Review: Premiere: A Romance Writers of America® Collection

Review: Premiere: A Romance Writers of America® CollectionPremiere: A Romance Writers of America® Collection by Allison Brennan, Amber Lin, Cindy Gerard, Courtney Milan, Diane Kelly, Erica Ridley, Harper St. George, Joan Johnston, Katy Regnery, Laura Kaye, Lex Valentine, Lila Bell, Monica Murphy, Regina Scott, Sabrina Jeffries, Sylvia Day, T.L. Costa, Vicki Lewis Thompson
Published by Romance Writers of America, Inc on February 9th 2015
Genres: Contemporary, Historical
Pages: 380

This is a collection of short stories all based on the idea of a wrong number. This collection is very diverse and demonstrates a great variety of stories and techniques and genres.

RAVISHED BY THE GEEK by Vicki Lewis Thompson: Jamie Smith receives a misaddressed email from Vivian Crowley who is the woman of his dreams. When Jamie reads Vivian’s fantasy scene in her email, he decides to make her dreams come true. This is a sweet story and Jamie is simply adorable. Rating: 4 stars.

UNDER A WICKED MOON by Lila Bell: Stacia Bryne and Liam MacTire were foster children together. They are now enemies as Liam has been sent to kill the half-human, half-sorceress. Liam is a half-human, half wolf shifter. Stacia creates a potion to turn Liam into her protector but when it works, she fears that what they have isn’t real. I really liked this story. There was something compelling about the characters. It certainly made me interested in reading the connected novellas. Rating: 4.25 stars.

A RIGHT HONORABLE GENTLEMAN by Courtney Milan: Miss Catherine Hooks is a servant in the household of Mr. Edward Glennon. In the almost five years that she has been governess to the widower’s son an attraction between the two has arisen, but their stations make acting on it impossible. When Catherine decides it is time for her to leave, Edward realizes that he doesn’t want her to. This is a favorite. Sparkling characters and dialogue despite the short length. I could read a whole novel about these two and yet this story story also is satisfying. Rating: 5 stars.

STATION 12 by Amber Lin: Isobel Monroe goes to the fire station to return some of her ex’s things and ends up at the wrong station. She meets Matthew Gaines who is also a fire fighter. He asks her out on a date, but she refuses. But their story isn’t over. This story is really just the beginning of their relationship, but I thought the characters were interesting and their interaction felt genuine. Rating: 4.25 stars.

WRONG NUMBER, RIGHT GIRL by Monica Murphy: Ty Webster is a player with women and he is bored. When he succumbs to a dare to get the number of a hot young woman, he can’t help but notice her friend who is definitely not his type. Lauren thinks Ty is attractive but knows this guy would never be interested in her. This story is told in alternating first personal narratives. This is a sweet new adult story about a guy changing his life. Rating: 4 stars.

A LIGHT IN THE DARKNESS by Regina Scott: Major Sir Percival Nightincourt and Eleanor Grasland knew each other years before but parted when Percy joined the military. Now Percy has given up his commission and when the two encounter one another again, he realizes what he has been missing. This is a sweet inspirational romance. Rating: 3.5 stars.

COMING HOME by Joan Johnston: Savannah Whitelaw is an FBI agent and Luke Winters has just been exonerated after spending 6 years in jail. After being convinced to go on a double date, Savannah can’t help but be attracted to this man who is so wrong for her. I really liked this story because there was definite angst and potential in the story. I wish there was more to the story because this is really just the beginning of a relationship. This story is connected with her Hawke’s Way series. Rating: 3.5 stars.

THE POET by T.L. Costa: Wyatt Hershowitz has had a crush on Hannah Smith since sixth grade. When she asks for the Spanish homework, he accidentally sends her a poem he wrote for his mom’s birthday. What follows is a funny attempt by Wyatt to rectify his mistake. This story is well written and funny and made me smile. Rating: 4 stars.

DEAD WRONG by Cindy Gerard: Erin Livingston has just been acquitted of the murder of her husband and has come home under threat from her father-in-law who blames her for his son’s death. Jed Rafferty and Erin had a thing as teenagers and haven’t seen one another in years. Jed knows, however, that Erin is the woman for him and doesn’t intend to lose the chance with her. This story felt complete and substantial despite its short length. Rating: 4.25 stars.

THE FALLOUT by Harper St. George: Elena Black and Dexter Thomas Herrington married young and within two years were separated. Now four years later, they are getting divorced. When Dex comes back to talk to her, however, they find that there might be something worth saving. This story had much promise, but once the two meet up again, I didn’t feel the emotional connection the story should have had. Rating: 3 stars.

HARD TO BREATHE by Syvia Day: Annalise knows that she needs to get away from her trainer Gareth. Annalise is in love with him although a relationship between angel trainer and student is forbidden. When she tries to get reassigned, Gareth foils her attempt. When she is forced to reveal her reason to him, she feels his rejection but he might be hiding something as well. I loved this story. Well written and executed with interesting characters. I want to read more. Rating: 5 stars.

ALL I WANT by Erica Ridley: Lady Matilda Kingsley and Major Owen Turner were childhood friends but Owen is illegitimate and not the proper match for the daughter of a duke. Years later, they meet again over a game of cards. The story between these characters was sweet and completely unrealistic but enjoyable nonetheless. Rating: 4 stars.

COVERING HER SKIN by Laura Kaye: Emery Morgan has come to Ronan Kane to get rid of one of the biggest mistakes of her life. A year ago, Emery had Ronan, a tattoo artist, give her a tattoo of her fiance’s jersey number and football team right before he dumped her. Now she wants the tattoo transformed. Ronan made one of the biggest mistakes in his life when he agreed to do Emery’s tattoo a year ago and wants to rectify that mistake for the woman he has had a crush on for years and never thought to see again. This story was really good. There is great character development and an interesting idea of transformation. Rating: 4.25 stars.

THE LONG WAY HOME by Katy Regnery: Clarissa Calhoun and Ford McInerney end up sitting next to one another on a bus cross-country traveling to the same wedding. Ford has been in love with Clarissa forever, but she was his older brother’s girlfriend. Now he has a chance to get her to give them a chance. This new adult story was good. The relationship between Clarissa and Ford is complicated and their history makes the story interesting. Rating: 4 stars.

THEIR NIGHT OFF by Allison Brennan: FBI Special Agent Suzanne Madeaux and Detective Joe DeLucca have had a casual relationship for a while complicated by their work and Joe’s ex-wife. Just when Suzanne is thinking that their relationship should be more, the two get involved in one of Suzanne’s cases. This story was just okay for me. It was an interesting story but not enough about the romance between the two. Rating: 3 stars.

FLYING IN THE FACE OF CONVENTION by Lex Valentine: A mis-delivered delivered wedding invitation bring Trey Beaumont and Jordan Smithson together. Trey had been interested in Jordan when they were in college together and now he finds out that they were unknowingly living in the same building. Trey had never told Jordan of his interest in him but now sees a new opportunity. My complaint here is that the character o Jordan is not really developed. It would have been nice to know more about him so that the relationship was more balanced. On the other hand, I really liked the epilogue which gave the story a nice ending. Rating: 3 stars.

AN APRIL FOOL’S FORBIDDEN AFFAIR by Sabrina Jeffries: Mason Brandt, Earl of Westville wants Miss Augusta Hunt, his late wife’s sister but knows that it is impossible since is would be scandalous to marry his sister-in-law. Augusta wants Mason as well but knows only that he has purposely kept away from her. When the two discover a prank by Augusta’s younger brother, they work together to foil it. This story is well written and has characters in an interesting dilemma. I wish there was more to this story because this could be a longer novella or a novel itself. Rating: 4 stars

WRONG ADDRESS, RIGHT GUY by Diane Kelly: Katelyn Harrington is unlucky in love. When her boyfriend is late for their date again, she breaks it off with him. Then her neighbor stands up her date. When that date arrives, Katelyn decides that she will pretend to be his date. I liked this story because the premise was interesting and the romance was sweet. Rating: 3 stars.



Review: One with You

One with You
One with You by Sylvia Day
My rating: 4.25 of 5 stars

Worthy Conclusion to the Crossfire Series

FINAL DECISION: Finally, the story of Eva and Gideon comes to a conclusion, but there is a lot of external drama to get through before this couple is ready to move on to their happy ending. Bringing the series to a satisfying close, their relationship shows a stability and maturity that they have been working towards.

THE STORY: Continuing right where CAPTIVATED BY YOU ended, the book opens with Eva and Gideon meeting after Eva’s ultimatum regarding Gideon’s interference with her job and Eva’s revealing Gideon’s abuse to his stepfather. The two continue to navigate their relationship as they deal with the aftermath of their respective childhood abuse. Married now, the two are committed to one another and yet continue to have problems with communicating with one another rather than keeping secrets. As this book begins, Gideon has finally opened up regarding his abuse. Now the two need to resolve all the external issues threatening them.

OPINION: In a finale worth waiting for, this novel wraps up most of the pressing issues from the series. Most importantly, it shows the depth of the relationship between Gideon and Eva and demonstrates how much their relationship has grown and matured. The problems the two face are even larger now, but they have learned to trust one another, defy their own instinctive reactions and turn to one another. The action in this book is more external as most of the emotional conflicts have finally been resolved by Gideon and Eva.

Gideon finally made a breakthrough at the end of CAPTURED BY YOU and he continues his development after acknowledging the sexual abuse he suffered. He finally begins to work with Eva instead of working around her.

These books have portrayed interesting takes on people who have suffered abuse. Gideon and Eva reacted differently to their abuse and the effects continue to be what the two have to work through. This book isn’t all sweetness and light, however. There are some tough moments for these two to get through. By the end, however, I really got the sense that these two would make it.

WORTH MENTIONING: Not everything is resolved in this book. Not everything is tied up neatly rather this book makes it clear that Gideon and Eva will make it but leaves the supporting characters’ stories somewhat unresolved. People who want everything spelled out will be disappointed.

CONNECTED BOOKS: ONE WITH YOU is the fifth book in the Crossfire series. It should be read as part of the series as the series follows one couple through their relationship.

STAR RATING: I give this book 4.25 stars.

Review: Captivated by You

Captivated by You
Captivated by You by Sylvia Day
My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

Now Readers Get to Know Gideon’s Point of View

FINAL DECISION: By adding the point of view of Gideon, this book finally begins to address the deep problems that Gideon has. It truly feels like Gideon and Eva are moving forward even as things seem to be falling apart for them.

THE STORY: Gideon and Eva are married and while things should be going well for them, it seems that everything is falling apart. There are new pressures on their relationship from Eva’s work (dealing with a competitor of Gideon’s) and Gideon’s past is still haunting him. There are also dangers from a woman in Gideon’s past. All the forces against Gideon and Eva’s relationship seem to be circling. Rather than bringing them together, this may finally tear Gideon and Eva apart.

OPINION: This book finally gives Gideon’s viewpoint. The series until this point has been told solely from Eva’s perspective. By giving Gideon’s viewpoint, readers can see what pressure Gideon is under. He attempts to compartmentalize his life by denying the abuse he suffered as a child. I have liked the way that this series has dealt with both Gideon and Eva’s abuse. By giving contrasting ways that the two have dealt with their abuse, the book gives a bigger picture of survivors than most books portray. Denial, acting out, self-loathing, blinding anger, hate, revenge. Gideon’s failure to deal with his own abuse continues to threaten the happiness that both Gideon and Eva want. This series takes the long road to happiness but I think that the ability to go deeply into the emotions and thoughts of these two characters is fascinating. The plot is sometimes crazy like a daytime soap opera, but the path that Gideon and Eva have to travel never feels forced. By finally delving into the Gideon’s dark past, the pace of the story has increased with multiple conflicts and challenges arising simultaneously. Fans of the series will be pleased to see that progress is being made even as more challenges arise. If you haven’t read the other books in the series, you shouldn’t be reading this one first.

WORTH MENTIONING: There is only one more book left in the series and much to wrap up.

CONNECTED BOOKS: CAPTIVATED BY YOU is the fourth book in the Crossfire series. This book should not be read without reading the prior books in the series first. The series follows one couple and thus is highly dependant upon the events in the prior books.

STAR RATING: I give this book 4.5 stars.

Review: Entwined with You

Entwined with You
Entwined with You by Sylvia Day
My rating: 5 of 5 stars


Please Don’t Read This Review If You Don’t Want to Be Spoiled About the First Two Books of the Series.

“The man I loved had killed for me. A lot of things become inconsequential after a sacrifice like that.”

FINAL DECISION: I found this book deeply emotional with great movement in the relationship between Gideon and Eva. It truly feels like they have entered a new phase in their relationship. While still a work in progress, the two have a new level of closeness which makes this book feel the most optimistic of the series so far.

THE STORY: As readers of the series know, Gideon Cross and Eva Tramell have had a difficult relationship. Both are survivors of childhood sexual abuse which has damaged them and made it difficult to fully engage in their relationship. Trust and communication are problems for them both. This book begins right after the end of book 2 and the revelation that Gideon has murdered Eva’s rapist. This event ripples through Gideon and Eva’s relationship both bringing them closer together and placing additional barriers between them.

OPINION: I am constantly surprised by how engaging I find these books. The events are just crazy and the relationship between Eva and Gideon feels glacial at times. This book feels like a breakthrough. Finally, they have moved beyond some of their problems (but things are not all good yet). There is a new level of emotional maturity and connection between the characters that makes this book feel like a breath of fresh air.

As a late comer to this series, I have the advantage of knowing that there are five books in the series and that there is more drama to come. Many readers expected a trilogy and thus this book was a disappointment to them. For me, however, this book feels like an island of unexpected peace in this series. There is joy and happiness to be found and not just drama and pain and sadness.

It is the combination of all the emotions that makes this series so compelling to me. Here are two people who have so much baggage that they probably should have given up on one another long ago. Instead, they have such a deep connection to one another that it compels them to fight through all their pain and sadness to be together.

WORTH MENTIONING: I especially liked that the stories of the secondary characters are also progressing in this series. There are some big reveals in this book.

CONNECTED BOOKS: ENTWINED WITH YOU is the third book in the Crossfire series. It is intended to be read as part of the series. Following one couple, the book relies upon knowledge in the first two books and this book does not complete the story.

STAR RATING: I give this book 5 stars.

Review: Reflected in You

Reflected in You
Reflected in You by Sylvia Day
My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

Crazy Plot, Crazy Story And I Reluctantly Loved It

“Our relationship was swiftly becoming a minefield of words left unsaid and secrets not shared.”

FINAL DECISION: The plot is crazy and these two people are incredibly messed up and thus continue to muddle their way through a largely disfunctional relationship, but I find the entirety of the book so compelling that I can’t help but turn pages and then buy the next book. I can’t decide if it is like watching a train wreck or a soap opera.


This book continues the story of Gideon Cross and Eva Tramell who met and began a sexual and emotional relationship in book one of the series. The two both experienced childhood sexual abuse which has not been well dealt with. Each has serious problems because of the abuse which effects their ability to engage and sustain a relationship on an emotional level. Gideon and Eva’s relationship is threatened by Gideon’s continued refusal to talk about his past and his keeping secrets from Eva. Eva acts out and almost sabotages the relationship as well. Past loves and their abuse continue to break them apart.

OPINION: This book has a plot but I especially liked that the entirety of the story is keep revealed until the last couple of pages. Because the book is told in first person from Eva’s point of view, Gideon’s motivations remain concealed until the end. For me, I was surprised by what was happening in the margins of this book. In beginning this book, readers should understand that this story is about the internal change of these characters more than the plot. As a result, progress between these two is slow and often times feels glacial with many setbacks. I think that because I know that there are five books in the series, the pace of the relationship change doesn’t bother me. This is definitely a long term project. This book also slips into a crazy plot that is compelling but unbelievable. On the other hand, the problems that these two abuse survivors face feels more real than books where all the past is neatly resolved in 400 pages.

WORTH MENTIONING: Less sex in this book than in the first (which seemed to have a sexual scene on every other page) but that is a good thing.

CONNECTED BOOKS: REFLECTED IN YOU is the second book in the Crossfire series. It should not be read out of order. This series needs to be read in order as it tells one complete story.

STAR RATING: I give this book 4.5 stars.

Review: Bared to You

Bared to You
Bared to You by Sylvia Day
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Surprisingly Compelling Start to Continuing Romance Series

FINAL DECISION: I didn’t have high expectations for this book, but I ended up really liking this story of two seriously damaged people who find one another and stumble their way through beginning a relationship with one another. The book had more depth than I expected.

THE STORY: Eva Tramell has moved to New York and begun a new job when she meets Gideon Cross, filthy rich and gorgeous. Gideon, at first wants Eva for some recreational no commitment sex, but when Eva refuses him, Gideon cannot forget Eva and so begins to make concessions to be with Eva. Both Gideon and Eva are damaged people whose pasts still haunt them and influence their relationships. This book is only the beginning of the romance which continues in subsequent books.

OPINION: It’s a good thing that Eva and Gideon have several subsequent books to work on their relationship because the two are pretty messed up as the series begins. I initially did not have high expectations for this book because I read that it was in the vein of 50 Shades of Gray. I thought this book was so much more. Eva and Gideon both have demons in their pasts. As a result, their attempts at having a relationship are frustrating because neither is good at relationships. Their relationship has fits and starts as they draw together and then break apart as they allow their pasts to come between them. This push and pull works here because with every mistake, the two end up drawing closer together. Much is left unresolved by the end of this book and thus one needs to continue to read the series. There are five books total in the series and things are not going to be resolved until the final book so readers should be willing to accept unfinished storylines.

WORTH MENTIONING: This book begins the romance between Gideon and Eva but readers should be prepared to commit to the other four books in the series. Much is left unresolved and unknown by the end of this book.

CONNECTED BOOKS: BARED TO YOU is the first book in the Crossfire series.

STAR RATING: I give this book 5 stars.