Book Review: American Queen

review-cover-american queenTitle: American Queen [New Camelot Trilogy 1]

Author: Sierra Simone

Genre: Romance, Erotica, BDSM, Ménage, Contemporary

Rating: 5 Stars

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Description/Synopsis:

It starts with a stolen kiss under an English sky, and it ends with a walk down the aisle. It starts with the President sending his best friend to woo me on his behalf, and it ends with my heart split in two. It starts with buried secrets and dangerous desires…and ends with the three of us bound together with a hateful love sharper than any barbed wire.

My name is Greer Galloway, and I serve at the pleasure of the President of the United States.

This is the story of an American Queen.

WARNING – SPOILERS MAY ENSUE BEYOND THIS POINT – REVIEW BELOW

I need to learn to read book descriptions—I rarely do. It’s just one of those things as a book reviewer and avid reader, that I just don’t bother. So obviously, I didn’t know what I was getting into when I picked up American Queen by Sierra Simone. All that being said, I still enjoyed this book.

BDSM isn’t my thing. I’m not a huge fan of Ménage’s, and I rather read Romance than Erotica, so when I say that I enjoyed the book, take that as high praise. This book was exceedingly well written. The narrative voice was clear and easy to read. I liked the characters, the world building was rich without being overbearing, and even if the complicated relationship between Maxen, Embry, and Greer wasn’t my cup of tea—I could still appreciate it. I was drawn into the story by the subtly crafted narrative, and I wholeheartedly believed in their love for one another. I rarely run into books so well written that I forget that their subject matter isn’t something I enjoy.

Whether you’re looking for an erotica, something with BDSM, Ménage’s, or you simply want a well-crafted book, I’d recommend you pick this one up. It’s not going to be for everyone—but it’s still a good book. You might be surprised.

Book Review: Relentless Pursuit

review-cover-relentless pursuitTitle: Relentless Pursuit

Author: Ella Jade

Genre: Romance, Erotica, BDSM

Rating: 4 Stars

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Description/Synopsis:

Desire unlocks the door to a new world, but she never expected to find him on the other side.

Julian Anders has a way of making women drop to their knees. He’s fierce, domineering, and knows what he wants in the bedroom. He craves total submission. His busy life doesn’t allow him the luxury of traditional dating. He doesn’t want it and doesn’t need it. He makes no apologies until Kayla Quinn, his best friend’s younger sister, shows up at the exclusive club where he finds his companions.

Kayla has been unsuccessful in love and is tired of waiting for the one. When a friend introduces her to an upscale club that caters in matchmaking without the commitment, she decides to try it. She requests a mature, dominant man, but she never bargained for what happens next.

Julian is enraged to find Kayla interested in men like him. Men who have no desire to commit. She’s not the club’s typical client. He’s known her for years but stayed away despite his strong attraction to her. He decides the only way to save her from a potential disaster is to pursue her himself. Can she handle his darker side? The one she never knew existed? Perhaps he’s finally met his match…both in and out of the bedroom.

WARNING – SPOILERS MAY ENSUE BEYOND THIS POINT – REVIEW BELOW

I don’t usually read books that delve into BDSM. It’s not that it makes me uncomfortable (to each his own, right?) I just have no interest in it personally, so usually, I try to avoid books I know have BDSM in them – but when I was given the chance to pick up Relentless Pursuit by Ella Jade, I thought “why not?” I like to read new things now and then, and honestly, I’m glad I gave it a chance.

As far as the technical side of the book went, it was fairly well written. There was one typo that stuck out to me, which is pretty negligible in the grand scheme of things. Overall, the book was clean, flowed well, and the dialogue didn’t sound incredibly hokey. I have no complaints. The only truly niggling little thing that bothered me, was the premise of the book.

Here’s the thing: there were a lot of aspects of this book that were new to me. The club was something I hadn’t particularly seen in another book. The best friend’s kid sister thing… well, I’ve seen that in other romances, but not in romances like this one. However, there was this correlation between the majority of this book and another very popular ‘BDSM’ book that made me a bit uncomfortable. Similar circumstances with the characters. Similar scenes. A similar order of scenes. Even similar occupations. I don’t know if it was intentional or not, but the similarities were so striking that at times it made it hard for me to sink into the book. I started looking for those similarities, and I found a lot of them.

BUT, and it’s a big ‘but’, I think this book did it better. Where the other book-that-shall-not-be-named lacked in strong characters, consent, and proper BDSM practices, this book brought it’s A-game. This is what the other book should have been, and sadly fell devastatingly short of. So, I’m all right with it – and I’m going to leave it at that. Was this the type of book I’d search out to read? No, but that’s just my personal preference. Was it entertaining? Yes. Did it keep my attention? Yes. Was it well written? Yes. Did it live up to the synopsis? Sure. I can’t fault this book for what it was.  If you’re looking for a light BDSM themed romance/erotica to sink into – something that may be an introduction into BDSM literature, I’d suggest you start here. It’s a solid read, and not so heavily BDSM that it’s going to scare away the average reader who wants to dabble into reading the genre.

Book Review: Witch Hunter

review-cover-witch hunterTitle: Witch Hunter [Witches of the Woods 1]

Author: Steffanie Holmes

Genre: Paranormal, Romance, Historical

Rating: 5 Stars

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Description/Synopsis:

Europe – 1351. Centuries ago a curse was placed on Ada’s family; every seven days a woman from her line must sleep with a man – any man – or the entire coven will lose their powers forever. As a fledgling witch, it is Ada’s turn to continue the seven-day cycle, but with the plague wiping out more men every day, who will she find to take into her bed? BBW Ada goes to a sacred grove to perform a ritual to bring a man to her, and a man appears. But he is as dangerous as he is handsome …

Ulrich of Donau-Ries is a battle-scarred witch hunter, tired of the stranglehold the church has over his destiny. His heart hardened by violence and the woman who betrayed him, Ulrich is determined to never again fall in love. But that all changes when he finds Ada, naked and waiting for him. She is the first woman to loosen the chains around his black heart.

When Ada is accused of witchcraft, Ulrich seizes his chance to be close to her once more. In Ulrich’s dungeon, they find solace in each other, and innocent Ada learns to embrace her lover’s dark fantasies. But will Ulrich’s heart thaw in time to save Ada from being burned alive at the stake?

WARNING – SPOILERS MAY ENSUE BEYOND THIS POINT – REVIEW BELOW

I’m actually a little surprised to say that I really enjoyed this book. I’m not huge on BDSM or dungeon play in my romance. I don’t particularly have a problem with it, but I don’t actively seek it out, and it’s always left me feeling a little uncomfortable when it pops up in my romance reading, so when I went into Witch Hunter by Steffanie Holmes, I wasn’t sure how I was going to feel about that aspect of the plot. Surprisingly, I was completely fine with it—though I know there will be some people out there that won’t. So before I get much further into this review and waste your time, let me say that there are quite a few scenes held within this book where the main female lead is strapped into or onto torture devices. She was in pain… BUT she was also consenting and enjoyed herself. If that isn’t your thing, then feel free to move on.

That being said, even though there was a fair bit of somewhat torturous BDSM involved, I never felt like Ulrich was being intentionally cruel or harmful to Ada, even when she was in genuine pain. I never questioned that she was happy to be put in the situation she was in and she enjoyed it. The situation was tricky, though. She was, after all, in a real dungeon dealing with a man who “tortured and burned witches at the stake” for a living, and I can understand how some more sensitive readers may find this book a little much to handle. To each his own, right?

Personally, I thought the story was fabulous. I loved Ulrich as the dark and brooding anti-hero and Ada as the sadly naïve newbie witch. The characters were colorful and distinct, and though I didn’t like all of them (I’m looking at you Bernadine), I felt they were necessary to the plot and well written.

Now, I was holding onto an ARC copy, so there were a few typos here and there (all of which I turned into the author/publisher), but none of them were distracting or particularly detrimental to the story. For the most part, the writing was clean, easy to follow, and well paced.

My only nitpick was one particular scene where Ada had been held in a dungeon for days on end before she was ravished by Ulrich, and I just kept thinking “omg… I bet she smells so bad right now.” She’d had rotten food thrown at her, she’d been locked in a damp cell with little food or water, and she certainly hadn’t had a bath… and I’m sure the guy loved her dearly…but… ew.

Overall? I really enjoyed the book. It was a great romp into medieval paranormal fantasy. If you’re a fan of Dark Romance, give it a try. You may really enjoy this book! If BDSM/Dark Romances are your thing,  you may want to look for something a little fluffier…but you’ll be missing out. Personally, I can’t wait to read further into this series, and I look forward to the next book!

Book Review: Fated Mates Box Set

 

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Title: Fated Mates Box Set

Rating: 3 Stars

Genres: Paranormal, Fantasy, Romance, Erotica, BBW, BDSM, Shifters

Description: The Fated Mates Box Set is a 12-book set of Paranormal, Shifter Romance books that cover a wide assortment of different ideas and topics. There’s a little bit of everything in this set, from BDSM, to BBW, slow-burn romances, to passionate fated couplings—all from some very talented authors. Below you will find a list of the included books (with links to the individual review articles).

Review:

I really enjoyed this box set. There were some really fantastic books included in the set, some that were so-so, and some I didn’t particularly care for, but overall, I think the amount of good books in this set makes the $2.99 (at the time this article was written) price well worth it. The stories tended to be on the short side, but there was definitely a wide variety included in the set that I think makes it so just about anyone could enjoy the set—there’s something in it for everyone. If you like Paranormal Romances about shifters, you will enjoy this set. There’s some real gems of fiction in here that I think anyone would love. The Star Rating I gave this set was produced by combining the individual star ratings of the books within the set and averaging them out.

Book Review: The Alpha Claims A Mate

 

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Title: The Alpha Claims A Mate [Blue Moon Junction 1]

Author: Georgette St. Clair

Genre: Fantasy, Paranormal, Romance, BDSM

Rating: 2 Stars

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Description/Synopsis:

New Yorker Ginger Colby, half witch, half werewolf, all curves, has made an immediate and lasting impression on the Alpha of Blue Moon County. Unfortunately, she did it by publicly insulting him – she turned down the smug, sexy werewolf sheriff when he asked her to dance with him at the local honky-tonk.

Now the furious Alpha of her pack is ordering her to make amends with Sheriff Sexy – or risk igniting a war between the Red Wolves and the Gray. The Sheriff’s idea of re-establishing his dominance includes a bare bottom spanking, making her work for him as his new assistant, and flirting with her outrageously. But is he flirting with her just to get revenge for humiliating him – or does he want something more? And can a liberated big city werewolf find happiness with a dominant small town shifter?

With the mysterious disappearance of an archeology professor, and a jealous Alpha female stirring up trouble…Ginger may not have a chance to find out!

WARNING – SPOILERS MAY ENSUE BEYOND THIS POINT – REVIEW BELOW

I read this book as part of the Fated Mates Box Set, so I am planning to give a review to each individual book in the set, and then the set as a whole at a later date. There are twelve books in the set, and it is currently for sale on Amazon for $2.99 at the time this review was written. This is book 12 of 12.

This book really wasn’t for me. Having received this book as part of a box set, unfortunately I wasn’t aware of the synopsis for the book or what it may entail (other than it was a paranormal shifter romance). BDSM isn’t something I’m into (but to each his own right?) so the sex scenes where stringing up girls and hitting them with paddles/whips etc occurred made me cringe. If that’s your thing, you may enjoy this book a lot more than I did, but going into this review, understand that a good deal of my negativity towards this book lays in part with that aspect of the book. I don’t have anything against BDSM for those that are interested in it, it just doesn’t interest me, so the sex scenes and dominant/submissive scenes made me want to skip pages. Other people may find those parts far more interesting than I did, but for me, a large part of the book wasn’t appealing.

That aside, there were parts of this book I liked, but there were more parts I didn’t. The dialogue was sometimes a little cliché and didn’t come across as natural to me. There was a lot of judgment getting thrown around between the characters, and cat fights seemed to be common. The characters seemed to be constantly bickering—and I think up to a point, that’s okay, but there was so much of it that it just got tiring after awhile.

Like the dialogue, the characters also came across as cliché. There was the self-righteous virgin, the slutty girl, the outgoing girl who thought she was too good for relationships, the meddling mother and grandmother, the boy-next-door southern sheriff, even the too-nerdy-to-understand-normal-people anthropologist…. I could go on for ages. The roles were all typecast. The character didn’t seem like real people, and there were so many of them that I never got a good feel for any of the characters individually. Most of the characters were small cameo’s thrown in for witty dialogue or drama, but overall didn’t have a huge impact on the story. I really almost wish the cast had been smaller so that the author could have fleshed out their depth a little more.

Another thing that stuck for me was the way the author handled the BBW aspect of the book. The main character was a larger girl, and that’s awesome—but the author made the choice to not only turn her weight into a positive, but pushed the issue so far over the line that it became unbelievable. For whatever reason, the entire town was infatuated with Ginger because of her weight. I think at the point  where people are drawn to the character just because she’s overweight, we’ve crossed the line. All you’ve done is trade out “skinny” for “overweight”. I wish instead, that Ginger’s weight issue would have been handled in a more positive, healthy way. Rather than making her the sexiest thing to walk into town, it would have been nice if people had been drawn to her due to other aspects of her personality, or people had fallen in love with her despite her weight, where her size just became a non-issue, or she became attractive because they were in love with her. As it is, people are still judging her on her size, and still objectifying all the other women in the book. I think this was more of a “wish fulfillment” situation that the bigger girl suddenly became the hot girl, but it makes the characters seem shallow.

Regardless, it was a funny, sometimes silly, book. It was short, it was cliché, and the characters were sometimes absurd, but it was still a fun read up until a point. Would I read it again? Probably not. I just didn’t care for how the story was handled. I’m sure there’s other people out there who would enjoy it much more than I did. This one just wasn’t my cup of tea.