Book review: Troll by Emma Clark

Troll by Emma Clark
Rating: ★☆☆☆☆
Links: AmazonTBD • Goodreads
Publication Date: February 4, 2014
Source: Daniel sent this to me because he always knows how to make me smile.

TROLL First 3 Books is an erotic short of 15,400 words (ebook is 50 pages; paperback is 100 pages). Includes graphic sexual content.

Note: No new material has been added. This bundled edition contains the first 3 books of the Troll series.

Twenty-one-year-old Kyla Adkins frequents the Internet in search of her soul mate.

While online, she meets hot and devilishly handsome Justin Brogan. Dangerous, arrogant and quite psychotic, Justin hacks into Kyla’s computer and soon he controls everything, including her heart and her life.

There are a few things that I have to say before I get started with this review.

Let me first say that this book was a gift from Daniel in celebration of me hitting 1,000 followers because he is the actual best person I’ve ever met in my life. “I saw this in a ‘worst book ever written’ video, and thought you’d enjoy it,” he said. He was right. I enjoyed it a lot. Five stars for entertainment value. It’s probably the worst thing I’ve ever read in my whole life, but I had fun reading it.

(Also, speaking of Daniel, today is his birthday!!! Happy birthday, Daniel! ❤)

Second, this is not a book that I would have ever picked up for myself, but I’m so glad that I had the chance to read it because it really puts other books in perspective. Like, maybe the other books that I own really aren’t that bad.

Third, this book is actually three books and it’s only 99 pages with really big, double-spaced font. Also, I think the synopsis on the back cover is like… size 52 font. I’m not sure why everything is so big.

Anyway, without further ado, here are all 170 thoughts I had while reading Troll. Beware of lots of spoilers and lots of profanity (both mine and the book’s) as well as mentions of possible rape. Anything in bold is a direct quote, and this is 100% not safe for work.
  1. What even is this cover? Is that a TARDIS or maybe a Dalek or a weird computer mouse in the corner?
  2. I’m sorry, is this actually published by “DELICIOUSLY FIENDISH FICTION”
  3. Summertime lasted three months, making it worse than Valentine’s Day. Where is she going with this… first page and I’m already confused…
  4. Summer. A season when lovers held hands, embraced and kissed as they strolled side-by-side on the walkway heading nowhere. Sometimes I was forced to watch these lovers, considering my small apartment loomed above the street. Oh, I see. Okay. Maybe I’ll allow it?
  5. So many obstructive buildings that I forgot what the moon looked like.
  6. She’s 125 pounds and she calls herself overweight, okay.
  7. Oh god, she’s trying to find a man on TRUE CHRISTIAN LOVE, this will end well.
  8. I only used the site to avoid men who trolled strictly for sex. I have some news for you… plenty of Christian men troll just for sex…
  9. Great boobs you have. Wow, I’m swooning already!! This guy is a smooth talker!!
  10. His username is GeniusOne. GENIUSONE. GENIUSONE.
  11. GeniusOne was quite a handsome troll.
  12. he seemed so… so damn tasty
  13. Sometimes bad trolls could be good trolls. (?????)
  14. What’s your name, hon? ;o) Okay I don’t trust anyone who makes a smiley like that.
  15. There’s a reason why a penis fits inside a vagina. Enlighten me.
  16. Like, say it’d be a natural process for me to slide my cock up your puss– vagina. Wow, this guy really went through the hassle of typing “puss–” and then crossing it out. He’s a keeper.
  17. He just said “roflmfao” and I don’t think I’ve seen that since I was 15 years old.
  18. Would you prefer if I called them bewbs? I don’t think I’ve seen “bewbs” since I was 15 either.
  19. Baby, I’m just being friendly. No need to get bitchy. : – ( He’s such a prize, I can’t even handle it.
  20. Aww, PMS time? 😠
  21. I’ll fuck off on camera. You wanted to see me fuck off, no? 🙄
  22. With my backside wedged to the fridge… and why??
  23. I find myself in the bathroom jerking off. When I imagine your pretty face surrounded by that lush blonde hair, all I wanna do is come, come and come. I am so glad that he’s sending her these unsolicited messages!!!
  24. I want to possess every single inch of you. Nail you. Fuck you. 😬
  25. Baddies have always been your type. Remember? This is not a “baddie,” this is an actual stalker.
  26. Shit, maybe I was the weirdo? Yes, yes. Page 13 and already she thinks this is her fault, great.
  27. He stood before a camera, somehow streaming live video to my computer. How and why.
  28. And I’d be damned if he didn’t begin to strip. What the fuck.
  29. Styled in a faux hawk maybe this book is actually set in 2005??
  30. not a hair in sight is he actually a child because I’m pretty sure grown men have at least one hair on their bodies
  31. He reached into his shorts, worked his cock until it grew to a shocking length. A SHOCKING LENGTH.
  32. Its violet hue deepened, tip bulged ready to explode. I’m just wondering if Justin’s okay.
  33. Your name’s Kyla Ann Adkins. You’re twenty-one and your birth date is June the tenth. Happy birthday. That’s… disturbing.
  34. Oh, chapter 2 is called “Stalker” and if that’s not accurate…
  35. I remotely installed software on your computer that let me stream this live video. Because THAT’S not creepy AT ALL.
  36. I snatched my Smartphone from the desk. Oh no, she snatched her capital-S Smartphone from the desk!! Will she call for help? I bet she won’t!!
  37. I barely finished reading before the Smartphone locked. Then my laptop shut down. By itself. Please physically go to the police station, this is horrible.
  38. Brief non-plot-related interlude… why are most paragraphs just one sentence??
  39. Seized by paranoia, unsure of what to do, I grabbed my car keys and hurried to the front door. YES.
  40. I’m letting this guy drive me nuts. I’m giving him all the control. Fuck that. No!!!
  41. By 9:40 my panic waned. Please find your panic again, this is not right.
  42. I jolted upright when last night’s events flooded my memory. GeniusOne. Justin. Computer hacking. Phone dead. Privacy violation. Next thing you know, he’ll be in her living room.
  43. Everything’s dead in this apartment. Including you, probably, because Justin is clearly insane.
  44. Oh, his message vanished. His message vanished? What is this, Snapchat???
  45. Hi baby. I’ve missed you, but that’s okay since I’m here now. Is he ACTUALLY in her living room at 2:35 am?
  46. “Hi baby,” said a deep voice behind me. WHAT THE ACTUAL FUCK.
  47. Chapter 3 is called “Nightmares” and that’s RIGHT. Oh my GOD.
  48. Paralysis cinched every muscle and stole my hopes for freedom. Why are you paralyzed, are you dramatic or did he drug you??
  49. She’s crying! She thinks she’s going to die! How is this a romance book and not a horror novel???
  50. A scream. That belonged to me as well. WHAT THE FUCK.
  51. Those screams cut to a muffled whisper after his hand clapped my mouth. WHAT THE FUCK.
  52. Tender. Loving, Dominating. Sick. Twisted. Okay, agree with the last three but TENDER and LOVING? WHAT?!
  53. “Seek and you shall find. Knock and it shall be opened,” the beautiful monster rasped. What the actual hell. Am I supposed to be swooning? Because no.
  54. Oh so he’s creepy AS FUCK but at least he smells good.
  55. Why do I feel like the combination of lilac-scented body wash and “the savory hint of after shave” would be gross? Also it’s “aftershave,” all one word.
  56. I wasn’t in ‘his arms’ per se; he had me trapped in his arms. These quotes are wrong and it bothers me.
  57. What he wanted to steal meant most to me. Something irreplaceable. Is she a virgin. Is this about her virginity.
  58. Now he smells like lilac and savory aftershave AND mint. He’s got a lot going on.
  59. Justin had taken a chair from the kitchen. He threw it down, sat, slouched as he watched me. I’m imagining him literally throwing the chair and it doesn’t work.
  60. I’m gonna nail you and fuck you and then… I’m gonna nail you and fuck you again. Oh wow. He’s gonna nail her AND fuck her. He’s really pulling out all the stops.
  61. By the time I’m finished with you, Kyla, you’re going to be sore. Very, very sore. That’s… really the last thing I would ever want to hear.
  62. “You’re totally insane.” “True.” At least he doesn’t deny it??
  63. “I have to use the bathroom.” Please escape out the window.
  64. Moderate kissing accelerated to a heavier, aggressive nature. 😬 
  65. I’d never been kissed like this before. It was disgusting, heart-stoppingly hot and wonderful all at once. I don’t think the kiss should be disgusting.
  66. The sheer force of his affection dipped me at an uncomfortable angle. His affection?!
  67. Unfortunately I needed to drain my bladder. Justin’s provocative kissing turned me on, which didn’t help the pressure in my genitals. Well, that’s a mood killer.
  68. Upon returning, I found him dozing in the chair. WHAT ARE YOU DOING, SNEAK OUT!!!
  69. I glanced at the front door. Should I? I couldn’t do it. What the hell is wrong with you?!
  70. Chugging on a beer (without my permission), Justin leaned against the fridge. He even steals her alcohol, rude.
  71. I lowered my gaze, horrified to see my nipples clearly outlined under my shirt. The state of their nipples, just what everyone thinks about when there’s a stalker in their house.
  72. Slowly Justin knelt before me, eyeing me while he took hold of my shirt and slipped it high above my ample breasts. Yes I allowed it. Why did you allow it.
  73. Without warning, his tongue flicked a bare nipple. A single damp, swift stroke that made me quiver. Jolts of ecstasy radiated as my pussy clenched and my nipples hardened. That’s a lot of reactions to a lick.
  74. lost in the pleasurable experience of Justin’s rhythmic nursing. 😷
  75. …so goddamn ready for his penetration it was ludicrous. SO! GODDAMN! READY!
  76. And. He. Just. Wouldn’t. Stop. Eating.
  77. Christ! He’s forced me right on the edge. Oh, oh, here it comes. It’s mounting, growing hotter, gonna be a big one– This is the most ominous way to describe an orgasm that I have ever heard.
  78. He cracked a smile and chortled, enraging me. Oh, he CHORTLED. Sexy.
  79. Okay, we’re on page four of this nipple stuff and I’m getting bored.
  80. Mmm. Looks like your tasty tits need more sucking action. I don’t think they do.
  81. Agonizing need stiffened my clitoris. SUCH SEXY WRITING, WOW.
  82. And now it’s page five of this. 😐
  83. That was the least sexy description in a sexy scene that I have ever had the displeasure to read.
  84. …his tongue traced the clitoral hood… are we in a legit anatomy class right now?
  85. HER CLITORIS JUST SPIT JUICE.
  86. I could sip, eat and swallow your pussy juice every day, every night. I’m going to throw up.
  87. His auburn hair makes him look exotic? I didn’t know auburn hair was exotic but okay??
  88. A blunt, broad monster of a cock. OMG.
  89. Close enough to stab me with his veiled cock. OMG.
  90. Right here? In the kitchen😱
  91. “I’m a virgin.” Please have some mercy on me for god’s sake. I knew it.
  92. “Are you sure?” Possibly the best reaction ever to finding out that someone’s a virgin.
  93. It’s not going to hurt, baby, because I’m not going to stick it in. I’m going to titty fuck you.” I actually burst out laughing and yelled “oh my GOD” at my poor cat.
  94. “Oh–okay.” Really the only response to that statement, I guess.
  95. Justin straddled my waist while positioning his inflated dick between my breasts. HIS INFLATED DICK.
  96. Justin’s motions jarred me, the linoleum chafing the tender skin along my back. I don’t see why the linoleum had to be involved.
  97. I swallowed. This weird tasteless substance heated my throat. Tasteless?
  98. He just cleaned her up with handy wipes.
  99. “My heart, my dick, my soul belongs to you. Oh. My. God.
  100. IS HE ACTUALLY RAPING HER RIGHT NOW???
  101. I’m so confused about what’s happening right now but I think he’s raping her, what the FUCK!!!
  102. ??????????? “loving attack” “betrayal” “viciously” ??????????
  103. Justin. What a strange character. No. No. No. No. No. No. NO.
  104. After having my cherry popped at the ripe old age of twenty-one… Oh, 21, you’re so old.
  105. …intelligence enough to get him accepted in Mensa. How exactly is he smart though? He hasn’t done anything smart in this whole book.
  106. Justin aka GeniousOne. Okay so first of all, that’s not even how you spell Genius.
  107. What would tomorrow bring? Would I discover Justin’s secrets? Did I truly want to know his secrets? No, you don’t. Kick him out.
  108. The taste of his savory lips roused me from a dream. That’s a really weird way to put that.
  109. Oh, the sense of danger has vanished, wonderful.
  110. Soon this pulsing bud enlarged to a scarlet orb, visible amid the moist lips. I don’t think it’s supposed to become a scarlet orb, maybe see a gynecologist about that.
  111. I’m just wondering, like, where the hell are the condoms since you guys literally just met.
  112. Oh, he has a colossal hard-on and it’s grotesque. Great.
  113. Justin’s dick couldn’t be missed for miles. He was obviously horny as fuck, so why the hell didn’t he stick it in? What the hell, Justin??
  114. The sex is hurting Kyla and Justin is AMUSED. He thinks this is FUNNY. I hate him.
  115. Oh hell, wasn’t it time you lost your hymen anyway? Um? Excuuuuse me? Not your decision, Justin!!!
  116. You really should be thanking me… oh, this asshole.
  117. “Get the hell out!” TELL HIM.
  118. He’s not going to leave, is he…
  119. “Why?” “Because I fucking said so.” I literally hate him.
  120. You matter to me. Oh, she matters to him.
  121. “I want you to leave.” Please just go, Justin.
  122. Don’t you dare forgive him!!
  123. His pelvis jolted with expert stealth, he filled my tightness with his blunt cock, drilling deep enough to sting. EXPERT STEALTH!!
  124. I have never in my life seen sex described as “voracious” but here we are.
  125. I shrank from his repetitive gouging… REPETITIVE GOUGING. Jesus Christ.
  126. Justin halted and the ripping ceased. Between the gouging and the ripping, are we sure they’re having sex?? This doesn’t sound right.
  127. His boner came closer to full impalement. Wow, so hot.
  128. We continued making out, rolling and jerking on the bed like stray felines in the midst of battle… or kitten-making. Please don’t bring cats into this.
  129. But with hurtful abruptness, Justin pulled away. “Baby, you kinda suck at kissing.” Um, what? Rude!!
  130. My self-destructive attraction to baddies made this situation my fault as well as his. Again, he’s not a “baddie,” he’s a stalker and quite possibly a psychopath.
  131. Still going on about what a bad kisser she is… “It didn’t bother me at first. I was glad for the opportunity to kiss you.” He’s an actual asshole, like, the literal worst.
  132. “Baby, listen to me. Not everyone’s a pro at kissing. It takes practice like anything else. I was letting you know so you wouldn’t get embarrassed later.” Oh, so he’s insulting her for her own good. Right.
  133. “…hot savage fucking is my actual talent.” HOT. SAVAGE. FUCKING. 🙄
  134. “I want you to prove how special I am to you. Prove it by not jacking off in the next forty-eight hours, then I’ll believe you.” It’s the ultimate sacrifice, I guess.
  135. Dark lashes fringed his hooded lids while dramatic brows complemented eyes of faint topaz. Since when does he have topaz eyes?? I thought they were azure??
  136. My entire body thrummed with waves of pleasure and an overwhelming sense of pure love — and being loved — fulfilled the depths of my existence. He doesn’t love you.
  137. This was how it felt to be loved by someone. HE DOESN’T LOVE YOU.
  138. I wasn’t accustomed — nor prepared — for the vivid, frightening experience of his expressed love, which reminded me of fairy tales I’d indulged in as a child. There those fairy tales go again, fucking up even more lives.
  139. She just used “suckling” three times in the same paragraph.
  140. His lesson of mouth-and-tongue-play took forever — but I wasn’t complaining. Ew, that sounds gross.
  141. “And don’t forget. I’ll be giving your final lesson in forty-seven hours,” he warned and lightly kissed my forehead. FORTY-SEVEN HOURS, that is very specific.
  142. He’d endured six hours with a hard-on. I think you’re supposed to seek medical attention if it lasts that long.
  143. WHY DOES HE KEEP CHORTLING???
  144. She was reprimanded at her job for browsing dating sites at her desk but WHY would you want to do that at your job??
  145. He ran his fingers through his spiky faux hawk. Oh god, I forgot about the faux hawk.
  146. He raised my hand to the nape of his neck, where he left me clinging to the softness of his hair. I thought he had a spiky faux hawk, how is that soft??
  147. “I haven’t had the easiest life.” “No one has.” Um, way to be a jerk?
  148. “Have I ever given you any reason to think otherwise?” You’ve known each other for like… a day.
  149. “I dreamed I pumped him full of lead.” Yikes.
  150. “I could really fuck him up if you wanted me to.” YIKES.
  151. “For real. And I’d get away with it.” He brought a pointed forefinger to his mouth and blew, pretending the digit was the barrel of a gun. YIKES!!
  152. I didn’t know that eating nacho chips and queso dip in bed was considered an awesome picnic, but okay, glad you’re having fun.
  153. “He keeps giving me these cancelled checks to keep in a lock box.” That’s, um… weird.
  154. Gaze firm, he slanted forward. “You don’t want to know. Trust me.”
    “What makes you so sure–“

    “I’m a troll.” 🙄
  155. “Not just a troll. It’s an acronym… actually I’m supposed to withhold information pertaining to my job.” Oh lord, I can’t wait to find out what it’s an acronym for.
  156. This book is taking a weird turn.
  157. Oh, he’s a HACKTIVIST.
  158. Oh, he’s just using her to get to her dad, never saw that coming…
  159. “Sorry for what? Terrifying me for the fun of it? Or fucking me so hard that I bled all over the kitchen floor?” Oh jeez. At least she’s acknowledging that that wasn’t a normal thing.
  160. As the full reality of this situation sunk in, dozens of grim images flickered of how Justin would kill me. KILL YOU?!?
  161. “It wasn’t you I was after, it was your father.” Just what every girl wants to hear!
  162. Justin rushed to the bag and yanked out the contents, providing the answer to my unspoken question. He shoved a devil mask over his face. Why in tarnation does he have a devil mask with him??
  163. Doorbell chimed. Dad shouted my name. Of course dad’s coming for a visit right now…
  164. Wonderful, we’re back to a bunch of one-sentence paragraphs again.
  165. An urge to run grew… YES, PLEASE RUN.
  166. He captured me before the elevator door slid open. His hand silenced my screams while he dragged me to my apartment. What the fuck.
  167. He removed the mask to reveal an attractive, masculine face shiny with sweat. Oh, I forgot he was wearing that weird mask.
  168. I jammed my knee into his balls, then scrambled off the floor. GOOD JOB.
  169. Justin remained in a fetal position. Crying, sobbing, I reached in his jeans pocket where I tugged out the cancelled checks. Jesus, how hard did she knee him??
  170. This book was a wild ride.

 

This book is legitimately one of the worst things I have ever read in my whole entire life. I can’t tell if this is meant to be a serious book or (since it’s called Troll) maybe it’s just an elaborate joke? Either way, this was just… the actual worst. I don’t even understand how it was published. Who decided it was a good idea?

Also, we never even found out what TROLL stands for.


Have you read Troll? Do you ever hate-read books just for fun?
Let’s talk in the comments!


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Book review: Smut by Karina Halle

Smut by Karina Halle
Rating: ★☆☆☆☆
Links: AmazonTBDGoodreads
Publication Date: May 16, 2016
Source: Freebie

What happens when the kink between the pages leads to heat between the sheets?

All Blake Crawford wants is to pass his creative writing course, get his university degree, and take over his dad’s ailing family business. What Amanda Newland wants is to graduate at the top of her class, as well as finally finish her novel and prove to her family that writing is a respectful career.

What Blake and Amanda don’t want is to be paired up with each other for their final project, but that’s exactly what they both get when they’re forced to collaborate on a writing piece. Since Amanda thinks Blake is a pushy asshole (with a panty-melting smirk and British accent) and Blake thinks Amanda has a stick up her ass (though it’s a brilliant ass), they fight tooth and nail until they discover they write well together. They also may find each other really attractive, but that’s neither here nor there.

When their writing project turns out to be a success, the two of them decide to start up a secret partnership using a pen name, infiltrating the self-publishing market in the lucrative genre of erotica. Naturally, with so much heat and passion between the pages, it’s not long before their dirty words become a dirty reality. Sure, they still fight a lot, but at least there’s make-up sex now.

But even as they start to fall hard for each other, will their burgeoning relationship survive if their scandalous secret is exposed? Or are happily-ever-afters just a work of fiction?

I got this book months ago fully intending to read it right away, and then, as usual, I didn’t. But for my final choice for this month’s #killingthetbr challenge, I figured that I might as well read it. After all, it has great reviews! It sounds really fun! I’ve been meaning to try out something by Karina Halle! But, ugh, I’m not sure what it is with me hating every book I own, but here we are.

The biggest problem for me was that I didn’t like the hero and I didn’t like the heroine. It’s really hard for me to enjoy a romance novel if I can’t get behind the characters, and both of them were so annoying.

Amanda is a writer. Like, that’s her whole self. She writes. All she talks about is how she writes. She talks about how she writes better than anybody else in the world, but let me tell you, the excerpts of her weird fantasy novel are not good. She’s super judgmental of anybody who doesn’t write high fantasy, like at one point she actually says, “Romance readers want romance, they don’t want it with a plot about bird women and wizards and monsters that look like a giant ant crossed with a spider. They might not want it with a plot at all, so let’s not pretend.” I mean, yikes.

Amanda is also incredibly entitled. Her rich parents pay for her apartment, her school, her car, everything. I mean, that’s fine. I had friends in college in the same situation, but the difference was that they didn’t constantly mention it while simultaneously complaining about how hard their life is. Do you know what’s hard? Paying for college by yourself while also finding the money for your rent and food and other necessities. But, wow, your parents sometimes question whether you’ll ever make money as a writer but still pay to put you through a creative writing degree. Your life is difficult. I’m so sorry.

Blake is a British playboy and that’s his whole self. His life is very difficult also, because clearly the hero can’t just be a jerk for no reason. He has to be a jerk because of everything that’s going on in his life. Blake has slept with half of the creative writing class, because of course he has, and he frequently gets trays of beer poured over him in bars, because of course he does. How else would we know that he’s a womanizing jerk? This wouldn’t be a romance novel if Blake wasn’t somehow redeemed, though, so he’s (a) doing a business degree he’s not interested in so that he can take over his father’s bookstore, and (b) unexpectedly kind toward his much younger stepbrother, Kevin.

I really wish that I had loved this book, but I didn’t. Not only are the two main characters the actual worst, but everything that happens is just so far-fetched that I found myself rolling my eyes throughout the entire book and setting it down between chapters because I just didn’t want to finish. It’s also so poorly edited, with word use errors or just words missing altogether. Some of the sex scenes are kind of hot, but most just made me cringe and I don’t usually read this kind of thing at 10am on a Sunday, but I ended up marathoning it because I just wanted to be done already.

PS: “Fuckboy” does not mean “boy you’re fucking,” I feel like this is a thing you should know if you write romance.

Let’s end on a positive note with a quote I liked:

She knows, oh she knows, that the worst thing to say to a struggling writer is, “How is it going?” or “Get any writing done?” Bitch, if I’ve got writing done, you can fucking bet you’ll know about it.

#killingthetbr: three months on shelf


Have you read Smut? Have you read anything else by Karina Halle?
Should I give her another chance? Let’s talk in the comments!


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Mini-reviews: The Billionaire’s Secret duology by Ivy Layne

The Billionaire’s Secret Heart by Ivy Layne
Rating: ★★☆☆☆
Links: AmazonGoodreads
Publication Date: June 6, 2016
Source: I think this came from someone’s mailing list?

Josephine:
It was the worst blind date in the history of the universe, until Holden Winters swept in and rescued me.
Are you kidding? Holden Winters?
A scion of the notorious Winters family, Holden is gorgeous, wealthy, and brilliant. He dates socialites and pop stars, not computer science grad students more comfortable in a hoodie than couture.
Our night together was a fantasy…and a huge mistake.

Holden:
I don’t usually steal other guy’s dates. I don’t have to. A look is all it takes, and the women fall over themselves to get to me. Then I saw Josephine, sitting with her dweeb of a date, just waiting for a man who could appreciate her lush curves and sharp brain. When she ghosted on me, I shouldn’t have been so shocked, but women never walk away from me. Josephine thought she could call the shots – she didn’t realize that a Winters man always gets what he wants. And I wanted her.

The Billionaire’s Secret Heart is a standalone romance with a happy ending. It’s the first in the Scandals of the Bad Boy Billionaires series, and introduces the notorious men of the Winters family. You can read it on its own, but you might want to read the others once you get a taste of the Winters men.

Here we are again, hate-reading another book from the dark, dusty corners of my Kindle. Someone remind me why I do this reading challenge. I would prefer to just forget that these books exist.

This one doesn’t actually start off that badly. I mean, from the beginning, I really disliked that the hero is named Holden. I think that name should be reserved for one character only and not used on an asshole billionaire, but let me just set that aside. The beginning is actually really funny! I love reading about terrible, cringy dates. It makes me feel better about my teenage years. And an awkward, cringy date is how this book opens.

It all falls apart around 5% when the author not only forgets how she spells her own character’s name (is it Stuart or Stewart?) but also then forgets that said character even existed. Holden whisks Josephine away to his private penthouse, or something, and they have a lot of sex. A lot of sex. So much.

Then there’s just drama. One thing after another. There’s a weird love triangle, some instalove thrown in for good measure, and a “you’re not like any other girl I’ve dated,” which is, admittedly, a step up from “you’re not like other girls.” Josephine borrows her friend’s dress (fine, nice, okay) and also borrows her friend’s bra (not fine, not okay, just weird). At one point, Holden says, “Take off your bra” even though Josephine’s “full breasts spilled free” not even three paragraphs earlier. This book was terrible, but at least they used condoms every time.

Some quotes:

  • “I’m a scientist and I rarely exaggerate.”
  • “I jumped out of the bed like a scalded cat.”
  • “I was guessing he had a big cock. Exact inches didn’t matter.”
  • “I hadn’t just slept with him. I’d fucked him three times.”

#killingthetbr: 1 year on shelf


The Billionaire’s Secret Love by Ivy Layne
Rating: ★☆☆☆☆
Links: AmazonGoodreads
Publication Date: June 7, 2016
Source: I think this came from someone’s mailing list?

Emily
I tried to say no. I did more than try, I flat out turned him down. Repeatedly. But Tate Winters doesn’t take no for an answer. He’s smart, hot, and he knows how to get to me. Before I can stop myself, I’m falling for him. But Tate doesn’t know my secrets. He doesn’t understand that we can’t be together, no matter how much we both want it.

Tate
I like things easy, at least when it comes to women. I’m Tate Winters – I’ve never had to work for a female in my life. Emily is worth the effort, I know she is. She’s beautiful, brilliant, and real. The only woman I’ve ever known who can match me. She keeps running from me, but I won’t let her get away. Emily Winslow is mine. I just have to prove it to her.

The Billionaire’s Secret Love is a standalone romance with a happy ending. It’s the second book in the Scandals of the Bad Boy Billionaires series, and reveals more about the notorious men of the Winters family. You can read it on its own, everything you need to know from the first book is explained, but you might want to read the others once you get a taste of the Winters men.

So, I was a little nervous to read this installment of the series because

  1. It’s not like the first book was good (at all), and
  2. Let’s be honest, Tate sounds like a rapist from the synopsis.

And, yeah, turns out that this book is even worse than I thought it would be. I mean, what can I even say? Tate tells us what a gentleman he is and then promptly starts stalking Emily. Emily turns him down, so he asks if she’s a lesbian, because that’s the only reason he can come up with that a woman wouldn’t be falling all over herself to date him. At one point, Tate tries to “trap her without making her feel trapped.” There’s also a tense change mid-sex scene, so that’s great. Oh, and a very brief side plot about murder and paparazzi and crime scene photos that’s promptly forgotten because of the “stupendous” sex that Tate and Emily have.

This book is only 99 pages but it was a struggle to finish.

Some quotes:

  • “At the memory of Tate’s strong hand on my arm as we crossed the street, I shivered again, my nipples tightening, an ache rising between my legs.”
  • “My cock wasn’t exactly small, or even average.”
  • “When his hand slid under my shirt, I broke the kiss and said, ‘I made you a picnic.'”

#killingthetbr: 1 year on shelf


Have you read this duology? Let’s talk in the comments!


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Review: The Pawn by Skye Warren

The Pawn by Skye Warren
Series: Endgame #1
Rating: ★★☆☆☆
Links: Amazon • Goodreads
Publication Date: December 6, 2016
Source: I one-clicked this one all by myself.

The price of survival…

Gabriel Miller swept into my life like a storm. He tore down my father with cold retribution, leaving him penniless in a hospital bed. I quit my private all-girl’s college to take care of the only family I have left.

There’s one way to save our house, one thing I have left of value.

My virginity.

A forbidden auction…

Gabriel appears at every turn. He seems to take pleasure in watching me fall. Other times he’s the only kindness in a brutal underworld.

Except he’s playing a deeper game than I know. Every move brings us together, every secret rips us apart. And when the final piece is played, only one of us can be left standing.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

THE PAWN is a full-length contemporary novel from New York Times bestselling author Skye Warren about revenge and seduction in the game of love. It’s the first book in the brand new ENDGAME series.

This isn’t a book that I was planning on reading any time soon, but apparently I just let Daniel decide what I’m reading these days. 🤷 Thanks for telling me not to read this on a plane. I might have actually died.

A few things before I get started:

  • I was going to do a mini-review, but I just have too many thoughts.
  • We all know how I feel about dark romance, so I’m not even sure why I own this book.
  • The average rating for this book on Goodreads is 4.14, so clearly there’s a market for it that’s just not me.

Anyway, let’s get into it. Under a spoiler tag, of course, because the last thing I want is to deprive you of the full experience of reading this book. So, full disclosure, tons of spoilers ahead.

Click at your own risk!

Where do I even start? I guess I should say that, overall, the writing isn’t terrible? The dialogue actually feels pretty natural and flows pretty nicely. The descriptions aren’t awful and I’m sorry but those are the only semi-nice things I can say about this book.

So, basically, the entire plot of the book is that Avery is selling her virginity to earn enough money to provide care for her sick father. Very noble, whatever, it’s really just sad but what am I going to do? Not read the book? Of course not. Have you met me? I read the whole thing. I complained the whole time, but I read it.

Some things that happen in this book:

  • Avery’s fake uncle proposes to her, calls her a slut, and then bids on her at the virginity auction anyway.
  • There’s a character named Gabriel who is referred to as “fierce like an avenging angel,” because did you really write a character named Gabriel if you didn’t make at least one angel reference?
  • Avenging Angel Gabriel goes way above and beyond to bid A MILLION DOLLARS for Avery’s virginity and then, just in case anybody was getting the idea to bid a million and one, he growls at the crowd to intimidate them.
  • Avery gave Gabriel a blowjob and he roared with a ferocity that reverberated through the library (he offered to give her a five-star review on Yelp afterward).
  • At one point, Avery referred to herself as a horse and Gabriel as her “virgin whisperer” and I have no other comments than yep, that’s a thing that happened.
  • Gabriel actually, literally, really, I’m not even kidding you, uses chess pieces as sex toys when they finally have sex. The poor pawn. I will never look at a chess board the same way again.
  • A decidedly un-happy ending.

Anyway, let’s recap:

  • The premise? Sad and very much not sexy.
  • The characters? All terrible.
  • The ending? Not even happy-for-now. Just straight up sad.

I also feel like I need to mention the fact that Avery’s dad caught her masturbating when she was younger and punished her by putting chili juice on her fingers every night for a month. Because that’s a thing that sane, reasonable, good parents do. 🙄

Some quotes:

  • “There have to be lights somewhere.” I never had occasion to use them.
  • My knowledge of sex is so limited that I only imagine it at night. That goes doubly so for a strange old man. Uncertainty vibrates through me. “He’d want me during the day?”

  • “I’m not your friend,” he says gently. He’s my enemy.
  • I would feel something if he’d taken my virginity, wouldn’t I? Some foreign texture, some soreness? [side note: FOREIGN TEXTURE????]

This is everything I hate in a romance novel in one book, okay? I guess if you’re super into dark romances, or arbitrary concepts like virginity being auctioned off, or maybe you have a chess fetish, you might like this book. But other than that? Definitely not recommended, unless you’re just reading for the entertainment factor alone.

I would’ve given this book one star, but I bumped it up to two for the sheer amount of times I laughed.

#killingthetbr: 11 months on shelf
Goodreads summer reading challenge: TBRing it


Have you read The Pawn? How do you feel about erotica?
Let’s talk in the comments!


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ARC review: Bro Code by Kendall Ryan

There’s pretty much only one rule when you’re a guy.

Don’t be a douche.

Turns out, the fastest way to break that rule is to fall for your best friend’s sister.

Ava’s brilliant, sharp-tongued, gorgeous, and five years younger than me.

She’s the sexual equivalent of running with scissors. In a word, she’s dangerous. And completely off-limits.

Falling for her could ruin everything.

Yet I can’t seem to stop, even when her company is threatened by a lawsuit, and my promotion hinges on representing the opposing client—and winning.

I can’t see a way out of this mess that doesn’t end in a broken friendship, a broken heart, or a ruined career.

I may have broken the bro code when I fell for Ava. But do I have the balls to handle what comes next?

Kindle US | AMAZON UK | iBooks | B&N | Paperback

This was my first read by Kendall Ryan and I loved it!

I immediately fell in love with Barrett and Ava, both individually and together. They had such great chemistry and balanced each other out really well. Barrett is honestly one of the best romantic heroes in recent memory since he was such a great guy. He was really fixated on not violating the Bro Code, but it never really came off in a weird way. He just really appreciated everything that his best friend had done for him over the years and didn’t want to jeopardize their friendship by making a pass at his sister.

Can we talk about the tropes here for a second? This had some of my all-time favorites. Brother’s best friend. Secret childhood crushes. Pining from afar. Barrett and Ava have history together, which makes their relationship that much better. I have no doubt that they made their relationship work.

The book was just so much fun that I couldn’t help but devour it in one day. This might have been my first book by Kendall Ryan, but I hope it won’t be my last.

Final rating: ★★★★☆

I received a complimentary advance copy of Bro Code from Inkslinger PR in exchange for my participation in this review blitz. Bro Code is now available.

A New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and USA Today bestselling author of more than two dozen titles, Kendall Ryan has sold over 1.5 million books and her books have been translated into several languages in countries around the world. She’s a traditionally published author with Simon & Schuster and Harper Collins UK, as well as an independently published author. Since she first began self-publishing in 2012, she’s appeared at #1 on Barnes & Noble and iBooks charts around the world. Her books have also appeared on the New York Times and USA Today bestseller lists more than three dozen times. Ryan has been featured in such publications as USA Today, Newsweek, and InTouch Magazine.

Visit her at www.kendallryanbooks.com for the latest book news, and fun extras

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