Measha Stone & Alta Hensley-Mafia Lullaby

Measha and Alta teamed up and gave us a really perverted, perverse, kinky, debauched, deprived, and filthy story with Mafia Lullaby.

So, we start with Ariana. She works at a bakery, lives her quiet life, and just goes about her life. One night, after working late, she goes to check her ATM and it says that her account is empty, which WTF? She should have money there, so now she has to ride the bus, so she’s sitting at the bus stop, in the dark, at night. And there are two strange men who sitting there with her. At least, until they grab her, shove her in big black car, and inject her with something.

When she wakes up, she discovers that she’ being held in a place where she’s going to be trained as a little girl and sold off to a permanent Daddy.

Costello is her Daddy. He’s part of the Mafia family who developed a special drug called Lullaby that causes the people who take it to regress, so when they give it to the girls they have taken, the girls regress back to acting like a little girl who just wants to make her Daddy happy, and it lowers all their inhibitions. They take women who are isolated so that they can sell them. Ariana is the latest girl for him to train, and there’s just something about her. She has a fire that most girls there don’t seem to have, and there’s something that draws him to her. There may be some reasons that she seems to have that fire, but Costello isn’t sure.

I like Ariana. I think that she has a lot of strength. I think that she is very smart, and more importantly, she’s very canny. She scopes out the situation and figures out what she has to do in order to survive. I think that she is also a good actress. I don’t know if she’s always been good at acting or if it was one of those things that she learned how to do as a survival technique after she was stolen. One way or another, she managed to do it.

I liked Costello from the get-go, basically. He has a good heart. He’s not a good guy, I mean he is highly involved in human trafficking, but he’s not the absolute worst guy out there. He does at least make sure that he takes good care of his girls while he trains them, which is good, I guess. His girls are at least ready to go when their adoption day comes out.

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I do hate Nanny Nancy. She’s a fucking bitch. She needs a house to fall on her.

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

 

Alta Hensley-Sinners & Gin

It’s been a minute since we got to have some top shelf booze from Alta. She’s decided to rectify that with Sinners & Gin. I’m not complaining or anything, I know that Alta had some life happening, and I’m always happy to get any book, whenever it comes out. So, yay! Let’s sit down with some gin and talk about this book.

So, we start back at Spiked Roses in NOLA. Matthew, who deals in a little bit of everything, has just had a big shipment of paintings stolen from him by a mafia boss. He’s not happy about having his paintings stolen, but that’s not the worst of it. Now, the worst of it is that each of those paintings had a metric shitload of diamonds behind them. Now Matthew is out the paintings and the diamonds, and he’s pissed AF. Which, really, can you blame him? I sure don’t. Anyway, he has a plan. He needs to talk to the other owners of Spiked Roses because he needs their help. He really doesn’t need them to do much, other than show up at this kitty party he knows about. The party is right up the guys’ alleys. It’s a kinky kitty party, with pretty subs dressed up as kitties.

Aria is at the party, but she’s trying to hide. You see, it’s her father’s party, and he would blow his top if he knew that she had snuck into his kitty party. So, she’s standing on the sidelines, dressed all sexy, wearing a kitten mask, sipping champagne, and just watching. Just as she’s about to leave, a mysterious man comes up to her and starts talking to her. Then he warns her that her dad is watching, and she had better act like she belongs at the party. Turns out it’s Matthew, who has been watching Aria, because she is the key to his plan to bring down her dad, who stole from Matthew.

Matthew’s plan is to take Aria and then ransom her back to her father for his paintings and diamonds. He sneaks her out through her bedroom window, wearing nothing but a robe, and being shot at by her father’s men.

Matthew is an idiot. I mean, just an outright idiot who needs to be smacked hard AF. He’s a smart idiot who’s sneaky and tricky, but he’s an idiot none the less. I think Tennessee should’ve given Aria a belt so that she could belt his ass, or at the very least, Tennessee should’ve done it. Maybe Matthew would’ve learned then. He doesn’t listen really well all the time either. I think he hears, but if what he hears doesn’t fit into his narrative, then he isn’t quite listening. I know it sounds like I don’t like him, but I kinda do. I think that he has a code that he sticks to. It’s not my code, but it works for him.

I like Aria. I feel sorry for her because she was stuck in that house with her father and she never got to live. Then she had to deal with Matthew being a pain in her ass and kidnapping her. But even as I felt sorry for her being trapped with her father, I decided that I admired her. She survived. That’s always the important thing, I think, surviving. She may have survived by having to hide away, but you know, whatever it takes.

I can’t wait for more of these books. I think that there is at least one more of the owners. I’d have to go check.

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I think that Matthew should send Tennessee a lot of roses and money and a whole lot of thank yous.

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

Alta Hensley-The Truth About Cinder

Have you ever wanted a fairy tale that took place in a post-apocalyptic world where most everywhere in the world has dried up and water is more precious than gold? If you have, then Alta has the perfect story for you, The Truth About Cinder. As you might be able to guess from the name, this is the story of Sleeping Beauty. OK, it’s a dark, dystopian, post-apocalyptic, kinky version of Cinderella. And I gotta tell you, I much prefer Alta’s version over the Brothers Grimm’s version. More sex and spanking, for one thing.

So, pretty much all the water has dried up. There are a few places where water can still be found, and in those areas, communes have sprung up where people live. The communes aren’t very pleasant places. They are really just surviving, and you know how people are when they are in that kind of mindset, so just imagine how nasty the people were in some of those communes. Think something like Mad Max or Tank Girl. Outside of the communes, the rest of the world is a desert, with no plants, no animals, no nothing.

Into this desperate, desiccated world trudges Cinder. She left the commune she was born into, and has stayed here and there at various communes on her journey. She has an ultimate goal in her journey, and it has taken her quite a while to get to it. She is going to the Palace of Lazar. She wants to join the harem there. Everyone says that it is just a myth, but she knows deep in her soul that Lazar exists and she’s going to get there. It isn’t an easy journey, by any means, but it is worth it for Cinder. In fact, for Cinder, it’s so worth it that she nearly dies on her journey.

But when she wakes, she discovers that she has made it to Lazar, and a gorgeous man is there in front of her, telling her that she has made it and if she meets the requirements, she can join the harem. Donte is the man, and he tells her that if she doesn’t behave, he’ll be in charge of punishing her. He stands there while she’s examined to see if she’s a virgin then takes her to the baths and watches as she is groomed, and all her body hair is removed. Cinder is all about having him there, as she is drawn to him and he makes her feel safe.

Months go on, and Cinder is happy in the harem and being trained, but of course, nothing stays the same, and when you live in a dangerous world, even if you are living in a palace in the lap of luxury, no place is safe forever.

I really like Cinder. She knew what she wanted and she was willing to go out and get it. I mean, it had to have been scary to go out into the world from her birth commune, and then to leave one after another so that she could get to the palace. And she had to do that without knowing exactly where she’d be able to get more supplies or if what she carried would last her as long as she needed. I’m not sure that I would’ve been able to do it, especially trudging through the desert. I am not a trudging through the desert kind of woman. I am not a going to the desert kind of woman. It’s hot. I don’t like to be hot. We get to see a lot of that fire and strength in Cinder. I mean, yeah, she has her moments, but overall, she is a very strong character. That doesn’t mean she’s not submissive too. The two things aren’t mutually exclusive. You can be both strong and submissive. And Cinder definitely is.

Donte seems to be a really good man. He cares for the entire harem, and wants everyone to be safe. He is stern and disciplined, as well as being the disciplinarian. But it seems like everything he does to discipline the women of the harem is done in a caring way. In fact, there is one point when he’s been brought in to punish Cinder that he asks if she thinks that she deserves it and listens to her explain why she doesn’t. We really don’t get to know much about him, except through Cinder, since everything is from her POV.

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OMG, that last scene with Maysa? I’m pretty sure that’s going to be nightmare fodder for me. That was… Yeah.

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

 

Alta Hensley-Caged

Alta wasn’t happy with just one surprise release in the past few days. She had to come out with two! Caged is a fun, filthy, dark, little Mafia tale, involving, guess what? That’s right, cages!

We start out at a funeral with Nayla. One of her co-workers has been killed in the line of duty of taking out one of the big Mafia families. And of course, one of those two families decides to interrupt the funeral with a little gunplay, because what funeral doesn’t need a whole lot of people getting shot. Nayla is lucky enough to survive it.

She’s a prosecutor who is after one of those two families. She has pix of the head of the family, Eddie, on her apartment’s wall because it is supposed to help her focus on her job. She stares at him a whooooole lot. I mean, like a lot a lot. Then, one day, she meets the real thing. In her apartment. Who has come to take her away. Yeah.

Meanwhile, Eddie has decided that he’s going to take Nayla. He has his reasons to do it, and he kinda doesn’t care what she has to say about it. He’s going to do what he wants.

There is a lot of fun and filthy filthy filth in this. And I love it, a lot. A lot a lot. There’s just something about the way that Eddie treats Nayla that is so twisted and kinky and hot like burning.

Overall, I really like Eddie. You wouldn’t know that he was the head of a Mafia family unless you knew that he was the head of a Mafia family. He seems like such a good man. OK, I’m not saying you can’t be a good man and a crime lord, but you get what I mean, right? Anyway, he is definitely honorable, and has very definite ideas.

I liked Nayla too. With that said, I thought that there were times that she was a little naive. I dunno, naive might not quite be the word, but I think that’s the closest that I can come to it. She’s willing to believe the good in people who might not have that good. I think that she might also have a little bit of a black and white view on life.

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I have to say, I love Eddie’s house. And his choice in dinner parties.

OK, that’s all I have to say about this one. You’re going to have to go check it out! Happy reading!

Anthology-Bite Me

So, several of the usual suspects, plus a couple new ones, have gotten together and given us 9 lovely vampire stories. Bite Me has stories from Addison Cain, Zoe Blake, Alta Hensley, Myra Danvers, Eris Adderly, Livia Bourne, Sara Fields, Anita Gray, and Cassandra Faye. Cassandra Faye may sound like a totally new person, but that is Jennifer Bene’s new pen name for her more paranormal stuff.

As with any anthology that includes these ladies, there is dark and then there is DARK. That’s one of the nice things about anthologies, if you ask me, you are going to get a wide variety of darkness plus different takes on the subject. All the stories are about vampires, but there are 9 different ideas. The stories also vary in length. Some of them are prologues to new series, which I am dying for. So, with all that being said, let’s dive in, shall we?

Addison Cain-Cathedral

If you remember When the Darkness Wins, you might remember Pearl and Catacombs. Addison also released it as a standalone. Well, Cathedral is about Jade, Darius and Pearl’s daughter. I feel sorry for Jade. Having Darius as a father can’t have been easy at all. She’s nothing but a pawn in the hands of her father.

I was really excited to see this one come out, because I’ve been dying for more of that story and that world since I read Catacombs a million years ago. Or at least a few months back, whatever. Of course, Addison being the tease she is, there’s more to the story that we don’t know yet. But I’m sure we will, sooooooon. 

Zoe Blake-Till the End of Time

Zoe went back to the 1400s, and the most well-known vampire, Vlad Tepes, Voivode of Wallachia, Son of Dracul, aka Dracula. Only this origin story doesn’t start with the Impaler. It starts with his wife, Mirella. It also spans a lot of years.

I love how much research that Zoe had to have put into this one to get the true flavor of 1400s Romania. You get a real feel for Mirella and the whole geopolitical situation of the day. A whole lot of historical fact was wound into this story as well as the fiction, and it makes for a really rich story.

Alta Hensley-Master of Ceremonies

You know, I’ve often thought that a traveling carnival is a good place for supernaturals to hide, and apparently Alta did too. Cirque Romani’s MC, Valian, is more than meets the eye, and the Cirque’s audience is perfect to feed all his various hungers. Ada is his mortal assistant who madly loves him.

I really, really, really want more of this story. I mean, like sell my son’s soul for more of this story. I’d offer to sell mine, but that’s assuming that I still have one. There’s so much that happens here, and I want to see how all the events play out.

Myra Danvers-Enthralled

Myra, who is now one of my favorite authors, has given us a prequel to this. I can’t tell you exactly when it’s set, but I’m guessing mid-1800s. Axton is a new vampire, who follows his Dark Queen, his Night Princess, his Dam, Selma.

One of the things that I like about this is Myra’s language. She uses all kinds of euphemisms for various genitalia and sexual acts. It could sound silly in other places, but it really works well in this story. On top of that, I think that Myra also did a really good job of drawing us in and getting us involved in Axton’s feelings.

Eris Adderly-V Is For Vampire

Eris’s story is a prequel too. And being Eris, she gives us a totally different take on vampires. Her vampires in a couple of hundred years in the future. It’s also a genetic thing with them. You either carry the gene or you don’t. If you have the gene, you live in the underground as a vampire. If you don’t, you’re a normal and you live on the surface. November is 22V positive and a gate guard, keeping her people underground and normals aboveground.

I really like the whole futuristic dystopic world that Eris has created. I’m not quite sure that I could call it post-apocalyptic, but maybe post-apocalyptic adjacent? I’m really looking forward to what is going to happen with this, because it looks like there are some major, major changes coming.

Livia Bourne-Blinding Salvation

This is another prequel, and I may have to start counting down the days to this one. Hopefully, Livia hasn’t been taking too many lessons from Addison and won’t be a sadist. Lily was abducted to become food to Armand, a trapped vampire. But, you know, it’s never quite that interesting.

I really like Lily and Armand. Lily is very smart and very canny. I think that she is going to be really good for Armand. I like him too. I want to see more of how his mind works, because I think that he’s good and sneaky, and really creative when it comes to revenge.

Sara Fields-The Devil’s Game

Sara likes to play with us, I think. She gives us the story of Cain and Ruby. They are both strong, in their own ways, doing their own things, but then, they meet up, and sparks fly. They are fantastic together.

I wonder if there is going to be more of this. I hope so, I would really like there to be more. I think that Ruby and Cain play off each other really well. I like the whole premise of the story, and it plays back to some of the old vampire origin myths, which was always fun.

Anita Gray-To My End

Oh, this is definitely an Anita story. There’s probably a mindfuck in there somewhere. We have a Hunter named Sonny who is chasing down the Potentials and has to kill them. Then we have Vi, who doesn’t know exactly how special she is. But she sure knows how sexy new guy in town Sonny is.

You know, when I first read this one, I wanted so much for there to be more. I mean, I still do, don’t get me wrong, but I also think that the way that it ended is actually pretty much perfect. I think more story might ruin that perfectness. Does that mean I won’t read more if Anita gives it to us? Hell no. I will definitely read it. I’m sure that Anita can fix it.

Cassandra Faye-Sweet Ruin

Grace had a sexy, sexy dream. Probably a dream. Maybe a dream. Then she has a hallucination. A sexy, sexy hallucination named Nic who keeps showing up wherever she is. Sometimes he’s even dressed.

Sweet Ruin is probably the lightest story in the book. When you realize it’s a Jennifer Bene story, you might be surprised by that fact, but only if you haven’t read some of her PNR. It fits in pretty well with her books in that genre. It’s a totally different flavor to some of her other books. I loved Grace and Nic, and I think that they are really cute together.

OK, that’s all the stories and how I felt about them all. I’ve always loved a good vampire story and 9 of them is even better. Go check out the book and tell me what you think! Happy reading!

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Alta Hensley-Fallen Daughters

 

Alta Hensley has an interesting writing technique. She writes short stories that show up in various box sets, and then she either expands them or puts them in other books, using the box set as a kind of testing laboratory. There are others that she has written that have just sat on her desk. If you are like me and have read most of what Alta has written, then you will recognize most of her Fallen Daughters, either in their original form or in the form they showed up in other books. I recognized all of them, except for Fallen Daughter 3. Did that stop me from rereading all the stories? No way. I love to reread, so this was awesome for me.

Fallen Daughter #1

This one got tested out in Daddy’s Demands, and then found its way into one of the Top Shelf books, the one with Roman and Cheri, to be precise. I loved it in both its forms, and it’s still as fucking hot the second time around. Or third time. However many, it’s still ridiculously hot.

Fallen Daughter #2

This one first showed up in an anthology called The Dark Forest, which is a collection of adult fairy tales. Alta’s was a take on Sleeping Beauty. A very, very dirty version of Sleeping Beauty. I know that it showed up in another book, in parts at least, but my brain fails me right now, so I don’t remember which one it was. I loved the way that our heroine was given her gifts, and how they really did help her in her captivity.

Fallen Daughter #3

This was the only one of the stories that I haven’t read before. I will say that I haven’t read every single thing that Alta has written, so it may be in one of the books that I haven’t read yet. I really liked it though. It was a pretty sweet little story, which kind of makes it not Alta’s usual fare, but it is just a lovely little story, and left me very happy.

Fallen Daughters #4 & #5

There is a reason that I am combining these two. It’s because they were together in a book called No White Knight, and it was one of the first things that I read by Alta. #4 was known as Pallid Slave, and it disturbed me on a couple of levels. Disturbing good, though. OK, I have to get a smidge personal here. I have lost 2 brothers, one 31 years ago, one 16 years ago. There really isn’t a mark of that loss that shows everyone that you have lost someone you loved so much. That can be both a blessing and a curse. You don’t have to worry about anyone giving you sympathy when it’s overwhelming. Then again, you have to tell them that you are grieving when it gets too much, and that can be really hard to do. In Pallid Slave, there really is a very visible outward sign of mourning, which I think is more of a curse than a blessing in this case, but I found it to be a really interesting way to handle it. #5 was called a Hero in Disguise, and frankly, it could be ripped right out of today’s headlines, and that’s what makes it so fucking disturbing to me.

Fallen Daughter #6

This one first showed up in Twisted Sacraments. If you read those stories, you know that there is no happy in any of them, and it’s no different with Alta’s story. Frankly, I’m pretty sure that the world is going to end in a plague, and so any stories that have some kind of plague in them play right into that fear. And then you put the coocoo for cocoa puffs bits in there, and yup. I’m properly worried.

It doesn’t matter if you’ve read these stories in any form before, they are definitely worth a reread.

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Alta Hensley-Bared

Alta dropped a surprise release on us this week. It’s called Bared, and I think it’s old school Alta Hensley. Stories like this are why I first fell in love with Alta’s work. Bit of trivia for you, Alta was the first author I ARCed for, and it was on her book Captive Vow, so y’all can thank Alta for this blog.

So, Tessa is a young woman who needs a job. She’s just about to get evicted, has been working at shitty jobs, but she saw this ad for a personal assistant for an author that involved going and spending 6 months in a cabin in the mountains while he writes his book. Tessa figures why not try for it. The worst he can do is say no, right?

Price is a best-selling author and he’s just about to write a new book. He needs to have a writer’s cave to write, and for him, it’s a cabin in the Sierra Nevadas. He also needs an assistant to cook, clean, and beta read for him. He’s been doing all kinds of interviews, but he finally meets Tessa and decides that there is just something about her and so he hires her. And off they go to the mountains, for 6 long months.

I kind of felt sorry for Tessa at the beginning of the book, mostly because I’ve been Tessa, or close enough to. I know how hard it is to be that poor and to be that desperate to find a job and to have a new life. But I also admire her a lot. She wasn’t sure that she would be hired, she knew that she didn’t have the experience for the job, but she went for it anyway. She wanted something new, and she just went for it. That takes a lot of courage and gumption, and I have to give her major props on that.

Price is, overall, a likable guy, but he is kind of a jerk a few times, but since he warned Tessa that he could be an asshole, I’m not sure if I could really consider him a jerk, especially since I’ve been in a hyperfocused place too, not necessarily writing a novel, but still in that place that everything is pinpointed to that narrow focus, and it’s really easy to just not realize that other people exist when you are in that place. So, does that make Price an asshole because he’s an asshole or does it make him an asshole because of circumstances and he’s just doing assholish things but it isn’t part of his core personality?

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Having just gone through some lovely snow, or you know, like 2 feet of snow in the past week, and some fucking cold temperatures, I gasped when Tessa ran out of the cabin, because I know what can happen to you in that kind of weather.

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