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!

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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Nicolina Martin-Redemption

You remember yesterday how I said that Eva Dresden’s book broke me? Well, Nicolina broke me too, with Redemption. I flat out ugly cried. I mean, just straight out super ugly cried. And I told Nicolina that it was 3 different places where I was ugly crying, but the truth is that I pretty much started from the first place and had tears running down my face for so much of the time after that. It was very intense and it squeezed my heart and hurt me.

I will tell you before I get started that while this is part of the Russo Saga, Redemption is a duet, so yes, there is a cliff.

This story is Kerry and Christian’s. We met Christian back in Ruin, Eric and Anna’s story.  Christian went with Eric on the job where he met Anna. He was intense, but I really liked him. There was just something about Christian that I was really drawn to. But, he hadn’t had his own book yet.

Kerry works at the center where Luci’s son David goes. David is autistic, and she is working with him to help him. One day, David says something about all the red on the man. Kerry tries really hard not to think too much about it, but then the next time she sees Luciano, she asks him about it. He tells Kerry some story, and then stares at her. The next thing she knows, David has been pulled from her center. That totally breaks her heart because she was really attached to him. So, she and her friends go out to get smashed.

Meanwhile, Luci has decided that Kerry is too nosy and knows too much. He calls his favorite nephew and ruthless killer, Christian. He wants Christian to kill her. So, he looks up all the info on Kerry that he can, and then follows her out with her friends. He meets her at the bar, and then takes her across the street to a diner, and finally home. He realizes that there is something about her. They don’t fuck that night, but they come close.

Now, remember, Christian is a ruthless killer, and he’s been tasked to kill her. Luci wants to know what’s taking him so long, because Christian should’ve had it done the first day. But, you know, it’s not much of a story if Christian offs her immediately is it?

Christian and Kerry tore me apart, just straight up fucking wrecked me. I really don’t like Christian at all right now. He was pretty terrible and the things that he did to Kerry were just horrifying. And I’m not meaning the lovely night of kinky strangle sex either. I’m talking later. He makes choices which have some terrible consequences. Some of them are consequences he’s dealing with, but more of them are Kerry’s. I’m really hoping that Nicolina can redeem him in the next part, because I’d like to like him again.

Kerry, our poor, sweet, summer child, Kerry. She gets broken, put back together, broken again, put back together again, and so on and so forth. The problem with breaking and put back together that many times is that it creates weak spots. Those spots are always going to be a place where you can break further. The more you break, the harder it is to put yourself together and the more pieces of you get lost.

And fucking Luci. Just when I think I can’t hate him any more than I already do. Hellfire and lava is too good for him.

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You know, I don’t think there is anything that I can even put down here. Sorry, not sorry.

Go check this out, as well as the rest of the series. Happy reading!

Eva Dresden-Broken

If you are in my FB group, then you know what my reaction was to reading Eva Dresden’s premier book, Broken. Not only does the title fit the book, but it also fit how I felt after reading it. It’s dark, it’s devastating, it’s delicious, and I need all of it. This is an MF Omegaverse novel, and it’s sooooooo goooooooood.

So here’s our story for today.  Quinn is an Omega who has been taking suppressants and such for years. For right now, she’s working as a dancer and server in a club. Some of the other women there take money for sex as well as dancing and serving, but she doesn’t. One night, she, along with some other women, get drafted to serve in a private room. When she starts to feel things she shouldn’t, she runs to the bathroom, but she gets followed, and things happen. So her bosses send her home so that she can regroup and recover, as well as go to the clinic to check to make sure her suppressants are OK.

On her way home, some jackasses accost her, but a guy in an expensive car stops them and offers to take her home. Seems like a nice guy, right? If only. Tobias is the man who owns the car, but wasn’t the man driving. He is uber-rich and is one of those guys you just. do. not. cross. He goes after what he wants and takes it, and he has decided that he wants Quinn. It doesn’t matter what Quinn wants as this point or pretty much ever again.

It’s hard to believe that this is Eva’s first published book on Amazon. Her writing is tight, creative, nuanced, layered, and tangible. I felt like I was inside Quinn’s head, literally, and that I was feeling everything that she was feeling. When Quinn was angry, I was angry with and for her. When Quinn hurt, I hurt. I would say when Quinn was happy, I felt happy, but… Quinn and Tobias are just so very real. I mean, yeah.

I really like Quinn. I think that she is really strong, even as she thinks that she is weak. You have to be strong in order to survive even half as much as Quinn has survived right now. I think that she is also stubborn. I like stubborn, I think stubborn is great. I think that she might be a little tooo stubborn sometimes. And I’m telling you, I am like one of the world’s top 10 stubborn people. So, if I’m thinking that maybe she’s a little stubborn, you can take my word for it. On the other hand, that stubbornness may be all that gets her through whatever is going to start happening. I mean, the shit that she goes through during this book is pretty bad, but I have a feeling that the next book is going to make this one look like a walk in the park.

I don’t know what I feel about Tobias. There are times when he seems almost like a real human being, but then, turn the page and he’s back to being a terrible troll. When I hate him, I hate him with the passion of a thousand white hot suns. I don’t quite like him that strongly when I like him, but there are times when I do like him.

I am not joking when I said that this book broke me. When I was done reading it, I had to go read something light and fluffy just to reset my head. It helped, but Quinn and Tobias still have taken up a lot of space in my head. If you are going to read this, make sure that you have a box of tissues and maybe some wine near to hand.

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Ugh. Tobias and the name. That’s one of the times I truly hated him.

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

 

Kitty Thomas-Comfort Food

Comfort Food was the first book I read by Kitty. It was free at the time, and another author recommended it, and I thought, well, it’s free, might as well. And I definitely am glad I did.

Here’s our story. Emily is a self-help author, and does reasonably well. She has a degree in psychology and basically knows what she’s talking about. She thinks that she’s pretty aware of things that women need to do to keep themselves safe, including not leaving her drink alone. Except for the one day that she did.

She wakes up tied to a chair, blindfolded. There is no sound anywhere. Finally, a man comes in and feeds her chicken noodle soup and saltine crackers, with water. At least, he feeds her as long as she lets him touch her. If she says no or flinches, then he stops. He never says anything to her, just feeds her, unties her, and leaves her in a room with a toilet, a drain, and a biometric and coded lock on the door.

That is how Emily’s journey starts. In that room. With no interaction. With no stimulation. The only time her captor comes in the room is when she is in the far corner, as far away from the door as she can be, and even then, he only comes in long enough to slide in her trays of food, chicken noodle soup and saltines, with bottles of water, three times a day, or to slide in a bucket of water and bathing supplies.

This book is incredibly intimate, for so many reasons. It’s all from Emily’s POV, and we learn so much about her. We are in her head the whole time, and we are drawn into her journey and why she makes the choices that she does. They aren’t ever really easy choices, and they might not be the choices that I would’ve made in my life, but I’ve never been in that place, so I don’t know what I would and wouldn’t do. Even though we see in her head, and see why she is making the choices she does, I still wonder if she is doing the right thing for her or not. But isn’t that the joy of reading a book like this?

This is one that I’ve gone back to reread several times and every time I read it, I get new and different insights from it. I expect that will continue to be the case every time I read it in the future. Kitty knew what she was doing with this one. If you pick it up, be prepared for a roller coaster ride.

There’s no spoilers down below. Anyway, go pick it up, you’ll thank me. If you haven’t read anything else that Kitty Thomas has written, I can’t recommend her enough.

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Alta Hensley-Fallen Daughters

 

Alta Hensley has an interesting writing technique. She writes short stories that show up in various box sets, and then she either expands them or puts them in other books, using the box set as a kind of testing laboratory. There are others that she has written that have just sat on her desk. If you are like me and have read most of what Alta has written, then you will recognize most of her Fallen Daughters, either in their original form or in the form they showed up in other books. I recognized all of them, except for Fallen Daughter 3. Did that stop me from rereading all the stories? No way. I love to reread, so this was awesome for me.

Fallen Daughter #1

This one got tested out in Daddy’s Demands, and then found its way into one of the Top Shelf books, the one with Roman and Cheri, to be precise. I loved it in both its forms, and it’s still as fucking hot the second time around. Or third time. However many, it’s still ridiculously hot.

Fallen Daughter #2

This one first showed up in an anthology called The Dark Forest, which is a collection of adult fairy tales. Alta’s was a take on Sleeping Beauty. A very, very dirty version of Sleeping Beauty. I know that it showed up in another book, in parts at least, but my brain fails me right now, so I don’t remember which one it was. I loved the way that our heroine was given her gifts, and how they really did help her in her captivity.

Fallen Daughter #3

This was the only one of the stories that I haven’t read before. I will say that I haven’t read every single thing that Alta has written, so it may be in one of the books that I haven’t read yet. I really liked it though. It was a pretty sweet little story, which kind of makes it not Alta’s usual fare, but it is just a lovely little story, and left me very happy.

Fallen Daughters #4 & #5

There is a reason that I am combining these two. It’s because they were together in a book called No White Knight, and it was one of the first things that I read by Alta. #4 was known as Pallid Slave, and it disturbed me on a couple of levels. Disturbing good, though. OK, I have to get a smidge personal here. I have lost 2 brothers, one 31 years ago, one 16 years ago. There really isn’t a mark of that loss that shows everyone that you have lost someone you loved so much. That can be both a blessing and a curse. You don’t have to worry about anyone giving you sympathy when it’s overwhelming. Then again, you have to tell them that you are grieving when it gets too much, and that can be really hard to do. In Pallid Slave, there really is a very visible outward sign of mourning, which I think is more of a curse than a blessing in this case, but I found it to be a really interesting way to handle it. #5 was called a Hero in Disguise, and frankly, it could be ripped right out of today’s headlines, and that’s what makes it so fucking disturbing to me.

Fallen Daughter #6

This one first showed up in Twisted Sacraments. If you read those stories, you know that there is no happy in any of them, and it’s no different with Alta’s story. Frankly, I’m pretty sure that the world is going to end in a plague, and so any stories that have some kind of plague in them play right into that fear. And then you put the coocoo for cocoa puffs bits in there, and yup. I’m properly worried.

It doesn’t matter if you’ve read these stories in any form before, they are definitely worth a reread.

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