4 Swell Things about Maya Banks’s “Sweet Surrender”

Sweet Surrender

Sweet Book 1

by Maya Banks

Nikki’s Rating: 4 out of 10

Summary: Looking for a man to dominate her, Faith, is caught at a kinky sex club by her new colleague, Gray Montgomery, a previous Dallas cop. As Gray tries to deny their mutual attraction, he continues searching for the murderer of his partner. But then Faith is threatened and Gray will stop at nothing to protect and take care of her.

4 Swell Things about Maya Banks’s “Sweet Surrender”

(May Contain Spoilers)


1. GRAY MONTGOMERY

Strong, alpha male, who is dominate but also thoughtful, protective, and kind. While also being a sexy cop. Instant win!

2. SUB & DOM RELATIONSHIP

Maya Banks’s “Sweet Surrender” focuses on a true sub and dom relationship, not just kinky sex in the bedroom but a relationship in which one partner is blatantly submissive to the other partner who is dominant in a manner that extends past the bedroom. A healthy sub and dom relationship is based on mutual respect and trust and can be deeply satisfying to both parties.

3. HAWT

Erotic scenes in “Sweet Surrender” were kinky, passionate, and hot, hot, hot! A third player sometimes was featured too.

4. SWEET PERSUASION

While “Sweet Surrender” happily concludes Gray and Faith’s story, Maya Banks continues her erotic stories in “Sweet Persuasion.”

What are your favorite things about “Sweet Surrender”?


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Book Reviews of October 2019

The Girl who Played with Fire by Stieg Larsson

Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys

The Primal Wound by Nancy Verrier

Lair of the Lion by Christine Feehan

Too Dangerous to Desire by Cara Elliott

A Notorious Countess Confesses by Julie Long

10 Gutsy Things about Stieg Larsson’s “The Girl who Played with Fire”

The Girl who Played with Fire

Millennium Book 2

by Stieg Larsson

Nikki’s Rating: 10 out of 10

Summary: Working on a story about sex trafficking, famous reporter and publisher Mikhael Blomkvist, stumbles on sensitive information that gets a colleague killed. Lisbeth Salander’s past catches up to her and she is framed for the murder of a Swedish couple. Now Mikhael and Lisbeth must use all their skills of espionage, blackmail, hacking, and researching to solve the murders before one of them is the next victim.


10 Gutsy Things about Stieg Larsson’s “The Girl who Played with Fire”

(May Contain Spoilers)

1. Lisbeth Salander

Lisbeth is a badass. This genius hacker takes no bullshit from anyone and although small, can hold her own in a fight. While rough around the edges and abrasive, she cares for those around her fiercely and loyally.  Lisbeth is one of my favorite heroines with her sarcasm, brutal honesty, and devilish thinking.

2. Sex Trafficking

Stieg Larsson’s “The Girl who Played with Fire” centers around the issue of sex trafficking, having this be the topic main character Mikhael Blomkvist is researching and reporting on. In the real world, there are about 25 million victims of sex trafficking globally and it is the fastest growing crime.

3. Violence Against Women

Another important theme seen in Stieg Larsson’s Millennium series is that of violence against women. Having witnessed a young girl being gang-raped at the age of 15, Stieg Larsson was a feminist and used his books to portray the abhorrent violence many women are subjected to.

4. The Characters

Stieg Larsson creates characters that are so in-depth, realistic, and relatable. Even the main characters are seen with positive qualities and some pretty major faults.

5. System Failure

Stieg Larsson also touches upon the issue of system failure, especially that in the mental health field. Lisbeth’s backstory includes her being placed in a mental health facility and instead of treatment she received more abuse and trauma at the hands of professionals.

6. Thrilling

While the mystery/thriller genre is not a favorite of mine, putting “The Girl who Played with Fire” down was nearly impossible. Very well written, Stieg Larsson provided an intriguing and complex murder-mystery with an unforgettable heroine.

7. Zala

An interesting and realistic power-hungry villain with the twist of being Lisbeth’s sadistic father.

8. Friends

While lacking in a love story, “The Girl who Played with Fire” features so much love amongst friends. Touching and inspirational, characters consistently provided limitless love and support to their friends throughout the story, even when it caused a danger to themselves.

9. No Romance

While a huge romance genre fan and a sucker for love stories, it was refreshing and surprising that the main male and female characters were not starcrossed lovers trying to achieve their happily-ever-after. Continues with the feminist ideals that a woman is strong and worthy on her own, no man needed.

10. The Girl who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest

Thankfully this is not the last of Lisbeth Salander and there is Millennium Book 3: “The Girl who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest.”

What are your favorite things about Stieg Larsson’s “The Girl who Played with Fire”?


Be Authentic. Be Unique. Be You.

As always, thank you for reading. I would love to hear from you so feel free to contact me or comment below. And if you would like to support this blog and/or my paintings please become my patron.

5 Touching Things about Cara Elliott’s “Too Dangerous to Desire”

“Too Dangerous to Desire” Lords of Midnight Book 3

by Cara Elliott

Nikki’s Rating: 5 out of 10

Summary: After years of running from his past and a broken heart, Cameron Daggett returns home. Determined to continue his rogue ways, he closely guards his heart against his ex-sweetheart, Sophie. But his past catches up to him and Sophie is now in danger. As Cameron and Sophie work together, they find themselves falling in love once more. But will cautious, responsible Sophie allow herself to be swept away by Cameron, a criminal and Hellhound, or will she choose to be prudent and walk away from their love once more?


5 Touching Things about Cara Elliott’s “Too Dangerous to Desire”

May contain Spoilers

1. The Story

The story overall was very engaging as you try to figure out everyones’ motives as one character is being blackmailed, another’s birthright is being denied, and then the suspicious death of a whole family.

2. Childhood Sweethearts

Sophie and Cameron grew up together and they are adorable, there is just something heartwarming about childhood sweethearts.

3. Birth Control

“Too Dangerous to Desire” is the first romance novel that I’ve come across (that I remember) that includes any mention of birth control. Although it is only briefly mentioned, Cara Elliott allows her story to be that much more realistic having her characters take measures to prevent pregnancy.

4. Hotness

Cara Elliott includes some pretty steamy and romantic scenes in “Too Dangerous to Desire.”

5. Partners in Crime

Cameron and Sophie had plenty adventures as kids. And even as adults Cameron teaches Sophie a few tricks of the trade and includes her on some of his “jobs.” While he worries for her, he also realizes that she is an equal and she can make her own decisions.

What are your favorite things about Cara Elliott’s “Too Dangerous to Desire”?


Be Authentic. Be Unique. Be You.

As always, thank you for reading. I would love to hear from you so feel free to contact me or comment below. And if you would like to support this blog and/or my paintings please become my patron.

2 Notable Things about Julie Anne Long’s “A Notorious Countess Confesses”

“A Notorious Countess Confesses” Pennyroyal Green Book 7

by Julie Anne Long

Nikki’s Rating: 2 out of 10

Summary: Previous actress and courtesan, publicly shamed and deemed the “Black Widow”  upon her husband’s death, Evie Duggan escapes to a small manor in Pennyroyal Green in hopes to start a new life. Unfortunately, her reputation precedes her and she finds herself ostracized once again. Hoping to find a way to be accepted, Evie enlists the help of the community reverend, Adam Sylvaine. Drawn to her inner strength and beauty, Adam finds himself mesmerized by Evie and accepts. Through forgiveness and understanding, they fall in love but risk the displeasure of the whole town.


2 Notable Things about Julie Anne Long’s “A Notorious Countess Confesses”

May contain Spoilers

1. Evie

Evie Duggan is absolutely charming! She has no regrets about how she has lived her life or the decisions she has made. Evie is witty, flirtatious, and fearless. While extremely ambitious, her motives have always been altruistic, providing for her penniless and orphaned siblings.

2. Happily-Ever-After

Not only do Adam and Evie end up happily married in the end, but Evie’s siblings also move to Pennyroyal Green. This allows Evie to keep on eye on them and make sure they are always provided for, which was always her biggest concern in life. Adam does a wonderful job by creating a win-win situation for Evie so that all her needs are met and they can be together. Go Adam!

What are your favorite things about Julie Anne Long’s “A Notorious Countess Confesses”?


Be Authentic. Be Unique. Be You.

As always, thank you for reading. I would love to hear from you so feel free to contact me or comment below. And if you would like to support this blog and/or my paintings please become my patron.

7 Lovely Things about Christine Feehan’s “Lair of the Lion”

“Lair of the Lion”

by Christine Feehan

Nikki’s Rating: 7 out of 10

Summary: In a desperate attempt to save her brother’s life, Isabella Vernaducci agrees to marry Nicolai DeMarco. But Don DeMarco is not all that he seems. Cursed to turn into a rageful beast, DeMarco is fated to kill the one he loves and therefore keeps everyone away. But beautiful Isabella sneaks into his heart. Will their love be enough to break the curse or will Isabella pay the ultimate price?


7 Lovely Things about Christine Feehan’s “Lair of the Lion”

May contain Spoilers

1. Isabella

Isabella Vernaducci is such a lovable heroine. She is headstrong, courageous, sassy, resourceful, and never afraid to speak her mind. Isabella’s love of life is contagious and a great balance to Nicolai’s doom-and-gloom outlook.

2. Nicolai

While Nicolai is rather bleak, grumpy, and rageful at times, he is so gentle with Isabella and wants nothing more than to protect her. He takes the time to listen to her and consider her feelings even when he doesn’t agree with her. More gentleman than a beast.

3. Lions

Nicolai can commune and direct lions to do his bidding, totally awesome! He also shapeshifts into one.

4. The Writing

Christine Feehan has a pleasant writing style. The story moves at a good pace, she provides enough description for the reader to understand the scenery without wasting time being overly descriptive. Characters were relatable and the chemistry between Nicolai and Isabella was spot on!

5. Family

One of my favorite things about all the characters, especially Isabella, was their fierce loyalty to family. Isabella would have happily given her life in place of her brother’s.

6. Passion

The romance between Nicolai and Isabella is super sizzling hot with lots of passion!

7. Happily Ever After

Thankfully, “Lair of the Lion” ends happily. I was getting a bit nervous because it isn’t till like the last page before everything gets resolved. Isabella and Nicolai get their much deserved happily ever after!

What are your favorite things about Christine Feehan’s “Lair of the Lion”?


Be Authentic. Be Unique. Be You.

As always, thank you for reading. I would love to hear from you so feel free to contact me or comment below. And if you would like to support this blog and/or my paintings please become my patron.

10 Beloved Things about Ruta Sepetys’s “Between Shades of Gray”

“Between Shades of Gray”

by Ruta Sepetys

Nikki’s Rating: 10 out of 10

Summary: June 14, 1941, Stalin begins his deportation of people in Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia who are deemed anti-Soviet. 15-year-old Lina is taken in the middle of the night with her family. Forced into labor camps with hundreds of others, her family must stay together to survive the harsh conditions of the Arctic circle and the brutalities of the NKVD officers.


10 Beloved Things about Ruta Sepetys’s “Between Shades of Gray”

(May Contain Spoilers)

1. Real Experiences

While the characters are fictional in “Between Shades of Gray” all the experiences were inspired by true events and situations that survivors experienced. Absolutely horrifying and touching!

2. Educational

Up until reading this book, I was totally ignorant on Stalin’s cleansing of the Baltic states of Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia. “Between Shades of Gray” was an eye-opener for me about what happened and also how it was kept secret for so long.

3. Realistic

Ruta Sepetys does an amazing job of capturing the experiences of the survivors she interviewed to write “Between Shades of Gray.” Lina seemed so real, it felt like I was reading a diary.

4. Different Reactions

We all react to stress, terror, and death differently. Septeys captured these differences effortlessly. Some characters became complacent or even worked with the NKVD officers. Others became angry and would take out their frustration on other victims. Most did what they had to for survival while still trying to help their fellow prisoners.

5. Emotional

“Between Shades of Gray” is a powerful novel and so emotional. You will cry, you will smile, your heart will break and then be lifted up. This novel is absolutely beautiful!

6. The Writing

Ruta Sepetys kept the writing elegant and simple, there are no unnecessary words or sentences. Easy to read but effectively well-written.

7. Disturbing

While reading “Between Shades of Gray” was difficult due to the subject matter, Ruta Sepetys does an amazing job of allowing the reader to comprehend the trauma that the victims went through without actually traumatizing the reader. Yes, the novel is disturbing and unpleasant to read at times, but there are no detailed, bloody torture scenes.

8. Strength in Humanity

One of the strongest things about this novel, is not the stories of what the victims survived, but how they survived together. The victims coming together, stealing food and other items needed for each other. Carrying one another when one was too weak or injured. The NKVD soldiers who took risks trying to help, regardless of the consequences.

9. Capacity for Cruelty

Humans are capable of such cruelty and during Stalin’s reign, the NKVD soldiers committed some serious atrocities. Sepetys includes many examples of the needless death, suffering, humiliation, and pain the victims endured.

10. Love

Lina’s letter in the end, “My husband, Andrius…” made me sob. Love found even in the worst of times.

What are your favorite things about Ruta Sepetys’s “Between Shades of Gray”?


Be Authentic. Be Unique. Be You.

As always, thank you for reading. I would love to hear from you so feel free to contact me or comment below. And if you would like to support this blog and/or my paintings please become my patron.