Series Review: Is this series worth your time? Does it get better as the novels progress? Or does it get worse? Find out below:
Synopsis for Release Me (from Goodreads):
He was the one man I couldn’t avoid. And the one man I couldn’t resist.
Damien Stark could have his way with any woman. He was sexy, confident, and commanding: Anything he wanted, he got. And what he wanted was me.
Our attraction was unmistakable, almost beyond control, but as much as I ached to be his, I feared the pressures of his demands. Submitting to Damien meant I had to bare the darkest truth about my past—and risk breaking us apart.
But Damien was haunted, too. And as our passion came to obsess us both, his secrets threatened to destroy him—and us—forever.
Release Me is an erotic romance intended for mature audiences.
Series: Stark Trilogy, Stark
Author: J. Kenner
# of Books: 4 (Release Me, Claim Me, Complete Me, Anchor Me)
There are also novellas that takes place after the final book. Full list here.
Genre: Contemporary Romance, Erotica
Heat Rating: Steamy (BDSM: mild)
Point of View: First Person, Single
Publication Dates: January 2013 – April 2017
Source & Format: Public Library–eBook
Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:
I will admit I enjoyed Fifty Shades of Grey–not for the kinky sex but for the plot. Yes, there was a plot to the series but that is beside the point. So I can say I was excited to read this series because it is recommended for fans of Fifty Shades and it promised to have more of a plot.
I really liked this series (at this point I had only read the first two books). If you compare Fifty Shades of Grey and the first book, Release Me, they both have similar plot progression and delivery; however there are some differences that make this series its own.
Where this differs really differs from Fifty Shades is in book 2, Claim Me. There are major plot developments that separate this book completely from Fifty Shades and does so in a way that has me counting down the days to the final book.
For one the characters are their own. Nikki is a more driven and academically intelligent than Anastasia. Nikki also has her own issues to work out emotionally and mentally. She is a very heavy character but is very likable at the same time. Damien is also complex emotionally and mentally, much like Christian, but not so BSDM driven (though he does have control issues and likes his toys & ties and this becomes stronger as the books progress). While he is always sexually charged, you can see that he does care for Nikki–whereas it wasn’t always obvious with Christian.
These two are cute together and it was obvious to me why they would fall for each other. They do become a little too consumed with each other but that is also the nature of what people expect in this Erotica genre.
–January 21, 2014– Book #3: Complete Me
I FINALLY got around to reading the final book, Complete Me, and I have to say that it was a major disappointment 🙁
I think my main problem is that it is has been so long since I read Claim Me and I let myself build up this last book, Complete Me, so much. But I also feel let down by the characters. Damien seemed much more into BDSM that I previously remembered and Nikki (who used to be one of my favourite heroines in contemporary romance) really got on my nerves in this book. I was also expecting one aspect of the plot to be longer but it wasn’t. BUT I did like where the rest of the book went and I am happy with the way things ended (though I am glad there is a follow-up novella)!
I see that there is a spin-off series in the works with Jamie (Stark International Series) and the novella, Take Me, introduces us to Ms. Jenner’s next trilogy series, Most Wanted, with the first book called Wanted.
–January 20, 2014– Book #3.5: Take Me
The first few chapters of this novella are basically an extended sex epilogue of the trilogy but eventually we get a plot. While I enjoyed this extended epilogue and it made me excited to read the other series, I still feel like I’m lacking some closure with these two. Hopefully we see more of them in the spinoff series but I think fans will enjoy this novella. Also, don’t expect a huge introduction to Evan. He’s there for like two seconds and gone. If I didn’t know that the next series was a about him, I wouldn’t have given him a second thought.
–February 8, 2014– Book #3.6: Have Me
As with the previous novella, Have Me is just an excuse to read about Nikki and Damien have sex with each other. Plus, they are in that honeymoon phase where every line is about how much they love each other–which gets nauseating. I won’t lie, I really skimmed most of this novella because the first 50 pages are just smut and when the plot comes I just couldn’t bring myself to care. I won’t be picking up the 3rd novella anytime soon. I would have preferred a separate novel to combine all of this together instead of 3 separate novellas though I appreciate the fact that in theory these novellas provide the closure I was missing from the conclusion of the series.
Why I Won’t be Reading Anchor Me:
I’m kind of over these characters. I hate dragged out stories–they just seem like ploys for money and fanservice. I just don’t see the point of another full length novel.
Series Rating: 4/5
In the end, I did enjoy this series. It has a solid blend of sexy and plot that fans of E.L. James and Sylvia Day will gobble up right away. It’s not as BDSM focused as Fifty Shades but has characters and situations similar to Bared to You.
Read if You Like: Contemporary Erotica, flawed leads
Avoid if You: dislike erotica, dislike long series