Grade - B+, B+
Hotness Level - Inferno
Kink Level - Moderate
Genre - Contemporary, Novella (52 and 75 pages)
Series - Simple Need #1 and #3
Reviewed by Anne
Some time ago, probably December of 2011, I went on my yearly buying frenzy at All Romance eBooks and I picked up books 1 and 3 of this series. I'm not 100% sure why I didn't pick up book 2, I think it had to do with a Goodreads review mentioning the use of vegetables... I don't know, but now that I've read these, I may have to go pick up Book 2, Carnal Ecstasy.
These books are short. And they are wicked hot. And they are a mix of things that REALLY work for me, and small moments that pull me out of the stories. Let's start with Simple Need. Elise is at a bar after a recent text message dumping by a loser of a boyfriend. She meets Vinter, who is pretty much opposite in every way from the guys she usually dates. To her surprise, Vinter is very interested in her. She doesn't realize how much. She's contemplating a one night stand and Vinter is asking her name and thinking thoughts like this:
"What's your name?"Simple Needs was full of little moments like that that I loved. But it also had times that made me shake my head wondering, such as the scene where Elise falls asleep in the car with her hand resting "limply between his legs." Now, I can imagine falling asleep driving home with a long time boyfriend, but on the way to stranger's house? A stranger whose name you don't even know? I think I'd be looking for road signs! And there's the moment where Vinter has made Elise waffles and serves her three of them and she thinks to herself, "She'd never eaten three waffles in her life" All I could think was REALLY? How big are those waffles? Because I can totally handle three waffles. With peanut butter and syrup, thank you very much.
"Does it matter?"
Does is matter? Of course to hell it mattered. How was he supposed to whisper it in her ear as he pounded her ass if he didn't know it? "Yes."
However, moments like these were outweighed by Vinter's sweetness and the overall hotness of the writing. This would have been an A read for me without the weird moments. And I cannot end the review for this book without mentioning that Vinter's penis is pierced. Many times. Go read it and see for yourself.
Ink Spots was the same kind of read for me. This book features Vinter's friend Jaz, a tattoo artist, and a waitress he's been interested in, Mandi. They have a mutual friend, Jackie, who negotiates a birthday gift for Mandi, and the gift is 24 hours of Jaz. As is the case with Simple Need, Jaz has deeper feelings for Mandi, but is willing to use this 24 hour deal to get to know her better.
As with Simple Needs, this story is peppered with WTF moments, such as the fact that the heroine allows Jaz to tattoo her, with the tattoo of his choosing! I understand that she's been his waitress for a few months and that she's crushing on him, but that's a lot of trust. And then there's the fact that he decides to tattoo his name onto her shoulder. Seriously! And she's fine with that! Crazy.
But again, for me the hot and sweet moments outweighed the crazy. You've got lines like this:
She was a heavy weight against him, a big girl, but shit, he loved it.
And Mandi is 40 and sexually experienced! Hooray for a non-slender flower virgin heroine! At one point when they are having anal sex, Mandi is thankful for her sex toys and former lovers, because it leaves her more ready to enjoy this with Jaz. I think I've read a lot of slut-shaming, where heroines are bad for having sexual experience before meeting their HEA hero. I really enjoy a story where sexual experience doesn't equal evil.
So, Ink Spots was also a B+ read for me. I think this makes Simple Needs and Ink Spots officially crack reads for me. Because I'm not sure they are good, but I really enjoyed reading them, and I know I'll read them again. Crack. And, yes, now I need to go get Carnal Ecstasy and see if it measures up.