Review: Ruled

Review: RuledRuled (Outlaws, #3) by Elle Kennedy
Series: Outlaws #3
Published by Berkley on November 1st 2016
Genres: Futuristic
Pages: 368

“Life was so much easier when there was nobody around you to give a damn about.”

FINAL DECISION:  I think this might be the best menage book I’ve read.  There is a relationship between all three characters and I truly felt that these three had a real relationship by the end of the book.

THE STORY:  Rylan has done everything he can think of to attract Reese, the leader of a group of outlaws.  Despite an outlaw society that has no problem with meaningless sex, Reese won’t have anything to do with Rylan.  Rylan realizes that the key to Reese might be her second in command, Sloan.  Reese won’t give into her attraction to Rylan because she wants him too much and doesn’t trust her instincts with him.  Reese knows from experience the dangers of an attractive magnetic man.  She prefers to concentrate on her people and get her sex from meaningless encounters.  Sloan has stood by Reese’s side for years.  Although he has always wanted her, he knows that any hint of sex between them would destroy their relationship.  As Rylan, Reese and Sloan work to defeat the Enforcers that threaten the lives of the Outlaws, they are also drawn into a relationship that might destroy all that already exists between them.

OPINION:  Boy, this book is hot!  And even better, this book has a great emotional connection with all three of the menage partners.  Unlike the previous menages in the Outlaws series, this is not merely an extra sexual partner.  No, indeed, these three characters have an emotional connection to one another that leads to a true relationship between all three of them.

Reese was my favorite character.  She is a strong and dominant leader but her strength comes from her caring nature.  Reese is the matriarch of her people.  Reese puts her people above her own needs, which is one reason she has refused Rylan for so long.  Part of Reese’s journey is this book is finding out that she can be a whole person with relationships without it threatening her leadership.  In reality, her being whole can enhance her leadership.

Rylan initially seems like a happy-go-lucky fellow.  But he, as is true with all the Outlaws, has a darkness in his past.  Rylan is important in the story as the catalyst who changes the relationship between Reese and Sloan.  He is funny and sexy and the most outwardly emotional of the trio.  While he starts out wanting some good times, Sloan and Reese bring some needed stability and purpose to Rylan’s life. He’s a man who has hidden his caring under his devil may care attitude.

Sloan is the quiet rock of the trio.  He has stood by Reese being her right hand man while desperately wanting her.  He knows that any hint of sex between then would destroy their relationship. Sloan is not willing to risk what he has.  He is self-sacrificing, willing to do anything to help Reese even if that means denying what he wants most.

This book does a great job of balancing all the relationships.  Most menage books I have read focus on one couple or the woman’s relationship with each of the men.   This book is a perfectly balanced triangle.  Rylan’s introduction into the group allows the relationship between Reese and Sloan to develop even as Rylan creates his own relationship with Reese and Sloan.  The emotional and sexual relationship develops between all three of these characters — there is no emphasis on one part of the trio.  I got the real sense that these three need all of them in order to work.

The hotness of this book just keeps on:  Reese with Rylan (Hot!), Reese with Sloan (Hot!), Rylan with Sloan (even hotter!), Reese and Rylan and Sloan (blistering hot!).  What I liked best was that all the hot sex was really grounded in the emotions that developed between these characters.  All three of these characters have experienced pain and loss but in their relationship, they find happiness and completeness.

I loved this book and can’t wait for more Outlaws books.

WORTH MENTIONING:  This is a true menage relationship with both an emotional and sexual relationship between all three of the participants.  This book has MFM, MM and MF.

CONNECTED BOOKS:  RULED is the third book in the Outlaws series.  The book can be read as a standalone but there is an overarching story that is richer if you have read the other books in the series.

STAR RATING:  I give this book 4.5 stars.

NOTE:  I received an ARC 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.


Review: Addicted

Review: AddictedAddicted (Outlaws #2) by Elle Kennedy
Series: Outlaws #2
Published by Signet on June 28th 2016
Genres: Futuristic
Pages: 368

“I go where you go.”

FINAL DECISION:  Friends to lovers story that is emotionally complicated, sexy and a great second book in the Outlaws series.

THE STORY:  In the post-world outlaw world, Lennox and Jamie have known one another almost all their lives.  They are the closet of friends — almost family. After the events of the first book in the series, CLAIMED, the two have moved into the Outlaws compound.  Jamie has a crush on one of the Outlaws, but Lennox knows that she will always return to him.  Jamie loves her hot friend, but what she is not willing to do, however is risk giving into the strong sexual attraction between them because their friendship is more important than sex.  When Jamie realizes that her crush is futile, she turns to her best friend and things seriously heat up between them.  The two have to discover whether it is possible to be the best of friends and the best of lovers.

OPINION:  If a hot sexy, erotic romance can depict a hard violent life and yet have a sweet romance at its core, this book it is.  Lennox and Jamie have a long relationship that they have kept as friends, but sexual attraction has been an underlying factor for a long time. The two have a deep relationship and understanding of one another.  Once they begin their sexual relationship, they discover that no matter their hopes, things are different and they must learn to navigate their new feelings and desires.  I thought the shifting relationship between Lennox and Jamie was particularly complex and subtle.  These two love one another but learn to be in love with one another.

I was impressed with how Lennox and Jamie dealt with their sexual history with others (you have to accept that these two had sex with other people while in the same room) with such equanimity.  I also loved how these two highly sexed people come to realize that they are so possessive of one another that they don’t want other people involved in their sex life at all.

This book begins to flesh out more the overarching story of the series. I have a great fondness for storylines which span a series.  I believe this gives the books more depth and reward readers, like me, who like to commit to reading multiple books.  This book doesn’t pick up that story right where CLAIMED left it (and if you haven’t read claimed, you can figure out all the pertinent points in ADDICTED).  Instead, ADDICTED gives a new viewpoint and a new set of problems that I expect with intersect at some point with the events in the first book.

Finally, this book managed to surprise me. I didn’t expect the death of a character.  I like it when writers can do the unexpected.  I ended up liking this book better than the first one because the romance and conflict felt much more cohesive.  I may even end up liking the first book better because the world these characters inhabit is becoming more familiar. I can’t wait until the next book (the romantic conflict begins here).

WORTH MENTIONING: The book depicts both the hero and heroine having sex with other people before they get together and a couple of MMF scenes including the hero and heroine together.

CONNECTED BOOKS:  ADDICTED is the second book in the Outlaws series. While a reader of the first book will be ahead in knowing about this world, ADDICTED can be read as a standalone since all the relevant information is given here.

STAR RATING:  I give this book 4.5 stars.

NOTE:  I received an ARC of this book at the RT Convention from the publisher in order to write a review.  I was not required to write a positive review.  All opinions contained herein are my own.

We are also having a giveaway for a copy of CLAIMED, the first book in the Outlaws series.  Enter here by 6/30. Claimed Giveaway


Giveaway: Claimed by Elle Kennedy

by Elle Kennedy
Genres: Futuristic

In anticipation of ADDICTED the second book in the Outlaws series which will be released on Tuesday, June 28th, we are giving away a paperback copy of the first book in the series.  If you haven’t tried the series, check out our recent review of Claimed.

Claimed (Outlaws, #1) by

US only apologies to international friends.

Use Raffllecopter to enter the giveaway leave a comment below as to what one book you would want to have if the world fell apart and following us on Twitter by 11:59 pm PST July 1, 2016. Good luck!

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Review: Claimed

Review: ClaimedClaimed (Outlaws, #1) by Elle Kennedy
Series: Outlaws #1
Published by Signet on October 6th 2015
Genres: Futuristic
Pages: 368

“Didn’t anyone ever tell you that you can’t always get what you want?  I think someone even wrote a song about it once.”

“I don’t care.  I still want to come with you.

“Sorry, sweetheart, but this is a boys-only club.”

Her agitated expression gave way to indignation.  “Wow.  So you’re rude and sexist.”

FINAL DECISION:  A mixed bag that started out slowly but won me over by the end with its intriguing characters.  By the end of the book, I liked this book enough to want to continue to read the series.

THE STORY: In a dystopian future, the world consists of an authoritative government which tightly rules cities and outlaws which exist without rules and without resources hunted by the enforcers of the government.  Hudson Lane, a privileged woman from a city, runs when an unwanted marriage is going to be forced upon her.  In the outlaw world, she finds Connor Mackenzie who leads a small band of men.  Hudson begs Connor to give her refuge.  Despite his reservations, Connor agrees to show Hudson the ways of the Outlaw world which is violent and intensely sexual.  Hudson, however, has secrets which will cause Connor to distrust her.

OPINION: This book was mixed bag.  Sometimes a first book of a new series that involves world building can feel uneven as too many things have to be accomplished in the first book.  That is true here.  For me, the book started out slowly as the numerous characters from the series are introduced and the highly sexual, violent world is introduced with its particular rules.  During these pages, I found it difficult to get connected with the characters — especially Connor.  In a way, the beginning mirrored some of the worst of erotica, with sexual encounters more about titillating with body parts and multiple partners rather than any emotional connection.  By the end of the book, I decided that some of the emotional disconnect is purposeful as it reflects the emotionless sexual encounters that are common in the outlaw world.

Once Connor and Hudson began to emotionally connect, the book got much better for me.  I genuinely began to care about the characters and their journey.  The pace of the story also began to pick up at that point as the drama of Hudson’s secret became more relevant.

Women and men in the Outlaw world are fiercely independent and both have sexual autonomy without moralistic constraints or restrictions.  Just about everything goes in the Outlaw world.

I also liked that this first book leaves some questions about what is going on with the enforcers and what the future holds in this world.  I especially like that the series seems to be created with an overarching storyline.  I prefer my series to truly be connected rather than just having completely separate storylines.

By the time this book ended, I wanted to read more about Connor’s men and this world.

WORTH MENTIONING: There is a lot of sex combinations in this one.  MMF with depictions of MFF.  The hero and heroine have sex with other people during the book both with and without the other present.

CONNECTED BOOKS: CLAIMED is the first book in the Outlaws series.

STAR RATING:  I give this book 3.5 stars.

NOTE:  I received a free copy of this book from the publisher at the RT Convention. I was not required to write a positive review.  All opinions contained herein are my own.


Top 10 New to Me Books I Want to Read After RT Booklovers Convention

by Alice Clayton, Alyssa Cole, Donna Grant, Elle Kennedy, Em Shotwell, Julie Murphy, Katherine Reay, Leigh Bardugo, Lexi Blake, Savannah J. Frierson, Shayla Black

In April, I attended the RT Booklovers Convention in Las Vegas. It was a fantastic experience.  The parties were fun, the panels were usually very interesting and I came home with bags full of free books, but what I loved most was standing around talking with people about the books that they love.

The convention opened my eyes to authors, genres and all kinds of books that I never knew were out there.  I made a commitment that I would pick 10 books by authors that I haven’t really read before and try them out in the next year.

There is no method in the books I chose other than my limitation that they not be from authors that I regularly read. I ended up with dozens of possible books to read, and decided to just chose 10 that sparked my interest in some way.

What follows are my list of books in no particular order:

Blackbird Summer

Blackbird Summer by Em Shotwell: This might be the most shallow reason for choosing a book — I was walking around the book fair and loved the cover of this book.  I spoke with the author who gave a good pitch for the book.  It features a heroine with supernatural powers and takes place in the rural South. It happened to be on sale on Kindle so I bought it right then. The cover looks like a pictures I’d like to have on my wall.

Mixed Signals (Off the Grid, #3)

Mixed Signals by Alyssa Cole:  I saw the author speak at one of the panels and was impressed by how articulate and funny she was.  I really like clever books so I have hopes that this author’s personality will transfer to what she writes. The book is part of a post-apocalyptic series and I’m going to have to decide whether or not to read from the beginning of the series or start here.

Being Plumville

Being Plumville by Savannah J. Frierson:  I met this author at the Book Fair.  I was wandering around talking to different authors and approached her table.  I asked what her book was about.  When she told me that the story was about an interracial couple in the 1960s, I was hooked.  I know I haven’t read this book before so I was determined that it would make my list of books to read.

Scandal Never Sleeps (The Perfect Gentlemen, #1)

Scandal Never Sleeps by Shayla Black and Lexi Blake: One of my favorite events at the RT Convention was the Perfect Gentlemen event.  Lots of cool swag and a free copy of this book along with a signing by the authors.  As we waited in line for the signing, the group of women I was with laughed and drank the pink champagne.  It was a fun time. The entirety of the event plus the blurb on the back made me put this book in the read really soon pile.  A group of powerful and really sexy men finding strong women while investigating the death of one of their members is definitely my type of catnip.


Dumplin’ by Julie Murphy: This book was chosen as Book of the Year at the RT Reviewers’ Choice Awards.  I love the idea that all people deserve a happy ending.  Once again, I was impressed with the author as she accepted her awards that night.  Her remarks were touching and I knew I would have to read this book.

Wallbanger (Cocktail, #1)

Wallbanger by Alice Clayton: Lot of buzz about this author and series at the convention.  Someone else had recommended the book to me a while ago, Sarah MacLean has recommended it several times, and the repeated recommendations at the convention finally moved it to my list.

Dear Mr. Knightley

Dear Mr. Knightley by Katherine Reay:  I went to the Sweet Romance Morning Coffee Break event and this author was in attendance.  One of the attendees at my table recommended reading this book and I was intrigued by the letter writing involved in the book and its connection to Pride and Prejudice.

Claimed (Outlaws, #1)

Claimed by Elle Kennedy: Another of those post-apocalyptic books, I received and ARC of the second book in this series at a blogger event and decided I had to look at this book to decide if I had to read it first.  I read the blurb “Her best chance at survival is Connor Mackenzie, an aggressively sensual fugitive who opens her eyes to the wicked possibilities of a world without rules.” and I had to add it to my list.

Smoke and Fire (Dark Kings, #9)

Smoke and Fire by Donna Grant: Dragon Shapeshifters.  Nothing else needed except I do need to decide where I want to start with this series.

Shadow and Bone (The Grisha, #1)

Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo: I talked to many people able YA books and two different people suggested this book to me.  I know that it was on sale on Kindle not long ago so I decided I would give it a try.

Over the next year, I’m going to read these books.  Stay tuned to read my reviews.

Do you create book challenges for yourself? If so, what is on your challenge list?