Review: A Court of Silver Flames (A Court of Thorns and Roses #4) by Sarah J Maas

Title: A Court of Silver Flames
Author:  Sarah J Maas
Publisher/Year:  Bloomsbury USA 2/16/21
Length:  768 Pages
Series: A Court of Thorns and Roses


Nesta Archeron has always been prickly-proud, swift to anger, and slow to forgive. And ever since being forced into the Cauldron and becoming High Fae against her will, she’s struggled to find a place for herself within the strange, deadly world she inhabits. Worse, she can’t seem to move past the horrors of the war with Hybern and all she lost in it.

The one person who ignites her temper more than any other is Cassian, the battle-scarred warrior whose position in Rhysand and Feyre’s Night Court keeps him constantly in Nesta’s orbit. But her temper isn’t the only thing Cassian ignites. The fire between them is undeniable, and only burns hotter as they are forced into close quarters with each other. 

Meanwhile, the treacherous human queens who returned to the Continent during the last war have forged a dangerous new alliance, threatening the fragile peace that has settled over the realms. And the key to halting them might very well rely on Cassian and Nesta facing their haunting pasts.

Against the sweeping backdrop of a world seared by war and plagued with uncertainty, Nesta and Cassian battle monsters from within and without as they search for acceptance-and healing-in each other’s arms.

My Thoughts

I’ll have to be a bit honest at first here and say that I had to wrack my brain to get caught up to where we left off since it’s been quite some time since we’ve last been in this world. The War with King Hybern left a jarring memory in my brain, and remembering what happened to Elain and Nesta at the end of it all made me wonder what the future could hold. Elain, the beautiful perfect and delicate sister was taken against her wishes, put into the couldron and Made into something immortal. Nesta followed after her and took everything that she could from the Coulderon as a way to get her revenge out. What happened after though, you’ll all remember is that Nesta couldn’t deal with her pain, with her guilt and with her hatred of herself and that took her down an awful spiral.

We’re now a year or so past the war and Nesta is no better off. She’s a shell of a person, empty and all she does is spend Feyre’s money on booze and men. She’s rude to everyone who makes an effort to be around her that they are forced to give an ultimatum. either fall in line and train with Cassian, get some structure and figure out how to harness her power, or go back to the human lands where she won’t be accepted. It’s really no choice, so she finds herself training with Cassian in the morning and working in the library for the rest of the day.

It’s interesting to see how long it takes to break Nesta down in this story – frankly, I don’t know that we ever really see her break down her walls, but we see her find some purpose in her life. Figure out what’s a bigger goal and to go there. She makes friends with a priestess in the library named Gwyn who starts to play a big role as well as another Illaryian named Emerie. The notion that she’s able to make ‘friends’ makes everyone have hope that she’s going to come around, but even that is a wish that may never come true.

The undertone throughout this 4th installment is that there’s still unrest in the world. While The King of Hybern is dead, the human queens are not united as they should be ever since one went into the Cauldron and lost her beauty to become eternally old. She’s hungry for the power to get her beauty back and that means that we’re about to see the world turned upside down.

Throughout this book, we learn about things older than anyone, Amren even has a hard time remembering the full history. We’re taught about the Dread Trove, a collection of items that were so dark and evil that they have wards to hide and protect them, they have the ability to raise the dead and make people do their bidding. In the wrong hands, that means that the world that they know will be completely destroyed. The queen who’s looking for her youth wants the Trove as she’s made a deal with one of the oldest evil immortals who has his own motivation as well to get released from his prison.

So, we watch the journey as the one human Queen gets a hold of the Crown which is able to control the minds of anyone who’s within reach. That leave a Mask which is able to raise the dead and a Harp which is able to open wards and pass through time. Nesta’s ability to scry which helped them find the Couldron in the last installment means that she’s ripe for the asking to find the Dread Trove. She’s of course not willing to help anyone, especially seeing how the past turned out when she tried to help and her loved ones died or changed form. She objects strongly, and that means that Elain offers herself to do it. That’s what finally gets Nesta to agree to go on the hunt. She trains to become a warrior, to strengthen her mind body and soul, and at the same time, with her friends, they bring back the Valkryies – a female warrior unit that was stronger than many men back thousands of years ago and died off in a war that was a set up.

In addition to that storyline, we have another where Feyre and Rhys are expecting their first child, just as the Bone Carver told them from his visions. The Challenge here is that she fell pregnant when she was in Illaryian form during the war when she was able to shift her shape (thank all the High Lords who gave her powers when she was about to die in book #1). It’s a blessing and everyone’s beyond happy that she’s pregnant and then they learn that because of the form that she was in, the baby is due to have wings. An exciting time for the Illaryian’s but Feyre is now in her Fae form and her body won’t survive a birth of a child with wings. They keep this from her of course, and we watch the journey throughout the story to see if they’re able to keep Feyre alive.

I’ll admit that the first few chapters were a bit draggy for me – it took me a few minutes to get back into it even though I LOVE this series. The characters all have their deep and interesting stories that lead us on so many crazy adventures that we don’t know necessarily what we’re going to get. Some are older than others, some have other forms that were taken from them in the last war. And some really don’t know what to do with the life that they have now.

Elain has found herself mated to someone that she’s got adverse feelings towards, and we see hints of something perhaps between her and Az. Azriel is one of the main characters that we’d do anything to see happy and when it seemed as though there was something more between them at Winter Solstice. Maybe that will come in the next book since we know that there’s a continuing story here.

We have the battles of good and evil in this forth book. We have the notion that everything is NOT what it seems and you never know who you can trust even if you make allies. We also see that there’s redemption for even the worst offenders. We see that there’s transition in life and when you’ve had some of your greatest horrors take away your very breath, there are people out there who care enough to lift you up, support you and never leave you behind. And there’s love. That’s likely the most important of all and perhaps the one thing that we see carry us through this vicious forth installment.

Now I don’t know about any other reader, but I know for myself that i’d love more than anything to get book five sooner rather than later. It’s been years since we had the last one and I think i’ll scream and wither away if we have to wait that long again. On that note – ENJOY!

Review: Rock Hard (Sinners on Tour Book 2) by Olivia Cunning

Ahhh….the bliss and enjoyment that i find in sequels to stories that are actually good!  Rock Hard is the follow up to Backstage Pass – and it didn’t let me down.  In book 1 we are introduced to Sinners – a rock band that is of course made up of 5 of the hottest sexiest men around.

We already know the story around Brian and Myrna since book 1 centered around them and their budding relationship.  We also got to know a bit more about Trey, Sed, Jace and even Eric – but not tooooooo much.

So book 2, Rock Hard starts in a bit of a confusing place.  We’re introduced to Jessica and Sed – they are clearly in a relationship and that’s what threw me off since it was my understanding that Sed was single in BP.  Then i had to remember after a few minutes that there was a scene in book 1 where Sed is sitting at a table on the bus and Myr catches him looking at a picture of a girl.  So…this means that this intro scene is a little bit of a flashback.

That being the case, we meet Jess when she’s breaking up with Sed since he’s not entirely all that supportive of her goal of becoming a lawyer.  He basically wants to take care of her and have her just be there for him.  She’s not having that, so she returns the engagement ring that he had just given her and we are then fast fowarded into present day.

Sed is the womanizer and sex addict that we came to love and appreciate in BP, and Jess is trying to pay for school with a summer stint as a stripper in Vegas.  Ironically, the Sinners are in Vegas for a show and decide that for Brian’s bachelor party they are going to go to a strip club, and of all the clubs in Vegas, they go to the ONE that Jess is working at.

Shock, surprise, lust and a bit of brawling all get rolled up into this scene, leaving the sinners all bruised and battered, and Jess w/o a job.  Sed finds out that Jess has been fired, tries to give her money to make up for it, she goes to return the money, and ends up working for Myr on tour w/ the Sinners.

One thing that we all know from a deep emotion like ‘Hate’ is that it comes from a true place, usually love.  Well, Sed and Jess clearly HATE each other, yet they quite obviously love each other as well, even if they aren’t ready to admit it to themselves or each other.  The story that ensues from here takes us on a roller coaster with both of them, with their lives together and separately, and with all the paths that they go down, it’s hard to picture exactly where they are going to end up.

In the middle of all this, there’s a medical emergency that comes into play, not for either Sed or Jess, but for Trey, as a result of the brawl at the strip club that first reunion night.  that alone adds in enough drama and suspense to keep the story going in a completely different way.

There are times when i hoped for a happy ending and times when i thought that it would be too cliche.  the good news is that Olivia Cunning did a great job and gave us less of what we’d expect and more of what readers really want.  Now i can’t wait to finish Double Time the 3rd installment of the series.

Review: Backstage Pass (Sinners on Tour Book 1) by Olivia Cunning

I wasn’t quite sure what to expect of this book since it sounds like it’s focal point is a hard rock back, but i decided to give it a read since i’m a HUGE fan of series (vs. individual stories) that can sustain my insterest for a while.

So in Backstage Pass, we are introduced first to Myrna who is a professor (has her PhD) in Human Sexuality and she’s just given a lecture at a conference.  I don’t know about anyone else, but the first thought that comes to mind in a story that you know is going to turn erotic, is ‘naughty professor’ and with a name like Myrna, you can get all these images into your head.  Once you meet you, you come to find that she’s clearly less bookish than she would seem with a name like Myrna, and that she’s in fact got a rock edge to her, and included that edge into her presentation with the riffs from a well known back ‘The Sinners’.  un-beknownst to her, this love of the band will come in handy.

She’s walking through her hotel on that same night and hears a commotion in the lounge, and finds not at all what she’s expecting – the usual conference goers, but instead, the same band that she  really enjoys – THE SINNERS.  They are drunk, and loud and exactly what she needed to see.  She finds her courage and walks over to them and the rest is history.

She’s hit on by Sed – who is the sexy lead singer of the group, Eric, the drummer, Trey and Jace are doing their thing, and Brian is soo drunk that he can’t even keep a thought flowing in his mind that even makes sense.  I think that we all know what happens here right?  she’s drawn to all of them, but is able to disway the attention of the guys that are making the most overt passes at her, and some how decides that she’s going to come to Brian’s rescue after he throws up all over the place.  She invites him up to her room for a hangover cure, although that’s not quite what Brian thinks when he’s invited up to her room.

After a night of nothingness – Myrna won’t have sex on the ‘first/second date’ and Brian really is too drunk to do much aside from pass out, they find themselves in each others arms in the morning for some AMAZING sex.  (of course).  Instead of going back home that morning, she throws caution to the wind, and joins the band onto their next tour stop.  Never a good move for someone who’s supposed to have a respectable job…but when there’s good sex, all logic goes out the window.  So Myran joins the band to their next stop, enjoys mind blowing sex and then has to find her way back home the next day to get bck to the real world.

Now…to back up a second, throughout this story, Myr has some internal strife going on.  She’s been married before, to a man who clearly thought her a whore and was apt to tell her this all the time.  The issue here is that no, she was not a whore, but she is a sex professor and of course wants to make things less vanilla and much spicier.  Her husband took that to mean that she was probably cheating on him in order to get these thoughts/positions and all this experience and it certainly crushed her a bit.  On top of that, he started to drink A LOT and as a result, almost killed her with his rage.

So, we’re fast forwarding to her present day life…where she’s a bit gun shy about emotions, and men, and how she’s kind of even gone into hiding a bit so that she doesn’t ever have to deal with this asshole again.  This of course becomes a problem for her when she finds that she LOVES having her ‘relationship’ with Brian because she can be as uninhibited as she wants, she doesn’t have to worry about being considered dirty or whorish becuase that’s part of what just works between them.

Life comes in the way of what they have…Myr has to figure things out professionally which gives her more of a reason to stick around the band and Brian, but that doesn’t address any of her personal struggles and that’s what keeps the book moving.  It’s never easy, and it’s never clear what’s going to happen between Myr and Brian and the rest of the band for that matter.

The good thing about this first book is that the Olivia Cunning really has given us a view of all of the band members, and we see them for more than just the instruments that they play.  They have emotions and quirks and I can only hope that we get to see more of them and all this inter personal stuff in the future books in the series.

Definitely pick it up – there’s nothing timid or quiet/shy about the eroticism in the story.  you won’t be disappointed.

Review: Undeniable by Madeline Sheehan

thank goodness for holidays – i find myself with even more free time to breeze through a few additional books.  As i was looking on listopia on i came across Undeniable by Madeline Sheehan and the description was really interesting.  The snippet that was posted about Eva being 5 and Deuce being 23 when they met is enough to draw anyone in i think.

So the opening scene of the book we’re introduced to Eva where she’s at Riker’s Island visiting her father in jail.  Her father ‘The Preacher’ is the leader of a gang so to speak, and is a single father trying to raise his little girl as best as he can.  While there, Eva’s eyes fall on Deuce who is also there visiting his father ‘Reaper’ who is also in Jail.  ironically, they are from oposing ‘families’ if you want to use mafia terminology (they aren’t quite mafia, more like hell’s angels).  in any event, Eva’s cuteness and genuine sweet temperment draw Deuce in, in a way that he could never have expected since he’s all hard and calloused, both physically and mentally.

So this story takes us through a series of fast forwards where we meet up again with Eva when she’s a young teen, being shadowed by her adopted brother Frankie who has a very over bearing protective side.  Deuce comes across them at a family BBQ ….and of course Eva continues to be drawn to him.  But alas, she’s way too young and he’s way too old for her.  Frankie even almost comes to blows with Deuce becuase he’s that over protective.

Fast Forward a few more years when Eva is 16 and she and Deuce cross paths again at another ‘family party’.  This time, Frankie literally does come in Deuce’s face and has a little battle, Eva gets in the middle, gets into a fight with Frankie (we’re strating to see a trend here that Frankie is way too aggressive and can’t handle his temper), and Eva and Deuce are drawn to one another.  Their chemistry has clearly built over the years, partly becuase they don’t see each other expcept after a few years, and she’s beautiful now while he’s exudes sex appeal.  (he’s not want for attention for company that’s for sure).  That night, they start to cross a line, making out a little bit, and well, Deuce gets himself shot for it (by her dad)

Fast forward again a few more years when Eva is now ‘legal’ and is out with her best friend Kami at a bar (illegally) and crosses paths yet again with Deuce.  Mind you, part of the excitement of all this is that she’s had to sneak out of her house becuase her father wouldn’t approve and she constantly has to slip away from Frankie who’s really beginning to take things too far.  He sleeps in her bed at night (has for a long time) and has some how taken this to mean that he’s staking his claim.  he’s kind of ‘peed on her’ to mark his territory although i don’t think that Eva has realized this quite yet.  This time that Deuce and Eva cross paths though, they practically combust, in the alley, in the rain.  how romantic right?  Alas, they’ve finally gone and done what they’ve wanted to do for YEARS but it’s not without it’s own problems following.

So….fast forward again a bit, and Eva and Kami decide that becuase of this sexual chemistry, they are going to take a little ride out to Montana where Deuce and his buddies live, and see what comes of it for the summer.  Knowing how the 2 of them can’t stay apart at this point, you know that only lots of sex and heat will come of it.  Kami is no slouch herself and finds a way to entertain herself with a couple of Deuce’s friends.  (who like to share so it works out well).  Eva has managed some how to get away from Frankie and her dad, they have no idea that Eva’s gone to the Horesmens home, and well….that is definitely not going to be good.

Long story short, something comes between Deuce and Eva (meaning that he wants her to be stashed away from the raunchiness of the club, and she doesn’t want that), she runs…and we are forced to fast forward again.

This story keeps fast forwarding, putting us into interesting situations…and not all of them good.  most of them bad actually.  Frankie goes psycho showing that his aggressive nature continued to get out of control.  Eva continues to be too sweet for her own good…her chemistry with Deuce continues and has no intention of going anywhere…and there are more twists and turns, anxiety, hospitals…all that coming in the future for everyone involved.

So….i really wanted to LOVE this book, but i’m not quite there.  i enjoyed passed the time, but i thought that all the fast forwarding confused me.  i never got the sense that either Eva or Deuce were as old as they were supposed to be.  it’ll be nice to see what comes of everyone in book 2.  there’s definitely a lot of different directions tht the story can take.

Master of the Mountain (Mountain Masters #1) by Cherise Sinclair

Coming off my ‘high’ from the Masters of the Shadowlands series, i knew that i wanted to pick up another series in the same genre, and happily i found one by the same author.

so here we are in the first installment of the Mountain Masters series – which is a very different environment and feel from the other series.

We are introduced to Rebecca who has the life that most women want.  She’s got a great job, one the path to fast promotion, and she’s got this amazing boyfriend that she lives with.  He’s great on paper, but what we all know about real life, is that great on paper sometimes falls flat in life.  So their ‘falling flat’ is sex.  boring, very vanilla sex.  Like most women, Becca wonders if it’s because she’s not super skinny like everyone else or if she’s destined to having boring sex.

Well, turns out the perfect boyfriend isn’t quite so perfect after all.  Matt in essece is your regular guy – has a decent job, wants a good relationship…what girl wouldn’t want that right?  He did what girls love and didn’t really ‘put a ring on it’ but asked Becca to move in with him so things were on the right path.  Then, out of no where, literally, he mentions to Rebecca that he belongs to a club that she doesn’t know about, and not just any club – a swingers club and that there’s a long weekend holiday coming up that he’s planning on attending.  now what gets me here is that he had this vacation planned w/o her knowing about it and without telling her and they live together and that’s just supposed to be ‘ok’?  If it were me, i don’t know how ‘ok’ it would be.  Rebecca though – in her hopes of saving her relationship that’s kind of losing some of the spark decides to try it out and see what it might be like. 

so they head up to Serenity Lodge in the mountains which is a really amazing sounding lodge owned by Logan and Jake.  Apparently swingers groups are just some of the different types that come to the lodge, all of course a result of the interests that Jake and Logan personally have.  Let’s not let that detract though from how amazing it is to be in the mountains.  There are endless opportunities to hike, swim, be outdoors and just get away from the City (which is something that Becca keeps being reminded of – that she’s a city girl).  We will focus on Logan for this story though – he’s the ‘older’ brother, and he’s got this Dom thing down pat.  very in control, watching everything, knowing what others (especially Rebecca) are thinking/doing to make sure that their experience is the best it can be.

From the moment that Logan sets eyes on Rebecca when she and Matt check into the lodge, his ears perk up.  It’s interesting how guys are like that – they can just tell when someone is out of their element yet it’s something that they could really get into given the right teacher.  So as the weekend progresses and Logan’s role is to oversee the group, take them on a hike and show them the mountain so they can all ‘play’, he notices that Rebecca really isn’t into it.  She’s set herself apart and he’s not having any of that.  He sees that she’s really uncomfortable in her own skin (that’s #1 since all the girls are toned and thin) and she doesn’t like seeing Matt with another woman.  She tries to get past it but as the evening comes and everyone gets even more friendly, she’s had enough and decides to go back to her room.  there she finds Matt and the other girl and that just doesn’t work for her either, so she leaves, lands herself outside the main lodge because everyone’s inside having sex there too and just curls up outside and goes to sleep.

Logan the overseer decides that’s not ok, and well, he really likes her physically since she can cushion him and feel all soft and womanly, so he brings her back to his ‘place’.  Debauchery ensues from there, and we see that Rebecca puts on her big girl pants on some level and comes into her own.  It’s never cut and dry though because although i didn’t go into it too much, not only is Logan the older and protective brother, he’s been to war, has come back ‘damaged’ from it, and has a resolution that he’s made to himself never to let anyone get close again because he’s afraid of what he’ll do to them.  (what he did to Jake was bad enough – almost killing him)

The great thing about this first story is that you wonder if she’s coming into her own to take it back to her life in San Fran, or if it’s going to alter her life in San Fran after the weekend.  There’s a lot of potential here, especially since well, she’s got this HOT HOT guy in Logan that’s interested.  Well, like we always know, nothing ever comes easy, and what she had she loses, or gives away, what she wants may be out of arms reach, yet, it walks right into her life….


Review: To Command and Collar (Masters of the Shadowlands book 6) by Cherise Sinclair


Title:  To Command and Collar
Author: Cherise Sinclair
Publisher/Year:  Loose Id LLC 11/29/11
Series: Masters of the Shadowlands #6


Determined to find the human traffickers preying on Shadowlands’ submissives, Master Raoul gets himself invited to a small slave auction. Once informed, the FBI orders him to reject the limited choices so the slavers will invite him to the big auction. To Raoul’s shock, one of the slaves is the kidnapped friend of a Shadowlands sub. She has a scarred body…and an unbroken spirit. He can’t leave her behind. Ruining the FBI’s carefully laid plans, he buys her.

Kimberly’s freedom has come at a devastating price: the other women are still slaves. An FBI raid is their only hope for rescue. Desperate to help the Feds locate the big auction, she agrees to pose as Master Raoul’s slave. Wearing a collar again is terrifying, but under the powerful dominant’s care, Kim starts to heal and then to blossom. This is what she’s been drawn to-and fled from-her entire life.

She escaped the slavers who captured her body-can she escape the master who’s captured her heart?
Publisher’s Note: This book contains explicit sexual situations, graphic language, and material that some readers may find objectionable: anal play, BDSM theme and elements (including/not limited to: bondage, fire play, flogging), violence.

My Thoughts

i have to say that i’m THRILLED with where this story started off just because of the sadness that i felt at the end of Make Me, Sir.  Although i was really relieved that both Gabi and Jessica were ok, and that Jess/Z were ok, Dan/Kari were in their own happy place and Beth/Nolan were as well, i had hoped that they would get to Kim.  I figured that not all things could end on an happy note, but i still hoped.

so when we find ourselves with Master Raoul – and he’s working with the FBI to get into the ring – that’s the best thing that we could hope for.

Let’s back up a second though to talk about something here though.  From all the Masters that we’ve spent time with so far, none of them have really been overly sadistic – none like to inflict pain to an excess and none were really interested in much more than a dom/sub relationship in the club and maybe a little bit more.  that’s clearly not the school of BDSM that Raoul was from though.  his past included multiple relationships where he collared a sub and had a full time slave.  it worked for him, and although he not a mean and hurtful master, he’s still the type to have a full time 24/7 slave.  I wasn’t sure how i was going to take to this, but i figured that i’d give him the benefit of the doubt.

Being a slave ‘owner’ in the past though was just the in that Raoul needed to get his in with The Harvest Association better known as the kidnapper organization.  because of his reputation, he’s working with the FBI to infiltrate and see how he can help bring them down.  all the while in the back of his mind he has the picture / image of Kim – Marcus’ sub Gabi’s best friend to think about and hope that maybe he’ll be able to find her or do what he can to ensure that doesn’t happen to others again.

Raoul finds himself at a private sale pre-auction type thing for ‘slightly damaged goods’.  this actually made me sick to think that not only did these men kidnap women, but they abused them so badly that they were not considered used and damaged.  being sold at a ‘discount’ i think the phrase was a one point.  i can’t quite understand how it’s possible for on human to think of another like that but that is certainly intentional so you get the emotional build up that the author is looking for.
Lucky for Kim, Raoul recognizes Kim at the pre-sale and buys her and brings her home with him.  This has major implications though to what he’ll be able to do moving forward in the investigation.  He may have hurt his chances of getting into the bigger auction to help the ‘feebies’, and has to think about Plan B and C (B being that instead of being a buyer at the big auction he has to do a demonstration, C being that he brings in another guy – Sam who would fit right in with what the FBI’s need of a buyer)  He manages to get her to realize that he’s one of the good guys by getting Gabi to his house as soon as he can.  We see that Kim has major trust issues as can be expected based on what she’s been through but she’s made of tougher stuff than even anyone can imagine.  She learns that in order to bring down the operation and to save her friends (or at least try) she has to ‘submit’ and become a slave to Raoul.  I don’t think a better master could have been set for her since he’s incredibly patient, and understanding.  He’s damaged from what his past relationships have done to him and his lack of relationship with his family – so he really knows how to treat Kim with kid gloves.  We works hard to make her stronger mentally and physically because that’s what she needs to heal and because he just doesn’t know what the future is going to bring.

It’s really great to see how the trust aspect of their relationship is built up through the story and how their dependency is on one another.  Raoul spends his time getting Kim stronger while falling for her more and more.  Kim realizes that she CAN trust someone again and begins to realize that she can’t live without her ‘master’.

Just as Raoul suspects, things aren’t what they seem, and a wrench is thrown into things.  Nothing is ever easy, Kim’s healing is almost derailed because of the Harvest Association, and Raoul finds that his past keeps haunting him.  There’s also a bit of sinister-ness popping up in the latter third of the book just to keep us on edge and wonder what WILL happen.

This story also brings us a bit more information around Master Sam which is nice.  We’ve seen hints of him through some of the other stories, but we don’t know too much.  Here we learn that he’s got a bit of a darker side than the masters that we’ve come to love so much.  he actually likes pain and considers himself a sadist.  This is perfect for the slave auction but I wonder how that will work out for him…and us.  I’m not one for the pain aspect of BDSM.  the spanking/flogging stuff doesn’t bother me, but the bull whips and the welts, blood, and ‘stripes’ – that actually does make me cringe.

With this story like all the others, just when you’re comfortable with how things are developing and going, it makes a 180 and things go up in smoke.  this story doesn’t fail and really keeps you on edge.  Cherise Sinclair reminds us again that all her female characters are incredibly strong and resilient and that the men have redeeming qualities even past their amazingly good looks.

so now…we have to wait.  i believe book 7 is in the works and not yet finished so i’m tracking another series to bide my time.

Review: Lean on Me (Masters of the Shadowlands Book 4) by Cherise Sinclair



Title:  Lean on Me
Author:  Cherise Sinclair
Publisher/Year:  Loose id 9/16/10
Length:  314 Pages
Series:  Masters of the Shadowlands #4


Andrea wants to submit, but not to just any so-called Dom. He has to be tougher than the slum-bred bullies she grew up with. She’d given up finding a true Dom when her friend finagles her a place as a trainee in an exclusive BDSM club with the powerful Shadowlands Masters. Andrea’s thrilled…and terrified.

Forced to accept an unknown submissive into his carefully run trainee program, Master Cullen is furious. Not only is the young woman new to BDSM, but she’s unsuited to her role–armoured in leather like a Domme, she’s more liable to punch a Dom than kneel. He decides to push her right back out the door. But as he ruthlessly intimidates her, punishes her, then comforts her, his glimpses of the woman inside the emotional armour intrigue him and her utter surrender captures his heart.

Although Master Cullen is famous for his unfettered lifestyle, Andrea believes he might be interested in her, until she discovers he’s not just a bartender–he’s a cop. Maybe he’d overlook her past brush with the law, but when another trainee accuses her of stealing money, Andrea’s sure she’s lost the Master she wanted with all her heart.

My Thoughts

We meet again, in the interesting world of the masters – and who’s next up on our list.  It took 4 books, but here we are focusing on Master Cullen who we know is really a great guy and you just really want to root for.  He has a role at the core of every story being the bartender that every sub has to interact with and we see that he’s got a playful side yet is quite domineering which is perfect for him.

Cullen oversees the Trainees at the club – which is something i found to be really interesting.  I think that the author did an amazing thing here by showing us that not only is Shadowlands a safe place for experienced Doms/Subs to engage in their favorite activities, but it also safely introduces people who are interested in being a sub to the lifestyle in a way that’s slow yet very very fast and oh so hot!

Andrea manages to nab herself a prime place as a trainee at Shadowlands becuase of her lifetime best friend and that’s both a blessing and a curse for her.  See Andrea has gone through a few BDSM clubs, clearly portraying herself in the wrong way if she truly wants to be a sub, and as a result, doesn’t find what she needs AT ALL.  She’s tall, curvy, and i believe Amazon, the term often used to describe her really does suit her.  she’s sure of herself, not one to easily back down, and that’s exactly what Cullen needs i think. She grew up on the streets, has been through quite a bit in her life and although being submissive is something that she thinks she wants to be, it’s definitely something that will take a lot of work.

Being the head of the trainee program, Cullen has to deal with a lot without overtly playing favorites.  It ‘s hard at times since it seems like Andrea wants to be a dom more tan a sub sometimes or just plain doesn’t want to be there, yet this big guy that Cullen is some how manages to find what makes her tick and goes from there.

Suffice it to say that one thing that i’ve learned with these strong women as leads in the stories – the more defiant the hotter the sex.  make sure you have your A/C cranking when you read this and all others in the series because there’s truly not even 1 tame woman lurking in there.

Review: Dark Citadel (Masters of the Shadowlands Book 2) by Cherise Sinclair


Title:  Dark Citadel
Author: Cherise Sinclair
Publisher/Year:  Loose id  4/7/2009
Series: Masters of the Shadowlands #2


After Kari breaks up with her date during Beginner’s Night at Club Shadowlands, she’s given the option to continue with an experienced dominant. Despite her steamy fantasies about BDSM, the inexperienced schoolteacher plans to simply observe. Yet under the unyielding hands of Master Dan, she not only participates, but gives him everything he asks for. There is nothing she can hide from him. Not her passion…or her love. Publisher’s Note: This book contains explicit sexual content, graphic language, and situations some readers may find objectionable: Anal play/intercourse, BDSM theme and content (including/not limited to bondage, caning, restraint, spanking, tethering) exhibitionism, voyeurism

My Thoughts

here we find ourselves HOT and bothered and it’s not because of the weather!  Who would have thought that you could create yet another great story line just from being in a BDSM club right?

so in Dark Citadel we are reunited with the Masters of the Shadowlands, this time focusing on Master Dan.  From book 1 Club Shadowlands we got the sense of all the doms being strong enormous men with lots of muscle and in this story we aren’t disappointed.

so let’s just back a second and talk about our key female Kari who goes to Shadowlands because the guy she’s dating feels like BDSM is a lifestyle that they are interested in.  She’s kind of on the fence, thinking that it’s exciting yet the guy that she’s with doesn’t treat her properly and that goes all pear shaped.  She’s then introduced to one of the Shadowland Masters and things make a 180.  She finds herself with a guy that’s so intimidating who introduces her to a lifestyle that’s also very intimidating, yet quite arousing.

Master Dan – well Master Z puts Kari into his care, asking him to teach her about all things BDSM.  Dan’s had it rough, yet the allure of Kari just makes things that much better.  He’s brooding and dark, yet incredibly sexy.  He knows his way around a woman’s body and that’s exactly what both Kari and I personally needed.

Again, what i love about what this author does is that we’re not brought to focus on a stick thin model.  we have another REAL woman who feels a little insecure, but is deemed incredibly sexy.  Read this, but i warn you, keep a fan and some water near your bedside because you will need it!

Club Shadowlands (Masters of the Shadowlands book 1) by Cherise Sinclair

i don’t know if it was inspiration from reading 50 Shades of Grey or Bared to You, but lately i’ve found myself really intrigued by all things BDSM.  The good thing is that there’s PLENTY to read out there in that scope!

Masters of the Shadowlands as it turns out has become an addiction – one of those series that i just can’t put down, and i’m really pleased about that.

Club Shadowlands is our introduction to the series, where we find ourselves in balmy Tampa FL.  which adds a bit to the ambiance of the story line.  Shadowlands is a private club that hosts a variety of ‘themed’ nights throughout the week but focuses on BDSM on Saturdays.  Run by the owner, kept in line by the ‘Masters’ – Shadowlands really shows you what a safe and secure fetish environment can be like.  what i love about what the author does in this series is that she brings in a sense of real personality and character to the plot – you really learn about the characters and who they are, what makes them tick and you feel like you can really picture the club and what’s going on in it.

The lead male Master Z is a man that’s clearly established and mature.  we fear him yet like we’ve found in all other stories similar to this, there’s a quality there that you really can’t help but love him too.  he’s caring and protective, yet dominating as his ‘master’ or ‘dom’ title suggests.

Jessica is our female lead, and quite the lead she is.  She’s ‘human’, meaning that she’s curvy and attractive, but not model perfect.  (which is something that the author really talks up in the story and in following books).  We’re introduced to her on a ‘dark and stormy night’ when her car has broken down on the way home from a bad blind date and she’s a wreck.  She finds herself at The Shadowlands because it’s the closest place to make a phone call, and well….it just progresses from there.

suffice it to say, this series is MUCH HOTTER than 50 shades or Bared to you…it’s graphic (in a good way), gets you so intrigued that you’re not able to put it down, and you immediately want to pick up the next book in the series to find out what’s going to happen next.

Definitely pick it up to find out what happens with these 2 characters and the other MASTERS of the Shadowlands…

the re-reading of Fifty Shades Trilogy

now that i’ve found myself back into the romance/’erotic’ (gasp) genre, i felt the need to revisit 50 Shades of Grey. I’m proud to admit that i read it before it was even talked about to the extreme levels that it is now.  i came across it when it was first published all those months ago, and i actually told my book reading friends about it just as the hype was starting to build.  Ironically, when i was reading it the first time around, i got the heavy sex context of it, but i picked up a lot more on the actual story and found myself drawn to that more so than the graphic quality.

in my second pass at reading it, i really delved more into that, and was actually impressed with things that i remembered and little details that i didn’t.  if you take out maybe 50% of the sex, you still have that element of the story, but you have a really good plot.  there are a few things though that i think about a lot of time that i wonder if we would ever get those things answered (assuming that E.L. James decided that maybe after writing the stories from Christian’s perspective that she’ll do additional stories).

1) Mia / Ethan – what’s the deal there?  did they enjoy that first lunch?  were they just thrown together every time after that because of Christian and Kate’s tie to the relationships?  Did Ethan like Mia?  we know she liked him

2) secondary characters – i think that there could be some great plot lines developed over a few of these guys.  maybe we can get a story about Kate/Elliot going?  since they are quite major/minor characters – i think that there’s at least one book there.  what about Taylor?  What about Ros? or Elena?

3) what’s the tie from Jack Hyde and Mr. Lincoln?  why did he post bail?  was it really just jealous?  was that the motivation there and that he wanted to get revenge from Christian having the ‘affair’ with Elena?  I feel like there’s more for some reason.

Lastly, in reading about the development of the movie and how they are still in talks about how this can be made into a PG/PG-13 movie vs. an R – i definitely see how it can be done.  i think that there’s much more of a story there than people want to think about and yes there’s sex, but that’s not what it’s really about.  it’s just a piece of it.

we’ll have to wait and see – but what i DO know is that after reading those post chapters of Fifty Shades Freed – i kind of feel like the christian POV stories will be great.