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Kelly Jamieson

REVIEW:  Reward of Three by Kelly Jamieson

REVIEW: Reward of Three by Kelly Jamieson

Reward-of-Three

Dear Ms. Jamieson,

There’s just no way I can talk about this novella without giving away things which might be regarded as spoilers.  So, be ye warned all who read what follows.

I admit to a weakness for m/m/f menage stories and I think Rule of Three was among the best I’ve read in that niche.  Reward of Three takes up the story three years after the events of Rhythm of Three and begins when Kassidy announces her pregnancy to Dag and Chris.  They had talked about the challenges of raising a child in a poly relationship but had talked to other poly families and decided it’s what they wanted to do.  They had also decided that both Dag and Chris would be the dads, regardless of biology.

The beginning of the story felt a bit sparse and I would have liked to have seen some of the discussions about living in a menage and raising children rather than just being told about them.

But then, something happened and it distanced me so much from the story that it was difficult to read the rest and hard to remain engaged at all.  This is the potentially spoilery bit y’all. I think the blurb broadly hints at what happens and oh how I wish I had read it more carefully because if I had, I would not have requested this book for review.  Kassidy has a miscarriage and the bulk of the rest of the book takes place in the week following as the trio grieve individually and decide whether they can weather the storm together or whether this will break them.

I do have difficulty reading about pregnancy loss.  It’s a personal hot button – without going into too much detail, I think it’s easy to guess why. I either have a very strong emotional reaction and lose my shit completely or I withdraw emotionally from the story so as not to lose my shit.  The latter happened to me here.  I’m not sure that has anything much to do with the way the book was written but it did inform my experience of it.  That being the case, my grade probably needs to be taken with a grain of salt.

I wouldn’t want to suggest that each person who experiences pregnancy loss feels the exact same way.  Of course they don’t. For an unwanted pregnancy, I imagine a miscarriage could even be a relief.  People grieve in different ways and none of those ways a wrong. That said, I found it insulting in the extreme for Dag and Chris to be getting it on the day after Kassidy loses their baby (she’s sleeping in a different room because she wants space).  I get that lovemaking can be a way to feel alive and connected after a loss.  But still.   (Remember, I was pretty shut down when I was reading and I still was pretty flabbergasted by this).

There were aspects of Kassidy’s reaction which rang very true (even as I was reading with my eyes half closed because I didn’t want to know) and I expect that other readers will feel quite moved by her grief.  The book is only about 100 pages and most of it covers about a week. One week is just the tip of the iceberg for someone who suffers a miscarriage of a much wanted baby (as was the case with Kassidy).  I found it extremely difficult to believe and/or accept that Kassidy would be up for vigorous sex with both men ONE WEEK after a miscarriage.  She was 10 weeks pregnant so it’s not like she had a heavy period.  She would likely still have been bleeding.  Now, some people don’t mind having sex when there’s blood but a) it wasn’t mentioned and b) that kind of blood has a different emotional qualilty to me and I just could not and did not want to go there.

There is a happy ending for the trio as they work through their various griefs.  While I don’t think the novella suggests that they’re all fine and dandy after a week (which I appreciated) I did nevertheless get the impression that the worst was over. Um, no.

There is also a happy epilogue one year after and I think readers can guess what happens there.  For me, that was almost harder to read.

So, I’m probably the wrong person to review the book and really, I wish I hadn’t read it.  I think it had too much sex for the content and tone and I found the juxtaposition jarring.  The first book was a little gem but this was a disappointment on a number of levels, some of which had nothing to do with the story really.   I’m not sure what use this review is to anyone and the grade is probably pretty rubbery all things considered. But, for what it’s worth, I give Reward of Three a C-.

Regards,
Kaetrin

 

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REVIEW:  You Really Got Me by Kelly Jamieson

REVIEW: You Really Got Me by Kelly Jamieson

YouReallyGotMe

“There will be pain but only if she asks nicely. ”

Kendall Vioget fell hard for Police Chief Jason Holloway, until the best sex of her life became something more, something she wasn t ready for. Afraid of what he asked of her, afraid of her own desires, she walked away.

Now her brother’s fiancee has gone missing a week before the wedding, bringing Jason back into her life. She needs his help, but her body is losing the battle to resist the hunger to satisfy the dark cravings he can set free.

Jason understands what she needs, and when her increasing submission banishes the self-doubts he’s been carrying around, he knows a perfect match like this comes along only once in a lifetime. Until the missing persons case becomes a murder investigation, and suspicion falls on her brother.

Kendall will do anything to protect the only family she has left, and Jason will do anything to make sure a killer is put behind bars. If he doesn t handle this case right, the most precious gift she could have given him, her trust, will be destroyed. Permanently.

Dear Ms. Jamieson,

I really liked Rule of Three and enjoyed the sequel, Rhythm of Three.  But this book was, unfortunately, not a success for me.

I was struggling from the very start and I only finished it because I had committed to a review. It has a “psychic Dom” and a TSTL heroine.  I felt the authorial hand manipulating the plot often and it wasn’t good.  The characters frustrated me and there was basically no courtship so I found it difficult to buy into the romance.

The first scene is a sex scene between Kendall and Jason.  At first I thought I had missed some pages or that I had inadvertently picked up a sequel and had missed the first book.  I actually went to check on Goodreads. But no, it’s a stand alone book.  Jason is a Dom and he “knows what Kendall needs”.

“Tonight… I’m going to give you what you’ve been wanting.”

Her eyes widened again and she sucked in a breath. Rough sex.

“You need this,” he said, keeping his tone gentle, holding her gaze steadily. “You know it, Kendall.”

“Need what?” she whispered with another nervous glance toward the bed.

“Need me to take control.” She bit her lip, studying him.

“Been watching you, babe.” He reached out and touched gentle fingertips to her jaw. “Every time… I know you want more.”

“I’m afraid,” she confessed, still in a whisper.

“Afraid of me?” His thumb brushed over her bottom lip. She shook her head, and pressed into his hand.

“N-no.”

“Afraid of yourself.”

“Maybe.” She closed her eyes briefly. “I don’t like to let someone else be in control.”

“I know that, sweetheart. You look after everyone else… but who’s looking after you?” He knew the answer to that. There was nobody who looked after her. “That’s why you need this. Total emotional release. I promise you, baby, you’ll learn about parts of yourself you never have.”

They proceed to have sex: there is no mention of a safeword or any previous discussions of hard or soft limits.  He uses a crop on her (it appears to be fairly gentle) but there was (apparently) no prior agreement for this.  I don’t know how they met, why they were attracted to one another; anything about them really and they’re having sex with what appeared to me to be a lack of complete consent.  It made me uncomfortable.

Kendall leaves after this sexual experience and says they can’t see one another anymore.  Not because Jason did things she didn’t consent to though. No, it’s because he brings out things in her that she feels ashamed of and unwilling to face.

Fast forward a month and it is a week before Kendall’s brother’s wedding.  Kevin and his fiancee Natalia are getting married at the family vineyard in a week.  Kendall has organised a fancy wedding because it was Natalia’s dream but the bride is too busy to do much and so is the groom.  So Kendall has done most of it.   Kevin doesn’t come home all weekend and when he does, he looks like he’s been on a bender. He says he hasn’t seen Natalia since Saturday afternoon.  On Monday, Natalia is reported missing by her roommate and Jason, who is the police chief, becomes involved.  Kevin lies to the police and tells them he was home all weekend and asks Kendall to cover for him.

It wasn’t a big deal telling the police that Kevin had been home all weekend. Because if Kevin knew anything about where Natalia was or what had happened to her, he would tell the police. She was absolutely sure of that. So it wasn’t as if they were hindering the police investigation or anything.

Oh, mama.  To add to this, Kendall does not press Kevin for the truth of where he was and what he was doing.  This was just unbelievable to me.  Because this is a romance and Jason and Kendall are supposed to end up happily ever after, I knew Kevin couldn’t be the murderer. The obvious and heavy-handed efforts to make his behaviour suspicious just made me roll my eyes.

In the midst of this, when Kevin is under some suspicion (nobody yet knows that Natalia is dead – the reader knows from the blurb), Kendall and Jason start having sex again.   Jason says he’s going to take things really slow this time but then he totally doesn’t. It’s not very long at all before he’s spanking her.  It is here that a safeword is mentioned for the first time.  Apparently she has one.  (It would have been good to know that in the opening scene, all things considered.)

Jason is a “psychic Dom”.  He just “knows” what she needs, he “knew” she was a “natural submissive”.  Ugh.

From the first time he’d met her, something inside him had responded to her, to her natural submission, her need to be dominated. Something about her brought out every dominant, protective instinct in him, everything he’d been trying to repress.

and

He’d heard about it, but had never before experienced that feeling of “clicking” with a submissive, of being so perfectly in tune with the signals she gave off. He seemed to know exactly what she wanted before she even knew it, and knew how to give her pleasure. It reassured him that he was right, right about her, that they were headed for something incredibly intense together, an erotic and intimate bond like nothing he’d ever had with a woman.

I hardly got to see Kendall and Jason together apart from when he was in his police chief role or when they were having sex.  I didn’t get a feel for why they liked each other or any other courtship-like things.  Because I missed that, it was difficult for me to see why they were together at all.  Well, apart from the “clicking”.

After a few days, Natalia’s body is found and Kevin has failed a polygraph so things aren’t looking good for him.  Kendall is upset and goes over to yell at Jason (how could he do this to her, etc etc, Kevin is innocent because he’s her brother!). Jason, seeing that Kendall is getting “hysterical” spanks her.  Yes, that’s right, he takes consensual (let’s pretend they did talk about limits and stuff) BDSM play and puts it into another sphere altogether and Kendall’s reaction is just to get turned on.  Really?

There follow more obvious efforts to make Kevin look guilty and to obfuscate the killer’s identity, Kendall still doesn’t press Kevin for the truth.

Kendall’s actions in the last portion of the book veer so far into TSTL territory as to risk the health of my ereader.  I can’t reveal what she does because that would be too spoilerish.  Suffice it to say she puts herself in a very dangerous situation, entirely for the sake of the plot, making the police look incompetent in the process.  But Jason has a haunted past (he was formerly an FBI hostage negotiator) and his demons have to be dealt with too.

There were times in the book where I deliberately took a deep breath, tried to change my mindset and look for something good in the story.  But I struggled.  I suppose the stuff about winemaking was interesting, but I would much rather have seen relationship development.  Some of the sex scenes (the ones where I wasn’t worried about consent) were hot.  I liked Kendall’s friend, Erin.  But those things weren’t enough to save the book for me.  It pains me to say this, but You Really Got Me gets a D from me.

regards,
Kaetrin

 

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