Review: Evelyn, After, by Victoria Helen Stone

Evelyn, AfterEvelyn, After by Victoria Helen Stone
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I’m not exactly sure that I’d categorize this story as a Psychological Thriller, but ‘Evelyn, After’ definitely had a few twists and turns along the way. It managed to hold my attention somewhat, but I never felt a strong connection to any of the characters. I listened to the Audible version, and while it was very well-narrated, I couldn’t help but feel that it was missing something.

This is the story of Evelyn, a woman that has traded the better part of her life to do “what’s expected” of her. She’s the wife of a prominent psychiatrist and the mother of their teenage son. Somewhere along the way, she lost her own identity. Her entire being is defined by the interests of her husband and son. She does everything a dutiful wife should do, volunteering at the school and helping with PTA fundraisers. She is living a cliché.

To the surprise of no one except Evelyn, her husband is having an affair. Gary, the prestigious psychiatrist, is involved in an accident one night…but he isn’t alone. It seems that Evelyn’s douchebag husband has been sleeping with one of his patients.

To make matters worse, Gary has the audacity to call his wife out to help him on the side of the road while he has his patient/mistress with him! Then, when Evelyn confronts him about it, he has the nerve to get indignant with her like she’s imagining things. To say the least, Gary was easy to hate right from the start.

Eventually, Evelyn gets pieces of the truth from Gary. It doesn’t take long for Evelyn to discover that the “accident” was far more than it seemed at first glance. Gary’s actions have thrown her entire world into chaos. Evelyn is faced with a huge ethical dilemma as she weighs the risk of losing her comfortable lifestyle against the merits of telling the truth.

Meanwhile, Evelyn becomes obsessed with the pretty blonde patient that warmed her husband’s bed. What begins as a little online stalking, quickly gets out of hand. Before long, Evelyn has interjected herself into the life of Juliette Whitman.

While I wanted to feel a connection with Evelyn, it never happened. Mostly, I just pitied her. Here was a woman that was stuck in a trap of her own making, more concerned with her country club image than doing anything to change her circumstances. She was perfectly content to play the victim, all while turning a blind eye to everything going on around her. As a heroine, she came off as weak and rather pathetic.

In the end, there was a twist or two that I didn’t see coming. That being said, they weren’t particularly shocking or exciting. This ended up being an “okay” story for me. It wasn’t terrible, but it lacked that special something that makes a story stand out.

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Review: Addicted to Sin (Hard Love Romance, #1), by Monica James

Addicted to Sin (Hard Love Romance, #1)Addicted to Sin by Monica James
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

***I was provided with a complimentary ARC of this book by the publisher, through netgalley.com, in exchange for honest feedback.***

Wow! This book blew me away! It was a little slow to get started for me, but once it picked up, I couldn’t tear myself away from it. I’m still trying to pinpoint how I feel about it. I haven’t read a book that left me feeling so conflicted in quite some time. I’m dying to get my hands on the next book.

I guess I’ll start out by telling you a little about Dixon. He’s got that all-male hotness that draws you in and leaves you wanting more. As a Psychiatrist, it’s a miracle he hasn’t had his medical license revoked for sleeping with his patients. However, that unsavory tidbit just seems to up his forbidden, bad-boy appeal. He makes no apologies for who he is…and he knows he’s an ass.

Although, we get glimpses of his softer side as well. His manwhoring ways were triggered by his ex-fiancées betrayal with his then best friend. It was all downhill for him after that. He literally threw caution to the wind and lost himself between as many female thighs as he could get to spread for him. It wasn’t pretty.

He soon finds himself drawn to two women that are polar opposites. One appeals to his baser needs only, while the other consumes him wholly. A man with serious trust issues, he doesn’t always make the logical, or wise, choice. He’s afraid to lose himself in love again, only to be crushed.

He keeps the sexually aggressive Juliet around as a repeat booty-call. She’s always interested and always available. He doesn’t care to know much about her, beyond the fact that she is highly skilled in the sack, but she’s easy and keeping her around saves him the effort of having to hunt for other willing women.

Meanwhile, he just can’t seem to shake his feelings for the captivating Madison. He knows that she’s the kind of girl that he could get lost in and he’s afraid to go there again. Yet, no matter how many times he screws up, fate seems to keep throwing these two back together again.

All the while, Dixon has his two friends trying to steer him in the right direction. At least, their hearts were in the right place even when they steered him wrong. Together, these three were absolutely hilarious. I laughed so hard at their banter that I had tears in my eyes. It really helped to keep the story from getting too emotional or sad at times.

Eventually, Dixon seems to get his head on straight and things with him and Madison are finally coming together. Nothing is ever that easy though, so don’t think you’ll get to bask in those warm fuzzier for long. Juliet really is a super-bitch of epic proportions and she’s not ready to take her claws out of Dixon just yet.

Although I had guessed one of the twists fairly early on, it in no way prepared me for everything that transpired in the last 5 – 10% of this book. Holy hell! Ms. James turned my world upside down! I feel completely gutted and I am dying to see where this story will go from here.

The only negative point, was that there were a fair amount of typos, misplaced words, etc. However, I did read an ARC, so many of these errors will likely be corrected in the published editions. Otherwise, I have nothing but positive things to say about this book. It was awesome!

As an aside, this book has now been published under the title ‘Dirty Dix’. I am currently reading an ARC for the second part of this story, but almost missed it due to the new title.

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