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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Sansa Rayne-Enslaved

I ran across Sansa when I read Erased, which totally gave me a new appreciation of straight jackets. Then I got to ARC Exalted. It’s on here somewhere. And today, I’m reviewing Enslaved by her. Enslaved is the third book in the series, which isn’t really as much of a series as it is a series of standalones that are connected, if that makes sense. There is some crossover from book to book, but the characters are secondary at best.

Quinn Harris is in trouble. She’s sitting in an interrogation room, just waiting for the police to come talk to her. You see, she assaulted a Senator’s son. She pushed him, he fell out a window. Of course, he was trying to rape her and her best friend, so she was totally justified. But, he’s now in a coma and probably in a persistent vegetative state. Can’t have happened to a nicer guy. But now, the Senator wants vengeance. First, in comes a judge to offer her a prison diversion option. She would go to Walker for a year, instead of a prison. Of course, Walker is a private prison owned by the Senator. Then the Senator comes in and tells her that he’s going to use his son being in a coma for his election for years and years. And she’s going to Walker, no matter what, because he forged her signature. And he’ll see her when he wins the election.

Reed Nolan is Lance’s, the Senator’s son, friend. He’s also a guard at Walker. And the Senator and the warden have made Quinn his especial project. He’s supposed to break her. He’s good at that. And, did I mention that he’s an unrepentant sadist?

Walker isn’t a prison diversion program. It’s the annex to Hell. The guards all beat and rape the women. Every so often, they sell the women to sponsors, or, you know, rich men who want their very own sex slave. All the guards like it, because hey, all the pussy they want, just right there. Quinn is introduced to Hell by being put in a stockade and whipped, then left. All the other women are told that if they talk to her, they will be punished, and that’s that.

I love Quinn. She’s fucking fierce. She isn’t going to go down without a fight, and she will use everything she can to fight. No matter what any of the guards or any of the other men who come there are going to do, she’s going to fight them. In fact, what she does to the Judge is fucking epic.

There are times when Nolan is just too fucking stupid to live. I wondered if he had Breathe tattooed on the inside of his eyelids. OK, he wasn’t quite that bad, but he was definitely naive and didn’t think things through. And yeah, he was definitely stupid about people. He believed Quinn about what Lance tried to do, but when she tried to point other things, he didn’t believe her. I mean, why would she be telling the truth about all these other things that he believes her on and not this one particular point? Dumbfuck. But, he does smarten up and catch a clue.

I am glad that he chose to believe her and that he started to think and act differently because of her. I feel like he grew up because Quinn pushed him.

Because I feel like warning people every now and again, just in case we have new readers, remember, anything under the picture is a spoiler. I don’t generally get too spoilery, but you have been warned.

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Oh my motherfucking god! Why would the Senator not be bent when it’s his fucking prison, the warden is his friend, the judge is his friend, and he’s making massive bank by selling women? I mean, come on Reed, use a little logical thinking here. It’s not that hard, really.

And Quinn? Oh yeah, everyone she hurts totally deserves it. Totally. And I wouldn’t feel bad about it either.

I did get mad at Jacquline for a hot minute, but then I understood the spot she was in, and the name Bitch finally made sense. Fucking Senator. He was a twatwaffle.

OK, so that’s all I have to say on this one. Check it out. Happy reading!

K. Webster-Cold Cole Heart

Gee, it’s a new K. Webster book and it’s a new K. Webster blog post. Hmmm…. funny how that works, isn’t it? Yeah, yeah, mad K. love here. She really is one of the best storytellers around. Her stories drag you in and get you involved. You get wrapped up in them and when you hit the end, you are kind of left in a tizzy. Cold Cole Heart is no different.

Ten years ago, Cole Heart was a highly respected member of SEAL Team 6. Then he and his team were captured by the forces of a terrorist named Anta. Sure, she wasn’t technically in charge, but her brother was nothing but a figurehead. She was the real power. And she spent months torturing these guys. By the time that Cole escaped, he was the only person left alive. I’m not entirely sure that I would call him a survivor, but he was alive.

Flash forward, and now Cole is barely managing. He goes to see his therapist and talks to her for 15 minutes and then they have mad monkey sex. When he’s done with that, he goes a-stalking. You see, even though he knows that Anta is dead, he has to keep punishing her, and he needed to have 6 women, all of whom had a specific type. Now he only needs one more, and he has his eyes on her.

On the day that Cole finally makes his move on her, Natalie is 36 days away from her 21st birthday. She’s counting down the days until that birthday because then she gets all the money left by her dead mother. Until then, she has to continue to suffer through living with her abusive and sadistic cousin. He only allows her one article of clothing, the same dress that her mother was murdered in, complete with bloodstains and holes in it from where she was knifed. She’s only allowed to take a shower once a week, and that’s the day that she gets to go to the grocery store. She gets to take a shower, wear makeup, and leave the house. Of course, she still has to wear that dress, but at least she gets to wear a fur coat over it, so no one knows that she’s wearing that horrid dress. And on this particular day, that’s exactly what’s happened, of course, after her horrible cousin beat and raped her.

Cole has a very particular victim set. The woman has to have a specific look, but she also has to be overly entitled and privileged. A real rich bitch type. And he thinks that Natalie fits that profile because he only sees the outsides of her, even though he very carefully stalks her. (K has a thing for stalkers)

This is one of the stories that I would know was a KWeb story even without seeing the name on it. It just has her very distinctive flavor on it, if you ask me. And obviously, since you’re reading this, you kinda did. I actually like Cole a lot, the whole story through, even though he might seem unlikable. I also like Natalie. She’s a very, very strong character. I mean, think about it. She spent 4 years in hell because she knew she had the chance for something better on the other side. That’s not nothing. Of course, being a KWeb story, there are all kinds of twists and turns and it’s a pretty heavy mindfuck going on too. Definitely an excellent story, all around.

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I honestly didn’t expect Cole to go in the direction that he did. I didn’t see any of it coming. Really, really interesting though, and I liked it, a lot.

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

 

Nicolina Martin-This Is Not Love

This Is Not Love is Nicolina Martin’s second semester freshman offering. She says that she considers it her first published book, but she does have a short story that she published. Because I’m a damn nice person and why the hell not, I’m giving away a copy over on my FB page. It closes tonight, but since I haven’t had any entries as of yet, I may expand it out. Go check it out and take your chance!

When I told Nicolina that I was going to blog her book, she told me that she was nervous. I think she’s afraid that I’m going to tear her up one side and down the other. But seriously, have any of you guys ever seen me do something like that? I’m just too nice to do that. Or something like that. Well, Nicolina, you have nothing to worry about or be nervous about. I liked the book.

So, it’s a short, quick read, so I’m not going to say a lot about it, because I don’t want to spoil anything. Here’s how the story goes.

Bree has spent the last 2 years hiding from the world. One night, her fiance decided to beat her, strangle her, and stab her. It did actually end up in her death, but she was able to be saved. Now she lives on medication and booze and hides as much as possible. But on this day, she has to go to the bank to get some stuff out of her safety deposit box. While she’s waiting, a handsome guy comes to chat her up.

Roarke is a stone cold killer. Or maybe he’s just stone cold. He feels nothing about anything. He’s gone all over the world killing people. Then he gets contacted about doing a bank robbery. While he’s at the bank, waiting for his partner to show up, he starts chatting up a beautiful woman waiting there. When everything goes to hell, he feels like he needs a hostage and grabs Bree to take her with him.

This is a dark read. When the title says that this is not love, believe it. There isn’t a whole lot of love in there. There is a lot of WTFery, a lot of dafuq did I just read, and a whole lot of I need more, but love? Nope. The story kept me on my toes and did make me wonder what was going to come next. I would really love to see more Roarke and Bree, because that would be fucking awesome.

There aren’t going to be any spoilers, but here, have a picture. Meanwhile, go check this out and happy reading!

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Dani Rene-Stolen

So, Dani is starting a new series. A dark and intense series. One that is going to keep us on our toes, and if you want to know what’s going on, you need to read the prequel, Stolen. It’s like baseball, if you don’t have the scorecard, you won’t know any of the players, and who wants that?

If you read When the Dark Wins, you may be familiar with this story. This was Dani’s entry in it, and it was called Severed in that set. You can’t get WtDW anymore, so if you want to read it, you have to read it here. I can’t tell you if it’s expanded or not, because I didn’t go back and read it in WtDW. I have a feeling that it’s pretty much the same as in there, but there were a couple of things I don’t remember.

Drake is a Savage. Literally, his last name is Savage. He has a twin brother named Dante and his best friend is named River. The Savage family is just that. They take young women and sometimes young men and do terrible and savage things to them. The goal is to break the people they have taken and then sell them or otherwise dispose of them.

Caia is the latest Savage acquisition. They are going to keep her for 4 weeks and then handle her. The goal is to break her. And they are seriously going to try. I mean, fuck, they are really going to try. The thing is, though, Caia is strong. She’s a fighter. And Drake is drawn to her. There’s just something about her that he can’t stay away from. There’s also something about him that draws her to him.

It’s a short story, so that’s about all you are going to get here. I really like Caia, Drake, Dante, and River, and I can’t wait to see more of everyone interacting togther and the wait for the next book is going to be very frustrating to me. This is a definitely dark story, and really, when I say dark, you know that I know what I’m talking about. Because it’s short, there aren’t any spoilers under there for you to read, but I found a picture anyway, because we all know I like pictures.

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Natasha Knight-Torn

A few days ago, I reviewed the first book of this series, Taken, here. Today, we have the second book in the duet, Torn. Because this is the second book of a duet, there are going to be spoilers for the first book here. I will try to avoid them as much as possible, because you know I don’t want to spoil anyone, but it’s the nature of the beast. If you haven’t read Taken yet, I highly recommend it, especially now that we have the second book out. So, if you have read the story, and you are ready for my review, take a leap off my cliff with me.

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OK, if you’ve come down here, you are either ready to read my review or you like spoilers. Either way, you were warned.

We left off with Lucinda shooting Sebastian and Ethan capturing Helena, after Lucinda set her up. This does not bode well for either of them because we all know that Lucinda is a psycho. I mean, she should totally be diagnosed, because damn.

Lucinda takes Helena and puts her in a stone room somewhere underground in Venice. It’s dark, it’s dank, it’s cold, and Helena is there all alone. Well, all alone except for Lucinda and Ethan. Lucinda takes her hate out on Helena and tries to get Ethan to rape her, after all, she’s a Willow Girl, and that’s what they are there for, right? Only Ethan isn’t willing to go there because he’s still afraid of Sebastian. Which he totally should be. Then Lucinda leaves Helena down, in the dark, really all alone this time. Helena keeps counting on Sebastian to save her, but the longer she’s in the cold dark, the less hope she has of him coming for her.

Natasha has done an excellent job with this book and with the duet in general. The way that her characters interact with each other, in whatever combination, is great. She really shows the tension between Gregory and Sebastian, and how hard everything happening is on both of them. She also does a fantastic job with Lucinda. Lucinda is a predator, plain and simple. She has taken poor Ethan and groomed him into what he is. I mean, it’s not her fault that he acquired brain damage, but she’s taken advantage of that and turned him into her puppet. Of course, he could’ve tried to go against her, and we saw that he can make decisions that Lucinda doesn’t like, but still, she has twisted and groomed him. I almost feel sorry for him. Almost. I said elsewhere that there was nothing that Natasha could do to redeem Lucinda for me. I mean, Lucinda could find god, become a nun, and spend the rest of her life working in a leper colony, and I would still totally hate the bitch. And that still holds true.

I can totally see more books coming out of this world, and I really hope that Natasha writes them.

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I find the death of Sebastian’s mother to be a little too serendipitous for Lucinda. I think that she had her hand in at least his mother’s death, and possibly his father’s death as well. It’s nasty as hell that she might have killed Seb’s mom, considering that they were sisters.

I want to know who Helena’s sister Amy is mixed up with. Since she’s in the same general area as Ethan, I really want to say that it’s him, but I don’t know.

I hope we get stories for both Ethan and Gregory, because I can see how Natasha may have set them up for both.

That’s all I have to say on this one. If you like dark, go check this out. Happy reading!