Pen Pal by J.T. Geissinger
Standalone thriller/dark romance <–(up for debate).
I bought Pen Pal by JT Geissinger because I saw a ton of buzz about it. I didn’t read the blurb, and though I assumed it was romance because my whole feed was reading it, I didn’t look. I picked it up and read it in one sitting. I couldn’t put it down, and haven’t read a book that grabbed me like that in a long time. My immediate reaction was WOW, 5 stars.
It wasn’t until I had lunch with some book friends that I heard how they felt about it. And they were pissed off! I was so surprised. Why were they mad? Because they felt Pen Pal wasn’t really a romance—it was more suspense thriller with some otherworldly elements and kinky sex.
OK, so I want you to go in blind, but READ TRIGGER WARNINGS—please.
I’m not going to talk about the story for a few reasons, mostly because I don’t want to spoil it. But the other reason is I’m not 100% sure I understood it all. I mean, I understood the overall plot and ending, but after the twists, when you look back at the story with different eyes, it doesn’t all add up to me. I’m going to review this differently than my thousands of other reviews, so please bear with me.
The Reading Experience:
I couldn’t put it down. I loved how I never had a clue of what was really happening. I never guessed the twist. The sex was HOT. I listen to most books and it takes forever to read one. This one I read in one day.
It was insta-lust BDSM. The sex scenes were hot as hell (and its been a long time since I found book sex really hot) BUT I HATED the bunny/lion stuff. Then again, who am I to kink-shame?
Completely twisty-turny, it’s hard to guess what is going on. There is a huge twist, but in the end, if you look back at the story knowing the twist, I’m not sure I know what was real/fake/past/present.
Let’s just say the “broccoli” part seemed like a joke, and in that situation it was in poor taste.
People don’t think it should have been marketed as a dark romance. They question if there is an HEA. There is, but not the usual kind. The marketing worked perfectly for me. If this was marketed as a thriller, I wouldn’t have picked it up. I hate scary stuff…usually, but I’m glad I didn’t know, because I loved this!
The cover is hot, but none of it really goes with the story.
The Down & Dirty:
Rating: 4.5 Stars, 4.5 Heat
Purchase Pen Pal by J.T. Geissinger