Monday, December 2, 2013

The Surrender Trilogy by Priscilla West

A Trilogy Review!

The Basics:

Forbidden Surrender, Secret Surrender and Beautiful Surrender by Priscilla West
New Adult, Romance
Published August 7, September 24 and November 4, 2013.

I received these books from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

I wanted to tackle all three books in this trilogy at the same time because as I read the first one, I knew I was going to need to read the rest to get a complete story.

So...  What do we have here? :)

West has written a trilogy about a young woman, Kristen, who works as a wealth management analyst and her relationship with billionaire CEO-surfer Vincent Sorenson. This blurb from the first book really works as a teaser for the whole trilogy:


The minute I saw Vincent Sorenson, I knew he was trouble. Billionaire. Bad boy. And dangerously sexy. He was everything I craved, and nothing I needed.  

Unfortunately, I couldn’t just avoid him. The higher ups at my company decided they needed his business, and I was on the team to bring him in. Vincent Sorenson didn’t seem as interested in business as he was in me, but I knew that was a door better left unopened. If I got involved with him, it would only unearth the pain I spent years trying to bury. 

I thought I had it under control, but I seriously underestimated Vincent’s seductive charm and silver-tongue. I would soon find out how delicious it would feel to let myself fall into this forbidden surrender.


Vincent and Kristen dance around each other, then around secrets and pain from their pasts. Will they be able to overcome these troubles and come together?  Or will one last explosive discovery rip them apart forever?

My Thoughts:
The first book was, I think, the strongest of the three. It reeled me in even while it teased me. It didn't quite follow the path these books seem to follow in terms of the BDSM erotica that I had expected based on the title, cover and the blurb, which I found refreshing.

Vincent, bad boy CEO billionaire that he is, feels like he should be an alpha Dom as per the current trend in romance/erotica novels. He never quite gets there, and I actually liked him more for it. He's determined and focused on his goal - Kristen. There's an intensity there and an arrogance but it never crossed the line for me, which it so easily could have done.

Kristen is ballsy in this book, she's suspicious and she's conflicted about what she wants - Vincent, naked, but also to protect her reputation and her fledgling career. 

I appreciated the lay it all on the table conversation that takes place in this book. At one point in my notes, I wrote "I'd love to see someone accept that yes, this guy is the total package: wealthy, sexy, experienced, even kind, and I can fantasize about being with him, but there's a professional line that I will not cross." I still want to read that book - to see what happens when that line will *not* be breached, despite temptation. 

This book is sexy without an overdose of sexy times - the phone call, while Kristen is in the tub, was particularly full of potential and I think that West wrote that exactly right - even though I wanted a little *more* phone flirtation. 

The first book ends without serious resolution. I was satisfied with it for what it was, but I also immediately picked up the second book - Secret Surrender.

Secret Surrender is a lot less consistent than Forbidden Surrender. 

Vincent runs hot and cold - romantic getaway to his private island that he's never taken a woman to before (this man-cave cliche is getting a little tired, romance authors! I read Nora Roberts' Dark Witch at the same time and sure enough, the hero in it also never takes women back to his home - except the heroine, of course!), but then disappears for a couple of weeks on business. What's a girl to think?  

Vincent's intensity is also ramped up - his insistence on protecting Kristen from a very real threat from her past is at once sweet AND creepy. He takes this too far, and I really thought that the secret hinted at in the blurbs was going to be that he ALSO suffers from some kind of behavioural disorder. 

Kristen goes from ballsy to melodramatic, revealing a streak of insecurity, and again, poking a hole in Vincent's allure when he fails to adequately address her concerns. I think her frustration with him is justified but.... Yeah. What happened to the determined, hyper-focused Vincent of the first book?

There's a Skype session in Secret Surrender that was a highlight - not only because of the sexy nature of it, but because it felt like a really honest moment in the middle of a book that was a little contrived (see: Kristen meeting Ariel, Vincent's ex, and her reaction to that). 

This book ends on a serious cliffhanger and if you enjoy these first two books at all, you'll have no choice but to pick up the third and see how it all ends.

Unfortunately, I think the third book is the weakest of the set. Beautiful Surrender is a whole lot obvious, relying on overused elements of the genre without giving them a unique spin. I felt compelled to read it, to know how the story would end, but I wasn't blown away by any of it. The reader should know what's happening long before the characters do.

We do get some insight from Vincent's perspective - not a strength of this book. But if you're a fan by this point, I suspect you'll love seeing inside his head as getting the hero's perspective is always a popular request from fans. 

I guess by the end of the third book I was hoping for more - something a little surprising to happen, and a stronger and deeper connection. The positive part of that is that it reflects how much I enjoyed the first book. 

The Bottom Line:

Forbidden Surrender is a unexpectedly good story that reels you in for two additional, lesser books. Secret Surrender is inconsistent, with its highs and lows while Beautiful Surrender is little obvious and disappointing.

I still say give them a try - Only the first book works as a standalone - the other two rely on your familiarity with the ongoing story to be satisfying. These are a quick read - I finished them in one evening. If you're in for more than one, you'll need to read the whole set because of the big cliffhanger at the end of book two.  

Forbidden Surrender: 4 stars
Secret Surrender: 3 stars
Beautiful Surrender: 2.5 stars

For fans of overprotective bad boy billionaires, erotic romances, quick reads.

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