B.L. Wilde, Jeanne McDonald, Jo Matthews, Mary Elizabeth, and Sarah Elizabeth give us five good reasons why good girls love bad boys. The men of Branded are sexy, adventurous, and troubled deep into their souls. There may be no redeeming them, but at the risk of losing everything, these good girls must decide if loving their bad boy is indeed worth the cost.
I’ll review each story separately, then give my thoughts on the anthology over all at the end.
Condemned – B. L. Wilde – 3*
Although the story was set in the US, and the author/editor did a great job with catching the Britishisms, a couple snuck through and disrupted my flow a little, but no so much as to ruin the story for me. It may only be I caught them because I’m a Brit myself. The one thing that did ruin my reading flow were the short and choppy sentences, a lot of them beginning ‘I’. It just broke up my fluidity of reading at times.
The premise of the story was a great idea, but I felt it needed a little more refinement to make it that touch more relateable and enjoyable and to suck the reader into Clay’s world. He’s supposed to be fuming with anger and out for revenge, but these emotions didn’t jump off the page at me, and his back story came across as a little cliche.
Renegade – Jeanne McDonald – 4.5*
I was sucked into the story from chapter one, instantly being drawn to Lucy and her internal struggle after the shooting which was beyond her control. It’s a shame I can’t stand the Beatles, because there are references to the band throughout the story which made me laugh.
That first kiss – hot damn, it was amazingly hot and made me want to curl my toes! It was a classic bad boy meets chick cop story with a slight twist which I loved. My only issue (and the reason i didn’t give it 5*), was I wanted more. McDonald could quite easily make this a full novel.
Desolation – Jo Matthews – 3.5*
It was a bit of a slow burn at the beginning of the story, with some confusing POV switches. I found myself having to read back a few lines now and then to remind myself who’s POV I was reading.
I really wanted to feel sorry for Liam and the situation he had been forced into, but i couldn’t. I couldn’t connect with him due to his cocky attitude. However, I did enjoy the way Matthews moved the story along with quite large time jumps.
The ending, for me, was a bit unbelieveable with the way his mother finds him, but it gave Liam a softer side that I appreciated.
Low – Mary Elizabeth – 4*
I was instantly drawn into the story and ‘Low’ is likeable and the way he is written really makes you root for him throughout the story.
The struggle face by Low and posey is a very real one, one that many readers could relate to, which I think is the biggest draw to this story. Everyone, when faced with the trouble they are faced with, has quite possibly considered the choices these characters make. They may not have acted upon them for whatever reason, but the ideas have been there at the back of the mind.
The only issue I had with this story was the abrupt ending. I was happily reading and then pow; the end. I WANT more. I NEED to know what happens to these 2 crazy in love kids and I have FAR too many questions!
Don’t Let Me Go – Sarah Elizabeth – 3.5*
I was a little confused by this story, but I pushed on and read the entire thing. I did enjoy it thanks to the dialogue which felt very natural. I did continue to struggle to follow the story a little, but that didn’t prevent me enjoying it.
The moments between ‘lamb’ and CL when they were alone were very sweet and never once felt rushed. They fit with the storyline and I was totally rooting for the two of them. My favourite moment was when she asked what ‘CL’ stood for – it was funny, cute, and completely endeared him to me.
The ending… I wasn’t sure whether to be shocked, cry, or smile. It was a little expected, but that didn’t mean I wanted to read it, yet it was a natural end to the story.
Over All – 4*
All in all, this anthology is a great collection of stories about bad boys in different guises. Some were a little cliche, but mostly, the ideas of the stories were great. Some could have used a little more refinement or extending. Well worth a read, but I wouldn’t read all in one sitting. The stories are great to read one at a time, picking up and putting down when needed.
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