Author: J. Kenner
Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars
Genre: Erotica Romance
Format: Print, EBook
Publisher: Random House/Bantam
Release Date: January 1, 2013 (On Pre-Order)
Recommended Reading: 18+
RECEIVED A FREE COPY IN EXCHANGE FOR AN HONEST REVIEW
****THERE ARE NO SPOILERS****
THE GIST: Release Me is Fifty Shades, meets Indecent Proposal, with a touch of Pretty Woman, only I didn’t want this particular girl to get her fairytale. Damien Stark is a controlling billionaire (shocker) who wants Nikki Fairchild something bad, but Nikki can’t seem to get her head on straight (double shocker) and couldn’t be more unsure, thankless, and annoying. I hated her, but she wasn’t the biggest problem. This book had tons of passion, but no heart and there were many missed moments when a gentle caress would have fit perfectly. However, what it lacked in tenderness it certainly made up for in hot, sweaty, unadulterated sex. Overall, I had a very tumultuous love/hate relationship with Release Me, but see for yourself, because this alpha male, billionaire love story has everything Fifty Shade lovers expect.
SYNOPSIS: “For fans of Fifty Shades of Grey and Bared To You comes an erotic emotionally charged romance between a powerful man who’s never heard “no” and a fiery woman who says “yes” on her own terms.
He was the one man I couldn’t avoid. And the one man I couldn’t resist.
Damien Stark could have his way with any woman. He was sexy, confident, and commanding: Anything he wanted, he got. And what he wanted was me.
Our attraction was unmistakable, almost beyond control, but as much as I ached to be his, I feared the pressures of his demands. Submitting to Damien meant I had to bare the darkest truth about my past – and risk breaking us apart.
But Damien was haunted, too. And as our passion came to obsess us both, his secrets threatened to destroy him – and us – forever.
Release Me is an erotic romance intended for mature audiences.” (Random House Net Galley)
THE LOWDOWN: Have you ever read a book you wanted to love, a book that had all the elements there, but none of the meat? This was one of those books. Riddled with hot steamy love scenes, an Adonis that wants the country princess so bad he would do anything to get her, a girl who is in the perfect position to start a passionate love affair that would most likely turn into the love of her life, yet every decision made was highly unrealistic and plain old dumb. Moments that required tenderness were met with vulgarity. Grandiose and priceless gifts accepted without thanks and reckless decisions made without self-reflection or redemption. I ended up lacking compassion for a character I was supposed to feel empathy for and I struggled with it throughout the entire book.
Now, I realize this is erotica and not Anna Karenina so there were many elements I did enjoy, the setting being the first on the list. I am a Los Angelino, what more needs to be said. Kenner nailed the town (except for Damien’s high-rise), the feeling of driving through the city, the snotty self-absorbed “Hollywood” attitude, the need to feel like an insider…everything. The author also wrote mystery well. I felt drawn into each character’s past and their roles in the lurking dark that settled around every corner. This book touched on some really deep issues that I hope will be included in the series, abuse being the first and foremost.
Now, everyone wants to compare erotic books about young billionaires finding and wanting the young girl so badly all else falls away, to Fifty Shades and I get it. I liked the series as well, but what drew me in was Christian Grey’s metamorphosis, his need to be better. This book didn’t have many redemptive elements. I think what disappointed me most were the heartfelt moments met with rough sex. Promises of a better life that didn’t seem plausible because neither character showed real promise or actual heartfelt concern. When tender moments are met with a whip instead of a gentle kiss, the feeling of love is ripped away and replaced with an eye roll and shrug. However, I do have tremendous hope for the coming series. The setup for future dirty-little-secrets had me yearning for more and I will definitely come back for sloppy seconds.