CP Mandara-Beautiful Tears

CP Mandara is another one of those authors that I’m surprised that I haven’t featured here before. Well, I’m fixing that now, with Beautiful Tears. This is the first book in a new series of hers. It’s an enemies to lovers, revenge books. I’m also going to warn you that CP is just a litttttle bit sadistic in the way that she ends her books. They keep you riiiiiight on that edge. Right.On.The.Edge. I have, more than once, cursed CP’s name when I hit the end of her books. But does that stop me from going back and reading them again? Of course not!

So, here’s the story from this one. Harper’s life is falling apart. The man that she helped put away with a lie 5 years ago is about to get out of jail, and she knows that he’s going to come after her. She wants to get away from London to make it harder for him to find her. The problem is that she is so broke that to be flat broke would be a financial uptick for her. But, she manages to get to Nottingham, where she figures that she’ll be safe.

Meanwhile, Brandt is counting down the minutes to his release. He has plans for Miss Harper. He wants to make her pay, and pay but good. He has spent 5 years in hell, and for each and every second that he was in jail, Harper is going to suffer. After all, he’s lost his wealthy family, who now want nothing to do with him, the woman he was supposed to marry, his chance of college, and any hope of a future. If he can get Harper to confess to police that she lied and actually did the crime, then he might still get that stuff back.

Here’s the thing when it comes to CP Mandara’s work, it’s intense. She builds up layer after layer of suspense and just keeps you on the edge. You can’t wait to turn the page and get to the next part because you just need to know what’s going on. Her sex is also just as intense. She writes very kinky stories, with a capital KINKY. The sex scenes are just searing because of the intensity between her characters.

She also works dark. I’m not sure where I would put her in the spectrum of dark authors, but considering one series has a father basically selling his daughter to a pony stable and this one has the male main character kidnapping the female main character, it’s definitely on the darker end. CP also puts her characters through the wringer, physically and mentally. She doesn’t save what she does for one side or the other, all the main characters go through it.

Anyway, I can’t wait for the next part of this series. I am pretty eagerly counting down the days.

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I need to know all of Harper’s secrets. I mean, there is just so much there. I can’t wait until they all come out.

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

 

Nicolina Martin-Absolution

Absolution is the second book of the Savage Duet, which is part of the Russo Saga. I think that Nicolina definitely had the right idea when she decided to break these books up into 2 instead of trying to cover Kerry and Christian’s story all at once. It’s an intense story, and with as much of a roller coaster as Redemption was by itself, the full story together would’ve been OMG-ish. Breaking them into two books allows us to catch our breath a bit in between the two. It also allows us to get longer books, which is always a yay kinda thing.

Before I get started, it’s important for me to warn you that there will probably be spoilers in here. I’ll try not to spoil anything, but the fact is, they are a duet, and the first one was cliffhanger-y. As always, I’ll try to keep it vague and any spoilers down below the pic, but any spoilage you get now is all on you.

So, we left Kerry with baby Cecilia. She has run away and hidden in the backwoods of Canada, and is nearly off the grid. By a crazy series of coincidences (or, you know, a sadistic author), Christian has found them. And Kerry has pretty much fallen apart. She’s terrified that he’s going to kill her at worst, or just take Cecilia and leave at best. Remember, the last thing she knew about him was Luci telling her that he couldn’t control Christian. So, for all she knows, he’s been searching the past 2 years to kill her. Frankly, I don’t blame her for how she’s feeling.

Meanwhile, Christian has pretty much jumped the rails. He knew where she was in Chicago, and kind of kept an eye on her, but after she left, no one could find her. So, he’s gone a little crazy. He kinda just doesn’t give a damn anymore. He is doing all kinds of terrible things, just so that he doesn’t have to think anymore. But, here’s the thing. He isn’t doing these terrible things because he wants to, he’s using them like a drug or something. They are a way to numb the pain that he is feeling inside. He’s pretty much a walking, talking black hole at the moment. Which, really, I don’t blame him for that. Chris knows what he did and where he went wrong.

Kerry spends a lot of the time in Canada simply existing. I don’t think that she’s really alive, just exists. If she isn’t with Cecilia, then she’s just a shadow of herself. When she has to interact with Christian, she does so from a purely instinctual place. She’s being a mama who is trying to take care of her daughter and herself. There’s not much else to it, she’s just swiping at him so that she and Cecilia will be safe. Everything she does is for that. Of course, she doesn’t necessarily make the best choices that way, but she gets to a point where she’s just reacting so much that she can’t think of consequences because there just isn’t any room in her head for that.

I loved seeing what happens with Kerry and Christian. They do not have an easy journey because they have to go through all that history first, and Kerry has to deal with all the things that she would really rather not have to deal with, like Luci, and that’s hard for her. But, I think that their hard journey makes what relationship they do get a much better one, because they have worked through some of these things. They know the worst that could happen, because it’s happened.

I will reiterate that I really fucking hate Luci. I know that Nicolina is working on his story right now, and she tells me that we will like him after this, but she’s going to work really damn hard on that one. I’m not going to doubt her, because I know that she can do it, but Luci is just such a fucking asshole. I mean, he’s a nasty, prolapsed, pig asshole, so, you know, a lot of work. I can’t wait to see it though. Luci’s redemption, not a prolapsed asshole.

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I love Luci and Kerry’s interaction when she finds out some particularly crucial information. I cheered for her and then laughed my ass off.

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

Skye Warren-Sonata

Sonata is the 3rd book in Skye’s North Security series. It’s also the conclusion of Samantha and Liam’s story. I’ve been looking forward to this book, because I’ve been wanting to know what happened with Samantha and Liam.

Before I get started, I’m going to warn you that there will be spoilers for Overture and Concerto. Sorry. But the way that the books are written, there’s no other way to do it. So, make sure that you are aware of that, and you know that I will try very hard to keep everything as vague as possible.

After the events of the last book, Samantha and Liam are in hiding in the south of France. That sounds like it could be so much fun, but it really isn’t. They are basically at each other’s throat. Liam is still healing from his wound, and because he’s an asshole sometimes, he isn’t taking as much care of himself as he should be. Samantha has locked up her beloved Strad so that she doesn’t give them away with her skill, and hasn’t picked up any kind of instrument, let alone a violin, in months. And they are no closer to figuring out everything that’s going on. So, that leaves Liam with making a choice he doesn’t really want to make. He is going to have to start the tour back up in Paris, and put Samantha on the stage as bait.

I’ve liked watching Samantha grow up and change during the entire series. She has had her eyes opened quite a bit during this. But, I think she’s also retained a part of her that sees life as magical and special, I mean, not that she’s had a whole lot of that in her life, but there’s just some part of her that sees life that way, at least a little bit. She’s also learned her strength, which isn’t anything that she knew from the start of the series. There is one scene in the book where I think she just comes across as an absolute goddess who knows her strength and is so regal, and then a few pages later, she knows her power in a different way.

Liam, I think, gets in his head a lot. He’s letting things that happened decades ago hold him frozen in place. Each time he tries to break free from those things, he lets them get back into his head and hold him back. It’s not fair to himself and it’s definitely not fair to Samantha. OTOH, he always wants to make sure that she’s protected and safe, even when he’s being an asshat. That part is never going to change.

I really want to get a story on Frans and Isa, because I’m pretty sure that it will be something fascinating.

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All the mom stuff was truly unexpected.

OK, that’s all I have to stay today. Go check it out! Happy reading!

Lee Savino & Stasia Black-Innocence, Awakening, and Queen of the Underworld

Innocence, Awakening, and Queen of the Underworld are a 3 book serial that is, among other things, a modern twist on the Hades and Persephone story. I thought about reading them as Lee and Stasia wrote them, but I decided that it would be much safer on my poor heart if I waited for Queen to come out and read them all at once, so that’s what I did. Since they are a serial, it will affect how I review them here. Mostly, I’ll give some info about the first book, and then highly gloss over the rest of the books. You know how I do.

So, a brief brushup on the Hades/Persephone thing. Demeter, the Greek goddess of the harvest has a daughter known as both Kora and Persephone. Hades, God of the Underworld wants a bride, and he spots Persephone. He manages to take her, gets her to eat 6 pomegranate seeds, and says he’s going to keep her. Demeter goes on strike and there are massive famines, droughts, all that. Zeus steps in and the agreement is struck that Persephone will reign in the Underworld for 6 months, and be above ground for 6 months. Zeus, by the way? Persephone’s daddy and uncle. Which also makes her husband Hades, her uncle. Those Greek gods, all kinds of incestuous.

Here’s how our story goes here. Cora is a sweet 19 year old girl who has run away from her tyrant of a mother, Demi. Her mother kept her completely isolated on a farm in the middle of nowhere. She would lock Cora in the cellar, yell at her, mistreat her, and be an all-around nasty bitch.  Cora wants nothing more than to get as far away from her mother as possible, and runs away to New Olympus.

Cora, who pretty much has no clue how the world works, because she’s been isolated on a farm all her life, ends up being a live-in nanny. After one particularly bad day, she heads out to a club with some friends. But, she also ends up drugged and dragged out of the club. She manages to get away from the asshole who has her and runs through a door, where she meets Marcus.

Marcus is known as the Lord of the Underworld. He’s a very powerful man in New Olympus. He is taken with the beautiful young woman who is drugged and soaking wet from the rain and takes her home. He woos her, cherishes her, and whisks her off her feet.

But of course we wouldn’t have 3 books if it was as easy as all that, would it? There is a whole lot that happens in these books. Marcus isn’t what he seems. Cora isn’t what she seems. Secrets swirl around her, and they aren’t ones that she is holding. In fact, she is like Jon Snow, and starts out knowing nothing. That slowly but surely changes, and things that Cora never expected or even imagined could happen actually happen.

I hate Marcus sometimes. I mean, downright can’t freaking stand the man. Of course, as we learn more about him, we find out why he has made the choices that he has, not that I’m excusing him in any way, shape, or form. He’s a grownup, he’s reasonably intelligent, he could’ve chosen other options, but he didn’t. Other times, my heart truly aches for him. He does put himself into some nearly impossible situations, and I don’t know why he chooses to do that. I think he’s operating under faulty logic.

I like Cora, most of the time. I think that she needed to grow up a little faster than she did. She really did hide her head in the sand almost willfully sometimes. But, when she decided to make her stand, she really made her stand. You’ll see what I mean. I think that she will end up as a serious force to be reckoned with, and that she’s going to make people see her. If they try to ignore her, I’m pretty sure that she’s going to hurt them, big time.

We have some great secondary characters. Armand, Anna, Olive, Andrea Doria, and definitely Sharo. All of these people are related to other mythological figures, and they all play fairly heavily into the story. Then we have Waters and Sturm, who are very interesting characters.

Along with the main Hades and Persephone, we get a glimpse at Orpheus and Eurydice, and Ares and Venus. I love how those got wound into everything else and how Lee and Stasia made it all fit together.

For more information about how the various characters relate back to mythological characters, check out the end of book 3. Lee left a nice message for everyone.

There are going to be more books in this world, featuring more myths. I’m really looking forward to reading them.

 

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Ugh. Demi. What a bitch. I mean, burn in hell woman. A lot. In a big firey pit.

Poor Sharo. His story was just so sad.

AJ needed serious, serious, serious punishment.

OK, that’s all from me. Go check out these books. 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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Jane Henry-The Bratva’s Captive

Jane Henry is back with her sexy, sexy Russian boys in The Bratva’s Captive. Today, we are getting Maksym and Olena’s story.

So, several months ago, Maksym was held captive by his Bratva’s enemies, The Thieves. They spent several days torturing him. It wasn’t pretty. But Maks, being a Bratva member, is tough, and he didn’t give them any information. Luckily, his pals rescued him. His time changed him, a lot. When his boss decided to go visit old friends in America, Maks went with, partially because his woman, Taya, told him that she couldn’t be with him the way that he was. Then The Thieves killed Taya, and all bets were off.

Olena’s father just happens to be the head of The Thieves. He’s a huge fucking asshole. She had been staying in the US with her mom, until her mom died, so now she’s back in Russia, living under her father’s “care”, which she hates. Olena has no freedom, can’t hang out with friends, no dating, none of that. She’s lucky that she has a job. Maybe.

One day, a gorgeous man named Maksym walks into the cafe where Olena works. She’s flattered that he’s flirting with her. Right up until he drugs her, kidnaps her, and oh yeah, chains her to the bed. And spanks her!

Maks goes through a lot in this book. He has to deal with what happened to him at the hands of The Thieves. He has to deal with the loss of Taya. Then he has to deal with his changing feelings about Olena. She was only supposed to be his revenge against her father. He was going to take Olena so that he could draw out her father and kill him for having Taya killed. But, the best plans of mice and men, right?

All Olena really wants is freedom. She was isolated when it came to her mother because they were mostly in hiding. Her father is up to his eyeballs in shit and he doesn’t let her have any freedom either. Then, of course, there’s the ultimate lack of freedom when Maks takes her. She wants to be as far away from her father as possible, which he makes impossible. Maksym isn’t disposed to let her go. He confuses the fuck out of her. Which, considering how confused he is himself, isn’t all that surprising.

I really found myself cheering hard for Maks and Olena. I wanted them to win and stay together. That’s not to say that I didn’t get mad at Maks, because of course I did, but a lot of his problems were things that he wasn’t able to easily handle. He was stuck in his head, which kept fighting against his head. That made it really hard for him to go through everything he needs to go through.

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I liked the little old lady. She definitely knew a whole lot and she wasn’t afraid to share it, even though she knew who Maks was. I would love to see more of her.

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