Dani Rene-Among Ash and Ember

Dani Rene has come out with a new release, and oh my. Among Ash and Ember wrung me out and made me all emotional.

Katerina is 18, almost 19. She lost her parents a couple of years ago when their florist shop caught on fire. She had to spend the last couple of years in foster care, and it wasn’t good. Then she turned 18 and discovered that she owed a lot of money because of her parents. She isn’t qualified to do a lot, but luckily she has fallen in with a safe friend who has helped her become an escort. Is it the best job ever? Nope. Does it let her pay her bills and pay off the loans her father took out? Yup. Just don’t call her Katerina when she’s on the job, there she is Flame.

Ash and Ember are twin brothers. They have a proposition for Katerina. They are going to pay for her to go to college. They will let her live with them, in her own wing, and help her out in any way possible. The brothers have their own reasons for doing what they are doing. They are keeping secrets together and keeping secrets from each other. They can afford to do this because Ash is now running their father’s company, which is neither fun or easy, but he does it reasonably well.

There are a lot of secrets going on in here. Ash and Ember have secrets of their own that they are keeping from Kat and from each other. They have a big joint secret that they are keeping from Kat. Kat has some of her own secrets too, but I don’t think that they have as much of an impact on the story as the ones the guys are keeping.

I completely understand why Ash and Ember are doing what they are doing. I don’t agree with the way that they went about things, but I can understand why they felt that they had to do things the way that they did. I guess I just stand with Kat more than I do with them. I don’t like being lied to, and I really don’t like people having secrets from me. I will pick and prod until I get the secret out of them, whether or not it would hurt me. I think that’s probably how Kat feels about it too.

I love the names of Flame, Ember, and Ash. They just fit together so very well. It’s a natural progression to me, and I can see how it fits each of the characters and their roles, at least in my opinion.

This book really did give me all the feelz and I would love to see more of these guys.

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I don’t think I have anything to put here.

Well, go check it out. Happy reading!

Dani Rene-Beautifully Brutal

Welcome to the Cavalieri Della Morte. It’s a 13 book series that is set in the same world and all interconnected. Dani Rene’s Beautifully Brutal┬áis the first book in the series, and the rest of the books will be releasing once a week over the next several weeks.

Cavalieri Della Morte is Italian for Knights of Death. Cavalieri comes from the same base as the French chevalier, as well as the words cavalier and cavalry. Chivalry also comes out of cheval. They all have their base in the Old French word cheval, meaning horse. While cavalieri, chevalier, and cavalier all originally meant horseman or horse rider, they all turned into words for knight. Cavalry meant an armed force on horse, and in the military, these days, it has turned into meaning the motorized armored forces. Why yes, I am a bit of a word nerd, and what’s even scarier is that I was able to pull all of this out of my head without having to look it up. I’m a total wiz at Trivial Pursuit.

Anyway, now that we’ve walked away from that tiny digression, let’s talk about the actual book. The Cavalieri Della Morte in this series is a group of men who are basically elite assassins. They get given a name, they go handle the problem. And Lance Knight is probably the best. He’s also the right hand man of the leader of the CDM, Arthur, at least until one fateful mistake.

Lance ended up on the streets of NOLA when he was young, and Arthur took him in and raised him. He also trained Lance to be one of his knights. Then, when Lance was 18, Arthur and his wife had a daughter named Giuliana. Eighteen years later, Lance and Giuliana have fallen in love and are hiding it, right up until her dad walks in on them kissing passionately. Then Giuliana is sent away and Arthur tells Lance that he will make it so that he no longer loves her.

So, I totally hate Arthur. I mean, yeah. Die in fire and burn in hell levels of hate. But I like Lance and Giuliana a lot. Lia is very resourceful and very determined. I mean, she gets herself out of at least one bad situation. She had to be smart enough to bide her time, watch, and pick the perfect time in which to make the move, and she does. I also like that she doesn’t really have any delusions about her father or Lance. She knows that they are both killers.

Lance seems like a character that I might dislike immediately, but oddly enough, I did not. I think that he very much has his own code and will stick to it. It definitely isn’t my code or your code, but it is the one that he has developed and the one that he wants to stick with. But, I definitely like him and the way that he handled everything that came up in the book.

I am not reviewing all the rest of the books in the series, for reasons, but I will be reviewing some of them. That doesn’t mean that I won’t be reading them and that things that I learn in various books won’t show up in reviews for other books. I will, as always, keep the spoilers down, because you know me. I am looking forward to the rest of the series, and there are some really fantastic authors in there. I’m sure they are all fantastic, I just haven’t read some of them yet.

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OK, first of all, I’m sure that you notice the name thing, just like I did. And yes, the names are all like that. We see a couple of other Cavalieri, and the naming convention follows along with them too. It’s going to be really interesting, for me at least, I don’t know about the rest of you, to read the rest of the stories and to see how they fit in with everything and if it happens in the way in which I think it might. And yeah, I mean Arthur being betrayed by his right hand man with his beloved female? In the legends, it’s Artie’s wife Guinevere, here it’s Artie’s daughter, Giuliana. See what I mean?

OK, that’s all I have to say about this one. Go find it and read it. Happy reading!

 

Dani Rene-Vice

I’ve been waiting for Oliver’s story from the very first second I met him way back in book one. Dani was so mean, making us wait all the way to book 7 and Vice so that we could get his story.

Oliver trains subs but never takes one permanently. He never wants to have his own sub. He’s perfectly happy to train subs and play sadist to happy little masochists. There are two that he’s been watching, Chase and Cayleigh. Chase is Peyton’s brother and Cayleigh is Carrick’s sister. And considering that Peyton and Carrick are married, it’s a very tight group. Chase is a switch, wanting to submit to Oliver but dominate Cayleigh, so it seems like a match made in heaven. But if it were that easy, it wouldn’t be a Dani Rene book. There’s a whole lot more going on here, almost all of it having to do with Oliver.

I like Oliver, overall, but there were some times in this book that I really, really, really, really didn’t like him. There were some times when I thought that he was doing things for the wrong reason. I understand finding a release in doing certain things in a certain way, but sometimes it didn’t feel like that was what he was doing. It made me feel really uncomfortable and made me question Oliver. Of course, that’s what makes Oliver such a layered character and shows the genius of Dani. I think it must be hard for an author to make a character who is so deeply flawed, and so human in such a real way. And that’s totally Oliver. We’ve seen him in the other books, and he’s always shown one particular aspect of his personality, but we also get glimpses of the man under the facade. Think about how he helps people out, which might seem to be out of character for a sadist who doesn’t love people and doesn’t want a permanent relationship. But that’s just part of the contradiction and enigma that Oliver is for me.

Chase is fierce, and fiercely loyal and loving. He knows what he wants, and he’s willing to go out and fight for it. He also knows his worth and what he is and isn’t willing to put up with. Good for him for that. That’s something that not all people ever figure out. He’s also smart and determined. I really like him. There really isn’t anything about him that I don’t like.

Vice is the end of this particular series. I’m really looking forward to what happens next, because I have a rather strong feeling that Dani is not done with these characters and this world.

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Even down here, I’m not going to talk about what made me feel somewhat uncomfortable with what Oliver was doing at times. I don’t want to influence anyone else’s feelings on it, but feel free to message about it and I’ll tell you.

OK, go check out the entire Sins of Seven series, and fall in love with everyone. Happy reading!

Anthology-Black Light: Celebrity Roulette

It’s Valentine’s Day again, which means it’s the start of the 3rd season of Black Light, and as usual, we are starting it off with a Roulette anthology. This one is a little different though. Instead of being at Black Light East, we’re in LA, and instead of random drawings to match Doms and subs, we have a celebrity auction. A number of celebrities, both dominant and submissive types, put their name into the ring, and members got to bid for them. Once they get to the event and all the celebs find out who has purchased them for the night, then the subs roll for the activity. The rules of Celebrity Roulette say that they have to do the rolled activity for at least 30 minutes, and they are welcome to roll for something else after that. If they finish the night, they get a free month, if someone calls Red, everything is done. And oh yeah, no staff gets involved this year, or else. So, without further ado, let’s spin the wheel and find out where we end up, shall we?

As always, since this is an anthology, and there are 9 stories, plus the beginning and end bumpers, you are just going to get my basic impressions and feelings about each story, otherwise I’d be writing for the next 3 days, and I’d like to sleep sometime. Probably.

Guarded by Renee Rose

Scarlett A is a rock star. She’s also a sub. Once upon a time, she had a bodyguard named Lincoln, but a year ago, he ended fired. In that time, he’s learned a whole lot of new tricks, and he’s just waiting to show Scarlett. There is a lot of connection there between them, but of course, they have history. I think that Lincoln makes a great Dom for so many reasons, but one of them is that he really pays attention to Scarlett, and he has for a while. He might not say a lot, but it’s obvious how he feels about her from the very start.

Hooked by Jennifer Bene

By day a principal ballerina, by night a sub, Vanessa is the one who Wyatt really wants to win. He’s obsessed with her, but in a good way. There’s the typical Jennifer heat, but it’s not your typical Jennifer story. It’s sweet and light. It’s just so beautiful. There’s something about the way that these two connect and interact. They fit each other’s weird edges, and it’s perfect. Plus? I’m totally never going to be able to look at the ballet the same way again, because who knew toe shoes and tutus were sexy AF? The barre was just inspired.

Switched by Livia Grant

This is a first for Black Light. We have a Domme, Mistress Ice. Then there’s Nolan, the Dom who wants her, so he buys her and will submit to her for a night. I don’t know that there are a lot of Doms out there who would submit like that, even for 3 hours. Of course, I don’t know that many in person, so who knows. It was a really interesting dynamic to watch. I’ve read other Domme/sub books, and I’m pretty sure that this one was slightly unhealthy. But, Livia is mean. She’s a meanie meanie head. I need more. I need to know what the past holds.

Determined by Maren Smith

This is one that I really hope that Maren expands, because it really seems like there could be more to the story. So Maren, if you’re reading, take mercy on me and let me out of my suffering sometime in the nearish future, please and thank you? Out of a book full of some seriously hot scenes, I think that the scene between Claire and Adam is really the totally hottest one in the book. It’s just wow. I’m surprised my Kindle didn’t melt down. I figured it would’ve. I love the power struggle that goes on between Claire and Adam, which just makes the whole thing even hotter.

Pressure by Measha Stone

Michele thought about signing up for Celebrity Roulette. She had everything ready to go, but then stopped. Of course, she has that well-meaning friend who decided to submit her application for her and just not tell her. That’s how Michele ends up with Egan for the night. I felt sorry for Michele because she has such a hard time letting go and she has to try to stop her brain from thinking and worrying about if she’s doing the right thing. I can totally get that. I have the same problem, but no Egan to help me.

Savor by Maggie Ryan

Carnegie ends up with Ronan, a celebrity chef. I love her name, BTW, it’s just an awesome story behind it. They have a really sensual scene in here, and one that is really different to anything else we’ve ever seen in any of the Black Light stories. In fact, I think it’s the first scene like it I’ve seen in any BDSM book. It was hot but in a more lowkey kind of way. And fan paintbrushes? I will never look at them the same way again.

Cherished by Sue Lyndon

Once upon a time, Serena met Trenton right after she dumped her boyfriend. He held her during the countdown for NYE and kissed her on her forehead. Now she gets to bid on him. Sue gets a first for the Black Light books too. I’m not saying what it is, because I don’t want to spoil it. But it’s a great scene, and Serena really gets into it. I wonder how much she’s role-playing and how much she’s actually into the scene. Either way, I think it works perfectly. And I saw Trenton as Jason Statham the whole time in my head.

Jazzed by Lesley Clark

I think that this is Lesley’s first Black Light story, but I hope it won’t be her last. And it’s another one that I would love to see expanded out. Jazz is a rock star and Michael is a psychiatrist. Together, they are going to go back to school. The picture that she would’ve presented while she was sitting at a school desk was ridiculously sexy. Their whole story was really connected and really lovely.

Control by Dani Rene

Kaelin’s father, who seems like a super-prick, just sayin’, is Jed’s agent, so Jed feels that she’s off limits. She’s pretty sure that he hates her. But, when they get together, it’s definitely a match in S&M heaven. I love the chemistry that they have together. Of course, they have years of history behind them so it’s no wonder they have such a connection and such chemistry. They are another one that I would like to have more of.

And of course, as always, we have the bumpers about planning the event and the conclusion of the event, written by Livia and Jennifer. We get a little look at Emma, Chase, and Jaxon, which is always nice. I love them so much. We also get to see Madison volunteer to be the MC. And if you haven’t read a Valley Girl MCing at a bondage club auction, you are like totally missing something. I have a feeling that we will be seeing more of Madison in the future.

OK, that’s all I have to say on this one. The nice thing about short stories is that you can work them in whenever you have time, so go check it out. Happy reading!

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Dani Rene-Bound

Bound is the 5th book in Dani’s Sins of Seven series. The books are all interconnected standalones, so theoretically, you could read it alone, but why wouldn’t want you want to read them all, I mean, come on. Great stories, sexy heroes and heroines, and great happy sexy times. What more can you possibly want? Every one of the books is based on one of the Seven Deadly Sins, and it’s generally pretty easy to figure out which one you are reading about. The books also all center around the Seven Sins, this time as in a BDSM club owned and run by friends Carrick and Mason. Carrick has a wife and submissive named Peyton, who is best friends with Mason’s sub, Savannah. Read Carrick and Peyton’s story in Indulge.

Anyway, through the last 4 books, it’s always been Mason and Savvie as the perfect couple. They are so in love and so involved with each other. They are like binary stars that orbit each other and they are always aware of where the other is. Mason is always the one who smacks people around and talks sense into them and helps them get through their stupidity when they are being stupid. Savannah has been there to support people and help them feel better when the world is falling apart. They have always seemed like there is nothing that could break them apart. Buuuutttt… Well, we’d have a short book if that’s all there was to it, wouldn’t we?

We’ve never known much about how Mason and Savvie get together, but we start out 4 years in the past and learn how they got together, which is really nice. He needed a demo model at the club, and she applied. And 4 years later, they are the perfect couple. Except…

We all know that the perfect couple from the outside aren’t usually perfect from the inside, and even Mason and Savannah aren’t perfect. They are both hiding things, from themselves and from others.

I was really glad to get the backstory of Mason and Savannah as a couple and their individual backstories. Having that insight always helps us to understand the characters more, both this book and in other books. It’s really interesting to go back and look at what I know of Savvie and Mason from the other books through the eyes that have read this book. Does that sentence make sense? You know what I mean, anyway. I was sitting at the grocery store with my husband waiting for the cab to take us home while I was reading this, and there were legit tears running down my face while I was waiting. Poor husband, he was worried. I was like, no, sad part of the book. He was like ahhhh. He no longer wants me to explain why the book is sad because I have to go from the very beginning of the story, and there have been some that are very convoluted. Now I just tell him if he really wants to know, I will give him the book to read. Luckily no one else asked why I was crying. We all know how much I love a Dani Rene book, and this one is definitely no different. I truly loved it, even as I had tears running down my face. When the last 2 books come out, I’m going to binge read the entire series, which is going to be awesome.

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Oh, man, yeah, I know that I usually have some sorta spoiler-y thing down here, but I’m not all that sure what I can put down here. I think that I have one or two things that I can say.

I both like and hate Uncle Marcello. He’s fucking sneaky. He has some serious ulterior motives, I know he does. Anything he’s done, he’s had 57 reasons to do.

Cousin Alexei, I’m really hoping we see more of him because he’s complex, and he’s complex in the way that I like.

That’s all about this one, so go check it out. Happy reading!

Dani Rene-Stolen

So, Dani is starting a new series. A dark and intense series. One that is going to keep us on our toes, and if you want to know what’s going on, you need to read the prequel, Stolen. It’s like baseball, if you don’t have the scorecard, you won’t know any of the players, and who wants that?

If you read When the Dark Wins, you may be familiar with this story. This was Dani’s entry in it, and it was called Severed in that set. You can’t get WtDW anymore, so if you want to read it, you have to read it here. I can’t tell you if it’s expanded or not, because I didn’t go back and read it in WtDW. I have a feeling that it’s pretty much the same as in there, but there were a couple of things I don’t remember.

Drake is a Savage. Literally, his last name is Savage. He has a twin brother named Dante and his best friend is named River. The Savage family is just that. They take young women and sometimes young men and do terrible and savage things to them. The goal is to break the people they have taken and then sell them or otherwise dispose of them.

Caia is the latest Savage acquisition. They are going to keep her for 4 weeks and then handle her. The goal is to break her. And they are seriously going to try. I mean, fuck, they are really going to try. The thing is, though, Caia is strong. She’s a fighter. And Drake is drawn to her. There’s just something about her that he can’t stay away from. There’s also something about him that draws her to him.

It’s a short story, so that’s about all you are going to get here. I really like Caia, Drake, Dante, and River, and I can’t wait to see more of everyone interacting togther and the wait for the next book is going to be very frustrating to me. This is a definitely dark story, and really, when I say dark, you know that I know what I’m talking about. Because it’s short, there aren’t any spoilers under there for you to read, but I found a picture anyway, because we all know I like pictures.

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Just Breathe

This anthology is more than a collection of excellent stories by excellent authors, it’s also a way to support To Write Love on Her Arms. I’ve talked about them before. They are an organization that helps support people who are dealing with self-harm and suicidal ideations, among other things. This is such a great organization. Even if you only want one or two of the stories in Just Breathe, you should definitely buy it to support TWLOHA.

Before I get further into my review, I want to warn people that the stories in this book all deal with mental illnesses of some shape or form. There are things in these stories which may trigger you. Please be aware of that and read responsibly.

All of the stories are pretty short, so if you only have a moment here or there to read, you should have no problem finding one that will fit. Because they are short, you are going to basically get my reaction to each story. For most of them, if I were to put anything about them in the review, it would totally spoil the story. So, here we go.

Missy Ann-Forbidden Sorrows-Grief

Missy Ann was a new author to me, and I’ll be looking up more of her work. Grief is hard to deal with at the best of times, and is highly individual. In most cases, you and your grief can be acknowledged, but what happens when it can’t be? It’s not anything I’ve ever thought of before, and wow, Missy brought it to life so vividly.

Anna Edwards-Grounded-Anxiety

I deal with an anxiety disorder and Anna’s story rang so true for me. It was very much like what can go through my head when I feel out of control. It was a great story. And, it looks like it’s the start of a new series, when Anna gets the rights back to it. I can’t wait to see it.

Michelle Brown-Little Lies-Self-Harm

Michelle is still a pretty new writer, but damn, the girl has some serious chops. Self-harm is a very, very touchy subject and has to be handled just right. If you go too far one way, you end up sensationalizing it, if you go too far the other way, you end up making it not believable. Michelle walked that line perfectly. Not so much that it’s glorified, but just at the point where you can understand why Lindsey does what she does. Self-harm was the very reason that TWLOHA was created, so I felt like this one was so important.

K.S. Marshall-Wreckage-Pre-Menstrual Dysphoric Disorder

PMDD is PMS with roid rage. As the hormones in a woman’s body ramp up for ovulation and menstruation, they can have an effect on the woman even at the best of times. But brain and body chemistry being what it is, sometimes the best of times isn’t what happens. K.S. Marshall explored that really, really well. You are inside her heroine’s head as these changes are happening to her and she can’t figure out what’s going on. It’s kind of chilling, but in a good way.

Livia Grant-Purged-Eating Disorder

If you’ve read any of the Black Light books, you’ve probably run across Khloe and Ryder before. It’s no secret in their book that Khloe, a big time movie star, has a history with an eating disorder. What Livia’s story shows so well is that dealing with something like an eating disorder is that it isn’t as easy as one day being cured. There are always going to be things that can trigger you and it’s something you are always going to have to be diligent at fighting, and sometimes that fight is really, really hard.

Yolanda Olson-Sickness in the Sunrise-Erotomania

Erotomania generally happens to women, and it’s when they believe that someone who is of a higher status than they are is in love with them. For example, Yolanda’s story. Yolanda is one of my favorite authors when I want dark, creepy, and chilling, as well as beautiful. Her characters are always so real to me. Just like you can reach out and touch them. That’s no different when it comes to this one. You can feel what’s going on in Dice’s head and why her thoughts make perfect sense.

Natalie Bennett-Ashes to Ashes-Depression

Honestly, I don’t even know what to say with this one. It got deep inside me and moved me. I had to take a break and read something completely different after reading this one. It was so… Yeah.

Dani Rene-Tattered Pieces-Abuse

The one thing we always ask when we talk about people who are in domestic violence situations is why did they stay? Why didn’t they leave the first time, the fifth time, the twentieth time? The thing is, the question isn’t that simple, and the answer is nowhere even near that simple. I could probably write a thousand words on that alone, and it wouldn’t even come near answering anything. And I wouldn’t have gotten it anywhere near as good as what Dani said. I hope that this is the start of a series, because it looks like it could be. I want more of Toni’s story. I’m rooting for her.

Jennifer Bene-Cocoon-Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

Jennifer managed to write a story that is very true to her storytelling while still exploring OCD. People who have OCD have rituals that they have to follow or their world ends, and that’s not really an exaggeration. That’s the way it will feel, at the very least. Amy was an interesting character and Colton was tortured in so many ways. Such an excellent story and a viewpoint of OCD that most people won’t ever see.

Ally Vance-Ignite-Pyromania

Fire can be very pretty. But, for most of us, pretty is as far as it gets. For people who are pyromaniacs, it’s like their lifeblood. Ally showed that really well. I’ll never look at wooden matches the same way again. Nor, I think, will I ever look at a bonfire the same way.

Murphy Wallace-Hostile Takeover-Split Personality

Murphy Wallace is another new to me author. And another one I’ll be tracking down more of. This was really intriguing to me. I’m not sure how to describe it or even to talk about how it made me feel. I really enjoyed it though.

Jane Anthony-The Row-Addiction

Addiction is a serious illness. Too many people want to see it as some kind of moral failure or something, but that’s not the way it works. Jane’s Trinity fights with addiction, and when you see her backstory, you see why. I thought that Jane did so well. Trinity and King made me cry.

Ashleigh Giannoccaro-Awake-Insomnia

When I was reading Ashleigh’s story, it was both kind of creepy and engrossing. I mean, yeah. I’m hoping any of her insomniacs stay right away from me, please and thank you.

Skye Callahan-Unbearable-Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

When you go through a traumatic incident, there are changes that are made to your brain’s chemistry and your body. Those changes can trigger PTSD. And there’s no way of telling who is going to have it and who isn’t. Two people who went through the exact same event may not both have PTSD, and if they do, they might not be triggered in the same way. Skye handled the subject really well, and explained it in ways that many people don’t necessarily hear.

Toni Lemay-Loops-Mandela Effect

The Mandela Effect is something that was totally new to me. Basically, it has to do with alternate realities and the way that your brain makes memories. That’s probably a way too simplistic description, but it’s what I got from in when I looked it up. If I had more time to research it, I would probably be able to come up with something more, but I tend to fall down the rabbit hole when I start researching things. I will probably be looking into this more when I have a chance because Toni made it sound really interesting, and I want to see how it works.

I want to applaud all these authors for writing about these mental illnesses. I don’t know how many of these talented people deal with the subjects they wrote about, but they handled all of them really well. People who are mentally ill aren’t always handled well in fiction, let alone real life, and the stigma that surrounds mental illnesses makes it hard for those of us who are mentally ill to get the help that they need. We are made to feel bad because our brain don’t work the same way that other people’s brains do, and are shamed because we have to take medication to get through our days. I’m very open about the fact that I’m mentally ill and that I take medication to help me be stable. My thought is that if I’m open about it, maybe that fact can help one person get the help that they need. Also, the more we talk about it, the less the stigma is going to be there.

OK, that’s all I have to say today. You really need to get this.

And because I hate to post anything without a picture, here’s a fogbow.

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