B. B. Blaque-Who’s Sawree Now?

Oh man. Buckle up buttercup, it’s going to be a bumpy ride. Are you all strapped in now?

A few months ago, B. B. Blaque, who writes in the pitch black, wrote a book that is very likely one of the biggest mindfucks I’ve ever read. I’m Sawree played with my mind in all kinds of ways, and I was just like fuuuuck. Then BB said that she was going to write another one. And I wondered how she was going to top herself. Then I read Who’s Sawree Now? 

Now, I read a lot of books. I mean, a lot a lot. I like reading dark, twisty, mindfuckery, and completely fucked up books. There are very few books that when I’m done with them, I am honestly completely at a loss for words. I looked at my husband and said fuck, just fuck. I can count those books on the fingers of one hand and still have left over fingers. It took me a couple of days to write my review on GR for it because I had to process it.

I’m not going to give you any kind of summary on it. Giving you a summary of the book won’t help you. You need to read it to even start to understand it. And if you haven’t read Sawree, you’re being thrown into the Marianas Trench without knowing how to swim. And you really don’t understand this story as much as it grabs you, strangles you, pulls your hair, and drags you along behind it. You just hope to hold on, catch your breath, and to be able to hold on to your sanity at the end.

Calling this book a mindfuck is doing it an injustice. The problem is, I don’t think there is another term for it. I mean, if Rod Serling, Alfred Hitchcock, and Richard Matheson got together and had a bastard child, it would be this book. Sterling is beyond a psychopath. Put Ed Gein, John Wayne Gacy, and Mengele together and you might have Sterling. He is probably the closest thing to pure evil I’ve ever read in a non-paranormal story.

When I reviewed Sawree, I suggested booze and fluffy kitties. I’m here to tell you, there ain’t enough fluffy baby kitties in the world. It may take baby goats. Even then, I’m not sure. I do know that you are going to need the booze.

I just have one more tip. Don’t drink the coffee.

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Natalie Bennett-King of Hearts

This is the second book in Natalie’s Old Money Roulette series. It’s dark, mysterious, and left me with so many more questions that I had going in. I mean, wow.

So, let’s talk about King of Hearts, shall we? Before I get into it, there’s a good chance that there are going to be spoilers for Queen of Diamonds. I don’t mean to leave them, but it is likely to happen. It’s the nature of the beast when you get book series that are set up the way that the Old Money Roulette books are. So, if you haven’t read QoD and it’s on your TBR, you may want to reconsider looking at this blog until you have read it. I will say that KoH is a big mindfuck. I mean, most things that Natalie writes end up fucking with your brain in some way or other. But this is a big one. It’s dark and there isn’t really a glimmer of light going on. So be aware of that.

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Addison Cain-The White Queen

There used to be an adult fairy tale anthology called The Dark Forest. Eight great authors got together to write some great stories. When I read that book, I read one of the darkest things I’ve ever read. Addison Cain’s take on Alice in Wonderland was horrifying and dark. Well, what people didn’t realize when they read that story is that Addison had to pull stuff out of the story so that it could go into the set.

Eventually, The Dark Forest was pulled from Amazon and the rights reverted back to Addison. When that happened, she was free to do whatever she wanted with her story. And thus, we got The White Queen.

Anyone who is a regular reader of Addison already knows that she can go dark. I mean, I knew it when I read DF for the first time, but I didn’t know how dark. Then I got to her story. I immediately made my horror loving husband read it and he looked at me like whoa. He loved it too.

So, let’s get into the story now that I’ve rambled enough. It’s not a long story, and it’s not substantially different from its predecessor. There are things that have been added in and changed around a bit. Those things definitely make the story darker and more horrifying.

Alice is a beautiful little girl who is mostly trotted out when her parents want to have a living prop and is only valued for her beauty. Otherwise, she lives in her nursery with her dollies that she’s not allowed to touch and the white rabbit. Only this white rabbit isn’t a cute little guy in a weskit who leads you to the Mad Hatter and March Hare for a topsy-turvy tea party. Instead, every night, when the clock stops, the rabbit looks at her and brings forth her nightmares. There are the evil twins who attack her, the bloody woman who just stares at her, the laughing man who sits and laughs at her hysterically, and the Hatter. All of the others torment her. She can’t sleep at night. She gets in trouble because her room has been trashed. Her parents swear that she’s hurting herself and hate her. But the Hatter, he protects her.

OMG. This story is a true mindfuck and pretty strictly horror. There really isn’t any romance in this book. There definitely isn’t any light. It’s now firmly in my top 3 darkest. The only reason that the story from DF isn’t still in my top 3 is because WQ replaced it. FYI: the other two are Life of Anna by Marissa Honeycutt and Catacombs by Addison Cain. If you don’t like dark or you like a lighter shade of dark, don’t read this. There are some things that will trigger the shit out of you. OK, there are no spoilers here because it is such a short read. Go read it yourself and see what you think of it. Just maybe make sure you have a nightlight and no stuffed bunnies in your room, huh?

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Marissa Honeycutt-Master of My Heart

Of all the dark books I’ve read, Marissa Honeycutt’s Life of Anna is still one of the darkest and bleakest I’ve ever read, even including BB Blaque’s books and When the Dark Wins. Those are on my list of darkest books, but I think LoA is still going to be #1.  The books are a serial, so I recommend reading the complete set. It’s in KU, but I also recommend buying it, especially since some of the books in the series have been banned. LoA is the only book that I have had to literally put down in the middle of it and read something else altogether. I got it on KU and even sent it back. I spent a couple of days dreaming about the book so I had to go back to KU and finish reading it. I spent a lot of time horrified about what was happening to Anna, angry for her, angry at Devin, and I cried. A lot. I mean, a lot a lot. Spoiler for LoA: The spot where I had to put it down was right before Alex and Anna got married. I don’t know why that particular spot hit my limit, but I just reached that point. That particular thing was what I dreamt about.

Marissa has brought out another series that takes place in the same world. It takes place some years after LoA. Anna is not the focus of this one, but there are some carry over characters. This series is called Finding Sabrina. The first book is Master of My Body, and the second is Master of My Heart. That’s the one we’re talking about today. Now, as a warning, Marissa is writing Sabrina as a serial, just like she did with LoA. I know that there are least 2 more books to come, but I don’t know how long in between each one. If you totally despise cliffies, then you may want to wait until Marissa puts out a complete set. I, on the other hand, may curse cliffies, but they don’t deter me. Obviously. Otherwise, I wouldn’t read about 60% of what I do read.

So, here’s the story as it stands right now. There are going to be some spoilers for MoMB, there’s really no other way to it. If you haven’t read it yet and you want to, this is your very last chance. If you read past this point and you get spoiled, you only have yourself to blame.

OK, here goes. Sabrina has woken up and realized that none of her captors are there. They are all dead, and she killed them all. Her Immortalness took over and she kind of went feral and just went on a killing spree. Frankly, I don’t blame her. After being treated like she was for 5 years, I would’ve killed everyone too. She sees Chase’s West Point ring and it helps her come back to herself. That ring and thoughts of Chase are all that have kept her as sane as she is. That and being able to dance. Sabrina ransacks the house, takes a lot of money, and finds the diamond that will drain her Immortality and let her live as a normal human. She manages to make it to her ballet company and the head guy helps her escape to Boston, which is where she’s decided that she wants to go. She wants Chase.

Meanwhile, Chase is facing the fact that he has to get married by the end of the year. He’s the heir to one of the Brotherhood’s Elders, and that means that he has to get married and start producing his own young. Richard, the Elder, tells him that he knows that Chase wants Sabrina, but they have searched in every way possible for her and there has been no trace of her at all. Now he’s off on a mission with his team to take care of a problem for the Brotherhood. He’s incommunicado except to Richard, his mother, and his best friend, Jayson. Jayson just happens to dance at the dance company in Boston where Sabrina is going to go audition. He lives with his sister Liz, and they have a spare room in their apartment.  And guess where Sabrina goes to stay? Of course, she doesn’t know that Jayson and Chase are buds when she goes to stay with him.

You remember how I said that LoA was probably the darkest thing I’ve read? Sabrina might beat it. Sabrina has already gone through a lot. And I’m pretty sure that the darkest, most terrible stuff is yet to come. I’m going to be interested to watch and see. When the last book comes out, I’ll read all of them back to back so I can get the best idea as to which one is worse. I don’t think that we’ve seen the true villain a whole lot as of yet, so I’m going to be interested to see what’s going to happen with that.

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The fact that Sabrina is way more than even 3/4 Immortal is interesting. 15/16 maybe? 31/32? I can’t wait to see what will happen as she comes more into herself and her powers as a demi-Immortal. She’s going to make some people very, very, very strong, I think.

I think that Richard, Tom, Chase, and all his friends are going to be very good for Sabrina, especially as she sees that pretty much anything goes when it comes to sex. I liked seeing her meet the slaves at the Manor. They were very obviously happy and well cared for, which was completely opposite to what happened to her. I’d love to see her interact more with them in a casual setting. That may be a good way to bridge a gap for her, maybe.

OK, that’s all I have to say about this. If you like dark, gritty, and pitch black, then go read all Marissa’s books, especially LoA and the Finding Sabrina books.

When the Dark Wins

I’ve been writing this blog and bringing you books for close to a year now. Some of you have been following me for that long, some of you are new. But, if you look at my posts, you will see that there is one pretty overwhelming theme. I love the dark. I play in it, I revel in it, I go out and search it out. The darker the better. Things that might disturb other people? I was thrilled to read them. So, I figured that I was going to be fine with this one. After all, I’ve read all of these authors before. They’ve written some dark stuff that I love. Addison Cain’s Alice in Wonderland story, anatomy by Yolanda Olson, Imperfect Monster and Destruction by Jennifer Bene. Well, you get the idea, right? Well, those stories are actually pretty light compared to what we’ve been given here. Except for maybe anatomy. That one’s pretty fucked up.

I walked into When the Dark Wins thinking I was ready. I was wrong. The whole point behind this book is that 8 authors are giving us stories where there is no happy ending, no light, just evil and darkness and more evil and more darkness. There are mindfucks galore. Hell, even the mindfucks get mindfucked. It’s awesome.

So, I’m giving absolutely no spoilers at all. I’m just going to give you my impressions of the stories.

Addison Cain-Catacombs

This story is the single most disturbing thing I have ever read in my entire life. Straight out, no lie, the most disturbing thing ever. The last story I said that about was Addison’s Alice story, so well done Addison, topping yourself. I can’t wait to see what you do next. When I finished Catacombs, I looked over at my husband and said holy fuck. When he asked what I was holy fucking about, I told him there was no way to explain it. I could’ve tried, but he wouldn’t’ve gotten it. Totally fucked up Totally awesome. I had to pet my cat and play a game for a while after reading this.

Zoe Blake-My Name Is Jane

I literally put the whole book down and walked away from it for a night after I finished this. This story plays into a personal nightmare of mine. OK, I don’t mean this exact scenario, but how Jane feels plays into that nightmare. I’ve literally woken up in cold sweats because of it. So, yeah. It wasn’t the most disturbing story in the book, but it was the one that chilled me the most.

Eris Adderly-A Sinner in Virtue

Having read the story, I love the title. I think it’s completely awesome. It’s the start of a new series, and I’m so eager to get to the series. It’s not as dark as some of the other stories are, but it’s still dark. Hypocrisy at its absolute finest. Can’t wait.

Dani Rene-Severed

I may have mentioned that I have the mad Dani Rene love before. This story did nothing to change it. I couldn’t wait to see what was going to happen next. It was a very, very wrong scenario. I can’t even say that it was in a very, very right way, because there is no right way here. I mean, yeah.

Jennifer Bene-Breaking Beth

Can I just say fucking finally? Thank you, Jennifer! I’ve been waiting to find out what happened to Beth ever since I read the first Thalia story. She keeps getting brought up in the book, so I needed to know Beth’s story. It isn’t pretty, not at all. And I’m even gladder that those guys got what was coming to them. I think Beth is awesome, strong and stubborn. Maybe a little too much so for her own good. I mean, the title is Breaking Beth.

Cari Silverwood-Used

I think that Cari’s Mesmer books were the first of hers I read. They definitely made me fall in love with her and her words. Used takes place in that world. The characters aren’t main characters in the books, but I’m fine with that because it doesn’t mess with continuity or anything. I think that Isak is creepier than the other mesmers though, and that’s saying something. I need to spend this weekend rereading the books I think. I did wonder how far ahead he planned when it came to certain things. And the ending was…

Michelle Brown-The Hunted

When it comes to authors in this book, Michelle is a baby. However, that doesn’t mean that baby can’t write. Her story is… Yeah. It’s the shortest story in the book, but it’s definitely one that stayed with me for awhile, especially the end. The end was a mindfuck moment. It just fucked me up.

Yolanda Olson-What Lies Beneath

Mind.fuck. Yeah, I know I’ve said that about most of these stories, but really, this one was the biggest mindfuck of them all, from start to finish. Really. Just WTF from the first word to the last word. I love Yolanda Olson and her work. I do think that her process goes along the lines of asking herself what would fuck her readers up the most. Good job, Yolanda. You succeeded.

OK, that’s my review of When the Dark Wins. No spoilers. If you think you are ready to let the darkness embrace you, then go check it out. Eight stories which will make you glad that you don’t live in these authors’ minds? I’m so down for that.

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Celia Aaron-The Prophet

I’m pretty sure that Celia Aaron has redefined Southern Gothic and made it something all her own. I’m also pretty sure that she’s evil. When she writes a book, she not only wants to find out how she can do terrible things to her characters, she also wants to figure out ways in which to torture us, her readers. And she does such a damn good job at it. The Prophet is proof of this. Prophet is the 2nd of the 3 books that make up The Cloister books. They are a continuous story, broken into three parts. Talking about Prophet will spoil the first book in the series, The Maiden, there just isn’t any other way to do it. If you haven’t read Maiden, then don’t read this yet. If you don’t like cliffies, then wait. The Church comes out in June. These books are dark af and mindfucking like you wouldn’t believe. If you have a trigger, the book will seek it out and pull it.

If you have read both books, or you aren’t worried, then come jump off the cliff with me.

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Natalie Bennett-Queen of Diamonds

I love reading Natalie Bennett. Deliciously dark, twisted, and mindfucky. Wooohoooo! I mean, can you get anything better? Well, maybe if Jason Mamoa was reading it to me while I was sitting in his lap, but until he comes to his senses and leaves Lisa, I’m going to read them to myself. And I’m perfectly happy with that. That means I can stay up to the middle of the night reading, if I so desire, and I often do.

Anyhow, Queen of Diamonds is her latest one. It’s the first book in a new series, Old Money Roulette. It looks like it’s going to be dark with no redeeming lightness, features, or anything going on. I am loving it. We have a baddie bad guy, a complicated heroine, and a twisted situation that makes me wonder exactly what’s happening and who’s going to survive the road to hell. Or, more precisely, the hell in which they already find themselves.

Elena has to come home because her aunt has been brutally killed and her twin sister, Eva, is missing. Her grandmother and uncle have convinced Elena that the best thing she could do is make sure that everyone knows that her sister is dead, so they buried an empty coffin along with her aunt. At the reception after the funeral, a beautiful man comes up to Elena and starts talking to her. It turns out he’s Mateo Remmington, scion of the biggest crime family in Vice City. This is perfect for Elena, she’s going to worm her way into his affections and trust so that she can find out what happened to Eva.

Mateo, oh man, Mateo. He’s ruthless, twisted, and pretty much evil. He wants Elena. He wants to take her, break her, and turn her into something else. He has plans on plans on plans. He’s at the reception because he owes someone a favor. We don’t know who that someone is or what the favor is. What we do know is that he’s fixated on Elena, and he’s told his brother and cousin that she’s going to be his wife. Now, he has to tell Elena.

OK, that’s the easy plot, the one that we can see. But, being a Natalie Bennett book, we all know that it’s not that easy. She likes to put layers and layers and layers and machinations (I love that word), plots, and secrets in her books. I mean, her books are the ones that you go back to read to find the hints after you know what’s going to happen, and you still can’t find them. QOD is going to be one of those books, for sure. Even a few days after reading it, I’m wondering what is going on. I don’t even have guesses as to what’s going on, really. All I know is that I can’t wait to find out because it’s going to be so good to find out. I can’t wait to find out Mateo’s plans and how Elena is going to fit into them.

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I am wondering about Elena’s friends and how involved they are in what’s going on. It seems like it would be a huge thing if she were trusting them in and they were up to no good. I’m also wondering what her grandmother and uncle are up to. I don’t trust them as far as I can throw them.

I would like to find out more about Elena’s dad. We know that he was part of this world, but he sent the girls away to live with auntie, but we don’t know why. I wonder if he’s the person Mateo owes a favor too? Wouldn’t that be an interesting thing?

OK, that’s all I have to say about this one. I will say that if you don’t like to wait for the whole story of things to come out, you may want to wait for the rest of the books. You may end up with more answers than questions while you are reading this, and some people find that frustrating. I’m obviously not one of them, probably I’m a masochist or something. Anyhow, go check it out.