Starla’s January 2022 Reviews

(Stratham Knights#3)

By NV Roez

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Genre: Dark contemporary romance
POV: 1st person, present tense
Content Warnings: Rape flashbacks, violence, drug use, coarse language, explicit sex scenes
Heat gauge: 🔥 🔥 🔥 🔥 🔥 (5/5)

When Evelyn’s best friend disappears, she is certain there is something sinister going on. So, the hunt begins, setting her and the guys on a collision course with a disaster. Considering all the enemies they’ve made, tragedy is inevitable. Deals are struck and sacrifices are made, putting Evelyn right back where she started. Okay, maybe not quite. At least she has a few allies, not to mention the love of some dangerous men.

This sizzling hot finale to Evelyn’s trilogy packs a lot of punches. Roez has done a great job of building the suspense and intrigue. This book was too hard to put down! The bedroom scenes did feel a little gratuitous at times, but overall they were titillating. And the action! OMG the pace of this story did not let up. There were lots of well-choreographed, nail-biting fights. I’m sure this is one even blokes will enjoy reading.

I highly recommend this book to lovers of dark romance.

I received a free copy of this book and I’m voluntarily leaving an honest review.

The Wrong Heart
By Jennifer Hartmann

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Genre: Contemporary Romance
POV: Alternating 1st person, present tense
Content Warnings: Mental illness and suicide references, coarse language
Heat gauge: 🔥 🔥 🔥 🔥 (4/5)

Melody was such a happy ray of sunshine until her husband died. The world turned dark that day and the only glimmer of hope remaining now sat inside another man’s chest. She reaches out to him, promising herself she won’t pry into his personal life. Little does she know, the man who sends her comforting messages is the same arrogant jerk who attends her suicide prevention support group. How could this possibly end well?

Hartmann took me on quite the emotional rollercoaster with this one. So much so, she put me in tears by the end of Chapter One. Parker is such a mean, nasty individual, even to Melody. Yet the chemistry that simmers between them becomes so scorching hot that I found myself forgiving him sooner than I should’ve. I guess I’m a sucker for dark, brooding anti-heroes. He might not be to every reader’s taste, but I suggest giving him a little time because he does grow. One of the things I loved most about this story was they way two wounded hearts came together to heal each other. Their love blossoms into something beautiful.

I highly recommend this book to lovers of romance who can deal with the trigger warnings.

The Thorns Remain
By Jennifer Hartmann & Chelley St Clair

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Genre: Dark Contemporary Romance
POV: 1st person, present tense
Content Warnings: Adultery, dark themes
Heat gauge: 🔥 🔥 🔥 (3/5)

Bitter and betrayed, Evan lets Revenge seep between the shattered pieces of his heart. Driven by twisted desires, he seeks to destroy the man who broke his marriage. He knows he has the looks and charm to pull it off. All he needs is an opening to insert himself into the life of his enemy’s wife. Problem is, Josie is far from the desperate housewife he had expected.

Hartmann fans may remember Evan from Lotus. He was the sexy author who lived two doors down from Sydney. When I read that book, I had no idea how black Evan’s heart was. The authors delved into some very dark places with this book that surprised me. I’ve read a lot of dark romance over the years, but nothing quite like this. Where many stories in this genre give you the protagonist’s perspective, interwoven with the anti-heroes or even the villains, this one stayed entirely within our anti-hero’s point of view. It was interesting and a little disturbing at times to sink into his psyche and watch his revenge plot unfold. I often felt like I was riding toward imminent disaster, yet I thoroughly enjoyed the whole journey. The thrills and spills. The laughs and the tears. These authors have woven a brilliant tale.

I highly recommend this book, but please heed my content warnings. This won’t be for everyone, especially if you are offended by love stories with main characters who commit adultery.

(Evernight #1)
By Claudia Gray

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Genre: Young Adult Paranormal Romance
POV: 1st person, past tense
Heat gauge: 🔥 (1/5)

Bianca never wanted to go to Evernight Academy. She had enjoyed a sheltered life in her small hometown. Yet her parents insisted this school would be good for her. They didn’t seem to care that the other students looked down on her. She was not the Evernight type with their perfect appearance and snobbish attitudes. She was not the Evernight type because a warm, beating heart still pumped life through her veins. Perhaps that’s why she felt a connection with the other outcasts; why she felt drawn to Lucas. As love bloomed between these two, Lucas fought hard to protect her from the monsters surrounding them. But the biggest threats to their relationship were the secrets they kept from each other.

While a paranormal romance set in a high school full of vampires might not be the most original concept, I liked how the author worked with this trope. Her characters felt real, filling the pages with plenty of drama and intrigue. This was a real page turner for me and some of the plot twists took me by surprise. I look forward to reading the next entry in the series.

If, like me, you’re a sucker for a good vampire romance, I recommend giving this one a go.

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