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Amanda Ryan

The Prince by Tiffany Reisz

“What does bother me is that you pulled your tricks on my son. You used him, chewed him up and spit him out.”

Wesley opened his mouth to protest, but Nora spoke up first.

“You say you know me, Mr. Railey, but obviously you don’t. If you did, you’d know I don’t spit out.”

Redonk Nutshell: Tortured souls are reunited with past loves

Book three in Tiffany Reisz’s Original Sinners series, we get to see what happens when Nora given time with her beloved Wesley, the “one that got away.” Or rather, she pushed away. As in the past two novels, we get several stories in one, here: Nora & Wes, and Soren & Kinglsey. Both stories were fascinating, though I’d give an edge to Soren & Kingsley’s because of it’s…er…effed up’edness. I’m not going to lie – I was really looking forward to Wesley finally getting it on with his ever so precious Nora. Who doesn’t love a male virgin story, amirite? Anyhow, it doesn’t disappoint. The darkness in Nora’s former erotic scenes is missing, which is expected. We see another side of Nora, one she herself isn’t really sure how to handle either. On the other side of the story, we get a background scoop on Soren & Kingsley, and Kingsley’s longstanding love of the jaded priest. Their story is brutal and dark, but it works because of who they are. The thread that connects the two stories of The Prince is a mystery of figuring out who is after Soren, a mystery individual that is leaving notes and violent clues behind of their intent to ruin him. By the end we know who it is, but we’re left with a cliffhanger involving Nora’s abduction and the men of her life left scrambling.

I love, love, LOVED The Siren. The Angel was good, but didn’t shine as brightly for me. The Prince…okay, I’m not going to lie. It kind of pissed me off. Gah, I hate saying that, because really it’s my fault. If I had known going into it that there was more to come in this series, I would have left myself an out as far as having some sort of completion/resolution. You can imagine my disappointment coming upon the end and finding…a cliffhanger. I was so PISSED. Damn you, Reisz, for writing such darkly engaging characters that I absolutely MUST know more about!

I have no idea how this mess is going to end. Will I pick up book four? Yes, yes I will. Will I be as excited to read it as I was the 2nd? No. I’m girding my loins, dammit.  It’s tough for me to rate this book because of my personal reactions to it (that were my own damn fault). I enjoyed it, but it just didn’t move me like The Siren did.

The Prince by Tiffany Reisz

Rating: C

Romance: 2/5           Raunch: 5/5

Deep Desires by Charlotte Stein

Redonk Nutshell: A strange, erotic courtship begins when a woman hiding behind anonymity catches her attractive neighbor in the throes of passion

If the first few sentences of this book don’t catch your attention then I’d recommend you check for a pulse:

I don’t mean to keep spying on him, as he strips out of his clothes. But the thing i, I just don’t expect it. No one would expect it.

Our heroine is a woman in hiding from an abusive past, a woman who keeps a low profile and has little more than a hope of getting herself on her feet without bringing notice to herself.  So when she spies her neighbor openly pleasuring himself in his apartment, she can’t bring herself to look away.  A part of her he had long since closed off suddenly flares to life, and she finds herself looking his way every evening when the lights are off and his curtains are the only ones open.  When they pass each other during the day they acknowledge one another with nods and grunts, but at night…that’s when the magic happens. She gradually figures out that her neighbor purposefully has her mind, and they begin a strange, intense courtship that flirts amid the grey boundaries they have set for one another. They each have crippling neuroses caused by trauma, yet their attraction to one another develops at an addictive pace as they connect through letters and packages dropped in mailboxes, phone calls, and gradual in-person meetings.

This is a crazy-intense story, one that’s hard to put in words to describe. I really enjoyed Ms. Stein’s writing. It was almost too easy to slip inside our heroine’s skin, to understand why she felt the way she did and why she was so drawn to her partner. it was heartbreaking to watch them ever so slowly come out of their shells, to witness them flailing like newborns in uncertain territory.

It was brilliant.  Loved this story – I’d highly recommend it if you’re looking for something that will leave you a bit haunted and moved. Oh, and IT’S ONLY $1.99!!

Deep Desires by Charlotte Stein

Rating: A

Romance: 3/5     Raunch: 5/5

The Angel by Tiffany Reisz

Redonk Nutshell: In which we learn more about a sadist priest and his lover

This is the 2nd book in Tiffany Reisz’s The Original Sinners series. Book one left me torn and strewn about like a roll of toilet paper in a house full of cats. I was drooling in anticipation for this book, anxious to see what was next in Nora Sutherlin’s life. If you haven’t read the first in the series, I’d a) recommend you do (seriously? where have you been?) and b) stop here. Thar’ be spoilers ahead.

The Angel focuses primarily on Soren, the tortured priest who heavily influences Nora’s life, and Michael, the young and burdened teenager who nurses a crush on our heroine.

First. Soren. Oh…Soren. It was hard to like him in The Siren. We don’t get that much of a likable vibe from him, and why would we, really? He’s a sadist. Well, friends, in The Angel we get to see a bit more, a peek behind the facade. You know, still waters run deep and all that. We gradually learn his back story and how he got to be how he is. No spoilers here, it ain’t a happy story. What’s amazing is that Soren didn’t turned out as effed up as he could have been. He deals with his demons in the only way he knows how – through pain. And I totally get it. He’s a fascinating character. I’m curious to see how he continues to grow, and how he pushes Nora and her own development.

Then we have Michael.  Oh sweet, dear Michael. We met him in the first book as well, the tortured soul who’s virginity is offered to Nora as a gift. Nora takes Michael to be “trained” as a submissive up to her friend Griffin’s estate. When the attraction between Griffin and Michael gradually escalates, things get pretty interesting.

I enjoyed The Angel, though it didn’t torment me the same way The Siren did. And I’m okay with that. At this point I’m fascinated by what these characters are doing and what’s going to happen next. They’re so well fleshed out and unpredictable, a welcome rarity in romantic/erotic fiction.

Cant’ wait for The Prince, or as I’ve come to think of it, Wesley’s book. Now THAT is going to be something!

The Angel by Tiffany Reisz

Rating: B

Romance: 2/5           Raunch: 5/5

 

The Siren by Tiffany Reisz

A love story is not the same as a romance novel. A romance novel is the story of two people falling in love against their will. This is a story of two people who leave each other against their will. It starts to end the minute they meet.

Redonk Nutshell: Erotica author & Dom goes head-to-head with her new editor while battling her own inner demons

True story: I read this book MONTHS ago but couldn’t bring myself to sit down and write a review. Sometimes a book comes along that rocks you to the point of excessive excitement and you just have to write about it; other times, you’re rocked in a way that leaves you shaking your head and wondering how in the hell you’re going to pick up your pieces and put them together in a way that others will be able to understand.  The latter? That’s The Siren. Call me a masochist, but I have complete and utter respect and admiration for any work, regardless of the medium, that manages to knock me silly and leave me reeling.

Nora Sutherlin is a well known erotica writer by day and a notorious Dom by night. Her newest work is currently being edited by a new publisher, and her new editor, Zachary Easton, is reluctantly learning the ropes of erotica while juggling the handful that is Nora. While they bait and challenge each other, for the most part it remains on a professional level, though neither hold back their barbs from personal assault:

“Why my personal life is of such fascination to you, I cannot fathom.”

“I’m a cat. You’re a shiny object.”

“You’re insufferable.”

“I am, aren’t I? Somebody should spank me.” She sighed. “So you’re kind of an asshole. No offense.”

“And you appear to be two or three words I don’t feel quite comfortable saying aloud.”

“I’d tell you to say them anyway, but I promised Wesley I wouldn’t let you flirt with me…”

Both Zach and Nora have their emotional demons to wrestle, and with their powers combined, they find that their coming together makes for a most excellent concoction. Now, I say coming together but I don’t quite mean it in the way you’re thinking. There’s a spark between them, but this isn’t a romance story. No. It’s a salvage story.

Adrift and unmoored, she had tried again and againt to throw him a rope to save him from the raging waters. And now he no longer felt like a drowning man at see. Nora…the siren and the goddess, the ship and the wine-dark sea. She would either save him or end him. Right now, with her words singing in his hears, he didn’t really care which.

Despite the chemical reaction between these two, their stories are not going to be resolved with each other. We meet other characters in Nora’s life, the men and women who have shaped her into the curious creature she is today, and we come to realize that Nora has some unresolved ends to tie up, both literally and figuratively.  She has a young, college-aged protege, Wesley, who is completely enamored of her. She returns his sentiment, but she feels her darkness is too encompassing for a person as wholesome and good as Wesley. On the flip side, her previous Dom (she used to be a Sub…well, technically she’s a switch), Soren, has made a re-appearance in her life and has completely thrown her off kilter. Oh, and I should mention that Soren is a priest. Wha-WHA? you say? Yeah. I know!

It’s difficult to summarize this book, as it’s complicated, intelligent, sexy, and dark.  It’s part one of a trilogy, though there are also several shorts floating around offering snippets into the lives of Nora’s friends.  The Siren is most definitely a best-of pick for 2012.  It’s unlike any erotic novel I’ve ever read.  It’ll punch you, kick you, caress you, make you bleed and make you weep, and in the end you’ll be back begging for more.  And I have a feeling that’s exactly what Ms. Reisz had in mind…

The Siren by Tiffany Reisz

Rating: A+

Romance: 3/5          Raunch: 5/5

Life After Fifty: Ten Erotic Novels You Need to Read

On the cusp of the “Fifty Frenzy,” I’ve pulled together a list of erotic romance stories that leave Fifty Shades of Grey in the dust There is some really amazing stuff out there, writing that should be in the spotlight for it’s beautifully crafted writing and imagination, writing that is original as well as gripping and poignant.  And sexy as hell.

If you found yourself enjoying E L James’ Fifty series, consider adding these to your To-Be-Read stack.

  1. Dirty, Megan Hart: emotionally vacant woman struggles through her intense attraction to a man she meets in a candy store
  2. CurioCara McKenna : A woman pays a french model and prostitute to take her virginity
  3. A Courtesan’s Guide to Getting Your Man, Celeste Bradley & Susan Donovan: this dual tale tells the story of two women in two different centuries embarking on discovering their sexuality
  4. Sin, Sharon Page : Erotic illustrator enlists the help of a renowned rake to help her track down the courtesan blackmailing her
  5. The Lady’s Tutor, Robin Schone : Women enlists help to educate herself in amorous acts in order to tempt back her husband
  6. The Reluctant Nude, Meg Maguire: Woman poses for a nude sculpture and finds herself reluctantly captivated by the artist
  7. Reckless, Anne Stuart: dark & tortured hero finds himself going from the seducer to the seduced
  8. Master of the Mountain Cherise Sinclair: woman is taken under the wing of a Dom and finds herself exploring the BDSM world
  9. Everything Forbidden, Jess Michaels : Regency woman bargains her virginity to a dom for three contractual months
  10. Broken, Megan Hart : married woman fills the void of loneliness by listening to a stranger’s stories of sexual encounters

Comfort Food by Kitty Thomas

Redonk Nutshell: Abducted woman becomes enraptured with her captor’s dominant conditioning

I went into this book with an open mind, something I’d highly recommend, otherwise you’ll find yourself really struggling with the concept of this book.

Emily Vargas has been kidnapped and taken hostage by a man that does not speak.  She fears for her life, but quickly learns that this man has no intentions of violence toward her.  He wants to break her with mental games, refusing her any sort of interaction with creature comforts.  He comes to feed her chicken soup every day, and she quickly begins to revile it.  When she finds herself behaving in the manner he desires, he rewards her by upgrading her accommodations.  Before long she finds herself craving his company, working to deem herself worthy in her captor’s eyes.

This is a BDSM book that really stretches personal boundaries.  Our heroine is a smart woman – she knows she’s experiencing Stockholm syndrome yet she can’t keep herself from falling prey to her own desires.  It can be difficult as the reader to think outside of the box, but if you can manage it I think it safe to say you’ll find this tale fascinating and alluring.  I enjoyed it for what it was.  I liked that it really forced me to twist around my psychological grasp of the characters and why they were doing what they were doing. There is a sort of happily ever after, but it may leave a lot of people scratching their heads.  I liked Ms. Thomas’s writing style.  This was my first read of her’s, and I’m getting the impression she tends to push the envelope in most of her stories.  I’m definitely going to continue checking out her stuff.

Comfort Food by Kitty Thomas, 138 pgs, 3/21/10

Rating: C+

Romance: 0/5                 Raunch: 5/5

Be My Everything by Ella Jade

Redonk Nutshell: Seasoned Dom ends up breaking his own rule by falling for a new Sub

This was another attempt of mine to explore the BDSM genre.  It was recommended for those who read Fifty Shades of Grey and/or Mercy, so I figured I’d give it a go.

After attending a “play” party, Katherine decides she wants to try tipping her toes into the BDSM pond. On a whim she applies to be a Sub to Lucas Cain, a man who’s reputation in Domination is preceded only by his business style.  Lucas is reluctantly intrigued by Katherine.  He likes the idea of being able to shape her to his needs, but at the same time he wonders if she’s worth the time and effort.  They decided to give it a go, and as things progress, Lucas finds himself struggling not to become too attached.

Be My Everything is a short n’ smutty BDSM book.  It didn’t really do much for me on the whole, though I found it a nice way to burn an hour or so.  I didn’t really buy the emotional investment and wasn’t all that surprised by the HEA.

Be My Everything by Ella Jade, 9/19/11

Rating: C

Romance: 1/5            Raunch: 5/5

Mercy by Annabel Joseph

Redonk Nutshell: Two emotionally stunted individuals collide into an intense BDSM relationship that’s two steps from effed up

This was the first time I’ve read anything by Annabel Joseph.  It was recommended to me by a fellow Rauncher who had just begun to explore BDSM books.  I picked up Mercy for a few reason: a) it was recommended b) the heroine was a dancer and I have a personal connection with dance and c) I was looking for something to follow up Fifty Shades of Grey in terms of a contractual BDSM relationship.

I had a hell of a time wrapping my head around this book.  I was enjoying the ride for probably about the first half-ish, but then things took a serious turn.  Mind you, while BDSM isn’t quite my cup o’ tea I still enjoy reading about it, if only because I find it fascinating.  I’ve only really skimmed the surface of the genre, and Mercy really delved into areas that pushed me to a place I wasn’t comfortable.  Like humiliation.  And taking control in a manner that leaves the submissive with no choice whatsoever.  I really struggled to push through my personal disagreement in the character’s choices and behaviors, but unfortunately it just dampened the rest of the book for me.

First of all, our heroine starts out interesting enough but she fell flat for me at the halfway point.  No pun intended. She reminded me of that girl in high school who drops all of her friends when her flavor of the week comes along. She cuts her friends out of her life as things begin to revolve around her Dom, and I really disliked her for that.  Our hero made less than admirable choices as well toward the climax of the plot that really left me wanting to throw this book at the wall and wonder why the hell I was still reading.

There was potential here and unfortunately it didn’t pan out for me.  The characters doomed themselves with decisions I ultimately disagreed with and just flat out couldn’t process.

Mercy by Annabel Joseph, 10/11/09

Rating: D

Romance: 1/5             Raunch: 5/5

Fifty Shades of Grey by E L James

Redonk Nutshell: An intense physical attraction between a shy woman and an indulgent man leads to a deep and complicated attachment

I came across this book through browsing around the Kindle store.  After reading the premise and the reviews I was intrigued enough to add it to my library.  I sped through it like a woman starved, incredibly grateful I had come across it.  I knew nothing of this author or her previous work, and had no idea what the history of this series was.  I’m excited to share it with you all, because I bet many of you will enjoy it.A quick synopsis:  Anastasia Steele is a few weeks away from earning her degree at Washington State University. When her roommate Kate gets sick with the flu, Ana volunteers to take her place to do an interview with the illustrious Seattle CEO Christian Grey.  When Ana meets Christian she immediately senses a spark, an attraction so intense she finds herself struggling to keep her cool. When Christian shows up a few days later at her part time job, Ana entertains the notion he may share the attraction, though she’s completely stunned that a man like Christian would have any interest in someone like her.Christian is a very private man.  Rich, brilliant and ambitious, Christan has no qualms about going after what he wants.  And what he wants is Anastasia.  The problem, however, is that she is completely ignorant of his lifestyle, a dark and secretive need to dominate.  He tries to warn her away from him, but neither can resist the pull of their attraction.  When he presents her with a legal contract detailing the depths of his expectations in their BDSM relationship, Ana is shocked.  She’s never partaken in any sort of physical relationship let alone a Dom and Sub one.  But her feelings for Christian overule her worries, and she agrees to give it a try.

What we get is an emotional rollercoaster of sensual awakening.  The attraction between these two is like gasoline to a raging fire.  What really makes this story shine, however, is watching these two struggle with the emotional ramifacations of their blooming emotional attachment.  It goes beyond physical, beyond the need to possess or dominate.  And neither or them know how to handle it.  It’s dark, addictingly so.  It’s a character driven story where our hero and heroine get way in over their heads.

I really loved this story.  I found myself drawing comparisons to Twilight a few chapters in – really, it’s impossible not to.  It’s set in Washington state, our hero and heroine are mirror images to Bella and Edward, and the intense emotional and physical attraction to one another is remarkably similar.  Some might be disappointed by this.  I personally didn’t mind.  In fact, I found myself reveling in it.   Afterall, how many of you out there are like me when reading the Twilight series and can’t help but feel disappointed at the lac of erotic description.  Yeah, well, I’m Raunchy Ryan – I have NEEDS.  Fifty Shades of Grey reads almost like an super adult version of Twilight, minus the whole supernatural aspect.

After finishing this (and book two) I did some research into this author – because I had to know who this person was and why I was only just now finding her – and it turns out Ms. James got her start writing Fanfiction for….get ready for it…Twilight.  HA!  Suddenly it all made sense.  I personally thought this was fantastic.  I don’t mind fan fiction – in fact I like it.  What really made it for me, though, was the fact that Ms. James writes  just as well, if not better, than Stephanie Meyer.  The ridiculous teenage angst is replaced with brutally intense sensuality.  The stalker-esque mannerisms of Edward are addressed by our Ana, and it’s done in a way that had me laughing and giggling like a moron.  I loved it.

So…a few things to bear in mind should you opt to pick this baby up.  It’s a series:  Book one is a major cliffhanger, so don’t expect any HEA’s.  Book two has something of an ending but we’re definitely left wondering what’s in store for book three, which has yet to be given a date of release.  Be prepared for Twilight XXX.  Whether or not you see this as s good or bad thing is most definitley subjective.  I myself enjoyed it immensely.  In fact, I’m earmarking this as one of my favorites for 2011.  Fo realz.  Hot, feisty, dark yet funny, and crazy emotional, Fifty Shades of Grey is fifty shades of fantastic.

Fifty Shades of Grey by E L James
(currently only availble through Amazon or The Writer’s Coffee Shop or iTunes)

Rating: B

Romance: 3/5         Raunch: 5/5

Victorious Star by Morgan Hawke

Redonk Nutshell: Nav pilot is abducted onto a mercenary ship and put to the test between two dominant men

I have a special place in my heart for this book, mostly because it was the first straight up sci-fi BDSM menage erotica I ever read. Why is it that, though these things aren’t necessarily things we want to experience, we find ourselves fascinated with them anyway? I don’t know.  All I know is I was completely entranced with this book, mostly because it completely blew my dwindling prudish barriers to smithereens.  Make no mistake, my fellow Raunchers – this is some seriously raunchy stuff.  It’s not for the faint of heart. Threesome galore, anal sex (including an alien with more than one…er…well…you’ll see), bondage and submission…it packs a serious smutty punch.

That said, I LOVE THIS BOOK.  *laughs maniacally* Lemme just say for the record it’s straight up porn. The bonus is that the story of this book just happens to rock.  Morgan Hawke did a stellar job creating a futuristic world where ships are sentient beings (Farscape anyone?), and the humans that help to pilot them have to jack-in to their system. We are introduced to different cultures and a wide array of adventure.  The marriage of sci-fi and erotica is simply superb.

Then of course is the relationship between our main characters, Victoria Stark aka the Victorious Star, Captain Ravnos and his partner and Commander First Officer Seht.  Ravnos and Seht have a history together, and when they bring in Victoria they immediately recognize her potential not just for their crew, but also for their bedroom.

Deliciously raunchy, Victorious Star is a rare sci-fi erotica book that also packs a hell of a story punch.

Victorious Star by Morgan Hawke, 484 pgs, 8/24/06

Rating: A

Romance: 1/5          Raunch: 5/5