Review: Release Me by J. Kenner

Posted June 3, 2013 in Review / 5 Comments

Release MeRelease Me (Stark Trilogy #1)
By J. Kenner
Published January 1st, 2013
343 pages
Contemporary Romance | Erotica “Lite”
Source: Received from Bantam (via NetGalley) in exchange for an unbiased review – Thank you!





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About the Book:

He was the one man I couldn’t avoid. And the one man I couldn’t resist.

Damien Stark could have his way with any woman. He was sexy, confident, and commanding: Anything he wanted, he got. And what he wanted was me.


Our attraction was unmistakable, almost beyond control, but as much as I ached to be his, I feared the pressures of his demands. Submitting to Damien meant I had to bare the darkest truth about my past—and risk breaking us apart.


But Damien was haunted, too. And as our passion came to obsess us both, his secrets threatened to destroy him—and us—forever.


Release Me is an erotic romance intended for mature audiences.

I admit it – I love these books!!!  What books am I talking about?  Books like the Fifty Shades of Grey trilogy or Sylvia Day’s Crossfire novels.   You know you like them, too; you just won’t admit it in public.  That’s why you read them on your Kindle, your Nook, or your iPad – so no one knows your dirty little secret.  I’m familiar with this strategy because it’s what I do, duh.  Although, I did buy the actual Fifty Shades of Grey books because Target had them on sale and I had to have them one right after the other.  Target is closer than the library; I was that desperate.

So, enough about you…  why did I wait so long to read this?  Because I’m completely tri-polar when it comes to my reading (bi-polar with everything else).  One minute I want all the pretty-covered young adult books, the next minute I need a good urban fantasy to get my action on.  When those thrills are exhausted, I need some lovin’ with a good romance in the form of either a new adult or one of these “erotica lite” books.  I call this new crop of hot and heavy books for hard-up moms (like me) “erotica lite” because I personally don’t feel they are true erotica in the same form as all the other erotica that’s been around forever.  You compare Release Me to some of the stuff that Ann Rice has written and this pales to some of the hard core images that Ms. Rice can conjure up with her words.  Even compared to Fifty Shades, Release Me is a bit on the tamer side.  I’m not a scholar on erotica, this is all just my humble, Ohio State-educated opinion.

Release Me was another example of the right book at the right time.  I was behind in reading my ARCs and everything was looking like a chore.  So I picked up Release Me and bang!  Done in 2 evenings.  That’s quick for me!

Story / Tempo

I read this story so quickly because it’s a fast, quick, easy read.  It’s told from Nikki’s POV and we meet her as she attends an art event for her boss.  Her boss has given her the assignment of capturing the attention of multimillionaire Damien Stark to procure a meeting to pitch their company’s newest product.  Nikki is actually a very smart, intelligent woman and she knows how to play the game.  She won’t let her boss use her for her looks alone but she also has no problem with getting cozy with Damien Stark.  She’s had her eyes on him for quite some time.

The story spends quite a bit of plot-time establishing the relationship between Damien and Nikki so the story is light on drama.  There is a plot/drama behind the relationship and that’s where I liked this book a bit better than other books I’ve read of this “genre”.  This drama appears to continue into the next book, if the ending is any indication.  At least I hope it does.  Who doesn’t love drama mixed in with hot lovin’?


Yes, we do have a mysterious, hot, tortured multimillionaire in this book.  But our lady interest, Nikki, is smart, educated, strong, and is able to say “no” and mean it.  And Damien likes it.  Nikki has her own past issues that Damien wants to help Nikki with as well.  I really can’t help but fall for Damien.  I hope we get just a bit more personality out of him in the next books because while he was hiding his past from Nikki and the public, he was keeping himself hidden from the reader, too.

Someone please get the song “Darling Nikki” by Prince out of my head!!!!  Every time I saw Nikki’s name in print I kept hearing Prince scream.  And no, kiddies, Prince’s version is NOT a remake of the Foo Fighter’s version.  I should come over and smack you if you think that.  But back to my review…

I was torn between rating this book a 3.5 star and 4 star review.  Four stars won out in the end because I need to read Claim Me (Stark Trilogy #2) as soon as I can get my hands on it and because Release Me was exactly what it should have been, an utterly enjoyable, fun read that can distract you from life for hours.


Other Books in the Series:

Claim Me Complete Me








J. KennerAbout the Author:

New York Times  and USA Today bestselling author Julie Kenner (aka J. Kenner and J.K. Beck) has published over forty novels, novellas and short stories in a variety of genres.

Praised by Publishers Weekly as an author with a “flair for dialogue and eccentric characterizations,” J.K.  is also a two-time RITA finalist, the winner of Romantic Times‘ Reviewer’s Choice Award for Best Contemporary Paranormal of 2001, the winner of the Reviewers International Organization’s award for best romantic suspense of 2004 and best paranormal of 2005, and the winner of the National Readers’ Choice Award for best mainstream book of 2005.

She writes a range of stories including sexy and quirky romances, young adult novels, chick lit suspense and paranormal mommy lit. Her foray into the latter, Carpe Demon: Adventures of a Demon-Hunting Soccer Mom by Julie Kenner, is in development as a feature film with 1492 Pictures.  Her current book, Release Me by J. Kenner, is a New York Times and USA Today bestseller and has sold to over a dozen territories/sub-rights.

Julie lives in Central Texas, with her husband, two daughters, and several cats.

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About Kristin

Kristin has to ensure she gets her minimal requirement of "happily ever after" books in between those books that contain cliffhangers and never-ending story arcs. It's for her family's sake. When not reading, she's homeshooling her 10-year old son, watching cartoons on TV, or taking a nap.

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5 responses to “Review: Release Me by J. Kenner

  1. *headdesk*

    Now I have “Darling Nikki” running through my head.

    I like to have a little smut-lite on hand with my other things, this sounds perfect! Pfft, who needs millionaires anymore, I want a gorgeous billionaire if I’m going to get all smexed up over someone. 😀

    Your reviews are always so much fun. lol
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