Book Review: What He Always Knew – Kandi Steiner

Synopsis

Left or right. 

It’s that simple, and it isn’t simple at all.

If I turn left, the road will lead me back to the man I promised my life to, the one I’d imagined building a family with, the one who’s done everything in his power to get me back.

If I turn right, the road will take me to the man I loved first, the man who brought me back to life, the man who would do anything to keep me.

I knew the fork in the road was inevitable; it was the decision I never wanted to make between choices I didn’t know I had. 

And I love them both.

My heart is destined to exist in two equal halves — one with each man. But one half beats stronger, the vein running deepest, and holds my choice in silence long before I know it for myself. 

The realization of what I have to do, of the heart I have to break, just might break mine too. 

Left or right. 

All I have to do is take a breath and turn.

 

My Thoughts

If there ever was moment when I needed a huge bottle of wine,.. it would be after reading `What He Always Knew` book #2 in the What He Doesn´t Know Duet by Kandi Steiner.

What he always knew

This book / this duet  is simply a wonderful piece of work bundled up in 304 pages.

The emotional disaster Charlie dealt with in book #1 `What He Doesn´t Know` ( review here ) finds an end.

No more hoping. No more biting fingernails or chewing on my hair. The wait is over because Charlie makes up her mind.

In book #1 Charlie had a tough decision to make: Leave her husband and build a new future with her teenage crush or stay with her husband and become more miserable than she already was.

I really REALLY loved how the author let that love triangle play out. As a reader you think you´ve got it all figured out but you really have no clue. All a reader gets are the hopes and dreams from all three characters from each of their POVs.

We KNOW how much Charlie suffers and struggles with her feelings on what is right and what´s wrong. We KNOW she loves both men and that both men adore her.

But who will win her heart in the end? Will Cameron, her caring husband, be the one who get´s to keep her or will it be Reese, the teenage crush, who´ll steal her away and finally get to have her?

The moment of truth that´ll turn any reader´s heart to mush.

 “Just… give me this time with your heart before you decide to give it all to him.”

– Kandi Steiner, What He Always Knew

Oh, what am I saying…. The whole book is capable of giving your heart a good workout.

What I loved most about the story was how there wasn´t a “bad guy”. The author went out of her way to paint each Hero in a good light and make them both great candidates for Charlie… Which made this love triangle extremely difficult because:

It´s easy to hate someone for the mistakes they´ve done. It´s easy to point out the bad despite all the good someone has done. The characters in this book have made plenty mistakes and have their faults in equal proportions. All three screwed up in their own special way yet all three stayed civilized and reacted accordingly while struggling with their goal (s).

This book is about love, trust, friendship and lust. It´s about loss and about healing. It´s about forgiveness and about moving forward. It´s about the past, present and future.

I flipping loved this story.

Would I recommend this book / this duet? Hands down – YES!

Would I re – read this book / this duet? I most certainly will.

 

The Cover – 5 stars ( I love the fact that the covers from both books match)

The Story – 5 + stars  ( Painful, relatable, wonderful, beautiful. It´s what I would call a perfect.)

The Characters – 5 + stars ( Again, I can´t mention enough how wonderful I thought they all were. Charlie for being delicate but still strong. Cameron for taking that step. Reese for his… Well, read the story and find out for yourself.)

My emotional state after finishing this read – It´s BOOK HANGOVER TIME! Let the “being in an emotional funk” games begin!

5 stars

Purchase Link What he always knew

Amazon.com

 

 

 

 

Book Review: What He Doesn´t Know – Kandi Steiner

Synopsis

On the northeast side of town, there is a house.

The house was once magical, filled with love and joy and plans for the future. 

Inside its walls are many things that belong to me — my books, the china from my mother on my wedding day, the beautiful cage once home to two birds, now empty, just like me.

And a man.

A man who also belongs to me.

A man I no longer wish to keep.

A man who, no doubt, has not slept, though the sun is rising. Because the house where he waits is where I laid my head to rest every night for eight years. Until last night.

No one who knows me would believe Charlie Pierce, the quiet, bookish girl who never made waves is pulling out of the driveway of a man who isn’t her husband.

But they don’t know me at all.

I don’t even know me.

Not anymore.

They say there are two sides to every story, and I suppose in most cases, that’s true. But the one I live inside of? It has three.

On the northeast side of town, there is a house.

But there is no longer a home.

 

My Thoughts

This book was right up my alley.

As if the author had crawled into my head and listened to my thoughts on what makes a good book.

`What He Doesn´t Know` ( What He Doesn´t Know Duet #1 ) by Kandi Steiner is everything I need in a romance. It´s a fully satisfying read.Kandi 1

What do you do when your teenage crush pops back into your already rattled world? Would you welcome him back with open arms? Would you keep your distance and continue on as if he never existed?

 

Kandi Steiner wrote an incredible slow burn rekindled romance / love triangle / emotional whirlwind that had me on the edge of my seat from the beginning to the bitter end! ( That was not a spoiler. The end is not bitter. The end has an painful cliffhanger, though )

What this book did to me…. I can´t really put in words.

My heart is doing all kinds of weird things after reading book #1. My blood pressure is suffering. I´m just an emotional mess after having read one of the best love triangles available.

And right now, I´m sitting here comparing `What He Doesn´t Know` to “Thoughtless` by S.C. Stephens. It´s THAT good ( that is, if you liked Thoughtless, of course ). Both stories aren´t necessarily 100% alike but they do have that incledible slow moving, painful, train wreck relationship anyone who has dealt with loving 2 people can easily relate to.

I really don´t want to spoil anything about this story because it´s not one of those every day Jerry Springer filled, over exaggerated reads but I will say this: You´ll love them all. You´ll love both men ( well, not exactly right away. But you´ll get to that point sooner than later ). You´ll love Charlie for her mistakes and her strengths. You´ve love not knowing what will happen next. You´ll also understand that it´s possible to love more than one person.

kandi graphic

THE HEARTBREAK!! THE HEARTACHE!

Kandi Steiner nailed it. She owns the love triangle world.  Now it´s time to dive into book #2, `What He Always Knew`

 

Would I recommend this book? YES! Yes yes yes yes.

Would I re-read this book? YES!

 

The Cover – 5 stars ( Love the lighting, the colors, the beautifully clothed models. What a beautiful and emotional image. The title is also very catchy.)

The Story – 5 + stars ( I´m a sucker for love triangles, especially when they´re written beautifully. It´s a calming yet explosive romance.)

The Characters – 5 + stars ( I felt them. I suffered with them. I loved Charlie the most , though. Her actions and thoughts… she was just a great character I was able to relate to. Both male protagonists were also fabulous. Both so different from one another. Both lovable, although you don´t get to fully love Carmeron until book #2 )

My emotional state after finishing this book – I need more wine to drown the heavy emotions this book brought out of me. And I need more books from Kandi Steiner.

5 stars

Purchase Links    Amazon.com    Amazon.co.uk    Amazon.de

 

 

Review: Her Twisted Pleasures ( The Twisted Mosaic #1) by Amelia James

Book Description

His hand came off my neck, and he wrapped his arms around me, crushing me against him. I grabbed his hair and forced his mouth to mine, feeding the darkness possessing us…. Submission, yes! Not giving up control but having it taken from me. This… this was why I needed Alex. Will was too nice; he would never abuse me like this. But Alex…mmm…Alex had no such qualms. “What have you done to me?”

Talia indulges her sexual pleasures, turning her life into a twisted mess. Sleeping with Alex is dangerous and reckless. She craves that excitement. Loving Will is comforting and safe. She needs that stability. Why can’t she get everything she wants from one man? 

Will has everything under control. Watching his girlfriend flirt with his best friend fuels his lust for her. He loves Talia; he trusts Alex. It’s all good as long as he makes the rules. 

Alex doesn’t give a damn about rules. He knows how to play with fire without getting burned. It’s just sex with Talia. No emotions means no attachments. That’s one rule he won’t break.

Sometimes dirty little secrets are more dirty than secret…

My Thoughts

The book description was tempting and when I started reading `Her Twisted Pleasures` ( The Twisted Mosaic #1 ) by Amelia James, I thought I was reading the wrong book. Sex here….sex there….sex EVERYWHERE! * dramatically falling backwards on sofa * A little less sex and a lot more story would have done this book wonders.

 

I think it´s safe to say that this book wasn´t for me. Like- at all.

Don´t get me wrong- I really appreciate sex scenes in romance novels. Only the sex in this book was too much for me. I needed more depth, more story, more everything in order to not view this read as a porn. I knew damn well what I was getting myself into. I knew there would be sex. I knew about the BDSM, the dom / sub that was in this book. But I didn´t know there was no actually story behind the sex.

It seemed like the balance between dialogue, narrative and action in this book was completely out of proportion, making it difficult to pick out the actual story.

`Her Twisted Pleasures` was supposed to be a love triangle. I didn´t notice one. For me it looked like nothing of the sort happened. It was just sex between 3 people who knew each other.

I was confused, 2 from the 3 main characters were emotionally confused… Everything was just an uncontrolled mess that never should have happened.

And then, after countless screwings without a wink of emotions, the moment of truth happened. All three characters were gathered in the same room! Sadly, that one scene where something monumental should have happened didn´t do much for me either because.. nothing happened.

This book ends on a cliffhanger. One I didn´t care much for because I was not interested in dealing with more sex.

Let´s just put it this way- I didn´t like this one. It was complicated, confusing, twisted and even dull.

I expected more, especially after reading the tons of supportive reviews left on Goodreads and Amazon.com.

Would I reread this book?  Nope.

Would I recommend this book? Not really. Anyone looking for a book with depth and purpose will not find what they´re looking for in this book. If anyone is looking for sex from start to finish then this might be a book for them.

The Cover – 3 stars ( It´s okay. I´m not going crazy over it nor do I hate it.)

The Characters – 1 star ( A generous star, mind you. All 3 main characters were not to my liking, especially the Heroine. )

The Story – 1 stars ( Nope. As much as I enjoy reading about sex, it was too much for my taste. The sex overshadowed everything else.)

My emotional state after finishing this read– Disappointed, to say the least.

I´m giving `Her Twisted Pleasures` ( The Twisted Mosaic #1 ) by Amelia James 1 out of 5 stars.

Black Swan Affair – K. L. Kreig

Book Description

I’ve loved him as long as I can remember.

The gangly boy with big brown eyes and unruly hair who grew up into an intoxicating man. He wears scruff like he invented it and ambles with a swagger that makes panties drop. 

Killian Shepard. 

Shep. 

We grew up together. We played Ghost in the Graveyard. Had our own rock band. It didn’t matter that he was five years older than me. It didn’t matter that he looked at me as a kid sister even as I grew into woman. It didn’t even matter when he left me behind to go to college and start his adult life. 

He’d be back.
He was always meant to be mine.

He came back, all right. But instead of smelling of promises, he stunk of betrayal. And he destroyed me—us—the day he married my sister instead of me.

So I did the only thing a girl like me in my position could do. 

I got my revenge.
I married his brother, Kael.
Now we’re one big happy f*cking family.

My Thoughts

I´ve been having chest pain ever since I started this book. Just thinking about the story makes me rub the spot where my heart is.

Jesus Christ. Holy Fucking Hell….. * wipe sweat off forehead *

`Black Swan Affair` by K.L. Kreig is by far one of the best love triangle stories I´ve read. I thought `Thoughtless` by S.C. Stephens was emotional torture. Even the `Avoiding`series by K. A. Linde was an angsty emotional catastrophe. But this one…. I´m so exhausted and emotionally beaten.

Why can´t all books be like this one?!

I seriously need a full week, in my bedroom, with a box of tissues and a crate of wine just so I can recover properly. Damn this author and her ability to screw with my feelings!

A love triangle. Brothers and one woman. Both love her. One brother makes a mistake. She marries the brother she´s not in love with and the whole world becomes one clusterfuck. I´m telling you- this shit is soul wrecking!

100% unpredictable. 100% full of angst. 100% frustrating. 100% GIVE ME SOME WINE TO DULL THE PAIN I`M FEELING FOR THE CHARACTERS, DAMN IT!

Okay, technically, the core of the story isn´t new. Love triangles have been around the block and alot of those types of stories weren´t well told. `Black Swan Affair´ was beyond fantastic. I was sweating bullets from the first until the last page, hoping for a miracle to happen so the characters suffering would finally end.

This is one of those stories where you want the Heroine to find her happiness but you also demand for both Heros to have their happy ever after, too. * sob * Throughout the whole story it´s clear what Maverick ( Heroine) wanted, or who she wanted. But was what / who she wanted good for her or was what / who she needed the better option? Mav´s life was a hot mess. I can´t really say if she acted correctly because if I were in her position I would have hidden under the bed until everyone disappeared.

Both brothers ( Killian and Keal ) were great. I mean- I loved both! How was that possible? I usually love to hate one person involved in a love triangle but the Shepard brothers wouldn´t allow it. * sigh *

2/3 into the story I was okay with whoever Maverick picked. That´s how exhausted I was. And in the end…. I was happy with the choice she made. In fact- I was so happy I opened a bottle of wine just to celebrate the fact that I and the characters were put out of our misery.

K. L. Kreig did a number on me and for that I can´t thank the author enough. Good stories are hard to find these days. Especially ones that are fabulously written, like this one is. High class storytelling.

Listen up! If you´re looking for the whole package ( angst, devastation, love, loss, great sex, frustrating moments, etc. etc.) then you need to drop whatever you´re doing and read this story.

I sure as Hell will be giving this one a re-read and a re-re-read and I´ll never get tired of it.

The Cover – 3 stars ( The image didn´t grab my attention. The title did, though. )

The Story – 5+ stars ( Blooming Hell. Fucking awesome. A romance that will forever haunt me.)

The Characters – 5+ stars ( Wonderful characters. Just perfect. My favorite is Kael. There´s some serious fangirling going on from my part when it comes to him.)

My emotional state after finishing this read– I´m so fucking tired but 100% satisfied. I need a break before I can start anything new.

I´m giving `Black Swan Affair`, by the amazing K. L. Kreig, 5 out of 5 outstanding stars!

Please, do yourselves a favor and read this book. If you´re into frustrating love triangles then just click here and buy the story. I swear on all that´s fluffy….you won´t regret it.

black-swan-affair

Slip of the Tongue – Jessica Hawkins

Book Description

Sadie Hunt isn’t perfect—but her husband is. Nathan Hunt has her coffee waiting every morning. He holds her hand until the last second. He worships the Manhattan sidewalk she walks on. Until one day, he just…stops. And Sadie finds herself in the last place she ever expected to be. Lonely in her marriage.

When rugged and sexy Finn Cohen moves into the apartment across the hall, he and Sadie share an immediate spark. Finn reveals dreams for a different life. Sadie wants to save her marriage. Their secrets should keep them apart, not ignite a blistering affair. But while Sadie’s marriage runs colder by the day, she and Finn burn hotter.

Her husband doesn’t want her anymore.
The man next door would give up everything to have her.

My Thoughts

I´m a big fan of Jessica Hawkins and with `Slip of the Tongue` she created another good read!

A story about an unhappy wife, a neglectful husband AND a new neighbor is bound to be a great and angsty tale.

This is one of those stories where you ask yourself at the end „ Would I have done the same?“ The topic in this book is most definitely one to argue over.

Sadie loves her husband, Nathan, more than anything and believes they´ll forever be happy the way they are. Until one day Nathan changes and that leaves Sadie confused and shaken. Weeks pass and Sadie still hasn´t found out the reason for her husbands neglective behavior. Then, on a depressing day, Sadie bumps into her new neighbor, who happens to be not only nice but also drop dead gorgeous! And hottie Finn has some qualities her oh so beloved husband lacked to show.

Of course, Sadie and Finn hit it off right away but Sadie is reluctant…at first. She can´t ignore the fact that she´s attracted to Finn and both end up doing something that shouldn´t happen in a supposedly well functioning marriage.

This is where the book discussion begins:

Personally, I wouldn´t have taken the exact same path Sadie chose. That would´ve given me a never ending headache. But I totally understood why she decided to do what she did. Come to think of it- I understood her husband ( near the end ) too. But I still wouldn´t have done the same. Not even if I was THAT desperate * shoulder shrug *

Now to the characters:

What´s great about this author and her books are that the relationships are ALWAYS the center of attention. There are less details, which I don´t mind at all because Jessicas characters really stand out enough… in a good way, of course.

I have to say- Nathan and Finn were both wonderful fictional figures. Nathan, the quiet type who was a full blown humanitarian and Finn, the outgoing artist who had no problem voicing his thoughts. Both were stunningly good looking and both loved Sadie. Both worshipped the ground Sadie walked on.

Sadie on the other hand was not my favorite character. Not the type I fully enjoy to read about.

It was clear that she was hurt, unhappy and confused throughout the story so the decisions she made can or cannot be accepted by readers. I, myself, was a bit annoyed by her indecisiveness.

The reason for Nathan acting out of line is thankfully revealed towards the end and that seals the deal for Sadie. I won´t spoil it for you so I´ll leave you with this: Will she or will she not pick her husband? Or will Sadie go for the hottie neighbor who has ( in my humble opinion ) more dirt under his shoe than one could think?

For me- the end was not completely satisfying. Everything happened too fast in the last bit and then came the happily ever after. There was hardly any tension or any reason to feel utterly joyful about the outcome.

Besides that- I have no other reason to complain. Jessica Hawkins has a wonderful writing style and her stories always keep me on the edge of my sofa.

The Cover – 5 stars ( I have hardly seen a cover THAT pretty. The image is almost too fabulous to put on a book cover. Stunning!)

The Story – 3 stars ( The idea of the story was great. I just imagined it would be more powerful)

The Characters – 3 stars ( Finn and Nathan = DA BOMB. Sadie = kinda selfish and not likable)

My emotional state after finishing this story – Not satisfied enough to give this book more than 3 stars.

I´m giving `Slip of the Tongue` by Jessica Hawkins 3 out of 5 stars.

This book can be purchased on Amazon.com by clicking here.