beautiful nurse his brother hired to take care of their sister. Their connection is instantaneous, though they do their best to deny it.

At first I wasn’t sure about Julia. She gives off a very innocent, slightly naive vibe. But I’m happy to report that she was neither. She hasn’t lived the life that Lucian has, but she’s also no wallflower. This is a woman that’s not afraid to stand up for herself and turn down Lucian’s blatant advances over and over, until the heat between them proves to be her undoing.

Sadly, this is also where the story began to lose me. While I love a slow burn, I found the pacing of the story to be entirely too slow. By 20% my interest began to wane, and by 40% I was almost completely disengaged. The only thing that kept me pushing through to the end was my curiosity about the mysterious happenings and suspense around the de Vincent family. I needed to know how it all turned out. It took a great deal of effort to push through. I read the book over the span of almost 2 weeks because I kept finding excuses to put it down to read something else. I found myself skimming some parts and bored with others. And while the ending was definitely a twist, it wasn’t completely surprising either. I can’t say it felt anticlimactic, but I suppose that I just wanted something a little bit…more.

There was plenty to like about this story, which is why I had such a tough time rating it. But ultimately, the pacing was too slow for me and I was just too bored with parts of the book to rate it anything higher. I’m certainly hooked on the de Vincent brothers and will eagerly read the enact books in the series. Unfortunately this one just didn’t blow me away.

Review: His Royal Secret by Lilah Pace

Review-His Royal SecretHIS ROYAL SECRET
Series: His Royal Secret #1
Genre: Contemporary MM Romance
Author: Lilah Pace
Release Date: July 19, 2016add-to-goodreads-button-2

His Royal Secret

The first in an enchanting new male/male romantic duology from Lilah Pace, author of Asking for More and Begging for It….

James, the handsome, cosmopolitan Prince of Wales, is used to being in the public eye. But he’s keeping a king-sized secret…James, next in line for the throne, is gay.

He’s been able to hide his sexual orientation with the help of his best friend and beard, Lady Cassandra. Sometimes he feels like a coward for not coming out, but he daren’t risk losing the crown. If he did, the succession would fall on his deeply troubled younger sister, Princess Amelia. To protect her, James is willing to live a lie.

While on holiday, he meets Benjamin Dahan—a rugged international reporter with a globe-trotting, unattached life—who catches far more than James’s eye. And when Ben is transferred to London, it seems fate may finally be smiling on James.

But what began as a torrid fling grows into something far more intimate and powerful. Soon James will have decide who he is, what he wants from life and love, and what he’s willing to sacrifice for the truth…

Buy LinksAMAZON | iBOOKSReview-DGR2.5 stars

Take your clothes off.”
“Yes, your Royal Highness.”

I was an instant fan of Lilah Pace the second I read Asking for It. Her writing phenomenal, the story provocative, and the characters multi layered. When I saw that she has a bran new MM romance in the works with a dash of the forbidden (a secretly gay Prince of Wales? *gasp*)
My ovaries were all, sign us up for that right meow!

Then I started reading it and they were all

“when does this pick up?”
“That was pretty hot, but I barely popped a lady boner at it.”
“Alright, I’m over the sex, what about more story?”
“How much longer?”
“Really? We’re not even at 65% yet?”
“Huh. Maybe the next book will bring more”

Clearly my ovaries are fickle bitches. Le sigh. What can I say? This story very sadly left me quite a bit underwhelmed.

While I loved Ben and James individually, together they were barely lukewarm for me. Perhaps that was because I kept wishing for more story development that kept getting overshadowed by all the sex? Perhaps it was because the book read fairly mundane even if it did have a forbidden romance thing going for it. I just wasn’t feeling it.

I was pushing myself to finish…and pushing myself…and pushing myself some more. Eventually this began to feel like the longest short book.

Now don’t get me wrong, in usual Lilah Pace fashion, it was clearly well researched and extremely well written. The author is immensely talented, and that’s clear in her words. What I found lacking here was simply a true connection to the story. But that’s more a personal taste issue than anything truly wrong with the story. Maybe it was my mood, maybe it was something else. But while I didn’t love this one, I will definitely be continuing with the next book because I was intrigued enough by everything going on and the secondary characters to want to know what happens next.

If you’re looking for sizzling hot MM, this book has it. If you’re looking for great secondary characters, this book has it too. If you’re looking for multi-layered characters, this book definitely has it. Who knows, perhaps it will work better for you than it did for me.


Look out for the conclusion

HIS ROYAL FAVORITE

Releasing August 16, 2016

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