Kate Daniels Reread

0So, I mentioned that I love Ilona Andrews and the Kate Daniels series and that I read it often. Well, I’m rereading it now, in between ARCs and other books. I thought that I would do a review of the books as I reread them and my thoughts on them, as I find new things in the older books and reread the newer ones again. See, I’m just positive that all y’all want to know what I’m reading and what I think. I’ll reread all the novellas that go along with the series too, but I rarely read them in the place where they fit into the books’ timeline, I just read them all when I’m done, generally because I still can’t get my head out of Kate’s world.

I sort of consider Kate Daniels to be in the post-apocalyptic category as well as being in the UF category. While there hasn’t been a huge apocalypse like one may think, the fact that tech and magic are at war with each and there are times that magic rules the world and time when tech rules the world and so many things just don’t work anymore is apocalyptic to me.

I’ve already read the first two, Magic Bites and Magic Burns, and I’ll be getting into the third one, Magic Strikes, in a couple of days since I have some ARCs to read and review, as well as a couple of other books I need to get read and reviewed. I’d complain about having so many things on my To Be Read pile, but I really can’t. I just have to complain that there aren’t enough hours in my day or days in my week to get it all read. But, it’s better than not having enough to read.

The main character in this series is Kate Daniels. She starts out as a merc with a mouth and a big secret. Her secret could mean that everyone she knows dies, if it gets found out. She is much more powerful than people think she is, and she does everything she can to keep that power hidden. She was trained by her father, Voron, to be an awesome swordswoman and fighter. He also taught her to hold vengeance near and dear to her heart. He tried his best to turn her into the perfect sociopath, though it didn’t quite take.

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There are a lot of other characters that show up, and I’ll talk about them as they pop up, but the big one I’m going to mention right now is Curran. Curran is the Beast Lord, the Alpha of the Pack, which includes all shifters in Atlanta and surrounding areas. He’s a HUGE lion. Kate describes him as a paranoid psychopath. He is very controlling and holds to his rules very tightly. In this world, that’s important for shifters. They can either go Code or go loup. The Code is a set of rules that each shapeshifter needs to follow to help keep their animal side under control. Going loup means that the animal has overtaken the human side and the shifter runs around going crazy, attacking people, causing general chaos and mayhem. But that’s not the only reason that Curran is a control freak, it’s also the fact that he is an Alpha. Alphas are controlling and dominant, it’s part of their make up. And since he’s the Alpha of Alphas, he’s even worse.

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I’ll talk about more characters as they come up when I’m reviewing the books. But, I do want to mention two groups, the Pack and the People.

I’ve already said that the Pack is led by Curran. It’s made up of six clans into which all shifters fall into. Each clan is ruled by their Alpha, which is usually, but not always, a mated Alpha couple. They have the highest say in their clan, but Curran can override them. Each Alpha couple has a seat on the Pack Council, which is the ruling body, headed by guess who. The clans are Boudas, who are were-hyenas; Wolves; Clan Nimble, made up of animals like mink, foxes, etc,; Clan Rat, who are generally the scouts of the Pack; Cats; and Clan Heavy, which are the big shifters, like bears, buffalo, and such-like. The Pack is based in the Keep, a huge fortress that they have built, and are continuing to build. Membership of the pack is somewhere around 1,500.

The People are the Navigators of the Dead. Vampires are created by a virus, and are turned into mindless killing machines. Navigators are people who have the power to take over the minds of the vampires and control them. They can see and hear everything the vampire can see and hear, and can converse through the vampire. The People are based in the Casino, a huge Taj Mahal inspired building that is part casino, part stable for vamps, and part office building. In the early books, the head of the People in Atlanta is Nataraja. Unlike the Pack, which has no higher structure, the People do have a much larger structure, which is headed by Roland (remember that name).

This post is getting long enough, so I’m going to split it off here. Tomorrow will begin the actual reviews of books 1 and 2.

As always, if you have suggestions, questions, whatever, let me know. If you have a book that you are gagging for me to read and review or you just think that I would love to read it, let me know. I’m always up for more books to read. And I generallay think everyone is entitled to my opinion, LOL. No really, I just like sharing my opinions and viewpoints.

Renee Rose-Her Mate and Master

And now we’re on to the second review of the week. Aren’t you excited? Well, I am. This one is a review of Her Mate and Master by Renee Rose. This is the 6th book in the Zandian Masters series. In this series, humans have been scattered through the galaxy and are slaves.

The current living Zandians are remnants of the Zandian people who had to leave their planet when the Finn invaded it. Zandia is home to some powerful crystal. The Zandian people primarily use them as a power source for their bodies. They don’t need to eat very often, the crystals give the Zandians most of their energy. Male Zandians use small bits of crystal to mark their mates. The females have piercings that the crystals are set into. How many piercings depends on how many crystals the male can afford and where they are placed. Generally, some are placed in somewhat intimate areas. The point of the crystals used this way is that they can be used to sustain a mate and children. These crystals can also be used to power spaceships. Understandably, the Zandians don’t really want to sell a whole lot of them, so in swoop the Finn to invade Zandia, eradicate the Zandians, and mine all the crystals possible.

At the end of the last book, we met Talia, Master Seke’s long lost, thought dead daughter. She was being hostage by the Finn, on Zandia. The Finn say that they’ll let her go if Prince Zander gives himself up. Tomis, a warrior, sees Talia on the screen, and he knows that he has to be the one to go rescue her. So off he goes.

Meanwhile, Talia, who didn’t know that she was even Zandian until a few days ago and spent most of her life thinking she was a lavender skinned human slave named Ray, is hanging naked chained to the wall in the throne room on Zandia, all day long. Each night she gets marched past all the cells filled with prisoners, still naked, until she gets to her own cell. When Tomis gets to Zandia, he’s thrown into a cell and talks to his cellmates about her. They tell him that they have seen ALLL of Talia, just wait until she walks by again. When she does, Tomis sees what they mean, but he’s careful to try to keep himself out her sight. A power outage that he arranged happens, and he goes to get Talia and rescue her.

Tomis tells her that she is the last living Zandian female of childbearing age, and as such, she belongs to the prince, and he’ll decide what happens to her. Meaning who will father her children or whatever. What Talia hears is that she is going to be going from one set of slavery to another, only this time as a brood mare. So, she runs away from Tomis. When she gets caught, Tomis punishes her, which he enjoys, and it turns out, so does she.

So, here is where we break off before I get into spoilers. Being a Renee Rose book, there is sex, and lots of it. There is also spanking, and lots of that. If either of those things offend you, then this isn’t the book for you. However, those things don’t bother me, obviously, and I really enjoyed this book. It’s a good love story, with a HEA. There’s also a hook for the rest of the series, which I enjoy. You really can’t read this as a stand-alone, just because you really need to have the backstory from the other books to understand where this book is.

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OK, so now we can get into the nitty-gritty, or at least the spoilers. We find out that, no, Talia isn’t the only living Zandian female of childbearing years. Talia and Tomis find another female, living with 3 men, who attempt to kill Tomis and rape Talia. That woman has 3 children, so there is a new generation of full-blooded Zandians already started.

Tomis has a hard time, because he really wants to mate (and mate with) Talia, but he’s standing in his own way. He doesn’t see himself as good enough, and he feels like it’s his duty to deliver Talia to the Prince and her father, so they can make the decision as to what will happen to her. However, his actions really hurt Talia. She knows what she wants, which is him, but when they get close, he always says something that makes it sound like whatever happens is temporary. Even when they do end up fucking, she has to remind herself that it’s only temporary because Tomis has made it clear that she’s nothing but a brood mare. She does get him to promise that she will be able to make her own decisions about her life after they get off Zandia, but she still doesn’t want to have her decisions taken away from her.

Let’s talk about the Zandian breeding cycle, for a minute. Zandians have a breeding season, which just happens to be when they are on the planet. It’s not something that Talia has ever had to deal with before, because she wasn’t exposed to the crystals. But, when she is on Zandia and exposed to the crystals, it triggers her. And it triggers Tomis. Nowhere is this more evident than in the sacred waterfall. That scene is hotter than hot. It’s my favorite for the whole series, I think.

Tomis finally gets his head out of his ass and realizes what he’s been doing to Talia, who managed to leave the Prince’s pod to go back to the tavern where she had been a slave. She wanted to go knock around her old slave owner, which she did. Tomis came to find her and told her that he was a big old idiot, and that he was wrong. She was the most important thing, and he would sacrifice it all for her.

I love everything of Renee’s that I’ve ever read. She’s one of the authors that I automatically read, no matter what. I own a good chunk of her books, and the ones I don’t own yet are on my to be bought list. If you want more Renee Rose, check out the other Zandian Master books. You won’t be sorry.

Standard ARC disclaimer: Yup, I got one. Yup, this is voluntary and honest.

Hannah Davenport-Kavvan

Kavvan is the 7th book of Hannah Davenport’s Azziarin series. In this series, the Earth has been invaded by an alien species called the Tureis. They take humans and sell them for slaves. The Tureis have attacked other planets, including the Azziarin planet. Because of that, the Azziarin all hate the Tureis. When they find out that the Tureis have invaded Earth, the Azziarin go and start attacking the Tureis. Along the way, they find that the human women can trigger the mating instinct in Azziarin men.

By the time Kavvan comes around, most of the royal family has been mated to human women, and there are Azziarin men who are asking to go serve on ships near Earth so that they have the chance to meet their mates.

However, that’s not where Kavvan is going. He and his ship are off to another planet so that they can see if there are human women who are being sold off as slaves.

Mandy and Susan have been friends for years. They have both come from not great families, especially Mandy. They have survived the invasion and have been hiding in a book store, until the day that Susan gets bored. Mandy tries to keep her from leaving, but she leaves anyway and gets captured by the Turies. Mandy sneaks aboard the ship to save her, and ends up going to the planet where the auction is, along with Susan. Since she snuck on board, when they get to the planet, Mandy hides again. When Susan goes off to be auctioned off, Mandy gets left behind.

Enter the Azziarin. They save Susan from the auction and take her away on their ship, and leave to go home. Susan is hysterical because they are leaving Mandy behind, so she ends up being sedated, and eventually tells Kavvan what happened and about Mandy. When he’s around Susan, his mating instincts are triggered, but he knows that Susan isn’t his mate, but they become friends.

Mandy has managed to find an enclave of escaped and rescued slaves, where she meets some other humans. That’s where she is when Nikkul, Kavvan’s second, and Kavvan show up.

Ok, That’s the basic set up, you know the deal, after this comes spoilers. If you want to avoid them, go over to Amazon and check out this book. I really enjoyed it. I think it’s a little darker than some of the other books in this series, but it’s handled well.

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While Mandy is in the enclave, one of the humans she meets is a woman named Jane. Jane has already had some tragic events happen in her life. She lost her husband and child before she even got captured by aliens and sold as a slave. When she meets Nikkul, he recognizes her as his mate. They mate quickly and are happy together. On the way home, the Turies attack the ship and Nikkul gets hurt. When they get planet side, he gets taken to the med ward. When he wakes up, he has no memory of Jane, but sees his beloved consort. That devastates Jane, especially since he hasn’t told her about his consort, and the new human women don’t know anything about the Azziarin tradition of having consorts on top of wives or mates. She and all the other humans leave and go to a cabin. Jane ends up killing herself that night, leaving a note to Nikkul that she’s sorry for everything. This is one of the darker elements. This side plot made me really sad, for both Jane and Nikkul. At least Nikkul has his consort by his side to help him through.

Mandy and Kavvan have a lot of their own problems. An enforcer takes her away from the enclave when she runs after seeing Nikkul’s fangs. The enforcer hurts her, drags her away, and almost rapes her. Kavvan shows up right before that happens, but because of that, he tiptoes around her. She is worried that he and Susan are more friendly than they really are, and because of that, she is worried about getting into a relationship with him. However, being a good HEA romance, they eventually work it out and get their happily ever after on.

I enjoy this series. For me, it’s a fairly light, easy read. When I’m looking for something that I know I’ll enjoy, I revisit these books. While there is sex, it’s generally less graphic than some of the other books I like to read, and there isn’t any kink. I give this book 4.5/5 stars.

I received an ARC for my voluntary and honest review of this book, so that’s what you got.

Tears of Surrender

Earlier this week, I wrote a blog post about Sophie Kisker’s Midrosian Chronicles. Well, today her latest book came out, Tears of Surrender. It’s the final book of this series and it’s the most intense book of the series, IMO. The story winds through both Memories and Longings and gives us some peeks into those stories. Then it nicely winds up the whole story of the women of Midros.

When I say intense, I mean it. There was a point in time when I had to walk away from the book for a couple of hours to process how I felt about it and deal with my feelings. There have been very few books that I’ve had to do that with. To me, that is a great thing and means that the book is pretty awesome. I still have Parin and Mercer living in my head a couple of days after I read it, which is also a pretty awesome thing if you ask me. And so, on to the review.

Tears is the story of Parin Denos. It opens up 3 years prior to Memories. Parin was raised on Prima, with her parents, who died when she was 7. She vaguely remembers her mother telling her to never go to Midros. When she’s adult, her company is contacted by the Midrosian government to see if a product they sell would work for them. On Midros, when women come onto the planet, they have to wear a temporary collar and their DNA is routinely run through databases.

Parin’s company declines the offer to sell their product to the Midrosian government. In walks government officials from the slavery board. They tell Parin that she is a runaway slave. To her knowledge, she has never been on Midros before. However, it comes out that her parents were Midrosian, with her father owning her mother, before they escaped when Parin was two. With the Midrosian law, as held up by the galaxy wide authorities, once a Midrosian slave, always a Midrosian slave. Women who escape, and their female children who escape with them, are still slaves. Thus, Parin is an escaped slave.

The authorities drag Parin away to get her ready for her auction. She’s locked in a cell, has to endure a humiliating and punishing exam by a doctor to assess her health and her sexual capabilities, and is bathed, where she’s taught another brutal lesson by guards. Then she’s chained up and gagged so that the men who will be at the auction can inspect her, along with all the other slaves for sale.

The man who buys her, Edar Pennis, is a horrible, brutal, sadistic man, and on a planet of men who are sadistic, that is saying something. He swears to break her, but he really has no idea of what he’s doing. He has her shoved into a cage, covered up and transported. When they get to his house, he has his guards dump her out onto the driveway, and attaches a collar to her which will put poison in her system whenever it’s triggered. And being the terrible man he is, I bet you can figure out what happens with that.

Edar does lots of horrible things to her, including locking her in a hole in the dark. The final straw for Parin is that he takes her out to the garden, has her put in a hole where she has to stand on a small block which isn’t anchored on anything, and then puts two boards around her neck, so that only her head is above ground, and leaves her there. If she falls, then she hangs by her neck. Which she consciously decides to do, Edar has driven her to suicide.

In walks Mercer. And from here, there are going to be spoilers and commentary. I loved this book, I identified so much with Parin and I felt her distress and stress so much. I know I say this for a lot of books, but I really recommend this. I can’t tell you how much I recommend this. I want to give this like 11/10 stars. It is just that amazing.

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OK, a note before we get into the spoilers. In Midros, there is no legal way to rape a woman. If she is your slave, she can’t tell you no. She’s property, and property can’t say no, I mean, it’s not like a chair can tell you no that it doesn’t want you to sit on it. It’s the chair’s job to have someone sit on it. If someone else has sex with your slave without your permission, it’s theft of services, not rape. A woman who grew up on Midros would understand this concept, since it was what she grew up with and had been trained to expect and to do. Parin, however, doesn’t have that same understanding. She grew up as a free woman, with the expectation of bodily autonomy. She is upset that she’s going to be raped but Edar explains to her that no, it’s not rape, it can’t be rape. I think that’s one of the things that is the hardest for Parin to get used to in her slavery. And Edar, well, he’s an asshole, and he doesn’t do anything to make it easier on her.

Mercer Pennis is Edar’s son. He wants to be a lawyer, his father wants him to take over the mining business. There is a younger son, Jacen, but he makes his father look tame. At one point, he has his slave Dara’s vagina and vulva sewed almost all the way shut, because he prefers anal sex and wants her to be an anal only slave. However, because he’s messy, he still manages to get her pregnant, with a girl. He was going to sell her off, but Parin convinces Mercer to get her instead. Dara eventually runs away, and ends up in the same escaped slave enclave as Enna from Longings, and is able to be with her daughter, off planet.

Mercer starts out as a prat and I really don’t like him all of the time. He sees Parin as 3 holes and 2 tits to be used when he wants. Now, I have to give him some leeway, since he’s never dealt with a free woman before, but I think he doesn’t always take that into consideration with Parin. Yeah, he’s trying to teach her how to be a slave and how to survive the world she’s living in, but, still.

However, as they are together, he does start to change and realizes he loves Parin and she is more than a collection of body parts. He even lets her help him out at his business, since he has problems with math and Parin is an accountant. Without her help, he wouldn’t have been able to clean up his business as well.

To me, one of the more horrific scenes with Mercer is the scene where he decides to breed her. The way that it is done is that they go to a clinic, Mercer provides sperm and a doctor harvests an egg from Parin. Then the doctor fertilizes the egg, makes sure it’s a boy, and implants the embryo into Parin. The doctor jams a needle into Parin’s abdomen and ovary to harvest an egg without any kind of numbing or pain medication. Parin screams because it’s painful. The doctor says that they don’t waste pain meds on slaves. Parin was already not wanting to bring a child into this world, but Mercer wanted one and told her that she would accept it. That whole section just really got to me, and I had to take a little break there for a few minutes.

Anyway, Edar does try to take Parin away from Mercer, after already signing a contract with him, and lies to her and tells her that he left it in the contract that he could reclaim her at any point. We also find out that Edar used to own her mother, and that’s what he bought Parin.

We also find out the true reason why Midros started taking other women and that the galaxy wide authorities not only knew about it, but they also helped out. The paeloate mining caused infertility problems for native-born Midrosians. So, a woman who wasn’t born on Midros was much more likely to have a child. When Parin and Mercer get this information out to the galaxy, the authorities come and take over Midros and set all the women free, unless they choose to stay as slaves.

Parin makes that choice and stays with Mercer. They have a history of edging and orgasm denial. It’s how he helps her in her submission. When he lets her have an orgasm, it’s amazing because she has to wait and wait and wait for it. When Parin tells Mercer that she wants to stay his slave, she asks to never have an orgasm again, since it helps her stay focused on him and his needs, and that his pleasure his all that’s necessary. However, he says that if he denies her permanently, he doesn’t get to listen to her beg and see her disappointment when he says no. However, he tells her that he will make her edge a certain amount of times, and then he will let her come, and keep her coming until she can’t come anymore. Then he will put her back in her cage until she has him back as her focus.

I mention this particularly for a reason. That’s because Sophie made a change right before she submitted it for publishing. I’m in her ARC group and she asked for feedback on the original ending as opposed to this new part. I fully, truly, deeply support and love this. It’s devious and evil and I think it really suits the relationship well. And the cage has a special meaning for Parin and Mercer. It’s her safe place when she needs a break, and a place he can send her when he’s unhappy with her.

Anyway, I love these characters and this world so much. Parin and Mercer won’t leave my head at all, which is a sign of a good book. I will have this series, and especially this book on reread, frequently, I think. In places, it will probably be a one-handed reread.

This book is intense, but the payoff at the end, not just for Parin and Mercer, but for the entire series and all the women of Midros, is worth all the intensity. Do read this.

I received an ARC in exchange for my honest and voluntary review, so that’s what you got.

Have Mercy! The World of Patricia Briggs

Welcome to another entry in my UF category, saga, whatever you want to call it. Anyway, today is Patricia Briggs and the world of Mercedes Thompson, which also includes the Alpha and Omega books, since they are a spin-off of the series.

At first glance, Mercedes Thompson looks like a Native American mechanic who specializes in working on Volkswagens. And yes, she’s heard all the jokes about Mercedes the mechanic who works on German cars. But, when you start to look deeper at her, you find out that there is a lot more to her than you think. One of those things is that she turns into a coyote. Unlike the werewolves in this world, which take a long time to change and who go through a lot of pain during their change, Mercy can change immediately, with no pain at all. That’s because unlike the werewolves, who have to be changed into being a werewolf, Mercy’s power as a skinwalker is innate. In the first book, we learn that her mother didn’t know what to do when she went into see her baby and found a coyote pup in Mercy’s crib instead of Mercy.

Because of that fact, Mercy isn’t brought up by her mother. She had an uncle who knew Bran, the Marrok. The Marrok is the Alpha of Alphas. He is the head of all the werewolves in the US, and while he doesn’t rule the other countries, he does have some influence, mostly because he is very old and very powerful. And when I say very old, I mean centuries, as in double digits of centuries. Grendel from Beowulf may be based on Bran. Anyway, he has a pack in Montana and finds Mercy a place with a foster family, where she spends her childhood until she’s a teenager when she gets sent to live with her mother and her mother’s family, in Washington State.

Back to Bran for a minute. Bran is Welsh and has two sons, Samuel and Charles. Charles is the only born werewolf. His mother was a Native American and had her own magic. She managed to hold off the change while she was pregnant so that she could give birth. Generally, female werewolves can’t carry children because the change is too violent. Charles has his own magic through his mother, and his change is more like Mercy’s, and he can come back fully clothed. He’s only a couple of hundred years old. He is also the main character of the Alpha and Omega series, with his wife Anna. She is a rare Omega wolf who is outside of the normal pack structure and acts as a calming influence. Omegas can help out with wolves who are out of control.

Samuel is Bran’s older son and isn’t too much younger than his father. When Mercy was a teenager, he romanced her and she fell in love with him. He wanted to have children, and he saw Mercy as a way to do that, since she wouldn’t lose her children due to her shifting, since her powers are in-born.

Mercy’s garage used to be owned by Zee, a fae who identifies as a gremlin. He’s one of the few fae who can handle touching cold iron. Zee has a long and storied history that he keeps pretty secret. He is powerful enough that the Grey Lords, the leaders of the fae, don’t like to bother him much. The fae are out and have been for years, and many of them live in reservations. The one nearest her is in Walla Walla.

One of Mercy’s loyal customer is Stephan, who loves Scooby Doo and owns a VW bus that has been painted to look like the Mystery Machine. He also just happens to be a vampire, and owes allegiance to Marsilla. Stephen and Mercy are friends.

And that brings us to Adam Hauptmann. Adam is Mercy’s neighbor. He is also the Alpha of the Tri-Cities pack. He also declared that Mercy is his mate. Mercy thinks it’s just to protect her and doesn’t realize how serious it is that he did that. He gets over-protective and she does what she can to annoy him, like leaving an old VW in a field between their homes that she vandalizes, just to ruin his view. Spoiler, Mercy does eventually find out how serious Adam is about the mate thing.

I really love these books, and I run through them about once a year. Patricia Briggs has great world building, and not only has characters you love to love, but she also has characters you love to hate, *coughChristiecough*. While there is sex and language in the books, they are relatively mild, and absolutely kink free. There is violence, but that’s to be expected in books like these.

The orders of the books is:

Mercy

  • Moon Called
  • Blood Bound
  • Iron Kissed
  • Bone Crossed
  • Silver Borne
  • River Marked 
  • Frost Burned
  • Night Broken
  • Shifting Shadows
  • Fire Touched
  • Silence Fallen 

Alpha and Omega

  • “Alpha and Omega”  published in On the Prowl and Shifting Shadows 
  • Cry Wolf
  • Hunting Ground 
  • Fair Game
  • Dead Heat 

Coming up in the next couple of days, reviews of two ARCs, Tears of Surrender by Sophie Kisker and Kavven by Hannah Davenport.

Censorship in 2017

“Something will be offensive to someone in every book, so you’ve got to fight it.” 
Judy Blume

As long as there have been people writing things, there have been people who have gotten mad over those words. Books have been banned for centuries, for one reason or another. Lady Chatterley’s Lover was banned in entire countries due to sexual material. Are You There God, It’s Me, Margaret has been banned at schools because it talks about periods. Huck Finn has been banned for using language appropriate to the era in which it was written.

When people get offended by the topic of a book or mad about it, some of them will just say, well, not my cup of tea, but the author has a right to write it. However, there are other people, when they get mad or offended, who get outraged and decide that the book shouldn’t be available for anyone to buy or read.

Well, that’s what happened this week with a book by K Webster called The Wild. She tends to write some really dark, taboo kind of stuff. In fact, she has two entries on my Top Ten most fucked up book list.

The Wild touches on some very dark subjects and is, from what I understand, not having read it myself, pretty taboo. There have been a lot of people up in arms about it. They managed to get it banned from Amazon. Then when K put it up other places, the book started getting banned there too. As of this moment, to my knowledge, it has been banned everywhere. Not only has the book been banned, but there have been other authors in the same kind of community that K Webster is in who have reamed her out over the subject of her book. There has been a lot of backlash against her, accusing her of everything from tempting Eve to bringing about the end of the universe.

Here’s the thing. K Webster wrote a fictional book. She posted a warning on the sales page about the book. No one has forced anyone to read it. But, that didn’t stop a lot of people from throwing a hissy fit. People who haven’t even read the book or read anything that K has written have written bad reviews on places like Goodreads. She’s an indie romance author. Reviews help her sell her books. Because some people are upset about the subject of her book, they have done what they could to ruin her reputation, and damage further earning potential. But that’s not even the worst thing. The worst thing is that there are people who are saying that she is wrong for writing the story that she did. They didn’t like it, therefore she was wrong.

My POV is this, K has the right to write her story. I have the right to read her story or to not read her story, depending on how I feel about it. Would I have read this one? Probably not, but that’s because of the particular subject matter. Then again, I might’ve, I own a lot of her books already. But I don’t have the choice now. It was taken away from me. But I can guarantee that I will absolutely buy this book if it comes for sale anywhere I can. Not because I do or don’t want to read it, but because I don’t support banning books, and I do support the right of authors to write the stories they want.

Sophie Kisker and the World of Midros

If you look at most of the authors I’ve written about, you will see that I stalk follow them on FB, Twitter, Amazon, Bookbub, their blogs, and just about everywhere else I can. Sophie Kisker is no different. She is a dark romance writer, whose books generally have BDSM and at least some power exchange. I’ve currently read everything that she’s written, and am eagerly waiting for her newest book, which comes out very soon.  Since the new book is part of the Midrosian Chronicles, I thought this would be a good time to talk about the series, which currently consists of Memories of Surrender and Longings of SurrenderBook three, Tears of Surrender, comes out the 12th of this month.

Some background on the series. Midros is a planet that is rolling in the dough. Before a special mineral was found on their planet, interstellar shipping and travel was incredibly expensive. In order to make it through the atmosphere on re-entry, the outer hulls of the ships had to be very strong. Strong generally means heavy. A heavy hull makes it hard to take off and leave the atmosphere. Anything that lightens up that weight becomes immediately precious and in high demand. If it is only on one planet, well, that planet can pretty much do anything it wants to do. That’s the case when it comes to Midros and paeolate.

In the case of Midros, that means keeping half of its population as slaves. Women were literally nothing but property. Girls are ripped away from their mothers’ arms when they turn 5 and are educated at a special “girls’ school” until they turn 18. Their education is severely limited. Females aren’t allowed to learn how to read the language that is currently used by men, Br’ini.

When the girl turns 18, she is sold to her new master. She could end up working as some kind of service person, like an assistant at a store. Or, more likely, she’ll end up in someone’s household as their sex slave. Many men have a first slave, who might otherwise be called a wife, she’s the mother of their child/ren. As part of each slave’s duties, she will have to spend one week per year (roughly) as a service companion slave, available to rent. Most women don’t look forward to these weeks, because generally, bad things happen to them during this week.

So, with some basic background, I know, you’re thinking this was basic?, it’s on to the books.

Note, while you could read these books as a stand-alone book, if you really wanted to, they do build on each other, and you will bet a much better experience if you read them in order. I’m going to give a brief overview of each book up here, and then after the break, I’m going to go more in depth. There will, inevitably, be spoilers, but I’ll make sure that no one goes past where they are willing to go.

Memories of Surrender

So, in Memories, we meet James, Lydia, and Raym. Raym is Midrosian, the head of a pharma company, and a friend to James. James is a scientist, on Midros to help figure out why Oblivita, a medicine that is used to obliterate bad memories, doesn’t work on people unless they are on Midros. Lydia, is a slave. She has taught herself to read the illegal language. I mean, it’s so illegal for her to even know how to read this language, she can be (and is) punished for simply holding a book written in it. In fact, that’s where we open up.

Lydia is just going about her house, doing her duties, which includes cleaning where there are books. She grabs one about ocean creatures, and gets caught by her master looking at it. He told her that he was willing to give her the benefit of the doubt, but she was still going to have to submit her name to Punishment Day, where she is whipped with a whip that leaves marks that look like burn marks.

James and Raym are talking about their research while Punishment Day is going on. James is a Dom, and is turned on by the idea of having a woman collared and punished, but the whole non-consent part bothers him.

A matter of days after her punishment, it’s time of Lydia’s service companion week. She’s dreading it, because with the marks of her severe punishment, there are going to people who want to rent her because of the marks. And in fact, when James come in, under Raym’s urging, there is a man who is bound and determined to really hurt her. Then James decides to rent her.

So, here he is with his lovely rental slave, and he doesn’t know what to with her. Well, I mean he knows what to do, I mean, he’s a boy, she’s a girl, he’s a Dom, she’s a sub, but this isn’t a situation that he ever would have thought to have found himself in. So, he takes her to the Archives and works on his research. Along the way, James, with Lydia’s help, finds out a huge secret which could blow Midros apart.

Longings of a Slave

This story is about Enna, a run away slave, and her search for her daughter, Miria, and the man who helps her, Matias Acoff. (Who happens to be Lydia’s brother, see why I strongly recommend you read them in order?)

Enna’s master, who never really liked her all that much, and only won her in a card game, has had Miria taken away from her mother before she even turned 5. He knew it would be hard when she turned five, so thus, the sneak attack. Enna did everything she could to fight, and eventually tricks the other slave, and she runs.

After some time, Matias is out with his group, doing what they came to Midros to do. Enna is the only slave he hasn’t been able to find as of yet. But, it’s time for him to take a week’s break.

While he is out morning, he sees a woman come to the back of a medical clinic to speak to another slave. When the woman leaves, and the slave’s master comes, she gets dragged away by the authorities. Matias comes back when the slave told the woman to come back, and saves Enna from being taken by those same authorities.

She eventually gets away from him, but that’s OK, he put a tracker in her shoe, and he follows her to where a bunch of escaped slaves were hiding, which works out just about as well as you might think it would.

Matias is attracted to Enna, and wants to help her, and her fellow run away slaves. He figures out a way to get Miria back. However, nothing ever goes smoothly, and so of course, things happen. Some very not good things.

The Midrosian Chronicles is a good series to read. Sophie writes some really strong female characters, which I really like. A lot of people think that submissive=weak, but it doesn’t, and it shows. Her women go on a journey to figure out who they are in regards to themselves and to what they want. Yes, I recommend them.

Spoilers go on from here, so you have been warned.

spoilers

 

So, back to Memories.

James finds out that Lydia can read, which is good, because he needs the help translating, and Raym isn’t always available to help. While they are in the archives, Lydia goes exploring and finds a women’s libary. It’s full of books that are written by women and have been hidden. One book she finds is a diary that talks about the eroding rights that women on Midros are dealing with. Another entry talks about where are all the women are coming from. Which is a darn good question. A lot of masters and slaves decide to not have girls because, well, you can guess why. But, there are always more than enough girls to go around, so they have to come from somewhere.

Meanwhile, Lydia and James are falling in love.  Except, Lydia’s master comes to take her back early. She’s due to be punished. He has her re-imprinted. It’s supposed to turn her mind to him so that she can again be happy in his service and can think of no one else. It didn’t work as well as it could’ve, and she ends up imprinted on James.

Through more research, they find out where all the extra girls are coming from. Midrosian squads go to war-torn planets and still little girls, use the medicine on them, and then trains them to be slaves. Turns out that Lydia was one of those girls.

That leads into Longings. That’s why Matias was on Midros. He and his military are testing all the women on Midros. If they aren’t from Midros originally, then they can go back to their planet of origin. If they are Midrosian, they have to stay where they are, and still be slaves. Although, Matias does manage to bend that law every now and again.

When he is at the slave camp with Enna, he talks to her about letting the women know about this, because none of them know. She points out a very valid arguement, IMO. Even if a woman is from another planet, if her daughter was born on Midros, then she’s Midrosian and has to stay there, same with sons, of course, but what woman is going to want to leave her young daughter to a fate she knows only too well? So Enna smashes the scanner.

Matias, wanting to make sure that the enclave is as safe as possible, talks to James and Lydia, and their friend Raym, and gets all kinds of help for the escaped slaves so that they can hide safely. What he doesn’t know, is that there is someone working against him, one of his own men. Enna’s sadistic and evil master has a big bounty out on her, and the guy decides to cash in on it and hand over Enna.

There is a truly horrifying scene of punishment for Enna and some of the other women. Castration with a rusty spoon is too good for her master, as well as some of the others. I’m pretty sure that I could come up with something very, very evil for them, but Sophie beat me to it.

Anyway, do read these books. Make sure to check out the new one, Tears of Surrender, on the 12th. Trust me, you’ll be glad. Also, check out other books by Sophie Kisker. There aren’t a whole lot, yet, but they are all worth reading. So far, she hasn’t written a book I don’t like. One of Sophie’s other books, Fear and Desire, is on my Top 10 darkest most fucked up book list. I came up with a new term when talking to Sophie about that, informed non-consent, which fits that really well. Her heroines do tend to go through a whole lot of terrible stuff, but they come out the other side and are able to find themselves and find love.