4 Stars *
(* recommended to those who don't read the genre but are interested in trying it out)
For those readers who aren't comfortable with explicit sex scenes move along, nothing to see here.
Still with me? Good. Cara McKenna is the Good Stuff.
What has prompted me to review all of her work in one post is the quality of her writing. These books
are all fabulous without exception. McKenna is a very good writer, maybe it was unexpected - there is plenty of Erotica out there that I find wanting. Characters are blow up dolls jumping from one sex scene to the next, but in McKenna's books they are three dimensional and fully fleshed out. There is also a joy to her characters' interactions. Too many times the sex in Erotica is unrealistic thrusts and groans and orgasms by the bucket full. When McKenna writes, her characters are enjoying themselves, they enjoy what they're doing and not just on a physical level but on an emotional level too.
McKenna is also a master of sexual tension, I have literally found myself biting my lip and twisting locks of my hair around my fingers while reading. And then she snaps it, usually with a laugh. Absolutely brilliant.
Quickie reviews of each book:
Dirty Thirty - Caliguliberal, lol awesome. Blazingly hot read, but a real romance. Evan and Margie are so wonderfully in love. This is a little love story masquerading as pure Erotica.
Backwoods - Prequel to Shivaree. I'm still not sure how I feel about this book. Let me rephrase that, I'm still not sure how I feel about the character of Gabriel in this story. In most of McKenna's stories there's a character that, well, you never really get inside their head. You're not entirely sure why they're doing what they are doing. That's not to say they don't act in a consistent and logical manner, you are left wondering at their motivation. It's interesting and thoughtful, not maddening and sloppy.
Shivaree - Still not sure about Gabriel (but there is a 3rd book coming, so yay! please I'm begging - closure). Hot & thought provoking.
Ready and Willing - "It's exactly two o'clock according to my cable box." Lines like this are one of the reasons I love McKenna's writing. Her characters live in the same world we do, they are all people we could bump into. Perfectly relatable. This book is also a testament to the strength of McKenna's story telling. Abby, the female lead, is choosing to have a baby all on her own, a choice I'm not really on board with. In fact I put off buying the book because this. I ended up liking Abby, and while I still don't like her choice, I do like her and understand her decision.
Willing Victim - This was my introduction to McKenna. I love this book, I really can't recommend it enough. A hot hot hot story that turns into love and ends on a happy note, but not with the traditional puppies and rainbows happily ever after.
Ruin Me - This was my 6th Cara McKenna and the first one I didn't approve of the story line. Couple in committed relationship but something just isn't right, so the male half of the couple says go ahead screw the other guy and get him out of your system. Not cool. Know why I read this book, even with a plot I knew I would hate? I had just read read 5 of McKenna's books and she was too perfect, I picked this up because I was sure this was going to take her down a peg in my mind. It didn't, again - she made me understand and like her characters even when I didn't like their choices. Ruin Me made it possible for me to pick up Ready and Willing.
Brazen - A quick little novella that left me wanting more. This is a rare short story that keeps me thinking about it after I finish.
Read the blurbs on the books themselves and pick one. You won't be disappointed, and I bet you'll end up a fan girl just like me.