Listen, I read a lot of books, and my Goodreads reviews don’t always give my full thoughts on them. I also don’t always have a proper place to review them. So here’s me trying to take care of all the books I might leave behind.
A.K. Creeks – The Billionaire’s Matchmaker and A Match Made Sweet
In The Billionaire’s Matchmaker, successful businessman, Marcus Macy, finds his match in Keisha Powell, the woman who is supposed to be matchmaking for him. In A Match Made Sweet, high school sweethearts Jenny Jenkins and Eli Cruise are reunited during their high school reunion, and wonder if their love is worth another shot.
Both of these reads were cute, but I really wish A.K. Creeks would make them longer. To be fair, everything that happened in The Billionaire’s Matchmaker worked as a short story. Creeks gives you enough of what you need for you to not feel like anything’s missing. However, A Match Made Sweet really could have done with a little more story.
I guess I just wanted Jenny and Eli’s story to be something of a two parter. I wanted to see what they were like before they broke up. Or maybe more on what went on while they were separated. I think Jenny’s fear of moving away from her family was exacerbated by her father’s health scare, but the way it ended just left more to be desired.
Now that I think about it, there was a lot of give in Marcus and Keisha’s story, especially on Marcus’s part. I don’t know if it really makes sense for a businessman to uproot himself to a small town just because his girlfriend doesn’t want to leave.
Like I said before, these are both cute, quick reads, and that seems to be what Creeks is all about right now. I’ll admit that some of Creeks’ other books look pretty interesting, so I could see myself read more, but I’d be interested in seeing what Creeks could do with a full length novel.
S.K. Lessly – Desired
When Georgia Sayers took her trip to Cabo, she did not intend to meet Drake Lincoln. She wanted a nice trip to get away from the craziness in her life, and ended up having a fling with the first guy she talked to. What Georgia didn’t realize was that Drake would be the man for her.
To be honest, I didn’t like this book originally. I had intended to DNF it and return it, but something made me let it sit in my Kindle for a few weeks until I up and decided to finish it anyway. I’m glad I did, because I would have missed out on a good story.
I like that Georgia and Drake, despite honestly enjoying their time with each other, didn’t really intend to do more than have a fling. However, because absence makes the heart grow fonder, when they do see each other again, it’s on. They’re both wildly jealous of the idea that the other could be with someone else, which leads to a small bit of drama that clears itself up relatively quickly.
The real drama comes from their families.
In my Goodreads review, I said that Georgia has the worst luck in family members, and Drake knows enough about that to save her. The thing is, neither of them had a good experience with their immediate family. Georgia was orphaned at a young age, managed to survive the foster system and make something of herself, only to find out that she had siblings who would still turn around and betray her. Drake’s immediate family disregarded him to the point of gaslighting his downfall, so when he turned to his mobster uncle, he was fresh out of trust and his cousin didn’t help it.
I think my summary would have been better if I had said that the two people who have terrible luck in family members find good luck in love with each other. Once they get over their hangups, it’s all smooth sailing.
I recommend this to anyone interested in a BWWM read, or making their way through all the good BW interracial romance authors. I wasn’t going to give S.K. Lessly a chance at first – and I’m not too fond of those covers – but since reading Desired, I think that I can give the rest of her works a shot.
Christine Gray – Die Without You
Kylenna and Hojo met as children, and trained together as youths. Used to seeing each other as friendly rivals, neither wants to give in to their attraction to each other until an arrangement is brokered between their fathers. Now Kylenna and Hojo must go forward together and show the world what they’re capable of.
In retrospect, this book wasn’t nearly as good as it should have been. Which is a crime because these characters were really compelling. I like the author’s decision to write about characters from a time and a region that generally wouldn’t get as much notice as, say, Europe in the 1600s. I can’t find anything to say that these people had dealings with each other, but there’s also nothing to say that they didn’t.
Having a daughter of Mansa Musa given as a bride to a future Japanese emperor is a very captivating idea, but it requires a good amount of execution. I’ll give Christine Gray that she had great ideas, but she could have done well to work on this one a little more.
I wanted to recommend Die WIthout You to the AMBW crowd, and it’s a cute quick read, all things considered. However, it’s lacking a more fleshed out story. Gray hits her points, and you feel like it was a great story in the moment, but, in retrospect, it feels like there are things that are missing. So Die Without You comes off as a story that could have been great, but is just okay, and only satisfies your basic needs for the genre.
It’s a little disappointing in the end.
Amarie Avant – Ephraim’s Hurt Room
I don’t even know where to start with this one. Maliah Porter was the love of Ephraim Levine’s life, and then she broke his heart. Now that Ephraim has her in his sights again, he plans to make sure Maliah never leaves.
So that sounds creepy, but, to be quite fair, most of these Alpha Male Billionaire Bae books only seem sexy because these guys have money. Ephraim’s Hurt Room is no different.
This is ultimately a BDSM book, wrapped in a complicated romance about two rich kids who fall in love early. On paper, they should have worked out. However, family issues on both sides end up having Maliah to make the decision not to go forward, if only to keep them from resenting each other. That sounds so basic, but this story is Ephraim’s love letter to Maliah to show her that he’d honestly love her through anything.
I don’t know how to best explain my feelings about this book, because I didn’t expect to love it the way that I do. When I first met Ephraim Levine, it was as Blake Baldwin’s lawyer in The Good Mistress, and he was an absolute womanizer. Ephraim’s Hurt Room alludes to how deep down the rabbit hole of drugs and debauchery Ephraim went after Maliah left him, but, in The Good Mistress, Ephraim just comes off as the guy who’ll never settle down.
I think that I just loved that Amarie Avant took time to look at not only flesh out what was going on with their relationship, but what was going on with Ephraim and Maliah as individuals before fully having them come back together. There was also a creepy stalker plot that we probably could have done without, but ultimately only helped in the end.
I’m not going to pretend that there weren’t issues with this book, but it was mostly the fact that Maliah was called “LeeLee” for most of the book. Other than that . . . I really didn’t have a problem. I know other people did, but even Ephraim’s crazy BDSM scheme made sense because how else would he get Maliah to come to him if she wasn’t going to willingly come by herself?
I’d recommend this to anyone who likes BDSM and second chances with your childhood sweetheart. I wanted Avant to write more books with this couple, but I don’t have the best faith in sequels right now, so I might just reread it instead.
Ariana Nash – Silk & Steel
Eroan only has one purpose in life: to kill the queen of the dragons. Prince Lysander, by right, cannot let that happen, but he also won’t let Eroan die needlessly. Regardless of what the two want, life does not go as planned, and all they can do is survive.
So, trash summary, but this is definitely the less brutal version of Captive Prince that everyone wanted. And when I say less brutal, I mean the rapey bits aren’t for public sport. This is only my second go at male/male fantasy, but I really have to wonder why the constant threat of rape is necessary.
Silk & Steel is actually a very good first book, and I think Ariana Nash does a great job with these characters. Eroan’s incessant need to kill the dragon queen seems crazy, but you can only read “until it is done” so many times until you start to agree. Prince Lysander is wildly depressed, and just trying to make it, and I couldn’t help but identify with him.
I liked the action scenes, I loved the background characters, I don’t like where Lysander found himself in the end, but it’s a trilogy for a reason. The decision to dip into fantasy in the midst of my run of romance books was made better by how good this book turned out to be. I am excited to read the sequel.
Not now though, I have to knock out War Girls.
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All images courtesy of Goodreads