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Romance / Erotica

  • Abigail Always (Ever After Book 5)

    by Linda Poitevin

    Rating: 10.00

    Plot: The storyline here is very solid. While the bones of the story may feel familiar, the author skillfully enhances the plot line to make it feel fresh. Small details, like the distance between sisters and the lecherous family friend with her eye on the widower, add depth to an already strong plot. The reader will have no choice but to read until the story's inevitable conclusion.

    Prose/Style: The author has a clear talent for writing and equally excels with grammar, description, action, and dialogue. Her story engages and entertains the reader's heart and mind, compelling them to read until the very end. The writing here is top notch, and this author and her work deserve a wide audience.

    Originality: While there are flickers of plot lines right out of the “Sound of Music” (in-over-his-head widower, angry/resentful oldest child who doesn't want a nanny, reluctant-love-interest nanny, on-the-prowl single woman competing for widower), the author differentiates her story sufficiently to make it feel unique.

    Character Development: The characters here are believable and distinct. The author is able to develop interesting and sympathetic players, from the angry teen who can't deal with her loss to the sheltered/dominated heroine who has lost her place in the world to the overwhelmed widower who can't deal with his own grief, run a household full of daughters, and keep up with the demands of his business. Readers will relate to many of the challenges these characters face and will identify with their struggles.

    Blurb: Living, breathing characters engage from the first page, and readers can't help but feel for their plight and root for them until the very end.

  • Plot:Franklin does an excellent job crafting an interesting storyline with likable characters that will resonate with readers. While she relies on a rather clichéd plot device by having her heroine quite  literally bump into the man of her dreams not once but twice, the plot is otherwise refreshingly new and wholly engaging.

    Prose/Style:Franklin has a clear gift for writing. The story she relays is interesting, but how she handles the story is one of the qualities that sets the work apart. Her plot unfolds at a steady pace, and she creates living, breathing characters and realistic conflicts between her love interests.

    Originality:Franklin is able to deviate from the stereotypical romance formula by presenting fully developed, likable characters that live in the real world. While there is a happy ending, the story does not unfold like a fairy tale. Instead, she presents a unique setting populated with realistic characters and events. 

    Character Development:While Franklin offers an interesting plot with strong writing, what truly sets this work apart is her strong character development. The reader comes to know Lena and Gage, their emotional baggage, and why they think and act as they do. Franklin provides further depth by offering a subset of interesting secondary characters with nearly the same level of detail.

    Blurb:Entertaining and engaging, Franklin's tale will captivate readers from beginning to end.

  • Sleeping Together (Perfect Drug Book 1)

    by Kitty Cook

    Rating: 7.75

    Plot: The plot moves forward at a breakneck pace and never loses momentum, while still managing to tie up all of the important loose ends and leaving the reader wanting another chapter – or three. It does hit all of the plot points one would expect out of a romantic thriller, but the obvious denouement arrives via two particularly well-drawn twists: a reveal that the villain's been spying on the protagonist's dreams, and a deceptive dream that ultimately forces her out of her marriage.

    Prose/Style: The story moves quickly thanks to immersive, vivid prose and snappy dialogue. Several particularly powerful sequences blur the lines between reality and dream-world, which is equally disorienting to the protagonist and the reader. The difference between Ness and Altan's narrative voices could be more distinct, to be sure, but once the reader falls into the rhythms of the book it's easier to tell who's narrating.

    Originality: While elements of this plot are derivative of "Inception," the author not only realizes this but openly acknowledges it and winks at it endearingly. It doesn't break the mold of romantic thrillers, but by pulling in science-fiction and romance elements, the end result will appeal to fans of all three genres.

    Character Development: Ness is a complicated, flawed heroine who frequently makes terrible (albeit not inexplicable) choices, and her indecision at the apex of a love triangle feels wrenchingly real. The gradual buildup of Ness and Altan's relationship as they get more and more enmired in the world of Morpheum, and where that relationship leads them, also feels true to life.

    Blurb: This genre-bending romantic thriller delivers steamy chemistry, razor-sharp witty banter, and twist after twist. 

  • The Heartbreak Hotel

    by Josh Conley Jr

    Rating: 3.00

    Plot: Conley's crime story offers an awkward blend of elements, integrating erotica into a central character's somewhat dubious quest for religious redemption. The author transitions between past and present events with a degree of fluidity, but circumstances often blur into one another, with more attention paid to graphically detailed scenes of sexual intimacy than to truly compelling storytelling.

    Prose: The author effectively describes settings and action sequences, but the prose tends toward flat and blatant; dialogue, meanwhile, is frequently unrealistic and grandiose.

    Originality: While this novel is unique in its blending of genre conventions, the story ultimately falls short of memorable substance.

    Character Development: Character development is insufficient in this work, with individuals coming across as interchangeable. Female characters are often reduced to sexual stereotypes; as a result, readers may have difficulties investing in the story's weightier content.