Isabella Starling-Collaring Cinderella

We’ve got a couple of really busy days ahead of us. There are going to be some doubled up blogs. I’ll make sure one goes out early and the other goes out later in the evening so I’m not overwhelming you. Today’s first book is a surprise new book from Isabella Starling.

Isabella is finishing up her work on Peep Show. I’ve read excerpts and we’re talking 5 alarm fire here. But, she took a break to give us a new view on Cinderella. A filthy, filthy view of Cinderella. Collaring Cinderella is hot and sexy, and OMG, I just devoured it. I honestly couldn’t read it fast enough. I was sad when I couldn’t keep my eyes open last night to keep reading it.

Rafe is our Prince Maybe Charming. He is the heir to a huge fortune and a jewelry design company. His father is dying, and he wants Rafe to find a wife, settle down, make babies, and be happy. Rafe has found the woman he wants, but his father doesn’t know. So, Rafe plans a ball and makes sure our Cinderella is invited.

Ella is barely 18 and never been kissed. She lives with her terrible stepmother, Martha. Martha is Rafe’s housekeeper and works Ella like a dog. She’s terribly jealous of Ella’s youth and beauty. The second that Rafe set his eyes on Ella, he knew that she was going to be his and he was going to do everything he could to make sure that she wore his collar and his ring, no matter what.

This is a super hot instalove story. Ella had been crushing on Rafe for a long while and then Rafe sees her. It’s a dual POV, switching back and forth between Ella and Rafe. Rafe’s POV has a lot of the love and romance in it, while Ella’s POV is more about what she’s enduring and the decisions she has to make. I really liked that. Isabella did a beautiful job of making this classic come to life in a new setting and with a lot of steaminess.

So here’s the part where the path to Spoilerville starts. If you want to make sure that you have no spoilers stop reading when you hit the pic. If you are prepared, keep going. Remember that there aren’t always spoilers in the spoiler section, and you may just get my thoughts, but you are warned anyway.

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Welcome to Spoilerville.

OK, Martha. We aren’t ever supposed to like Martha. We all know the story of Cinderella and how it’s going to go, and the evil stepmother is the terrible villain. But damn, if I don’t hate Martha a whole lot. I mean, a lot. She does everything she can to make Ella doubt herself and her feelings. Every time Ella starts to feel better about herself, in comes Martha wearing her bitchy boots to stomp all over Ella. Martha is obsessive and delusional, and just ick.

Rafe and Ella are just perfect together, and I love the two epilogues. It’s a great update to the stories.

I’m not always an instalove virgin story type of person. We all know I like my noncon/dubcon goodness, but Isabella Starling is one that I always read, no matter what. She often has the virgin stories that have some dubcon goodness too. But even without that, she writes strong love stories with really, really steamy stories. Her heroes tend to have some really bitching dirty talk too, which oh hot damn, oh my my. I love me some dirty talk.

Anyway, that it for this. Later on today you are going to get the new Sara Field’s Captive Bride series, and I have feelz about this one, oh yes I do, ducklings.

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Callie Hart-Mr. North

I’ve read some other Callie Hart books, so when I got the chance to get an ARC of Mr. North so that I could read and review it, it was a no-brainer. I’m really glad that I did. It was a great story and it hit a lot of my happy buttons. It was twisty and turny, it was a helluva roller coaster ride, and it was kinky af. It was also full of suspense, well-written, and kept me guessing. All good things.

So, to the story. Beth is a law student at Columbia University. She’s just about to graduate and take the bar exam. She’s broke, dealing with a lot of student loans, and may have to move in with the brother she doesn’t necessarily like. That’s when her friend Thalia drops an opportunity in her lap. Thalia is running a company which lets people hire others to come and be their companion for a while. Get your brains out of the fucking gutter, not that kind of companion. The person that Thalia wants Beth to see is just looking for a chess opponent and someone to talk to. In return, she’ll get $6k for it, which for a starving student, is a helluva lot of money. The man who is hiring is named Raphael North, and he’s one of the richest people in the country.

Raph was in the public eye for many years, but in the last 5 years, he’s rarely seen. There are all kinds of rumors about him, like that he actually died in a car crash, his board hired doubles to stand in at meetings and a zillion others. Raph is looking for someone to come talk to him and play chess with him at his home. He doesn’t want anything else (or does he). He just has one requirement. He doesn’t want any blondes, so it’s a good thing that Beth is a brunette.

Thalia sets up the first meeting, and off Beth goes to meet Raph and play chess. There are a lot of things that Thalia tells Beth, including don’t beat him at chess. Well, that one didn’t last for very long. She has a game with him and then meets his friend Paxton, who obviously dislikes her. He dislikes her so much he tried to buy her off.

Alright, time to go our separate ways. Seriously, the sex scenes, most of them, are kinky. Very good kinky. There are some really sad bits, some really angry bits, some bits where I wanted to curse at various characters, and times when my heart was in my throat. While there was a very satisfying HEA, the journey to get there was nearly heartbreaking. It’s on special for $0.99 right now as well as being on KU, so go catch it while you can.

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OMG, can we just talk about THE CHAIR for a minute? You know the one I mean. That’s just fucking awesome. I mean, who doesn’t want a custom made fucking chair that’s made to their precise dimensions, can be put into a variety of positions, and has buttloads of tiedown points? It’s good to be a billionaire.

While most of the twists kept me guessing, I did guess that Raph has problems with leaving the house, but that’s because I live with an agoraphobic, so I recognized it from various things that Thalia said. I didn’t guess why he had problems leaving the house, but it made sense.

I really, really intensely disliked Beth’s brother from the very start, and I’m so glad that my first impression of him was correct. He was all into the whole I have a penis and I am right syndrome, if you ask me. Or he could’ve just been a douchelord. Or both. I’m willing to go with both.

OK, I think that I’ve had my say on this one. If I keep going on, I’ll let spill everything. If you want to talk to me about it, you know where to find me. We have all kinds of good books coming up, so watch this space. I won’t be blogging on Thanksgiving, but I have good stuff leading up to the day and after. My version of Black Friday features Sara Fields. Meanwhile, happy reading!

PS, if you are looking for one of the most mindfucking books you’ll ever read, check out Crowned By Hate.