Salutations everyone! I have another series mini review post for you! If you didn’t know, I’ve been doing series reviews for a hot second here on my blog and today, I get to bring the WITSEC series to the table. Book two and three are going to be short, and vague. Due to this being a series review and the fact that each book, except book one, picks up where the previous book before it left off. This is a dark contemporary romance series that comes with a lot of content/trigger warnings. So before we dive into the reviews or you dive into the books themselves, please make sure you’re in a good head space when you pick this series up. All content/trigger warnings I found in these books will be listed at the top of each review.
➸ Find Me (WITSEC #1) by Ashley N. Rostek
Content/Trigger Warnings: Violence, depictions of blood, death/murder recounted, loss of loved ones, grief, PTSD/trauma, graphic night terrors and flashbacks, underage drinking/alcoholism, smoking, bullying, depictions of panic & anxiety attacks, scenes of emesis, stalking, slut shaming, sexual assault, rape, scene of drugging, scene with a spider
Let me be frank, this was a lot, but oh, I was hooked and I couldn’t set this book down. I was completely sucked in and I ended up reading the next two books in the series, immediately after! There’s so much to unpack with this book, but I just want to say that please, please look at content and trigger warnings for this book and series as a whole. This won’t be a series for everyone because of all the content/trigger warnings and I just want to emphasize being in a good head space when picking this book, and series, up!
Shiloh has just relocated to Arizona, where she’s about to start life all over again. Picking up the pieces from a dark past, Shiloh wants to start anew, to live a normal life and finally graduate high school, to do as much as possible with this second chance at life. However, this is easier said than done. When Shiloh’s night terrors begin to impact her neighbors, soon the four handsome brothers begin crawling their way into Shiloh’s life and little does she know that the loneliness that’s eating away at her will slowly start to edge away.
I absolutely loved Shiloh’s character. I can’t begin to express what it truly means to read about a character who has PTSD/trauma and it be so accurately done, to see the portrayal be handled so beautifully. To read about a character who has gone through so much, survived so much, and to watch that character keep fighting just fills my heart with so many emotions and makes my heart melt into a puddle. That aside, Shiloh felt like such a realistic character. Shiloh constantly internally battles herself and we really get to see the highs and lows of the good and bad moments. I just have a lot of appreciation for Shiloh and the author creating this character. It means so much, more than words can describe.
Being introduced to the brothers was a whole entire experience in itself. Even though this is the first book, less than three-hundred pages, you still get a good feeling for the brothers. We’re introduced to the Stone twins first, Colt and Creed. Colt has a very golden retriever personality about him while Creed is very aloof, both brothers go to the same high school as Shiloh. We then meet Keelan next who is the second oldest Stone brother. Keelan is covered in tattoos, charming and friendly, and personally my favorite brother. Then lastly we have Knox. Knox is the oldest Stone brother, the most reserved and closed off brother, who carries the weight of everything on his shoulders. And he just so happens to be my second favorite brother of the bunch. Each brother has their own personality, but we see more of the twins than anything in the first book.
“You’re an asshole and your sexy muscles can go to hell.”
Now, here’s where we get to the good stuff. The spicy, the steamy, the smexy… nonexistent. Yup, you read that right, nonexistent. This isn’t a bad thing, though! This is a quartet series and like with many series tend to do, the first book is setting things up for the books to follow. Providing the back story, giving us those juicy details to questions we have, all that jazz. That’s probably one of the reason I loved this so much. I’m a sucker for writing bringing in details and it helps paint a bigger picture so you have a better idea of characters, situations, etc… So if you’re planning on picking this book up for sexy times, just know there’s no spice, only kissing.
Overall, this was such a fun start to a reverse harem, dark romance book! I truly don’t want to go into too many details because I don’t want to spoil anything for anyone. However, I’m fully, with my whole dang chest, invested in this series, the romance, the stalker subplot, literally everything. I’m here for it. Again, if you’ve been thinking about picking this series up, please check out the content ad trigger warnings because there are a lot of detailed scenes of PTSD/trauma in this book. If you’re someone like me who does deal with PTSD, a lot of those scenes may be triggering and I just really want to emphasize being in the right headspace for this series.
➸ Save Me (WITSEC #2) by Ashley N. Rostek
✨ Find Me ★★★★★
Content/Trigger Warnings: PTSD/trauma, graphic night terrors and flashbacks, depictions of blood, death/murder recounted, loss of loved ones, grief, scenes of drugging, violence, scenes of assault, gun violence, police brutality, attempted abductions, sexual content
Honestly, this was a fun time! I absolutely flew through my time reading this book and couldn’t stop thinking about what was going to happen next. With the first book setting the bar pretty high, I can confidently say that I still had a good time despite a few issues. I do want to say, this review will be on the shorter side of things as this book picks up where book one ended.
As I mentioned, this book picks up where book one ended. If you haven’t read the first book then you need to do that. No worries, this is a spoiler free zone. Getting past that part, we watch as Shiloh continues to build her relationships with the Stone brothers. If you’re a lover of the Stone twins, this is the book for you. There’s a huge heavy focus on the Stone twins in this book and we get to see Shiloh building deeper bonds, and connections with them. We do get brief moments with Keelan and Know, but they’re not given as big of parts in this book.
If you were hoping for spicy, steamy times then yes, we get some juicy scenes in the book. Yes, it’s more than kissing though there’s still a lot of kissing involved. Consent is heavily emphasized in this book and the Stone brothers (mainly the twins) checking with Shiloh on what she wants. I have a huge appreciation when consent is done well and really emphasized throughout a book and I just wanted to highlight that. The spicy scenes were great, not my cup of tea just due to the fact that I’m not the biggest fan of the twins. They were still enjoyable though.
There’s also a lot more exploration of Shiloh’s PTSD and trauma in this book, the way she manages and copes with it. We still get moment where we’re thrown in Shiloh’s past and there’s a few discussions involving how Shiloh has been handling all of that trauma. I don’t want to spoil too much in this department as I think it can be a bit spoiler-ish, but I appreciated a lot of things that were surrounding this as a whole.
“I was terrified at the time. But there are different levels of terror. Ones that will leave scars on your soul forever and completely break your sanity. As you try to move on, you’ll find yourself in a constant state of hating the idea of tomorrow, yet hoping you’re strong enough to see it.”
While there were many things I enjoyed about this book, I had a really big issue with this book and it was all the unnecessary drama that was added. Usually, I don’t mind when there’s a few subplots, however, I don’t like when minor subplots start taking over the main storyline and pushing aside the already established one. The whole stalker subplot basically takes to the back burner as a whole new subplot begins to take place. It completely took the focus away from the whole Mr. X thing and it just felt so unnecessary to be added in.
Overall, I still enjoyed this book despite the things I wasn’t loving. I still found myself breezing through this book the way I did the first one. I’m still invested in the series and again, I picked up the next book immediately just to know what was going to happen next. I do emphasize looking at content/trigger warnings in advance before starting this series or this book, just so you know what you’re in for.
Content/Trigger Warnings: Attempted abductions, multiple scenes of assault, harassment, violence, depictions of panic and anxiety attacks, PTSD/trauma, trauma recounted, graphic night terrors and flashbacks, loss of loved ones recounted, grief, underage drinking, police brutality, manipulation, sexual content, potential scene of rape/sexual assault
✨ Find Me ★★★★★
✨ Save Me ★★★★
Oh boy, this… this was not it friends. Okay, I still enjoyed this book, but I had so many issues with this book. I’m definitely in the minority on this, so take my review with a grain of salt, but all I can really is say is wow. This is book three in this quartet and so far out of all the books, this feels like the weakest book. As with Save Me, this is going to be a short review just to avoid any spoilers as book three does pick up right where book two’s cliff hanger ended.
Honestly, I don’t know where to begin with this review. In this book, Ethan and Isabelle are such forces and shine so brightly. I’ve loved Ethan and Isabelle from the very beginning. I think they’re wonderful characters who really stand by their friends and don’t let anything sway them one way or another. Isabelle really shined the most for me and it was so nice to see Shiloh connect genuinely with another female character outside of all the drama plot that was happening. It just made my heart a little warm and fuzzy to see how close they had grown, and to be able to say it felt like a realistic, natural friendship build-up.
We also get a lot more steamy moments in this book. Whew, yes we do! There’s a fantastic scene with Keelan, Knox, and Shiloh during a Halloween party. Oh my glob, it was delicious! Not a fan of Shiloh’s costume, but it was a really good scene for me. Of course, there are plenty of spicy scenes with the twins and we even get a scene with Shiloh and Keelan together. If you’re here for the steamy, spicy goodness then you’re going to enjoy the daylights out of this book.
“His lips moved over mine in such a devouring and needy way that my resolve finally snapped. My hands slid over his shoulders and I pressed closer to him. I reciprocated his kiss with equal neediness and the eagerness to be devoured.”
Despite these few good things, it was really hard to look past all the things that negatively impacted my reading experience with this book. Again, I want to restate that this is the third book in this quartet. My biggest issue with this book is the fact that we’re supposed to believe our main character, Shiloh, is in a relationship with all four of the Stone brothers. However, I’m not convinced and nothing bothers me more than when authors decide to take on polyamorous relationships or reverse harem relationships and then can’t bring a balance to the whole thing. There’s a huge imbalance in the relationships between Shiloh and the Stone brothers. If you love the twins, guess what, it’s your lucky day because they are so heavily focused in almost every aspect, sexual or otherwise, that I ended up really coming to despise the twins. Before I was indifferent and appreciated the way the connections were building, was even starting to enjoy the twins, but now that we’re in book three and Keelan and Knox still haven’t gotten enough page time with Shiloh, I could careless about the twins. This book had the chance to really solidify Shiloh’s connection and desire with Knox and Keelan, and it just wasn’t believable despite the spicy scenes we’re given because the twins are just so heavily focused.
My other issue is a little spoilery, but I wanted to add this in here because I just don’t have enough details to know if this should be labeled as a content/trigger warning. I still wanted to mention this scene because it unnerved me not knowing one way or the other and I feel it’s important to address it. There’s a scene of a potential home invasion, where Shiloh is really exhausted and a tall figure enters her bedroom, and Shiloh is so disoriented that she genuinely doesn’t know if it’s Knox or an intruder. That’s a whole scene that didn’t sit well with me and I wasn’t a fan of it. I just wanted to throw that in here as a warning because it may be triggering for some readers.
And of course, my other issue is the fact that this is the third book and the author waited until the very end of the book to bring back the Mr. X subplot. So, for the second book and the majority of this book (a whole 85-90%), we spend time in an entirely different subplot than the Mr. X stalker subplot. I can’t speak for other readers, but personally, I’m not a fan of being pulled away from an already pre-established subplot for a new one filled with unnecessary drama that didn’t need to be added in. It just wasn’t my cup of tea, personally.
Overall, I had high hopes for this book and this book just didn’t deliver the way I hoped to. And honestly, I don’t know if I even want to finish the series because of how this book as a whole left me feeling. I mean, yes, I enjoyed some aspects of this book, but now I’m nervous on whether or not the final book is going to be worth the read. Again, I’m definitely in the minority on this one. So please take my review with a grain of salt, but as always, I do hope you look over my content/trigger warnings for this book if you need them and to be in a good headspace when reading this series as a whole.