Review: Sweet Possession by Maya Banks

Tuesday, May 10

Title:  Sweet Possession*
Author: Maya Banks
Series:  Sweet series #5
Genre: Contemporary Erotic Romance
Publisher: Berkley
Format: Trade sized paperback & digital ebook
Date/Year:  April 5, 2011
Reviewed by: DD

*This book was purchased by the reviewer for her own reading enjoyment

Summary from the publisher:

She’s a singer who lives for the spotlight—and can’t resist her adoring fans…

Outrageous and out-of-control, Lyric Jones is a spoiled pop star who lives hard and fast, always outrunning her past and the nightmares that haunt her. She’s used to getting what she wants—groupies included—because she can’t stand to be alone. So in bed, it’s the more the merrier, even if it means closing off the deepest part of herself…

He’s a hands-on bodyguard—and a one-woman man.

There is nothing Connor Malone wants to do less than babysit the celebratty songstress while she’s on vacation. But part of him relishes taming Lyric and showing her what it’s like to be possessed—body and soul—by one man. And though Lyric’s crazy antics nearly drive Connor to the edge, his quiet intensity penetrates her defenses, leaving them both vulnerable to the secrets that could topple Lyric from the stage.

My Musings:

The problem with books in an excellent related series is that your expectations become unreasonably large.  I started reading Maya Banks “Sweet” Series about two years ago, when I was nothing but a new babe to the world of romance novels.  To put it mildly, I was confused, enlightened, intrigued, aroused, yet simultaneously disturbed by the BDSM Elements in the first book I read, Sweet Persuasion (Damon/Serena’s Story). I didn’t realize there was a book in the series before it. I also never read about, nor thought about this happening in real life, fiction, or any other realm of existence for that matter.

For all of us that have read this whole series, we know that some of the stories (Damon/Serena and Micah/Angelina come to mind first) are a little more hard core with Domination/Submission than the others. The others dabble, maybe periodically plunge for enjoyment and variety, but they are not all so dedicated to the lifestyle. That sprinkles a bit of normalcy amongst the group of friends portrayed in these related stories. I like that. I love that. I have no problem with that whatsoever. I rather enjoy the contrast-to a certain extent. The lovable and quirky characters involved, and their different ways of accepting these types of relationships and environments is a huge part of this entire series. That being said, this common thread was corrupted in this novel and that is exactly why “Sweet Possession” left me feeling disappointed and depleted.

Connor Malone is a guy’s guy, a gorgeous, ex-military man that works with his dad, (adopted) sister, and friends in a security company. He is about as gruff, loyal, and strait laced as they come. He is also the last single man standing in his group of friends, family and coworkers. To his dismay, Pop (dad, boss, and father figure) gives him no choice but to play bodyguard to a Music Starlet named Lyric Jones (Cheesy!! Sheesh.). It is a “favor” for an old friend of Pop’s, and Conner is very annoyed at this prospect of glorified babysitting for a spoiled diva (hasn’t this been done a few times???) Pop promptly shuts down his whining and says that he cannot let any of the other guys at Malone & Sons take this on, because they are all attached and their wives would shit bricks. As if Conner wasn’t agitated enough, now Pop is making a spectacle of the fact that he is still single and seemingly punishing him for it.

He meets Lyric and hates her...kind of.  He is actually very turned on by her because she is sassy and crude, yet somewhat vulnerable.  She does not like the way he looks down on her. Connor sees through her flimsy facade, and she immediately brings out the claws in defense and responds to him like a hissing cat. He is inexplicably aroused by it, and promptly sees his own bachelorhood in free fall and says there is no way in hell he is taking this job. After some push and pull and a civil dinner meeting, they agree to disagree and he takes the assignment. Connor’s gentlemanly but stern ways eventually suck Lyric in. He cares like none of the other disposable people in her life. He introduces her to his friends and brings her into a fold of security she never thought possible for herself. She needs a protector in every sense of the word, and he is it. She has secrets, and he loves her anyway and supports her every step of the way.

All the periphery of characters in this series are involved in Sweet Possession. We know that Connor is a little restrained as far the experimental aspects of sex are concerned.  I think this is why Maya Banks chose him as the last story. He is definitely hot, but it’s like he has come out of left field. He can’t possibly be this oblivious after being a part of this circle of friends. However, Lyric is a little bit of a wild child at heart, and the BDSM element of the series is not explored at ALL.  Connor is opposed to it, and part of me feels like he is holding himself back, for some inane reason, to the world that all his friends are a part of.  There are hints that Lyric is more open (she openly has two simultaneous lovers in the beginning of the story) and she once sees Serena’s arm band and is intrigued by it, although she is may not be altogether sure what it means. ALL of the stories in the series have explored Damon’s “House” and it was an integral part of every story. I really don’t understand why it isn’t in this story, and it is very disappointing. I didn’t write the book obviously, but I was expecting Lyric to convince Conner to embrace an alternative lifestyle with the people he cares about, if only temporarily and out of curiosity. It didn’t happen, and frankly I was shocked and kinda mad about it. Where is the sexual smorgasbord like we had in the rest of the series? It’s gone!! We get to see what is going on with Micah and Angelina, Damon and Serena, Julie and Nathan, and Gray and Faith. That is really nice, and it’s good to see that all their friendships have endured, and that Micah, of all people, is on his ass for a woman. If you’ve read the series, then you understand why it’s important. It’s like sealing up an envelope.

This book as a standalone was pretty good. It was funny and Connor is a great hero. The other characters like Pop and Sam also are always cute to read about, and they really add something to the story since they feel like old friends. But on the downside, the sex scenes were just blah, even by normal romance standards. If I’m wrong, then maybe I am just not remembering them, and that is just as bad. This whole series is supposed to be about hot sex-isn’t it? There were also some eye roll instigating cliché moments I wish would have been left out. It’s like Maya Banks just forgot about the other books she wrote!! Frankly, if Connor wasn’t a part of this group from the beginning, the series just should have ended with Micah’s story.


Overall:  3.00 Stars~ It was an enjoyable contemporary romance book. But Maya Banks!!! Come ON!! She really just let it go on this one. I’m SADDENED.

Sensuality Rating:  3.50 Stars~ Mediocre.  NOT up to par for this series or for Maya Banks. I expect WAY more from her. It’s like an Olympic Diver swimming in a kiddie pool. 

For a complete understanding and definition of the ratings at Seductive Musings, click here

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p.s. I have to say this. Ladies, did we not have an entire Sex And The City episode (years ago!!) where Carrie and Berger fought about use of the word “scrunchie” in modern fiction? Ahhhhhhh!!!! Can you not just say clip? Or head band? Or ponytail holder? Something? ANYTHING? NO MORE SCRUNCHIES.

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"Confuzzled" Shannon May 10, 2011 at 6:47 AM  

I have never read anything by Maya Banks but I have seen some of her books. I just started to get back into romance again... trying find what I would like. ;-)

Kathleen O May 10, 2011 at 10:41 AM  

I have read all the books in the "Sweet" series and have been looking forward to Connor's story...I figured she was leaving the best for last and that maybe, just maybe, he would be the most sensual of all, without all the other "sexual" Connotations of the others.. So I think I am going to like this book...

DD,  May 10, 2011 at 1:28 PM  

Kathleen-After reading some reviews from other websites, I feel that I understand a little better why M.B. wrote this story the way she did. However, I just couldn't help my disappointment that it was soooo different. Connor is a great hero, and you will really enjoy the book. I was just tarnished because I've loved the rest of the series and only so-so liked this one.

Artemis May 10, 2011 at 8:52 PM  

Great review DD. A person would think this book would continue on with the BDSM elements that were found in the rest of the series. I think I'll pass on this one. Sounds as if I could read this story/plot line just about anywhere.

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