Friday, August 23, 2013

Oh hey Damien, I'll Be Your Muse

Hi all! So I totally binge read this series in a matter of days and wanted to try a series review aka mini-reviews on all three books at once. Quick thoughts and feelings. Obviously the latter two books have spoilers from the previous book so reader beware! 
Goodreads Description

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.

Publisher: Bantam, 352 pages
Release Date: January 1st, 2013
Source: Borrowed from library
"Everyone breaks a little sometimes. That doesn't make you weak. It makes you wounded. And I will always be there to help you heal."--J. Kenner, Release Me

I didn’t have that many expectations going into this book. I thought ok, same old story, billionaire finds a girl worth his time, they bang, they struggle for some semblance of a relationship, they bang some more, and drama, drama, drama. And while I have to admit the story did start off with the same formula as most of these 50 Shades knock-offs, it really became a lot more to me. Damien Stark is a millionaire with a past, yep go figure. However, I found that while objectively he was very into the control factor and getting what he wants, I also found that he bent easily when it came to Nikki. He realized quick she wouldn’t take his shit if she didn’t want to and he did succumb to changing the best he could. He has a lot of secrets and demons but the way he treats Nikki is nothing short of adoration and respect. He listens to her, he understands her, and their connection is anything but dull.

I really like Nikki. Former Texas beauty queen, she is trying to take the tech world by storm with computer engineered apps and products. Smart cookie this one. Loved this about her. She is legit smart and driven to succeed. She is also totally independent thinking. She loves to spend time with Damien and loves the way he makes her feel and she doesn’t apologize for it. She likes his way of sex and control and it never gets out of control for her. She owns it. She also has issues of her own to work out. This isn’t all about her submitting to Damien and his issues and whims. She has things to work out as well that Damien helps her with. This was also totally refreshing.

The story line was pretty standard to be honest. Nothing really blew me away but it kept me interested. The sexy times were pretty hot, also can’t lie about that. I liked Jamie, the best friend of Nikki. Ollie is her other friend—meh. He’s kind of a major douche but we’ll see what happens. This book didn’t blow me away but I’m definitely intrigued thus why I kept reading…on to Claim Me…

Publisher: Bantam, 386 pages
Release Date: April 23rd, 2013
Source: Bought
"You have captured me utterly, and you hold my heart in your hands. Be gentle with it. It's more fragile than you might think."--J. Kenner, Claim Me

Alright Mr. Stark, you have surprised me. You and Nikki both have really blown me away in the best way. While I thought Release Me was good but not great, Claim Me really made me love this series. Nikki and Damien continue to work on their relationship and try to take down each other’s walls…as well as clothes…sorry, I couldn’t resist.

Anyways, while their relationship has bumps but what I FREAKIN’ LOVED was that it was not the entire storyline. I was shocked to see issues come up and they actually converse about it…WHO WOULD HAVE THOUGHT?! This concept is so far lost I feel in a lot of books like this. Drama happens and one of the two runs away. SO NOT the case here. Shit goes down and they talk. I just couldn’t get over how much I loved the development of their relationship. While the sexy times were still hot, to be honest my favorite moments were the quiet ones between them. The normal conversations. Damien telling her some more of his background. This is what made the book. They got to know each other. They supported each other. They were there for the other when times got rough. Oh I was swooning and all of the clothes were on. I was surprised.

LOTS of drama happens in this and there were SO many situations where I thought to myself ok, here we go, this is where they freak out and break up or she doesn’t listen to him about his side of the story…never really happened. I figured it out about 60% through that these two were both in for the long haul and it was refreshing to not be solely concerned about their relationship. The plot was about so much more. I can’t wait to see how it all resolves in the final book. Ollie continues to be a knob and there is something that happens that I HOPE gets resolved in the final book. There is just something up with this guy and more to the story…must read to find it…which is what I’m going to go do…here comes Complete Me…

Publisher: Bantam, 320 pages
Release Date: July 30th, 2013
Source: eARC provided by publisher via NetGalley
"There shouldn't be temptation...Not if [they] really are the one."--J. Kenner, Complete Me

Nobody is more surprised than me on how much I really ended up liking this series. Was it perfect? No. Were there things I tilted my head at and went, ‘huh?’ Yes. But overall, this series really grew into something great. Like I said above-I liked Release Me, I loved Claim Me and Complete Me brought the game full circle. We get to see Damien and Nikki go through the trial, continued stalking, and crazy bitches. Highly entertaining, can’t lie.

Again though, what I liked most was that, for the most part, their relationship was solid. Shit hit the fan many times and they were each other’s strength and rock. I really, really loved this. Their moments of strife and their resolution of said strife was so great because the communication, compromise and understanding was there. REFRESHING, MUCH?! I can’t explain it much more than that but these two really got each other and didn’t let all the bullshit—and there was a lot of bullshit--get in the way of what they so strongly believed in…each other.

I loved seeing how the mystery of the photos, the stalking and the threats came together. Some seemed a bit obvious and while, if I’m being objective, I thought the pacing was a bit slow, I really enjoyed just reading about the moments between Nikki and Damien. There normal moments. Their conversations. I just really loved these two and thought their story was a great one.

Should You Read This? As a series-yes! The first book is pretty standard but I feel like the series grows so much more. There was definitely a few eye rollers about situations but it was very entertaining and I really adore Damien and Nikki. If you liked adult romances with well developed characters, I’d check this out for sure. 

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