Recommended Read, Series Review

Series Review: Irresistible by Stella Rhys (2017-2020)

Heat Factor: Spicy hot. Memorably spicy hot. Hot, hot, hot.

Character Chemistry: There might be some couples that are more explosive than others, but they’re all deliciously meant-to-be.

Plot: This is a steamy series that revolves around tangentially related sports stars, agents, and related characters in NYC and LA. 

Overall: I initially read Now or Never (Book 5) because I heard it was a really fantastic example of praise kink, and holy schmoly. All of them are slam dunks.

I’ll flat out admit that I was fascinated by all the recent talk about praise kink in romance novels, and I wanted a really, really good example of it. So I did what any self-respecting reviewer would do and stalked Twitter, Instagram, Goodreads, and Reddit and came up with Now or Never by Stella Rhys. I figured I’d read one, satisfy my curiosity, and carry on with my responsibilities, but that’s not what happened. At all.

First of all, Now or Never was absolutely intoxicating. Both characters had complex and well-developed back stories that very clearly tied in with their personal development as well as the development of their relationship. The praise kink made absolute sense, and it WORKED. Not going to lie, it was also just flat-out hawt. The intimate scenes were intricately tied to the plot and the building tension, which made it virtually impossible to put down. 

So I read the rest of them, one after the other, and got nothing done for about 5 days. 

The overall pattern is the same for each book: the characters make contact immediately–most of them have already met and aren’t on great terms, so there’s instant tension there. Some are on good terms but in a clearly tenuous situation. For example, in Sweet Spot, they’re temporary neighbors and he’s her friend’s brother, and they can’t seem to bumping into each other with no clothes on. Then, as their relationship develops, some very complicated backstory is alluded to and threads its way into their relationship until they’re forced to expose it, but of course at that point they’re already completely in love with each other only THEY DON’T REALIZE IT YET, of course, because this author is no dummy. And then they figure their crap out and it’s all hearts and rainbows from then on, of course.

You’d think with this kind of repeated set up, the books would get old or would fall back on titillating sex scenes, but no. This is not the case whatsoever. And I give full credit to the fully fleshed out and complex backstories for this miracle.

By the time the backstories are all revealed, you’ve been sort of guessing at what it might be for chapters upon chapters. And while it wasn’t so hard to guess the general nature of a few of them, the situations inevitably end up way more messy and layered than your average “oh woe is me, someone broke my trust and I’ll never be the same again”. It’s complicated. It’s messy. And no one in this series is a woeful victim. Every single character is a crackling powerhouse with determination and grit. I’ll be totally honest, the men are all aggressively powerful and the most powerful man in the room, too. It is what it is. I don’t care. 

I have to say as well, this series really cemented what I think has become a widespread assumption with HEAs–that more commonly, we’re seeing both characters seeking success independently, and that the HEA involves reaching those goals with the support of their partner. In this series, this is exactly what happened over and over again, and it was pretty sweet. 

You might find that you enjoy one or two more than the others, but they’re all solid wins in my book. And yes, there’s a lot of praise kink going on, and no…it didn’t stink.

Buy on Amazon: Sweet Spot | Bad Boss | Dirty Deeds | Hothead | Now or Never | Reckless | THE WHOLE DANG SERIES

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Books set in NYC and/or LA

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