arc · review · romance

What We Do in the Night by Stylo Fantome

What We Do in the Night (Day to Night #1)
by Stylo Fantome

Rating: ★★★★
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Just five months ago, Valentine O’Dell started working at a very special kind of club – one where you can dance the night away, or live out your greatest fantasy. She’s learned to lose herself to her nights, forgetting all her day time woes as she charms every man she meets. It’s easy enough to do when she doesn’t let her feelings get involved.

Then Ari Sharapov walked in and changed everything.

Working for his father’s law firm has left Ari with very little control over his life, so when he meets Valentine for the first time, he sees a girl who is desperate for someone to take care of her. To take over her. So what he can’t get for himself in the day time, he’ll simply take for himself at night. But when power struggles lead to real feelings, who’s actually controlling whom?

Some relationships are better left in the dark.

*ARC provided by author/publisher in exchange for an honest review*

You can also read this review on Goodreads

Welcome to Caché, an exclusive club of debauched affairs and lascivious desires, where you can chase the darkest fantasies, binge on hedonistic experiences and satisfy untamed cravings of titillation. Two complete opposites—one rich, demanding utter domination; the other poorer, willing to submit—intertwined by insatiable lust and unrestrained affection; confined by an arrangement of convenience make this forbidden romance an irresistible intoxicant.

He was rough and aggressive and dominant. He probably tore his opponents apart in the courtroom, and he was no different in the bedroom.

I have a terrible obsession with foul-mouthed, asshole heroes—the meaner, the better in my opinion. Without doubt, Aaron “Ari” Sharapov is rude, conceited and cocksure of himself. Part of me wanted to despise this character’s self-centered and egotistical attitude, but the moment an unforeseen tender side is exposed in Ari, my heart melted and whatever he lacked romantically, he sure made up with an alluring, formidable sexuality.

She wondered if he had any idea that his idea of punishment was her idea of pleasure.

Valentine O’Dell self-sacrifices to ensure home life is somewhat easy. During the day, she’s sweet and demure, a determined college student in design management, but the nighttime is reserved for seduction and inciting the headiest pleasures to surface. Full of fire and ferocity, her resolute perseverance is an admirable symbolism of inner strength and unfettered devotion to family.

“You’re really bad at this whole fantasy thing.”
“I think it’s more that you’re really bad at this whole reality thing.”

Ari and Val have an irrevocable heated chemistry, twisted together by an irrefutable and intense, forbidden connection. He wants to dominate. She’s willing to submit. Despite coming across as opposites, Ari and Val are complex contradictions who are each other’s perfect, sweetest counterparts. Fused together by an irresistible magnetic pull, this couple’s dramatic relationship, together with Ari’s unflinching obnoxious behaviour and Val’s fearless innocent make the beginning of an interesting duet!

“When the sun goes down, you become mine, Saint Valentine.”

arc · review · romance

ARC Review | Church by Stylo Fantome

Church (Church #1)

by Stylo Fantome

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SYNOPSIS

A broken girl.

An unusual boy.

A beautiful face that hides a dark secret and an ugly past.

Sealed lips which hide wicked words and dangerous thoughts.

She would kill for him to love her.

He just wants to kill.

Maybe, if Emma Hartley prays hard enough, Church Logan can make both their wishes come true.

Fuse, meet match.


REVIEW

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I’ve been sitting on this for some time, struggling to come up with words that seamlessly articulate my thoughts and feelings on this dark and twisted story.

To begin: I wouldn’t classify this as dark romance. Rather, I would categorise this as dark, psychological thriller. What the main characters experience isn’t romance. Instead it is an unhealthy “romantic” obsession with each other.

So unhealthy, it drives Emma, our starring female character towards developing a terrifying attachment to Church.

She kept her eyes closed and let out a deep breath. He had a beautiful voice, rich and full. She was glad he didn’t share it with anyone else.

Emma Hartley suffers from deep-seated issues, ranging from crippling low self-esteem, multiple personality disorder, anxiety, etc. After years of suffering from social abandonment and lacking affection, Emma often develops unhealthy attachments to those who grant her attention. So, when she meets the mysterious Church Logan, her mental stability and chaotic emotions take an interesting turn.

She does have a certain charm about her, even I have to admit. Beautiful and damaged, like a rose in a vase. Lovely and doomed to die.

Beneath the quiet, enigmatic personality is someone twisted, awfully strange and outright terrifying, yet intriguing. He isn’t an anti-hero that you will love to hate. He doesn’t even have redeeming qualities really. Yet everyone that surrounds Church is an awe of him, because he is that classic tall, dark, handsome and intelligent character.

In classic Stylo Fantome fashion, Church is shrouded in twisted darkness and interesting turns. While this isn’t my darkest read, I do believe this does deserve a warning as it touches on certain topics ranging from psychosis, self-harm and varying self-esteem issues.

What kind of fell down is my inability to connect with these characters, or to really feel that deep connection or chemistry between them. Emma and Church develop a dangerous and detrimental codependancy that’s far removed from becoming even slightly romantic. They have this vile, toxic relationship that is strangely beguiling and horrendously terrifying.

I’m torn between wanting to rate this four stars (because it is abnormal and interesting) and three stars (because I couldn’t fully connect with these characters). I suspect the next story will be better as everything should hopefully ease into a more deviant and distorted plot line.

It’s the best thing ever, fear. It creates focus. It creates drive. ‘Necessity is the mother of invention’, but what creates necessity? Fear.