Saturday, June 8, 2013

Novel Review: Cherished (includes Delicious, #1) by Maya Banks and Lauren Dane

Rating (Out of 5): ~3.5
Genre: Erotica/Adult Contemporary Romance
Publisher: Penguin (Berkley)
Publish Date: August, 2012
Spoilers?: No.

Goodreads Synopsis:

 Contemporary BDSM Duology

Exiled by Maya Banks

Enticed to the island paradise where an enigmatic prince is living in exile, beautiful, virginal Talia is introduced to a world of forbidden pleasure where the prince's every whim is fulfilled and her fantasies are rendered in exquisite detail. But when the prince is summoned back to fulfill his duty to his struggling country, reality is thrust upon Talia all too soon. She returns home, heartbroken, convinced she was a passing fancy for an idle ruler and his most trusted men. Until the day they arrive on her doorstep, determined to have her back where she belongs.

Sway by Lauren Dane. Book 1 of the Delicious series

Taken from Ms Dane's website - SWAY will be in the CHERISHED Duology with me and Maya Banks – both our books will have a contemporary BDSM theme. It’s also the start to my DELICIOUS series, the spin off from The Brown Siblings books.

Levi Warner is an established, older man—wealthy, powerful, and above all, respectable. Then Levi meets Daisy, an uninhibited 24-year-old dance instructor and artist, not exactly the kind of woman Levi is accustomed to. But the young, free spirit, brings out something in him he only experienced in fantasies. When their scorching affair turns into something unexpectedly deeper, Levi finds himself torn between preserving his reputation, and exploring a wilder and much more satisfying kind of life.

Something Specific:
  • "She was owning her decision. Her choice. She could have walked away. Whatever happened, she was no whore. Having sex didn't make a woman cheap or tawdry. Making the best of a situation didn't make her a slut or any of the other words she'd said to herself in order to toughen her mind. And who was to know anyway? Damn the world." (Exiled by Maya Banks. Hardback, pg. 20) This is a quote from Talia, and just kind of shows why I liked her. She did a lot of thinking to herself, and while she did feel dirty a bit, she also owned what she'd done, and I particularly liked her thoughts on the fact that having sex doesn't make a woman a whore/slut/whatever.
  • "She knew her worth as a woman. ... Whatever her concerns about her talen and art, she'd never beg a man for his attention. He wanted her or he didn't. So she sat back a little and let him work through it." (Sway by Lauren Dane. Hardback, pg. 244) And this is Daisy thinking to herself, showing a big reason for why I liked her.

This was a collection of two stories, one from each author.

Exile by Maya Banks:
I enjoyed this story. The sex was very hot, although there was a lot of it, some of which wasn’t exactly needed. Also, it wasn’t BDSM, even though the synopsis says it is. Instead, it included a foursome, which wasn’t always a foursome, sometimes less, but was a love square, kind of.
I liked Talia, the main character, and understood her reasoning for what she was doing, and her feelings on how the men were treating her. I did like the men, as well, although I don’t think any of them left too big of an impression on me.
My biggest problem with the story was how the main man, Xander, handled the situation. He tried to be up front about what he wanted, and for the most part he was, but he didn’t handle or think about Talia’s feelings on it all. He didn’t really talk to her about it first, before inviting her on vacation. And then, near the end of the book, when he had to leave, his decision on what to do about her was dumb. He could have just talked to her, explained what was happening, and made plans to get her later. Instead, he just sent her off, which only made everything more complicated and messed up, and hurted Talia in the process.
The ending, however, was good. I feel like Talia gave in a little too easily, but I’ll get over that.

Sway by Lauren Dane:
I really enjoyed this story. As opposed to the first story, this one did not have nearly as much sex, but more sex wouldn’t have worked as well with the story, and the sex it did have was very good. This one included BDSM themes, and that was nice.
Levi is in his early forties, whereas Daisy is in her twenties, but for some reason they have a very strong attraction to one another. I felt that their relationship worked, and I liked it. I also really liked that they were realistic and didn’t say ‘I love you’ really early on, or plan on marrying and moving in together by the end of the story. I appreciated that.
I also liked that, while the romance was the main plot, there were also a lot of scenes with Daisy’s friends, and some with her family, and some with Levi and his family and friends. Usually, in erotica based stories, especially short stories, you don’t see a lot of other characters, but this one had a lot of scenes with other ones. It’s possible that I would have liked more sexy scenes, more romantic ones, but I still appreciated the variety.
This story is the first in the Delicious series, and I plan on picking up the others in it, or just more books by Dane, because this one was good, and leaves me optimistic to the fact that I will probably enjoy her other books.

The Cover:

This cover isn't too bad. It's not overly embarrassing (although I wouldn't want, say, my parents to see me with it), but I actually kind of like the picture, and it reflects the book pretty well. I mean, Banks' story isn't BDSM, but it is erotica, and Dane's is BDSM. So, overall, not too bad a choice.

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