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Inappropriate (Bristol Island #2), by Elizabeth Finn

Inappropriate______________________________________________

A New Standalone Bristol Island Tale.

Cohen is a man apart on Bristol Island—an outcast loved by all but separated by his position within the community. Dylan is the newest resident in town, but she arrives with a dark secret and a desire to keep it buried.

But when burning attraction is thrown into the mix, his job and her secrets are quickly forgotten—that is until one impetuous decision renders a relationship off-limits, unethical, and utterly inappropriate.

Living next door to one another on the island’s isolated peninsula guarantees their paths will cross time and time again. With fate tempting Cohen to ignore his conscience and, for the first time in his life, gamble with the rules, will he risk everything for Dylan?

And what happens when Dylan’s past suddenly catches up to her? Will she find the strength to bare her soul to him? Or will she let her secrets take them both down?

Sometimes the inappropriate relationship is the most appropriate of them all.

______________________________________________

“It was quite simple really. Men were supposed to be men, and women were supposed to be women. And, frankly, everything else was supposed to be irrelevant.”

 I don’t know about you, but sometimes, I get a little tingly before reading a book. Not the sexy tingly you get before starting a sexy book. It’s a tingle that has more to do with its author and the kind of books she writes.

“The woman he couldn’t ethically fuck, he wanted to fuck six ways to Sunday without a single socially acceptable barrier between them.”

Well, every time I’m about to start a book by Elizabeth Finn, I get tingly. This woman is truly gifted. She writes the kind of books that treat of controversial subjects, stories that suck you in, make you feel warm inside, then proceeds to tear you apart to the point you don’t know if you’ll be able to keep on reading, and eventually patch you up with a HEA.

“She seemed to have a thing for unrequited love or maybe it was just the forbidden, because he knew her writing style enough at this point to know unrequited would not remain unrequited for long. Her stories always involved heavy and hot amounts of requiting.”

Inappropriate was this kind of book for me. I downloaded the book because of the blurb and its author. I knew this book was going to be sort of tough to read. I always get a little apprehensive before reading her books. And to be honest, this book in particular felt a little bittersweet to me. Not because of how it ends, because I was pretty much happy with the ending and the resolution of conflict with this book, but because of how a particular character reacted.

“People shared their hurts and anger with a person who meant something to them. And when they stopped, it meant they’d lost a reason to.”

The characters are one of the reasons why I enjoy Elizabeth’s writing so much. They aren’t the perfect characters. They are flawed, and they can be wrong, and they can even be ugly in the way they react but that’s what makes then so true and human. That’s something I like about her books and her writing and her characters. But in the case of Inappropriate, Cohen’s attitude and actions toward Dylan REALLY bothered me. I’m not going to quote anything major from the book because even now it seriously pisses me off and because it’s impossible for me to do so and still keep this review spoiler free, but here is a taste of Cohen’s venom. Just keep in mind that he says this to the woman he loves:

“The sight of you made me vomit once already today. I’d really like to avoid that happening again.”

It was to the point where I though he was practically being abusive with her, at least that how it felt. Some of the stuff he has to …digest because of Dylan’s past were hard to swallow since he has a romantic interest in her and that it was obviously upsetting but he would say stuff to her so hurtful and mean and he would do so intentionally. And I couldn’t understand how he could be so intentionally mean to her and pretend to do that because he was in love with her. How could someone want to hurt the person they love the way he does? With words so hateful? Especially when Dylan has been through so much abuse (verbal abuse). He never even tried to put himself in her shoes. Other characters had to to it for him.

“Our past only has the power we give it, and I think you’re giving yours too much.”

That was the dark spot of the book for me because Cohen and Dylan’s relationship could be so good and all of a sudden he would ruin everything by jumping to conclusion and judge her without letting her talk and explain.

“She stood in front of the door, staring at the mat at her feet and waiting for what wasn’t going to happen. Forgiveness, understanding empathy, all those things she’d been stupid enough to hope for.”

He was so quick to judge her, and point out her wrongs and punish her if he though she was wrong. Every time he felt like he was going to get hurt, he would hurt her first. And I just don’t see how redeemable that could be. I’m usually the first to be forgiving and see why someone would do something, even if it’s wrong, but in Cohen’s case, I just couldn’t and that just made him ugly to me as a person. Especially when Dylan was such a sweet girl and had already been through so much hurt.

“Life wasn’t easy, nor was it supposed to be, and she seemed to understand that.”

Now, Dylan was a great character. She was sweet and strong even though she was still scarred from her past. But again, how she reacted to Cohen’s excessive reactions to her, how she kept forgiving him without ever calling him on his bullshit attitude toward her had me raging at my Kindle. It enraged me to see her just taking him back (without him really apologizing for his words and actions or groveling) every time without ever pointing out his wrongs.

“To err is human; to forgive is divine.”

I’m all for forgiveness, but here, the situation bordered on doormat territory.

“You deserve to be happy, Des (…) You need to remember that, because you might have to fight for it. And if you don’t see your worth, how the hell can you make anyone else see it?”

But beside this very black point in the book, I really liked it. The whole island universe and atmosphere, the people on the island and side characters (except for one though). And let’s just say that Elizabeth Finn’s sex scenes have the same punch as they usually have. Damn, there were some hot moments during this winter. And I really liked the matter she treated with Dylan’s situation and past and how she was perceived  and sometimes judged too. It was a great subject to ponder upon and she treated it really well.

“You are the best mistake I could have ever made (…) I… regret… nothing.”

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Boy Toy Chronicles (Boy Toy Chronicles #1), by Jay McLean

Boy Toy Chronicles______________________________________________

Warning: This book contains mildly inappropriate everything.
*28,500 standalone NOVELLA*

“So…I came up with a plan.

I sat the brothers down and gave them my speech; we’d become male escorts.

The house was split.

The single dudes thought it was great. The guys with the steady girlfriends told the single dudes they were insane.

I promised them all we could make it work without hurting anybody. But we had to be smart about it. We had to keep it off-campus. We had to keep it a secret. And in order to do so, we had to target those who wanted it kept a secret as much as we did.

Our target: Filthy rich, unsatisfied, horny housewives.

Keep it high class, so to speak.

And thus began BTC, or Boy Toy Corporation.

Crazy, right?

Crazy genius.”

-Tyler West.

______________________________________________

This book was seriously awful in my opinion.

Like I said in my comments, I didn’t like Tyler. Toward the end I got used to him but I didn’t connect with him and he annoyed the shit out of me for at least half the book, if not more of it. I really didn’t get the guy and what he did and thought made no sense to me and were sometimes plain trashy. I mean how would you feel if you’re boyfriend said this…

“Babe, last night you had me sucking your toes, licking your asshole, and then you practically begged me to tongue your pussy”

…in front of the brothers of his frat house? Seriously, I love a dirty mouth like the next girl, but come on! At least pick the right place and time to say something dirty to your girl!

Same thing with Allie. I just couldn’t connect to either of them or any of the characters in this book for that matter. And again, Allie and Tyler’s actions made no sense.

Thankfully, this book is short, because as it is, I was this close to DNF it after 20% into the book, so if it was a regular length book I’m pretty sure I would have thrown in the towel and deemed Tyler, Allie, Mrs Fletcher and the other characters not worthy of my time.

The only thing I “enjoyed” was Tyler’s public declaration of love that comes at the 80% mark (I won’t quote you said love declaration because if you do give a chance to this book and end up feeling like I do about it, I don’t want to spoil the one good thing about it in my review). It was sweet and all but when you have to go through almost a whole book with a guy that says things like that

“ignoring the awakening of North-West – that’s my dick’s name. Get it? Because it’s always up?”

or that

“I’ll make love to you. Like you want me to. and I’ll hold you tight, baby, all through the night…”,

one little moment of brilliance couldn’t possibly do much to save this book from a one star rating. And how seriously can you be taken when you quote Boyz II Men lyrics in a conversation.

So yeah, Boy Toy Chronicles: Volume One wasn’t for me and I won’t waste any more time or money on this series.

Thicker Than Blood, by Madeline Sheehan and Claire C. Riley

Thicker Than Blood______________________________________________

A true friendship never dies.

Leisel and Evelyn lost everything. Husbands. Families. Friends. Lives that made sense. All they had left was each other, and a friendship that could withstand anything…

Even an apocalypse.

Until one fateful night, the marginal safety they’d come to rely on comes to a vicious and brutal end. With the help of Alex & Jami, both unlikely allies, Leisel and Evelyn are able to escape their shattered sanctuary only to find themselves face-to-face with a much altered, much crueler life where they have to find the way—and the will—to stay alive in a world they no longer recognize.

Traveling across a broken and infection-ridden country; the road-weary group are pitted against endless violence, improbable circumstances, and the ultimate loss.
Everything comes at a price—especially safety, the cost of which could very well strip them of the one thing they’ve tried so hard to cling to: their humanity.

Yet along with all the trials they’re forced to endure, there’s also hope in the form of love. Having loved Leisel from afar, Alex attempts to put the pieces of her fractured heart back together.

But in such a savage world, is there room for love?

In a place of nightmares-made-reality, where the living should be feared far more than the dead, an unbreakable friendship and a love amongst all odds can mean the difference between life and death.

There are friends…

And then there are Leisel and Evelyn. ______________________________________________

Okay, so, if I had to define this book in a word, I’d say intense. Like reeeeeeeally intense!

I really enjoyed it though. Of course, it’s not really what you’d call a feel good novel, what with all the people dying or killing each other or trying to rape women. But I still enjoyed reading this book. I was really engaged in it from the start.

“But when it did, when the first American fell to his knees, the government was ill prepared for the fallout and the sickness spread like wildfire.”

I really enjoyed the prologue that set the mood and the atmosphere of the whole book. I thought the way the epidemic and the end of the world as we know it was really well described and I almost felt like a documentary or a historic novel. And then comes chapter one. We get pretty quickly into the thick of the matter since the book opens when Leisel just killed the man she was forced to marry. 

It took me more time than usual to read this book (10 days to be exact), but it was so dense I felt like I had just ran for an hour every time I picked it up. But mostly, it was because some of the things that happen in the story are so awful and sometimes disturbing that I had a hard time keeping on reading. Sometimes, I was afraid to read the next line, especially when the scene depicted was a difficult and sexual one.

“We should have learned by now that nothing was ever easy in this world. Yet, like children, we remained forever hopeful, optimistic that just once something would go right for us.”

At some point, I started wondering if I wasn’t watching a Game of Thrones episode because every time I started trusting or liking someone, they ended up dead. I knew it was dumb of me to hope, but I couldn’t help myself and always ended up wanting to slap my book around for hurting the characters again and again when they had already gone through so much.

“To always having someone to rely on, a person in your corner to fight for you no matter the reason, no matter the cost. To having more than a friend, more than a sister, but a soul mate. To the hope they give us, the strength they provide us, and the unconditional love they empower us with. To best friends.”

I really enjoyed Evelyn and Leisel’s relationship and how strong it was. They really cared for each other and were looking out for each other. What really moved me was Evelyn’s attitude when Leisel and Alex started falling for each other. It could have been really easy for Evelyn to feel left out and resentful toward Leisel for finding happiness and comfort in someone else. But even if sometimes she did feel alone, she was always happy for Leisel and I really enjoyed that because it surprised me.

“Where was the humanity? Dead, I thought bitterly. Dead, like everything else.”

I really enjoyed the change in Leisel’s personality and how she grew as a character and a person. She’s really the character you expect the less from and who ends up making the biggest change while still being the one that stays true to herself. It’s so easy in their situation to forget what is right and what is wrong and to let the lines blur. Leisel always stayed “good”, at least considering the world she has to live in while getting stronger.

“It had been worth it to learn there was someone else in the world, other than just Evelyn and me who hadn’t succumbed to the corruption and the wickedness everyone else had seemed to.”

I really enjoyed the romance in the book too. It was really what helped make the book lighter with the good and tender moments that aloud Evelyn and Leisel’s friendship. The romance wasn’t overwhelmingly present in the book, but the amount there was of it gave the book a little something more.

“Everything good left in this world was going to be eventually snuffed out altogether, one by one, and not by the infected but at the hands of the selfish, greedy people who’d taken control, who’d turned a worldwide devastation into their own personal playground.”

Toward the end though I was really concerned with how things were getting and where the story was going. I knew when I started the book that there wouldn’t be a happy ending per se, but I was still concerned. Especially since I caved and started reading reviews to get an idea of what was to come. Let’s just say that it didn’t help all that much. I knew bad things were coming, I could feel it even before I took a look at the reviews, but I really didn’t want the book to end on something bad. Someone wrote in their review that the ending was bittersweet and that some would be find comfort with this ending, while others may not. Personally, I liked the ending. It was bittersweet indeed and left me not knowing if I wanted to smile or cry, but I liked it. I liked what happens to Leisel and the ray of hope she gets after so much heartache and I really liked the Evelyn was finally at peace. They both got a “happy ending” but,and I’m not going to say why I’m saying this because it would involve spoilers, it was still bittersweet.

“Whatever happens Lei, it was worth it.”

So all in all, I’d say that you should give this book a try if you think it is a story that could be for you. I know I usually enjoy zombie themed books with a little steam in it and I did enjoy this one too even though it was darker than the ones I have read in the genre before. But it is important to say that this book touches a lot of serious and heavy topics. The place and role of women in this world in truly awful and it makes for really awful scenes and situations sometimes. This book is definitely not for the weak of heart and you will most likely be shocked by the event taking place in the novel. But if you feel up for it, you should definitely give it a try.

“The infection ran so much deeper than just turning people into mindless cannibals. It destroyed people’s souls.”

This book was the first one in a series of standalones. The next book in the serie, Beneath Blood And Bone, is about one of the truly awful characters we met in this book, Eagle and a new character, Autumn. And I can’t wait to see how big bad E and savage Autumn will work out.

Hansel, Part III (Hansel #3), by Ella James

Hansel 3_______________________________________________

In part three of Hansel’s story…Limits are pushed, walls come down, and secrets are revealed. Fairy tales are cautionary tales, remember? *This is a dark, erotic romance, and is part three in a four-part serial series.

_______________________________________________

I didn’t enjoy this one as much as the last two. Nothing really happens in this book. Hansel/Luke and Leah spend most of the book in a car driving, and even though it’s the perfect time for them to talk and for us to learn more about the both of them, well they spend the majority of this time in the car not talking to each other.

Things started to get more interesting the moment they arrive at the motel for the night. After that night, Hansel becomes more approachable and a lot less guarded with Leah, which made things more interesting for me.

“He’s full of shit.
He thinks he can fool me?
He thinks I don’t know him?
He’s lying to himself.”

We do get to know a little bit more of Hansel’s story as a kid after he was taken by Mother. Their relationship during the time he was alone with her is definitely twisted and even though nothing is really described or said, well it gave me the creeps.

And from what we read in this book, it seems there is a little more behind Leah’s abduction than we thought.

“Leah is a fairy tale.
A princess…
I know I’m not her prince.
I’m not the happy ending for her…
The goal is not to keep my princess.
I brought her here to set her free.”

So even though I didn’t enjoy this book as much as the last two because there isn’t much action or revelations in this one, the bits we do learn and the last page of the book still left me curious to read the last part of the story and finally get the answers to my questions.

“It wasn’t supposed to be this way. I wasn’t supposed to tell her, but I have to.”

Hansel, Part I (Hansel #1), by Ella James

Hansel_______________________________________________

FROM USA TODAY BESTSELLING AUTHOR ELLA JAMES…

One boy. Mother calls him Hansel.
One girl. Mother named her Gretel.
Locked in little rooms, in the mountainside mansion of a crazy woman.
Until he saws a hole into the wall dividing them.
Then at least, they have each other’s hands.

It doesn’t end well at Mother’s house.
Everything gets…broken.

Ten years later, they meet again in an exclusive Vegas sex club.
Whips.
Chains.
And most of all, a mask.
What happens to love when it gets twisted?

Fairy tales are cautionary tales, remember?_______________________________________________

I wasn’t sure what I was getting into when I started this book. All I knew was that there would be elements from fairy tales and I usually like that in my contemporary books once in a while. It was a first though for me that the story was an erotica. So I was curious about the story.

And well I liked this book as far as introductionary books go. It gave just enough info on the character’s back story to make me want to know more and just enough new elements to make me want to know how Hansel and Leah reconnect in the coming books.

“It’s fucked up, I know, but I still lust for Leah.”

The story is definitely twisted and there were enough clues in this first book to let us know that some twists will be huge and a little unsettling, like for example, why does Mother kept them locked in rooms? Or why did she pick Leah in particular? How was life for Hansel and Leah during all those years apart? And why does Hansel recreated their “cells” in his sex club when they are such traumatic places from both their pasts?
So yeah, I see many many mysteries to come in this serie.

“Pretty little blondes girls. That’s what I needed. A pretty little blonde to be my Gretel.”

Because of the format (which is a format I like less and less when it comes to series) we don’t get to know Leah and Hansel a whole lot in this book, both when they were captives and when they find each other again ten years later.

“I start to cry – quiet, tired weeping – because I want to see him and I’m scared to.”

But I liked the connection between Hansel and Leah. I liked how even without knowing it is her, Hansel recognizes Leah on an instinctive level. I’m really looking forward to more of their interactions and knowing more of their past together.

This first book made me curious and willing to read more of the story.

Ps: Also, this first book for free while the other three are not. So if you’re still unsure this is for you, you can still get the first one and decide later.

Odalisque (Comfort #3), by Annabel Joseph

Odalisque

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Kai Chandler has it all. A thriving tech business, movie star friends, and a mansion in the Malibu hills. But he’s lonely, nursing a broken heart and reeling from a shocking breach of trust. Then a friend tells him about a secret chateau outside Paris where they train women in the erotic traditions of the Code d’Odalisque. For a million a year, Kai can choose a sexual servant to use at will, a woman thoroughly trained in the pleasuring of men.

Kai makes the trip and, in the course of touring the facility, meets Constance, a shy and strangely quiet odalisque. He decides to acquire the beautiful woman and bring her to his home. Constance and Kai delight in their voyage of erotic exploration as he plays undisputed Master to her slave. But soon they find themselves forming an increasingly emotional connection, with the end of Constance’s term of service looming over their heads. Jealousy, fear, regret and longing threaten to tear the lovers apart, and they must choose between the safety of the Code and the risk of true love and trust.

Publisher’s Note: This book contains sexual content, graphic language, and situations that some readers may find objectionable: Anal play/intercourse, m/f/m menage, group sex, BDSM scenes, power exchange themes, and swinging/partner swapping.

__________________________________________________________

Annabel Joseph is steadily making it to the top of my favorite author’s list!

I liked Odalisque as much as I did Comfort Object! I love that Annabel comes up with stories that come across as improbable but that actually are not that far from reality (I’m thinking Comfort Object, Odalisque and Command Performance here).
What I mean by that is that the concept of a Code d’Odalisque could easily seem improbable and completely fictional, but if you look it up, you’ll find out that it actually exists. And that makes the story feel even more real.

I also love how Annabel wonderfully combines intense emotions with funny moments and dead pan humour. This book is deeply emotional and sprinkled with dead pan humor.

“Crave wasn’t even a strong enough word for what she felt.

Kai and Constance were great characters you cannot help but fall in love with. You can feel their connection from the moment they meet at Maison Odalisque. I honestly can’t say I preferred one character better than the other because it would be a lie.
I loved Kai’s tenderness and caring as well as his darker and a little damaged side and I loved Constance’s authenticity and freshness and how driven she was.

Now, if you don’t know what an Odalisque is and what they do, this book and its content can possibly shock you. I won’t go into the details of the job description of an Odalisque because the book and the informations you can find about them on the internet will probably do a better job of it than me, and anyway, the synopsis explains it well enough.But make no mistake. There is no non consensual sex in this book. Constance is a willing participant in everything she  does sexually.

“She was his sex toy to use, if and when he decided to use her.” 

If you wonder about possible cameo from the previous books, rest your mind. Jeremy and Nell are still present in a few parts of the book even though the focus is not on them. I loved those cameo as well. It was great to be able to see Jeremy and Nell and where they are at now.

We also get to see more of Mason who was introduced in book #1 with his wife Jessamine and it made me even more eager to start reading his story.
From book #1, Jess felt a little off to me for some reason and you really get to know who and what kind of person she really is. But I’ll say no more and let you have the pleasure to find out for yourself. Just know that you’ll feel deeply for Mason in this book.

So once again, it is a five stars rating for Ms Joseph and her Comfort Object serie.

Hard Time, by Cara McKenna

Hard Time

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In this all-new novel from the author of Unbound, a woman with a rocky past finds romance in the last place she’d ever expect…

Annie Goodhouse doesn’t need to be warned about bad boys; good sense and an abusive ex have given her plenty of reasons to play it safe. But when she steps into her new role as outreach librarian for Cousins Correctional Facility, no amount of good sense can keep her mind—or eyes—off inmate Eric Collier.

Eric doesn’t claim to be innocent of the crime that landed him in prison. In fact, he’d do it again if that’s what it took to keep his family safe. Loyalty and force are what he knows. But meeting Annie makes him want to know more.

When Eric begins courting Annie through letters, they embark on a reckless, secret romance—a forbidden fantasy that neither imagines could ever be real…until early parole for Eric changes everything, and forces them both to face a past they can’t forget, and a desire they can’t deny.

_________________________________________________________

“I was attracted to bad men.”

God This book was amazing! Even though I only read her work once a year, every time I pick one of Cara McKenna’s books I love them. The story, the characters, the mood, everything. She is truly a very talented writer and storyteller.

“His gaze was strong male hands cradling a baby bird – seemingly innocuous, but shot through with the potential for unbearable cruelty.”

The last book I read by her was After Hours and just like in Hard Time I fell in love with her very flawed but also very real characters.

“He watched me. But not the way the others did. If he was trying to picture me naked, his poker face was strong, though his attention anything but subtle. His entire head moved as I passed through his domain, but his eyes were languorous. Lazy and half-lidded, yet intense. A hundred looks in one. I didn’t like it. Couldn’t read it. At least with the horny jerk-offs, I knew where I stood. “

I loved falling in love with Eric along with Anne. I loved the letters they wrote each other. I want an epistolary romance just as much now!

“He spoke volumes with a few murmured words.”

“Selfishly, I wanted the letter for myself. And recklessly, I even hoped maybe he’d want to tell me more.”

I love how Cara McKenna weaves her erotic tales with such emotions and skill. I love that all her characters are flawed but you can’t help but love them for everything that they are.

“For the first time in months, my own hand slid low. Me and my hand in my lonely bed, in my lonely room, on this lonely night…wondering if a man was thinking of me and doing the same twenty miles away.”

Her stories are gritty and raw but also very emotional and they just work for me. They speak to me and the stories and characters stay with me long after I’ve turned the last page and read the last word.

“And his voice was in my head every night, saying whatever I scripted for him. Filthy things, romantic things. He called me tenderly by my name, nuzzling my ear. Called me bitch and forced my thighs apart with his. Called me darling, like in the letter, the word dark and charged and electric as the clouds before a summer storm.”

This book in particular felt almost delicate even though it tells the story of a convict and a woman falling in love.

“The idiotic risks people take in the midst of affairs made sense to me, suddenly. Nothing felt as good as this wanting. Logic was impotent. Flaccid. A pitiful, powerless thing.”

It’s hard to write a review for such a book. I don’t want to give too much away even though I highlighted a good third of it while reading. It’s a book that makes me gush over and ramble about it and want to make my friends read it because I liked it so much. It’s also hard to write a review for it because I want to do it justice. It’s probably not for everybody but I, for sure, consider it a must read (as well as her other books)!

“Would’ve been worth anything they took from me, just to hear you say my name.”

And just to give you a little taste of some of the stuff Eric and Anne write to each other, that’s for you my lovelies:

Eric – “PS: Wear your hottest underwear too. I don’t care if it’s a thong or granny panties. Whatever makes you hot is what I want to imagine you in. Say the word and I’d slide them off real sweet and slow or rip them right down the middle. Whatever you wanted.” 

Anne – “I want to make you feel a hundred things at once – powerless and aggressive, needy and pushy, grateful and greedy. Everything a man can feel with a woman.”

I’ll stop here with the rambling because I could go on for a long while. I’ll just tell you to give this book, and its characters a chance to charm you as they did me.

“You will not speak to or touch any inmate in an inappropriate way. You will not encourage an inmate to speak to or touch you in an inappropriate way. Double check.”

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