Review: Dirty Little Secret by Kendall Ryan

11:21 PM

Dirty Little Secret (Forbidden Desires #1) by Kendall Ryan | Review: ★★★★★

As a note, a review copy of this novel was provided on NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not effect my opinion in any way. Thank you!

"You're going to make me scream in the library."

I'll let your imaginations go wild with that one simple line from Dirty Little Secret, the beginning of Kendall Ryan's all-new series Forbidden Desires. In all honesty, I'm clawing my way towards the sequel already because holy crap I need it now. NOW. If you were wondering, yes, Ryan's latest is full of so much desire the following might happen:

-Reader could spontaneously combust.
-Pages are likely to catch fire.
-Cold showers are the new cuddle-fest.
-Proceed to anticipate the next release with your favourite comfort food.
-Pine over the follow-up. 

I mean. Phew. PHEW! Can I use the fire emoji for a sufficient review or is that not how this works?  I'm kidding. Mostly. I really do see only fire when I think of this bloody book and that's, well, as swoon worthy as it is infuriating. I love it. Kendall Ryan, you outdid yourself with this book. I can't stress that enough. You just reignited my interest in the genre and I'm pretty much in love with Emma and Cooper. And Emma and Gavin.


Where's my own Cooper? That's such an unusual question for me to ask since I never ask 'oh my God, where's my [fictional character's name]?' ever. At least, not since I was a preteen and just read Gossip Girl for the first time and totally wanted a Nate Archibald. But sincerely--where's my own Cooper? I nearly fainted over how attentive he was and how much he cares about his brother and Emma. AND WHEN HE CALLS HER PRINCESS?

Sorry. I'm a little emotional. Yikes.

Emma was, naturally, my favourite character in this bad boy. I think she's one of the most coherently developed leading ladies I've read in ages (since, perhaps, the Addicted and Calloway Sisters novels by the Queens: Krista and Becca Ritchie) and I kind of want to cuddle her? All you have to do is say "librarian" and I'm probably stumbling through the door already. She's smart as hell, hot as hell, has a heartbreaking backstory that packs an emotional punch, and has some serious backbone.

In short, she's developed beautifully. Which isn't necessary missing from the genre, it just so happens that Kendall Ryan develops her characters in the way that literature is meant to--they're flawed, we get to know them, their complexities and their desires in real time.

Which goes to say the same for Gavin.

Ah. I have a love-hate for him? He's such a prickly little dweeb. I can't believe I just called Gavin a dweeb, yikes. However, that's the first title that came to mind with him. I'm not sorry. At all. Gavin is a bit (see: a lot) of an Alpha Male. He has a lot of dimensions to him like all good characters should, even as they border on that gray area of, "Should I like them?" What makes this work with Gavin is that in all his wrongs, we see something at his core that is more than a mystery and definitely real. I like the glimpses of his lighter side that we saw, and the layers to his backstory, and think that he has the potential to be developed even more in depth.

In Kendall Ryan we trust.

There's this undeniable chemistry between him and Emma; this is where the novels soul is. Dirty Little Secret's biggest energy source is in the characters, their backstories and their sexual chemistry. Best of all, not a single plot-line overpowers another element of the story. It's all balanced in a way but still leaves you dangling.

I'd love to know more about Emma's life in the future installments. Obviously. More on her past with an abuser, more on her friendships and job. I'd like to know more about Gavin, Cooper and Quinn. I think the Kingsley brothers are going to be the death of me and are my newest obsession.

Overall, definitely my favourite romance of the year! I'm panting (yikes) over NEEDING the sequel and this entire series right the heck now. I can't believe I said heck and how all over the place my review is. I'm just kind of a pile of mush over this beauty and I'm still processing THAT cliffhanger of an ending. Yes, Kendall Ryan is now one of those rare authors who may as well just have direct access to my bank account when it comes to new releases. Agreed?

All I can say is that Kendall Ryan has left me steamed, a little confused (the good kind) and I've lost five pounds since closing it because I'm pretty sure those five pounds have melted off into a puddle at my feet.

You think I'm kidding? I'm not. Dirty Little Secret did that. It successfully went where a great many romance/erotica novels stumble. This was, without a doubt, one of my favourite new romances for the year and one of the smartest, steamiest. If you can only take one sentence from my review, it's that this is my favourite. Also... buy it. Romance fans will adore every last minute of this gem.

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