Tag Archives: 3.5 stars

Review: Committed by Sidney Bristol

Committed: Drug of DesireCommitted: Drug of Desire by Sidney Bristol

My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

A copy of this book was provided by the publisher for an honest review at The Romance Evangelist.

COMMITTED is the first book in Sidney Bristol’s new Loveswept romance series featuring couples who find love at a private BDSM retreat known as House Surrender. This first book pairs up an obsessed DEA agent looking to bring down a dangerous drug kingpin and a high school librarian still learning to be a fully independent adult after being raised in a closely guarded commune where her immediate family still lives without her.

When Damien Moana first spots Poppy Mercer musing over a romance novel while sprawled invitingly across a sofa in the House Surrender library, it’s all he can do not to immediately make her his, even after she informs him she’s a switch, not a submissive. After they engage in a BDSM scene more intense that either has ever experienced, Damien receives a message about a new chance to capture an elusive drug lord, and chooses his quest over Poppy, leaving her angry and vowing to forget him and that night. But Damien can’t forget Poppy, tracking her down only a few weeks later and eventually convincing her to continue exploring their mutual attraction in a Dominant/submissive relationship. What follows in COMMITTED is a passionate romance between two people who must prevail over the external forces conspiring to keep them apart, not the least of which is a sociopathic criminal bent on revenge against the man he blames for the death of his wife.

Damien and Poppy were what I loved the most about COMMITTED, and every moment they were together, both in and out of the bedroom, was when I was completely happy with the story. Their sexual chemistry is both compelling and convincing, and it never wavered for me even when Poppy was finally able to turn the tables and exercise her switch option on Damien in public. I would have been blissfully happy if the book focused entirely on their romance without the added distraction of the menacing drug lord and Poppy’s severely misguided hippie mother, but that’s not what was meant to be.

For COMMITTED is a romantic suspense story with a significant amount of the plot devoted to the object of Damien’s relentless pursuit lurking around every corner, and every scene foreshadowing his inevitable attempt to get to Damien through Poppy kept drawing my attention away from the romance. I understand the need to show exactly why Damien had been so intent on getting the evil drug lord off the streets for good. I also acknowledge that being resentful of anything not related to the actual romance is a problem I have with romantic suspense not necessarily shared by other readers. But the constant focus on the evil drug lord affected my enjoyment of COMMITTED to the point that I began skimming through any scenes not directly related to the romance. Then when the peril did find Poppy as predicted, what happened next seemed so drawn out to me that I wondered when we’d ever get to their happy ending. As a fan of epilogues, I was pleased to have one here, although it was somewhat jarring to have Poppy’s months of recovery only referred to in passing when we’d previously had to see her suffer in such exacting detail. But after all they’d both been through, it was gratifying to see Poppy and Damien come out whole on the other side, and it was their romantic journey that made COMMITTED work for me.

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Intimidator (Preyfinders #2) by Cari Silverwood

Intimidator (Preyfinders, #2)Intimidator by Cari Silverwood
My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

3.5 stars

A copy of this book was provided by the author for an honest review at Night Owl Reviews

Although I enjoyed the Precious Sacrifice novella, I was less taken with this sequel. I enjoyed the premise of how a Preyfinder acquires his target, and the backstory of how Willow and Ally came to be near-recluses in their grandmother’s house in the middle of a neighborhood they both should have left behind years before. But the level of violence was quite a bit higher in Intimidator than it was in the previous story, most likely due to the comparably greater length, and I don’t have a particularly strong stomach for such things. The scenes with the alien enemy’s “nerve chewers” were especially distasteful for me, and I actually forced myself to skim through them, as much as I hated missing out on likely important plot points, especially near the end of the book. But if you have a greater tolerance for this type of thing, then it shouldn’t affect your appreciation of Intimidator. It will be interesting to see where this series goes next. I wonder how long the inevitable story between Talia and Brask will be teased out, or if they’ll finally get their own story in the next book.

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Early Review: Ivan’s Captive Submissive by Ann Mayburn

Ivan's Captive Submissive (Submissive's Wish, #1)Ivan’s Captive Submissive by Ann Mayburn

My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

Full disclosure: I have met Ann Mayburn in real life and she is just as nice a person as you could hope to know. I’ve read most of her backlist and consider myself a big fan.

A copy of this book was provided by the publisher for an honest review.

“Ivan’s Captive Submissive” is the first in the new “Submissive’s Wish” series by Ann Mayburn and if this story is any indication, readers who love BDSM romance are in for a real treat. Submissive auctions aren’t a new idea, but the details of how the Submissive’s Wish Charity Auction works puts a new twist on the tried and true setup by adding a philanthropic facet to the outcome. Each submissive is still “sold” for outrageous sums to thoroughly vetted Masters and Mistresses, but the bulk of the money goes to the submissive’s charity of choice, with a fractional remainder paid out to the submissive once the week of service has been completed.

Gia Lopez has worked hard for the small measure of success she’s earned in spite of her humble beginnings and family heartbreak. Being able to raise a huge amount of money for herself and her local pet shelter while getting a week with a real live Master seems like the opportunity of a lifetime for her. She has been carefully trained as a submissive by a skilled married couple but this would be her first real world experience serving her own Master. But would anyone actually bid on a newly trained submissive with a wicked temper and a desire for forced seduction?

Ivan is the mysterious and handsome Dom who wins Gia’s service for a week with an extraordinarily large bid. As we eventually learn, Ivan can easily afford that and anything else Gia might desire, including an elaborate staging of what Gia believes is a real kidnapping but is really just Ivan’s attempt to give her the fantasy she’d said she really wanted. Can any true relationship, even a D/s one, really be forged out of such a traumatic beginning? Or is Gia fooling herself that Ivan thinks of her as something more than a temporary amusement?

One of the things Ann Mayburn does best is write a scene between a Dom/me and a submissive that is both incendiary and intense. Even when Ivan is pretending to be Gia’s kidnapper instead of the Master who bought her, he is still a fascinating and irresistible character, one that any woman would want to dominate her if she were so inclined. GIa’s mind may insist at first that she’s just experiencing Stockholm Syndrome but her body is completely on board for wherever this ride will take her. Ivan and Gia’s intimate scenes together only become more impassioned after the kidnapping ruse is abandoned and they start forming a more tender bond with one another. This emotional bonding between the hero and heroine is what I’ve come to expect as a regular reader of Ann Mayburn’s books and “Ivan’s Captive Submissive” did not disappoint in that category.

There were, however, a few issues I had with the story that were troubling enough to keep me from giving it a higher rating. The main problem I had was with Gia herself. We’re told that she has a quick temper and we definitely see that excitability in play several times throughout the book. High spirits are one thing, but for me it seemed that she was always looking for something to be offended or angry about. While that worked well in a remarkable scene where she lays direct claim to Ivan in front of other submissives who would dare attempt to touch him in front of her, Gia’s tendency to snap was especially problematic for me in the penultimate scene of the book.

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I was also concerned that Gia really didn’t know all that much about Ivan, other than that he was incredibly wealthy and had a large extended family in the immediate Moscow area. We the readers are told that Ivan has family connections with both the Russian underworld and spy agencies, but it wasn’t until nearly the end of the book before Gia indicates that she even knows his last name. Gia’s worries about committing herself to this man are more than understandable and I was relieved that the book ended with a Happy For Now, because neither of them is quite ready for anything beyond that yet.

Those issues aside, I did enjoy reading “Ivan’s Captive Submissive” and will definitely be reading the next book in the series. Ann Mayburn always writes heroes that make me swoon and I can’t wait to meet the next winning bidder at the Submissive’s Wish Charity Auction.

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Review: Man Hungry by Sabrina York

Man HungryMan Hungry by Sabrina York

A copy of this book was provided by the publisher for an honest review at NightOwlReviews.com

The full text of this review is available at Night Owl Reviews: Man Hungry by Sabrina York

What I loved most about “Man Hungry” was the initial setup of how the hero and heroine met in the bar and had their preconceptions about each other blown out of the water. What I did not love was the fact that they only used a condom on their first night and never again thereafter without even any claims of being “clean” or use of an alternate method of birth control. I was also put off when Justin’s reaction to Jessica’s reassurance that this was her first one night stand was visible relief, especially when he was the one who had pushed for her to go home with him that first night. But overall I did enjoy “Man Hungry” and will definitely be reading more of Sabrina York’s work in the future.

3.5 stars

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