Tag «novella»

Series Review: Sins and Scandals by Lauren Smith

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

Sins and Scandals Trilogy

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booksynopsis

Synopsis for An Earl by Any Other Name (from Goodreads):

An earl in the streets, a rogue in the sheets . . .

Leopold Graham, Lord Hampton, was never a man to let propriety stand in the way of his pursuit of pleasure. Hedonism is his only desire in life—until his father’s death saddles him with debts that threaten to bankrupt the entire family. Now the only thing that stands between him and utter ruin is marriage to a proper, and preferably wealthy, young lady.

Ivy Leighton is no sweet English rose. Perhaps it’s her gypsy roots, but she would rather make a spectacle of her independent spirit than sit quietly on the sidelines. If that means that the only place she’ll ever have in society is firmly on the shelf, then so be it. But when Ivy runs into the handsome, rakish Leo who’s looking for a respectable, well-bred wife, she can’t stop thinking about the troubles they can get into. Now she just has to convince him that a life with her is really what he needs.

breakdown

Series: Sins and Scandals Trilogy
Author: Lauren Smith
# of Books: 3 (Full Reading Order Here)
Book Order: Connected
Complete?: Yes
Genre: Adult, Historical, Romance
Heat Rating: really warm
Point of View: Third Person, Alternating
Publication Date: August – December 2017
Source & Format: Netgalley–eARC | Thank you Forever Publishing!

thoughts

**This post was originally posted as a Fresh Friday review of the first book of the series. It has now been updated to include the newest publications in the series.**

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

Over the last year, I’ve discovered that Lauren Smith writes great novella series. They have solid plots, swoon worthy romance and never feel like they are half the size of other works in the genre. So I was really excited to see what she would do with a historical romance novella as opposed to the contemporary works I usually read by her.

What I Liked:

–Felt Like I was Back in Downton Abbey!–

The cover made me think this was a regency era novel but it’s actually set in 1911, which is fabulous! It had a great Downton Abbey feel to it because this is precarious time in history. You’ve got a change in the hierarchy of England and women are searching for the right to vote and be independent.

I loved the setting and how it contributed to the antagonism between Leo and Ivy. Instead of your heroine rebelling for the sake of rebelling, she’s rebelling to contribute to the greater good of society (suffragette movement!).

–Fun Plot Line–

It’s not in the synopsis but I liked that there was substance to the reason why these two were brought together. It added a lighter flare to the story and added some fun to the circumstances.

What I Didn’t Like:

–I Just Needed a Little Bit More–

While these two had great chemistry and I could see why they would be a fabulous match, I felt like things were wrapped up just a little too quickly at the end. Not that I wanted some unnecessarily drama but another chapter would have been great!

My Expectations for the Rest of the Series:

I really enjoy this setting and how there are so many interesting factors contributing to the character’s motivations. We’ve met the next hero so I’m curious to see what his story has in store.

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–September 6, 2017– Book #2: A Gentleman Never Surrenders

I’ll be the first to say, I wasn’t sure what to expect with Owen as the hero in this novel. He didn’t leave the greatest impression on me once I finished An Earl by Any Other Name for obvious reasons. But if anyone could get me to fall in love with an unlikely hero, Lauren Smith is that author.

And she definitely succeeds!

I immediately fell in love with Milly and Owen’s story–and their romance. I adored Milly’s independent spirit and her drive to be something more than what society deems. Watching her get that confidence and grow as a character was such a treat. And learning more about Owen’s motives and seeing him evolve as a character helped erase my previous misconceptions about him and love his characters.

Those misconceptions I had about him were the same ones that Milly had as well at the start. She’s apprehensive about the situation she now finds herself in and that brings out these fantastic moments between them. You get these heart-warming moments where they discover there is something more to the other than they ever thought and they fall that little bit more in love. They have a fantastic chemistry and have these delicious moments of sexual tension that I just adored.

These two charmed me completely and I absolutely loved this story!

–November 23, 2017– Book #3: A Scottish Lord for Christmas

I’ve been looking forward to this book since we where introduced to these two earlier in the series and it was just as good as I had hoped.

This story is just heartwarming from start to finish. It’s a story about learning to love again and accepting that love can happen anytime and that it is worth the risks.

It’s a delicate balance for Quinn and as a result he has some great character growth. You watch him struggle with a range of emotions and thoughts when it comes to his feelings for Rowena. It just gives his character a genuine edge that I really enjoyed as a reader. This is very much Quinn’s story about embracing the past but moving forward to the future.

In comparison, Rowena is very confident in her feelings and so she doesn’t have as much character growth as I expected. Instead, she’s more of a solid foundation to build this story up. In a way it was nice to see the female character be the “stronger” one who doesn’t have to learn or become more comfortable with herself.

While the chemistry is there from the start with these two, I found the sexual tension took a little longer to build. I think it’s because their initial meeting is so rushed and Rowena’s feelings are almost insta-love that it took me awhile to feel the sparks between them even though I knew they worked well on paper. But the romance between them definitely heated up the more I read.

Overall, it’s a great read in time for the holidays and a solid installment in this great series!

My Rating: 4/5

An Earl by Any Other Name 3/5 | A Gentlemen Never Surrenders 5/5 | A Scottish Lord for Christmas 4/5

overall

This was a nice break from the regency historical novels we often see. If you want a Downton Abbey era novella series, this is the one!

Read if You Like: quick reads, Downton Abbey, historical romance
Avoid if You: want a full length novel
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Fresh Fridays: Hellion (Billion Dollar Bastards #1) by Emmy Joel

Fresh Fridays: On Friday, I review a brand new series (ie. only has one book released so far) to see if the series is worth keeping up with. Here is this week’s offering:

Billion Dollar Bastards Series

Other books in the series:
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booksynopsis

Synopsis for Hellion (from Goodreads):

Prison darkens their past. Ink colors their skin. Vengeance fuels their ambition.

Addiction has a name.

Once a coldhearted brawler who ruled the streets with his fists, now a billionaire contractor who rules society with his wealth, Malcolm Bradshaw has only one priority: Pharaoh Construction. Built on lies and ghosts that need to stay silent, it’s his gateway to Texas elite. But when he agrees to restore a centuries-old estate for the wedding of American royalty and long-buried human remains are found during excavation, his self-made kingdom is put in jeopardy. He’ll walk through hell before he backs down from anyone–especially Cate Lois, the introverted archeologist sent to look over his shoulder. From the shyness of her smile to the secrets in her eyes, she’s a drug he knows he shouldn’t touch.

It looks like sin. It talks like temptation.

Mysteries of the past and backroom business dealings don’t faze Cate. Taking what she needs and walking away was never a challenge before. But shadowing Malcolm, who beneath his expensive suits and easy charm is a tattooed son of a bitch, rattles her. What started as a plot to appease her blackmailer and steal a collection of rare artifacts becomes irrevocably complicated the moment Malcolm strips her down to bare skin and naked lust.

And what it doesn’t destroy, it turns into pure, decadent ecstasy…

breakdown

Series: Billion Dollar Bastards
Author: Emmy Joel
# of Books: 3 (Hellion, Rival, Saint)
Book Order: Connected by Chronological Events
Complete?: No, Rival, is to be published in May 2017
Genre: Adult, Contemporary, Romance, Erotica, Mystery
Heat Rating: hot (Kink: mild)
Point of View: Third Person, Alternating
Publication Date: April 11, 2017 – ongoing
Source & Format: Netgalley via Author–eBook | Thanks so much Emmy Joel!

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Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

When I was asked if I was interested in reading Hellion, I was drawn to the description for a few reasons. One being the mystery behind the human remains and the jewels. That sounded positively juicy! Recently, I’ve found myself drawn into the world of romantic suspense (something I never really enjoyed before) thanks to a new fascination with mystery novels (last year it was fantasy novels, I guess 2017 is all about the mysteries). Add to that the danger of 3 criminally-convicted male leads and I was very excited to see what danger this series would bring.

What I Liked:

–Reads Like a Soap Opera–

I don’t know how many people know about the Soap Opera, The Bold and The Beautiful, but it’s this 30 minute soap opera with a tiny cast of larger than life characters. Their lives are all intertwined through romances, family and work, which means there is a ton of drama and secrets.

Reading Hellion reminded me of that show in the sense that you have these characters that are all linked together but you aren’t quite sure how. Everyone is looking out for themselves and everyone has a secretive past. Add in some drama about the jewels, the intrigue about the body and a dash of somewhat forbidden romance and you’ve got yourself one non-stop story.

–Not Full-Blown Erotica–

I don’t mind sexy times in my novels but I wouldn’t say I am a fan of full-out erotica (you know the ones with very little story and a whole lot of sex). So I was a little worried when I saw this labeled as “erotica” and looked at the page size. I didn’t want to read 125 pages of smut and then get a few pages to quickly wrap up the mystery plot (and no shame if you do want that!).

But there was a great balance between the sex scenes and the mystery. It switched the narrative to the actual plot when it needed to and returned to the romance at the appropriate times.

–The Mystery is Woven Throughout the 3 Novels–

I like that the mystery aspect is something that is continued throughout all the novellas. I feel like it just helps tie the books all together besides having the 3 men all be good friends and business partners.

What I Didn’t Like:

–The Novella Format–

Obviously from my above comments this story has a lot of positives to it. It has all the right components to make for a great trilogy. However, it does suffer greatly from the novella-size format.

Everything just felt a little underdeveloped to me.

I wasn’t really sold on the romance because I hardly felt like these two interacted with each other. I felt very little chemistry between them and that made their hasty romance even more of an insta-love situation (which I’m not a fan of even though I was expecting it here).

And while the mystery is going to be carried out over the next two stories, I do feel like it was very “rushed” here. I would have enjoyed it being a little more layered and developed.

My Expectations for the Rest of the Series:

I can’t wait to find out the conclusion for the mystery and there is one particular couple that has me curious to see what is in store for them. Maybe the next two will be longer…

My Rating: 3/5

Hellion 3/5 | Rival TBP | Saint TBP

overall

This (will be) a great summer weekend binge series once all the books are out for fans of shorter stories that pack a lot into them.

Read if You Like: romantic mysteries, bad boys
Avoid if You: dislike novella format, want straight-up erotica
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Series Review: Walk of Shame by Victoria Ashley

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 Slade (from Goodreads):
My name is Slade Merrick and I’m a fucking sex addict . . .

I’ve been told it’s a problem. But I see it as a passion; something that I’m good at. And who the fuck stops something that they’re good at?

They want me to seek help; get my cock in check. Don’t judge my lifestyle. You’re no better than me. Just admit it, you like to fuck too. Sex is what I do best; my own personal high, so I embrace it instead of being ashamed.

When I’m not fucking, I’m slinging drinks at Walk Of Shame or stripping my way into your bed; another thing I’m good at. Every woman’s darkest fantasy brought to life.

So, am I stopping? Fuck no. Sex is beautiful, raw and erotic and I get off knowing I can have it with anyone I want . . . with the exception of her.

Aspen.

She walks into the club swaying those hips, instantly drawing my cock to attention. She’s pure perfection. That is, until she opens that mouth, drawing me in and for the first time in forever I want something more than sex. I want her and she hates it.

Things get dirty. Dirty is what I like; it’s how I live. But . . . she’s playing a game she can never win.

breakdown

Series: Walk of Shame Trilogy

There is a spin-off series called Walk of Shame 2nd Generation

Author: Victoria Ashley
# of Books: 3 (Slade, Hemy, Cale)
Book Order: Connected but Chronological
Complete?: Yes
Genre: Adult, Erotica, Romance, Contemporary
Heat Rating: Smokin’ (Kink: mild)
Point of View: First Person, Alternating
Publication Dates: May 2014 – July 2015
Source & Format: Own–eBook

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Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

I don’t remember how I got these books on my Kobo but there they were when I pulled a star labelled “Slade” from my TBR jar for my Make Me Read It Challenge. While I didn’t read it for my challenge, I still wanted to read all 10 books that I pulled since they contribute to my Rock My TBR Challenge.

I love stories about cocky bad boys who get put in their place by their significant other but it has been a long time since I’ve read a straight erotica novel…so I wasn’t sure if I would be ready for all the sexy times.

The Concept:

Each novella focuses on a different male stripper from the club, Walk of Shame. So if you are picturing Magic Mike, you’re not far from the situation.

The Plot:

Considering the words “erotica novella” are plastered on the front cover, there was a lot more to the plot than I expected. I was worried it was just going to be filled with sexy times but there was actually substance to these characters and their story!

The boys all struggle with pasts that have lead them to their current situation. It was very addicting to get to the bottom of their pasts and see how they were going to right those wrongs.

The Characters:

These boys are bad through and through; but they have these redeeming qualities to them that make you like them.

What I liked about the girls was that they didn’t become overly dependent on these boys once they got involved. While I might not have liked how they handled some of the conflict thrown their ways, I appreciated their characters.

It was crazy how attached I got to all these characters! As soon as I was a couple pages into Slade I just had to know more about Hemy and Cale and what their stories might be.

The Romance:

Even though each story was a novella, I still felt like the romance developed at a great pace. I was actually surprised by how well the romance was established. Lots of novellas rush things but that wasn’t the case here.

The Sexy Times:

I think it’s important that you read the Author’s note before you consider picking up this series:

Author’s Note: Due to strong language and a very high amount of dirty, sexual content, this book is not intended for readers under the age of 18. This is #1 in the Walk Of Shame series of novellas that will all be standalone reads. If you’re not into, cocky bad boys with filthy mouths and even filthier sex, then this series is not for you. If you are . . . then, come meet the dirty boys of Walk Of Shame

It’s very accurate and if erotica isn’t your thing, this isn’t your series!

Series Rating: 4/5

Slade 4/5 | Hemy 4/5 | Cale 4/5

overall

I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed this series! Going in, I thought it was only going to be sexy times but there was actually substance to these characters. It was a blast getting to know them and their pasts better!

Read if You Like: erotica, stories about strippers
Avoid if You: erotica

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Single Sundays: Sexy Bits by Remi Wild

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 Sexy Bits (from Goodreads):
Imagine a twenty-three year old virgin in this century…then imagine that virgin stranded at an adult nude sex resort. Thanks to my best friend, Jess, I am forced to participate in the vacation of her dreams, while trying desperately to hold onto my v-card–okay, so I’m not trying that hard. It’s pretty difficult to hold onto something when your host for the week could melt butter with his gaze…

breakdown

Author: Remi Wild
Genre: New Adult, Romance, Contemporary
Heat Rating: Hot
Point of View: First Person, Single
Publication Date: March 31, 2016
Source & Format: Read It & Review It–eARC

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Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

When I saw this in the review program I’m a part of, it seemed like it could be a fun book. The whole premise is exciting and different; so I was curious how it would all play out.

Plus, it’s a novella which means it isn’t a huge time commitment.

The Concept:

This premise is something I’ve never really encountered before. Do adult sex resorts even exist? I’m too scared to search that in Google…

The Plot:

There isn’t a whole lot to this plot besides the obvious. Claire (the lead) arrives, freaks out and then promptly makes the best of an odd situation. It’s pretty straight-forward with some minor surprises along the way.

The Characters:

Claire started off a little all over the place. I couldn’t figure out if she wanted to keep her virginity or lose it. Her attitude about the resort also seemed to be flipping on a dime. All of that made it hard for me to like her or her journey. I did warm up to her by the mid-way point though when her development seemed to be steady.

The Romance:

This novella has more heat packed into than your average contemporary read but it isn’t full blown erotica either. It’s definitely more open about the sex than other novels as well.

The romance is pretty basic but enjoyable.

My Rating: 3/5

overall

This started shaky for me, but once I got comfortable with it, I enjoyed it. I think the whole sex resort aspect though might be awkward for some readers.

Read if You Like: unique premises, novellas
Avoid if You: dislike the idea of a “sex resort”
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Single Sundays: Touch of Eden by Jessie M.

Synopsis (from Goodreads.com):
I’m Joshua… 25 years old and full of myself.
I hang out with my like minded pals, obsessed with sex and hooking as many girls as I can…

Until one day, one fateful day, I go too far and commit a dreadful sin.
My whole life collapses around me. I don’t want to be me anymore.
I start to change and the next thing I know my whole world stops spinning when I fall in love.

But she says she doesn’t want me. Because of who and what I am and my track record…
You see she knows me. She knows me better than anyone else because she just so happens to be my best friend… This is my story. Our story.

Review:

I actually got this book from Kindle for free near the end of August. The cover and plot premise intrigued me enough to pick it up despite it only being 130 pages long. The page number is an important thing to note because I tend to avoid novellas whenever possible (unless they are a part of a series as a side-story/bridging story) because I find I don’t like how quickly the plot progresses and I find I just end up unsatisfied.

After reading this book, I am a bit unsatisfied. I felt like it had started a little too slowly and then it ended rather suddenly (read: no epilogue). I just couldn’t get into this book and when I finally did, it ended.

Josh was a hard character to like. At first, I thought he was a complete moron when it came to the English language; and then I realized that this book was set in the UK and not the United States like I assumed. Once I sorted that out it went a lot better. But Josh’s character itself was hard to get a firm grasp on. The book is only told from his POV and as a girl, I find it hard to connect with a guy’s mind at times. I’m all for the reformed playboy characters (they are my guilty pleasure) but I didn’t find anything redeemable about him (though he got a bit better near the end).

Overall, I felt like the plot was missing a few dots in the flow. You can really divide the plot into two sets: the romance and Josh’s everyday life. The romance happens quickly and rather unexpectedly. It was literally a BAM moment and he knew he was always in love with Eden. I really didn’t get it so that threw me for a bit. Though I really did like the two of them together and I wish we got to see more of that in the book. The rest of the plot again just felt like it was lacking something. I think part of the problem was everything just starts and ends so quickly that there is a lot that doesn’t reach its full potential. I also kept expecting some twists and turns but they never came so that left me disappointed.

Conclusion:

As a free book, this was a good book. Nothing overly fantastic but I enjoyed reading it. I just wish it was a bit longer and had a more developed plot because all the dots were there, they just needed to be strung together. Would I pay the $3 on Amazon that it is listed at now? Probably not but I wouldn’t discount books from this author in the future if they were the right price.

Rating: 2.5/5

Shorthand Stats:
Genre: New Adult, Romance, Drama
Recommended for: 18+
Similar Reads: Frigid by J. Lynn

Book Review: Kidnapping the Laird by Terri Brisbin

While this blog may be focused on reviewing book series as a whole, we can’t forget about the good ole’ standalone novel!

Author: Terri Brisbin
Genre: Romance, Historical, Highlanders
Heat Rating: warm

Thoughts on Kidnapping the Laird:

I actually got this book for free from Kobo and I am glad that I did.

This book showed a lot of promise but because it was only a novella, it just didn’t have enough time to fully develop. If it was a full length novel, I would have really liked it.

It was a super cute read and story. Padruig and Cat were likeable and you wanted to cheer them on. I liked Cat’s plot to get Padruig back and thought it was a great plot line to follow. It was a refreshing highlander read which is why I wish it was longer and more developed.

There isn’t much more to say as it was only a few dozen pages long and I don’t want to give everything away.

Conclusion:

A cute, SUPER quick read that if you can get for free like I did, is worth the short amount of time it takes to read.

Rating: 3/5

Similar Reads: Taming the Highlander by Terri Brisbin (The MacLearies, #1)

Synopsis for Kidnapping the Laird (from Goodreads):
Catriona MacDonnell is a wife of convenience who discovers that she wants more from the handsome, sexy laird she had to marry.

Padruig Grant was not happy when his wife kicks him out of her bed, but his pride prevents him from returning to it. When Catriona takes matters…and her husband…into her own hands to claim the love they both deserve, should he resist her valiant efforts or should he surrender?