2019 Round Up-Top 10 Redemption Books Pt. 1

So, redemption books. Redemption, according to Miriam Webster, means the action of being saved from a sin, evil, or error. And that’s sorta how I see it when it comes to redemption books. For me, a redemption book means that the main character was a really bad guy, hurt the other main character, did something evil, but over the course of the book or books, in some cases, they redeemed themselves. They end up fixing their fuckup, making amends, changing, whatever. I mean, these are the books where the hero dumps the heroine in the most evil way possible, demolishes her life, thinks about killing her, burns her house down, steals her dog, and is just a rotten motherfucker. But, over the timeline of the book, he realizes that he done fucked up, he’s miserable about it, and he’s gonna make it better, somehow. Doesn’t necessarily mean that he’s going to be a good guy or anything, because yeah, that’s not necessarily it works.

Of course, not all redemption books are that drastic. Look at the movie Groundhog Day. Bill Murray starts as an ass, but over the period of the movie, he starts to realize that he’s an ass, and works to make himself better, at least when it comes to Andie MacDowell. So, there are going to be some books where the redemption is more like that.

Just in case you were wondering how I came up with the books on my various lists, some of them I remember from when I read them. But I wasn’t kidding when I said I’ve read over 800 books this year. Sometimes titles slip my mind, so I look at my yearly challenge on GR and look at all the books I’ve read this year, and go oh yeah! Gives me just the nudge I need.

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Nicolina Martin-Absolution

So, I told you yesterday when I was talking about the book Redemption that you should expect to see Absolution. This is the second book in the duet, and the 6th book in the Russo series. It is the continuing story of Kerry and Christian, and in this one, we get to see Christian come back and redeem himself when it comes to what he did to Kerry. I mean, he tried to kill her in Redemption, and it did all kinds of terrible things to her mental health. And then when he accidentally finds her, after she has run far, far, far away from him, he’s really furious with her, and she’s scared AF. But, he manages to redeem himself and turn back into the Christian I loved when I first met him in Ruin. Actually, I think he’s even better than he was then. He’s more rounded and more human. Of course, I think it’s also a little bit of a redemption for Kerry too. She went through hell, and was able to come out through the other side of it and end up stronger.

Alice Winters-A Villain For Christmas

A Villain For Christmas is in a shared theme series of books. They all have a snowglobe in them somehow, they are all MM, and they are all about Christmas in some way. Because it’s an Alice Winters book, there is a lot of humor, snark, and ridiculousness in there. The reason that I’m counting this as a redemption book is because the titular hero, Landon, AKA Leviathan, is a supervillain, who was raised by a family of “super”villains, and who has the hugest crush on the biggest superhero of the city, August, AKA Chrono. Landon is never evil, really, but there is a redemption arc for him to go on. It’s a really fun book, and I really want Alice to write more in this world.

India R Adams-Ivy’s Poison

Yup, this is India’s 2nd time on my round up lists. I liked Ivy’s Poison so much that I bought a signed copy of it. It’s part of the Cavalieri Della Morte shared world. It’s kind of an Arthurian retelling, if Arthur had a Round Table of assassins instead of knights. This is the story of Bors and Ivy. Bors had to go assisinate the pres of an MC, who just happens to be Ivy’s dad, but instead he gets taken prisoner and tortured by Ivy. I consider this a redemption story for both of them because they are both in a bad place at the beginning of the book and they each go through their own journey to get to a better place and redeem themselves, as well as the journey they go through together. I will warn you that there are some difficult moments in this one, especially in chapter 1, so you may want to be careful when you read it. It is a fantastic book, and it’s the first one of India’s books I read.

Jane Henry-King’s Ransom

King’s Ransom is the latest book in Jane’s Bratva Ruthless Doms books. It’s also a Daddy book, and that’s a good place for Jane. This is the story of Stefan and Taara. Stefan is a character that we’ve run across in the series before, and I really liked him. He’s a head honcho, and makes a lot of things happen. Taara is his housekeeper and has wanted him for years. Here’s what makes it a redemption story for Stefan, IMO. Things happen, and Taara gets herself into a place where she is basically Stefan’s captive, and it just turns really bad. My heart broke for her, and I hated Stefan for a minute, but things worked out and he got his head out of his ass.

Laura Thalassa-War

I debated whether or not to put War on this list. After all, he’s less a person than a personification, but decided that it was a redemption story of sorts. It’s the same with Pestilence, which is the first book in the Four Horsemen series. I can’t wait for the next ones. These books are so good. So, the way that the story works is that years ago the 4 rode out to Earth, and then they disappeared. The Pestilence showed up and killed many, many, many people, and he disappeared. Now War has shown up in the Middle East, doing what he does best. Miriam lived in Jerusalem, and caught War’s eye, and he took her for his wife. The reason that I put this in the redemption list is that while all this is going on, War changes from who he was, a personification of the divine, to something that is both less and more than that. I think that it works well that way.

OK, come back tomorrow for part 2. I hope that everyone has a safe and happy New Year’s Eve, or had, depending on where and when you read this. I’ll probably be asleep by 10, because I have to be up at 4 tomorrow. Happy New Year, and may this coming year and decade lead to better things.

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Jane Henry-King’s Ransom

Jane’s newest release combines two things that she’s very good at writing. King’s Ransom is a Daddy story and it’s also the newest book in her Ruthless Doms books involving the Russian & American Bratva.

This book is Stefan’s story. He’s the pakhan in Atlanta, Nicolai’s father. He also officiated at Caroline and Tomas’ wedding. He’s the elder generation, and we’ve seen him in just about everyone’s book. So, it’s about time that we get to focus on him.

So, we have Stefan, who is getting ready to have his second grandchild from Nicolai and Marissa. One day, while Marissa and another Bratva woman were out shopping, some traitors tried to hurt them. What the traitors weren’t expecting is that Nicolai was acting as security for his beloved wife, because he was training in new security. So, he grabbed the guy, called his dad, and brought him home to take care of him. Which, of course, means that he got hauled into a shed and bad things happened to him.

Then, we have Taara. She works as Stefan’s housekeeper. Her mother did the job before her, but now her mom’s hospitalized because of dementia. Taara is happy with her job, because she’s madly in love with Stefan, and she wants to make him happy and comfortable and taking care of him does that, and makes her happy. She sits on the stairs and watches him, and then goes into his bedroom to make sure that his bed is nice and ready for him. I mean, girl has it bad for him. One day, she gets up early to go into the garden to take pictures of the flowers, like she always does, when she hears someone coming. She hides so no one sees her, but then she follows the guys and peeks into the window. That means that she ends up seeing something she shouldna oughta seen.

She gets caught by one of the Bratva guys, who hauls her in front of Stefan and Nicolai and gets accused of being a spy. All her pictures are destroyed and her phone, because she had some accidental pix of Stefan and Nicolai as they were taking the traitor to the shed to be dealt with. So, instead of killing her as some suggested, Stefan ends up caning her, in front of lots of people. Then he decides that he has to test her.

You see, Taara has one huge advantage here. She’s an Afghani refugee. Her mother fled to Russia, and from Russia to the US. And the Bratva’s enemies, the Thieves, have a thriving human trafficking trade. Currently, they are selling Afghani women, and are using that to try to take down the Bratva in the US. Stefan is going to go in and shut it down, and Taara is going to be perfect to use as his slave. It will prove her loyalty.

So, I have to admit that I really kind of hated Stefan at times, which saddened me, because I’ve always kinda liked Stefan. OK, maybe hate isn’t the right word for it. I was definitely grumpy with him though. Mostly because he had his head up his ass. When his head popped out of his ass, every time his head popped out of his ass, he was much better.

Taara is a sweet woman. She’s also got some real strength to her. I thought that she was a little naive though, at times. I think that some of the things that happened would’ve been different if she was a little more practical, but then again, we wouldn’t have had such a good book.

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I think that Stefan should’ve told Taara about her mom earlier than he did. It was kinda shitty on his part to wait, I think. I mean, I understand his thinking, but…

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

Jane Henry-Beyond Measure

I’m doubling up today because there are just so many wonderful releases that have happened in the past couple of weeks. So our second feature today is Jane Henry’s latest addition to her Bratva world, Beyond Measure. Like the last book, this one takes place in the US. In fact, we met Tomas in the last book. He is the pakhan of the Boston Bratva, and is a good friend of Nicolai’s. This is his and Caroline’s story.

So, Tomas is busy doing all kinds of Bratva-y things, which was causing him stress. One of those things is dealing with a prick in San Diego named Aren, who owes him money but doesn’t want to pay. When Nicolai tells Tomas that what he really needs is a wife, and it just so happens that Aren has a beautiful little sister, the guys come up with a plan. That plan gets Tomas on the phone so that he can set up with Aren to marry his sister, Caroline. Aren is just all too glad to make that happen. So, off to Atlanta goes Tomas.

Meanwhile, in San Diego, Caroline is just trying her damnedest to stay away from her brother and his best friend. There is never anything good for her when the two of them show up. This time, when they show up, Aren tells her that she’s leaving immediately to go get married. She’s dragged onto an airplane, without being able to pack or to say goodbye to anyone, and shipped off to Atlanta, where she will meet her groom and get married. That day. Yeah. She gets taken to Nicolai and Marissa’s apartment, and she is married by Stefan, all before she even learns her groom’s name.

Tomas is a good man, as pakhan go, but I think that he is kinda confused sometimes. I understand him wanting and needing respect due to his position. I mean, he is a big deal, and he does deserve that respect within his group. And I’m not even going to argue about Caroline giving him that respect, because she should. But I think he’s kinda confused in his head about how he should feel and how he should act, which leaves Caroline all kinds of confused and unsettled. Remember, her entire world has just changed in so many ways, and she’s already very unsettled and unsure.

Caroline has gone through so much. She’s so much braver than I would be. I don’t know that I would be able to stand up for myself like she does. She’s stubborn AF too, and frankly, I tend to respect anyone with that kind of stubborn. Unless, of course, it’s my son when I need him to do something, but that’s a whole other story. That stubborn has served her well over the years, so I don’t blame her for sticking to it. I also think that she has a more realistic view of what the Bratva is than some of the other wives do, just because of the way that she’s had to see it.

I really like Ilya, and I hope that we see more of him over the next books. I think that he really matured over the time of this book.

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Ugh, I knew I didn’t like Andros.

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

Jane Henry-Priceless

Priceless is part of the Bratva Dom world that Jane has been writing lately, but it’s not exactly in the same group that we have been seeing in the past couple of books. For one thing, it all takes place in the US. The Bratva group that is the main thrust of this story is associated with the one we’ve seen in Russia, headed by Demyan.

This is Nicolai and Marissa’s story. It’s hard in places, harder than the other books in this world, I think. I wouldn’t necessarily put Nicolai in the same category of herodom as the other guys in this world. Don’t get me wrong, he’s still a huge hero, just a different one. I think that he is the most good guy of all the guys that we’ve seen so far, if you want to break it down into good vs. bad. He does bad shit, a lot of it, but I think that he is just good, if that makes any kind of sense. I think it does to me.

Nicolai is Marissa’s bodyguard and driver. He has been for years, but now that she’s right on the cusp of 18, he’s starting to notice her in all new different ways. But she’s off-limits, because she’s so young for one thing, and then because her father is Nicolai’s father’s best friend.

At her graduation party, and mere hours before she turns 18, Nicolai gets word from his sister that Marissa is about to be sold into human trafficking. He does everything to nail it down so that he isn’t acting on rumor, but when he finds out it’s true, he grabs Marissa and gets her the hell out of Dodge. Too bad it didn’t last.

Poor Marissa. She really goes straight through hell. And she spends what feels like an eternity in it, at least subjectively. She really has no clue how long she’s been gone, she just knows it’s hell. I think, though, that she has a real core of steel. Even going through hell, she manages to keep a little of what makes her her.

Nicolai is definitely a strong and determined man. He knows what he wants, and he’s going to move heaven and earth to get it. I think that if he had to skin himself in order to save her, he totally world. I mean, just flay himself and lay that skin at the feet of whoever demanded it.

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The villain is such a jerk. I can’t believe he tries to play it off the way that he does. What a fucker.

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

 

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!

Jane Henry-The Bratva’s Bride

Jane Henry is back with another high ranking Bratva member. We met Demyan back in the first book, but The Bratva’s Bride is all about him. Well, him and Calina/Larissa. You’ll see the reason for the name being written like that.

So, years ago, Larissa had a mother, father, and her twin sister. But then there was a car accident and her parents were killed, her twin sister suffered brain damage, and everyone thought that Larissa had died. Her sister, Calina, is now locked up in a Russian facility so that she can be safe. When Larissa goes to visit her sister, she discovers that Calina has stolen a huge buttload of money from the Bratva. Which, yeah, not the smartest thing ever. She knows that they are going to come after her, so Larissa manages to get her out and takes her place so that she can be Calina and take her punishment.

Demyan has tracked down Calina and knows her record. He knows that she’s smart but her brain suffered damage after an accident and she has been in a locked facility because she isn’t as safe as she could be otherwise. It’s not that she’s nuts, it’s more that her brain doesn’t function in the same way that it used to, and she makes some… not wise decision. Like, oh, say, stealing a bunch of money from the Bratva. He is going to get her and she is going to pay off her debt, one way or another. His preferred way is that she pay it off under him.

I thought that the whole Larissa/Calina thing was an interesting take on the whole mistaken identity thing.¬† The whole identical twin thing is really a nice twist on the trope. I do like how much Larissa loves her sister. I mean, she is pretty sure that she’s about to die, and she just wants to make sure that Calina is OK. That’s her entire goal and her entire mindset.

Watching Larissa as she learned to settle into Demyan’s world was fun. She still kept expecting him to kill her, and frankly, I don’t blame her, I would’ve thought that too. And I would probably have fought against him a lot harder and a lot longer than Larissa did. But, I’m really stubborn like that and I have serious issues with authority. I would love to see another story with these two just to see how the Bratva are handling Larissa, and how she’s handling them.

I’m looking forward to seeing who is going to get bitten by the lovebug next in this universe.

Pretty, right? It’s a kokoshnik style tiara from the Russian Imperial crown jewels. Kokoshniks were part of Russian folk dress, but were generally only worn on special days and would be handed down through the generations because they were often highly decorated. I just thought it was great for this story.

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It seemed to me that Demyan was completely blindsided by the idea that Larissa was Calina’s twin sister. He did research on her, so he should’ve known about her.

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

Jane Henry-Wanted

Jane has taken us to Boston, to abandoned islands, to Manhattan, and now to Wyoming with a sexy cowboy named Jace who has no mercy in Wanted.

Freya, daughter of rich parents who has always been expected to be perfect, has just gotten stood up at the altar by a groom who was fucking one of her bridesmaids. Her prick of a father, instead of getting her out of there, makes sure that everyone knows that the party is still on, which leaves the congregation cheering. Her mother, instead of getting her out of there, tels her to go to the bathroom to “collect herself” before they go to the hall. You see, Rhett women do not cry and they do not do anything that may cause humiliation to the family, like, I dunno, being upset because her douchey fiance stood her up at the altar.¬†¬†Instead, Freya calmly walks out, steals a car, and starts driving until she runs out of gas. She ends up at a small bar out in the middle of BFE, literally tearing her dress apart. And of course, that’s when Freya’s real troubles start. She sees something that she shouldnta oughta seen.

Jace Mercy is also called the Vigilante by the people of his small area. The LEOs are in the pockets of the bad guys, so nothing gets investigated or stopped. He’s taken it upon himself to stop the bad guys, but whatever means necessary. He’s stepped up even more since his fiancee was killed. He’s very quiet, and he keeps himself to himself. He owns a ranch, and is very isolated. He doesn’t own a TV, computer, or cellphone. He’s in town that night, and when Freya ends up running, she runs right towards him, right before she knocks herself the fuck out by running into a tree, so he takes her home with him.

Jace is pretty much the textbook definition of anti-hero if you ask me. He is a good man who does bad things for the right reasons. He doesn’t think of himself as a hero. He doesn’t want to be thought of as a hero. He’s just the man who is doing what needs to be done because it needs to be done. No one else is going to do it, so he’s going to make sure it gets done. I think that he has a very strict moral code, and he’s going to adhere to that code, no matter what.

Freya, poor Freya. It’s hard to realize that your life isn’t everything that you thought. I mean, she basically had everything destroyed in just one split second. She knew that her parents never really cared for her, and she was just there as a prop, but to find out that all her friends weren’t really her friends, and that what she thought of as a perfect life just wasn’t, had to have been really hard for her. Jace is right when he tells her that she has everything she wants but nothing she needs. I like watching her go through her struggles and journey to find out who she is, and getting strength from her search.

On a strange note, it was all rainy and windy while I was reading this book, and there is a blizzard in the first part of the book, so every time I walked past a window, I expected a huge blizzard outside my window.

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The whip? OMG, the whip!

And Freya and the knife? Good on her!

OK, you know the drill! Happy reading!