Pen Pal
Review,  Erotic Romance

Pen Pal by J.T. Geissinger – Disappointing erotica thriller

Pen Pal turned out so different from how it’s marketed. It is confusing and disappointing erotica thriller. I wish I had read more reviews before diving into this. So here is my rant review.

Pen Pal by J.T. Geissinger

Pen Pal

Pen Pal by J.T. Geissinger

Publication Date : July 2, 2024

Publisher : Bramble Romance

Read Date : April 15, 2024

Genre : Paranormal Thriller / Erotica

Pages : 384

Rating: 2 out of 5.

Synopsis

The high-octane sexiness of Ana Huang meets the addicting thrills of Rachel Hawkins with a delicious twist in this dark romance from indie superstar J. T. Geissinger.

The first letter arrived the day my husband was buried. It was postmarked from the state penitentiary, and contained a single

I’ll wait forever if I have to.

It was signed by Dante, a man I didn’t know.

Out of simple curiosity, I wrote back to ask him what exactly he was waiting for. His reply?

You .

I told the mystery man he had the wrong girl. He said he didn’t. I said we’d never met, but he said I was wrong.

We went back and forth, exchanging letters every week that grew increasingly more intimate. Then one day, the letters stopped. When I found out why, it was already too late.

Dante was at my doorstep.

And nothing on earth could have prepared me for what happened next.

Review

Pen Pal turned out to be a far cry from what I anticipated. Going in blind, I assumed it would have entertainment, romance, and enjoyment. However, it fell short of those expectations, leaving me feeling utterly disappointed. So, brace yourself for my rant review!

Let’s set the record straight: Pen Pal is not a romance. Marketing it as a dark romance and that synopsis is misleading. I’m pretty annoyed this is compared to Ana Huang’s books. Pen Pal fits squarely into the category of erotica paranormal thriller. Here is what the book truly involves-

The book opens with Kayla attending her husband’s funeral who died in drowning accident. Upon returning home, she receives a letter from a stranger named Dante, a prisoner who claims to know her. Despite never having heard of him, Kayla engages in a questionable exchange of letters, divulging details of her life. Setting aside this peculiar behavior, the narrative progresses to other events.

To fix leaking ceiling in the house Kayla hires Aidan, a roofer but then she dismiss him from the job as he had questioning personality and was unlicensed but still owned a roofing company. However, their paths cross again at a bar, where Aidan unexpectedly invites her to his home that is above the bar, expressing wish to make love with her. Of course, it’s bizarre and Kayla refuses but one night when Kayla feels unsafe in her own home, first thing she does is run to Aidan’s place and spend night with him resulting in sexual affair.

Apparently her house is haunted – lights fluttering, bulbs exploding, door bell ringing but there is no one outside, drawers and cupboards opening in the night, jars flying, presence of figures, and finding her husband’s lucky coin- but Kayla dismisses them as manifestations of her grief and stress. Until Fiona, Kayla’s house keeper, only character who made sense, suggested to act on the haunting spirit and figure out what it wanted but that doesn’t happen until 70% of the book.

All we get throughout the book is Kayla and Aidan having series of sex and falling in love amidst the physicality. There is no proper background of characters. We get fleeting glimpse of their struggling life but it didn’t give any depth to characters.

I couldn’t figure out Kayla. She was passive and naive person who never saw red flags until it’s too late and didn’t seriously act on it. There were plenty hints her husband was abusive to her and something very bad happened because of that and yet her reluctance to remove her wedding ring or disclose her husband’s demise to Aidan only adds to the perplexity of her character. She is 30 years old and yet she has no maturity.

It was all very confusing. I couldn’t tell where the story was going and what exactly characters wanted, except the sex part of course, I came close to DNFing the book at 75% but then a sudden twist offers a glimmer of intrigue that made want to at least see the end.

I almost thought the spirit haunting her might be her husband but what was revealed was surprising. Twist turned out shocking and at the same time outrageously disappointing. There is no HEA and I would have been fine with it but this was just tragic and unsatisfying.

As for the romance, like I said there is no romance just series of BDSM sex where Kayla and Aidan role played as rabbit and lion that made me cringe every time I read their bunny kins and I went through that torture for the entirety of the book. There is no heart melting moments or genuine connection, nor both characters do anything to show affection. No cuddling after sex doesn’t count.

Oh and I forget to mention, nothing exactly comes out of the whole Pen Pal thing. In middle of the story Dante and his letters disappears until the twist near the end. It had connection with the story and very well explained in the end but I found it utterly unnecessary. Why would a person go to such length to make other realize who they really are when there are other simple ways to do it considering the identity of the person.

Overall, Pen Pal was uninteresting, confusing, and disappointing erotica thriller. Only reason I’m giving it 2 start and lower than that is because of last 30% of the book., that plot twist. From now on I’m reading all reviews specially spoilery reviews just so I know what I’m getting into.

I never include spoiler in the review but I think readers need them.

Spoiler

Spoiler

First thing you need is TW : miscarriage, domestic abuse, non-traditional HEA/HFN, murder.
One big point that put everything in place is – Both Kayla and Aidan are dead! From the beginning! Kayla’ husband, Michael, killed them both and now he is in the prison. I didn’t mention in main review but Michael was a genius mathematician who thought he is only person who has brain and was hardcore narcissist.

He killed Kayla and Aidan as he couldn’t digest Kayla left him and didn’t want them together and thought if he can’t have Kayla, no one else can and after killing Aidan he loses his shit and kills Kayla too. Some reviewers mentioned “Michael was a paranoid schizophrenic who thought Kaylan and Aidan were working for the CIA in order to steal his ‘equations’.” I think that part is removed from this edition.

All these time Kayla doesn’t know she is dead and relives her life before their murder, of meeting Aidan and affair with him after she got separated from her deranged husband who was violent and abusive that resulted in her miscarriage. This miscarriage part is rewritten here. In previous/original edition this is what happened as per one of the reviewer, “he kicked Kayla in the stomach so hard while she was pregnant with their baby that she miscarried. he thought Kayla was impregnated by an alien broccoli!”

The funeral Kayla attends in the beginning is her own. As she is dead her house was sold to a family with kid who keeps her old house keeper Fiona who also turned out huge help to them as she had sight and all these time she was gently trying to remind Kayla what happened and at the end suggest seance that brings back her memory. Yes, all the haunting things happening in the house was Kayla herself!

As for Dante, Dante is ghost Aidan. “Dante” is anagram of Aidan’s full name that he uses to write letters and to give hints to Kayla what really happened. As I said that was a poor way to remind your fellow ghost that you’re dead. But one thing I liked is Aidan and Kayla chose not to pass on to afterlife and decided to haunt Michael for rest of his life.

Goodreads | Amazon.in | Amazon.com | Amazon.co.uk

Pen Pal by J.T. Geissinger turned out so different from how it's marketed. It is confusing and disappointing erotica thriller. I wish I had read more reviews before diving into this. #Penpal #JTGeissinger #eroticathriller .Check out… Click To Tweet
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Hi, I'm Yesha, an Indian book blogger. Avid and eclectic reader who loves to read with a cup of tea. Not born reader but I don't think I’m going to stop reading books in this life. “You can never get a cup of tea large enough or a book long enough to suit me.”

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