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That's What I'm Talking About

I generally review romance, paranormal and urban fantasy. I tend to pick review books that I want to read, so generally my reviews will be positive. I always give my honest opinion: good, bad, and indifferent. 


Note: on my blog I use a letter grading system. I've listed the ratings below. For sites with stars, I have listed the equivalent rating. If I didn't finish the book, I will not rate it with stars.


A+  Personal Favorite (5 stars)
A    Loved It (4.5 or 5 stars)
A-   Enjoyed A Lot (4 or 4.5 stars)
B+  Liked It A Lot (4 stars)
B    Liked It -- Recommend (4 stars)
B-   Liked It -- But I had a few small issues (3 or 3.5 stars)
C+  Liked It -- But I had issues (3 or 3.5 stars)
C    Finished It -- Liked some, didn't like some (3 stars)
C-   Finished It -- Liked a little, didn't like a lot (2 or 2.5 stars)
D    Not A Big Fan (2 stars)
E    Don’t Waste Your Time (1 star)
TW: Reading this book was like watching a Train Wreck
DNF: Did Not Finish


updated July 9, 2015

Currently reading

Operation: Endgame (Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences Book 6) (English Edition)
Philippa Ballantine, Jeanne H. Ballantine, William Morris
Just You and Me (A Contemporary Romance Collection)
Fiona Miers, Caitlyn Lynch, Liz Durano, Deelylah Mullin, Cate Farren, Jacquie Biggar, Vicki Batman, Kate Richards, Brenna Zinn, Dalton Diaz, Tierney O'Malley, Desiree Holt, Nicole Morgan, Ashlyn Chase
Bitter Bite: Elemental Assassin, Book 14
Audible Studios, Jennifer Estep, Lauren Fortgang
Progress: 27 %
My Wicked Valentine - Ann Mayburn My Rating: 4 stars: Enjoyed - recommend (A-)
Originally Posted at That's What I'm Talking About (2/27/13)

Lucia Roa is excited, but extremely nervous, for her interview to plan a major party for the rich and powerful Isaac O’Keefe. She is going in blind, at the urging of her mentor, Mrs. Florentine, not knowing who or what the party is for. So when Isaac tells Lucia that the party is at a BDSM club and that she’s too young and inexperienced, Lucia is determined to prove he’s wrong. And within a few pages, Isaac is determined to bring Lucia into the fold - with him showing her the ropes (pun intended).

The pair set up an unconventional business arrangement where they work on the party together, and Isaac teaches Lucia about the BDSM lifestyle. He pretends to be her Master in the club, and she is to do as he asks so that she will better understand the clientele at the club.

My Wicked Valentine is a delightful, sexy romance. Lucia is fresh, young and full of positive energy; I couldn’t help but get wrapped up in her charisma. She brings both an innocence and perceived life experience into the picture, which balances Isaac’s jaded heart perfectly.

The beginning of the story felt a little jumbled to me. The interview at the start was confusing because one minute Isaac was trying to talk Lucia out of the job, and the next moment he was doing everything he could to keep her. In addition, I felt their initial “arrangement” was a little too unconventional to work, plus their first two forays into Club Wicked felt stiff and awkward. And although I loved that Isaac was upfront that Mrs. Florentine (a friend from the club) was trying to set him up with Lucia, I felt there were too many personal issues going on to make the business aspects of the relationship successful. It just felt odd to me.

However, as the story progressed it really began to gel for me. Isaac goes off to run his company, which leaves Lucia to do her job as an event planner. I liked seeing them both do their respect jobs and give one another space. I also enjoyed getting POV from both characters, keeping me in the loop as to their budding feelings for the other. But it was when someone attempts to blackmail Lucia into leaving the job that I really began to connect with the couple. Isaac steps in and works hard to make things right - including meeting up with her parents. One of the best scenes occurs between Isaac and Lucia’s dad, who knows Isaac’s reputation with the ladies. Scenes such as this allow for deeper understanding of the characters, therefore increasing my connection with them.

Of course the couple has issues, mostly because Isaac creates distance. Whether it is because he feels Lucia deserves better or he’s scared of getting hurt, he turns his feelings off and on like a kitchen faucet. I admire that Lucia stands up for herself and doesn’t let Isaac get away with dragging around his emotional baggage.

Overall, My Wicked Valentine is a enjoyable little romantic story. The characters are likable and easy going. I love that there isn't any major drama. Sure, Isaac is jaded from his wife, but he's not messed up. And Lucia is happy. I simply adore her. She learns what it means to be a submissive while discovering why it is appealing for her and how it turns her on, but she never gives up her inner fire or changes herself. I love that Isaac respects and fosters that in her. Plus the mystery of who is blackmailing Lucia adds just enough tension to the story without overshadowing the love story.

Anyone new to the current BDSM “erotica” trend and wanting to try it out, My Wicked Valentine is the perfect choice. The sex is steamy but still fairly tame. The romance is real, light and fun. And as Isaac introduces the young Lucia to the lifestyle, a new-to-the-genre reader will get an education as well.