Amo Jones-Razing Grace

Contrary to what may be popular belief about my blog, I do review more than just ARCs on my humble little blog. What does that have to do with today’s blog? Today’s blog is about a pair of books that I actually bought. The first part of the duet I got as a Christmas freebie but as soon as I read it, I knew that I had, just absolutely had, to buy the next part. It was that good, just so good. So, Razing Grace 1&2 by Amo Jones here we go. (Everyone say thank you to Tyi for introducing me to Amo.)

Before I get into it, I didn’t realize that RG was part of a larger series, The Devil’s Own. I bought the first two of the books and I’ll be reading them this weekend.

Millie is a nun. She has sisters that she loves, and at the wedding of one of them, she gets betrayed and grabbed by some very, very bad guys, and dragged down to a dungeon. She is trapped in the dungeon of one of the bases of The Army, led Kurr. She hears screams of others, smells their deaths, and is left in a cold, dark cell. Except for when THEY visit her.

They are the 6. Six men who each wear a different mask and whose faces she has never seen. All she knows are the names they go by, Executioner, Joker, King, Royal, Soulless, and Angel. Our virginal Sister Millie, who has spent her life being the very good girl and who doesn’t even cuss or drink, is told that she will be visited each night by one of the 6 to be trained, and on the 7th night, they will all have her. They won’t do anything to take her virginity though, since she’s worth more when they sell her as a virgin. She doesn’t know that part of it yet. All she knows is that they are doing things to her that she doesn’t want in her head, but her body seems to want, and each day, it breaks her a little more and makes her a little crazier.

One day, Kurr and a priest come to visit her. The priest wants her. He killed someone in front of Millie, and he wants to handle Millie. He suggests that he’s going to buy her, have fun with her, and be done with her.

Meanwhile, 000, the Executioner, whose real name is Raze, has decided that Millie is HIS. He wants her and he hates what has to happen to her, but only because it’s other guys touching her and that he can’t publicly claim her. There are too many things that he can’t control and too many plans in motion that he can’t upset.

OK, I can only gloss over the second part because to do anything else will mean that I spoil everything. And really, you don’t want me to do that. I don’t want to do that. You may come after me with some horrible thing if I spoil it, and Amo Jones might call me horrible names. So, let’s suffice it to say that Millie still has horrible shit happen to her and she is still the crazy broken person that we came to know and love in the first part. Raze is still the crazy-ass mother fucker who we met in the first one and probably came to love. Well, I came to love, at least.

This series is seriously dark and has some very serious trigger warnings. Heed them. It has heavy doses of non/dub-con, and while I am all for some dark non/dub-con goodness, with heavy doses of kink and mindfuckery, there are people out there who don’t like that kind of thing, and for whom noncon sexual activities can be triggery.

I did really love these books. I seriously couldn’t put it down while I was reading it, and stayed up way too late at night to finish it. It is compelling, well-written, intriguing, and angering. The books left me satisfied and in a book hangover. You get both Millie’s and Raze’s POVs in the books, so you have some idea of what each is thinking, even though we don’t see a whole lot of Raze’s thoughts. He’s much more a doer than a thinker. I’m fine with that. He’s one of those main characters who wouldn’t work so well if we had a window into his inner angst. So, here’s where we part. I’m going to leave you a picture of the lovely Audrey Hepburn as a nun as a spoiler space. In my head, Millie had that Audrey Hepburn-ish kind of thing, so it works well, at least for me. If you have a different pic in your head, please don’t spoil mine for me.

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Beautiful, right? Wasn’t she just graceful and elegant, and all of those things?

I love the title of the series. I am always thrilled with authors who play with words when they title a book. The title Razing Grace does that on so many levels. It’s that kind of cleverness and wit that drags me into a story and makes me want to read it before I even get into it.

In the second book, in the prologue, we get Raze’s POV, and when I read it, I was so scared of what was going to happen because of what happened at the end of the first book. I was both glad that it wasn’t what I thought it was and terribly saddened when I figured out what it was. However, having that be the prologue and epilogue to the book was perfect. And if you think that I’m being vague, you’re absolutely right. I’m being very vague.

The end of book one killed me, completely. The end of book two, I was right there with what happened and why it happened, and I totally support their actions. I found the way Millie handled it to be very appropriate. I would probably have done that too, in her place.

OK, that’s really all I’m going to say about these books. I have the first two in the series to read, and I’m waiting for book 2 of Crowned By Hate, which was the first book of Amo’s that I read, and which is one of the biggest mindfucks I’ve ever read, and we all know that I love to read mindfucks.

Tomorrow, we have a new Daddy Dom book, so look forward to that!

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Isabella Starling-Breaking Belle

Isabella Starling decided to surprise us all with another wonderful, twisted, filthy fairy tale. Now if you are thinking to yourself, “Self, didn’t Isa just write an adult fairy tale?”, you would be right, she did. Last week we got Isabella’s take on Cinderella. Today we are getting Beauty and the Beast with Breaking Belle. Isabella’s version kind of combines the Disney version and the classic story. When you’re reading it, see if you can find all the mentions that reference the Disney version. I thought it was fun to do that.

Arabelle is the only girl in her family. She has 4 older brothers who she has little to do with, and one younger brother. She’s also got a father who is in deep. He owes more money than he will ever be able to scrape up. When it comes time to be paid, he’s proper fucked.

Dom lives high in a castle with his few loyal men. He’s been hiding from his enemies while planning his revenge. However, he keeps being betrayed by his people. When it comes time to collect money from Belle’s father, Dom decides that he’s going to do it in person.

Dom gives her old man all kinds of chances to pay up and threatens him. Too bad the  man doesn’t have any money. Belle doesn’t know what to do, all she knows is that she has to keep her younger brother safe. To that end, she decides that she will volunteer to go with Dom. She figures that he will kill her, but at least her dad’s debt will be paid off and her youngest brother will be safe. However, when he sees her, other ideas pop into his head. Or, would that be heads? Why yes, I am a 12 year old.

OK, this is where we part ways. This is a pretty quick read, with some really great sex. Of course, being an Isabella Starling story, it isn’t necessarily sweet. There are some pretty dark moments in this one. I got mad on Belle and Dom’s behalf more than once. But, if Beauty and the Beast is your favorite fairy tale and you have always wanted to see what an adult version would look like, this is definitely the story for you to pick up and check out.

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OK, so the rose garden. Oh man, my heart breaks for Dom. And the way that he has his house set up with the rose garden where it is? Wow. But, I’m glad that he’s able to change his associations with that particular area.

I love all the epilogue story we get. It was nice to get that glimpse into Belle and Dom’s lives. I also liked the little reference to Collaring Cinderella. I snerked just a little bit. I was also endlessly amused by all the Disney references that I was able to pick up. I thought it was very clever on Isa’s part to get all of them in the story, but mostly not in any overt, shove it in your face kind of way.

I enjoyed the story a lot. I enjoyed the sexy, sexy sex scenes. I even liked the dark parts, even when I got mad. So, go do yourself a favor and get a fairy tale to read to yourself before bed. Meanwhile, happy reading!

Jennifer Bene-Destruction

No matter how many other dark authors I read, Jennifer Bene is always going to be the queen of my list and a definite go-to author. Her books are dark and twisted and oh, so yummy. Destruction is no different. It’s jampacked with noncon goodness as well hot BDSM action, an anti-hero, and a strong and submissive woman. What’s not to love about that, right?

So, let’s get right into this story.

Lianna Mercier was born with a platinum spoon in her mouth. She has never wanted for anything in her entire life. She’s had an easy life, gone to college, and given a job at her father’s business. She’s worked there for a couple of years, working in acquisitions and helping to make a multi-national business even bigger. She really has no life outside of her work and her father. She even mostly stays in his apartment instead of going home to her own.

David Gethen is a man on a mission. He is going to take Robert Mercier down, no matter what it takes. He’s spent years and years doing research, amassing evidence, and preparing himself for his mission. All of that research led him to believe that there was only one way for him to take down Mercier. That was through his daughter, Lianna. David wants to ruin the spoiled rotten little princess that he knows that she is. He knows that she is complicit in everything so taking her down will do all kinds of damage. So, after years of preparation, David is ready to make his move and take down Mercier and he abducts Lianna.

OK, this is where we are going to go our separate ways. This story is dark and twisty, and I don’t want to give any of the twists away. There is a lot of very, very kinky stuff that happens, and it’s hot af. The story is wonderful. There are layers to the story that you have to get through. I love books that give me great plot as well as good sex. Of course, I love books that give me good sex. I think it may just be easier to say that I love books, period. This book isn’t for everyone. There are some very intense parts which may be upsetting to some people, but they heighten the story for me. They just made everything even better. If you love dark and twisted, then definitely, definitely check this one out.

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OK, OMG, I have so many things about this book that I loved so much. It really did hit all the happy buttons for me, so yay!

Of the scenes that made me happiest, there were two that I really liked and there’s a distinct possibility that those scenes were highlighted so that I can always find them. One has to do with a zipper and the other with a belt. Jennifer posted the zipper scene in her reader’s group (come join us if you like hot and kinky and dark) and I had to reread it often.

I love David’s struggle. He has to figure out who he is and what he ultimately wants to have happen. It can’t be easy for him since he’s had one thing be his purpose and goal for a long time, and when something happens that challenges that, he’s got to figure out how to handle it. Jennifer always gives her characters room to grow and change, and that’s part of what I love about her books. Her characters at the start of the books are different to how they are at the finish of the books. It’s that change and growth that makes me really like her books and her as an author.

Alright, I don’t want to say too much more about the book, even in the spoiler section, because you are going to want to go out there and read this book. Trust me.

Dani Rene-Whisper

So, a couple of weeks ago I reviewed Kneel, the first book in the Sins of Seven series by Dani Rene. Today, we’re getting into the next one with Whisper. Whisper is darker than Kneel, with some parts that made me cry. My poor husband doesn’t always know what to do when a book makes me cry. I won’t put it down, most of the time, otherwise how will I know if it comes out alright, so I just cry and he asks 14 times if I’m OK. So, let’s dive into the book, and then you can go read it and see if it makes you cry too. If it does, you totally have to tell me.

Once upon a time, Eli was a happily married man and a happy Dom with a lovely sub. Then he found out that his wife Raquel had been keeping secrets and that she is dying. His wife keeps trying to make him promise to find someone else to love so that he will be happy. She’s just being a good sub, always thinking of her Dom and his happiness. She even goes as far as pointing out a young woman who is also in the hospital and telling him that he should go talk to her.

Giana was that young girl. She was just 17 at the time and had already lived in the antechamber of Hell. Raquel talked to her and made her promise to watch out for Eli and to take care of him.

Eventually, Gia and Eli hook up. They spend a year being friends and making each other come. Eli walks away from an 18 year old Gia, thinking that he’s too old for her and wanting her to go and have a happy life.

Fast forward 7 years, Gia changed her name from the one Eli knew her as and looks different. She spent 2 years living in the deepest, darkest pits of Hell and has come through the other side. With Carrick’s help and a good psychiatrist, she’s managed to put her life together again. And she’s found Eli. She sees him every day serving as a barista at his regular coffee shop and most nights, working as a bartender at the local BDSM club, Seven Sins, owned and run by Carrick and Mason. She’s played with different Doms and occasionally shown up on stage in various shows. She’s also watched Eli play with various subs and then heard them come back and talk about him and try to get him to play with them again.

For his part, Eli has worked very hard to not have any real sub. He may bring the subs from the clubs home, but he’s never let them into any part of his home except for a room he’s set up to entertain subs in and his playroom. He’s bound and determined not to love anyone, not since Raquel died and he walked away from Riley.

One night, at the club, he hands Gia his card and tells her that he wants to play with her after her shift and to show up at his house. They scene, everyone is happy, and he sends her home. Mostly what Eli is looking for is a little girl he can love and cherish but also tie up, spank, and make cry. Gia is looking for someone who will love her.

Gia and Eli are two profoundly broken people who have serious shards and bits and pieces. Together they are less broken and they help to hold each others’ broken bits together. But when the past comes back to haunt them, can the hold they have on each other go on?

This is where I go one way and you may choose to go the other, there are definite possibilities that you may be spoiled if you keep going with me. Dani Rene creates wonderful characters that make you really cheer for them or hate them. This is a dark book, with BDSM scenes, capture and torture, and sadness. There is also happiness and lots of secrets. There are a lot of layers that go into this story and I loved being able to find them and dig into them. It was also nice to get a peek at older characters and see old friends.

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The layers and connections in this book are delicious. Everything is tied into everything else and into everyone else. I have to admit, that there was one thing that I kind of guessed, well, not really guessed, but more like thought wouldn’t be interesting if… And it was, and it was interesting.

Poor Gia. I mean, fuck. I mean, she worked as hard as she could to get away from her past and then it found her, and it nearly destroyed her. I spent that whole section of the book crying and cried while Gia and Eli were apart. I know why Gia chose to do what she did, and I even support the idea of her taking the time to heal after what happened. That doesn’t mean that my heart didn’t break for them both, especially since Gia was bound and determined to let Eli go. I love the way that it ended though. I felt very satisfied and my tears dried up.

I really loved this book. Not just for the kinky, kinky, sexy fun, but for all the layers of the story and the rich story-telling that goes into this book. I mean, don’t get me wrong, I love books that are just sex for the sake of sex, I own several of them and enjoy reading them, but I also love reading stories that have real substance to them and that make you think and feel for the characters, and this one did that.

Anyway, that’s enough for today. We have a break tomorrow and then we’re back with more Parker Sinclair and a fun week ahead of us. Meanwhile, happy reading!

Anna Zaires-Obsession Mine

Holy intensity, Batman! Obsession Mine is OMG, OMG, OMG. I can’t compare it to other books I’ve read that are intense because they are each intense in their own ways. But, this will probably make it on my Top Ten intense story list, because damn.

Before I even get started, I’m going to tell you that this post is going to spoil Tormentor Mine. There are no two ways about it, that’s just what’s going to happen. If you have ever thought about reading TM, go read it right now and then come back to this post. I’ll put the rest of the post behind a jump, just to give you a chance to stay unspoiled. I’ll just say that yes, I loved TM, and yes, I love OM. They are some dark, twisted, intense stories. I mean, just the way that Peter and Sara meet is dark and twisted. Go check TM out and then come back. If you’ve read it or you’ve prepared yourself for spoilers, then let’s crack on, shall we?

Continue reading “Anna Zaires-Obsession Mine”

Rose Devereux-Breaking Grace

I haven’t reviewed Rose Devereux here on my blog yet, though I have read some of her other books. I think I’ll probably need to rectify not having more reviews of her books on here. This one, Breaking Grace, is one that I’ve been waiting on for a while, so when I got the opportunity to read an ARC, you better believe that I jumped on it with both feet. I’m so glad that I did.

This is such a good book. It stayed with me and made me think about it for quite some time afterward. I love stories that do that. This one is intense and dark and light and gritty and hopeful all at once. I’m not even sure if I can describe how I felt after reading this book, even after several days. I came out of reading it feeling refreshed and exhausted and hopeful and sad. See why it is hard for me to explain how I feel about this book?

In the end, BG comes down to perceptions and how even a small change in perception changes everything, how Grace perceives Bram, how he perceives her, how they both perceive James, and how you perceive the villain. It reminds me of the saying that there are 3 sides to every story, yours, mine, and the truth. That’s so true when it comes to BG. So, without any further ado, let’s get into this story.

Grace is a woman in mourning. Two years prior, her fiancee was shot dead by Bram. A witness says that it was a road rage incident, that Bram was driving like a madman and James followed him to his house, confronted Bram, and was subsequently shot. She can’t let go of her mourning, and it’s tearing her apart. Bram wasn’t charged, so she tried going after him with a wrongful death suit, which didn’t go her way. She hates Bram and wants to ruin him.

Bram has no problem with admitting that he killed James. He doesn’t talk much about it because he’s protecting Grace. He’s positive that she’s a liar and knows what really happened with James’ death, but for some reason, he wants to protect her. When he sees her in court, he is drawn to her, and he can tell that she is drawn to him, like two magnets.

When the party planning company that Grace is working for has to meet with Bram’s company for events, she walks away from her job. She goes home, writes him a letter, and tries to give it to him. She goes to his company and starts to create a huge scene, eventually getting to pass the letter on to him.

When she gets home, Issac (boo hiss) is waiting outside her apartment. She’s been locked out and he was sent to take her to her parents’ home. This leads to her falling apart.

Bram goes to a bar, rants to some friends, and talks about what he would like to do to Grace. He never meant for it to happen, but there are forces at work beyond his control.

OK, this is where we are going to part. Grace and Bram are so real. It’s so easy to be dragged into their story and have to stay in it until they can let you go, which may or may not be when you are done reading it. Like I said, it really stuck with me. One reason for that is that there is a part of BG that is deeply personal to me. The book would’ve been real to me as it was, but that just made it even more real to me. I could see everything in the book really happening, like Bram and Grace were my neighbors and I was watching it through my front room window. BG is currently $0.99 on Amazon, so grab it while you can.

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No one can tell who the villain is. Bram thinks it’s Grace, Grace thinks it’s him. The problem is that it’s neither. I’m not entirely sure that there is a villain, at least not in the traditional sense. There are bad people who do some bad things, but they aren’t so much in the story. Personally, my vote for villain is Issac and her dad. You can’t have one without the other, they are too wound up with the other. They are just barely around in the story at all. So, villains? Maybe. Can you have a story without a villain? That doesn’t mean there isn’t conflict. There is conflict out the ass.

Just because Bram isn’t the villain doesn’t mean that he’s necessarily a good guy. He’s done some bad, bad things. The title comes from the fact that he does literally tries to break Grace. He’s done interrogation in the past, and he’s going to use the same thing with Grace. But, it doesn’t exactly work out that way. He can be a total dick at some points, but overall, I think he’s just a guy, neither all good, nor all bad. It’s the same with Grace. She’s neither all good nor all bad. Thy are both imperfect and failable.

There is no insta-love here. In fact. there’s a lot of hate at the beginning. But, it eventually changes, bt it’s not something that happens overnight. They are attracted to each other, even if they hate each other, so that is an interesting dynamic. The chemistry between the two of them is pretty awesome, even when it has hate beams being carried along with it.

I always suspected that there was something up with James. He dies before the book begins, so it’s not like we have interaction with him, but I thought there was something wrong with him the entire time. The way that Grace talked about him just seemed too good to be true. I was pretty right on there.

Alright, if I say anything more on this book, I’ll probably never finish saying things, because it is so good. Go, read it yourself, then come back and we can talk about it more.

Tomorrow, we have Yash from Danielle Fin. I’m not sure what will be coming Thursday and Friday. If there is something you’d like to see, let me know! Meanwhile, happy reading!

Sophie Kisker-Fear and Desire

Sophie Kisker is one of my favorite authors, and she’s an all-around nifty person. Hi, Sophie! That would be why she shows up here a lot. Today, we’re talking about one of her books from her backlog. Fear and Desire used to be known as Captive of Fear and Desire, but Amazon is run by a bunch of pearl-clutching prudes, so she had to drop the Captive part. Luckily, she didn’t have to change the book, and we get a book full of non-con/dub-con goodness. F&D also shows up on my Top Ten dark and fucked up books list. I had just read it for the first time a few days before that post, I think, so this was a reread, so yay!

So, let’s just dive right into this one, shall we? Fair warning, this one is pretty dark all the way through.

Dan is an undercover Fed working on busting a human trafficking ring. There are a couple of reasons why he was chosen. One is that he’s from the area where The Farm, the group’s training facility, is based. The other is that he’s a Dom. The powers-that-be think that makes him perfect for training women to be sex slaves. The bosses don’t get the difference between consensual BDSM and forced training to be a sex slave. Pearson, the guy in charge? Is a massive douche of douchian proportions. Every time I’ve read the book, I’ve wanted to just reach my hands into the book and punch the guy and then strangle the shit out of him.

Anyway, Dan and his partner Josh, also a Dom, do what they can to help the women, including changing up the the “training” program so that the women can actually have something survivable and aren’t just beaten, raped, and broken. They both know that what’s happening to these women is going to cause psychological damage, but they are doing what they can to make it less.

Dan meets Laura for coffee on Saturday nights, after her shift on the OB ward. They were childhood friends who grew apart, but now that they live in the same area again, they’ve been getting closer and closer. One Saturday, Dan asks Laura, who doesn’t know for sure what he’s doing, if she’ll go away with him in a few weeks. What neither of them knows is that Marco, the incompetent nephew of the head of the ring, is spying on them. He’s got it out for Dan because he thinks he should be in charge.

The next thing we know, he’s kidnapped Laura and brought her to The Farm. His stated thought is that he’s doing it for Dan so that Dan has someone for him to use.

This is where we are going to part. Since I have things to say about this book, there will be spoilers. This book could be triggery in regards to rape, so be aware of that. Sophie has been careful in the way that she handled the situations, hopefully, it doesn’t trigger anyone because it is a good book. It is dark, it stays pretty dark, but when you get through that dark fucking tunnel, you do get an HEA. It’s on KU, but it’s only $0.99, so grabbing your own copy isn’t going to break the bank.

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When Laura figures out that Dan is there, she tries to run away, not to really run away but to make sure that Dan sees her. However, that means that she has to be punished, and it’s a pretty brutal one to her feet. That punishment also brings her to the attention to the big bad guy, who decides that he wants her, and he wants Dan to train her. He has very specific plans for Laura, and he wants her broken. If Dan won’t do it, then the nasty fuck nephew will. Dan is left with no choice.

Dan manages to get Laura away from the base, at least long enough to talk to her, under the guise of physical training. He explains to her what he needs to do and that it will be hard. She gives him her consent to do whatever it takes to get them both out safely. So, here’s the thing, can she truly be said to have given consent? While yes, she was willing to let him do what needed to be done, was it true consent since she really had no choice otherwise? It can’t really be consensual non-consent because that’s a voluntary thing. She would’ve entered into the relationship willingly, they would’ve discussed limits, punishments, likes, dislikes, so on and so forth. That’s not anything that could’ve happened in Dan and Laura’s situation. I suggested to Sophie back when I read this the first time, that maybe informed non-consent was a better phrase for it. Dan told her what she was going to have to live through, so she knew, but she can’t really consent, thus informed non-consent.

The last part of the Laura and Dan’s journey is terrible, just terrible, and intense. I was glad to get through it the first time and every other time, even though I knew what was coming up. I still got teary and all twitchy over it.

I think that all of Sophie’s stories are really good. I always look forward to the newest ones, and I like to reread the older ones fairly often. F&D is one that really grabbed me the first time, and it has grabbed me every subsequent rereading. Anyway, if you like dark, non/dub-con, but with an HEA, try out Sophie Kisker and check out this one.

Tomorrow, Breaking Grace by Rose Deveraux.