Letting Go by Maya Banks

February 11th, 2014 Kimberly Review 82 Comments

11th Feb
Letting Go by Maya Banks
Letting Go
by Maya Banks
Series: Surrender Trilogy #1
Genres: Contemporary Romance, Erotic Fiction
Source: Publisher
Purchase*: Amazon *affiliate
Rating: One StarOne StarOne Star

Josslyn found perfection once, and she knows she’ll never find it again. Now widowed, she seeks the one thing her beloved husband couldn’t give her. Dominance. Lonely and searching for an outlet for her grief and wanting only a brief taste of the perfection she once enjoyed, she seeks what she’s looking for at an exclusive club that caters to people indulging in their most hedonistic fantasies. She never imagined that what she’d find is the one man who’s long been a source of comfort—and secret longing. Her husband’s best friend. Dash has lived in an untenable position for years. In love with his best friend’s wife and unwilling to act on that attraction. He’d never betray his best friend. And so he’s waited in the wings, offering Joss unconditional support and comfort as she works past her grief, hoping for the day when he can offer her more. When he finds her in a club devoted to the darker edges of desire, he’s furious because he thinks she has no idea what she’s getting herself into. Until she explains in detail what it is she wants. What she needs. As realization sets in, he is gripped by fierce, unwavering determination. If she wants dominance, he is the only man who will introduce her to that world. He is the only man who will touch her, cherish her…love her. And the only man she’ll ever submit to..

Letting Go the first book in the Surrender Trilogy was my first Maya Banks novel and my first foray into the world of Dominance and Submission. Mini-review: Touching, sensual and edgy. Letting Go was a passionate and heated romance that was hindered by secondary characters.

Josslyn has been widowed for three years. She has grieved the loss of her beloved husband, but she is lonely and ready to move on. She makes the decision to explore the one thing her husband was unable to give her. She fantasizes about being dominated and seeks this at an exclusive club known as the House. When Dash, her husband’s best friend discovers her at the House, he is furious and whisks her away. He has secretly loved his best friend’s wife and vowed to take care of her but seeing her be submissive with another man unravels him. When Josslyn shares with him her darkest desires the tale that unfolds is powerful, sweet, and intense.

Josslyn is a strong character who knows what she wants and was able to suppress this side of her out of love for her husband but now she is ready to fulfill her desires and I respected that. Dash was definitely swoon-worthy, and their chemistry was good. The friends to lovers’ trope is always a good one and when you add in dominance and submission it can get downright heated. Banks made me feel their emotions but at times I felt like I was swimming in it. They came off as too needy..that whole “don’t ever leave me; I love you and without you, I would die” is often a turn off for me. Banks did an excellent job of exploring their sexual desires, and I liked the balance she gave us between tender lovemaking and heated edgier exploration. The steamy was well done, and the world of Dominance thoroughly explored. We meet a cast of secondary characters that were interesting, but sadly the interaction between them felt forced and awkward.

Letting Go was a novel that I devoured and yet struggled with. The interaction between Josslyn and Dash allowed me to submerge myself in their romance, and passion. The romance progressed quickly with a few twists towards our HEA. The secondary characters while unique wasn’t developed enough for me to connect with despite my interest. The tale had a nice flow to it, but there were moments when the couple interacted with secondary characters and those conversations pulled me out of the tale. They felt awkward and stiff which was in sharp contrast to the couple’s communication. Despite these issues, I never struggled to continue and was invested enough to discover the outcome. The world of Domination is an interesting one, and Banks gave me a greater understanding of the emotional side of it. The sex scenes are not vanilla and were quite detailed but subdued. Maybe my perception is wrong, but at times I felt Dash was too sensitive to be a true Dominant. I did, however, feel Josslyn wanted and needed to be submissive.

Despite my struggles with Letting Go, I do plan to explore more of Maya Banks works. This may surprise you, but I fully intend to read book two, Giving In which will feature Kylie. Out of all of the secondary characters. I am curious about her past and anxious to see how she handles submission.


Photo of kimbacaffeinate
About Kimberly
Kimberly is a coffee loving book addict who reads and listens to fictional stories in all genres. Whovian, Ravenclaw, Howler and proud Nonna. She owns and manages Caffeinated PR. The coffee is always on and she is ready to chat. Twitter | Facebook | Instagram

82 Responses to “Letting Go by Maya Banks”

  1. Alexa

    I just bought this yesterday. I’m sorry you had some issues with it. I have read books by Banks before and really enjoyed them so I have a feeling I will also like this book.

    Thanks for the great review, I hope you are able to connect better with the characters in the next book. 🙂

    • kimbacaffeinate

      I liked the characters in this one, and plan to read the next. Good to know you enjoy her. I am anxious to try her romantic suspense.

  2. Trish

    Sounds interesting even with the weak secondary characters. I haven’t read many books in this genre but I did enjoy 50 shades. I love that you felt that this one got the heat and passion spot on.

    • kimbacaffeinate

      I have not tried 50 Shades yet. Can you let me know if you get this response. For some reason I do not get notified when you comment. Are you registered on my blog?

    • Trish

      Yep, I got your reply Kim! Don’t think I’m registered as I have to enter my details every time I comment. Where do I that?

      • kimbacaffeinate

        At the bottom of my page there is a register. (this will allow you to manage the info that appears when you come to my site..instead of filling everything in. You can also register with comment luv which will allow you to choose one of your past 10 posts to link in reply. Ironically, I got notification of this reply.

  3. Maja (The Nocturnal Library)

    I’ve read several of Maya’s books before and to be honest, this one sounds a bit softer than the previous ones. Perhaps she’s aiming for a wider audience? Be that as it may, her books usually work for me for some reason, and while I agree that the secondary characters are usually weak, somehow I enjoy them anyway.

    • kimbacaffeinate

      I haven’t give up on her yet and I am anxious to try her suspense novels. Ironically I liked the secondary characters I just felt their conversations were straight from a soap opera. Do you know what I mean?

  4. Dani

    I hate to say it but this one sounds a bit too much for me. Thank you for the insightful review!~

  5. Yvonne

    I have this one waiting to be reviewed. I have featured Maya Banks’ books on my blog as promos but haven’t had a chance to read any yet. I’m not a huge erotica reader but they do sound like good books. You did a great job in writing an honest review of this one. Eventually I will get around to reading it too.

    • kimbacaffeinate

      Thanks Yvonne, like I said it was an easy, enjoyable read but I did have some issues. I hope you end up liking it.

  6. Tanja

    I have seen these covers around but I never suspected this to be erotica. Strangely it’s not unknown genre for me but I’d suffer from same things as you. Too bad that secondary characters weren’t nicely developed but I hope that the next book will change that. Great review, Kim 🙂

    • kimbacaffeinate

      Thanks Tanja, I am curious about the characters in the second book so we shall see.

  7. Lily B

    I have to say this was a bit different for her but not much. I know she has wrote much tamer stuff. KGI is suppose to be pretty good and I heard McCabe trilogy was fantastic. I have read a bit of Rush but have not finished it yet.

    • kimbacaffeinate

      I would like to try some of her suspense. The only thing that concerns me is how awkward conversations were with other characters but peeps have been raving about her romantic suspense and historical romances.

  8. Liz

    This is an awesome review, and I’m just so excited you gave it a try 🙂 I read this book too, and it seems a lot of people had the same sort of issue with it. But hey, it’s a good story overall, and that’s what counts 🙂

    • kimbacaffeinate

      I gotta tell ya, I read parts to the hubs and we laughed. Of course he would love for me to greet him when he gets home like she does. I said..hmm, tell ya what I quit my job, spend my days reading and gardening and I will greet you like that..bwahahaha. I am glad I read it, and will probably try another I want one with a suspense or mystery threaded through it.

      • Liz

        Have you read Lisa Renee Jones “If I Were You” Series? Now that one has some hot sexual scenes, but also a really great suspense/mystery theme.

    • kimbacaffeinate

      Just goes to show you never know what might turn up over here at Caffeinated..hehehe. While not perfect, I am game to explore more we shall see 🙂

  9. Lauren

    “I love you and without you, I would die is often a turn off for me.” Yes, this is a major turnoff for me too. I have heard such mixed things about this book, and while it does seem hot, I think I probably would be more annoyed with it. I’m glad to hear it wasn’t a slam dunk for you, I feel better about skipping it now. Great review!

    • kimbacaffeinate

      I was hot and cold with this one, and if not for the fact that I never felt like setting it down it might have rated lower. Thanks Lauren 🙂

  10. Naomi

    Great review Kimberly!! Nice to see you join the dark side!! I get what you mean about the Dominant character… he can’t really show weaknesses, it’s part of the whole D/s thing. but otherwise it sounds like a good read!

    Naomi @ Nomi’s Paranormal Palace

    • kimbacaffeinate

      I wondered about that and he is really gaga over her…interesting.

  11. anna

    Yep I had that same feeling for the secondary characters. I’m not quite sure what I think of Kylie yet– I really struggled with the way her interactions were handled with them. But I’m pretty darn curious about that new business partner. I’m going to give book two a go as well.

    • kimbacaffeinate

      I am more curious about how she will handle submission with her past and yes the business partner intrigues me.

  12. Berls

    Sounds like an ok erotica. I find this genre to be the most hit and miss for me. At least this sounds like it had a solid romance/story, that’s where I find erotica is most lacking at times – I think I’d consider reading it. Great review.

    • kimbacaffeinate

      Yeah, it was good but had some issues. I will try again though.

  13. ShootingStarsMag

    It’s always good when you like a book enough to want to read more by that author. I’m glad the topics were handled well, even if the secondary characters weren’t the best.

  14. Pamela D

    This sounds like an interesting read. I have been meaning to read something by Banks. BTW, the cover is gorgeous!

    • kimbacaffeinate

      LOL, I tried an erotic novel, a vanilla one, in my early twenties and it had zero plot..I mean the short stories in my hubby’s playboy had more story content. Now I am pushing the back field of my 40’s and decided to try one. It was fun, different and enlightening..seriously. I may pick one up again and I may not..

  15. Heidi

    I don’t think this is the book for me, I am not a big fan of sex scenes. I prefer action and such to sex. It is nice you took a chance and read outside your comfort zone even if this wasn’t a win all the way around.

    • kimbacaffeinate

      thanks Heidi and now I can say, “Been there, read that!” LOL

  16. Jenni

    I actually just finished a book where the dialogue with secondary characters really bugged me and didn’t work as well as the rest of the book and it drove me crazy too! I haven’t read anything by this author but I was at the bookstore this weekend and stared at this cover for a bit, I love the colors!

    • kimbacaffeinate

      The cover is different and the conversations were weird and forced. Thanks Jenni 🙂

  17. Christy

    I have a review coming up soon that will require the use of that warning, and I can’t wait to use it. lol! I don’t know if this one is for me, though.

    • kimbacaffeinate

      hahaha..yeah well my blog is mixed and some of my historical fictions etc get pretty darn hot but this is a whole other baby..LOL

  18. Diana Leigh

    BDSM erotic romance used to be my favorite genre, but the whole 50 Shades craze killed it for me. I never got the chance to read Maya Banks. Maybe someday…

    • kimbacaffeinate

      I never read 50 shades and this was my first..popped that cherry good.

  19. Melissa (Books and Things)

    I’m not much for the dom/sub kind of erotic book, but because it is Maya Banks, I would be willing to try. Right now I still want to read all her historical romance books first. I tried one and fell for it! I also want to read her romantic suspense. I think I’ll go for those first. 🙂

  20. Lupdilup

    I adore Maya Banks historical Romances, but for some reason I couldn’t get into her last erotic series 🙁
    I can totally understand how you felt when you were reading this book (being your first of that type) I felt the same way when I read my first. I was more intrigued with the psychological factor than I was with the sex. I guess I’m a true vanilla person 🙂
    it’s funny that you mentioned that their interactions felt awkward, that’s exactly how I felt about her book Rush 🙁

    • kimbacaffeinate

      hmm, I am glad it isn’t me. I enjoyed parts, laughed with my hubby over some and had a new experience. I am vanilla too, but like to add toppings occasionally..LOL

  21. Debbie Haupt

    Kimba, thanks for the great review! I’ve never been able to get into erotic romance. Maybe it’s time for another try 🙂

    • kimbacaffeinate

      This was a first for me, I wouldn’t like a steady diet of it but I am glad I stepped out my comfort zone a little.

    • kimbacaffeinate

      She was and whether I agree or not I love when characters know who they are and what they want.

  22. Andrea

    I struggled a bit with this one, too. I’ve read so many books with the D/s theme, and something felt off about this one. And really too much with the secondary characters. I’m glad you liked this overall!

    • kimbacaffeinate

      I have zero experience with this genre, but felt the hero was needy..and it surprised me. The heroine in the second book has me curious given her history, so I may arc it or get from library. It was an easy story to read and bits were good but I wasn’t wowed. Thanks Andrea I am glad it wasn’t just me.

  23. Felicia S (The Geeky Blogger)

    I am OK that I passed on this one though I am sure I am missing some great characters (she writes awesome characters). I love Maya but I am a bigger fan of her suspense/historicals. However, I don’t think it is her I just haven’t been able to get into any of the books that fall in this category.

    • kimbacaffeinate

      I think I would enjoy her historical and suspense novels more and plan to try some.

  24. Laurie

    I’ve read two books by Maya Banks. The first was a highlander historical and I LOVED it but more recently I read the 1st book in her 50 Shades-like trilogy and I didn’t much like it at all. The hero was such a jerk. I think maybe these types of books aren’t meant for me.

    • kimbacaffeinate

      This hero was kinda needy and I expected more controlling. I really want to try her historical and romantic suspense.

    • kimbacaffeinate

      It was interesting, not perfect but easy enough to read and I am mostly curious about the heroine in book two.

  25. Victoria (aka Zemfirka)

    Eh… I’m kind of on the fence with all these BDSM books. I didn’t read 50 Shades (and don’t want to). I’ve read a few BDSM books that I liked but for the most part I prefer the more vanilla type of erotic romance. 🙂 So I don’t think I’ll be adding this one to my list, but funny, cause I added a different BDSM book just this morning.

    • kimbacaffeinate

      hahaha..you crack me up my dear, I didn’t read 50 either and this was my first BDSM.

  26. sherry fundin

    Seems like that would be a tough topic to cover. Not my cup of tea, but thanks for the great review. I do like the pretty cover. ^_^

    • kimbacaffeinate

      This isn’t my usual flavor of coffee personally, but I like to try new genres and it was enjoyable and educational!

  27. tonyalee

    I have heard great things about Maya Banks, although I have never read any of her books. I haven’t read a good erotica lately and although ones with dom/subs aren’t my favorite per se, I might give this one a go.

    Great review, as always 🙂

    • kimbacaffeinate

      It was interesting and I was glad to get a chance to explore the world..

  28. Jenny

    “I love you and without you, I would die is often a turn off for me.”

    For me as well Kim! I love my husband wholly and completely, but I know I could live without him if I had to, so I can never quite get on board with the “I will die without you” declaration. Aside from that though, this sounds like an interesting read. I’m a huge fan of Maya’s historicals, but I haven’t read any of her other books. I might wait and see how book two works out for you before I pick this one up!

    • kimbacaffeinate

      This was my first read by her and I want to try her romantic suspense and historical. I am glad you agree with me. I too adore my hubby of 26 yrs but we are each strong individuals and could survive without the other..granted there would be a huge hole but needed the other to breath..nope.

  29. Mary

    I like her more vanilla love stories–she writes good alpha. Her alpha/dominant in this book does sound a bit too sensitive for the role he’s playing, though. Not sure if I’m going to read this series…seems like every other romance I pick up these days is all over this trope and I’m a tad burned out on it.

    • kimbacaffeinate

      I want to try one of her romantic suspense novels. This was so not vanilla but I decided to give it a whirl.

  30. kindlemom1

    I really need to stop being distracted by crazy beautiful covers! I had no idea this was about all of that, not that it is bad but I just had no clue! I have been super curious about it since I saw you post about it in your Sunday Post.

  31. Michelle

    I’ve yet to read a Maya Banks novel but I’m sort of curious to see what she’s all about. It is a shame that the secondary characters got int he way of the story though.

    • kimbacaffeinate

      Yeah those conversations felt forced like a bad B movie but I will try her again.

  32. Melliane

    We have a series by her in French but I wonder if it’s this one… Well I confess I’m not really into erotica so I think I’ll pass for this one. I’m reading 50 shades, it’s already a bog beginning for me lol. But thanks for the discovery.

    • kimbacaffeinate

      I did not read 50 shades, but I decided to give it a whirl, I liked parts and I understand the world a little better.

  33. DannyBookworm

    I heard so many things about Maya Banks but also haven’t yet read one of her books. Every once in a while I do love to read a good erotica and this one sounds like a light read, well, apart from the Dom/Sub theme :))

    • kimbacaffeinate

      This was my first, I think I want to try her romantic suspense military op books..this was different and the hubs and I shared a few giggles.