Michele Zurlo – Awakenings Series Reading Order

by Maryse on December 5, 2012 · 73 comments

in Reading Order Guide:

Today we’re doing something new to go along with this latest reading order guide! I’m going to start a “read-along” for book #1 as per the request of some of our fellow readers. I’ve had this book for awhile, and had all intentions to read it soon, when Sharona recommended it:

Sharona: I have a recommendation for you.   I just finished “The Awakening” Series by Michele Zurlo.  The first book is called “Letting Go”.  I chose it because it has 5 stars and great reviews on Amazon.  It also has awards.
It is similar to Fifty Shades.  The stories and the characters are great in the series.  The series is an erotic soap opera of unconventional lifestyles and relationships with good bouts of love related angst.

… and now that I received LucyLou’s “group request”, how can I possibly choose anything else? Guess what just moved to the top of my TBR?

Lucy emailed me saying:

“… but Listen,  some of us gals have a request, Pretty Please. :)  We hope that you will read “Letting Go” by Michele Zurlo and post it (Maybe for a book read-along) ….Hint….Hint  ;) I also listed the series reading order for you and was wondering if you would put it in you reading Order Site? On your comments section several of us wrote:

LucyLou:  “I think my favorite BDSM author is Michele Zurlo. Her books are fun, romantic, angsty and her characters are real.”

Michele: “LucyLou, I LOVE Michele Zurlo’s book Letting Go! Maryse, I don’t know if you’ll ever take my advise again, but Letting Go is a great read. It’s got BDSM in it, but it’s really romantic and a FUN read. Kind of BDSM lite.”

LucyLou: “Michele, Your right! Michele Zurlo’s Letting Go Series is BDSM lite and so sexy HOT, HOT, HOT!!! Definately Mommy Porn.. he he he ”

Michele: I think we should totally try to convince Maryse to read Letting Go! I’d love to read her take on Jonas!”

Angie H.: “Yes to Letting Go! I really liked this one, Jonas, in particular. There were some sensational/gimmicky details, but I could overlook those to get to all of the twists and turns of the main couple’s relationship. Their story is complicated, a little angsty and very very sexy. Did I mention that Jonas is super hot? ”

Kathy: “I loved Letting Go. Jonas was such a great book boyfriend for me”

Cheri: “Who wrote Letting Go? Is this the book you are talking about with Jonas?”

Angie H.: “All this talk about Jonas is making me want to re-read Letting Go (Michele Zurlo)! Grrrrr, there goes my TBR list, but Jonas is so worth it “

Okay, I’m in guys. Let’s do this, Lucy! :) Letting Go is what I’m “currently reading”

“WOOHOO!  Can’t wait to read it again!!! It will be twice as fun reading it with all our reading pals.  :)    Thanks, Maryse”

So here is the reading order guide, lovingly provided by LucyLou:


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{ 73 comments… read them below or add one }

Angela December 5, 2012 at 11:15 AM

Wait, wait, I am still trying to finish Wallbanger….my whole family has been sick and you would think that would be more condusive to catching up on my reading but it hasn’t been. Okay this just means I will have to hurry it up!! BTW I love this idea of all reading together!

LucyLou December 5, 2012 at 11:29 AM

Okay!!! Lets do this!! This is going to be so much fun. Jonas is HOT!!! (and sorta kinda KINKY) He, He, He!!!

Maryse December 5, 2012 at 12:13 PM


Okay first to Angela: *hugs* to your sick loved ones. Everyone is sick these days it would seem. I’m seeing the authors post about how sick they are (and everyone around them), and now all of my fellow readers are sick, I’m starting to think that a virus has mutated and can be transmitted to humans via Facebook.

*nods* hehe

Lucy… very anxious to meet Jonas!

Pam December 5, 2012 at 1:14 PM

I’m in!

Melissa December 5, 2012 at 1:18 PM

Just bought it! I’ll join the “read-along!” :)

Debra December 5, 2012 at 1:23 PM

Thanks Maryse, after I decided not a buy any more books for the balance of the week here comes another series that sounds pretty good but I am in…LOL(tears)

Maryse December 5, 2012 at 1:43 PM

haha!! I know… my TBR list is glaring at me right now. :P

Michelle December 5, 2012 at 2:00 PM

I’m in. Even though I want to get to Smith Sullivan’s book, I have been in a 50 Shades kind of mood recently.

Maryse December 5, 2012 at 2:05 PM

Yep… like I said with my recent review of a similar series, I’ve seen it before (Fifty and Bared), but sometimes you just have that “Fifty” sweet tooth, and you need to indulge in a bit of that different kind of romance, you know?

I’ve had chocolate before, and I can eat too much of it in one sitting, but you can bet next week I’ll be in the mood for it again. ;)

LucyLou December 5, 2012 at 2:12 PM

Know what you mean… I have over 1,700 books in my Kindle library! Maybe we could star in a reality TV show about ebook hoarders and the enjoyable stress of trying to read them all!! LOL ;)
Okay, at 9%….don’t have to wait until half the book to get to the eroticism on this one, just dives right in!! Sabrina needs a husband fast to receive a $12 million inheritance and Jonas wants sex. By 9% they are having a very, very “unconventional” erotic honeymoon. ;) Starts out a little cheesy, but the story gets sooooo good as their personalities and “issues/needs” are revealed.

Ashley December 5, 2012 at 2:39 PM

Ugh, I’m getting sucked in!!! Must start reading this now! Got a sick baby at home, maybe she’ll just snuggle me so momma can read!!

Sara December 5, 2012 at 2:45 PM

Oh I LOVED this book! The whole series is great but this book was my favorite. And Jonas… ( sigh). Happy reading Maryse. I’m positive you will love this book. :) :)

Avery December 5, 2012 at 3:04 PM

Crud, I’m still on Wallbanger too! And we are just getting over a stomach virus! I might have to start this one though.

Susan Nelson December 5, 2012 at 3:11 PM

Just bought it, I’m in…

Stephanie D December 5, 2012 at 3:48 PM

I haven’t read anything since Thanksgiving and was just looking at my TBR list to see what book to start since I’m going crazy not reading….I picked out a book but now after reading your blog I bought this book and will start it tonight…..SUPER EXCITED!!!!

Lynne December 5, 2012 at 4:44 PM

2 Masters for Samantha was Yummy!!

LucyLou December 5, 2012 at 4:47 PM

Lynne, I agree!! ;)

Natasha December 5, 2012 at 5:20 PM

Okay, you twisted my arm. I’m in the mood for a little bondage and spanking tehehe.

Beverly December 5, 2012 at 7:31 PM

I’m still reading Wallbanger too!!! When will you start???

LucyLou December 5, 2012 at 7:44 PM

Like in “Wallbanger”, Sabrina has a missing “O”…he he

LucyLou December 5, 2012 at 7:48 PM

At 30%…After the meet and greet of family, things are heating up again…will Sabrina find her “O”? “O” I hope so!!! ;)

Elizabeth December 5, 2012 at 7:52 PM

I’m in! Just bought the first one and am starting it now!

LucyLou December 5, 2012 at 8:05 PM

33%…First role playing… and they get better. ;)

Kelly December 5, 2012 at 10:33 PM

Thank you for awesome giveaways! =)

Brandi W December 6, 2012 at 2:34 AM

Sorry if this is a stupid question but I have never done this before. How does this read along work? Is everyone reading at their own pace or are we supposed to read a certain amount everyday? Is there a certain place we go to make comments about it or do we just post stuff here?

Thanks! :)

Suzanne December 6, 2012 at 7:55 AM

I just lashed out and will start reading Letting Go tomorrow morning :)

Tracie December 6, 2012 at 10:05 AM

UGH! You guys!!!! I finally got Hearts of Atlantis to download. I’ve been waiting a YEAR for this release. But another few days won’t kill me. LOL. I’M IN! Maryse, explain the rules / read a long. Let’s make this fun! (like it could be any other way. HA!)

Corie December 6, 2012 at 10:12 AM

I’m about half way through this book. I am so glad you recommended it! It is really good! Really horrible cover photo though.

LucyLou December 6, 2012 at 10:30 AM

Brandi, I think this is the first time Maryse has had a read along. But I sure that we are all reading it as fast as we can. ;)

Maryse December 6, 2012 at 11:04 AM

Yep we just read it at our own pace, and comment here as you go (if you feel the need to – try to keep it spoiler free of course ;) ). It’s just what I’m reading right now, and and what a few fans of the series wanted to re-read so we’re reading it together! Y’all can jump in anytime. I ended up having a late day yesterday so I’m still reading. :)

Nikki Eddy December 6, 2012 at 1:18 PM

I am trying to finish Wallbanger also. I may take a break and finish this one that I started a few weeks ago. What is wrong with me? Start stop start stop. They’ll all get read eventually ;)

Melissa December 6, 2012 at 3:21 PM

The role playing is A-Mazing! I loved the role play at about 78%, you’re gonna love it! This book is addicting!

Angie H. December 6, 2012 at 3:47 PM

Yay, Maryse! You’re going to LOVE Jonas, I think. Fun trope, interesting families on both sides and such heat coming from unassuming Jonas. Dream Book Boyfriend, for sure ;) Can’t wait to read the rest of the books in the series!

Michelle December 6, 2012 at 4:01 PM

Hmmmmm I am starting to develop a crush on Jonas!!!!

Jennifer December 6, 2012 at 6:28 PM

This will be fun :)

LucyLou December 6, 2012 at 7:38 PM

Just finished my re-read and still love it. Jonas is a trip! I forgot how much I loved Ellen toward the end, she is definately a trip! :)

Angie H. December 6, 2012 at 8:25 PM

Ahhhh! I just finished it (again) too, LucyLou! Oh, Jonas….damn him for being so hot. Yes, Ellen gets better and better, doesn’t she? Actually, Jonas’s family is totally intriguing too. So looking forward to starting the next one. And why did I put that off? Oh yeah, to read it with Maryse, of course ;)

LucyLou December 6, 2012 at 9:08 PM

Angie, I LOVE Jonas and Sabrina’s kinky family and friends!!! I’ve read all 5 books in the series and believe me, they do some serious kink (but they’re all adorable and loveable)!! ;)

Angie H. December 6, 2012 at 9:31 PM

Cool, LucyLou. Now, to get the whole fam on board to all get me “Kindling” $ for Christmas ;) Hopefully, Maryse will keep on going with this series, too!

LucyLou December 6, 2012 at 9:57 PM

Hey Maryse, where are you in the book? Just curious. :) ;)

Christina December 6, 2012 at 10:48 PM

I’m onto the second book now. I was upset with Jonas at the 90%ish mark. Reading instead of unpacking. lol

LucyLou December 6, 2012 at 11:42 PM

Christina, know what you mean…Jonas has issues. But it added good angst to the story. ;)

Maryse December 6, 2012 at 11:45 PM

Good so far, but I just hit 57% and what he just said was amazing… Both of them. I totally connected to that moment BIG time!

LucyLou December 6, 2012 at 11:52 PM

Oh yes (just looked it up). The little talk in the car. ;)

Angie H. December 7, 2012 at 12:04 AM

Um, hmmm. I really think that that’s one of the reason’s this book resonates with me more than some others of the same sub-genre, Jonas & Sabrina have at least as many good discussions as they do sex. It doesn’t always get them exactly where they need to be at that moment, but it doesn’t work that way in real life either. Ms. Zurlo’s dialog is GREAT! :)

Maryse December 7, 2012 at 12:10 AM

I’m Smiling big now… ’cause ruh roooohhhhh…. Gettin’ good (for me, not so much for them. Tee hee!)

Michelle December 7, 2012 at 12:29 AM

I just finished! Loved it!!!!!!! I think Jonas is my new book boyfriend :)

LucyLou December 7, 2012 at 1:51 AM

Just sitting here thinking, I really love the airport episode. “NO BODY” does it better than Jonas and Sabrina…Ha Ha Ha

LucyLou December 7, 2012 at 2:02 AM

I meant “NO ONE” does it better. ;)

Maryse December 7, 2012 at 12:35 PM

yah. No one. Grrrrr!! ;)

Angie H. December 7, 2012 at 12:41 PM

Oh, I’m with you guys on Jonas & Sabrina. They are just, well, each of them, a handful, but their growth throughout the book is so dang magnetic. And the sex…that’s all I can say about that this early in the morning ;)

LucyLou December 7, 2012 at 1:12 PM

Sabrina and Jonas are in the other books too and their personalities stay the same. Michele Zurlo really created some great characters in these books. Jonas is so smart and he means well, but when he gets his mind made up on something, he is stupid stubborn until it all blows up in his face. Such is the case with he his first marriage to his relationship with Sabrina. He is the same way in the 5th book. He never learns before it backfires. I love it!

Suzanne December 7, 2012 at 7:37 PM

Keen for the next book, but think i might read something else in between! Got the feeling this series will be my ‘comfort’ reads after the ‘angst’ reads . Totally agree with Angie and LucyLou with all your comments on Letting Go, it’s a great mix of characters, story and ‘play’ ;)

Angie H. December 7, 2012 at 7:41 PM

LucyLou: I so wanna skip to Letting Go 2 (Book 5), but I suppose I’ll be missing some key details?

Suzanne: Glad you liked it, too!

LucyLou December 7, 2012 at 8:23 PM

Actually, in my opinion, the next three books a too good to bypass. You will miss some key details, (like how the other partners get together and years of interaction with family and friends) but that is up to you. Have fun! :)

LucyLou December 7, 2012 at 8:31 PM

Maryse, were you able to read any more? Have any snarky or fun comments to share about this crazy couple?

I can’t wait to read your review on Jonas..(to me, it’s kind of like I love him one minute and then it’s WHAT?, then I love him, then I’m tempted to maybe hate him, then I love him again.) he he he

Angie H. December 7, 2012 at 8:40 PM

Decision made. I will read them in order for maximum fulfillment. Ha!
Thanks, LucyLou :)

LucyLou December 7, 2012 at 8:58 PM

Angie, Enjoy…the next one is about Sohpie and Drew… pretty kinky ;)

LucyLou December 7, 2012 at 9:14 PM

I meant Sophie, not Sohpie..that sounds like a kid’s bubble bath product. :) (remember Sophie? she …. uh… helps Sabrina out when she is upset with Jonas toward the end of “Letting Go”)
The 3rd book is about Samantha, Jonas’ sister and the twin billionaire Doms (they meet at a Jonas and Sabrina’s wedding , and it gets HOT really fast)

Christina December 7, 2012 at 11:30 PM

69% on book 2. Good so far :D

Michele Zurlo December 8, 2012 at 6:09 AM

Good Morning! Lucy has asked me to stop by and say hello. I’m tickled that you all are reading Letting Go. It was the second book I wrote (first published) and the one that most people write me about. Sabrina and Jonas are near and dear to my heart. Returning to their story last summer to write Letting Go 2 was much easier than I thought it would be. (Angie–You can skip books 2-4 and go straight to Stepping Stones. Each book is a self-contained story, though you might not appreciate some of the ‘guest starring’ chapters in Stepping Stones because you don’t know the characters. You’ll still be able to follow and enjoy Sabrina and Jonas’s story.)

I’m not very well-traveled, so I set Letting Go very close to my own house. (I set Yes, Justin in my neighborhood. The first draft mentioned cross streets, but my editor might have deleted that part.) Ellen’s club actually exists, though it’s in Detroit, not Southfield. The whipping-for-hire was a rumor (thrilling, hot, and probably not true) by the time I was old enough to get past the ID checkpoint and body search at the door. Being an alternative dance club, the people there were very big into the lifestyle, and that was my first introduction to BDSM. I am a practitioner, though I gravitate toward the bondage and the masochist parts. I have friends who do, though, and they are invaluable in helping me with research into the deeper aspects of the lifestyle. One of them, Master Mike, even narrated the first few pages of Stepping Stones for a recent feature on GoodReads. Here’s the link if you’re interested in having a real-life Dom with a deep, sexy voice read to you: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fTkh5DJfPzE&feature=youtu.be

I’m not much of a lurker, but if you post questions, I’ll check back tomorrow morning and answer anything you post.

Thanks for reading Letting Go, and I’m glad you all seem to be enjoying it.


Surj December 8, 2012 at 12:54 PM

Just finished it and wow!!!! I need a very cold shower to cool down!!! Lol
I can’t wait to read the rest of the books and am hoping that we all read them together! I’m loving this whole “read along” thing. Michele: I listened to master mike on you tube and am soooo temped to skip to stepping stones but I won’t. Lucy Lou: you make them all sound amazing so I will be reading them in order. If letting go is anything to go by, I will be needing a lot of very cold showers!!!! Lol

Angie H. December 8, 2012 at 2:07 PM

Aaaaah! *Michele Zurlo fangirl moment* Thanks for making an appearance! Well, thanks for the inside scoop on Letting Go 2, but I’m going to read in order to savor all of the great characters related to Sabrina & Jonas *oh, Jonas…* He’s the perfect blend of laid back/uptight, unassuming/in-your-face daring, romantic/naughty boy ;) Perfect! Of course, if your character of Sabrina weren’t so interesting and strong, Jonas’s story would be lacking all that love. Looking forward to reading your other work now, too! :)

Angie H. December 8, 2012 at 2:08 PM

Thank YOU, LucyLou! :)

LucyLou December 8, 2012 at 5:00 PM

This has been so much fun to me.
Thank you so very, very much Maryse for indulging us Michele Zurlo fan-girls!!! And introducing new fans, so they can get a taste of “Zurlo Kink”. ;)

Michele….Thank you for being the kind of author that answers emails and takes a genuine interest in their readers. And thank you for joining us on this read-along blog.

Surj, you will need cold showers as you read the rest….they are HOT, HOT, HOT!!!

Angie, thank you too, I feel like we are on the same wave when it comes to being Zurlo fan-girls ,like Kim and I when it comes to rock star romances!!! ;) ;)

I have also read Michele’s “Oasis Series” about an adult fantasy fulfilment company. The character’s have a fantasy and Oasis makes it happen (under the kinky direction of Michele Zurlo of course). The first book is “Yes, Justin”, that Michele mentioned. :) Pretty HOT stuff!!! ;)


Angie H. December 8, 2012 at 5:15 PM

Yes, yes and yes! Thank you, Maryse, LucyLou & Michele Zurlo! I love talkin’ books, especially the naughty ones ;) I’ll be reading more of Ms. Z’s books in the coming weeks for sure. Oddly enough, I couldn’t totally connect with the characters from the “In Flight” series, which I really wanted to, BUT I did finally get to a the sexy rocker book “Backstage Pass.” Do I have to say that I’ve since added Brian Sinclair to my Book Boyfriend list? HOT! Everyone’s got their own version of HEA and that what makes it so fun, right? Can’t wait to find out what Maryse is reading next :)

LucyLou December 8, 2012 at 5:52 PM

Angie, I LOVE “SINNERS ON TOUR”. The next one, “Rock Hard” is my favorite, but I loved them all…very naughty!! ;)

Michele Zurlo December 9, 2012 at 6:41 AM

I hope all enjoyed Letting Go, that it provided a few moments of escape and angst for you. Surj, Master Mike does have a great voice. When I was approached about having it as a read-aloud, he was the first person who came to mind. Angie, Jonas is definitely my ideal of the perfect man. I spent years creating him. Lucy, thanks for writing me. The least I can do is answer! Maryse, thanks for featuring Letting Go as a group read!

Here are some more tidbits about it:
1. It was originally written in first person (as was Hanging On.) Siren made me change it for publication because they had a strict policy of only publishing third person narration. If I were to publish it again, there’s a lot I would change, and changing it back to first person would be the first thing. However, when I was new and unpublished, I was just so happy to get that acceptance letter that I didn’t question anything.
2. It wasn’t meant to be an erotic novel. I intended to pay homage to Johanna Lindsay and all the other great romance writers I grew up reading. (Thus the cheesy premise. It should look familiar to those of you who read lots of those historical romances in the 80′s.) During the two years it took to write (and rewrite) LG, I stumbled across my first erotic romance. I didn’t like it much, but it confirmed that I wasn’t completely “out there.” My day job, which I love, means I read a lot of YA novels. Romance is a recent addition to that genre, and it really wasn’t around when I was writing LG. Books #2-5 were meant to be erotic romances, and you’ll notice that difference right away.
3. Sabrina is a reflection of who I was when I wrote the novel. Jonas is as well, but to a lesser extent. When people like or dislike her, I tend to take it personally, even though the rational part of my brain says I shouldn’t.
4. I tend toward the (over?) dramatic characters and plots, especially with the Awakenings series. I’m that person who DVRs Holiday in Handcuffs every year. I firmly believe that romance reading requires an element of the fantastic, which is how I came up with the idea for the Oasis series.
5. On an unrelated note, when I decided I wanted to showcase the romantic side of BDSM relationships, I created both the Oasis and Re/Bound series. Oasis is a bit more fantastical, whereas Re/Bound is firmly realistic romantic suspense.

I’m not sure when (or if) book 6 will be out. I have an outline in my head, but I’m not working on it. I’m working on the follow-up to Re/Bound (Re/Paired) and Safe Word: Oasis #5 (Mina’s Heart). After that, I will return to the Re/Bound series. I’m halfway through my draft for book 3 in that series and I already have a plan for book 4.


LucyLou December 9, 2012 at 10:33 AM

Thank you for sharing. I love Jonas and Sabrina, as well as their crazy family and friends. I love all the Awakenings and Oasis books. You’ve got me excited about Re/Bound and I will be reading it soon.

Angie H. December 9, 2012 at 1:35 PM

Oh, Michele. Your honesty is really amazing and appreciated. Thank you! That’s really interesting about how Letting Go came about. As a writer *ahem…there, I said it* and as a reader, I can see why you made the decisions you have. I could so see Letting Go written in first person and if you’re ever inclined to re-visit Sabrina & Jonas’s beginnings, I’d buy it all over again. It’s just that good :) You do quiet contemplative moments so well. You go way beyond the typical, “Holy shit! He/she’s hot. I want him/her, but I’m not worthy.” Also, the way you write evokes specific and complex emotions between two complex individuals. The imagery of Jonas stepping around Sabrina while she’s on the closet floor is just one example of this. Ok, I could go on, but I’ll save that for fangirlin’ on your website ;) Really can’t wait to delve into the rest of the series and your newer work. Thanks, again :)

Maryse December 9, 2012 at 1:57 PM

I love this inside scoop to the series. This is fantastic! Thank you so much Michele for taking the time to let us into your character’s minds, your upcoming projects, all of it.

P.S. I LOVE Holiday in Handcuffs. ;)

LucyLou December 9, 2012 at 2:53 PM

I agree Maryse, Michele’s insight into her creative writing has been sooo enjoyable!!!

Brandi W December 9, 2012 at 5:04 PM

Thanks for doing this read along. I enjoyed the book…and for me, this was mostly a “fun” read. Like Suzanne mentions above, these books would be perfect for me to read between those angsty books. I will most definitely read the rest of the books in the series.

Thank you to those of you who made the recommendation!

Michele – thanks for providing so much “behind-the-scenes” info…makes it all more interesting!

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