Review: Unscrupulous (The Manhattanites #2) by Avery Aster


Title:  Unscrupulous
Author:  Avery Aster
Publisher/Year:  Ellora’s Cave Publishing 8/14/13
Length:  241 Pages
Series: Manhattanites #2


Book 2 in The Manhattanites series At thirty-three, Warner Truman is one of the richest men on the planet, a spa mogul who buys and sells resorts at will. He holds powerful executives’ careers in his well-groomed hands. Nothing is beyond Warner’s reach…until he meets her. Stunning, tantalizing and perverse, Taddy captivates Warner’s carnal desire like no woman he’s ever met. A self-made millionaire, Taddy is tougher than steel, more brilliant than diamonds and, at twenty-seven, she’s never depended on a man for anything…until she meets him. The more Taddy plays with Warner’s affections, driving him to erotic heights, the more she is confronted by a dark past. Before she can love him, Taddy must meet her worst fears head-on or risk losing it all, including herself.

My Thoughts

Well, after my feelings of sadness and dissatisfaction with book 1 of the series, i had really low expectations for this book.  I have to say that sometimes that’s really needed to enjoy the next one.  I’m not one to shy away from a challenge and before reading this 2nd installment, that’s what i considered it to be.  I had received the ARC via Netgalley but was a bit hesitant to read it since i wasn’t really excited about the style that the author wrote. Happily i can say, i don’t know if it’s my mindset, or just the difference in story, this book was a success.

In book 1 we were focused on Lex and her troubles as a successful fashion designer who wasn’t financially successful.  I think that the fail there was that there was an over-cockiness about both leads, Lex and Massimo that really was off putting until the very end.  In this story, we are focused on Taddy who comes off as brash in book 1, but really is quite likeable in book 2.  As expected, she has her fair share of baggage, parents who ship her away when her father admits out loud that he doubts that he’s the real father, and she finds herself emancipated along the way.  We get to learn more about her relationship with Blake who we’ve met before and a bit more about Vive whom i’m assuming we’ll really get to know more about in book 3. I also liked that we got a supporting character in Kiki that was unexpected because she’s so naive and innocent (true to some of the asst level in NYC), and she’ll be interested to read more about.

From the male perspective, we get Warner who exudes raw sexuality yet his own insecurities.  He’s successful but not forthcoming with it – he doesn’t take the stage and stand in the spotlight, and it’s not because he’s truly uncertain of himself and his success, it’s just not his style and he’s gotten burned in the past so he avoids it.

these 2 come together on a last minute change of travel plans, and they don’t even know who the other is during that time.  they have a prelude to passion that’s interrupted and then part ways unfulfilled.  fast forward a few months, their paths cross again in the south of france due to unfortunate circumstances that work to their favor.  Taddy is called to bail Kiki out of a situation and it’s at one of Warner’s properties.  So when this happens, you know that they will acknowledge chemistry, get heated when they find out the identity of the other, and who knows where it will go.

What i liked here is that although things seemed to go a bit fast once you get them out of their holiday mode – it’s ok.  They are both successful and busy and realize that it’s never going to be the norm for them.  What i also like is that they seem to balance out one another really well and it’ll be nice to see where this can go for them.  Who knows if it’ll work out outside of the bedroom, but it’ll sure be interesting to see.

so, Avery Aster – i’m glad that i gave you another chance – because this 2nd book was something that i’m glad i decided to read.

Review: undressed (The Manhattanites #1) by Avery Aster


Title:  Undressed
Author: Avery Aster
Publisher/Year:  Ellora’s Cave Publishing Inc 2/5/13
Length:  326 Pages
Series: The Manhattanites #1


Book 1 in The Manhattanites series. Milan’s notorious playboy, Prince Tittoni, seems to have everything—Lamborghinis, exotic women, palaces throughout Europe and business success. Ramping up his fabric company to go global with a new apparel brand, he ruthlessly stops supplying fabrics to the American client who inspired the collection. But once they meet, what’s he willing to give to get her in his bed? Upper East Side designer Lex Easton has already endured her fair share of hard knocks. She’ll be damned if she’ll let an Italian stud muffin knock her down. So what if she named her favorite vibrator after him? With Fashion Week approaching, she’ll do whatever it takes to secure the fabrics she needs to make her clothing line an international success—even sleep with her rival. Lex’s Louboutins are dug in deep to win this war. All’s fair in love and fashion! Inside Scoop: Though the hero and heroine remain monogamous, their Prada-wearing friends indulge in a ménage a trois and other fashionable sexual fun and games. A Romantica® contemporary erotic romance from Ellora’s Cave

My Thoughts

Where to start…..I so wanted to enjoy this story since i’m a New Yorker myself.  I was hoping that we’d  get a bit more about the city life and socialites since Avery is a NYCer too – but that didn’t come through and honestly, i kind of felt like it was anyone writing about NY and that always bugs me.  At least a majority of this story doesn’t take place in the US at all so it’s not a complete loss.

We meet Lex (Alexandra) Easton who is the daughter of rocker Eddie Easton who had a notorious reputation for being a partier/rocker and was married to Birdie who wasn’t so innocent herself.  Birdie has been in and out of rehab, most notably even after Eddie’s death.  Now, mother and daughter work together in their fashion company that has become a pretty significant success in the industry.  What i don’t follow here though is why we are supposed to believe that this company is so successful when it’s not ‘mass market’ when the name is ‘Easton Essentials’. to me, a name like that doesn’t scream prestige, but instead it tells me Target / Macys  – outlets like that.  But i digress.

So we’re taken on a journey with Lex where she’s found herself in a bit of a jam where her company doesn’t have the finances to pay for their fabric shipment needed to complete the samples for Fashion Week garments, and therefore may not even have the means to produce clothing if the orders were to come in and save her business.  what’s hard to really get here (which i suppose is a realistic thing) is that the company is actually quite successful – the orders are pouring in and there’s a great recognition of the brand with the public, it’s just a money pit at the onset.

Anyhow, Lex flies to Milan in the hopes of convincing Girasoli (the textile manufacturer) to release her fabrics and then be on her way back in time to make the designs come to life for Fashion Week.

Once Lex steps foot in Italy, we know that the European lifestyle and allure will take over and she’ll find herself in a precarious position of trying to both woo and avoid Prince Massimo with whom she has a fascination with (and even named her vibrator after).

The story continues through their interesting relationship where there’s clearly an attraction between the 2 but they are both quite damaged by their own pasts that it’s not something that will come easy to one another.  Lex has a voyeuristic tenancy that comes to life in various aspects of this story, and we’re given the sense that Massimo is quite the man – even more than most women can handle.

Along with the interactions between them, we get the dark backstory that makes the prince what he is – we learn about what his father the King was like and how that affected him – similar to how Eddie affected Lex.

What i couldn’t get past though in this story is the way that it was written.  i honestly felt like it was written by a teenage boy who really has no idea how to write mature sounding sex scenes.  the verbiage used was really kind of gruff and even off putting for a story that could have been elevated to a prestige level.  the plot line is there but the wording – PAINFUL.  it took me far longer than it should have to read this since i honestly kept putting it down to read other things.  since i’m not one to let a book beat me, i finally just sucked it up and sat up all night last night just to finish it so i don’t have a partially read ebook in my library.

the question now becomes – do i read book 2?  Unscrupulous is also in my library and i really want to give this series the benefit of the doubt – i just don’t know if i can do it right now.  Let me know what you guys think though – i’d love to get your take on it.