Kitty Thomas-Twisted Fates

Kitty has such a great way with dark and twisted books, and I think that Twisted Fates really shows that. This is the latest book in the Pleasure House world. The Pleasure House books can all be read as standalones. They are interconnected, but not serial. The characters do show up from one book to the next, but if you don’t know who they are, then you aren’t going to get lost. One of my favorite of Kitty’s male main characters is in the Pleasure House world, Brian. He’s a total sociopath and beyond broken, but there is just something about his story. I mention Brian because his actions are part of what happens in this book. They happened prior to his book, which happened prior to this one, in the timeline of things.

So, the Pleasure House is one where women can go to be trained to be sex slaves. When they are done with their training, they are sold to masters. Many of the women are there more or less voluntarily, but once you walk into the house, you don’t walk out of it, unless you are owned. And if you try to get away… Well, let’s just say that there’s a reason there’s a sociopath on staff.

TF is Lindsay and Shannon’s story. Lindsay is a kink-friendly psychiatrist who is one of the owners of the house. He helps to bring women to the house and does some of the training and such. Shannon was his patient, years ago, after the man that she was in a total power exchange relationship dumped her. Once he got her to a better state, he got her to come to the house for training. That was 8 years ago.

Three days into her stay, Shannon made a huge mistake. She laughed at Brian. Beyond being a sociopath, Brian ain’t the most stable person. He grabbed her, dragged her down to his personal dungeon, whipped the shit out of her and cut her with his knife, then left her for dead. She now has scars all over her back as well as some on her chest and stomach from that time. They couldn’t let her go, because, well, you just don’t leave like that. So, for the last 8 years, she’s been in a kind of limbo at the house. She manages the spa, gets played with very occasionally, and serves as kind of an object lesson, really. The lesson being, don’t fuck with Brian. She still has nightmares, and goes out of her way to avoid Brian. Then, there comes a day when it all becomes just too much. She goes to the spa, swallows a handful of pills, and lays down to wait for it all to end. But in walks Lindsay.

Lindsay tells her that he’s wanted her for all those 8 years. Shannon tells him that she hates him. Which, I don’t blame her, do you?

I really despised Lindsay. I have from the first time I read Brian and Mina’s story.  I thought that he was an asshole who thought being a psychiatrist meant that he was actually God, and that he messed around with things that he shouldn’t’ve oughta done. He seriously causes a lot of problems and doesn’t fix any of them. I just can’t stand him. At all. I mean, I have been cheering for Brian to kill him. Or hell, let Mina do it. I actually think that Mina might have more right to kill him than Brian does, but that’s just me. After having read this book, I’m kinda torn on Lindsay. I’m pretty sure that I still don’t like him. I think that I don’t like him a little less than I didn’t like him before. I don’t want to say I like him more, because that insinuates that I might have good feelings for him, and I sure the fuck don’t. I think that he is still an arrogant, condescending asshole who thinks that he knows everything, can make all the decisions for everybody ever, and is God. There are several places where he almost comes off as a good guy, but there are more places where he really doesn’t. I tried really hard to not let my dislike of Lindsay color this book before I read it. It was impossible to totally do, I mean, I am only human, but I wanted to give him a good chance, and I feel like I was able to do that.

I have always felt sorry for Shannon. She got dragged into something that was way beyond her with Brian. He was in a bad, bad, bad place when he did what he did to her. Not like he’s ever in a good place, but he was in a really bad place then. (Again, Lindsay’s fault) She has sat in the house for 8 years, watching woman after woman after woman getting what she wanted. All Shannon wanted was to have a master who loved her, took care of her, and wouldn’t throw her away. Now, she can’t even get any of the trainers to really even play with her. She feels like she’s worthless, she feels like she’s too scarred for anything and that everyone is disgusted by the way that she looks, and she can’t even look at herself because of the scars.

I loved this book. I wanted to read it faster and slower at the same time. I couldn’t wait to see what happened, but I knew that once I read it, I wouldn’t be able to discover the story again. I’m mad and sad and happy that I’ve gotten to read it for the first time. TF might be my new favorite Kitty book. If not, it’s at least tied for first. It was so intense, and I got so many feelz from it. It really is just a wow book.

And, oh, Ralph? Funny AF.

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I thought that the addition of Damian was really interesting. I also think that Damian had a point with some of what he told Lindsay, and he should’ve listened to Damian.

I liked seeing Quill and Saskia, and I think that the afterparty scene is probably one of the most intimate that I’ve read.

OK, that’s all for today. I honestly can’t recommend this one enough, or any of Kitty’s books, so go check them out. Happy reading!

 

Cari Silverwood & Jennifer Bene-Mesmer

Cari and Jennifer are two of my favorite writers ever, and they have teamed up to write a very dark, downright dirty, and devilishly disturbing book called Mesmer. This book takes place in Cari’s mesmer-verse, but it can totally be read as a standalone, if you aren’t familiar with the universe.

So, here’s the story. Mesmers are men who have an extra power. They can collect women. In other words, with certain women, they can completely take control of the woman. They can make her feel lust and pleasure, or they can, you know, not. But, if that was all the mesmers wanted, it wouldn’t be so bad. What they really like to do is depraved shit, and shit that will hurt women. They like pain. They like to cause it. It’s like it feeds them.

Tomik is a mesmer. He has a life he likes. He collects women, he does terrible things to them, he disposes of them. He has a brotherhood that he hangs out with, and they all do all kinds of fucked up things.

Then, there’s Hannah. Hannah and Tomik were friends and very close as teenagers. But then, Tomik just left, and Hannah doesn’t know why. But she does know that she missed him, and when she had trouble, she did the only thing she could think of. She called Tomik for help. The problem is, she doesn’t know what Tomik is.

Tomik is really layered. I can’t tell you if I like him, hate him, hate to like him, like to hate him, want him to die by fire, or want to fuck him. Or, you know, all of the above. He starts out really kind of flat, but with Cari and Jennifer, you can bet he doesn’t stay that way. It really is fascinating to watch him and watch the changes in him and how he reacts to the world and to Hannah.

Hannah is harder for me to get a grip on. I think, though, that’s because of Tomik. I think I see bits of her popping through, but I’m never sure. It’s really interesting to watch and to find out. I know that I will be thinking about her for a while and trying to figure out who is the real Hannah and who isn’t.

I think that Cari and Jennifer egged each other on, and I’m not going to complain if they did, because that means that we ended up as the winners, because I’m telling you, this book is just totally awesome. It’s one of those that I’m mad that I’ve already read it because I’ll never be able to read it for the first time again, and I really want to.

And I don’t know who came up with the rocking horse, I just know that I will never look at them the same again.

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Greta is really interesting. I really want to know more about her. Hopefully we can find out more about her at some point.

OK, that’s all for this one. Go check it out! Happy reading!

 

Dani Rene-Cruel War

Dani is back with another enemies to lovers book in Cruel War. It’s the first book in a new series, and I can’t wait to see what happens next. Dani writes a lot of books in this trope, and I think that she does them really well, so I’m perfectly happy to see another one from her. Her villains are delightful and her male main characters are just so wonderfully conflicted, dark, and twisted. Of course, that makes their redemption that much better. Her heroines are all strong, know what they want, and aren’t afraid to fight for it. So, if you ask me, that’s pretty awesome. 

Here’s the way this story works. Tynewood is a small town. It’s also an elite university. Tynewood also holds a secret society. The Gilded Sovereign was started a long time ago, and they pretty much run everything. The families are the elite of the elite. The men of the society, called Crowns, are succeeded by their oldest son. Except for Abner Lancaster who has managed to get both of his sons on board. Phillipe, his oldest, is now the head of the Sovereign. His younger son, Ares is taking the place of another member who doesn’t have a son. Abner has plans for the group now, even if he is no longer the head, because there are also going to be two other new members, Etienne and Tarian, Ares’ best friends.

Dahlia has just moved to Tynewood. Her father grew up there, but now that he’s dead, she’s gone there to live with her grandmother. Since she’s 19, she’s now starting college at Tynewood, but there’s one small problem. And his name is Ares. He just won’t leave her alone, no matter what.

Ares has a good reason for always being around Dahlia. It’s called revenge. He wants to hurt Dalia to get her back for something that happened to him. He has all kinds of plans, and his father promised that she would be his to do with as he wants. He’s looking forward to destroying her.

She is smart and isn’t willing to give up. She will fight for what she wants, whatever it is that she wants. She is not an opponent that I would want to deal with, that’s for sure. I think that she would probably walk circles around me. I think that anyone who tries to oppose her is going to get quite the shock.

I think that Ares is really just a lost little boy deep inside. He’s really, really angry, which, I really don’t blame him for. I think his father, the prick, has done what he can to feed that anger. He keeps telling Ares that he’s too volatile which I’m not necessarily going to argue with, but I think it wouldn’t be so bad if his father didn’t push him. Ares feels like he has to stand up to that challenge. Which makes him act volatile.

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Phillipe. Hmmm… I dunno that I really trust him. I know I don’t trust Abner as far as I could spit.

OK, that’s all I have to say on this one. Go check it out! Happy reading!

Jane Henry-Priceless

Priceless is part of the Bratva Dom world that Jane has been writing lately, but it’s not exactly in the same group that we have been seeing in the past couple of books. For one thing, it all takes place in the US. The Bratva group that is the main thrust of this story is associated with the one we’ve seen in Russia, headed by Demyan.

This is Nicolai and Marissa’s story. It’s hard in places, harder than the other books in this world, I think. I wouldn’t necessarily put Nicolai in the same category of herodom as the other guys in this world. Don’t get me wrong, he’s still a huge hero, just a different one. I think that he is the most good guy of all the guys that we’ve seen so far, if you want to break it down into good vs. bad. He does bad shit, a lot of it, but I think that he is just good, if that makes any kind of sense. I think it does to me.

Nicolai is Marissa’s bodyguard and driver. He has been for years, but now that she’s right on the cusp of 18, he’s starting to notice her in all new different ways. But she’s off-limits, because she’s so young for one thing, and then because her father is Nicolai’s father’s best friend.

At her graduation party, and mere hours before she turns 18, Nicolai gets word from his sister that Marissa is about to be sold into human trafficking. He does everything to nail it down so that he isn’t acting on rumor, but when he finds out it’s true, he grabs Marissa and gets her the hell out of Dodge. Too bad it didn’t last.

Poor Marissa. She really goes straight through hell. And she spends what feels like an eternity in it, at least subjectively. She really has no clue how long she’s been gone, she just knows it’s hell. I think, though, that she has a real core of steel. Even going through hell, she manages to keep a little of what makes her her.

Nicolai is definitely a strong and determined man. He knows what he wants, and he’s going to move heaven and earth to get it. I think that if he had to skin himself in order to save her, he totally world. I mean, just flay himself and lay that skin at the feet of whoever demanded it.

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The villain is such a jerk. I can’t believe he tries to play it off the way that he does. What a fucker.

Ok, that’s all I have to say about this one. Go check it out! Happy reading!

 

CP Mandara-Beautiful Tears

CP Mandara is another one of those authors that I’m surprised that I haven’t featured here before. Well, I’m fixing that now, with Beautiful Tears. This is the first book in a new series of hers. It’s an enemies to lovers, revenge books. I’m also going to warn you that CP is just a litttttle bit sadistic in the way that she ends her books. They keep you riiiiiight on that edge. Right.On.The.Edge. I have, more than once, cursed CP’s name when I hit the end of her books. But does that stop me from going back and reading them again? Of course not!

So, here’s the story from this one. Harper’s life is falling apart. The man that she helped put away with a lie 5 years ago is about to get out of jail, and she knows that he’s going to come after her. She wants to get away from London to make it harder for him to find her. The problem is that she is so broke that to be flat broke would be a financial uptick for her. But, she manages to get to Nottingham, where she figures that she’ll be safe.

Meanwhile, Brandt is counting down the minutes to his release. He has plans for Miss Harper. He wants to make her pay, and pay but good. He has spent 5 years in hell, and for each and every second that he was in jail, Harper is going to suffer. After all, he’s lost his wealthy family, who now want nothing to do with him, the woman he was supposed to marry, his chance of college, and any hope of a future. If he can get Harper to confess to police that she lied and actually did the crime, then he might still get that stuff back.

Here’s the thing when it comes to CP Mandara’s work, it’s intense. She builds up layer after layer of suspense and just keeps you on the edge. You can’t wait to turn the page and get to the next part because you just need to know what’s going on. Her sex is also just as intense. She writes very kinky stories, with a capital KINKY. The sex scenes are just searing because of the intensity between her characters.

She also works dark. I’m not sure where I would put her in the spectrum of dark authors, but considering one series has a father basically selling his daughter to a pony stable and this one has the male main character kidnapping the female main character, it’s definitely on the darker end. CP also puts her characters through the wringer, physically and mentally. She doesn’t save what she does for one side or the other, all the main characters go through it.

Anyway, I can’t wait for the next part of this series. I am pretty eagerly counting down the days.

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I need to know all of Harper’s secrets. I mean, there is just so much there. I can’t wait until they all come out.

OK, that’s all for this one. Go check it out! Happy reading!

 

Nicolina Martin-Absolution

Absolution is the second book of the Savage Duet, which is part of the Russo Saga. I think that Nicolina definitely had the right idea when she decided to break these books up into 2 instead of trying to cover Kerry and Christian’s story all at once. It’s an intense story, and with as much of a roller coaster as Redemption was by itself, the full story together would’ve been OMG-ish. Breaking them into two books allows us to catch our breath a bit in between the two. It also allows us to get longer books, which is always a yay kinda thing.

Before I get started, it’s important for me to warn you that there will probably be spoilers in here. I’ll try not to spoil anything, but the fact is, they are a duet, and the first one was cliffhanger-y. As always, I’ll try to keep it vague and any spoilers down below the pic, but any spoilage you get now is all on you.

So, we left Kerry with baby Cecilia. She has run away and hidden in the backwoods of Canada, and is nearly off the grid. By a crazy series of coincidences (or, you know, a sadistic author), Christian has found them. And Kerry has pretty much fallen apart. She’s terrified that he’s going to kill her at worst, or just take Cecilia and leave at best. Remember, the last thing she knew about him was Luci telling her that he couldn’t control Christian. So, for all she knows, he’s been searching the past 2 years to kill her. Frankly, I don’t blame her for how she’s feeling.

Meanwhile, Christian has pretty much jumped the rails. He knew where she was in Chicago, and kind of kept an eye on her, but after she left, no one could find her. So, he’s gone a little crazy. He kinda just doesn’t give a damn anymore. He is doing all kinds of terrible things, just so that he doesn’t have to think anymore. But, here’s the thing. He isn’t doing these terrible things because he wants to, he’s using them like a drug or something. They are a way to numb the pain that he is feeling inside. He’s pretty much a walking, talking black hole at the moment. Which, really, I don’t blame him for that. Chris knows what he did and where he went wrong.

Kerry spends a lot of the time in Canada simply existing. I don’t think that she’s really alive, just exists. If she isn’t with Cecilia, then she’s just a shadow of herself. When she has to interact with Christian, she does so from a purely instinctual place. She’s being a mama who is trying to take care of her daughter and herself. There’s not much else to it, she’s just swiping at him so that she and Cecilia will be safe. Everything she does is for that. Of course, she doesn’t necessarily make the best choices that way, but she gets to a point where she’s just reacting so much that she can’t think of consequences because there just isn’t any room in her head for that.

I loved seeing what happens with Kerry and Christian. They do not have an easy journey because they have to go through all that history first, and Kerry has to deal with all the things that she would really rather not have to deal with, like Luci, and that’s hard for her. But, I think that their hard journey makes what relationship they do get a much better one, because they have worked through some of these things. They know the worst that could happen, because it’s happened.

I will reiterate that I really fucking hate Luci. I know that Nicolina is working on his story right now, and she tells me that we will like him after this, but she’s going to work really damn hard on that one. I’m not going to doubt her, because I know that she can do it, but Luci is just such a fucking asshole. I mean, he’s a nasty, prolapsed, pig asshole, so, you know, a lot of work. I can’t wait to see it though. Luci’s redemption, not a prolapsed asshole.

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I love Luci and Kerry’s interaction when she finds out some particularly crucial information. I cheered for her and then laughed my ass off.

OK, that’s all for this one. Go check it out! Happy reading!

Skye Warren-Sonata

Sonata is the 3rd book in Skye’s North Security series. It’s also the conclusion of Samantha and Liam’s story. I’ve been looking forward to this book, because I’ve been wanting to know what happened with Samantha and Liam.

Before I get started, I’m going to warn you that there will be spoilers for Overture and Concerto. Sorry. But the way that the books are written, there’s no other way to do it. So, make sure that you are aware of that, and you know that I will try very hard to keep everything as vague as possible.

After the events of the last book, Samantha and Liam are in hiding in the south of France. That sounds like it could be so much fun, but it really isn’t. They are basically at each other’s throat. Liam is still healing from his wound, and because he’s an asshole sometimes, he isn’t taking as much care of himself as he should be. Samantha has locked up her beloved Strad so that she doesn’t give them away with her skill, and hasn’t picked up any kind of instrument, let alone a violin, in months. And they are no closer to figuring out everything that’s going on. So, that leaves Liam with making a choice he doesn’t really want to make. He is going to have to start the tour back up in Paris, and put Samantha on the stage as bait.

I’ve liked watching Samantha grow up and change during the entire series. She has had her eyes opened quite a bit during this. But, I think she’s also retained a part of her that sees life as magical and special, I mean, not that she’s had a whole lot of that in her life, but there’s just some part of her that sees life that way, at least a little bit. She’s also learned her strength, which isn’t anything that she knew from the start of the series. There is one scene in the book where I think she just comes across as an absolute goddess who knows her strength and is so regal, and then a few pages later, she knows her power in a different way.

Liam, I think, gets in his head a lot. He’s letting things that happened decades ago hold him frozen in place. Each time he tries to break free from those things, he lets them get back into his head and hold him back. It’s not fair to himself and it’s definitely not fair to Samantha. OTOH, he always wants to make sure that she’s protected and safe, even when he’s being an asshat. That part is never going to change.

I really want to get a story on Frans and Isa, because I’m pretty sure that it will be something fascinating.

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All the mom stuff was truly unexpected.

OK, that’s all I have to stay today. Go check it out! Happy reading!