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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Jennifer Bene-Burned

In the immortal words of Samuel L. Jackson, hold onto your butts. Jennifer is back and she has brought us Burned. And damn. Just… damn.

So, a couple of years ago, Yolanda Olson who is a mistress of dark, horror, and the epic mindfuck, wrote a novella called Inferno. She added onto her world with Sparks and Cinere. The first is a prequel, the latter a sequel. But, Yolanda wasn’t happy with just those books in her very disturbing world. She decided to add on to it. She invited several authors to join her oh so very happy little world. And Jennifer was just one of those authors, and so we have Burned.

This is the story of Bryden, his wife Marian, and his children, Wesley and Ella. Bryden loves his family. He loves them a lot. A whole lot. All he wants is for his family to know how much he loves them all, and that he loves them all equally. He does what he can to make sure that they know that he loves them all equally. And if he has to do difficult things to and for his family, he’ll do that, because that’s what a good daddy does.

That’s all the synopsis you are going to get from me. This story isn’t happy. It isn’t light. And you really will get burned by it. This book is one of those books that you start reading and you don’t wonder what goes on in the author’s head that she creates something like this. You wonder what’s wrong with you for reading this. And not just for reading it, but for liking it. Burned is disturbing and uncomfortable in places. Did that stop me from reading it? Hello, have you met me? I read it faster at that point.

We get the story from Bryden, Wesley, and Ella’s POVs. All we know of Marian is what we see of her from those three, and since it happens that way, it really seems to marginalize her in the story. I thought it was a really interesting way to write the story. It’s also a very intimate and up close story because there is such a limited cast of characters. You are up close and personal with all of the happenings in the story, which makes everything hard to hide from.

In case you can’t tell, I really liked this book. It is not a romance though. I think that I might put it into horror, but more like psychological horror, but that might not be the right classification for it either. I think it just needs a fucked up, twisted, mindfuck category. It would fit really well right there.

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Natalie Bennett-The Dahlia Saga 1 & 2: Malice & Obscene

Malice and Obscene are both rereleases of previous books. The original books were both duets, and are now consolidated. It’s been a while since I read the original books, so there may be some additional material, but I’m not sure. Malice (which was almost released as Macabre) was the Mercy books, and Obscene was the Obscene duet. Anyway, Natalie finally got Amazon to agree to release the books out of review and now we can read them.

Malice is the story of Julian and Morganna. Julian’s family is really rich, and basically owns the town. They also own the Chateau Dahlia. That’s not really talked about in town, and those who do know what happens at the Dahlia don’t talk about it. They enjoy what happens, and more importantly, they value their lives. Julian’s family would do terrible, terrible things to anyone who had loose lips. And they would probably take them to the Dahlia to do it. Anyway, Julian is about to take over the Dahlia, but he needs an heir. He’s become fixated on Morganna.

Morganna is a broken young woman who happens to live in town. She used to be better before her sister disappeared, but since then, she’s been very, very broken. And then Julian walks into her life, and starts to court her. Well, courting is just such an interesting word. Then she wakes up in Julian’s bed and finds out they are about to get married.

Neither Julian or Morganna are in the realm of sane. They aren’t even next door neighbors to sanity. I don’t think they are even in the same zip code. But even as they are removed from sanity, their respective crazinesses are far removed from each other too. I almost want to say that they have a folie a deux going on, but I don’t think that’s quite right.

Julian has a missing piece inside. I don’t know if it’s a soul, a heart, or what, but there’s definitely something not there. I think Morganna had that piece at some point, but it got pounded out of her. Like with other Dahlia books I’ve reviewed here, I have to wonder, at least when it comes to Julian, is how much comes down to nature vs. nurture. I find that whole argument to be really interesting, and it’s a hard one to come up with truly objective evidence on, because, well, it’s extremely unethical and seriously illegal to do that kind of research. But I have to wonder if Julian would be the kind of person he is if he was raised in any other way.

Malice is one of those books that as I’m reading and enjoying it, I’m slightly worried about what it says about me. There are places where it’s pretty uncomfortable, definitely disturbing, and dark AF. But, I still enjoyed the story.

Obscene

Obscene is the story of Mason and Katie.

Mason is another member of the family that owns and runs the Dahlia. He’s now of age to find a wife, and he’s set on Katie. He’s been set on Katie for many years, and has been watching her. I mean, seriously, like cameras in her bedroom kind of watching her. Katie has been totally oblivious to his observation, and goes about her life, working as a waitress at a diner, trying to stay away from her overbearing mother, and trying to just get through her life. Then she wakes up in Julian’s bed. Seems like a pattern, doesn’t it?

Mason is closer to sane than Julian is. And honestly, I can’t tell you the reason why. He too grew up around the Chateau Dahlia. And he also does terrible things. And I do mean terrible. But he just seems much more in touch with that part of his psyche that could be considered sane, at least in my opinion.

Katie is fractured, but I don’t think she’s a broken as Morganna started out. Or maybe she’s more and she manages to handle what’s happening better and is able to be put back together in a new way better. Plus, Mason does things a lot differently than Julian does, which would explain why there are differences between Morganna and Katie.

I would put Obscene in the dark romance category because there is love in there. I wouldn’t put Malice in there, because I think of it more as a psychological kind of thing more than a romance kind of thing. This is just how I would classify it in my head, and isn’t binding on anyone else or how they might classify or think about the books. I think it’s up to you to decide how you feel about them after you read them.

Do be aware that these books are dark and fucked up. There are some serious mindfucks going on in here, because, well, Natalie Bennett. There are mentions of suicide attempts and cutting, so if that is something that would trigger you, be aware of it. Please read responsibly.

There is no spoiler section on this one, and I have tried really, really hard to not spoil anything here. That’s all I have to say about these books. If you like the dark, check them out. I don’t know whether to wish you happy reading or not. Here, have a picture of a pretty flower.

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Sara Fields-Consumed

Oh sweet baby fuck. Consumed was sooooooo good. And damn, just damn. Sara went to the dark side, way into the dark side, and invited us to come play with her, but she didn’t offer us cookies. Instead, she offered us Markos. I’m not sure if Markos is better than cookies. I guess it depends on the cookies.

Kassandra is an Interpol agent working deep cover. She’s pretending to be arm candy for a Mafia leader, and has been brought to a part in Mykonos, Greece, at Markos’ house. Markos isn’t her target, the Mafia dude she’s with is, but that doesn’t mean that she doesn’t want to take him down as well. There’s something about him that makes her curious. And we all know what curiosity did to the cat, right?

Markos’ men find Kassandra hiding in the room with all his archives. They drag her into his office and drop her in front of Markos, who then goes on to fuck Kassandra in every way possible, and maybe a few that I didn’t realize were possible yet. And that’s only after he took his belt to her ass. And that’s just the start of Markos fucking Kassandra.

Generally, when you think about Sara’s books, you don’t think about dark and twisted. Well, scratch that. Some dark and some twisted. But this is DARK and TWISTED. I was seriously so drug into the story that I could barely catch my breath sometimes, it was that engrossing. Consumed is a really good name for it, because it truly consumed me. In fact, it helped to contribute to the worst book hangover I have ever had in my life. I mean, I looked at all my books, and that’s a huuuuuuuge number of books and nothing worked right. I ended up playing a game which lets me unleash a plague on the world in order to get over it.

Markos is a devious bastard. I mean, if you look up devious in the dictionary, it has a picture of his face. And well, when you meet him, you’ll totally understand the bastard part.

Kassandra was harder for me to get a read on. I still haven’t quite decided how I feel about her. Sometimes I liked her, sometimes I felt sorry for her. Sometimes, I was outright terrified for her. I think that she was definitely in so far over her head that it wasn’t even funny.

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This was one of the most epic mindfucks I’ve ever read, from almost beginning to end, just a total mindfuck. I very honestly did not expect anything that happened, and I wasn’t sure what to expect from moment to moment.

OK, that’s all I have to say on this one. Seriously, it’s a great read, so go check it out. Happy reading!

Aria Adams-Defiled

Defiled is the second book in the Unbreakable series by Aria Adams. I thought that the first one was dark, but that was nothing compared to this one. This one is super dark. There is mindfucking, regular fucking, noncon, aliens, humans behaving badly, and evil mosquitoes. Of course, I tend to think all mosquitoes are evil, but at least the ones that I have to deal with every summer aren’t trying to spy on me. Nope, they just want to suck my blood and leave huge welts.

So, here’s the background of the story for those who have forgotten or didn’t read the first one. Humans are living on the planet of Alaxia. They live in a huge building that’s a 1/2 mile square and at least 42 levels high called the Stack. It’s run by Controllers and Grande Pharma. Grande Pharma are the bad guys. The very bad guys. The even worse guys. As far as the average human knows, there are no such thing as aliens, but those in charge know better. There are native Alaxians. Not many anymore, not after the humans committed an almost complete genocide. There are only about 20K left, down from 4bil. And the humans are still out to completely wipe them all out. To that end, if they capture an Alaxian, they experiment on them and torture them. Like they have done to Algers.

Sage was a scientist who worked for Grande Pharma. She didn’t do anything except really collate data that she thinks is coming from purpose created cells. But, when she overhears a conversation, she learns that things might not always be what she thought they were. It turns out that Grande Pharma is experimenting on humans. She finds out because she snuck down into the lab and saw what they were doing. It was horrific. The next thing she knows, she’s been tossed into a cell and chained up and a giant purple alien is trying to pull her away from the chains and then kills her.

That would be a really short book if it ended there, wouldn’t it? Of course, that’s not how it ends. Sage is revived and wakes up in a cell with the same giant purple alien, who fucks her with a barbed cock. Yeah, can you guess what that did to her? Luckily, he has fancy-schmancy cum that will heal.

This is a dark story. There isn’t a whole lot of light and happiness that goes on here. Sage goes through a whole lot of horrible fucking stuff. I mean, yeah. First of all, she’s being experimented on by the people that she thinks are the good guys, and she’s being experimented on by them after finding out that they were totally destroying other humans. It completely messed up her worldview. Then she’s shoved in with an alien who fucks her to death and then shoved in with him again, this time with a barbed cock. And those are some of the EASY times. Like I said, there’s not a whole lot of happy here at all.

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OMG, I felt so bad for Sage. Being stuck alone in a cell and having to deal with trying to figure out what was real and what wasn’t. Every time she thought she had a grip, it would change. Like I said, serious mindfuckery.

I can’t wait to see what happens to the next one, because it’s going to be fucking awesome, I think.

That’s all I have to say about this one. Go check it out! Happy reading!?

Natalie Bennett-Crucible

International best selling author Natalie Bennett is back with the start of a new series. And it looks like it’s going to be just as dark and fucked up as some of her other books. I can’t fucking wait. It all starts with Crucible.

A crucible is a vessel in which metal ore or solid metal goes into before it’s put into a smelter so that it can get refined and melted down. When most people talk about a crucible, they are talking about a difficult trial that they have gone through, and which makes them stronger or breaks them altogether on the other side. And this is definitely a crucible for Raelynn.

Rae has left all the life she knew before to start over in the tiny town of Harmony Springs. It’s so small, I don’t even know if it has the population to be an actual town. Maybe it’s only a village, but I digress. Her parents helped her find a Tudor style home and fixed it up for her. It’s got a real retro glam feel to it, because that’s Rae’s personal aesthetic. While she doesn’t really need to work, she sees a help wanted sign at the local diner and decides to be a waitress. While she is working there, she meets the Blackwood twins, Jace and Kaiden, which totally changes her life.

The Blackwoods are THE family of Harmony Springs. Those in the know know that they are up to something, but not everyone in town knows what they like to do. Some of the people who don’t know kind of suspect that something is up with them, but no one says anything. The twins are the town heartthrobs, and they know it. Their dad saw Raelynn on her first day in town, and knew that she was the right person for his boys. And that was all she wrote. Or he wrote, or someone wrote.

As this is a Natalie Bennett book, you aren’t going to be surprised that there is a heavy dose of mindfuckery going on in this book. Nor should you be surprised that there is some serious darkness. Natalie can go to the horror place, and does sometimes (a lot of times?), but I don’t think that this one goes to that place, at least not at the moment. It does go to the dark place, but again, Natalie. There is a lot of tension going on and only some of it seems to be resolved at any point. Because it is a quick prequel to a new series, it is rather cliffhanger-y, but it’s going to be worth it, I do believe.

I like Rae, but I think that she’s a little naive at times. The twins are just kind of creeperish and creepy at the same time and definitely hiding every damn secret in the world. I’m looking forward to finding out more about their sister and their friends. The story is going to be so good. Again, because Natalie. I haven’t found anything of hers that I haven’t liked, as of yet.

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I have to say that the cat showing up with a tag that had my address on it would’ve had me noping right the fuck out of there. And if that didn’t do it, the picture in the mail sure as fuck would’ve. This is what I mean about me thinking that Rae was kind of naive. Eddie Murphy does a whole comedy bit about how if a black family had been in Poltergeist or Amityville Horror, they would’ve been out of there at the first sign of something paranormal. Yup, I totally agree. The first creepy ass thing that happened would see my ass out the door and waving bye-bye. I might’ve even left skid marks. Then again, if Rae had done that, it would be a totally different story, right?

I think that she should’ve broken into the shed much earlier, like the first or second day she was there, but again, see above about different story.

I have to wonder, how much are Rae’s parents involved in what’s going on? Maybe I’m just paranoid AF, but that doesn’t mean that they aren’t in it up to their eyeballs.

OK, that’s all for this one. If you love Natalie Bennett, this is definitely one you are going to have to go read. Happy reading!

Zoe Blake-Damaged Doll

Oh, my sweet summer children, what a dark and chilling tale we have today. Zoe decided that Broken Doll, formerly My Name Is Jane from When the Darkness Wins, needed to have a sequel, and thus, Damaged Doll was born.

Warning, this is not a standalone. You have to have read Broken Doll in order to know what’s going on. You will be well and truly lost. Warning the second, this is not a pretty tale. This is not a light tale. This is dark. This is chilling. This may even be horrific. This is also a wonderful read, albeit one that’s going to totally fuck with your head, because, well, Zoe thinks it’s fun to do that. And since I apparently think it’s fun to read it, I don’t get to complain all that much when my head is completely done in. And really, I don’t complain all that much, because I really do like to read the mindfuckery stuff.

This picks up right where BD leaves off, which means I’m not going to tell you all that much about it, because I don’t want to spoil Broken Doll if you haven’t read it yet, and if you like dark and twisted, I’m telling you, you really should. We still get all Jane’s inner monologue, but now we’re also getting flashbacks of Jane’s life before everything happened. It’s really interesting to find out more about Jane.

Like I said when I reviewed WtDW, this plays into a very particular fear of mine, which makes it both chilling and fascinating to read. It’s like when you know that the horror movie is going to scare the pants off you, but you can’t walk away from it because you want to watch it so much? Yeah, that’s what’s happening here. I know that this feeds that fear, but I know that the story is just so good. It gives me the shivers in just the right way, if that makes sense.

There aren’t any spoilers down there, because it is a short read and any kind of spoiler will spoil everything. So, go read it. Happy reading!

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