4.5 stars! Memorable Scenes: - the sparring session between Clay and Wyatt > Awe to the Some! Love it when authors make fight scenes come alive - Th...more4.5 stars! Memorable Scenes: - the sparring session between Clay and Wyatt > Awe to the Some! Love it when authors make fight scenes come alive - The scene where Clay mops the diner instead of Melody > if I had to choose a scene to portray this book, this is it! - the championship fight > love me some good fight scenes - the Las Vegas steakhouse dinner > Jules cracked me up
Melody Dylan is a waitress who escaped an abusive, obsessive husband. I loved her, especially her positive outlook on life and her sweet and vivacious demeanor. She's down-to-earth, open and says what she thinks without hesitation or embellishments.
Then we have Clay Powers who is a UFC fighter. He’s gruff, straightforward, blunt and a bit cynical but he's also caring and sweet in his own way, which makes him utterly endearing. Needless to say I loved Clay too.
Pre-reading I saw some comments about this book about the speedy development of the romance and this made me retreat from the reviews very quickly because I don’t want to start a book with pre-imposed impressions from others.
After finishing though I was relieved because I didn’t think the romance went too fast. I think the speed in which the relationship developed worked excellently for the characters. Both of them are straightforward and not ones to beat around the bush so why should they fight or deny what's between them. I loved the chemistry between Clay and Melody and the easy humor and teasing banter between them that added to the sexual zing they had together. Speaking of sexual zing, the sex scenes were excellent. They were explicit, carnal, beautiful and very hot. The sexiness just jumped off the pages.
Subtle and laugh-out-loud humor alternated with the heavier emotional impact of the story and the characters' back-stories and gave the story a lighter feel to it. The characterization was awesomely done in this character-driven story. Melody and Clay, but also the secondary characters came alive for me and I felt sad when I reached the end of the story.
The secondary cast was complementary to the main couple and they contributed to the humor I found so enjoyable in this book. I loved the camaraderie and banter between Clay and his best friends Wyatt and Jules and I was thrilled to discover that the next book in this series will be about Jules. I also really liked the inside look into ultimate fighting and martial arts.
I adore Kele Moon's writing style. It has an ease to it that makes you fly through the pages and at the same time it's intense in the emotions and sexy in the romance. It reads effortlessly and yet has a rawness to it that kept me enthralled. I love it when authors do this to me.
DEFYING THE ODDS is a perfectly balanced and paced combination of romance, characterization, humor and emotions. It ticked all my boxes and I can't wait to read the next book in this series!
Favorite Quotes: “I heard you say both thank you and sorry in less than a minute. Not to mention those pearly whites you were flashing,” Wyatt argued, grin still wide and shrewd. “Forget praline, I think ya wanna bite of Miss Dylan’s pie.”
She was probably being pathetic and obvious, but who the hell cared? That fighter had her feeling young and alive when she’d felt worn-out and beaten for so long.
He lifted his head to look at her, finding Jules stunned speechless, her jaw actually hanging open. He glanced to Wyatt, sitting next to her, who had a similar look of shock on his handsome face. “You two running a fly-catching contest or something? What’re you gawking at?”
He stood up, deliberately crowding into her personal space because being near her felt like breathing fresh air after a lifetime of choking on dust. Her head only came to his shoulder, and it left him feeling powerful and masculine in a way he found addictive.
Clay wanted to drown in her, to spend a lifetime learning her with his mouth and hands. He didn’t just want to f#ck her; he wanted to actually love her with his body in a way that had never occurred to him before Thanksgiving. It was more than her lush figure and beautiful smile. It was her soul that called out to him. Being around her felt like coming home.
Suddenly Clay touched the small of her back, his large palm resting against the curve of it. The gentle contact made her jump from the shock of pleasure. The first touch felt like the strike of a flint that ignited an inferno of desire.
She twined her arms around his neck as their lips met over and over again. Their kissing was carnal and passionate in a way she’d never imagined. Sharing the same air with him was addictive. Connecting with him tasted like her first sip of wine—sweet and intoxicating. She wanted more .
She never got more than a small taste of heaven because he was holding her in a way that sapped her control. His arms were hooked under her knees, opening her wide, leaving her exposed and waiting for that first hard thrust that never came. Instead the crescendo built; the need boiled and raged. Melody would be begging if she could give up the addictive feel of his kiss long enough to find her voice.
She lowered her head, still trying to breathe past the ecstasy that didn’t want to yield to the stillness and sacredness of the moment. She searched for something carnal, something flesh and bone to distract her from the emotional current of synchronicity pulsing in the air around them.
“You’re beautiful like this, didja know that?” he asked, his voice low and husky without his permission. “You look like a fallen angel, spread out and begging like you are right now.”
Clay didn’t have a choice but to watch her run off. He stood in the back hallway of the Cuthouse Cellar, watching his heart run away from him in a blue and white waitress uniform. It turned out the sound of heartbreak squeaked like sneakers with bad treading sliding against linoleum.
“Go ahead.” Clay’s voice turned low and gravelly with sex. “Use it; f#ck it. It belongs to you; own it.” Melody’s gaze became molten, the pink sheen of morning painting itself over her flushed skin. She licked her lips, looking awed. “Is that true?” “Yes,” he assured her without hesitation. “I thought I was broken too, that I’d never trust women, but I had it all wrong. I wasn’t broken at all. I was just waiting for you. It’s always been yours; even before we met, it belonged to you.” Clay wasn’t real sure if they were talking about his heart or c#ck, but it didn’t seem to matter.
If a climax with Melody was a small death, it was a death worth dying, and Clay rode it out until the end. He relished the pulse of pleasure, savoring every tiny aftershock of bliss until he felt like he’d bleed his soul into Melody.
“You’re so beautiful, Mel,” Clay whispered, his low voice almost aching with emotion. “I love you.” Melody sucked in a sharp breath. Icy-hot pleasure spiraled through her bloodstream. Her chest actually hurt with the feelings welling up inside her, making her feel like she might shatter in his arms. It was too much; the emotions overran every thought, leaving her shaking from the onslaught. This was crazy.
Memorable Scenes: - Cait catching Tristan and Matt in the 'act' > awesome scene, what a way to introduce the m/m part of this story! - Every. Sing...moreMemorable Scenes: - Cait catching Tristan and Matt in the 'act' > awesome scene, what a way to introduce the m/m part of this story! - Every. Single. Sex scene > no explanation needed, they were trademark Cari Quinn: hot doesn't even come close!
Caitlyn 'Cait' Sachs likes her ordered life in contrast to the chaos of her family's. She wants to do well in life, she’s ambitious, has a wild imagination sometimes, and underneath her good girl reputation she's wicked and naughty when it comes to her sexual needs. She’s also independent and headstrong. Cait isn’t perfect and I loved that about her. She has her flaws and the way she perceives her family (mother and sisters) is one of them, but she’s willing to face that and acknowledge her faults.
Then there are the two heroes of this story. They were awesome each on their own but together they were irresistible.
Tristan Baldwin is seemingly unflappable, yet volatile when he loses his calm. He can be very stubborn and quick-tempered but he’s also sweet, refined, impulsive and protective.
Matt Collins is the rational, sensible one of the triad. He’s also rugged and patient. Even though he’s not the one prone to talking about his feelings he's the one who discusses the feelings between the three of them first and sets the whole ménage in motion.
So we have three best friends, working together at their graphic design business and living together with the two men turning to each other when their desire for Cait remains unanswered. What they don't know is that Cait wants to lose her virginity and intends to ask one of them to take care of it. What Cait doesn't know is that her best friends have been dying for a chance to have her...together. This is the perfect set-up for this magnificently written ménage. A wild weekend turns into something permanent, but not without some complicating factors along the way.
The sex scenes nearly did me in. They are so hot and so excellently written. I’ve said it before and I'll say it again and keep repeating it till the day I quit reviewing romance novels: when it comes to sizzling, explicit, arousing sex scenes no one beats Cari Quinn. It's like she goes into my head and finds what I find extremely hot and puts that on paper. And let me tell you that’s pretty eerie. She writes erotic romance that will heat up even the most frigid readers. And if her writing doesn't affect you that way, erotic romance just might not be your thing!
The secondary cast of UNWRAPPED is comprised of family members of all three main characters. They all played an important role in the emotional part of the story and even though some of them weren’t always likeable in their reactions, I mostly liked them and the way they offered support to the main characters. I especially liked Cait’s youngest sister Valerie. Brave, brave kid!
Cari Quinn has been on my favorite author list from the first ever book I read by her. And with every next book she just secured that spot more. UNWRAPPED is once again awesomely written. It's the perfect combination of the elements Cari Quinn always masters in a brilliant way: hot explicit sex, extremely likeable and believable characters, talented writing and the emotional intensity that just gets to me every single time!
I adore how layered Cari Quinn's work is. Both in her writing and in her characters. On the surface the topics and her characters may seem everyday and common but the layers she puts on them through her writing and the emotionality makes her books stand out in the vast pool of erotic contemporary romance. UNWRAPPED could have been just another friends-to-lovers ménage story with a holiday-themed background but Cari Quinn makes it into so much more by giving the characters and their story a uniqueness through the emotional difficulties and by putting them through some realistic and believable dilemmas.
I knew UNWRAPPED is an erotic romance so a HEA is guaranteed, but still Cari Quinn had me biting my nails sometimes, wondering how that HEA was going to be reached as there were many emotional moments of doubt, of fear of how other people might judge their unconventional relationship. Between Cait's insistence on their weekend together not being anything more than just living out a fantasy, Tristan family stuff and silent stubbornness and Matt's worry about the practical sides of a permanent threesome, they had me in knots and relying on my trust in Cari Quinn to make it all work in the end. This trust wasn't unfounded. She definitely did...in an awesome way!
Cari Quinn and Loose ID seem to be the perfect match as this is the second book by Quinn I've read published by Loose ID that I must give my highest rating! UNWRAPPED is the first m/m/f I've read by Cari Quinn. I love ménages but I'm picky when it comes to m/m/f as I am not fond of m/m sexy times. There are a few authors who make me love their m/m/f ménages and Cari Quinn has joined those ranks with a bang: a perfect 10 rating as there was absolutely nothing I did not love about this book! (less)
Memorable Scenes: - the one (first) night in Hawaii > It was so hot it melted my brain cells - the scene with the scarves > the action...more4,5 stars!
Memorable Scenes: - the one (first) night in Hawaii > It was so hot it melted my brain cells - the scene with the scarves > the action with that one scarf... OMG! *fans self*
INFATUATION is the first book of Melissa Schroeder’s I’ve read for review and the third one in total. I read her first two Harmless books way back when I didn’t even fathom reviewing the romance novels I was reading. So when this book was offered for review I grabbed it with both hands!
And I do not regret the grabbing! With a heroine (Shannon Dupree) who is strong, capable and positively a woman whom any man would want standing in his corner and a Navy Seal hero (Francis ‘Kade’ McKade) who is sexy, quiet and commanding Melissa Schroeder gave me an awesome read.
Melissa Schroeder knows how to crank up the heat in the love scenes. The start of the book set the tone and it didn't let down till the very last page and word. The added subtle hint of BDSM just made it all the more interesting. When sex scenes in a book give me goose-bumps I know I have a scorcher in hand.
And next to the burn-the-pages heat there was so much more to INFATUATION. Starting with the small, subtle military plot of a mission gone FUBAR and the consequences of that to the members of the team. But there was also great characterization and a cast of secondary characters that were intriguing to say the least.
Schroeder has a writing style that I took a liking to from the very first page. She combines heat and emotions with humor, great characters and fabulous dialogues, making this book fast-paced and character-driven. Reading INFATUATION makes me want to go back and start the Harmless series again from the start and review them all.
INFATUATION is an awesome contemporary, erotic and military romance that was such a joy to read, I finished it in 24 hrs while having to work. It was sizzling hot and emotional. The two things I always seek in the erotic romances I read. (less)
Memorable Scenes: - Kelly and Spence's first meet in the club > I just overdosed on raw sexual heat and tension. Am I still breathing? I...more4.5 stars!
Memorable Scenes: - Kelly and Spence's first meet in the club > I just overdosed on raw sexual heat and tension. Am I still breathing? I think Cari just killed me... - the scene working late at the Book Nook > sweet and hot at the same time - the scene at the club with Paul > *fans self* but it's not helping at all!!
Kelly Crossman is a day manager at one of the Book Nook bookstores. She’s sweet and giving, yet she knows what she wants and goes for it. Kelly is also smart-mouthed, impulsive and has rebellious streak.
Spencer Galvin is a regional manager for The Book Nook bookstores. He’s controlled and in command, tight-lipped and driven. But he’s also ruthless, honest and has voyeuristic tendencies.
This book is hot beyond words! I'm not ashamed to admit I was in a constant state of arousal throughout the whole thing. But next to the amazing, scorching heat there was also the emotional struggle both Spencer and Kelly go through. Both Spencer and Kelly are far from picture-perfect characters and I really liked that. Their flaws and not so perfect decisions made me like them even more.
Kelly has no trouble acknowledging her feelings for Spencer but she keeps them to herself, afraid to hear Spencer doesn't care to hear them. Spencer is more complicated. He has feelings for Kelly but his past and need for control prevent him from letting go and going for it. His struggle was torturous to read and there were many moments I just wanted to yell at him to just go for it and stop wasting precious time.
I’m really happy to know that there are quite a few books still coming in this series (4 more if I recall correctly) because the cast of secondary characters was great and offers a lot of possibilities in the future. There was one secondary character I would have loved to punch in the face in this book. Hard! But Cari has assured me she isn’t all evil and she is going to make an effort to redeem her in her own book. I have faith that Cari will make it work, so I’m even looking forward to Diana’s book.
I must admit Cari Quinn pushed me to the edges of my boundaries with the Diana situation. I understood Spencer’s reasoning but still didn't like the direction it was headed in. However, I did like how that particular part of the story was played out in the end and how it contributed to the emotional turmoil in the story.
I think I should just review Cari Quinn's books with an “I love her writing, buy the book!” because I just do. The perfect combination of heat, humor and emotion draw me in every single time and just keep me reading, not wanting to stop for a single minute. Fluent, witty, clean, hot and crisp Cari's voice is one of my top favorites in the erotic romance scene.
I suspected it before but after reading PROVOKE ME, I’m sure. Cari Quinn is trying to kill me with her scorching hot books that are not only sexy but emotional too. Oh well, it’s a great way to go…
Favorite Quotes: He was brilliant, ruthlessly so. An amazing boss. And his ass was a thing of beauty.
(Alana) “Kel, we’ve been here ten minutes. The line’s getting longer and I’m nowhere near getting any c#ck.” (I just LOVE Alana, if only for this remark of hers)
He wasn’t much better. He was about to suffer c#ck-strangulation from his belt and his sides ached from his rigid stance in the seat. She’d fucking annihilated him with her lips and her hand. Even without sampling that honey-sweet mouth or feeling her bare palm around his erection, he was one tepid fantasy away from coming in his pants.
Every breath he took ravaged his chest. He was on fire, inside and out, his body one massive throbbing nerve. She cried out again, a shrill piercing noise he should’ve worried would wake the neighbors. But there was no room for worry now.
He sounded like a mixture of heaven and hell, wrapped in a thin chocolaty layer of sex-drenched sin.
OVERALL rating for the anthology: 8.9 out of 10 - GREAT READ! Verdict on the anthology as a whole:
Four different stories, each exceptional in their o...moreOVERALL rating for the anthology: 8.9 out of 10 - GREAT READ! Verdict on the anthology as a whole:
Four different stories, each exceptional in their own way!
This anthology should come with a huge warning: So hot it will set your reading device on fire! Read at your own risk! Each story is hotter than the other. If this book doesn't get you twisting in your undies, I don't know which one will!
This is the first anthology I’m reviewing on my blog since the make-over and the joining of my Quick-and-Dirty Review blog with my regular blog. Because of that and because of the trouble I’m having making a clear and concise I’ve decided to make the Quick-n-Dirty REALLY QnD and posting almost non-edited notes I made during my reading of this anthology. I hope through it my enjoyment and appreciation of this wonderful anthology still shines through.
CONSUMED by Dee Carney
First line: For the first time in almost fourteen years as a chef, August Jaeger forgot the name of the dish he was serving.
Memorable Scenes: - The scene in the alley/street, going to August's house for a private dinner > H to the O to the T!! - August defending McD fries > he won my heart there as McD fries are heaven to me LOL
Ingredients: A commanding celebrity chef, a food critic undercover, some spanking, lots of heat,
Hero: August Jaeger, chef It's a good thing this hero is such a sexy, sexy man because his name is so not but the sexiness he exudes totally trumps that. Temperamental and take-charge
Heroine: Saffron Burton, food critic Ambitious and smart
Notes: A chef and a food critic as main characters, when I read this I was sold! Though I adore cooking/restaurant stuff TV shows and I have quite some foodie romances on my shelves, sadly they are still unread. However, this foodie novella has definitely sparked the need to push the up towards the top of my TBR pile.
This story was so damned quotable it was very hard for me to pick just the ones mentioned in this review! I already had a whole bunch of quotes after being only 3 chapters into the story.
Ms Carney writes sex scenes like nobody's business! Scalding hot and beautifully written.
Verdict: CONSUMED is excellently written, fast-paced, delicious and hot! It's short but well-rounded and balanced.
Favorite Quotes: He wanted to hear her say his name. Not just as part of everyday conversation, but in a throaty, breathy, on the verge of an orgasmic scream kind of way.
If he did what his body wanted -what it commanded- she'd find herself spread before him against the wall, dress bunched around her waist, restaurant guests and other passersby be damned.
A war raged within him; the chef ensured she found oral satisfaction while the man in him wanted her sexual satiation.
Rating: 9/10 – AWESOME READ!
CONNED by Chloe Cole First line: "Oh my God. Oh, God. Yeah. Yeah, right there. Yes. Yes!"
Memorable Scenes: - Tuck in the shower > both funny and HOT! - the scene with the icecube > have I mentioned this story is hot! I died and went to Tucker Lamb heaven in this scene!
Ingredients: a conman in the WPP as a college professor, a female professof who doesn't know the nice, nerdy professor outside hides a wicked bad boy inside, scorching sexually charged experiments,
Hero: Tucker 'Tuck' Lamb, Science Professor He’s trying to be good but he's a bad boy. And another addition to my fave heroes list of yummy dirty talkers. Welcome, Tucker…and make yourself at home! :)
Heroine: Eleanor 'Cricket' Malloy, Human Sexuality Professor Quick-witted, passionate and bold/direct
Notes: I definitely want to read more by Chloe Cole. Her writing is crisp, playful, humorous and hot. I certainly approve.
Same thing about quotes (see CONSUMED notes) goes for this story, maybe even more.
Verdict: CONNED is a very hot and perfectly written story with great characters, awesome sexual tension and mind-blowing smexing
Favorite Quotes: She'd wondered if he would take the bait, but he'd chosen to retreat instead. It was kind of a letdown, but kind of cute at the same time. He was a bit of a puzzle and damn if that didn't have her heart kicking up a notch. She almost laughed out loud at her own reaction. She knew a sign when she saw one and if a nerdy professor not flirting with her was getting her all hot and bothered, she had obviously gone without a man for too long.
In one hour, he was expected to be at the lab. The lab where he would spend the better part of his afternoon testing out aphrodisiacs with the sexiest woman on the planet. He wondered briefly if anyone had ever died of horniness. He looked down at his swollen c#ck and let out a disgusted snort. Maybe it wouldn't kill him, but if he didn't take care of it he definitely wouldn't be able to walk straight.
The climax hit him like a wrecking ball, smashing through his fantasy, splintering it into pure, incoherent pleasure.
He was still so pole-axed by her appearance, he couldn’t respond. Great. Just when he’d decided to let her see how cool he was, all his cool melted in the face of her ridiculous hotness.
"Ready to go?" "Uh, where? I thought..." They'd struck a bargain, hadn’t they? Her cheeks burned. Had she misunderstood somehow? She frantically replayed their conversation in her head, eyeing her half- full wineglass on the table. "What'd you think, I was just going to stretch you out on the bed and go to town?" Actually. He pinned her with his gaze. "This isn't amateur hour, Doctor. I'm old and wise enough to know that seduction begins long before you hit the bedroom. Now let's get out of here."
Rating: 9.5/10 – AWESOME READ!
CONQUERED by Cari Quinn First line: In theory, a bachelorette party should provide plenty of chances to get laid.
Memorable Scene: - the stripping lesson and its aftermath > hot turning point in the story!
Ingredients: A case of mistaken identity, a PI undercover as a stripper, a very proper heroine who defines the 'still waters run deep' saying, a drink spiked with an experimental aphrodisiac, a stripping lesson
Heroine: Emma Donegan, call center rep Vivacious and sweet, a wannabe bad girl under the veneer of the wholesome girl next door. I loved Emma, she is so open and candid and says what she thinks without a filter. Found her very refreshing, endearing and funny.
Hero: Shane Madison, ex-cop, now private investigator All the notes on Shane I had was: nice guy…
Notes: Penguin, banana hammock...Cari Quinn never fails to make me laugh while expanding my erotic romance vocabulary.
This story started off a bit less intense as the previous 2 stories but boy, once it got hot and heavy...it was definitely worth the wait! Cari's sex scenes are carnal, lush and awesome. How she does it, I don't know but as long as she keeps doing it I'll keep reading and enjoying them.
Verdict: CONQUERED is a wonderful and hot story once again by one of my favorite erotic romance authors. Though not the most scorching one of the bunch it fit right in and I enjoyed it to the fullest!
Favorite Quotes: The cop so couldn't dance. He kept watching the other guys and trying to mimic their moves. Not only did he have two left feet, they were both broken. But he scored high on the yummy scale.
If she kept talking and didn't go for it soon, she'd probably run out of chances to coax him into bed --up against the wall?-- before he got annoyed. But he'd been hard for her. She must be doing something right. He'd called her cute. If she could just stop babbling to fill the silence, maybe he'd still want to do her. Hot guys probably didn’t have a lot of patience for slightly drunken/drugged, chatty, horny girls. She needed to turn him on.
"It's always the quiet ones," he whispered against her cheek, her rough pants the sweetest, dirtiest music he'd ever heard.
Hard to maintain your dignity when you were compressed like a deformed pretzel. Especially when you could see your lover's well-used mouth descend to the cleft between your legs as if he were about to dine on a succulent meal. With his tongue as the fork.
Rating: 8.5/10 – GREAT READ!
CONVICTED by Dee Tenorio
First line: The pounding on the door damn near knocked Cade out of bed.
Memorable: - There was not a specific scene but the whole banter between Cade and Trina was memorable, with at its highpoint the “My tits, my rules” quote
Ingredients: A sheriff, an undercover DEA agent, a mole/traitor, bikers, sexual tension that you could cut with a knife,
Hero: Cade Evigan, sheriff Gruff and commanding wounded warrior
Heroine: Katrina 'Trina' Killian, undercover DEA agent Thrives on independence, unrefined, ball-buster and bold
Notes: Dee Tenorio's writing is unique and intense. The intensity is countered with some dry, witty humor that made this story utterly enjoyable. Out of the 4 stories this one had the most elaborate plot. Within the short span of this story she manages to create back-stories and events that paint a full picture of the main characters and yet keeps the plot moving forward in a pretty fast pace.
Verdict: CONVICTED is a plot-driven yet emotionally intense story that wasn’t as sexually steamy as the others were, but fit into this anthology perfectly. This story makes me want an entire series based on the premise of it.
Favorite Quotes: He was not going to give her the smile she was hunting down. He couldn't allow it. Trina collected his moments of weakness like a kid after baseball cards. But once they were hers, she cashed them in for pieces of his soul. He simply didn't have enough left to let her play her games.
"My tits, my rules"
If there were two things Cade knew about the sleeping woman spread out across his bed like a flat sheet, it was that she was still keeping something from him and that she had an absolutely fantastic ass. (...) "Stop looking at my ass." The grumble from under the pillow was grouchy, yes, but that didn't bother him nearly as much as the hand trying to pull the shirt hem further down her body. "Can't." "Why not?" He didn't bother to stifle the chuckle that rose up his chest as her attempts to snag the shirt end turned into a flapping fight to get her fingers free from the loose cuff of the sleeve. Didn't she realize when she arched to reach back, she was lifting up and giving him a view that could make an atheist believe in God? "It's a male imperative. Man sees the Promised Land, nothing short of death is keeping him from staring at it."
"That's it? Yes. No explanations, no protestations of innocence?" Trina shrugged. "I think I gave up innocent when I deep throated you."
Memorable Scene: -scene at the lagoon where Andreus finally takes Ariana > the build...moreSource: 7.2out of 10 - GOOD READ!
First line: He was forbidden.
Memorable Scene: -scene at the lagoon where Andreus finally takes Ariana > the build up to it made it an impressively climactic scene
TABOO is my first encounter with Leslie Dicken’s work, despite having two of her historical romances on my digital bookshelves. After reading TABOO I know I want to read those soon though because this first taste of her writing has left me wanting to read more.
Before receiving a review copy of TABOO I talked to Leslie Dicken on Twitter about this book because having read the blurb I was convinced it wasn’t going to be a book that would completely fit my reading preferences. I thought it was an erotic fantasy romance and though I don’t shy away from erotic romances, I have learned, reading romance over the years, that fantasy romance is not quite my cup of tea. However, when Leslie Dicken mentioned that TABOO was more light fantasy and science fiction romance-ish, I started to get more and more intrigued by the book as the title had already captured my attention.
Though TABOO classifies as a sci-fi/fantasy erotic romance I couldn't escape the historic vibe Leslie Dicken’s writing gave off. The writing style was agreeable and fluent and I was soon immersed in the story of Ariana and Andreus but I did find the writing to have a historic feel to it, especially in the wording and sentences.
Though the start was slow and it took me a chapter or two to get into the story, it remained fascinating and intriguing and soon I was curious as to how the story would unfold. Once I got past the first two chapters I had little trouble envisioning the world Leslie Dicken created in this story and found the mix between world building, eroticism and plot to be nicely balanced. I also really liked how Leslie Dicken set up the world within this book, with the two different people and the star-crossed lovers trope.
Although I do think the story was too short for extensive characterization, I really liked the characters and their backgrounds. In that vein, I must also say the plot, the eroticism and the world building made a bigger impression on me than the characterization.
The love scenes were explicit and sexy and the sexual tension was built up excellently towards the scene where they finally fully give in to the chemistry between them. At first I wasn't sure I liked that Ariana is betrothed to one man and lusting after/attracted to another and the one thing I didn't really like was the way this was also not addressed in the end when Ariana never really tells her intended she wants out of their betrothal but does get her HEA with Andreus.
The story focuses mainly on Ariana and Andreus as there are hardly any secondary characters. If I counted them correctly there were two on page secondary characters who appeared extremely briefly and there was one mention of a secondary character but that was it. Understandably because as I’ve mentioned the plot, eroticism and world building didn’t leave much room for characterization and it’s not more than logical that too many secondary characters would take away even more space for Ariana and Andreus to be thrive as main characters.
TABOO is a character-driven and sensual fantasy-ish science fiction romance that, after a somewhat slow start, managed to capture and keep my attention with its excellent writing and fascinating plot and world building. I loved the original and refreshing setting and backdrop for the romance and I really enjoyed the sexy, sensual love scenes. This first taste of Leslie Dicken’s work certainly won’t be my last.
Favorite Quotes: “Tell me,” he whispered in a voice thick and gruff. “Did your lover kiss you like this?”
She slipped the tip of her tongue out to taste him. His flavor was raw and wild, like the sea he tried to tame.
“Make me well,” he whispered against her mouth. “So I may ravage you again.”
A small tug of male pride curled his lips. He’d have her screaming before it was all over.
Very few authors can make me like the m/m part of a m/m/f ménage as much as I love the m/f part and though Jess Dee didn't accomplish this in a previo...moreVery few authors can make me like the m/m part of a m/m/f ménage as much as I love the m/f part and though Jess Dee didn't accomplish this in a previous m/m/f book (different series) she definitely did in this book. I didn't even miss Grace's presence in the first hot scene between Trev and Max. One little point of critique is the speed and ease with which Max accepted and fell for Grace. It was too quick and I wanted/expected more struggle from Max.
This all being said I still love the scenes with all three the best. Those scenes were SMOKING hot! Like, I would've needed a fan, several cooling elements and a tall glass of icewater and I still wouldn't have cooled off properly! My reading device was on fire!
Jess Dee doesn't make it easy for her characters or her readers. The HEA is always there but she makes you work for it. Hard! I loved the inner struggle Grace was having once she found out about Trev and Max. As the reader you know it's a lost battle for Grace and her surrender is going to be inevitable but it was awesome to read anyway.
The general theme and starting point of the books in this trilogy is the same: one person loving two others at the same time, wanting a permanent threesome to come out of that and either both or one of the loved ones is not on board with that. And that's where all similarties end (except for all three books being hot as heck) because each story is unique and different and takes a different route to the HEA with the main characters coming together in their own way for different reasons. This is what I loved about this trilogy.
Fave Scenes: - the threeway scene after Grace finds out about Trev and Max > OMG should suffice here too - the kitchen table > best m/m/f scene ever for me!
Fave Quotes: He licked into her mouth, exploring the warm, wet cavern. He stroked her tongue with his, nipped at her lower lip, sucked on her upper one, and she met his intensity move for move. [Trev & Grace]
She tasted like nectar and cream and honey. Grace was sweet with a hint of the forbidden, while Max was salty with a generous helping of man. They both blew his mind, both whet his appetite until he felt he’d never get enough.
She’d watched as that same man confessed his love for Trev. The words emerging soft and sweet in a voice wrapped in silk. So soft and sweet they’d tumbled over her skin like a million drops of pleasure. And like a million sharp needles, every one of them stabbing at her, piercing her flesh as they cascaded downward.
Voices like Max’s should be illegal. Because seriously, he could bring a woman to orgasm just by speaking. Hell, he could quote texts from the Financial News and she’d tumble through multiple orgasm heaven.
“You taste like sin,” she whispered when she released his mouth. “Not sin. Just you.” He looked at Trev. “And Trev.”(less)
Words cannot describe my mad love for this book! Adored it!
Rating: 10 out of 10 - PERFECT READ!
First line: She had a choice to make. To go or to stay...moreWords cannot describe my mad love for this book! Adored it!
Rating: 10 out of 10 - PERFECT READ!
First line: She had a choice to make. To go or to stay. To have an incredible adventure or to stay snuggled in the soulless crypt of her comfort zone.
Memorable Scenes: - Shawn’s skills with handcuffs > clever thinking there ;-) - Every.Single.Sex.Scene > pages could’ve easily caught fire is all I’m saying! And the best thing is I wouldn’t have noticed as I was enthralled by the sexy, sexy scenes! - BEYOND MEMORABLE: The elevator scene!!! I never thought I would ever say this but Cari’s elevator smexing scene trumps ANY office smex scene I have ever read! There! I said it!
Rachel Cooper and Shawn Griffin have been best friends forever, since they were in diapers. When Rachel’s contemplating to visit an ex on the other side of the country to have a sexual fling and some closure Shawn surprises her by telling he’s going with her. Shawn’s been in love with Rachel for years and when she tells him his plans he decides enough is enough and now is the time to show her he’s the only man she needs.
Rachel resists taking her relationship with Shawn beyond either friendship or just sex for several reasons. For one, she doesn’t want to ruin their friendship with emotions. Another reason is her natural resistance to doing anything her parents expect from her, her rebellion against her parents so to speak. Third is fear. She has loved once and he hurt her so she shields herself from it as to not risk the chance of getting hurt again. Rachel doesn’t do love, at least that’s what she thinks, but Shawn sneaked up on her and nestled himself in her heart way before she’s ready to admit it.
Shawn and Rachel are very alike. They both compartmentalize things, they’re both stubborn and tenacious. I loved the banter between them. They are very comfortable with each other, which I guess is one of the reasons I love the friends-to-lovers trope so much.
The romance in INSATIABLE was built up excellently. Shawn was quicker in accepting what was between him and Rachel as he’d acknowledged his feelings for her much earlier. And Rachel, though slowly giving into the chemistry and her changing feelings (from close friendship to sexual interest to love), she remains hesitant and doesn’t jump in with both feet. I really liked that Cari Quinn took this road as nothing bothers me more than overnight changes of heart or sudden epiphany moments that make a story feel rushed. Well, there was nothing rushed about INSATIABLE. Thank you for that, Cari!
Cari Quinn’s sex scenes are so awesome I can’t even find appropriate adjectives to describe them or how I feel about them any more. If anyone deserves the title of author of the hottest sex scenes ever, it’s her. But the sexy scenes aren’t what solely attracts me to her books and keep me coming back for more. Her characters, especially her heroes, are terrifically written. The chemistry and dynamics between her characters, their dialogues, their histories and their personalities…All of it comes together perfectly and smoothly and more importantly it works oh so well for me I just drown in the books and don’t want to come up for air.
Cari Quinn hit all my emotional buttons with INSATIABLE. Next to the sizzling scenes there are also emotional moments of doubt and self-recrimination that caused lumps in my throat. It’s known I have a soft spot for books with heat, emotion and humor. INSATIABLE ticked every single one of those boxes for me. And wow, I was totally shaken up at the end of this story. Not only did something unexpected throw me for a loop, the ending also definitely touched a personal reality for me. I was tearing up through the entire last chapter and literally and loudly bawled at Rachel’s speech during a certain event. (Won’t say which event as it will spoil the powerful ending of this story). This last chapter, even knowing there had to be a HEA, had me worried for a while about how this was going to be wrapped up and I must say Ms Quinn hit it out of the ballpark with the end.
I love reading Cari Quinn’s books so much once I start a book of hers I can’t put it down and INSATIABLE definitely was not an exception to that. With INSATIABLE she gave me stuff like himbo, hit-and-run sex and nibblicious butt. Just for that she deserves an extra point for this book.
I don’t think I can come up with any fresh new words to praise Cari Quinn’s writing. I’ve complained about the short length of her stories before and with INSATIABLE this complaint has been completely taken away as I was treated to a well-written rounded story with enough pages and room for more back-story and depth to the characters than in her shorter stories.
There wasn’t a single thing I didn’t like about INSATIABLE. It aroused me, it made me laugh and it made cry. The perfect triad for a perfect read!
Favorite Quotes: He’d cajoled her to come with him to this thing, but she wasn’t dancing with him. Nope. She preferred to dance with the first himbo who twirled the pretty pink umbrella in her mixed drink. (LOVE LOVE LOVE Cari for introducing me to the word ‘himbo’ here. I laughed out loud, really hard, when I read it. Brilliant!)
His hooded green eyes offered wicked delights his equally naughty lips promised to fulfill, if a woman didn’t exhaust herself on the fantasy before she’d sampled the reality.
Air swept over her fevered skin as he tugged down the zipper, but she didn’t stop him. He’d flipped a switch inside her, and now he kept his finger on the button, playing her expertly.
Then Rachel walked into the room, her short geisha girl outfit revealing a mile and a half of leg, and his muscles locked as if he were a wolf that had just scented its mate.
She’d known Shawn all her life, and until two days ago, she’d believed, perhaps naively, that she understood him better than anyone. She knew what to buy him for his birthday—books on architecture or a gift certificate to his favorite art store, so he could buy his preferred brand of sketch pads and blue pencils —and how to make his favorite kind of peanut butter sandwich, with strawberry jelly and banana on extra-dark toast. But she didn’t know this dangerously tempting man who’d just stared at her as if he wanted to swallow her in one greedy, finger-licking gulp.
“What are you looking for then?” “What I’ve already found.” He took a breath. Let it out again. “I love you, Rachel.” When her expression didn’t change, he let out a self-deprecating laugh. “Capital L, Rach. The big kahuna. Not best-pal love, but the I-want-to-eat-tropical-fruit-drizzled-with-honey-off-your-breasts-and-make-love-to-you-all-night kind. Get my drift?”