Author: J Kenner

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Under My Skin by J Kenner

September 18, 2015 Contemporary Romance, Erotica, Reviews 0 ★★★★

I received this book for free from the Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Under My Skin by J KennerUnder My Skin by J Kenner
Series: Stark International Trilogy #3
Published by Bantam on September 1, 2015
Genres: Contemporary, Erotica
Pages: 320
Format: eARC
Source: the Publisher
Goodreads
four-stars
He’s the only man I’ve ever loved, and the one man I can’t bear to lose.
 
Jackson Steele is my light in this world. Charismatic, bold, and always in control, he knows what he wants and how to get it—and absolutely nothing stands in his way. His hold on me is magnetic, his claim on me complete, his kiss my ultimate escape.

We both harbor dark secrets that could tear our lives apart. Though we’ve tried to bury our pasts, there are certain people who won’t let us forget. But the closer danger comes, the brighter the fire between us burns—our ecstasy consuming and soothing us both.

There’s no telling what lies ahead, but I know that Jackson never gives in without a fight. I’d do anything he wants to keep him safe, give him anything he needs. And now that we’re in deep, nothing can make me run.

Before we begin this review, I must state – You need to read this series in order!  Each book builds upon the plot and character development of the previous novel.  Before reading UNDER MY SKIN, please read SAY MY NAME and ON MY KNEES first.  As such, this review will make reference to – but not spoil – plot points covered in prior novels in the series.

After the bombshell dropped at the end of the last novel, Sylvia and Jackson are reeling.  Everything around them is falling apart – the Cortez resort, Reed, Ronnie.  Nothing is going right and the stress is beginning to put a strain on their relationship.

Sylvia must learn to face her long-held fears with Jackson rather than continually pushing him away.  Yet she must then turn around and also push Jackson to channel his own fears and frustrations into a healthier, more sensual outlet.  This constant push-pull which has plagued Sylvia and Jackson culminate in the final installment of the series.  Unfortunately, Sylvia spends a lot of this book internally whining to herself (and sometimes Cass) about whether or not Jackson really loves her and if she is “good enough” to be with him and Ronnie.  After three books of Jackson constantly showering her with love and affection, you’d think Sylvia would have realized this by now.  However, I had to keep reminding myself that Sylvia is the victim of decades long emotional, physical, and sexual abuse, which went a long way towards explaining her self-recrimination and doubt.

I loved the bonding between Damien and Jackson.  After being at odds for so long, it was heart-warming to see these two powerful men finally become brothers.  Ronnie is an adorable ball of sunshine and I would love see see future novellas featuring this precious child.  And, of course, I liked that we found out who the killer and saboteurs were and that Jackson and Sylvia finally got their HEA.

A little rushed towards the end, but overall a great finish to another fantastic trilogy by J Kenner!  I sincerely hope this is not the last we see of Sylvia, Jackson, Damien, and Nikki.  The characters are complex, the sex is scorching hot, and there are just so many possibilities to explore.  Loved it!

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On My Knees by J Kenner

June 23, 2015 Contemporary Romance, Erotica, Reviews 0 ★★★★★

I received this book for free from the Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

On My Knees by J KennerOny My Knees by J Kenner
Series: Stark International Trilogy #2
Published by Bantam on June 23, 2015
Genres: Contemporary, Erotica
Pages: 305
Format: eARC
Source: the Publisher
Goodreads
five-stars
I never thought I’d lose control, but his desire took me right to the edge.

Powerful, ambitious, and devastatingly sexy, Jackson Steele was unlike any other man I’d ever known. He went after what he wanted with his whole mind, body, and soul—and I was the woman in his sights. One touch and I surrendered, one night together and I was undone.

Jackson and I had secrets, dark pieces of our pasts that threatened to swallow us both. We couldn’t outrun our demons, or the people trying to tear us apart. But in our passion we found salvation, and in each other’s arms we found release.

I was scared to trust Jackson fully, to finally let go. Yet no matter the dangers that lay ahead, I knew I was his—and now that we’ve laid claim, there’s no more holding back.

J. Kenner is on my automatic-purchase list and with very good reason.  Her eloquence and command of the written word is truly stellar.  She crafts well-rounded, flawed characters with secrets and passions that make you just want to reach into the pages and give them a hug.  Or smack some sense into them, whichever is appropriate for the moment.  And, of course, she delivers scorching hot erotica that sizzles with both sensuality and a complex plot-line!  Porn WITH plot, if you will.  My favorite combination.

Since their whirlwind weekend of passion ended in heartbreak, Jackson Steele and Sylvia Brooks have lost five years to avoidance and building their own business platforms.  Jackson is a star architect, sought after by all the best in the business and hounded by Hollywood.  Sylvia is Damien Stark’s assistant who just landed herself a pet real estate project all her own building a island resort getaway for the rich and famous.  Picking up where the last book left off, the resort project is progressing but Hollywood is hounding Jackson to green-light the movie based on his infamous house and Sylvia’s dark modeling past is starting to catch up with her.  Jackson and Sylvia each have their own ways to dealing with pain and frustration, but they will need to learn how to work out their problems together if there is to be any hope of making their relationship last this time.

Wow, so much happened in this middle-novel that I do even know where to start!  Jackson and Sylvia finally opens up to each other about their past demons, but they have both been so used to dealing with those demons on their own that neither knows quite how to handle the information.  Sylvia needs time to process and Jackson just wants to fix everything.  Watching these two work out real-life relationship problems lead to some scorching hot sex scenes, but also a handful of heartbreaking ones too.  Some of the sex scenes in this novel actually made me blush – and that’s very hard to do!  Sylvia begins to rely on Jackson more than before and Jackson refuses to live without her.  Their romance is fierce and passionate, but also sweet in that I’ll-do-anything-for-you sort of way.

There is a lot to process in this second installment.  Many secrets are revealed (so many!), but sometimes this leads to even more questions.  And this *does* end on a cliffhanger, so be prepared.  But definitely pick up a copy of ON MY KNEES as soon as possible!

ON MY KNEES is written within the Stark trilogy universe (Damien & Nikki), but you do NOT have to have read the Stark trilogy to enjoy this novel.  However, I DO recommend reading the first novel in the Stark International trilogy (Jackson & Sylvia) – SAY MY NAME – before reading this second installment as the plot of ON MY KNEES builds heavily upon the plot of the first novel and there are major plot points that you will not understand without having read SAY MY NAME.

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Say My Name by J. Kenner

April 7, 2015 Contemporary Romance, Erotica, Reviews 0 ★★★★½

I received this book for free from the Author in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Say My Name by J. KennerSay My Name by J Kenner
Series: Stark International Trilogy #1
Published by Bantam on April 7, 2015
Genres: Contemporary, Erotica
Pages: 336
Format: eARC
Source: the Author
Goodreads
four-half-stars
I never let anyone get too close—but he’s the only man who’s ever made me feel alive.
 
Meeting Jackson Steele was a shock to my senses. Confident and commanding, he could take charge of any room . . . or any woman. And Jackson wanted me. The mere sight of him took my breath away, and his touch made me break all my rules.


Our bond was immediate, our passion untamed. I wanted to surrender completely to his kiss, but I couldn’t risk his knowing the truth about my past. Yet Jackson carried secrets too, and in our desire we found our escape, pushing our boundaries as far as they could go.

Learning to trust is never easy. In my mind, I knew I should run. But in my heart, I never felt a fire this strong—and it could either save me or scorch me forever.

J. Kenner is on my automatic-purchase list and with very good reason.  Her eloquence and command of the written word is truly stellar.  She crafts well-rounded, flawed characters with secrets and passions that make you just want to reach into the pages and give them a hug.  Or smack some sense into them, whichever is appropriate for the moment.  And, of course, she delivers scorching hot erotica that sizzles with both sensuality and a complex plot-line!  Porn WITH plot, if you will.  My favorite combination.

SAY MY NAME is written within the Stark trilogy universe, but you do NOT have to have read the Stark trilogy to enjoy this novel (the first in its own trilogy!)  Since their whirlwind weekend of passion ended in heartbreak, Jackson Steele and Sylvia Brooks have lost five years to avoidance and building their own business platforms.  Jackson is a star architect, sought after by all the best in the business and hounded by Hollywood.  Sylvia is Damien Stark’s assistant who just landed herself a pet real estate project all her own building a island resort getaway for the rich and famous.  But when the resort’s architect decides to suddenly retire, Sylvia has little choice but to approach Jackson for the job or else she will lose all the resort’s investors.  Now that Jackson and Sylvia are thrown back into each other’s presence, will passion rekindle itself or is revenge the only thing they care about?

Jackson and Sylvia are deeply flawed and carry significant emotional baggage.  Each battle their own demons and still have quite a lot to deal with in the next two installments.  (Don’t worry, there isn’t any major cliffhangers at the end, but you’ll definitely want to pre-order the next book as soon as you’re done with this one.)  But to watch these two emotionally-wrecked characters find love and passion with each other is a beautiful experience.  Jackson is a little cold-hearted through the first half of the novel, but with his background you have no problem understanding why he does and says the things he does.  Likewise, Sylvia is a bit of a loose-canon and you worry a bit about her mental safety, but thankfully there is an excellent cast of secondary characters to look after and support her through the turmoil.

The erotica portions of the novel are exceptionally written, as always.  Ms. Kenner’s ability to create scenes that carry both emotional character development and seductive intensity is astounding.  The scenes are numerous, but kept exciting and fresh.

I can’t wait to read what’s next in the Stark International Trilogy.  SAY MY NAME was a fantastic read and there are so many questions left to answer in the next two installments.  Highly recommended!

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Raising Hell by J Kenner

December 2, 2014 Erotica, Reviews 0 ★★★

Raising Hell by J KennerRaising Hell by J Kenner
Series: Devil May Care #1
Published by Julie Kenner on April 12, 2014
Genres: Erotica
Pages: 96
Format: eBook
Goodreads
three-stars
As the second son of Satan, Nicholas Velnias is certain he has no chance of stepping into his father’s shoes. But when his older brother fails to win the keys to hell, Nick is suddenly the favored son. And the task to prove his worth is so simple he knows that he can’t fail—all he has to do is steal the soul of a woman. How hard can that be?

After all, Nick steals bits of soul every day, infusing them into canvas and pigment to add that panache to the masterpieces that have brought him fame and fortune.

But when Nick meets Delilah Burnett, the innocent daughter of a preacher who’s bad for the devil’s business, all hell breaks lose. Because while Nick may have set out to steal the girl’s soul, in the end she’s the one who steals his heart.

Nick is a famous artist known for his breath-taking portraits that seem to glow with life and vitality.  His secret?  He is the son of Satan himself and infuses each portrait with a small piece of the subject’s soul.  When Nick’s father appears and offers him the chance to inherit Hell itself, Nick is torn by his desire to rule Hell and his desire for Delilah – the woman whose soul he must destroy entirely.

This was a fun, quick read that explores love and morality while reveling in the sensuality that comes with finding someone who understands who you are and what you want from life.

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Ignited by J Kenner

November 4, 2014 Erotica, Reviews 0 ★★★★

Ignited by J KennerIgnited by J Kenner
Series: Most Wanted #3
Published by Bantam on September 9, 2014
Genres: Contemporary, Erotica
Format: Audiobook
Goodreads
four-stars
He promised to take me as far as I could go—and I wanted to go to the edge.
 
My whole life has been a cover, a con, a lie. I was born into the grift, raised on the thrill of playing someone I’m not. As a rule, I never let anyone get too close—until Cole August makes it impossible for me to stay away.

Cole is tough, sexy, and intensely loyal, yet his secrets are dark and his scars run deep. Not many women can handle his past, or the truth behind his fierce demands. But something about him beckons me—and our desire is a game I must play.

I know he’s dangerous, that even his touch is trouble, but what is passion without a little risk?

Cole August fits the “tortured artist” stereotype to a T – a self-made successful businessman with a dark past he refuses to discuss and a set of kinky needs in the bedroom he finds difficult to control.  He doesn’t find the thought of love or dating particularly appealing, mostly because he believes he cannot give a woman those things, much less the woman he has watched since he first met her: Katrina Laron.

Katrina Laron has her own version of a troubled past, one she’d happily leave behind and forget as quickly as possible.  She grew up “on the grift” learning tricks and cons from her father, but now she’s made a new life for herself in Chicago, a life she hopes will soon include more than a passing friendship with Cole August.

Kat’s father shows up on her doorstep and tells her that he is in deep with the Mafia.  Though she hates to ask, Kat enlists Cole’s help, which conveniently puts the two of them together and lets the sparks fly.  Kat and Cole challenge each other in and out of the bedroom and together they learn how to overcome their difficult pasts and to put their trust in another person.

I really like Kat and Cole.  They have wanted each other for so long that it was great to see all that devotion finally pay off.  Their sexuality and personalities fit very well once Cole realized that he could be both dominant and tender with Kat.  I did find Kat’s blind faith in Cole a little disconcerting (He’s known for having an explosive temper and it stands to reason that this would transfer into the bedroom too), but she’s known him for a long time so perhaps her faith comes from years and getting to know him.

The sex is quite hot, very sensual, and inventive.  I’ve read erotica for a while now and there were things in this novel that made me blush!  (In a good way, of course.)  Definitely darker than the other books in the Most Wanted series, but less suspenseful.  This book was more about exploring Kat and Cole’s pasts and their bedroom activities than catching a killer.  I thought it was a good way to end the series, though I would love to see a novella or something set about a year down the road giving the reader a peek into where these beloved characters are and what they are doing now.

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Wanted by J Kenner

October 10, 2014 Erotica, Reviews 0 ★★★

Wanted by J KennerWanted by J Kenner
Series: Most Wanted #1
Published by Bantam on January 7, 2014
Genres: Erotica
Format: Audiobook
Goodreads
three-stars
He is everything I crave, all I desperately want—and he is everything I can’t have.
 
Evan Black embodies my every fantasy. He is brilliant, fierce, and devastatingly handsome. But he is also headstrong, dangerous, and burdened with secrets.

My family warned me to stay away, that I could never handle Evan’s dark dealings or scarred past. Maybe I should have listened. Maybe I should have run. But our desire is undeniable, and some temptations you just can’t fight.

And from the moment we touch—the passion between us consuming us both—I know that I will never be the same.

Angelina Raine lost her sister when she was just a teenager.  Wracked with guilt and keeping a massive secret from the world around her, she retreated into herself and withdrew from social interaction.  But her Uncle Jahn, who shared her loved of art, managed to draw her out of that shell and allowed her to stay with him in Chicago whenever her schedule permitted.  There, she met three boys Jahn took under his wing – Evan Black, Tyler Sharp, and Cole August.  Tyler and Cole are like brothers to her, but Evan – Evan stirs in her a desperate passion that she has managed to keep hidden from everyone around her.  Or so she thought.  With her Uncle’s death, Angelina and Evan are drawn further together.  Angelina has always been convinced that Evan only sees her as a little sister, but she’s about to discover that she has been very, very wrong.

Angelina is an insecure young woman with a penchant towards kleptomania, a crime that fulfills some pent-up need to “be wild.”  I didn’t find her particularly likeable.  In fact, at times she came off as nothing more than selfish, spoiled, and rich brat acting out to get attention from her Senator father.  I understand that there must be a tremendous amount of guilt over the death of her sister, but most of her words and actions came across as stilted and awkward, mostly due to her indecisiveness and lack of confidence.

Evan is a secretive man, evasive but charming.  As a rich man, he is used to getting what he wants.  Except when it comes to Angelina.  He made a promise to leave her alone that stretches all the boundaries of his skewed, but firm code of ethics.  Unfortunately, this all falls apart in the space of a few days after Jahn’s death and Evan spends the first half of the book in a broody I-want-you-but-I-can’t-have-you attitude that came across as lame and boring for a character who is supposedly such a naughty badass.

Thankfully the story actually picks up in the second half with Angelina and Evan succumbing to their passion for one another and a fun, little mystery playing out to a delightfully intriguing end.  Other than that, this one fell a little flat for me.  The writing style is great, but the characters and plot development needed fleshing out.  I couldn’t connect with the characters and definitely didn’t sympathize with Angie’s need to steal things.  Some parts were enjoyable, particularly the second half as I’ve already mentioned, but mostly this book left me feeling a little bored.

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Heated by J Kenner

September 5, 2014 Erotica, Reviews 1 ★★★★★

Heated by J KennerHeated by J Kenner
Series: Most Wanted #2
Published by Bantam on June 3, 2014
Genres: Erotica
Format: Audiobook
Goodreads
five-stars
I knew better than to risk my heart.
But fierce passion comes at a high price.

I grew up believing in right and wrong, good and evil, black and white. I knew better than to trust. And then I met Tyler Sharp.

Bold, charming, and dangerously sexy, Tyler always gets what he wants. But his smile can be deceiving, his dealings sordid, his ambitions ruthless. I thought I was the one woman strong enough to resist him, but our need for each other was too urgent to deny.

One look and I was in trouble. One touch and I was hooked. One night and I became his.

And now that I’ve fallen, there’s no going back.

Sloane Watson is a detective on forced medical leave after taking a bullet to the hip.  She’s going stir-crazy without anything to do, so when her confidential informant friend Candi tells her about a missing person, Sloane is up and off to Chicago to do a little off-the-books investigation.  There, she runs into Tyler Sharp, a powerful and shrewd business tycoon whose slightly shady business practices aren’t exactly on the up-and-up.  She tries to go undercover as an exotic dancer at Tyler’s club to learn more about the missing woman who once worked there, but ends up seducing Tyler instead – not exactly a hardship.  Sloane and Tyler become tangled up in one another, drawing Tyler into Sloane’s missing person search and Sloane into Tyler’s networking events and business practices.  But Sloane’s time in Chicago is quickly coming to an end and together Sloane and Tyler must make some big decisions about their personal life choices and their future together.

Sloane is a confident and determined detective, used to working hard and pursuing justice like a dog with a bone.  She has a strong ethics and lives by the code of the law, a trait that causes many problems in her arrangement with Tyler.  And honestly, made her a little uppity, self-righteous, and annoying for the first part of the book, especially considering the whopper of a secret she’s carrying around.  Thankfully, Sloane grew and became a character I could actually root for in the end.  She’s tough and independent, though rational thought seems to fly out of her head when she’s around Tyler.

Tyler is a self-made man.  Guarded against strangers and most of the world, he keeps his cards close to his chest, only discussing important things with his business partners and close friends.  Originally growing up on the streets, he met his business partners Cole and Evan there and together the three of them have become the richest, most powerful and influential businessmen in the Chicago area.  Unfortunately, they still struggle to cast off their criminal reputation, despite being (mostly) clean.  Tyler is the kind of guy that if something needs to be done, he’ll get it done however he can, not exactly breaking the law but maybe just bending it a little.  He’s the epitome of dominant and powerful Alpha male.  Tough and commanding, he makes a great compliment to Sloane’s personality and character.

This book is easily one of the best erotica novels I have read in a long time.  It has an actual romance plot –  not just the let’s-get-into-bed-now-for-no-real-reason plot of many erotica books, but an actual I’m-falling-in-love-with-you-and-here’s-all-the-believable-reasons-why plot typically seen in a traditional romance novel.  The romance was sweet and tender as they both learned to let the other into their insulated world, but with the tough edges and conflicts befitting Sloane and Tyler’s personalities and personal issues.  The book also has a good mystery sub-plot that is kept exciting and wrapped up without rushing forward like an afterthought.  And as for the actual sex scenes that make this an excellent erotica novel?  Holy Toledo, Batman!!  Excuse me while I go take a cold shower…outside….in Alaska.  This book is definitely a scorcher!!  The sex was alluring and sensual, expertly playing on a reader’s word-evoked sense of touch, smell, and hearing.  The sex was varied too.  Sometimes sweet, slow, and tender.  Other times rough, fast, and hard.   I’ve read a lot of romance and erotica over the years, but even this one had me blushing sometimes.  And that was definitely a good thing!

Perfectly paced and plotted.  After reading this one book, I am a J Kenner convert and am quite happily going to check out as many of her other books as soon as possible.

I highly recommend purchasing a copy of Heated by J Kenner.  May I suggest the audiobook version?  The narrator, Heather Smith, does a fantastic job bringing Sloane, Tyler, and all the other characters to life and I honestly believe that it was her reading of this book that made me love it that much more.  From a 4.5 to a perfect 5!

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