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Currently Browsing: erotic romance
Jul
24

Review: Caged by Lorelei James

Review: Caged by Lorelei James Caged Author: Lorelei James Reviewer: VampBard Rating: B+ What I’m Talking About: I could seriously look at Caged as a study in symbolism. From the title alone, we can draw conclusions. Knowing, however, that Deacon is an MMA cage fighter, seems to superficially take away the mystery. Superficially. This fourth offering in Lorelei James’ The Mastered series is anything but superficial. There was a LOT going on in this book. I didn’t need a scorecard or anything; this couple—Deacon and Molly—seemed to have one thing after another come up. With so much going on, and having these threads expertly twisted into a thick plot rope, it was super difficult to put down Caged once I started reading. Stupid meals that don’t cook themselves. Stupid work. I really want to give some little nibbles of the plot. *sits on hands* But that would be spoilery, and I don’t roll that way. Oh! The pacing is fabulous. I was invested in the characters from the beginning, and knew it would be a good story. Especially when Deacon told Molly, “We’re gonna happen.” I totally believed him, and questioned why we needed to read around 400 pages more. As far as I was concerned, once the couple agreed to go out, they were goners. Molly has appeared in previous titles in the series as a minor character. She was attacked, and took a class at the dojo so she could protect herself. It was really cool to see Molly as a main character in Caged, because she has had tons of growth across the series. She’s no longer the mousey, scared-of-her-own-shadow, girl we met at the beginning of the series. Even within this title, Molly had a ton of growth. I like her. A lot. She speaks her mind, and doesn’t allow herself to be treated like a doormat. Any more. Even though she battles some of her own demons, she’s really strong. I’d totally hang out with her if we were neighbors or worked together. Deacon is the epitome of tortured alpha. He resembles Ronin’s emotional behavior a lot and has other parallels, which was a bit of an irritant at a couple points through the book because I felt it cheapened Deacon for me. Regardless, what made me fall for Deacon is his focus, tenderness, and his growth. I suppose it doesn’t hurt that he’s a big guy and tremblingly gorgeous. I adored his confidence with regard to his relationship...
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Jul
13

Review: Under Contract by Jeffe Kennedy

Review: Under Contract by Jeffe Kennedy Under Contract Author: Jeffe Kennedy Reviewer: Jen Twimom Rating: B+ What I’m Talking About: It is not Celestina Sala’s best day. As a waterscape landscaper in the middle of a California drought, she lost her job. Everything has gone bad for her lately, and losing her job was the proverbial straw. She’s in debt and living well beyond her means; however, it wasn’t a life of excess, but rather a series of unfortunate events that landed her there. Now she has to figure out what is best for herself and her two nieces she is raising alone. Ryan Black, an eccentric tycoon, thinks it’s serendipitous seeing Tina the day she loses her job. When she did work for his company a few years ago, only her wedding band kept him from acting on his desires for her. Now she’s in trouble, and he’s got a solution to both of their problems: he’ll pay her to be his sexual playmate. The plot line for Under Contract isn’t necessarily new, but how main character Ryan views his “payment for services” adds an interesting and unique element to the story. This story is not that of Indecent Proposal. This is a man who wants a woman, but discovers she’s not in a place in her life where he can take her to lunch and sweep her off her feet. Ryan is not black and white and doesn’t see his proposal how Tina does: prostitution. Rather, to him it’s a win-win, and no one needs to label it. What makes Ryan’s proposition palatable is that 1) Ryan intrigues Tina, 2) he gives her complete control, and 3) Tina’s problems are serious and real. She’s borderline desperate. Ryan makes her see the truth of her situation, which is utterly dire. The author does such a fabulous job outlining Tina’s financial troubles that I felt her desperation and was stressed out. So when Ryan makes her a deal, I love Tina’s honest reactions ranging from disgust with herself for being a prostitute to being seriously turned on by Ryan. She’s out of her league and knows it, but also realizes she’s got to do something to change her situation. I’ll admit feeling a bit uncomfortable in my skin because Tina feels that way. Ms. Jeffe doesn’t sugar coat her story or the proposal: it is prostitution, but Ryan wants to possess Tina and sees it as a means to the end. Under Contract explores a...
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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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