Burn by Maya Banks

A good conclusion to a sexy series.

What’s it About?

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Ash, Jace, and Gabe: three of the wealthiest, most powerful men in the country. They’re accustomed to getting anything they want. Anything at all. For Ash, it’s the woman who changes everything he’s ever known about dominance and desire…When it comes to sex, Ash McIntyre has always explored his wilder side — extreme and uncompromising. He demands control. And he prefers women who want it like that. Even the women he’s shared with his best friend, Jace.

But Jace is involved with a woman he has no intention of sharing. And now even Gabe has settled into a relationship with a woman who gives him everything he needs, leaving Ash feeling restless and unfulfilled. Then Ash meets Josie, who seems immune to his charms and his wealth. Intrigued, he begins a relentless pursuit, determined she won’t be the one who got away. He never imagined the one woman to tell him no would be the only woman who’d ever drive him to the edge of desire.

First Impressions

The characters in this series definitely encounter a lot of drama, yet I’m kind of shocked how things can come together rather conveniently for them all at the same time. Perfect example with this novel: Ash is going for a lovely little stroll in the park, and comes to the conclusion that he’d like to have a serious relationship with a woman. He looks up, and BAM! Spots a pretty lady and decides she’ll be the one to have a future with. Who knew it could be that easy?

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An Illusion of Independence

Josie is by far the most independent, not to mention free-spirited, of all the women presented in this series. She’s an artist who has actually come to make a living by selling her paintings. Or so she thinks. Turns out her independent lifestyle is just an illusion, as  Ash has secretly been the one buying up all of her artwork.

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I really liked Josie’s initial response to discovering that Ash was her anonymous benefactor. I feel like in other romance novels the heroine might fawn over the idea of her lover looking out for her, but Josie…well she gets justifiably pissed. She wasn’t afraid to stand up to Ash, and declare that while he can be a dom in the bedroom, he can’t play God with her life. Josie decides she doesn’t want to be dependent on him financially to take care of her. You go girl! Buuuuuuut…unfortunately she caves to his whims in about a day.

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The drama with Josie’s paintings does take up a large portion of the book, and silly me I thought it was going to be the main dramatic feature. I should know by now with this series that something else always happens which you’re not expecting! There’s a big twist that happens at the end with a plot element all the way back from the first book that I had totally forgotten about. I will say though the author does a good job of explaining it fully for those of us with a terrible memory.

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Series: Breathless Trilogy, book 3. A good conclusion, thought not my favorite of the series.

Should you read it? Not the best book of the series, but still an interesting read. I wish we had learned more about how Josie got into the dom/sub world. Doesn’t seem like something you just decide to explore one day on a whim!

Smut Level: They take a while to finally come about, but definitely some hot scenes. However, in my opinion no book is quite as kinky as the first.

Get it on Amazon: Click Here. $11.99 Kindle Price. Berkley Publishing. 365 Pages.

Fever by Maya Banks

I compared the first book in this series to a combination of 50 Shades and a Hallmark Christmas movie. With this second novel, it has elements of Cinderella, but instead of a fairy godmother we have a sexual dominant, and the glass slippers are replaced by f*ck me heels and a threesome. Ok then.

What’s it About?

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Jace, Ash, and Gabe: three of the wealthiest, most powerful men in the country. They’re accustomed to getting anything they want. Anything at all. For Jace, it’s a woman whose allure takes him completely by surprise…Jace Crestwell, Ash McIntyre, and Gabe Hamilton have been best friends and successful business partners for years. They’re powerful, they’re imposing, they’re irresistibly sexy, and Jace and Ash share everything—including their women.

When they meet Bethany, Jace begins to feel things he’s never experienced before: jealousy, and a powerful obsession that threatens him, overwhelms him—and excites him beyond control. Jace isn’t sharing Bethany—with anyone. He’s determined to be the only man in her life, and it’s jeopardizing a lifelong friendship with Ash. Bethany will be his and his alone. Even if it means turning his back on his best friend.

First Impressions

I must admit, this book was actually pretty good! Our main female character, Bethany, is homeless, and Jace sort of rushes in as her alpha knight in shining armor. And this is after spending just one night together! Bethany makes herself scarce the next day, and Jace’s desperation to locate her was kind of endearing. Almost like Prince Charming’s eagerness to find Cinderella after just one dance. I do wish we had learned a bit more about Bethany’s background, and how she came to end up on the streets with no family in the first place, but what can you do?

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The Tantalizing Threesome

Shockingly, I found the most compelling aspect of this novel was that Jace and Bethany’s first sexual escapade together was during a threesome with Jace’s best friend, Ash. Jace and Ash have always shared their women, yet after that first night with Bethany, Jace decides to break off all future possible threesome escapades with Ash. Now, normally I’m not a fan of threesomes in romance novels. Too many limbs flopping around. However, Jace and Ash have such a strong connection that they are pretty much like brothers, and it was such an emotional scene when Jace has to tell his best friend and pseudo-brother that Beth is off limits from here on out. Poor Ash needs a hug.

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Series: Breathless, book 2. Maybe lonely Ash will find someone to spend time with in book 3?

Should you read it? Definitely an interesting read. I will say though after a while it felt like Bethany and Jace were having the same argument on repeat about how she doesn’t feel worthy of him, Jace trying to convince her to trust him, yada yada.

Smut Level: Bethany is happy to give up control in the bedroom since she’s been fighting so hard to survive on the streets for years. It’s almost a way for her to reach internal peace. But when that expands out of the bedroom I question what kind of life she’s really living, as Jace is the one making all the decisions for her.

Get it on Amazon: Click Here. $12.99 Kindle Price. Berkley Publishing. 418 Pages.

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Owned by the Dom: Parts 1 & 2 by Sam Crescent

The only way I would ever refer to my man as “Master” would be if he called me “Empress”. I might let him get away with “Czarina”, but he better be one pretty good cook on top of everything else.

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James Castleden has had enough of the press surrounding him and his club. Ravage is his place to let loose. He is possessive and dominant. When the younger sister of the woman he used to date walks into his club, James is not ready for the instant attraction he feels toward her.

Prudence Star fell in love with James seven years ago. She is no shy virgin and knows what he is. James does not scare her. She’s read the reports about his association with club Possession and she craves what only he can give. When their flirting deepens, James cannot stop the craving inside him to own, to claim, and to take Prudence as his woman.

But Possession and Ravage are under serious threat. Dominic and Eugene were just the beginning. There is nowhere to hide and no way to keep his woman safe. The Owners have no idea who they’re really dealing with.

First Impressions

I’m sorry to say that I have officially decided to stop reading this series. I initially went in with the impression that part 2 was the last book of The Owners story line, but shockingly enough there is definitely a set up for a continuation of the series. Unfortunately, I’ve lost interest. If I had to describe these two novels in just one word it would have to be…meh. Nothing special, just like the rest of the series as a whole. But what can I say? They’re short, quick reads, and I thought I had finally reached the culmination of everything!

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Owned by the Dom: Part 1

Most of the drama in this novel felt pretty unnecessary to me. I mean, for two people who admit they’re totally into each other, they take forever to have sex. James claims Prudence is too young for him considering the age difference between them, but he won’t let others have her. Therefore, he ensures she is fired from her current job working in his club so that nobody else can lay eyes on her. His BDSM lifestyle is something he seems hesitant to introduce Prue to, yet she openly admits to him that she’s into the idea, and also has an intense desire to be possessed. So…what exactly is the hold-up here people?

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As for the rest of the drama in this novel, some of the characters from the previous novels are aware of a human trafficking scheme going on which is linked to all their BDSM clubs. However, they choose to hide the true identity of who is behind this scheme to the rest of the characters because…I honestly don’t know. At this point, you just know that sh*t is about to go down, and it’s pretty frustrating that those who know the truth didn’t think to warn everyone else about this threat.

Owned by the Dom: Part 2

This book was sort of the nail in the coffin for me, as it had both expected results, yet an unexpected path. Part 1 ended with Prue being kidnapped by the same forces which were threatening the clubs in town. SPOILER ALERT: they get her back! Surprisingly, James and his posse rescue her fairly early on in the book, and the rest of the story primarily deals with Prue pulling away from him in the aftermath.

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It’s rather understandable that after surviving a kidnapping, and the possibility of being sold into human trafficking that Prue would experience difficulties adjusting to normal life again, not to mention being intimate with James. The most ridiculous part of the novel for me though was when Prue saw a therapist to help her with her PTSD. This therapist totally does a breach of confidentiality by telling James EVERYthing she talked about in her session with Prue. Her excuse was that Prue didn’t really need therapy, so it was ok to share all the details of their sessions with James. Like…what?!

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Series: The Owners, books 3 & 4

Should you read it? Meh. By no means terrible, but not worth rushing out to read either in my humble opinion.

Smut Level: This guy is possessive and into BDSM, what do you think? At the end of Part 2 James whisks Prue away to Italy and goes all caveman with her. They proceed to have so much sex I don’t know how they have any bodily fluids left.

Get it on Amazon: Part 1, click here. Part 2, click here. $4.99 each. Evernight Publishing. 180 Pages. 235 Pages.

 

Virtuous by Marie Force

You know, if I didn’t dislike New York City so much, I’d actually consider moving there. It seems there are billionaires and movie stars walking all over the place just looking for a normal girl-next-door like me! Yeah…not gonna happen.

What’s it about? 

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After surviving a traumatic event at age fifteen and the ensuing estrangement from her family, Natalie Bryant has worked for years to reinvent herself into the woman she is today—a happy teacher fresh out of college and enjoying her first winter in New York City with her faithful dog, Fluff, by her side. Natalie isn’t expecting her life to change completely during a routine stroll through Greenwich Village on a blustery January day. But when Fluff breaks loose and charges into a park, Natalie gives chase and crashes into her destiny. Only after Fluff bites and draws blood from the man who accidentally knocked Natalie down does she realize Fluff has bitten the biggest movie star in the world.

He has no business being enthralled by the gorgeous, young, innocent teacher…Natalie captivates Flynn Godfrey from the first moment their eyes meet while she is lying on the ground and he’s fighting off her ferocious little beast of a dog. The only thing Flynn knows for certain is if he lets Natalie get away, he’ll regret it for the rest of his life. After only a short time in her presence, Flynn is prepared to change who he is to be what she needs. He knows he’s in big trouble when she says she won’t sleep with him and he doesn’t care if it means he gets to keep her in his life. But can he turn his back on the lifestyle that has defined him? Can he deny the desires that drive him to give Natalie the introduction to love and romance she so deserves? And most of all, can he keep his truth hidden from her long enough to have forever with her?

First Impressions

The premise of this novel is, for lack of a better word, pretty…ridiculous. Natalie literally runs into Flynn while he is shooting a movie. Like, she runs around a corner and bumps into him. Such an adorable meet cute, you’d think you were watching a Hallmark movie. He’s immediately entranced by her presence, they go on a few dates, and manage to fall in love in the span of one week. See what I mean? It’s not every day you bump into a movie star, and fall madly in love. Kind of out there.

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Secretive Secret Keepers

Although these two characters feel a deep connection with each other, they are both hiding some pretty big secrets. For Natalie, it relates to her past. She was brutally raped at the age of 15. For Flynn, he’s hiding his BDSM lifestyle from her. What really, really bothered me though was that he continually pushed Natalie to trust him, and she took a huge step by revealing to him that she was raped as a teenager. However, he doesn’t even hint at the fact that his own sexual desires might be what some consider to be out of the ordinary.

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I couldn’t help but feel that he was a bit hypocritical to insist that she reveal such an important part of her past without reciprocating by opening up himself. I mean, this woman has vowed for the last three years that she won’t have sex until she’s married, and with his talents of persuasion, and a bit of alcohol, he manages to wear down her defenses in a matter of days. She is literally all in. He doesn’t necessarily have to act out his BDSM tendencies with her, but he could at least admit that he has them.

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

Series: Quantum, book 1. Consider yourself warned that this book does end on a cliffhanger.

Should you read it? The premise was pretty far-fetched, but I did admire Natalie for her bravery of sharing the details of her rape with Flynn. I just found it kind of hard to like him by not sharing anything with her in return. He basically demanded she talk about what happened to her, but he kept his own secrets to himself.

Smut Level: There are some elements of BDSM, but what I found to be a rather unique aspect of the story is that all of these elements are reserved to Flynn’s dreams. It’s more about what he wants to do with her rather than what they actually did.

Get it on Amazon: Click Here. $3.99 Kindle Price. HTJB, Inc. 278 Pages.

 

One with You by Sylvia Day

This is supposedly the last book in the Crossfire series. Or so they say! You can never really know for sure, can you?

What’s it About?

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Gideon Cross. Falling in love with him was the easiest thing I’ve ever done. It happened instantly. Completely. Irrevocably. Marrying him was a dream come true. Staying married to him is the fight of my life. Love transforms. Ours is both a refuge from the storm and the most violent of tempests. Two damaged souls entwined as one.

We have bared our deepest, ugliest secrets to one another. Gideon is the mirror that reflects all my flaws … and all the beauty I couldn’t see. He has given me everything. Now, I must prove I can be the rock, the shelter for him that he is for me. Together, we could stand against those who work so viciously to come between us. But our greatest battle may lie within the very vows that give us strength. Committing to love was only the beginning. Fighting for it will either set us free … or break us apart.

First Impressions

I can’t really say for sure why this series was dragged out to incorporate five whole books. Well, as a matter of fact, I think we can all guess at the real reason behind that decision ($$$). In my very humble opinion, there was no real need for the last two books in this series. I think the overall story would have fared much better as a trilogy, as was initially intended. Even if there was the need to expand beyond a trilogy, I think books four and five could have easily been condensed into one. It seemed to create an unnecessary drag of the story line.

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Welcome to Adulthood

That being said, I feel like we have seen some actual growth for our two main characters. And by growth I mean they’re finally starting to act like adults. Gideon is finally opening up more with Eva, and she isn’t as quick to shun him when he undoubtedly does something stupid. Like hide the fact that someone close to Eva has been seriously injured.

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Hands down, my favorite character in this novel was their therapist. Finally, FINALLY! We have someone who asks Eva and Gideon the all important question: “What’s the rush?”. Sure, it’s fantabulous they met, fell in love, and got married in about the span of a month. But why can’t they just live together for a while? Or date?

Surprise!

Towards the end of this novel we see what other readers warned me was a delayed “plot twist”. I mean, I guess it was a twist? But I felt it wasn’t all that interesting of a twist. Maybe I was just ready for the series to be over, or others really built up this surprise, but instead of it being an “Oh, sh*t and crackers” moment, it was more of a “Meh, ok” moment for me.

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Series: Crossfire, book 5.

Should you read it? It was nice to finally see a bit of growth and maturity from both Eva and Gideon, although you can’t deny that they both still have their issues. I wouldn’t really say this is a “must-read” series, but there are some hot and sexy moments.

Smut Level: No sex swings in this one! They attempt to stay abstinent until their vow renewal, but we all knew that wouldn’t last.

Get it on Amazon: Click Here. $9.99 Kindle Price. St. Martin’s Griffin. 482 Pages.

Hardwired by Meredith Wild

First of all, this guy’s name is Blake. You just know he’ll be amazing in bed and an alpha male, through and through.

What’s it About? 

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Determined to overcome a difficult past, Erica Hathaway learns early on how to make it on her own. Days after her college graduation she finds herself face to face with a panel of investors who will make or break her fledgling startup. The only thing she didn’t prepare for was going weak in the knees over an arrogant and gorgeous investor who’s seemingly determined to derail her presentation.

Billionaire and rumored hacker Blake Landon has already made his fortune in software, and he’s used to getting what he wants with very little resistance. Captivated by Erica’s drive and unassuming beauty, he’s wanted nothing more since she stepped into his boardroom. Determined to win her over, he breaks down her defenses and fights for her trust, even if that means sacrificing a level of control he’s grown accustomed to. But when Blake uncovers a dark secret from Erica’s past, he threatens not just her trust, but the life she’s fought so hard to create.

First Impressions

Although a lot did happen story-wise in this novel, it sort of felt like the majority of the book was setting up for a sequel. Don’t get me wrong, overall it was an interesting story, but almost every single aspect of the plot was left unfinished. Kind of frustrating! It’s like baking a beautiful apple pie and not eating it. Or stripping a handsome cover model of all of his clothes to just walk out of the room. I mean, come on already!

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Romance Themes Galore

There are multiple aspects at play in this novel, all of which are interesting in their own right. It’s almost like every romance theme was rolled into one book. We’ve got a d/s relationship, trying to find a long lost father, a bitchy ex, Blake’s secret past as a hacker, Erica was raped in college, and now she’s starting an internet start up. Each element could be the main focus of the book, but when you have so many different stories going on at once it’s kind of overwhelming.

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In addition to the whole book being one big build-up, their sexual relationship was also a build-up. It’s not that they waited very long to have sex, but throughout the novel we start to see the hints of a few BDSM tendencies. There’s some spanking and light restraint, but you can’t help but wonder if there will be even more kink in the next novel.

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Series: Hacker, book 1. I’ll probably give this series a go.

Should you read it? There was so much going on in regards to the various plot points at play that the majority of the relationship we see appears to revolve around sex. There’s a lack of depth to their relationship, and at times Blake is almost too overbearing outside of the bedroom. Although, I am intrigued to see if they are able to make a deeper connection in the subsequent novels.

Smut Level: The man has a way with words. Dirty ones that is.

Get it on Amazon: Click Here. $7.99 Kindle Price. Forever Publishing. 281 Pages.

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Hands on the Wheel by Margaret Harlowe

We’ve got a woman craving after the trucker lifestyle, not to mention a sexy cowboy steering that big rig of a semi. Ladies and gents, start your engines!

What’s it About? 29333229

 

Sara knew Hank was trouble from the get-go. Delicious trouble. His metallic purple Kenworth sparkled in the Wyoming sunshine. When he sauntered into the Flying Bison Grill, pulling his worn cowboy hat lower on his forehead, Hank looked way too good in those Wranglers. Of all the times for Richard, Sara’s unpredictable ex-husband, to show up. Soon she was desperate to get out of town. Hank was willing to help her – for a price.

First Impressions

This book really did have a unique, one-of-a-kind story line that I personally have never come across before. Our two leads are sort of past their prime at over 40 years of age, with Hank even starting to go bald. Poor handsome man. However, that doesn’t stop them from embarking on a wild and crazy sex road trip together. Let this be a lesson to ya, multiple orgasms might not be entirely out of reach, even if you’re starting to sport a few grey hairs. These two also enjoy a bit of light kink, with spanking and sex toys on every leg of their journey. Maybe they’re eligible for a senior discount?

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Follow Your Dreams

What I really enjoyed about this book was that it shows you don’t have to give up on your dreams; they are always within reach. Sara has always been envious of the truckers who come through her one horse town on their way to far-off and exciting places. She’s had the urge to hit the open road herself, and it just takes one slightly kinky cowboy to agree to show her the ropes before that dream becomes a reality.

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Hank also helps Sara realize that she is still desirable. After surviving a battle with breast cancer and an abusive ex, Sara is wary to start anything new and put her desires out there. Her jagged scar on her breast makes her think no man will ever find her sexually attractive. Hank, on the other hand, only sees her beauty. Throw in her waitress uniform and a sexy pair of f*ck me heels, and the two are inseparable.

Sex and Exes

There were two elements of this novel that I think could have been carried out differently. Firstly, there was a lot of sexy kink in this novel. Which is great! You get on with your bad self, Sara!! However, I felt like there was almost too much of a focus on Sara’s sexual awakening, especially in the second half of the novel, which sort of detracted from the fact that she is now out in the world discovering new places. So much of the story seemed to take place in the cab of Hank’s semi, rather than drawing in the landscape of the majestic South West.

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The second element I wish would have come together differently was the story surrounding Sara’s ex-husband, Richard. He has come back to town to harass and stalk her, as well as threaten her with something far worse. Richard is also the third point of view in the novel, and it seems the entire thing is leading towards one final confrontation between Sara, Richard and Hank. But it never comes! Kind of disappointing that he just sort of wanders off.

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

Series: Stand-alone

Should you read it? I think the story could have been taken one step further beyond sex, but the underlying theme is still an important one. It might be difficult to move on from one’s past, but you can still find love no matter your age. And someone to teach you new things!

Smut Level: We need to practice road safety here people. If she’s sitting on his lap steering the big rig, and he’s distracting her by moving her skirt up higher, stroking her thighs and nibbling her ear lobe, then who the hell is controlling the gas pedals?! Do trucks even have those?! Keep your hands on the wheel woman!!

Get it on Amazon: Click Here. $0.99 Kindle Price. Self-Published. 154 Pages.