Sexy Summer Saturdays: Eliza’s Awakening by Zaide Bishop

Sexy Summer Saturdays is a weekly post that Attack the Stacks, Book Love, Hackaroos Reviews, Sims-Sational Books, The Autumn Review, and The Bookish Babe created for fun, to spread the word about sizzling summer reads. I should point out here that I deserve no credit for the creation of this meme and I’m strictly a hanger-on. The others were all, “want to participate?” and I was all “sure, sounds good” even though I’m not really a romance reader. I want to broaden my horizons.

This review is for readers 18+ for obvious reasons.

Eliza’s Awakening
By Zaide Bishop
Expected Publication: July 23, 2012
Source: NetGalley

It is the eve of the Longest Night. Eliza Baker and the rest of Lord Jayden’s servants excitedly prepare for the lavish festival as their masters enjoy a head start on the debauchery that awaits. Eliza’s madly in love with Kell, a sweet, deliciously sexy guard. Kell returns her feelings, but is striving to make himself a worthy man before he asks Eliza’s father for permission to court her.

To keep the Demon of Winter at bay, an offering must be made during the festival. As the event begins, Lord Kempsly informs Kell that he’s offering a special sacrifice this year, and Kell must escort the girl who will offer up her maidenhood for the enjoyment of the crowd. Another guest will select the maiden, and Kell realizes to his dismay the guest is Lord Rakin, a rich and handsome rogue who has his eye on Eliza. But little do any of the men suspect the burgeoning desire the ceremony is awakening in Eliza…

I realize that’s a teeny-tiny pic. It’s the best I could do…since there was nothing on Goodreads, I had to take the one from NetGalley. Maybe it’s too sexy to be seen any larger so they have to make it small. I do worry that those candles are going to set poor Eliza’s hair on fire.

Eliza’s Awakening is a very short book – I’m not sure the number of pages, but according to NG it’s 15,000 words. I literally read it in about half an hour. So if you’re looking for something short & smexy, this might be your speed.

As far as the actual sexy business, unlike many of the other books out there there isn’t a ton of it in here. Or maybe it would be more appropriate to say that there’s only one long sexual interaction that takes up about half of the book as opposed to a bunch of different instances. That’s neither a good thing or a bad thing as far as I’m concerned. It was certainly different than anything I’ve read before in the genre.  The sex is mostly heterosexual but there is one bit of same sex sex thrown in (female), so if you’re an ardent avoider of that kind of thing it might not be your cup o’ tea. The sex is also somewhat reluctant on the part of Eliza – they are making her take part as a sacrifice, after all – but it doesn’t feel all rapey. It’s more like she does it out of duty than out of coercion. So again, something you might want to take into account.

Overall I enjoyed the fact that it was short. I truly don’t mean that as an insult, this genre doesn’t hold my attention for long periods of time so reading in short chunks is the way to go for me. I’d definitely be willing to read this author again for future Sexy Summer Saturdays.

Sexy Summer Saturdays: No Holds Barred by Callie Croix

Sexy Summer Saturdays is a weekly post that Attack the Stacks, Book Love, Hackaroos Reviews, Sims-Sational Books, The Autumn Review, and The Bookish Babe created for fun, to spread the word about sizzling summer reads. I should point out here that I deserve no credit for the creation of this meme and I’m strictly a hanger-on. The others were all, “want to participate?” and I was all “sure, sounds good” even though I’m not really a romance reader. I want to broaden my horizons.

This review is for readers 18+ for obvious reasons.

No Holds Barred
By Callie Croix
Published by Carina Press
Publication Date: November 21, 2011
Source: Purchased

From Goodreads:

During a playful talk about fantasies, Caitlin’s fiancé offers to give her a threesome—with his best friend, Liam, who’s coming to spend the weekend. At first Cait is shocked that Nathan could entertain the thought of sharing her with another man, but once he’s planted the idea her imagination runs wild, leaving her deeply aroused—yet still unsure about what the implications could be for her and Nate’s relationship.

Nathan’s watched Cait struggle to hide her attraction to Liam for years. He knows she’s nervous, but he also knows that by making her most intimate fantasies come true he can bring her to heights of pleasure she’s only imagined, and strengthen their bond. There’s only one way to help her overcome her inhibitions—by planning a night of ecstasy she’ll never forget…

So once again…me = not a reader of romance or erotica. Thus, I have no idea who the “preferred” authors in the genre are. And I have to say that while my experience with the genre is limited, this is the best author I’ve read so far.

Like last week, I ended up reading a threesome book. It wasn’t a conscious decision or anything, it just worked out that way. This one is m/m/f as opposed to m/f/f like the book I reviewed last week. That said, there is no same-sex sex in this one, unlike the last one. It’s strictly hetero up in here.

I also think that this is a better book than the others I’ve read in the genre so far. Loads better than 50 Shades, which was about a sexy as something that is not at all sexy. Pick the least sexy thing you can think of and then imagine something far less sexy than that, and you have 50 Shades. Calling that book mommy porn is an insult to mothers everywhere. Ahem. Moving on.

So yeah. While I have a hard time believing that there is a dude out there on this planet who is magnanimous enough to let his girlfriend have sex with a super hot Marine who is both attractive and a super nice guy, if you can suspend your disbelief it’s a decent read. When I think of guys offering to let their ladyfriends engage in a m/m/f threesome, I imagine that most of the time they will only approve a guy who they feel that they are significantly hotter than. Like, no chance guys are going to be lining up to share with Jake Gyllenhaal but some dorkus with a small wang they’d be like, “Hm…”

In this case the two guys are also friends, which I would guess would lead to extreme awkwardness. Apparently in this case it does not, since it’s not the first time it’s happened with these two. And hey, call me crazy, but I think that would take away from the specialness for Cait. “Hey, baby, we would like you to be the tenth woman we go to bed with simultaneously. How hot is THAT, sister?”

This book is very short and most of it is one long sex scene. Not saying that’s good or bad, it just depends on what you’re looking for. There’s not a lot of plot here. It basically is what it is. And apparently there’s a sequel, which I may track down for a future Sexy Summer Saturday because hey, why not?

Sexy Summer Saturdays: Party of Three by Daire St. Denis

Sexy Summer Saturdays is a weekly post that Attack the Stacks, Book Love, Hackaroos Reviews, Sims-Sational Books, The Autumn Review, and The Bookish Babe created for fun, to spread the word about sizzling summer reads. I should point out here that I deserve no credit for the creation of this meme and I’m strictly a hanger-on. The others were all, “want to participate?” and I was all “sure, sounds good” even though I’m not really a romance reader. I want to broaden my horizons.

This review is for readers 18+ for obvious reasons.

Party of Three
By Daire St. Denis
Published by Carina Press
Publication Date: May 28, 2012
Source: NetGalley

From Goodreads:

Determined to end a long dry spell, Tina is thwarted by her best friend, Des, who scares off the only eligible guy at their party. But Des more than makes up for it when she and her boyfriend, Josh, invite Tina to their own intimate celebration. The encounter awakens cravings Tina didn’t even know she had. She’s intrigued when the couple asks her to join them for two days of sun, sand and steamy sex in Santa Barbara. She should say no. But she doesn’t…
The erotic weekend is beyond amazing. But there’s something deeper developing between the trio-something Tina is not yet ready to explore. After all, their party of three can’t last forever-can it?

Spoilers ahoy.

Once again, this is where I point out that I, like, never read erotica. You can tell this because when I saw the cover for this book my first thought was not “wow, I wish the picture was bigger so I could get a better look at that guy’s ripped abs” but “I wish the picture was bigger because I like that blonde girl’s hair. I wonder if I could pull that off? Probably not. My head would look like a bowling ball in a toupee. If I took this picture in to my stylist and asked her opinion would she have me arrested?”

Anyway, I don’t think there’s any secret as to what this book is about. Sex. Doing the dirty. The deed. Having the relations. Balling. Gettin’ freaky. Doing the nasty. Intercourse. Bumpin’ uglies. Rocking the shocks. Putting on Ye Olde Sexual Face. You get the picture.

Let’s talk about sex, bay-bee.

So here’s the thing. Desi is apparently the most generous friend in the world because she wants to share her hot, hot, hot boyfriend with her best friend. She’s also the creepiest friend in the world, because she wants to get sweaty with her bff of 20 years. I can’t imagine a situation in real life where either of these two things wouldn’t cause extreme awkwardness at best and hair pulling cat fights and/or restraining orders at worst, but maybe I just don’t find my friends all that attractive.

Just kidding. But really, I don’t want to sleep with any of you. Try to control your disappointment.

Anyway, after a party Des & Josh commit the ultimate party foul by coming into Tina’s bedroom, slipping into her bed, and performing sexual acts right in front of her face while she dutifully tries to ignore them while secretly listening intently. After about ten seconds of persuasion and half-hearted refusals she allows herself to join in.

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Here’s the thing – if you are homophobic or in any way squicky about same-sex sex, you’ll want to avoid this one. Personally I’m ambivalent about it. It’s not my bag, baby, but I see nothing wrong with it and I firmly believe that what consenting adults do in the privacy of their homes is their own business.  Just putting that out there because there is as much or more f/f sex in this book as there is m/f.

There is also a scene involving food and I won’t lie…I found it not so much hot as kind of ew. I’m not eating anything out of someone’s belly button, EVER. I don’t care if it’s delicious pasta or not. And by the way, let’s talk about gnocchi. When I want to get my swerve on in a way that involves naughtybits after having a meal, the last fucking thing on earth I’m going to eat is gnocchi. It’s a scientific fact that when you consume gnocchi it forms a fossilized brick which sits dormant in your stomach and causes intense gastrointestinal distress for no less than fifteen years before finally disintegrating. Any time I’ve ever eaten gnocchi I’ve literally been unable to get out of my chair for days afterward. I can just imagine eating a big plate of gnocchi and then trying to have sex. The bed would collapse on itself. Then the Earth would collapse on itself. Much like Grape Nuts, gnocchi are the Gremlins of food. As you eat them they multiply and the more you eat, the more uncomfortable you will be afterward.

There’s also a bit involving a cucumber. Can we discuss this for a moment? Is there a woman among us who hasn’t suffered the stinging shame of going to the store with a cucumber on her shopping list, only to be totally paralyzed by the fear that the smirking cashier will think you’re buying it for nefarious reasons?  So even if you really only need that cucumber, you buy all of the ingredients for a salad that could feed 300 people just to avoid some acne-ridden twerp thinking you’re too cheap to invest in a real vibrator. Let’s put an end to the cucumber shame. Together.

Putting produce in your pants never ends well.

There’s also a bit about a client of Teena’s who is obsessed with her and turns out to be a real shitbrick, attempting to blackmail her into having sex with him and then getting all rapey when she still refuses. Here’s where the book completely lost me. I find nothing hot about rape. Nothing. I’m not going to get judgmental about people having rape fantasies or whatever because again, consenting adults in their own homes yadda yadda, I just won’t ever understand it as a person who has seen the after effects of rape first hand (not me, thank goodness). And I’m not trying to put words in the author’s mouth because I don’t know for certain that it was meant to be hot – I’m only assuming since it’s an erotica book. It’s just a personal thing to me that nothing is less erotic than rape. And the description of the rapist’s equipment is gag-o-riffic. Let’s just say that a tattoo is involved and leave it at that.

Lest I sound like I’m coming down really hard on the book, I’m not. It’s pretty well written and well paced and even though I have absolutely no idea how many pages it has, it’s a fast read. I can totally see where someone who was into erotica – particularly f/f – would enjoy it.