Review: Theirs to Take

Review: Theirs to TakeTheirs to Take (Blasphemy, #3) by Laura Kaye
Series: Blasphemy #3
on September 26th 2017
Genres: Contemporary, Erotica
Pages: 170
Goodreads
three-stars

FINAL DECISION: I generally liked the book, but the instant love/lust with Hartley wasn’t as good as the relationship between Jonathan and Cruz which I wish we had more exploration of. The story is hot, but I missed the centrality of Blasphemy.

THE STORY: Hartley Farren is in desperate need of some help when a hurricane damages her boat. She happens to meet Jonathan Allen who with his partner Cruz Ramos offer to do the repairs. Jonathan and Cruz are two of the co-owner of the sex club Blasphemy and they enjoy engaging in menage relationships. The two try to figure out if Hartley might be a good third, but are also struggling with changes in their relationship as the attraction between them grows.

OPINION: The story was enjoyable but not particularly deep as the length of the book, the complication of the menage and the introduction of a character in a crossover story all took up space.

The story is really hot and I enjoyed how the erotic relationship between these three develops. My complaint is that I wish there were more pages to delve into the complications of Cruz and Jonathan’s relationship and some differentiation between Hartley’s relationship with Cruz and Jonathan. What does each offer to her?

That being said, I thought the highlight of this book was the relationship between Cruz and Jonathan. (So many menage books ignore the m/m part of the relationship). I also liked how these three navigate their new relationship. The sex was hot and emotional as the three figure out what works for them.

This is a good addition to the Blasphemy series (even though the club itself is only a side location in this book).

WORTH MENTIONING: This book has a crossover with REVEAL ME by Jennifer Probst.

CONNECTED BOOKS: THEIRS TO TAKE is the third book in the Blasphemy series. This book can be read as a standalone.

STAR RATING: I give this book 3 stars.

three-stars

Review: Eyes on You

Review: Eyes on YouEyes on You (Blasphemy, #2.5) by Laura Kaye
Series: Blasphemy #2.5
Published by Evil Eye Concepts, Incorporated on July 18th 2017
Genres: Contemporary, Erotica
Goodreads
four-stars

FINAL DECISION:  Enjoyable novella which is not deep, but fun and the personalities of the main characters made this a novella that I really enjoyed as Liv discovers herself.

THE STORY:  Olivia Foster is on the blind date from hell when she meets Wolf Henrikson who “rescues” her from her boorish date.  Fireworks explode when Liv and Wolf meet as they seem to recognize one another. Liv is a woman who has fantasies of being an exhibitionist and Wolf is interested in voyeurism and public sex as well.  These two strangers quickly find that their complementary sexual interests might lead to something more.

OPINION:  This is a short novella.  Despite this, I really liked the development of the relationship between Wolf and Liv.  The story progresses quickly but I really felt that these characters had a connection.  The story was very, very sexy and was different than the other books in the series because of the particular kink the two share.

Liv is a woman coming into her own.  Having been told by her ex-fiance that what she desires sexually is not “normal”, she finds freedom in her relationship with Wolf.  I liked the fun interaction between these two as they work through the particular details of their relationship.

The story is quick and thus doesn’t go deep into the psyches of these characters, but I thought it was a fun read.

WORTH MENTIONING:  This book has public sex (but only two participants).

CONNECTED BOOKS:  EYES ON YOU is book 2.5 of the Blasphemy series about the owners of a BDSM sex club.  While there are overlapping characters, this book can be read on its own.

STAR RATING:  I give this novella 4 stars.

four-stars

Review: Mastering Her Senses

Review: Mastering Her SensesMastering Her Senses (Blasphemy, #2) by Laura Kaye
Series: Blasphemy #2
Published by Laura Kaye on February 21st 2017
Genres: Contemporary, Erotica
Goodreads
three-stars

FINAL DECISION:  I liked these characters and they had a real hot read. My only complaint was the short length of the story combined with the emphasis on the sexual encounters between them left the emotional part of the story more superficial.  I enjoyed the book.

THE STORY:  Cassia Locke has developed a phobia of the dark after an accident.  She comes to Blasphemy to try and work through her fear. She ends up reconnecting with Blasphemy co-owner Quinton Ross.  Quinton is a dominant who specializes in sensory deprivation.  Several years ago, Cassia stood Quinton up.  Their attraction, however, hasn’t lessened in the interim. Now Quinton is willing to help Cassia overcome her phobia.

OPINION:  This was an enjoyable story, but the lack of emotional journey for the characters means that it isn’t one that I will think to pick up again.  There are some books that I enjoy without becoming connected to the story or the characters.  This was a book that engaged me while I read it, but I thought the relationship between Cassia and Quinton was too superficial for me to want to take their journey again.

Cassia and Quinton have a hot relationship. I really liked that the book focuses on Cassia and her phobia and her journey to finding peace again.  (One thing I would have liked would have been some resolution on the results as to her job).  There is a lot of focus on the hot scenes between Quinton and Cassia.

Cassia is a woman seeking to regain control of her life after a cave-in which left her afraid of the dark.  I really liked that Cassia is a woman who embraces her sexuality and is not shamed by her sexual experience or her desires. She might be the submissive in the relationship, but it is clear that she is an equal in the relationship.  I liked her active and adventurous spirit.

One scene is particular made me love Quinton.  He cares for Cassia when she is sick. I think every woman could love a man who cares for her when she is sick. While I thought Cassia was very active in the story, in many ways Quinton is more reactive and responsive even as he is the Dom. I never felt that I connected with Quinton as a characters as much as I did Cassia.

I enjoyed this book but wish that there was more of a conclusion regarding Cassia’s phobia.

WORTH MENTIONING:  This book has a lot of graphic sex scenes.

CONNECTED BOOKS:  MASTERING HER SENSES is the second book in the Blasphemy series about a BDSM sex club.  It is not necessary to read the others in the series to understand this one although there are overlapping characters.

STAR RATING:  I give this book 3 stars.

three-stars

Review: Bound to Submit

Review: Bound to SubmitBound to Submit (Blasphemy, #1) by Laura Kaye
Series: Blasphemy #1
on October 11th 2016
Genres: Contemporary
Pages: 154
Goodreads
four-stars

“The music faded away along with all the people, until it was just the two of them, divided by a room, five years, and her once-broken heart.”

FINAL DECISION:  A book that has a strong, independent heroine that has experienced much pain and yet takes control of her own pleasure by confronting the pain in her past.  I loved Kenna and Griffin.

THE STORY:  Kenna Sloane is an ex-Marine, amputee and motivational speaker.  She is having problems adjusting to her new life.  As a way of solving that problem, she decides to confront her past.  Five years ago, Griffin Hudson was her lover and Dominant.  When Kenna fell in love with him and wanted more, he rejected her.  Now Kenna wants to see if the Dom/Sub lifestyle she liked so much can help her recover.  She returns to Blasphemy, the sex club that Griffin owns and where he is one of the 12 Masters.  What Kenna doesn’t know is that Griffin has never forgotten her.  He quickly regretted his rejection of the perfect woman for him and now that she has returned, he plans to keep her.

OPINION:  I loved how strong and independent Kenna was in this book.  She is a tough woman who has experienced the trauma and death of war but has begun to pull herself together.  When she sees that her life is not what she wants it to be, she takes action.  She returns to the dom/sub life that brought her happiness even though she experienced pain as well when Griffin rejected her.

“Unlike the rest of her life right now, at least here — right here in this room — she knew what the rules were, what was expected of her, and what she could do to succeed.  She knew who and what she was.  And God, she hadn’t realized how much she needed that.  All of that.  Because she’s lost it when she’s lost the Marines. She’d just lost so much.”

The story of Kenna is powerful; she is a warrior.  I loved how her being an amputee is part of the story but it doesn’t diminish her sexuality or sexual attraction.  Her qualities amplify the attraction Griffin has for her.  She can be strong, be physically imperfect and have lingering emotional scars, but she is allowed to be sexual and attractive.

Griffin is a sweetheart.  I don’t know how Kaye does it, but she manages to make him incredibly alpha and yet kind and compassionate.  His reaction to her service as a Marine and her amputation is so supportive that I could see how Kenna fell in love with him.

In this book, Griffin has already gone through his conversion to recognizing how wrong he was in the past.  He knows what he lost and is determined to not lose her again.

While this book is centered around the Blasphemy Club, the sex play in this book is only about the relationship between Kenna and Griffin.  They have already dealt with their sexual compatibility and their attraction to one another.  This book is really about Kenna coming to terms with herself.  She manages to do this through her sex play and her relationship with Griffin which opens her up to happiness again and her ability to deal with her grief and guilt.

I thought this book was thoughtful and sexy.

The only criticism I had was that I thought Kenna forgave Griffin way too easily after his prior rejection of her.

WORTH MENTIONING:  This is a novella.

CONNECTED BOOKS:  BOUND TO SUBMIT is the first book in the Blasphemy series.  There is a connected book that operates as a prequel entitled HARD TO SERVE.  It is not necessary to read HARD TO SERVE before BOUND TO SUBMIT.

STAR RATING:  I give this book 4 stars.

NOTE:  I received an electronic copy of this book in order to provide a review.  I was not required to write a positive review.  All opinions contained herein are my own.

four-stars

Review: Premiere: A Romance Writers of America® Collection

Review: Premiere: A Romance Writers of America® CollectionPremiere: A Romance Writers of America® Collection by Allison Brennan, Amber Lin, Cindy Gerard, Courtney Milan, Diane Kelly, Erica Ridley, Harper St. George, Joan Johnston, Katy Regnery, Laura Kaye, Lex Valentine, Lila Bell, Monica Murphy, Regina Scott, Sabrina Jeffries, Sylvia Day, T.L. Costa, Vicki Lewis Thompson
Published by Romance Writers of America, Inc on February 9th 2015
Genres: Contemporary, Historical
Pages: 380
Goodreads
five-stars

This is a collection of short stories all based on the idea of a wrong number. This collection is very diverse and demonstrates a great variety of stories and techniques and genres.

RAVISHED BY THE GEEK by Vicki Lewis Thompson: Jamie Smith receives a misaddressed email from Vivian Crowley who is the woman of his dreams. When Jamie reads Vivian’s fantasy scene in her email, he decides to make her dreams come true. This is a sweet story and Jamie is simply adorable. Rating: 4 stars.

UNDER A WICKED MOON by Lila Bell: Stacia Bryne and Liam MacTire were foster children together. They are now enemies as Liam has been sent to kill the half-human, half-sorceress. Liam is a half-human, half wolf shifter. Stacia creates a potion to turn Liam into her protector but when it works, she fears that what they have isn’t real. I really liked this story. There was something compelling about the characters. It certainly made me interested in reading the connected novellas. Rating: 4.25 stars.

A RIGHT HONORABLE GENTLEMAN by Courtney Milan: Miss Catherine Hooks is a servant in the household of Mr. Edward Glennon. In the almost five years that she has been governess to the widower’s son an attraction between the two has arisen, but their stations make acting on it impossible. When Catherine decides it is time for her to leave, Edward realizes that he doesn’t want her to. This is a favorite. Sparkling characters and dialogue despite the short length. I could read a whole novel about these two and yet this story story also is satisfying. Rating: 5 stars.

STATION 12 by Amber Lin: Isobel Monroe goes to the fire station to return some of her ex’s things and ends up at the wrong station. She meets Matthew Gaines who is also a fire fighter. He asks her out on a date, but she refuses. But their story isn’t over. This story is really just the beginning of their relationship, but I thought the characters were interesting and their interaction felt genuine. Rating: 4.25 stars.

WRONG NUMBER, RIGHT GIRL by Monica Murphy: Ty Webster is a player with women and he is bored. When he succumbs to a dare to get the number of a hot young woman, he can’t help but notice her friend who is definitely not his type. Lauren thinks Ty is attractive but knows this guy would never be interested in her. This story is told in alternating first personal narratives. This is a sweet new adult story about a guy changing his life. Rating: 4 stars.

A LIGHT IN THE DARKNESS by Regina Scott: Major Sir Percival Nightincourt and Eleanor Grasland knew each other years before but parted when Percy joined the military. Now Percy has given up his commission and when the two encounter one another again, he realizes what he has been missing. This is a sweet inspirational romance. Rating: 3.5 stars.

COMING HOME by Joan Johnston: Savannah Whitelaw is an FBI agent and Luke Winters has just been exonerated after spending 6 years in jail. After being convinced to go on a double date, Savannah can’t help but be attracted to this man who is so wrong for her. I really liked this story because there was definite angst and potential in the story. I wish there was more to the story because this is really just the beginning of a relationship. This story is connected with her Hawke’s Way series. Rating: 3.5 stars.

THE POET by T.L. Costa: Wyatt Hershowitz has had a crush on Hannah Smith since sixth grade. When she asks for the Spanish homework, he accidentally sends her a poem he wrote for his mom’s birthday. What follows is a funny attempt by Wyatt to rectify his mistake. This story is well written and funny and made me smile. Rating: 4 stars.

DEAD WRONG by Cindy Gerard: Erin Livingston has just been acquitted of the murder of her husband and has come home under threat from her father-in-law who blames her for his son’s death. Jed Rafferty and Erin had a thing as teenagers and haven’t seen one another in years. Jed knows, however, that Erin is the woman for him and doesn’t intend to lose the chance with her. This story felt complete and substantial despite its short length. Rating: 4.25 stars.

THE FALLOUT by Harper St. George: Elena Black and Dexter Thomas Herrington married young and within two years were separated. Now four years later, they are getting divorced. When Dex comes back to talk to her, however, they find that there might be something worth saving. This story had much promise, but once the two meet up again, I didn’t feel the emotional connection the story should have had. Rating: 3 stars.

HARD TO BREATHE by Syvia Day: Annalise knows that she needs to get away from her trainer Gareth. Annalise is in love with him although a relationship between angel trainer and student is forbidden. When she tries to get reassigned, Gareth foils her attempt. When she is forced to reveal her reason to him, she feels his rejection but he might be hiding something as well. I loved this story. Well written and executed with interesting characters. I want to read more. Rating: 5 stars.

ALL I WANT by Erica Ridley: Lady Matilda Kingsley and Major Owen Turner were childhood friends but Owen is illegitimate and not the proper match for the daughter of a duke. Years later, they meet again over a game of cards. The story between these characters was sweet and completely unrealistic but enjoyable nonetheless. Rating: 4 stars.

COVERING HER SKIN by Laura Kaye: Emery Morgan has come to Ronan Kane to get rid of one of the biggest mistakes of her life. A year ago, Emery had Ronan, a tattoo artist, give her a tattoo of her fiance’s jersey number and football team right before he dumped her. Now she wants the tattoo transformed. Ronan made one of the biggest mistakes in his life when he agreed to do Emery’s tattoo a year ago and wants to rectify that mistake for the woman he has had a crush on for years and never thought to see again. This story was really good. There is great character development and an interesting idea of transformation. Rating: 4.25 stars.

THE LONG WAY HOME by Katy Regnery: Clarissa Calhoun and Ford McInerney end up sitting next to one another on a bus cross-country traveling to the same wedding. Ford has been in love with Clarissa forever, but she was his older brother’s girlfriend. Now he has a chance to get her to give them a chance. This new adult story was good. The relationship between Clarissa and Ford is complicated and their history makes the story interesting. Rating: 4 stars.

THEIR NIGHT OFF by Allison Brennan: FBI Special Agent Suzanne Madeaux and Detective Joe DeLucca have had a casual relationship for a while complicated by their work and Joe’s ex-wife. Just when Suzanne is thinking that their relationship should be more, the two get involved in one of Suzanne’s cases. This story was just okay for me. It was an interesting story but not enough about the romance between the two. Rating: 3 stars.

FLYING IN THE FACE OF CONVENTION by Lex Valentine: A mis-delivered delivered wedding invitation bring Trey Beaumont and Jordan Smithson together. Trey had been interested in Jordan when they were in college together and now he finds out that they were unknowingly living in the same building. Trey had never told Jordan of his interest in him but now sees a new opportunity. My complaint here is that the character o Jordan is not really developed. It would have been nice to know more about him so that the relationship was more balanced. On the other hand, I really liked the epilogue which gave the story a nice ending. Rating: 3 stars.

AN APRIL FOOL’S FORBIDDEN AFFAIR by Sabrina Jeffries: Mason Brandt, Earl of Westville wants Miss Augusta Hunt, his late wife’s sister but knows that it is impossible since is would be scandalous to marry his sister-in-law. Augusta wants Mason as well but knows only that he has purposely kept away from her. When the two discover a prank by Augusta’s younger brother, they work together to foil it. This story is well written and has characters in an interesting dilemma. I wish there was more to this story because this could be a longer novella or a novel itself. Rating: 4 stars

WRONG ADDRESS, RIGHT GUY by Diane Kelly: Katelyn Harrington is unlucky in love. When her boyfriend is late for their date again, she breaks it off with him. Then her neighbor stands up her date. When that date arrives, Katelyn decides that she will pretend to be his date. I liked this story because the premise was interesting and the romance was sweet. Rating: 3 stars.

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five-stars

Review: Hard to Serve

Review: Hard to ServeHard to Serve (Hard Ink, #4.7) by Laura Kaye
Series: Hard Ink #4.7
on June 28, 2016
Genres: Contemporary
Pages: 120
Goodreads
four-stars

“Welcome to Blasphemy.”

FINAL DECISION:  This story was more hot erotica than emotional story but I still enjoyed it.  The novella introduces the Blasphemy Club and sets up some good characters.

THE STORY: Detective Kyler Vance is being investigated by Internal Affairs as the new police commissioner attempts to root out recent corruption in the department.  He decides to blow off some steam at his club.  His club just happens to be a place for dominants like Kyler to find submissives for sex.  There he meets Mia Breslin, who is looking for a man to dominate her.  Things are really hot between Mia and Kyler and they seem to be inching toward something more when Kyler finds out that Mia happens to be the daughter of his new boss.

OPINION:  This is a short novella so much of the character development and plot are compressed. There is a lot of hot sex though and these characters really shine in their interaction.  For me, the weakness of the story is Kyler’s reluctance to make their relationship more than sex.  His motivations seem murky and not as well developed as they would be in a novel.  Despite that, however, I thought this was a very good read.

There was a strong intensity between Mia and Kyler which begins as instant sexual attraction and then evolves into something more.  One of the nicest things is that Kyler cares for Mia from the beginning first in a physical manner and then in an emotional one.

I really, really liked that Mia is so open about what pleases her sexually.  She is a grown woman who knows what she likes. There is no question of consent or any dominance that Mia doesn’t explicitly consent to.

The book also introduces some of the other men who will be the heroes of future books.  There was definitely enough there to make me want to read more.

WORTH MENTIONING:  There is some BDSM and public sex for those who might be sensitive.

CONNECTED BOOKS:  HARD TO SERVE is book 4.7 in the Hard Ink series.  It can be read as a standalone.  It also is book 1 of the Blasphemy series.

STAR RATING:  I give this book 4 stars.

four-stars