Monday, April 22, 2013

(Adult) Book Review: Release Me

Release Me (Stark Trilogy, #1)
Release Me by J. Kenner
January 1, 2013
343 pages
Bantam Publishing
Source: Personal purchase
Genre: Erotic Romance for Mature Audiences

Goodreads Summary:
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.

My Review:
Even in the summary blurbs from both Goodreads and Amazon, we are immediately confronted with the comparison of this to Fifty Shades of Grey and Bared to You. Well, I will agree that there are certainly comparisons to be made. This books falls into the same genre as the other two (which I have also read). I enjoyed reading about the controlling rich alpha male, the tormenting pasts of both the hero and heroine, the crazy sexual chemistry, and the internal and external struggles they seemed to have to battle at every turn. 
But what I especially liked about this book is its differences. First, the two main characters have a history together before the story starts. This history is revealed early in the storyline, so I'm not giving away spoilers. But to me this backstory, even as a minor backstory, made a big difference to me and set this couple apart from the other two books. There is also an interesting story element added in that creates a bit of fantasy element as well. I liked how the story progressed and their relationship grew. Additionally, there are some well placed secondary characters, some I liked more than others.
I liked the main characters on an individual basis and the uniqueness to their characters. Damien, our male protagonist, is powerful, wealthy, and controlling, but he is also caring, considerate, and flexible when he needs to be. He may "want" to control Nikki, but really, he gives her all the control. I also love the tennis star turned businessman background, with many hidden secrets, which are very slowly (and not completely) revealed.

Nikki, our female protagonist, is highly intelligent, with a scientific and engineering mind. I love that she has brains, not just looks. But she also has the looks, being a former beauty queen, and with that her own heap of history and past trauma. But again, she's smart, and when propositioned by Damien, she is no fool and uses her wits. And with these elements there is a mutual respect between the two of them. I like that I like them as individuals as well as a couple.

As for sex, there is lots of it. But I would classify this more as kinky, not BDSM. The characters have an obvious chemistry that is not forced. Damien is quite in tune with Nikki, and Nikki's past and needs work well with Damien's desires.

I also enjoyed this author's writing style and the pacing of the book. I will also say there is no crazy cliffhanger, but there are two more books to come in the series. But this author leaves Damien and Nikki in a place that will not leave the reader crying foul, which I truly appreciate. And luckily book 2 is right around the corner.


  1. I loved Damien, he was so powerful and in-control , though I wasn't a Nikki fan. I just didn't like her whole southern nature, it seemed forced to me. But I can get enough of Damien Stark and I'm dying to get my hands on the next book.
    Great review :)

    1. Thanks! I really liked Damien, too. His power and control were a great combination and not over-the-top :)

  2. This book sounds hot! Great review.


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