Anna Edwards-Legacy of Succession

Oh, my ducklings, Anna Edwards has brought us a twisty turny one with some lovely darkness in Legacy of Succession. This is the first book of a new series, and I’m eagerly awaiting the next one in the series, because I’m pretty sure that it’s going to be good.

So, here’s the way this one goes. Nicholas is the son of a Duke. He’s his father’s heir and on the cusp of 30, which means it’s time for him to find a wife. Only, getting a wife isn’t as easy as going out and finding a nice woman to marry. Oh no, that would be too easy. You see, centuries ago, Nicholas’ ancestor started a secret society, with himself at the top, of course. Part of that secret society is that Nicholas has to choose from the women who were born to members of that society in the year he turned 8. And it’s not even as nice as just going out on dates with those ladies until he finds out which one he wants. Nope, that would be way too easy.

Victoria is one of those women. She’s been basically trapped in her father’s home her entire life. Her only friend is the daughter of the maid. She didn’t go to school, she doesn’t have a job, she can’t leave the house without her father’s permission and without strict guards around her. She can really count the number of times she’s left her home on both hands. She feels stifled and can’t wait until she can start her real life. When her father comes up and gives her a white dress and tells her that they are going out to meet people, she figures it’s time for her to make her entrance into society. She’s so excited to be going out and having a real life. Right up until she realizes that the real life she’s going to get isn’t exactly what she wants. No, she’s about to take part in some marriage games and the first step is to be branded.

There are 4 other women, making 5 total, and apparently Nicholas is only allowed the choice of 3, so Victoria thinks that she’s good to go because the devilish Duke tells everyone that the other 2 women are free to leave. Except, gee, nope. The 2 women that Nicholas didn’t choose get to be sold off to the highest bidder within this society. Bunch of bastards.

Very little that happens in this book is all that nice, at least through the majority of the book. There are some nice things that do happen, but they are pretty much outweighed by some really horrible stuff. Victoria is angry, and I don’t blame her a bit, I would be too. Nicholas is also angry, and I don’t blame him either. Well, maybe a little bit. He’s known what to expect his entire life. But, Victoria uses that anger and lets it help her when she needs it. One of the things I really liked about this book is the fact that it was a dual POV. This book really needed that, I can’t see how it would’ve worked any other way. We really did needs to see what was going on in Nicholas’ head. I’m already ready for the next one to come out.

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I hope that Victoria tears everyone up in the next one. I would offer all kinds of things to Anna if she would make that happen. Please, Anna? I would love you forever!

I knew not to trust that Elizabeth from the very second we first saw her. She just felt smarmy and nasty. And Victoria’s dad? Yuck. I’m pretty sure that I totally hate him.

OK, that’s all I have to say about this one. You need to go read this. Happy reading!

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Aria Adams-The Belle Jar

Aria Adams is a pen name for Katie Douglas. It’s the one where she writes dark stuff. And the Belle Jar is dark. It’s a retelling of Beauty and the Beast, but it sure as fuck isn’t any kind of fairy tale. It’s dark, horrific in places, merely scary in others, but it has glimmers of light in it. It’s a great story and I loved it.

Marea lives in Darkholm, which isn’t a very nice kind of place to live. Her mother was burned as a witch and the people of her village keep accusing her of being a witch. The only thing that has saved Marea from being burned is the fact that her mother had the foresight to have a chastity ring inserted on Marea. This ring went into her bits, making sure that she would retain her virginity. No one could figure out how to take the ring off, and frankly, Marea is pretty happy about that, because it proves she’s still a virgin and never had sex with a demon, meaning she couldn’t be a witch. But the fact that she’s a redhead doesn’t endear her to the people in her village.

In the dark and evil woods near their village, is a castle. Every 7 years, the denizens of the castle demand a sacrifice. This year, the village has decided that it’s going to be Marea, so they bundle her into a sack and pop up onto the doorstep of the castle. When she’s taken out of the sack, she’s confronted by monsters who pop her into a bell jar and begin doing terrible things. She manages to survive that part, but more and more horrible things happen.

I loved the story. Aria managed to put a lot of different layers in it and to leave you wondering what’s going to come next. I wasn’t sure what Marea was going to do when she got stuck with horrible choices. When your choices break down into a handful of shit or a bigger handful of shit, there’s not really any good choice for you to make. I’m pretty sure that Marea would’ve been happy if handfuls of shit had been her choice.

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I love the dichotomy of the castle boys and the mirror boys. It was really interesting to see. I’m not sure if it made it any easier for Marea or not. I mean, she had someplace to escape to, but when she came back to the castle, she had something terrible to deal with. I would think that each time she was able to go to the mirror, it would make coming back so much worse.

OK, that’s all I have to say about this one. Go read it, but make sure you have a comfy blankie with you while you do.

Loki Renard-Pure Evil

Loki is once more taking us into the House of Vitali. The only family where the pre-requisite to join is the fact that you REALLY don’t want to join and where attempting to kill other members of the family is to be expected. The House of Vitali is so dysfunctional that it makes Norman Bates suggest that you might want to check yourself and Joan Crawford all of a sudden says that wire hangers aren’t all that bad.

In Pure Evil, Angelo is separated from his beloved boys. He has to go deal with stupid little legal challenges from the LEOs and he has to stay in the city so that he can keep going to court. Meanwhile, Mark and Bobby have to stay in a safe, hidden location. Mark because he is a disgraced FBI agent and Bobby because, well, he’s Bobby. Angelo left Mark in charge because if he left Bobby in charge, there probably wouldn’t be anything left to come back to. Bobby is smart, but he’s also impulsive and vicious. He really needs to not be unsupervised, ever. None of this would be an insurmountable problem except for the fact that one day, Angelo doesn’t contact Mark to let him know he’s done with court and he didn’t take his car home. Someone has grabbed Angelo.

Damien is a mercenary. He’s been hired to kill Angelo, but it’s obvious that he has a personal axe to grind. He keeps telling Angelo that he’s going to do terrible things to him, but Angelo, being Angelo, isn’t fazed at all.

OK, that’s all the synopsis I’m going to give you because A) it’s pretty short and 2) I don’t want to take any of the journey away from you. Angelo is so devious that he makes Machiavelli look like a piker. He makes Twizzlers jealous. Have you ever seen a double threaded screw? Yeah, that’s not as twisty and devious as Angelo is. He has plans, more plans, backup plans, backup backup plans, and then some really good ideas as to where he’s going to go next. This book has twists, turns, swerves, and corkscrews. Each of those twists has all its own twists and turns. I mean, seriously, it’s like those stairs by MC Escher. I was left with more questions than I started with. I have no clue who knew what and when, other than the fact that I’m pretty sure Angelo knew everything all the time, I mean, he’s Angelo. This book is dark. Each of the Vitali books have gotten darker and darker. This isn’t the darkest thing I’ve ever read, but it was dark enough that I looked at the husband and was like shit, damn, fuck. Just damn. I am going to reread it this weekend to see if I can answer some of my questions.

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Seriously, my biggest question is how much did Mark know and when did he know it? That’s all I really want to know. And of course, Loki isn’t going to tell us, which means I’m just going to have to guess.

I did like seeing a softer side of Bobby. It was really interesting to see.

That’s all I have to say on this one. Go read all of them. Seriously. Happy reading!

 

Alta Hensley & Zoe Blake-Queen and the Kingsmen

Alta and Zoe have given us their third filthy fairy tale. And oh, my kittens, when I say filthy, I mean fillllllttthhhhy. Forget having to be over 18 to read this, you may have to be over 25 to read this one. It was definitely the dirtiest of the group. I think it was also the most playful.  So, on to Queen and the Kingsmen.

Alright, so this is somewhat based around the evil fairy from Sleeping Beauty and Maleficent. Not enough that you can point and say oh, that’s straight from X, but enough that it gives you the flavor. And that’s perfectly fine with me. I think it’s awesome, and it’s nice to see newer fairy tales being used.

So, our evil Queen Zelladine is taunting the piddling little mortal king and tells him that she’s never going to give him back the body of his dead daughter, Briar, and oh yeah, she curses the hell out of him. Well, King Dickbag isn’t about to let that stand, he’s going to do something about it. While Zelladine has gone home to make sure that all her people are safe, mostly done by sending them away to safety, he decides he’s going to put out his big guns, the Kingsmen. No one really knows who they are or much about them. Zelladine isn’t all that worried, she’s never met an impressive mortal man. Then again, she’d never met the Kingsmen.

The Kingsmen, Gripir, Sigmun, Troylus, and Regin, are tasked with finding Queen Zelladine and making her give Briar’s body back so her father can bury her. The thing is, that Zelladine is just as determined to not give them that information. She’s going to keep her mouth shut on that matter for as long as possible. The Kingsmen capture her and keep her in a tower where her magic was neutralized. They punish her in several different ways, but they still can’t break her. In fact, she likes what they are doing, and sees it as a game.

OK, the interactions between the Kingsmen and Zelladine are awesome. She is strong and stubborn and isn’t about to let the guys roll over her. She enjoys all the sex, she enjoys exasperating them, and she enjoys what they are doing to her. The guys get rather frustrated with her, but that doesn’t mean that they aren’t enjoying themselves as well. This is an awesome story and it does have appearances of characters from the other stories. It’s a short, hot, filthy read, and fabulous.

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Oh, I love the game of hide and seek at the end of the book. I also like how many times Zella manages to trick the guys. She was really three or four steps ahead of him most of the time, wasn’t she? It was lovely.

OK, that’s all I have to say for this one, so go read it. You’ll love it.

Loki Renard-Shamefully Shared

Loki Renard has brought us another shameful book, Shamefully Shared. I am completely unashamed to say that I loved reading every single dirty word of it. I love Loki’s work and her various worlds. My Loki Renard collection on my Kindle just keeps growing by leaps and bounds, and with books like Shared, it’s not hard to see why, now is it?

Lacey is a journalist. She likes to get the big stories. Three years ago, she was abducted by a Venezuelan militia group, accused of being a spy, and tortured. There was an elite military group that was there for another reason, and they decided to rescue her, even though she wasn’t a direct part of their mission. She promised the guys that she wouldn’t say anything about them, since they were a very, very secret group. But, when she gets home, she writes a story about her time and outs the guys. I mean, she’s a journalist, right? She believes in a good story and that people have the right to have information, and all. The problem is that her story gets them dishonorably discharged and disgraced.

Flash forward, and Lacey is in trouble again. This time, she and several other journalists have been digging into a huge story of high-level corruption. Over the past few months, most of the other journalists have died. One of them managed to end up streaming his death to a file-sharing site that they were all using. So when Lacey gets home and finds that there are guys in her house, she knows what’s coming. So, she calls the only person she can think of to keep her safe, Chase.

Chase is the only one of the guys who saved her who ever answered the phone when she called to apologize. So, when she calls for a rescue, he tells Rex, Brian, Col, and Max what happened and that he’s going to get her. After an argument, they all go out to rescue her.

So, with all the names, you can guess that it’s a reverse harem. Each of the guys has a very distinct personality and a very distinct relationship with Lacey. It’s really interesting to watch each relationship grow and evolve and see how each man reacts to Lacey and to everything that happens. It’s a great set of stories combined into one larger book, and it’s done pretty seamlessly. Since it’s a Loki book, expect spanking and all kinds of kinkery, and of course, a cage. I wouldn’t mind seeing more of this group.

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OK, I want to know Brian and get into his workshop. He’s definitely got a flair for machinery. He’s devious and I love his devious mind.

Col. I like Col. He has a very clear view of Lacey. I think that he’s the only one who really saw through her. He watched her and knew her. He’s also right in that it will definitely take all of them to keep her happy.

Lacey would definitely run over the guys one on one. It’s not that she’s high-maintenance. She’s just very smart and very clever, and her brain is always working and trying to find the edges of the puzzle and how she can get around things.

I mostly liked the guys, there was one thing that they did that made me really mad. I understand why they did it, but I don’t like the way that they did it. It was pretty shitty.

OK, that’s all I have to say on this one. Go check it out and read all the other books that Loki has. Happy reading!

Celia Aaron-The Prophet

I’m pretty sure that Celia Aaron has redefined Southern Gothic and made it something all her own. I’m also pretty sure that she’s evil. When she writes a book, she not only wants to find out how she can do terrible things to her characters, she also wants to figure out ways in which to torture us, her readers. And she does such a damn good job at it. The Prophet is proof of this. Prophet is the 2nd of the 3 books that make up The Cloister books. They are a continuous story, broken into three parts. Talking about Prophet will spoil the first book in the series, The Maiden, there just isn’t any other way to do it. If you haven’t read Maiden, then don’t read this yet. If you don’t like cliffies, then wait. The Church comes out in June. These books are dark af and mindfucking like you wouldn’t believe. If you have a trigger, the book will seek it out and pull it.

If you have read both books, or you aren’t worried, then come jump off the cliff with me.

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Continue reading “Celia Aaron-The Prophet”

K. Webster-El Malo

No one is surprised when I have another K Webster book on here anymore, are they? If you are, you must not have been following me long. I’ve reviewed several of her last releases, and blog gods willing, I’ll review many, many more. This one is a doozy though. When I finished, I just looked at my husband and was like damn, that was good. It was just so satisfying.

Before I get started on reviewing El Malo, I just have to mention the cover. The woman on the cover is super hot, and it’s a great cover. OK, on to the book.

Rosa was born in Texas and adored by her mother. She talked her mother into taking her to her favorite restaurant in Cuidad Juarez, where some bad guys raided at the exact wrong time. Rosa’s mom covered her and ended up bleeding to death on the floor of the kitchen of that restaurant. Rosa was filled with righteous anger and was determined to bring down all mafia and gangsters in Mexico. For the past 4 years, she’s been working undercover for the CIA, working as a maid in Javier Estrada’s house.

Javier is the head of El Malo, a cartel that is running their section of Mexico. Javier is determined to ruin Acapulco, where he lives, so that he can send all the business to his father in Puerto Vallarta. His dad owns a huge chunk of the hotels in that area, so they are going to make serious bank on the deal. Javier is really good at it. He and his boys own the town, and work their way through everything and everyone. Rosa is there to get all the information she can, and then once a week, she goes to her handler and gives him her information.

Javier has only noticed Rosa in the context of her job as the head maid of his house. She’s very good at her job. He knows better than to fuck the staff, but when she comes home one Saturday injured because she was attacked on her way home, all of a sudden, he really sees her. Not just that, he knows that she’s his.

Now, while I was reading this, there was one sentence that popped up that really stuck with me. El es el malo. He is the bad guy. El es El Malo. He is El Malo, as in a member of the organization. There’s just something really powerful about that sentence, either way that it’s written. It just struck me hard and made me think. I mean, we’re supposed to know that Javier is bad, after all, he is a Narco. He tortures and kills people. He’s not necessarily a nice guy. But, is he really the bad guy? After reading the book, I’m pretty sure that I know the answer. Rosa has to keep reminding herself of that, because frankly, Javier makes it really hard to remember sometimes. Other times, it’s not so hard.

Javier is an anti-hero. He’s smooth, handsome, well-spoken, and charming. He’s forceful, passionate, and magnetic. Rosa is a very strong woman. I mean, you would have to be to be in deep cover for 4 years. Four years of having to be someone you aren’t all day every day? That has to be exhausting, and yet she manages to do it. She’s brave, resourceful, and caring. Together, the two of them are explosive. Their love story is so all-consuming, it jumps off the page. I was sucked into it and just couldn’t out of it. But there isn’t just the love story, there’s also a lot of suspense going on too. Really, this was just such a helluva ride. I mean, I just couldn’t put it down when I was reading it. My family had to just deal with it, and my cats got shoved out of the way when they tried blocking my Kindle. Poor Chainsaw and Jaguar. They pouted. I almost felt bad about that, but nahhhh. Javier and Rosa helped me over that. Calling it a roller coaster would be putting mildly.

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I never trusted Michael. He was scummy to begin with and just yuck. I mean, the way that he treated Rosa was just shitty and then got worse. Poor Rosa. I felt so sad for her because he was the only person who knew the “real” Rosa. Too bad he was so nasty.

I like Marco Antonio. He doesn’t really trust Rosa in the beginning, but I have a feeling that he only trusts Javier. But, that doesn’t mean that he doesn’t take care of Rosa. He knows that she is important to Javier and that he trusts her. They both know that she’s lying about something that she’s keeping secret, but Javier knows that he will get it out of her.

Angel, what a fuck he was. But everyone handled that well. I loved it. Of course, I was really scared when it was happening, but I should’ve trusted Javier more. It was great though.

I loved Javier’s dad. He was super sweet, if you can call an old gangster sweet. But the bits with him and Tania and Emiliano are just awesome.

OK, that’s all I have to say about this one today. It’s on KU and I can’t recommend this one enough. Go forth and read. Happy reading!