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 Cruel Money (from Goodreads):
She was supposed to be a one night stand.
A way to sate my sexual appetite.
I let her glimpse the man I am. The face that I hide behind my carefully cultivated life. But she ripped open that divide—and there’s no going back.
Now, she’s here. In my city.
I don’t care that I’m Manhattan royalty and she’s the help.
Only that she’s living in my summer home. With me.
And I want more.
SERIESous’ Top Picks: Must Read Author
Series: Cruel, The Seasons (#4-#7)
This crosses over with the Wright Love Duet Series.
There multiple bonus novellas (Full Reading Order Here)
Book Order: Chronological (#1-3); Connected (#4-7)
Genre: Adult, Contemporary, Romance, Drama
Heat Rating: Hot
Point of View: First Person, Alternating
Publication Date: January 22, 2019 – ongoing
Source & Format: Inkslinger PR–eARC (#1-3); Library–eBook (#4-6)
**This post was originally published as a Blog Tour Stop 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:
When I want a romance with a wicked twist along the way, K A Linde is my go-to author. She never fails to surprise me when it comes to the drama of her romances. The romance is steamy and the drama is high–just what I like!
I was excited for this new series because it seemed like something I would love. Forbidden romance. NYC. Paris. I couldn’t wait to dive in!
What I Liked:
I’ll be the first to say that I had to slowly warm up to Natalie a bit. I think her anger at the start made her seem abrupt and perhaps a little rude? But as the story progressed I really loved how she grew a backbone and become confident in herself. She doesn’t become this dependent heroine, rather she really does achieve independence so I was definitely on board with that!
–The Side Characters–
As I often am with these types of stories, I immediately got sucked into the lives of the side characters. I really hope we can elaborate more on their romances and shared histories in future novels.
—Cruel Intentions meets Gossip Girl—
Without a doubt, Cruel Intentions has one of my all time favourite romance tropes at the heart of it (playboy falls hard for his target) but I also adore (weird I know) the manipulation of the characters. Which is where the Gossip Girl comparisons come in. I associate the Upper East Side with high drama and backstabbing frenemies and a whole lot of angst. That’s all definitely here.
What I Didn’t Like:
Don’t get me wrong, I had a major crush on Penn. He’s charming and everything I like in my playboy heroes so I was a fan. But I had the hardest time getting a read on him. Just when I think I had him figured out, he’d do something that just seemed out of character for me. I suppose part of that is the point of the story (you don’t really know his true intentions) but it just made his character lack some stability as a character (if you get what I’m saying).
–It Seemed a Little Tame?–
I came in expecting a lot of drama and I don’t think I got as much as I wanted. Sure, the story is super angsty and there is lots of Upper East Side Drama like you expect. But everything just seemed a little more toned down than I’m used to. But I could definitely sense that things were building by the end of the novel so I’m thinking bigger things are to come!
When to Read #0.5 One Cruel Night:
I would highly recommend that you read the novella before you read #1 Cruel Money. I found that novella really highlighted Natalie and Penn’s relationship and gave me a foundation that was lacking at the start of the novel for me when it comes to the romance. It gives you their history but doesn’t give any of the big secrets away either. Plus, the novella is super great; I wish it was longer!
My Expectations for the Rest of the Series:
Things are ramping up and I can’t wait to see how all this will unfold!
How it Crosses Over with the Wright Brothers Series:
My understanding since that is one of the few K A Linde series I haven’t read (yet), that Penn and Katherine are featured as the friends of the leads in that series. You can definitely read one series without the other.
–May 1, 2019– Book #2: Cruel Fortune
–June 14, 2019– Book #3: Cruel Legacy
–March 12, 2022– Book #3.5: Cruel Promise & Book #4: Cruel Truth
Originally, Books #4 to #7 were going to be their own spinoff series (The Seasons) but now they are lumped together under the Cruel Series. Which works for me and makes sense: all these characters have their lives intertwined with each other.
I read Cruel Promise before I read Cruel Truth and that is definitely the way to do it. It provides much more background between our leads in the full novel–information that I felt was lacking in the actual novel. It provides a lot of context and I think the novella does a much better job of showing how these two work romantically.
–March 27, 2022– Book #5: Cruel Desire
I really loved watching these two move from hate to love as they slowly peeled back each other’s layers. It was sweet to watch them slowly realize their misconceptions of the other were wrong and slowly fall in love, not just lust. I got a little bored by the end though with the back and forth drama that just seemed to be a little too much.
–April 7, 2022– Book #5: Cruel Marriage
I feel like this book has been building since the very first Cruel story–and I think it was my most anticipated. I really enjoyed the many layers to this novel. From the hate-to-admit-I-love-you moments to the complex leads, I was captivated by the journey these two take. Would I have liked to have had more flashbacks to key events in the past? Yes — and I think readers who pick this up as a standalone will miss out by not knowing those past moments because they are mentioned as if you should already know. Overall though, I enjoyed this!
My Rating: 3.5/5
[One Cruel Night 4/5] | Cruel Money 3.5/5 | Cruel Fortune 3.5/5 | Cruel Legacy 3/5 | [Cruel Promise 4/5] | Cruel Truth 3/5 | Cruel Desire 3.5/5 | Cruel Marriage 5/5 | [Cruel Kiss TBA] | Cruel King TBA
This is perfect for fans of Cruel Intentions and angsty romance reads!
Read if You Like: Cruel Intentions, the Upper East Side
Avoid if You: dislike angsty, billionaire romances
- Little Black Book by Tabatha Vargo (Little Black Book Series #1)
- I Bet You by Isla Madden-Mills (The Hook-Up Series #2)
- Fair Game by Monica Murphy (The Rules Series #1)
K A Linde
K.A. Linde is the USA Today bestselling author of the Avoiding Series, Wrights, and more than thirty other novels. She has a Masters degree in political science from the University of Georgia, was the head campaign worker for the 2012 presidential campaign at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and served as the head coach of the Duke University dance team. She loves reading fantasy novels, binge-watching Supernatural, traveling, and dancing in her spare time.
She currently lives in Lubbock, Texas, with her husband and two super-adorable puppies.
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