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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Kay Elle Parker-Queen of Shadows

Queen of Shadows is the second part of the Shadowcrown Duet by Kay Elle Parker. See my review for King of Shadows here.

There are likely to be spoilers from the first one in this review, since it was a duet, and it was left on a cliffhanger. We all know that’s just the nature of the beast, but we also know that I will do everything possible in order to keep that from happening. But, you have been warned, and if you get spoiled, I’m sorry, but you were warned.

So, we left pregnant Allianna after she has lost both Kian and Islador. The one to a demon, the other because he was trying to save her. Now, Lucifer is doing his damnedest to turn her into his queen. He wants her and her child, plus any other children she may bear, so that he’ll have heirs. Luci may be bound and determined to have her, but Allianna is even more bound and determined to not have him, and one of the reasons is that she’s pretty sure she can’t be touched again, let alone ever have sex again. However, Luci left her a surprise.

Isla wakes up in Alli’s bathtub. While only short time has happened in the Shadows, it was an endless time in Hell, and Isla was tortured. He’s not quite the same person he was before. That’s OK, Alli isn’t exactly the same person she was before either, and now she’s even more because she’s the queen. She is doing all she can to hold her world together and to rule while she’s falling apart inside. She has Dhur there to help her and to protect and care for her, and now she has Islador who will help her. The problem is she also has Lucifer who likes to pop in now and again and pretty much be a douchelord. All this is making Alli just fall apart inside, which she tries really hard to hide, but not so well.

Meanwhile, Kian is being tortured, until Isla makes a deal with Lucifer, and he is put into a “safe” place for a few months. I don’t know what the agreement was, but it was something. But Luci has his plans for Kian too.

I kinda like and hate Lucifer at the same time. The thing is you can’t trust him further than you can throw him, because hello, Prince of Lies, original Fallen Angel. But, you can trust in the fact that you can’t trust him. It’s hard to know if he is lying or telling the truth, because again, Prince of Lies. But not every word out of his mouth is a lie. It would be easier if it were. He will always tell the truth if it will hurt more, but he may not be telling all the truth, or the absolute truth. And he does it all in such a charming way. Right until his charm fails and his monstrousness shines through.

Kian and Isla try to do their best by Allianna, but it ain’t always possible. And she is strong-willed enough that she’s going to fight hard to find out any secrets that they are keeping from her and keep them from packing her in cotton wool. In fact, I think it would be utterly impossible to pack her away and keep her safe.

The last time I wrote about these characters, I said that Allianna was high up in the tough, kickass heroine list? Well, this book did absolutely nothing to dispell that. She is definitely a kickass heroine, and she is there to kick ass and chew bubblegum, and she ran out of bubble gum a looooooong time ago. I think that anyone who wants to go against her or her kingdom or her family should think about least 15 times, and then reconsider. And then they should probably run far, far, far, far, far away, so she can’t even find out that they were thinking about anything.

Isla and Kian are both good men who dearly love her. And Dhur is more than just a guard or anything else, he is family, and is utterly devoted to the royal family.

I would still kill for a book about Dhur, and I would love to see the next generation.

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OMG, OMG, OMG!!! The baby drama!

And the ultimate solution?

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

Ivy Chapman-Torn Apart

This is the first Ivy Chapman I’ve had on the blog, but I’m pretty sure that Torn Apart isn’t going to be the last one, because I kind of love this book a lot, and I’m looking forward to seeing what happens with Seraphine and Arden.

This is a dark and fucked up book, and I think that Ivy could give some of the other dark authors I read a run for their money when it comes to dark and fucked up. Does that mean I didn’t like it? Fuck no. I really liked it.

So, here’s the story. In this particular world, Omegas are barely better than cattle. Maybe they are even worse, because cattle can give you meat and milk. Omegas are just there to be fucked and/or tortured. And every year, it gets worse. More and more rights are stripped from Omegas, and if you are an Omega, and get found out, you can expect hell to rain down on you. Seraphine and Arden are a set of twins, and they are both Omegas. As if being a twinned Omega isn’t enough, they are a set of boy/girl twins, with Arden being the boy. Their parents have kept them safe by hiding them. Not even the neighbors know that they exist, and they have a special safe room that takes a lot of work to get into to go when they are in heat. But then, it happens. Trackers find them.

I really liked the title of this book because it really fits what happens in the book in more than one way. It’s one of those titles that makes you wonder exactly which way the author meant it, and which way you should take it. Personally, I’m taking it as all the ways it could be meant in this story.

Another one of the things I liked about this is that Arden is a bit of a departure for male Omegas. I’ve never seen a male Omega in other MF Omegaverses, although, they have been talked about as existing in at least one world. So the male Omegas I’m used to seeing are in the MM books, and they usually are gay. There have been a few, a very few, that have had a male Omega and a female Alpha, but we only see them as something that happened in the past. But in this one, Arden is very interested in finding an Alpha female when he’s in heat, so that he can seed her. Of course, that doesn’t mean that he would turn down an Alpha male, if one were to present himself. I don’t know if mpreg is going to happen in this series, but I can see all kinds of interesting permutations going on if it does. I’m happy either way it goes. It will be interesting, no matter what.

Do pay attention to the warnings that Ivy puts on the book. And it’s not a spoiler to say it’s a cliffie, since she puts that in the warning, but it was a pretty satisfying place where she put the cliff, if you ask me.

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I found the differences between Arden and Sera and what they go through to be really interesting. I mean, it’s like night and day what they go through.

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

Addison Cain-Ravaged Captive

I’m sure it comes as no surprise to anyone that I have another Omegaverse book on the blog today, especially since Addison just had one come out this weekend. Well, that and I warned you guys. LOL. I have the newest book from Ivy Chapman on the hook for later today, and a post about mpreg coming up soon. But first, Wren and Ravaged Captive.

As a reminder, Wren’s Song is a serial. That means the books cannot be read as standalones. This is book #4, but if you don’t read books 1-3, you are going to be totally lost. I know that a lot of people like to wait until the entire series is out before they start a serial like this, but I have no clue how many more books Addison is going to write for Wren, and I don’t think that Addison would tell us anyway. She’s a sadistic tease like that. Also, because of the nature of serials, there may be spoilers for books 1-3 in this, but as always, I will try really hard not to spoil anything. You have been warned.

When last we saw our intrepid heroine, she was with Caspian and Toby, but Kieran wasn’t around, until all of a sudden he was. And he wasn’t alone.

All Caspian knows is that the person that Kieran brought around is upsetting Wren, and he isn’t going to have any of that. When that whole situation has been handled, it’s time for Kieran to have his time with Wren, and he’s going to have it. He’s going to take her to the big room and do all the things to her. Well, the things that probably won’t get him killed by Caspian and/or Toby.

I have to admit, I hate one of the guys in each book, and it varies from book to book. Last book I liked Kieran. This time I pretty much hate Kieran and he can fuck right off into a deep dark hole, and he can make sure he doesn’t go alone.

I think that Caspian and Toby are changing, and changing for the better, maybe. It’s not like they are ever going to be good guys, but maybe they aren’t as rough as they have been in the past. They are still going to be dominant assholes, I mean, that’s just who they are, and no amount of Wren or any kind of bond that may or may not be there is going to change that. But, I think that she is going to round over some of those edges.

I don’t know what’s going on with Kieran. I don’t think he knows what’s going on with him. I think that I may be able to get a read on him in one second, but then something completely different happens, and I have no clue what’s going on. I don’t know what kind of bond exists between Kieran and Wren, if they even have one, or if they will ever be able to have one. I think of the three of them, Kieran is the most significantly broken, and all the king’s horses and all the king’s men aren’t ever going to be able to put him back together again. I mean, we all know that Caspian and Toby are broken and ain’t quite right, but I think they are less broken.

I can’t wait to see what is going to happen next. I can only tell you it’s going to be sooooooooon. Addison never tells us when release day happens, until it happens, so I guess we’re just going to have to be happy with that answer.

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The Doll. We hatez her, we do.

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

Scarlett Snow and Loxley Savage-Saphyre

Oh my ducklings, this is DARK. This is disturbing. This is intense, and if you don’t like those things, then Saphyre is definitely not the book for you. Which is definitely not anything to be upset about, we all like what we like. And you’re in good company, Amazon doesn’t like it either. In fact, Amazon banned this book, not just once, but twice. Once under this name, and then after Scarlett and Loxley reworked and renamed it, it was banned under that name too. It had reached bestseller status too, both times. But, do not despair, oh my darlings, the buy link I posted is good, and you can get it there, at least as a mobi file. And once you have it, you definitely have it forever.

Scarlett and Loxley are both new authors to me. I saw the cover in passing in Sara Fields’ group and thought that it sounded like a good book, but then my brain sabotaged me, as it does. Then Katie Douglas and I were talking about other things, and she asked me if I knew anything about it, since she couldn’t find it anywhere. So, I went and looked and asked, and found out that yup, it had been banned. Loxley told me that they were trying to find other options, and then they came out with Ember, and by the time I had a second to read it, it was banned again. So, the very second I found the new buy link, I jumped on it. We all know that I buy banned books anyway, and a banned book that I want to read? Yupper.

So here’s the way that the story goes. It’s post-apocalyptic and dystopian AF. There are two very, very, very distinct castes. You have the Emperians and the Tenebrians. Emperia is made up of 4 floating islands, three of which have a separate kingdom on it. This book, we’re concerned with the kingdom of the manticore shifters. Manticores, by the way, are a beastie out of Persian mythology. It has the head of a man, the body of a lion, and can either have a scorpion tail or a long tail with spines all over it. The pix you see of manticores tend to have a humanish face with a mane. And oh yeah, lest I forget, they also have wings. The Emperian manticores have 3 tails, one which kills you when you are stung, one which gives you incredible pain, and one which is an aphrodisiac. Anyway, the Emperians are all that, a bag of chips, and the extra large soda too. They are the creme de la creme, the rulers, the tyrants, so on and so forth. Then you have the Tenebrians. Tenebris is the lands which lay far beneath the floating isles. They are the slums, filled with the peasants, the poor, the people who are trying to scratch out a living. There are better areas than others, but even the better areas of Tenebris aren’t all that great. The Emperians will come down to get themselves a little bit of trade, but generally, the only thing that Emperians value coming out of Tenebris are the breeders.

Saphyre and her sisters are part of the resistance that their mother set up. They have very good reasons to be, including the fact that they have what is called the Golden Curse. They are what is called Aurelian Breeders. They have a special birthmark on the crown of their heads, with a golden streak of hair coming from the mark. That golden streak of hair and the birthmark singles them out as something special, unique, desirable, and very, very valuable.

As one of the heads of the resistance, Saphyre takes her responsibilities very, very seriously. So, since they need some money to get food, she’s off to do what she can to get some. She’s going to dress all super sexy and visit one of the clubs that the Emperians hang out at, and she’s going to rob one of them. And hopefully kill them too. Each Emperian has a special emblem that they wear, and the more valuable the metal, the higher their rank is. So when Saphyre sees a guy with the most expensive emblem ever, she knows that she has to get him. But of course, nothing ever turns out that way. Instead, she gets caught and harvested by King Leonidas to be his Breeder to bear his royal heir. But first, he’s going to give her to his two friends and advisors to break her in and train her. His friends are Raphael and oh yeah, General Ryker, the man she stole from and tried to kill. Oh fuck.

I love Saphyre. She is fierce, loyal, and smart. She isn’t going to give in to the manticores who are trying to be her masters, at least not all the way. I think that there is always going to be that core of steel right down in the center of her that Leonidas, Raphael, and Ryker won’t be able to see, let alone touch. I think that they should definitely question themselves anytime she seems to give in easily, and maybe just not get all that complacent. I think that she’s always, always, always going to have more than one reason to do whatever she’s doing at any one time. She might not even acknowledge those reasons to herself, because acknowledging them means that someone else might figure them out. I think that she will be a force to be reckoned with, and I will definitely want to stay out of her way.

Oh, I hated Leonidas, Ryker, and Raphael in the beginning. And I’m not talking hate to love them or love to hate them kind of hate. I mean complete and utter loathing. They could’ve died by fire and spent the eternities boiling in a sea of lava and hellfire and I probably would’ve thought they were getting off lightly. But, they started to grow on me as the book went on. Of the three of them, I think Raphael is my favorite. Ryker is my least favorite most of the time, and Leonidas flows around there somewhere back and forth. They are occasionally brutal when it comes to how they treat  Saphyre. I mean, the nipple clamps? Or the first interactions between Leonidas and Saphyre? Holeeeeee fuck.

Scarlett and Loxley have promised that there are more books in this world coming, and seriously, I may have to go find them, drag them to my “spare room” and lock them in until they can write them, because I really don’t want to wait. (Just kidding on the dragging them to my spare room part. That’s reserved for Addison Cain.)

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OK, I’m not going to say anything much down here, other than karma is a bitch.

Go check it out, and happy reading?!?

Sara Fields-Frenzy

So, my fave Omegaverse author dared one of my fave SFR authors to write an Omegaverse story. So, Sara took the dare and wrote Frenzy. And oh my, did she step up to the challenge. While Sara does tend to write darkish, she generally isn’t as dark as Addison, which is good, because who wants every single one of their favorite authors to write exactly like the others? I like the personal style of each and every author I read. And I really love the spin Sara puts on the Overse.

The nice thing with an alternate universe like the Omegaverse is that it isn’t real. There isn’t any specific set of rules, outside of the basics. That means that you can pretty much set up your world the way that you want it and for it to run the way that you want. I mean, sure you can do that with a lot of genres, but there are certain rules that we expect to happen in those genres, and when those things don’t happen, people get a little salty. Since the Overse is still newish, especially in more mainstream lit, there aren’t as many rules, so Sara’s books are going to be different to Addison’s books, which are going to be different to Lillian Sable’s, so forth and so on. Does that make sense? I know it did in my head, but I’m just getting over the norovirus, so my head may be all kinds of weird right now. Anyway, on to the book.

This is a post-apocalyptic and, as far as I can tell, pretty dystopian world. The dome that half of our main characters live in acknowledges the A/B/O dynamic, but they do everything they can to make sure that they aren’t ruled by it. That includes pumping suppressants into the air. The suppressants keep the hormones, pheromones, and instincts under control. In fact, it’s so under control, they don’t even really have sex anymore. It’s all clinical and medical reproduction, and not a whole lot of physicality. However, there are some people who are immune to the suppressants, and really, they are about 24 hours away from metabolizing the suppressants and all of a sudden feeling their dynamic kick in. Raven is a brilliant scientist, and she has a plan and has been spending years doing research on a better suppressant, but the one big ingredient she needs is extinct in the city. So she needs to go out into the wilds, where people’s dynamics aren’t suppressed, they are all natural and all that. Oh, the horrors. But she’s ready and has taken precautions. Except, no one ever expects the Spanish Inquistion, which in this case is a huge fiery-eyed monster and a band of raiders who killed everyone but Raven and her best friend and partner, Alix, who snatches her away and carries her off to safety.

Now, you can probably guess that Raven is an Omega and Alix is an Alpha, because it’s hard to have an Overse story without them. But, there are some pieces missing, since this is an RH story, you kinda have to have the H part, and the only person who can help out Raven when she goes into estrous right now is Alix, and unless he’s triplets that I missed, there’s a little bit of something missing.

Enter two of the wild men, Ivan and Wolfe, who smell Raven’s estrous, and decide that they will come and play.

To me, the real meat of the story here isn’t what happens with the plot, which I’m not going to run down, because it is a good story with a great plot that I enjoyed, but instead, the melding of wild and tame and how that worked. On one hand, you have Raven and Alix who have never come to grips with their biology, never had an estrous or a rut, until they are forced to have one, and it is, quite literally, a life-changing event. They don’t even have a cultural idea as to how to deal with this, because their culture suppresses all those natural urges. So, they are handling all this stuff with no practical knowledge. Then, you have Wolfe and Ivan, who have never lived in the dome and who have never had any kind of suppression, and who know who and what they are and how to control it. The thing is, when they all got together, it could’ve been really ugly, but they all figured out how to work in a way that worked for them. I love the thought that Sara puts into making that work.

Unlike a lot of the other MF Omegaverse that I’ve read, this isn’t noncon. I would put this at light dubcon, I think. I mean, yeah, Alix and Raven are put into a situation when this could happen, but they are also able to talk about what is going to happen before it does. So, dubcon-ish.

I can’t wait to see where Sara is going to go with her world. It’s going to focus on a new character, I know, but outside that, I have no idea.

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The albatrosses! OMG, so freaking awesome! I thought that was just so neat!

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

Natalie Bennett-Beauty and Rage

Natalie Bennett is back and this time she comes bearing a PNR for us. And because it’s a Natalie Bennett, you can be sure that Beauty and Rage is intense and that it lives up to its name. And trust me, it really is and it really does. And I’m probably going to go slightly crazy waiting for the next installment, and Natalie probably wouldn’t have it any other way.

So, Duvessa is the crown princess to the kingdom of Zenith, the kingdom that represents Spring. That is, until one fateful night when her world comes crashing down around her. She ends up Queen of Zenith in the most horrible way, and has to run for her life. She ends up in hiding, until she has to turn to help, no matter what her friends Scarlett, Jacinda, and Toby have to say about it. Toby is convinced that Reyes destroyed her kingdom, while Duvessa is sure he didn’t, because what would be the point. Sick of hiding and her people dying, Duvessa presents herself to Reyes.

Reyes is the King of Purgatory. He has plans and machinations in place, and he’s 32 steps ahead of everyone else. He knows what he wants, and what he wants is Duvessa. He’s willing to do a lot to grab her and keep her and Duvessa probably isn’t going to like it. He knows a lot of things that Duvessa doesn’t know. He knows a lot of things that we don’t know.

There is a lot of paranormal stuff going on in this. You have lycans and vampires, demons and wraiths, and then you have demis, who are basically halfbreeds. The demis generally don’t have the power that their full blooded parents would have. You also have dupires, who are a genetically created race. Don’t worry, you don’t have to remember them from my description, Natalie has a glossary at the front which can help you remember who is who.

There is a touch of Omegaverse going on in this, maybe. Or it’s possible that I just see it everywhere lately, since MF Omegaverse is starting to gain in popularity and I read pretty much all of it. If I haven’t read it yet, then I will be soon. That’s how that works. Anyway, there are some things that happen in this that would be familiar to anyone who reads Omegaverse. I suppose it’s also familiar, in places at least, to other shifter or PNR books, so who knows. I’m sure that Natalie does, and maybe she’ll tell us and maybe she won’t.

I like Duvessa, mostly. I think that she’s smart and canny. But, I think that she isn’t paying attention to the big picture and she’s kind of stuck at the little picture, which can make it hard for her to do what she needs to do, and there’s a lot that she’s going to need to do here, I think.

Reyes is one of those guys that I’m either going to love to hate or hate to love, I’m not sure yet, but I’m sure I’ll figure it out. He’s very dominant, and very possessive and territorial. He’s also very much a planner. I think he might put Machiavelli to shame with how much he has planned. I can’t wait to see what is going to happen next.

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There is going to be not a lot that I can put down here. Even if it’s my spoiler area, anything that I want to put here is more spoiler than I want to put. I think that there are a couple of things that I can say.

I want to know what memories are being hidden and who is hiding them and why they are being hidden. It seems like the person can almost see them, but not quite. So, that’s going to be interesting to watch.

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