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Series Review: Playboys in Love by Gina L Maxwell

Series Review: Playboys in Love by Gina L Maxwell

Series Review: Is this series worth your time? Does it get better as the novels progress? Or does it get worse? Find out below:

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booksynopsis

Synopsis for Shameless (from Goodreads):

People say I’m shameless. They’re right.

I like my sex dirty. It takes a hell of a lot to tilt my moral compass, and I always follow when it’s pointing at something I want. That goes double when it points straight at the one girl in all of Chicago who’s not dying for a piece of me.

She’s all I can think about, and that’s a problem, because she wants nothing to do with me. But I’ve seen her deepest secrets, her darkest fantasies, and they match mine to a fucking T.

I want her. Bad.

Now I need to show her how good it can feel…to be shameless.

breakdown

Series: Playboys in Love
Author: Gina L Maxwell
# of Books: 3 (Full Reading Order Here)
Book Order: Connected
Complete?: Unsure
Genre: Adult, Contemporary, Romance, Erotica
Heat Rating: Hot (Kink: mild | BDSM: light)
Point of View: First Person, Alternating
Publication Dates: May 2016 – ongoing
Source & Format: Publisher–eARC; Owned–Kindle (#3)

Copies provided for Shameless (#1) and Ruthless (#2)

thoughts

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

I had actually never heard of this series until I was asked if I wanted to review book 2, Ruthless. I’m not a huge erotica fan per say but I do like to read adult contemporary romances from time to time. This series sounded like it was the perfect in between, bordering on the New Adult spectrum but with an adult erotica spin.

The Concept:

It’s not mentioned in the synopsis, but this series follows a bunch of male strippers who strip for fun (aka they have other day jobs) and how they meet their match in some special girl. The concept is a lot of fun, it reminded me of the movie Magic Mike but focusing on individuals and not the whole troop. It also reminded me of the Walk of Shame Series that shares a similar idea but this series isn’t as overly dramatic though it shares the kink factor.

Which brings me to the kink factor. It isn’t as extreme as say, a Maya Banks series, but it is definitely present and provides for lots of sexy times. I think if someone is looking for a nice bridge into the erotica genre, this is a nice gateway. It’s well done.

The Plot:

I would say that this series is more focused on the romance and the sexy times than it is with high dramatic antics. Which I really appreciated because I hate when the drama is soap opera-esque. Of course you have some typical tropes thrown in there but otherwise, you get a pretty linear plot.

I will say that the plot had a much better balance in book 2, Ruthless. It actually had more substance to it than sexy times and worked on the character and romance development.

The Characters:

All these characters are very likeable. The females are strong and independent. I never found them losing themselves in their relationships or conforming to be something other than more self-confident.

I also liked the guys. Even though I’m not a huge alpha hero fan, I definitely liked these male leads. They (like the ladies) have great character development throughout the story.

The Romance:

I found the romance to be much stronger in Ruthless (#2) than in Shameless (#1). For me, the romance in Shameless was more insta-love because things move so fast and all seems rooted in instinct rather than emotional connection. I like my romances to spell things out for me when it comes to the romances and it just didn’t work in Shameless for me even though I could see, in theory, how they would work.

Which is why I enjoyed the romance in Ruthless so much more. Thanks to the balanced plot, we actually get to see these two interact in moments other than sex scenes. You see the emotional connection form and you can’t help but root for them.

My Expectations for the Rest of the Series:

I definitely know what characters I want to see get their own story next. We get just enough of a taste of each of the male leads to get you excited to see what their story is going to be!

updates

–May 15, 2019– Book #3: Merciless

The great thing about a series like this is that you can jump back in at anytime. While I don’t think the leads here were the exact leads I wanted to read about, I still enjoyed their story.

Like the other books in the series, this story had a great balance between the sexy times and the plot. There is substance to this story and not just the needed context to get to the sexy times. I think I could have used a little more development from the romance but there was enough to satisfy me for this quicker read.

Series Rating: 4/5

Shameless 3.5/5 | Ruthless 4/5 | Merciless 3/5

overall

If you like books with plenty of sexy times and just a dash of kink, this is a great one for you to read! The perfect series to bridge the NA and Adult erotica gap.

Read if You Like: erotica, books with kink, quick reads
Avoid if You: dislike erotica

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DNF Review: London With Love by Chris Haigh

Single Sundays: While this blog may be focused on reviewing book series as a whole, we can’t forget about the good ole’ standalone novel! On Sundays, I will review a novel that is considered to be a standalone novel. Here is this week’s offering:

Synopsis for London With Love (from Goodreads):

Emily Gibson is age 26, attractive, and working in London. Her love life up to now has been a disaster, making her reckless and unpredictable. In spite of being good at her job, she gets fired.
Scott Gillons is four years older, a hot and handsome plastic surgeon who has developed a secret microchip tracker to implant into humans. Even though women adore him, he finds serious relationships don’t work – until he meets Emily.
She’s been two-timed and abused by a previous boyfriend, and yet Emily still likes a bad-boy element in her men. She rejects Scott, while confiding a secret to her friends. Tensions mount as her life takes an unexpected turn, and she makes a discovery which threatens her safety.
Truths emerge as Scott has to face up to his own issues. There are confessions he needs to make to Emily if their friendship is to become true love, confessions which will leave him vulnerable and, if made public, would damage his career as a surgeon.
As the facts come out, Emily and Scott become entangled in each other in a search for commitment and a future together.

breakdown

Author: Chris Haigh
Genre: Adult, Contemporary, Suspense, Romance
Heat Rating: unsure;  BDSM: light; Kink: mild
Point of View: Third Person, Alternating
Publication Date: July 8th, 2016
Source & Format: Author–eARC

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thoughts

Disclaimer: I stopped reading London With Love at 30%. Find out why below…

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

As someone who enjoys suspense movies and loves romance novels, I rarely read romantic suspense. I’m not sure why, I guess I just gravitate more towards romantic dramas instead.

So when I was asked if I was interested in reading London With Love, I wanted to give it a chance. It sounded promising with two characters holding two life-impacting secrets and I couldn’t wait to uncover those.

What I Liked:

–The Setting–

I really don’t read enough novels set in London, England. Especially now that I’ve visited there and can picture the scene so much easier. I also love British slang and so I enjoyed that aspect of the writing as well.

–The Premise–

When I stopped reading, I could see that there was potential for this story. While it hadn’t gotten to the suspenseful part yet, I was starting to see where the story was going.

I also like stories with darker vibes and this one was giving them to me. These two have interesting pasts that aren’t so happy and it was obvious what those effects had on their psyche.

What I Didn’t Like:

–The Plot Moved Very Slow–

I was at 30% and I could count on one hand the number of times Scott and Emily had interacted with each other. In other words, this is the very definition of a slow burn romance and it just wasn’t grabbing my attention.

I did like the darker premise a lot but it just took a little too long for that element to come into play. I feel like everything would have come to light in the next chapter or two but my interest just wasn’t there.

–The 3rd Person Narration–

This is the biggest reason why I DNF’d this book when I did: I wasn’t entirely sure what was happening.

I’m not sure if it was the third person narration or the writing itself, but I was struggling to visualize what what I was reading and that dampened my reading experience. I think part of it is just my inexperience reading third person POV suspense novels as well (I would say 90% of the books I read are first person).

Will I Finish It?

While I am curious to see how these two handle their secrets so I might try this one again next year.

My Rating: DNF

overall

If you enjoy romantic suspense novels and the slow burn romance that often accompanies them, this is a great novel for you!

Read if You Like: slow burn, romantic suspense
Avoid if You: want more romance
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Series Review: Mad, Bad, and Dangerous to Love by Anna Antonia

Series Review: Is this series worth your time? Does it get better as the novels progress? Or does it get worse? Find out below:

booksynopsis

Synopsis for Mad for You (from Goodreads):
I had gone to high school with Gabriel Gordon. Despite his heavenly name and matching beauty, Gabriel was anything but angelic. Rich, spoiled, and far too cynical for his age, he could easily charm the skirt off a prim beauty or a young teacher or two. Gabriel Gordon was mad, bad, and …well, you probably know the rest.

The years hadn’t changed him, despite taking over his father’s company and expanding it into a multinational corporation. Unfortunately, it was just my luck that I found myself working in Gabriel’s building. Although I had managed to avoid him for the better part of a month, a chance encounter in the elevator proved he was still an arrogant man who showed far too much interest in the shape of my mouth and nape of my neck.

From then on, Gabriel bedeviled me, teased me, and more often than not, made me want to throw things at his head. Still, just as in high school, I couldn’t help but see the pain behind his lazy grin and the shadows in his crystalline gaze. When Gabriel confessed his love for me, I should have been the happiest woman in the world. Too bad I couldn’t believe him…

Emma Adams had always considered herself level-headed, even-tempered, and most of all, sane. So how did she become someone who couldn’t seem to push Gabriel Gordon away? No matter how sweet his words could be or how easily passion exploded between them, getting involved with the outrageously wealthy playboy had to be the height of insanity. Given their tumultuous natures and personal demons, there was only way a relationship between them could survive: in madness.

breakdown

Series: Mad, Bad, and Dangerous to Love
Author: Anna Antonia
# of Books: 4 (Mad for You, Bad for You, Dangerous for You, All to Love You)
Complete?: Yes
Genre: New Adult, Romance, Contemporary
Heat Rating: hot (BDSM: light in Bad for You onwards)
Point of View: First Person, Single
Publication Dates: June 2013 – September 2014
Source & Format: Own–eBook

thoughts

**This post was originally posted as a Fresh Friday review of the first book of the series. It has now been updated to reflect my conclusion to DNF this series. It will not be further updated.**

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

I picked up this book for super cheap after reading the synopsis. I love stories about reuniting with a high school love who didn’t seem to know you existed–I mean it’s fiction for a reason 🙂 But it promised to be a quick read with a swoon-worthy hero so I quickly moved it up my to-read list.

This book was enjoyable and it did have it’s cute and swoon-worthy moments that I was hoping for. BUT, I did have a few issues with the execution and writing style.

As much as I liked Gab, he didn’t sound like a 25 year old male to me. He talked very old fashioned which threw me considering it is a contemporary, modern read. I guess that is supposed to be part of his appeal but I just felt like it was off for his modern businessman bad boy persona. Maybe he has matured based on what we learn about him in the story but it just didn’t fit or work overly well for me.

My other peeve was the writing flow. One minute we would be in the past and then without an ellipse or noticeable break in the paragraphs we would find ourselves in the present. This confused me and I often had to reread sections to figure out what had happened.

My Expectations for the Rest of the Series:

What happens at the end is something I didn’t see coming and I’m not sure how I feel about it because it ended so abruptly. It definitely left me curious to read the next book but not enough that I would drop everything to read it. I don’t want to give it away but I know I wasn’t expecting that turn and it makes for an interesting twist in a New Adult novel.

updates

–January 8, 2017– Book #2: Bad for You

I was curious to see how they would handle the plot given the ending of the previous book but I ended up torn.
Torn, because I appreciated the honesty of the characters and how they were going to move forward with their relationship (so win); but in the same breath, I easily got tired of the love-dovey, mushy romance (so loss).
I just wanted a little more substance to this story. It really only focused on one aspect and it just seemed to rehash that point over and over…I just found myself so bored and simply not connecting with these characters.

Series Rating: DNF

Mad for You 3/5 | Bad for You 2/5 | Dangerous to You N/A | All to Love You N/A

overall

If you want a quick and simple romance series, this is for you. If you like an alpha male who will do anything for his heroine, this is the book for you. But if you want a little more to your romances, look elsewhere.

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Similar Reads: Fifty Shades of Gray by E.L James (Fifty Shades Trilogy #1)

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Series Review: Beautiful Bastard by Christina Lauren

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Series: Beautiful Bastard

This series crosses over with the Wild Seasons Series in book 4, Beautiful Secret.

Author: Christina Lauren
# of Books: 4 (Beautiful Bastard, Beautiful Stranger, Beautiful Player, Beautiful Secret)

There are 4 novellas #1.5 Beautiful Bitch, #2.5 Beautiful Bombshell, #3.5 Beautiful Beginning and #3.6 Beautiful Beloved

Book Order: Connected but Chronological
Complete?: Yes
Genre: Contemporary, Romance, Erotica, Drama
Heat Rating: Smokin’, Kink: mild, BSDM: light
Point of View: First Person, Alternating

Thoughts:

This series peaked my interest for three reasons: 1) the title (it isn’t every day you see “bastard” in a title); 2) the enemy to lovers plotline (I’m a sucker for this type of romance plotline) and 3) the fact that it was fan-fiction before being republished.

Now, the fact that it was fanfiction, specifically Twilight fanfiction, would rightfully deter people away from picking up Beautiful Bastard. I mean, Twilight fanfiction brought us Fifty Shades of Grey and that presents a bias for all fanfiction that is published after its initial posting. So, needless to say I was a bit skeptical about this book, but I did like Fifty Shades when all is said and done so I decided to give this a shot.

I have to say, this book wasn’t very “Twilight-y” in its delivery. Unlike Fifty Shades where you can pick up the obvious parallels between its story and Twilight, I really didn’t get that here. After I finished the book and read the authors’ biographies, I realized that this published version was different than the original fanfiction they created. So if you are worried that this is just a reworking of Twilight, it isn’t so go into it with a fresh mind.

As for the book, Beautiful Bastard, it was a quick and cute read. Nothing wholly original but I was entertained nonetheless. I wish there was a bit more tension between the characters before they started sleeping together. I kind-of wanted more of a buildup to the eventual “moment” but they do give some flashback and insight to their past relationship so that helps. But I still don’t really understand why they are drawn to each other besides the sex (which happens a LOT, nearly every chapter). I suppose it is expanded upon a bit later on but I could have used a little more details.

The book also ends rather abruptly I think. I like a nice little epilogue or wrap-up at the end of my books; especially when the next full length novel in the series doesn’t deal directly with those two characters. So the way it ended was a bit of a disappointment but the nice thing is the Beautiful Bitch novella picks up from the end of Beautiful Bastard and closes up some of those gaps. However, it also ended abruptly (it is a novella after all) but I did feel like I got some closure. I was lucky to borrow a copy but if I had paid the $6 to buy the book from Kobo, I would have been severely disappointed in this novella. But when all is said and done, I enjoyed it and it did get me excited to read Beautiful Stranger.

Unfortunately, Beautiful Stranger was a bit of a disappointment. It is really a shame because I really did like the characters and wanted to really like this book. There were two issues that caused me not to enjoy this book as much as I had hoped. One was the same problem I have with Beautiful Bastard: I don’t understand why these characters fall in love with each other. Sure, they have amazing sexually chemistry but again, I would have appreciate an expansion on the things they have in common and their connection because I do think it was there, it was just tucked behind the scenes. The other issue would be the “kink” factor these two share. By no means is it as kinky as some erotica novels out there but I really don’t understand the fascination with taking photos of yourself–especially when you know the risks involved. Just doesn’t float my boat and it took me a long time to get over that. Overall, I liked Beautiful Stranger, but not as much Beautiful Bastard and I wish there was an epilogue!

I’m looking forward to the next eBook, Beautiful Bombshell and hoping for some resolution with the previous characters and also hoping for some more insight into the characters of the 3rd book, Beautiful Player.

Updated (Jan 9/15): I won’t lie–this series slipped to the back of my mind in 2014 and that only reason I remember I read it was because of my library adding the last few works to the online catalogue in December. So I put my holds on them and waited.

I actually read Beautiful Player before I read Beautiful Bombshell just because of how my holds at the library worked out. I don’t feel like I missed out on much because it really had nothing to do with the leads in Beautiful Player (maybe two little facts about the hero) and everything to do with the leads in the previous two books. Beautiful Bombshell is basically just reading sex scenes involving the last two couples in various places in Vegas. I actually skimmed a lot of it because it was almost a sex overload — though I thought the last chapter was really cute.

As for Beautiful Player–hands down my favourite book in the series! I loved loved the two leads, loved their relationship and loved the plot line. Hanna reminded me so much of myself in her everyday life and she had my laughing throughout the book. Of course she had her little dumb moments but nothing that stopped me from loving her. And Will was just plain swoon-worthy. I never had to question why these two liked each other because their chemistry and connection was apparent from the start. They didn’t jump into bed together but actually had a relationship before all the sexual stuff came into the equation. But the sexual tension was there from the start and it made that moment when they actually crossed that line that much sweeter. I just thought it was really well done even if there wasn’t much else going on plot-wise other than their relationship growing.

Updated (March 28/15): I read Beautiful Beloved and really enjoyed it. Unlike Beautiful Bombshell, I didn’t feel like I was reading extended sex scenes of all the characters–it actually had a plot and an intriguing one at that! It raises good questions for the modern woman: how do you balance your work life with your obligations as a mother? And while I may not necessarily be in that place in my life at the moment, I think a lot of older women (and guys too!) will relate in some capacity to the couple here.

But perhaps the best part of Beautiful Beloved was the brief introduction to the hero in Beautiful Secret! I cannot wait for this book–I already have my name on the hold list at my library and am counting down the days!

Updated (April 1/15): I will admit that I didn’t give Beautiful Beginning the time it deserved because I had to return it to the library and read another book before it expired on me too. Like Beautiful Beloved, I thought it was a great way to wrap up these characters’ stories and it would have been a great way to end the series had they not decided to write Beautiful Secret (the crossover with their other series). It’s not sex scenes every two pages and it made me appreciate these two characters and their relationship a lot more. It was fun, touching and overall a great novella!

UPDATED (May 6/15): Despite getting Beautiful Secret on its release day, I didn’t get a chance to read it until now. While this book didn’t blow my away like Beautiful Player, I simply adored it! I was worried it was going to be a British regurgitation of Beautiful Bastard (the premise is slightly similar with a young intern as the female lead) but they are drastically different. It was fun and sweet and sexy–everything I want (and have come to expect) in a Christina Lauren novel! I loved that instead of a naive young girl, we get a male lead who isn’t too sure of his sexual prowess and who hasn’t been sleeping his way through London. It made their connection more realistic to me than this “magical” connection that makes him change his ways after a mind-blowing “shag” (you know the stories I’m talking about?).

Right now, there are no plans for further books in the series and I am OK with that. Christina Lauren have shown that they can write other stories with their Wild Seasons Series (which I immensely enjoy) so I would like to see them expand their catalogue a bit. But that isn’t to say I wouldn’t read the next novel in this series if there were to be one. You can definitely count me in!

Definitely not the greatest books ever written–though all things considered, they are written well–but if you are looking for a cute quick read that is filled with lots of sex, look no further than this series! It’s a great modern, contemporary erotica romance series without all the dark, alpha males in the traditional contemporary erotica series.

Rating: 4/5

Similar Reads: Bared to You by Sylvia Day (Crossfire Trilogy, #1); Fifty Shades of Gray by E.L. James (Fifty Shades Trilogy, #1); and Worth the Scandal by Karen Erickson, (Worth It, #1)

Synopsis for Beautiful Bastard (from Goodreads):
An ambitious intern.
A perfectionist executive.
And a whole lot of name calling.

Whip-smart, hardworking, and on her way to an MBA, Chloe Mills has only one problem: her boss, Bennett Ryan. He’s exacting, blunt, inconsiderate—and completely irresistible. A Beautiful Bastard.

Bennett has returned to Chicago from France to take a vital role in his family’s massive media business. He never expected that the assistant who’d been helping him from abroad was the gorgeous, innocently provocative—completely infuriating—creature he now has to see every day. Despite the rumors, he’s never been one for a workplace hookup. But Chloe’s so tempting he’s willing to bend the rules—or outright smash them—if it means he can have her. All over the office.

As their appetites for one another increase to a breaking point, Bennett and Chloe must decide exactly what they’re willing to lose in order to win each other.

Originally only available online as The Office by tby789—and garnering over two million reads on fan fiction sites—Beautiful Bastard has been extensively updated for re-release

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