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 Selling Scarlett (from Goodreads):
Elizabeth DeVille doesn’t belong at a party like this – one where the gowns cost more than her Camry and cigars run higher than her grad school utility bills. Dragged out of seclusion by her best friend Suri, Elizabeth is merely playing dress-up, rubbing elbows with a crowd that banished her troubled family years ago.
Hunter West is tired. Tired of parties, tired of pretending, and tired of trying to right a wrong that haunts him every day. Bourbon heir and professional poker player by day, by night Hunter is gambling with his life in a high-stakes game of crime and blackmail.
When Elizabeth stumbles into Hunter’s den of vices, she’s a light in the darkness, a flame in the void. And, just like everything he touches, Hunter mars her in a record time. To rectify the damage done, Elizabeth needs money she doesn’t have, and she’s come up with a foolproof way to get it.
Follow Elizabeth – code-named Scarlett – to the lush Nevada brothel where she’ll auction her virginity and risk the only thing that’s not for sale: her heart. The highest bidder is a familiar face, with wicked hands and the devil’s mouth. And a secret so dark that it could cost her life
Series: Love Inc.
Author: Ella James
# of Books: 3 (Selling Scarlett, Taming Cross, Unmaking Marchant)
The story in Unmaking Marchant finishes in the series finale novella, Something Blue.
Book Order: Connected but Chronological
Genre: New Adult, Suspense, Romance, Contemporary
Heat Rating: hot (Selling Scarlett, Unmaking Marchant); warm (Taming Cross, Something Blue)
Point of View: First Person, Alternating
Publication Dates: April 2013 – February 2014
Source & Format: Kindle & Kindle Unlimited–eBook
**This post was originally posted as a Toonie Tuesday review of the first book of the series. It has now been updated to include the newest publications in the series.**
Selling Scarlett was a freebie that I found on Amazon and immediately had to read. The synopsis just sounded so interesting that I put it on my next read list.
I ended up reading it very quickly. There was a lot of suspense to the novel and it really drove the multiple plot lines forward. That was one thing I really liked about this book was that there was a lot going on. It wasn’t overwhelming but it made sure there was never a dull moment and it made reading this book a breeze. The book does share both Scarlett and Hunter’s POV and I think that really added to the plot progression as well.
Another thing I liked about this book was it had a grittier feel to it. I haven’t read a lot of books that focus on prostitution and brothels in the New Adult genre so that was refreshing for me. It added that extra layer of intrigue as I was reading so I really appreciated that.
The book wasn’t what I thought it was going to be but when I finished I didn’t mind that much. I had hoped for more of a romance story with a minor subplot going on in the background when I read the synopsis. I love stories about reformed bad boys meeting the right girl and fixing their ways but that wasn’t the focus of this book. The book (at least to me) dealt more with the “secret” that could cost Scarlett her life than their romance. Which turned out to be fine in the end because I liked where the plot went, but just don’t go into this book thinking it is purely a romance novel. Hunter and Scarlett didn’t build up that great of an emotional romantic connection for me but they do share some steamy moments and that satisfied the romantic in me for the most part.
–September 3, 2016– Book #2: Taming Cross
When I started Taming Cross, it had nearly been 3 years since I read Selling Scarlett. Luckily, I had the key plot points written down so I had a vague idea of what was happening–though it took me a while to orient myself.
The vibe in this story is very different from its predecessor. This definitely was more of an action-suspense novel that didn’t hold back on the physical fights and violence. So I found that the story moved fast because the characters themselves were moving fast.
I wish the romance was elaborated on more; especially given the circumstances. It made the ending a little rushed I felt.
As for the writing itself, I found it to be a little choppy at times. It made it hard to follow the sequence of events during the action scenes, and I would reread paragraphs to make sure I was reading everything correctly. But when I returned to those paragraphs, I discovered that it wasn’t as clear as it should be or was missing that one key line. There are some scenes that remain a bit of a mystery to me but I didn’t let that dampen my experience too much.
–September 4, 2016– Book #3: Unmaking Marchant
I thought this story was super sweet in an unexpected way. I really grew to like these two together and enjoy their relationship. It’s definitely the most romance focused novel in the series.
There isn’t too much to the plot but it does have its suspenseful moments–both physically as well as in the secrets these characters are keeping.
And everything was great until it ended abruptly and I found out that the novella, Something Blue finishes not only Marchant’s story but Cross and Lizzy’s as well.
–September 4, 2016– Book #3.5: Something Blue
Despite the fact that I found this unnecessary (really, these 30 pages could have been added to Unmaking Marchant), I did like the closure it provided for these characters. More so in Taming Cross and Unmaking Marchant, I felt like things were left hanging–major plot points that needed that little bit of work to say “finished”–but I get that here. You definitely need to read this book if you read the series all the way through!
Series Rating: 3.5/5
Selling Scarlet 4/5 | Taming Cross 3/5 | Unmaking Marchant 3.5/5 | [Something Blue 3/5]
I was really entertained by this series. It sucked me in and it was a pleasant surprise for me. While I was a little disappointed in the “lack” of romance, the plot is something I rarely encounter in my reads so but be satisfied with the story overall (if that makes sense).
Read if You Like: suspense, stories about the crime and/or brothels
Avoid if You: want erotica, want a romance focused story