Book Reviews: Ran Out of Erotic Metaphors

Alpha’s Prize: A Werewolf Romance
“My eyes crack open, gritty and sore. I’d rub them if I weren’t in wolf form. Where am I? I rise and knock against metal bars. Oh fates. I’m in a cage—a fucking cage.”
That early sentence says a lot, though from the title you probably didn’t need the wolf mention. A female werewolf on vacation in Mexico gets imprisoned by the local pack to breed with their young alpha; seems inbreeding’s a thing. But because this is a romance. . . well, you can figure it out.
There are a lot of viewpoints used, especially at the start. I get the need to introduce all the main characters, but it was a little confusing. But more than anything, I really wish this book had been more FUN. Everyone’s miserable, even when the story shifts to Paris.
I’m more used to Ms. Rose’s sci-fi, which I like a lot more than this werewolf stuff. The main male character started out as a douche but redeemed himself, so that’s a good point. I liked her from the start. There’s some interesting cultural stuff amid different locales, but despite the good writing, I didn’t enjoy this nearly as much as I feel I should have.
3/5

Zandian Pet
As in the last installment of this series, the female lead is not a human slave that her dom eventually falls in love with, but one of the last surviving Zandian females. In fact, she’s the sister of the main female character of the previous book. This one is accidentally found in a sex den that caters to aliens. She doesn’t mind, as she’s been in what she considers worst situations before.
This chapter of the long-running series was, in a word, typical. It should not have been, given where it started, but it has definitely settled into a formula, which is too bad. It always consists of the two protagonists making dumb decisions. The sex is great, the bondage well done for those into that, but I wish the psychological aspects were done better. One thing that kinda bugs me is that the guy in these romances is always the first one who spots her!
3/5

Off Limits
The execute assistant has the hots for her billionaire boss, who on the one hand can’t forget his dead wife and the other has nothing but one-night stands.
A quarter of the way through and I was completely bored. Various cycles of “Will-they-won’t-they” are interspersed with “yes-they-will,” leading to regrets and starting the cycle again. Hardly anything else takes place or matters. With all that introspection, it was easy to get distracted. One of the bright spots was the discussion on flowers, which was surprisingly deep and funny, one of those moments that is in no way necessary to the story but adds to the enjoyment. That, however, was more of an exception.
It’s amazing to me how these books, which are basically about the start of a relationship, can last for so many pages. I liked some of it, mostly because I liked her. As usual, I didn’t like the dominating ass she’s into. Just felt like it went on for too long.
3/5

The Traveling Sex Game
If you see a suitcase or purse or such with ribbons hanging from it, it could mean the owner plays a sex game. Ribbons signify what kind of sex you want. It’s supposed to be an anonymous hookup, but it doesn’t always work out that way.
This book is basically sexual vignettes reminiscent of Penthouse Forum, held together by small bits of reporting and sexual psychology. After the reporter’s intro to the game and a few interviews, the book moves to individual stories. Unfortunately this guy’s writing style didn’t do it for me; felt like he didn’t have much experience writing. The sex scenes were kinda matter of fact; obviously these were hookups and not romances, but they could have been longer.
2.5/5

Saved
A woman not-so-mysteriously comes back from the dead, only to find her reunion with her fiancé is not how she thought it would be. (I don’t feel that’s a spoiler, because with the dream at the beginning overdoing it to such a huge degree, the “major” twist wasn’t at all surprising.)
In a genre known for stubborn characters, this one goes beyond. I’ve climbed mountains more pliable than this guy. I liked her, but most sane women would have cut their losses no matter how deeply in love they might have been.
Just when he has a breakthrough, thanks to the last person he or we would expect, things go to crap again. Despite it being a cliché, this part was well done.
There were several parts I really liked, but more that I couldn’t stand. The last fight scene was too convoluted to picture. There’s a lot less erotica than expected, which is too bad because those scenes were written the best.
As a former Marine, the soldier patter made me laugh.
3/5

His Human Bride
Funny: when I started this I had no idea it was a sequel to a book I’ve already read.
In the first book, a nurse/scientist helps a Roswell alien escape captivity and flees with him off Earth, wanting to help cure his people of an epidemic. Now, after spending pretty much all of the voyage having sex, she faces her toughest challenge: his mother, the queen. After a quest, needed because momma gave the thumbs down, it’s time for the final judgement.
As is pretty much expected from a romance, even if this one comes with a generous heap of erotica, there’s plenty of misunderstandings to go around, although this one has a bit of an excuse in that alien species think differently. On the brighter side, the characters are likeable, and no matter how stubborn Mom can be, she’s heaps better than the scientists and soldiers of the previous book.
But my favorite part is at the end: “I have to thank Carrie Fisher. I don’t know her. I never met her. But she inspired me so much it seems wrong to publish a book without thanking her. Thank you, Princess.”
4/5

;o)

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Book Reviews: Erotic Bartenders, Painters and Santa

Double Trouble
“This time, he won’t take no for an answer.”
This is not the way to start any book.
A bartender is tricked by her sister into putting herself into a charity auction. The sister knows damn well there’s a rich guy who wants her, so she’s basically pimping her out for donations.
The story had barely started and I already hated this mother-fucker. He’s a sadistic dom, but luckily—and conveniently—she turns out to be a closet sub. Then his brother appears. . .
The descriptions of the renovated mansion are tedious. I skipped them; not here for architecture. Other than that, this is excellently written, with plenty of genuinely funny moments, particularly in her introspection. My favorite parts were the amazing lead female character and the intriguing sex scenes. The only downside for me was the lead male character at the beginning, but even he got better. Even the sister got better, though I would have never forgiven her.
3.5/5

The Submissive Muse
One year after her dom husband died, a woman plans her suicide, only to be stopped when she discovers what might be a dead body in the barn. Then it gets complicated.
I’m conflicted about this one. As usual when it’s a good book, I liked the female protagonist, and didn’t care for either of the guys; since they were so opposite from each other, maybe someone in between would have worked for me. The story itself is well written, if a little long; felt more drawn out than necessary, with quite a bit of fluff. Took a long time to get to any erotica or bdsm; it reads more like the journal of three damaged people. The timing of her finding him in the barn just as she’s about to off herself is a little too big of a coinkidink. But even with that I enjoyed some of the psychological aspects, more so her submissiveness than his illness.
3/5

Sexting St. Nick
Cam girl falls for new customer, and of course vice versa, so much so that they take it offline. Then things really get weird.
Despite the shortness of the story there was more than enough to make the leads, as well as the elves and her best friend, likeable. Not so sure about the Frosty one, though.
Even though there’s plenty of real and virtual sex, this really is a cute romance. Her past was told small but heavy, and certainly made understanding her easier.
If only the motorcycle had been shaped like a reindeer with a red headlamp. . .
4/5

Painting Class
An art teacher in her forties finally has an exhibition of her work, where one of the female gawkers is a past student who had the hots for her. The teacher feels similarly and takes her student home for a bout of body painting and anything that might come out of it.
It’s a short tale, but considering it only consisted of two scenes—three, if you count the preview of the sequel—the length was perfect. From the hesitant flirting in the art gallery to the gentle sparring to finding out if the other is interested and what the boundaries are, this was just a fun read. The art-making is given just as much importance as the lovemaking, reminding me of an old four-hour French movie with a slightly similar design.
4/5

;o)

Book Reviews: Erotic Stepbrothers, Babe Geeks, and Aleins

The Billionaires: The Stepbrothers
Insurance investigator finally gets to interview an art robbery suspect, but she finds him so hot she can’t think straight. And he knows it, using the control she’s given him to get her into bed while convincing her he’s innocent. So she goes to interview his stepbrother and, guess what, same thing happens.
As would be expected, after she sleeps with them separately there are times when both have her together. If it was just about the sex it would be relatively easy to write, but when she’s in love with both and wants a threesome relationship it’s a lot harder. Happy to say this writer pulled it off pretty well, as well as making a good mystery. The parallels of the car accidents and subsequent survivors’ guilt was well done.
Enjoyed this thoroughly. I’m predisposed to liking the lead because I love redheads, but the guys were better than most in this genre and the plot was enjoyable. Just one question: what happened to the puppy during that first night. . .?
4/5

Play Crush
A young geeky—but of course hot—female techie is tasked with doing the field work to test football helmets in hopes that head injuries will be curtailed. The players love her, one—actually more than one, but only one matters in this story—in particular.
I love this girl, at least most of the time, when she’s not being a pushover. I like the set-up. The guys are okay, probably because I semi-remember some of them from a previous book. But there’s something off about this; not enjoying it like I should, given all that’s going for it. At some points it went as far as tedious. It’s easy enough to say that lack of communication is a problem, but then that happens in just about all books in this genre, so I can’t use that one here.
As I said in the other book in this series that I’ve read, it’s hard to keep track of all the players. For example, Bam feels like a giant lineman; I’m surprised each time it’s mentioned he’s the halfback. Perhaps a character sheet should be included.
The ending, and all the Star Trek jokes, made me feel better about it, but I still didn’t enjoy it as much as I would have thought.
3/5

The Roswell Affair
As you can see from the title, the Roswell crash is the setting for yet another story, this time with a hot nurse/scientist called in to interrogate a not-so-alien alien in the famous 1947 crash. Within minutes she’s in lust for him and they’re communicating through sex, which is why the military failed to establish a dialogue.
This works because the main characters are likeable, with an immediate chemistry that might actually be chemical, not just the way the word is used today. Some slight touches of the era were nice, though even for something that takes place 70 years ago it’s hard to imagine the government agents being such asses; ditto for the soldiers. Don’t think they needed to be painted with such black strokes in order for this story to work, though maybe because it was so short there wasn’t time to do anything else with them.
It turns out to be a complete Mary Sue, but since I liked it I’ll let it pass. But for such a short story it didn’t help that 10% of this is ads for other books at the end.
3.5/5

Adam: Doms of the Silver Screen Book 2
A “scream queen” actress gets a role in a “serious” production, only to find her estranged husband is directing. She doesn’t want to quit, but she doesn’t want anything to do with him either. He harasses her until she gives in. (This story takes off from the first book in the series, but reading it is not required to understand this one.)
Even though he’s the Dom of the title, the story is really more about her. There are funny moments in the first half, most of them on the set—I’ve actually seen a bed break during filming, but that actress’s reaction was far different—but there’s just one overwhelming problem, which I can boil down to: I love Nicki, I loathe Adam.
That’s really all that needs to be said. Most of these types of stories feature an alpha male who won’t take no for an answer, but this is a new low. I doubt I will ever hate a character more than I hated Adam. This might have been an okay book if he wasn’t such an unlikeable asshole.
The first book in the series, even if it was far shorter, was so much better.
2/5

;o)

Book Reviews: Space Love

His Human Vessel
In the continuation of a series I’ve grown to love, an alien doctor buys a slave for breeding purposes, as his race was almost wiped out, but he’s a man—or alien—of science and claims not to want her. She knows better.
Not quite as good as the previous four in the series, but still better than most stuff in this genre. As always I enjoy the human female characters; it was easy to feel for her and her dilemma, even feel sorry for her. Despite him being the supposed authority on human females for his kind, advisor to the ruler and all that, he’s just as clueless, if not more, than the previous guys. Sometimes that was fun, sometimes annoying, but in the end it worked out well that way.
4/5

Her Mate and Master
From the same series as above, but with a twist. Unlike the previous stories, rather than buying a human slave, this young heroic alien goes undercover to rescue one of the last females of his race, who also happens to be the daughter of his sensei. Of course things don’t go as planned and they have to make a run for it, with him desperate to have her but not about to dishonor her—or rather her father—despite her obvious willingness.
Even though she wasn’t human, she wasn’t that much different than the others. The story was pretty much the same; not that that’s a bad thing, but something a little less formulaic would have been nice.
I liked the female character, but not as much as the previous human ones. The story didn’t seem as fun either, though still good.
3.5/5

Alpha’s Temptation: A Billionaire Werewolf Romance
A former hacker wants to go legit with a corporate job, and ends up trapped in an elevator with the big boss, though she doesn’t know that at the time. Turns out he knows exactly who she is, though at that point he’s not aware she’s the only person ever to beat him in cyberspace.
He’s a usual rich asshole, as well as a werewolf, the loner type. But of course he wants her, and despite all her previous feelings about men she gives in rather easily. This is one of those rare stories where I didn’t feel all that great about the heroine; I should have liked her, especially her wicked/nice personality, but she didn’t work for me. I hardly ever like the guys, and there’s no exception here.
3/5

Second to None
Seven years ago he lusted for his friend’s wife, so much that he cut himself out of their lives from the guilt. So complete is his withdrawal that he didn’t know his friend died. Now they reconnect, and of course he’s a hunky millionaire. She wants money for her children’s services center to expand to dog therapy.
This novella is classified as an erotic love story—though the sex scenes lacked any real heat—but it was the other elements I enjoyed more. For instance, I would have preferred more of her great kid. What really annoys me, though, is that this romance wouldn’t have happened if he wasn’t rich.
It’s strange, because usually when I like the main characters, the story doesn’t matter as much. And I didn’t mind the story, but I still feel disappointed, partly because it was money and the death of her husband that allowed this to be a happily ever after.
3/5

Gunnar
In what is thankfully a short story, Vikings raid a village after a festival, when everyone is drunk and easy pickings. The leader goes off to rest in the previous lord’s room and finds a gorgeous blonde tied up waiting for him, expecting the previous ruler. Though a virgin, she’s smart enough to play along so as not to be punished. Blindfolded or not, she figures one is as good as another, and of course ends up enjoying it.
Feels historically accurate, but I’m not interested enough in this period to look it up myself. I do like that it was more than just straight-up sex, despite the short length. No big deal, just fun.
3.5/5

Tempted & Taken
A Russian lass, having taken a friend’s identity, is on the run in Texas, where she wants to be mentored by a rich handsome computer genius. . . and have sex with him too. He has a large improv family of brothers, mostly from his time in foster care; I have not read the previous books in this series, so that’s all I know.
These types of books are rarely about plot; all that’s needed is that it not come off as stupid. This story actually did a pretty good job of getting the leads together in a realistic way. As always, I think it’s a good book if I like the female character, though in this case I think it’s well-written anyway, with plenty of little moments to keep me entertained. There was one scene about ¾ of the way through that seemed to drone on and on, but other than the fact I don’t think a Russian mob would simply let things go without being honor-bound to revenge, that’s the only negative I have for this.
I was disappointed, however, in not getting a shot-by-shot account of the skeeball game. . .
4/5

;o)

Book Reviews: Erotic Sunsets and Massages

Black Light: Valentine’s Roulette
Black Light is a dungeon club in DC, where on Valentine’s Day they set up a game between doms and subs in which the roulette wheel chooses partners and acts. Some of the pairings know each other, which can be good or bad, others are playing for the first time.
Though each story has a different author, there’s obviously a common backstory that has to be adhered to. The main ingredient here is a ton of psychology, more than actual physical events. There’s also surprisingly little sex, although the fact this takes place in a dungeon mitigates that a bit.
No matter how much the thrown-together couples hate each other, they all end up happily ever after. The security guy and the bartender was the most preposterous. The most intriguing featured a new sub paired with an FBI agent out of the game for a long time while he got custody of his little girl. Another intriguing one was the famous starlet, but after a while I couldn’t tell the characters apart.
3/5

Strangers at Sunset
Lady with a lot of problems has a one-night stand with a photographer while on vacation in Florida, only to have it turn into much more, of course.
The book starts with an intense description of her husband dying, then goes to a year later, but considering how often he’s mentioned—for good reason—that opener hardly felt necessary.
As a photographer, I enjoyed some of the stuff here, though I had to laugh at, “How many people get to travel the world and make a ton of money just by snapping pictures?” Cough cough: a TON of money? If I didn’t know it was fiction before. . .
On the other side of it is: “That’s so much more compelling to the average person than bikinis, tans and fake boobs. Although that’s all nice to look at, it’s been done over and over again. I like my work to stand out. Fresh and original is the hope I have for each project. The fact that I don’t go with the expected.” Is this writer in my brain? Spooky.
Okay, back to the story. There’s a huge twist—not gonna spoiler it, but you can guess it easily—that wasn’t much of a surprise at all. More than anything, I am completely shocked she forgave him that easily. What he did was so incredibly cowardly. The most interesting part is how the parents of both her ex and him react basically the same way: “I thought I raised him better.”
3.5/5

Play Mates
A recently divorced lawyer goes to visit her sister and ends up having a one-night stand with an injured footballer, also recently divorced. As one would expect in these kinds of stories, the one-night stand turns into much more.
Since this book is well into a series, there are a lot of people to meet, but because they’re all jammed into the start it’s difficult to keep track of who was who.
As always, I only enjoy these stories when I like the main female character, and there’s a lot to like here. She’s not a typical lawyer, fighting against the death penalty, and even gets a chance to do that unicorn of the profession, freeing a wrongfully convicted man. The surprising part here is how likeable the not-too-alpha-male football player is; much of that likeability comes from his being a dad to his four sons. Because of this, it was strange how long it took for someone to take his side against his ex; it was never clearly explained why she did what she did, so as far as I’m concerned it was all her fault, yet everyone blames him. But once it became about relationships I was reminded why I loved this author’s previous works so much.
Everything was going great until the badass lawyer went stupid, as someone always does at the end of these types of books.
Not the same feel as the superb Random series, but still pretty good.
3.5/5

Ella’s Triple Pleasure: Massage Tales
Masseuse/mother of three teenagers gets set up on a blind weekend, but it’s with a guy she wants, so she eventually caves in. Then two other guys from her past come to town and the competition begins.
That first scene with Garrett was just too weird, and made it tough to get back into the pleasant flow that the weekend with Cade had engendered. Long before Derek showed up I found Garrett creepy, and seeing them together, planning her life without asking her, made it worse. I get that she has a past with them, but considering how reluctant she was to let herself go with Cade despite how much she wanted him, she sure let those two take control of her life pretty quickly. Did not expect her to be such a pushover, and I lost tons of respect for her. Even the way she let them use her sexually, which in other circumstances would have been part of her sensuality, is completely different than the way the character was portrayed at the beginning. The sex was great, but all the surrounding drama makes this a much more difficult read than it had to be.
This is a toughie. Of course we all knew how it was going to turn out, but getting there was the fun, and it wasn’t as much fun as I expected from the great beginning.
3/5

Michael
Submissive woman is concerned that her dom boyfriend is cheating on her with a starlet he’s auditioning with.
Interesting that this isn’t a meet-cute romance; this couple is already together. But then it is a novella.
Despite some fun S&M stuff and Hollywood problems, the frame of the story just didn’t hold together. The plot was barely enough to sustain the story until the abrupt ending, as if the author wanted to get it over with. Not only was it resolved too easily, but they didn’t really earn that happily ever after anyway.
2.5/5

;o)

Book Review: Geek Actually

A thirteen-part serial about five modern women having each other’s backs, mostly through the internet but sometimes in person, as they deal with their jobs and men and such.
Despite each chapter having a different author, the characters had consistent voices throughout, which isn’t easy. It really does feel like a TV series, as with a big cast each episode revolves around one or two characters more than the others.

The characters:
Aditi is a first-time author who doesn’t like the pressure of having to come up with more books, or even blog posts. She fools around, with her husband’s complete support.
Michelle is Aditi’s editor, going through a divorce and discovering BDSM.
Christina is Hollywood’s oldest gofer, falling into a relationship with a loopy starlet. She’s also Michelle’s sister, though you’d never know it.
Elli is a professional cosplay geek, trying to wander through life just enough to get by until she can get back into her fantasy land. Think Kaylee from Firefly, but even more perky.
Taneesha is a video-game programmer whose company gets bought out and regrets accepting a new job where she’s just the token girl/African-American.

Episode 1: WTF
As expected, this is a relatively quick intro to four of the characters, showing them diverse in many ways but strong friends. Aditi’s one-night stand leads the way.
3.5/5

Episode 2: The Invisible Woman
A little more interesting than the first, with Christina added, showing what life is like on a Hollywood set for a lowly gofer. This takes up most of the chapter.
4/5

Episode 3: Boss Battles
For the first time I notice the characters are on the cover, but I can’t tell who’s who yet.
This episode was more sad than the others. Everyone’s life gets worse, though not everyone is in it.
3/5

Episode 4: The Long Con
In real life I would run fast from that actress, but she’s a hoot on paper, or pixel. I can see how Christina got sucked in.
I’m really enjoying this series. Every character is different, but I like them all. Did not expect Michelle to go to the workshop, but glad she did, as I learned some things. . . not as much as her, of course, but fun.
4/5

Episode 5: Beware of Rage Bait
Starts with funny not-spoilers, leading into a brief commentary on Buffy and Angel. Even though these are short chapters, there’s always room for some humor. The rest of this episode consisted of long phone talks to relieve stress and a couple of sex scenes. . . to relieve stress.
3.5/5

Episode 6: Can You Not?
This was a depressing episode, no doubt on purpose. All three storylines had problems for the ladies, and no sex. There’s rape scenes in movies and racism during fetish play, not nearly as much fun as previous chapters.
3/5

Episode 7: Pussy Bites Back
This one was more upbeat than the last, but some of the depressing storylines continue, and more pop up. There’s still enough funny moments to keep me going, but this wasn’t as fun as the earlier episodes.
3/5

Episode 8: A Dox on Both Your Houses
This goes from one problem to another, and it gets so depressing. Several times I felt like giving up. All the humor of the first few is gone.
2.5/5

Episode 9: Aces Wild
This was my favorite episode so far, especially compared to the last few. All kinds of relationships progressed. Revelations, eureka moments. . . fun to see good characters being upbeat about choices rather than wallowing in misery. Elli in particular has a major breakthrough.
4/5

Episode 10: Well, Actually
After some progress in the previous chapter we get the most depressing episode so far. New bad stuff along with more of the old bad stuff, and nothing positive at all for balance.
2/5

Episode 11: It’s Not Me, It’s You
Neesh with a breakthrough for the good, Aditi a breakup for the good and bad. Michelle just bad. The stories are progressing toward the finale, but it’s gonna take a lot to make this long trip worthwhile.
3/5

Episode 12: System Failure
This episode had the plotlines coming to a head right before the ending. Misunderstood sex and BDSM lead to major problems, which are then left cliffhanging for a big finish.
3/5

Episode 13: Squad Goals
Part of me is sad that their redemption—except for Aditi—didn’t match all the suffering they went through. On the other hand, that’s more realistic, and that’s what this series was aiming for the entire ride, no matter how often I wished it to be a little more escapist.
3/5

Overall: 3/5

;o)

Poetry Tuesday: Cosmology

Anonymous Sanskrit, circa 750.

The goddess Laksmi
loves to make love to Vishnu
from on top
looking down she sees in his navel
a lotus
and on it Brahma the god
but she can’t bear to stop
so she puts her hand
over Vishnu’s right eye
which is the sun
and night comes on
and the lotus closes
with Brahma inside.

;o)