Review // Satan's Affair, Checkmate and Shuttergirl

November 22, 2023

One of the things I love about the bookish world is that one book can evoke different feelings in all sorts of readers. One book can be a five-star read for me and a DNF for someone else. We all see something different because we're all different and I love exploring those differences by reading reviews. So here are three books that I enjoyed and didn't love, however, they got five-star reviews from a ton of other readers.

Have you read any of these?

Satan's Affair by H.D. Carlton

thriller / 197 pages

Every Halloween, Satan's Affair will come to you.

We travel the country, offering terrifying haunted houses, thrilling rides and the tastiest food. And with every passing town, I cleanse this world, one execution at a time.

I hide within the walls, casting my judgement for those that reek of evil, singing lullabies to their rotting souls.

Once you've been chosen, there's no escaping my henchmen—they cater to my every desire.

You can run and you can hide, but it only excites me.


Take a walk through my dollhouse, where your screams will blend and your cute little pleas will go unanswered.

But I can't promise it'll be over quickly...

Rating - ★★★

This was not what I was expecting, however, I both liked and hated everything I read.
This book was a mess of epic proportions and I couldn't look away.
I felt like I knew what was going on with Sybil and her crew, but I'm not entirely sure about anything in the end.
Everything was screwy and tangled and upside down.
If you love swimming in the darkness, you'll enjoy this one.

Checkmate by R.L. Mathewson

Contemporary romance / dual 1st pov / enemies to lovers / descriptive scenes / 350 pages

There’s nothing worse than living next door to your childhood nemesis, except maybe being forced to share your dream project with him, being blackmailed into going along with something that was just wrong on so many levels, and having your hot cocoa stolen by the person that drove you to drink it in the first place.

As long as she has plenty of hot cocoa, a pair of pliers on hand and is able to resist Connor O’Neil's bad boy charm then Rory James should be able to make it through this project with her sanity intact. If not...

She’d probably face a few more nights in jail, have a few more restraining orders slapped against her and lose her heart to the man that ruined her life.

Rating - ★★★★

I love this author's writing and how she brilliantly combines humour and romance and warmth and fun. However, I didn't enjoy Checkmate as much as I did the first two books of the series. The animosity between Rory and Connor got to be too much for me.

When I read this the first time, I gave it 5 stars and I think it's clear how different I am now because I struggled to give this three stars this time around.

While I liked how all the hate was hiding a deep and all-consuming love, I was irritated by way too many things to really appreciate that love. Hot chocolate (which is my favourite too) was mentioned A LOT! Both characters were petty and it took too long for them to be bigger than the childish antics they were used to. I kept forgetting that these characters were adults.

I wanted more sweetness to temper the bitterness that filled the first half (or more) of this story. I wanted their growing intimacy to get more shine. It was obvious these two shared a deep and special connection from childhood and I wanted the beautiful side of all of that to take center stage.

Shuttergirl by CD Reiss

I never forgot her. Not for one minute. Not from the last time I saw her, at seventeen, to today. I measured all women against her and all women came up short.

But being with her was unfeasible in high school, and it’s taboo now.

I see her sometimes, but I’ve never spoken to her. She runs, or I run. We’re in the same town, on the same block, in the same building, and the gulf between us is just too wide to cross.

Until tonight.

He was my high school crush, back when I lived in a world that didn’t want me. He was the perfect boy, and I was the outcast kid from the other side of town. And when he held my hand I thought I could fit in, just a little. I thought I could be his and he could be mine.

Then he left, and my life fell apart.

Now we are the king and queen of opposite sides of Hollywood. And we haven’t spoken a word to each other.

Until tonight.

Rating - ★★★

This is more of a flashback because I read this book back in September 2016. This is my review from that time:

This is the first book I've read from this author and it was ok. Going into it, I took a glance at the reviews, and now I'm surprised by all of the 5 star ratings I saw. Maybe we're not reading the same book. It was in no way a difficult read but I wasn't wowed.

Michael was an atypical celebrity in that he was a regular guy. He annoyed me because he was so caught up in others expectations of him. I'm sure I couldn't possibly understand where he was coming from because I'm not famous by any means, but he was a grown man. I was looking for him to man up more than he did.

Laine was a confused foster kid who grew up into a confused pseudo-adult. I couldn't understand her motives for most of the actions she took or the thoughts that occupied her mind. The only time I truly got where she was coming from was when she tried to save Michael by sacrificing herself.

I'm also confused by the laws in California. Child pornography only carries a two-year prison sentence? Ummmmmm no. Just no. I understand creative license but distribution would have to carry a stricter punishment than that. Otherwise, what is a real deterrent?

In all honesty, I truly do like this author's writing style.


  1. I am even more scared to read that Carlton book. I don't know if I will if it that messy. Great reviews!

    1. Well there's this book I want to read and it says to read Satan's Affair first so well see if the mess continues 👀
      Thanks luv 💜

  2. I loved Sibby's book! I'm hoping to get her full-length novel soon!

    Romantasy Life


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