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Novella Serial Review: Reasonable Doubt by Whitney Garcia Williams

Serial Saturdays: On the occasional Saturday, I review a serialized series (a series that is released in parts that would normally make up a whole novel) to see if the series is worth keeping up with or worth buying all its parts. Here is this week’s offering:

booksynopsis

Synopsis for Reasonable Doubt (from Goodreads):
My cock has an appetite.

A huge and very particular appetite: Blonde, curvy, and preferably not a fucking liar… (Although, that’s a story for another day.)

As a high profile lawyer, I don’t have time to waste on relationships, so I fulfill my needs by anonymously chatting and sleeping with women I meet online.

My rules are simple: One dinner. One night. No repeats.

This is only casual sex. Nothing more. Nothing less.

At least it was , until “Alyssa”…

She was supposed to be a 27 year old lawyer, a book hoarder, and completely unattractive. She was supposed to be someone I shared law advice with late at night, someone I could trust with details of my weekly escapades.

But then she came into my firm for an interview—a college-intern interview, and everything fucking changed…

breakdown

Series: Reasonable Doubt
Author: Whitney Garcia Williams
# of Parts: 3
Complete?: Yes
Genre: Adult, Contemporary, Erotica, Romance
Heat Rating: Smokin’
Point of View: First Person, Alternating
Publication Date: March – August 2014
Source & Format: Own–eBook

thoughts

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

I’m not sure how I came across this series, but I think Kobo recommended this to me when the first volume was published. However, I waited until I could buy the entire series as a whole.

The forbidden romance aspect is what first drew me to this series but it was the case of “misidentity” that really intrigued me. It promised to be just as dramatic as it was sexy and I couldn’t wait to start it!

The Plot:

As it is with most serials, the plot is to the point and doesn’t waste time with filler. I found the plot here moves at a great pace and one that is full and rich despite the page number. Meaning it isn’t singular in its drama and has a lot of aspects that work together in a way that benefits the story in a positive way.

There are a lot of twists and that adds to suspense; keeping you turning the pages to see what is going to happen next.

The Characters:

Andrew is complex and mysterious–perfect for the bad boy older lead. He was a bit of a dick but I did develop a soft spot for him the more I learned about his past.

I was worried “Alyssa” would be like any other girl who finds herself entranced by an older man but I did find that she had some quirks that made her standout. While I might not have loved how she handles herself, I didn’t mind her character as her story was elaborated on.

The Romance:

This was a slight miss for me. Not because I couldn’t see them or how they would work together but I just didn’t like its execution. How Andrew treats her and how Alyssa lets him irked me a bit. And its a shame because I thought they were cute together and really liked them together on the more basic level.

Series Rating: 4/5

overall

This series was short and hot–exactly what I wanted it to be. But the drama and mystery was a bonus and made this series thoroughly entertaining!

Read if You Like: erotica, short stories/novellas
Avoid if You: want more established romance

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Novella Serial Review: Secrets by Ella Steele (aka H M Ward)

Serial Saturdays: On the occasional Saturday, I review a serialized series (a series that is released in parts that would normally make up a whole novel) to see if the series is worth keeping up with or worth buying all its parts. Here is this week’s offering:

booksynopsis

Synopsis for Secrets (from Goodreads):
Sex is supposed to be sexy, tantalizing, and completely erotic, but Anna never seems to find the right guy. This one seems to be a germ-a-phobe, and the previous boyfriend wasn’t much better. Anna just wants to be wanted. Is that too much to ask?

As Anna tries to wiggle out of one relationship, a new one surfaces, but it’s forbidden. Cole Stevens is twice her age, arrogant, rich, sexy as hell, and her boss. When Anna’s internship plans derail, she ends up interning at Cole’s elite New York City studio. Close proximity leads Anna to discover that the billionaire bachelor is emotionally scarred. Everyone has secrets, but Cole’s run deeper, cutting him to his core. Cole is trouble in a sexy shell. He’s nothing Anna needs and everything she wants.

breakdown

SERIESous’ Top Picks: Favourite Serial Author
Series: Secrets
Author: Ella Steele (aka H M Ward)
# of Parts: 5
Complete?: Yes
Genre: New Adult, Romance, Contemporary
Heat Rating: really warm to hot (Kink: mild)
Point of View: First Person, Single
Publication Date: August 2012 – December 2012
Source & Format: Own–eBook

thoughts

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

Despite not finishing them, I’ve really enjoyed H M Wards previous serialized stories, like the Ferro Family ones and Trystan Scott and while I was enjoying them, I picked up her 5 part series Secrets. This was YEARS ago and I only managed to read this series now thanks to my Rock myTBR challenge. This was one of the lucky ones to be pulled for the month of January.

I liked the forbidden teacher-student romance that Damaged had and I knew that Ward would write another strong one with this series. I was excited to delve into it–especially when it was only 5 complete parts and no more than that…

The Concept:

In Part 1, I was really confused as to why Anna felt like she had to botch the interview with Cole when it seemed like she had a sure thing at the other agency that she wanted. I’m sure I just missed that one key line that explained the internship process but it threw me for a loop and prevented me from getting into the story initially.

The Plot:

I felt like the story was very predictable. While I couldn’t predict all the events of the book specifically, I had the general gist very early on in the series so I was never really surprised by anything.

The Characters:

I admit that I wasn’t completely sold on Anna as a character when we first met her. Her whole reason for botching the interview with Cole seemed bizarre to me. Perhaps I missed something in the book, but I didn’t understand why she had to sabotage her interview with him if she was for sure going to get the job at the place she wanted. It just seemed to contradict who she was as a strong intelligent woman. And I don’t think she ever recovered from that for me either though I appreciated that she didn’t become some buffoon who couldn’t live without Cole.

Cole was alright as a hero. I liked that he wasn’t overbearing or too much of an alpha. He seemed like a genuine guy so I appreciate that.

The Romance:

What I initially enjoyed about the Part 1 was that it wasn’t an insta-love connection between Cole and Anna. Oh, there were buckets of sexual tension which was great but I liked that nothing happens too fast. Unfortunately, the nature of a serial means that it can’t last forever at that pace. While I liked the two together, I just wanted to see a little more of why they liked each other besides physical attraction. It becomes a little more apparent later on to a certain extent but I didn’t like the first jump.

Series Rating: 3/5

Part 1 3/5 | Part 2 3.5/5 | Part 3 3/5 | Part 4 3/5 | Part 5 3/5

overall

This book reminded me of a subdued version of Fifty Shades of Grey but much more predictable. I was really let down by this one but if you enjoy soap opera-esque drama, you will probably like this one!

Read if You Like: soap operas, forbidden love
Avoid if You: don’t like predictable plots

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Series Review: Ethan Frost by Tracy Wolff

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 Ruined (from Goodreads):
He’s the last man Chloe Girard should love . . . but the first she ever could.

Ethan Frost is a visionary, a genius, every woman’s deepest, darkest fantasy—even mine. And, somehow, I am his.

He stole into my life like a dream. Turned my reality upside down and made my every desire come true—especially those I never knew I had. He demanded everything I had to give and gave me everything of himself in return.

But dreams don’t last forever, and ours is no exception. Because my nightmares are darker, and my wounds deeper, than I could ever reveal. And as much as Ethan wants to protect me, the secrets we we share will only tear us apart.

breakdown

Series: Ethan Frost
Author: Tracy Wolff
# of Books: 4 (Ruined, Addicted, Exposed, Flawed)
Book Order: Chronological; Connected (Flawed)
Complete?: Yes
Genre: Contemporary, Erotica, Romance, New Adult, Abuse
Heat Rating: Hot
Point of View: First Person, Single
Publication Dates: January 2014 – January 2017
Source & Format: Public Library–eBook

thoughts

Disclaimer: I never picked up Exposed or Flawed. Find out why below…

Why I Picked It Up/My Expectations:

I randomly stumbled upon Ruined one day and decided to give it a shot when I read the blurb:

Fans of Fifty Shades of Grey, Bared to You, and Release Me will be hooked on Ruined, an electrifying journey of emotional and sexual discovery that pushes two damaged souls to their breaking point—and beyond.

Considering I read all three series and enjoyed them (for the most part, read my reviews on each for my full thoughts on each series), I was willing to give this series a shot. Especially when I saw that there was no BDSM–do you know how hard that is when it comes to an erotica novel about a billionaire? I mean I get that in fiction, and especially in the erotica genre, that there are some “fantasy” elements but I really don’t think every billionaire male in the world is some Dom waiting for his perfect Sub…

Characters:

I actually really liked Ethan Frost’s character. He was charming and funny and I enjoyed the scenes he was in throughout the novel. He was just a genuinely nice guy who wasn’t all alpha male when it came to pursuing Chloe. I really wish part of the novel was told from his POV because I liked him so much but also because I needed a break from Chloe.

Chloe was kind of “meh” to me. I just felt like her character wasn’t anything I haven’t read in this genre before. She often got trapped in her head and often times her logic for things escaped me. I’m sure part of the reason why she would think certain things was due to her past but because you don’t know her past until over the halfway point in Ruined, I just felt like I didn’t connect with her as much as I had hoped. Also, she used the word “Churlish” at least three times–who uses that word to describe anything? I didn’t even know that was a word until I saw it in this book!

Plot:

Ruined didn’t have much of a plot–but that doesn’t mean that they were just banging like bunnies the entire time either. It was actually cute to watch the whole pursuit between the two of them but I really wished there was more going on. To be fair, pretty much every book like this follows the same first-book pattern by focusing more on the developing relationship and sexual chemistry so I shouldn’t be surprised. I was just hoping that in a series that is only 2 books long that there was a more suspenseful plot line going on.

Because Ruined ends on a massive cliffhanger, I was looking forward to see where Addicted would go.

Unfortunately, it too followed the generic second-in-the-series romance novel formula and I was getting tired of all the back-and-forth between them. Again, I struggled to connect to Chloe and even Ethan (who I loved in the last book) was beginning to irritate me.

There was a bit more plot to this one but again, I wished there was more to it. There is really only so long you can read about the same plot line before it gets boring.

The nice thing about this series is that it is only two books long so the plot isn’t dragged out more than it really needs to be **coughcoughCrossfirecoughcough**. This book was also pretty short so I didn’t feel like I wasted my time completely.

Why am I not Continuing?

I really don’t see a point for a 3rd book is what it comes down to. And, by the time I realized there was a third book, it was a couple years later. I’ve moved on from this series and I have no interested in the spin-off 4th novel; even if it uses two new characters as the leads.

Series Rating: DNF

Ruined 3/5 | Addicted 3/5 | Exposed N/A | Flawed N/A

overall

For those who want a contemporary erotica series that doesn’t feature an over-the-top alpha male or if you don’t like overly complicated plot lines, this is a great one to grab. To me, it just didn’t have enough going on to really “wow” me and the second book bored me at times. But, they are both quick reads AND the series is only two books long!

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Release Me by J Kenner (Stark Trilogy #1)
Bared to You by Sylvia Cross (Crossfire Series #1)

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Series Review: Beautiful Bastard by Christina Lauren

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 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

breakdown

Series: Beautiful Bastard

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

Author: Christina Lauren
# of Books: 5 (Full Reading Order Here)

There are 5 novellas.

Book Order: Connected but Chronological
Complete?: Yes
Genre: Contemporary, Romance, Erotica, Drama
Heat Rating: Smokin’ (Kink: mild, BSDM: light in Book #2)
Point of View: First Person, Alternating
Publication Dates: February 2013 – October 2016
Source & Format: Public Library–eBook & Audiobook

thoughts

**This post was originally published as a Series Review of the first few of the series. It has now been updated to include the newest publications in the series.**

Why I Picked Up This Series / It’s FanFiction Origins:

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 I think that correlation creates a bias for all other fanfiction that orignated from Twilight. 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.

My Review of Beautiful Bastard (#1):

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.

My Review of Beautiful Strangers (#2):

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!

updates

–January 9, 2015– Book #2.5: Beautiful Bombshell

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.

–January 9, 2015– Book #3: Beautiful Player

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.

–March 28, 2015– Book #3.6: Beautiful Beloved

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!

–April 1, 2015– Book #3.5: Beautiful Beginning

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!

–May 6, 2015– Book #4: Beautiful Secret

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?).

–July 6, 2020– Book #4.5: Beautiful Boss

These two are my favourite couple from this universe so I was excited to spend some extra time with them. This was a cute story and I think it answered some of those lingering questions I had about their future. Plus, it serves as a great segway to the finale!

–July 6, 2020– Book #5: Beautiful

I would have been happy ending the series at Book #4 but I’m so glad they wrote Beautiful. With a new couple to fall for and extended epilogues with everyone in the series: this is how you should wrap up an interconnected series like this!

Series Rating: 4/5

This series has come a long way since its humble beginnings as fanfiction. As they released more books, Christina Lauren’s writing vastly improved to show why they are a formidable romance writing duo!

Read if You Like: contemporary romances, quick reads
Avoid if You: dislike sex scenes

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Series Review: Worth It by Karen Erickson

Series Review: Worth It by Karen Erickson

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 Worth the Scandal (from Goodreads):

Alexander Worth, President and CEO of Worth Luxury Goods, is a man never to be crossed. His unwavering sense of responsibility to the family business requires him to always be in complete and utter control. Until it comes to Tessa Crawford.

She’s quietly professional, shy, voluptuous…and she works for him. Which means she is the one woman he must never touch, no matter how hard his gut twists with need for her.

After rising above her disadvantaged childhood, Tessa knows the last thing she should do is risk throwing it all away by falling into bed with her sexy boss. But on an extended European business trip, all self-imposed barriers burn away in the heat of their sizzling chemistry.

Once back home, though, whispers of corporate espionage turn into full-blown scandal-and Tessa finds out the hard way where Alex’s loyalties lie. Determined to soldier on, she picks herself up and carries on with a secret, yet welcomed burden. Never guessing that Alex will make a reappearance in her life, ready to show her once and for all that family does, indeed, come first.

Warning: Contains a sweet-yet-strong woman, and a bossy alpha male brought to his knees by the woman he desperately loves. Involves enough begging and groveling that the reader may be tempted to “accidentally” leave it for her significant other to “find.” For instructional purposes only, of course.

breakdown

Series: Worth It

There is also a spin-off series: The Renaldis

Author: Karen Erickson (aka Monica Murphy)
# of Books: 4 (Full Reading Order Here)
Complete?: Yes
Genre: Adult, Contemporary Romance
Heat Rating: Toasty
Point of View: Third Person, Alternating
Publication Dates: March 2012 – February 2013
Source & Format: Own–eBook

thoughts

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

I learned about this series when I discovered that Worth the Scandal was a free eBook on Amazon. Although Alex and Tess weren’t my favourite characters to read about, I was hooked into the series.

The Concept / The World:

The series follows the three Worth brothers who run a fashion empire. Each is unique in their own way and this is reflected into their stories. There are a ton of little twists along the way in each of the books that make you turn the pages.

The Plot:

These books read a little like soap operas. You’ve got all the family drama of the Newmans (The Young and the Restless) or Dynasty when it comes to running a family business mixed in with passionate love affairs. With the exception of the last book, Worth Everything, I found each book had an overall dramatic plot that kept me hooked and contributed to the overall romance. And I also found that while the drama was wrapped up sufficiently within each book, there is enough lingering to make me want to pick up the next book.

The Characters:

I didn’t really like Tessa and Alexander from Worth the Scandal (#1) — but rarely do I enjoy the first set of leads in a romance series that focuses on family (see The Sullivans or The Wright Brother) so I take that with a grain of salt. I find that the little inklings we get of everyone in the first book intrigue me to pick up the rest of the series and that’s what happens here.

The Romance:

All these romances happen rather quickly thanks to lusty passions but I found by the end of the book, I knew why the attraction was there and could see why these couples would work long term.

My Expectations for the Spin-off — The Renaldis:

I’m very excited for this spin-off! I can’t wait to get to know more about this family!

Check out my review here!

Series Rating: 4/5

Worth the Scandal 3.5/5 | Worth the Risk 4/5 | Worth the Challenge 4.5/5 | Worth Everything 3.5/5

overall

If you like contemporary romances with millionaire businessmen, business-savvy women and lots of heat, then you will love this series.

Read if You Like: quick contemporary romance reads, family drama / soap operas
Avoid if You: want a darker romance
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