Ellie Reads Fiction

8 Oct 2015

Review: The Truth About Him by Molly O'Keefe

Title: The Truth About Him (Everything I Left Unsaid #2)
Author: M. O'Keefe
Date of publication: 17 Nov 2015
Genre/themes: Erotic Romance, Abuse

Author's links: Website / Twitter / Facebook / Goodreads
Add to Goodreads

My rating: 4 Stars


We played our roles, told each other lies.

But now Dylan is no longer just a mysterious deep voice on the other end of the line. We’re face-to-face and our relationship is very, very real.

We still have secrets—but so much is crystal clear:

The thrilling danger.

The raw, naked desire.

The need to keep feeling the way he makes me feel. Forever.

Dylan is putting up walls, trying to keep me safe, but he can’t shut me out. He has seen my darkness and rescued me. Now it’s my turn, if only he will let me.


This is the second and final book in the series about Dylan and Annie and it brings about a hard-won and very well deserved HEA for them. This time the focus is mostly on Dylan - his struggles, his demons from the past and hopes for the future.

The terrible cliffhanger from the ending of book 1 is solved right away and all the characters are faced with the consequences of their actions. The story here continuous with the same intensity - deeply emotional and erotic, both dark and the occasional rays of sunshine filtering through.

We see Annie and Dylan trying to find a way to be together despite the heavy issues of their pasts (and present). Neither of them knows to let the other one in, how to love and be loved, how to go for the things they want. Dylan's had his spirit broken, just like Annie's had her body broken. It takes a lot of effort and never backing down on both sides to finally be happy together.

We see much more of Dylan, gradually unravelling the mystery of this broken man, plagued by bad childhood and difficult family relationships. Despite his seeming coldness and detachment from everyone and everything, he still cares about his family and friends. He has difficulty showing his emotions, being open and vulnerable. But Annie is there for him all the time. She battle with her own demons - guilt, doubts, insecurity but ultimately she is strong and resilient. She fights with everything she has for the man she loves and for the happiness and future that she has been denied for so long.

Their explosive chemistry just gets stronger and ever more complex. Their romance was raw and gritty, there was a lot of fighting - with each other, with themselves, with the rest of the world. There was no sugarcoating of the truth. We see the ugliness is Dylan's life in its brutal honesty but it also opens up a road towards acceptance, reconciliation, moving on to become a better person.

The supporting cast get their storylines further developed and I my heart went all out for Dylan's brother and I'm already anxiously looking forward to his story.

It's a dark and somewhat disturbing story of suffering and loss and the glimpses of light that shine in the characters' lives are even more precious because of that. The heavy erotic element in the story works well to show the characters' development and how they manage to build a healthy romantic relationship despite everything.

A recommended read!

Purchase links: Amazon / B&N / iBooks / Kobo

6 Oct 2015

Waiting on Wednesday: The Fifteenth Minute by Sarina Bowen

Waiting on Wednesday is a book meme hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine and it features books that we are eagerly awaiting to be released.

Title: The Fifteenth Minute (The Ivy Years #5)
Author: Sarina BowenGenre/Themes: New Adult, College, Romance
Release Date: 13 Oct 2015
Add on Goodreads

Pre-order links: Amazon / B&N / iBooks / Kobo


Freshman Lianne Challice is known to millions of fans as Princess Vindi. But sometimes a silver screen sorceress just wants to hang up her wand, tell her manager to shove it, and become a normal college student. Too bad that’s harder than it looks.

She’s never lived a normal life. She hasn’t been to school since kindergarten. And getting close to anyone is just too risky — the last boy she kissed sold the story to a British tabloid.

But she can’t resist trying to get close to Daniel "DJ" Trevi, the hot, broody guy who spins tunes for hockey games in the arena. There's something haunting his dark eyes and she needs to know more.

DJ's genius is for expressing the mood of the crowd with a ten second song snippet. With just a click and a fade, he can spread hope, pathos or elation among six thousand screaming fans.

Too bad his college career is about to experience the same quick fade-out as one of his songs. He can't get close to Lianne, and he can't tell her why. And the fact that she seems to like him at all? Incredible.

*** *** *** 

Why am I waiting for this? - One reason only, I loved all the previous books in the series and I can honestly say that The Ivy Years is one of my favourite NA romance series right now.

Here are my reviews of the rest of the series. 

Review: Everything I Left Unsaid by Molly O'Keefe

Title: Everythign I Left Unsaid (Everything I Left Unsaid #1)
Author: M. O'Keefe
Date of publication: 13 Oct 2015
Genre/themes: Erotic Romance, Abuse

Author's links: Website / Twitter / Facebook / Goodreads
Add to Goodreads

My rating: 4 Stars


I didn’t think answering someone else’s cellphone would change my life. But the stranger with the low, deep voice on the other end of the line tempted me, awakened my body, set me on fire. He was looking for someone else. Instead he found me.

And I found a hot, secret world where I felt alive for the first time.

His name was Dylan, and, strangely, he made me feel safe. Desired. Compelled. Every dark thing he asked me to do, I did. Without question. I longed to meet him, but we were both keeping secrets. And mine were dangerous. If I took the first step, if I got closer to Dylan—emotionally, physically—then I wouldn’t be hiding anymore. I would be exposed, with nothing left to surrender but the truth. And my truth could hurt us both.


I loved the Boys of Bishop series which I read last year and was ecstatic when I got the chance to read an ARC of this. This story is a somewhat dark erotic romance and fair warning from the start, it's part of a duology and ends on a cliffhanger. 

It's a powerfully written story told from dual POV. This is the story of Annie's journey towards herself - a sort of sexual (and emotional) awakening . At times it read like Dylan was healing her through sex and I'm not a big fan of this trope. What makes this story stand out for me though, was Annie's will, her strength, bravery. Dylan was certainly influential to her growth and change but ultimately it was her who took the challenge, who pushed herself to discover her boundaries. I loved how she went (a little scared and a lot of determined) after the things she wanted. The author didn't hide her fear and hesitancy, there was also her desire to try new things, to actually learn what she likes/dislikes, to discover and go after some dreams of her. For someone with her background of physical and psychological abuse, it was a miracle how much purity, innonce, light and hope she carried in herself and shared with others.

Dylan remained quite an enigma throughout the story. We see just glimpses of him and his past and present and what we get is a tortured man, strong and self-sufficient, yet one that has never truly managed to let go of the past.

I wanted to see more development of the romantic relationship, besides the sexual chemistry and all the challenging, provocation and experiments in this regard. We get just the first stages of the deeper connection forming between them and have to wait for the next book to see if/how things between may grow into something positive, good for both of them, something like a well-deserved HEA.

The plot was interesting, even intriguing at times, the twists and turns felt natural and fitting the characters. The cliffhanger was bit of a letdown for me because I'm not generally a fan of those and I feel the story could have continued perfectly well in the next book without it. 

I liked the the way the author explored the intricate relationships between the characters, they all felt real in their complexity and multi-layeredness. The focus was on Annie's journey, and it was not easy one and far from complete by the end of the book. We also meet some well-built and very intriguing supporting characters (who I'm happy to share are getting their own stories soon).

This is an intense, dark and very erotic story, yet there is certain light and hope in it. And a brutal cliffhanger, so I'd suggest if you plan on reading this book (as you should), you need to get it together with the second book, The Truth About Him (I've already read it and you can check my review on Thursday, Oct 8).

Purchase links: Amazon / B&N / iBooks / Kobo 

My reviews of the Boys of Bishop series:
Never Been Kissed (book 2) - 4 stars
Between the Sheets (book 3) - 4 stars
Indecent Proposal (book 4) - 4.5 stars

2 Oct 2015

Review: Softer Than Steel by Jessica Topper

Title: Softer Than Steele (Love and Steel #2)
Author: Jessica Topper
Date of publication: 18 Aug 2015
Genre/themes: Contemporary Romance, Musicians

Author's links:
Website / Twitter / Facebook / Goodreads
Add to Goodreads

My rating: 4.5 stars


As rock star "Riff Rotten", Rick Rottenberg has enjoyed all the perks that fame can offer, especially now that he's reunited with his former band mate, Adrian "Digger" Graves. But despite his success, Rick is a mess. Still reeling from the death of his wife years ago and terrified his demons will end his career, he agrees to seek help for his anxiety.

Burned by a musician in the past, Sidra Sullivan has closed her heart to love. So when Rick walks into her yoga studio, she wants nothing to do with him--until the bad boy shows an unexpected soft side.

As Sidra and Rick work through their painful pasts, they realize just how strongly opposites can attract. But when a crisis threatens the delicate balance they've forged, they'll discover if their love is strong enough to weather another storm or just too broken to survive...


This is the second full-length novel in the Love and Steel series and there was a sequel novella to book 1, Louder Than Love. It can be read as a standalone though I recommend following the whole series, these are some fabulous rockstar romances and always have something more in them.

I'd describe Rick and Sidra's story as an engaging, a rockstar romance of its own kind. Ms Topper gives the reader a beautiful mix of the world of rock-and-roll and the curious spiritual and physical world of yoga, mixed with Indian  (Eastern) philosophy and some Irish exuberance.

The story is told from dual POV and the romance is lovely but it's not the sole focus of the story. It's a beautiful tale of overcoming loss, of dealing with stress and anxiety, finding inner peace and learning to love (again).

Ms Topper masterfully creates complex characters, modern-day people with modern-day problems and add the gentles touches of philosophy and music.

One of the things I really liked in the story was the strong presence of NY in it. The author literally takes you there on NY streets and cafes and parks and yoga clubs and music stores. As someone who has never been to New York, or even USA, it was a fascinating journey and felt totally immersed in the world of Sidra (and Rick) where the city and the neighbourhood where she lived made a lot of who she was.

It's a slow-building romance, both Rick and Sidra have too many issues of their own to deal with. They don't really come together until late in the story. As I romance reader I wanted to romance to be stronger, more present, all-encompassing, but at the same time I appreciate how complex and multi-layered the lives the characters were and their slow coming together felt right and fitting. Like some of the other books Ms Topper, it's a very character driven story where the romance is strong and engaging but not the only focus. We experience the life of all the characters, including the supporting ones, in its richness and complexity.

I absolutely loved the mystic elements in the story - the Indian philosophy which means so much for Sidra, the restored Jewish faith of Rick, the intersections between them and how they fitted in the very much modern lives of the characters. It's a soulful journey for both Rick and Sidra (for different reasons) and it resonated deeply with my own understanding of love as the coming together of soulmates.

What worked well for me was the way Ms Topper brought the spiritual/artistic elements in the story - the process of making music, writing lyrics, performing, the elements of religion and philosophy of life, the intimate personal dreams and aspirations on the one hand and the routine, everyday issues - medical problems, alcohol abuse, social and work pressure.

Recommended read for fans of skillful storytelling and eganging romance with mature characters!

Purchase links: Amazon / B&N / iBooks / Kobo / BAM / Penguin

Louder Than Love (Love and Steel #1) - 4 stars
Deeper Than Dreams (Love and Steel #1.5) - 4 stars

30 Sep 2015

Waiting on Wednesday: Queer Romance Month

Waiting on Wednesday is a book meme hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine and it features books that we are eagerly awaiting to be released.

*** *** ***

I'm cheating slightly with this Waiting On Wednesday post it's not about a book but about a literary online event. I followed closely Queer Romance Month last year and it was a wonderful experience. I learned so much about gender, romance, life in general and met some amazing people that I became great online friends with. I loved some of the personal stories told during the month, some of the original art created for the event - fiction, illustrations, ect.

Here is what I wrote as my personal take on QRM shortly after it ended last year - http://elliereadsfiction.blogspot.bg/2014/11/my-take-on-queer-romance-month.html 

Here is briefly what QRM is all about and the ways you can join / help /participate or just enjoy all the awesomeness. It starts tomorrow and I'm excited about all the awesomeness that is coming our way!

Everything You Ever Wanted To Know About Queer Romance 
& Weren’t Particularly Afraid to Ask

What it is
Queer Romance Month is a month long celebration of romance across the LGBTQ+ spectrum. Every day in October, we publish three to four posts from a variety of readers, writers, bloggers and other brilliant people. Our contributors come from all corners of Romancelandia, united by our belief that love is love, romance is romance, and sexuality is not a sub-genre.

On the website, we’ll be showcasing essays, think pieces, flash fiction, and other good things inspired by this year’s theme: We All Need Stories.

You’ll also find us around the blogosphere all month long, bringing you exclusive interviews, audio clips and video readings from our wonderful contributors.

Why it’s awesome
Because everyone involved in Queer Romance Month is terribly brilliant and sexy.

More seriously, it’s a chance to talk about books you love or discover books you’re going to love in an exciting, diverse and enthusiastic community.

There’ll be actual, legit, brand new content from a wide range of writers who we hope you’ll already think are fabulous or will decide are fabulous after you read them.

We hope you’ll laugh and cry and think and find something that speaks to you.

Also we give away free stuff.

How to get involved
You can visit us daily at www.queerromancemonth.com. Subscribe by email or add our RSS to your feed-reader of choice. Err, assuming people still do that. You can also follow us on Twitter at @QueerRomance, which will alert you when new posts go up.

You can also snag one of our gorgeous badges to display on your own site or use temporarily as a Facebook or Twitter icon to show your support of Queer Romance Month.

Tweet to us, leave us comments, enter our giveaways – we’re here to share our stories and we love hearing from people.

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