Blog Tours, Erotic Romance, Reviews

Tour & Review: Black Swan Affair – K.L. Kreig

13720508_585152038312993_1090760524_oBlack Swan Affair by K.L. Kreig
Series: standalone
Genre: erotic romance
Themes: love triangle, friends to lovers, unrequited love

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I’ve loved him as long as I can remember.

The gangly boy with big brown eyes and unruly hair who grew up into an intoxicating man. He wears scruff like he invented it and ambles with a swagger that makes panties drop.

Killian Shepard.

Shep.

We grew up together. We played Ghost in the Graveyard. Had our own rock band. It didn’t matter that he was five years older than me. It didn’t matter that he looked at me as a kid sister even as I grew into a woman. It didn’t even matter when he left me behind to go to college and start his adult life.

He’d be back.

He was always meant to be mine.

He came back, all right. But instead of smelling of promises, he stunk of betrayal. And he destroyed me—us—the day he married my sister instead of me.

So I did the only thing a girl like me in my position could do.

I got my revenge.

I married his brother, Kael.

Now we’re one big happy fucking family.

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Review

Heat: ★★★★
Rating: ★★★

I’m suffocating. Drowning slowly in heart-wrenching torment and a lifetime of regrets and wrong decisions.

It had a bit of everything – plenty of drama, insanely steamy sex, utterly nerve-wracking moments, and occasions when I felt I’d been punched in the gut. This was nothing if not an emotional, hard journey – and one I feel was absolutely worth taking.

Our lives are eternally interwoven. Our futures together already penned. They have been since the day of my birth.

I loved the voice of Maverick, and how it changed and grew throughout these pages. How it started bitter, and ended confident, and really how this reflected her journey. This was more than just a love triangle, and I have to be honest I was pleasantly surprised with how the plot differed from what I was expecting from reading the synopsis. There were plenty of twists and turns, and although it all felt like it was leading in a particular direction, I still had moments where I was unsure if it would actually make it.

“When life gives you lemons, you don’t make lemonade. That’s for pantywaisters. No. You pucker up, suck them dry, then throw the used rinds back in life’s face with a giant fuck-you and a gesture for more.”

I have also completely fallen in love with Kael, Killian and Maverick. The latter, because she has strength despite her mistakes. The former because of the strength of their love for her and how they individually expressed this. But Kael – he’s one of those rare book soulmates that you actually fall head over heels in love with. It’s always a pleasure to read a story with someone like that in it, whom you care for so deeply, though the ramification is that the real-life partner never quite lives up to it…

Fantastic characterisation, scorching sex, with a deeply emotional touch. One of the best releases of 2016.

Horror, Reviews

Review: White Out – A.A. Dark

white-outWhite Out by A.A. Dark
Series: 24690 #2
Genre: splatter horror
Themes: revenge, (psychotic) love triangle
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For the briefest moment, revenge was sweet. My husband was suffering before my very eyes, and Bram … he was alive.

But happiness didn’t last.

The man who claimed he wasn’t my savior held true to his word. Bram didn’t rush in and save me from the cruel fate of the White Room. No one did. Now I’m tortured with red light massacres and a hell I could have never imagined. Surviving will take everything I have, but I’m determined to get answers from the man who turned his back on me.

When I think it can’t get worse … it does. Slave 24690 is all but gone. The evil woman reborn is what nightmares are made of. Insanity beckons, but even my madness won’t derail the plans I’ve set in motion.

Masters will fall. Conspiracies will reign. But will I be strong enough to let go of the one thing that could ultimately destroy me?

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Review

Heat: ★
Rating: ★★★★

Reviewer’s note: this book follows on directly from the climax of 24690. You must read that first.

I was the forgotten. The discarded. The pawn in a game bigger than myself.

Christ, that was a ride and a half. The climax of the 24690 duet, White Out takes more of a delve into the psychological breakdown of Everleigh and West from the horrific ending of the first instalment. If it is even possible, this became more complex, in some cases quite difficult to follow, but absolutely engrossing nonetheless. Whitlock is a nightmare setting, and the entire premise of this duet is nothing but original. If you’d asked me where I thought this would go when I first picked up this sequel, I would have been totally and utterly wrong.

In truth, we were living our own violent, little fairytale. Two monsters, loving each other the only way they knew how in such an environment.

Not only do we deal with the psychological defects and cruelty of the characters, but we also go further into physical depravity through the absolute bloodlust of the same characters. If you’re after some erotic content like the previous instalment, you’re going to be disappointed; this is unadulterated bloody, brutal chaos (but fortunately it prevents me from worrying about my own mental health when I enjoy them!). We deal with more of the same – skinning, cannibalism, blood and guts, and death. Lots and lots of death.

I have to say that, although I found Everleigh’s descent into madness, and her relationships with West, Bram and herself grimly fascinating, I struggled to like any of the characters within these pages in any way, shape or form. They were all vile, with no redeeming features to be found at all. This made it a little difficult to get emotionally invested in the story, and I would perhaps have liked a little more transparency as to their plans and motives; in places, I found myself lost and confused as to who was playing whom, and it felt as if some aspects were plucked out of thin air at the right time to allow the story to continue, when there could have been some more buildup (a particular dinner scene comes to mind).

“There is no hope when you’ve been cast this far into hell.”

I wonder also how many people live in Whitlock, and how many were in the white rooms. The red lights, blood and death seemed constant, as were some gory plot devices, feeling as if some decisions from Everleigh and West were purely for shock value, with very little reason behind them.

Regardless, this is a highly intense, satisfying (and, frankly, terrifying) conclusion – that couldn’t have ended a better way.

Drama, Reviews, Romance

REVIEW: In The Spur Of Heath – Sydney Ledger

in the spur of heathIn The Spur Of Heath – Sydney Ledger
Series: In The Spur Of Heath #1
Genre: romantic drama
Themes: forbidden love, friends to lovers, love triangle, unrequited love
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Two hot men, one confused girl and a shitload of emotional trauma; Never let two men fall in love with you, girls. It never ends well…

Reese Singh – the sarcastic, strong-willed Trini girl; a little mean, a little defiant, a little indecisive and a whole lot of fun.
Heath Andrews – the Australian sweetheart, the best friend. The beautiful, harmless soul, and slightly clueless crush of Reese.
Jake Cavanaugh – the seductive, gorgeous lecturer. A witty confidante with a heart of gold. Forever immaculately dressed, and a few haunting secrets up his sleeve.

In pursuit of love from her best friend, Heath; Reese, a free-spirited Trinidadian girl who migrated to the US to pursue a degree in Film, finds herself amidst an even bigger problem when she begins having an unexpected student-teacher affair with the most attractive teacher on campus, Jake Cavanaugh.

Internally conflicted by her love for Heath & her erotic relationship with Jake, things begin to spiral wildly out of control when Jake’s illusive past comes back to haunt him & their budding relationship. Forcing the ultimate decision…

The Best Friend or The Forbidden Love Affair?

A witty erotic romance with a touch of suspense, lots of drama and a roller coaster ride of emotions.

Contains strong sexual content, adult situations and language

Review

Heat: ⭐ ⭐ ⭐
Rating:
⭐ ⭐

We then slowly pulled away, our eyes still locked and that’s when I realised that it was more than just acting, it was real.

I really wanted to like this. The premise was great; I am a fan of love triangles when they are done well. I am a fan of forbidden love, when it’s done well. I’m a fan of friends to lovers, when it’s done well. I’m a fan of unrequited love, when it’s done well. The problem here is that there are too many themes and romantic tropes all chucked together. It’s like choosing all your favourite ingredients and mixing them together because they should taste great. But it’s not great; the flavours don’t work together, and it’s messy.

The novel opened up with a big infodump, rather than having these character descriptions and pasts weaved seamlessly into the narrative. Yet, once it feels like you get the hang of it and know where you’re going, something completely new is thrown in – in this case, a dose of crime and suspense – and just totally ruins the suspense of disbelief. Not to mention seeming completely out of character. With some of these aspects and themes removed, this novel would have probably been half the length and twice as readable.

I was in the spur of Heath, and with being in the spur of Heath, I eventually lost myself. I broke every bit of morality left in me because I wanted to have my cake and eat it too.

I wasn’t a huge fan of the narrative voice. There were too many exclamations, and despite it being in first person, this seemed to be an omniscient first person narrative. If the reader needed to know these details, it would have been more effective to either use different POVs or to come out of Reese’s brain and use a third person voice instead. There was also a lot of telling, not showing – I like to be able to make my own mind up about how to feel, rather than be told that particular things are sad or infuriating

Ledger is a new author, and there is certainly potential here. The killer climax, something I was absolutely not expecting, being one example. There was simply too much here to fully be able to invest in the characters, particularly when Reese herself became unrelatable and unlikeable in how long she messed around with these two.

Reviews, Romance

REVIEW: Let The Waves Come In – J.L. Leslie

let the waves come in

Let The Waves Come In by J.L. Leslie
Series: standalone in a series
Genre: romance
Theme: second-chance, love triangle
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I’m Aubrey Somers. I’ve landed my dream job. I have a great apartment and I still keep in touch with my best friend…even though he lives hundreds of miles away. I’ve even started dating again. I have a lot going for me.

It doesn’t matter that I have to take an anti-depressant everyday or see a therapist every other week. It doesn’t matter that I refuse to drive anywhere. The wreck that ruined everything I had is almost a distant memory. Almost.

But now I have two men in my life. Two men who want to be with me. Two men I never thought I’d have the chance to be with. And I feel like I’m drowning…

This book contains explicit language and sexual scenes. It is meant for adult readers only.

Review

Heat: ⭐
Plot: 
Rating: 

Having read the blurb, I went into this book expecting a gritty read, a struggle with depression at the forefront with a romance and love triangle thrown in. As it was, Aubrey’s depression (and indeed Declan’s PTSD) was barely mentioned. I would have enjoyed it more had it been a little darker and dealing more with these sensitive topics which were clearly aspects of these characters’ lives. Instead, Aubrey was distracted with a love triangle, of which one member just wasn’t human and likeable enough for me to really care for. I like my love triangles to tear me apart internally, to fall for both characters and have to make the impossible choice along with the protagonist.

Other than that, the writing and pacing were strong (apart from a habit of every fifth sentence being italicised despite being written in first person and in the characters’ heads anyway) and it was an easy book to read. I enjoyed it enough to want to read the sequel, but it just fell a little flat emotionally for me. I found the best parts were written from Declan’s viewpoint, because these tended to hold the most anguish and were the only times I really managed to feel a bit of a pang. I think my main issue overall was just that I was expecting a very different book.