SCOTUS (A Powerplay Novel) by Selena Laurence

SCOTUS (A Powerplay Novel) by Selena Laurence

Title Cover

5 out of 5 Stars

*I was provided a copy of SCOTUS by the author in exchange for an honest review. I am not compensated for my honest opinion.*

If you’re looking for a romance you can really sink your teeth into, look no further than Selena Laurence’s SCOTUS. This Powerplay novel is a standalone political romance that truly packs a punch, dealing with some serious current issues like racism and political scandals and featuring an interracial couple. It’s an emotional second-chance romance that will keep you turning the pages right up to the end.

Teague Roberts has had his eye on becoming a Supreme Court Justice since he was a little kid growing up in a neighborhood filled with gangs and violence. All his life he’s been trying to get out of the shadow of his upbringing, but he’ll never really be able to forget where he’s from. Just as he’s on the cusp of getting everything he’s ever wanted, a blast from his past shows up and threatens to ruin it all.

Deanna Forbes was once engaged to Teague, but now she’s assigned to report on him as the president’s Supreme Court nominee. Her boss wants her to find a scandal, but Teague appears squeaky clean on the outside. She’s the only person who knows his darkest secret and could ruin his entire career. Deanna already has sins of the past to atone for. Despite having never stopped loving Teague, she’ll never be able to forgive herself for what she did to him twelve years ago.

The way the author handled the racial issues in this book was both heartbreaking and brilliant. The reader gets both perspectives, with Deanna having been raised by parents who wouldn’t accept a black man for their son-in-law and Teague struggling to overcome every racial roadblock thrown in front of him.

Teague’s character was so complex I couldn’t help but love him right from the start. On the outside, he was a successful attorney wearing power suits and working eighty hours a week. On the inside, he was still the kid who grew up in a rough neighborhood and was used to defending himself, sometimes for no other reason than the color of his skin. No power suit would change the perception of some people, and throughout the story Teague had to accept this and find ways to overcome it.

Deanna was intriguing on her own as well. It wasn’t long after letting go of Teague the first time that she realized it was the mistake of a lifetime. She spent the next twelve years trying to make up for it any way she could. And once Teague was back in her life, she was going to do whatever she could to right her past wrongs.

The emotion in this book was off the charts, and it ran the gamut of heartfelt to heartbreaking and everything in between. I was so emotionally connected to these characters that I hurt for them and could feel every bit of their pain. Even a secondary character brought me to tears several times.

I have read quite a few books by Ms. Laurence and truly enjoy her writing, but this one is her absolute best. The present-day issues and emotional journey will stay with me for a long time to come.

You can find more of my reviews of Ms. Laurence’s books under the Author Spotlight tab.

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Happy reading!

Rach

Complexity (The Kinky Connect Chronicles Book 4) by Harper Miller

Complexity (The Kinky Connect Chronicles Book 4) by Harper Miller

Complexity Cover

4 out of 5 Stars

*I was provided a copy of Complexity by the author in exchange for an honest review. I am not compensated for my honest opinion.*

Personal trainer Manny is always up for a good time. Doesn’t matter if it’s with a woman or a man. He’s secure in his sexuality and enjoys the no-strings sex he can get from the kinky website where he’s a member. But when Chris comes along, everything changes. Manny develops feelings he wasn’t looking for. Even if Chris feels the same, an open relationship between the two is impossible due to Chris’ life in the spotlight.

Complexity is book 4 in the Kinky Connect Chronicles, which features kinky standalone novellas with interracial couples. Each story is told as a confession of one of the Kinky Connect members, providing the reader with character-driven narration rather than the watered-down version found in typical fiction. This story is no exception with Manny’s slang and Hispanic phrases. As with all of the stories in this series, it’s well-written and enjoyable.

Beyond the method of the telling of the story, I liked both main characters and could understand their positions but had a bit of a difficult time grasping and accepting the conflict between them. Manny lamented about wanting to find his Lego piece (a metaphor I appreciated), and then he was upset with the situation when he actually did fall in love. I understand that the length of the story didn’t allow for much development, yet still felt something was missing that would have allowed me to connect more with the relationship. Manny’s anger at Chris for not telling him who he really was up front didn’t resonate with me either. They met through a website, so it was unlikely for either of them to spill their secrets before meeting in person.

Overall, it was an enjoyable tale with a unique style. Ms. Miller will keep me coming back for more with stories like this.

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Happy reading!

Rach

Crossing the Barrier by Martine Lewis

Crossing the Barrier by Martine Lewis

Crossing the Barrier Cover

3 out of 5 Stars

*I was provided a copy of Crossing the Barrier by the author in exchange for an honest review. I am not compensated for my honest opinion.*

Lily Morgan and Malakai Thomas couldn’t be more different as high school students. Lily is a clarinetist in the band, and Malakai is the star wide receiver of the football team. Their worlds don’t fit together. Yet when Malakai bumps into Lily and puts her in the hospital with a head injury, the two can’t get each other out of their minds. Lily has the ability to feel everyone’s emotions around her, and her ability to shield out this talent is lost after her injury. The growing attraction between these coming of age students is tested by the collision of the differences between their social circles, and Lily and Malakai must learn to navigate these potholes and fight to stay together.

Crossing the Barrier is a well-written coming of age story with great lessons for young adult readers. It provides an intense look at social stigmas and diversity. I loved the addition of Malakai’s racial mixture, that it wasn’t one hundred percent apparent but it did play a role in the story. The characters were relatively well-developed, and the attraction was set at a decent pace.

The story moved a little too slowly for me and contained a lot of cliché tropes: neither character having the guts to admit their feelings, getting interrupted when trying to talk about feelings, deciding something for the other character. Perhaps a young adult will relate better to these issues, but as an adult who enjoys reading Young Adult novels, this one just didn’t hit home for me. Some plot points were too over the top to be believable, and although I can set aside certain beliefs for fiction, the extremities of this story made me lose interest at times.

The paranormal aspect was minimal within the story, which made its inclusion somewhat awkward. Lily was able to feel the emotions of those around her, giving her somewhat of a truth barometer. After her collision with Malakai, she lost the ability to shield herself from people’s emotions, resulting in her being overwrought with emotions when in public. But this wasn’t tied to the plot too deeply until the end of the story, mostly as a setup for the next book.

Overall, the book just missed having any type of wow factor for me. The writing was good and it was edited well, which is something that is sorely lacking in many novels these days so that was a plus. It just didn’t have enough holding it together for it to make a positive impression.

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Happy reading!

Rach

El Corazón Sabe: The Heart Knows by R.L. Merrill

El Corazón Sabe: The Heart Knows by R.L. Merrill

3 out of 5 Stars

*I was provided a copy of El Corazón Sabe by the author in exchange for an honest review. I am not compensated for my honest opinion.*

English teacher Leah Roberts grew up in the barrio, so she’s no stranger to gangs and violence. But when she’s caught in the middle of gunfire and seriously wounded, she becomes a shell of the woman she once was. Starting her life over in Iowa with her best friend is the perfect solution. Leah accepts a teaching position at a new school where she doesn’t exactly fit in, and on her first day a goofy science teacher literally bumps his way into her life. She doesn’t think Donovan could be her type, and they both have demons to overcome, but perhaps Leah has finally found her place in this world so far away from everything she’s ever known.

El Corazón Sabe: The Heart Knows is book one in a planned trilogy, but it can be read as a standalone book. This book focuses on the background of both main characters and their budding romance while they each overcome their issues. Although there was instant attraction, the pace of the romance felt natural with both characters taking their time to get to know the other before entering a serious relationship. I appreciated the contrast between cultures and races and also how Leah had to adapt to life in small town Iowa.

Unfortunately, much of the story fell flat for me. The characters were one-dimensional. Leah went from a successful, outgoing teacher to the bottom of a bottle and a dark closet, and then pretty quickly picked herself back up and went back to where she started. Although she had some lingering issues, that part of the plot didn’t feel very well fleshed out. Donovan was either happy and goofy or sad and guilty about his wife who passed away with nothing else to round out his characterization.

The writing style left some things to be desired as well. The story moved a little too slowly for my taste, and many scenes felt like bits of dialogue with a lot of telling instead of action. There were some inconsistencies, and the plot could have used a little more focus outside the blossoming relationship.

The story has a good base, but just didn’t hold my attention as much as I would have liked.

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Happy reading!

Rach

Entwined (The Kinky Connect Chronicles Book 3) by Harper Miller

Entwined (The Kinky Connect Chronicles Book 3) by Harper Miller

Entwined Cover

4 out of 5 Stars

*I was provided a copy of Entwined by the author in exchange for an honest review. I am not compensated for my honest opinion.*

A few months before leaving a twenty-year military career, Jake decides to spice up his life a little. Thanks to his buddy’s suggestion, he creates a profile on the Kinky Connect website to find his perfect kinky match. He connects with a woman who fits his criteria, and they get to know each other in the months leading up to Jake’s return home. And once he gets home, Jake’s in for the surprise of his life. Gabrielle, his little vixen, has invited another woman to join in on the fun.

Entwined is the third installment in The Kinky Connect Chronicles. This story, like the others, is short and hot, just enough to get you going when you need a quick read. Also like the others, the story is written as if it’s a letter to the reader detailing the main character’s experience with the website. The concept is original, and all the stories are well-written, erotic, and allow the reader to experience a little taste of various kinks.

The difference with Entwined was that the kink wasn’t as apparent to me as the first two stories in the series. Jake admitted to a little bit of a Dom complex and liking some kink in his relationships, but it wasn’t until the epilogue, which I won’t spoil for you, that I was really able to understand the kink a little better. The addition of ménage à trios in a F/F/M scenario was plenty kinky, but there was more to the story than that.

Overall, it was another hot installment in the series, and I will definitely read any others Ms. Miller writes. Each story in the series is a standalone, and they can be read in any order.

Book Links:

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Happy reading!

Rach