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review SPOILER ALERT! 2014-03-07 05:47
This is Not the Hero You're Looking For
Hero - Leighton Del Mia

Adult review for erotic content. Warning : some spoilers will be present.

There are few story crimes greater than the one of wasted potential.



What I expected : Superhero by day. Sadist by night.

What I got : Passing mentions of a superhero by day. Manufactured Stockholm Syndrome by night.


This was dark erotica with no real direction. The book read like Batman fanfiction without the action and suspense. I need to make a superhero shelf at some point because I don't have it in me to shelve this as sci-fi. 

This book was about yet another TSTL female who couldn't make up her mind. It was about yet another TSTL female addicted to a man like he was a drug - for no reason other than he gave her an orgasm.

I'm not making this shit up. It's all right here in black and white.

My mind is as high as heaven...

"Fuck me," I tell him. "I'm so high on you."

I sigh, sated. "Is that what it's like to get high?"

His kiss is like a drug, feeding me, quenching my thirst, my never-ending thirst, my infinite void, and planting himself inside me again.


Prose, thy name is purple utterly fucking stupid. And don't get me started on the awkward ways the word "sated" was used. It was a verb, a noun, a thought, and a conversational reply.

Let me set the record straight. I like dark/taboo/mindfuck erotica - when it's DONE RIGHT. A big part of the draw when it comes to books like these is getting to dissect what makes a screwed-up character tick.

Hero himself wasn't the issue here. I knew what I was getting into when I picked up this book. I knew that he was a rapist. I knew that he was damaged. I knew that he was a contradiction between caring human and irreparable monster. I didn't flinch when he acted upon evil impulses...because...DUH. Taboo mindfuck erotica. It's an actual book category. I've read it many times before, and been able to (enjoy is so not the right word, is it?) understand the book for what it is.

It always comes back to idiot females. If a man rapes you and takes your virginity (oh and btw, you don't really know him, so there's no emotional connection to start) - that FEAR, that PAIN is real. 

It takes time to attach to an abuser. There was absolutely no time (I don't count the time she spent alone) for Cataline to attach. I'm thoroughly sick of dubcon being misused in stories as a means to jump ahead to an emotional attachment. The "no really means yes" type of story has it's own niche in erotica. No, it's not just used in monster porn (although, if I'm going to read dubcon, I'm more likely to seek it out in unusual places).

She got an orgasm, then turned into a cat in heat. The fear didn't even come close to overtaking her lust - not even for a second. The 

escape and suicide attempts came after the fact 

(spoiler show)

. She went from adamantly stating that she wouldn't give her body to Calvin, then begging for him to take her WITHIN A FEW PAGE SPAN. I'm not expecting full-on accurate realism in taboo erotica, but FFS, I want at least a shred of something that resembles how anyone (yes, even a damaged person) would react. Hell, let me give another taboo example to give some perspective. Take the bookComfort Food. In that book, it was at least explained how the chick would not be able to survive without human contact because she was internally wired to need the companionship of others, so she gave in to her tormentor out of fear of losing herself. It wasn't the most stable explanation, but AT LEAST IT WAS AN EXPLANATION. Cataline's reasons for wanting Calvin/Hero were shaky at best, and explained way after the fact, even though we were in her head and she didn't give me reason to believe she wanted Calvin, other than "it felt good."

Rapists - as long as they're hot and can get you off, it's all good. 

My brain hurts.

I wanted to like this story so much. With the right execution, we could have seen a good man fighting his demons with the help of a patient and caring woman. 

Taboo erotica is a viable subgenre of erotica. But it's not a trend to be written haphazardly. Unless a dinosaur is running up into the mix and causing havoc, there should be a rational thought process somewhere.

The "superhero" side of the story was COMPLETELY underdeveloped. Outside of a few small snippets scattered throughout the story and some explaining which takes place in the last 20% of the book, this could have been any other kidnap story. I say it all of the time with non-contemporary genres - RESEARCH, DEVELOP, COMMIT to the theme. If you're going to half-ass it, DON'T do it.

Did I mention already that the heroine was TSTL? That entire scene where she threw herself at Calvin and begged him for sex and told him she loved him after he left her alone for a while - that was simply painful to read. 

I never realized Hero was different from us.

Wait? Is this the same chick who kept WISHING FOR HERO TO COME SAVE HER? What kind of normal human comes to save the day when he doesn't know where you're at...unless he's DIFFERENT from the rest of you???

Yeah...Cataline. Not the brightest crayon in the box.

Surprisingly enough, the best and most emotional moments came from Calvin/Hero himself. Well, except for this gem of nonsense.
"I bet you taste like cotton candy."


He's the reason I'm not 1 starring the book. Sure, he was a rapist who gave his woman a serious bitch slap (I laughed, I'm not gonna lie). But I wanted to read about a disturbed man who had a shred of humanity deep down inside of him. And I got that.

If I let myself too close, there will be nothing to protect her from the monster that lives in me.

Every day I walk a line between my need to defend and my desire to hurt, maul, and kill. To kill a predator makes me high. What kind of a predator does that make me?

Cataline continues to shake, even after she falls asleep. Or maybe I'm the one shaking. I'm holding her tightly. Too tightly.

I've always loved you, since you were a little girl. I just didn't know I was allowed to.


If this entire book had been in Calvin's PoV and had a little more superhero action, it could have easily been 4 stars. The start of the book was interesting. The emotional connection at the end was actually engaging. 

It's really too bad Cataline was such a horrid character, which made being in her head a terrible experience...and it didn't help that most of the middle of the book was frustrating to the point of almost making me DNF.

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review 2014-03-01 15:00
Them pretty covers tell lies
Arclight - Josin L. McQuein

**This review has also been posted on Tangled in Pages

 

Arclight was one of my most anticipated reads of 2013 and after I got the book, I kind of shelved it and forgot about it. That is until I got my eyes on the sequel. At this point I hadn’t read any reviews of Arclight so I dove into the book knowing nothing but the synopsis. If I had bothered with the reviews, I probably wouldn’t have so much as bought this book because.. love triangle alert. You know what the sad thing is though? The love triangle isn’t actually my main problem with this book. I loved it for the first 60 or so percent. This was an assured 4 star read until then and I was flying through the pages. 

 

The book opens with an attack by the Fade. At this point we don’t know much about anything except that light is safety because the Fade are allergic to it and that our MC suffers from amnesia. She remembers nothing from 'before' and she also happens to be the only person to have survived the Fade. People died to rescue her from the grey. She represents hope to many, hope that there is still a world outside the arclight but at the same time, she also represents the death of loved ones to certain kids. There are rumors about her being fade proof but they don’t work in her favor. Kids in her class despise her and are constantly getting in her face.

 

Marina is a pretty decent character. She didn’t actually annoy me. For the most part she isn’t actually stupid. It’s hard to actually talk about her because I don't actually have anything to say. Her character made no significant impact on me. She was realistic and well nothing about her shines out. She is dull as far as characters I’ve encountered go. I mean the twist that came later on? I guessed it so far in the beginning it’s ridiculous. The point I am trying to make here is that Marina was neither a good or bad character. She was just decent. She was easy to follow and you could understand her actions. Also she did not go on and on about how Tobin was absolutely gorgeous (I still have no idea whether he is or not).

 

Now Tobin, Tobin was someone who grabbed my attention. He may have been passive aggressive in the beginning. Hating her but also saving her at same time but I couldn’t help but like him. Marina is the reason why his father isn’t alive yet he is the one that helps her instead of all the other kids. He has more reason to hate her than they do but he decides to save her life. Before we even go anywhere with this, it wasn’t insta love, no he hadn’t decided he loved her and hence decided to save her, he saved her because that is what his father would have wanted. Tobin feels very real to me, he clings on to hope that his father is alive and he also tends to turn into a rage beast when someone says something about his father. It seems childish and angsty, but he lost his only parent, give the guy a break. It’s healthy to express anger. It’s one of the stages of grief. 

 

The romance (before the love triangle was thrown in) was well developed. It could definitely read like insta-love but for me it worked. They are two people, all alone in the world and so they depend on each other. They’re initial exchanges aren’t exactly hostile but neither are they full of love either but that changes. They cover each others backs, save each others lives and hence a bond forms. Their relationship starts blooming and no I love you’s are said. This brings me to the love triangle (which also happened to be strike 1). The love triangle adds a measure of angst that is NOT appreciated. I am a hater of all things love triangle so it’s a wonder I didn’t run in the other direction as soon as it was mentioned. I felt like it was completely unnecessary but this also ties in with something I’ll talk about later. As far as love triangles go, this isn’t actually horrid (if you can look past the amount of angst it adds and how it was completely unnecessary). The female lead actually has a good reason to be confused. It makes complete sense and there isn’t an obvious choice at the moment because Marina herself has no idea what she wants. She doesn’t know who she is and until she figures that out, neither of the guys will come out the victor of her affections. 

 

My ranting skills will now be unleashed as I talk about strike 2 which was when we learn about the reality of Fades. Up until that point, I thought, no I HOPED that this book wouldn’t go down that road. I thought that for the first time ever, the leaders of the society weren’t out to ruin lives, that they actually meant well but that was all a lie. It was just building up for that supposed big blow. It ruined the whole book for me. I might have been able to swallow the love triangle but this was the last straw for it took what I liked most about this book, and smashed it into pieces. It took away from the dark and scary atmosphere and it almost felt like I was in a rainbows and sunshine land. Where everything is perfect. Where everyone lives in harmony. Well let me tell you something, HELL TO THE NO. Things don’t work like that in the real world. Hell I COMPLETELY understand the supposed villain who I feel like is actually a victim because she is surrounded by brainless people with no sense of self-preservation. Perhaps I am one of those annoying people who think humans are better than everyone else but I am not completely sure about that. There are some things that just aren’t meant to be and the reality about Fades wasn’t. It pissed me off and I just couldn’t. 

I cannot enjoy a book that paints these disease stricken people as good. They destroyed humanity at one point, how did they suddenly turn good, and what the hell are they doing breeding and living in families? Are you telling me that they are human? BECAUSE THEY ARE NOT. Let me repeat that if you didn’t get it the first time around. THEY ARE NOT FUCKING HUMANS and I for one would definitely not want to hang out with them. Now I am not saying the whole family thing is only something humans do, it's just the way it pains these creatures, it feels like they are basically humans with a few 'advantages' and that does NOT work.

(spoiler show)

 

 

The whole situation basically ruined the world building for me. I loved the world building up until that point. I was immersed in this world the author had created and then it had to go down the drain because no good things can last. 

 

It pains me to give this book such a low rating but I cannot say I regret buying it. It does look pretty on my bookshelf. With that said though, I am not completely sure I want to read the sequel. I don’t want to dive back into that world after the ‘twist’ the author threw at us but that may change in the future.

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review SPOILER ALERT! 2014-01-24 03:03
No seals were harmed in the making of this review
Torn from You - Nashoda Rose
Tonight I had watched in horror the degradation of human beings.


Emily might have watched the degradation of humans.Tonight, I watched in horror the degradation of the written word. Mild spoilers ahead. Read at your own peril.

Strike 1 : The male lead is in a rock band and is also an underground fighter - NAMED SCULPT. 

What? He's not also in a Motorcycle Club? If we're going to milk a bunch of trends in multiples, let's not leave anything out.

Strike 2 : The male lead calls his woman Pigeon errr Kitten errr Mouse.

I sense a pattern with the trending/imitation. At least he didn't call her baby over and over...oh wait. He did.

Strike 3 : The lack of a mom as a role model does not excuse this type of thinking :

"I never took you against your will. Ever."
He was right, he never did. Even when he fucked me in the dining hall he'd asked me.


Emily was put into the situation of forced slavery because Sculpt/Logan kidnapped her and forced her to be there. Even if she'd agreed to have public sex to keep herself alive, she was still FORCED to do so by being put into the situation against her will.

I went to slap him again, but this time he caught my wrist.
"Once, I'll take. Not twice."


The...fuck? Two years later, Emily is still terrified from what Logan did to her and allowed to have done to her. He deserved to have his ass beat over and over, and he should've taken it like a man if he wanted her forgiveness. A real alpha male would humble himself and accept a second slap in exchange for the emotional, sexual, and physical abuse which had been done because of him.

"You owe him-"


No, Emily doesn't owe Logan shit. Even if he had risked his life ten times over to save her - if she doesn't want to talk to him ever again, she SHOULDN'T HAVE TO. Why do none of the characters in this book seem to get that? Even her own friends never validated her experience. 

I had no right to hate him, and I had.


Sigh. She just...doesn't...get...it.

All sweet was out; hot and scary with a teaspoon of sweet was in.


This type of thinking bugs the hell out of me. Why, you ask? Because in this book, scary actually means scary. Even though I like my "dangerous" heroes (any man who can and will defend his woman is a huge turn-on for me), can we get out of the damn mindset that sweet is somehow "lesser?" I didn't expect a nice guy in this book because of the content, but can we quit romanticizing crap behavior and praise the beta males, the nice males, and the non-asshole alphas? Oh wait, to praise them would mean we'd have to find them. The "non-jerk guys are unicorns" rant will have to wait for another time. 

Twenty Missed Calls.


Most people would consider anything more than a couple of calls excessive and creepy.


*** Three strikes and you're out, right?

Not quite...in this game, there were a couple of foul balls in-between those strikes.

Lack of editing : or why good indie authors cry when everyone else ruins it for them. I make typos constantly, use commas excessively, and fail at grammar (my own reviews make me cringe sometimes). So IF I'M NOTICING problems, we're talking about serious editing issues here.

His steal tone whispered in my ear. *What is he stealing?

My popsicle and I was melting into him further and further. *If your head is hurting, know that you are not alone. 

I started to pull away and he groaned then his arm tightened around me. *Awkward sentence structure, this is. Yes, I Yoda'd that bitch.

...and if he gave it to me physically than I'd take it. *You'd take it instead of what? 

I knelt on the floor my heat thumping erratically at his unexpected early appearance. *I spot two things that are off with this sentence. Do you?

"If you ever want to... Shit, Emily." *If you ever want to shit, Emily? Uh, ew. 

He knew Emily. *Who knew Emily? I think when you're speaking to Emily about something that another person knew, you might mean : He knew, Emily.

(for the record, that is not my spelling of punctuation)

 

It's really too bad that a sliver of potential was wasted this badly...

The first 20% of this book was good. I'm not even kidding. Yeah, I'd read the reviews comparing Torn From You to Captive in the Dark, and I do agree that there was something about the writing style which read like a poor man's Captive. But I liked what I was reading - until the train went off the rails. WhileCaptive certainly had some flaws, where it worked was in the interpretation of the male lead. Caleb in Captive was even more disturbed than Logan was, but the readers were not shoveled a bunch of bull about how he changed into a romantic lead further into the story. Logan didn't want to hurt Emily - okay, I get that he was forced - but the point is that he DID. So when the rest of the book took a turn into him being possessive instead of apologetic, it left a sour taste in my mouth. Leave that shit for the bedroom. Tie her up, tie her down, spank her ass, whatever. The second I saw that he wasn't on his knees begging over and over for forgiveness (or walking the hell away like a decent human being would do), he lost all credibility with me. Instead, I got to listen to Emily wax poetic about how her feelings for Logan were "soul gripping." We went from an interesting and twisted story to an obsessive and creepy love story.

I just realized that I need to wrap things up. Sorry for the abrupt "I'm done." This review is long enough. I am going to quit looking at my notes, or we'll be here another hour. I'll leave you with one last WTF? tidbit.

Sadly, the inner goddess has been replaced by children's toys. Emily has legos in her head. I still don't get that. Apparently, legos can be built and knocked down inside of her brain. Yes, it does appear as strange as it seems.

Fin. 

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review 2014-01-02 22:05
Picky Bitch Strikes Again
Too Stupid to Live - Anne Tenino

Adult review for erotic content.

...and the first book of the New Year was just shy of the mark.

Some days I really hate my frequent inability to get on board the happy "everyone else loves it" bandwagon. The only thing about this book that made me happy was the humor, which was the sole reason I rounded up, not down.

"Are you in the closet again?"
"What? I've never been in the closet."
Sam did his best to keep his voice calm and level. "Did you slam yourself in the hall closet in a huff and are you currently standing there talking on the phone to me? Again?"
There was a long pause. Nik cleared his throat. "Yes."


This author has a great voice. Her style of writing is very readable, and the quips roll out quite effortlessly. In fact, I was sure I was going to go 4 stars plus on this book during the first half...until the entire thing got to be repetitive and I found myself skimming by the 75% mark.

The biggest disconnect for me was in the story. I felt like I was reading the same scenes over and over, and I'm not just talking about the sex.

Sam was insecure.
Ian had to fix it.
Sam was insecure.
Ian had to fix it.
Sam was insecure.
Ian had to fix it.

And then there was...ball fetish, ball fetish, anal feasting, ball fetish. Okay, so I'm sort of kidding on that. There were plenty of actual sex scenes not involving ball admiration. I just think that I threw up in my mouth a little every time huge balls, hanging balls, or hairy balls were mentioned (the same way I do in other books when authors have to go on and on about the veins in a penis). Men are hot - ball sacs are not. I get that we all have our body part turn-ons (I unashamedly have a thing for male nipples), but there are some fetishes I'd rather not read about. This is one of them.

I think I would have enjoyed this book more if it had gone one of two routes :

1. The story had brought in more character conflict outside of the couple's are-they-or-aren't-they attraction to each other.

2. The story had been ditched altogether in favor of becoming a porn-without-plot erotica in about half of the page length. When I read a lot of hot sex, I want to get in, get my fill (hah), and get out. I actually get bored reading one sex scene after another and another. The amount of sex-to-story in this book killed it for me because I think the couple could have arrived at the same conclusion after the third or fourth time of hooking up.

BUT...the humor was great. So there was that.

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review 2013-12-21 04:12
No. No. Nonononono.
Ivan - Roxie Rivera

Adult review for erotic content. Someone stole my brain bleach and I want it back ASAP. I'm thinking one of my reviewer friends took it. You probably know who you are. Many of us seem to be in need of it lately. 

I'm pretty sure that Ivan wasn't trying to do a comic take on sexy time. At least, I don't think so. I'm also semi-sure that there was at least some semblance of a story to be found, although I couldn't seem to focus on it when this book was so short and overrun with bad sex. 

I picked Ivan because I was on a little bit of a mini-high after reading The Professional (cringe-worthy moments and all) and wasn't ready to let go of my hot Russian bodyguard fantasy just yet. 

If you thought I was a little too tough on The Professional, let me say this about my last reading experience : even with my nit-picking over terminology and character behavior, that book was leaps and bounds better than Ivan. Even with Professional's glaring hiccups, at least I enjoyed it enough to come up with several positives.

Ivan, you aren't going to get the same lenience.

Here's how a sexy book falls off the rails :

The instant we made contact an electric zing arced through me.Make no mistake. This isn't a paranormal book. There was no actual cause for electric shocks - unless Ivan was shuffling around the carpet in his socks, then I might understand.

He petted my bare pussy. Aww. I wonder if her cat gets cold in the winter.

He painted my entrance. I wonder if Ivan's a water color or acrylic man?

He ate me like a starving man. Hopefully, he didn't actually chew his food.

His tongue lashed my pussy. Damn, the elusive whip-tongue. I'm jealous.

Ivan's tongue stabbed into my wet pussy. Now his tongue is a sword? It's like he has a Swiss Army Knife full of surprises.

Our tongues dueled. Kissing should be pleasurable, not violent.

A split-second later, I felt the first hot splash of semen on my belly. We clutched and jerked in the chair as we shuddered in the grips of our shared climax. I was seriously imagining a seizure by this point. 

I highlighted a few sex scenes which read like a continuous chain of one description to another description, as in : he did this, then he did this, then he did this. Some of the scenes were completely wooden and unappealing because of the absolute lack of emotion.

Dimitri Belikov's (Vampire Academy) role as my number-one favorite protective guardian type is probably never going to be overturned, but I have to admit that I was hoping to find another hero who could come at least somewhat close. Ah well. I guess I'll have to wait around and visit Sevastyn again when The Professional: Part 2 comes out in order to get another hot Russian fix because I don't think I'll be picking up book 2 of this series.

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