I have tried to read one or two books by Maya Banks and have always walked away scratching my head over the high ratings. I bought this one on sale, again because of the ratings, but I don't get it. This woman cannot write her way out of a paper bag.
In this instance, the plot was constructed from a flimsy framework of abusive sexual slavery. There was never a instant when I thought, yes, that makes sense -- I can see a real person doing that. There was nothing sensual about it. It was sick sexual domination that we're supposed to accept as sexy because it was the woman's idea. The final insult is that the author tries to make us believe all of the abuse is acceptable because it is ultimately motivated by love. Perhaps if this is your first erotica novel, you might not know the difference. Perhaps that explains some of the ratings.
The H wants to live his life with a sexual slave, and he makes no apology about it. He hasn't been able to find a woman willing to live it 24/7 with him and has about given up when he meets a woman with a fantasy of being a sexual slave. There is a contract, but no discussion of cost. Ever. Are fantasy's like this free?
It's a hard knock life for a sexual slave, and after the initial excitement, the woman, Serena, decides that it's a little too hard core for her. But the guy is so persuasive that he continuously manipulates and breaks down her personality for his own gratification so that she doesn't know where fantasy leaves off and reality takes over. She's frightened and confused. When she acts on those feelings, she is stripped, beaten and forced to give oral sex to her "owner" in front of a dinner party so that he can exert his dominance and teach her a lesson and not be embarrassed in front of his friends..
But what made it worse was the ending.
Serena has a major meltdown, but instead of attributing it to the sexual abuse she is suffering, the author does to us what the abuser did to her, she twists the logic. Serena's business is about fulfilling fantasies. At the request of the parents of a terminally ill child, she creates a cruise ship fantasy (why a cruise ship for a child?) where the child is crowned princess complete with coronation -- (like a child would understand or care about a coronation.). When the child dies, which was the motivation of the fantasy after all, Serena has a breakdown because "all fantasy's are lies" and she couldn't give the child "the one thing she deserved, a long and happy life." She runs from her owner/lover, starves herself, decides to sell her business, and generally goes around the bend -- because, we are expected to believe -- a a child who is terminally ill, dies. And, this continues to be a major melodramatic plot point even after the parents of the child thank her repeatedly for making the last days of their child such joyful ones, in a scene at the grave site. But does Serena finally see the reality of the situation? No. She stubbornly clings to her certainty that she failed this child, and now her life has no meaning.
This is the first time I've read a story where the author is in denial about her own character. What makes more sense? Serena is an unstable narcissist with a God complex who thinks she should have power over life an death as part of a realistic business plan? Or are we witnessing the emotional degradation of a woman so severely abused that a her personality disintegrates, and she accepts sexual slavery? Serena says over and over again that she's lost herself. She's right, but apparently the author didn't have the guts to write this story the way it should have been written.
Instead, this is a sexy erotic novel, so of course she's not sexually abused, right?
If the motivations attributed to Serena were the norm, the Make a Wish Foundation would be out of business.
IMHO, this one was pure crap.
Also, Caroline Wintour is not a favorite.
Monroe Stonecrow is the alpha, and he has a vision for his species' survival that revolves around their procreation. He will do anything to save them, and this often includes manipulation. He's very single minded, and believes the ends justify the means. There is a strong motivation to his plan: his people are being hunted and killed by a secret organization, and he wants to save them before it's too late. Therefore, he lacks sensitivity and subtlety, and most of all, patience. This is crucial to understanding the series, because if you don't get that, you won't get the whole point of it.
I'm not a big fan of shifter books (with a few exceptions: Patricia Briggs comes to mind) because their usually pretty formulaic with alpha males that are often just bullies. Why authors don't recognize that this is not a sexy characteristic says more about them than anything else. A really strong, smart man doesn't need to bully anyone. Ever. And they are the sexiest men in the world. There are so few authors who know how to write men like this, unfortunately for us women. Sigh.
I started this series on kindle over the weekend, and I enjoyed it without being aggravated, which is saying something for me. Most of the male characters are not this bad, but some are (Gauge). Monroe is the worst offender of the bunch though when it comes to being a bully. Ultimately, he has a soft side for Eden, but he continues to push buttons on everyone else throughout the series -- which, if nothing else, makes him and the author who wrote him, consistent, which I do appreciate.
Other than the standard formula, it is an entertaining series, and the set ups that bring the H and h together are original and interesting. I've spent a lot more money and time on a lot less entertaining storylines, so I'd say give it a try.
I agree with those who don't like the reader. She grew on me, or rather, I was able to ignore her after a while. I would say give it a read on your Kindle instead though. I'm not sure I'd buy another audio version because of her breathy, breathless style of reading.
I've wondered whether or not the Daily Deals here on Audible were picked by random, and now I know a computer is definitely involved.
Todays wonderful deal at $3.95 is actually free if you buy the $.99 book on Kindle first.
Audible -- I can't respect your "big bonanza" Daily Deal if you're not paying attention to what's going on. Buyers beware!!!
This one was a more intense than the first two books in this awesome series, but still very entertaining. If you're up for something deeper and more gritty than the usual, you might enjoy this.
Jess Whitby's father, the owner of a shipping company, is accused of selling secrets to Napoleon, but she is determined to discover the real traitor and save her father from the gallows. Having spent her early life on the dangerous streets of London as a thief, she has skills that most young ladies do not. She sets about using those skills, and her network of old connections, to ferret out the truth.
Capt. Sebastian Kennett has his reasons for wanting to see Josiah Whitby hang. But when he meets Jess, he finds himself falling hard for her.
The British intelligence gang is all here, and I loved seeing those characters again.
The players in this one felt more real and the stakes were higher than the first two. I'm very glad to have experienced it, but it wasn't an easy romance. This is a novel of complexity, and there were times when it got so intense I wanted to put it down, but I couldn't.
Joanna Bourne continues to impress me with her creativity. I'm a big fan.
One of the best (perhaps only?) perks of getting older is a challenged memory. Given enough time, rereading my favorite books again is almost like new. This is possibly my third time reading this series over the past 4 or 5 years and I'm having a great time! Definitely more entertaining than 75% of what's out there.
Tavia Gilbert is amazing reading this fantastic series, so I'm dipping into the Mark of the Vampire series for the first time because she's the reader of that too.
Note to Kevin Hearne fans: Just found a great new (to me) series by John Conroe called the Demon Accords. It's amazing! Check it out on Kindle cause it's not on Audible yet. I plowed through the whole series in a week and loved it!
I really enjoyed this one. Its a paranormal with a lot of mystery, and the reader was perfect.
I'm waiting patiently for the last book in Deborah Harkness' trilogy, and this was a great discovery to tide me over.
Looking forward to the next book in this series as well.
Lord Dane is a bitter rake hell who meets his match in the beautiful Lady Jessica Trent. She is an educated spinster whose intellect is every bit a match for his. Her attraction to him is in direct opposition to everything he believes himself to be, and that's the crux of the conflict between them. He does some very nasty things to her, but for some reason she see's through his hateful behavior and self loathing to the man beneath, and uses all of her wits to show him he is worthy of love, and not the monster he believes himself to be.
The plot was clever, particularly in the first half. I loved the Bertie character and found him very funny. Still overall the story always seemed to be just short of romantic for me. Why would any woman find a man with two busty whores on his lap worth her time? He was nasty, insulting and cruel by turns, yet she hung on like a barnacle. Sometimes I just didn't get it. Even when the big showdown occurred, it was hard to believe she didn't make the pig work for it. Animal attraction can only go so far when you're being psychologically tortured by a man. And even after they married, he continued to take out his self hatred on her. I hated that.
The first 2/3's of the story is engaging, though I felt it went distinctly over-board at points along the way and should have ended sooner than it did. Still it was a decent listen and the main characters were interesting if you didn't insist on logic or emotional believability.
The best part about Lord of Scoundrels is the narration by Kate Reading. Any other reader and I probably would have lost interest.
I gave the first book in this series 3 stars. It was fun if not fabulous.
This second book is so ridiculous that I worried that my eyes would roll permanently up in my head.
It would not have taken much effort to make this a fun book. A logical plot would have done it. I can only conclude that the author never bothered to reread what she wrote. The male lead in particular, behaved in ways that were so bizarre that it felt like his actions and reactions might have been put together with the use of mad libs.
I really resent this author for producing such a poorly constructed hunk of junk that it's insulting. The publishing house should be ashamed as well. I put more thought into this review than they did in the plot of this book.
Apparently they think Romance readers are morons. Whatever I paid for this, it was too much.
This series is wonderful. Romantic, suspenseful and so beautifully performed that it is a jewel in my dragon's horde of audible books.
Start with the first one as some of the characters carry over in the series.
I can't wait for the next book, Rogue Spy, that comes out November 4, 2014.
This is an amazing story of heroism and romance during the aftermath of the French revolution. I don't want to give a single thing about it away, and the description tells enough. I will say that there were times when I was so anxious for the characters that I had to laugh at myself. This is a book, I'd say. They aren't real. They are not actually in danger!
So romantic, so well written, and so beautifully performed it took my breath away.
I've been dancing around purchasing one of the BDB books for a while. Maybe I picked a bad one to start with, but wow. I should have just kept dancing.
This was so campy and unintentionally silly, it was hard for me to take anything about it seriously. WHAT AM I MISSING HERE?
The stilted and contrived macho dialogue between the so-called manly characters was beyond bad. Why do I need to know about their detailed necktie selections? Why do they live together in a place described as a "frat?" These are tough, sexy vampire men? They can't afford their own places? I suggest the author read other books to learn how to write male dialogue. Or how to write full stop.
Jim Frangione is hailed by many of the fans of this series for his performance, but again, I don't get it. He sounds over-the-top info-mercial to the point of farce. I've never listened to him read anything else, but after this, I won't be seeking him out. The so-called sexy parts were cringe-worthy.
There are some women that I follow, who love this series. I usually respect and seek out their recommendations. Maybe it's me, maybe the books are just dated. But for me, this was a waste of time and money. There are many, many books out there that are worlds above this one.
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