Review: The Deep End by Kristen Ashley

Review:  The Deep End by Kristen AshleyThe Deep End by Kristen Ashley
Published by St. Martin's Griffin March 7th, 2017
Genres: Erotica, Erotica Romance
Pages: 454
Format: ARC, eBook
Source: Copy for Honest Review
Also by this author: At Peace
Amazon US
Goodreads

Enter a decadent sensual world where gorgeous alpha males are pleasure slaves committed to fulfilling a woman's every desire. At the elite Honey club, no boundary will be left untested, and one's darkest desires will become a sensual reality.

Olivier isn’t sure what he’s gotten himself into when he joins the Honey Club, only that a dark part of him craves the lifestyle offered by this secret, exclusive club.

When Amèlie invites Olivier to surrender, she pushes him to explore his deepest desires as a submissive. As they grow closer and find themselves falling harder than either of them anticipated, the truth about Olivier’s past could threaten the budding relationship they both long for.

Gripping and seductive, The Deep End is the first book in a sensational new series from bestselling author Kristen Ashley

I’m going to tell you a secret.   I totally signed up for an ARC of this book without even reading the blurb.  All I knew is that it was written by Kristen Ashley, and it was erotica.  

That’s it.

And then right before I started to read it, I checked on Goodreads to see what was being said so far…and that’s when I learned that the premise behind The Deep End was a Domme female, and an alpha male who is her submissive.

I was so surprised, and maybe a wee bit hesitant.  I’ve read a handful of male sub books and I can only remember ONE where I was able to connect to the characters and enjoy the story line.  And really, typical romance glorifies male characters dominating in the bedroom…  and this is the opposite.  

Reviews were mixed on GR, and I was even more hesitant.  But I jumped in… and I’m actually really glad I did.

Let me start by saying this…  if you’re going to read this book because you’re a huge KA fan and you love her writing style (quirky heroines, mega-alpha males, tons of silly shenanigans), and that’s the only reason… DON’T.   Her writing in this book is very, very different from her previous work.  If your expectations are to get a Rock Chick story, you will be so incredibly disappointed.  (Actually, if I didn’t know this book was by Kristen Ashley, I would have thought it was a new story from Ella Frank.  Have you read her Masters Among Monsters series?!  I swear the writing style is SO CLOSE to that.  It’s a bit different and can take time to really get the hang of the flow and connect to the character’s voice.  But once you do, you’re there and it’s magical.)

BUT, if your mind is open to a different writing style from her, and you’re into erotica and BDSM stories… DO IT!

Any hesitation I had about KA  portraying an alpha sub male was obliterated.  Trust me, a man can be a submissive and still be alpha.  He can still test his dom and try to have authority inside and outside the bedroom.  The book has a ton of sex… and I really, really liked it.  It was good BDSM, if that makes sense.  You can really tell when an author has either first hand experience or has truly researched that community when you read BDSM books, and KA’s scenes are phenomenally executed.

Overall, I think it was a very sexy story.  I really enjoyed the entire club she has her characters in, and I really liked a lot of the secondary cast.  I can see so much potential for following books, because the characters are interesting, mysterious, sexy and witty.

There were times I had trouble connecting to the characters as a couple, and there was some lingo used a lot that I didn’t love, but as an overall story I think it was good and I’m glad KA is dipping her toes into the erotica genre.   If you like BDSM and hot sex…  definitely give it a  try.

 

 

About Kristen Ashley

Kristen Ashley was born in Gary, Indiana, USA. She nearly killed her mother and herself making it into the world, seeing as she had the umbilical cord wrapped around her neck (already attempting to accessorise and she hadn’t taken her first breath!).

Kristen grew up in Brownsburg, Indiana but has lived in Denver, Colorado and the West Country of England. Thus she has been blessed to have friends and family around the globe. Her posse is loopy (to say the least) but loopy is good when you want to write.

Kristen was raised in a house with a large and multi-generational family. They lived on a very small farm in a small town in the heartland and existed amongst the strains of Glenn Miller, The Everly Brothers, REO Speedwagon and Whitesnake (and the wardrobes that matched).

Needless to say, growing up in a house full of music, clothes and love was a good way to grow up.

And as she keeps growing up, it keeps getting better.


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Review: Black Sheep by Zara Cox

Review: Black Sheep by Zara CoxBlack Sheep by Zara Cox
Series: Dark Desires #2
Published by Forever Romance March 14, 2017
Genres: Dark Romance, Erotica
Pages: 320
Format: ARC
Source: Copy for Honest Review
Also by this author: Porn Star (I #1)
Amazon US
Goodreads

In a family of cold-hearted black sheep,
I, Axel Rutherford, am the blackest.
My father has hated me since the day I was born. The feeling was mutual. In the shady underworld that was my legacy, Cleo McCarthy became my light. She was beautiful, passionate, and my whole world. So naturally my father had to destroy us. First he sent me away. Next he claimed Cleo as his own. But now I've returned, and nothing will stop me from taking back everything that is rightfully mine.

He was the love of my life - when my life was still my own.
We were young enough to believe we would last forever, Axel and I. But neither of us realized how cruel life - and our families - could be. Now I'm trapped in a gilded cage: desired by Axel, who must never know the full truth, and controlled by his father, who would sooner see me dead than free. And I wouldn't even care, except that it's no longer only my life at stake.

Black Sheep may be the second installment in Cox’s Dark Desires series, but it is so loosely related to the first book (I, Porn Star), that you do not have to read that title before jumping right into this one.

Jumping in is exactly what I suggest you do! Black Sheep mixes second chance romance, a dirty talking hero, and scandalous deceptions with an easy expertise.

Axel is the estranged son of a mob boss. His father is desperate to bring him back to the fold, by any means. Including tempting him with the love of his life, Cleo, who left Axel’s bed in the worst sort of betrayal.  Axel has plans of his own, however, and Cleo and his father sit in the center of them. You get a bit of a Romeo and Juliet – star crossed lovers – feel with the added danger of mobster lifestyles.

This story moves fairly quickly, but is full of twisty secrets. Cleo hates Axel for reasons he doesn’t know. Axel hates Cleo for reasons she doesn’t know. Neither has the full story, they’ve been fed lies and half truths for so many years. The hatred, though, only feeds the sexual tension that still sizzles between them, which leads to some steamy sex scenes. Even though the story is a bit rushed at times, you still feel the depth of the secrets and the hurt of the betrayals. I found it very easy to like both Axel and Cleo, right from the start.  Seriously, Axel’s dirty talk was an A+, for me!

The ending could have been fleshed out a little more to my liking, but overall Cox vastly improved in style and emotion from I, Porn Star to Black Sheep. Which has me eager for round three, Wicked S.O.B., due out this August.


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Review: Mister Wrong by Nicole Williams

Review:  Mister Wrong by Nicole WilliamsMister Wrong by Nicole Williams
February 27, 2017
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 195
Format: eBook
Source: Copy for Honest Review
Also by this author: Exes with Benefits
Amazon US
Goodreads

Cora Matthews grew up with the Adams’ boys, twin brothers and best friends who wouldn’t let anything come between them—except for her. One of them became her best friend; the other, her fiancé.

She always knew she’d wind up marrying one of them, and Jacob Adams is the epitome of Mister Right. At least until he fails to show up for their wedding.

As Jacob’s best man, and identical twin, Matt makes a split-second decision that will affect the three of their lives forever—he steps in to take his brother’s place. In front of the altar, exchanging vows with the woman he’s secretly been in love with for years.

But Cora finds out about the groom swap. The morning after the wedding. As if realizing she just slept with her fiancé’s brother isn’t disturbing enough, she’s forced to confront the feelings for Matt Adams she thought she’d buried years ago.

Through the course of her real honeymoon with her fake husband, she uncovers truths both Adams brothers were hoping to keep hidden, for opposite reasons. One to protect himself, the other to protect her.

She married the wrong brother, but what if he’s been the right one all along?

I’ve read about half of what Nicole Williams has written and I’ve really enjoyed everything I’ve picked up.  Mister Wrong is no different.

Mister Wrong is a short (like really short.  Less than 200 pages short) story that is a cute second-chance type romance involving Cora and twin brothers, Jacob and Matt.  She grew up with the Adams brothers since she was six years old, and has been in love with one or the other (or both!) since she can remember.

The story starts and she finds herself at the alter with her fiance’ (and high school sweetheart) Jacob.  But what she doesn’t realize is that Jacob is a no-show and she’s really exchanging vows with Matt, the brother who has been madly, deeply, and secretively in love with her, always, and is pretending to be his brother so that her heart isn’t destroyed on her big day.  Purely unselfish reasons….  maybe.

They find themselves on the honeymoon, alcohol and hormones take over, and boy do they have a honeymoon.  Their chemistry is on point, ya’ll.

And then of course, it comes to light the Matt isn’t Jacob, and Jacob is on his way to claim his fiance’ back.

There’s drama.  There’s good angsty parts.  There’s wonderfully sexy parts.  Matt shows some good alpha moments, too.

Overall it was a really good, quick story.  There are parts that I didn’t love…  where the story got unrealistic enough I was like, “Come on you guysssss.  This would never, could never happen.”  And usually when things like this are in a story (yes, I know this is all fiction, but there are just some things that are eye-roll worthy) I usually DNF.  But with Mister Wrong, I didn’t really care too much.  Yes, I noticed it was maybe a wee bit ridiculous, but it fit the story, the characters, and Nicole Williams is a strong writer.

I think if the story was a bit longer, and Matt and Cora had time together, building their relationship for the reader to enjoy…   for us to see their love, and get to enjoy the journey of them figuring them out… I would have given it another star, totally.

Don’t let my few hesitations hang you up from picking up this book.  It was sweet and sexy story that I think most people will really enjoy!

 


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