Good or Great? Where Is The Line?

Are you an alpha girl? Do you prefer bookish men? Do you find yourself drooling over a great cover? A story line? A simple character? What makes you connect to a book? What takes that book to the next level of greatness for you? For me it’s a simple equation. The right amount of quirk, kink and action sets this reader a pantin and has me coming back for more every time. When the action is done right just, the men are total softie alphas and the heroine are capable females intent on getting what they want…..I’m in love. I swoon. I laugh. I cry. I get pissed. I become part of the journey. A sidelines player in the game the author has set forth. I admit I can be a fickle reader. What works in one book does not work in another. How the author sets the scene is key. If the scene is set to much, the author rambles and I get bored. If not enough is done then I’m confused and irritated. It’s a high wire balancing act with every book I open. At stake is my opinion, which is not worth all that much but every author I’ve met cares about what each individual persons opinion of their book is. They may learn not to respond to the negative opinions and it’s true you can’t please everyone. But they do care.

Lately though I’ve found something to be lacking. Sometimes a character just doesn’t sit well with me or I find myself bored while reading. Doesn’t mean the book wasn’t good it just means I never fully connected with the authors vision. In fact I “liked” the books….but I didn’t “love” them. There was nothing in it that had me running to my computer to tell anyone that would listen how much they NEEDED to read this book or even how much I hated it and loathed the ink it used to be printed (or storage it took up on my e-reader). So I’m left with a what do I do scenario. Do I try and fake it for an entire review? Rack my brain to come up with a review that I deem long enough? Or do I simply tell people that I liked it and if it’s in the genre they like too they might want to check it out.

Predatory anthologyAvailable: May 7, 2013 Amazon/B&N

Type: Paranormal Romance Anthology

Publisher: Zebra

My Copy: Sent

Reviewer: Nikki

Out Of Control by Alexandra Ivy
Ph.D student Angela Locke has a crush on her sexy professor, Dr. Nikolo Bartrev. When she learns he’s actually a Sentinel with extraordinary powers, she joins forces with him to catch a psychopath. But soon, their hottest pursuit is of each other… 

Ties That Bind by Nina Bangs
Cassie Tyler agrees to sub for her friend at the funeral home where she works. But she gets more than she bargained for when a group of men attack her and a vampire comes to her rescue. . . 

In Still Darkness by Dianne Duvall
Immortal Richart d’Alençon can’t forget the woman who rewarded him with a sensuous kiss after he saved her from a trio of vampires. While Richart knows that loving a human can only bring trouble, the taste of forbidden lust is too great to resist. . .

High Stakes by Hannah Jayne
When vampire fashionista Nina LaShay’s design contest rival is found dead, she’s the prime suspect. Sexy photographer Pike is number two. He’s the kind of man who makes Nina salivate. But will she have to reveal herself to have him–and to save them both? Or does Pike have a secret of his own?

Anthologies are hard to review. Simple as that. Most times there is at least one in an anthology that doesn’t click with a person. It’s very rare that I find myself loving every single story. As was the case with Predatory. The first half of this book was awesome. Let’s talk about that first. Alexandria Ivy and Nina Bangs were new to me authors. I had no idea what to expect from them and so I went into those with zero expectations. This is generally better for me as a reader/reviewer. Both Ivy and Bangs wove a quick paranormal romance tale that ensured that I would check out their work again. Both were engaging, well plotted out and had enough heat to have me entertained. Though in that respect Ivy clearly won out because the Bangs novella was lighter on the heat and heavier on the story line.  Duvall’s addition, while part of a series I have enjoyed in the past left me wanting more. I didn’t enjoy the characters and at one point she phonically spells out Richart’s name as Ree-shart. Does she not know what shart is? Does anyone but me know what that is? Well here’s a lesson for you…shart is when you fart and shit your pants. Sexy huh? Yeah didn’t think so. Just let me do what I do in every other book with a weirdly spelled name. Let me weeble-wobble between pronunciations in my head. Then to top it off it ended so incredibly abrupt I thought the publisher had left a chapter out. The last novella was by Hannah Jayne and it re-visits her Underworld Detection Agency series with Nina as the lead instead of a secondary character. I gave up on this series at book 3 and to to be honest I knew from the get go this one wasn’t going to work for me. What started out fun has quickly turned into a puddle of quicksand that I have no intention of getting sucked into. I only read the first 2 chapters of that one before giving up. I just don’t connect to her anymore.

Surrender Your Love by J.C. ReedAvailable: Now Amazon/B&N

Type: Erotic Romance

Publisher: Self Pub

My Copy: Sent

Reviewer: Nikki

Meeting Jett was like lightning. Dangerous. Better left untouched. And better forgotten. But lightning always strikes twice.

Brooke Stewart, a realtor in New York, doesn’t do relationships. When she’s sent to a remote estate to finalize a real estate deal, she discovers her new boss is no other than the guy she left naked in bed.

Sexy, dangerously handsome, and arrogant Jett Mayfield attracts trouble, and women, like a lightning rod. But the night he meets Brooke he gets more than he bargained for. The green-eyed millionaire playboy isn’t used to taking no for an answer, and he isn’t about to start now.

When he proposes two months of no strings sex, Brooke is intrigued and accepts his proposal. Little does she know Jett’s determined to claim the one woman he can’t have, pulling her deeper into his dangerous world.

A man who doesn’t take ‘no’ for an answer.
A woman afraid to surrender to love.
Two lives that are about to cross…and secrets laid bare.

I so very badly wanted to read this book, love it immensely and sing it’s praises to everyone. I mean look at that cover! Holy hell almighty that’s a hot cover. The blurb is rockin. The heros name is JETT. That says it all right there. Smoking, hot, incredibly rich Jett. It’s an erotic romance, which I what I’ve been reading a lot of lately….and maybe that’s part of the problem. A year ago I think I would have read this and been all over it. But it’s getting harder and harder to impress me lately because I’ve read so much. Nothing seems original anymore. Reed does a good job with setting the scene but I never felt the heat between Jett and Brooke. It felt like they were going through the motions. Intense, hot, sexual motions…but motions none the less. While I liked Jett for all the reasons I already stated, I didn’t think she took him far enough. He needed to be more in control. More alpha. He needed more to his persona and more to the story line then just the sex.

Now don’t get me wrong. I “liked” this book. There are moments in it so perfect they made my heart hurt just a bit.  Jett is all mysterious at times and I played into it as much as Brooke did. The little side plot on Brookes heritage and how it plays into everything will be a source of my interest in how thing will play out in book two. Which I most definitely will read. I look forward to watching Brooke handle her new problems and what and who follows her to her new life.

Erotic romance fans that tend to like less story and more sex should enjoy this one. I enjoyed Reeds writing but I think this could have been better. Been more.

Slow Surrender by Cecelia TanAvailable: Now Amazon/B&N (e-book now, paperback August 2013)

Type: Erotic Romance

Publisher: Forever

My Copy: Sent

Reviewer: Nikki 

He pushes her sexual boundaries . . . From the moment waitress Karina meets him in a New York bar, she knows James is different. Daring. Dominating. Though he hides his true identity from her, the mysterious, wealthy businessman anticipates her every desire and fulfills her secret fantasies. Awakened by his touch, Karina discovers a wild side she hadn’t known existed and nothing is off limits. She aches for more . . . What begins as an erotic game soon escalates to a power play that blurs the line between pleasure and pain. Even as she capitulates to James’s sensual demands, Karina craves more. She wants his heart, his soul. She wants his love . . . and she’ll break all the rules to get it.

Slow Surrender had all the makings for something I would slobber over, but it never quite got there. From some of the questionably icky foreplay…i.e. vaginal stimulation by toe…to the complete over the topness of everything else. Butterfly clit stimulators being set off while trying to order pizza, a happy ending parlor woman using a glass dildo on the heroine while the hero skypes in and watches, then the realization that the hero is simply, too big to fit in which I immediately started singing:


When this book worked, it worked well but there was too much mystery surrounding the hero. Karina doesn’t even learn his name till the very end. It was just one orgasm to the next without actual penetration. Because of course he’s just too large and it takes him a week of different sized toys to “ready her”. There was no emotional depth to it at all. So while I enjoyed the marathon foreplay the story line lacked a plot that I could get behind. But I kept reading waiting for the next over the top scene to make me chuckle. Probably not what the author intended but I’m actually looking forward to book two to see where else the author can take this. Because really? Where do you go after vag stimulation by toe? *shudder*

All three of these books earned a 3.0 star rating from me. I like them and I will come back but I hope for more on the next go around. I want more emotion. More alpha. MORE PLOT. I want to go to my happy place when I read them only to emerge and feel saddened by the last words. I didn’t quite get there with these ones, but I have high hopes for the next ones.

What about you? What makes you pick up a book? Continue a series? Are you saddened when you decide to stop reading a series or author? Why?


  1. You asked, as a reader, what I look for… characters, characters, characters. Well rounded, well loved, characters. Over done plot? Nope. Weird sex? Nope. I want to fall in love with a character, and that don’t have to be completely over the top, strangely named, or having their vag’s penetrated by a toe (I.CAN’T.EVEN). I just have to be invested in them and where they are going.

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