on 22 February 2014
3.5 out of 5 star rating
Reviewed by Nicole McCurdy for Bex 'n' Books
Unraveled is actually eight standalone tales of live-in threesomes, Dom/sub relationships, hot rockers, rowdy cowboys and MMA sex-on-leg fighters. I honestly wasn’t sure if it deserved a thumbs up or down, based purely on the fact that some of the eight short stories are steamy and exciting while others are fairly lacklsutre in characterisation, and plot. Don’t get me wrong, Unraveled is pretty much erotica at its finest but there are too many clichés littering it’s pages.
The first one that comes to mind is Yours to Take by Cathryn Fox. There are only so many engaging ways to write about the narcissistic multimillionaire dom showing the sexually repressed good girl how much fun being spanked and bossed around is, before it grows stale and the template desperately overused. “Everything that happens here, every choice involving you is mine to make, not yours.” Quinn simply comes off as a spoilt egotist rather than an alluring leading man and Rebecca- the sub to his dom, a unintelligent drip. Who in reality has the type of friends that pack you off to a sex camp with strangers on some deserted middle-of-the-Atlantic island simply because she needed ‘to get laid’? Hit up a pub like the rest of us. I found Cathryn Fox’s take on the dom/sub roles to be rather dull. There’s very little thought put into the plot, it was almost like the writer decided to add filler to the sex scenes.
Next up was Yield to Me by Sarah Castille. A terrific story about a female MMA fighter Marcy and her trainer Jax (even his name is sexy to say). It was so refreshing to read this take on one of my favourite sub-genres. The characters are brilliant, Marcy sassy and Jax dominant and for such a short story Sarah Castille manages to pack a passionate punch to the ovaries. The sexual tension she builds between the two main characters is stifling, you’re anticipating every word between them, every touch, every grapple on the mat that isn’t always so professional…phew! Muy caliente!
The third story was another miss for me. Complete Abandon by Julia Kent. As shocking as it may be, even after devouring all Sylvia Day and E.L James sex manuals (I’ll deny that fact to my mother until my dying day), I’ve never read anything where there were two main male leads Mike and Dylan to the one female, Laura. I expected it to be sweaty, explosive and kinky as all get out, instead it seemed to be more about Laura and her post-baby blues and the fact her e-reader is stroked more times than the poor sexually-deserted men she’s lusting with. There was little to no eroticism in the story, the one thing that might have redeemed it. I would have enjoyed it a lot more had I read the other books that these characters appear in, simply to better understand them but Complete Abandon was not for me. “Because Laura, we’re the ones who should be your book boyfriends,” No. No they shouldn’t.
Three Little Words by Lauren Hawkeye. Okay confession time here. I have been a huge fan of Lauren Hawkeye a.k.a Kate Laurens for a long time, ever since her Safe Haven books made their debut so I was excited to see her name listed in this anthology. I was pleased even more by the fact that this threesome tale rocked my bobby socks off. A witty tattooed nursing student, an Ivy League-destined good boy and an alluring Australian rocker find themselves in an almost reluctant menage a trois, and what girl doesn’t want to hear those seven little words… “What if you didn’t have to choose?” While Mal was a bit preppy and snobbish for my liking, he sure seemed to know how to make a girl squirm. I found myself salivating more over Aussie ‘authoritarian in the bedroom’ Dorian and as he quite succinctly put it, “There’s a pervert in all of us, mate. Some just hide it better than others.” Definitely worth a read and that’s not me being biased as a fan of Lauren Hawkeye either…Well maybe a smidgen.
Taken by Storm by Opal Crew. Motorcycle riding rocker gods named Storm burn up the pages of this one. Enough said. The type of man a girl could alter her strict moral code of no sleeping with strangers for? Definitely. This story although full of mind-blowing sexual imagery is on the softer sweeter side. No dungeons with racks or chains or floggers lining the walls. No, two penis to one vagina ratio. Just pure male libido and talent, no toys or kink needed. Although most of the other stories in this anthology don’t really deal with love, this one tackles it nicely and that warmed the cockles of my heart. Best of both worlds, eroticism and love mixed into a rock-star story with a H.E.A.
How to Choose a Cowboy by Daire St. Denis
The word cowboy to me is synonymous with tight Wranglers, Stetson hats and a blade of grass being chewed between perfectly white teeth, while six-foot-four of sweaty unadulterated muscle relaxes up against the fence while horses prance by so Daire St. Denis and his tale of Marlboro man Wade, city girl Tessa and fun lovin’ Connor hit the spot here. Wade has a penchant for dirty talk and Tessa’s getting all his words! Loved him in this tale of Lust at the Lazy L dude ranch. Connor was totally lickable too and this is where I was sure I was going to find a giant neon flashing sign ‘threesome up ahead, proceed with caution’; however, I was wonderfully misled. Daire St. Denis has devised an interactive story where you the reader get to decide whom our fair, frisky damsel ends up roped to (pun intended). Wonderful idea, especially since there isn’t really an either/or finale. Erotically charged writing in a glorious setting. I have now decided I like my spankings and bondage with a little cowboy (or two) on the side. Much more fulfilling than grumpy billionaires.
The Vampire Design by Vivi Anna
At twenty-eight years old, there’s something just a little bit embarrassing about reading vampire erotica or werewolf wonderboys ravishing the heroine on a forest floor, but by gods do I love them! In this story, Emily is back-packing round Europe with her friends and a famous artist-obsession to keep her company. The artist in question Xavier deals in erotic art, one of his better known paintings simply called O, that of a woman in orgasm. Like most woman Xavier has led the world to believe he is a little younger than his actual three-hundred plus years. To me, vampiric connotations are heavily laden with sexuality anyway, blood, lust, edgy sensuality, so I had high expectations for Vivi Anna’s story. When you add in a European vampire artist who paints women right as they orgasm I knew this tale was going to live up to expectations. I wasn’t wrong. Lavish with sexy imagery and even hotter language you can’t help but enjoy it. A simple tale of vampire and human sex but effective. You’ll be begging your other half to start role playing with a pair of pointy falsies.
Last but not least Anything He Wants 10: Atonement by Sara Hawkes.
Well now…this one ups the ante a bit on the whole BDSM scene. A mansion of iniquity where men crawl around collared, chained and wearing only loincloths. Where other men serve appetisers wearing nothing but a loincloth and a latex gimp mask and girls who dangle from the ceiling ensnared in rope and the skin they were born in. All this happens within the first couple of pages, so for the love of all that is good, do not lend this book to your grandmothers. Like the man himself, Jeremiah says at the start “If you’re not the least bit intrigued, we can leave now.” It was a fairly average read. If you’re okay without any background knowledge of these people or why this sort of kinkery interests them and all you want is to read a very naughty tale of sadomasochism then this is the one for you. Not so much me. I like a bit of character knowledge to go with my kinky.
Unraveled is an eclectic selection of every bored housewives’ innermost scandalous fantasies. Some of the stories were worth the read and I would consider looking into more of their work, others I felt were just following a template and lacked originality. Overall, though it was a good collection of stories for an erotic anthology.
Disclosure: This ebook was provided by the authors in exchange for an HONEST and not necessarily positive review.
on 18 January 2014
Overall - this is a really good value box set, and definitely gives the reader an opportunity to discover some new authors, or read more from old favourites. I enjoyed each one, as there was a good range and plenty of enticing, well written stories.
Yours to Take - Cathryn Fox
The strong in control woman who is given an opportunity to discover her submissive nature, gives rise to an adventure that ensures that the reader is treated to a hot steamy ride. I would happily have read a longer story, but what there is I enjoyed a lot.
Yield to Me - Sarah Castille
An MMA tale about a talented female fighter and her new coach. He has found her weakness and has to decide just how far he can go to cure the problem without spoiling her other skills. It is a fight between two strong characters and the outcome is not guaranteed. A bout of escapism you will be glad you entered the ring to enjoy.
Complete Abandon - Julia Kent
This is a follow on story and you will love it if you recognise the characters - however I believe you could read it as a stand-alone and still enjoy it very much. I would expect you to want to go back and find out the back story - and I do not think the experience would be spoiled. If like me you prefer to read things in order, then hurry off and come back here as soon as you have!
The story is well written, and very engaging. If you like to have a story to surround your steamy reading, this should hit the mark.
Three Little Words - Lauren Hawkeye
I really enjoyed this story, and although it ends in a good place, I definitely wanted to know more. That is for me the sign of a good story - one that leaves the door open for my imagination to take it further... The premise of the story is good, and I particularly liked the twist towards the end, which for me made it even hotter.
Taken by Storm - Opal Carew
Storm, minor rock god, plays his role well in this tale. The main characters' inner voices are used to good effect in this sweet, hot short story. Escapism at its finest. Enjoy.
How to Choose a Cowboy - Daire St Denis
I enjoyed this so much, I immediately had to go and read the next one! I love a strong female character, and one who can enjoy herself so freely is particularly appealing. The encounters are hot and much more meaningful than one might first expect. Definitely hot under the collar (and elsewhere) reading.
The Vampire Design - Vivi Anna
A well woven little tale which gives enough character detail to be fun. I was surprised how quickly I cared about the main protagonist and was invested in the success of her project. I would love to know what happens next!
Anything He Wants - Atonement - Sara Fawkes
This novella will undoubtedly appeal to fans of Jeremiah and Lucy - but stands alone too. There is enough detail to appeal to the new reader too, who may well be tempted to go back to the beginning of the story. The writing is good, the plot is good and the writing is hot. The question of whether those behind mirrored glass are really invisible from the outside is one that I have considered many times myself, but for much less sexy reasons!!
-Wicked Reads Review Team-