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Currently Browsing: erotic romance
Jul
6

Review: The Collar by Tara Sue Me

Review: The Collar by Tara Sue Me The Collar Author: Tara Sue Me Reviewer: VampBard Rating: B What I’m Talking About: I’ve been reading The Submissive Series. I like it. I like the fact that Ms. Sue Me’s Partners in Play series is attached to The Submissive Series. Although, it almost seems as though both ‘series’ have merged in a significant way. The Collar needs a couple trigger warnings, though. One of the most painful things for me is to read about cancer stuff. I struggle and cling to Mr. VampBard like there’s no tomorrow when I read anything remotely mentioning cancer. In this title, one of the main characters has a parent dying from cancer. Not to leave the emotional smoking gun unloaded, we’re also hit with miscarriage (at 19 weeks), and the hell it plays on a relationship. Because of the cancer thing, I seriously thought about putting down The Collar, but I was already too invested in Jeff and Dena to not read the ending. I did read everything pertaining to Jeff & Dena’s relationship. I skimmed over the cancer stuff (which wasn’t much). With regard to miscarriage, it plays a significant role in the novel, and isn’t something that can just be skimmed over. Jeff is a typical, bossy Dom. I love that about him. Part of what drew me to him as a character is how into Dena he continues to be. After several years apart, Jeff and Dena are forced together due to a creepy situation. Dena needs him, which feeds Jeff’s Dom-ness. While he struggles to control himself, and keep distance between himself and Dena, it’s a constant battle. The Collar is told from both Dena and Jeff’s POV, so we get to see what’s going on in both their heads. When the story begins, Jeff needs to head out of town to deal with a family thing. He struggles with leaving, but thinks it’s for the best. He sees Dena socially, in their BDSM club, and it’s not a pretty picture in his psyche. As the story unfolds, Jeff’s Dom-ness is definitely front-and-center, even though he’s trying to keep it under-wraps. One thing I learned from Jeff’s characterization was keeping true to one’s self is important for all those we care about. If we can’t show who we are to those we love, it really isn’t a two-way street. Dena, a senator’s daughter, remains actively involved in the local BDSM community, although she rarely finds the pleasure she...
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Jun
30

Review: Every Which Way Anthology

Review: Every Which Way Anthology Every Which Way Anthology Authors: Sasha White, Annabel Joseph, Myla Jackson, Cathryn Fox, Candace Blevins Reviewer: Jen Twimom Rating: B What I’m Talking About: UNABASHED by Sasha White Overwatch series Mechanic Veronica “Ronnie” Mack joined the Overwatch club because she’d given up on finding love, and decided to settle for sexual satisfaction. Then Ian, her childhood crush, walked back into her life as one of the club’s Trainers, and proved that their connection was as strong as ever.  We met Ronnie and Ian in the first Overwatch story, Unfettered. This short picks up immediately after the conclusion of Unfettered, as the pair begin a new romance and venture further into the D/s aspect of their relationship. All in all, I enjoyed Unabashed. The book continues the ongoing love story of Ian and Ronnie, which is still in progress. The story is a slice of life, but more satisfying. We see both Ronnie and Ian begin to get comfortable as a couple and in their rolls. They each grow a little more. While their story could end there, the author gives promise we will see them again, hopefully securing their relationship and finding love. Their love isn’t in question, but it’s too soon for it, and I’m very thankful the author isn’t rushing into for the sake of an HEA. It’s an enjoyable story, made more so because I’ve already read their beginnings. My Rating: B+ LOANED by Annabel Joseph Bettina’s Master gets off on loaning her to strangers. Afterward, she’s supposed to report back to him with all the raunchy details. It’s all kinky fun and games, until one of those strangers decides he doesn’t want to give her back…  Mark and Bettina meet because Bettina’s Master tells her to pick up Mark. Mark, instantly recognizing that Bettina is much more than a worthless slave, takes advantage of her offer, whisking her away from Chicago to New York. The story is shared from the two alternating first person POVs of Mark and Bettina. I’m not typically a fan of this, but their individual voices are different enough and clearly demarcated, so it works. Normally, I don’t tag my reviews with trigger warnings, but I feel it is necessary to share that this is not anything typical of what I read. Mark and Bettina enjoy the darker side of sex. While a Master/slave relationship and sadomasochism isn’t remotely hot to me in this story, the mind games were fascinating enough to keep...
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Jun
16

Review: Do Not Disturb by Stephanie Julian

Review: Do Not Disturb by Stephanie Julian Do Not Disturb Author: Stephanie Julian Reviewer: Jen Twimom Rating: A What I’m Talking About: Dane Connelly is obsessed with his best friend’s (Jared “Jed” Golden) fiancée, Annabelle. We originally met this trio in the first book of the series, and three books later we learn that Dane continues to frequently participate in an M-F-M menage with the pair. He loves both Jeb and Annabelle, not romantically but as close friends, and he hasn’t found another woman who interests him like Annabelle. Talia Driscoll is a career-driven event planner, who is organizing Jared and Annabelle’s upcoming nuptials. She is hiding a long-kept secret about her family that no one, not even her closest friends Annabelle, Kate, and Sabrina, know. Whatever it is, it keeps Talia from making close ties to any man. So when she feels an itch for some hot lovin’, she knows playboy Dane will do just fine for a one-night stand. Oh Dane, poor Dane. I immediately fell hard for this sexy man who is emotionally confused and has so much love to give, as he watches all his best friends each find love and pair off. He knows he doesn’t love Annabelle or Jed as more than good friends and is aware that his relationship with them is preventing him from moving on with his own life. Not that he’s looking for any sort of romantic relationship, but with the pair getting married, he recognizes it’s time to move on. I love that he’s so self-aware and confident, making him a three-dimensional character rather than just another rich playboy. Yet when it comes to Talia, he has an edge of uncertainty as he gives her all of himself. It is refreshing to see the male lead putting himself out there without assurances that the female lead will reciprocate. Because the author does such a good job developing Talia’s character as a closely-guarded, self-reliant woman, I didn’t connect as deeply with her as I did with Dane. Tally has valid reasons to keep her secrets, and her fear of any sort of relationship with Dane is well-founded. Knowing how difficult it is for her to let down her guard makes the times she does all the more rewarding. Additionally, knowing that her secrets would eventually have to come out created a level tension to the overall story. I really enjoyed Dane and Tally as a couple. Tally is perfect for Dane and knowing she’s one of...
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Jun
8

Reviews: Drawn That Way + The Professor’s Student by Bronwyn Green

Reviews: Drawn That Way + The Professor’s Student by Bronwyn Green Bound Series Author: Bronwyn Green Reviewer: Jen Twimom Publisher: self-published Genre: Erotic Romance, BDSM elements, Contemporary Format(s): paperback, e-book Book Source: Author Drawn That Way (Bound #2): Tristan Weaver, originally from U.K. is in the U.S. to make her own way in the world and enjoys her job as the accountant for Brecken Games. But when her boss, Rory Brecken, overhears Tristan and a coworker gossiping about Rory’s kinky sex life, she thinks her job may be over. Rory admits he enjoys sex and isn’t looking for a relationship, so when he is tempted both intellectually and physically by Tristan, he decides to break his own rule of never sleeping with his employees. Yet after one night, neither Rory nor Tristan are ready to end things. I absolutely adore Drawn That Way! Rory and Tristan make a wonderful pair, and their chemistry is palpable. I was emotionally connected to each character right from the get go; able to relate in some way or another to both. Watching each let go of their hangups and worries as they give into their mutual lust is satisfying. I also appreciate that the author addresses the issue of sexual harassment in the workplace, which is a serious issue in today’s society. Overall, I totally loved Drawn That Way. While the story isn’t overly complex, it is emotionally satisfying. The characters are completely likable and grow enough to make the book fulfilling. Really, no shortcuts are taken in the story; it has a great flow and is enjoyable to read. The eroticism is equally emotional as it is sexual. My Rating:  A, Loved It   The Professor’s Student (Bound #3): Josie Green, an American archeology professor, is on a six week summer dig in Ireland, at Professor Declan O’Shaughnessy’s site. While Josie finds Declan utterly attractive, she thinks he is a perfectionist jerk. However, after a night of drinking too much, Josie lets Declan know just how much she wants him, and the pair begins a D/s relationship, intending to end once Josie leaves Ireland. The Professor’s Student is an erotic and highly sexual romance. While the pair doesn’t spend all of their time in the bedroom, the sex is the primary focus of the book, more so than either of the previous Bound stories. The initial scenes are passionate and lust-filled, and it’s all about the sex. Once Declan realizes that he enjoys having a partner who is equally as interested in his digs and finds as he...
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Jun
5

Review + Giveaway: Uncharted Territory by Tamsen Parker

Review + Giveaway: Uncharted Territory by Tamsen Parker Uncharted Territory Author: Tamsen Parker Reviewer: VampBard Rating: A What I’m Talking About: If I had to sum up Uncharted Territory in one word, it would be: supersmokinhot. I’m going to admit I was initially irritated by this prequel to the Compass series, and it’s the only reason I’m not giving this title an A+. I’m a *very* chronological reader, and my preference would have been to get India’s backstory prior to Personal Geography. (I get the whole reason behind writing (when the muse strikes, and this is a totally ME thing.) However, my irritation quickly eroded into intrigue. I’m not going to sugar-coat anything with regard to this title. It. Was. RAW. I had all the feels while reading, and I’m pretty sure I need an India/Cris book pretty soon, or a re-read of Personal Geography and Intimate Geography. While some might not call Uncharted Territory a romance, I do. However, it doesn’t have a HEA or HFN ending. That’s your warning. With that said, I *adore* the relationship development and exploration in this story. It’s honest, deep, and powerful. And, there’s many different types of relationships examined. If you’ve ever wondered why someone gets into the D/s lifestyle, I think this title gives you a great glimpse at India’s reasons. And, college is a time of experimentation, right? India is a freshman in college when this story opens. She meets Rey, and they’re fast friends. And India is introduced to a D/s relationship for the first time. Readers of the series will recall that Reyes Walter brokered India’s ‘arrangement’ with Cris early on. I am really glad we saw more of Rey in this title. I adored him in the previous two. I still have questions about him, though. I’d love to see him get his own book (or trilogy?!?). Hunter Vaughn is an older dude, and he’s loaded. Seems like the type of guy that’s used to getting what he wants. And, he wanted India. I’d actually like to see Hunter get a HEA. I was intrigued by his character, and as the POV was India’s, I felt like I wanted more about Hunter. Especially since he’s a Dom, India got Dom Hunter personality. I’d love to see him lose it, fall in the crazy, all-encompassing love, and see the cracks in that carefully-crafted façade. While we were learning India’s backstory, there were times I laughed, times I cried, and times I wanted to beat the...
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May
11

Review: Kiss Across Deserts by Tracy Cooper-Posey

Review: Kiss Across Deserts by Tracy Cooper-Posey Kiss Across Deserts Author: Tracy Cooper-Posey Reviewer: VampBard Rating: B+ What I’m Talking About: I have been eagerly awaiting more about Veris, Brody, and Taylor. While Kiss Across Deserts isn’t about them, per se, they do appear in a pretty significant way. What’s great about this book, however, is the way relationships build and characters are revealed. I fell instantly in love with Sydney—she’s a strong, kick-ass woman working in a man’s world—as well as Alex and Rafe. I mean, who WOULDN’T fall for all their alpha male vampireness?!?! I haven’t been reading a lot of paranormal romance lately. I love the genre, but I just…haven’t. I suppose we all go through phases in our reading, and that’s just where I was. However, I was quite excited to read this title, the fourth book in the Kiss Across Time series. I’ve been following Veris, Brody, and Taylor from the beginning. I’m pretty much addicted to their style of menage, and the sex scenes are erotic and emotionally satisfying. There were some usage errors missed in proofreading (the file I received wasn’t marked as an ARC), and there were at least three inconsistencies in the plot that interrupted my reading. That’s what keeps me from giving Kiss Across Deserts an A rating. I loved the characters, and they were well-developed. The plot was engaging. I probably would have overlooked these items if I could superficially read for enjoyment (something I struggle with every day as an English teacher and an editor). However, I’d still recommend this title to everyone and anyone that loves a good paranormal time-travel story. Sydney, our leading lady, has a secret. We all love secrets in our romance, right? Well, this secret is a major one, and it’s a driving force in the way the plot plays out. She’s a kick-ass cop in a patriarchal precinct, and has to work for every smidge of respect she’s gained over the course of her tenure on the force. At the expense of a personal life. We watch as she begins to allow a long-suppressed part of herself to reemerge. Her personal struggles dominate a portion of the story, but don’t overshadow the over-arching plot. Which is nice. As the story opens, Sydney and Alex have been conversing over the phone, via email, and the occasional in-person meeting. Alex is infatuated with Sydney, and he’s willing to wait her out—because he’s got all the time in the world, since...
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Apr
8

Review: The Enticement by Tara Sue Me

Review: The Enticement by Tara Sue Me The Enticement Author: Tara Sue Me Reviewer: VampBard Rating: A What I’m Talking About: So, I did a little backlist binge reading awhile ago. I picked up the first three titles in Tara Sue Me’s Submissive series after reading the first book in her Partners in Play series last year. The Enticement is giving me all the feels, folks. All. The. Feels. First, I want to note I feel strongly that this book can be read as a standalone. Read: even if you haven’t read the other titles in the series, you won’t be banging your head against the wall wondering what’s going on. Ms. Me does a great job of giving background information without getting all info dump-y. Don’t get me wrong…the other books are excellent. The Submissive series is the journey of a couple. The. Journey. Not just a snippet or a moment in time. Okay, it’s not like the TV show 24 or anything…you get the idea. The next thing I want to do is warn readers. Abby and Nathaniel have kids. They have a dog. They have real-world issues happening in their lives. If you’re reading to totally escape from your own life, this probably isn’t the book for you. On the other hand, that was part of the reason I gave this book an A rating. Also, there’s a near-miss sexual assault that could be a little trigger-y. There’s only one thing I view as a plot hole—a potential sub drop scenario that was never discussed between the couple, even after it was brought up by one of Abby’s friends. I gave that a serious side-eye and tried to not toss my Kindle across the room when the story ended and it hadn’t been addressed. This one thing is the reason I didn’t give this book an A+ rating. Abby is really down-to-earth. I think it’s really hard for me to make friends because I ‘meet’ people like her in books and kinda want to be instant besties with them. The Enticement is written from her point-of-view, and it was perfect. Abby’s introspection makes me ask questions of myself, about my behavior, and to question the motive of my own actions. Abby keeps a blog: The Submissive Wife, and she’s offered a job with a women’s network. It’s pretty significant since she hasn’t had a job for a while. She’s been a stay-at-home mom, and she’s been content. Throughout the novel, in Abby’s thoughts...
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Mar
24

Review: London Bound by Jessica Jarman

Review: London Bound by Jessica Jarman London Bound Author: Jessica Jarman Reviewer: Jen Rating: A- What I’m Talking About: 40-year-old Meg Stevens has been widow for six years. Since her beloved husband passed, she’s spent the time raising her children, working, and being alone. Knowing she needs a break, her near-adult children and family send Meg on a six week trip to London, where she meets Nathan Harris, her sexy, younger neighbor. After a night of conversation and a few drinks at the local pub, the pair explore their strong attraction and realize they can give each other exactly what the other needs… and more. London Bound is a lovely erotic romance that hit all the right buttons for me. The author explores a healthy D/s relationship between two consenting adults without making the sex about a troubled up-bringing or the need to cleanse a damaged soul. Meg is a grieving woman who isn’t quite ready to give up on life. Nathan is able to bring her out of her dormant shell and teach her she can love again. Their chemistry is hot and the love feels genuine. Early in the story, I had a few issues with Meg. While her nervousness and uncertainty are warranted, especially given the time she’s been alone and her age difference with Nathan, I found that at first she comes across almost immature or too young when she is with Nathan. It isn’t her submissiveness, but rather that she is overly needy and unsure. However, soon enough Meg finds her footing and those traits seem to disappear. She stands as an equal to Nathan; a submissive to his Dominant, and I was able to forget my earlier issues. I appreciated her real-life concerns and worries of why things wouldn’t work once her vacation is over. Over the course of the book, Meg became very real to me-her struggles authentic-and I wanted to hug and reassure her. Nathan is perfect. Seriously. Pretty much too perfect. He’s healthy, well-built, handsome, well-off, and he’s head-over-heels for Meg. His firm but gentle ways of caring for and loving Meg are ideal, and he holds nothing back. It’s easy to see why Meg feels it’s all too good to be true, because I felt the same way. But as Meg gives herself over and immerses herself into the situation, determined to enjoy her short time with Nathan, I too was able to enjoy and indulge in his perfection regardless of how “real” he may or may...
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Mar
2

Review: Unraveled by Lorelei James

Review: Unraveled by Lorelei James Unraveled Author: Lorelei James Reviewer: VampBard Rating: A What I’m Talking About: Shiori and Knox. *fans self* Perfectly balanced story. Humor, D/s, and watching a relationship have *normal* (sort-of) problems and fabulous resolutions…with super hot sexy times. It felt as though I was a voyeur watching all the things going on with Shiori & Knox. The intimacy of their relationship was intense, and beautiful. One of the things that struck me about Shiori and Knox was the need that drove them both into their relationship. It was never casual for either of them from the beginning. It was planned and purposeful. Borne of Shiori’s desire for affection, and Knox’s unknown need for submission, the couple melded immediately into an unbreakable bond. Don’t get me wrong, there was playfulness—Ob-Knox-ious and She-Cat or Shitake—yet, through the entire title the warmth and desire between the couple was palpable. The way they argued, and missed it when they weren’t volleying back and forth. For me, that was important and a very telling point about them as a couple. They weren’t all lovey-dovey every second. They tried to maintain a façade of normalcy, keeping their relationship under wraps for a while—until they figured out what was really going on between them. In a workplace romance, that’s kind of important, in my opinion. This one tiny detail made the story more real and believable for me. Knox, in his leadership role at the dojo, was technically Shiori’s boss by day. However, the power shift in the relationship transferred to Mistress B—Shiori—in the bedroom. Again, a realistic portrayal of a D/s relationship. Not one person holds all the power. It’s clearly delineated in the terms of their relationship. And while we might want to talk about relationships being a natural outgrowth of two people learning about one another, there’s always terms, whether we call them that, or not. Everyone plays a role in a relationship. It’s that natural give-and-take that makes a balanced couple with staying power. Shiori and Knox are, by far, one of the best examples of a realistic D/s relationship that I’ve read to-date. In reality, they’re partners. Each has their strengths and weaknesses, and the other doesn’t exploit them to their benefit. What I find fascinating is that Shiori is a Domme. She’s a powerhouse in the business world, and is of importance in Okada Foods, her family business. Getting to know her in Unraveled, the third full-length title in The Mastered...
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Feb
26

Review: Stealing Rose by Monica Murphy

Review: Stealing Rose by Monica Murphy Stealing Rose Author: Monica Murphy Reviewer: VampBard Rating: A What I’m Talking About: These Fowler Sisters books are like chocolate—always got room for more. Stealing Rose, the second title in the trilogy, is about the baby sister, Rose, and the thief that stole her heart, Caden. We also get to see more of Violet and Ryder, as well as Lily. For the record, I’m quickly approaching fifty. But reading Stealing Rose really took me back to my college days, a couple decades ago. Okay. Maybe I wasn’t quite as gregarious as Rose (Stop laughing. Really.). But there are a bazillion ways I did connect with her in this story. I really connected with Rose because of her family obligations. We’re all stuck with them. She hadn’t learned about establishing boundaries, though. It’s something that develops with age, I think. And that feeling of falling in love—not quite sure if you are or not. Rose had that in spade. Caden. I really tried to not like him. He’s like that bad boy that always caught my eye. Probably wasn’t the best thing in the world for me, logically. But WOW. These guys have a way of sweeping a girl off their feet. Sometimes, however, they manage to worm their way into our hearts, and they really aren’t all that bad. Especially the super-secretive ones, like Caden. I really didn’t know whether I was going to secretly cheer him on, as he changed. I think it was around the 85% mark before I made up my mind that he was redeemable. And I like books like that. Keep me wondering. Here’s the thing. I really wanted Rose to tell-off Caden at some point. That didn’t really happen. I also wanted her to tell Violet to butt out. Didn’t happen. Also, I’m envious of Rose. If I were younger, taking time away from *everything* would’ve been an awesome thing. Being able to hole up in a motel room for a month? A slice of heaven. I’m really excited to read the next book in the Fowler Sisters series. Taming Lily, due out July 2015. My Rating: A, Loved It About the Book: People say the youngest child has it easy, but nothing can be further from the truth. Unlike my two sisters, Violet and Lily, I’m never in the limelight. I just work my butt off for Fleur Cosmetics and get little to no thanks for it. I’ve been pushed too far...
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