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text 2016-06-23 17:41
Tantalized by Nenia Campbell
Tantalized - Nenia Campbell
In some ways, blow jobs are better than sex because when you have a mouthful of cock you can't make snide comments.


This is a review without a rating, because I honestly have no idea how to rate it. At times I loved it, at others I hated it. In the end, after putting it down and elaborating on how it mad me feel, I'm no closer to setting a rating on in. Let me explain.

Tantalized starts with Jessica being shipped off to college; a decision her parents made for her. Jessica is suicidal and has periods of depression, but she's also angry at the world in general. She does what she has to: sign up for classes and attends (some of) them, but she does it grudgingly. When she meets Alexander - one of her professor - he opens up a new world for Jessica. A dark and sexual world where she is able to explore herself and what she wants.

I had the same problem with Tantalize as I've had with my recent readings: it's unclear what the purpose of the story is. Is it about mental illness? BDSM(ish)? Dark erotica? I just don't know. Sometimes spanning across genres is a good thing, in this case, I'm not so sure. Personally, I felt it caused some of the tension go away.

On the other hand, Jessica is such a well written character - complex and intriguing. She's also one of the rudest people I've had the pleasure of reading about. Yeah, pleasure. Because she's well written and you felt her pain and anger as had it been your own. The only flaw is the underlying reasons for her mental illness; there is none. Not one that is brought into light anyhow, and that was a big thorn that kept nagging me throughout the story.

The way Tantalized is structured also brings questions to mind. It's clearly not a romance, but the other main character (Alexander) isn't in the book - in person at least - until nearly a third in. Is he a major character? Or is he something akin to a plot device for Jessica to use? He does play a part in the story, but he isn't nearly as complex as the heroine herself. Was I supposed to care for him or was I supposed to hate him? Was I supposed to care for him at all, in any way? I just don't know.

The writing, however, is wonderful. A delight to read (as Campbell's writing often is). Perhaps all these questions were intentionally not answered. I just don't know. Despite them, I did enjoy Tantalized. But I also disliked it. Normally that would warrant a three star rating, but I just don't know.It's a complex story that can't be pinned down to a single rating. Meaning: read it and decide for yourself.

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review 2016-05-19 01:06
That ending though
Cease and Desist (The IMA Book 4) - Nenia Campbell

All lines are gray in the dark.

 

The fourth and final book in the IMA series, Cease and Desist continues the story of Michael and Christina. If you read the first in the series, you'll know that our couple had a bit of a dubious start; Michael kidnapped Christina. Through the books they have quite the journey, hate, love, death, violence, sacrifice, and turmoil. While this book carries forward the action plot with Christina and Michael still battling against the IMA and namely a sadistic truly vile villain Adrian Callaghan, the purpose seemed to be addressing the themes presented throughout the series and Christina psychoanalyzing her own emotions and actions.    

 

I loved Michael, and I wasn't quite sure why because he gave me so little recourse in this twisted excuse of a relationship. Was it because I wanted to fix him, or because the sex was good? Was it years of Catholic repression rearing its head, or was it because he had loved me first, and I loved the idea of being loved more than I actually loved the man? 

 

Chiefly, Christina explores how, why, should, and if she loves Michael. The book almost felt sort of meta for me at times with it feeling like the author was searching through her characters why she wrote them the way she did. As this is the last in the series, I didn't mind all the introspective insights and delving and as this series as a whole had me questioning the same things Christina did, I was able to analyze my own thoughts and feelings along with her. It gave the book a different tone from the rest but still had the action. Action that will not be for the average reader as it involves sex slaves, torture, and rape. I said in my review from the first book that the author goes there (way there in this story) but not sure she should have. Same feelings in this case, although, it felt less shock value this time and more like, here's an unflinching story about the dregs of society. 

 

The ending? It's a cliffhanger and challenging happily ever after all rolled into one; if you don't like ambiguity or open-ended finishes, you're going to want to stay away. My first response was to yell a "NO!" and then "oh come on, that can't be the ending!". After thinking about it though, it works for me. My thought on the ending, (seriously, don't read if you are going to read the series or book, it will ruin the ending for you)

I think Michael is dead and it's a trap for Christina. No way he survived, it seems too far-fetched and I bet Angelica was the mole. I guess I'm not as romantic as I thought since I think this, lol.

(spoiler show)

 

If you want to muck around in the grays, challenge and contemplate your views on right, wrong, and love, then this series would be an interesting one to take on.

 

*This book can't be read as a standalone, you need to start from the beginning.

  

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text 2016-05-18 02:59
Reading Update: 20%
Cease and Desist (The IMA Book 4) - Nenia Campbell

“You want to rip my panties off.”

She said it in a low voice. The only suggestion of her embarrassment was a whisper of color tinging in her cheekbones. “Yes,” I growled.

“That's going to be a problem.”

I didn't back away. “Why?”

She crossed her legs, smoothing down her skirt. Drawing my attention to her creamy, light brown thighs. Making my stiff cock throb painfully.

“I'm not wearing any panties.”

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review 2016-03-12 18:41
Locked and Loaded by Nenia Campbell
Locked and Loaded - Nenia Campbell
“I can take care of myself,” I said hotly.
“Darlin, you don't even know how to pleasure yourself.”


Yes! So many times yes! Christina and Michael are back! I'm just going to pretend I'm not going on full fangirl-mode right now, so bear with me.

The second book in the IMA series was a bit of a let down. I loved Cloak and Dagger and thought the second book was too slow and with too little action. For a moment I was worried this, the third book, would be like that. Man, was I wrong.Locked and Loaded brought back more mystery than the first book, and Christina is growing stronger in herself all the time. And Michael, I should dislike him, I really should, but damn, he's one smooth dude.

Christina is now working for the BN, but she soon realizes there is more going on than anyone is willing to tell her. And with her secret relationship with Michael being not secret at all, she doesn't know who she can trust - or if she can even trust anyone. In the meanwhile, Michael is back at the IMA, dealing with Adrian who's more crazy than ever and he has a new plan to broaden his network.

I love these characters. Twisted, damaged, strong... They are complex and the character development is spot on throughout this novel. And, as usual, the writing is great. But there's more, there's a strong plot with lots of secrets that are just begging to come out in the open, both with Micheal at the IMA and with Christina at BN. I don't want to say too much and spoil anything so I'll leave it at that.

Basically, I loved this novel. It's full of mystery and action, great characters, and solid writing.

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review 2016-03-10 17:44
Armed and Dangerous by Nenia Campbell
Armed and Dangerous - Nenia Campbell

Quick review - which is what happens when I neglect reviewing books for two weeks and watch reruns of Friends instead.

Armed and Dangerous, the second book in the IMA series, takes up where the first left off. Christina is back home with her overbearing mother who is now playing the martyr and writing a book about what happened to Christina her. Christina, fed up with it all, runs off to her father, and then later goes to college. Michael on the other hand is avoiding the IMA, but early in the book lets them find him and then thing start to go south.

I'll admit I preferred the first book. There was more action and less... road trips so to say. Christina's character is slowly growing little by little, and so is Michael. Overall though, this book seemed like a transition between the first and the third, not adding that much to the story except fr the last 20% or so. I see why the book was necessary, and it certainly isn't bad by any means, but it's also not adding a great deal to the overall story either.

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