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Currently Browsing: erotic romance
Nov
4

Review + Excerpt: Ruled by Elle Kennedy

Review + Excerpt: Ruled by Elle Kennedy Ruled Author: Elle Kennedy Reviewer: VampBard Rating: A+ What I’m Talking About: The Outlaws series by Elle Kennedy is my go-to dystopian read. I’m not even sure why. Oh, wait. I know. Ms. Kennedy has crafted a world in which I get lost. Each of the three titles has focused on people struggling with their every day conflicts—what it’s like to live in that kind of society. Ruled isn’t any different. And I adored this book. Here’s your warning, folks: if you’re not a fan of boy bits touching boy bits, this isn’t a read for you. And if ménage isn’t your thing? Consider giving this one a try—it’s… different and I loved it (even though I’m a big fan of a well-written ménage, this was still different!). We need to talk about Reese. She was introduced in the first Outlaws title. She’s portrayed as a cold-hearted witch, basically. But that isn’t the case. It was really awesome getting to know Reese. Getting inside her head. Watching her change. Sloane is Reese’s shadow. Her right-hand man. He’s been around for about five years, and has had Reese’s back for every single minute. We learn why, and I was sincerely floored. I’d had theories, but none of them panned out. Congrats to Ms. Kennedy for surprising me. Rylan. OMG. My gut wrenched for him during this book. The road to happily ever after is never easy, and everyone deserves one. Getting Reese to hers was a special brand of heartache for me. The poor woman, in charge of Foxworth, had so many skeletons in her closet it was like a haunted house at Halloween. The things that haunted her aren’t for the squeamish, and made me think. I could actually relate to Reese in a way I haven’t related to a character in a long time. The parallels I drew to myself were powerful and allowed me to take a step back and re-evaluate a few things in my own life. I highly recommend Elle Kennedy’s the Outlaws series for dystopian fans, as well as readers of romance who like things gritty and hard-hitting. I have a theory about the next couple, for the next book—but it’d be spoilery to talk about. It makes me extremely happy, though! My Rating: A+ Personal Favorite About the Book: In the latest novel in the series with the “sexiest, baddest, hottest”* outlaws around, one woman must choose between the two men who want...
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Nov
2

Review: A Sure Thing by Marie Harte

Review: A Sure Thing by Marie Harte A Sure Thing Author: Marie Harte Reviewer: Nima Rating: B- What I’m Talking About: A Sure Thing is two stories.  One is the love story of medically retired Major Landon Donnigan and psychologist Ava Rosenthal. The other, unlike most erotic contemporary romances, is the story of their families.  In this instance, they are not just periphery characters that come and go to support the main storyline.  They are loud, messy, and interject themselves all over the place. They become integral to the way in which the love story develops. And like most families, they have issues. The Donnigans series is preceded by the four book series The McCauley’s—their cousins.  Ava is a cross-over character loosely connecting them, but none of the Mccauleys actually make an appearance in this first book of the series.  Author Marie Harte served in the U.S. Marine Corps and worked for Fortune 500 companies before becoming a full time writer.  She seems to blend those experiences together in Landon’s character.  He’s a born leader, total alpha male, and intended a military career through to retirement.  A bullet to the knee forced him out of that life path and he’s been making his way in the business world since coming home.  He maintains his fitness at a gym where his brother Gavin works.  It’s here that he meets Ava.  In that fateful first meeting, he corrects her form.  He will then spend the rest of the book pushing her to do better and be better at everything she does. Ava is an independent woman and doesn’t particularly like being told what to do.  She cannot, however, deny their combustible chemistry.  Her character submits and pushes back through every scene and every chapter. Landon is good at letting her make her own choices, but works very hard at persuading her to his point of view.  As both a mental health professional and a woman, she over thinks everything.  Being guilty of that myself a time or two, *coughcough* it was fun to be outside of it and watch the mental gymnastics she puts herself through in trying to reconcile her idea of what the man in her life should be with the one she’s actually attracted to. That she has a list comes as no surprise, but without being completely aware of it, she begins to adjust the list to fit Landon rather than requiring the opposite. Their sex scenes are unmistakably steamy as Ava makes the...
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Oct
4

Review: The Exposure by Tara Sue Me

Review: The Exposure by Tara Sue Me The Exposure Author: Tara Sue Me Reviewer: VampBard Rating: A- What I’m Talking About: Seriously. Pulling up a book file for Tara Sue Me’s Submissive series is always a lot of joy for me. Sometimes, I get all rant-y about how people don’t do BDSM correctly, and the Dom is all risky and the sub is like a puddle of goo. Not so with Ms. Sue Me’s titles in this series. I was super excited to read The Exposure because Meagan is a switch—she will either Top or bottom depending. And, because I wanted to read Meagan’s story. Pairing her with Luke was inspired. The glimpses we’ve had of Luke in other stories had made me curious about him, and I simply needed to know more. Now, The Exposure has a bit of a romantic suspense feel—there’s blackmail happening, and it plays out in the relationship between Meagan and Luke. But, with their history, the ‘distance’ could’ve honestly been leftover from their previous entanglement. It’s also really cool to see people in the lifestyle that aren’t utter noobs. Both Meagan and Luke are ‘veterans’ and established. Many of the D/s stories have an established Dom and bring in this romantic interest who is new to the lifestyle. Meagan had a lot going on in The Exposure. Besides having to deal with her feelings about getting back into modeling and working with Luke again, she’s got the work thing and the blackmail thing. Take into account her need to both Top and bottom as a switch, and it’s pretty much a rollercoaster from Meagan’s perspective. I kinda liked that part. Usually, when there’s a Dominant character, they’re pretty much in control of everything except their love interest, which throws them off-kilter. Meagan definitely wasn’t. Luke, on the other hand, definitely seemed to be in control of everything except what was going on between Meagan and him. He’s diversified his life and made a name for himself in the world of photography as well as owning several exclusive BDSM clubs. What endeared me to Luke was the way he handled Meagan’s hesitance to become involved again. So many times we see Doms Behaving Badly—like petulant toddlers—when they don’t get what they want right away. It was really refreshing to see Luke acknowledge he needed to earn Meagan’s trust again after their previous relationship soured. I always enjoy reading The Submissve series by Tara Sue Me. Part of it is the glimpses...
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Sep
20

Review: Too Wild to Tame by Tessa Bailey

Review: Too Wild to Tame by Tessa Bailey Too Wild to Tame Author: Tessa Bailey Reviewer: VampBard Rating: A+ What I’m Talking About: Please don’t tell Mr. VampBard. Seriously. My one-click finger is getting a serious workout as I find more and more authors with an awesome backlist to meander my way through. Tessa Bailey is on the short list. Not kidding here, folks. I really wish I could provide you with some wonderful excerpts from Too Wild to Tame, but all the poignant ones are revelations during sexytime. They’re laced with innuendo and dirty-talking. Definitely my cuppa. I’m pretty sure some of the text in this title were flame-thrower status. Even if you haven’t read Too Hot to Handle, the first title in the Romancing the Clarksons series, you won’t be lost (I did read Rita and Jasper’s story, but I haven’t written a review… yet). While there’s a common thread—four siblings wending their way across the country from California to New York—each sib gets their own story. And their own HEA. They may not be pretty, and they may not be perfect, but the road to happiness is seldom an easy path to travel. These sibs have found their dearly departed mother’s diary—or a series of dialogues she has with herself on paper—about each of her kids. As a parent of grown (and nearly-grown) children, I often think about how they perceive me as well as themselves. I’d love to think I’ve raised them to be self-assured and confident in themselves—that their persona isn’t merely a façade to cover up a shortcoming of mine. I think that’s a fear all parents have, to be honest. One of the best gifts a parent can give their child is the gift of their words. Letting them know how we really saw them. What we caught when they didn’t think we were looking… Enough mushy stuff. We need to talk politics for a minute. No, I’m not going to endorse a presidential candidate, although that’s exactly what Aaron Clarkson does. He’s this supremely drool-worthy guy that has a silver tongue (pulling my mind out of the gutter…) and he uses it to endorse political candidates, assessing which demographic need his special brand of attention, and then launching an attack the populous never sees coming. He’s a love-’em-and-leave-’em kinda guy. Until…he falls from GRACE and has to fight his way back to the top. After all, with his powers of persuasion, this should be an easy task, right? There’s...
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Sep
14

Review: The Claiming by Tara Sue Me

Review: The Claiming by Tara Sue Me The Claiming Author: Tara Sue Me Reviewer: VampBard Rating: B+ What I’m Talking About: Before I even start, readers need to be warned that the last thirty-ish minutes of reading on this story is a preview of The Exposure, releasing October 4, 2016. I did NOT read the preview, folks. I resist the urge to do that—especially since you can come back on release day to read my thoughts on Meagan and Luke’s story. I was really geeked to get back to Cole and Sasha. I mean, Sasha has had such a difficult row to hoe after all that stuff… Anyway, it seems we finally get to see her HEA here…even though it seems as though we may have already seen it. Learning more about the super hot and super British Cole Johnson’s roots made this read for me, to be honest. Catching a deeper glimpse of his past was a bit telling for me, to be honest. My first thought was, “Is this type of thing what makes a good Dom?” But naturally, I debunked my posed question. Totally not required. It does, however, make for a good story, and naturally readers always want backstory. Maybe that’s just a me thing… I was intrigued by the scenarios Cole set forth for Sasha in The Claiming, book 7.5 in Tara Sue Me’s Submissive series. With Sasha’s baggage, we got to see some of her internal thought processes that brought her full-circle for me. I think the fact that she implicitly trusts Cole to know her needs—even after a horrific experience at the hands of another Dom—is very telling, and a perfect example of an appropriate D/s relationship. This is something that keeps me coming back to this series—the realistic view the author brings to BDSM. While The Claiming is just a 92-ish page novella, it’s a great way to reconnect with Cole and Sasha—and see where they are now. We get some reconnection with Nathaniel and Abby, as well as Daniel and Julie which makes my over-arching plot heart happy. Readers of the Submissive series will definitely want to pick up this title, as it’s a great glimpse at how far Sasha has come. And, if you can’t wait for The Exposure to release in like a month, there’s a taste at the end. My Rating: B+ Liked It A Lot About the Book: Submitting is just the beginning… Sasha Blake never thought her emotional wounds would heal—that they...
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Sep
6

Review: Silk Scarves and Seduction by Shiloh Walker

Review: Silk Scarves and Seduction by Shiloh Walker Silk Scarves and Seduction + One Night with You Author: Shiloh Walker Reviewer: VampBard Rating: A What I’m Talking About: Silk Scarves and Seduction: I don’t even know where to start. I guess I’ll lead with: I wanna be Blush. If you’ve ever had a crush on someone but not known how to tell them, this title is definitely for you! Shiloh Walker packs a lot into this novella—it’s around fifty pages. We get to really delve into Blush’s character and find out what makes her tick—about what makes her uniquely her. We also learn a lot about Marc—because he’s no innocent babe-in-the-woods, either. Neither are without their secrets, and I think that’s what makes Silk Scarves and Seduction all that much more delicious. Be sure you have a cool drink and a fan, because this title will have you on fire! My Rating: A, Loved It One Night with You: Even though this is a short little read (~1 hour), One Night with You packs a punch. As a great friends-to-lovers story, we see a lot of sexy times—the focus of this story is running away from intimacy. As per normal Shiloh Walker rules, I’m was on the edge of my seat as to whether Bo would ultimately succumb to Logan’s super hot sexiness. The perfect read for a quiet Sunday morning on a holiday weekend. My Rating: A, Loved It About the Book: Silk Scarves and Seduction: Marc has a secret admirer…or maybe not so secret. The black and white photographs were the first clue. The silk scarf was the second. Marc didn’t need any other hints. The sensual, secretive gifts were all Blush Taylor. Blush-the girl who had driven him crazy since high school. The question is…why is she taunting him with these sexy gifts? And why now? One Night with You:  Logan knew from the first time he saw Bo Martin that she was the one for him. They were just teenagers then, but he knew. He spent years quietly waiting for her to grow up and when he finally made his move, he moved too fast and scared Bo away. She stayed away for four years but circumstances outside his control kept him from going to her when she finally returned.Now it’s too late. Bo’s engaged to one of Logan’s best friends. But he’ll be damned if he lets that wedding happen. All he needs is a little bit of luck, and one night to...
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Aug
25

Listen Up! #Audiobook Review: For 100 Days by Lara Adrian

Listen Up! #Audiobook Review: For 100 Days by Lara Adrian Welcome to my weekly feature that focuses on audiobooks. It’s time to… Audiobook Review: For 100 Days Author: Lara Adrian Narrator: Summer Morton Audio Speed: 2x Series: 100 Days #1 Genre: Contemporary Erotic Romance Source: Tantor Audio Avery is a starving artist living in New York, scraping by as a bartender for a trendy club. She hasn’t sold anything in a year and is being dropped by her gallery. Now with an eviction notice looming, Avery gets a gift when Claire asks her to house sit her uptown condo. It’s at her new, albeit temporary, home that she first runs into the powerful and handsome Dominic “Nick” Baine. When the pair meet again at a gallery showing, sparks fly, and Avery decides to ignore her inner warning signs, jumping into bed with Nick. Now she must balance her feelings and the lies she’s spinning until Nick discovers the truth and dumps her. **WARNING, Mild Spoilers Ahead*** I’m going to be brutally honest here, For 100 Days was not what I thought it would be, nor what I wanted in a book. While the story had promise, it definitely falls into the erotic romance side of contemporary romance, which I wasn’t expecting. There are a number of drawn-out sex scenes, and I got bored with it. Additionally, I took issue with Nick telling Avery she doesn’t need a safe word with him. It was reckless, and considering Avery’s history, frustrating that she didn’t have strong reservations. Had I known all of this before I picked up the book, I probably wouldn’t have read it; but I adore Ms. Adrian’s paranormal work and wanted to give this a try. Another issue I had with the book is that it is highly repetitive. Avery is a self-destructive heroine, making poor decisions based on her lust for Nick. She’s constantly reminding the herself, and the listener, that she doesn’t belong in Nick’s world, that she’s lying to him. It was annoying. I wanted her to get over it and own it, which she does eventually, but by then, I had lost interest. However, my biggest issue is SPOILERS AHEAD… ** ** ** THIS ISN’T AN HEA ROMANCE!! That’s right. I listened to the entire book and then found out at the end that Nick and Avery’s story continues to the next book. Avery weaves her web of lies for the entire book, comes clean in the last chapter, and then lies again. I wasn’t happy at all. On the positive sides, I enjoyed...
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Aug
22

Review: The Flame by Christopher Rice

Review: The Flame by Christopher Rice The Flame Author: Christopher Rice Reviewer: VampBard Rating: A+ What I’m Talking About: Hey. Hey you. Fan of super sensual erotic romance? Like a little paranormal tossed in to make things interesting? Get your hiney online and one-click some of Christopher Rice’s erotic romance. Yup. He’s the son of Anne Rice, and to be honest, I like his writing better than his mom’s. So there. Chris’s first erotic romance offering is through the 1,001 Dark Nights project, a pretty cool consortium of authors constructing stories under the guise of someone taking the place of Scheherazade and having to tell the king a new story every day to save their life. I am IN LOVE with this concept! I’d heard about the 1,001 Dark Nights tales, but I’d never had the opportunity to sit down and actually read any of them. I was finally tossed in the melee of these beautiful tales when I found out about Coastal Magic Convention, and because I’d have the opportunity to meet Christopher Rice. Um. Why didn’t anyone point out the fact that Mr. Rice was writing erotic romance to me before now?!? Seriously. If this title is his maiden voyage in writing my preferred sub-genre of romance, we ALL need to sign up for newsletters, or do whatever we have to in order to stay up-to-date on his ER releases. I’m going to attempt to explain why I’m so enamored with his writing, but I fear I’ll fail miserably. I am IN LOVE with Mr. Rice’s voice. I’ve read erotic romance penned by men before, and unless it was M/M, the work has always fallen flat for me. I know I’ll be tapping my Chris Rice folder on my Kindle in the future for a comfort read—because it’s just THAT good. Here: “All of it is just too much. It’s heady smells, the depth of feeling it stirs within her. It’s the aromatic equivalent of a bittersweet song played on a lone violin, and each note animates a desire she would like to stay dormant, the desire to once again be at the center of the raw, animal passion of the two men who own her heart.” Maybe it’s because I closely identify with Cassidy, the main character. The want, the desire, the need for something magical to simply ignite my passion. A magical fix-all for some of the things I can’t quite attain (you don’t need to add in the bedroom to...
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Jul
20

Review: True North by Tamsen Parker

Review: True North by Tamsen Parker True North Author: Tamsen Parker Reviewer: VampBard Rating: A- What I’m Talking About: Get your one-click on, folks. Aficionados of BDSM tales will devour Tamsen Parker’s Compass series. True North, the fourth title, delivers with Parker’s attention to detail, emotional draw, and truly likable characters I wanna just have coffee with, share some stories, and be complete besties with. Let’s be honest here. I was worried when I started reading True North. I don’t have many triggers—at least ones that will make me drop a book like a piece of pottery fresh from firing. I considered it with this title. I’m SUPER glad I didn’t. Here’s your trigger warning, people: there’s berating going on in here. It’s all handled extremely well, and that’s pretty much all I’m going to say about that. Truth? I trusted Ms. Parker to make sure Rey had a handle on that stuff. He totally had it on-lock. You may now jump up and down because Rey is in True North. Readers of the series will be on-board with me. At the end of the title, there was a thank you from the author. There’s another Compass book coming out—this one is Lucy and Evan. However, in book six, “…the inimitable Reyes Walter will find his own happily ever after.” Yes, yes, and MORE YES! I might’ve been a little giddy that India (from Personal Geography & Intimate Geography) had a couple cameos. I miss her and Cris. A lot. So much so, that I think a re-read might be in order. This brings us to Slade. There are things about Slade I like, and other things I really, really dislike. Most of the time, I can get behind everyone’s right to have the kink they want. I wasn’t squicked out by Slade, or anything. I was just… I guess wary is the right word. Our personal experiences in life color the way we see people. Prior unfavorable experiences with someone can definitely conjure flashbacks. It wasn’t that bad. It did make me realize there are some things I probably need to look at, regarding myself, my vulnerabilities. There was one major thing I adored about Slade, though: he realized he had the power to *really* hurt Pressly. He did something about it, rather than ruin something beautiful. For that, I give the man props. Pressly. I simply adored her. She has confidence as well as a soft side, and she’s not afraid to ask...
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Jun
28

Review: Addicted by Elle Kennedy

Review: Addicted by Elle Kennedy Addicted Author: Elle Kennedy Reviewer: VampBard Rating: A What I’m Talking About: If you love dystopian stories, but want the romance element a little more *ahem* adult—and smokin’ hot—, Elle Kennedy’s Outlaws series should be on your reader radar. In Addicted, we get a phenomenal friends-to-lovers story that runs us through a multitude of emotions and is a gripping story I couldn’t put down. Okay. I had to pace myself, because I actually had stuff to accomplish. While it isn’t totally necessary to read the first title in the series, Claimed, I’d recommend it. It’s a good story, and after reading for a few minutes, all the great characterization and world building came back to me—along with all the feels. I also remembered what I really liked about this universe: the ‘free love’ feel. I was a child in the ‘70s, and a teen in the ‘80s. I was probably born in the wrong decade. I was drawn to the Outlaws’ way of life from the first time I cracked open the first book of the series. Addicted continues my fascination. They’re highly sexual characters, and—for me—there’s nothing wrong with that. If you’re not into multiple pairings (m/f/m, f/f/m, etc… Oh! And there’s a little m/m stuff, too), this might not be a title for you. The secondary plot line in Addicted was…complex. The over-arching storyline for the series hit a few bumps in this title. It made me think, and by the time we reached the reveal, I hadn’t figured out what the big deal was, and why it had to be a secret. As for the secondary characters, we saw a lot of Rylan and Reese. And Beckett. Yeah. I am intrigued by Beckett. Xander, too. I have this intense need to know more about them. Sloane, Reese’s ‘shadow’? What’s up with him? I think most of these characters built the intrigue surrounding the safety—and sanctity—of Foxworth, Reese’s little settlement. There’s also a couple deaths that take place in Addicted that ripped my heart out. There’s not just sex in Addicted, though. We get to see relationships building between different groups of people, different types of people. These Outlaws seem to have a code of their own, and they follow it. There’s action/adventure-y stuff going on, too. Fighting. Killing. Really, this title is actually several sub genres, and was difficult for me to categorize. On Amazon, it’s in post-apocalyptic, romantic suspense, and contemporary(?!). Oh, and did I...
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