33 Free Books

Everyone loves free books! Thirty-three authors have gotten together to offer up 33 free books!  The offer is good through the 12th, so check it out, especially if you like smexi romances.

The books include Born to Be Bound, the first book in Addison Cain’s Alpha’s Claim series, The Invitation by Jennifer Bene, who I love and it’s a book I enjoy, and Wicked Ways by Cari Silverwood. Cari is a new author to me, but I really enjoy her. She just put out a steampunk, dark erotica, science fiction story called Acquired Possession. (Check out my review!)

There are also other authors I enjoy, Skye Warren, Maren Smith, Maggie Ryan, Alta Hensley, Lee Savino, and Meredith O’Reilly. Honestly, I can personally recommend about 1/2 of the authors and their books, either because I have read them or have read other books by the various authors.

If you like your romance with a dash of spice (or maybe a little more than a dash), check out the giveaway.

 

My Top Ten Part 1

Everyone should have a top ten list. I actually have several. This one is my Top Ten darkest and most fucked up things I’ve read. The list changes around some and the order changes around. Number one is currently number one, but the order of other four in my top five can change around, depending on which one I’ve read recently. This post is going to be the five top stories. Next Tuesday will be part two with stories 6-10.

The Life of Anna

Seriously, when I say that LoA by Marissa Honeycutt is dark and fucked up, I might be understating it. The trigger warnings may need to have trigger warnings. I’ve talked to other people who read dark books and they rank this as their darkest read ever and considering some of the books we talk about, that’s saying a whole lot.

LoA takes place in an alternate universe. It’s still Earth but there are magical Immortals. Anna is part Immortal. The world is basically run by the BDSM version of the Masons. Two very, very, very bad men take advantage of Anna from a very young age. That’s because they know what she is and what she will be able to do at some point. They want to be able to control her and use her powers. There is one pretty good man who does what he can to save her. There is a lot of sex. There is some BDSM. There is also a lot of brutality towards Anna. It is a very intense read. I cried through huge swaths of it, and I had to take a break to read something else in the middle. The complete story is on KU, or you can buy the serialized version. But trust me when I say that it is dark, intense, sometimes brutal, and can be triggering. Marissa Honeycutt published a companion novella called Abandoned Grace, about Devin, the main bad guy in LoA, and I just found out today that she has a new one coming out on August 24! It’s in the same world, but not about Anna. It’s called Master of My Body: Finding Sabrina. I’ve already 1 clicked.

Monster

Remember how in my last post I said that I would be talking about Monster in this one? Well, here it is. Monster is a short from Hero Undercover. HU is an anthology by 25 authors, including Jennifer Bene and Addison Caine, who has a story in another anthology that is about to show up on this list. Now, the premise of this anthology is that there is a good guy, usually a cop, but not always, is undercover and rescues the heroine. There is often a lot of spanking involved, yum.

Anyway, telling the good guys from the bad guys isn’t always easy, especially when the good guy has been undercover for a long time. That’s what happens with Monster. Nikki walks into a situation that is way above what she can handle because she wants to save her brother. Andre wants her. Terrible things happen to Nikki.

This story just trips all my triggers in an oh, so good way. Jennifer manages to pack a whole lot of twisted shit into a little package. Everything that happens would be intense in a longer work, but in a short, you just don’t get a break from it, which is totally wow. Great story in a great anthology.

Nightmares in Wonderland

Nightmares in Wonderland is Addison Cain’s entry in The Dark Forest. DF is another anthology. In this one, several great authors get together to put their own spin on various fairy tales. Obviously, Addison took on Alice in Wonderland. OMFG, did she ever. Addison swims in the deep, dark, disturbing end of the pool right next to Jennifer Bene. In fact, it was through Addison that I found Jennifer, as well as some other dark authors like Kitty Thomas, who doesn’t show up on this list, but will show up on my blog sometime in the next few weeks.

Addison’s version of this particular story is disturbing. Deeply disturbing. Her Alice spends years unable to sleep and being basically tortured by nightly visitors. The only time she gets any peace is then the Hatter comes to visit. He guards her sleep. After years and years, her parents try to have her cured. This whole story is delightfully disturbing and dark.

Beast

This retelling of Beauty and the Beast is written by A Zavarelli. If there was going to be a movie version of this book, I’m pretty sure that Emma Watson would turn down the role of Bella. Beast is really dark. It has capture and non-con themes.

Bella won a singing contest, and her manager is trying to get into her pants. Javier was trained by her father, who is now missing. Bella rushes home to deal with what’s going on with her father, but mysterious things start happening. She gets drawings and other things start showing up. She feels like she is being watched. And of course, you can probably guess what’s happening, she is, of course, being watched, by Javi.

Poor Javier, bad things happened to him as a child and then Bella’s dad takes advantage of the poor kid that is Javier. Javi hates her father for what he did. Frankly, I don’t blame Javi one bit for that. Her dad is a massive prick.

Anyway, Javi takes Bella, locks her up, and subjects her to a lot of things. However, this book isn’t necessarily about what happens here, but it’s about the light that can come from the darkness. For a book that starts as a non-con, it ends up with an HEA. Now I need to go read it again. Can’t recommend it enough.

Dare

Dare was a book that I read because one of the FB groups I’m in had a takeover by the author, James Crow. Of all the books on my list, most of which have some mind-fuck going on, this is the most mind-fuckingest. I will never, ever play truth or dare again. I’m pretty sure that my response was along the lines of what the fuck did I just read?

I don’t even know where to start describing this book. Pretty much anything I saw about it is a spoiler. Let’s just say it’s truth or dare to the Nth degree. The end was so not what I expected at all. I spent quite some time afterwards trying to figure it out. If you read it, you’ll understand why.  There is a lot of sex, and some (well, a lot of) drug use.

Anyway, these are the top five of my Top Ten. The second half will come out next Tuesday, or maybe earlier, I don’t know yet. Also coming next week, a blog post about urban fantasy, another very favorite genre.

Reminder, Jennifer Bene is offering her book, Security Binds Her, for free on Amazon right now, until 7/15. This is a great time to grab this book and get started reading her Thalia series. The last book just came out and it is a wonderful end to the series.

Alpha’s Claim Part 2

My last post was all about the Omegaverse, which is where the Alpha’s Claim series takes place. Today is all about the books. There will likely be some spoilers. Before I get into it, I just want to warn everyone that I deeply love these books, am heavily invested in them, and have had lots of discussions about them in Addison’s FB group. I’m always happy to discuss them more.

It’s going to be a pretty brief overview because if I go too much in-depth, I’ll give everything away. I just want to give you enough that you dash over to Amazon so that you go read them.

Addison Cain does amazing world building, it makes it easy to get into her worlds. Humanity has taken to living in various domes. The dome that we’re concerned about here is Tholos Dome, located in Antarctica. Not only has Tholos had to survive terrible wars and plagues, but the criminals that were sentenced to the tunnels under the Dome, called the Undercroft, have managed to break out and overthrow the city, so Tholos is in massive confusion.

In the destroyed Tholos Dome, Shepard, the Alpha-iest Alpha ever, led the criminals and executed the leaders of the city because of their corruption. He holds court in the Citadel every day. Claire, an Omega who is trying to disguise herself walks into the Citadel to confront him. She is trying to care for an enclave of Omegas who are in hiding so that they aren’t taken or forced into prostitution or a pair-bond. After her estrous is triggered by standing in a group of Alphas and faulty medication, a riot breaks out among all the Alphas and more aggressive Betas to see who can get to her first. Shepard wins, rushes her to his room, mates her, and forces a pair-bond with her.

Claire hates it, which I don’t blame her for it. She has spent her entire life trying to fight her biology, including staying celibate and locked in a room when she goes into heat. She fights off her initial estrous as much as possible in Shepard’s room so she can get her message to him. This says a lot about Claire. She is stubborn, devoted, and loyal. She wants to make sure that her people are safe, and that drives her a lot through the first two books.

We don’t have the same look in Shepard’s head that we do Claire’s, but it’s pretty obvious that he is pleased that he has a mate. He does love her, which is hard for Claire to understand. He does what he can to make sure that she is safe, which includes leaving her in a cinder block room, behind a locked door, and with a guard. That’s hard for Claire to adjust to. She often asks to see the sky or for a window, and at one point, Shepard points to his bookcase and tells her that there are a whole bunch of windows for her to use. When she does get to see the sky, she runs away.

That’s where we meet Corday. Corday is a young Beta who had been a LEO and is now in the resistance. Personally, I really don’t like Corday. In the later books, he really fucks things up and makes the situation worse. He doesn’t help out a whole lot here. He thinks he’s striking up a meaningful and potentially romantic relationship with Claire, while she sees him as a friend. He thinks he has some rights to Claire and that really colors all his actions. His actions cause a lot of problems.

Claire and Shepard are reunited and she gets pregnant. Her feelings towards Shepard start to change. Now, you know just as things are getting to be not so bad, something awful has to happen. And it does. That particular something awful’s name is Svana. She and Shepard have a lot of history. She’s a key to his plans. She is also a nasty, nasty, nasty bitch. Svana is also known as Leslie Cantor, niece to Senator Cantor, who was a leader of the city and in the resistance. Her actions cause Claire to run away again.

Svana puts her own plans into play, and she takes advantage of Corday. Remember how I don’t like him? This is part of it. She’s an Alpha and he’s a Beta, but I think that he should have at least started to see how he was being manipulated by him. He just never does. Not until Dane, another leader of the resistance, points some of it out to him.

Claire and Shepard are reunited, again. She struggles at this point. I mean, really struggles. She’s been separated from her Alpha, physically injured, assaulted, and isolated. None of that would be good for anyone, let alone a pregnant Omega. The amount of stress that she goes through is very hard on her. There are a lot of reasons for the stress. Part of it is that she and Shepard come from very different places and they each have a hard time seeing the other’s viewpoints. There is also a really good discussion of nature v. nuture that could happen here. Personally, I think it’s both. Their upbringing and their dynamics make it hard for each other to really understand the other.

Svana, with Corday’s help, causes lots of terrible things, and Claire suffers. Dear heavens, how that poor woman suffers. At the end of the books, Corday really gets on my nerves. He can’t leave poor Claire alone. He’s delusional and a twat.

There isn’t a traditional happily ever after here. It’s a dark romance. Dark romance doesn’t always have the happy couple riding off into the sunset. But, it works for the books, and it made me think for days. I also cried for hours after reading this. For most of the last half of the last book, which I haven’t really talked about at all, I cried. Addison has said that she cried writing it. It is hard to read. It’s intense. I read Born to Be Broken and Reborn back to back. My husband still calls them the series that devastated me.

I’ve glossed over most of the series because to go too far into it will mean that I give things away. Addison has put in so many subplots that all turn around and tie into each other and meet the main plot. You look at things that happened in the first book and at the end of the last book, you finally understand why they happened. It’s amazing, and that level of complexity leads to a great series and one that stays with you. I love these books and re-read them, a lot. I’m looking forward to the upcoming Alpha’s Control series which takes place in the same world and lets us see favorite characters. There is a sneak peak of it at the back of Sovereign, which is the second book of Addison’s great Irdesi Empire series.

I hope that I have whetted your appetite and that you find these books as compelling as I do. If you want to talk to me about them, I’m always up for that. Leave a comment and I promise I’ll answer. If I have convinced you to give them a try, remember that until 7/11, Born to Be Bound is absolutely free on Amazon. That’s a great deal. If you want recommendations on what Addison Cain books to read, the answer is all of them.

Blog posts for the rest of this week will be about Jennifer Bene, another favorite dark author, and her Thalia series, on Tuesday. On Thursday, you are going to get my personal Top Ten list of the darkest, most fucked up things I’ve ever read. Spoiler, Addison Cain and Jennifer Bene both show up on that list.

Alpha’s Claim Part 1

The Alpha’s Claim series by Addison Cain is an Omegaverse dystopian trilogy. Cain writes dark romance, with heavy themes, including non-consent and power exchange.

Now, while you may be familiar with dystopian fiction, most people don’t know what the Omegaverse is. I didn’t when I started reading the first book, Born to Be Bound. The Omegaverse is an alternate universe in which humans are broken down into three dynamics, Alpha, Beta, and Omega. The Alpha is the most dominant dynamic, generally warriors, leaders, captains of industry, and so on. Betas are the most common dynamic and would be your average human being. Omegas are the rarest dynamic and are generally very submissive. The Alphas have a knot at the base of their penis that locks into the Omega during sex, which keeps the penis in place. Omegas will go into heat, at which point they need to have sex, and it may last for a few days. Alphas have the same thing, only called rut. An Alpha’s rut can be triggered by an Omega’s heat. Alphas form pair-bonds with their Omegas. The pair-bond forms an unbreakable link between the two of them. That link can be used to feel the emotions of the other.

Most Omegaverse stories are male/male stories and either feature male Omegas who can get pregnant or female breeders who are only there for breeding purposes with the primary relationship being between two men. Addison’s books are one of the two series I have found on Amazon that have a male/female primary relationship. In her series, Alphas and Betas can be both male and female. There are also male Omegas, but they are especially rare, and we don’t see any in this series, although they are mentioned.

A male and female Alpha don’t tend to have relationships with each other because they are both too dominant. There also wouldn’t be a pregnancy between the two without serious medical intervention. The best way for a female Alpha to get pregnant is with a male Omega.

An Omega female can hide her dynamic and try to pass as a Beta. The heroine of the Alpha’s Claim series, Claire, does that. It takes a lot of work to do. She has to take heat suppressants to keep from going into estrous, as well as using special soaps and shampoos so her scent doesn’t betray her, and removing her body hair.

Coming tomorrow, my take on the actual books. Meanwhile, if you go over to Amazon 7/7-11, you can get Born to Be Bound for free. It’s a great story and series that I’ve reread a zillion times. The book was my jumping off point for Addison Cain and into the darker side of romance.