Review: Mastered (The Enforcers #1) by Maya Banks


Title:  Mastered
Author: Maya Banks
Publisher/Year:  Penguin Publishing 12/29/15
Length:  326 pages
Series:  The Enforcers #1


What he wants, he takes with no remorse or guilt.
She stood out in his club like a gem, unspoiled and untouched. A lamb among wolves, she clearly didn’t belong. Drawn to her innocence he watched as she was surrounded by men who saw what he did—but no one but him could touch her. He summoned her to his private quarters. He sensed her fear. He also recognized the desire in her eyes. And he knew she wouldn’t leave before he possessed her. She had no need to know his secrets. Not until he had her under his complete and utter control.
What he wants, she isn’t sure she can give him.
The moment he told her want he wanted, she couldn’t resist. Instinct told her to run, but her heart said stay and walk the fine line between pleasure and pain. Though she wasn’t sure she could ever completely surrender, the primal part of her wanted to try, even knowing this man could break her in ways she never imagined. Because once he possessed her, he owned her and it would be too late to turn back. She can only pray that he doesn’t destroy her in the end.

My Thoughts

I don’t know that i’ve ever come across a book by Ms Banks that i haven’t loved and this intro to The Enforcers series is definitely on my list of great stories.  The interesting thing here is that at the end of the book, there’s a whole ‘explanation’ about how this series came to be, and how this book was supposed to complete the story of Evagenline and Drake,but there was too much there, and there was a need to make a continuation into book 2.  So, we are left on quite a cliff hanger that’s somewhat reminiscent of the cliffhanger from book 1 in FSOG  but still, a great way to keep me interested.

What threw me off at the very beginning of this series are the names of all the characters – we have Lana and Nikki who are mains from other series that i’ve read and i kept wanting to make some connection here with those folks and this story, but obviously that’s not the case.

In any event, we learn that Evangeline is coming off a breakup from a guy that she thought was ‘special’.  special enough to lose her virginity to, and yet he didn’t find that to be so special and dumped her immediately after.  It’s only when her girls get her all dressed up to make him see what he’s missing that her life takes a turn.

As expected, he responds to her being there in a less than savory way, trying to be forceful with her physically while throwing insults at her too.  If that wasn’t enough, Vangie feels like she’s so out of place and just wants to run, but at least some huge badass security guys come to her rescue (unbeknownst to her from Drake’s direction) and bring her back to his sanctuary – his office – a place that no woman has ever been allowed.

This of course is where everyone’s beginning to wonder what’s gotten into Drake since he’s acting out of character, and yet Evangeline is being given the world and aside from her friends, everyone seems to be ok with it.

The path that we take in this story is an interesting one.  Ms Banks makes a big point to introduce us to all of the men who work for Drake and their personality nuances from one another.  We’re also given O information about his past and the pasts of his men that of course makes Vangie more curious to get to know things.

What im surprised about i have to say though is the pace in which Evangeline gets used to what he’s got to offer her sexually and how well she adapts.  The other thing that i’m VERY surprised about is that he’s quite the dom personality, the kind of guy that seems like he’d kill anyone who touches her, yet there’s a scene that he actually shares her.

We almost never see that happen, at least not this early in a series, so it was a surprise, but it was really hot.  The chemistry that we see from these 2 is intense and i think that there’s so much more to see since the way that this first installment ended was on an explosion of sorts – there were things said and done that you have to wonder if they’ll ever come back from, and i think that it’s part of the intrigue that will make me want to keep reading.

So on that note – i need to track down the release date of the next one and then count down the days!  Happy Tuesday everyone!

Review: Unraveled (Mastered #3) by Lorelei James


Title:  Unraveled
Author: Lorelei James
Publisher/Year:  Penguin Group 3/3/2015
Length: 372 pages
Series: Mastered #3


In this sizzling continuation of the Mastered series by New York Times bestselling author Lorelei James, a man will find the domination he’s always craved…

Shiori Hirano and Knox Lofgren are left to run the martial arts program at Black Arts while Ronin Black travels. On the surface, the two highest ranked belts appear to cooperate—but in private, they butt heads constantly, despite the undeniable attraction between them. Soon their power exchanges start to make for a sweltering dynamic in the bedroom…

At first Knox is shocked to be living out his submissive desires, but Shiori sets out to prove that embracing his true sexual nature doesn’t make him a weak man. But even while their sexual relationship grants him a power and fulfillment he finds surprising, there’s no training regimen for the fight that comes with loving a strong woman…

My Thoughts

Oh how i do so LOVE this series.  What we have here is not just an amazing continuation with some of our favorite characters, but we get a roller coaster ride at that.  It’s a lesson of deciding hwo you want to be, if that’s something that you can do around others, and how can you do it to make you happy.

If you’ll all remember, we met and fell in love with Shiori when she came to the US in a sense to get away from her family since she’s been working for their company for so long.  She also wanted to find herself a bit, and in stepping in to help out at the Dojo, she’s able to do a bit of both.  While she’s doing that, she’s still juggling her life that she’s trying to get away from, and enjoying the spark of chemistry that she has with Knox, with whom there’s this perpetual love hate relationship.  I have to say that it’s quite clear that there’s going to be something amazing between them, but what those boundaries are, that’s to be seen.

And then take a step over to the world of Knox.  We’ve gotten to know just a bit about him throughout the other installments in this series, and it’s about time that we get to see him come to the forefront.  It’s been clear throughout that he’s somewhat of a unique character.  He’s got these alpha tendencies yet i think that there’s more to it than that, and thankfully Shiori and some others are able to help him come to see that.  We learn a bit of his back story and about what makes him who he is, along with what really brought him to Black Arts and that makes us love him so much more.

So where the 2 of these guys meet – it’s explosive and in a good way.  We don’t just get to see the romance blossom between them but we continue to see the animosity and fight that they have bring them even closer and that’s something that i feel is so necessary in this story and genre.  It’s what makes it even hotter when we see them decide to take a risk with each other.

What makes this story so much better than i expected is that there’s a power struggle, and that’s something that i feel like we don’t often see.  It’s not so much a topping from the bottom, but a means to an end.  Shiori clearly is the alpha, but Knox is struggling to understand what that means for himself.  The other bit is that everything that they are doing is in secret since they can’t let the others that they work with find out and they especially can’t let Ronin find out – since you know that he’s the over bearing big brother and boss man.

As we go on this journey, we get some amazing scening, and because of their unique dynamic, it’s even hotter.  Lorelei James knows how to write these characters and scenes in a way that makes you really feel the passion come off the pages.  And just when you think that things are getting to a safe place, we get that twist.  Someone runs, someone almost dies and Big Brother comes back into the picture.  If that’s not enough, life will change forever for one of them, and we just have to see how they choose to deal.

So, if you haven’t gotten the point yet, i LOVED that we got such a dynamic third installment and i can’t wait to see who’s next on the list since there are a lot of folks that we can get absorbed into.  on that note – Enjoy!