PJV Quickie: Asking For It is not going to be for everyone. It’s a dark read and many readers will not be comfortable with the fantasies the hero/heroine are acting out. For me, it’s definitely in my top reads of 2015; I’m going to be talking and thinking about this book for a long time.
Vivienne Charles is a graduate student and artist who has a great group of friends and is happy with her academic career path. She’s also got a secret that she can’t share with anyone but her therapist: She can’t ‘get off’ unless she imagines she’s being raped. She tried to share once before and asked her boyfriend to rough it up a bit, but it didn’t end well and he’s no longer her boyfriend. Vivienne knows how she got this way and that’s why she’s seeing a therapist, but she can’t help feeling ashamed by her needs.
When Jonah Marks overhears some drunk guy at a party apologizing for not being able to play rapist for his girlfriend, his ears perk up. When he realizes it’s the gorgeous grad student he met the other night, he knows he needs to talk to her, to convince her that they each have something the other wants:
“I would never force a woman against her will. Never. If someone held a gun to my head, I’d tell him to shoot. That’s not a line I’d ever cross.”
“But you fantasize about raping women.”
He raises an eyebrow. “You fantasize about being raped. You know the line between dream and reality. So do I.”
The story that follows is thoughtful, darkly beautiful, and ultimately hopeful.
As I sat down to write about Asking For It, I complained to my husband that I couldn’t put into words how I felt about it: “Can’t I just say, ‘This book blew my mind and it will blow yours too’?” Because it really did – not only the story, but the writing as well. The contrast of Vivienne’s anticipation before her meetings with Jonah, and her self-loathing and shame after each encounter, was powerful and affecting. But it’s not just Vivienne’s thoughts and emotions that captured me: Ms. Pace was able to write a hero that comes across as honorable and kind, despite his fantasies. I don’t think many authors would have been able to bring readers around to see Jonah as a caring and sensitive hero.
As Vivienne and Jonah move from strangers to much, much more, their characters grow and change and I just couldn’t stop reading. I had to know what was going to happen with these two – there were so many obstacles these two had to face, from themselves, each other, and outside characters. There are soooo many things I want to say here but in order to avoid spoilers I will refrain. I will say that if you’re looking for a story with a Happily Ever After, you’re not going to find it here. What you will find is a complicated story about pain, desire, friendship, and love (not necessarily in that order).
I should also mention that as a resident of New Orleans, I have a soft spot for books set here. Asking For It is set in Austin and New Orleans, and, while I’ve never been to Austin, I can say that Ms. Pace got New Orleans just right 🙂
Asking For It is not listed as a series but there is a second book coming out in September 2015, Begging For It.
If you read and enjoyed Willing Victim by Cara McKenna, I think you would enjoy Asking For It. I’m going to stretch a little and also recommend this to anyone who liked Fading by E.K. Blair – not quite the same, the heroine’s reactions to sex are so very, very different, but still a dark, emotional read.
I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Series: Asking For It #1 Published by Berkley
on June 2, 2015 Genres: Adult
, Emotions & Feelings
, Romance Source:
Publisher Also by this author:
“This is who I am. This is what I want. Now I need a man dangerous enough to give it to me.”
Graduate student Vivienne Charles is afraid of her own desires—ashamed to admit that she fantasizes about being taken by force, by a man who will claim her completely and without mercy. When the magnetic, mysterious Jonah Marks learns her secret, he makes an offer that stuns her: they will remain near-strangers to each other, and meet in secret so that he can fulfill her fantasy.
Their arrangement is twisted. The sex is incredible. And—despite their attempts to stay apart—soon their emotions are bound together as tightly as the rope around Vivienne’s wrists. But the secrets in their pasts threaten to turn their affair even darker...
Reader Advisory: Asking for It deals explicitly with fantasies of non-consensual sex. Readers sensitive to portrayals of non-consensual sex should be advised.
I’ve been pleasantly surprised to see what I hope is a continuing trend in Romance – books set in New Orleans. You may or may not know that both Parajunkee and I live in New Orleans, so we’re always interested in books set here. I like it because I can easily visualize the setting, but also because I like to see what ideas other people have about my city.
This is just a sampling of Romance or UF/PNR books I have read or plan to read that are set in New Orleans:
(book covers are amazon affiliate links)
The Veil by Chloe Neill:
Seven years ago, the Veil that separates humanity from what lies beyond was torn apart, and New Orleans was engulfed in a supernatural war. Now, those with paranormal powers have been confined in a walled community that humans call the District. Those who live there call it Devil’s Isle.
Claire Connolly is a good girl with a dangerous secret: she’s a Sensitive, a human endowed with magic that seeped through the Veil. Claire knows that revealing her skills would mean being confined to Devil’s Isle. Unfortunately, hiding her power has left her untrained and unfocused.
Liam Quinn knows from experience that magic makes monsters of the weak, and he has no time for a Sensitive with no control of her own strength. But when he sees Claire using her powers to save a human under attack—in full view of the French Quarter—Liam decides to bring her to Devil’s Isle and the teacher she needs, even though getting her out of his way isn’t the same as keeping her out of his head.
But when the Veil threatens to shatter completely, Claire and Liam must work together to stop it, or else New Orleans will burn…
This is the book that inspired this post. I love Chloe Neill’s Chicagoland Vampires series, and when I saw she had a new book coming out, I got excited. When I saw it was set in New Orleans – Woo Hoo!!
Skinwalker (Jane Yellowrock series) by Faith Hunter:
First in a brand new series from the author of the rogue mage novels
Jane Yellowrock is the last of her kind-a skinwalker of Cherokee descent who can turn into any creature she desires and hunts vampires for a living. But now she’s been hired by Katherine Fontaneau, one of the oldest vampires in New Orleans and the madam of Katie’s Ladies, to hunt a powerful rogue vampire who’s killing other vamps…
I won the first four books in this series at the RT convention here in New Orleans last year. I’ve just started reading the first book and so far I like it. It’s a very popular series and so far I’ve only heard good things.
Royal Street (Sentinels of New Orleans series) by Suzanne Johnson:
As the junior wizard sentinel for New Orleans, Drusilla Jaco’s job involves a lot more potion-mixing and pixie-retrieval than sniffing out supernatural bad guys like rogue vampires and lethal were-creatures. DJ’s boss and mentor, Gerald St. Simon, is the wizard tasked with protecting the city from anyone or anything that might slip over from the preternatural beyond.
Then Hurricane Katrina hammers New Orleans’ fragile levees, unleashing more than just dangerous flood waters.
While winds howled and Lake Pontchartrain surged, the borders between the modern city and the Otherworld crumbled. Now, the undead and the restless are roaming the Big Easy, and a serial killer with ties to voodoo is murdering the soldiers sent to help the city recover.
To make it worse, Gerry has gone missing, the wizards’ Elders have assigned a grenade-toting assassin as DJ’s new partner, and undead pirate Jean Lafitte wants to make her walk his plank. The search for Gerry and for the serial killer turns personal when DJ learns the hard way that loyalty requires sacrifice, allies come from the unlikeliest places, and duty mixed with love creates one bitter gumbo.
Parajunkee raves about this series and has encouraged me to read it on more than one occasion. I have the first book and plan to start soon.
The Casquette Girls by Alys Arden:
After the Storm of the Century rips apart New Orleans, Adele Le Moyne and her father are among the first to return to the city following the mandatory evacuation. Adele wants nothing more than for life to return to normal, but with the silent city resembling a mold-infested war zone, a parish-wide curfew, and mysterious new faces lurking in the abandoned French Quarter, normal will have to be redefined.
Events too unnatural – even for New Orleans – lead Adele to an attic that has been sealed for three hundred years, and the chaos she unleashes threatens not only her life but everyone she knows. Mother Nature couldn’t drain the joie de vivre from the Big Easy, but someone or something is draining life from its residents.
Caught suddenly in a hurricane of eighteenth-century myths and monsters, Adele must quickly untangle a web of magic that links the climbing murder rate back to her own ancestors. But who can you trust in a city where everyone has a secret, and where keeping them can be a matter of life and death – unless, that is, you’re immortal.
I was interested in The Casquette Girls before I met Alys Arden at RT. Everything about it screams “read me!” Bonus, follow her instagram for some great New Orleans flavor.
Blue Notes by Carrie Lofty:
For fans of Jamie McGuire and S.C. Stephens, a sizzling new adult novel featuring the tumultuous relationship between a young piano prodigy and a reluctant billionaire playboy—set against the vibrant backdrop of a New Orleans college campus.
After being bounced from foster family to foster family, Keeley, a talented pianist, is ready to start over as a junior at Tulane. But when she plays a small concert that attracts the attention of Jude, a brooding playboy and heir to an enormous fortune in the wake of his parents’ tragic death, suddenly Keeley’s life is thrown off balance once again.
Jude is the first person to confront her about the pain behind her music, and she struggles with whether or not to let him into her life, or to keep protecting herself from the hurt that relationships have caused her in the past. But Keeley’s about to learn that the melancholy young billionaire who appears to have everything he wants can open her eyes to exactly what she needs…
I don’t see a lot of non-paranormal stories set in NOLA, so when I saw this one, I grabbed it!
House of the Rising Sun (Crescent City series) by Kristen Painter:
Augustine lives the perfect life in the Haven city of New Orleans. He rarely works a real job, spends most of his nights with a different human woman, and resides in a spectacular Garden District mansion paid for by retired movie star Olivia Goodwin, who has come to think of him as an adopted son, providing him room and board and whatever else he needs.
But when Augustine returns home to find Olivia’s been attacked by vampires, he knows his idyllic life has comes to an end. It’s time for revenge—and to take up the mantle of the city’s Guardian.
I haven’t read anything by Kristen Painter yet, but I definitely want to.
Crux (Southern Arcana series) by Moira Rogers:
To find her destiny, she must trust him with her life…and her heart.
Jackson Holt makes a decent living as a private investigator in New Orleans, home of one of the largest underground supernatural populations in the United States. He and his partners have never met a case they couldn’t crack…until a local bar owner asks him to do a little digging on her newest hire.
New Orleans is the fourth destination in as many months for Mackenzie Brooks, a woman on the run from a deranged stalker. After all, any man who shows up on her doorstep claiming to be her destined lover has more than a few screws loose. But crazy doesn’t explain why he always finds her no matter how far she runs.
When her well-meaning boss puts a PI on her case, Mackenzie comes face to face with the incredible truth: magic is real, and whatever spell has kept her hidden and separate from the paranormal world is rapidly deteriorating.
With time running out, she has no choice but to trust Jackson as he struggles to uncover the truth of her past-and her destiny.
This book contains devious schemes, epic battles, forbidden love between a shapeshifter and a spellcaster, nosy secondary characters, furniture-endangering sex and a woman fighting to choose her own destiny.
I love this series. So much love. I especially love that Moira Rogers put a werewolf in the NOPD and so I always tease my brother the cop about which co-worker he thinks it is 🙂
Sherrilyn Kenyon’s Dark Hunter series:
The Dark-Hunter Credo:
We are Darkness. We are Shadow.
We are the Rulers of the Night.
We, alone, stand between mankind and those who would see mankind destroyed. We are the Guardians.
The Soulless Keepers.
Our souls were cast out so that we would not forewarn the Daimons we pursue. By the time they see us coming, it’s too late.
The Daimons and Apollites know us. They fear us. We are death to all those who prey upon the humans.
Neither Human, nor Apollite, we exist beyond the realm of the Living, beyond the realm of the Dead.
We are the Dark-Hunters.
And we are eternal.
Yeah, yeah. Enough of the doom and gloom because, baby, that ain’t us. You want to know what a Dark-Hunter is? We are what the intro says. We’re Mad, Bad and Immortal. We’re ancient warriors with attitudes who fight rough, and play hard.
We are the scary things that go bump in the night. And we love every minute of it. So when you think you’re being watched. You just might be. The question is…is it something evil or is it one of us?
Sherrilyn Kenyon’s Dark Hunters were some of the first PNR that I ever read, and even though I stopped reading somewhere in the teens, this series will always have a special place in my heart- delicious alpha males and the women who love them (but won’t take their sh!t).
Kresley Cole’s Immortals After Dark series:
Every creature or being that was thought to be mythical . . . isn’t.
They all secretly exist alongside humans and enjoy the gift of immortality. There are hundreds of different kinds: from Vampires to Lykae, from Furies to Shifters, from the Fey to Valkyries.
These immortals call their world The Lore.
You may have had a brush with one of Lorekind already. The eccentric billionaire with hypnotic charisma—and an aversion to sunlight. The ethereal waif of impossible beauty—whose fingernails look more like claws. The Highlander with a seventeenth-century Scottish accent and animal magnetism—who can never be penciled in on the night of the full moon.
They walk among us, but they war among themselves. Each faction has its strengths, weaknesses, and age old prejudices against the others. Every five hundred years, the Accession, a battle for supremacy, rages. That time is now. . . .
This is another long-running series that I adore. One of the best parts are the Valkyrie, who have a home in New Orleans. Good times, y’all!
The Maker’s Song series by Adrian Phoenix:
Dark. Talented. Beautiful. Star of the rock band Inferno. Rumored owner of the hot New Orleans nightspot Club Hell. Born of the Blood, then broken by an evil beyond imagination.
HIS PAST IS A MYSTERY.
F.B.I. Special Agent Heather Wallace has been tracking a sadistic serial murderer known as the Cross Country Killer, and the trail has led her to New Orleans, Club Hell, and Dante. But the dangerously attractive musician not only resists her investigation, he claims to be “nightkind”: in other words, a vampire. Digging into his past for answers reveals little. A juvenile record a mile long. No social security number. No known birth date. In and out of foster homes for most of his life before being taken in by a man named Lucien DeNoir, who appears to guard mysteries of his own.
HIS FUTURE IS CHAOS.
What Heather does know about Dante is that something links him to the killer — and she’s pretty sure that link makes him the CCK’s next target. Heather must unravel the truth about this sensual, complicated, vulnerable young man — who, she begins to believe, may indeed be a vampire — in order to finally bring a killer to justice. But Dante’s past holds a shocking, dangerous secret, and once it is revealed not even Heather will be able to protect him from his destiny….
I read and enjoyed the first two books in this series and have purchased the third.
I’m sure I’ve left a few out – what books I have I forgotten (or not heard of yet)?
(I have not included a certain famous author who writes about vampires and witches in New Orleans on purpose. Since she has expressed disdain for bloggers, I have taken it personally and will not refer her books.)
How often do you come across books set in your city? Do you like it or not?
Where would you want to live if the world a particular book or series was set in was real?
I have not disappeared, it’s just Mardi Gras season in New Orleans and today is Lundi Gras, the day before Mardi Gras. Things are a bit crazy here…
I thought I would share with you some of the best books I’ve read featuring New Orleans.
1. A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole
Love it or hate it, A CONFEDERACY OF DUNCES is considered by some to epitomize life in New Orleans in a form that we know so well…satire. The tragic backstory of this book is that it was published eleven years after Toole’s suicide and quickly became a classic when it won a posthumous Pulitzer prize. If you want to read a fiction depiction that truly “gets” New Orleans, this is the book to tackle. The best part of it is the dialogue which honestly portrays the “yat” dialect which is common in our region. Enjoy.
2. The Awakening by Kate Chopin
Considered one of the first “women’s issues” fiction novels, THE AWAKENING is about a woman named Edna, who struggles with her life as a wife and a mother and her duties that revolve around those two titles. Her struggle comes when she is faced with choices and desires…freedom and restrictions. It’s a great novel and many of Edna’s choices can be applied to our modern lives. Edna’s family is from New Orleans and they vacation in Grand Isle, which is fun to read about for local natives.
3. The Pelican Brief by John Grisham
Don’t watch the movie – even though it was a good movie – read the book. John Grisham is a phenomenal author and THE PELICAN BRIEF is a wonderful example of his talent at writing suspenseful legal fiction. The novel is about a Tulane University law student who writes a legal brief tying the murders of two prominent Supreme Court Justices to an oil big-wig who wanted to mess up the Louisiana wetlands with his oil drilling nasty. This of course, puts Darby Shaw in the crossfire.
4. Interview with the Vampire by Anne Rice
The entire book might not be based in New Orleans, but the vampire Louis and his charismatic “maker” spend a great deal in the city, setting up shop in a fabulous French Quarter home. The book tells the story of the mopey vampire Louis who commits suicide by vampire. The act of feeding on humans becomes too much for Louis though and he turns to animals – but Lestat is constantly trying to bring Louis back to the fold. He even tempts Louis with a child, which they turn into a vampire. For decades they live in New Orleans as a family, until Claudia gets tired of her child body that will never grow and she and Louis blame their maker…it’s a classic. Don’t watch the movie – read the book.
5. A Streetcar Named Desire by Tennessee Williams
I do have to say I enjoyed the live play more than just reading it, but it was an enjoyable read. STELLA!!! The broke Blanche Dubois, southern belle and indomitable character, moves to New Orleans to live with her sister, Stella. Blanche, even though, completely broke, still lives like she is the Belle of the Ball. Her behavior causes tons of havoc with her sister’s husband Stanley who’s violent behavior threatens Blanche’s tenuous grip on reality. Fun.
ZOMG – May is over and I survived!!! I had so much going on in my personal life during the month of May (my youngest daughter’s 1st Communion, my middle daughter’s middle-school graduation, my birthday – which was on Mother’s Day, the RT Convention, a Law Enforcement convention with my husband, and a big project at work) so I was pretty much MIA here at PJV. I’ve missed you!!!
So…RT14… Some of you may have read my open letter to authors attending the convention here. Well, although I did have several awkward moments (more on that later), I was able to surround myself with some lovely ladies who helped keep the ‘freak-outs’ at bay. I know that Rachel, Sabrina and I are going to do a pod-cast or some such soon, so I’m just going to hit some of the high points…
- I MET MOLLY HARPER!!! Yes, I did have a total nerd moment… I said to her “I’m having a total fangirl moment”, stared at her, she stared at me, and I continued into the room. Smooth, right? Riiiiiight. I also got to meet Kit Rocha/Moira Rogers (Bree and Donna), whom I’ve been wanting to meet forever!
- Don’t EVER take on Sabrina (Freaky Geeky Fridays here at PJV) in a game of “Candy and Spoons” if you want to walk out with all of your fingers intact. Seriously, this girl plays for keeps. (party thrown by Entangled Publishing)
- We also played a Pictionary-type game with Brazen (Entangled Publishing) and I walked out of that game with sex toys, so #win!!
- On Saturday, we went to this wonderful tea with the ladies from Harlequin. I was feeling a little intimidated, as I was with this large group of smart, sophisticated professional women and bloggers that I really admire (to be clear, that’s professional women and professional bloggers, not implying that bloggers are not professional, lol). Things were going well, we chatted quite a bit, and then this question came up: “Who are some of your favorite Harlequin authors?” Remember how I said I freeze up in social situations? Yup, this is exactly where my brain slithered out of my ear and made a run for the door. I was a blank slate. But here’s the thing – so many of my favorite authors are Harlequin authors: Lauren Dane, Tiffany Reisz, Shannon Stacey, Allison Parr; I look forward to the Carina Press newsletter every month! But could I remember any of those names? No, of course not. *sigh* But, even with that, I had a wonderful time.
Waiting in line. (picture via @Parajunkee)
Let me just stop a moment and say that the author signing/book fair was a mad house. We sat in line for quite a while and had time to map out our strategies (I kid you not) to see all the authors we wanted to see, and I still missed quite a few. Luckily we got in line early and it was pretty empty when we walked in (that did NOT last long). Highlights – Tracey Garvis-Graves (I bought a paper copy of On the Island), Alice Clayton (she’s every bit as adorable as I thought she’d be), Megan Hart (Ohhh I was trembling when I met her, which is weird because she was soooo nice!), Tiffany Reisz (she’s this tiny person with this huge personality – and very nice too), Kelley Armstrong (very approachable). There were many more but I’ll save those for our group gab-fest. This Con was huge and the crowds were intimidating, so there were a lot of authors I’d hoped to be able to meet that I missed; and I didn’t meet most of the bloggers I thought I’d run into…
I was disappointed that I didn’t get to meet one of my idols, Lauren Dane – she was apparently sick through the con – but get this… I knew from twitter that she and Megan Hart are besties, so (not realizing she was sick) I asked Megan Hart if Lauren Dane was there because I really wanted to meet her and told her about how Laid Bare got me started on smart erotic books and that I judge other erotica by that book… well, Megan Hart took a selfie with me (squee!!!!) and sent it to Lauren Dane with my comments! So, while I was sad I didn’t get to meet her I was glad she got to know how much her writing affects me.
There were a few swag items I was collecting – I stalked Chloe Neill for Cadogan House dogtags with @jannellereads, and stalked Molly Harper for her “Everyone Loves Dick (Cheney)” and “I love my werewolves naked” buttons, but I missed Victoria Dahl’s “You’re a Nice Girl who likes to have Dirty Sex” button *cries* I missed her completely although I hear she was at the Harlequin Dance Party dancing up a storm. If anyone has an extra…*call me*…seriously.
And now, what you’ve all been waiting for: me to shut and show the goods… the books:
The short pile on the left is books I purchased at the book fair. The rest were either in goody bags, won as prizes, or I picked them up at the giveaway parties (Avon, Dreamspinner). So yes, the price of the Con is expensive, but I’d say for the amount of books I came home with it was worth it for that alone; however, it’s all the great times and new friends and meeting authors that made it priceless.
Hey RT Convention attendees! Planning to spend all your money on books? Didn’t budget for New Orleans festivities? Well, guess what? There are a few things you can do in NOLA for free. And they aren’t just frivolous little time passers…these are some fun things. Give them a try. You might be surprised.
- Visit City Park and stroll through their magnificent Sculpture garden. It is officially called The Sydney and Walda Besthoff Sculpture Garden at NOMA (New Orleans Museum of Art). And NOMA is free for Louisiana residents on Wednesday if you are local
- Walk the streets of the French Quarter, check out Jackson Square and the artists, there is always eye candy
- Take the Haunted New Orleans French Quarter Walking Tour created by parajunkee.com
- Take a free ferry ride, the Cana Street Ferry is a lot of fun to hitch a ride on and you get a FREE Mississippi tour, they only charge you if you bring your car with you
- Visit Woldenberg Riverfront Park and listen to the Steamboat Natchez or the live bands that sometimes play there
- Visit the Farmer’s Market you don’t have to buy anything, just look
- Le Bon Temps Roule has free oysters and live music every Friday
- Starting in spring, every Wednesday there is live music at Lafayette Square
- Walk the cemeteries for free (don’t go alone though, go as a group!)
- The National Park Service offers a free self-guided audio tour of the French Quarter (419 Decatur Street)
Most of all, enjoy your stay. The best part about New Orleans is that there is plenty to look at. Walk around and enjoy the sights. Have fun and keep an open mind. You don’t have to come to New Orleans just to party.