Note: The book reviewed contains themes only appropriate for those over the age of 18. Also, take heed that there are some SPOILERS below.
There is a first time for everything, including writing a DNF review, right?
Lords of the City is a bundle of standalone romance novels featuring Chicago billionaires finding their HEA with the women (and the readers, I guess) they bring to their knees with their alpha-maleness and bad boy attitude.
Alas, the stories themselves fall extremely short of this highly misleading description, apart from the first novella.
This is what I noted down when I finished Lured:
It is a shame this wasn’t a full novel, because Niall and Emma and their relationship totally intrigued me. Unfortunately, as it is only a novella, the story, characterization, and relationship development (or not-development) are rushed and one has to imagine and/or speculate about the depths of their characters and relationship, although there are so many things that should/could be explored more in depth in regard to both characters, but especially Niall, which are only hinted at.And that was all that was good about the series.
Nevertheless, it is an interesting introduction to the series and I expect the epilogue novella will function as a second part and hopefully deliver a satisfactory (and happy) conclusion to this tragedy. And it is a tragedy, because while Niall behaves like a jerk and he is an idiot, there are certainly reasons for him being as he is and I really need to see him getting to the bottom of his idiocy and his painful (I assume) past and become a better man.
And while I can give Niall a bit of a benefit of the doubt, I also understand Emma’s hurt and her own conclusions about Niall’s supposed (at least currently) irredeemability.
Overall, it was a bit of a hit-and-miss, because it felt like I could like the story and the characters but I missed that added depth that would make me actually like them. The price of the shortness, I guess.
I read a few chapters of Torn, but I should've guessed that the protagonist describing herself as quirky couldn't mean anything good. I couldn't get into the book, because I didn't feel any connection to the characters.
I found Noah particularly annoying with his wish to remake the female protagonist (I can't even remember her name) into what he wants 'his' woman to be. Fine, if you want to have a dress code for your company and compensate your employees for having to readjust their wardrobe to fit the code. But forcing a woman to limit her style exclusively to 'curve-hugging' dresses with disregard of her own comfort and style is sexist and disrespectful, not romantic and certainly not 'professional' and the book lost me there (especially with the 'quirky' lady happily going along with it.)
I tried the beginning of the second book, but I, again, wasn't drawn neither to the story nor to the characters. So, I decided to quit and not even bother with the third book.
The epilogue novella was a also a disappointment, because instead of continuing Niall and Emma's story, Emma simply disappears and instead of her another woman appears in Niall's life out of the blue and I guess he gets his HEA with Candace (but of course it must be Candace), probably without having to overcome his inner turmoil or, god forbid, change.
Also, despite the description that says that these lords of the city would bring us to our knees during a 'raw, emotional journey', these 'bad, bad boys' and their supposedly 'sexy and delicious' stories were pretty tame and far from 'thrilling' – quite the contrary, to me the series was actually too boring to finish.
There are two parts of another Ward's series included in the bundle but I didn't even bother with those.
I can see why this was on sale: give people a deal price for the bundle and 'lure' them in with the first, otherwise unavailable, novella, just in case at least some people might find any appeal in the rest of the materials included.
Overall, the best part of this was the prologue novella, Lured, even with its tragic ending, which I guess was also worth the price of a bit over an euro, while the rest was a free 'bonus'.
3 stars for Lured, 0 stars for the rest.