VANILLA TWIST by C.J. Ellisson: Asks Interesting Questions


VANILLATWIST COVERWalk on the Wild Side #3
by C.J. Ellisson
Red Hot Publishing:  February 9th 2014
E-Book – 143 pages
E-ARC provided by author for review purposes. No remuneration was exchanged and all opinions presented herein are my own except as noted.  The author is a friend.

Tag Line: Love is sweet…until your ex returns.

Heather thinks she has it all—an interesting lover, a dream job, and a new wardrobe to match her take-charge attitude. But everyone has a past, and when Heather confronts hers at work she’ll be hard-pressed to hold onto her new-found confidence and resolve. Does she trust Tony enough to let him help her or will she tackle the issue on her own?

Still intrigued by the young woman and the multiple layers she presents to the world, Tony begins to change his life, too—for what he hopes is the better. He quit his high-powered career to find peace in a less stressful day-to-day existence. Desire for Heather still invades his every waking moment, and when trouble threatens their sexual explorations he makes the hardest choice of his life. One he may soon regret. (C.J. Ellisson)

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My Take!I have been reading C.J.’s books for quite some time now. And, we’ve met both online and in person.  She’s a hoot — great fun, hard-working.  And she is working hard on her craft.  In fact, recently she edited some of her earlier books, and she and Boone Brux combined their two  series in a paranormal world merger with DEATH TIMES TWO.

In this book the sex takes a back seat to emotional growth, and, while not answered, interesting questions are asked about society’s double standards for men and women and the impact that the current popularity of BDSM may have on relationships where it is misunderstood and misused.    It’s interesting that the second book in the series also explored double standards.

CJ has a consistent voice throughout the series. The story is told from Tony’s and Heather’s points of view in an immediate present to immediate past tense.  While this is interesting and, especially in sex scenes, puts you in the moment, it is not my favorite way for a story to be told.  It’s like a head camera is recording everything the character sees, does, says and thinks as it is happening.  It is a more widely accepted format these days, and perhaps our current “instant” media culture and reality TV have something to do with that.

I didn’t feel the separate points of view defined the characters very differently.  I was not always certain which character’s head I was in.  But, I liked the questions C.J. explores here, and there’s an interesting twist on sexual harassment I am pretty sure we haven’t seen finished in the series.

I did like the way the problems were discussed and resolved, and the way the couple, Tony and Heather, honestly explore feelings and admit to themselves and each other what is troubling them.  I get tired of lack of communication being the biggest obstacle in fictional relationships; couples face other, very real problems.  Also, they don’t use sex as a way of solving the problems they have; instead they “use their words.”  This is probably the best thing in this book for me, because so often an entire plot hinges on failing to communicate the simplest thing which is blown out of proportion.

Not using sex for problem solving doesn’t mean C.J. left it out.  There’s plenty of hot, slightly kinky stuff going on. Everyone is satisfied.  I can’t always say I like the way it is written out, but the last few encounters are pretty cool.

All, in all I recommend this story for its unexpected depth and the interesting ways C.J. looks at issues.  What are the precise issues? Now, now —  that would spoil the “Twist!”

 About C.J. Ellisson

CJ Ellisson (right) and me (left) at AAD 2013
CJ Ellisson (right) and me (left) at AAD 2013


C.J. Ellisson is the USA Today Bestselling author of the New York Times Bestselling book, Vanilla on Top, the bestselling V V Inn series, and several erotica shorts. She lives in northern Virginia with her husband, two children, three dogs, and a fluffy black cat who makes her sneeze.

Unlike most full-time authors, she’s also battling severe chronic illness. C.J. works daily to put her Lupus into remission and continues to fight numerous bacterial infections while her immune system slowly attacks her body. She turned to writing when she could no longer work outside the home and claims the escape of penning contemporary fantasy, erotica, and erotic romance has helped save her sanity.

To learn more about C.J. and her other books, please stop by the author’s website ( or visit her on facebook at


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