The Payment Series (Prized, Possessed, Purgatory) by Cassandra Carr


Grade: C
Hotness Level: Inferno
Kink Level: High Kink
Genre: BDSM, Contemporary
Published: 5/6/2014
Reviewed by Kate
280  pages

Catrina is so deep in debt that there are no options left for her. Until she hears about “Debt Management Assoociates.”  DMA offers a solution to her problem.  But it means she’ll have to be her “benefactor’s” sex slave for a full year.  She’d have to do whatever, whenever, with whoever he wants.

The first book in the series, “Prized,” takes us through Catrina’s 2 week training period with the DMA.  The second installment, “Possessed,” follows Catrina through her year long sentence of service.  And “Purgatory,” the final book shows us how Catrina copes in the first 2 months after her service period has ended.

I knew going into this one that it would be polarizing for me.  Either the author was going to do a really good job showing that the romance between Catrina and her benefactor, Jared, was much more than the purchase agreement and I was going to love it. Or the author would make me feel dirty for just reading it and I would hardly be able to finish it.  I was surprised and shocked to realize that the author didn’t follow either path I expected.  Instead she provided me with a story that made me think and think and think some more.  This story was raw, graphic, and gritty and made me cringe at multiple times.

My main complaint comes from the fact that this book was tagged as a “erotica, romance” on NetGalley.  So I went into it expecting a dirty, raunchy love story.  Yes.  I read the summary provided and I knew that she would be with multiple men and I guessed that some/most of it would be non-consensual.  But I was expecting the author to weave some sort of story where Jared falls for Catrina and vice versa.  Instead I was left with this chronicle of Catrina’s life during her time in service.  We never got inside Jared’s head and never got a chance to see him as anyone apart from the man who paid mongo bucks to take complete control of her for one year.  On Catrina’s part, it wasn’t so much a love story as one of dependence.

It reminded me a lot of the Story of O by Pauline Réage.  Both heroines had a span of forced submission, however the back stories are a bit different.  I struggled to connect to each heroine.  It was almost like the drastic-ness of their situations made it hard to see them as a person.  And much like the Story of O, I feel that this story will stick with me for a long time, popping into my mind at odd times and making me think.

So how do I rate a book that I hated on one hand-because it absolutely lacked the romance I was looking for-but on the other hand it is one of those rare books that has dug its claws into my brain and feels like it will stick there forever?  I’d have to say it failed as a romance, but gets full marks for making me think and see things a bit differently.

I’m going to be looking into more by Cassandra Carr, because I would love it if she was able to write a romance that made me think as much as this one did.  If you’re looking for a romanctic read this one is definitely not for you.  If you’re looking for a thought provoking read, and you are okay with explicit anal and oral sex, you might want to give this one a try.

Bonds of Courage by Lynda Aicher

Grade: B+
Hotness Level: Inferno
Kink Level: High Kink
Genre: Contemporary, BDSM
Series: Wicked Play #6
Published: 6/16/14
Reviewed by Kate
Vanessa, a rep for athletes and co-owner of the Den, has successfully compartmentalized her life.  A different colored phone for family, work, and the Den.  And things and people from one part never cross into another.  Never ever.  Until Holden walks into the Den one evening.  Holden is a pro-hockey player who longs to submit, but his career would be ruined if anyone ever found out.  He applies for membership at the very exclusive and very private The Den.  When Vanessa walks in to conduct the interview, Holden knows that she’s the one.
I went into this one not really expecting to enjoy it.  A Domme is not my favorite type of heroine to read.  But I had read and enjoyed each of the Wicked Play books so I thought I’d give it a try.  And I’m so glad that I did.  The vulnerability that Vanessa was able to show Holden almost brought me to tears and the strength that Holden was able to provide Vanessa.  Yet they still maintained their Domme/sub identities.  *insert happy, contented sighs here*  This was so much more than a Domme/sub relationship.  It was beautiful, emotional, and caring, with a side of delicious kink.  Everything that I’ve come to expect from Lynda Aicher.

I’d highly recommend Lynda Aicher’s Wicked Play series to any fans of Cherise Sinclair or Kallypso Masters.

Edge of the Enforcer by Cherise Sinclair


Grade: A-
Hotness Level: Inferno
Kink Level: High Kink
Genre: Contemporary, BDSM
Series: Mountain Masters/Dark Haven #4
Published: 5/13/14
Reviewed by Kate
304 pages

A while back (during book #3 My Liege of Dark Haven) Zander deVries won a Dom/sub game.  The prize was certain “favors” from Lindsey.  Lindsey is on the run.  She can’t afford to fall in love with anyone.  deVries seems perfect, since he only has casual relationships.  But what’s a sub who doesn’t like pain to do when she falls for a sadist?

Lindsey, as a heroine, was sweet, caring, fiesty, and strong.  deVries, as a hero, was dark, brooding, dominating, and swoon-worthy. The two of them together was like stumbling across a rare jewel in a box of costume jewelry.  I was so immersed in the story that I forgot to take any notes while reading (almost unheard of for me).

This one had it all.  Low self esteem, supreme confidence, confusion, understanding, conclusion jumping, suspense, drama, great secondary characters…the list goes on and on.  And let’s not forget chains and cuffs and collars and floggers and paddles and whips. As a bonus, we get to see some of our favorite characters from the past books in this series.

If you read BDSM romances and haven’t tried one by Cherise Sinclair, you’re truly missing out on a great author.  Cherise Sinclair is one of two authors whose books I pre-order.  I mark the release dates on my calendar.  If you’ve read Cherise Sinclair before, do you have any other BDSM authors you would recommend?