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The Tied Man (The Tied Man, #1) - Tabitha McGowan Isolated on an frigid island, Albermarle Hall is a sanctum of depravity and the ideal setting for this shockingly cruel and intense story with superb writing. You'll find yourself shackled amidst the horrors of the enslaved man-boy, Finn, your sympathy for him holding you there, frozen in fear. You'll wonder how he was captured, how badly his next job will hurt him, and why his tormentor goes to such lengths to destroy him physically and emotionally. TM is a master at revealing back stories, sometimes with sneaky subtleness, but always sadistic in nature. The tribulations reach the darkest, deepest places. Places you might not know exist.The villains are inventive in their power to induce dread, rage, and paralyzing terror. The excessive rape and violence are graphic, beautifully disturbing, but in no way titillating. In fact, I would not label this erotic or romance, as those terms imply gratification and desire. Reading this stirred the same emotions in me as Jack Ketchum's horror novels. Sick curiosity.The body of this tale is harrowing, allowing little light and warmth to leak in. The sexual cruelty takes horror in an unpredictable direction, using psychological brutality to develop a friendship between an unlikely pair. From the slivers of blood-stained clothing and broken bones resurrects a courageous trust between the drug-addicted Finn and the guest-turned-prisoner painter, Lilith. This friendship is a fierce enough foundation to keep some of the chicken-hearted readers turning pages through the gory, topnotch tension.This vicious, well-crafted psychological thriller might leave you scarred, but it's the soul-deep characterization of Finn and Lilith that makes this book wholly unforgettable.
Beautiful Stranger (Beautiful Bastard, #2) - Christina Lauren Pervy, angsty, but irresistibly charming and entertaining, I fell in love with these characters. This book is surprisingly fresh, unpredictable, and features one of the sweetest, sexiest heroes I've experienced in a long time. Max Stella is delightful in his evolution. From his abs to his heart, the man is layered with courage. What a brilliant change from the playboy-who-can't-commit staleness. In this book, it's the heroine pulling away. But her aversion to commitment is sympathetic and appreciated. When the plot thrusts through the H/h's exploratory sexapades, taking you on naked adventures in exhibition, you'll find it's impossible to look away. But despite all the eroticism, this is a story with its heart on the line, and its imagination an ever-expressive participant. The POV depth is vivid and the dialogue is sharp. I can't find a single nit in the writing, plot, or character development. It's absolutely smashing.
Plush - Kate Crash,  Catherine Hardwicke The story had potential. The characters had so much potential. I love the concept, the Fuckedupsville of drugs, death, psycho-art, and self-destruction. I wanted to be sucked into it like an alcoholic, chain-smoking, delusional crackhaggot a la Hunter S. Thompson or Jim Morrison. Unfortunately, the purple prose killed it. Sometimes it reads like abbreviated text messages (including acronyms: I miss u; I love you; just tell me.). Sometimes it exaggerates sentiment with bizarre out-of-context metaphors. Carter’s voice is like angels dancing on ice-cream. I breathe. Sob. Breathe.The extent at which the POV ornately and abstractly embellishes her perceptions keeps you on the outside of her fucked-up world, looking in, and not feeling a damn thing. She narrates in dissociative musings. You know what she's thinking, you know why she's thinking it, but you really don't give a fuck. It feels like she's forcing her narration, structuring the language to sound cool, rather than letting you into her life to experience the story with her. The narrative voice is detached and her flustered mind wanders without purpose. But it wasn't just lack of character depth that put me off. The manner in which this is limned gives the Craft of Writing a middle-fingered salute.Punctuation, dialogue tags, and basic grammar are optional, and when a semblance of technical structure makes an appearance, it follows no rules. Complete sentences are a minority. This example is the essence of the staccato writing.I cum. Again and again. Night. Day. He passes out. Moon and stars. The sun in the dawn. White bed spreads. White walls.There's a lot of drama, and it would be really good drama if you aren't completely desensitized by the squawking noise of her words.
Eyes Wide Open  (The Blackstone Affair, #3) - Raine Miller Sweet and satisfying, this is an unabashedly sexy conclusion to a well-written love story. If you're a dreamy romantic, you won't be disappointed.There's not a lot of freshness to the plot--stalking, kidnapping, murder, and love--but thankfully, the drama skimps on the angst between the H/h and concentrates on the tension-filled tug of external threats.It's titillating and charming, and Ethan is a hot British pleasure to experience as he protects and cares for his beautiful American girl. You'll leave this series feeling languid and content about what happens to the characters and their happily ever after.
Driven ((The Driven Trilogy)) - K. Bromberg

This is the epitome of a passive-aggressive romance. The plot is a procrastination of commitment, rife with hard-hardheadedness, sulking, deliberate failures to stay together, and a heroine's lamenting of other people's promiscuity. Yet, the H/h are unstoppable in their pervasive rhythm of sex and entanglement. In other words, the steamy scenes make this unputdownable.And there's a lot of spit swapping. Probably the most kissing-without-sex scenes you'll read. But there's no skimping on sex either. The hot is scorching and the passion is well-devised.What this is lacking is originality. The storyline and cliffhanger are samey. The dialogue is samey. The rich bad boy is, le sigh, samey. And it blatantly references its samey-ness in the narration. "Me playing Ana to his Christian."But, it in all its Fifty Samey's of Grey, Rylee is an experienced woman. Thank you, KB, for not making her a virginal bromide. Rylee had experienced love before she makes her cliched stumble into the spoiled, famous, tortured, alpha playboy, and her backstory adds interest to an ordinary plot.She is more determined and perhaps stronger than the heroine norm in this genre. She's naive, but not clueless. She wears her heart on the outside. Though I can't relate to why she has such a negative opinion of women who are sexually active without committed relationships. She refers to them as floozies, bimbos, and wenches. If you're open to the concept of free love, Rylee's narrow-minded attitude about women and sex might put you off.Despite my gripes, there's something addictive about these kinds of books, and as far as replicas go, this is one of the better ones. And while I don't feel compelled to read the sequel right away, I know I will eventually give into the need for more of this spoiled, famous, tortured, alpha playboy.

Brie Learns the Art of Submission: Submissive Training Center - Red Phoenix Not my kind of book. My penchant for romance and erotica is entirely character-based. Kinky or not, I have to connect to the main character(s).This is not a character-driven story. The MC has no back story, no flaws, no mentioned family, no motivations. She's simply a vehicle used to demonstrate BDSM instruction. The sex scenes are technical and classroom-style, not passionate. There are no memorable quotes or thought-provoking moments. Just a lot of sex.Some might find this enjoyable. It just wasn't for me, so I'm not going to rate it.
Guardian Demon (The Guardians #8) - Meljean Brook There is nothing generic about this action-oriented series. It's an unequaled world of slick crimson violence, with a stylish angle on afterlife and mythology, woven through a soulful love story.And what a satisfying conclusion to this engaging mythos of the guardians fighting demons! There's a fangton of crime solving. Myriad murders and chaos. Sword fights and fire-breathing dragons. Even a flayed face and dismembered genitalia. But this creature feature doesn't ditch imagination in preference of shock de la gore. The graphic images are muted and sketched artfully, not forcibly. The only thing I struggled with was the retreading of the investigations. The endless fact-finding and exhaustive details of suspects, victims, demons, and vampires quickly became a glazed-eye blur and felt unnecessary to the storyline. But not once was I tempted to put this book down.Taylor's gift as a Guardian brings a fascinating incorporeal element to the series and Ms Brook portrays the application of this supernatural gift with imagination and masterful writing. Taylor's gift is made more unforgettable in her romantic relationship with Michael. And oh, what a grand-scale romance. If you've been waiting for their union as long as I have, you won't be disappointed. The climb to get there is agonizing, laborious, and rife with sexual tension. Truly, a well-earned HEA.
The First Order (Safeword, LLC #1) - Peyton Elizabeth If you are looking for an erotic story that focuses on authentic BDSM, this has a lot to offer. The rules, the psychology, the logistics of the scenes and lifestyle are intelligent, well-written, and accurate. The author knows her subject matter.If you're new to BDSM, this is a great toe-dipper. You can learn right along with the curious, open-minded heroine. There's not any over-the-top, cringe-worthy moments. While the tone is erotic, there are a modest number of scenes with actual intercourse. This is more an exploration of trust and exchange of power, and less about kinky sex.If you prefer dark and forbidden, this isn't it. If you want romance and soul-depth love, this is not an erotic-romance. The words are spoken in the HEA conclusion, but I never felt the passionate, live-or-die connection between the MMs and F. That said, this book is fascinating and different, and most importantly, entertaining.
Knight & Stay (Knight, #2) - Kitty French Enjoyable is the perfect word to describe this Knight sequel. This sensual romance aims to solidify the love story, and does so with a little tug and shove, a bit of denial, and eventually...acceptance.KF shows character development that is engaging and convincing. Lucien, the Viking-like hero, is an erotic treat to tremble for. He's also frustrating and stubborn. You'll love watching him ripen into a man worthy of Sophie.What I love most about this book is Sophie and her lady balls. She's not afraid to fight. She doesn't run away. She knows what she wants and screw the risk to her heart. No one puts Sophie in the corner. She's really grown into her skin.In summary, this is a simple, formulaic love story. While that may not stand the test of time, it makes an enjoyable, rainy day read.
Arsen - Mia Asher In this drama of deceit, the main narrator is the antagonist. You only need to read the blurb to know what you're getting into. She's a liar. A cheater. A vile monster. One that will make you vibrate with seething hatred. You will NOT enjoy reading this. But if you dare, it will leave something inside you, something penetrating and thought-provoking. As Cathy's emotional affair transitions into a physical one, you'll feel the weight of the wrecking ball heaving closer, building momentum, and the impact to your heart is as unavoidable as it is irreparable. You'll want the book to end--Just make it fucking stop!--but you'll be so pulled in, you won't be able to escape this endless loop through hell. This is owed to MA's potent writing and talent in constructing despicable characters. What I loved about this story is that it's crushingly and frighteningly plausible. Cathy's POV is deeply excavated, exposed, rode hard and willingly unlovable. Her narration invites you to abhor her with vehemence. And oh, the whore of desperation and attention, how I loved to hate her! She magnificently demonstrates how to destroy a perfect marriage with neither reason nor care. Her mantra might as well have been: Don't be honest. Don't communicate. Cut off sexual intimacy. Hurt him, break him, that man who adores you.What's her motivation? I struggle to define this, but I think it is simply that she's unhealthily fixated on the only two things she can't have--a baby and a celebrity man-slut. Amidst the suffering, the lesson is mighty. Marriage is work. Adultery destroys. Cathy is the cheater, the self-serving villain, the example of what not to do. And here's where the plot doesn't work for me. The moral of the story is genuine and demands an equally tenable conclusion, a detonation of justice. But, the consequence of her treachery is overlooked, and the message, the lesson so painstakingly laid, loses its purpose. The villain gets what she wants in the end! No, no, no! The villain isn't supposed to win! Did she learn anything? Did she find absolution? Not if her last fucking thought is anything to go by.Other than the profusion of unneeded flashbacks and scenes out of chronological order, the writing is riveting. MA tackled a plot that is unpalatable and agonizing to digest, and wrote it spectacularly from the antagonist's POV. A damned difficult feat. Out-fucking-standing.
Wethering The Storm (The Storm, #2) - Samantha Towle You felt the stormy sting of Tru and Jake's chemistry in book 1. In this sequel, they are so explosive together, they leave behind an afterglow that will warm your soft gooey center. And that's the essence of this book. There are no surprises, no action, nothing new, and the rock-band life is more of an afterthought. But their sparkling moments are profuse. This is a full display of melodrama and syrupy exchanges.If you're looking for a blizzard of heartfelt tragedy, wedding(s) planning, and romantic blessings, you'll find all of that accompanied by a windstorm of sexy scenes in this predictable, but very sweet love story.
Fear of Falling - S.L. Jennings The villain in this story is a psychological condition. You can't take it down with a hollow-point bullet. You can't pass a sword through its deeply-guarded heart. It lurks in the shape of 253 stars. Kami's 253 fears.How does she fight fear when she's erected her entire life around it? Normally, I'd balk at heroine who is crippled by nothing more than herself, and scream at her to power through it. But Kami's fear is so palpable and vetted, to behave with an iron spine and swinging fists would've belied her character. Jennings is so convincing in the characterization of this poor girl, I was a glutton to experience every detail of her miserable psyche.Blaine is the catharsis in this harrowing tale of persistence and triumph. Victims of abuse lick their wounds in a myriad of ways, but the one honest salve is a sturdy shoulder to brace you through the mending. That person or persons, who accepts without question, who lends support from a distance when distance and patience is what is needed. The Avett Brothers' Perfect Space captures the essence of Kami's relationship with Blaine and her roommates:I wanna have friends that I can trust,that love me for the man I've become not the man I was.I wanna have friends that will let me beall alone when being alone is all that I need.The story is executed delicately, yet with a deep-welled power. The writing is seamless. While it's often emotionally frustrating, the best books always are. I highly recommend.
Shooting Scars - Karina Halle What are the ingredients for perfection? Quality writing. Gun fights. Tattoos. Two muscular frames of male libido. A heroine with a heart to match her courage.Shooting Scars is perfection.I've never wanted a book to NOT end so badly. I obsessively checked the kindle percentage, sweating as it reached 70%, 80%, 90%, ughhh, shit!So much action, passion, tension, and surprises. From the moment I finished Sins & Needles, I knew exactly how I didn't want this installment to end. Thank you, Karina, for not breaking my heart. And though I detest cliffhangers, this one didn't make me cry out in snot-clogged anguish. It dangles a thread, but doesn't leave you hanging miserably from it.I cannot recommended this series enough. The quality of writing sets the bar for all others. The constant conflict propels it. The romance is a complex tangle, the direction of the plot equally so. You might choose sides. Then you might second guess the side you chose. It's diabolical. You'll fucking love it.I have one request for Bold Tricks, Karina. Menage? MMF? Please?
Eternal Echoes (Sisters of the Divine, #1) - Anastasia Virgas,  Stella Price Review to come**ARC provided by the author for an honest review**
Kaleb (Alluring Indulgence, #1) - Nicole Edwards I must have plot with my erotic romance. A few times, there were whisperings of a storyline, but by the halfway point I expect the arc to have a clear shape. This is just uneventful, sappy sex.
Beautiful Broken Rules - Kimberly Lauren What a beautiful unbroken plot. No overdone whiny naive virginal heroines here. Thank. Gawd. The refreshing, fun and emotionally-engaging first person narrative gets better as the story progresses and Em's three rules on relationships--or no relationships, as it were--are stretched at the seams. In a way, this story empowers women and breaks through social stigmas better than all the modern books in the genre. Em does things her way, unapologetically, stubbornly, yet she recognizes the flaws in her approach and has moments of surrender and passion. She's one of my favorite heroines to date.The friends and ragtag family members add texture to this tale, wrapping supportive arms around you, bringing you into their fold so deeply, you forget you're reading.I didn't want this story to end. I want more stories and characters like it. Incredible, unforgettable book. Thank you, Ms. Lauren.