The Millionaire Affair by Jessica Lemmon

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The Millionaire Affair is a contemporary romance novel about a millionaire (figures) Landon who asked a family friend, Kimber, to take care of his toddler nephew who would be staying with him for a while and they fall in love. While I’m sure there were many more romance novels that had that same basic story structure but this book was a joy to read.

In fact, the book kinda like those self-help guide in romance and relationships. The characters themselves are written in a way that they have enough depth and intelligence with conflicts that was relatable in real life. Can you love someone and trust them enough to be together. Will you set aside your differences and have to courage to pursue to one you love for a distance. While the smutty part was steamy but generally, the non-sex part, like the conversations, main character and side character interactions, was just as engaging and interesting. For a while, I really thought the book made me think about my attitude on pursuing real meaningful relationship. A romance novel that made you think about your own personal choice and relationship in life, that was rare.

The ARC was provided by the publisher via Netgalley.

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A Vampire’s Christmas Carol by Cynthia Eden

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I’ve seen and read many versions of Christmas Carol even though I don’t celebrate it. This one is by far a christmas filled with a lot of brooding angst and blood. A Vampire’s Christmas Carol was about a vampire slowly losing himself and about his choice to fall into the darkness and lose himself to madness or redeem his soul. A demon who owed him his life came to Ben and decided to play the ghost of christmas past, reminding him the good days before he was killed in the alley, when he still have the love of his life in his arms and before everything changes and how anger will only drive him to a destructive path and he will soon destroy what left of his humanity.

For a one short novella, it was a good love story. Ben was a very dark character wrought by his past and the the Victorian Gothic Romance atmosphere in the story was a nod toward was Dickens. It was an emotionally heavy book and can be exhausting for those seeking some light reading but it was rewarding in the end. The storytelling was driven around the character and how he came to be and what he had lost. There was a side plot with the circumstance of the revenge path he had taken and how a deadly mistake could change everything.

It was not a usual feel good christmas romance which was accompanied by the season. It was a dark and violent book. Death and blood was a common theme in it but also forgiveness and love. It was a good short story you’ll enjoy at one sitting.

The ARC was provided by the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

The Professional: Part 1 (The Game Maker #1) by Kresley Cole

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The Professional is a contemporary novel divided in three parts which will be published out between several weeks between one another. In this first quarter of a book, it told the story of a young woman named Natalie who found out who her long lost parent was and a bodyguard, Sevastyan, who was sent to protect her.  They shared an intense attraction between one another but Sevastyan tried to keep her at arm’s length although failing. 

Surprisingly, it was archetypal. The story was cliched at its best. A girl finding out that she’s a modern princess and a knight who was forbidden to touch her. The innocent romanticized version of Bratva and more romantic atmosphere and decadence. Steamy atmospheres and more stereotypical romance with a twist. If you have read a lot of Kresley Cole books as I did, you’d be surprised that the book does stretch itself thinly especially with the worldbuilding. Although Cole did wonderful in bringing Russian culture in this book that I enjoyed the bits that was equally foreign to me, at times I rather want her to expand it more than simplified version to give way to the characters’ drama. It was all too convenient that Natalie was beautiful, smart, bilingual and now rich and virginal. I let myself being suspended by the disbelief as it clearly written on the intention of the post-50 Shades audience. But for the first quarter of the book, there’s that delicious sexual tension between the characters that made waiting for the next installment can be frustrating. Which was clearly intentional, I suppose.

For all its worth, it was an enjoyable start of the story. The dialogues was witty and exciting as well as the character interactions. Natalie wasn’t any bit of a pliant blank character commonly written as a poor substitute for the readers. She had fire in her and an individual of her own right. She enjoyed the power play between her and the ever dominant Sevastyan. There was that relationship dynamics between them but attraction was the theme in this book and also they also get to know each other before. Although she found herself submitting to the alluring bodyguard, she didn’t much enjoy being subservient to others and was clearly defiant. Although it appeared to be a substandard run of the mill erotica, there were more depth in the story telling than those thick brick novels obsessing on inner goddesses and abusive relationship. Even though Sevatsyan at the beginning  was essentially a stalker, it was his job and he’s actually hired by her father to do so and so which made everything different. It made him more of an alluring dark guardian of the night than an emotionally problematic possessive narcissist. An erotica novel that doesn’t have a destructive coupling, that was refreshing. 

Then again, The Professional part 1 is a quarter of a book. Basically what it does was to lay out the basic bricks of the story. It does what it intent to be as a hook and a sinker. I am definitely hooked and will look forward to the next installment. 

The ARC was provided by the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review