Category Archives: Christian Grey continues to cause problems

Slow Seduction (Struck by Lightning)

slow seductionSlow Seduction (Struck by Lightning)
by Cecilia Tan
Published by Forever (Grand Central Publishing)
272 pages
Genre: erotica 
Thanks to NetGalley for the preview
1 / 5

Join me, will you, in emitting a heavy sigh for yet another erotica trilogy.

Is there a law somewhere – a regulation – that all erotica must come in threes? Is it not possible for a writer to just tell a story and end it on the last page of ONE BOOK?

Apparently not.

Oh, what E. L.  James hath wrought. And, no, Cecilia Tan, that is not a compliment.

So here we have the second book of the threesome. I didn’t read the first one, and while having done so would have helped understand one of the major plot points, I have a feeling that said major plot point would still be a mystery.

Following the predictable course of erotica, we have Karina, in the last year of her graduate studies (yes, she’s another young one), getting over the broken heart left her by James (yes, he’s another older, richer one), who apparently did not like that Karina “broke through his walls” and “saw the real him” and “forced him to realize that he can love.”

Does this sound like other erotica we’ve read? Yes, it absolutely does.

So Karina heads to London to work at an art gallery, but more importantly to try and track down James. It turns out that, in addition to his BDSM lifestyle, James is also an international rock star. And apparently also an artist.

To find him, she accepts an invitation to The Crimson Glove, a BDSM playground. Damon George, another purveyor of spanky panky, wants to take Karina under his black leather belt, so to speak, and help her understand the Mind of the Dominant in hopes that she can get James back.

One thing leads to a spanking leads to another thing, and Karina’s plan works. Sort of. I mean, it can’t work too well, because a third book must be written.

We know nothing about James, and that’s what I wonder about the first book. Is he in it more? Do we know him? Or is he still a mystery? I suspect the latter, and I suspect I would end reading Book One much like I did Book Two: asking what in the world is so great about Karina.

Yet again, we have the dull heroine. Oh, she’s supposed to be high spirited, but she isn’t. She’s a sniveling, whiney, woe-is-me-I-miss-James-I-love-James-my-heart-cannot-go-on-without-James kind of character.

Now, Damon is a bit more interesting, but even then, we’ve read him before.  Nothing about him or Karina, or James, for that matter, stands out.

Which brings us to the sex scenes.

Again, nothing new here. They’re hot, but since Karina has a “no penetration allowed” clause, you might suffer from blue, er, ovaries for most of the book. I don’t think you will need to strap on your vibrator for this one.

Give it a pass and read Blindfolded Innocence instead, which at least has an interesting heroine AND super hot headboard rockin’.

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Filed under Christian Grey continues to cause problems, erotica, not as hot as it should have been, sometimes the book just isn't good

The Silver Chain

the silver chainThe Silver Chain (Unbreakable Trilogy #1)
by Primula Bond
Published by HarperCollins
400 pages
Genre: erotica
Thanks to NetGalley for the preview
2.5 / 5

 
What is it with the erotica trilogies? One after the other, they head our way. I’m becoming weary of it all, quite frankly.

Primula Bond is here to give us her Unbreakable Trilogy. I mean, right there. You chuckled, didn’t you? Had a little eye roll?

Just wait till you read the book.

Twenty-year-old Serena Folkes (they’re always young, aren’t they?) heads from the hinterlands to London in search of a career as a photographer. For all of her youth, she is almost preternaturally mature. It’s difficult sometimes to remember that she isn’t even of the age of a college graduate (nor of the intelligence, but we’re here to gloss over such unsavory details).

She does have mad photog skills, though, and when we meet her, she is chasing after some schoolgirls costumed as witches on Halloween. She runs – almost literally – into Gustav Levi, a mysterious, sexy, irresistibly hot (and older – they’re always older, aren’t they?) man. He’s also wealthy (they’re always wealthy, aren’t they?). They spend a little time together, and Serena “mistakenly” leaves her cameras with him.

You know what Freud said about mistakes, right?

Naturally, this oversight sends her back in his path, and now Gustav has a proposal for Serena: I will mount (HAHAHAHAHAHA – no pun intended, though) your photos in my gallery, and you will be mine until the last photo sells. He gives her a silver chain bracelet thing that he uses to clip onto a longer chain that … oh, hell. Just read the book.

And thus begins Serena’s entry into Gustav’s world.

He likes it kinky, kids, and bless him for it. The sexy times are deliciously written, and you can see why Serena is drawn to him, at least in that way. Plus, he’s older, rich, mysterious, tortured. She acts like a total prat around him, though. Pouty, driven to passive-aggressive tantrums. She wants to squelch his demons for him – she’s TWENTY! – when she really needs to slay her own.

Yes, two tortured souls find each other on the streets of London town.

But why is Gustav drawn to Serena? Does he see the broken in her and think he can fix it? He says several times that he knew when he saw her that she would “save” him. How? Why? She’s gorgeous, yes, but surely Gustav runs across gorgeous all the time. She isn’t particularly deep or compelling. The one thing Serena is, though, is sexually open. She not only is intrigued by Gustav’s needs but drawn to them. She enjoys them as well.

If it wasn’t for the hot headboard rockin’, there wouldn’t be much here at all. Oh, Primula Bond tries. She gives us all of this “I had a bad childhood” and “I had a rotten marriage” and “therefore I have issues” stuff, but you will be bored by it. How much navel gazing should we be subjected to before we start to notice the weaknesses in the story?

The next installment is due in May, and I’m honestly not sure if I want to read it. The cliffhanger at the end of this one tells you where it’s headed, but I’m just not that curious. Serena annoyed me endlessly. I kept wanting Gustav to leave her ass and find someone better. But Primula Bond clearly adores her heroine, so we’re stuck with her.

Read it for the sex. Those scenes are delicious. The rest? Not so much.

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Filed under Christian Grey continues to cause problems, erotica, Hot Headboard Rockin' but not much else, hot hero but boring heroine, spanky panky

His Absolute Purpose: The Billionaire’s Paradigm (#2)

billionaire's paradigmHis Absolute Purpose: The Billionaire’s Paradigm (#2)
by Cerys du Lys
Published by Fido Publishing
78 pages
Genre: erotica 
Thanks to NetGalley for the preview
3 / 5

Here we go again, boys and girls. Repeat after me: don’t repeat.

Yes, a bit oxymoronic, but I am about to have a hissy fit, so commence with the girding of your loins.

Our story here is fairly decent: Masters student Elise works at a library and volunteers to stick around despite a record-breaking snowstorm headed her way. She has a comfortable, if quiet and somewhat staid, life, and she’s okay with that.

Into the library, seeking refuge, comes Lucent Storme (yeah … for reals), a successful and powerful PR rep five years her senior. As the two batten down the hatches, they also open up to each other. Elise knows a few things about Lucent, and she’s also heard rumors that he enjoys a little spanky panky. She becomes intrigued.

One thing leads to another – and by “one thing,” I mean one sex act – and the two bond, so to speak. But what will happen when they leave the library? Ah, there’s the rub, no pun intended.

Lucent is prepared to walk away, but Elise is not. There is nothing in his lifestyle that puts her off, aside from a few concerns about pain and whatnot. But the warm and fuzzy side of his “BDSM things” appeals to her. She thinks getting spanked is hot, and she wouldn’t mind putting up a struggle or two. Lucent, though, wants a bit more than that. He’s looking for a slave, and Elise … well, Elise is a bit too headstrong to be a slave.

Whatever will happen to our happy couple?

See? The plot isn’t so bad. For once we don’t have the wealthy older guy and the naive younger girl. Yes, Lucent has money (I’m not sure he’s like the titular billionaire, but he’s rich), but he isn’t serviced by a large staff, he drives himself, and we see him WORK. He also has his Issues, as all good erotica Doms must, but with the love of a good woman, perhaps he can prevail.

So what’s the problem? Why only three stars?

Because Cerys du Lys CANNOT STOP REPEATING HERSELF.

Remember our gripe about the Christian Grey series? All of that lip biting and smirking and eye rolling? Well, kids, it’s here, too.

Repeatedly.

Elise pouts. She pouts A LOT.

Elise bites her lip. She bites her lip A LOT.

Elise sticks out her tongue. She sticks out her tongue A LOT.

She does those three things to such excess that I could not figure out what in the world kept Lucent around. And it will drive you in-freaking-sane to read. If I had to read another tongue sticking out or pouting, I would have chucked the entire book.

Seriously.

Then there is the nature of Lucent’s domination. He wants a slave. He doesn’t want a willful girl. He wants to pick out clothes and cook and protect. Elise wants none of that. What is it about her that makes him even contemplate compromise? Hell if I know. Stick out her tongue? Pout? He must be into that mess.

Lucent, you see, is a delicious hero. Yum, yum, yummmmm. Early in the library scenes, he sort of performs something for Elise that made my heart beat wildly. And he isn’t emotionally closed off. Yes, he is suffering, but he allows himself to feel sad. He isn’t happy about it, and he views it as a weakness, but he doesn’t stop it, either. I liked that in him, and it made him unique in this genre.

One thing Cerys du Lys does exceptionally well is write the sex scenes. The headboard rockin’ is HOT. It scorches, and that’s where du Lys redeems herself. Strap on your vibrators, girls, because the sexy times will cause you to need it. If du Lys had replaced a few pouts with more hot headboard rockin’, I might have given this five stars.

Alas, the ridiculousness of Elise sticking out her tongue (she’s 23, for goodness sakes) and pouting (again … she’s almost 24-years-old) was just overwhelmingly annoying.

Read it for the sex and for Lucent. Skim the pouting et. al.

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Filed under BDSM, Christian Grey continues to cause problems, erotica, hot headboard rockin', sexy times

The Submissive

The Submissive: The Submissive Trilogy
by Tara Sue Me
Published by NAL Trade
304 pages
Genre: erotica; BDSM
Thanks to edelweiss for the preview
3 / 5

I am starting to develop a Pavlovian response to BDSM-tinged trilogies. That response is a throat scarring, “PLEASE STOP.” Why are erotica writers like lemmings? Why must they follow a trend? Good grief, people. Just write a damn book. Don’t make it about the trilogy. Make it about the characters and the story.

Okay. I’m through. On with the review.

Unlike others of its ilk, the happy couple in this book meets when she approaches him. That right there makes it different, in a good way.

Abby King has long suspected that she has submissive yearnings, even if she wasn’t quite sure what it meant. She knows she needs a Dom to guide her through the lifestyle, so she quite literally interviews with the one she hand picks: Nathaniel West. He’s hot, he’s rich, he’s successful. (Apparently those three qualities are necessary in a Dom because every one of the literary variety has them.) He also is very attracted to Abby.

Did I mention that Abby is a librarian? Yep.

She and Nathaniel decide to give this arrangement a weekend-long test drive, and if after that Abby wants to continue, she can sign on the dotted line.

Well, of COURSE she will want to continue, because HELLO, Nathaniel is HOT. And he knows how to please a woman. And he knows how to give the spanky panky in a way that elicits certain responses. Certain delicious responses.

Yum.

Yeah, it’s predictable. Yeah, you’ve read it before. In fact, supposedly this series sprang from the same fan fic site as Christian Grey. So, yippee for that.

Is it good? Ehhhhhh …. well …. the sex scenes sure are. Tara Sue Me (I’m sure it’s a pen name) can write about some headboard rockin’, faithful readers. She will have you either reaching for a fan or a man, depending on what’s available. Will I read the next one? Of course I will! I am weak and powerless against these books.

I’ll give it this much: what it lacks in originality, it makes up for in writing. Tara Sue Me is a far stronger writer than E. L. James.

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Filed under BDSM, Christian Grey continues to cause problems, erotica, Hot Headboard Rockin' but not much else, not another excuse to bring up Christian Grey again

The Pleasures of Winter

The Pleasures of Winter
by Evie Hunter
Published by Penguin
400 pages
Genre: erotica; mystery
Thanks to edelweiss for the preview
4 / 5 cupcakes

Who knew that a plane crash in Honduras could lead to some hot – and I mean HOT – jungle sex?

It sure does in this book, my friends.

Abbie is a reporter fleeing some bad guys, winds up having to interview Hollywood hottie Jack Winter (GET IT? The PLEASURES of WINTER?). Their chat is off to a less than stellar start when the plane they’re on plummets to the ground in Honduras. Jack, Abbie and two other survivors wander around in search for help, and along the way, Jack and Abbie take a liking to each other.

Jack, in particular, thinks Abbie would make a great sub.

Yes, he’s a Dom, and he likes it his way, girls. The good news is that Jack’s way is all kinds of awesome, if Abbie’s reaction is any indication.

There is a plot here, superfluous though it may be. Actually, it isn’t all that bad. Abbie’s bad guys keep turning up, and she and Jack have some issues to work through if they’re going to have a relationship outside of the headboard rocking. It turns out that there is a lot more to Jack than Abbie supposed, and as a movie star, he has an image to protect. The truth about his life cannot be exposed. Then there is the fact that Abbie doesn’t want to think of herself as submissive, so Jack has to tame that. (GET IT?)

What you really want to know about are the sexy times, right? They are good. And by “good,” I mean SCORCHING. Jack is breathtaking in both his stamina and his ability to please. Jack may like it rough, but I’ll take his kind of rough any day. If only he could give lessons to Christian Grey …

In a nutshell: read it for the sex.

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The Siren

The Siren
by Tiffany Reisz
Published by Harlequin MIRA
432 pages
Published on Amazon.com.
Thanks to Net Galley for the preview
4 / 5 cupcakes

Those of you whose kink was tested by Fifty Shades of Grey can go ahead and skip this review, because if you thought Christian and Ana were edgy and disturbing, you have no idea – NO IDEA – what BDSM is all about.

If you’re still here, it’s because you want to find out about this hot, dark and passionate book. And it is … hot, dark and passionate.

We first met Nora Sutherlin in Seven Day Loan, in which her lover loaned her for one week to his friend. Nora was a submissive to her Dominant lover, and if he wanted to share her, he shared her.

In the previous book, Nora’s name was Eleanor, but here, she changed it for several reasons. First, she has left her Dom, a man she deeply loved (and who loved her in return) but with whom she felt a future could not exist. There is a reason for this, which was first revealed in Seven Day Loan. Nora also has become an author, having written several best selling books about – you guessed it – characters who engage in BDSM.

When we see her again, Nora has been assigned an editor, Zach Easton, an Englishman not too fondly known as the London Fog. Zach demands that Nora make wholesale changes to her book, but he assures her that if she tweaks it as he asks, she will write something extraordinary. Yet Zach strongly disapproves of Nora’s BDSM dalliances, causing her to keep a secret from him: she has become the number one Dominatix in New York City.

The Siren is all about double lives. Each character has one, and each must come to terms with which life is real.

First, there is Nora, author by day, dominatrix by night. But Nora, overachiever that she is, has another double life, if not a third. She develops feelings for Zach, just as she tries to understand her feelings for Wesley, a nineteen year old college boy she hired as a sort of manservant. Wesley is a virgin, and he and Nora care about each other quite a bit. She sees herself in him, even though he clearly is more of a vanilla guy than one interested in BDSM. Then there is her former Dom, whom she can’t let go. She submits to him, yet earns a tremendous fortune as a dominatrix.

In the case of Zach, we have the stereotypical stuffy Englishman who is shocked and disturbed by bondage and dominance. Yet he lost his virginity at age thirteen, seven years younger than Nora was. He is married, but his marriage is troubled; he left his wife in England to come to New York (next stop, Los Angeles). He is married, but he isn’t. He is appalled by BDSM, but drawn to it.

Then there is Wesley. Young, sweet, HOT Wesley. He is a solid Christian boy who studies hard in college and is devoted to Nora. Wesley must watch his insulin, because he is a severe diabetic. He says he wants to wait and have sex with someone who loves him, yet he is so determined to not be a romantic part of Nora’s life that he fails to see that she does love him. He is a virgin living with a slut.

But what you really want to know about are those sexy times, right? Tiffany Reisz can write some sex scenes, people. They are not wildly graphic (they are far, FAR less graphic here than in Seven Day Loan), and for the most part, there is a tender romance behind them. For all of her worldly experiences, Nora still wants what most of us want: to love and be loved, and to be allowed the freedom to experience those things.

Her relationship with her former Dom clearly is intended to shock us. Yet he, too, leads a double life (boy, does he ever). What is striking (no pun intended) about him, though, is the depth of his love for Nora. He really does love her, and when he tells her that he wishes she was still his, you feel it. Despite the dissolution of their romance, he nonetheless advises her on Zach and Wesley, and his observations are astute.

This is a good book. If you are curious about BDSM, please do not use Fifty Shades of Grey as your idiot’s guide. Instead, read this one. There are some wonderful explanations of the lifestyle, what draws people to it, what keeps them entrenched, and how it affects them. There also are some interesting discourses on erotica, which is the genre Nora writes. While there are not a lot of sex scenes, and those present are relatively tame, it’s because the focus here is the characters. In Seven Day Loan, the focus is a sort of sexual awakening.

And now I must go get ready for Angel, which is the next book in this series.

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The Theory of Attraction

The Theory of Attraction
Delphine Dryden
Published by Carina
121 pages
Available on Amazon.com
Thanks to NetGalley for the preview.
4 / 5 cupcakes

You know what? I really liked this silly little book. I liked it a LOT.

Neighbors in an apartment complex largely inhabited by a bunch of geeky nerds, rocket scientist Ivan asks computer programmer Camille to help him woo prospects for funding grants Ivan needs to continue his research. Camille gamely agrees, largely due to her growing attraction to Ivan. At first glance, he is cold, forbidding and opinionated. But as she gets to know him, Camille discovers that Ivan is complex. He is passionate, for one thing, and he craves control in all aspects of his life.

Those of you who read Fifty Shades of Grey or Bared to You know what that means, right? Our boy Ivan likes to dole out punishment (as needed, of course) and exert his influence over the woman in his life. Ivan, you see, is a Dominant, and as her relationship with Ivan develops, Camille comes to discover that she might be submissive.

There is a plot here, believe it or not. Camille tries to help Ivan get what he wants, and in return, he helps her discover things she never knew she wanted. The plot doesn’t get in the way of the crux of the tale, which is a woman embarking on a venture of self-discovery while the man lowers his inhibitions long enough to allow her into his life.

Bottom line, is this a good book? For what it is – a quick, hot read – yes, it is. We don’t get to know much about the characters, but that’s okay. We don’t need to know more about Camille or Ivan to understand how and why they are drawn together. Ivan’s sexual predilections are explained, which helps, but we nonetheless are left intrigued by him, much like Camille. These two have been friends and then progress into romance.

Now on to the good stuff: these two rock the headboard and then some. Ivan likes CONTROL, and he exerts it over Camille. We empathize with her initial confusion and continue to empathize with her as her understanding, acceptance and enjoyment of Ivan’s lifestyle evolve. The sex scenes are HOT. Delphine Dryden knows how to write about sexy times, people. Oh, does she ever.

Are we talking The Great Gatsby or Pride and Prejudice? Of course not. But we are talking about a fast read with some well written sex scenes. Read this, let your brain check out for a little vacation, and enjoy,

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Filed under Christian Grey continues to cause problems, erotica, not another excuse to bring up Christian Grey again, someone other than Christian Grey likes to spank