Saturday, 29 June 2013


Pages: 356
Date: 29/06/2013
Grade: 4-
Details: no. 3 Crossfire
              Received from Penguin
              Through Nudge

“Day one of my life was the day I met you.” – Gideon

And so the story of Gideon and Eva continues. There is a lot I would like to say about this story, but I’m conscious of how easy it would be to not only spoil this story, but also things revealed in “Reflected in You” so I’m going to have to be a bit vague.

Officially Eva and Gideon are separated. With a police investigation in progress it would be dangerous for them to advertise their connection for the world to see. Yet being apart proves to be as impossible as being together is inadvisable.

“Letting you go would kill me, but I wouldn’t hurt you to keep you.” - Gideon to Eva

Spending time together means keeping secrets from those closest to Eva though, something which makes her uncomfortable. To add to the pressure there are the women who seem to pursue Gideon. We have Corinne, Gideon’s former fiancée who is determined to get him back even though he makes it clear that he is no longer interested in her and she is married to somebody else. And there is Deanna Johnson, a journalist with a grudge against Gideon who is on a quest to bring him down and doesn’t care what she has to do to achieve her goal. And while Eva is getting a better grip on all her insecurities and does, deep in her heart, know and trust that Gideon only wants her, she still can’t stop herself from worrying about their relationship.

Gideon, however, isn’t the only one whose past won’t leave him alone. A blast from Eva’s past in the form of Brett, the up and coming rock star, is determined to get her back. And while she doesn’t have any deep feelings for him, she can’t quite refuse to stay in contact with him nor stop her body from reacting to his voice or presence.

And then there are the people surrounding these two. Eva’s best friend Cary is still juggling two partners and getting into an ever deeper mess because of it. Eva’s father is upset and angry when he finally learns the truth about Eva’s past and the secrets that have been kept from him while her mother seems to be upsetting Eva with almost everything she does.

Through it all and despite all the obstacles Eva and Gideon prove to be an unstoppable force. And while it is clear that their troubles are not quite over and they find themselves with more secrets to keep, they do find their way back to each other, not just in private but also in public.

No, I do not consider that last paragraph a spoiler. After all, it has been clear from the first book that these two characters will end up together and get their happily ever after, no matter how long it may take.

And so we come across my biggish issue with this book. This was supposed to be the third and final instalment in a trilogy. Except that now it isn’t. Turns out that there will be two more Crossfire books before this story ends, and I have my doubts about that particular decision. For all intents and purposes the story of Eva and Gideon has been told by the time this book ends, because by then they have committed themselves to each other as completely as they possibly can.

“You own me, Eva. Wherever I am, whatever I’m doing, I belong to you.” – Gideon


“I can’t live without you Eva. I can’t imagine even trying. Just the thought makes me insane.” – Gideon

Yes, it is clear that they will still face issues in the future, but then, what relationship doesn’t? Which begs the question, what will Sylvia Day be writing about in the two books that are, apparently, still to come? Is she going to create more drama for her two heroes, or will we be reading about the issues that trouble the secondary characters? I’m not sure I’m interested in either if I’m honest. Secondary characters should be just that: secondary, while piling more misery on Gideon and Eva feels like over-kill.

Don’t get me wrong; I really hope Sylvia Day pulls it off. I like the way she writes, I enjoy her stories, her characters and the heat between them. And that is part of the dilemma for me. I’m not convinced that it will be possible to drag this story out without me falling out of love with it while I also can’t deny that I will probably enjoy indulging in more of Eva and Gideon’s passion.

And passionate this book is. These two characters are completely over the top when it comes to the attraction between them and the way in which they react to and act on it:

“When I come, I come for you. Because of you and your mouth, your hands, and insatiable little cunt. And it’ll be that way for you in reverse. My tongue, my fingers, my cum inside you. Just you and me, Eva. Intimate and raw. – Gideon

So, where does that leave me and my opinion about this book?

First and foremost, this is, once again, a well written, gripping, very sexy and easy to read book. The story is as captivating as it has been from the start and the writing is so smooth that the pages almost turn themselves. While Eva and Gideon can be infuriating as a couple, they are equally intriguing and reading about the two of them is, for the most, a joy. So I will be reading the fourth book when it comes out and reserve my judgement until then. I really hope that Sylvia Day proves me wrong. I want the decision to extend this series beyond a trilogy to be story-driven rather than a cynical exercise in money-making. I have no idea what the future books will bring, but for now I’m willing to give this author the benefit of the doubt.

Wednesday, 26 June 2013


Pages: 400
Date: 25/06/2013
Grade: 5
Details: No. 1 Original Sinners, The Red Years
Own / Kindle / Paperback

The blurb from the author’s website:

“Notorious Nora Sutherlin is famous for her delicious works of erotica, each one more popular with readers than the last. But her latest manuscript is different—more serious, more personal—and she's sure it'll be her breakout book…if it ever sees the light of day.
Zachary Easton holds Nora's fate in his well-manicured hands. The demanding British editor agrees to handle the book on one condition: he wants complete control. Nora must rewrite the entire novel to his exacting standards—in six weeks—or it's no deal.
Nora's grueling writing sessions with Zach are draining…and shockingly arousing. And a dangerous former lover has her wondering which is more torturous—staying away from him…or returning to his bed?
Nora thought she knew everything about being pushed to your limits. But in a world where passion is pain, nothing is ever that simple.”

I have to admit that, as a rule, I don’t do re-reads. Why read a story you already know when there are so many new books to discover? Well, I guess this book and its two sequels provide the answer to that question; you re-read a book because it is impossible not to do so, because it is the only way you can make sure that you will do the final book in the series justice and because regardless of how many new books may be waiting for your attention, the urge to go back to the start is just too strong.

Since this is a re-read I’m not going to do a proper review again. If you’re interested in my thoughts on this book you can have a look at the original review. And, if you do, you’ll notice that my grade for the book today is slightly higher than it was the first time around. That is because back then I read the book too fast. I got so caught up in the story, so desperate to find out how it would end that I missed a lot of the detail and beauty I did catch this time. And yet, although this was a re-read I still had to force myself to take it slow. The urge to rush on, an urge created by the tension in the story and my connection to the characters, was (almost) as strong as it was the first time, even if I knew how the story was going to end.

So, no proper review this time; instead I’m going to share some of my favourite quotes from this book; sentences that touched me, described feelings I recognised or just blew me away with their beauty.  I may include some stray thoughts here and there when I feel like it, but apart from the blurb above I probably won’t say a whole lot about the story, except that it is brilliant and even more so on re-reading.

There were times that I wanted to kick myself while reading this book again. How did I not realise that “The Angel” was about Mick. The clue is in The Siren. I know it is only one sentence but when Nora says to Michael “You are, angel” that’s your hint, right there! Of course, my big fear is that I have yet again managed to miss clues and hints; my big fear and yet something I’m almost sure about.

Chapter Two, Nora makes her entrance and a grin appears on my face. A grin that grows wider whenever she opens her mouth and refuses to completely disappear, even after I put the book down. Except of course, for those moments when she managed to break my heart and I found myself with tears in my eyes. But that is Nora for you:

“You told me to stop writing what I knew and start writing what I wanted to know. I want to know…you.” (Nora to Zach)

“Sophocles’s House of Patricide and Incest, Nora answered. How may I blind you?”

“I sin boldly” – Nora.

“I blew you. You liked it. Get over it.”

“He’s the only man who never hurt me.” Nora about Søren.

“The most familiar darkness…her darkness…she was home.”

 Or, as Søren would put it:

How easily you forgive, Eleanor. How freely you absolve the sins of others. Tell me, little one, when the time comes, how will you absolve yours?”


“Eleanor, there are suicide bombers on the Gaza Strip who are less dangerous than you are.”

Because this book takes you on an emotional roller-coaster ride the likes of which you rarely experience in fiction. Laugh out loud to cry out loud may only take a paragraph, smiles turn into frowns and back again and through it all complete and utter awe. Awe at the mastery of Tiffany Reisz’ words, the vividness of her characters, the realness of her world. A world I’ve all but lost myself in. But who can blame me when you’re confronted by writing like this:

“He kissed her like her mouth was his mouth, her lips were his lips, her tongue was his tongue. They were one flesh.”

“When Søren touched her she became his. When Wesley touched her, she became herself.”

“We can only sacrifice so much of ourselves in a relationship before there’s nothing left to love or be loved.” (This quote made me think and be eternally grateful for reasons I won’t go into here.)

“Broken love is the most dangerous love. It will slice you open with every touch.”

And for what is probably the best sentence in this book:

“There are only two reasons why you leave someone you’re still in love with – either it’s the right thing to do, or it’s the only thing to do.”

Since I first read “The Siren”, I’ve read “The Angel” and “The Prince” as well as all available short stories about the Original Sinners. I can’t begin to explain how much my reading experience was enhanced by the fact that I knew all the characters better than I had that first time. In fact, it’s a bit like having sex; it only improves as you get to know each other better.

I have seen this book described as “literary smut”, and I couldn’t agree more except that the word “smut” doesn’t seem to encompass enough to describe this book. But, if the Dutch can have “literary thriller” as an established genre I don’t know why we can’t have “literary smut” as well. And while we’re at it, I suggest we make Tiffany Reisz its Mistress.

And on that note I think my non-review is long enough. I could have gone on endlessly with my quotes. I’ve got at least another fifteen that I would love to share. But that defeats the purpose of this piece. If you haven’t gotten the message yet that this is a brilliant book, you never will. And that would be your loss. Books/series this good are few and far between; don’t deprive yourself. Buy them, read them and love them!

“You’re beautiful enough and wild enough that you make me think things I never thought I would think again and feel things I didn’t think I’d feel again. And you make me afraid I’ll start forgetting things I don’t ever want to forget.” Zach to Nora

Tuesday, 18 June 2013


Pages: 199
Date: 18/06/2013
Grade: 5

Flashback to me as a teenager. I’m not sure why but one day I suddenly find myself interested in the books that have been on the shelf over my parent’s bed for as long as I can remember and take a closer look at one of them because the title is somewhat intriguing; Story of O. It has been too many years since I was that young for me to have any clear memories of the story or exactly what I thought and felt while reading it. In fact, it is safe to say that there was a long time during which that title completely slipped my mind. But there were a few pictures that stayed with me as the decades went by; a few scenes that turned into personal fantasies even though my fascination with these books was rather short lived.

Flash forward to the phenomena that was/is Fifty Shades of Grey. Once again curiosity gets the better of me. I read the trilogy and find that I’m thoroughly enjoying my re-introduction in to the world of erotica. And, since I realise that there have to be better written books out there,  find myself looking for, finding and devouring books by a host of authors in several sub-genres. Some of these books were so bad they made me want to cry, some appeared to be almost carbon copies of the E.L. James books (if I see another billionaire I’ll have a fit) and yet other books enthralled me.

Reading erotica also got me reading about the genre and it wasn’t long before one thing became very clear; modern erotic fiction and especially the BDSM themed variety seems to owe a debt of gratitude or inspiration to two authors in particular: Anne Rice and Pauline Réage. So I read the Sleeping Beauty books by Anne Rice (writing as A.N. Roquelaure) and her Exit to Eden (writing as Anne Rampling) and discovered that an erotic theme doesn’t exclude wonderful writing.

And so I found myself left with Pauline Réage’s “Story of O”. I found it, I bought it and now I’ve read it (again). Here are my thoughts:

Actually, before I get into the story of O I have to say that I’m quite surprised (shocked even?) that my younger self accepted this book without question. In a way it makes me re-evaluate my memories of that teenager.

This book is extreme. I don’t mean extreme as in “could never happen in real life” since I have little to no idea as to what does and doesn’t happen in real life. No, what I mean is that this book is extreme compared to everything else I have read. And, unlike the Sleeping Beauty books by Anne Rice, this story doesn’t have the “excuse” that it is actually a fairytale to make its extremes easier to deal with. In fact, this book is written in such a way that it would be quite easy to believe that it is a fictionalised version of real life experiences, a collection of letters or even an adaptation of somebody’s private diary.

This is the story of O, a young Parisian photographer who is brought to the château of Roissy by her lover René for whom she would do anything; to prove her love for him, to increase and sustain his love for her. In the Château O is stripped of her normal clothes and exposed to men and their desires, whatever they may be, from the very first moment. Talk is forbidden. The only sounds allowed are those produced as a result of the ministrations from the men in the chateau; moans, groans, screams… Not a single word though; not to the men who command her and neither to or from the women who share her faith.  On the morning after she’s been brought to Roissy O thinks:

“She did not wish to die, but if torture was the price she had to pay to keep her lover’s love, then she only hoped that he was pleased that she had endured it.”

It isn’t long though before O discovers that rather than endure and hate her experience at the Chateau for the sake of love, she finds something else, something more as a result of being used, chained, whipped and opened up:

“The chains and the silence, which should have bound her deep within herself, which should have smothered her, strangled her, on the contrary freed her from herself.”

Once her training is finished and she is back home she finds that she has changed beyond recognition.

“She was no longer wearing either a collar or leather bracelets, and she was alone, her own sole spectator. And yet never had she felt herself more totally committed to a will which was not her own, more totally a slave, and more content to be so.”

When her lover informs O that he intends to share her with Sir Stephen and commit one part of her anatomy exclusively to this older man, provided she consents to the idea, the young woman discovers that it was much easier to submit when she felt as if she didn’t have a choice in the matter than it is to verbally agree to it.

“… she loathed her freedom. Her freedom was worse than any chains.”

But submitting to Sir Stephen propels O along on her path to total submission. Branded and chained as his property O eventually comes to the realisation that the satisfaction she achieves has nothing to do with wanting to please René or even Sir Stephen. It has become and maybe always has been a need she has in and of itself.

“O had never really understood, but she had finally come to accept as an undeniable and important verity, this constant and contradictory jumble of her emotions: she liked the idea of torture, but when she was being tortured herself she would have betrayed the whole word to escape it, and yet when it was over she was happy to have gone through it, happier still if it had be especially cruel and prolonged.”

The book ends on a scene in which O is little more than a faceless object to be viewed, touched and made use of.

This book is nothing like the more modern BDSM stories I have read. Whereas most recently published stories will ease new submissives into their role, warming them up, preparing them for whatever they are about to experience there is no such restraint in this story. From the very first moment O is introduced to her new environment she is exposed to the full force of whatever her Masters wish to inflict upon her.  Safe-words are not available to O; they are never mentioned nor used.  There is no mention of the words “safe, sane and consensual”. And while it has to be said that Sir Stephen and Rene do expect O to consent to any new form of submission they invent for her, it is a form of consent that is almost involuntary.

“…she could refuse, nothing was keeping her enslaved except her love and her self-enslavement.”

This isn’t a romance with a kinky edge. I can’t make up my mind about the ending of this book and am unable to describe it as either happy or sad. In fact, it seems that this book was published without either of its two original endings. And maybe that is how it should be. O has achieved that which she learned to aspire to; she belongs to Sir Stephen, to do with as he pleases. She has given herself to him so completely that she watches herself and those around her from a distance. She has been completely objectified and views herself as such without judgment.

This is a shocking story; a book that stretches the reader well beyond their comfort zone. In fact my feelings seemed to mirror O’s a lot of the time. Just when I thought things had surely gone far enough, that I couldn’t bear to see any further humiliation inflicted upon this character, I found that indeed I could, and what is more, wanted to. The writing is distant, analytical as if the narrator is completely removed from what is happening on the page. And yet, that same narrator seems to know an awful lot about what O is going through and her feelings about, and reactions to everything she’s subjected to. And I can’t help feeling that the emotions described on these pages, all the conflicting thoughts and feelings O is confronted with describe the dual emotional reactions that must be part of the path to true submission better than anything I’ve read before.

Sunday, 16 June 2013


I’ve been doing it all my life. Well, I’ve been doing it for as long as I can remember and certainly for as long as I’ve been reading books.

You’ve heard it said: “get lost in a good book” and that is something I’ve always been very good at. But, I tend to take it one step further. Not only do I get lost in a good book, I also allow the story and its characters to take over my thoughts and dreams. A much younger version of me was out in the world fighting evil witches with a boy named Jeroen and his Silver Key.  Never mind that some of the books didn’t have female protagonists. I joined Winnetou and Old Shatterhand on their adventures in the Wild West. And, more recently, I found myself travelling back in time to join Claire and Jamie in Scotland during the rising against the English. In my imagination I was in the story, part of it and in my mind the story would continue, long after the book had finished.

 I’ve got a feeling though that this is quite normal. I can’t imagine that I’m the only reader to get that caught up in the story and the characters provided by a good book. It is only recently that my imagination and my real life appear to be merging. And I blame the internet in general and Twitter specifically.

When I first read The Siren, the first of the Original Sinners books by Tiffany Reisz I was blown away by the story and the way in which it was written. But my fascination went a lot further. I could see and hear the characters inside my head. Things they had said or done in the story would jump into my mind, almost uninvited, several times during the day. I was thinking about them before I went to sleep and found them still present in my mind when I woke up the next morning – and boy do I wish I remembered my dreams with more clarity because I’m sure they featured there as well -. Still, this wasn’t too different from the relationship I have had with my favourite characters for as long as I can remember.  

Things got out of hand when I discovered the Original Sinners Role Play on Twitter. Suddenly these characters that I had come to love were no longer confined to the pages of a book or even my imagination. Here they were (and still are) tweeting on my time-line, interacting with each other and sometimes even with me in real life and real time. And suddenly I find that occasionally I have to remind myself that I’m following and interacting with fictional characters as portrayed by people who are fans of the books, just like me.

I’m checking the shelves in the library where I work and I can’t help thinking that Daniel would approve. I see a priest – and since I live in Ireland that happens often enough – and my mind starts wondering what he would make of Søren or if he even… Obsessed? Me? What makes you say that?
I find myself on Twitter, caught up in one of the wonderful, hot and at times heartbreaking scenes and realising that for several minutes I’ve completely forgotten that what I’m following is make-belief. These characters have taken on a real existence in my mind, real lives in my world and real power to affect my moods.

The only person to “blame” for my imagination going into overdrive is of course Tiffany Reisz. She has brought me, and thousands of other fans, characters with real personalities. She’s provided her readers with enough details about all of her principle characters to make them as real as any fictional character can ever hope to be.

And it gets worse. I mean it is one thing imagining characters are living and breathing beings you might actually meet some day. But recently fact and fiction are starting to merge for me; in my mind Tiffany the author and Nora her incredible creation are turning into one and the same person.

And so I find myself worried when Daniel and his Anya appear to have problems, delighted when Griffin and Mick resolve their difficulties and holding my breath when Kingsley has to teach Daniel a valuable lesson about being a Dom. 

If a role-play story line plays out over several days I find myself rushing back to my computer whenever I come home, desperate to find out how things are developing. And in the back of my mind is this impossible to suppress thought that maybe, just maybe I will be lucky enough to meet these characters one day. Then real life will demand my attention and I once again realise that I’m obsessing about fictional characters playing out fictional scenarios. That won’t stop me from falling in the same trap again when the next gripping role-play scene comes along though. And I won’t even get started about the fact that it is getting harder and harder for me to remember that Tiffany Reisz and Nora Sutherlin are not the same person.

So, here I am; a grown woman with difficulties distinguishing between fact and fiction. No, it is not a problem. I see it as a rather pleasurable quirk of mine. And since Tiffany Reisz has announced that she will continue writing about the Sinners for as long as she is alive it is a quirk that I will happily indulge in for the foreseeable future. There have to be worse ways of fooling yourself.


Pages: 40
Date: 16/06/2013
Grade: 5-
Details: An Inside Out Story
              Received from the author
Own / Kindle

Before I say anything else I have to point out the following. This novella is part of a series and it is very important that it is not read out of order. This book should not be read before “Being Me” since it is one big spoiler for things that are revealed in that story. If you have any doubts about the reading order please visit the Lisa Renee Jones’ website and have a look there or have a close look at the following graphic (which I found on the author's Facebook page):

I’m sure I read somewhere that Lisa Renee Jones is planning (already writing?) a full-length novel from Mark Comptom’s point of view. And, if I’m honest, I wasn’t sure how I felt about that. I wasn’t overly charmed by our Master from what I read in “If I Were You”, Rebecca’s lost journals and “Being Me” and wasn’t sure if there was anything the author could do to make me interested in his story.

Oh me of little faith. I should of course have known better. If all the previous Inside Out books and stories have proved anything, it is that Lisa Renee Jones writes wonderful stories around fascinating characters. The 40 pages in this way too short novella have made a convert out of me. I can’t wait to read more about this man, his past, his secrets and whether or not this woman he’s just met will be able to break through the walls he has so efficiently erected around his heart.

Mark Comptom, the Master, is not having an easy time of it. He’s made a few mistakes in the past. Mistakes for which he has paid a price but somebody else paid a much higher one, and now he is travelling to be with his mother who has been diagnosed with cancer. For a long time now Mark has been living his life convinced that he was in control; of himself, of his life and of those close to him. Now he finds himself wondering whether or not he still has that control; if he ever had it to begin with. He may no longer be sure who or what exactly he is but there is one thing Mark is very sure of; never again will he allow anybody to get close enough to him to put them at risk of being hurt by him.

Good intentions are all very well in theory; reality is often very different. When Mark meets Crystal Smith who works for Riptide in New York he finds himself dealing with reactions and emotions that are quite new to him.

Crystal Smith is the complete opposite of the sort of woman Mark usually finds himself attracted to; blond, assertive, independent and without a submissive bone in her body, she shouldn’t affect him at all. And yet:

“She’s everything I don’t like in a woman, and yet I can’t take my eyes of her.”


“Yes – starving. I’m starving. For her.”

And Crystal is able to see right through him. She recognises things in Mark others never see because he doesn’t allow them to be visible. Both of them know that they shouldn’t get too close because they are just too similar.

“I’m a control freak, she readily admits. You’re a control freak. We’d be like two bulls after the same red scarf.”

But sometimes knowing the right thing to do and doing it are two very different things:

“I’m lost in her, in kissing her, in touching her, and I can feel how lost she is, too.”

For once, Mark finds himself in an encounter that is not completely in his hands:

“You can fuck me Mark, but you don’t get to control me.”

It may be due to his defences being low because of all the pain and fear that have recently entered his life, but for once it would seem that our Master has found his match:

“She’s real to me in a way no one else has felt in too long.”

I can’t wait to see how this story is going to develop. Without a doubt there will be fireworks involved.

Saturday, 15 June 2013


Pages: 433
Date: 15/06/2013
Grade: 4+
Details: no. 2 Pleasures
               Received from Penguin
               Through Nudge

Summer O’Sullivan. It is a name and face most people know from the scandalous headlines in the tabloids. With one broken engagement behind her, the daughter of a self-made and very rich airline owner is known for her outrageous exploits and scandalous adventures. But, it would appear that she is in danger and when her father has to travel from London to America for a month and Summer refuses to spend that time with her grandmother in Ireland, he decides to hire a body-guard to keep her safe. To say that Summer is less than impressed with this idea would be an understatement and she manages to get rid of several hired minders within little or no time.

Enter Flynn Grant, a former Army Ranger with little patience for spoiled little rich girls. Summer’s tricks won’t work with him. He may not like the job, but since he has been hired to keep this girl safe that is exactly what he will do. And what is more, he will do it on his terms; Summer will just have to get used to following orders.

Unsurprisingly it is a major culture clash when these two characters meet, but despite the anger and exasperation they ignite in each other there is no denying the attraction between Summer and Flynn. When Summer goes a bit too far while satisfying her curiosity it is only Flynn’s timely arrival that prevents her from ending up in a situation she was completely unprepared for. Flynn however is furious and this anger combined with the attraction he has been feeling leads to a night that more than answers Summer’s curious questions and gives them both something to think about.

A month in a remote Scottish hiding-place takes Summer completely out of her comfort-zone and gives both her and Flynn the opportunity to discover sides of each other that they never expected. Flynn may be on a mission and getting intimate with his principle may be against all his rules but when the attraction is this strong and the location this isolated it is almost impossible not to give in to the sexual tension.

When the threat against Summer finally catches up with her it will take a heroic effort from Flynn as well as everything she has learned in her month in the middle of nowhere to ensure her survival. But even that may not be enough to ensure their happily ever after.

I enjoyed this book. It is well written and Summer and Flynn are exciting characters to read about. Not to mention that the attraction between them and the way they handle it make this one steamy read. But, this is much more than a work of erotic fiction. There is a real sense of danger all through this story. The erotic scenes alternate nicely with those that explore the rest of Summer and Flynn’s relationship and the thriller-like aspects of this book.

I liked that there was so much more to Summer’s character than the flighty, spoiled young heiress we meet in the first few chapters. It was wonderful to see her grow into herself and really develop. Flynn goes through some changes as well, although his are less pronounced. I also enjoyed the brief reference to Jack Winter and Abbie Marshall from “The Pleasures of Winter”. Although these books are definitely stand-alone stories the mention of Jack and Abbie’s upcoming wedding brings a little bit of continuity to this series of books without creating the need to read them in order.

And this is one hot read. With Flynn being a Dominant with a lot of experience when it comes to BDSM and Summer being curious about the life-style, there is a lot of room for a good dose of steamy action. As it is I would call this BDSM-light. There is some bondage and quite a bit of spanking but it never gets so heavy that it might leave the reader uncomfortable. Having said that, I have to admit that I was surprised as well as intrigued by the alternative uses that were found for both Alka-Seltzer and tiger balm in this story. Who knew?

There were a few things in this book I was less than charmed with.  First of all, I had the identity of the threat to Summer identified as soon as they made their first appearance in the story. Also, I did get a bit fed up with the way in which both Summer and Flynn kept on going backwards and forwards as far as their feelings were concerned. And finally, I wasn’t convinced that this book needed the addition of Flynn’s former submissive and her upcoming marriage to his brother. Having said that, these were minor issues for me and didn’t stop me from thoroughly enjoying this book. Because this is a fun, tension filled and a very sexy romance, sure to give its reader hours of entertainment.

Size: 218KB
Date: 15/06/2013
Grade: 4+
Details:  no. 2.5 Pleasures
             Companion read to “The Pleasures of Summer”
Own / Kindle

Chronologically, this story is set in the middle of “The Pleasures of Summer” and takes place during the time Summer and Flynn spend in the Scottish highlands.

Finding themselves in the middle of nowhere with little to keep them occupied except the sexual attraction between them – an attraction Flynn is determined not to give in to – Summer and her bodyguard desperately need a diversion. An opportunity arises when it transpires that some of Flynn’s colleagues are involved in war-games with other groups of special forces on a deserted Island off the Scottish coast. While Flynn sees this weekend as a welcome diversion for the two of them, Summer treats it as a second opportunity to launch operation “Defeat the bodyguard”.

“Consequences. She liked the sound of those. The ones following her escapade in London had been spectacular, to say the least.”

But, best laid plains being what they are, their days away with the army don’t work out quite the way either Flynn or Summer has hoped. While Flynn discovers that even participating in war-games won’t kill his attraction to Summer, she finds out that maybe getting rid of Flynn isn’t her first priority after all.

This was a short but very nice addition to The Pleasures of Summer. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if this was a discarded chapter, published as a short story, although I may well be wrong about that. Having said that, this story could easily be read on its own strength. I’m not sure I’d advise anyone to do that though. I’m convinced this story is more enjoyable if you are familiar with what has happened to get these characters to this place. On the other hand, if you need convincing before purchasing “The Pleasures of Summer”, do read this story; it will leave you yearning for more. And more is exactly what the main book will give you.

Tuesday, 11 June 2013


Pages: 336
Date: 11/06/2013
Grade: 5-
Details: Inside Out Trilogy no. 2
             Received from the author/publisher
              Through NetGalley
Own / Kindle

From the author’s website:

“Fascinated by the dark fantasies in the journals she’s discovered, and the two men who have now found a place in her life, Sara McMillan finds herself torn between her new life and her past. Now, more than ever, Sara identifies with the missing journal writer, Rebecca, and is certain that something sinister has happened.

In the arms of the sexy, tormented artist Chris Merit, Sara seeks answers about Rebecca and ends up discovering things about herself she never knew existed. Chris forces Sara to reconsider who she is and what she truly wants from life, but his dark desires threaten to tear them apart. Her boss, Mark Compton, offers her the shelter to understand just what those needs mean to her, and what they might have meant to Rebeccabut can she trust him to lead her to a final conclusion to Rebecca’s story?”

This story starts exactly where “If I Were You” ended. Sara is on her own in the storage unit, looking for new clues as to where the missing Rebecca might be when the lights go out and she hears sounds she can’t identify as well as footsteps getting closer… And so the reader is immediately back in the middle tension that pushes the Inside Out story along. And boy, is there a lot of tension; there is the continuing mystery of where Rebecca is and what may have happened to her, the added worry about Sara’s friend and colleague Ella who can’t be reached and, of course, Sara’s difficult relationship with the two dominant men in her life: Chris, her lover and Mark, her boss.

If I’m honest I have to admit that at times all that tension was almost a bit too much. I mean, I did love all the individual story-lines. I was intrigued with the mystery surrounding Rebecca and fascinated by the push and pull between Sara and Chris.

“Sara, he murmurs when I answer, and my name is a soft rasp of silky male perfection that radiates through me and settles in the deep hollow of my soul only he seems to fill.”

The added mystery involving Ella failed to convince me in this book, but I’ve got a sneaky suspicion that this particular thread will come into full bloom in “Revealing Us”, the third book.

Sara and Chris; if it is possible for two people to fully belong together yet at the same time be completely wrong for each other, than it is these two characters. Stories about characters who refuse to share their secrets with each other yet profess to need and love each other always tend to upset me, simply because I can’t imagine wanting to be with anyone I didn’t trust enough to share my past with or didn’t trust me enough to share theirs. If ever there was a red flag when it comes to relationships… 

“…Chris, a man I know will consume me, perhaps destroy me, but right now he feels as if he is saving me.”

On the other hand, I can’t deny that their wish to be together despite their better judgment telling them to stay apart, regardless of the emotional risks involved did make this story almost unputdownable.  And since Chris and Sara seem to end every single conflict between them in a sexual way, the constant tension between them did make this a scorcher of a read.

“Because if you want me to fuck you, I’ll fuck you until you can’t remember your damn name and you never forget mine.” 

It is not as if these two don’t feel a pressing need to be together. They both want to believe that the other is all they need. That they can overcome past issues and future difficulties through the strength of their feelings for each other.

 “If I need to get lost, I’ll get lost in you.” (Chris)

But time and again life throws obstacles in their way, showing them that no matter how much they love each other and regardless of how desperately they want and need to be together, it is quite possible that love may not be enough.

 I’ve always known we were two puzzle pieces that fit together in a hollow that is our pain.

But what if those hollows are just too big?

When Sara is forced into a situation where she has to share her shameful past with Chris she finds the disclosure doesn’t send him running. With Chris she thinks she can be herself and still be good enough:

“I don’t try to be someone else with Chris, as I have with other men in my life. I’m rediscovering myself, or perhaps finding myself for the first time every.”

But her hope that he will in turn open up to her and allow her to share his pain and secrets, is not fulfilled. Chris remains convinced that she won’t be able to deal with all that he has been and still is. Whether or not Sara will ever be able to convince him that she can, remains to be seen.

But, while the future of the relationship between these two is still open-ended, some other mysteries are solved in this book. We do find out who Rebecca’s mysterious Master is and what has happened to her. Of course that is something I can’t reveal here without spoiling the story but I will say it came as a bit of a shock to me. We also find out more about Sara’s past and get a much better insight into who Chris is. All of this was very satisfying and although there were one or two shocking surprises, it all made perfect sense in the context of the story so far.

Overall I have to say that I greatly enjoyed reading this book. Yes, I did get a bit exasperated with Sara switching from being convinced she could handle Chris and their relationship because she loves him to being sure that they could never be together because of all the dark secrets, about every other page, but that continued tension was also one of the reasons I kept on turning the pages. This book is one, endless, emotional roller-coaster sweeping the reader up on a ride filled with highs and lows that will keep them engrossed until the very last page and then leave them begging for more.

So now there is one more installment in Rebecca’s Lost Journals – “The Master Undone” - to look forward to in August and the final book in the trilogy – “Revealing Us” – coming out in September. And although I’m grateful that I won’t have to wait a year for the conclusion of this story and can’t wait to see how all of this will end, a small part of me is sorry that this particular reading journey will end within about three months.