Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Review: This Is Who I Am by Cherise Sinclair

This Is Who I Am by Cherise Sinclair
Series: Masters of the Shadowlands, Book 7
Publisher: Loose Id
Genre: BDSM Contemporary Romance This Is Who I Am Cover
ISBN: 9781623001483
Blue Ribbon Rating: 5 out of 5 — Recommended Read
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Cherise Sinclair Reading Order

While undercover to help destroy a sex trafficking ring, Dom Sam Davies messed up. In trying to help one of the slaves, Linda, he ended up making things worse, though he doesn’t know how. Now that she’s free, Linda wants nothing to do with him. She’s turned her back on the world of BDSM, even though she’s a masochist and a submissive who’d be perfect for him. Sam’s willing to give Linda time to heal before he tries to make things right, but when someone begins harassing her, he determinedly steps back into her life.

All Linda wants is to return to her quiet, conservative life. She’s going to be normal if it kills her, and if the comments of her late husband and previous lovers are anything to go by, being a masochist is the farthest thing from normal. Only Linda can’t seem to find her balance. She still battles with the memories of her imprisonment and abuse, and there’s someone in her hometown who won’t let her forget her time as a slave. After hateful words are spray painted on her home, Linda’s shocked when her friend sends Sam Davies to help her. Sam brings all the desires she’s tried to suppress to the surface. Can she come to accept her whole self and make a go of a relationship with Sam? Or will the all-too-real ghosts of her past tear her apart before she has the chance?

Honest, emotional, sexy, thrilling...This Is Who I Am is all that and more. Cherise Sinclair is THE powerhouse BDSM romance author and her talent shines through in This Is Who I Am. I loved this book from beginning to end for more reasons than I can say, though for the sake of this review I’ll keep it brief.

Cherise Sinclair has written many memorable couples, but Linda and Sam definitely rank among my top favorites. They’re older and wiser than many romance heroes and heroines, and their maturity and experience gives This Is Who I Am a different tone. I flat-out loved both of them. Linda is a warm, caring, strong woman who’s been through hell and has come out the other side, ready to face her fears. It’s not easy for her, nor is it just her memories of her captivity that are holding her back. I loved watching Linda come into her own over the course of the story, and watching her learn to accept and enjoy who she is was simply beautiful. As for Sam, he’s a sadist with a heart of gold. Not knowing much about the sadism side of BDSM, I wasn’t sure what to expect from him. But Sam – though he has a firm hand with the flogger and is undeniably a sadist – has a gruff, old-fashioned gentleman way about him that I just swooned over. His straightforward, no frills caring nature makes him stand out in my mind. He’s not without his own demons, however; his horrifying ex-wife did a number on both Sam and his daughter and he’s reticent to drop all his barriers around Linda because of this. Together and separately Linda and Sam were a compelling, sizzling hot couple and their happily ever after was worth every bit of work they had to do to attain it.

Though Linda and Sam are the heart and soul of This Is Who I Am, Masters of the Shadowlands fans needn’t fear that their favorite Shadowlands Masters and subs are missing from the story. All six couples – plus some future protagonists – play strong supporting roles. Reading about the Shadowlands community makes me feel like I’m visiting with old friends. There’s laughter and jokes aplenty, but it’s the honesty and acceptance among the group that made me smile over and over again.

I cannot recommend This Is Who I Am highly enough. Ms. Sinclair has written a unique, engaging book that I devoured in less than a day. Don’t be afraid to take a trip to the dark side with this book – you won’t regret it.

FTC Disclosure: I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Note: My review was written for Romance Junkies and is cross-posted here with permission from Romance Junkies.