Review: Hottest Mess by J Kenner

Review: Hottest Mess by J KennerHottest Mess by J. Kenner
Series: S.I.N. #2
Published by Bantam July 12, 2016
Genres: Romantic Suspense, Erotica
Pages: 288
Format: ARC
Source: Copy for Honest Review
Also in this series: Dirtiest Secrets
Also by this author: Say My Name
Amazon US
Goodreads

No one can know about our love—and hiding only makes it hotter.

Dallas Sykes has a reputation. He is known for his parties, his money, and the countless women on his arm. Yet the Dallas I know is a different man—darker, smarter, and unbearably sexy. Just one look from him can leave me breathless; the anticipation of his touch can make me lose control.

Inextricably bound by our past, we keep each other’s secrets. And while there are people who have the power to hurt us, it’s the truth that threatens us most of all.

Dallas can be mine only behind closed doors, our passion as searing as it is forbidden. Yet nothing in this world has ever felt so desperately, deliciously right.

You know how the music industry has a sophomore album slump? I’m starting to believe book series do as well. At least for the series I’ve been reading. I really, really enjoyed the first book in the S.I.N. series, Dirtiest Secret. It took a new take on a hero and I was absolutely intrigued by Dallas’ problems and by the dark and secret past he and his sister Jane shared.

I gotta say though, Hottest Mess let me down. Or, more accurately, Jane let me down.

I don’t recall having any real ill feelings towards Jane in the first book but she drove me batshit crazy in this one. Her emotions and sentiments were all over the place. One minute saying Dallas could do nothing to lose her but a few pages later she’s walking out on him. This was not an isolated event, she walks out on him a lot. Of course, never when he’s promising her orgasms.  Which was another problem I had with her. She says the relationship is not all about sex, but really – in this book – it so totally was. It’s sex and more sex and more sex, then some fighting, her walking away, him following, more sex, some more sex, more fighting, rinse and repeat.

I couldn’t deal with Jane and it drove me nuts that Dallas would appease her.

HOWEVER, I’m still completely invested in the other, non-romance, aspect of this series. It hardly progressed in Hottest Mess, but the ending was very promising. I still loved the first book and I will absolutely read the third. Though, my fingers are crossed for less orgasms and more grown up talking.

 

About J. Kenner

J. Kenner spent more than ten years as a litigator in Southern California and Central Texas, using her rare free time to indulge her passion for writing. California born, she now lives—and writes—in Texas, with her husband and daughters.


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Review: Never Let You Go by Monica Murphy

Review: Never Let You Go by Monica MurphyNever Let You Go by Monica Murphy
Series: Never Tear Us Apart #2
Published by Bantam May 3, 2016
Genres: Romantic Suspense
Pages: 368
Format: ARC
Source: Copy for Honest Review
Also in this series: Never Tear Us Apart
Also by this author: Never Tear Us Apart
Amazon US
Goodreads

Darkly sexy, emotional and forbidden, a woman unwittingly falls in love with the son of her abductor. The conclusion of a two-book contemporary romance series by New York Times bestselling author Monica Murphy.

Lies hurt. Lies destroy. I tried my best to understand why Ethan kept his secrets but it was so hard. Until I realized that I couldn't deny myself any longer -- I needed to be with him. We needed each other. Despite my family's wariness, the media's fascination with us, the fact that his father still has a stranglehold on our lives, we belong together. No matter what. I will never let Ethan go. But sometimes love destroys us too, and we're too weak to banish the demons. Especially when our demons are determined to ruin us...

If you read Never Tear Us Apart (and I suggest you do, sooo good), you’ll know that Katie and Will are in an impossible situation.  Katie, as a young girl, had been abducted and sexually assaulted by Will’s father. Will saved her, they formed a bond.  A bond that outside forces didn’t understand and didn’t want to see continue.  But strong bonds that were formed under the most terrifying of circumstances aren’t so easy to break.

In Never Tear Us Apart, Katie and Will are reunited but it’s under a heavy veil of lies and the mistrust does tear them apart.

Now, in Never Let You Go, Will must own up to his mistakes and Katie must face the hard truth of still loving someone that misled her so deeply.

While their lives are in personal turmoil over their ill fated relationship, those outside forces are still trying to taint any contact they may have and Will’s father is doing everything in his power to ruin them before he’s sentenced to death.

Everything I just touched on is all heavy subject matter all on it’s own.  The combination of all those things thrown together…felt like too much for me.  There was a lot of focus on how the public would perceive a budding relationship between Katie and Will, frankly, I just never bought in to that so much.  Had that thread in the story been down played and the focus been more on Will’s father, I think I would have enjoyed this story so much more.

I still liked it. I liked the very real struggle of Katie coming to terms with who Will is and how he fits in to her life.   Learning to trust someone who has hidden so much, even knowing how hard it is for Katie to trust anyone. Ever. That could have been highlighted more.

Also, I liked the suspense and the drama of a convicted killer still gunning for the victim that got away.  That’s a great story line and if done well, creepy as fuck and a total page turner.  Which is exactly how that bit started, but somewhere along the line it fell apart. Became almost contrived or too easy.

I loved that I got to read how Katie and Will persevere in such a horrible situation, I don’t regret reading Never Let You Go. Yet, it left me feeling a little unsatisfied as well.  

 

 

About Monica Murphy

New York Times, USA Today and international bestselling author Monica Murphy is a native Californian who lives in the foothills below Yosemite with her husband and three children. She’s a workaholic who loves her job. When she’s not busy writing, she also loves to read and travel with her family. She writes new adult and contemporary romance and is published with Bantam and Avon. She also writes romance as USA Today bestselling author Karen Erickson.


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Review: Dirtiest Secrets by J. Kenner

Review: Dirtiest Secrets by J. KennerDirtiest Secrets by J. Kenner
Series: S.I.N. #1
Published by Bantam April 19, 2016
Genres: Romantic Suspense, Erotica
Pages: 320
Format: ARC
Source: Copy for Honest Review
Also in this series: Hottest Mess
Also by this author: Say My Name
Amazon US
Goodreads

It was wrong for us to be together, but it was even harder to be apart.

The memory of Dallas Sykes burns inside of me.

Everyone knows him as a notorious playboy, a man for whom women and money are no object. But to me, he’s still the one man I desperately crave—yet the one I can never have.

Dallas knows me better than anyone else. We bear the same scars, the same darkness in our past. I thought I could move on by staying away, but now that we’re drawn together once more, I can’t fight the force of our attraction or the temptation to make him mine.

We’ve tried to maintain control, not letting ourselves give in to desire. And for so long we’ve told ourselves no—but now it’s finally time to say yes.

Dirtiest Secret is intended for mature audiences.

Dirtiest Secrets surprised the hell out of me. In the best of ways. Based off the synopsis, I was expecting a forbidden romance and I absolutely got that.  But in no way did I see it being forbidden for the reasons it is.

Vague much? Well, yeah…only because I don’t want to spoil anything about this book.  I want you to be able to experience the same thrills I did. Go in blind people, you won’t regret it!

I can say this much, though.

Kenner wrote Dallas in such a way that you are enthralled with his character from the first page he graces. He’s sexy and extremely controlling but not quite what you think he is. While the story begins with a very steamy scene, don’t take that as the overall theme of this one. It is sexy, it is not erotica.

When Jane enters, the story immediately becomes so much more.  It’s complex, it’s heartbreaking, it’s exciting, it’s multi-faceted.  Kenner gives well placed flash backs into Jane and Dallas’ past, giving insight into their strangled relationship, yet it never overpowers the current day tale.

If you’re a fan of romantic suspense but like it steamy as well, I don’t think you’ll be disappointed with Dirtiest Secrets.  There is a great balance between the characters, the intrigue and the romance. I’m very excited for more!

About J. Kenner

J. Kenner spent more than ten years as a litigator in Southern California and Central Texas, using her rare free time to indulge her passion for writing. California born, she now lives—and writes—in Texas, with her husband and daughters.


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Review: Never Tear Us Apart by Monica Murphy

Review: Never Tear Us Apart by Monica MurphyNever Tear Us Apart by Monica Murphy
Series: Never Tear Us Apart #1
Published by Bantam January 5, 2016
Genres: Romantic Suspense
Pages: 416
Format: ARC
Source: Copy for Honest Review
Also in this series: Never Let You Go
Also by this author: Never Let You Go
Amazon US
Goodreads

Crazy how eight years can disappear in an instant. One look at Katie Watts, and I’m a fifteen-year-old again—the one who risked everything to save a terrified girl from her twisted kidnapper. She’s grown-up now—beautiful, quiet, composed—and telling her story to the world. A story that involves me in more ways than you can imagine. She used to call me her guardian angel. Sure, I risked my life, but she was worth dying for.

I need to make contact with her. Just to ensure that she’s safe.

Somehow we reconnect. We become friends . . . but I want more. I want to make her mine. And she wants me too. Does she know who I am? Has she figured me out? Not yet. But she will. In the meantime, I need to make sure that whatever hold that animal had on her is gone.

So, yeah, I’m stealing these moments with her. Savoring them. Knowing, dreading, that she’ll soon find out who I really am. And everything will fall apart. All because of that twisted, perverted monster sitting on death row. Her kidnapper. A convicted serial killer.

My father.

Never Tear Us Apart is heartbreak. Start to finish. But it’s a beautiful kind of heartbreak. It’s the kind of heartbreak that keeps you flipping pages, holding your breath and on the verge of tears. All in the hopes that what you know is going to happen deep down in the darkest parts of your heart, will actually all work out and these characters you’ve come to care about will heal and love and live.

It’s not that easy of a story though. Not by a long shot.  There is no easy win, no simple happy ever after. There can’t be. It’s going to take time and struggle. Why? Well…

Because she’s the victim of a childhood kidnap and rape.  He’s the son of the man who perpetrated the crimes. 

The fact that Murphy could weave a story that makes you see these two as true soul mates even after coming out of such terrible circumstances, is a feat in itself. It’s exactly what I felt. These two belong together. Again, it’s just not that easy though.  There is so much to overcome.  Oh man, do I need them to overcome it all!

never tear us apart 1

Katie is a survivor, beneath it all, she truly is.  Just the act of surviving is, perhaps, the easy part though.  Living is what’s hard.  How do you trust? How do you love? How do you even do the little things, like leaving the house at all, without the fear?  You don’t. Not really.  I so easily felt Katie’s struggle and empathized with her plight and her dark thoughts.

Will/Ethan’s story is equally understandable.  They are both so wrapped up in a horrific past that neither chose for themselves and they don’t know how to untangle the ties of it that bind them.  Yet, Murphy gives little moments that show you they could with the help of each other, and those moments were perfect.

I lived and breathed this book and am anxiously awaiting the next!

never 1

About Monica Murphy

New York Times, USA Today and international bestselling author Monica Murphy is a native Californian who lives in the foothills below Yosemite with her husband and three children. She’s a workaholic who loves her job. When she’s not busy writing, she also loves to read and travel with her family. She writes new adult and contemporary romance and is published with Bantam and Avon. She also writes romance as USA Today bestselling author Karen Erickson.


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Review: Everything I Left Unsaid by M. O’Keefe

Review: Everything I Left Unsaid by M. O’KeefeEverything I Left Unsaid by M. O'keefe
Series: Everything I Left Unsaid #1
Published by Bantam October 13, 2015
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 352
Format: eBook
Also in this series: The Truth About Him
Amazon US
Goodreads

I didn’t think answering someone else’s cellphone would change my life. But the stranger with the low, deep voice on the other end of the line tempted me, awakened my body, set me on fire. He was looking for someone else. Instead he found me.

And I found a hot, secret world where I felt alive for the first time.

His name was Dylan, and, strangely, he made me feel safe. Desired. Compelled. Every dark thing he asked me to do, I did. Without question. I longed to meet him, but we were both keeping secrets. And mine were dangerous. If I took the first step, if I got closer to Dylan—emotionally, physically—then I wouldn’t be hiding anymore. I would be exposed, with nothing left to surrender but the truth. And my truth could hurt us both.

What a yummy surprise Everything I Left Unsaid was! Sometimes you can look at a cover and get an idea of what kind of book you are about to read. Sometimes, you have to read the synopsis. Sometimes, you see the cover and read the synopsis and the book still takes you in a completely different direction than what you anticipated. That’s what happened here for me.
 
This was a dark and more suspenseful tale. A story of a woman on the run and a mysterious man that helps her find a strength in herself she never before possessed.
 
Annie immediately appealed to me, she’s a very interesting character. She’s not open and honest with others, but she’s quite honest with herself. She sees herself pretty clearly, knows she has things she wants to change and kind of grabs those scary things by the horns.  I admired that about her. Even when I was questioning that bravery and what would come of it.
 
Dylan comes into her life by complete mistake and surprise, but there is an innate interest and connection between them.  A interest and connection I ate up like my favorite flavor of ice cream.  They both live inside so many secrets and lies, I was so eager to find out all the details of those.  Some are fairly evident, others not so. Those secrets threaten the fragile life that Annie is building for herself, though.
 
Outside of Annie and Dylan’s strange relationship, O’Keefe writes a unique cast of side characters. All with interesting stories of their own.
 
Everything I Left Unsaid is an exciting, page turning read full of intrigue, danger and sexiness. I can hardly wait for the next book!

Miss Ali - Transparent

 

About M. O’keefe

Molly O’Keefe has always known she wanted to be a writer (except when she wanted to be a florist or a chef and the brief period of time when she considered being a cowgirl). And once she got her hands on some romances, she knew exactly what she wanted to write.

She published her first Harlequin romance at age 25 and hasn’t looked back. She loves exploring every character’s road towards happily ever after.

Originally from a small town outside of Chicago, she went to university in St. Louis where she met and fell in love with the editor of her school newspaper. They followed each other around the world for several years and finally got married and settled down in Toronto, Ontario. They welcomed their son into their family in 2006, and their daughter in 2008. When she’s not at the park or cleaning up the toy room, Molly is working hard on her next novel, trying to exercise, stalking Tina Fey on the internet and dreaming of the day she can finish a cup of coffee without interruption.


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The DNF Journals: On My Knees by J. Kenner

The DNF Journals: On My Knees by J. KennerOn My Knees by J. Kenner
Series: Stark International #2
Published by Bantam June 23, 2015
Genres: Erotica
Pages: 320
Format: ARC
Source: Copy for Honest Review
Also in this series: Say My Name
Also by this author: Say My Name
Amazon US
Goodreads

Jackson Steele and Sylvia Brooks continue to thrill in the second novel of a scintillating, emotionally charged new trilogy that returns to the world of J. Kenner’s beloved Stark novels: Release Me, Claim Me, and Complete Me.

I never thought I’d lose control, but his desire took me right to the edge.

Powerful, ambitious, and devastatingly sexy, Jackson Steele was unlike any other man I’d ever known. He went after what he wanted with his whole mind, body, and soul—and I was the woman in his sights. One touch and I surrendered, one night together and I was undone.

Jackson and I had secrets, dark pieces of our pasts that threatened to swallow us both. We couldn’t outrun our demons, or the people trying to tear us apart. But in our passion we found salvation, and in each other’s arms we found release.

I was scared to trust Jackson fully, to finally let go. Yet no matter the dangers that lay ahead, I knew I was his—and now that we’ve laid claim, there’s no more holding back.

On My Knees is intended for mature audiences.

DNF’d at 41%.

 
I did not set On My Knees aside lightly.  I really liked the first book of the series, Say My Name, you can see my review >>here<<.
 
It’s not the core story that made me give up on this book. It was the lack of the core story being addressed.  At 41%, I felt like it had barely been touched on. Instead of getting to the intrigue and the twists, it is just Jackson and Sylvia going at it like rabbits.
 
I didn’t go back and count, but in what was all of about a day in the story, it felt like they had fucked about eight times. I bow to their libidos and stamina.
 
I get it. This is an erotic romance. It’s supposed to have a lot of sex. I’m not naive to that and have enjoyed all of Kenner’s previous titles that I’ve opened. I just wanted to get to the story. 

 

 Miss Ali - Transparent

About J. Kenner

J. Kenner spent more than ten years as a litigator in Southern California and Central Texas, using her rare free time to indulge her passion for writing. California born, she now lives—and writes—in Texas, with her husband and daughters.


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Review: Say My Name by J. Kenner

Review: Say My Name by J. KennerSay My Name by J. Kenner
Series: Stark International #1
Published by Bantam April 7, 2015
Genres: Erotica
Pages: 336
Format: ARC
Source: Copy for Honest Review
Also in this series: On My Knees
Also by this author: On My Knees
Goodreads

New York Times bestselling author J. Kenner kicks off a smoking hot, emotionally compelling new erotic trilogy that returns to the world of her beloved Stark novels: Release Me, Claim Me, and Complete Me. Say My Name features Jackson Steele, a strong-willed man who goes after what he wants, and Sylvia Brooks, a disciplined woman who’s hard to get—and exactly who Jackson needs.

I never let anyone get too close—but he’s the only man who’s ever made me feel alive.

Meeting Jackson Steele was a shock to my senses. Confident and commanding, he could take charge of any room . . . or any woman. And Jackson wanted me. The mere sight of him took my breath away, and his touch made me break all my rules.

Our bond was immediate, our passion untamed. I wanted to surrender completely to his kiss, but I couldn’t risk his knowing the truth about my past. Yet Jackson carried secrets too, and in our desire we found our escape, pushing our boundaries as far as they could go.

Learning to trust is never easy. In my mind, I knew I should run. But in my heart, I never felt a fire this strong—and it could either save me or scorch me forever.

Say My Name is an erotic romance intended for mature audiences.

 

I have to say, I loved being back in the Stark world.  Say My Name has so many of the elements that made us fall in love with Damien and Nikki, with just a slightly darker feel.
 
Sylvia Brooks has demons. Demons she never dealt with. Demons that have shaped the course of her life and kept her in a constant state of running from true intimacy.  Never more so than when she ran from the man she believed could be the love of her life.
 
Now Jackson is back in her life, as the career life line she desperately needs. But Jackson isn’t the man she fell for all those years ago. He’s hard, cold and determined.
 
Jackson starts off Say My Name as noting more than an infuriating, controlling asshole.  I was not a fan, but that changed quickly and I found myself very intrigued, yet still a bit wary of the man. On the other hand, I found myself really liking Sylvia at first but had a couple moments of pause with her.
 
She was so determined at certain points to stay closed off, she ran across the country to keep from getting to close to Jackson after all. Yet, only a small push from him had her spilling so many of the things she had been previously terrified to reveal.  I would have bought into more of a struggle or fight there.
 
What I really loved was the battle of wills between the two. They both deeply struggle for control of all things and the tug-of-war that happens there was steamy, passionate and at times, heartbreaking.
 
In Kenner style, the story unravels in such small measures but all those little things that she peels away, are so hugely integral to the story as a whole. I found myself constantly trying to work out the characters, the reasons for their actions, where the story was going next.  Even though some of those clues made reveals fairly easy to guess, the story never suffered for that.  You become engrossed in these peoples lives and lies and secrets, making it difficult to set the book down.
 
There isn’t a real resolution at the end of this story, yet there isn’t someone dangling at the edge of a cliff either. There is, however, still some large issues and secrets to untangle and I, for one, am excited to read more in On My Knees, due June 23, 2015.

 

Miss Ali - Transparent

 

About J. Kenner

J. Kenner spent more than ten years as a litigator in Southern California and Central Texas, using her rare free time to indulge her passion for writing. California born, she now lives—and writes—in Texas, with her husband and daughters.


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