Review: The Stark Trilogy: Release Me and Claim Me by J. Kenner

Today I’m reviewing two books in the Stark Trilogy by J. Kenner. The first one Release Me was published January 1, 2013. The second one Claim Me was released April 23, 2013. The final installment is Complete Me and is scheduled to be released July 30, 2013. So, get ready for hot romance with a dreamy leading man!

Let’s begin, shall we?

Review: Release Me

OMFG! OMFG! 
This is one amazing story. Unfortunately it will be compared to Fifty Shades of Grey and while there are a couple of similarities, it is NOT a retelling of that story! It’s its own unique story, full of passion, tension, and heart wrenching moments.
Damien Stark is a former tennis pro who now runs his own multi-million dollar business conglomerate. He’s a control freak in every part of his life. Nikki is a former beauty pageant winner who is fresh to LA and looking to make her mark. She wants to do it on her own and away from her mother.
The tension between them is fierce and wonderful. It’s not just sexual tension but emotional tension as well. They both have secrets and they’re afraid those secrets will drive the other one away. They both crave intimacy with each other, emotional intimacy, but they’re scared.
Damien introduces Nikki to wonderful decadence and the finer things in life. She lets him spoil her and takes it all in stride. She does all this without being a gold-digger or out to get all she can from him. It’s part of who he is and accepts it as that. He’s edgy and dark and controlling. Nikki is no stranger to edgy and dark, maybe not in the traditional manner, but she’s no stranger to pain, fear and loss of control. The loss of control she has with Damien intrigues her and scares her at the same time.
Some secrets were revealed in Release Me. Others are yet to come. There has to be a second story with Nikki and Damien. We don’t have all the secrets and there are hints of more scandal to come. While there’s no big cliffhanger at the end, you are left wondering. What else is there?
J. Kenner does an amazing job of grabbing you in the very beginning and not letting you go. At one point in the story I did get frustrated with Ollie, Nikki’s friend, and Damien, my interest never wavered. I devoured this book in one day! I could NOT put it down.
It’s a wonderfully emotional and tension filled story that will leave you wanting more!
Review: Claim Me
Claim Me is the second story in the Stark Trilogy. It picks up right where Release Me left off.  While Claim Me picks right up where Release Me left off, J. Kenner does an amazing job of summarizing what happened in Release Me. It’s done in a way that isn’t overbearing to the current story and it doesn’t take up much of the story in Claim Me. It was just enough to refresh my memory!
Damien and Nikki’s story is a wonderful story about accepting people for who they are and not what you want them to be. It shows how two people, who are very flawed can let their scars hang out there and those who love them will accept them as they are. Build them up. Make them stronger. Be someone to lean on.
We learn so many things about Damien in this story. His history is not pretty. It’s brutal and makes you wonder how anyone could survive that and turn out partially normal. Nikki learns that she’s really quite strong. Where she thought she was weak, was actually strength. Damien brings that out in her.
One of the greatest things about this book is Damien. He’s a master with words. He could build an erotic scene and ratchet the tension up using only his words. He didn’t have to  lay a hand on Nikki to get her (and me) all hot and bothered. His words were enough. I could imagine his voice. Like smooth whiskey going down. Mmmmm………
HOT HOT HOT!!
Another great aspect of this story is how their relationship continued. It was refreshing to see a couple continue to learn and explore each other without breaking up and running from each other at every turn. When there were problems, they got mad, argued, gave each other space and moved on. It was nice to see a couple deal with issues instead of running at the first sign of problems.
Now, my big problem….Ollie. That man needs to get a reality check. He’s trying to protect Nikki, but he’s doing it all wrong. He’s going about it in the wrong way. He loves her. We get that. But Nikkie will never love him the way he loves her. Not only that, he’s just continuing to drive a wedge between him and Nikki. It’s actually quite sad to watch.
We’re left with a bit of a cliffhanger. There are some problems that Damien must face. I can’t tell you what they are, as that would give away the big secret. But let me just say, it’s no small matter.  We’re left with some unresolved issues for Damien, but luckily Nikki is the perfect woman for Damien and she makes sure he knows it!
Now, we just need the third installment and we’re good.  Bring it on J. Kenner! I’m ready!
Find them on GoodReads!


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