Saturday, 30 March 2013

          WHAT REMAINS
Author: Nicole Camden
Pages: 125 (approx)
Date: 30/03/2013
Grade: 4-
Details: No. 3 The Fetish Box
            Received from Gallery, Threshold, 
            Pocket Books through NetGalley

The Blurb:
In an attempt to seek out the source of the violence against her friends, Mary takes on a role she’d never imagined she’d play—a role that requires Mary to embrace the darkest parts of her soul. 

For the first time in her life, Mary understands who she is and where she belongs. What remains when you take away the sex and fun and adventure…is love. Love for her new friends, love for her lover, and love for the mother she never knew. She’s willing to risk anything—do anything—to keep them safe… 

And so we arrive at the final episode of Mary’s introduction to and continuation of her mother’s kinky life. Again, since this book is not so much a third title in a trilogy but rather the third part of the same novel, we start exactly where the second story, “What Escapes”; ended with Max and Mary waiting for the police to arrive after people have broken into her house, forcing Mary to flee. 

After this second attack, Mary is more determined than ever to attend the fetish party her shop is preparing for. She may be inexperienced when it comes to kink, but she is determined not to expose her new found friends to danger that is aimed at her personally. If anybody is going to put themselves at risk it should be her, and nobody else. And although her friends, and especially John who is starting to care for her more than he’s willing to admit, worry about her safety they can’t argue with the fact that it makes good business sense for her to introduce her mother’s customers to the new owner of The Fetish Box.

Courtesy of Korner Kafe Exposed
Deciding what clothes to wear to the party gives John and Mary plenty and highly imaginative opportunities to explore new sexual games. I loved the first outfit Mary tried on and all the play it induced. The idea of the thong made of pearls that rub in all the right places is very hot, as were the nipple clamps that she wore underneath the sheer dress in lieu of a bra. John and Mary can't get enough of each other in this book which leads to frequent and descriptive sexual scenes. Because there is nothing wrong with Nicole Camden's imagination this never got repetitive or boring though. Quite the opposite in fact; some of the scenes in this book were inspired. Especially the moment when Mary decides to prove to John that she will be able to pull off dressing up as a Dominatrix got my juices flowing. And yes, the picture shown here also refers to a scene in the book, but if you want to know more about that one you will just have to read the book; I can't spoil all the fun here.

And although the party does turn out to be as dangerous as everybody feared, all’s well that ends well, especially since it allows Mary to discover exactly what she wants to do with her new life.

It is going to be impossible to share my thoughts on this book without repeating things I already said in my reviews for “Open All Night” and “What Escapes”. Since this is in reality one story rather than a trilogy I’m not sure that it is possible to review this book as a single entity. In fact, if anyone were to read this book without having read the first two installments first, they would probably be completely lost as to what exactly is happening and why.  So, my objections to Mike’s Irish accent and to the speed with which Mary turns from a virgin into a sexy vixen still stand. At one point in this book our heroine is actually described as being “experienced” which is a bit of a stretch taking into account that it has been a mere few weeks since she was first introduced to the pleasures of sex. 

As far as this book specifically is concerned I have two remarks to make. I found the resolution of the suspense part of the story a bit rushed. After all the build-up in the previous two installments it only took a few pages for the bad guy to come out of hiding, stage his attack and be caught. I also think I would have preferred it if there had been a twist with regard to the identity of Mary’s opponent.

But, having said all that, I have to admit that I did enjoy the story as a whole. I liked the idea behind it, I liked the characters and enjoyed the interactions (both physical and verbal) between them. In fact, I think my rating would have been a bit higher if I had read this as one book, without interruptions rather than the way I was forced to read it now. I’ve got a feeling that there may well be a sequel to this story coming and if that is true I hope Nicole Camden will consider publishing it as one book rather than a serial. I do find myself curious as to how this story and these characters will develop further but I’m not sure I want to put myself through reading-interruptus once again.

Wednesday, 27 March 2013



Pages: 212
Date: 18/03/2013
Grade: 4.5
Details: no. 2 Wicked Play
            Received from Carina Press
            Through NetGalley
Own / Kindle

The blurb:

“When Kendra Morgan attends a party at an exclusive sex club, she's not driven by mere curiosity. Hoping to prove she's put the past behind her, Kendra must instead face up to needs she's denied for too long. Despite her lingering fears, she can't resist the temptation to play…

Deklan Winters has had his eye on his attractive neighbor for months, but only senses Kendra is no stranger to the BDSM scene when she walks into his club. And he can tell that's not her only secret. What surprises him is his own overwhelming desire to give her what she craves—and to show her a side to the Dom/sub relationship she's never known.

With Deklan's guidance, Kendra begins to accept her forbidden needs and to recognize the fine line between pleasure and pain. But when her former Master returns to reclaim her, it will take all her courage—and all of Deklan's love—to defy her past.”

This was a wonderful read. I can honestly say I loved it from the first page to the very last word and had a hard time putting it down when real life interrupted my reading. I really enjoyed “Bonds of Trust”, the first title in the Wicked Play series, when I read it but that story didn’t touch me the way this one did. In many ways this book was much more than just the story as described in the blurb. Yes, we are reading about Kendra who ran from her abuser months ago to find refuge in the same complex where Deklan lives; the way in which he recognizes both the need and the fear in her and helps her to overcome it, while at the same time being forced to deal with issues from his own past. And that is, I guess, a story that has been written before by other authors and will be told by others yet in the future. What made this book special for me is the way in which the author, through her characters, dealt with the issues.

The characters in this book don’t hold on to their issues for dear life, or deny that they have them. They are aware of what they are up against and while they are afraid of letting go of the walls they have built around their hearts to keep themselves from being hurt again, they are brave and real enough to allow those fortifications to slowly crumble. At the same time there were no unrealistic sudden conversions from fear to security, from distrust to trust. This was not the sort of story in which one (very sexy) scene between the two main characters solved all their problems. Kendra and Deklan both have issues to work through and they do, over time. They take it slowly, get to know each other and make mistakes before they get to the point where they’re able to acknowledge their feelings for each other, which rings true.

“And Deklan was showing her what a real Dom could be like. The kind of Dom she wanted. The kind she was slowly coming to admit she needed to keep herself sane.”

I also liked that this book made a clear distinction between Dominance-submission and sadism-masochism; these are not the same. A Sadist is not necessarily a Dom or vice versa and somebody who enjoys being on the receiving end of pain is not always also submissive. This is a distinction that I haven’t seen explained in (m)any books and since it is an important one I was delighted to see it here.

“When it’s done right, it’s all about caring and sharing. About giving each other what we both need and want. Isn’t that the very foundation of love?”

“You’re the one who taught me the difference between hurting and harming. Between play and abuse. Love and control.”

And I haven’t even mentioned how hot this book is. The scenes between Deklan and Kendra are steaming. Whether we’re reading about Deklan spanking or flogging his sub or looking at them having straight sex for the first time, every intimate encounter between these two characters is both arousing and sweet. Some readers may be shocked by the descriptions of corporal “punishment” in this book, but that is exactly what this book is about. The prejudices held by a lot of people when it comes to those who like submitting to or inflicting pain is the basis of the story-line in this book. And if this story helps to change these perceptions for even a few readers, as it could and should, it has made a tremendous achievement.

This book is well written, incredibly sexy and very easy to read. This is an uplifting love story filled with a believable story, realistic dialogue and convincing characters. As I said before: this is a wonderful read.

Monday, 25 March 2013


Pages: 400
Date: 24/03/2013
Grade: 4.5
Details: No. 2 Beyond

The official blurb:

She refuses to be owned.

Alexa Parrino escaped a life of servitude and survived danger on the streets to become one of the most trusted, influential people in Sector Four, where the O’Kanes rule with a hedonistic but iron fist. Lex has been at the top for years, and there’s almost nothing she wouldn’t do for the gang…and for its leader. Lie, steal, kill—but she bows to no one, not even Dallas O’Kane.

He’ll settle for nothing less.

Dallas fought long and hard to carve a slice of order out of the chaos of the sectors. Dangers both large and small threaten his people, but it’s nothing he can’t handle. His liquor business is flourishing, and new opportunities fuel his ambition. Lex could help him expand his empire, something he wants almost as much as he wants her. And no one says no to the king of Sector Four.

Falling into bed is easy, but their sexual games are anything but casual. Attraction quickly turns to obsession, and their careful dance of heady dominance and sweet submission uncovers a need so deep, so strong, it could crush them both.”

In my review for “Beyond Shame” I expressed my desire to find out more about the other characters mentioned in that book and especially about Dallas O’Kane and Lex. This book proves that sometimes wishes do come true because this is the story of Dallas, the King of Sector Four and Lex the fiercely independent girl who is drawn to him but refuses to submit to another person ever again. Having fled Sector Two and her destiny as a paid submissive to rich men, Lex has gone through too much to even consider anything less than honesty and equality in a relationship. Dallas, on the other hand, wants nothing less than Lex’s complete submission to him; he wants her to be the queen ruling next to him but on his terms. Terms that may just demand too much from Lex, no matter how attracted she is to the leader of the O’Kane’s.

And so commences a game of push and pull. And a very intense and sexy game it is. This is life in the Sectors, where sex is a way of life as well as a form of currency and both Lex, with her extensive training, and Dallas know exactly which buttons to push to get the desired reaction.

A lasting relationship requires more than mind blowing sex though, but finding the middle ground between that which each of them wants and that which they are willing and able to give may just prove to be one step too far for both of them. Failure however could have devastating effects for Lex and Dallas as well as Sector Four as a whole.

Once again Kid Rocha managed to pleasantly surprise me with her book. As much as I liked Beyond Shame, I loved this book more. Dallas and Lex are fully fleshed and credible characters. It is very easy to understand where each of them is coming from and the problems and heartbreak they face as a result of that. This is not the sort of book where one character appears to constantly undermine the relationship while the other just keeps on giving. These two characters are equals in every aspect of the story and that makes the story all the more captivating.

Sex plays a major part in this book because it is the way of life in the world this story is set in.

“Tell me my cock’s the hottest thing I’ve ever fucked you with.”

Nothing is left to the reader’s imagination and the reader is treated to public scenes, girl on girl action, multiple partners, oral sex, floggings, anal sex and a host of other mesmerising intimacies. While the women in Sector Four submit to their chosen partners, the authors are very careful to ensure that the scenes described are consensual though. In fact they go out of their way to spell out that while the women may submit to the men in Sector Four, they are never abused or taken advantage of.

“He’d take what he wanted – and in return give her everything she never knew existed.”

And as much as the book seems to be all about sex, there are some very touching romantic moments as well:

“I’ve always loved you. (…) I’ve always wanted you. They don’t have a word for how much I need you. Everything good I am, everything good I’ve ever done…it’s all you.”

“I’ll be any man you want. A king or a beggar or a farmer or a killer. But I’ll never be the man who can let you walk away.”

More sector politics and other relationships are starting to take (further) shape in this book. It is clear that more books will be required to resolve the organisation of the Sectors as well as to bring the various other couples together. I’m especially glad that the authors give us brief glimpses of other characters while concentrating on the two main ones. In some series of books it seems as if the various couples take turns; one story doesn’t start until a previous one is concluded. Of course in real life these things happen simultaneously and it is nice that these books reflect that. My curiosity has been stimulated by glimpses of what is to come as well as satisfied by a further look at the relationship between Noelle and Jasper. On the other hand, this also means that now I can’t wait to see what will happen next to Six and Bren or Ace and Rachel. But with the next book expected to come out in autumn I guess I can wait…just about.

I also want to point out that the authors have made a bonus story Beyond Denial” about Ace available on their website. Ideally this story should be read after reading the first two books but for those who would like a taste of Kid Rocha’s writing it provides a perfect sample.

This is a very sexy, captivating and satisfying dystopian series; a well plotted and superbly written story that will have you frantically turning the pages and thinking about the characters long after you turn the last page.

Tuesday, 5 March 2013


Pages: 75
Date: 05/03/2013
Grade: 3.5
Details: no. 2 The Fetish Box
Own / Kindle

Warning: This is the second part in a serialised novel that will be published in three instalments. These stories should be read in order since they won’t make sense otherwise.

When the first instalment of The Fetish Box, Open All Night, ended we left Mary just after she’d been told by John to take all her clothes off. What follows is a sensual introduction into the world of intimacy and sexual vulnerability; a journey which scares Mary a bit but excites her far more and leaves her with deep feelings for John.

Mary isn’t allowed a lot of time to reflect on her night of passion though. She and John are woken up by a phone call informing them that Mary’s shop has been trashed leaving Max and Kaylee injured and on their way to hospital. Mary’s seemingly idyllic introduction to her new life is well and truly over, especially once she discovers that this is not the only threat her shop is facing. And when danger finds Mary again, but this time closer to home, she finds herself running to safety.

But even in the midst of violence and threats Mary can’t deny her sexual curiosity. And while she feels a connection with John, she can’t help being curious about the beautiful Max.

In my review of “Open All Night” I reflected on the fact that it was not a complete book; the story ended abruptly in the middle of a story-line. The fact that this instalment starts with Chapter Nine (and finishes at the end of Chapter Sixteen) confirms the fact that here we’re dealing with a novel being released in instalments. And I’m not quite sure how I feel about that. I’m quite aware of the fact that Nicole Camden is not alone in presenting her work like this and that this way of publishing is nothing new. After all Charles Dickens’ books were routinely published in instalments, to name one very famous example. On the other hand, I personally don’t much like it. When I start a story I want to be able to finish it. I don’t like having difficulties remembering who exactly all the characters in the book are or what exactly has been happening earlier on. So there is a big part of me that wants to say that this is enough for me and that I won’t continue reading this story.

But… I do enjoy this story. It seems a bit far-fetched at times, especially when it comes to Mary’s sudden and rather drastic conversion from virgin in to sex-vixen, but I do like other parts of it a lot. The interaction between the characters is fun, the writing is smooth and the sex is hot. The attack on the shop adds an exciting edge to this story and ensures that it is about more than just sex. And all of that is good and all of that makes me curious about what is going to happen next. 

Now for that far-fetched introduction to sex Mary experiences. Don't get me wrong, it made for exciting reading but you have to wonder how likely it is that a man, no matter what his sexual desires are, introduces a virgin to clamps even before doing the deed. And would a woman really be willing to experiment with anal sex the day after losing her virginity? Would that same woman be thinking about having sex with another man just hours after having all these new experiences? My answers to all those questions is: very unlikely. But, while it all seems to be a long way away from reality, it was great fun to read. I guess my feelings with regard to the sex are the same as those regarding the whole story and the way in which it is presented; ambivalent.

So, where does that leave me? If there were still an undetermined amount of instalments to come I would stop reading this story right now. But since it seems that there is only one more instalment to come I am tempted to just read it in order to find out what happens next. After all, I’ve come this far and have mostly enjoyed myself so it would be a shame not to finish the story. I’ve learnt a valuable lesson though; in the future I will be making very sure that the books I order are actually the complete work. I have no problems with proper trilogies but have to draw the line at receiving a story in this chopped up way.

I also feel that I’m probably not doing this story justice with my ratings; I’m fairly sure that the rating would be higher if it was based on the whole book rather than a just a few chapters. I guess the jury is still out as far as The Fetish Box is concerned.

Monday, 4 March 2013


Pages: 208
Date: 03/03/2013
Grade: 4-
Details: No. 1 The Blackstone Affair
            Received from Atria Books
            Through NetGalley
Own / Kindle

The official blurb:

“Brynne Bennett is living the good life. An American art student at the University of London and part-time photographic model, she’s putting her life back on track with school and lots of hard work.

When ultra successful London businessman, Ethan Blackstone, buys her nude portrait, he isn’t taking ‘no’ for an answer. He wants Brynne in his bed and makes plans to keep her there no matter what. His dominant nature captivates and ensnares despite the demons she carries inside her.

 But there are secrets in this relationship. Huge ones. Can Ethan free Brynne from the past that has marked her? Will Brynne let him or will the specters tormenting her resurface to destroy them both…”

Sometimes I wonder if maybe there is a manual on how to write erotic novels. A lot of the books I have been reading recently seem to have been written based on the exact same premise with story-lines similar enough to make me think there must be hard and fast rules as to what should be in these books, up to and including the fact that they should be trilogies. So this book gives us:

A rich, powerful and controlling man, Ethan Blackstone;
A younger girl, Brynne Bennett, somewhat out of her element;
Two main characters with issues and the scars to prove them;
Both characters refusing to share their past with each other;
Attraction between the two characters which is instant, undeniable and impossible to resist;
A sexual relationship taking off almost as soon as the two main characters meet each other.

I could go on but I won’t, you get the idea; this is a story I have read before, several times, even if the setting and the names of the characters are different.

Having said all of that, I did enjoy reading this book. It seems that these dominating men manage to capture my imagination every time and, more surprisingly, that the women who allow themselves to be ruled by them irritate me far less than they should (or would if I ever met them in real life). The writing in this book is good and smooth enough to make reading the book really easy. The story flows easily with hardly any dead moments and lots of heat. The descriptions of Ethan and Brynne coming together were rather breathtaking and the passion between them once they are intimate was positively steaming.

From Korner Kafe Exposed
I should probably add that although Ethan is a very dominant character he is not a Dom. This is not a BDSM story and neither does it try to be one. So there is no spanking, no pain and no kinky sex. The sex in this book is feverish and frequent but very much of the straight-forward, vanilla variety. The safe-word Brynne is told to have and ultimately uses has nothing to do with Ethan pushing her sexual limits. But then again, those are not the only limits we have and maybe we should all have a safe-word we can use when our significant others push us too far in any way.

I’m having a hard time explaining myself in this review. In fact, I’m having a hard time explaining to myself why I enjoyed this book as much as I did. But I can’t deny that I found this a very enjoyable story and that I’m glad that I already have part two. It won’t be too long before I turn to “All In”, part two in The Blackstone Affair because I did enjoy spending time with Ethan and Brynne and look forward to a bit more time in their company. And yes, I do have a pretty good idea how the story is likely to develop – although I can always hope that I will be proven wrong – but even that doesn’t stop me from being curious. And when it comes to rating the qualities of a book that is really what it boils down to: would you, based on what you’ve just read, pick up another book by this author? If the answer is yes than the book you’ve just finished must have been, at the very least, decent. And with that, I rest my case.