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 Never Kiss a Stranger (from Goodreads):
It was an innocent mistake…
All workaholic real estate broker Addison Andrews wanted was one night of pleasure, and picking the right guy was no different than shopping from a catalog thanks to the dating app on her phone. His name was Wilder, and his profile was blank – just a sexy picture of a man who promised every wicked intention of a one-night stand.
The agreement was simple. One night. No last names. But the second their bodies melded together in the sheets of their posh Manhattan hotel room, there was no denying they fit together like two pieces of a broken puzzle.
There’s just one problem…
Addison unknowingly swiped right on the one man she wasn’t supposed to be with – her new stepbrother. All it takes is one bite of forbidden fruit to become addicted, but being with him has major consequences for their entire family. And if anyone found out about them, the career she worked so hard to build would crumble to the ground.
But Wilder Van Cleef doesn’t care about the possibility of a scandal. He wants her, and he’s willing to do whatever it takes.
There is a spin-off novella: Bitter Rivals
Book Order: Connected
Genre: Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Heat Rating: Toasty (Kink: mild)
Point of View: First Person, Alternating
Publication Dates: March – June 2015
Source & Format: Own–eBook; Kindle Unlimited
Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:
Winter Renshaw is an author I read no matter what. Her books are usually packed with great chemistry, some of my favourite romance tropes and some unexpected twists or spins that keep me on my toes.
I think I picked up a freebie copy of Never Kiss a Stranger before I even read a Winter Renshaw novel–or maybe I picked it up after I read my first? Regardless, I was excited to dive into a new romance series with some of my favourite tropes from an author I had enjoyed in the past.
While these books had a lot of my favourite tropes at play, I felt like they were underutilized or portrayed falsely by the synopsis. For example, in Never Kiss a Stranger (#1), there is the forbidden “new stepbrother” angle listed in the synopsis but it isn’t something that is revealed until after the 50% mark. And I honestly think if it had been omitted from the synopsis, it would have amped the book up a bit. By having it a known secret, its eventual “reveal” halfway through the book was a bit of a let down.
I just felt like things were underdeveloped when it came to the plot for all the books. I craved more. The pacing was a little off or things felt forced or logic was glossed over for the sake of drama and I just felt like we got the bare minimum out of these stories when there was potential for more.
Again, I think development was glossed over at times when it comes to the characters.
I found all the characters were a little anti-hero in a way, highlighting their flaws more so than anything else. But that can be a double-edged sword because you risk the reader not liking them either. I think I really struggled with that in Never is a Promise (#2) because these two just really had some strong anti-logic going on and I couldn’t get behind their resistance to be together.
I felt like all the leads had great physical chemistry but, once again, we glossed over the deeper stuff. Every connection seems to be this innate, inexplicable draw that just left me wanting a little more.
When to Read Bitter Rivals:
If you use Goodreads, you’ll notice that Bitter Rivals isn’t always listed as a part of the Never Series. I had no clue it was either when I grabbed the novella for free off of Amazon one day. I had started to read it and there was just something about the way some of the side characters were dropped that got me thinking it was a spin-off of something else.
I totally forgot about that fact until I picked it up again a couple of months later because I needed a quicker read. This time, I just went with it. Moral of the story: you can read it as a standalone but I think you will get more out of it if you read it after you read the other books in the series even though the leads of the novella aren’t mentioned at all in the previous books.
Series Rating: 3.5/5
Never Kiss a Stranger 3.5/5 | Never Say Never 3/5 | Never is a Promise 3.5/5 | [Bitter Rivals 3/5]
This is not my favourite Winter Renshaw series. They are quicker reads that you can easily get through in a sitting when you need a good distraction but there are better ones out there if you want more twists.
Read if You Like: quick romances, second chances
Avoid if You: want deeper character stories
- Forbidden by Lauren Smith (Her British Stepbrother Series #1)
- Bedwrecker by Kim Karr (Men of Laguna Series #2)
- Rumor Has It by Magan Vernon (Friendship, Texas Series #2)