Review: The Vanity of Roses by Lily White

Format: E-Book
Read with: Kindle Paperwhite
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Standalone
Publisher: Self-Published
Hero: Callan Rose
Heroine: Lisbeth Rebel Rose
Sensuality: 3
Date of Publication: March 17, 2020
Started On: June 15, 2020
Finished On: June 19, 2020

I have forgotten how I came across The Vanity of Roses by Lily White. Not that it matters, but I like remembering how a book came to my attention. Perhaps it has got something to do with the fact that this book promised to deliver a ruthless hero who in turn would give the story the angst that I so crave in my romance novels. But alas, all of what I was hoping for never did materialize in the story as I wanted it to.

The Vanity of Roses begins at a point where a tragic event takes place at the Rose Estate, home of Lisbeth Rebel Rose. The hero, Callan Rose was a servant boy in the family back then, at the beck and call of none other than Lisbeth who made his life a living hell. Ten years later, the roles are reversed and gives Callan the perfect opportunity to get back at Lisbeth for all the pain and misery that she had put him through.

However, even as Callan is at his most ruthless self, he loses his edge when it comes to delivering that needed lesson to Lisbeth. At the same time, Lisbeth fights back, until at long last, she gives into the push and pull factor between them, what she had perhaps craved all along and never quite accepted at heart. As the story plunges to its end, the stakes have never been higher, especially with both their hearts on the line; the question being, who will fall first into the deep abyss that is love?

While I found Ms. White’s writing style to be one that is highly readable, for the most part, The Vanity of Roses was filled with repetitive inner monologue that was tiresome so much so that I skipped parts of the story to reach those bits where things were actually happening. Lengthy descriptions trying to portray the hero as the badass character that perhaps Ms .White envisioned him to be also proved to be tiresome. Heroes are ruthless by showing to readers what they are capable of through their actions, not by painting a picture of the same without concrete action to back it up with.

The secrets when they were revealed about what took place that fateful day, which served to be the whole premise of the novel, was an overblown one in my opinion. We all get it. The family is dangerous, but to prove that point, to commit a crime so heinous – that to me was totally unrealistic, not to mention the fact that there was a noticeable lack of any mention of an ongoing investigation into the event, which for all intents and purposes remained unsolved.

I am guessing that above all of that, my biggest discontentment about the story arose from how I felt about main protagonists. For one thing, I found the Lisbeth to be quite awful at the beginning and for the most part. The way she thought that a mere apology would suffice for her bullish and cruel behavior was just unacceptable to me. She did nothing to redeem herself in my opinion, and I found her attempts or apologies to be half-hearted at best.

Callan also fell way below my expectations. I went into the story, pretty excited by the blurb and expecting a hero that would blow me away. He was big, brawny, good looking, and scarred in the way that makes for the most exquisitely crafted heroes. But alas, there was nothing about him that showed the growth of his character as the story progressed. At first, his revenge on the heroine or the way he at least tried was interesting, but it was evident from the start that he would not be able to see it through.

All in all, I ended up believing that neither Callan nor Lisbeth deserved the other. Or perhaps they do, because I found them both to be equally disappointing. The saddest part though was the fact that this could have gone in a totally different direction, had the main protagonists not being so unlikable.

Recommended for fans of mafia themed romances. There is a reason I steer clear of them. This one says it all.

Final Verdict: The Vanity of Roses fell short of every expectation I had when I first picked it up. Proved to be disappointing, most of all the main protagonists.

Favorite Quotes

Quickly stuffing towels away, I slowly pushed to my feet as I filled each shelf, my eyes seeking each tiny slit to peek through as I stuffed the last towel in.
I was at my full height when I dared look one more time and found a pair of whiskey eyes pinning mine through the slat. My heart stopped with a painful rattle.
Oh my God…
Callan’s dark stare didn’t waver. His body didn’t stop fucking that woman’s face. And she had no idea I was standing here.
But he did.

“I won’t be gentle,” I warned, my finger pressing down to find her panties were soaked.
She shook again, her mouth seeking the violence of my kiss.
We were balanced on a precipice with the threat of falling over, our eyes locked, our lips brushing, our bodies ready to give and take despite the hate we felt.
When she didn’t answer, the last cord of self-control I had snapped.
“Don’t say I didn’t warn you.”
I flicked her panties aside at the same moment my mouth took control of hers, and while my tongue swept in to taste her for the first time, my finger dove deep inside her body.
Victory was the flavor of her first sensual moan.

Breathless, I asked, “Don’t you think this is a bad time to have this discussion?”
I could feel him smile against my skin. “I think this is the best time, actually.”
Notching the tip of his cock at my entrance, he lifted his head to lock eyes with mine.
“Why’s that?”
One long thrust and he filled me completely, his cock so deep that I swore I could taste him in my throat. His hand locked on my thigh to push my legs open wider, his hips so frustratingly still that I thought I might scream.
Leaning down, his mouth brushed mine as he answered, “So that neither of us make the mistake of forgetting what we’ve done to each other and fall in love.”
“I won’t fall in love.”

Our bodies slapped together again, the orgasm I’d been chasing finally igniting inside me until my body shook against his, my mouth opening on a silent scream as pleasure flooded every cell.
Callan’s hand slid from my breast to my throat, his teeth sinking down, the scruff on his jaw so rough on my skin that it competed against the hard planes of his body claiming mine.
He held me there while wave after wave of the orgasm broke me to pieces, the release shattering me, the tremors as violent as him.

I released her throat when panic flooded her body, shoved my pants down with one hand and grabbed her breast with another. And while she coughed to finally have air fill her lungs again, I drove myself inside her, her cunt clutching me, desperate to be filled, greedy.
She surprised me with her raspy words. “Again. Do it again.”
My head snapped up, and I met her sultry stare, my hips going still while my cocked remained sheathed inside her.
I spoke carefully in response.
“You like that edge, don’t you? The one between life and death.”
Lisbeth nodded, insanity behind her eyes.
In that we were the same. I loved it, too. A little too much.

Thrusting inside her with one hard shove, I buried myself to the balls, practically sipping on the scream that tore from her throat, part anger at what I’d said and part lust.
That’s the thing with bitches: they’ll pretend they want to be worshipped when the truth is they want to be stripped of their power and fucked dirty against a wall.

“Ride my tongue, beautiful. Show me how much you want this.”
My body bucked as the tip of his hot tongue flicked the swollen skin, my hips moving as if on their own, directing him, riding his mouth as he licked and nibbled, driving me just to the edge of ecstasy before pulling back.

Purchase Links: Amazon

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