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December 4, 2012

Chat Review: Release Me by J. Kenner

Format: ARC (NetGalley)
Release Date: January 1, 2013
Publisher: Bantam
For fans of Fifty Shades of Grey and Bared to You comes an erotic, emotionally charged romance between a powerful man who’s never heard ‘no’ and a fiery woman who says ‘yes’ on her own terms.

He was the one man I couldn’t avoid. And the one man I couldn’t resist.

Damien Stark could have his way with any woman. He was sexy, confident, and commanding: Anything he wanted, he got. And what he wanted was me.

Our attraction was unmistakable, almost beyond control, but as much as I ached to be his, I feared the pressures of his demands. Submitting to Damien meant I had to bare the darkest truth about my past-and risk breaking us apart.

But Damien was haunted, too. And as our passion came to obsess us both, his secrets threatened to destroy him-and us-forever.
RELEASE ME by J. Kenner, who also writes under the pen name J.K. Beck, is tailored to capture the hearts and minds of romantica lovers. I think a lot of readers of this genre will swoon and pant over hot as Havana, Damien Stark, and some will definitely envy Nikki Fairchild's good forture. 

The meat of the story is we have another brooding billionaire who propositioned to a former pageant girl from Texas to have an artist paint her in the nude for a cool $1M. The caveat is Nikki gets the cash and Damien gets her for a week. RELEASE ME has all the kink, knee-buckling romance, intense coupling and troubled past romantica lovers can't get enough of. 

So was RELEASE ME a hit? My buddy in kink, The Masked Blusher, is back to gush and gripe with me.



THE STORY

Braine: Hi Ms. Blusher! So did RELEASE ME make you blush?

Ms. Blusher: Hi Braine! * blushes* Well, I am not named the Masked Blusher for no reason. Yes, there were certainly some memorable blush worthy moments. Code word : Chicken. Another blushworthy moment consists of a limo.* face flaming beetroot * Yowzer! Throw me a billionaire in a book and I am guaranteed to blush and learn a few things. I often come out wondering who thought up some of these errrr.....toys??

Braine:  Oh lord, me too! Their phone conversations alone made me Christmas red mainly because I'm Chicken like you. It's too personal and intimate. Anyway, do you think the story holds if we take out all the sex parts? I think it's a good one, a little formula in kinky billionaire terms so it was good for me.

Ms. Blusher: LOL!! I am a ‘Chicken’ too...but my ‘code word: Chicken’ meant a certain errr....toy. * BLUSHESSSSSSS*

Braine: Wait! A toy? What toy? OK you don't have to answer that... I don't think I want to know :P... anyway, back to the question.

Ms. Blusher: * whispers * The remote control... the... * blushes* hang on have I got the right book, lol!

OOOO interesting question, do I think the story holds if all the sex parts are taken out? Hmmmmm. I had to sit and think about this because, this style of story, the kinky sex is the meat in the sandwhich, so to speak. We almost forget that the guy is uber uber mega beyond our mental grasp rich. We are all in a very secret closet way wondering what the lad is going to pull out of his bag of tricks. Ummm...* blushes* or is that just me. Seriously I am not joking at how naive I am to all this. Nikki certainly has her issues going on which adds to the story. Damien has that formula character for this style of book. I do wonder if you have to have been abused to want to be this way.

Now I am not saying anything here as I just don’t know what makes up the human psyche. A shrink would know a lot more about this. I am just going on Fifty, Crossfire and now RELEASE ME. If I hadn’t read Fifty or Crossfire than this would be fresh to me. But I have and I could almost see Damien’s character unraveling in front of me. I kind of knew what to expect. But again, if I hadn’t read the other two series, then I wouldn’t have known. I liked the sub characters bringing the story along. Evelyn is a brassy broad, loved her and Blaine, I loved how he thought about his muse. Moving her about, the light etc. I learnt things there.



THE CHARACTERS

Braine: What's your general feeling about Nikki and Damien?

Ms. Blusher: I think I was invested more in Damien's character... I wonder why, lol! I have met a few billionaires now, they have a similar pattern about them. I liked Nikki and Damien, but I think I need to read more in the series. I need to peel back some of those onion layers. They fit the formula. Damien the billionaire, is a girls dream, * blushes *, I was going to say something...but... my fingers were blushing, they couldn't type.

Braine:  It's always the guys isn't it but JKenner did hold back on his story for book 2 maybe? I like Nikki too, she was playing hard-to-get at first but that girl is a minx! But she's quite adventurous too and brave considering her baggage and insecurities. Now did you feel like Damien was a little stalkerish and controlling with the gifts and other surprises? At first I thought it was sweet then I'm like... hmmm... if someone did this for me in real life would I think it normal?

Ms. Blusher:  My hubby has a funny sense of humour when it comes to gifts....my birthday pressie the Paranormal Kit, BOL! Total price around $10 from the cheap shop. But he put a lot of thought into it, that makes the difference to me.

When a lad in a book is giving gifts like bedazzled anklets, a freakin Monet original!!! then they are pretty darn expensive over the top gifts. But, that is the billionaires world. Same as a cheap gift from hubby is my world. I didn’t think of it as stalkerish. Over the top, yes, but a billionaire thinks differently. Also having that much money, to balance it off, giving is probably a great joy to them. I could see Damien got a lot of happiness from giving those WOW gifts. I kept thinking, OMG if somebody broke into their apartment and stole that Monet...lol!! Like these things are under lock and key in high security places, with climate control, not an apartment decked out garage sale style. I thought Damien was very precise with his timing with gifts and messages. To me that was the extreme organiser in him.

Braine: I guess I just got a little freaked out about the timing of the gifts like out of nowhere something is sitting on their doorstep or a delivery. But yeah, it is over the top and it fulfills a girl's fantasy on having an attentive mate. What had me cheering was Nikki. She's not some skinny model, she's like Sookie in the books, buxom and perky. She's not perfect and flawless either, she's scarred and insecure about her body being exposed. Those qualities made her relatable and when Damien started to worship her body that really hit home for me. I was saying "I WANT THAT!" out loud. How Damien embraced her, flaws and all, without question was so touching.

Ms. Blusher: Oh yes! The thing Nikki has going on with her past and what Damien wanted of her, to pose, I think most people have insecurities about their body and when a stunning billionaire wants you to pose and be painted by an artist , baring yourself is a hard thing, on top of what you are trying to keep hidden. I really liked that about Nikki. I think we all ‘felt’ how hard that was for her to do. Damien has his flaws hidden from Nikki, hers are much more exposed. They are on the surface , easily seen.



THE SMEXY

Braine:  Whew! Those scenes were hot! The limo scene alone... the ice cube... the phone instructions... *fans self*

Ms. Blusher:  *blush, blush and blush some more* Yup! My ereader battery actually died 2/3rds the way through that scene *face plant*... seriously! I was like gahhhhhh!! NoOooooOOo!! Limo, phone call, ice cube... several hours later, rest of the scene *grumble*. Oh my , and that rather well thought out pair of under duds. See, now I have never heard of those. I would imagine there would be quite a market for them. I so have been living under a rock, lol!

Braine: Yeah those pearlized panties are very interesting and I will never think of drapes the same way again! I was actually expecting more BDSM erotica based on the other reviews I've read but surprisingly it wasn't like 50 Shades. To me it was an introduction maybe or like a kinky sideshow.

Ms. Blusher:  I wear the Miss Naive badge quite proudly, but I am learning a thing or two along the way. I laugh because when I discuss with my girlfriends the ‘toys’ I learn about in these books, loL! it would seem I am the last to know. But that is ok. Ahhh, those drapes. Again, how does one think these things up!?? Drapes!!!! OMG!!! I don’t think I can look at Circus de soleil the same anymore *blushes* or when Pink was doing her Circus tour my brain wanders to The Drapes!!

Braine:  The drapes. The limo scenes. The dark alley. Damn those are solid sexcapades. Yeah, I think when I see Pink doing her Cirque number my mind will flash to Damien and Nikki.

Ms. Blusher: I don’t think I can look at an ice cube the same again, lol!



50 SHADES & CROSSFIRE

Braine:  I was a little iffy about the 50 Shades & Crossfire comparisons because I want to read something "new" and not another reconstruct of an already popular and successful series.

Ms. Blusher:  I am going to be honest and say, this is a very similar storyline. I was probably more invested in Eva (Crossfire) and Ana (Fifty), sure Nikki has her own thing going on...gahhh! When I was reading I was thinking to myself, if you are a billionaire you are going to have your toys (I mean planes , hot cars etc....people!!) and your extreme interests (yes THOSE toys) you will have people trying to extort money and you will need loyalty and security. I think the character is what needs to have that something independent of Gideon Cross and Christian Grey.


RELEASE ME is that in-between of Crossfire series and Fifty Shades, I think. Nikki is certainly happy to play along. I enjoyed this book and it is left open for a sequel, but I want that little bit more in character difference. Fifty Shades swooped in and nabbed the slot and other authors are now writing around that popularity. Sure there were these type books before Fifty, but we really think of Fifty Shades bringing it to the foreground and getting the reader who didn't normally read this genre (looks at self in mirror with the angelic halo above her head). We are escaping into it for whatever reason *waggles eyebrows* I so did not just say that...hehe!! I hear you Braine. The hot scenes were... smokin', but there is a pattern I could see as I was reading. It is a great read, but in saying that, if you haven't read Fifty or Crossfire then this would be all fresh and new.

Braine: Yes! On both the 50-Cross mix and character difference. In fairness to James, I think she did repopularize erotica single-handedly. A lot of people explored the genre after the 50 trilogy. Day gave us polished romantica, softened it a bit, made it more mainstream in my opinion. However RELEASE ME feels new and familiar at the same time for me like the story overall isn't something we haven't read already. Abused as kids. Self-made people. Turned to kink to untangle their hang-ups. I'm thinking die-hard 50 & Crossfire fans might not be as embracing with the similarities of the story as we are.

Ms. Blusher:  Oh, most definitely E.L. James brought it to the foreground. I would probably never have picked up a BDSM book if it wasn’t for E.L James and the masses of reviews and watching other authors reviewing and liking. I look at Random House and other publishers snapping up these authors and it is all very blushworthy writing, slapping a cover that does not shock on the front. The covers are all very non erotic, but it is what is within the pages....... How many women would be able to hold a book up in public , on the bus with the naked bared bod of a woman, but they can easily hold up a Fifty Shades book. I do admit if I keep being a Curious George with these books, then I do not want to see the predictable male character formula unravel. I want to be surprised. That is why I ask myself, does the guy have to have been abused to end up wanting the kink or can the male lead show us that this is his life without him having a tragic childhood? This I would like to read.

Braine: My thoughts exactly! Like does one have to be a "victim" before one has to be a freak? But you know what I'm really looking forward to... A Dominatrix! That would be an interesting powerplay. From what these authors are selling us, BDSM is a very personal and emotional lifestyle and I want to see a woman dominating a man without emasculating him. That would be the ultimate "tortured hero" book in my opinion. Someone needs to write that story.

Ms. Blusher:  I have a high pain threshold, found that out having a few babies, but I think you have to have a very clear mind and understanding and respect for what goes on in the BDSM world. Very consensual etc. I think there is a certain confidence about your body and life as well, I’m not saying you are not damaged, but the one thing I have learned from Joey W Hill’s writing is that it is taken very seriously this world and rules apply. It is not for me, no matter how high my pain threshold is....I am like the flying nun compared to these characters, but I am learning never to judge what a person does in their private time. If it is what floats their boat, then so be it. But, yes I do wonder why authors are using the male character and to an extent the female character as having such an abused life to wind up where they have, in this world. Is that a true consensus? I know obviously it opens up story line, finding out what makes the male lead tick, then the unraveling of it all, several books later.

A Dominatrix? I am not sure if that is as appealing to a mostly female audience as I would assume without assuming, lol! That some women would slot themselves into this fantasy of being dominated.

Braine: Well I wouldn't mind another "Nora Sutherlin" peeling those onion layers you're talking about. Or maybe it's the feminist in me that's crying out here added to the "something new" I'm craving in BDSM erotica.


FINAL VERDICT

Ms. Blusher: I give RELEASE ME 30/10 Blushworthy Rating. The limo scene will make your toes curl and the under duds were quite the invention :)

Braine: The sex? You betcha! How about the sex AND the story combined? Because this was my conundrum. I enjoyed the story immensely, blushed on all the right places but I've read it before.

Ms. Blusher: I could see the story unfolding ahead of the pages, but then we do devour books, we are bloggers and if we hadn’t read Fifty and Crossfire this would be fresh to us. I am beginning to wonder if it is in the publishers best interest to slap all those labels on the covers stating if you like Fifty Shades this is the book for you..., even though that is not quite the blurb, lol! Because after a while I don’t want it same as Fifty I want it more individual.

A hot billionaire or a poor guy can still have his smexi going on, he doesn’t have to be rich, he doesn’t have to give expensive gifts, we are all a bit damaged in our own way as I know nobody has a perfect life and was unaffected by not one thing in their life, we all have something. But how you get to the BDSM is maybe where the story is. We learnt that with Christian Grey and that awful woman who corrupted him as much as his abuser hurt him. The current formula I would like to see changed up a bit, given a shake down.

Braine: I'm poor and I'm a freak! Someone needs to write a compelling "average Joe/Jane" story but I guess it's not going to be as high octane as a billionaire courting you. So what cauldron rating would you give it?

Ms. Blusher:  Hmmm...I have been thinking about this. If I had not read Fifty or Crossfire I would go 4.5 Cauldrons as it is rather smokin’ the creative smexi. But, I have read the type of character before, so I would go 4 Cauldrons as I am looking for the formula to be shaken up a bit. I could probably write a BDSM ( oh, sooo would not stop blushing) Fifty Shades type fictional book now as I can see the formula, I would just have to maybe go to a sex shop and find out what actually is out there. HEHE! Like goodness me, the things , if they are true in these books, well, YOWZER!!! See my imagination would really need a good working over. What I am trying to say is if authors keep using the same formula, the book is being spelt out to us, predictable the outcome, I don’t just want the smexi erotica to shape the book, I want the characters to come in, well different Shades of Grey, so to speak.







7 comments:

  1. Awesome posting! I have read Release Me and enjoyed it!

    Mich

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    1. I feel like I have a secret girlfriend or something with my dahlin' Masked Blusher. LOL

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  2. Fun and awesome review. I have only read book 1 in fifty and have not red Crossfire novels yet. I know, I know I am bad for not having read Bared To You yet. I do have Release me and look forward to it.

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    1. If you're hooked on kinky billionaires, add Damien Stark to your list and also Lisa Renee Jones' If I Were You.

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    2. Oh Yes!! If I were YOU!!! Loved it...hated that terrible cut of ending..WT!!!! That needs to be readdressed I think. LOVED the story....woot!! Chris Merit...humma, humma!!!

      Mich

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  3. Sorry to say I refuse to read fifty shades but Sylvia and Kenners I would totally read. But hrmmm..

    Raonaid at gmail dot com

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