Book Review: The Cartographer by Tamsen Parker

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If you’re looking for heat this summer don’t bother going outside, Tamsen Parker’s The Cartographer brings all the heat and so much more!

This book infuriates me. Why, you might ask? Because it’s the last (Yes! The last!!) book in the compass series. It’s such a wonderful arching storyline over these six books and it’s all done! The fantastic part that doesn’t infuriate me, is how beautiful this story was tied together.

I really appreciated this book being in Reyes’s point of view. Watching our other characters grow with Reyes in the background was wonderful, but having him tie this story together and finished it made it so much better. I wouldn’t have wanted any different!!

This book is a sexy ride – M/M, hard R if you catch my drift – with Allie being our protagonists love interest. He is an interesting character – definitely not Cris or India. I really enjoyed his character, but I would have seen him being more stubborn than he actually was. It was a nice change not having him stubborn, but if there’s anything “wrong” with this story, that would be my only negative point.

In this book you will find lots of kink and sexy times, but you will also finds lots of heart wrenching back story. What’s nice about these novels is it’s not just an erotic read without any thought behind it. Tamsen has been getting better and better with her writing abilities with each book she writes. Not only has she increased the sexiness of these books, the characters, back stories and plots have grown with her. It’s so wonderful watching her grow with each book and seeing the characters grow along with her.

You could definitely read this book as a standalone, but I would definitely suggest reading the rest of the books. This book won’t cause any confusion to those who don’t know India/Cris – you might not understand a few references here and there. But, it doesn’t take away from the story in any way. Also, readers who haven’t gone through the first five books might find they don’t connect to Reyes as much as they should. He’s a very lovable character, so reading the other books will make you appreciate him so much more than what’s just introduced in this story.

Tamsen’s writing style is very easy to read – she doesn’t use difficult language, but doesn’t make it so simple either. Her sentences and words flow smoothly and don’t seem choppy like some BDSM novels I have read in the past.

Overall, I really enjoyed this book. I think this is a great addition to any kinky readers library and is a must read!! If you want some sexiness in your life, pick up some Tamsen Parker books. She’s becoming such a fantastic author and is growing so much, it’s almost foolish to not pick up her books if you want some super sexy romance in your life!!

Five out of five stars.

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Happy Release Day! Book Review: Due South (#5 in The Compass Series) by Tamsen Parker

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Photo via Goodreads.

Book Review
Book Title: Due South (Compass Series #5)
Book Author: Tamsen Parker

Introduction: I am OBSESSED with Tamsen Parker’s books, so when I got the opportunity to read this book I jumped at the chance! This series has been uber sexy, uber awesome and has always been a pleasant surprise when I pick the book up and can’t put it down.

Review:

The Cover – The cover is probably my favourite out of the whole series. I loved True North, but Due South has really upped the game. The contrasting colours of the red hair and green-ish blue background make it really stand out. I also love the seductive look that is front and center on this cover. I like the continuation of the sexy looks – in my personal opinion, I like them better than just the single person covers, but that’s just me! It gives the book a little extra boost in the sexiness department.

The Chapters – The chapters them self have a cute little compass, and I seriously adore that. On any other book, without them, it just seems plain. But I adore the little compasses! It gives a little extra flare and personality to this novel. Love it!!

The Content – I’m writing this book as I read it, which is rare for me. I normally like to finish a book and go back through it, but this review shall be the play by play! It’s the holidays, let’s switch things up in my reviews!
Currently, I’ve hit Chapter 2 within this review – I love that India and Cris have been mentioned, and then they both get some action scenes. I miss those crazy kids, and having them pop by makes my fan girl heart feel all warm and fuzzy. I also really enjoy that this book starts off with referencing Christmas (and it’s being released around Christmas). The vibe I’m getting so far is festive and fan-friendly! Also, within Chapter 2 you already get that R rated swearing involved, which gives me a good chuckle. So readers, beware – if you do not like the swears, this book has a few of them (at least so far). <spoilers>But let’s be honest, if I lost a file of some form of importance, I would also be swearing but probably a lot more than Lucy does.</spoiler>

Within Chapter 2, I also love the reference to how some fans felt within the reviews <spoiler> Lucy references that India is mean and why could Cris like her (since he is nice and easygoing). It gave me a real laugh reading that, since some reviewers did comment on that exact issue. But  true love and soul mates conquer all people! 😉 </spoiler>.

Chapter 2 Side note: Evans’s is the correct spelling/grammar, but it looks so wrong to me.

Around Chapter 2 the sexy times start, but it’s not until Chapter 3 that we get some longer scenes. There are some consent-based comments, that in my opinion is a great addition to any novel, but it’s presented in a very cute/funny way. I really enjoyed this small addition to the scene, because it broke some of the tension but added to the comedy that these books present. It felt right in the situation as well, and with these characters. It might not have seem as great in a Cris/India scene because they are so tension heavy, but Lucy/Evans have the perfect combination for some cute, side scenes within their chapters. Even some of Lucy’s thoughts during these sexy scenes are funny – describing Evans’s so we get a better understanding of his characters.

<spoiler>Also, Chanoch Evans…I’m not even sure how to pronounce that correctly. And after searching google…Yup. I get why she calls him Evans.</spoiler>

Side note: While reading this book, if you do readers…think about this…Are there cameras in copy rooms?… Or in the office?… #Awkward

As you continue on throughout the chapters, you’ll find that Lucy and Evans have a very different relationship than the past characters. Lucy and Evans, while they have intense and hot scenes, are also quite comedic and adorkable. They’ll be getting hot and heavy, and suddenly they throw comedic gems out into the open that doesn’t break the situations, it adds to it. I really enjoyed every little comment, and I want to quote every single one, but that would ruin any suspense for the future readers. So I’ll leave it at this – this is one of my favourite books in this series so far (although Cris and India are probably still my favourite couple…but not by much. Maybe just a centimeter.)

This book is definitely worth the read. Typically, this far into a series the books start to fade off and go into obscurity, but this book really stepped it up. I wasn’t expecting to laugh as much as I did in this book and I love the characters almost as much as the main starter couples. I really loved this book, and if I could give it six out of five stars, I would!

The story line is easy to follow, and seems realistic (within the realm of sexy reads, of course). I wasn’t left with many questions, and I found the plot moved smoothly and at a fast enough pace to enjoy it. I even managed to read this book right through beginning to end (minus a few pit stops in adding parts into this review). It’s a good book to read in one sitting, and it’ll make you crave even more!

Overall: Tamsen does step up some of her writing in this book – some voyeurism occurs, which is a slight change from her past novels. There also seems to be a pinch or roleplay, depending on how you read into the situation. And a splash of beach sex (get it…splash? Oh, I love puns). There’s also a few other surprises around the corner, because Tamsen doesn’t like to disappoint!

This book has an adorkable x-factor that will leave you craving more sexy, seductive heroines and leading men from Tamsen Parker!

I definitely want more from Tamsen. As she continues to write her books, she develops her style and goes bigger and better. I haven’t yet been disappointed in a book, so I’m thrilled for her next release!

Five out of five stars.

PS. In the acknowledgments I also got a little giggle – thanking readers for the “trip” when it’s the “compass” series…Yeah. I love puns!

Book Review: School Ties by Tamsen Parker

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Photo via Goodreads.

Just when you think Tamsen Parker has reached her peak, she introduces a new forbidden fruit that left me breathless.

Title: School Ties
Author: Tamsen Parker
Date Read: August 21st-September 6th, 2016
Date Reviewed: September 11th, 2016
Spoilers Ahead?: Yes!

Introduction: I love Tamsen Parker (and that’s no secret) and every time she writes another book I am grasping desperately to try to get a hold of it. So when I was able to get my hands on School Ties (since Tamsen is totally amazing!!) I almost fangirled myself to death. And then I read the book, and I was silently begging Tamsen to stop (and by stop, I mean stop giving me a heart attack with her super sexy stories!). She stepped her game up with this novel! A pinch of BDSM and sexy time, a few splashes of ex drama, a handful of strong characters and then she added dump truck of forbidden romance.

Quick Summary: Erin Brewster begins to teach at a boys boarding school – Hawthorn Hill. She notices a certain student, Zach Shepard, and instantly sparks flash. Their eyes linger over the school year, and feelings flutter. Flash forward three years after Zach’s grad, and here is he back to tempt Erin. They haven’t forgotten each other, and soon enough they’ll be begging for each other’s company…

Evaluations: I had no words when I first finished this novel. I had to wait a few days to even write this because my brain couldn’t wrap around how Tamsen stepped her game up. Not only did she include her typical, hot, sexy BDSM time, but she added a flicker of forbidden romance as well? Tamsen is doing what most writers don’t – she’s growing!! And that makes my inner fangirl super happy and desperate to get her writing more! Or at least get her books more recognition!!

The book was told in both Erin and Zach’s point of view. This gave an added umph to the story since we got to see both of their thoughts and not just one. It opened up the readers to the thoughts of the characters, and we understood what was going on inside of their head. I typically don’t like multiple POVs in past books, but in this story it fit perfectly!

I also enjoyed the realistic aspects of the story – Erin starts a new job and actually feels self conscious! I can’t list enough books where the characters are glowing and perfect the first day on the job. Every time I’ve done something new (new job, new school, etc) I am definitely not glowing with self confidence! Tamsen does a beautiful job showing this, and this makes Erin so much more relatable!

The angst, drama and love in this story is just overall fantastic. Tamsen opens up more and explores! While there isn’t as much crazy BDSM/sexy time like some of her past books, it’s still great! Erin deals with drama before she meets Shep and that makes her grow as a character, so when the story finally progresses and we see more of adult Shep, we understand the struggles our main woman has dealt with.

Overall, I loved it! It’s a step up in the plot and character building department!

Plot: Tamsen’s plot building skills have definitely improved. While I love all of her old books (and their plots are uber sexy) there seemed to be more plot than sexy time in this novel! While I do love some great sex scenes, I love a wicked plot as well!

Erin Brewster’s troubles before Shep are a bit drawn out and I wanted more Zach in those scenes, but it gave a beautiful insight into the character. We saw her struggles and into her mind. I liked understanding her instead of just sex scene after sex scene. To me, it made her more relatable than Tamsen’s past characters. I felt for Erin and I understood how she saw the world.

When we got to Zach’s scenes, I felt like it was a little to late. I kept yearning and yearning for Zach and Erin to have some kind of fling or flirty scene before he left, but it didn’t happen. Yet Tamsen didn’t disappoint! When Zach was brought back, the sex scenes were super sexy and hot. The long, drawn out wait made those scenes even better.

When Zach explains his life in a sex club (and how he’s a virgin? That was a strange twist) I wanted to read more about it. I wanted to see maybe a flash back chapter or an insight into that part of his memory. His explanations were so interesting, and I felt like his back story could have been a novel all on it’s own!! If anything, his back story felt out of place without the chapters to back it up, but Tamsen still made it work! I would love for Tamsen to make an ebook or side story explaining that, similar to how she made more books in India’s series to see other aspects of that world.

Characters:
Erin Brewster – She’s a realistic and relatable character, which is great for a sexy, BDSM book. She gets nervous and has second thoughts and deals with real issues. I loved that! She wasn’t just some sex toy in the book for the man. The woman tries her best when dealing with her issues in the first half of the book. While I’ve seen other reviewers put down this aspect of the story, I felt like it fit her character. She married a man to keep her job, because she’s young and wants her job. I know many people who are in new jobs and let themselves get pushed around because they need their job. She then stays with the man she marries so she can keep the job. While in real life I would have kicked that guy to the curb, she’s young and she’s really trying.

Zach Shepard – Zach was an interesting character, and for a romance and BDSM book it was odd to read his POV, but that also made this book stand above the others. I didn’t expect to see his side of the story, but we did! As stated earlier I would have loved some more chapters relating to his back story. Him being a changed man was interesting, and makes sense since he went away to another school, but I would have liked to see more of it. He was definitely a hot character, and I could place his personality on a few guys I know, so relatable-ness was met on this character! Seeing Erin and Zach both work through forming a relationship was also nice, so I thoroughly enjoyed his character development.

Themes/Creativity: I wouldn’t say there were any distinct themes in this novel (it’s a romance, BDSM type book) but there was creativity for days in this book! Seeing Erin’s issues before she meets Zach is definitely creative compared to other books. I’ve read many romance novels where the main character complains about her past issues, but I’ve never seen the book actually display them. I also really enjoyed seeing both Zach and Erin’s POV in this novel. I liked seeing Tamsen step up her game with adding forbidden romance with BDSM in this novel and I would love to see her experiment more with these different topics in future books!

Uniqueness: I’ll combine the uniqueness with creativity together. Most of the unique aspects of this novel were also the most creative aspects.

Strengths: Character growth, the plot, the realism of the situations in the story – these are all wonderful strengths in my eyes. I enjoyed Tamsen’s growth in writing, and I can’t wait to see more!
Weaknesses: The lack of Shep’s background story felt like the biggest weakness. I would have liked to read more on that! It wouldn’t have added anything crazy to the novel and it wasn’t a necessity, but I would still like to read it!

Score: 5 out of 5. Despite the little issues here and there, I loved the book. I didn’t really see any weaknesses while reading the book, it was only after when I thought about it and compared it to other novels that are somewhat similar that I started coming up with “problems”. Tamsen did a fantastic job, and I’ll be reading this book over and over again! Tamsen stepped her game up and did a wonderful job with this book! It’s an addicting read that I read in one sitting, and I couldn’t put it down. It’s rare for me to literally sit down and finish a book all in one sitting, I can name only two other books I’ve done that with – Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell and Hamlet by Shakespeare. That definitely puts Tamsen high in my books, when I literally restart the book on one day and finish it in that same sitting.