Warning: Not suitable for children under 18
Author: Audrey Carlan
Genre(s): Romance; Contemporary
An erotic adventure with an admirable relationship and fantastic supporting characters
From the very first chapter of Body I could tell I was going to enjoy it. Gillian and Chase had an instantaneous chemistry that set the tone for the rest of the book. They meet at a board meeting for a non-profit charity organization that Gillian works for and Chase has a large influence over. During this time, Audrey created a humorous entry of their relationship that made it feel relatable and endearing.
Gillian's character is incredibly dynamic and I had a great time witnessing her journey. She has a dark past that creates a lot of obstacles for her and her intimate relationships, but she works incredibly hard to overcome it. Her independence shines through as she is dedicated to her work and maintains a solid relationship with her "soul sisters" throughout the development of her relationship with Chase. She also has moments of incredible vulnerability that make me like her even more. Gillian, despite her incredibly difficult past, is open to finding a loving relationship. Additionally, she is fiercely protective over her girlfriends and her long-time friend, Phillip. Although there were moments when Chase became jealous of Phillip, Gillian stood strong and worked hard to keep that relationship active.
Oh Chase. What is it about super wealthy young men who are awesomely handsome and know exactly how to please a woman? Do these men actually exist? I don't know the answer to that, but I do know they are fun to read about! Any fan of the 50 Shades of Grey saga will enjoy Chase's over-protective, domineering, and control freak side. However, in my opinion, Chase is a more evolved version in so many ways. He is very supportive of Gillian's friendships with her soul sisters and does not get in the way of her maintaining those relationships. Instead, he is almost as protective over them as she is because they mean so much to her. Chase also has a haunting past and it has certainly impacted his development. However, he does not have the same level of difficulty as some other male characters in the erotica genre. He has little to no desire to punish Gillian, instead he takes his time worshipping her body and appreciates the effects it has on him. Now, he definitely has the possessive qualities that make his persona and love making steamy, but Audrey developed his character in a much more well-rounded manner than I am used to seeing!
I have to point out that a lot of the erotica I have read seriously lacks in supporting characters. Body was not lacking in this department at all! All of Gillian's friends added a lot to the plot and to her and Chase's relationship. They each have a distinct personality and place in the storyline. On several occasions their interactions with Gillian and Chase made me laugh out loud. Audrey did such an amazing job at integrating Gillian's entire life into the story instead of just focusing on her and Chase.
As for what I did not like about this book...there were several situations that were repetitive as she was explaining what things meant. For example, Gillian and her girlfriends have the Trinity symbol tattooed on various parts of their bodies and Audrey explained what the Trinity symbol means several times. It felt more like a history lesson on repeat than an integration into Gillian's story. Additionally, she put Chase in several situations that made him look like he was not truly invested in Gillian, which was fine. However, they never really talked about it and cleared the air. Chase just tells Gillian how much she mean to him and Gillian never accurately conveys what she witnessed and how it made her feel. So those incidents felt disingenuous and off.
Overall, I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who enjoys steamy erotica with heartfelt characters and a solid plot.
Men ruin women.
Especially men like Chase Davis. Good looking, intelligent, rich and powerful. I never stood a chance.
I didn’t want to want him.
I didn’t want to need him.
I didn’t want to fall for him.
He wouldn’t take no for an answer, and I let him consume me. Arrogant, confident, controlling, demanding … intense.
When he entered my life, I was finally healing after having barely survived the men of my past. My soul sisters told me to take a chance. To let someone in. I let him in, and he surrounded me with a light so bright I was blinded by the truth...
Men don’t ruin women. They devour them in every way that counts.
Warning: This book is designed for audiences 18+ due to language, graphic sexual content, and themes that some may find disturbing. BODY is book 1 of a three-part trilogy. Book 1 has a “Happy for Now” type ending.
Author: Andi Dorfman
Title: Single State of Mind
Genre(s): Memoir; Autobiography; Nonfiction
Somewhat amusing, but repetitive and tiring plot
Before I begin this review, I want to say that I really enjoy the Bachelor/Bachelorette franchise because I genuinely have a fascination and appreciation for watching people fall in love. I read Andi's first novel when it released a few years back and I really enjoyed her candor regarding the nature of her engagement and how she rose from a toxic situation into a new and better version of herself. Unfortunately, I cannot say I had as good of a time with Single State of Mind.
This book follows Andi from the moment she arrives in New York City as a newly single and broken-hearted woman in her mid-20s. About the first quarter focuses on her finding her first apartment...well really about finding all the wrong apartments before she finally settles on something that was way out of her budget. During this portion of the book I felt as though I were listening to a girlfriend drag on and on about not finding the perfect home in a place where rent is 4 times what I pay in Florida. Honestly, she came across as high maintenance, annoying, and bitter. Let's just say if I were in the situation with a girlfriend who was complaining to the degree Andi was, I would give her a high dose of reality. This is not to say that some of her stories about the various apartments she came across weren't hilarious. Because there were certainly moments that made me laugh out loud. But the humor was quickly over-shadowed with her pretentious attitude.
For the rest of Single State of Mind, readers follow Andi as she attempts to go on a journey for love. I say "attempt" because it really feels like we are following her as she decides to hook up with any hot man in sight. There doesn't seem to be a true desire for her to fall in love, rather her desire seems to involve sexual escapades with a multitude of athletes and physically attractive men around the country. Now I am all about a woman getting what she needs physically, but when said woman tries to play it off as finding love when it is clearly a search for a string of rebounds to get her ex out of her system, I tend to get a bit frustrated. I don't like being sold a story when the plot takes me in a completely different direction. It definitely comes across that during those two years in Andi's life, she lacked most insight into herself and what she was actually seeking. It was somewhat difficult to bear witness to at times, because from an outsiders perspective it was crystal clear she was not on the hunt for a loving, compassionate, and long-term relationship. Again, this is all fine, but it was how she presented her journey that bothered me. Additionally, in "her search for love" I found myself in total understanding of why a lot of the men took off. She comes across as completely one-sided in these relationships and her expectations for perfection are out of this world. There were of course hilarious moments that again made me laugh aloud, but as for the overall feel of this book, I was not a fan of her attitude or the lack of personal awareness.
Andi Dorfman, breakout star of ABC’s The Bachelorette and New York Times bestselling author of It’s Not Okay, returns with this new collection of her adventures as a still-single gal surviving and thriving in New York City.
Sharing moments like finding her first New York apartment (the front door broke so she had to use the fire escape), her first dates on “celebrity Tinder” and finally, watching her ex-fiancé propose to another woman on Bachelor in Paradise, Andi Dorfman doesn’t shy away from pulling back the curtain on the life of a reality star who’s returned to reality.
Dorfman’s supremely relatable personality has inspired incredible devotion from her fans, who follow her every move on social media. Filled with a mix of romantic mishaps, city adventures, and, of course, plenty of insider Bachelor details, Andi’s new book is Sex and the City for the reality TV generation.
Author: Ruth O'Neil
Genre(s): Fiction; Mystery; Thriller
Character rich and thrilling plot
This novel starts out with a harrowing description of a woman who lost her husband and must take on the difficult task of facing her wretched mother-in-law. Ruth makes Gemma's character come to life with artfully crafted insights into her pain and suffering from the loss of her husband and the realization that she is now alone. While reading the introduction I could feel the agony as if it were radiating off the page. It is very clear that Ruth has an expert eye for character creation as she makes it seem effortless for her readers to connect with the lives she has developed.
Another aspect of the beginning that had my own head spinning was Indiana's introduction. When Gemma started to see her throughout her husband's services I honestly thought Indiana was a hallucination brought on from the stress of her loss. However, as the story developed, readers get a first hand look into the mischievous woman and how she came to be the way she is. Throughout the entire plot Indiana maintains a mysterious persona that left me captivated and dedicated to the story until the very end.
I also really enjoyed the dynamic between Gemma and Indiana in that Gemma is an emotionally insightful individual who you want to root for, while Indiana is antisocial, yet incredibly charismatic. The two play off each other well, creating a powerful and thrilling addition to the plot. What I wished more from this novel was a greater level of care for setting details. The character development was incredibly rich and having more elaborate descriptions of the scene settings would have rounded it out for me.
I thoroughly appreciated Befriended and I think anyone looking for a captivating thriller with strong female leads will find this more than suitable.
Some secrets never leave us alone...
Gemma Peacock’s life was perfect – or at least, she thought it was. She had a home she loved, a job she enjoyed, and a husband she adored. The only cloud on the horizon was the continuing tension between Gemma and her mother-in-law, but that’s the same for everyone, right?
After the death of her beloved husband, Ritchie, everything begins to fall apart.
Indiana Manors’ life, on the other hand, is far from perfect – but she knows just what she has to do to fix it. Befriend Gemma Peacock – and destroy her.
Befriended is an exciting, contemporary thriller that will keep you on the very edge of your seat. This book will toy with your emotions time and time again – and keep you coming back for more.
Author: Yvonne Anderson
Genre(s): Science fiction; Fantasy
Adventurous and a thought provoking parallel of the American society
Stillwaters captures your attention with a tragic opening. Readers get a glimpse into the feral childhood of Jem and the neglect she endures from her only family members. Having grown up in the rural country of her unique planet, Jem is forced to care for herself under terrible living conditions because her father wants nothing to do with her. It is very clear that she has developed a tough exterior to prevent herself from getting hurt by anyone else and to survive the tough terrain of her home. The one person she finds herself vulnerable with is her brother. Jem's character reminds me of so many people who must maintain a solid exterior, but who ultimately have the some of the most loving hearts. It is clear she feels very strong for her brother and it was heartwarming to witness his kindness towards her, despite the rest of their family's cruelty.
After what appears to be a normal day for Jem and her brother, Jem ends up encountering a heart-wrenching situation that lands her in the City's medical care center. From this moment on, the story shifts focus while she embarks on a new adventure. Although the tragic beginning was difficult to digest, that part of the plot helped readers understand the amount of growth Jem experienced as her journey progressed.
Yvonne has a fantastic way of setting each scene with vivid details that engross you into the world she has created. I could picture exactly what Jem's planet looked like and how although it is vastly different from our own planet, there were still structural similarities I could relate it to. It is clear Yvonne utilized this novel to discuss a variety of topics that run parallel to organized religion, geographical cultures, and hierarchical societies. Doing this can be incredibly tricky because the parallel often ends up merging into a blurred reflection. However, Yvonne has a very keen eye for creating a unique plot premise that entails a variety of humanistic issues while still making the story relatable.
I think a variety of individuals would enjoy this novel as it encompasses many different scenarios that provoke insightful thinking. It also follows a strong female lead who manages to overcome a lot of obstacles throughout her adventures.
How did she rise from the shrouds of obscurity to become one of the world’s most influential figures? The enigmatic author J. S. Freeman breaks her long silence and tells the whole tale.
In Stillwaters, the first of her three-part story, she brings us into the steamy, untamed land of her feral birth. When the City invaders capture her—they call it a rescue, but it sure doesn’t feel like it—her first life ends. She wants only to run free again on Freemansland, but circumstances take her ever farther from home, until one snowy day, her second life ends as well.
Come and see. The truth she tells is better than her fiction.
Author: Tom Bierdz
Genre(s): Mystery; Thriller; Suspense; Political; Psychological
Riveting, philosophical, page-turner
From the first chapter, Crosscurrents will keep you on the edge of you seat with it's fast-paced feel, engaging story line, and dynamic characters. A hitman is hired to take down a senator who is proposing a weapon's control bill, but in the moment he is about to make his mark, his instincts take over preventing him from following through. Much to his dismay, the senator is his brother who he once forgot due to amnesia. This decision changes the entire course of his journey as another mark is now placed on his own life. He is forced to make a decision to save his own life or risk himself for the sake of saving his long-lost brother.
I really enjoyed the premise of this novel and how it always felt as though something exciting was happening. There was never a moment when I felt bored or I had a desire to put it down. In fact, I found it incredibly difficult to stop reading, especially as I made a quarter of the way through! I would say the highlight of Crosscurrents involves the suspenseful plot and intriguing characters. It was thought provoking as I pondered what I could do...save myself or try to save a sibling who I completely forgot was part of my life. Tom not only develops his main characters, but he left room for the supporting characters to have an impact on the story as well. The novel was focused on mystery, thrilling scenarios, and well-thought out characters. However, I found the scene descriptions to be a little lacking for my taste, but where the story lacked in scene details, it definitely made up for in plot structure. This novel is well-written and plays out with an elegant style.
Crosscurrents will take you on an adventure of suspense, mystery, and even a touch of romance. I highly recommend this to anyone looking for a thriller that will leave you engrossed in the characters and flipping the pages at high speed!
Could you kill your brother to save yourself?
A senator proposing a weapons' control bill. A hitman with amnesia. When the hitman instinctively saves the senator, his target from another assassin, the hitman's memory returns.
Knowing the senator is his brother, does he refuse the hit and place himself in the crosshairs, or does he go through with it to save himself?
A story about power and greed, good versus evil and a family caught in the crosscurrents.
Author: Brysen Mann
Title: The Xeno Manifesto
Suspenseful and gripping
This novel is an incredibly compelling read that will leave you wanting to know more about the main character, Frank. As an adopted child, he never knew the truth about his past until his journey ends up leading him to find answers not only about his own origin, but the origin of the entire human race. The concept of The Xeno Manifesto is definitely unique and will engage readers from the very beginning leaving them wanting to stay for the fast paced unfolding of the plot and character development.
I really enjoyed Brysen's ability to create each scene with depth and detailed orientation for readers. The descriptions are profound and will leave you with a clear picture of where the characters are and what they are experiencing. Yet, despite the meticulously thought out scenes, Brysenw as able to keep an air of mystery throughout the entire novel that left me needing to turn the page.
This novel runs a parallel of one man's journey to find answers to his past and newfound abilities with humanities' never-ending desire to understand what life means and where we all come from. I believe Brysen ran this parallel in a very elegant way when looking at the overarching plot. Readers who enjoy complex plots with great scene descriptions and character growth will find The Xeno Manifesto enjoyable!
Deputy Frank Smirnov wants a peaceful life but fate has chosen a different path. He could never have imagined a course that not only gives him insight to his past but to the true origins of the human race. NSA Agent Zachariah Allmass' job is to eliminate those who know too much, and those "Beings" with powers untold that have elected to remain hidden for all these millenniums, now possess evidence he needs for his true employer, the Committee. But Allmass has an agenda of his own. Meanwhile, Roman Petrov is a violent man who puts his retirement on temporary hiatus after being left with collateral damage that leaves him no choice but to eliminate the "thorn in his side". When these men's worlds collide, secrets that were never meant to be exposed will shake the very foundation of mankind's existence.
Before I get started with this message, I just want to say a huge thank you to all my readers and all the authors who have sent me their novels and put their incredibly hard work into my hands for an honest review. Without the help and trust of every single one of you, Brianna Remus Books would not thrive.
For those of you who do not know, I am currently an upcoming third year doctoral student in clinical psychology. My therapeutic focus is sexual trauma in children and early intervention. That being said, it is safe to say that I encounter a lot of difficult and outright tragic cases every single week. I witness a lot of suffering in my line of work and it has recently taken a toll on my own mental health. In psychology programs we hear this thing called "self-care" from our professors, supervisors, and mentors. They tell us to go to the beach, maybe drink some wine, spend time with loved ones. But what they don't say is to take care of our own mental health. There is still an incredible amount of stigma in our own profession that leaves students and young professionals burned out and feeling helpless.
Over the past year I have been feeling intense depression, severe anxiety, and other emotions I didn't even know I was capable of feeling. I felt incredibly lost and helpless and that no one understood what I was going through...and even worse yet, that I couldn't talk to anyone about it because I am supposed to be the strong one. I am supposed to be the one who helps other people overcome their depression, anxiety, and trauma. I was drowning and I could not figure out how to keep my head above water. I started procrastinating and turning in work I was not proud of. I was late on several book reviews because my depression was all-consuming. But of course, Instagram and other social media accounts bear witness to the perfectly edited photos and status updates of my imperfect state of mind. It's funny how hard we try to conceal our pain.
I lost sight of my internal happiness and the love I used to have for myself. There was a moment 7 days ago when I hit rock bottom. All my emotions and mental health were drained. But as I slowly brought myself out of that moment with the help of my parents and husband, I started to have huge revelations on how I could gain my mental strength back.
Among taking care of my body with exercise and healthy eating, as well as spending more time outside and spending less time on the internet, I realize I need to change some aspects of one of my favorite hobbies, reading.
When I first started Brianna Remus Books I had an intention to include all the genres I have enjoyed over the years (sci-fi, fantasy, mystery, psychological thrillers, romance). I wanted to connect with different readers and authors. However, as my blog grew I started to receive inquiries of reviewing for mostly thrillers and mysteries. Over the past week this was one of my revelations...I was working with children and families who experienced terrible traumas and I was coming home to read novels about more terrible traumas or situations. My mind never took a break from negativity, drama, and pain. I was taking in so much sorrow that was feeding my depression and bleak outlook on life.
You are what you feed your soul.
That is not to say that if one reads a book about a serial killer that he/she will become a serial killer. No. But if you are struggling mentally with finding happiness it is probably best to stay away from stories that bring your hope down. Will I never read another thriller/depressing story again? NO. But at the present moment I need to surround myself with more positive, upbeat, and hopeful words. Therefore, Brianna Remus Books is having a HUGE makeover in the coming month. I will be wrapping up reviews for authors I have already committed to and starting mid-July I will only be reviewing novels within the Romance genre. This genre has always made me smile, laugh, and have hope as corny or cliche as it sounds. But there is something to be said for love and the impact it can have on our well-being. I know this will be a big change for some of my readers and I appreciate your support and I also understand if this does not fit your own interests. The time you spent reading my content means so much to me and I will forever be grateful for what YOU have turned this blog into.
Be happy. Be healthy. Be well.
Currently Reading Empire of Storms by Sarah J Maas
I am a lover of the written word. This is my space to pursue my love of reading through book reviews and literary discussions with my fellow readers.