Sara Fields-Mastered

Here we are back on a futuristic Earth that has been invaded and devastated by the Vakarrans, thanks to Sara Fields. Mastered is the second book of this series, and I’m really interested to see where it’s going to go after this one. I think some really interesting things will be happening.

Alaina Stryke, sister to rebel Kira Stryke from our first book, is now in charge of leading their rebellious little band. Kira had gone to her command center to make sure that no Vakarrans were around while Alaina and their two younger sisters moved the rest of the group on to another hidden area. They have to stay hidden because the women would be taken by the Vakarrans and turned into breeders and sex slaves and then men will just be slaves. But when Kira doesn’t come back, Alaina fears the worst.

She decides that she will go to the command center to see what she will find. When she gets there, she discovers that there is a lone Vakarran near one of Kira’s traps, so she’s going to capture him and make him tell her where her sister is so that she can be rescued. Davvan is the youngest member of the second battalion. Alaina gets him trapped in a pit and then goes to talk to him. He tells her that he can’t get her any info on her sister and that he can’t communicate with any Vakarrans. As she goes to shoot him, she feels a gun held up to her own head. Turns out that Davvan is devious and the tables have been turned on her.

The rest of Davvan’s team has arrived and they are going to make this human woman pay, because she’s a human woman and she’s a slave. On top of that, she had the audacity to consider killing a Vakarran. Ryder, Morgn, and Aarom have to all give shit to Davven about it first, but she’s well fucked and punished by the time they drag her into the nearby training facility.

OK, everyone may want to think of the Vakarrans as bad guys, not all of them are. Her guys save a human from another Vakarran who was whipping the shit out of her. Whipping her enough that it was probably going to leave marks. So really, the Vakarrans are like anyone else. There are some that are dicks and that let the power they have go to their heads. There are others who are decent guys, like Kira’s guys and like our current 4. Of course, that doesn’t mean that they aren’t going to tie up Alaina, spank her until her ass is a bright cherry red, and then fuck her senseless. They just aren’t going to harm her. However, they are worried about her being harmed, because their new commander will want to take her and keep her and will probably kill her. Even though he technically can’t because they have a claim on her, that won’t stop him. He’s an asshole and a nasty piece of work who is a political appointee because he’s part of the old boys’ network.

I really liked Alaina, and to quote the movie Slither, “Bitch is hardcore.” She is fierce. She’s a warrior and she has a huge heart. I liked all her guys, for different reasons. I think that Aarom is my favorite though. He’s a little softer, maybe, than other Vakarrans we’ve seen. Not saying he won’t punish Alaina when she needs it, but he is also her emotional support and her friend as well as her lover. I liked that a lot.

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I really liked the ending. I’m eager to see what changes are going to come in the series because of the choices that the guys made. It was a pretty bold choice.

I loved that Alaina handled certain things on her own. I knew that she was walking into a trap, but that she did what she did made me really happy. And the fact that other women were taken out of that situation because of her decisions is a good thing. And if the women had to be rescued by Vakarrans, it’s a good thing it was these guys.

I’m really looking forward to the next book and to see where Sara’s going to go with it. I’m wondering if there may be a small rebellion starting in the Vakarran ranks because of Kira and Alaina. That would be interesting, wouldn’t it? Go check these books out and tell me what you think. Happy reading!

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Aria Adams-The Belle Jar

Aria Adams is a pen name for Katie Douglas. It’s the one where she writes dark stuff. And the Belle Jar is dark. It’s a retelling of Beauty and the Beast, but it sure as fuck isn’t any kind of fairy tale. It’s dark, horrific in places, merely scary in others, but it has glimmers of light in it. It’s a great story and I loved it.

Marea lives in Darkholm, which isn’t a very nice kind of place to live. Her mother was burned as a witch and the people of her village keep accusing her of being a witch. The only thing that has saved Marea from being burned is the fact that her mother had the foresight to have a chastity ring inserted on Marea. This ring went into her bits, making sure that she would retain her virginity. No one could figure out how to take the ring off, and frankly, Marea is pretty happy about that, because it proves she’s still a virgin and never had sex with a demon, meaning she couldn’t be a witch. But the fact that she’s a redhead doesn’t endear her to the people in her village.

In the dark and evil woods near their village, is a castle. Every 7 years, the denizens of the castle demand a sacrifice. This year, the village has decided that it’s going to be Marea, so they bundle her into a sack and pop up onto the doorstep of the castle. When she’s taken out of the sack, she’s confronted by monsters who pop her into a bell jar and begin doing terrible things. She manages to survive that part, but more and more horrible things happen.

I loved the story. Aria managed to put a lot of different layers in it and to leave you wondering what’s going to come next. I wasn’t sure what Marea was going to do when she got stuck with horrible choices. When your choices break down into a handful of shit or a bigger handful of shit, there’s not really any good choice for you to make. I’m pretty sure that Marea would’ve been happy if handfuls of shit had been her choice.

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I love the dichotomy of the castle boys and the mirror boys. It was really interesting to see. I’m not sure if it made it any easier for Marea or not. I mean, she had someplace to escape to, but when she came back to the castle, she had something terrible to deal with. I would think that each time she was able to go to the mirror, it would make coming back so much worse.

OK, that’s all I have to say about this one. Go read it, but make sure you have a comfy blankie with you while you do.

When the Dark Wins

I’ve been writing this blog and bringing you books for close to a year now. Some of you have been following me for that long, some of you are new. But, if you look at my posts, you will see that there is one pretty overwhelming theme. I love the dark. I play in it, I revel in it, I go out and search it out. The darker the better. Things that might disturb other people? I was thrilled to read them. So, I figured that I was going to be fine with this one. After all, I’ve read all of these authors before. They’ve written some dark stuff that I love. Addison Cain’s Alice in Wonderland story, anatomy by Yolanda Olson, Imperfect Monster and Destruction by Jennifer Bene. Well, you get the idea, right? Well, those stories are actually pretty light compared to what we’ve been given here. Except for maybe anatomy. That one’s pretty fucked up.

I walked into When the Dark Wins thinking I was ready. I was wrong. The whole point behind this book is that 8 authors are giving us stories where there is no happy ending, no light, just evil and darkness and more evil and more darkness. There are mindfucks galore. Hell, even the mindfucks get mindfucked. It’s awesome.

So, I’m giving absolutely no spoilers at all. I’m just going to give you my impressions of the stories.

Addison Cain-Catacombs

This story is the single most disturbing thing I have ever read in my entire life. Straight out, no lie, the most disturbing thing ever. The last story I said that about was Addison’s Alice story, so well done Addison, topping yourself. I can’t wait to see what you do next. When I finished Catacombs, I looked over at my husband and said holy fuck. When he asked what I was holy fucking about, I told him there was no way to explain it. I could’ve tried, but he wouldn’t’ve gotten it. Totally fucked up Totally awesome. I had to pet my cat and play a game for a while after reading this.

Zoe Blake-My Name Is Jane

I literally put the whole book down and walked away from it for a night after I finished this. This story plays into a personal nightmare of mine. OK, I don’t mean this exact scenario, but how Jane feels plays into that nightmare. I’ve literally woken up in cold sweats because of it. So, yeah. It wasn’t the most disturbing story in the book, but it was the one that chilled me the most.

Eris Adderly-A Sinner in Virtue

Having read the story, I love the title. I think it’s completely awesome. It’s the start of a new series, and I’m so eager to get to the series. It’s not as dark as some of the other stories are, but it’s still dark. Hypocrisy at its absolute finest. Can’t wait.

Dani Rene-Severed

I may have mentioned that I have the mad Dani Rene love before. This story did nothing to change it. I couldn’t wait to see what was going to happen next. It was a very, very wrong scenario. I can’t even say that it was in a very, very right way, because there is no right way here. I mean, yeah.

Jennifer Bene-Breaking Beth

Can I just say fucking finally? Thank you, Jennifer! I’ve been waiting to find out what happened to Beth ever since I read the first Thalia story. She keeps getting brought up in the book, so I needed to know Beth’s story. It isn’t pretty, not at all. And I’m even gladder that those guys got what was coming to them. I think Beth is awesome, strong and stubborn. Maybe a little too much so for her own good. I mean, the title is Breaking Beth.

Cari Silverwood-Used

I think that Cari’s Mesmer books were the first of hers I read. They definitely made me fall in love with her and her words. Used takes place in that world. The characters aren’t main characters in the books, but I’m fine with that because it doesn’t mess with continuity or anything. I think that Isak is creepier than the other mesmers though, and that’s saying something. I need to spend this weekend rereading the books I think. I did wonder how far ahead he planned when it came to certain things. And the ending was…

Michelle Brown-The Hunted

When it comes to authors in this book, Michelle is a baby. However, that doesn’t mean that baby can’t write. Her story is… Yeah. It’s the shortest story in the book, but it’s definitely one that stayed with me for awhile, especially the end. The end was a mindfuck moment. It just fucked me up.

Yolanda Olson-What Lies Beneath

Mind.fuck. Yeah, I know I’ve said that about most of these stories, but really, this one was the biggest mindfuck of them all, from start to finish. Really. Just WTF from the first word to the last word. I love Yolanda Olson and her work. I do think that her process goes along the lines of asking herself what would fuck her readers up the most. Good job, Yolanda. You succeeded.

OK, that’s my review of When the Dark Wins. No spoilers. If you think you are ready to let the darkness embrace you, then go check it out. Eight stories which will make you glad that you don’t live in these authors’ minds? I’m so down for that.

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Celia Aaron-The Prophet

I’m pretty sure that Celia Aaron has redefined Southern Gothic and made it something all her own. I’m also pretty sure that she’s evil. When she writes a book, she not only wants to find out how she can do terrible things to her characters, she also wants to figure out ways in which to torture us, her readers. And she does such a damn good job at it. The Prophet is proof of this. Prophet is the 2nd of the 3 books that make up The Cloister books. They are a continuous story, broken into three parts. Talking about Prophet will spoil the first book in the series, The Maiden, there just isn’t any other way to do it. If you haven’t read Maiden, then don’t read this yet. If you don’t like cliffies, then wait. The Church comes out in June. These books are dark af and mindfucking like you wouldn’t believe. If you have a trigger, the book will seek it out and pull it.

If you have read both books, or you aren’t worried, then come jump off the cliff with me.

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Continue reading “Celia Aaron-The Prophet”

Sara Fields-Conquered

If Sara Fields writes it, I will read it. It’s like the whole Field of Dreams thing, but better because I don’t have to walk out into any corn fields or sit on an uncomfortable bleacher bench. I can sit in my nice comfy couch, with a nice cold beverage, and just read the books. So, totally better.

Today, she decided to write a dark scifi reverse harem book. Is it the darkest thing I’ve ever read? Nope. I have a feeling title will be coming soon. Is it darker than other things that she’s written? Yeah, I think so. Did I love it? Fuck yeah, you better believe I did.

So, on to Conquered. This is an alien invasion/abduction story on the top of it. The Vakarrans are a ruthless species. They can’t really afford to be if they want their species to survive. There are no Vakarran women, so if they want to continue, they need to find species with which they can breed. Humans just happen to be one of those species. The Vakarrans pretty much figure if the humans didn’t want Earth to be invaded, they should’ve just been better at protecting themselves. Oh well, they weren’t, and now all the men are slave labor and the women are all sex slaves and breeders. Women were supposed to all go to training camps so that they can be trained and such.

Kira was just a teenager when the Vakarrans invaded the Earth. Her two younger sisters weren’t even teenagers. On invasion day, their parents shoved the girls out the door and into the forest behind their house. The girls ran and hid in a cave. They expected their parents would be there at some point, but they never showed up. The girls had to figure out how to live in the wilds. Luckily, they had always played out in the woods and were familiar with stuff, so it wasn’t as bad as it could’ve been. Now, Kira and her sisters lead a rogue band of humans. Mostly they are women who are hiding from the Vakarrans, either they’ve escaped or they just never went to the camps at all. There are a few men there too, but not as many. Kira would like for her group to be a resistance, but right now she just wants to make sure that they are all safe. She may be rebellious, but she’s also a very responsible leader and has done everything she can to make sure that they stay hidden, including laying traps for the Vakarrans.

The Vakarrans have sent another patrol out to find her, and she’s used her traps to kill them, in a very nasty way. That made the leader very angry, since they were his buds. He wants Kira caught and punished. So he sends out a very good team to get her, Zaavyr, Jax, Coltan and Aedan. They are veterans, smart, wily, careful, and tricksy. They manage to come up with a way to catch Kira and bring her to their training camp.

I love Kira. She’s very strong and very smart. Sometimes, I think that she may be a little too smart for her own good. She is always thinking, and that can get a person in trouble. But, I think that our guys value her intelligence, strength, and spirit. Not everyone did, but if they didn’t, they deserve what they may get. This is a true fact. I do like the guys, even though some people may think that they were a little hard on Kira. I think that they were as hard as they had to be at times. Things that people may think were terrible could’ve been a lot worse than they were, and the boys had to do what they did in order to keep from having to do things that would’ve been worse or letting other people do those things to Kira. The important thing is that while they may hurt her while they are punishing her, they would never harm her, and that’s better than others would’ve done. And, I think they may have had to be hard on Kira, at least at first, because she was so used to being independent, and it can be really hard to go from being the one in control to being the one who has no control.

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I love that the guys kept Kira’s secrets and let her keep an eye out for things. They are really trusting her, but they love her, and theoretically, you trust the person you love, right?

I do also like the way they managed to get rid of the nasty captain. It let Kira get some of her own back, and I’m all for that. He’s the one who hurt her, he deserved what he got.

OK, that’s it for Sara’s new book. I can’t wait for the next one to come out. It can’t come soon enough for me. I want to know if it’s going to be a RH book too. Go check it out. I’m going to settle in for the night and read some Tanya Huff while eating brownies. Happy reading!

Loki Renard-Broken by the Alien

Does it seem like I’ve had a lot of Loki Renard posts here lately? Well, there’s a very good reason for that. Loki has been ridiculously prolific lately. I’m not complaining, since that just means more books for me to read. And, I don’t know if you knew this or not, but I LOVE to read. If it came down to giving up chocolate or giving up books, I’d give up chocolate. But, since I don’t have to choose, I will eat my chocolate while reading, just like I did while reading Broken by the Alien.

Loki tends to write on the darker end of things, and this one fits in really well with the other books of hers that I’ve recently blogged. It is a scifi romance though, instead of being here on Earth.

This is the way that the story goes. The Rathkari have invaded Earth. They are very much into breeding. They want to do everything they can to make sure that their species continues. Each person is going to be the parent of millions, so it’s important to mate and breed. But that doesn’t mean that they are going to let humans keep doing that. No, their plan is to take all the human males off of Earth and do heaven only knows what with them. Then they take all the women of breeding age and go make happy little Rathkari babies. Either they do that through a mating bond or there are breeding facilities where women can go and just keep having babies. Women who are too old to breed are used as slave labor on Earth to produce food for the Rathkari fleets and people.

In the very intense first chapter, we meet Era. She has lost her father and brother, and her brother’s fiancee is now one of the women having Rathkari babies. Era literally has no one left on the face of the Earth. She’s of prime child-bearing years, but instead, she’s laboring in the rice paddies, planting, harvesting, and hauling huge bags of rice around. She’s hiding and trying to make it look like she’s older than she is. The fact that the Rathkari don’t treat their slaves well or feed them all that particularly well makes it even easier to sell her masquerade. But, when the overseer sees her period blood on her leg one day, he decides that she’s broken and is going to take her to the recycler, which will let her be used to nourish the fields.

That’s when Karlo shows up. He’s the superior officer in charge of the particular quadrant that Earth is in. He just happens to be doing an inspection of the fields that day and sees Era struggling with the overseer. She wants to live, so she’s trying to get him to let her go. Karlo recognizes that she’s probably of childbearing years, so he goes to save her. Era suddenly changes her mind and decides that nope, the overseer can just go toss her in the recycler if that means that she doesn’t have to go with Karlo. She quite literally would rather die than to have him save her life. But since he’s bigger than she is and much healthier, she doesn’t have a lot of choice. He takes her, straps her into the shuttle, and takes her back to his ship and his quarters. He’s planning on taking her as his mate, but first he has to get her healthy, and it turns out that she’s going to keep fighting him the whole time.

OK, it’s that time. Era hates the Rathkari, and I gotta say that I can’t blame her for that at all. If I were in her place, I would probably hate them as well. But, it also sounds like the occupation may have been mismanaged, so if things had gone better, would that have changed her feelings? I dunno. I often play what if… with books, but I don’t think this is one that I’m going to do that with. The fact is, she hates the Rathkari in general, and quite often, Karlo in particular. He doesn’t do a whole lot to endear himself to her either. Of course, they both have very different POVs so there are a lot of misunderstandings, but he doesn’t really try to get where she’s coming from. I liked Karlo, but there are times that I was really furious at him. I will say that there are times when I’m mad at Era too. Just as he doesn’t really try to get her POV, I don’t think that Era really tries to put herself in his shoes. There are just huge chasms between the two of them that are almost impossible to bridge at times. The book made me feel happy, sad, angry, stressed, and joyful, sometimes all at once. I totally loved it.

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The rope work that Karlo does is pretty damn awesome, and I would totally love that. Not entirely sure that I’d want the first punishment he does with it, though.

I was really mad at Karlo during the whole explanation that Era couldn’t get pregnant and his reaction. Of course she’s going to be angry about the whole thing, but anger is a secondary emotion, and it’s always easier to be scared than it is to be afraid or to be vulnerable or to tell him that she has some kind of feelings for him. It’s not like I expected him to read her mind, but I did expect something better out of him.

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

 

Celia Aaron-The Maiden

I know that this isn’t the first Celia Aaron’s book I’ve had here, but the other one I had wasn’t dark. This one is dark. Dark af. And it’s a mindfuck. So, hey, that’s great. Hits a lot of my happy buttons.

Celia Aaron writes books that are set in the South. She’s kind of a modern Flannery O’Connor, if Flannery wrote dark, noncon, erotic, thrilling, suspenseful romance. I mean, you get a real taste of the places where she’s writing about, mostly because she’s from the places she’s writing about. That’s also why her lawyers are really authentic too, because she was a lawyer. Anyway, I love reading her books because of all the work she puts into creating her worlds and how they really enhance the story. So, let’s get to The Maiden.

The Maiden is the first book in The Cloisters trio. Well, I don’t know if trio is the right word, but that’s the one I’m going with. There are going to be three, The Maiden, The Prophet which releases in May, and The Church, which releases in June. If you don’t like waiting reading a duet or trio like this one at a time, I would probably suggest that you wait until Church releases. I won’t be, because I neeeeeeeeeed to have them in my hot little hands the second they come out.

So, here’s the lowdown. There is a cult, a church called Heavenly Ministries. The church is run by the Prophet, Leon Monroe. He used to be just a good Baptist pastor,  but then God talked to him and told him to create Heavenly Ministries. The church is basically an end-times are coming, the apocalypse is coming, the end of the world will happen, but if you are a member of our church and live in perfect obedience, you can be saved, kind of church. Things may not necessarily make a lot of sense, but if you have a charismatic leader, like it appears good old Leon is, you can hook people who are looking for something. There are always going to be people who are searching for something or someone or the right path.

Every year, there are Maidens who are accepted into the Cloister. The Maidens are beautiful young virgins. Some go back home at the end of the year and some end up married to someone rich and powerful. The draw of becoming one of the Maidens is that they are choice women, pure and chaste, and their year in the Cloister will keep them safe and pure. Of course, if that’s all there was, I probably wouldn’t have read this book and wouldn’t be talking about it here.

Delilah has been chosen as one of this year’s crop of 12 Maidens. She’s done everything she can to make sure that she was one of the chosen. She follows everything the Prophet says, she goes to church every chance she gets, she is meek, mild, and modest. On the night that she enters the Cloister, there is a big ceremony. The Maidens are led to a huge bonfire where there is a circle of men. They stand in between the men and the fire. The Prophet goes on and on about the story of Abraham and Rebecca. Then, each Maiden is given to a Protector who is going to help her, guide her, and train her for the next year.

Delilah looks at the man across the way from her, and it’s Noah Monroe, the Prophet’s younger son. She thinks that’s OK. Standing right next to him is his older brother, Adam. Adam sees something a little rebellious in Delilah and he trades places with him so that he can become her Protector.

The young women all think that wonderful things are going to be happening. But Adam, Noah, and the other guys all know that it’s not. The Protectors haul their Maidens to the Cloister, where they are told to take off their clothes and get a new name from the Prophet. When they are allowed to get dressed again, they get a birth control shot and a microchip tracker shot into their arm. That’s when things start getting real.

Delilah had an idea as to what would be happening, because she’s there trying to find out information about a young woman named Georgia. Georgia went to be a Maiden, but was later found dead. Delilah knows that the secret of Georgia’s death lies in the Cloister. The only way she could get there was to join the church and become a Maiden. She thought that she knew how bad it was going to be, but she really didn’t.

OK, this book is really intense. It’s dark. There is really no fucking light in this book. There are some lighter black parts, but yeah, not light. There is all kinds of fucked up shit that goes on. It’s all kinds of triggering. There are triggers on top of triggers with a side of triggers. I mean, seriously. Triggers. The Spinners, the women in charge of the Maidens, are sadistic bitches, especially Grace. The Protectors, well, aren’t. Terrible things happen to the Maidens. I would say that they are fucked, but that would probably be too nice to describe it. It is a really great book. I loved it. I couldn’t put it down. I quite literally read it until I was cross-eyed in the middle of the night and my Kindle was nearly falling on my face. That’s how much I got sucked into this book.

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It’s a cliffhanger. I’m not going to lie to you. If you’ve made it down here, you know that you’re going to see spoilers, so you have no one to blame but yourself to find out that yes, it’s a cliffhanger.

I don’t know whether to like Adam or to hate Adam. I kind of want to do to both. I know what I feel about his father, and I haven’t yet come up with something bad enough to happen to him. I’m sure I will. I’m pretty sure that Adam has some kind of long game he’s playing here, but I don’t know what it is. I can’t wait to find out what it is though. It’s going to be interesting to find out. Of course, Celia is going to keep us guessing right until the end.

So, that’s all that I have to stay about this one. Really, check it out, especially if you like dark and dirty. Happy reading!