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I Belong


Review: Cherished by Maya Banks and Lauren Dane

Title: Cherished

Author: Maya Banks & Lauren Dane

Genre: Erotic Romance

Series: Delicious (Book 1)

Publication Date: August 7, 2012

Format: Paperback, 368 Pages

ISBN-10: 0425247538 (Penguin/Berkley)

ISBN-13: 978-0425247532 (Penguin/Berkley)

Reviewed by: Michelle

Synopsis:

Exiled by Maya Banks – Enticed to the island paradise where an enigmatic prince is living in exile, beautiful, virginal Talia is introduced to a world of forbidden pleasure where the prince’s every whim is fulfilled and her fantasies are rendered in exquisite detail. But when the prince is summoned back to fulfill his duty to his struggling country, reality is thrust upon Talia all too soon. She returns home, heartbroken, convinced she was a passing fancy for an idle ruler and his most trusted men. Until the day they arrive on her doorstep, determined to have her back where she belongs.

Sway by Lauren Dane. – Levi Warner is an established, older man—wealthy, powerful, and above all, respectable. Then Levi meets Daisy, an uninhibited 24-year-old dance instructor and artist, not exactly the kind of woman Levi is accustomed to. But the young, free spirit, brings out something in him he only experienced in fantasies. When their scorching affair turns into something unexpectedly deeper, Levi finds himself torn between preserving his reputation, and exploring a wilder and much more satisfying kind of life.

Quick & Dirty: Cherished contains BDSM themes, one a little more into the theme than the other.

Excerpt: Exiled” & “Sway

The Review:

I haven’t read an anthology in a while, but I was looking forward to Cherished by Maya Banks and Lauren Dane. Why? Because it’s Maya Banks and Lauren Dane. Cherished contains two novellas that indulge the reader’s appetite for desire, and what perfect way to do it than have these two authors write it? Cherished contains BDSM themes, one a little more into the theme than the other. And because one had heavier BDSM content than the other, I didn’t connect to it as much as the other.

Exiled

Exiled by Maya Banks follows Talia, a 22-year-old virgin who is indebted to Prince Alexander. Talia met the Prince at the young age of 18, when she was a maid in the Prince’s home. An accident that could have caused Talia to lose her job. Not only did the Prince make an excuse for her on that day, he later on moved Talia and her ill mother to Paris. There Talia’s mother was set up to receive treatments for her cancer, and Talia attended a nearby University, all paid by the Prince. Four years later, after civil wars and social unrest, Prince Alexander was exiled to an island. There he arranged for Talia to join him. It wasn’t a surprise, but instead an agreement, laying out all of the expectations and rules that the Prince had for Talia.

On the island, Talia and the Prince explore each other in a more intimate way. There, the Prince includes his most trusted men, his bodyguards, but also the men that he would trust Talia’s life with. He includes them in all ways that one would think of, and ways that one wouldn’t. Talia beings to blossom as a sexual female, pleasing and being pleased by the Prince and his three trusted men. There was passion, love, and raw sexuality.

I couldn’t connect with any of the characters. I couldn’t imagine a world where this story’s plot was a reality. I felt Talia to be naive and easy to trust, and given what was asked of her, I couldn’t get behind the idea. Some of the scenarios made me uncomfortable, but this reflects more with my reading comfort zone than the author’s ability to write or create. The scenes were steamy, that’s for sure, but I just couldn’t get into it.

Rating 2/5

Sway” (Delicious, Book 1)

Levi is a lawyer who lives a normal life. He is an older man than most of our romance males, and has had an interesting and successful life so far. We first meet Levi in a dance studio, looking for his class that he promised to take for his brother’s wedding. Fate intervenes and he sees Daisy, a 24-year-old dancer/artist/creative outlet. Levi is fascinated by Daisy, her long legs, and the simplicity that she brings to dance. Fate intervenes and Daisy and Levi meet several times again, pushing Levi to finally ask Daisy out on a date.

The romance blossoms from there, and the chemistry is quick and immediate. Daisy, a strong and independent woman, gives in to Levi’s subtle dominant side. She experiences many sexual fantasies that she has never felt before, and with Levi’s help, she is having the time of her life. The intensity fizzles a little bit, as emotions come into play. Levi has many doubts and issues, mostly from his past marriage and from nagging influences of his family. But the attraction cannot be ignored, and eventually Levi must choose.

I felt Sway was more my cup of tea, than Exiled. I felt that there was more of a story behind Sway, at least one that I connected more with. I enjoyed the characters and the ebb and flow of the journey that both Levi and Daisy went on. I liked how my focus only stayed on two characters and a single relationship. I questioned some of Daisy’s actions, but I felt that Dane explained them throughout the story.

Rating 3/5

FTC Advisory: Penguin/Berkley provided me with a copy of Cherished.  No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review.

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