Monday, March 16, 2015

Review: Blyss Series by J.C. Cliff

Blyss by J.C. Cliff
Series: Blyss #1

My Rating: 3 of 5 stars
Sultry Scale: 3 of 5 flames

Blyss is something the world has been trying to create since the beginning of time, the ultimate aphrodisiac, a drug used against women with one single purpose in mind .... 

Julianna Oakley has just finished up her junior year at college and flies home to spend her last free summer with her father on their prestigious Georgia estate. Julianna isn't the stereotypical rich girl, a spoiled prima-donna. She's down to earth and has an independent streak a mile wide, insisting she makes her own way in this world. 

Nick has been setting the stage for a long time, and sparks fly when their separate worlds collide. She is Nick's ultimate obsession, and he will stop at nothing to own her. 

When Travis, Nick's right hand man, lays his eyes on the prize, all hell breaks loose. He should know Nick is playing for keeps, and while Julianna is fighting for her freedom, a lifetime full of secrets and twisted perceptions slowly unravel as Julianna gets caught in the fray. 

The last quarter of the book is where this story started to pick up and interest me. It was enough to get me hooked into reading the remaining books in the trilogy. There is some good potential here, so I hope it continues to get better.

I really like dark romances and I have read a good number of them. For me, the key to a dark romance is a strong redemption or an emotional attachment to the characters or a somewhat believable story. Unfortunately, I haven't gotten any of that yet. I found myself unable to identify with any of these characters. In fact, I was kinda ranty in my status updates and lost count of how many times I rolled my eyes. Our lead female, Jules, would even realize she was being ridiculous and would call herself on it. So that was a little weird for me. The cluelessness came to a head when Jules started reading FSOG and was thinking that Anastasia was ridiculous. Pot, meet Kettle. Though this could have been included in the story to draw your attention to the similarities between the heroines - both 21 y/o virgins at the height of naivete. I preferred it when Jules fought back and stood up for herself... so I hope we see more of that in the rest of the series. I absolutely hated Nick and Jared, though I think we are supposed to. And I couldn't make up my mind one way or the other about Travis because we didnt really get any good info or insight from him.

So all-in-all, I say that there is some good potential here but its hard to review since the story has just started. I will definitely keep reading to see what happens next. And I have to say that this was well-written to be the author's debut novel. So don't let my issues with the characters put you off from reading... characters are like regular people, you're not going to like every one you meet/read.

I was provided a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

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Blyssful Lies by J.C. Cliff
Series:  Blyss #2

My Rating: 3 of 5 stars
Sultry Scale: 4 of 5 flames

Learning how to survive in her new world, Julianna has no choice but to play “The game of Life.” Except it's Nick's game, and his rules apply. Captivity, drugs, and submission are the cards that are dealt, and it's a losing game. 

Biding her time as she waits for her rescuers, it's far from smooth sailing, because all too quickly the rules abruptly change as Nick takes matters into his own hands…

As the drama unfolds, and hesitating to interfere, Travis has everything to lose should he decide to step in, including his life.
 It's opposition at its finest – freedom versus control as Nick and Julianna face the ultimate battle of wills.

While Travis has the uncanny ability to manipulate her with a single touch, Nick struggles to conquer her body, mind, and soul.

It's every man for themselves as each have their own secret agenda, including Julianna, whose plan is simple: survive.

Okay so I'm giving this book 3.5 stars. I'm doing that because the first half was 3 stars for me, and the last 30-40% picked up to the 4 star range.

I'm a huge fan of dark romance, so I'm not sure why I'm having such a hard time connecting with these characters. I don't understand Team Nick. I have seen nothing redeemable about him. I think I wrote him off for the last time when he said something to the effect of that he would not rape Jules, because he wouldn't have to with the drug in her system, she would be begging for it. Um, no. What are you girls seeing in him? Comment please - I honestly want to know b/c I feel like I'm missing something.

Travis does start to redeem himself in this book... but I want to know why he got involved in the slave trade in the first place. I was really hoping he was some kind of undercover agent... because I would hate to think that someone with his military background would get involved in human trafficking. Hopefully his reasons are good and will be revealed in the next book. Jules was better in this book. I understand some of her unappealing behavior in Blyss was due to the drug in her system. I can't reveal too much about her here because it would give away spoilers.

So far my favorite character of the series is Stryker. I think he would make a good alpha male hero... so it would be nice to see him get a spinoff series (maybe in the romantic suspense genre). Blyssful Lies has another cliffhanger, but I think we knew that was going to be the case. Luckily we don't have to wait long for the next book. I'm invested now so I will keep reading.

I was provided a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

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Blyssfully Undone by J.C. Cliff
Series:  Blyss #3

Pub Date:  April 24, 2015

This is Julianna’s story. She lived a normal life until she was about to turn twenty-one, and then all hell broke loose. Years of diabolical scheming unraveling at the seams, unleashing torrents of lies and deceit. The whirlwind of chaos and heartbreak will forever change the game.

Her chosen fate is one of stellar proportions, and she struggles to keep sane, trying to hold it together every step of the way. As the matrix of her concealed past unfolds to deliver the final blow, rationality and sanity begin to take on a definition and meaning of its own.
Nick thinks he’s the night in shining armor while Travis believes he will be enough to save her from herself, but does she even want to be saved?
Both men want her. Both men love her, and both men want to claim her, keeping her for themselves. But, as usual, Julianna has other plans.

Review coming soon.