Review of the Wild Side series by R.K. Lilley

I’m looking forward to using this holiday weekend to catch up on reviews for some of my recent reads. I have completed the Wild Side series by R.K. Lilley. If you follow my blog, you will know that R.K. Lilley is one of my favorite authors and I have read all of her books. While this series was entertaining, I am sad to admit that it was not among my favorite reads.

Alas214593832226600922266042dair Masters is in his 40s and has had a sort of midlife crisis when he discovers his wife cheating on him. After a period of celibacy, he meets 20 something-year-old Iris. We know nothing about her true identity: age, name, place of residence, employment status, etc. There is much mystery surrounding her person and she disappears for lapses of time, driving Alasdair crazy.

Despite the difference in their ages, the relationship between Alistair and Iris is actually quite touching and not disturbing While I do appreciate some heated scenes, this was almost too much repetition for me – similar to the first Fifty Shades. By the end of the series, you can sort of tune that part out or skip it, and you end up with a good story. However, unlike Fifty Shades, I think these three books could have been more effectively told as one novel. I rate this series 3 Hearts.

The waiting is over… or is it? Finished reading Captivated by You!

So in case you were curious, I chickened out of taking a full day off work. BUT, around noon I did develop a “stomach ache”  that required a comfy chair, a cup of tea, a blanket, and my copy of Sylvia Days’s Captivated by You. And it hurts! There is so much waiting between the continuing saga of Eva and Gideon. Then the moment finally arrives, we get all caught up in the drama, only to have it end too soon again!

This is on51zFdfbe1KL._SL160_e of my top top top most favorite stories/series and my favorite book couple. I highly recommend the series, which must be read in order. I love the characters. The writing is sophisticated and eloquent. The relationship between Eva and Gideon captives me. I love the story with them as a married couple and it is told well. I don’t even care that the series is turning out longer than originally planned, because I love it that much.

I do have to be fair in my assessment though. While I truly enjoyed this leg of the story, I cannot give it 5 stars and this hurts me. There was love and heat, but there was so much missing. This felt like sort of a filler. We are no closer to the resolution of the Cary/Trey/Tatiana/baby drama. Cary is cutting again and that got like three sentences. I expected more reaction to that from Eva even if this isn’t a story about Eva and Cary. I expected a bigger blowout between Gideon and his mom. I anticipated Gideon’s father being connected to the Russian mafia. I expected a pregnancy drama. There was none of this! Even the ending felt like a stolen scene from my favorite movie, As Good As It Gets! it feels like the last book has much ground to cover for wrapping up the story and leaving fans happy and loyal. Still, I give this installment 4 Hearts. 

I will be eagerly checking Sylvia Day‘s site for an update on the series conclusion.

Book Review – Trust in Me by Skye Warren

13446362I loved Prisoner and was anxious to read something else written by Skye Warren. I also happen to be a huge fan of dark erotica. Be forewarned that Trust in Me is not for the faint of heart. This is a dark read that continues to get darker as the story continues. There is violence, nonconsensual sexual relations, and human trafficking. If this disturbs you, look for something else from my list.

Mia comes from a sordid background that is unspeakable. I find it sad that she accepts her fate. She has one goal for redeeming herself yet accepts death will probably be the reward for her efforts. “This whole game was dirty, and so was I.”

This is a well written story and is engrossing. I was able to read it in one sitting. Whatever you think of it, you will not be able to put it down so do not start it if you cannot finish.

What disturbs me is that Mia meets Tyler, the hero, at 12 years old. Tyler is older than Mia and is of age for having sex, yet he forms this attachment to Mia enough to search for her 10 years later. This part I struggled the most with. Tyler is definitely not Grayson. In fact, I felt like we barely scratched the surface of getting to know him. I got upset with him in some scenes for putting Mia in dangerous situations. He just wasn’t the Grayson or Caleb that I was looking for.

In the end, I did like the writing. The story had me captivated, and it had a sufficient level of angst to keep me engrossed. I give it…

3 Stars

Book Review – Mr. Beautiful (Up in the Air #4) by R.K. Lilley

18631103R.K. Lilley is one of my favorite authors and I had the pleasure of meeting her (and I think her husband?) at a writers’ event this year. She was the most personable and gracious author that I met that day and was generous with her time.

I adore the “Up in the Air” series and I have been anxiously awaiting the arrival of Mr. Beautiful!  I was looking forward to hearing his side of events and it was worth the wait. What a fabulous cover! I love the camaraderie between James and Tristan. I love the passion and love between James and Bianca. This conclusion has me loving him more.

And then there is Stephan. I wish I had such a loyal and true person in my life. The relationship between Stephan and Bianca is endearing and goes straight to my heart. I could read an entire story just about them, and I appreciate that we got to see more of their past in this story. This was an unexpected surprise for me. I also find Stephan and Javier a believable and touching m/m pairing, written eloquently.

This is part of a series, which should be read in order. Otherwise, you will not have the proper context for the characters and storyline. This is sort of a collection of random thoughts from different characters at different points of the series.

5 Stars

Book Review – Prisoner (Criminals & Captives #1) by Annika Martin and Skye Warren

23303963Wow! This was a dark read, which I tend to get drawn into looking for proof of light in the darkness. This was a great read for me and one of my new favorites. Prisoner, which was recently released, has probably one of my favorite heroines in Abigail Winslow and a notorious hottie in Grayson that you can’t help but love. (Do we ever learn his last name? I tried doing a search and came up nada…)

And he’s terrible!  He comes from a deep, dark and troubled past. He holds revenge in his heart. He is guilty of forcing dubious consent and tranquilizing. Yet he does this out of his twisted idea of loving and protecting Abby; in his mind, his forced captivity of Abby will protect and bind the two of them in together in the same tight-knit fashion he shares with the men that he was abducted with. His personal brand of passiveness is evident in his statement, “F#%k it. I don’t need to be a better man. I don’t need to be more. I’m in charge here.”

Abby is a self-conscious bookworm that I can relate to. We see her break out of her shell as Grayson forces her out of it. His affection for her is seen as a threat to Grayson’s gang and she holds her own. I love the unexpected moments when her intelligence shines through and wins her respect.

This story contains violence, graphic sex and dubious consent. That being  said, this did not feel like one of the darkest dark reads that I have experienced. It does have a sort of dubious HEA that left me satisfied. I give this…

5 Stars

Book Review – Broken (Redemption #1) by Lauren Layne

21408690I blush a little when I get caught enjoying a young adult novel at my age. Yet even I can appreciate this endearing love story. Olivia Middleton is a college student who decides to take a hiatus from education to gain some life experience caring for an injured war veteran. Olivia is looking at this employment opportunity a chance to escape her problems and a to redeem herself. While her past actions are far from admirable, they were not as dreadful as I expected by the weight that she gave them. Regardless, I enjoyed watching the maturity and determination for which she approaches her new role. The following excerpt provides an insight into her personality.

Your social life is no longer dropped into your lap by virtue of shared classes and extracurricular activities. Relationships, whether with friends, family, or romantic partners—from here on out, they’re going to take a lot more work. No more built-in friends at the sorority, or hollering down the stairs when I need my mom. It’s certainly not going to be as easy to meet guys now that I’m done with school. It’s not like I can just chat up the cute guy in econ class anymore.

Paul Langdon Is challenged with being physically disfigured as a result of his injuries.  Rehabilitation feels overwhelming to overcome. We come to learn that Olivia’s primary purpose is to be on suicide watch as she is challenged with bringing him out of his depression.  He is certainly a challenging case, but little by little he starts to come alive again and to recognize the value in Olivia.

I’m not proud of myself, Olivia. Not even a little bit. Do I wish I’d never let you go? Obviously. Do I wish I’d come to my senses sooner? Of course. And maybe if it had taken me only a day or two to clear my head, then yeah, I would have called. But when you fuck up as badly as I fucked up, for that long, you don’t call. You don’t text. You don’t email. You go to your girl and beg.

This has become one of my favorites! I laughed out loud and I swooned over the touching scenes.  I appreciated each of the characters. The relationship between Olivia and Paul was heartwarming and inspirational.

5 Stars

Book Review – The Wright Brother by Marie Hall

I appreciate stories with physically challenged characters because of a vested interest. The relationship between Elisa and Julian is beautiful and emotional. I get goosebumps thinking of them signing on each other’s skin. That’s where my enjoyment ended.

This was geared towards the younger side of new adult, too young for my reading pleasure. I understand that a small age difference of roughly two years is a big deal before the age of 18, but the storyline made it feel like the age difference was 7 or more years and Elisa couldn’t outgrow that thinking until the last two pages. Her feelings of guilt became redundant. It gets to be tiresome by the end. I also lost interest with her two silly infatuations with other men while waiting for Julian to grow up.

If not for the erotic scenes, this would be for a younger audience. I can only give it …

2 stars.