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!

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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.

 

Captivated by You by Sylvia Day

It’s been a while since I read the last book in this series. Honestly, I probably should have taken a moment to do a refresher of the previous novels because, as it turns out, I forgot a LOT of details.

What’s it About? 

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Gideon calls me his angel, but he’s the miracle in my life. My gorgeous, wounded warrior, so determined to slay my demons while refusing to face his own. The vows we’d exchanged should have bound us tighter than blood and flesh. Instead they opened old wounds, exposed pain and insecurities, and lured bitter enemies out of the shadows. I felt him slipping from my grasp, my greatest fears becoming my reality, my love tested in ways I wasn’t sure I was strong enough to bear. At the brightest time in our lives, the darkness of his past encroached and threatened everything we’d worked so hard for. We faced a terrible choice: the familiar safety of the lives we’d had before each other or the fight for a future that suddenly seemed an impossible and hopeless dream…

First Impressions

There is a lot of build-up in this book, but not necessarily in a good way. There are a lot of different forces coming together to try and rip Eva and Gideon apart. The problem is that nothing is really resolved at the end of this book. It’s not like everything builds towards one dramatic and exciting climax. Instead, it all just leads you to having to read the next book to find out what happens. Although you are left wondering what will happen next in Eva and Gideon’s story (which is normally a good thing) I couldn’t help but feel disappointed that nothing really changes from the start of the book to the end. There may be drama and arguments in between, but when you get down to it, they are basically in the same position as they were before.

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Some Additional Room for Improvement

The author really did an amazing job at describing the inner thoughts and emotions behind the characters. This helps you connect to them, and understand their struggles on a deeper level. However, I felt like the commentary between the characters could have used an added layer of depth. For example, “I f*cking love you”, doesn’t exactly evoke the sense of true passion and feeling which the character was aiming for.

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Another area that could have been improved upon sort of ties back into my main complaint with this book in how nothing really changes from start to finish. There’s a repetition which is also evident in the arguments between Eva and Gideon. They are basically rehashing the same fight over and over again throughout the entire novel. He doesn’t share things with her the minute they happen, and when he does tell her she gets pissed that he didn’t tell her sooner. They argue, she makes as if to leave, and then they engage in some rough make-up sex. That…doesn’t seem like the healthiest of relationships, but to each his own.

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Series: Crossfire, book 4. I’m already listening to book 5.

Should you read it? I mean, if you’ve already read the first three books you pretty much have to. Although, in my opinion, the plot is pretty stagnant, and doesn’t really move forward all that much.

Smut Level: There is nothing quite more romantic than introducing your girlfriend to a sex swing for the first time. Forget chocolates, roses, or mixed tapes, it’s all in the swing.

Get it on Amazon: Click Here. $9.99 Kindle Price. Berkley Publishing. 369 Pages.

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The Snowboat by Capella Van Ryan

The female protagonist in this novel claims that a woman such as myself will never be seen as desirable by men, and if I should ever have the misfortune to marry I’ll ultimately get divorced. There are two main reasons for this: 1) I’m tall, and 2) I’m American. Well okay then.

What’s it About? 

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Nicolette wasn’t always every man’s dream but she knew exactly what she wanted and how to get it. By being in the background, observing what made a woman desirable to all men, Nicolette mastered her appearance and her mannerisms to perfection to the point she became the centre of attention wherever she went.

When a wealthy businessman proposes after days of meeting Nicolette, she is shocked and unsure of what the future holds as they barely know one another. The idea of being more important than money and a man’s work, happy and in love consumes her and she hopes love will blossom. Unfortunately, married life is never easy, and in this case becomes worse than anything ever imagined.

First Impressions

I found it very hard to actually read this book through to the end. Not only was the story line slow, but I found the main character to be very unlikable and selfish. And not just because she said I was undesirable. Nicolette blatantly states that she is perfect, and this is why others don’t like her and treat her poorly. She also claims that she has a sixth sense when it comes to people, and can see the true nature of people through their eyes. I’m sorry, but the fact that she managed to marry not one, but 2 abusive a-holes who she later killed shows that her sixth sense isn’t worth much.

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A Contradiction in Terms

So Nicolette is a pretty terrible human being. I mean, she says that Chinese, Russian and Ukrainian women are all whores for selling themselves to be with Western men. Ummm…it’s called human trafficking, and I have a feeling it isn’t exactly their ideal career choice. Direct quote: “This is when mail order brides who debase themselves by being more than willing to be bought and paid for to some weirdo of a guy they have never met. This is when one can pay thanks to the Russian Ukrainian and the Chinese women, rendering men to think little of all womenkind because of these few whores.” Aside from her awful opinions though, she also makes a lot of contradictory statements that drove me slightly crazy.

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Firstly, she maintains that her first husband will always remain the love of her life, and that whenever she should happen to die they will meet again in Heaven. However, she killed her first husband because he physically abused her. Not exactly husband of the year. Secondly, after marrying for the second time she says that the first three months of this marriage were heavenly, even though her husband repeatedly rapes her and threatens to kill her during that time.

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An Apostle of What? 

So after sexually abusing and raping her for years, with the help of both his mother and gardener, Nicolette finally decides to kill them all after overhearing their plot to end her life. Believe it or not, she’s actually successful in ending all of their lives. She then discovers that her husband was involved in a human trafficking operation, and uncovers detailed notes on all of his contacts from the providers of the women to the clients who bought them.

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Rather than doing something with all of this evidence, she decides to keep it hidden. You see, Nicolette seems to be oblivious to this little thing called killing in self defense, and instead is under the impression that all of this contact info would be beneficial were she ever to be arrested for murdering her husband. The fact that she managed to stop one shipment of women from falling into the hands of her husband makes her see herself as an “apostle” to these women.

What in the actual f*ck is she smoking? She could have saved countless women and put an end to the entire operation, but instead she chose to be selfish and do absolutely nothing. Does she really think that because one shipment of women wasn’t sent to her husband that their keepers are going to let them go? No! They’ll just be sold off to somebody else.

*UPDATE: The author has mentioned that in future books Nicolette undergoes a bit of a transformation, and actually goes on to save some of these women. Happy to hear it!*

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

Series: First of 10+

Should you read it? I can understand reading about a flawed character. After all, we are all flawed. Nobody’s perfect, in spite of what Nicolette claims. But I find it hard to read about a character with absolutely no redeeming qualities.

Smut Level: Too nasty for my tastes. At one point Nicolette’s husband rapes her with his foot. Direct quote: “Nicolas demands I sit on his foot. Yes the idea which popped into my head as to what he wanted me to do with it came to pass, he fucked me with it.”

Get it on Amazon: Click Here. $4.67 Kindle Price. Austin Macauley Publishers Ltd. 519 Pages.