Size Matters, by Stephanie Haefner

size-matters-9781476765570_hr

Grade: C-

Doing it at: 70%

Catnip: Hot Cops; Single Dad; Kidnapping; Strong Female Lead; Friends to Lovers; Wall Sex

Shame Scale:  Low. I wouldn’t want to read this on a city bus in paperback form because of the title, but the content itself isn’t too shamey.

Fantasy Cast: Jake Gyllenhaal and Elizabeth Banks

Book Description:

In this saucy, sexy, laugh-out-loud romp, a lingerie shop owner and single mom falls for the hunky cop who just happens to holster his own perfectly sized weapon.

Bryn, co-owner of Classy ‘n’ Sassy Lingerie shop with her best friend Mia, is ready to get back out in the dating world after losing her husband to the war overseas. Diving into bad first dates, online set-ups, and guys who just can’t get the message, Bryn can’t stop thinking about Eli, the sexy neighborhood cop who’s also a great dad. But between Bryn’s dead husband and Eli’s messy divorce, will these two have what it takes to overcome their baggage and fan the flames between them?

Size Matters was given to us as an Advanced Reader’s Copy.  It’s due to be released on June 1st…so if you have it on pre-order, you may want to skip this review, because thar be spoilers. From the get-go it reads like a romantic comedy, and makes you feel like, as a reader, you’re really just snooping in a friend’s diary. Immediately, we are introduced to Eli and Bryn. Naked. Well, almost naked. Fooling around and trying to get to the good stuff. But they both have kids. And jobs and mothers and dead husbands and ex-wives and all the stuff that interrupts sexy times. So, they settle for cuddles and move on.

Bryn owns a lingerie shop that also specializes in sex toys. So she’s surrounded by and is asked to discuss sex all day. Eli is a cop with an awful, confidence destroying ex-wife. He spends his days thinking about Bryn. With both of them being single parents working to figure out the whole dating thing, every encounter seems to end in disaster. Once, Bryn’s mom calls. Another, one of the kids wakes up. Every married-with-kids couple has experienced these interruptions, I’m sure. But Eli also has some major mood killing hang-ups about his size, completely because of his horrible ex Kristen. And Bryn finds the lack of confidence to be kind of a big deal breaker. Eli, despite being sexy and funny and a good person all around, has this giant (or small) thing that he focuses on and Bryn finds it annoying. She wants a guy that knows who he is and knows how to work it, small or not. Eli’s insecurities make it extra awkward.

So, they break up. Or at least stop seeing each romantically. Bryn tries online dating. She hits on her dead husband’s friend.  Bryn’s dear friend/coworker tries to set her up with her boyfriend’s friend, Troy.  And in the meantime, she starts throwing together a huge event for her shop, complete with models and an 80’s theme. The online dating starts off with just IMs and casual flirting. The first date with Troy goes reasonably well. Despite everything looking up, Bryn can’t get Eli out of her head. I suppose it doesn’t help that all his kids and all her kids go to school together and that her son has a crush on his daughter (because they’re pre-teens, it leads to a couple uncomfortable adolescent discussions about appropriate times to masturbate.)  Eli has also started dating, but his attempts are not going as smoothly. His new woman is aggravating and demanding and I wanted to punch her. Thank whatever they break up quick.

On Bryn’s second date with Troy, things are heating up. And just as they are speeding away from the restaurant in order to get vertical, Troy is pulled over. By Eli. And because he’s a cop, he does everything in his power to make the date fizzle out. One more strike out for Bryn. This poor girl is never getting laid. And the seemingly cute guy that she’s been chatting up online has turned stalker on her. Time to delete her profile. And it’s at this point in the story that Troy becomes a giant douchebag about her kids. You know, because a single widow has plenty of ways to get rid of her three small children at the drop of a hat. Of course. He even laughs at her son. During his birthday party. And then tries to feel her up. During her child’s birthday party. He’s a meathead that no one really likes, but Bryn seems to see something in him (I think she just wants to get laid).

Following the disaster that was a 10-year-old’s bday party, Eli finally hashes it out with his ex to find out why she thinks he’s such an awful person. She doesn’t, apparently. She’s just a bitch. And Bryn is deflecting stalker internet boy as well as explaining to meathead Troy that her children dictate when and if she’s able to go out. Again. Jesus, this guy can’t seem to get it. I want to smack him.

Finally Eli works up his nerve to just go after Bryn. This took forever. Both of them are pining for each other through the entire book. (JUST FRICKING DO IT ALREADY) He shows up at her shop, in uniform (hot), and just goes for it. He doesn’t say anything (hot), just stalks across her office, grabs her up and bangs her against the door. And we get a chance to find out what all the fuss downstairs is about. Small? I think that’s what he was worried about. Bryn describes it as beer can sized. Those are the words used. Beer can. Us Shame Girls actually spent a little time (a lot. stop judging) Googling what that might look like. Google is disappointing. Luckily, we have active imaginations and too much free time.

After Eli’s wall bang and declaration of love, Bryn has to break it off with Troy. He doesn’t make this easy. (I would have dumped him after date one, but I’m not as desperate as Bryn.) Troy stops over in the middle of the night hammered and thinking he’s getting some action. Then Eli shows up after his shift. With some quick thinking, and a lot of regret, she convinces Eli to come another night and lets drunk Troy sleep it off in the living room.

The weekend of the lingerie’s shop event comes, and Bryn and her coworkers are ready to model the store’s new lingerie line. What follows is action, some near naked strutting around, kidnapping, action, drunk guys, a little more action and a savior. And a giant Brady Bunch Happily Ever After. This book was okay. Not great. I read it, but I found it to be a little vanilla and bland compared to the other books that Mary and Cleone have forced on me (and I haven’t even gotten to the really dirty ones yet). And I was sad I didn’t figure out the mystery of the penis until almost the end. But Haefner is an established author with several other books and I know her fans will appreciate this one.

The Master, by Kresley Cole

the master

Grade: A

Doing it at: 9%

Catnip: Alpha Hero; Strong Female Lead; Russians Mobsters; BDSM; Pretty Woman; Funny Girls; He’s basically a criminal; Deep Dark Secret; Secret Identity; Chastity Belt; #Teamanal; Wall Sex; Dick Glamoured

Shame Scale: You do NOT want to read this one anywhere where ANYONE minus one of your very special book-shame-sharing-friends might see the text. There is so much doin’ it, this is a magnificently high shame book, book snobs would not endorse this. We endorse it though, strongly

Fantasy Cast: Clive Standen and Gina Rodriguez

Book Description:

“A need colder than Siberian winter meets an attitude hotter than the Florida sun in #1 New York Times bestselling author Kresley Cole’s sultry new Game Maker novel.

Everyone fears the Master…
Rich, irresistible politician/Mafiya boss Maksimilian Sevastyan prefers tall, obedient blondes to fulfill his…complicated desires. That is, until the icy Russian encounters a disobedient brunette whose exquisite little body threatens his legendary restraint.

Except her.

Catarina Marín was a well-off young wife until her world fell apart. Now she’s hiding out, forced to start working as an escort in Miami. Her very first client is beyond gorgeous, but when he tells her what he plans to do to her, Cat almost walks out of the door.

If pleasure is a game, play to win.
After their mind-blowing encounter burns out of control, the lovers crave more. If they escape the deadly threats surrounding them, can Maksim overcome his past–to offer Cat his future? Only then will she tempt him with what he really wants: her, all tied up with a bow.”


I’m going to tell this recap like Stefan describing the hottest new nightclub in NYC, because this book?

stefon 4

Secret identities, prostitution, murder, chastity belts, sex in quaint covered bridges, nipple clamps, Russians with troubled childhoods, private jets, a makeover montage. EVERYTHING. If you, like me and all my 10-year-old friends, saw Pretty Woman as a kid and thought it was terrifically romantic you are going to love this book. It has everything you loved about Pretty Woman with 100% more deep throating and anal shower sex. Richard Gere would definitely approve.

The Master opens with Cat Marin, nee Ana Lucia, on her way to Maksim Sevastyan’s swanky penthouse to serve as his “date” for the night. Cat has never done this before, she’s been on the run from her nefarious-attempted murderer-gold digging-grifter-husband for three years, moving from city to city, working jobs that don’t require a real ID, and plotting to finish school and finally run far enough that he’ll never find her. To get out of Miami she needs some serious cash. One of the people whose house she cleans (her actual job) is an escort, and has been trying to convince the young, gorgeous, bootylicious Cat to do the same. Cat had been waffling until she spotted someone who she’s fairly certain is her scary ex, Edward in town; so when Ivana calls and asks Cat to cover a “date” that she has to cancel on with a high-rolling Russian, Cat agrees. The Russian is a “hobbyist” in escort speak and a high roller to boot, Ivana tells Cat that this one job could earn her like 10 grand and our Cat is no dummy so of course she goes. Plus she figures, maybe he’ll be hot and give her the schtupping she’s been needing because she hasn’t had sex in YEARS.

stefon shock

Cat almost backs out at the last-minute, but she balls up and knocks on his door; and is majorly rewarded, because Maksim Sevastyan is HOT. Like Cat is thanking Jesus Cristo in her native Spanish. Maksim however is less pleased, he was expecting his usual type: tall, blonde, thin. Instead he got Cat: short, curvy, dark-haired, and with a grande culo that does not quit. At first he wants to immediately send her on her way for not being as requested. But then he sees that ass (this is really what happens, I’m not just being a jerk) and changes his mind; maybe she can stay after all. Maksim offers her 3K to “be amenable to his interests” which equals him tying his partner up, gagging her, beating her with a crop, and taking her from behind. Cat is all “That sounds…interesting…lets do it my way instead” – I’m paraphrasing that- So they do do it her way and he loves it, but afterward he goes stone cold. Cat’s not up for his asshole bullshit (Go Cat!), so she struts her sweet ass out of there and pretty much wins book reader hearts forever:

Mocking sneer in place, he said, “You’re supposed to tell me how I moved heaven and earth for you. You’re supposed to fawn over me, increasing your chances that I’ll book you again.”

…..

“Oh, baby boy, don’t you know statistics? Chances can’t be improved from one hundred percent.”

Cat, of course is correct, Maksim goes to great lengths to book her again and when he gets her back to his penthouse playground he has booked her for a full night. He has the intention to fuck her right out of his system. She has told him before that he’s her first client, but he doesn’t believe her, you know because he’s a world-weary Russian billionaire who had a really bad childhood. So he doesn’t believe anything she tells him. But he’s dying to know more about her because she’s giving him things sexually that he never knew he needed. In his attempt to fuck her right out of his hair they have wall sex, and pool sex, and he performs oral on her multiple times (even though he’s NEVER done that before, but don’t worry guys he’s super good at it because they always are, right), and she lets him have sex with her without a condom because she’s drunk on champagne and his cock. In the morning Maksim is all happy-go-lucky and tells Cat he wants to keep her the rest of his time in Miami and she agrees; after some negotiating and offering of large sums of money that will enable her to get far far away from her murderous ex after Maksim leaves town. But, since nothing in a romance novel can run smooth, Maxim decides that Cat was trying to trick him into getting her pregnant. Which she wasn’t, our girl is way better than that and she agrees to let the Dr. whom Maksim summons give her both the morning-after-pill AND an IUD. Cat is a much better woman than I, if a guy who was paying me for sex called a strange doctor to a hotel room to insert an IUD into my uterus I would holler HARD LIMIT and flee.

After the forced birth control Maksim essentially kidnaps Cat and makes her his sex slave for the next week.

spicy

The next 60% of the book is just sex scenes, with some shopping–Cat orders the most room service ever (just lobster on top of lobster por favor), a treadmill, tons of new clothes, a manicurist, etc–, and travel, and murder confessions thrown in for good measure. So. Much. Sex. With so much vivid writing about the sex, some highlights because sharing is caring:

“Uhhn!” His mighty thighs quaked around my ears.”You’re taking my cum before I’m ready!”

“Semen shot so forcefully into my sheath, I whimpered; liquid heat bathed it like a balm”

“As he moved to the top of the bed, his huge shaft wagged, catching my gaze and making me want”

Even for a trashy romance there’s a surprising amount of oral in this book, it led to this actual messenger conversation between the mybookshame gals:

C: I’m reading a book where so much cum has been swallowed and I’m only at 42%

M: She’s basically surviving on cum and lobster

C: Yes. She’s doing OK!

PP: That diet’s gonna give her gout

The Master also has a real live chastity belt that the heroine wears (and likes), anal sex that makes Maksim so proud of Cat, and Cat being a general sassy bad ass who Mary and I like a million times more than any wishy-washy heroine we’ve encountered lately. This book features characters from The Professional, book one in Cole’s Game Maker series, including Jess! Jess is the sassy out of hand best friend of every girl’s dreams— well if you’re the kind of girl who can forgive your best friend for giving your mom an accidental Molly on your wedding day. Who cares if mom’s rolling! This girl is fun! Mary and I have high hopes that Jess is going to be the girl to conquer the third Sevastyan brother’s heart in an upcoming book.

If you’re looking for a light, sex-heavy, fun read, and aren’t squeamish about a teensy bit of kidnapping and spanking and forced gyno exam giving, then I gleefully recommend The Master.

Check it out on Amazon:

Collide, by Gail McHugh

collide

Grade: B-

Doing it at: So, there’s doing it early in, BUT it’s not with our guy. So I’m counting doing it at 65%

Catnip: Love Triangle; Dual Narrative; New York, New York; Wall Sex; Tattoos; Spidey Sense

Shame Scale: Cover isn’t bad on this one, no naked torsos, no bodice ripping. There is an actual story, the dialog isn’t the worst. BUT the author has some very melodramatic prose going on, this is a 4 on the shame scale for me, light pink blushing

Fantasy Cast: David Gandy and Sophia Bush

Book Description: 

Her mind tried to fight a bloody battle against what her body already knew. She wanted him, and she wanted him bad.

On the heels of college graduation and the unexpected death of her mother, Emily Cooper moves to New York City to join her boyfriend for a fresh start. Dillon Parker has been sweet, thoughtful, and generous through Emily’s loss, and she can’t imagine her life without him—even as her inner voice tells her to go slow.

Then she meets Gavin Blake. A rich and notorious playboy, Gavin is dangerously sexy and charming as hell. Their first encounter is brief, but it’s enough to inflame Emily’s senses. When their paths cross again through an unexpected mutual acquaintance, she tries to deny the connection she feels, but Mr. Tall, Dark, and Handsome won’t let go so easily.

As she discovers Gavin’s pain-filled past and Dillon’s true nature begins to surface, Emily knows she must take action or risk destroying everyone—including herself. But how can she choose when she can’t trust her own heart?

I have so many feelings about Collide. Let us discuss. Emily is moving to New York, following the very recent death of her mother to breast cancer, and also post-graduation from college. Her boyfriend, Dillon, already lives there and she’s moving to be with him, but not moving in with him- a wise decision considering what is coming. Emily is going to live with her college roommate, work as a waitress, and try to get a job teaching elementary school with her brand new degree. It was pretty refreshing that our girl was going to be starting off in a new city as a waitress instead of at some amazing improbable high-powered job, where she would be earning six figures and wearing Prada business suits (does Prada make business suits? Whatever, you get my point). On Emily’s first day of work, her boss asks her to make a delivery at the end of her shift, this is where she meets Gavin. The two are instantly eye fucking, and Gavin rides up to the tip-top of his very impressive skyscraper trying to get her number. She tells him that her name is Molly, and that she has a boyfriend, and then goes home all holy moly and tells her roommate how she met the most fuckable guy of all time. Meanwhile it’s becoming kind of apparent that her boyfriend is a doucher. He’s controlling, he works late hours that seem pretty shady, her roommate who has known him for a really long time HATES him with fire. He also tells Emily what to wear, and is very short-tempered, and is drunk a lot. Super catch right? WHY is Emily with him? Well, her mother, on her death-bed told her that she and Dillon should take care of each other, and her moms dying wish is not to be taken lightly. She should just be miserable and borderline abused forever, because dead mom said so. Cool.

However Gavin has other plans, because when he saw Emily his heart burst out a bunch of doves and ran through a field of flowers and now he believes in true love (that’s basically what the author says in her very flowery prose). He shows up at her job, sits in her section, and tips her $200 American dollars. I was waiting for the reaction to that to be storming into his office, declaring she wasn’t a thing to be bought, and throwing the money at him. But Emily is, in this one tiny tiny thing, smarter than that and keeps his money. She doesn’t think she’ll ever see him again. But this would be a very short and unsatisfying romance if that was the case and of course Gavin is friends with Dillon the dick boyfriend. Gavin never picked up on Emily being Dillon’s girl because HE thinks her name is Molly, plus she is so smart and sweet and just perfection incarnate and what’s she doing with his skeevy friend anyway? None of Dillon’s friends think very highly of him, but they’re still not going to warn Emily away because, Bros?, I guess.

Gavin and Emily try to avoid each other, but fail kind of miserably and every time they see each other the chemistry is hot. They basically want to rip each others clothes off, can’t stop thinking about each other, and “feel each other” when they’re not together. They’ve got the spidey-sense y’all. There is drunken making out that Emily wants to be drunken sex, which her crafty Dillon hating room-mate has basically orchestrated; but Gavin can’t go through with it, he wants his first time with her to be while they’re both sober. Emily, who by this point was really starting to annoy me, takes this to mean that Gavin isn’t attracted to her NOT that he’s actually a gentleman unlike the jag she’s dating. Unlike the jag she inexplicably agrees to MARRY despite her first instinct upon seeing him pull out the ring being hyperventilation and vomit. Still, she says yes and they announce the engagement and Dillon wants Gavin to be a groomsman because he doesn’t know that Emily is super mega hot for Gavin and that she wants to climb G like a tree. There’s some drama and a scuffle and Gavin and Emily FINALLY end up doin’ it. There is wall sex, and that amazing oral that every single book guy knows how to give, and a lot of prosey prose is written about their absolute physical and emotional connection. There is more sex after that and they vow to tell Dillon together that he and Emily are O-V-E-R.

Except the book is only at 70%. And there is more drama and more mistaken actions and so much more of Emily being indecisive and obtuse. All the characters were pretty much starting to piss me off, and bam! Book ends, look for part two.

I mean of course I’m going to read part two, because I want to know what happens and I think Gavin is pretty hot, but I don’t really want a part two. I wish Gail had just wrapped it on up in this book. The story is fine, pure honesty? Love triangles aren’t my catnip generally. McHugh knows how to write a villain though, I will give her that. Dillon is a super asshole, and a really bad boyfriend, she does not make it hard for the reader to root for Gavin. She does make it hard to root for Emily, who literally made me slam my book (Nook case cover) shut and roll my eyes. The writing in this had some moments of eye rolling as well:

“Children had a keen sense of the auras that surround people, so their behavior only confirmed what his heart already knew-her presence was magnetic”

“Their bodies entwined in sheer orgasmic delight as they shook, jerked, and trembled in each other’s arms. Sweat against sweat and soul against soul, they soared and fell together, each wondering if they’s ever be able to come down”

“Syrupy wetness”

That last one probably isn’t that bad, it just struck that chord that “weeping” does here at mybookshame when bodily fluids are being written of, no Buenos bitches.

There was some ridiculous writing I was really into though:

“With the weight of his body, he pressed her against the wall and licked the soft spot below her earlobe. “Tell me how much you fucking want me,” he breathed”

“I love getting kissed by women who claim they don’t love me- makes my dick hard as a motherfucker”

Why do I like my male leads better when they’re being assholes? I do not know, it’s a problem that a therapist should address with me, but I do and that’s why (after some spoilers from Mary) I am totally hate reading part two. Stay tuned.