The Siren by Tiffany Reisz

At one point in this novel a character mentions that in regards to BDSM “everyone should experience it at least once”. Ummm…no thanks, I’m good.

What’s it About?

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Notorious Nora Sutherlin is famous for her delicious works of erotica, each one more popular with readers than the last. But her latest manuscript is different—more serious, more personal—and she’s sure it’ll be her breakout book…if it ever sees the light of day.

Zachary Easton holds Nora’s fate in his well-manicured hands. The demanding British editor agrees to handle the book on one condition: he wants complete control. Nora must rewrite the entire novel to his exacting standards—in six weeks—or it’s no deal.

Nora’s grueling writing sessions with Zach are draining…and shockingly arousing. And a dangerous former lover has her wondering which is more torturous—staying away from him…or returning to his bed?

Nora thought she knew everything about being pushed to your limits. But in a world where passion is pain, nothing is ever that simple.

First Impression

Our story opens with two posh editors debating the prospect of bringing an author of ‘smut’ into their company, whilst also discussing the superiority of Hamlet and poetry. Why do I get the feeling it won’t be too long before we’re tumbling down a very deep and dark rabbit hole of depravity? I went into this book with a bit of hesitancy. I’ve only read one Tiffany Reisz novel before this one, and it was a bit outside my comfort zone in regards to BDSM. Let’s just say that at one point the female lead was…pleasured with a Perrier bottle. So yeah, I guess when I picked up this little diddy I was slightly worried with what I might encounter. However, all things considered I must say it really wasn’t that bad! Would I call it vanilla? Oh hell to the no. We do encounter some pretty graphic scenes of BDSM with whipping, candle wax, multiple orgasms, f/f sex, etc. Again though, in thinking back to that one other novel I read by the same author I suppose it was mildly tame in comparison!

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Erotica Prejudice

Personally, I felt the synopsis was slightly deceiving. Based on the description, it almost seemed as though our editor Zach would be the slightly kinky one. What with the mention of his need for control, his demanding personality, as well as his “exacting standards”. While Zach is certainly a strict editor, our female author Nora is actually the one who brings all the sexual expertise to the table. Zach always assumed he had a pretty wild sex background before he got married, what with the few times he’d had sex in a car, or in a public park. How could he have imagined that upon meeting the Ms. Nora Sutherlin, he’s basically a prude. Zach’s prudishness particularly comes to the forefront upon his initial opinions of Nora and her books. He openly discusses with his fellow editors, as well as with Nora directly, that the last thing he wants is to be involved with a writer of smut.

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The snobbery and prejudice which is expressed against her work is something that many of us romance/erotica fans have probably heard a thousand times over. Even when Nora is attacked by a crazed fan at a book signing, Zach essentially blames her, asking what she expects considering the depraved things she writes. As Zach spends more time with Nora and her book though, he realizes there is much more to this woman than meets the eye. He discovers that the intimate scenes which mix both pain and pleasure are things which Nora has personally lived through, and that she is still involved with. At first, Zach insists that he doesn’t want to know any of the explicit details regarding Nora’s past or present life involving BDSM, but he quickly becomes fascinated despite himself. As for Nora, she’s more than willing to show her hard-ass editor what it’s really like in her world.

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Welcome to the 8th Circle

For the first half or so of the book, the majority of the graphic details involving BDSM are reserved to scenes in Nora’s book. In a way, I found it sort of lessened the shock I would normally have felt when presented with such detail because it dealt with characters in a book within a book. We’re more removed from them. However, eventually Nora decides it’s time to provide Zach with a glimpse into her world by taking him to the 8th Circle, aka the sex club where she is second in command behind her former lover, who also happens to be a priest. This is when Nora’s BDSM lifestyle goes from black and white, and evolves into full technicolor. We and Zach are witnesses to a world very much unlike our own, and one which can be difficult to understand at times.

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While I can’t say I enjoyed reading about what went on in this club, I must say I appreciated the reality of Zach’s reaction to all that he saw. His responses are probably similar to those I assume most of us would have. People are getting hurt. It’s dangerous. It’s sexist. What was even more interesting though was that for every concern or question he raised, there was always someone there to provide a seemingly legitimate and reasonable explanation. People are getting hurt? Sure, people get hurt playing rugby too. Dangerous? Only if you don’t trust the person you’re with, or you forget your safe word. Sexist? Pfft. Some women in the club are more dominant than any of the men could ever dream of being. It might be difficult for most of us to understand the appeal of this world, but some of these explanations really do provide us with a window into how it might appeal to some.

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The Discovery

Eventually Zach discovers Nora is actually a very well sought-after dominatrix, and decides that his time with her and her book are over. Umm…are you really that surprised?! She basically took you to her playroom in an underground sex club. Wake up and see the riding crop on the wall already. I will say her reaction to Zach declaring her book won’t be published kind of made me giggle. When I get overwhelmed with the stresses of life and things not going my way, I might bake a cake, go to the movies, maybe crosstitch for a few hours whilst listening to an audiobook or having Friends on in the background. Nora? She goes on a dominatrix binge with clients for a few days. Well…whatever works for ya I guess! Zach equates the situation to prostitution, and at first I was all ready to come to her defense since she usually just ends up smacking her clients around for a few hours. Hell, if anything it’s like an overpriced gym membership with a personal trainer. But then she insists it’s not prostitution because she only sleeps with the women. Oh…well in that case…yeaaaah might be borderline prostitution.

DOLLHOUSE, Eliza Dushku, 'A Spy In The House of Love', (Season 1, airing April 10, 2009), 2009-2010.

A Question of Morality

As you can see, many characters in this book like to try and explain away some morally questionable behavior. Nora’s former lover is the king of trying to bring a sense of legitimacy to everything that Zach is witnessing in this sex club from hell, but at the end of the day I feel as though there were some issues that couldn’t simply be explained away by a smooth-talking priest. First of all, he’s…a…priest! He first met Nora when he was a priest. Their entire relationship of 10 years happened when he was a priest. And he’s still a priest! He tries to brush it aside by saying that Nora is the only one he’s ever broken his vows for. Still not ok. Nora claims that this priest was the only man who never hurt her, yet she’s been put in the hospital on more than one occasion after being with him. Swollen cheek, cracked lip, bruised rib, etc. True, she’s never uttered her safe word in these scenarios, but I feel like most other BDSM novels explain how a dominant who makes his submissive bleed, bruise, or scar is doing it wrong. And yet this is almost the foundation of Nora’s relationship with her priest.

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Beyond the priest element, and the possible prostitution feature, there are several other moral issues presented in this book that sort of made me question whether or not it was an enjoyable read. At one point Nora has sex with a 15-year-old boy. Our priest again tries to justify it by saying that the boy was suicidal because he couldn’t understand why his sexual proclivities were so beyond the norm, and that Nora saved his life by showing him it’s nothing to be ashamed of. Sure, but maybe a therapist could have told him that too. Then there’s the fact that Zach is still married to his estranged wife back in England, and while he’s more than willing to entertain the idea of having an affair with Nora he still desires to get back together with his wife. Then…maybe you should give her a call in the evening instead of having Nora give you a blow job? Oh gosh, I guess I’m the biggest prude of all in this scenario!

Series: Original Sinners, book 1. I don’t know if I can mentally prepare myself enough to take on book 2 in this series. Maybe one day, but I might need to do a shot of tequila before giving it a go.

Final Impression: I will say I did enjoy the moments where Zach and Nora worked on her book together, as it pushed the limits of Zach’s understanding of pleasure, and helped him let his guard down a bit. Once they drift away from discussing the book though I did lose some of the connection to the plot. This is when the BDSM aspect is more fully explored, and everything becomes almost too explanatory. Like a lesson in the mechanics and psychological component of BDSM rather than any emotional connection with the characters. I also felt there was a lack of focus in terms of what the novel was supposed to be highlighting. We have Nora and her priest, Nora and Zach, Zach and his wife, Nora and her 19-year-old virgin intern, Zach’s introduction to BDSM, and Nora’s book. There’s definitely a lot going on.

Smut Level: Nora and Zach have agreed to not have sex until after they are finished with her book, but that doesn’t mean they can’t do other things before then 😉

Get it on Amazon: Click Here. $6.99 Kindle Price. MIRA Publishing. 428 Pages.

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Hardpressed by Meredith Wild

“I don’t know what it was about him pinning me up against hard surfaces, but I fucking loved it”. Amen sister!

What’s it About? hardpressed

Despite Blake Landon’s controlling ways, the young and wealthy hacker finally won the trust of the woman he loves. Internet entrepreneur Erica Hathaway broke down the walls that kept her from opening her heart and her business to Blake. Ready to start this new chapter in her life, Erica is determined not to let anything come between them, even if that means giving Blake back some of the control he craves in and out of the bedroom. But when demons from her past threaten their future, Erica makes a decision that could change their lives forever.

First Impressions

If I had to describe this book in three words or less it would be “frustrating as fuuuuuuuuuck”. Apologies, pardon my language, but what can I say? I’m frustrated!!! This is one of those novels where it seems like all of the drama, unhappiness and mayhem could have just disappeared in a poof if Erica had managed to open her mouth and share what was going on with Blake. Now I know, having the drama end all within the span of a chapter doesn’t make for a very exciting read. But in my mind, that means it doesn’t make for a very decent plot when you can resolve it all so quick and easy if the lead character acted in any way like a normal person would. Maybe add another dimension to it so that I don’t constantly want to pull my hair out and scream out loud, “JUST TELL HIM WHAT’S GOING ON!!!!” The fact I listened to this as an audio book primarily on my walks to and from work meant that I was constantly on the verge of looking like a psycho. Nobody wants that people!

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Feel the Pressure

One of the minor frustrating aspects of this novel revolved around Blake and Erica’s sexual relationship. It’s basically a continuation of what was presented in book one, with them running in circles like a greyhound chasing a mechanized bunny at the race-track. He’s used to non-vanilla type sex, where domination is the name of the game, and he’s the master of his bedroom. However, Blake is hesitant to fully dominate her since she was raped years before. He’s worried he’ll take things too far and they won’t be able to come back from it. Surprisingly, we see that Erica is actually the one pressuring Blake to take their sexual adventures to the next level. He desires total submission and she wants to give him that.

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The problem here is that both are so set on taking things to the extreme. She’s urging him to go all out in the bedroom, and he’s concerned going all out will trigger a panic attack for her. Whatever happened to baby steps people?! Like, you don’t have to go straight from missionary position in unique locations to being blindfolded, handcuffed, and spanked at the same time all in one go. Maybe have a slow and seductive introduction to the d/s lifestyle so that Blake doesn’t have to worry about taking things too far, and Erica can get used to a new side of sex she hasn’t seen before. Slow and steady wins the race folks! You need to learn how to tie the knot before stringing up your lover to the bedpost.

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Squashed Potential

The first quarter or so of this book was pretty dull, as it just dealt with Erica setting up her new business, and navigating her sexual relationship with Blake. And then we get a dramatic plot twist that I must admit I did NOT see coming. There was sooooo much potential here for the book to go in an entirely new direction with some depth and suspense thrown in. Unfortunately, this opportunity was pretty much squandered, as Erica draws together almost every stereotype of being a frustrating lead character. Now, I don’t want to give away this plot twist since it was undoubtedly the most interesting part of the novel. However, I will say that with this twist a character demands Erica break up with Blake, or else there is the implication that physical harm will come to him. So what does she do? She keeps her mouth shut about this external threat to Blake, instead choosing to end things between them.

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If Blake were just your average Joe Schmoe I miiiiight get why she didn’t want to draw him into her drama. Here’s the problem though. Blake is like, a gazillionaire. If Erica had just said, yo this person is threatening us as a couple, any thoughts? He probably could have hired a swarm of bodyguards, private investigators, and a swat team to resolve the matter. But instead Erica has to go and play the martyr, falling on her sword to give up her happiness with Blake to live in misery. Eventually he does find a way to weasel his way back into her panties, and it took a loooooong time for us to finally get there. And when we do? Blake has not only one option to resolve all her drama, but two! Just goes to show that working together as a couple, and opening up to your partner with the truth can make it so much easier to confront a threat than having to do it all on your own.

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Series: Hacker, book 2. This is a pretty meh series so far.

Should you read it? Really the only positive I can give with this one is the early plot twist, but unfortunately it just drags on and on before eventually going nowhere. Erica frustrated me to no end, especially considering how many times she pushed Blake away even though he was begging her to let him in and help. Makes it hard to sympathize with her woes when she’s being so stubborn.

Smut Level: They’re still in the introductory phase of the BDSM lifestyle. Blake enjoys his dirty talk, but you can tell he’s still hesitant to let his hand loose completely.

Get it on Amazon: Click Here. $6.99 Kindle Price. Hachette Book Group. 312 Pages.

Deviant & Fracture by Callie Hart

Ohhhhhhhhhhh boy.

What’s it About? 

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Deviant. Sloane: I’m not proud of the things I’ve done. The things I’ve had to do. The things I’ve given away. But I’d give it all over again to find her. Even if I die trying, I have to find Alexis. Zeth: She wants me to help her, but I won’t. She wants me to save her sister, but I can’t. She wants me to be her hero, but I’m not a good man. I am her damnation.

Fracture. Zeth Mayfair is pretty much the very last thing I need in my life. Yet with every breath I take, he becomes more ingrained in every aspect of it. He has a key to my house. He knows where I work. He dumped his strange, mentally traumatized housemate on my doorstep and has driven off into the sunset in search of my missing sister. I want to forget him. Want to change the locks and blot out his face, scour his very name from my memory. The problem is that I also need him. I need him more than I need air to breathe, and I can’t be without him now. He owns me. He torments me. He’s fractured me.

First Impressions

I’m actually combining both books 1 and 2 from this series into one review, as the audio book I listened to combined the first two installments as well. These books may have been short, but my goodness they certainly pack a punch. I’m not gonna lie folks, this wasn’t really my taste at all. I always say I can usually handle a lot when it comes to erotic novel sexual detail, but this was even too much for me to handle. That’s definitely saying something.

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At Least She Liked It? I Guess? 

The first novel in this series opens with our female lead, Sloane, giving away her virginity to a stranger, Zeth, in the hopes of finding out information concerning her missing sister. The scene starts with our stranger turning off all the lights so she doesn’t ever see what he looks like. There’s touching, licking, rubbing, handcuffs. Mkay, so far not too bad. But then he proceeds to wrap his belt around her neck and rub a knife over her chest. Ummmmmm, at least she enjoyed it?

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The two leads have a pretty bizarre relationship once they reunite years later after their initial sexual dalliance. She’s inexplicably drawn to him, in spite of his criminal profession and the fact that he basically admitted to murdering someone. He doesn’t seem to have a soft side at all when it comes to her, and often uses intimidation to claim her sexually. He even gets her to participate in an orgy and…penetrates her with the handle of a knife. Ugggggh, again she seems to like it, but that one just seems…unnecessary.

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From One to Two

The first novel is basically just laying the groundwork of Sloane and Zeth’s unusual relationship, as well as developing the tale of her sister’s disappearance. Not much happens story-wise, and the novel almost seems to end mid-scene. I honestly don’t really understand why there was the need to end it so abruptly, rather than just combining these two short novels into one full length book. At the end of the first book I was honestly afraid to see what would come next, but it was so short I figured I might as well give it a try.

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The second novel focuses a lot more attention on Zeth’s story, and his pseudo father-son like relationship with a criminal overlord. And here is one of my main problems with this tale: Zeth really isn’t a good guy. He definitely blackmails Sloane sexually with the promise of saving her sister if she’ll do his bidding. At one point Sloane basically admits to herself that Zeth might be a murderer, a criminal, and a thug, but at least he’s honest. Dude! Not exactly a great reason to ignore all that other shit going on!! In the second book Zeth also realizes that his boss is involved in selling women, he had Zeth’s phone bugged, and sold him out years before for a murder Zeth didn’t actually commit. Aww, what’s wrong there buddy? Is it tough to discover the murderous crime boss you work for might not be 100% honest? Boo…hoo.

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Series: Blood & Roses, books 1 and 2. I doubt I’ll continue with this one. Although I am intrigued to find out what happened to Sloane’s sister.

Should you read it? These novels just weren’t my cup of tea. Zeth is kind of an emotionally manipulative ass, and you kind of want Sloane to escape his clutches. It really seems like the only reason she’s with him is because he says he’ll save her sister. The sex scenes are too over the top for my tastes, and I think there’s more focus on that than the dramatic aspect, which might actually be kind of interesting if we could just pay attention to it for a while!

Smut Level: Ummmmmmmmm…I’m uncomfortable. I’m also not sure I’ll ever be able to look at a blue ice pop the same way again. We all know what those things do to your tongue, and in this novel let’s just say his tongue and her lady bits turn blue. Thanks for tarnishing one of my favorite childhood snacky snacks!!

Get it on Amazon: Click Here. Books 1&2 $12.99 Kindle Price. Self-Published. 304 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.

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.