Book Review: Taking It All by Maya Banks

Posted January 9, 2015 by Kathy Davie in Book Reviews / 4 Comments

Book Review: Taking It All by Maya Banks

I received this book for free from the library in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Taking It All by Maya Banks
Genres: Erotica, Romance
Published by Berkley Trade on August 5, 2014
Pages: 320
Format: eBook
Source: the library

This book may be unsuitable for people under 17 years of age due to its use of sexual content, drug and alcohol use, and/or violence.

Chessy and Tate have been married for several years. In the beginning, their relationship was everything she wanted. Passionate. All consuming. She offered her submission freely, and Tate cherished her gift with a tenderness that made her feel safe. Content. Wanted. And loved beyond all measure. But as the years have gone by, Tate has become more immersed in making his business the success it has become, and Chessy has taken a back seat to his business obligations. Growing unhappier with the status of their once blissful marriage, Chessy knows that something has to give. Or they stand to lose it all

Tate loves his wife. Has always loved her. Providing for her has always been his number one priority. He thought.

Also by this author: Forged in Steele, When Day Breaks, Keep Me Safe, Enticed by His Forgotten Lover, Sweet Possession, Sweet Addiction

Third in the Surrender Trilogy D/s series and revolving around three ladies who have supported each other through so very much. The couple focus is on Chessy and Tate Morgan and proves that actions are stronger than words. Set in Houston.

My Take

Jesus, this was so bad. What is it with Banks these days? I don’t think I’ve read one of her more recent stories and been thrilled. I enjoy reading erotica, but this was embarrassing, and no, not because of the sex. Taking It All reads more like one of her first efforts at writing.

I was 80% of the way through the book…yes, 80…before it started to get interesting. As it was Banks padded this out thoroughly (and excessively) with Tate and Chessy yammering over and over and over about their marriage, about Tate’s obsession with work. Stop, I get it already!

Yeah, I can hear ya now. Why would I bother reading this far when I so desperately wanted to slide it onto the DNF shelf? I’ve always thought Banks was a good writer… and ’cause I was hoping to get to the erotic bits, of course.

Sad, isn’t it? Eighty percent of the story was oh, woe with some nice sidebars when Chessy met up with her friends. Banks was consistent in having her friends yammer on and on about the same issues over and over and over as well. In case you didn’t pick up on it, that was sarcasm. I did like the relationships and support she got from her friends and their significant others. It’s how friends, best friends, should react.

The idea of the story is sweet, and I like that Tate finally gets it. But the manner in which Banks goes about it is not her usual style. Instead, it felt as if Banks were in a hurry to get through this story and didn’t want to take the time to make it realistic. That scene at The House where Tate actually has his phone on, and he answers it is simply not believable. Who the heck takes a phone into a scene like Tate has set up? If he’s so into his wife and the surprise he’s set up for her, I’d be surprised if he even heard the damn phone. It was too convenient a way for Banks to set up that last conflict. Too easy. And the whole thing was so frickin’ melodramatic. Gag.

The way it ended with Chessy’s decision was too quick. Heck, that second escape was too much. Sure, I can see leaving him, but she’s so determined to end it all. Right now. Yeah, I’d probably have reacted the same way, but I’m not Chessy. It didn’t fit her character. And, yeah, I was proud of her for making a decision…hypocrisy, thy name is Kathy…*eye roll*…

The twist on the characters with the man being the one in need of salvation was nice, but I didn’t buy Tate’s need to be financially able to support Chessy and any future children. He’s got enough money to buy a beautiful home right off the bat and buy beautiful jewels for Chessy. That just does not translate into someone needing financial security.

A lot of tell with some show and a sprinkling of info dumps.

You might enjoy this if you like a Dominant/submissive lifestyle with a Dominant deciding everything for you. And if you’re not picky about wanting good writing. If this doesn’t appeal to you, don’t bother. Don’t even bother with getting it from the library, as you’ll be wasting valuable reading time. I rarely “do not finish”, but damn, I was SO tempted. If it hadn’t been a Maya Banks story, I probably would have DNFd it.

The Story

Chessy Morgan revels in being the submissive to Tate’s Dominant. But she’s less than happy with his devotion to his two-year-old business.

It takes a disastrous wedding anniversary dinner to help Chessy decide that she’s done taking second place.

The Characters

Chessy Morgan is a bright and once-happy housewife who loves that her husband, Tate, dominates her. If only he still would.

Kylie Breckenridge is with Jensen. Joss Corbin is pregnant and married to Dash, her late husband’s best friend. (I’m assuming that he’s her late husband’s best friend since the husband died, although Banks does mention a couple of sentences later that he’s her former husband’s best friend, implying that Carson is still alive.) Both ladies are BFFs with Chessy, and their husbands have taken Chessy to their hearts as well.

The House is a club for individuals into a bit of kink. Damon Roche owns and runs it (Sweet Persuasion (Sweet, 2)); there is a mention of Serena and their child. James is the other Dominant Tate picks out. Tabitha Markham is the whiny heiress.

The Cover and Title

The cover is beautiful and well reflects the concept of what Banks was trying to do. It’s soft lavenders and oranges with close-ups of daisies in profile, for it’s a soft life Chessy has and we’re looking beneath its surface.

The title is what Chessy does about her future, she’s Taking It All.

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4 responses to “Book Review: Taking It All by Maya Banks

  1. Hi Kathy. I’ve talked to Stormi through the TBR Polls, but I think this is the first post of yours I’ve commented on. I’ll try to keep this short-ish.

    I HATED HATED HATED Taking it all. I had been reading Maya for about 3 years. Until this book, I considered her my favorite author, though the last few before now had also had me concerned. After reading Taking it All, I’ve decided to not read ANY of Maya’s erotica, and I’m only (for now) sticking with her KGI series. I haven’t read anything of hers since, I can not begin to explain how much I hated this book, I see that you understand though.

    I do have to disagree with your one comment that ~ “You might enjoy this if you like a Dominant/submissive lifestyle with a Dominant deciding everything for you.” No, I don’t think anyone who truly understands D/s would like this at all. Perhaps some lovers of the 50 Shades of Crap might, but not anyone that knows anything about how BDSM really is, or really should be.

    She got so much right in her first series, the Sweet series, which opened my eyes to BDSM. It was beautiful and done well, but with this series, it’s like she’s just trying to be dramatic for the sake of being dramatic. It’s awful. Perhaps she’s trying to appeal to the 50 crowd, and not caring about what BDSM is really about.

    Anyways, back to what you said, I don’t like it because it’s NOT D/s. They did have a D/s relationship but the moment they stopped communicating, that ended. There was no D/s there because there was no respect there, no trust anymore.

    What she had him do in the club was unforgivable. First, I agree, he would not have taken the phone, and I’m pretty certain clubs wouldn’t allow them anyways. It was horrible and I would have been more impressed with the story if Chessy had divorced his ass. They shouldn’t have ended up with a HEA. He should have ended up miserable and alone because he’s a dick and she should have moved on to someone who would appreciate her submission.

    So yeah, HATED this book, and disappointment in Banks is an understatement. I hope she goes back to her accurate descriptions of BDSM and showing it in a good and positive light, instead of throwing more negativity on it, that’s the LAST thing BDSM needs. I’ll never know though. I haven’t read anything since then (and I had read almost everything she had written prior to that ~ over 35 books) and I won’t with the erotica. I’ll stick with KGI, until she ruins that. 🙁

    • Oh, Karsyn, I hate to tell ya, but her last two KGIs have been dogs. Just horrible. Something must be going on in her life that’s throwing her off, for she’s been one of my favorite go-tos as well. She was such a great writer, and yeah, she wrote well about the BDSM scene. Which is what makes this so confusing. Why is she doing this?? Where are her editors??

      You’re right. I erred in saying “You might enjoy this if you like a Dominant/submissive lifestyle with a Dominant deciding everything for you”. I suspect I was trying to find something positive to say. Yeah, I was reaching.

  2. Sad to see you both hated this one so much. I really enjoyed it. It wasn’t back to Banks’ original style but I thought it was a very good book and well worth reading for anyone who reads BDSM books. She took a risk with their storyline but I thought it was an important one to take and show that there are problems in BDSM relationships and it can be very dangerous if not done right or kept as the focus.

    (And no I was not a fan of 50 Shades. I’m well versed in the BDSM genre and have read it for years.)

    • Lol, well thank god for not liking Fifty Shades *grin*. I don’t have a problem with Banks showing there can be problems as it does make it more realistic, but she kept repeating the same stuff over and over and over. Ad nauseum. Then throwing in those unbelievable actions. I can’t believe that someone who is into his partner and into a scene could be distracted by a phone call either. Oh, well, I’m glad you enjoyed it.

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