Tag «Erotica»

Series Review: Surrender by Lauren Smith

Series Review: Is this series worth your time? Does it get better as the novels progress? Or does it get worse? Find out below:

booksynopsis

Synopsis for The Gilded Cuff (from Goodreads):

Every passion has its price . . .

Journalist Sophie Ryder has been following Emery Lockwood’s story since she was a little girl. There has always been something in his haunted eyes that she couldn’t resist and now, when she’s certain he holds the key to solving a string of kidnappings, she’ll do anything to speak to him. Even if it means venturing deep into the seductive world of the Gilded Cuff, a luxurious BDSM club on Long Island’s Gold Coast and Emery’s personal playground.

From the moment Sophie enters his shadowy, sensual domain, Emery Lockwood knows this tantalizing new little sub was meant to belong to him. However, Sophie wants more from Emery than just pleasure . . . she wants his past. And that is something he isn’t willing to give—no matter who is asking. But every moment he spends with Sophie, Emery feels his control slipping and he knows it’s only a matter of time before he surrenders to her heart, body, and soul.

breakdown

Series: Surrender
Author: Lauren Smith
# of Books: 3 (The Gilded Cuff, The Gilded Cage, The Gilded Chain)
Book Order: Connected but Chronological Events
Complete?: A 4th book may be released
Genre: Adult, Contemporary, Erotica, Suspense
Heat Rating: hot (BDSM: high, Kink: mild)
Point of View: Third Person, Alternating
Publication Dates: Februrary 2015 – November 2015
Source & Format: Author–eARC

thoughts

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

I read and LOVED Lauren Smith’s Her British Stepbrother Series last year. She writes addicting romances and I couldn’t wait to see what she could do with a full length trilogy.

I’m slowly getting into the world of romantic suspense but haven’t been overly successful. Either you get a thriller that is more thriller than romance or the complete opposite, with an erotica that only has a dash of a plot. So trying to find that perfect series was seeming like a fruitless effort but this one seemed more than promising.

The Concept:

I don’t overly enjoy BDSM novels. Alpha males are something that–obviously–come with the territory and they more often than not irk me. However, BDSM novels are the ones that have the exciting and dangerous plotlines that I adore so I pick them up and hope for the best.

This one had the right balance between sexy times and suspenseful ones. I’d say the first 20% is dedicated to the sexual tension, the next 50% is a mix of plot and romantic developments and the last 30% is the suspense. It has that little bit of everything to satisfy the various audiences that will be drawn to this title.

The Plot:

The first two novels have an overarching plotlines so it was exciting to watch it develop. Whereas the third has its own suspenseful plotline though I didn’t find it as dangerous as the previous two.

Regardless, as I said before, this one had the right balance between romantic developments and dramatic ones. I found these books to be really addicting and I enjoyed them immensely.

The Characters:

I really liked all of these characters–even the alpha males. They all have their flaws and their strengths and that just made them all seem genuine to me. I also liked that they were all unique. I didn’t feel like I was reading carbon copies of the previous leads–they all have their own personalities and thought processes so I never got bored with them.

The Romance:

While these romances are based on insta-connections, I really didn’t mind them as much as I usually do when I come across insta-love stories. All these pairs just work together and I think knowing the characters’ histories as you do really helps to establish these romances. Sure, I would have liked the characters to have known each other more than a few days before they are professing their love for each other, but their fast feelings made sense to me.

My Expectations for the Rest of the Series:

I’m really hoping a certain character will be getting his own story sometime soon!

Series Rating: 4/5

The Gilded Cuff 4/5 | The Gilded Cage 4/5 | The Gilded Chain 3.5/5

overall

I finally found a contemporary romantic suspense novel that strikes the right balance between romance and plot line!

Read if You Like: romantic suspense
Avoid if You: dislike BDSM based novels
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Fresh Fridays: Hellion (Billion Dollar Bastards #1) by Emmy Joel

Fresh Fridays: On Friday, I review a brand new series (ie. only has one book released so far) to see if the series is worth keeping up with. Here is this week’s offering:

Billion Dollar Bastards Series

Other books in the series:
book3

booksynopsis

Synopsis for Hellion (from Goodreads):

Prison darkens their past. Ink colors their skin. Vengeance fuels their ambition.

Addiction has a name.

Once a coldhearted brawler who ruled the streets with his fists, now a billionaire contractor who rules society with his wealth, Malcolm Bradshaw has only one priority: Pharaoh Construction. Built on lies and ghosts that need to stay silent, it’s his gateway to Texas elite. But when he agrees to restore a centuries-old estate for the wedding of American royalty and long-buried human remains are found during excavation, his self-made kingdom is put in jeopardy. He’ll walk through hell before he backs down from anyone–especially Cate Lois, the introverted archeologist sent to look over his shoulder. From the shyness of her smile to the secrets in her eyes, she’s a drug he knows he shouldn’t touch.

It looks like sin. It talks like temptation.

Mysteries of the past and backroom business dealings don’t faze Cate. Taking what she needs and walking away was never a challenge before. But shadowing Malcolm, who beneath his expensive suits and easy charm is a tattooed son of a bitch, rattles her. What started as a plot to appease her blackmailer and steal a collection of rare artifacts becomes irrevocably complicated the moment Malcolm strips her down to bare skin and naked lust.

And what it doesn’t destroy, it turns into pure, decadent ecstasy…

breakdown

Series: Billion Dollar Bastards
Author: Emmy Joel
# of Books: 3 (Hellion, Rival, Saint)
Book Order: Connected by Chronological Events
Complete?: No, Rival, is to be published in May 2017
Genre: Adult, Contemporary, Romance, Erotica, Mystery
Heat Rating: hot (Kink: mild)
Point of View: Third Person, Alternating
Publication Date: April 11, 2017 – ongoing
Source & Format: Netgalley via Author–eBook | Thanks so much Emmy Joel!

thoughts

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

When I was asked if I was interested in reading Hellion, I was drawn to the description for a few reasons. One being the mystery behind the human remains and the jewels. That sounded positively juicy! Recently, I’ve found myself drawn into the world of romantic suspense (something I never really enjoyed before) thanks to a new fascination with mystery novels (last year it was fantasy novels, I guess 2017 is all about the mysteries). Add to that the danger of 3 criminally-convicted male leads and I was very excited to see what danger this series would bring.

What I Liked:

–Reads Like a Soap Opera–

I don’t know how many people know about the Soap Opera, The Bold and The Beautiful, but it’s this 30 minute soap opera with a tiny cast of larger than life characters. Their lives are all intertwined through romances, family and work, which means there is a ton of drama and secrets.

Reading Hellion reminded me of that show in the sense that you have these characters that are all linked together but you aren’t quite sure how. Everyone is looking out for themselves and everyone has a secretive past. Add in some drama about the jewels, the intrigue about the body and a dash of somewhat forbidden romance and you’ve got yourself one non-stop story.

–Not Full-Blown Erotica–

I don’t mind sexy times in my novels but I wouldn’t say I am a fan of full-out erotica (you know the ones with very little story and a whole lot of sex). So I was a little worried when I saw this labeled as “erotica” and looked at the page size. I didn’t want to read 125 pages of smut and then get a few pages to quickly wrap up the mystery plot (and no shame if you do want that!).

But there was a great balance between the sex scenes and the mystery. It switched the narrative to the actual plot when it needed to and returned to the romance at the appropriate times.

–The Mystery is Woven Throughout the 3 Novels–

I like that the mystery aspect is something that is continued throughout all the novellas. I feel like it just helps tie the books all together besides having the 3 men all be good friends and business partners.

What I Didn’t Like:

–The Novella Format–

Obviously from my above comments this story has a lot of positives to it. It has all the right components to make for a great trilogy. However, it does suffer greatly from the novella-size format.

Everything just felt a little underdeveloped to me.

I wasn’t really sold on the romance because I hardly felt like these two interacted with each other. I felt very little chemistry between them and that made their hasty romance even more of an insta-love situation (which I’m not a fan of even though I was expecting it here).

And while the mystery is going to be carried out over the next two stories, I do feel like it was very “rushed” here. I would have enjoyed it being a little more layered and developed.

My Expectations for the Rest of the Series:

I can’t wait to find out the conclusion for the mystery and there is one particular couple that has me curious to see what is in store for them. Maybe the next two will be longer…

My Rating: 3/5

Hellion 3/5 | Rival TBP | Saint TBP

overall

This (will be) a great summer weekend binge series once all the books are out for fans of shorter stories that pack a lot into them.

Read if You Like: romantic mysteries, bad boys
Avoid if You: dislike novella format, want straight-up erotica
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Series Review: Playboys in Love by Gina L Maxwell

Series Review: Playboys in Love by Gina L Maxwell

Series Review: Is this series worth your time? Does it get better as the novels progress? Or does it get worse? Find out below:

book3

booksynopsis

Synopsis for Shameless (from Goodreads):

People say I’m shameless. They’re right.

I like my sex dirty. It takes a hell of a lot to tilt my moral compass, and I always follow when it’s pointing at something I want. That goes double when it points straight at the one girl in all of Chicago who’s not dying for a piece of me.

She’s all I can think about, and that’s a problem, because she wants nothing to do with me. But I’ve seen her deepest secrets, her darkest fantasies, and they match mine to a fucking T.

I want her. Bad.

Now I need to show her how good it can feel…to be shameless.

breakdown

Series: Playboys in Love
Author: Gina L Maxwell
# of Books: 3 (Full Reading Order Here)
Book Order: Connected
Complete?: Unsure
Genre: Adult, Contemporary, Romance, Erotica
Heat Rating: Hot (Kink: mild | BDSM: light)
Point of View: First Person, Alternating
Publication Dates: May 2016 – ongoing
Source & Format: Publisher–eARC; Owned–Kindle (#3)

Copies provided for Shameless (#1) and Ruthless (#2)

thoughts

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

I had actually never heard of this series until I was asked if I wanted to review book 2, Ruthless. I’m not a huge erotica fan per say but I do like to read adult contemporary romances from time to time. This series sounded like it was the perfect in between, bordering on the New Adult spectrum but with an adult erotica spin.

The Concept:

It’s not mentioned in the synopsis, but this series follows a bunch of male strippers who strip for fun (aka they have other day jobs) and how they meet their match in some special girl. The concept is a lot of fun, it reminded me of the movie Magic Mike but focusing on individuals and not the whole troop. It also reminded me of the Walk of Shame Series that shares a similar idea but this series isn’t as overly dramatic though it shares the kink factor.

Which brings me to the kink factor. It isn’t as extreme as say, a Maya Banks series, but it is definitely present and provides for lots of sexy times. I think if someone is looking for a nice bridge into the erotica genre, this is a nice gateway. It’s well done.

The Plot:

I would say that this series is more focused on the romance and the sexy times than it is with high dramatic antics. Which I really appreciated because I hate when the drama is soap opera-esque. Of course you have some typical tropes thrown in there but otherwise, you get a pretty linear plot.

I will say that the plot had a much better balance in book 2, Ruthless. It actually had more substance to it than sexy times and worked on the character and romance development.

The Characters:

All these characters are very likeable. The females are strong and independent. I never found them losing themselves in their relationships or conforming to be something other than more self-confident.

I also liked the guys. Even though I’m not a huge alpha hero fan, I definitely liked these male leads. They (like the ladies) have great character development throughout the story.

The Romance:

I found the romance to be much stronger in Ruthless (#2) than in Shameless (#1). For me, the romance in Shameless was more insta-love because things move so fast and all seems rooted in instinct rather than emotional connection. I like my romances to spell things out for me when it comes to the romances and it just didn’t work in Shameless for me even though I could see, in theory, how they would work.

Which is why I enjoyed the romance in Ruthless so much more. Thanks to the balanced plot, we actually get to see these two interact in moments other than sex scenes. You see the emotional connection form and you can’t help but root for them.

My Expectations for the Rest of the Series:

I definitely know what characters I want to see get their own story next. We get just enough of a taste of each of the male leads to get you excited to see what their story is going to be!

updates

–May 15, 2019– Book #3: Merciless

The great thing about a series like this is that you can jump back in at anytime. While I don’t think the leads here were the exact leads I wanted to read about, I still enjoyed their story.

Like the other books in the series, this story had a great balance between the sexy times and the plot. There is substance to this story and not just the needed context to get to the sexy times. I think I could have used a little more development from the romance but there was enough to satisfy me for this quicker read.

Series Rating: 4/5

Shameless 3.5/5 | Ruthless 4/5 | Merciless 3/5

overall

If you like books with plenty of sexy times and just a dash of kink, this is a great one for you to read! The perfect series to bridge the NA and Adult erotica gap.

Read if You Like: erotica, books with kink, quick reads
Avoid if You: dislike erotica

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Novella Serial Review: Reasonable Doubt by Whitney Garcia Williams

Serial Saturdays: On the occasional Saturday, I review a serialized series (a series that is released in parts that would normally make up a whole novel) to see if the series is worth keeping up with or worth buying all its parts. Here is this week’s offering:

booksynopsis

Synopsis for Reasonable Doubt (from Goodreads):
My cock has an appetite.

A huge and very particular appetite: Blonde, curvy, and preferably not a fucking liar… (Although, that’s a story for another day.)

As a high profile lawyer, I don’t have time to waste on relationships, so I fulfill my needs by anonymously chatting and sleeping with women I meet online.

My rules are simple: One dinner. One night. No repeats.

This is only casual sex. Nothing more. Nothing less.

At least it was , until “Alyssa”…

She was supposed to be a 27 year old lawyer, a book hoarder, and completely unattractive. She was supposed to be someone I shared law advice with late at night, someone I could trust with details of my weekly escapades.

But then she came into my firm for an interview—a college-intern interview, and everything fucking changed…

breakdown

Series: Reasonable Doubt
Author: Whitney Garcia Williams
# of Parts: 3
Complete?: Yes
Genre: Adult, Contemporary, Erotica, Romance
Heat Rating: Smokin’
Point of View: First Person, Alternating
Publication Date: March – August 2014
Source & Format: Own–eBook

thoughts

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

I’m not sure how I came across this series, but I think Kobo recommended this to me when the first volume was published. However, I waited until I could buy the entire series as a whole.

The forbidden romance aspect is what first drew me to this series but it was the case of “misidentity” that really intrigued me. It promised to be just as dramatic as it was sexy and I couldn’t wait to start it!

The Plot:

As it is with most serials, the plot is to the point and doesn’t waste time with filler. I found the plot here moves at a great pace and one that is full and rich despite the page number. Meaning it isn’t singular in its drama and has a lot of aspects that work together in a way that benefits the story in a positive way.

There are a lot of twists and that adds to suspense; keeping you turning the pages to see what is going to happen next.

The Characters:

Andrew is complex and mysterious–perfect for the bad boy older lead. He was a bit of a dick but I did develop a soft spot for him the more I learned about his past.

I was worried “Alyssa” would be like any other girl who finds herself entranced by an older man but I did find that she had some quirks that made her standout. While I might not have loved how she handles herself, I didn’t mind her character as her story was elaborated on.

The Romance:

This was a slight miss for me. Not because I couldn’t see them or how they would work together but I just didn’t like its execution. How Andrew treats her and how Alyssa lets him irked me a bit. And its a shame because I thought they were cute together and really liked them together on the more basic level.

Series Rating: 4/5

overall

This series was short and hot–exactly what I wanted it to be. But the drama and mystery was a bonus and made this series thoroughly entertaining!

Read if You Like: erotica, short stories/novellas
Avoid if You: want more established romance

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Series Review: Her British Stepbrother by Lauren Smith

Series Review: Is this series worth your time? Does it get better as the novels progress? Or does it get worse? Find out below:

booksynopsis

Synopsis for Forbidden (from Goodreads):
Kat has always been a good girl. She studies hard and never stays out too late. But when sitting in a pub on her birthday, she realizes she’s a nineteen-year-old virgin who’s never really lived. And she wants tonight to be the night that changes.

Then she sees him walk in. He’s tall, dark, handsome, and straight out of her deepest fantasies. His voice makes her knees feel weak, and when he smiles, she imagines him doing wicked things to her in bed. From the look in his eyes, she knows he’s imagining it too. So when he asks if he can walk her home, she hears herself whisper yes . . .

breakdown

Series: Her British Stepbrother Trilogy
Author: Lauren Smith
# of Books: 3 (Forbidden, Seduction, Climax)
Book Order: Chronological
Complete?: Yes
Genre: New Adult, Erotica, Romance, Contemporary
Heat Rating: Hot
Point of View: Third Person, Alternating
Publication Dates: January 2016 – May 2016
Source & Format: Author–eARC

disclaimer

thoughts

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

Forbidden romances are definitely a selling point for me with series. The step-sibling trend seems to be a popular “forbidden” romance in the contemporary market and I definitely get the appeal. It adds an edge of suspense to the story that your everyday romances lack.

Add to that a British bad boy who never wants to be tamed and you’ve got yourself one intriguing trilogy!

The Concept:

What’s interesting about this series is the fact that these two don’t know they are step-siblings when they first meet. Which has its positives and negatives. I think it would have been a lot more fun to never know that these two will eventually be “related” before you start Forbidden. Basically, the reader learns they are step-siblings when the characters learn.

However, it also creates a bittersweet feeling for the reader because you know the truth as you watch these two interact. You see how great they are together but you automatically feel sympathetic to their situation because you know what’s in store for them…and it is going to break them.

The Plot:

I loved that this series wasn’t riddled with cliched plot lines when it easily could be. While the focus is definitely on the romance, there are enough dramatic elements to the plot to move the story forward and keep you entertained.

And even though these books would probably be classified as novellas because of their shorter length, you still get a solid story out of each instalment. They never really feel like short stories. Yes, things happen at a fast-pace time-wise in the story but there is enough detail, content and plot developments to make you feel like you are reading a whole novel.

The quick time line (a couple of weeks at most) of the story is really my only peeve of this series. Everything just happens to them so fast!

The Characters:

I was worried that Kat would come across as a whiny teenager but she was actually extremely mature. She was very easy to like as a character.

As for Tristan, he’s everything you want in a bad boy. And he’s a British peer… I really don’t think I need to say more.

But I will!

If you’re worried that he isn’t going to have too much substance to his character, think again! He too was a very likeable and developed character which I was happy to see.

The Romance:

Everything happens so fast to these two. It’s one of those “insta-connections” BUT, it’s so obvious very early on why these two would work together. Besides their physical attraction, they have so much in common and understand each other so well. It really impressed me how much you loved these two together.

Which is what you want in a forbidden romance. You have to show me why these two should defy all expectations to be together…and Lauren Smith succeeds beautifully with that.

Series Rating: 4/5

Forbidden 4/5 | Seduction 4/5 | Climax 3/5

overall

Finally! A forbidden romance that proves to me why the characters should defy all conventions! High stakes, juicy drama and a swoon-worthy hero make Her British Stepbrother a worth-while romance trilogy.

Read if You Like: step-sibling romances, British Bad Boys
Avoid if You: dislike forbidden romances, dislike shorter novels

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Series Review: Dark Desires by Zara Cox

Series Review: Is this series worth your time? Does it get better as the novels progress? Or does it get worse? Find out below:

Dark Desires Series

 booksynopsis

booksynopsis

Synopsis for Beautiful Liar (Formerly Porn Star) (from Goodreads):

People call me many things: CEO, billionaire, bastard. Q.

I love women. I love sex. I love money. I love hot, wild nights with no promise of a future, because a future is one thing I don’t have. I’m twenty-eight years old. I won’t live to see thirty, and I don’t care. Or I didn’t, until her.

Nobody plans for a life like this. Some of us just end up here.

They call me Lucky, though luck has never been on my side. Before I met Q, my life was a big, twisted mess. Never enough money, never anyone to trust. No way out. With Q, the shame and fear disappear. Instead I feel pure pleasure, and that’s something I’ve never had before. But if what I’ve just learned is true, we’d better enjoy every second together while we can…before our time runs out.

breakdown

Series: I Series or Dark Desires
Author: Zara Cox
# of Books: 3 (Beautiful Liar, Black Sheep, Arrogant Bastard)

Please Note: Beautiful Liar was previously published as I, Porn Star; and Porn Star

There is a novella #2.5 Wicked SOB

Book Order: Connected
Complete?: No, Arrogant Bastard is to be published is to be published in August 2017
Genre: Adult, Erotica, Dark, BDSM, Romance, Contemporary
Heat Rating: Smokin’ (BDSM: high  |  Kink: mild)
Point of View: First Person, Alternating
Publication Date: March 2016 – ongoing
Source & Format: Netgalley–eARC | Thank you Forever Publishing!

disclaimernetgalley

thoughts

**This post was originally posted as a Fresh Friday review of the first book of the series. It has now been updated to include the newest publications in the series.**

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

Ok, I’m not going to lie: the title drew me in. I was browsing through my blog reader when Karine @ Bookshelf Dreaming‘s Release Day Blitz for I, Porn Star (what the book was first published as) popped up. Curious, I clicked on it wanting to know more about the story for a book titled “Porn Star”.

Now, depending on what title’s summary you read (“I, Porn Star” vs “Porn Star” and lately “Beautiful Liar”), the synopses differ but the stories are all the same. My first impression of I, Porn Star was that this is a book about two people falling in love while making a series of porn videos. My first impression of Porn Star was about the same, only there was this added element of suspense with the line:

“I’m twenty-eight years old. I won’t live to see thirty, and I don’t care. Or I didn’t, until her.”

Hook, line and sinker.

What I Liked:

–It’s A Dark Read–

It’s been a while since I’ve read a great “dark” romance. It’s hard to totally describe what I mean here but I’ll try.

Some dark romances take things that little bit too far in the hopes they’ll achieve shock factor. I often find these attempts make things seem over the top or almost cheesy. Part of the problem is the use of one-dimensional characters that the reader only knows surface stuff about.

However, where Porn Star succeeds is in its character development. These are complex characters–Quinn in particular is extremely layered–and it shows throughout the novel. So it makes their actions seem polished and expected. I didn’t feel like anything was out of character nor did I feel like they were changing their minds on a dime for unnecessary dramatic effect.

–The Twists–

I really liked how things came out of left field here sometimes; meaning there were a lot of great twists that surprised me. There were aspects of each character’s life that are kept secret until the last minute and they really amp up the story and shock you. It’s been a long time since a book surprised me in that respect.

What I Didn’t Like:

–Too Many Pages–

This is by no means a fast read. There are a lot of pages to get through and it makes the story lag a bit. This book could have easily been 50 pages shorter in my opinion. It just took longer than expected to get to the good stuff (ie the romance and the “mystery”) and I was losing interest just after the halfway point.

I feel like too much time was spent in the exposition. While I appreciate the time taken to get to know the characters and understand their motives, I just wanted to dive into the grittiness of it all. I wanted to start to uncover Quinn’s big plan sooner rather than later. And I also wanted what is described in the synopsis (ie their filming of videos) to happen much sooner than 50% of the way through. Not that I wanted the sex scenes (which were tamer than I expected btw); rather, in the synopsis it seemed like the sex tapes were going to be a major plot point and usually those points are introduced around the 20% mark. I mean, that’s why I am likely reading the book in the first place–that is what’s advertised.

–Insta-Connection Romance–

I’m starting to dislike this insta-connection more so than insta-love. Yes, there is a difference for me even if they do seem pretty synonymous.

Despite the longer exposition, I still didn’t see the connection between Lucky and Q all that much besides their physical attraction. Their romantic feelings seem more implied–like there is some unspoken thing drawing them together. I like things spelled out for me and I didn’t totally get that with the romance.

My Expectations for the Rest of the Series:

There is a teaser at the end of the Forever Publishing edition for the sequel Black Sheep so I expect it will come out sometime next year. The choice of character is someone we didn’t see all that much in Porn Star but from what I glanced at in the teaser, it looks like it’ll be just as juicy drama-wise as Porn Star

updates

–March 9, 2017– Book #2: Black Sheep

I went into Black Sheep expecting a dark and twisted story…and that is exactly what I got!

This book excelled in everything I wanted it to. A heartbreaking romance, lots of drama and twisted secrets. It’s probably one of the darkest stories I’ve ever read and I loved that.

For me, this book was a vast improvement over its predecessor. The romance is stronger thanks to a great backstory and it tugs on your heartstrings from start to finish. It is also a source of great drama and intrigue as well. Unlike the previous novel, I found the story never truly lagged. There were great plot and dramatic twists along the way that this book was always suspenseful.

This was a highly addictive read for me and one that met every expectation!

–July 11, 2017– Book #2.5: Wicked S.O.B.

While I loved the drama of Beautiful Liar, I wasn’t totally sold on the romance. So I was eager for this novella to rectify that.

And it definitely did!

For me, I actually got to see why these two are a good match as lovers and as partners in life. Instead of focusing on the antics and drama of the previous novel, you get to watch these characters try to establish a sense of everyday normalcy. It’s all about their relationship and navigating it in a way that works for them. It really grounded these characters for me and improved my overall impression of them as a couple.

But it definitely has that spice you expect from this series. If these two weren’t talking out their relationship, they were physically exploring it.

It also has some great nostalgia to the original novel that brings everything full circle.

It’s a solid novella that has enough heat and romance to satisfy fans!

–September 25, 2018– Book #3: Arrogant Bastard

I’ve opted not to pick up this instalment in the series simply because the synopsis doesn’t interest me.

 

My Rating: 3/5

Porn Star 3/5 | Black Sheep 4/5 | [Wicked S.O.B.] 3.5/5 | Arrogant Bastard N/A

overall

If you want a dark erotica romance that takes its time, this is the PERFECT novel for you. But if you want something quick and dirty, try another novel.

Read if You Like: dark romance, erotica
Avoid if You: dislike BDSM

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Series Review: Layers Deep by Lacey Silks

Series Review: Is this series worth your time? Does it get better as the novels progress? Or does it get worse? Find out below:

booksynopsis

Synopsis for Layers Deep (from Goodreads):
He needs her to save a friend.
She needs him to plan her revenge.
Their pasts scar them Layers Deep.
Their passion distracts them…
…and distractions can be fatal.

Tristan Cross is battling emotional demons from the past. He lives in a world where trust is earned, loyalties are tested, and love is impossible. That is, until he meets Allie Green. She’s the only woman who can help him find a kidnapped friend and to top it off, she captivates him. All he has to do now is persuade her to work for Cross Enterprises, his top investigations firm.

Allie Green is a rookie cop seeking revenge and she’s willing to sell her soul to get it. With an opportunity to use Tristan Cross’s resources Allie calculates her time for payback. As vengeance boils her blood she can’t keep her mind off her new boss and Allie finds it difficult to keep her employment professional. With the mouth watering Tristan Cross distracting her, she struggles to prioritize an undercover job she’s been assigned and her hunger for revenge.

And when you’re ready to give up your life to save someone else, distractions can be fatal.

breakdown

Series: Layers Deep Trilogy
Author: Lacey Silks
# of Books: 3 (Layers Deep, Layers Peeled, Layers Off)

There is a prequel novel, Dazzled by Silver that is FREE on eBook sites.

There is a spin-off series called Crossed.

Book Order: Chronological (Layers Deep, Layers Peeled); Connected (Dazzled by Silver, Layers Off)

However, these all follow a series of Chronological Events.

Complete?: Yes
Genre: Adult, Erotica, Contemporary, Romance, Suspense
Heat Rating: Steamy; Kink: mild (Dazzled by Silver)
Point of View: First Person, Single
Publication Dates: December 2013 – March 2014
Source & Format: Own–eBook

thoughts

Disclaimer: I read both Dazzled by Silver and Layers Deep but will not read Layers Peeled or Layers Off. Find out why below…

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

It’s been a long time since I’ve read an erotica novel but I was in a reading slump when I decided to read this Rock My TBR 2016 title in the hopes it bring me out of my slump.

I’m not sure how this trilogy crossed my radar. I want to say it is because it shares the same cover work as one of my all time favourite adult contemporary romances, Fixed Trilogy but I’m not sure. It also could have been a sale from Kobo…it’s been on there for a long time but I’ve been looking for a good romantic suspense novel for a long time and this one showed some promise.

What I Liked:

–They Were Quick, Easy Reads–

I finished both books in 2-3 hours so I didn’t feel like I slaved over them. The plots move fast thanks to their simplicity. When I needed a quick, contemporary fix, they did the job perfectly.

What I Didn’t Like:

–Too Much Sexy Times, Not Enough Action–

I really wanted this to be a suspense novel and not so much of an erotica novel. However, it is definitely the latter. And while I like the steamy scenes just as much as the next person, that really wasn’t what I wanted to read.

Besides the leads wanting to bang each other’s brains out, there isn’t a lot to the story. I suppose things get a touch more exciting near the end of Layers Deep but I just don’t care to pick up the next two books.

–The Characters–

Tristan was a more healthy version of Christian Grey but I found their family structure to be similar. Allie was a strong, independent woman but as soon as she meets Tristan she becomes a little bit needy and I feel like her development gets stinted because of it. But, I did like the fact that she was strong and wasn’t necessarily defined by him either.

But they weren’t anything new to me–and I didn’t grow attached to them; definitely not enough to make me want to read their continuation of their story despite the cliffhanger of Layers Deep.

Will I Finish It?

If I get the last two books as freebies, maybe I’ll read them. But when I read Dazzled by Silver a week after Layers Deep, I still was OK not knowing what happens in Layers Peeled.

When to Read Dazzled by Silver:

Honestly, I think you can read it before Layers Deep and it won’t give away much. BUT, I think you’ll get more out of it and save yourself some minor spoilers if you read it after Layers Deep or Layers Peeled.

Series Rating: 2.5/5

[Dazzled by Silver 2.5/5] | Layers Deep 2.5/5 | Layers Peeled N/A | Layers Off N/A

overall

If you want a quick erotica read that has a bit more substance than your typical short stories, pick up these freebies!

Read if You Like: erotica, quick reads
Avoid if You: want more suspense, more plotline
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Series Review: McCabe Trilogy by Maya Banks

Series Review: Is this series worth your time? Does it get better as the novels progress? Or does it get worse? Find out below:

booksynopsis

Synopsis for In Bed With a Highlander (from Goodreads):
Ewan McCabe, the eldest, is a warrior determined to vanquish his enemy. Now, with the time ripe for battle, his men are ready and Ewan is poised to take back what is his—until a blue-eyed, raven-haired temptress is thrust upon him. Mairin may be the salvation of Ewan’s clan, but for a man who dreams only of revenge, matters of the heart are strange territory to conquer.

The illegitimate daughter of the king, Mairin possesses prized property that has made her a pawn—and wary of love. Her worst fears are realized when she is rescued from peril only to be forced into marriage by her charismatic and commanding savior, Ewan McCabe. But her attraction to her ruggedly powerful new husband makes her crave his surprisingly tender touch; her body comes alive under his sensual mastery. And as war draws near, Mairin’s strength, spirit, and passion challenge Ewan to conquer his demons—and embrace a love that means more than revenge and land.

breakdown

SERIESous’ Top Picks: Must Read Author, Fav Couple (Never Love a Highlander)
Series: McCabe Trilogy
Author: Maya Banks
# of Books: 3 (In Bed With a Highlander, Seduction of a Highland Lass, Never Love a Highlander)
Book Order: Connected but Chronological Events
Complete?: Yes
Genre: Historical Romance, Highlander, Erotica, Action
Heat Rating: Hot  (Kink: mild [Seduction of a Highland Lass])
Point of View: Third Person, Alternating
Publication Dates: August 2011 – October 2011
Source & Format: Public Library–eBook

thoughts

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

I went through a Highlander romance phase during the Spring of 2012. It was a weird phenomenon for me to be honest because Highlanders are the very definition of alpha male–a characteristic I detest in my romance heroes. But what I think makes it for me is the fact that the women are just as strong and independent…at least in most cases. There is just something so satisfying to see a man change his perception of what the role of a female should be when he meets a woman who isn’t going to take his brutish ways. Also, the action and fight scenes are fun to read too!

Of course, historical romances–especially highlander ones–have their fair share of docile women and I definitely read a few duds during my addiction. However, this series has that little something and actually has my favourite highlander romance of all time in its midst (Never Love a Highlander).

The Concept / The World:

It is very important to read these books in publication order. There is a bridging plot line that runs through all the books and concludes in the final novel. You can definitely read them out of order, but everything makes more sense if you read them together in the order they are meant to be read in.

The Plot:

What I liked about these books was the balance between the plot and the romance. While it definitely focuses more on the romance, the plot that is there is enough to keep you interested. And it is an overarching plot that links all the books together. I just loved how it was building; it was like watching a soap opera, seeing how all these events and people shape the story to be what it is. I suppose that is why Outlander is such a TV hit…

The Characters:

I break down the couples in the Romance section but I really did like the characters in this series. Because you follow this plot line for multiple books, you easily get attached to characters and it’s nice to see people pop up here and there. I like how they all interweave and how loyal they are to each other.

I also love that the bad guys are BAD. It makes them so easy to hate them and root for the good guys. I like the danger and drama they cause; it keeps the books interesting.

The Romance:

I really enjoyed Mairin in the first novel. She was spunky and though she became a little too submissive for my liking (you know, one of those girls who seems to change once she meets a man) I admired her spirit. Ewan was a great match for her and I loved watching their story unfold.

It was not the same situation with Alaric and his chosen (I’m not going to name her because it is a bit of a spoiler) in Seduction of a Highland Lass. They just did not work me. I didn’t see the connection and their love scenes made me cringe. If you’ve read more of Maya Banks’ books, you’ll know she tends to write more of the BDSM/kinky erotica and I don’t really enjoy that. It seemed like such a change from the previous book and it really made me dislike the leads.

But Caelen and his girl in Never Love a Highlander—WOW one of my favourite couples ever! I actually reread this novel this during exams in December 2015 because I adore it. They have everything I love in a romantic couple: attraction, an emotional connection and they love each other for who they are, flaws and all. I swoon every time I read their story <3

Series Rating: 4/5

In Bed with a Highlander 4/5 | Seduction of a Highland Lass 3/5 | Never Love a Highlander 5/5

overall

If you enjoy historical romances with strong Highlanders, head-strong women and lots of spice (but not full blown erotica), this is a great series for you to pick up!

Read if You Like: historical romance, highlanders
Avoid if You: dislike highlander stories

similarreads

  • Never Seduce a Scot by Maya Banks (The Montgomerys and Armstrongs Trilogy #1)
  • Ravished by a Highlander by Paula Quinn (Children of the Mist Series #1)
  • Captured by a Highlander by Julianne MacLean (Highlander Series #1)

 

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Series Review: The Fowler Sisters by Monica Murphy

Series Review: Is this series worth your time? Does it get better as the novels progress? Or does it get worse? Find out below:

booksynopsis

Synopsis for Owning Violet (from Goodreads):
I’ve moved through life doing what’s expected of me. I’m the middle daughter, the dutiful daughter. The one who braved a vicious attack and survived. The one who devoted herself to her family’s business empire. The one who met an ambitious man and fell in love. We were going to run Fleur Cosmetics together, Zachary and I.

Until he got a promotion and left me in the dust. Maybe it’s for the best, between his disloyalty and his wandering eye. But another man was waiting for me. Wanting me. He too has an overwhelming thirst for success, just like Zachary—perhaps even more so. He’s also ruthless. And mysterious. I know nothing about Ryder McKay beyond that he makes me feel things I’ve never felt before.

One stolen moment, a kiss, a touch . . . and I’m hooked. Ryder’s like a powerful drug, and I’m an addict who doesn’t want to be cured. He tells me his intentions aren’t pure, and I believe him. For once, I don’t care. I’m willing to risk everything just to be with him. Including my heart. My soul.

My everything.

breakdown

SERIESous’ Top Picks: Favourite Author
Series: The Fowler Sisters Trilogy
Author: Monica Murphy (aka Karen Erickson)
# of Books: 3 (Owning Violet, Stealing Rose, Taming Lily)
Book Order: Connected
Complete?: Yes
Genre: Contemporary, Romance, Erotica, Drama, New Adult
Heat Rating: hot, Kink: mild
Point of View: First Person, Alternating
Source & Format: Public Library–eBook

thoughts

I really enjoyed Monica Murphy’s New Adult series, One Week Girlfriend (understatement: I loved it) and I also liked her contemporary romances as written by Karen Erickson. So picking up this series seemed like a no-brainer to me.

The Concept / The World:

I wasn’t sure what to expect when I began Owning Violet. The whole “owning” bit of the title gave me the impression that this was going to be a BDSM novel–which are not my preferred cups of tea. But because it was Monica Murphy, I was going to give it a shot. I happy to say that there isn’t any BDSM though it definitely is erotica.

The series follows 3 sisters as they try to balance their love lives and family empire. It’s very soap opera in premise (it reminded me a little of The Young and the Restless :P) but not as cheesy or with as many characters involved.

The Plot:

Like most contemporary romance novels of the adult variety, this series followed the formula of “meet”, sex scenes, last few chapters wrap up the plot. And that didn’t really work for me. All of these books had so many great elements to it but they never reached their full potential. I also felt like I was rereading the previous book only with a different female lead and a few little twists (Stealing Rose and Taming Lily nearly have the same identical premise).

You have the work drama, and the crazy plots that bring these characters together but they weren’t very “crazy” to me. They were rather subdued and I wanted all the juicy drama.

I did like that there was an overarching plot that linked each of the sisters stories together. It made me want to keep reading the series even if I wasn’t totally in love with these characters.

The Characters:

I was shocked when I got to chapter two in Owning Violet to see that Ryder was going to get his own POV chapters. I totally thought that the book would only be from Violet’s POV and I was looking forward to unearthing what Ryder’s dirty secret was. Having Ryder’s POV put a different spin on this novel for sure but I’m not sure if it was more harmful than helpful. I thought it really took away from the suspense of the novel and as a reader that made it boring to me.

I also wish there was more to these characters. In Taming Lily I had really hoped that Max’s character would have been developed more with the little inklings we get of his past. But in the same token, I thought Lily had the best character development of any of the sisters so I was really torn over the rating for that book.

The Romance:

All these leads had great sexual chemistry and for the most part they did establish an emotional connection as well. I just didn’t LOVE them as much as I had hoped and I think it was because I was a little tired of reading about them having sex constantly and wanted more drama.

Also, their romances happen very fast and so do the feelings. I just wanted more than endless descriptions of how attractive the girls were or how fantastic it was to have sex with each other. I needed to see more emotional connections (ie sharing of past experiences).

My Rating: 3/5

Owning Violet 3/5  |  Stealing Rose 3/5  |  Taming Lily 3.5/5

overall

This series just really underwhelmed me. I wanted more from these characters than sexual romps in an office and lacklustre character development.

Read if You Like: Contemporary Erotica, Workplace romances, quick romances
Avoid if You: don’t like erotica, want more character development

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Series Review: Without a Trace by Ally Bishop

Series Review: Is this series worth your time? Does it get better as the novels progress? Or does it get worse? Find out below:

book4

Buy Inside the Lines  |  Buy Crossing the Line  |  Buy Tracing the Line  |  Buy Outside the Lines

booksynopsis

Synopsis for Inside the Lines (from Goodreads):
What happens in love might destroy you…

Or remake you altogether.

I make a living offering men and women their ultimate fantasies…as submissives of the mysterious Mistress Hathaway.

I’ve never surrendered to anyone. That’s not the way it works. Or rather, not the way I operate.

But when the gorgeous Fin MacKenzie shows up in my life, he throws everything out of balance.

Now I’m not sure who I am anymore, and I’m questioning everything.

What woman can turn away from a gorgeous Scotsman, especially when he sets her body on fire and her heart ablaze?

I have to stop it…us. I can’t keep going like this. It will ruin everything I’ve worked so hard to build.

Who am I if I surrender to him? Worse yet, who am I if I don’t?

breakdown

SERIESous’ Top Picks: Best Adult Contemporary 2015
Series: Without a Trace
Author: Ally Bishop
# of Books: 4 (Inside the Lines, Crossing the Line, Tracing the Line, Outside the Lines)
Book Order: Connected

Reading Order: In terms of chronological events, the books should be read as Crossing the Line, Inside the Lines, Tracing the Line then Outside the Lines

Complete?: Yes, possible spin-off series in works
Genre: Adult, Contemporary, Romance, Erotica
Heat Rating: hot (Kink: mild, BDSM: mild [Inside the LinesTracing the Line, Outside the Lines])
Point of View: First Person, Single
Publication Dates: March 2015 – November 2015
Source & Format: Upgrade Your Story–eARC  | Thank you!

disclaimer

thoughts

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

I was contacted to review the latest in the series, Tracing the Line when I realized I had Crossing the Line already on my Kobo. Taking that as a good sign that I would be interested in potentially reviewing this series, I decided to fulfill the request.

It’s been a while since I’ve read a straight Adult Contemporary Romance, but these books had everything I like in their synopsis: plenty of heat and unconventional situations that promised some interesting drama. They aren’t very long (~200 eBook pages), so these books were the perfect end-of-midterm-time books to dive into after two stressful weeks.

Book order:

I was told by the agent that contacted me to read Crossing the Line first and then read Inside the Lines and Tracing the Line afterwards. This is because the events of Inside the Lines actually take place after Crossing the Line despite Inside the Lines being published first.

Of course, you don’t have to read these books in any order as they work as standalones in their own right. I think you just get more out of the experience if you read them in chronological event order.

The Plot:

These books all have the same basic premise: female heroine discovers more about herself through a brand new relationship. I was worried that that meant she was going to lose herself to her new relationship (you know, become one of those Bella-Swan-I-Can’t-Live-Without-Him sufferers) but those fears were for naught.

These books have a great tone of female independence but recognizing what it means to be an equal partner in a relationship. Something that I strive to look for in my romance novels. They are also very sex positive which is also great and I like the message the books promote.

There are also some interesting plot twists along the way. I never felt like I was reading a regurgitation of the previous book because each of the leads has her own “issues” to work out and the situations they find themselves in are different. These books were just as much fun as they were about dealing with serious issues.

The Characters:

Like I said before, I found all the heroines had unique personalities that helped make the book their own. It was great watching them develop and become independent.

As for the “heroes”, I really liked them too. They were great catalysts for change but didn’t totally consume the heroine in any way or smoother her character development. All and all, they were are fantastic, equal partners for the girls and I really appreciated that.

The Romance:

I was really hesitant to start Crossing the Line simply because the synopsis hints at a very fast, pretty much love-at-first-sight type of situation–basically my least favourite romantic trope ever. However, once I started reading, it didn’t really feel like that to me (much to my relief). Sure, the romance happens fast but I definitely saw the connection these two had. It made sense to me that they would be drawn together and so it didn’t really bother me that they were falling fast. It also helped that Ella recognized the situation and acted accordingly. Overall, I really found their story to be very addicting to read and that really surprised me given my preconceived expectations going into it.

And the rest of the books where the same way. They all have a strong initial connection but that connection really develops as the story does so it was easy for me to see why all these couples would work out in the long run.

My Expectations for the Rest of the Series:

I really hope there are a few more books in this series. There are two characters in particular that I would love to see have their own stories (or perhaps, story?). (I was told by the agent that contacted me that there is a new book called Outside the Lines that will be published in the near future!)

updates

–December 23, 2015– Book 4: Outside the Lines

This book just hit all the right notes for me. I thought there was a fantastic balance between character growth and the romance. There was plenty of steam to keep me satisfied but there was also the right amount of character stories. I loved watching Blue’s journey to find herself. Her story is heartbreaking but so well done and realistic. I thought her story was told beautifully and it definitely the strongest of the series (at least I think so). I also like how it links back to the previous novels. It felt like the best way to wrap up the story of the Trace sisters (though I hope we get those spin-offs soon!).

The romance was also strong and I loved how well they worked for each other. and I thought her romantic match was just perfect for her. It complimented Blue’s story in the best way possible.

Series Rating: 4/5

Inside the Lines 4/5 | Crossing the Line 4/5 | Tracing the Line 4/5  |  Outside the Lines 4.5/5

overall

One of the most balanced Adult Contemporary reads I’ve read in a long time. These books aren’t dripping in BDSM or alpha males; rather they focus on the heroine’s development and the start of a great romantic partnership–they just happen to be loaded with lots of sexy scenes. Highly recommended for those who want a quick and satisfying adult contemporary romance read.

Read if You Like: Adult Contemporary Romances, sex positive novels
Avoid if You: dislike adult contemporary romances, erotica

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