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Thursday, May 24, 2018

Review: Catch Me (Brie's Submission #3) by Red Phoenix


Print Length: 278 pages
Publisher: Provocative Romance (June 20, 2016)

From Goodreads.com: Love requires a leap of faith 

The final week at the Submissive Training Center has arrived! Will Brie survive the last week of training—five extraordinary days of challenge and pleasure? Her graduation night includes interviews with potential Doms, but it gets horribly complicated… 

A surprising turn of events forces her to make an unexpected choice.



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My Rating: 3 stars out of 5

This is the third and final book in the boxed set that I got. In this story, Brie is all set to graduate from her submissive training, and decides instead of exploring the new community of which she is a part of, she would rather be "collared" to one Dom. As much as I hate to agree with anything Mary (someone who has been a bit of a bitch throughout the story) I felt Brie was an idiot. Why rush into something without fully exploring what your new world holds? 

Anyway. Stuff happens during her graduation ceremony, and while she does end up collared it wasn't to the person I expected. 

In my honest opinion, this story really begins to flow and explore its potential when Brie is finally collared. That is where the author begins to really explore the dynamic of the full-time BDSM lifestyle. Speaking to Brie's naivety, she quickly makes mistakes (one of which even I saw coming from a mile away), but I enjoy watching her and her chosen Dom work through them. 

I am sure that there are some people who will very much enjoy this story (as evidenced by the numerous 4 and 5 star reviews), however it is very doubtful at this point if I will continue on with this series. Some of the potential I was hoping for began to shine through with this one, but after the first two I am hesitant to take a chance.

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                     Teach Me is available from Amazon.com as part of a boxed set

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Review: The Summer Children (The Collector #3) by Dot Hutchison


Print Length: 302 pages
Publisher: Thomas & Mercer (May 22, 2018)

From Goodreads.com: This FBI agent has come to expect almost anything—just not this…

When Agent Mercedes Ramirez finds an abused young boy on her porch, covered in blood and clutching a teddy bear, she has no idea that this is just the beginning. He tells her a chilling tale: an angel killed his parents and then brought him here so Mercedes could keep him safe.

His parents weren’t just murdered. It was a slaughter—a rage kill like no one on the Crimes Against Children team had seen before. But they’re going to see it again. An avenging angel is meting out savage justice, and she’s far from through.

One by one, more children arrive at Mercedes’s door with the same horror story. Each one a traumatized survivor of an abusive home. Each one chafing at Mercedes’s own scars from the past. And each one taking its toll on her life and career.

Now, as the investigation draws her deeper into the dark, Mercedes is beginning to fear that if this case doesn’t destroy her, her memories might.

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My Rating: 4 stars out of 5

This may be the third (and I believe final) book in the Collector series, however it can be read and understood as a stand-alone novel. Yes, some characters from the first two novels are featured in this one, however it is done in a way where the reader doesn't get lost or confused. 

This novel does touch on some disturbing realities (mainly the abuse of children and how in some cases the abuse is overlooked and/or the system has failed a child), however I feel the author's strong writing style make it more palatable than it otherwise may have been. The sad reality is, sometimes these things do happen and occasionally we as readers need to be taken to a place of discomfort in order to face the reality of the worlds. 

I loved getting to see team Mercedes is a part of interact with each other. The obvious bond they had showed just how much they had been through as a team, and what they were willing to do for one another. I will say that while all of these characters are complex and strong in their own ways, Siobhan was not my favorite. I feel as though she had a lot of unrealistic expectations when it came to Mercedes and her job. Also, I enjoyed (as hard as it was) to learn Mercedes background. I think it spoke a lot to her character and why she acted (and reacted) in the ways that she did. 

I would definitely recommend this novel to those who enjoy well written police and "whodunit" novels. I will be reading more from this author!

DISCLAIMER: I received a complimentary copy of this novel in exchange for my honest review. This has not affected my review in any way. All thoughts and opinions expressed in this review are 100% my own.


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                           The Summer Children is available from Amazon.com

Saturday, May 19, 2018

Review: Love Me (Brie's Submission #2) by Red Phoenix


Print Length: 274 pages
Publisher: Provocative Romance  (June 6,2016)

From Goodreads.com: Passions soar as training continues
Brie is falling for some of the sexy Dominants at the Submissive Training Center. With graduation day looming ahead, her training becomes increasingly demanding. The passion and pressure builds until it begins to tear at the foundation her friendships--and her heart.

But Brie is a determined woman...


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My Rating: 2 stars out of 5

This book picks up exactly where book number one left off, continuing with Brie's submissive "training". To be honest, I think I liked this book even less than I liked the first one, and that is saying something. The characters for the most part remain one-dimensional and frankly annoying, and the training center is a joke (seriously, why does only one Dominant provide any kind of aftercare after ending a scene)? Also, it would appear that none of them believe in honoring a submissives "hard limit". During one of Brie's "scenes", she goes so far as to use her safe-word, telling them that she cannot do it, but yet just a few "days" later, one of the trainers pretty much does the same thing and yet she is ok with it? 

There is still no mention of birth control of precautions taken to prevent STDS even though the girls training now includes being "bought" for the night by various men. About the only redeeming quality to this book is Brie's interactions with Tono. He was one of the few Dominants in this story that seemed to actually care for Brie and her comfort. I hope to see more of him in the third book. 

Because I obtained this book as part of a boxed set, I will continue at least as far as the third book. At this time, I believe the story may show potential, but there is definite room for improvement.
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                     Love Me is available from Amazon.com as part of a boxed set

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Review: How to Tempt an Earl (The Raven Club #1) by Tina Gabrielle


Print Length: 280 pages
Publisher: Entangled Publishing (May 14, 2018)

From Goodreads.com: London society is cruel for a young woman whose father is an avid gambler. Miss Grace Ashton is not one to stand idly by while her family becomes destitute. Donning a mask, she slips into the night and attends the infamous Raven Club to confront the proprietor. But nothing prepares her for the sinfully attractive and wealthy Ian Swift.

Ian is intrigued when Grace walks into his gambling club but refuses her offer of a few jewels to pay her father’s large debts. Unbeknownst to anyone, Ian has inherited the Earldom of Castleton, and he must reluctantly take his place in Society. But Ian’s manners as a gentleman have suffered. He needs a tutor, and he knows the exquisite lady standing before him is the answer.

But soon tutoring turns to flirting, which unfortunately lands both of them in...marriage?



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My Rating: 3 stars out of 5

This was one of those stories that lands solidly in the middle for me. On one hand the author had a fluid and solid writing style which for me made the story pass by both quickly and interestingly. On the other hand, I feel as though there was more the author could have explored that they did not.

I enjoyed these two characters to a point - however I did not like how quickly Grace seems to capitulate to Ian even after hearing some pretty hurtful things. He was a downright brute in how he spoke after they were married, and yet she seemed pretty keen to overlook both that and her earlier resolve regarding him. There was also the matter of his elder brother's death. It was brought up enough throughout the course of the story (as well as the supposed scandal surrounding it) that I expected it to play a greater role in this story than it actually did. 

Overall, this was an enjoyable story that I do believe will appeal to those who enjoy historical romance. I would read more from this author (and in fact, I hope she does future stories on Ian's sisters when they make their debuts as I have no doubt they both have interesting stories to tell). 

DISCLAIMER: I received a complimentary copy of this novel in exchange for my honest review. This has not affected my review in any way. All thoughts and opinions expressed in this review are 100% my own.


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                                How to Tempt an Earl is available from Amazon.com

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Review: The Favorite Sister Jessica Knoll


Print Length: 384 pages
Publisher: Simon & Schuster (May 15, 2018)

From Goodreads.com: When five hyper-successful women agree to appear on a reality series set in New York City called Goal Diggers, the producers never expect the season will end in murder…

Brett’s the fan favorite. Tattooed and only twenty-seven, the meteoric success of her spin studio—and her recent engagement to her girlfriend—has made her the object of jealousy and vitriol from her cast mates.

Kelly, Brett’s older sister and business partner, is the most recent recruit, dismissed as a hanger-on by veteran cast. The golden child growing up, she defers to Brett now—a role which requires her to protect their shocking secret.

Stephanie, the first black cast member and the oldest, is a successful bestselling author of erotic novels. There have long been whispers about her hot, non-working actor-husband and his wandering eye, but this season the focus is on the rift that has opened between her and Brett, former best friends—and resentment soon breeds contempt.

Lauren, the start-up world’s darling whose drinking has gotten out of control, is Goal Diggers’ recovery narrative—everyone loves a comeback story.

And Jen, made rich and famous through her cultishly popular vegan food line plays a holistic hippie for the cameras, but is perhaps the most ruthless of them all when the cameras are off.


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My Rating: 3 stars out of 5

The synopsis of this story had me so intrigued, that I put this novel before several others on my to-be-read pile, only to be let down. To begin with there are so many different characters (and they are all introduced in rapid succession), that even at the end, I was still referring back to the synopsis on who was who. It became overwhelming, and to be honest, confusing. I found myself having to read the same passages more than once in some spots as I tried to figure out what was going. It quickly became tedious. 

The story does pick up a little more than halfway through, but  by then the damage was done. I couldn't connect with any of the characters, and to be honest I wasn't invested in any of them enough to really care about the outcome. There are a lot of 4 and 5 star reviews though, so I'm probably in the minority. 

I will say there were some laugh out loud moments, and the author does have a solid writing style, I'm just not sure this story was for me. Overall, I am sure this story may still appeal to those who enjoy reality shows, and/or this type of novel. I would give this author a second chance.

DISCLAIMER: I received a complimentary copy of this novel in exchange for my honest review. This has not affected my review in any way. All thoughts and opinions expressed in this review are 100% my own.


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                             The Favorite Sister is available from Amazon.com

Saturday, May 12, 2018

Review: Teach Me (Brie's Submission #1) by Red Phoenix


Print Length: 274 pages
Publisher: Provocative Romance  (May 22, 2016)

From Goodreads.com: Take a peek into the sensual world of BDSM 

Brie Bennett’s life is about to change the day Sir Thane Davis discovers her working in a tiny tobacco shop... 

His invitation to a renowned school, famous for its submissive training, will rock her world. She has no idea the things that will be asked of her or the boundaries that will be pushed—but she’s eager to find out.



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My Rating: 2 stars out of 5

When I found this series as part of a boxed set, I was immediately intrigued. A school that would teach willing young women how to be successful submissives? That is definitely a new concept for me as most of the BDSM stories I have read have experienced Doms training vanilla girls to be what they want.

So I went into this story with high hopes and expectations. And came away feeling very disappointed. The book started off strong, we meet Brie unhappy with her life as she works in a small-time tobacco shop wasting her degree in film-making. She meets a handsome stranger, she receives an invitation to an elite school for submissive training, and well, curiosity gets the better of her and she applies. The moment she steps foot in the training center is the moment (for me), the story starts falling apart. Now don't get me wrong, I love a well written erotica/BDSM book as much as the next person when there is a plot, character growth and a story-line that is more than just a series of strung together sex scenes (all for the purpose of "teaching" of course). 

Now, I don't claim to be an expert of the D/s lifestyle by any stretch of the imagination, but it seems to me there were a couple of things in this story that didn't seem to add up to the limited information I do posses on the topic. To begin with, there is no talk of birth control at all. No talk of STD testing. NOTHING. Brie attends her first "lesson" followed immediately by sexual encounters. Each night, different partners, and no one bats an eye. Another issue I have with this story is that girls are brand spanking new to the lifestyle. Heck, some of them aren't even sure the life-style is for them, and yet the "trainers" not only seem to overlook what the girls have listed as "fears" or "limits" and force them to do it anyway. One girl actually quits the program after they push her to do something she considers off limits.

The characters are all mostly one-dimensional. Brie has a crush on one of her trainers (although she is attracted to multiple other Doms as well), but the chemistry is lacking. It seems as though they only reason she is attracted to them is because "they are sexy" and they are really good in bed.

Because I obtained this book as part of a boxed set, I will continue at least as far as the third book. At this time, I believe the story may show potential, but there is definite room for improvement.
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                     Teach Me is available from Amazon.com as part of a boxed set


Thursday, May 10, 2018

Review: The Retreat Mark Edwards


Print Length: 335 pages
Publisher: Thomas & Mercer (May 10, 2018)

From Goodreads.com: A missing child. A desperate mother. And a house full of secrets.

Two years ago, Julia lost her family in a tragic accident. Her husband drowned trying to save their daughter, Lily, in the river near their rural home. But the little girl’s body was never found—and Julia believes Lily is somehow still alive.

Alone and broke, Julia opens her house as a writers’ retreat. One of the first guests is Lucas, a horror novelist, who becomes obsessed with finding out what happened to Lily. But within days of his arrival, the peace of the retreat is shattered by a series of eerie events.

When Lucas’s investigation leads him and Julia into the woods, they discover a dark secret—a secret that someone will do anything to protect…

What really happened that day by the river? Why was Lily never found? And who, or what, is haunting the retreat?

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My Rating: 4 stars out of 5

This was the first time I have read anything by this author, but it most certainly will not be the last! I very much enjoyed all aspects of this story, from the way the author sets the stage, to the way I could not figure out how it was going to end. This story kept me guessing from nearly the beginning. Was Lily dead? Was she the ghost haunting the retreat? Did Lily accidentally drown or was there something more sinister at work? This story kept me up hours past when I should have been asleep mainly because I could NOT put it down! I had to unravel the secrets not only of the retreat and the people staying there, but also within the town itself. 

The characters were complex and interesting, and I feel the author managed to convey Julia's grief and despair over not knowing what happened to her daughter in a way that managed to be realistic without becoming overbearing. 

Filled with local legends, and scary stories, this author manages to perfectly tell a story with hints of the paranormal - while ending with a perfectly reasonable explanation of events. I believe this story will appeal to those who enjoy gripping novels that will keep you guessing. 

DISCLAIMER: I received a complimentary copy of this novel in exchange for my honest review. This has not affected my review in any way. All thoughts and opinions expressed in this review are 100% my own.


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                                   The Retreat is available from Amazon.com