Kaleb by Nicole Edwards

Rumors abound about the seven Walker brothers. They may be gentlemen, but they are far from saints. Good God and there’s seven of them?! Heaven help their mother.

What’s it About? 

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Zoey Stranford might’ve had a crush on the sexy boy next door since middle school, but she’s a woman now, and that crush has turned into a full blown case of lust. So why is it that at twenty nine, her libido decides to ramp into high gear and the only thing she can focus on is the intensely sexy, scorching hot boy next door who is definitely not a boy anymore? The only problem is that Zoey and Kaleb have been best friends for as long as she can remember. Not to mention, Kaleb and his brothers are working on buying Stranford land to build a new resort, and she’s more than a little hesitant about his intentions.

Kaleb Walker has had his eye on Zoey for close to twenty years, but never before has he considered taking their friendship to the next level, no matter how many fantasies he’s had about her over the years. That doesn’t explain why Kaleb is hell bent on having her – in as many ways as possible.

Kaleb finds himself in a precarious situation. His brothers have nominated him to pursue Zoey’s father about purchasing the land needed to get their new resort off the ground. Finding out that Carl Stranford is on the brink of foreclosure and Zoey might just lose her house and the land, Kaleb now has to convince her to put aside her pride and let him help her. It doesn’t take long before the flames start burning bright and hot, and the two of them burn up the nights and the days as they explore each other’s forbidden fantasies. But can their friendship survive a business transaction or the new friends with benefits clause? Or will they realize that they’ve been overlooking something much deeper that’s been right in front of them all along?

First Impressions

Kaleb and Zoey have been neighbors for years, and he’s been lusting after her since they were just a couple of horny teenagers. The synopsis tries to imply that it’s only because he’s trying to convince Zoey to sell her family’s land that they suddenly get closer in the physical sense. However, that’s not really true. If anything it seems like after being friends for so long they’ve had enough with putting things off, and kind of fall right into being romantically involved. There’s really no awkwardness at trying to navigate a physical relationship. They simply get down and dirty with it, including their flirtatiousness. And hell, why not add another guy into the mix as well?!

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Secrets and Sensuality

Zoey admits to Kaleb pretty early on in their newfound relationship that it’s been a fantasy of hers to be the filling of a Walker brother sandwich. Seeing as the Walker brothers are known about town for sharing their women at the same time, Zoey’s biggest conundrum is what other Walker brother she’d want to have a threesome with. Not gonna lie, I did find it rather strange that considering how long Zoey has been lusting after Kaleb she’d be willing to toy with the idea of allowing another one in there. Meh, what do I know about the emotional or physical logistics of a threesome. I’ve always said it seems like too many limbs jumbled together!

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As for Kaleb, he’s been waiting for so long to take Zoey to bed, and has even been dreaming about sharing Zoey with one of his brothers for a long time. Talk about being close with family to an uncomfortable degree! Kaleb mistakenly assumes that Zoey will have an innocent vanilla approach to sex, but when he discovers her secret desires he’s almost afraid of pushing her too far with his own desires. However, it doesn’t take long before he overcomes those insecurities, and brings their dreams of a threesome to a reality. Rather than sharing her with a blood relative though, Kaleb decides to bring his best friend to the party. Kaleb is excited to bring Zoey to the ultimate pleasure, yet experiences an unexpected mixture of possessiveness and lust when his best friend strokes Zoey’s thigh. Now that he finally has Zoey, will he be able to share her with someone else? Um, yeah. Multiple times.

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Threesomes and Land Purchases

I’ve read a few erotic novels featuring threesomes before, and this one definitely took a unique approach to the horizontal conga line. I feel like normally when it comes to threesomes we either see a couple experimenting with it once as a way to mix things up in the bedroom, or you have three people who all fall in love with each other and decide to become romantically involved forever and ever. In this novel however, there were a surprising number of threesome scenes involving Zoey, Kaleb, and his best friend Gage. Zoey clearly understands that Gage is only there for the pleasure aspect, and her true feelings of lovey doveyness are for Kaleb alone. She’s just intrigued with the idea of exploring her sexuality after the disastrous end to her marriage, and apparently that involves more than one foray into the world of threesomes.

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The other aspect of the novel which surprised me was that there’s really no attention focused on this club that Kaleb and his brothers are opening. The majority of the story involving the club deals with the land purchase from Zoey’s father. I guess I just assumed this club would be constructed and fully opened by the end of the novel, but that’s not the case. Looks like this might drag out to encompass the other novels in the series as well. I do feel the club’s concept deserved more attention and discussion, especially when Zoey discovers they are planning to open a sex club. Seems like it’d be a main topic of conversations, but nooooope. Moving along.

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Series: Alluring Indulgence, book 1. I won’t rush to read the next book in this series, but I won’t delete it from my TBR list just yet.

Should you read it? This novel was definitely more about sex than story. It’s mainly just about Zoey exploring her sexuality. Don’t get me wrong, that’s good and all, but it simply doesn’t make for a very engaging read. There isn’t much drama at all involving our multitude of characters, including all the Walker brothers, and when there was drama it seemed pretty unnecessary. Overall, a lack of really any kind of depth to the story.

Smut Level: With a threesome here, and a threesome there. Here a threesome, there a threesome, everywhere a threesome.

Get it on Amazon: Click Here. $3.99 Kindle Price. Pocket Star Publishing. 342 Pages.

Vengeance by Shana Figueroa

What makes this female private investigator different than any other? Well…her magical vagina for one.

What’s it About? 

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Corruption. Greed. Illicit sex. Murder. Private investigator Valentine Shepherd thinks she’s seen it all, and her strange ability to glimpse the future gives her an edge no one else in the world has. But when her fiancé is killed trying to exonerate his client, billionaire Max Carressa, Val makes it her personal mission to bring the people responsible to justice, no matter the cost. Convinced the two men are linked by more than attorney-client privilege, she enlists Max’s help in her investigation and gets more than she bargained for. On the run, Val and Max must uncover who wants them dead and why. The answer leads them to a conspiracy that has Val herself at its center. She doesn’t understand how or why, but time is running out to expose the truth and escape the danger she knows is coming . . .

First Impressions

Mkay, you just know that when a book starts off with a magical vagina it’s gonna be unique. And when we find out that Val isn’t the only with supernatural genitals? Well, stand back ladies and gentlemen. How exactly are Val’s lady bits special? She has visions of the future whilst getting it on. Definitely a party trick you don’t see very often. The one downside to this “gift” is that Val never really gets to experience the pleasure of an orgasm. She gets the build up, and the aftermath, but the boom moment causes her to pass out in a vision. Not sure how I’d feel about that to be honest. Especially considering her visions usually involve seeing someone’s death.

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On the Run

While Val’s visions can sometimes prove useful, she discovers they aren’t always accurate. Case in point, when she envisions her lawyer fiancé question a possible witness who could help with one of his cases, she never saw him get run down and killed by an unknown assailant. In an effort to uncover the truth about his death, she eventually crosses paths with Max Carressa, a mysterious billionaire accused of murdering his own father.

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Needless to say, it’s been a rather stressful week for Val Shepherd! Not only is she witness to her fiancé’s murder, but she’s trying to avoid being killed herself as she attempts to solve his murder. All of this is further complicated by the fact that, in a way, Max is someone she’s been searching for for a large portion of her life. Or someone like him anyway. He’s the first person she’s ever met who has the same abilities that she does. Val does put up a valiant effort to fight her growing attraction to Max, but when they discover they both share the same sexual gift, we know it’s just a matter of time before they get busy seeing visions together. With an ability grounded in sex, it seems meeting someone else with the same gift heightens their feelings of arousal. Poor girl didn’t stand a chance!

Magical Genitals Collide

As the novel progresses I was curious to find out if Max and Val’s eventual first time together would be out of necessity to find out key information in a vision, or from a development of real feelings for each other. Interestingly enough, it’s sort of a combination of both. Val senses a growing attraction to Max that can no longer be ignored, so she kind of uses her gift as an excuse to finally get physically close to him.

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Something I did find particularly interesting about their supernatural power is how it influenced their sexual dynamic. In most romance novels, we often see a male lead who wants to make himself last as long as possible, while giving his woman as many orgasms as possible. However, for Max and Val they both try to delay the inevitable in order to prolong their pleasure. The fact is, they each only have one shot before they literally pass out in a vision. In their efforts to make it last, they often talk about other topics to keep their mind off it. In addition, they can’t necessarily come together, or else risk passing out on top of each other and squishing some rather important bits and pieces. Like a true gentleman, Max lets Val come first before taking his own pleasure with a desperate attempt to try and pass out beside her.

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One benefit to their strong libido is that although they can only come once at a time, they can quickly regroup after their visions and go at it again. Seeing as Val often foresees death of some kind you’d think it would kind of spoil the mood, but nope! They are ready and raring to go pretty quickly.

Building Suspense and Leading Characters

While Val and Max explore their visions together we also have the underlying story line of her fiancé’s murder, and uncovering a conspiracy rooted in politics and greed. There’s quite a lot of suspense towards the end which lasts for a good chunk of the novel. Definitely nice that it wasn’t a wam, bam, thank you ma’am kind of deal. I was also initially worried that their ability to see the future might make the end of the book less exciting, but that wasn’t the case either as both Val and Max desperately try to alter the course of events which could lead to their deaths.

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I will say there are a LOT of moving pieces in this novel, including a plethora of different characters, motives, and a seemingly endless number of interconnecting story lines. At times it was tricky to keep everything straight, and you can tell some aspects weren’t fully explored so that they can be featured more prominently in a future novel. While I definitely understand the appeal of this for certain plot points, I felt it sort of detracted from us getting to know our main leading lady on a deeper level.

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Considering Val was a former sergeant in the army it means she’s literally a bad ass, and one woman I would never want to cross. Unfortunately, it was also a smidge difficult to like her at times, or connect with her on an emotional level. After mourning the loss of her fiancé it seemed like Val sort of shut off her emotions in order to move on and focus on finding his killer. In a way this also closes herself off to us as the audience. Honestly, I couldn’t help but see Max as a more compelling character due to the fact that we uncover a significant portion of his back story, and get a good glimpse of his hardships and inner turmoil. I wish we had been offered the same for Val, specifically in relation to the impact of her sister’s untimely death, and her developing relationship with Max. It’s definitely possible we’ll see more of this in future novels, but I think a brief window into her personality would have helped us connect with her.

*A copy of this book was provided for an honest review*

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Series: Valentine Shepherd, book 1. There’s an unexpected twist at the end which sets things up for a sequel. Not a cliffhanger per se, but it will leave you wondering what happens next.

Should you read it? The ending of the novel was definitely my favorite, as we see all the various plot points come together for one climactic finish. It does take a while for the story to develop, and with there being so many different characters and interwoven plots it sort of feels like you’re being unwillingly pulled in a multitude of different directions. In addition to the magical genitals, there is also a larger supernatural connection which is briefly touched upon towards the end of the novel. Not really sure how I feel about it at this point.

Smut Level: This book has pretty much every combination you can imagine under the sun. We’ve got m/f, f/f, m/m and m/m/f. I guess the only version missing is f/f/m?

Get it on Amazon: Click Here. $4.99 Kindle Price. Forever Yours Publishing. 336 Pages.

 

Until Sage by Aurora Rose Reynolds

Sage might be adopted, but this man is a Mayson through and through. He too experiences the “boom” which clearly designates Kim as his one and only.

What’s it About?

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Sage Mayson had Kimberly Cullen once, and the memory of that brief encounter has tortured him since the moment he pushed her away. He should have followed his gut, but he didn’t, and now he’s left watching the woman he wants more than anything from afar. Kimberly vowed to protect her heart from Sage, but when her sister is murdered and her world starts to fall apart, he’s the one person she finds herself leaning on. Getting a second chance is something Sage knows is rare. He’s not going to squander the one he’s been given, and he won’t take no for an answer when it comes to making Kim his. But what Sage doesn’t know is Kim has a secret that could leave them both devastated and heartbroken

First Impressions

One thing’s for sure, you need to be extremely careful with how you read the books in both the Until Him and Until Her series. In my opinion, it’s really best to go back and forth between the two and read them in the order of their release date. Not gonna lie, pretty annoying tactic, but also important as one of the main plot points of this novel was both presented and basically resolved in the novel “Until Ashlyn”. While I do enjoy having the alternate focus between the male and female children of the Mayson clan, I believe that for continuity and sanity’s sake, it would have been better to combine both of these series into one. Call it the Until Descendants or something.

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Nature vs. Nurture

You know, I kind of feel bad for twins. When it comes to literary representations it seems that 9 times out of 10 we are always presented with a good twin and an evil twin. And that’s basically what we’re presented with in this novel. Not a very promising outlook in romance novel land. Kim is the good twin. She’s an upstanding citizen, successful hair stylist, and a compassionate friend. Then there’s her twin sister Kelly who is a regular visitor to a sex fetish website, and tries to date rape Sage upon first meeting. Awkwardly for Sage he didn’t know Kim was a twin, and it kind of introduced a speed bump in the road of their budding relationship when he mistakenly thought the girl he was smitten with just wanted to drug and rob him. Oh, to be a twin in a literary romance.

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This twin focus introduces some of the main conflict of the story. On the one hand, Kim has an emotional struggle with herself. She wonders how different her and her sister’s lives could have been if their upbringings were reversed. While Kim was put up for adoption and raised in a loving home, Kelly remained in the arms of her drugged out and abusive mother. It presents the classic debate of nature vs. nurture, and Kim often wonders if she would have ended up as screwed up as her sister if she had remained with her mother instead.

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The other point of contention which this twin story line introduces to the plot is the mix-up with Sage. When he believes that Kim was the one to attempt to drug him, he confronts her the next day and calls her a bitch, ultimately dismissing her from his life. However, while this does add a sense of “so what happens now”, Kim and Sage still have an obvious sexual attraction for one another, and we know it’s just a matter of time before the truth comes out and they’re eventually knockin boots.

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Side-by-Side Series

Aside from their initial kerfuffle which delays their sexual fun time, there’s really only one other main element of drama throughout the whole book, and it’s definitely presented in a rather odd manner. When read in conjunction with the Until Her series, we find that we’ve actually already been introduced to the suspenseful plot point of the novel. As if that wasn’t enough, we even know how the whole matter comes to fruition after reading Until Ashlyn. By reading these series side-by-side, it makes this novel pretty…well…uneventful when all is said and done. Aside from taking their relationship status from on the rocks to living together not much else happens during the rest of the book. Kind of disappointing. There is one other minor issue involving Kim’s health that I thought would become a more prominent feature of the book, but it’s ultimately resolved without as much attention as I thought it deserved.

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Series: Until Him, book 2.

Should you read it? This book was just ok. Definitely a letdown that the primary feature of suspense and mystery was given away in its entirety during the last book. Still a sweet read.

Smut Level: Sage experiences his “boom” when he meets Kim, and Kim too experiences some rather booming orgasms on multiple surfaces of both her and Sage’s homes.

Get it on Amazon: Click Here. $3.99 Kindle Price. Amazon Digital Services LLC. 229 Pages.

The Red by Tiffany Reisz

I feel like we all need to take a moment to admire the ethereal beauty of the cover art. Just look at it! Gorgeous!! As for the book itself, well…let’s just dive right in, shall we?

What’s it About?

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Mona Lisa St. James made a deathbed promise that she would do anything to save her mother’s art gallery. Unfortunately, not only is The Red painted red, but it’s in the red. She soon realizes she has no choice but to sell it. Just as she realizes she has no choice but to sell it, a mysterious man comes in after closing time and makes her an offer: He will save The Red if she agrees to submit to him for the period of one year. The man is handsome, English, and terribly tempting…but surely her mother didn’t mean for Mona to sell herself to a stranger. Then again, she did promise to do anything to save The Red…

First Impressions

This was my first ever Tiffany Reisz novel, and my first impression was pretty immediate: I am waaaaay out of my element. Having never read a Reisz novel before I didn’t really know what to expect. If you’re a fan of her style of storytelling, I have a feeling that you’ll enjoy this one. Personally, I found it rather hard to review. On the one hand the writing is downright exquisite. You can’t deny that fact. The scenes are outlined in such particular detail you feel like you’re right there in the room with the characters. On the other hand I really didn’t want to be in that room. The sex scenes were excessively graphic and raw to the point where I just couldn’t enjoy them. This is the kind of book which intentionally tries to make you question your preconceived notions of pleasure and sex, like a psychological mind game. For me, it was done to excess, and I was uncomfortable reading it for the majority of the time.

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A Deal with the Devil

While our mystery man might not be the actual devil, we get the sense pretty early on that there’s something different about him in the paranormal sense. Malcolm comes upon our heroine when she is at her lowest: half a million in debt and on the brink of losing her mother’s beloved art gallery. He offers to give Mona one million dollars if she gives him carte blanche over her body for one night every 2-3 months for a year. If she agrees, he’ll provide her with a priceless work of art after each and every tumble. Well…that’s a new kind of sexual deal I’ve never come across before.

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You gotta give it to this guy, he doesn’t f*ck around. Malcolm couldn’t be more blunt when outlining this arrangement with her. There are no flowery words of love, and he acknowledges right off the bat that he’s treating her like a whore. Literally. “I think you’ll make a fine whore” is a direct quote. Interestingly enough, his continual label of her as “whore” eventually comes across as a pet name rather than an insult. Malcolm admits he just wants to f*ck her, and has no interest in love or marriage. I guess you kind of have to appreciate he’s being upfront and not trying to manipulate her?

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The whole thing is sort of conducted like a business deal, and is the first introduction of some interesting examples of juxtaposition throughout the book. This man gives off a dignified air when discussing something so overtly sexual. They carry out their sexual contract in a seemingly pretentious art gallery, yet are surrounded by erotic art as they indulge in excessively carnal and scandalous acts. Mona acknowledges how weird it is for him to just jump right in with his head between her thighs without any wining and dining beforehand. Malcolm is thoroughly using her body, yet she states multiple times how much she enjoys being used by him. Sooo…yay for it being consensual?

A Lesson in Art

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Nymphs and Satyr by William-Adolphe Bouguereau

I will say, while this book wasn’t my cup of tea there was one feature that I really did enjoy, and that was the art aspect. Before each coupling, Malcolm would provide Mona with the title of a piece of art that would come to represent the theme for the evening. This is when the paranormal aspect of Malcolm’s persona really comes to the forefront, as he is able to transform the back of Mona’s art gallery into any setting, from an elaborate maze to a secluded clearing in a fairy tale forest. Every chapter is entitled with the name of the artwork, and it was kind of fun to look them all up on Google before proceeding with the chapter. Definitely something I would recommend to all readers who take this one on!

 

Out of My Wheelhouse

I had trouble wrapping my head around several elements of this novel. The first was Malcolm’s literal treatment of Mona like a whore. What I found so bizarre though was that he didn’t look down on her for selling herself, and she too seemed to enjoy it. He admits, “I have trouble respecting a woman who gives away for free what she could sell for good money.” Well, doesn’t this just make you question everything you were taught growing up? It’s kind of freaky how much a smooth talker this guy is, where you start to think, “Wait, am I…am I supposed to think he’s right?” You start to realize that he doesn’t just want to f*ck her, he wants to f*ck with her by playing mind games of what’s real and what’s fantasy.

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Dora and the Minotaur by Pablo Picasso

There were two scenes in this book which stood out to me, mainly because they were the ones which confused me the most. The first was the enactment of The Slave Market painting. In addition to Malcolm, four other men come to Mona’s gallery to poke and prod her, suck her, examine her breasts, mouth and nether region. She mentions how she’s humiliated, she hates it, she wants to cry. And yet…she also loves it. She doesn’t understand it. I don’t understand it! Let’s move on.

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The Slave Market by Jean-Léon Gérôme

Then towards the end of the novel we have a rather demented version of 99 bottles of beer on the wall. Instead, it’s smacks of Malcolm’s riding crop. Mona gets 100 strikes of his cock for 100 strikes of his crop. Malcolm whispers words of encouragement and adoration throughout this scene to the point where Mona loves him and his kindness, while also curling up in the fetal position and crying tears from the pain. After every strike of the crop he would kiss her, which made her eventually see every strike as a loving kiss itself. Now…that’s a psychological mind game right there! Personally, I couldn’t help but see it as a disturbing window into abuse.

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*A copy of this book was provided for an honest review*

Series: Stand-alone

Should you read it? If you enjoy the work of Tiffany Reisz I would say give it a go. I did enjoy the artistic element of the novel, it has some interesting twists, and the writing itself was spectacular. This book is seemingly all about the heroine discovering herself, and I guess for me it made me discover that for a genre of novel like this I am a total prude when it comes to sex! The sex scenes presented were simply too over the top hardcore for me (which is definitely saying something!), and therefore made it a rather uncomfortable read.

Smut Level: Malcolm penetrates Mona with a glass water bottle. I’ll never be able to look at another bottle of Perrier the same way ever again.

Get it on Amazon: Click Here. $5.99 Kindle Price. 8th Circle Press. 250 Pages.

Dark Instincts by Suzanne Wright

Goodness gracious golly gee, this book definitely starts off with a bang! Nothing like an attempted kidnapping and an overturned car to get your juices flowing.

What’s it About? 

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It happens whenever wolf shifter Roni Axton is near Marcus Fuller: a crackle of sexual awareness that’s intoxicating…and deeply annoying. Marcus is a pack enforcer who oozes power, but Roni is lethal in her own right—nothing like the flirty females who flock around him. Even still, his possessive gaze makes one thing clear. Marcus has singled her out for seduction, and he wants to make her sit up and beg.

No matter how aloof and unfazed Roni acts, Marcus can tell she wants him. When a brutal attack by a jackal pack forces them to work together, it’s the perfect opportunity for Marcus to chip away at her defenses—until he falls into his own trap, completely unprepared for the intensity of their connection. Roni is the only one who’s ever seen past his shifter charm and discovered the man hiding beneath it. And for Marcus, claiming Roni once will mean needing her forever.

First Impressions

I’m now four books into this Phoenix Pack series, and I’m starting to notice that each novel follows a very particular arch from start to finish. At the start we are always presented with some kind of interesting conflict or suspense, and this novel in particular had probably the most dramatic opening scene of any book in the series so far. Roni is trapped in an overturned car, and is desperately struggling to fight off a pack of jackal shifters from kidnapping the child of the alpha and beta of the Phoenix Pack. Nail biting start that draws you in, guaranteed.

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Then things slow down a bit story wise as we have a male and female lead who start to explore their sexual attraction for one another. They are undoubtedly mates, even if they can’t admit it to themselves yet. Fast forward through all the sexy times, and in the last 10% of each novel we always see the resurgence of our main conflict point, which is resolved in a fabulous display of pack strength. Voilà. There you go. Not gonna lie, this was probably the most disappointing book in the series so far for me, as it followed this arch to the letter, with very little deviation. Quite predictable.

Pack Combos and Ignored Villains

This novel has character overload! Not only do we have our two main leads, but we also have the mates from the previous three novels of the series, the blending of both the Phoenix and Mercury packs, human extremists and jackal shifters. It was honestly very difficult to keep them all straight, as well as understand the dynamics between all the pairs. This novel started off so strong, but then unfortunately just tapered off into nothing. Look, I get we have a romance novel here, and we need to focus on the development of Roni and Marcus’ relationship. However, to have such an intense start with a dramatic kidnapping attempt, and then switch to basically no mention of it for a large portion of the book was a total let down.

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Especially considering I was really excited to see that we were dealing with jackals. I was hoping to learn more about a different species within the series, but it’s not really touched upon all that much. As is a theme with most of the books in this series, we never really get to know our villain either. We are just aware that they’re lurking in the background plotting dastardly deeds, but there’s no real character introduction before the villain ultimately reappears for one final battle. Having more than just a surface level look at the enemy could really enhance the sense of struggle throughout the entire series.

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From Bad-ass to Damsel

The biggest disappointment for me in regards to this novel was the ending, and the stagnation of Roni’s womanly independence. Throughout this book, and even in the last book for that matter, Roni is portrayed as the ultimate bad-ass. She is a dominant female who can stand up for herself, sucking on a lollipop the whole time. Roni acknowledges that it’s ok if she’s dominated in the bedroom, but the girl knows how to give as good as she gets. She was actually the one to mark Marcus first, but Roni manages to distinguish very early on in their relationship the difference between possession and control. While she’s fine with Marcus doing the former in bed, she won’t stand if he does the latter in their day to day life.

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Fast forward to the end of the novel, where everything has been building up to one final confrontation between Roni and our jackal leader villain. Warning: spoilers ahead. I’m telling you guys, I was totally pumped for this ultimate showdown. Unleash the girl power Roni, and kick his ass to the curb!! Unfortunately, when push comes to shove we find that she actually can’t do it by herself. Marcus has to come along and rescue her. Now, I totally would have been ok with this if they had done like, a back-to-back teamwork fight off of jackals, but that’s not the case here. Roni is literally lying on the floor dying, and Marcus has to come and finish the job for her. Where she failed in her confrontation with evil, Marcus succeeds and saves the day. While this might be a victory for our Phoenix pack, I was really keeping my fingers crossed that Roni could have been the hero in the end.

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Series: Phoenix Pack, book 4.

Should you read it? I just wasn’t impressed with this one. It felt like the focus wasn’t always on Marcus and Roni, as there were all the other characters from the previous novels making an appearance. In the end though, the disjointed mix of suspense and romantic story lines was the main factor of why this book didn’t do it for me like the others.

Smut Level: We’re dealing with wolf shifters here. Undoubtedly we’ll deal with some animalistic urges and…mounting.

Get it on Amazon: Click Here. $4.99 Kindle Price. Montlake Romance. 322 Pages.

Until Ashlyn by Aurora Rose Reynolds

You know the old adage that “what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas?” I think we can all agree that it never holds true in romance novel land. That shit always follows you home.

What’s it About?

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Dillon Keck knew Ashlyn Mayson was drunk when she suggested they get married. He knew he should have taken her back to their hotel room and put her to bed. Instead, he did what he had been craving to do since the moment they met. Claim her as his.

Waking up married in Vegas isn’t something Ashlyn Mayson ever thought would happen to her. Having Dillon, her boss, a man she thinks is a dick, insist they stay married is absurd, but every time he touches her, she gets lost in him and wonders if maybe they are meant to be together. But someone isn’t happy for Dillon and Ashlyn and their new found romance, and they’re willing to do anything to keep them apart. Even commit murder.

First Impressions

Alright, when it comes to full on first impression of Dillon, it’s not too hard to come up with a description of his character: the dude is basically a dick. He has taken over the dental practice where Ashlyn works, and upon first meeting he states that he’ll need to re-interview her to ensure she has the necessary skills, as he doesn’t just need a pretty thing to look at every day. Well f*ck you very much your majesty. Sure, meet with her a few times to double check she meets your standards, but don’t imply that just because she’s pretty she can’t be skilled and useful. We do eventually learn that this was his particular take on a classic schoolyard tactic to hide how he really felt about her by acting douchey, but it still doesn’t leave a very good first impression. Strike one against you sir!

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Unicorns Left and Right

One feature of this novel which was pretty unique is the fact that when Dillon and Ashlyn finally do the dirty in that Vegas hotel room, it’s revealed that this was actually the first time either of them had had sex. Unfortunately, there’s no real discussion between them about how special this is! Dillon does express that he had never closed the deal with another woman beforehand because it never felt right, but come on! The rarity in this day and age of having two grown adults remain virgins for so long deserved some more attention! There’s another adage out there which compares women who haven’t had sex by a certain age to unicorns, in that they are basically mythological creatures. In this case, we have both a male and female unicorn! I think this feature really deserved a discussion, but instead was kind of glossed over in a one off comment from Dillon.

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From Rom Com to Horror Film

The start of this novel truly reads like a romantic comedy; pretty silly and light-hearted. We have two co-workers who hate each other, yet have some underlying sexual tension, so they get drunk and married in Vegas. Because we’re dealing with a novel in the Until series world, we of course have an uber alpha male who refuses to let Ashlyn get away. She too also has an inherent sense of possessiveness when it comes to Dillon. At one point his crazy bitch of an ex tries to weasel her way into the picture, and Ashlyn kind of goes off on her after a fair amount of goading. While Ashlyn didn’t like the jealous person she became in that moment, Dillon was totally into it, as it showed she was just as in love with him as he was with her.

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Awwww, isn’t that just the cutest?! Well, flash-forward a bit and things start to take a turn for the bizarre. Someone tries to run Ashlyn down with their car, and two women in this small Tennessee town are found murdered. Suspense. Intrigue! Well, we’re gonna put that on hold for another large section of the book for some more lovey dovey stuff and familial interactions. Until the last 10% of the book of course when it pretty much turns into a full on horror film. I’m talking kidnapping, stabbing, some more murdering. To introduce and resolve all of that murder mystery within the final 10% of the book was just too rushed. Although an interesting plot twist, it was kind of jarring to go from what felt like an Ashton Kutcher rom com to Saw in such a short amount of time. Ok, so Saw is definitely too out there of a comparison, but you catch my drift. I also don’t watch horror films, so my repertoire is lacking.

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Series: Until Her, book 3. Personally, I would recommend reading these in order. Although each novel focuses on a different stand-alone couple, there are certain reappearing characters and themes that would be helpful to know from the beginning.

Should you read it? All in all, a good addition to the Until Her series. That being said, while I found the suspenseful murder aspect of the novel to be totally enthralling, it definitely could have been integrated better into the overall story line.

Smut Level: Something must be in the water in this small Tennessee town which causes “alpha male syndrome”.

Get it on Amazon: Click Here. $3.99 Kindle Price. Self-Published. 225 Pages.

 

 

Knight by Kristen Ashley

Knight? Well, that’s definitely a…unique name for a human being. Talk about pressure! Certainly a name you’ve gotta live up to.

What’s it About? 

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Anya Gage has learned that to get anything good in life, you have to work for it. She has no expectations, no dreams. Then she finds herself at a party where she doesn’t want to be and she meets Knight. Knight Sebring knows who he is, what he wants and what he likes. And he gets it. But he never expected something as sweet as Anya Gage to wander into his bedroom during a party he did not expect to be having to borrow his phone.

Knight tries to leave Anya to the life she deserves of white picket fences and a man who watches football on Sundays – good, normal and clean. But when Anya comes to his nightclub and finds herself in a situation, he knows someone has to look after her, he can’t fight it anymore and he decides that man will be him. Knight teaches Anya that, just as with the bad, in life you should also expect the good. And he teaches her this by giving it to her. But Knight has a dark past and just as he desires Anya for exactly who she is, he fears when she finds out exactly the man he has become and always intends to be, she’ll leave him for good, normal and clean.

First Impressions

I will say I did enjoy how this novel started off. I think we can all relate to being at a party at some point in our lives that we simply wanted to escape from. This is how our story opens; with Anya feeling totally out of place surrounded by such splendor in her knock-off shoes and out of season clothing. Luckily for her, she ends up meeting a sexy man who is prepared to take her to pleasure town. With a layover in orgasm city. Unluckily for her, said man also happens to scare the dickens out of her.

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Fear and Control

Anya repeatedly acknowledges throughout the novel that Knight scares her. He’s intense, overbearing and controlling. She honestly doesn’t know what he’ll do if she disappoints him, or doesn’t follow his directions. When she admits her fears to her friends, what do they do? They repeatedly tell her to just “forget the scary.” That…seems like dangerous advice to follow when fearful of an overbearing guy you just met.

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Anya tries to convince herself that since meeting Knight he’s only made her life better. While I do think that he’s made her feel more confident in her own skin by constantly saying how beautiful she is, she never lists this as one of his influences. Every single reason she gives for the impact he’s made in her life relates to material possessions. If we were to take all that away, I think Anya would just be left with an uber controlling guy who scares her. And yeah, sure, gives her lots of orgasms.

A D/S Daddy

I’ve been reading romance and erotic novels almost exclusively for about 3-4 years now. I’ve read a lot of novels in that amount of time which have featured dominant/submissive relationships, and I’ll admit I’m finally just now starting to fully understand what they’re all about. Took long enough! As Anya’s close friend comments, “that’s bedroom, not in life.” For her in particular, she leads a very stressful life where she’s the one in charge and making all the decisions. By giving up control in the bedroom, she’s able to let go, relax and let someone else make the decisions for once. I can sort of see how such a relationship could be freeing. When it comes to Anya and Knight though, it seems his controlling ways do expand beyond the bedroom. He even says “Unless I tell you what to do or not to do, do whatever you wanna do.” Umm…that’s not really what I consider to be the definition of freedom there buddy.

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So I might just now be understanding of how some women could get into the whole d/s relationship without it being considered misogynistic. I’m learning here. Something I still don’t for the life of me understand the appeal of though is calling your lover “daddy”. Like…no. Not the time or place I want to make reference to dear ole dad. I mean, I feel like it doesn’t go both ways, which simply isn’t fair, right? I’ve never read an erotic novel where the guy calls his girlfriend “mommy” as she spanks his ass. I just don’t get it!! Can someone out there explain the appeal of calling your lover daddy? Seriously, I’d really love to get a discussion going.

Series: Unfinished Heroes, book 1.

Should you read it? The writing was just ok. Pretty basic descriptions were used, with “very” as the descriptor of choice. Very expensive, very tall, very pretty. By the end I thought if Anya said “Oh God” or “Oh my God” one more time I was gonna scream. About 145 times actually. When it comes down to it, repeatedly using the term “daddy” is a sure-fire way to kill my mood. Also, you shouldn’t be afraid of your significant other! She never really communicates her fears or misgivings to Knight, so he has no way to address/resolve them.

Smut Level: He sure does like to use the “c” word in reference to her…lady bits.

Get it on Amazon: Click Here. $3.99 Kindle Price. Self-Published. 285 Pages.