Review: Doms of Dark Haven

Since I love all things Cherise Sinclair i felt that i owed it to myself to read this supplement to the Mountain Masters series.  This one comes with the good and the less good (can’t quite make myself say bad at least).

so…The Doms of Dark Haven is a series of 3 short stories that surround a few of the doms of the illustrious Dark Haven BDSM club on Victorian Night.  Each of these 3 stories are written by another author yet, they all seem to be occurring at the same time.  (meaning that there are small references to the other stories in each of the subsequent ones

The first story is by Sierra Cartwright  called Met Her Match where we are introduced to Torin Carter – a special agent (i guess) who works for Hawkeye which is a private body guard type firm.  Since we’re meeting him as he’s storming into the club, NOT in Victorian attire, we can guess that something’s bothering him quite significantly and my guess would be a woman.  which….leads us to Mira who is strapped to a spanking bench being ‘played with’ by another dom.  i should note that she is his Partner – at Hawkeye, and is the same woman that crawled naked into his bed last night in the hopes of enticing some reaction that would lead to sex.  didn’t work…but that’s not where their story ends.

So Torin finds Mira, manages to ‘convince’ her admit to Xavier (the club owner) that she’s ‘with’ Torin, and the night’s entertainment ensues.  As we’ve come to expect in stories like this, especially with doms that we’ve been introduced to at Dark Haven is that they are very experienced and skilled and are quite able to get women to do what they want.  Torin though, as much as he wants to go down that path, he also doesn’t want it to compromise their working relationship. The night continues with Mira being ‘educated’ by Torin in all things BDSM, and as a result, they have to figure out the boundaries of what they are doing.  The story goes thorugh a few ups and downs, and then of course the last 1/3 of the books has the expected bit of anxiety and excitement which leads to some unexpected places.

The next story Educating Evangeline is by Belinda McBride takes us back to the club although it takes on a slightly different twist.  i feel like it’s a bit BDSM and a bit TWILIGHT, but that’s not me judging (since i actually like twilight).  we meet Eva as she’s trying to blend into the crowd and make her way into Dark Haven in the hopes of escaping a few guys that are following her.  This is where we meet Harte, who comes to her rescue in a sense.  he steadies her when she’s frightened in the club, and takes her away from some of the craziness to understand what’s going with her.  this is where she finds out that she’s got more in common with him than either expected – they are both of the super-natural.  Harte knows who is after Eva and he and his friends take it upon themselves to help protect her all the while, he gets to entertain himself with Eva – whom he finds incredibly attractive.  He’s so drawn to her that he’s pleased that he gets to introduce her to all things BDSM.  The path that this story takes is one that brings us further into the supernatural, which i’m not quite sure why it was needed, but it happens, and then there’s power struggles, and anxiety.  you really don’t know how things will end on this one…

The third and final story is Simon Say: Mine by Cherise Sinclair and was the story that i was waiting for since she really is one of my favorites.  Cherise reintroduces us to Simon who is a master that we’ve met before and whom exudes power and sensuality on a night where he’s giving a demonstration that Rona is able to catch a piece of.  She’s one of the more mature females that we’ve met and we get a deeper insight into her than we’ve seen from a lot of other subs.  Rona has her apprehensions about men and that’s because she was in an unfulfilling marriage.  So Simon comes in and he’s kind of had a taste of that in his life and knows what he wants – someone that’s more able to keep up with him.  In any event, What Simon offers, Rona’s heart wants to accept and her head DOES NOT, yet often her body wins…so that takes us on a bit of a roller coaster with these 2.

In this story, we are reintroduced to a few of the Mountain Masters folks, Logan, Rebecca and Jake which is really pleasing.  I missed those guys.  We also get to see Rona taken from the comforts of Dark Haven to a house party and even out and around a bit.  The relationship development here is a bit deeper than we’ve seen from a few other short stories, and i think that if you’re accustomed to all things Cherise Sinclair, you’re enjoy this as well.

all in all, i’d say this collection is a 3 out of 5 stars, or 3.5 out of 5 stars.

Review: The Dom’s Dungeon by Cherise Sinclair

Cherise Sinclair has become one of my favorite writers over the past few weeks. She has 2 series, Masters of the Shadowlands and Mountain Masters that i really enjoy so it was a natural progression for me to search out other stories by her. The Dom’s Dungeon certainly didn’t fall short of my expectations.

The Plot: We meet our leading lady MacKensie (or Mac as she often refers to herself when she’s trying to internalize) as she’s making her way to her vacation home exchange in Seattle. she’s from a small town in Iowa (of course she’s a small towner) and she’s trying to make a fresh start of things in Seattle. Mac finds herself at quite the upper crust example of a home – the man she’s exchanged homes with is wealthy and is among Seattle’s elite, and she was fortunate enough to come upon this trade because she’s a vet and the home owner wanted to make sure that the person who was in his home would care for his dog Butler just as he would.

That takes us to the home owner – Alex who is our typical Dom which to be honest, even thought Cherise’s doms are predictable i really enjoy them. He’s what we expect – handsome, wealthy, warm heart -not quite in the mindset to have a lasting romantic relationship but really enjoys a stable dom/sub one if he can find it.

So the way that these 2 actually meet in person is completely unexpected. of course with a home exchange, they aren’t really supposed to cross paths, but due to an array of unfortunate circumstances for Alex, he finds himself missing his flight to Iowa, and returns home, to find Mac having gotten into his locked dungeon and checking out what’s going on there.

So of course, we know that Mac is a small towner and can assume that she’s quite the innocent and naive of all things BDSM. Suffice it to say, as much as that appears to be the case somewhat – she’s had a troubled past and that’s kind of shaped her experiences and lifestyle both in her personality as well as her perception of men and how she chooses to interact with them. Basically, she’s a bit gun shy with them these days.

This is where it’s a great opportunity for a dom to come in and take over and that’s what Alex strives to do. He finds that there’s quite a bit of digging that he needs to do to figure out the back story on Mac while she’s trying to get her fresh start and then to see if there’s value in pursuing her and possibility there.

All in all, i’d give this story 4 of 5 stars. It was good – a nice and easy read – decent character development, however you don’t get too into Alex’s background to understand how he is why he is. we learn more about Mac, but it didn’t take away from the story too much. The downfall that i saw in this story that’s a-typical from other Cherise Sinclair books is that there wasn’t quite as much anxiety in the back third of the book – but i guess not EVERY story can have that right?

Review: The Maze Runner (Maze Runner #1) by James Dashner

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Title:  The Maze Runner
Author: James Dashner
Publisher/Year: Random House children’s Books, 8/24/10
Length:  400 pages
Series: Maze Runner #1

Overview

When Thomas wakes up in the lift, the only thing he can remember is his first name. His memory is blank. But he’s not alone. When the lift’s doors open, Thomas finds himself surrounded by kids who welcome him to the Glade—a large, open expanse surrounded by stone walls.

Just like Thomas, the Gladers don’t know why or how they got to the Glade. All they know is that every morning the stone doors to the maze that surrounds them have opened. Every night they’ve closed tight. And every thirty days a new boy has been delivered in the lift.

Thomas was expected. But the next day, a girl is sent up—the first girl to ever arrive in the Glade. And more surprising yet is the message she delivers.

Thomas might be more important than he could ever guess. If only he could unlock the dark secrets buried within his mind.

My Thoughts 

It’s been a while since i’ve read this story and i felt that i owed it to myself to check it out again. Falling into the somewhat Dystopian genre, James Dashner takes us to a place that’s so unepected and so confusing and anxiety ridden that you have no choice but to sit back and read through the whole thing in one sitting.

The Plot: we are introduced to The Glades through the eyes of Thomas who has no memory of anything yet he seems to have a basic understanding of what things are (i.e. he knows what the names of things are but he doens’t know why he knows them and who might have taught him). As a matter of fact, everyone in the Glades is in the exact same place. so back to Thomas – the story opens up with him waking up from who knows what in an elevator type thing called The Box, being raised to the surface of the Glades but not knowing at all what’s going on. He hears people talking above him in words that aren’t familiar to him, and that adds to the anxiety.

So when Thomas comes to the surface, he meets a mini-society of boys – all who again have no memory of anything before the Glades and they are trying to survive in this environment where ironically enough, everything is provided to them (through The Box) and the sun is always shining etc. Ideallic in a weird sort of way. until you think about one more thing. They are ‘trapped’ in The Glades by a series of Walls that close every night. Outside these wall lies a huge MAZE that the boys are hoping leads to an exit – a way to get out and get home. Although things seem relatively managed and orderly in the Glades – it’s not quite that perfect. Everyone wants to get back to whatever they left behind, and they feel like they are being held captive….and the only way out they feel is through the Maze – yet every night the maze changes so there’s no clear cut way to get out. And to top that off, there are these horrible creatures called Grievers’ that come into the Maze at night and kill whatever is in their path.

So – prior to Thomas’ arrival at The Glades, things had been happening in a regular manner. 1x each month (the same day) 1 more person would arrive through the Box. Each week, the same time, supplies would come through the Box. That’s all until Thomas arrives. The next day, another person comes up in the Box, and that’s not the only loop – it’s also A GIRL. girls have NEVER come to the Glades before. Also, although Thomas has no memory of things before the Glades, he feels familiar for some reason, and the girl seems familiar – yet he has NO IDEA WHY.

The Maze Runner takes us through the lives of the Gladers and how Thomas lives his time there. He feels deep down that he should be one of the Maze Runners – one of the guys looking for an exit and doesn’t know why or if he can do it. Lots of suspense, lots of intrigue and lots of nail biting with all the curves that are thrown in.

Check it out – 5 stars out of 5 and i don’t give a perfect score often!

Review: Matched (Matched Trilogy Book 1) by Ally Condie

With the release of book 3 ‘Reached‘ fast approaching on November 15th i believe, I decided that I owed it to myself to re-visit the series so that i was completely up to speed on what happened so that i don’t find myself re-reading things and scratching my head.  trust me – that’s happened before when there’s been a lag between sequels coming out.

The plot: we’re introduced to the leading lady – Cassia who is pretty much on par with many of the women that we find at the head of these dystopian tales.  She’s perhaps not quite grown into her full potential, maybe even on the edge of being a bit off-putting, but it’s not really her fault.  See, the society that Cassia lives in isn’t a great one.  People are segmented in a way that makes some positions coveted and others completely abhorred.  Lucky for Cassia, she’s not among the ones that are hated or looked down upon – she has an opportunity out there – assuming that she follows all the ‘rules’.  These rules are what keep society and everyone in order and what allows for a somewhat peaceful (if you can call it that) existence, but what we know to be the case with all ‘teens’ – it’s never enough.

When she ‘comes of age’ and is put to the ‘matching ceremony’ – a process that seems relatively fool proof, that’s when things start to go awry.  What was deemed to be a ruling system that rarely if ever makes mistakes shows a crack in their armor and Cassia finds herself right in the middle of that.

how do you figure that?  well…enter the love triangle! These 2 guys, Ky and Xander are woven through her life in a way that’s not quite what she expected.  See, the matching ceremony is supposed to  match you with your perfect mate, and that’s typically someone from another town/settlement or whatever that’s quite far away.  For Cassia, she was actually really lucky – when her match was revealed, it was none other than Xander – the boy that she has had a long standing relationship (be it whatever it was) and that couldn’t have been better.  but then….a glitch happens and Ky’s face is then revealed – who is also someone that she knows.  So what’s the likelihood of that happening right?  not only was there a glitch, but she knew both boys.  1 is of an acceptable class and the other not so much.

in any event, Cassia is then forced to choose to develop the correct relationship ad deemed by the Society and that’s one of the hardest things that she’ll ever have to do – to figure out exactly what’s right, if the Society is right, or if there’s something bigger and better out there.

What i really liked about this lead in for the series is that the end just leaves you hanging.  That’s how i judge if it’s a good story or not.  do i have more questions to be answered or do i know what to expect? is it clear which relationships are strongest?  do we know what the leading character is going to do and how those actions will ultimately affect their life?  (relationships aside?)  Matched did all that for me – i was left wanting more which was great since Crossed was just a few months away from release and that’s a story left for review for another day.

 

Poll: Best of….Dystopian

Several follow up books are due out in the coming weeks/months and as I’m eagerly anticipating them, i thought I’d get your opinions on which series you enjoy the most.  I”m on the fence since i LOVE Divergent and Legend the most i think but i feel like there are so many good ones out there.  What is your fav?

Poll: Masters of the Shadowlands Series

While I’m finishing up another book (in the hopes of completion tonight), i wanted to get your thoughts on who your favorites were from the Masters of the Shadowlands series.  I know who mine is (Z) but what about you guys?

Damaged Goods (New York #2) by Lainey Reese

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Title:  Damaged Goods
Author: Lainey Reese
Publisher/Year: Samhain Publishing, Limited 8/21/12
Length: 200 pages
Series: New York #2

Overview

Dominance. Submission. Murder. And that’s just before lunch.

New York, book 2

Homicide detective Brice Marshall’s current case has him stymied and frustrated. A serial killer is slaughtering young women. After a long, fruitless day poring over the most gruesome evidence he’s ever seen, he needs a break.

Stepping into his cousin’s BDSM club is a reminder that there is another part of himself. A part that has been left empty in a life ruled by work. The fact is, he’s a Dom in search of a sub. When he bumps into Terryn, a slender redhead who’s new to the scene, her wide-eyed eagerness even in the face of her nerves attracts him like gravity.

Terryn is the sub of his dreams, with the power to ease his soul. Without warning the murder case reaches ugly tentacles into the most private part of his world—the woman he wants to claim as his own. The woman whose stubborn search for the delicate balance between sub life and independence could put her directly in the path of the killer.

My Thoughts

coming off of reading ‘Table for Three’ – the first book in this so called series, although i wasn’t blown away, i figured that i’d give this one a try.  The tone of this second installment is much different than the first.

The Plot:  we are reintroduced to Brice who is Cade’s cousin and a detective.  Brice is working on a case where women are being brutally murdered and he thinks that there’s a link between those murders some how….but just can’t figure out who is doing it.  One night when Brice is looking to blow off some steam since he’s getting no where on his case, he goes to Cade’s club and finds himself a new sub (Terryn)….one that is his token favorite in looks – a redhead.  As we’ve come to expect in these books, Terryn is VERY new to the whole BDSM lifestyle and is a brand new sub and is quite innocent.  Given that we know that Brice is an experienced dom, we can only imagine that she’s in for quite the wild ride.

Turns out of course that Terryn is linked to the girls that were murdered as she was friends with them so there lies our link to how this story will continue.  The focus of the story to me seemed to be more of the murder mystery than the erotica, but don’t get me wrong – there was plenty of that.  Brice is definitely more outwardly into playing than Cade and Trevor were in book 1.  they were more about sharing than toys but it’s a nice change i suppose we don’t want to read the same book over and over again.

i found this story to very expected –  i figured out the twists and the ending long before they unfolded but that’s probably just the nature of the story itself.  It was a nice read- i’d say 3.5 stars out of 5 if i went to a rating system.  worth checking out if you have a few hours to kill.

A Table for Three (New York #1) by Lainey Reese

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Title:  A Table for Three
Author: Lainey Reese
Publisher/Year: Samhain Publishing, Limited, 2/1/11
Length:  208 pages
Series: New York #1

Overview

She’s taking two bites out of the Big Apple. New York, Book 1 Riley Ramirez knew that moving to New York would change her life. She just didn’t expect it to start on her very first night in town. Her attraction to nightclub owner Kincade Marshall is instant, mind-blowing—and mutual. When she finds he is a Dom who requires her complete surrender, even when it comes to submitting to his best friend, Trevor Wellington, she finds herself willing and eager to embrace the sexual adventure. From their earliest days, Cade and Trevor have shared everything, including women. Yet it only takes one night with Riley to know she is their forever lady. Convincing her that this is more than a temporary fling, though, will take every tool in their sensual arsenal. As Cade and Trevor set their sights on Riley, however, they’re unaware—until it’s almost too late—that someone is targeting their fragile relationship. Someone who’s taking deadly aim at Riley. Suddenly their struggle to keep their forever woman is a fight to keep her alive… Warning: This book contains m/f/m ménage, bdsm play, lots of steamy p.d.a, and a fine dining experience that will leave you salivating for more.

My Thoughts

i’ve come to expect and actually enjoy love triangles, but this story took it in a completely different direction – a good one at that.  I came across this book at the recommendation of another erotica/romance fan and although it’s a short and quick read, and not all that believable, it was enjoyable.

The Plot:  small town girl (Riley) moves to NYC for a job and is completely innocent and naive of all that can happen in the ‘big city’.  On her first night out, she finds herself in a club that’s no regular night club but on that’s relatively private and caters to a clientel that has ‘specific needs and wants’.  The owner (Cade), furious that she managed to get in at all (since she’s so innocent) find that it’s that same innocence that’s like a drug to him.  He of course can’t help himself and dives head first into finding out more about this lovely girl.

The love triange comes as a result of the type of relationship that said club owner has with his friend Trevor.  These 2 guys have been best friends since they were children – both raised in a wealthy lifestyle, given all of the opportunities that they could have, and yet they still turned out ok.  Kind, gentle, and a sexual drive that cannot be contained.  both are into the BDSM lifestyle and cannot only read their shared subs mood quickly but each other’s as well.

yes – i said ‘shared sub’ ….ergo the love triange – however there’s definitely no love lost – they really do share- EVERYTHING – and i do mean that.

In line with what we have come to enjoy with this style of a book, we get introduced to a lot of kinky sexual activity that brings us to the brink right along with Riley, while we learn more about dom/sub relationships as well as actually learning about your own personal sexuality.  Of course though, that can’t be it – it would be too easy right?  Of course, there’s an undercurrent of something bigger and sinister happening, but we aren’t certain who, who’s the intended target and what’s going to happen in the end.

so – all that being said – i’d recommend this one out.  It’s an easy read and rather enjoyable.  Not quite deep enough to me, you don’t really get into a lot of the character relationship development that i’ve come to appreciate – but that doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s a bad thing.  I wish sometimes that since we know the story is based in NYC that we got to see more of the city – being a New Yorker myself, i get the impression that the author is not one, and has actually probably never been in NYC.  no fault of her own, but a big discouraging to someone that has come to appreciate those little details in a story as well.

anyway – check it out.  i know that Lainey Reese has another book in the ‘New York’ series so i’m going to pick that one up as well.

Review: The Stranger I Married by Sylvia Day

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Title:  The Stranger I Married 
Author: 
Sylvia Day
Publisher/Year: 
Kensington Publishing Corporation 8/28/12
Length:  
312 pages

Overview

Lady Pelham could not have designed a husband more suited to her needs. The Marquess of Grayson is a dear and enchanting friend and an unrepentant ladies’ man. Their union is solid; their hearts safe from one another. But every marriage has its surprises&#8230p;

They Were Together For All The Wrong Reasons…
They are London’s most scandalous couple. Isabel, Lady Pelham, and Gerard Faulkner, Marquess of Grayson, are well matched in all things… their lusty appetites, constant paramours, wicked wits, provocative reputations, and their absolute refusal ever to ruin their marriage of convenience by falling in love with one another. Isabel knows such a charming rake will never appeal to her guarded heart, nor will she sway his philandering one. It is a most agreeable sham … until a shocking turn of events sends Gerard from her side.

Now, four years later, Gerard has come home to Isabel. But the carefree, boyish rogue who left has been replaced by a brooding, powerful, irresistible man who is determined to seduce his way into her affections. Gone is the devil-may-care companion who shared her friendship and nothing more, and in his place is temptation itself … a husband who desires Isabel body and soul and who will stop at nothing to win her love. No, this is not at all the man she had married. But he is the man who might finally steal her heart…

My Thoughts

One thing that i LOVE is old school romance  – and the sense of old world courting and society.  Sylvia Day has done it again in The Stranger I Married.  We find ourselves wrapped up in the world of titles and expectations that need to be fulfilled in order to be considered proper.

The Plot:  we are first semi-introduced to Grayson (Gerard) at a party where he’s made the decision that he’s going to usurp his friend’s mistress for his own devices.  can’t blame a guy for wanting what we can only expect at this point to be quite a beautiful woman who probably has a significant level of sensuality.  Next we meet Pel (Isabel) who is the mistress that is going to be usurped….she doesn’t know what’s in store for her.  The story that we get wrapped up in is around Grayson’s desire to marry Pel not for a traditional marriage but because they seem to have similar needs and wants.  You see, Pel has been married before, her husband is deceased, yet before he died, he had taken several mistresses which utterly broke her heart.  The husband in question actually died as a result of being called out by the husband of one of his mistresses – so that just shows the kind of guy he was.  no wonder she doesn’t want to marry anyone ever again.  she’s content to keep a string of affair time relationships.  the nice thing with Pel though is that she has morals to an extent – she won’t have an affair with anyone who’s married – so only single men….nice right?  And back to Grayson, well he’s single yes but he keeps his string of affairs up in full gusto.  juggling 2 women at one time actually.  One being his long time love from childhood who somewhat got away.

All this together makes for a PERFECT union between Grayson and Pel – they have no expectations of love – they just knowt hat they are friends who make each other happy and they are allowing the other to maintain other relationships if that’s what they need.

this is where the issues arise though – said youth love/mistress gets pregnant (which isn’t a huge deal surprisingly) yet, said woman also doesn’t not live through the birth and nor does the baby.  this has catastrophic results on Grayson (and Pel) and this is where our story picks up.

My thoughts: suffice it to say, i did enjoy the story although of course it was some what expected.  what i actually appreciated the most is the way that the story was ended.  i won’t tell you about that piece – but what i will say is that i wasn’t expecting exactly what happened.  it was nice.

in addition to the story that we see develop around Grayson and Pel and how circumstances change EVERYTHING, there are a few others intertwined into the plot that make for nice background noise.

Sylvia Day again does a great job keeping us engaged throughout the story and true to her form, there’s an oozing sensuality and carnal feeling to this story that confirms that her stamp has been placed on the book.  I just love when there’s an author that continues to deliver what you expect and then just a little more.