Still Beating by Jennifer Hartmann // Review

April 01, 2021

Still Beating by Jennifer Hartmann

It was only three weeks, but it's burned into every cell, every vein, every tainted pocket of my soul. Forever. And so is she. - Dean

Still Beating by Jennifer Hartmann

Still Beating by Jennifer Hartmann

Release - December 30, 2020
Genre - Dark Romance
Dual POV - 1st person
Heat Level - 3 out of 5/a few scenes
Format/Source - borrowed through KU program
Length - 459 pages
Publisher - Indie

When Cora attends her sister’s birthday party, she expects at most a hangover or a walk of shame. She doesn’t anticipate a stolen wallet, leaving her stranded and dependent on Dean—her arch nemesis and ultimate thorn in her side.

And she really doesn’t anticipate waking up in shackles in a madman’s basement.

To make matters worse, Dean shares the space in his own set of chains.

After fifteen years of teasing, insults, and practical jokes, the ultimate joke seems to be on them. The two people who always thought they’d end up killing each other must now work together if they want to survive.

But Cora and Dean have no idea their abductor has a plan for them. A plan that will alter the course of their relationship, blur the line between hate and love, and shackle them together with far more than just chains.

WARNING: This is a dark romance. This book contains subject matter that may be sensitive for some readers, including rape, as well as strong language and explicit sex. 18+ only. Please read responsibly.

Find your copy of Still Beating on Amazon — FREE with KU

The other day, I saw this book making the rounds in a few of my Facebook groups and since it came so highly recommended, I knew I had to give it a try. After reading Still Beating, I can definitely see why people were making so much noise about it. To me it read more like a contemporary romance with dark elements. The beginning was extremely dark while the rest was full of angst. Who doesn't love a bit of horror and heartbreak with their romance?

For fifteen years, Dean and Cora had been frenemies. Between moments of witty comebacks and elaborate pranks, they had a routine. When they're both kidnapped, chained to pipes in a serial killer's basement, and at his mercy, they are forced to face some hard truths — maybe all of that hate was hiding a whole lotta love.

We can't give our heart to another without loving our own first.

I loved how the author tried to make their trauma in the aftermath as authentic as possible. There was no just getting over what they had gone through. It was messy. It was ugly. It was absolutely miserable. The author's writing made their ordeal, their journey, their fight to get to the other side, so very beautiful. I enjoyed the writing, which is always a sure way for a new-to-me author to keep me coming back for more and I will be back. I'm looking forward to Oliver Lynch's story in Lotus.

My issues with this story were:
⭐ I could have done without Dean dating Cora's sister for 15 years and on the brink of marrying her before the kidnapping. I get that it was to add angst to any future relationship between them, but it was gross.
⭐ Cora was too wishy washy and timid for me. And for a girl who got around more than the hero did, why was she given a prudish attitude??? It was freaking absurd. I would have liked her to be more honest with him and herself.
⭐ I would have liked if more time was spent on these characters as a couple as opposed to the back and forth and bed buddy behavior. It would have helped me believe in their happy ending more.

Jennifer Hartmann resides in northern Illinois with her devoted husband and three hooligans. When she is not writing angsty love stories, she is likely thinking about writing them. She enjoys sunsets (because mornings are hard), bike riding, traveling, binging Buffy the Vampire Slayer reruns, and that time of day when coffee gets replaced by wine. Jennifer is a wedding photographer with her husband. She is also excellent at making puns and finding inappropriate humor in mundane situations. She loves tacos. She also really, really wants to pet your dog.

For more information about this author and her books, check out her website:


  1. I've been seeing this book everywhere! I plan on reading it at some point. Awesome review! ❤ I'm glad you enjoyed it at least somewhat, but now I'm kind of nervous about it. LOL

    1. Don't be nervous! It's a really great story, I just didn't like the whole "he dated and sexed up her sister for fifteen years" angle. I think you'll enjoy the heck out of it :D
      And thanks babe!! ❤❤


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