Bitter Sweet Hell by Alex Grayson ~ Sarah A’s Review

As the Sheriff of Malus, Texas, JW takes his oath to protect its citizens very seriously. Born from an ugly past, he swears no child, woman, or man will ever endure what he and his brothers have. As he seeks retribution of the ones who have wronged him, his past and his present finally collide. Secrets are laid open. Ones that are so heinous, they’ll rock the very foundation of JW’s life.

When Eden blazes into town, hot with her own threatening troubles baring down on her, JW steps in as her protector. It’s not only his duty, but a need he can’t ignore. The chemistry between the two is instant and all too tempting.

Giving in was easy, but the consequences were high.

Little does JW know, the disturbing destruction that would rain down on Malus by getting involved with the red-headed gypsy.

Danger lurks just around the corner–it’s dark, terrifying, and malicious.

JW is bitter because of his gruesome past. Eden is sweet despite hers. Together, will they create a beautiful future, or will it all end in bitter sweet hell?

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I’m having a tough time rating and reviewing this novel. Not because it was a bad story, it wasn’t. There are few things I’m reluctant to read about, especially for entertainment, and this book was rife with some of those situations. Bitter Sweet Hell kept me glued to the pages; I’m just having a really hard time reconciling everything I read. I decided to read this book without first seeing the cover, had I seen it I likely wouldn’t have picked it up as it gives off a steampunk vampire kind of vibe to me. I don’t feel like it fit the story at all.

Putting the more hideous aspects of this book aside, I found the primary storyline of Bitter Sweet Hell quite intriguing. I found Eden’s situation compelling and terrifying. I wanted to know more about JW and his history – even though what I found out was sickening. Watching them try to navigate their relationship while JW was trying to protect her and his secrets was interesting.

I keep vacillating on how I feel about Eden and JW’s relationship. I love instalove, but I wasn’t feeling it in this book. There were times when their connection and chemistry seemed amazing, but there was still a lot that didn’t feel right to me. I could see the beginnings of the foundation they were building and definitely saw the potential they had together, it just didn’t quite come to fruition in Bitter Sweet Hell, for me. I would have loved to see more of them exploring their feelings AFTER all the outside forces they were working against were settled, as I think that would have helped me to get on board with how deeply they felt for one another.

I have a couple of wishes for Bitter Sweet Hell. The first would be that it have another editing pass or two. There were several typo types of issues, but there was also some stilted language. The second would be that the ending not be quite so abrupt. So much happened in the last twenty or so percent of the book, that it was a little overwhelming. A little too convenient, too.

Bitter Sweet Hell is the second book in Alex Grayson’s Hell Night series. This books in this series are interconnected standalones and can be read independently. I haven’t read the first book and had no trouble understanding what was going on in this one. Bitter Sweet Hell is written in dual first-person perspective, narrated by Eden and JW.

I’m not usually the kind of girl who thinks books need trigger warnings; I feel like it spoils part of the plot. However, Bitter Sweet Hell dealt with some incredibly horrific topics, the worst things human beings can do, and I wish I would have known going in. It wouldn’t have changed my choice to read the book, but it would have given me the opportunity to prepare myself for the atrocities I was about to witness. Bitter Sweet Hell deals with incest, child sexual assault, evisceration, and animal cruelty.

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KEY TO HELL

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Alex Grayson is the bestselling author of heart pounding, emotionally gripping contemporary romances including the Jaded Series, the Consumed Series, and three standalone novels. Her passion for books was reignited by a gift from her sister-in-law. After spending several years as a devoted reader and blogger, Alex decided to write and independently publish her first novel in 2014 (an endeavor that took a little longer than expected). The rest, as they say, is history.


Originally a southern girl, Alex now lives in Ohio with her husband, two children, two cats and dog. She loves the color blue, homemade lasagna, casually browsing real estate, and interacting with her readers. Visit her website, www.alexgraysonbooks.com, or find her on social media!

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