Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Review: Take Me With You

Take Me With You
Take Me With You by Sindra van Yssel

My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

The Romance Review

In a world post Fifty Shades of Gray, women are more open to explore a kinky lifestyle. Unfortunately for many women, the men in their lives are not down with this experimentation. For married women and those already in a relationship, this can be a problem.

For Alicia, she is starting a new relationship and she wants to be upfront about her sexual needs. Either he is into kink too or she's out of the budding relationship. Confused Craig follows Alicia's lead with trepidation and suppressed resistance.

This issue between a couple is all too familiar. In the past few years as a moderator in the BDSM group on Goodreads, I've seen women join the group with similar stories followed by depression. The women feel maybe something is wrong with them. Or they are angry and frustrated with their lover. Ms. van Yssel takes all these issues head on and shows why the other half may be resistant as well as how it can be overcome. The BDSM covered in this story is realistic from a physical and emotional front. The blend of beginner D/s and a bit of impact play from a baby dom is delightful.

The only item which seems to be harped upon quite a bit is topping from the bottom. This is a hot button for many in the lifestyle and it appears it is the same in this book.

Whilst a reader may think this story is about Alicia and her new found kink, for me, it is more about Craig learning to understand the difference between spanking and abuse. It is surprising how many men have issues with spanking a woman. Or flogging, caning or whipping a woman because it is too close to abuse in their minds. These men don't want to be the one doling out pain to women they love. Ms. Yssel does a great job of showing how a man feels about kink when it is new and intimidating to them. Helping a man overcome his concerns and fears whilst allowing a woman to enjoy a hard spanking without being disrespected is key.

This story represents the common beginner's anxiety so well and one can only hope more people taking their first steps towards a kinky life would mimic this journey. This book is highly recommended as a Gateway to BDSM book.

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Monday, March 2, 2015

Review: Kilted Tentacle Monster: A Search for True Love

Kilted Tentacle Monster: A Search for True Love
Kilted Tentacle Monster: A Search for True Love by Kit Tunstall

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Tentacle lovers, unite! This is a hilarious smexy story about a man with some extra "limbs" to help with the ladies. He is also Scottish with the sexy accent and he wears a kilt! Really, what more can an adventurous lady ask for in a lover?

Angus Buchanan is embarrassed about his alien ancestry. He's one of the few in his family who are a "throwback" gifted with tentacles down below. Obviously, Angus is unaware of women with a fetish for suction, double penetration and fisting. Those deviant slutty American females will screw anything with the right girth and length. The fact that the girth and length is variable under the male's control is even better.

Ms. Tunstall warns the reader this story blooms from a discussion (probably involving adult beverages) about monster erotica. Little does she know that there are avid fans of tentacle sex. This story is very sweet. Instead of tentacle horror, it's tentacle innocence as virginal Angus is ravished by a voracious marine biologist, Sasha. The humour in this short story is spot on. The characters are cute and the sex is hot. If this is what Ms. Tunstall pens on a lark, then her more serious work is a must read. I thoroughly enjoy her writing style which is filled with vivid imagery and humour. This is a tastefully written erotica recommended for romance lovers who like monogamy and triple penetration.

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Sunday, March 1, 2015

Review: Game Play

Game Play
Game Play by Lynda Aicher

My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

The start of an all new series from Ms. Aicher is hot even if it revolves around an ice hockey rink. Romance lovers who like athletes, this book is for you. Dylan Rylie is a great defenseman for hockey. He's on the top of his game and he's ready to "switch" his image as his agent has carefully laid out and planned for him. Apparently going from perceived party boy to mature responsible serious player provides more credibility as well as possible advertising deals. Dylan is following all of this until his path crosses Samantha Yate's. Samantha's career hit her pinnacle and it's all downhill from there. Her love of hockey can only go so far because she's a woman. There are no professional hockey teams and it's not as if she can play in the NHL. At the young age in her mid-twenties, she's already a has been.

For a woman whose drive to make it to the top and take it to the Olympics, this sudden lack of direction is hard for her to swallow. If she can't have a career playing hockey, then she wants to be away from hockey all together. When a side bet between Dylan and Samantha is caught on video and goes viral on Youtube, her careful plans to extract herself from hockey comes crashing down around her.

The plot of this story is great. I really enjoyed how Ms. Aicher poses the conflict of female professional athletes. It's not fair but it is business driven through dollars. Ms. Aicher's presentation of how the hockey world exists shows how she either loves the sport or she's done a ton of research. I'm not a huge hockey fan or knowledgeable about the subject, yet after reading this book, I feel as though I've had a hockey 101 and 102 immersion course. I love when authors can teach and expose me to something new.

The character building in this story is fabulous. Dylan is a very likeable guy and it's easy to see his point of view. His frustrations and how he wants to be better so he can secure the next level of his career is all understandable. His world shifts when he finds a person he respects does not have the same opportunities. Rather than feel guilt, he wants to make a difference. This is what makes Dylan so loveable. Samantha is a strong female who loses her way. In some ways, she's experiencing a mid-life crisis because for her, it is the end of the road for her. How she responds, even with a huge chip on her shoulder is great to see. She doesn't lash out at everyone, but it's clear how depressed and unhappy she is with the choices she believes are available. What really kills me in this story is Samantha's perception of what she thinks her father wants and his disappointments. This hits home and feels like a dagger stabbing unexpected into my stomach. This kind of pain she's experiencing is a slow loss of blood which after years of quiet bleeding can really kill her as far as motivation and moving on. Fortunately, Ms. Aicher is able to resolve this conflict in a manner which is the most sought after outcome, even if it isn't always reality.

Is this story really about Dylan or Samantha? Whose journey is it that makes it a game play? It's hard to say. Both journeys of self-discovery and growth bring a balanced story, when blended it becomes a complete picture of how two lovers can make a relationship work. Recommended for romance lovers who enjoy sports.

*provided by NetGalley

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Saturday, February 28, 2015

Review: The Grendel Affair

The Grendel Affair
The Grendel Affair by Lisa Shearin

My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

This is the beginning of a love affair between me and Ms. Shearin's writing. I first came upon this author when reading an anthology. She made me laugh with the office flair. Horny leprechauns only made me laugh harder. This world is fascinating and promises to bring a great reading enjoyment as it unfolds. Mac is a seer who tried to make her own away, different than the law enforcers in her family.

Despite her start as a journalist, she still ends up in law enforcement, just through the supernatural police SPI instead of the human police. Mac may be from a family full of LEOs, unfortunately she's not combat ready and will need to learn soon.

There is so much promise in this series. The world crafting is delightful. There is a rather irreverent manner towards the fae which amuses me. Mixing in historical and literature into this series is a pleasant surprise. It shows how Ms. Shearin researches, honours existing mythology and then twists it to become her own flavour. This is what I like most about her writing. I'm keeping an eye on Ms. Shearin as she's done a fabulous job of entertaining me. 3.5 stars and definitely one to keep on the TBR shelf. Looking forward to the next book in this series. Recommended to Urban Fantasy lovers looking for a more human flawed heroine who does her best and sometimes messes up.

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Friday, February 27, 2015

Review: Night Shift

Night Shift
Night Shift by Nalini Singh

My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

Two of the authors in this book is what pulled me in. I love reading Ms. Singh and authors Ilona Andrews.

In Ms. Singh's story, Secrets at Midnight, Bastien finds his mate. Mercy's brother is now finally going to find the one who makes his heart fill with love and create the bond he's been looking for. This story is a poignantly sad as readers learn how a sweet woman who was abandoned as a child is really not what she seems. There is always another side to the story of abandonment and this one is meant to squeeze tears out of the tenderhearted.

Ilona Andrews, Magic Steals, finally brings to readers the story of Dali and Jim. Wow, I had no idea Dali held such low self esteem. It is almost too much for me at times because I just wanted to smack her around to get her to snap out of her self pity party. What confuses me is her contradiction. She is self assured and confident in her own abilities yet she undermines and undercuts herself as a woman. It's pathetic. If it weren't for the case she's trying to solve, I think I would have skipped the story. I must admit Ilona Andrews did nail the Asian part down with the dating and boyfriend. It's pretty funny to me and I enjoyed it. I also liked the nod to Yellow Fever which I've experienced a few times in college and just bugged me.

I dated a gorgeous blond guy in college. He was the most handsome man I had ever seen. He turned out to be dumb as a board. He was attracted to me because he bought into the whole mystical sexy Asian girl thing. Combined with my turning into a white tiger, he was sold. The sex was great, but eventually we had to talk. He was disappointed I wasn’t Chinese, and I never understood why he thought I would be, because I don’t look Chinese at all. He didn’t know Indonesia was a country. He couldn’t find it on a map even after I showed it to him several times. I told him about Bali and gave him a book with pictures. One night, about two months into our relationship he was laying on the bed next to me and asked me if I would wear a kimono for him like a geisha. And then he asked if we had geishas where I was from. I realized it had to stop. (pg. 148)

THIS! This is quite frustrating at I completely understand Dali and her comments here.

The author who really made this anthology awesome is new to me Ms. Shearin. I couldn't stop laughing at her main character's observations and fumbling during her first day on the job. It's like a day from hell. Please there are a several bad boys in this series which beg for more exploration. Specifically a Goblin who owns a kinky sex club is on my list of things to read. Here are a few glimpses into this new series which I'm going to have to read.

Six hours earlier “How the hell did you lose five horny leprechauns in a strip club?” I paused just outside the conference room door and mentally filed that shouted little gem under “Questions you don’t usually hear" (pg. 177)

I’d seen werewolves before; I’d just never seen one carrying a massive .45 in a shoulder rig, and wearing fatigues and a T-shirt that read: “Don’t run, you’ll only die tired.”(pg. 193)

Or maybe he simply preferred his women with factory-original parts rather than aftermarket enhancements. -- (pg. 202)

Horny leprechauns in a strip club? The chaos which ensues is hilarious despite the gravity of losing a prince of the fae. The werewolf comment made me bust out laughing. "Don't run, you'll only die tired." Am I the only one who finds this funny? I can actually see this as a T-shirt given to Clay to wear in Ms. Armstong's Otherworld series. Lastly, I need to remember about factory-original parts versus after market enhancements when discussing women who stay natural instead of paying for a lot of cosmetic surgery. The way Ms. Shearin turns a phrase is witty and well done. I can't wait to read more of her books.

This paranormal romance/urban fantasy anthology is recommended for those who enjoy well written stories and delightful characters.

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Thursday, February 26, 2015

Review: Don't Deny Me, Part Three

Don't Deny Me, Part Three
Don't Deny Me, Part Three by Megan Hart

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

In the final act of Don't Deny me, it is questionable if Alice and Mick will get back together or even if they should. Many may feel that Alice has been wronged over and over again by Mick. My conclusions are different because Alice is illogical to me. She's emotional and doesn't see all the things Mick does for her. She doesn't realize words are cheap and it's the actions which means the most. He does all these things for her because his love language is all about taking care of the person he loves to show how devoted he is to her.

Alice just wants fancy words to proclaim his undying love for her. What is interesting is she doesn't do much to stop her game playing, tallies in her book in when he wrongs her and learning how to love and show Mick she returns his love. I believe it's clear whose side I fall on and how I'd like to smack Alice upside the head several times for her immaturity.

“It’s not … I’m not …” Alice shut up. There was no point in lying to her sister, even if she’d been lying to herself.

“I like Bill.”

“That’s okay.”

Alice shook her head. “No. I mean, yes, it’s okay to like him. He’s nice. He makes me laugh.” “But he’s no Mick.” “He also didn’t roll over my heart in an eighteen wheeler, then put it in reverse so he could back up and roll over it again,” Alice said darkly. (kindle loc. 193-198)

Dramatic much? *Warning! Angry emotional woman speak commencing…* Then she continues with how she feels when she is with Mick.

Alice paused. “I was doing okay, you know? Without him. I thought about him sometimes, sure, but then he swept back in my life and I’m on some kind of magic-cock carpet ride!” (kindle loc. 909-910)

So, she can be bribed with a hard screw and then loses all logic? One would need to be logical BEFORE losing logic…

What Alice really wants is a romantic declaration such as the below from Mick which he can never say aloud. Instead, he writes it in an unsent letter. In this case, Mick, "it's the thought that counts" doesn't cut it. Just say the damn words she wants to hear!

Let me paint my name upon your skin with my lips and teeth and hands and tongue, you won’t regret the song we sing when we both come undone. —Mick to Alice, unsent (kindle loc. 1006-1007)

Ms. Hart brings a good ending where it's not certain if Alice and Mick will last, and that's okay. The connections these two make through both mistakes and successful discussions is hopeful. This is what Ms. Hart does. She creates this hope and leaves it to the reader's imagination for a conclusion they want to see. This story is a painfully accurate portrait of how many couple's love life exists. Recommended for romance lovers who enjoy a bit of uncertain in their romance.

*provided by NetGalley

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Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Review: Don't Deny Me, Part Two

Don't Deny Me, Part Two
Don't Deny Me, Part Two by Megan Hart

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Act II in Don't Deny Me is a bit distracting. Mick's perspective is coming into play and it really seems as if he is prideful and because of it, he lost a woman. Not that he is too proud or has pride in what he does. More like he felt he wasn't in the wrong and each action he took just made it worse. Rather than talk it out, he would assume Alice understood his point of view.

Do couples really relate in this manner in real life? If so, this would explain the number of divorces. Seriously, Alice and Mick's main issues are trivial but it is really out of control because they keep behaving as if the other knows what they are thinking. When did telepathy become common usage? This story pulls me in as I see how this train wreck occurred and with their passive aggressive interactions, coming together again doesn't look good either.

Now, some could debate how I can term Alice's issue of Mick not being there trivial when she's been in a terrible accident. I do not mean to make light of Alice's accident or the aftermath. What I am disappointed in is how she decided to handle it when Mick showed up. She's quick to point what he does wrong but isn't clear in what she wants him to do instead. This is set up for failure and really why I don't like Alice much. This is not to say Mick is blameless either. He is stubborn, awkward and not mature enough to handle a relationship which requires verbal communication. This is sad.

Rather than continue to analyzes all the flaws of the characters in this book which is too easy and nonproductive, let's look at the story building. Ms. Hart does a great job of setting it up and showing how two people who supposedly love each other can be so far apart. Her character building is a strong suit even when she creates disappointing examples of human beings. What makes this story more aggravating to some is realizing how close to home it hits, especially if it is a loved one. Recommended for romance lovers who enjoy the angst.

*provided by https://www.netgalley.com">NetGalley

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