Category Archives: SAFE

Clearwater University: The Complete Series: An Enemies-to-Lovers Romance – Eva Ashwood

Reverse harem doesn’t occur to them for quite a while!

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Emma became best friends with three boys her sophomore year of high school. In her junior year, they turned on her and became her bullies. She and her father moved away but are back in town two years later. Emma starts college, and her tormentors are there and still hating her.

This one was different for several reasons:

1. The hate part of this hate to love goes on for quite a while, well into the second book. I’m more accustomed to the hate part ending much sooner, so that was a twist. And we still get sex scenes while the hate is still strong. So if you like hate sex, you’ll enjoy this.

2. The reverse harem or menage relationship idea doesn’t occur to the group for quite a while. In most of these, the characters are aware of the possibility from the start. Sometimes they know people in poly relationships. Sometimes at least one of the characters has read books like we are reading right now. But in Clearwater, they don’t realize it is a thing for quite a while and then don’t think it would work because –

3. The guys are competitive, jealous, and angry at each other for most of this. They have been best friends forever, but their relationship has been beaten down by what they have done to Emma. Most of the time, the guys are a team from the start. So I liked they we got some unusual twists here!

The writing was very good. It is long with the three novels together, but it was fast paced. I liked the characters, that the guys all had distinct personalities, and that they all grew over the course of the story.

I didn’t like that Trent’s reason for turning on Emma is immature. We know what it is early on, so I don’t think this is a spoiler. Trent thinks Emma told his father that they saw Trent’s mom kissing Emma’s dad. And this results in his parents getting divorced. By the time I was 16/17, I knew that marriages are complicated, and cheating is a symptom of greater issues. Trent’s anger at this small thing, even if true, seemed like an 8-10 year old’s perspective. And then, he gets even angrier when he finds out that Emma introduced his mother to her father at a school event. Why hadn’t Emma and the guys all introduced their parents around when they were still friends in high school? It seems very weird that their parents would let them hang out so much and be best friends without ever meeting their parents. We only see Emma’s dad and Trent’s mom, but they don’t seem like disconnected, neglectful parents. These are the type of parents that I believe would have insisted on meeting the parents of their kid’s friends. Even if not, they are treating the introduction of their parents as something unusual. Especially when the parents are at the same school event, you just would introduce them. So I had a difficult time suspending disbelief for this.

Another complaint I have is more difficult to talk about without spoilers. It’s the total 180 of a character that came out of nowhere. It felt like we didn’t get any lead in to this, like we suddenly need a villain, so we’ll change this character completely. I would have preferred more detail on the character and on their past actions, which would make this turnaround more natural and believable.

Because of these two things, I can only give this three stars. But if they won’t bother you as much as they did me, and you mostly want the hot sex scenes, you may enjoy this more than I did.

Contains many graphic sex scenes. Some are one-on-one and some are group. There is no cheating, scenes with Other People, or Other People drama. There is no non or dubious consent. So this is SAFE. No trigger warnings. Contains foul language. It is well edited. I found 5 little errors.

Broken In: A Cowboy Reverse Harem Romance – Cassie Cole

Contemporary western reverse harem romance

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Cindy just inherited a broken-down ranch. Three brothers just lost their jobs as ranch hands. They all come together to meet each other’s needs.

This was a hot, quick read. It was entertaining, not too long, and didn’t have too much angst. It’s a nice spicy read when you just want to relax. It’s not fantastic or particularly memorable, so I can only give it three stars. But this is perfect when I just want a break from angst, drama, and serious feelings.

Cindy is a strong, independent, and sexually confident woman. The three guys are different enough for my tastes. I don’t like when they are just clones of each other, so I was happy. The story is good enough to keep it going. It didn’t just feel like word porn. I don’t want to give anything away, but I was disappointed not to learn exactly what consequences a villain got in the end. Did they go to jail? Have to pay a lot of monetary damages? We just don’t know.

There is no Other People drama, no cheating, and no slut shaming. So this is SAFE.

1st person past tense from Cindy and the guys.

There were many unnecessary dialogue tags, but they didn’t distract me too much. Mom, Momma, Dad, and so on should be capitalized when not my mom, her mom, etc. like it is a proper name, and that doesn’t happen here. Little things like this grab my attention away. Beyond this, I found 11 other errors – quotation mark issues and missing words mostly. Not too bad.


Favorite Quote:

Once everything was sorted, I pulled out my laptop and opened up Excel. Without internet I couldn’t connect to my cloud storage; I had to save the file locally, like a peasant.


Full Contact: A College Reverse Harem Romance – Cassie Cole

College RH with three hot football players

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Let me begin by saying, “I hate football.” For me, it’s associated with the men in my family screaming at the TV. I’ve always hated conflict and raised voices, so this made me cringe. It also broke my concentration when I was trying to read! I was dragged to football games because my parents didn’t want to get a babysitter, so I sat in the stands reading and hating all the rude noise around me. But with all that, I still loved this novel!

I read a paramedic romance last year and knew nothing about that world and loved that novel too. See Crossing The Line. This felt a lot like that. I didn’t understand the football jargon, trusted the author knew what she was talking about, and just moved past it. It added to the realism and didn’t bore me. I think football fans will enjoy it immensely.

The writing was great, aside from unnecessary dialogue tags. It was fast paced with a lot of story. So this isn’t just erotica. But the sex scenes were very hot. This is also SAFE – no cheating, no Other People problems at all, which was very nice. There was no slut-shaming or villain girls! Overall, I highly recommend this if you like reverse harem / menage romances. It’s a plus if you like football, but it isn’t necessary that you do.

1st person past tense from Roberta and the three guys.

This is well edited. I found 10 errors. There are also some unnecessary dialogue tags, but there weren’t enough to bother me.



Favorite Quotes:

The outline of his huge cock slid against his shorts, falling across to rest against his other thigh. I got the impression it wasn’t fully hard, but it was thick. Like a damn extra-large stick of Toblerone chocolate.

Aly made an annoyed noise. “Do you have to talk about football? I’m trying to enjoy all these hunks in tight pants.”

“Oh, sorry. Didn’t mean to interrupt what really matters.”

Feña was wearing a Ralph Lauren polo shirt, and his dark curls looked like they’d been freshly washed. But below the waist he wore baggy basketball shorts and a pair of gym sneakers. It was a hilarious juxtaposition of styles. Attractive college boy on top, and lazy athlete on the bottom. Like a fashion mullet.

I could see why women loved dating bikers. It was like riding around on a big vibrator.



All Saints High Series – L. J. Shen

The All Saints High books are about the kids of the people in Shen’s Sinners of Saint series. I found them when I was looking for dark high school romances. I haven’t read the parent’s series but went ahead with these. It’s a mood thing. These all had crazy amounts of reviews, mostly 5 star, and are tip top ranked on Amazon. All of these books are written in 1st person present tense with chapters from the two main characters. They each have a couple of chapters from the parents of one of the main characters, which I loved.

Pretty Reckless (Book 1)

Rating: 5 out of 5.

I’m so glad the first book was as good as all the reviews and rankings said it would be. It’s actually SAFE, which I was surprised by, but it’s true. And the editing was amazing. I found so few errors in this! 4 since I always say. What a pleasure to read. In all these books, the bitchy banter is very amusing, there is a lot of great humor, and the sex scenes are hot.

When I was about 12 and started keeping a diary, my mom told me I shouldn’t write anything down that I didn’t want my grandmother reading in a newspaper. This is what code that can only make sense to you is for if you can’t stop yourself. I think everyone should pass on this wisdom to their children!


Favorite Quotes:

Daria: The only way I could protect myself from the fire was by creating a bigger blaze. If they thought I was untouchable, they’d fear me instead of taunt me. If they thought the hard-nosed principal had my back—or had me on my back, for that matter—I would not be messed with. So I nurtured the rumors, made them grow, gave them wings, and let them fly, like butterflies from a Mason jar.

Penn: I need to make sure that Daria is a hobby, not an addiction. Adolescent hearts are trash and as loyal as a starving stray cat. They’ll take anything. Even scraps. I don’t want to feed my rusty tin heart junk. And Daria, she stomped on it hard enough for me to know she’s not even a greasy burger. She’s a Pop-Tarts covered in cyanide.

Daria: High school is an aquarium full of sharks. People are always broiling with the need to burst free. Only the strong survive.

Penn: A perceptive little thing, she is. I don’t think people give Daria the credit she deserves. She could’ve found Bin Laden in a week had she been given enough Red Bull and good internet service.


Broken Knight (Book 2)

Rating: 4 out of 5.

I was hating this for a long time. I mean it’s beautifully written, but it is one hell of a tearjerker! It reminded me of Present Perfect by Alison Bailey, which kept knocking me over the head with tragic events. I read that in December 2013 (I keep a spreadsheet) and still remember it for screaming, “Enough already!” Broken Knight wasn’t that level of angsty and got better, happier, as it went on.

I have to give it only 4 stars because I don’t want to go through that (read it) again. Thankfully, there are very necessary moments of laugh out loud humor in this book. It needs the comic relief. The humor got me through it. This one is definitely not SAFE. We have to suffer through sex scenes with Other People. At least they are short snippets and not detailed.

This is the first book I have read in a very long time that I didn’t find any errors in!


Favorite Quotes:

Knight:

Footsteps thudded in the hall, and I stretched in the large bed, nudging the woman sleeping on my chest to wake up. “Your husband’s back. Pretty sure he won’t be so happy to see a stud like me in his bed.”

Mom looked up, blinking the sleep from her eyes. She swatted my chest, then coughed. “Hide. I wouldn’t mess with him.”

“We always thought we were going to have girls, Rosie and me.”

I couldn’t help but smirk, mainly because all they had were boys. And we were about the most testosterone-filled creatures in the history of mankind. Sometimes I wondered if I had blood or jizz in my veins.

Mom looked down, flattening her palm over my linen and brushing it absentmindedly. Bad idea. This shit is ninety-nine percent spunk, one percent fabric.


Angry God (Book 3)

Rating: 5 out of 5.

After Broken Knight, I had to take break and read some other books, afraid of another tearjerker. But Angry God was back to what I loved in the first book. I’m glad I came back because this was fantastic.

This one isn’t SAFE because we have to endure Vaughn getting blowjobs from Other Women. But I knew this going in from the previous books. He wasn’t in a relationship with Lenora at the time. What really bothered me was the casual way all the teens thought about this. I wanted to scream that you can catch STDs from oral sex too.


Favorite Quotes:

Vaughn:

Empedolces emerged from the rosebushes, strutting his ass like a Kardashian in my direction. I’d named my blind black cat after the Greek philosopher who discovered the world was a sphere. This cat, like the philosopher, thought himself to be God. He had a fierce sense of entitlement and demanded to be stroked at least an hour a day—a wish that, for a reason beyond my grasp, my sorry ass granted him.

It was by far the most human thing I ever did, being pussy-whipped by a literal pussy. Emp brushed past my dirty boot. I picked him up, rubbing the spot behind his ear. He purred like a tractor.

I came buckets. I hadn’t come often before my arrangement with Good Girl, and never this much. I’m talking enough to fill a milk carton. I had to Google that shit to see that it was normal.

I pushed the door open, hoping to find her working or reading or converting to a religion where she could only have sex with people named Vaughn Spencer.



Braking Hard – Gloria Joynt-Lang

Contemporary romance with imperfectly perfect hero and lots of humor

Rating: 5 out of 5.

As a female mechanic, Eden suffered way too much sexual harassment until she was hired by Gage. Gage has his own troubles keeping his garage running with a wandering mind, the fidgets, and the stress of his business partner and mentor just dying. Hiring Eden helps, and Gage would like to be more than her boss, but he would never want to make her uncomfortable.

This was fast paced, engaging, and funny, with a writing style I appreciated. A fantastic job of “show not tell” is done throughout. I loved that we don’t get a label put on Gage’s psychological struggles until midway through, so much so that I don’t want to put the label in this review. When we label something, we often dismiss it and discount the unique experiences of those who suffer with it. The great descriptions and metaphors used allowed me to laugh at and empathize with Gage’s thoughts.

I loved all the characters in this, main and secondary. My absolute favorite is Aunt Iris. She doesn’t get much screen time, but I want to invite her for a long stay and might keep her. She’s hilariously unfiltered and reminds me of my mother who had to make sure she was wearing Depends before I came over for a chat because we made each other laugh so much. I laughed often throughout this book, which nicely balanced the serious parts.

Eden is a strong woman, confident in herself and her abilities. She was reluctant to get into a relationship with her boss. Of course I wanted them to get together, but her reasons were sound, logical. I wasn’t irritated with her or thinking she was stupid. Gage is honorable, hot, cute, and funny. They both grow along the way. The secondary characters add lots of spice to this stew. I appreciated how developed they all were with strengths and flaws. No one was one dimensional.

I don’t know much about cars, but I didn’t have to. Both of them being mechanics and the background of the garage added flavor but didn’t leave me confused. At one point, Gage laments that, “…mechanics never topped the list of women’s fantasies.” True, they didn’t rank in mine, but the ones that have worked on my cars have looked nothing like Gage! Having a hot man who can always fix my car sounds very appealing now that I think about it.

3rd person past tense from alternating main characters. Graphic sex scene (just one, so not a big part of this novel). No cheating or OW/OM drama. Occasional mild foul language.

Grammar – the author fixed the errors I pointed out.

I highly recommend this and would read it again in the future, so 5 stars!

Favorite quotes:

Gage: (After coming home with a dog when he was supposed to pick up a car part.) …he hoped he’d never stray so bad that he’d end up at a nearby farm purchasing a llama. But even if fate doomed him to seek out llamas, he’d probably load up a Jersey cow instead.

Eden: An elderly man even struck up a conversation while she selected feminine hygiene products at the pharmacy. Most men would avoid stopping in front of the tampon display but not this guy. Midway through the conversation, she thought about heading to the condom aisle to see if he would follow but decided against it. She doubted he’d gossip about her selection of tampons with plastic applicators, but he might start a rumor if she lured him near the prophylactics.

Apparently, the lonely senior made a 911 call when faced with the insurmountable challenge of opening a jar of pickled beets. The police attended to the matter, broke the seal, and left with one of her delicious apple pies.

Telling an anxious person to relax was akin to cleaning a cat by shoving it under the kitchen tap.

Being annoyed with Gage O’Neill was the equivalent of shaming a puppy for jumping on your lap.

Gage: “Aunt Iris is brutal. […] She’s beyond horrible. At my sister’s wedding, she tried pairing me with this long-haired blonde sitting across the room. […] And just so you know, hair color wasn’t the issue. I objected because the blonde at the wedding was a dude.”

Gage: “There are two times a man should do this.” He rose from his chair, shook his head and lowered himself to his knees. “And one of them is when he’s scared of his eighty-three-year-old great aunt. Please, I’ll buy you whatever dress you want. I’ll even toss in a pair of shoes. Just come to this wedding with me.”

Aunt Iris: “Maybe if you went up to Lotus Point with my handsome grandnephew, you’d toss away this friendship nonsense.”

Aunt Iris: “Getting married on the beach. A bikini and a veil. It’s utter nonsense. I hate boring weddings but if I wanted to see a bride in her skivvies, I’d go to a strip club.”

I received a free copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review.

Captive of the Horde King (Horde Kings of Dakkar Book 1) – Zoey Draven

Nomadic tribal alien scifi erotic romance

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Luna’s brother brings the wrath of the Dakkari down on their little human village. Luna offers to serve the horde king that comes to punish them in exchange for her brother’s life. He accepts, and her life is changed forever.

This was a fast paced read with likable characters. Luna was strong, and I liked seeing her emotional growth along the way. The horde king was good and honorable. Lots of details like regularly used alien language and an alien version of horses made for great world-building. We don’t learn much about why humans are living on this planet as refugees, but I enjoyed the snippets of information I did get. The sex scenes were titillating but not scorching. The aliens were similar to humans but had tails and black and yellow eyes with no whites. They have a built-in, vibrating, clitoral stimulator, which had me laughing. Don’t all the best aliens have sex toy equipment?

The Dakkari instantly reminded me of the Dothraki in Game of Thrones. Those names are similar, they are a nomadic alien-horse-riding culture, and the men all have long hair. “Kalles” is their word for woman and the first the horde king calls Luna, which is close to khaleesi to me. It isn’t overwhelming, and there are plenty of differences, but I would guess the author is a fan.

I don’t want to give too much away, so how do I say this? The climactic action was too easy to foresee and cliché. But I was very happy that Luna fought for herself and didn’t just wait to be rescued by her man.

First person past tense, all from Luna. No cheating. No OW/OM drama. Several graphic sex scenes. The only foul language I noted was the occasional use of the F word when referring to sex. This is the first in a series of standalone novels. HFN.

Grammar: Error count 15 – wrong, missing, or misspelled words. Missing comma between two independent clauses, but it was consistent so accepted as style. Not terrible.

I enjoyed this and would read more books in the series. I don’t think I would read this one again, so 4 stars.

Broken Hero – Olivia Hayle

PTSD and Small-Town Gossip Threaten Contemporary Romance

Rating: 3 out of 5.

It’s a standard romance formula – a woman is cheated on and loses her job, so she moves home to a small town where she meets a great guy. The twists here are that he’s an ex-soldier with PTSD, and she’s a massage therapist dealing with the profession’s negative reputation- that sometimes massages come with “happy endings”.

It’s cute, sweet, and has some good laughs and steamy sex scenes. I liked the characters both main and secondary, especially their maturity. Misunderstandings were handled pretty quickly by talking them out. I loved the banter between them. They come out with some zingers. They aren’t perfect but grow with the story, working on their issues. PTSD is realistically shown as something that requires ongoing treatment and self-awareness. It has relapses with good and bad days, months, and years. This issue isn’t a major focus of the story but is part of the greater theme of self-acceptance and learning to ignore the haters in life.

Overall, I enjoyed this but was heavily distracted by grammar mistakes. I’d probably have given it a 4 but must knock it down to a 3 due to this.

1st person present tense with a few slips into past tense. Chapters from alternating main characters.

HEA, graphic sex scenes, no OW/OM drama, very little foul language.

Grammar: tons of missing commas mostly between two independent clauses, but they weren’t all missing. So it wasn’t a conscious style choice. Missing comma count: 150. Other error count: 36 – Wrong or missing punctuation marks. Missing, wrong, and misspelled words. Dialogue separated from action sequences which identified the speaker. Missing dialogue tags where needed, so I couldn’t tell who said some things. Mixed tenses.

Least Favorite Quote: “Mandy leans closer t me.” T with no O. It makes me 1) wonder if even Word’s simple grammar check was run and 2) want to cry.

I received a free copy of this book from BookSirens and am voluntarily leaving my honest review.

Werewolf Cinderella – Amanda Milo

Cinderella done right! With the werewolves and laughter it always needed!

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Fairytale retellings aren’t my thing, but when I saw this was about werewolves, was written by Amanda Milo, and turned the stepmother around, I one-clicked it and read it right away. No regrets! This was awesome! I’ve loved everything Amanda Milo has written. She has a great sense of humor and fast paced writing style that hits all the right notes for me.

This started off in a unique way, grabbing me and holding me with the second start. The young people’s sexual exploration was hilariously written. It’s so funny but probably accurate! Poor sheltered humans for centuries trying to figure sex out on their own without any information at all. Ugh! Amanda Milo really depicted this well!

I loved how the old fairytale was turned around like the mean stepmother and stepsisters. The references to other fairytales were also great. I promise, even if fairytales aren’t your thing either, you’ll love this!

SAFE, M/F, no cheating, no OM/OW drama, bit of violence, occasional foul language, HEA. First person present tense. Graphic sex scenes.

This was 98 pages – a quick read I read in a few hours.

Error count: 2 – Amazing!

Favorite Quotes:

“My heart is so easy for him. It flops beneath him like a besotted puppy, wanting all the belly rubs.”

“When questioned about my strange behaviors, I claimed I was suffering from an onset of menses madness. Evidently, everyone everywhere is willing to accept this as explanation enough for an eighteen-year-old lass like myself to change moods at the speed water rushes past in a brook.”

““Let me drive this pony,” Gareth orders hoarsely. “After all, I’ve handled this sword all my life. You’re liable to stab yourself.””

Pursuit – Lynda Chance

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Hot! Jealous, protective, possessive alpha male but no pain (spanking, BDSM, etc)

Lynda Chance is one of my all-time favorite authors. There hasn’t been a Lynda Chance story that I haven’t loved, but this might be my favorite.

Lynda writes dominant alpha males, possessive, jealous, caveman instincts, but no pain (spanking, BDSM, etc.), no cheating ever, no OM/OW drama, no abuse (verbal, emotional, or physical). These men are only controlling in the bedroom, about safety issues, and about getting their woman. They don’t try to isolate or keep their women dependent on them financially.

Logan gets hit by the thunderbolt when he sees Lauren in a coffee shop, and he refuses to accept her rejection. He works at her with single-minded purpose to make her his!

Logan is an OTT alpha male that says and does everything right for me. Lauren is a strong woman who can handle him. I laughed out loud several times and like to re-read this every few years.

This one is SAFE. As in all her books, there is no cheating, OW/OM drama, or love triangle. This one doesn’t even have dubious consent or a virgin h. So I recommend it for everyone without reservation! I think this might be Lynda’s favorite too because she revisits this couple with three short stories. This novel is a standalone with a HEA. The shorts are slice of life, further adventures of, type stories.

Favorite Quotes:

“He’d have her, and sooner, rather than later, if he had his way about it. She was like the proverbial Little Red Riding Hood, taking one step too close to the Big, Bad Wolf.  And when she did, he’d have her. And that would be that.”

“He showed no signs of even being interested in other women. Like, she didn’t think he even registered that there were other women alive. Like there were no other women but her living on the planet.”

The only problem with grammar I found was missing commas between two independent clauses joined by a conjunction. It happened regularly but not consistently, making them mistakes rather than a style choice. Most readers may not even notice the issue.

The short stories are, in order:

  • Temptation in Texas Logan and Lauren
  • Temptation in Texas: A Christmas Special
  • Logan and Lauren: A Valentine’s Special

Trucker (The Good Guys) – Jamie Schlosser

So cute!

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Travis picks Angel up when she starts to hitchhike across the country.

This was so frigging cute. It’s a light-hearted, feel-good read. I loved that both the leads are virgins. Travis’ horror date stories were hilarious. I laughed out loud several times while reading this.

The only thing I didn’t like was the OW drama. It was just another woman that wanted Travis, mean girl stuff, no touching at all between H and OW. Very cliche, but at least it was over quickly!

Angel was naive and far too trusting, but she’s very young (17/18). It’s nice to see that life hadn’t beaten that out of her already.

This is written in alternating 1st. I only found a few grammar mistakes in the whole book, just extra words. HEA.

Great quick read that I needed between heavier stuff!