The Seven Sins series is my first Harlequin series written by different authors where I’ve started and finished all of the books and I really wanted to talk about the series as a whole. Thanks to Harlequin and Netgalley, I received all but one as an advanced copy from them. I did purchase Hidden Ambition by Jules Bennett myself. I had previously read from two of the authors involved, Naima Simone (whom I adore) and Yahrah St. John. My average rating for the series was a 3.14. Okay, so I think that’s all the stats I want to give you up front so let’s dive in!
How does the series come together as a whole?
So the premise of the series is that a decade and a half ago-ish, Vernon Lowell was the CEO of Black Crescent and he and one other person absconded with a whole bunch of money costing many families nearly everything. Naima Simone starts us off in Ruthless Pride with Joshua Lowell, the son who took over after Vernon disappeared (presumed dead) and has righted the ship. On or near the anniversary of the date Lowell left town, an article is released written by Sophie Armstrong that dredges up a lot of pain. What Sophie left out of the article is a plot point that is not resolved until the final book in the series. What ties the series together is that Joshua really doesn’t want to keep being CEO of Black Crescent, which he announces at the end of the book and so the subsequent books follow various people considered for the CEO position, all or nearly all of whom have some kind of connection to Black Crescent. I think this was a clever way to tie the series together because there is a link, but not one that’s overly involved so that ultimately, each story really could stand on it’s own. But the overarching question that’s left unresolved and a desire to know who would eventually take over Black Crescent was appealing and engaging enough to want to continue the series.
Can you read these books as stand alones?
I do think you could pick up whichever books you want. If you want a tighter story, you could read just the three books about the Lowell brothers: Joshua is book one, Oliver is book six (Untamed Passion), and Jake is book seven (Slow Burn). Or you could pick and choose based on the tropes each book explores.
A Ranking, Rating, & Trope List for Each Book
- Reckless Envy by Joss Wood – 4 stars – blackmail (villain) + pursuit/rescue (hero) – ARC Review
- Ruthless Pride by Naima Simone – 4 stars – hate to love/forbidden – ARC Review
- Hidden Ambition by Jules Bennett – 3.5 stars – man with suspect intentions goes after a woman smart enough to see through him, but intrigued anyway
- Slow Burn by Janice Maynard – 3 stars – second chance + plot spoiler I will talk about later –
- Forbidden Lust by Karen Booth – 3 stars – best friend’s younger sister
- Untamed Passion by Cat Shield – 3 stars – accidental pregnancy
- Insatiable Hunger by Yahrah St. John – 2 stars – pining, childhood friends turned to lovers
Would I recommend?
So, this series is such an interesting one because there is a lot of class discussion and the difficulties that come from being in the 1% and dropping to like, not even middle class or lower middle class. But it’s also a series that has such an emphasis on working hard and picking yourself up and making it work. It’s also got a lot of dramatic, family secret, family trauma type stuff. I mean, my favorite (Reckless Envy) literally is about Emily trying to get out of the engagement she’s been blackmailed into. It’s over the top, which is something that tends to work for me. I do think many of these books could have used a little more space to really explore some of the themes and concepts they introduced. All in all, I enjoyed my time with the series, but I think I would be careful about who I recommend it to.
Quick and Dirty Review of Slow Burn by Janice Maynard
Slow Burn finally reveals that the Lowell brother with a secret baby is Jake Lowell, who hooked up with his “the one that got away”, Nikki Reardon. Jake is the brother who straight up ghosted when his father did the crime and he has been traveling the world ever since. Plus day trading, obviously, because we can’t have a poor hero. Meanwhile, Nikki’s father died the night that Vernon Lowell took off in a car crash stemming from him being chased by the FBI or something. She is working as the manager of a diner, raising her daughter, Emma, with the help of her mother.
So, here’s my thing with secret babies. Do y’all not want some child support? Like… I’m just saying. Anyway. Setting aside that I found that annoying, I thought this book does arguably the best job at developing the characters. Jake is still really stuck in the past, but he wants to believe that he’s like, way beyond it. Nikki is a pretty strong woman, who kind of has this issue with how much she’s willing to trust Jake. I liked them both, but the end of the book just left me really… unconvinced things were going to work out. Throughout most of the book though, I was pretty sure I was going to give this one four stars! But the end just let me down.
And that is all from me! Have y’all seen the auction Courtney Milan, Bree and Donna of Kit Rocha, and Alyssa Cole have put together to support the Democratic candidates in the Georgia Senate runoffs? Apparently the auction is going to have some incredible items and I think bidding starts on November 18th!