Fawn Bailey-Blood Red Rose

Fawn Bailey may sound like a new author to me, but you would be wrong. She’s actually a pen name for Isabella Starling. Isa, who already writes some stuff that leans towards the dark, decided that she needed a nom de plume for the really dark stuff. And so, we get Blood Red Rose. Now, BRR says that it’s the first book in the series. And it is, technically. But, there is a prequel called Blush Pink Rose. It’s free on Zon, so you have no reason to not grab it and read it. You’ll get a little bit more backstory about Harlow and Thorn. It’s not a prereq to read it before you get to BRR, but you’ll appreciate having spent the time reading it.

So, on to BRR.

Harlow is an 18-year-old young woman who has spent years training in ballet. She just had a very successful night as the Sugar Plum Fairy and is busy hanging out with the rest of the company and thinking about all the offers that will be coming her way. It’s her biggest goal in life to be a principal with a Russian ballet company, so when she hears that they wanted to talk to her, she gets mad at Madame, who didn’t let them talk to her.

Along with all the many bouquets of flowers she gets, she gets one single rose. When Harlow goes to leave, she can’t leave that one behind, so she picks it up to take it with her and gets stabbed on a thorn.

Thorn has been waiting and watching Harlow. He knows that she’s his, he just has to wait for the perfect time, and that time is now. He could send his men to get her, but this is one job that he wants to do on his own. He really doesn’t want to let anyone else touch her, even though he’s going to have to at some point. He’s pleased to see that she brought the flower that he sent her with her. He drugs her and takes her to The Mansion so that she can be trained the way that he wants.

OK, here we go. You know the routine by now. If you don’t like to not have a nice neat ending until you get to the next book, this may be a series you want to wait to read. I didn’t see it as a cliffhanger, but not everything is wrapped up super neat in a bow either. That doesn’t bother me at all. I don’t always need to have an HEA or even an HFN. The story does lean towards the dark, we get noncon and capture and sexual training, so yeah, definitely in the darker side of things. I really enjoyed it and I’m looking to see how the next books are going to come out. There are plots and subplots and machinations. It’s going to be interesting.

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I think I only trust Thorn and Harlow in this book. Maybe. I know what their motivations are. I know what Ellis’s was, but there are other players who are moving around. I won’t say one of them is a queen, but there are at least 2 pawns on the board. One pawn’s motivation is kind of clear, but I can’t wait to see if what they want comes through clearer.

I think we’re in for quite the ride with the rest of the series. I enjoyed it a lot and knowing Isa’s books, I’m guessing that we are going to get deep into people’s minds.

OK, that’s all for this one. Happy reading!

Natalie Bennett-Savages

I’ve read some other Natalie Bennett and really enjoyed them, so I thought that I knew what I was in for. I knew that what I was going to get something dark, raw, and gritty. Savages exceeded everything I was expecting. Like I said, I thought I knew what I was in for and thought that I was prepared. But, it’s intense and dark from the very start and will knock you 10 feet away and leave your shoes and socks knocked off right where you stood. Savages did just that. It savaged me and left me raw and needing more immediately.

Calista has grown up in her father’s pseudo-religious cult. She’s done whatever her father has wanted, no matter what it was, just hoping that he would approve of her. On what may be the worst day of her young life, she sees a woman she thought of as a friend being killed in a horrible way. After that, she’s dragged out by her own brothers to be taken out. Miraculously, she manages to survive what they do to her and then drags herself away. Years later, she’s still surviving.

Roman has been the leader of the Savages. He has something against Cali’s father, and he goes out of his way to make the man’s life as terrible as possible. He may not be able to strike directly at him, but he can take bites around the edges. When something happens and he’s put face-to-face with Cali, the world they are both living in starts to implode and make huge changes in the both of them.

This book. Man. This book is really explosive. Everyone is holding back major secrets. I mean considering what we do learn about them, you know that the secrets have to be huge. The chemistry between Rome and Cali is unlike anything you may have ever seen before. I don’t think that there is anything that can explain it. The rawness and grittiness of this book also can’t be explained. I love raw, dark, dirty, and gritty, and I reveled in this book, even as it scoured me raw. I can’t wait for book 2.

There are so many things that I’m dying to know and that I’m hoping that book two answers. And no, I’m not going to really tell you what all those things are. I’ll be more than happy to tell you if you PM me about it, but that’s as far as I am going to go with it. Suffice it to say, I expect anyone else who’s reading these books to want to know all the same things that I do.

Rome is super intense, and I really want to know more of his backstory. Then again, if I know more about him, will it ruin him for me. I dunno. There’s always a fine line authors have to work with there. How much can they show us about any character without taking that character’s power away? Does taking a dark protagonist like Rome and showing him split open and spilling his secrets make him more dark or less dark?

OK, that’s all that I have to say about Savages, other than go out and buy it as quickly as you can. I don’t normally mention what I’m listening to when I’m writing a blog, but today it seems appropriate to mention that I wrote this to David Bowie’s Blackstar. It was his goodbye album and it fits this for me. So, I’m off to prepare myself to share other things with you. Meanwhile, happy reading!

 

Jennifer Bene-Imperfect Monster

This book. I have been waiting for this book from the very second I finished reading Monster in Hero Undercover. Monster has shown up on various of my lists, including my Top Ten darkest and fucked up reads list. Dark, yes, fucked up, yes, hot, very yes. And Imperfect Monster has lived up to the promise of Monster.

Now, I know that pretty much any time I pick up a Jennifer Bene book I’m going to get dark, and I count on that. I’ve found all those dark places in my soul that enjoy these books, and I love finding an author that lets me play in them, so finding Jennifer was like finding home. Her books feed my dark and twisted soul. So I knew that the second this book hit my Kindle, I was going to have to sit down and have a meal.

Nicky is bound and determined to take care of her baby brother. He got beat and is in the hospital, in rough shape. All he could do was tell him who did it and how much he owed. All she could do was think of ways that she could get him out of trouble. To that end, she scraped up $20K so that she could go and buy him out of trouble. So she marches up to house of Paulo Garcia, major drug dealer, with her courage screwed to the sticking place, and hollers that she is there to pay him off and get her bother out of hock. The only problem is? She’s $5K short.

Andre is the monster that Paulo keeps in his back pocket. When Paulo needs something done, and done in a nasty way, he sends in Andre. That’s not all Andre is though. He’s also an undercover agent, there to take Paulo down. He’s been under for years now, and nothing is left of him inside, or so he thinks. When he sees Nicky, some kind of glimmer pokes through all that empty numbness, and he wants to try to save her. Of course, he wants to save her for himself, because he wants her and he wants to hear her scream his name and cry, but he also has that faint glint of something that affects his behavior. He goes to Paulo and pays the extra money, thereby buying Nicky and keeping safe from everybody except for Andre, and well, Paulo if he asks. Everyone belongs to Paulo.

Alright, we’re going to make our split here. This book is dark, very dark. It’s full of noncon/dubcon goodness. It has a stubborn woman and a tortured anti-hero. I mean, that’s pretty much a recipe for a great book right there. And it baked just right, it’s a great book. It was worth all the wait I had to put in all the way from last summer to today. I got sucked into the book and twisted around and around. It’s also incredibly hot. Did I mention it was hot? Andre has done something for me from the very first time I met him, and that something has just gotten stronger with being able to read more about him. I don’t think he’s ever going to be one of those characters I’m going to forget or ignore, and I will probably hold up other dark anti-heroes to him for comparison. If you don’t like dark, avoid this one. You aren’t going to like it. If dubcon or noncon bothers you, avoid this one. If those things bother you, I can suggest a lot of other things for you to read.

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OK, I know that I’ve said that the first gun scene was hot, and it was, but I found the second one to be less so. I think it was just the situation around it. It must have been hard for Nicky to survive that and everything that followed.

I never thought that Andre was as dark as he thought he was. I can see why he would think that he was that dark and all that. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think he’s light either. I just don’t think he was a pitch black as he thought he was. Maybe a very, very, very dark gray. He had good intentions for going in and doing what he was doing, but you know what they say about good intentions and what road they pave. And all his good intentions definitely paved his road to hell. He walked through his own doing what he had to. I kind of want to beat on his handler for everything he put Andre through.

OK, that’s all I have to say about this one today. It’s dark. It’s lovely, and I loved every fucking word of it. Go check it out for yourself and tell me what you think. Meanwhile, happy reading!

Sophie Kisker-Finding Home

Odyssey

1a long wandering or voyage usually marked by many changes of fortune
2an intellectual or spiritual wandering or quest 
Anyone who reads this blog knows how I feel about Sophie Kisker and her work. I’ve reviewed several other of her books. This time, I’m going with the Finding Home series. Sophie has it listed as Finding Home: An Erotic Tale of Love and War. And yeah, it totally is. I wouldn’t take them as 3 separate books, because they aren’t a stand-alones, but more as one book that has been broken into 3 sections, like the Lord of the Rings. Luckily, all three books are out, so you can read them all back to back to back. Protip: Odyssey, the first one, is on sale for $0.99 today 12/17. All three books are available on Kindle Unlimited.
Finding Home takes place in Meridia. It’s a country that is broken up into several provinces. Think Canada or maybe Australia instead. Only, there really is no country-wide government, there is a committee that all the leaders belong too, but nothing like an overarching prime minister or president. Because each province is self-ruled, the laws and treatments of the people can widely vary. The rulers also tend to be hereditary, with the leader choosing one of his children or adopting someone to be an heir. Depending on the leader, you may get someone who is competent and has a competent heir, or you can get a family that runs their province into the ground and their heirs are just as incompetent and maybe tyrannical. While there are several provinces, we are mainly concerned with three of them. In the first book, we are dealing with Edwal and Alaine. In the second and third books, Orre becomes just as important.
Now, there are a lot of politics that go on in these books on top of the sexy, sexy, sex. Sophie doesn’t relate the politics back to the real world in any way, so if you don’t like politics, then you aren’t going to have to deal with the real world politics. The politics are braided in through the story with the sex and the romance. You really can’t have one part without the other. When you read it, you’ll see what I mean.
OK, back to the world of Meridia. Edwal is ruled by  Elias Palm. He is a tyrant and dictator. He has severely restricted the rights of his people. He has had houses of college professors bugged, there are security cameras on every corner, and people are encouraged to inform on each other. Palm is suspicious, paranoid, and an all-around fuckhead. Alaine is one of their neighbors and is run by Daniel Weiss. Weiss is a sane, rational person, who tries to rule his province as well as possible and keeps his people’s needs in mind. So, of course, Palm hates him. Orre is run by Benjamin Aldriss. More on him later.
Odyssey was the first book I read by Sophie. It has some intense points in it and I had a hard time with some of those places. I’ve read other intense books and even books that are arguably more intense, but there’s just something about this one that really, really got to me. Even on rereads, when I know what’s coming, the same points get to me. However, that doesn’t put me off reading the series, and I hope it doesn’t put you off it too.
So, Odyssey. Edwal decides that it’s going to invade Alaine. Mostly because Palm is a motherfucker. So he institutes a draft for every male up to the age of 50, which includes Liz Peltier’s dad. The Alaine military manages to drive the poor men of Edwal back, and they invade Liz’s town since it is closest to the border. As part of the reparations, the leaders of Alaine decide that they are going to take young women hostages for ransom. So women between the ages of 18-40 who aren’t mothers are at risk of being selected. Twenty of the wives and daughters of the most important people in that town are selected to be hostages instead of all the men being arrested. This is a relatively common practice, so no one expects it to take long. Except, no one takes Elias Palm and his nuttiness into consideration.
The women are taken to an army base, where they are actually held for weeks. During that time, Liz steps up as a leader and does what she can to help make the stay easier on everyone. Can I just say that I think Liz is a total badass? She really is, and it shows up throughout the entire series. When Palm refuses to do anything, one woman is selected to stay as a hostage slave in Chairman Weiss’s home. That means sexual slavery. And of course, I bet you can figure out who that woman is. Liz has quite a journey to go through to get through the end of the book and through the end of the series, and some seriously shitty things happen. More about it after the spoiler warning.
In Sanctuary we are still staying in Alaine and the Weiss estate, for the most part, but this is where Orre and Benjamin Aldriss come into play. Aldriss has a daughter named Jenny. In the beginning of the book, Jenny is sitting outside of their house, having come home from college, because she needs some space. While she is sitting there, she watches her whole family be destroyed, along with everyone in the house, and even the house. She knows that she needs to find somewhere safe and everyone thinks that she’s dead. The safest place she can think of is with her father’s friend, Daniel Weiss of Alaine. She manages to get there, and she’s going to have to live as a slave there, because who’s going to think of looking for her there, and she will be protected as much as is possible. But, she can’t just pretend. She has to go through the whole training. That’s when she meets Liz, who is acting as a mentor, and who helps her get through her training. Meanwhile, back in Orre, Palm has decided that he’s going to “help” out Orre and takes over huge swathes of the country. Now on to the next book.
Refining Fire is the third and last book. In metalworking, you refine metals by subjecting them to high heat, back in the day, fire would be used in one way or another. Heating up the metal to a certain point lets all the impurities burn away. When the metal comes out of the fire, it is pure. Certain objects made of metal, like knives and swords, go through heat treatment as part of their manufacturing. The heat treatment allows them to be stronger. Both of these things are important in this book. Michael and Jenny, Liz and Ryan all four have their own issues as people and as couples, and as a group. There are all sorts of shitty things that happen in this book. I know it sounds like I’m not saying a whole lot, but I’m being careful so that I don’t overly spoil it. The main action of the book is for Jenny to be allowed to rule her family’s province and what it’s going to take to get there. There’s also a lot of discussion about what submission means when circumstances change.
Wow, this is a long post. And I know that it seems that I have kind of brushed over the second 2 books, but the thing is, if I talk too much about book 2 or 3 then I am going to spoil the books ahead of it. So, if you want more info about the books, then you need to go read them yourself. Told you, they are all on KU and you can get Odyssey at a steal today. Meanwhile, I’m going to go on and make this long post even longer when I go on to the spoiler section. This is a great series, and it should definitely get more love than it does. The story is really well-written and everything winds together so very well. All the characters, all the themes, all the everything, just braids into a cohesive whole and turns into an epic odyssey.
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OK, in O, the original slave trainer, Master Thomas, abuses Liz, after the assistant trainer, Ryan, did all he could to put her fears at rest because in Edwal, terrible things happen to sex slaves. That really makes it hard for Liz, until Daniel fires Thomas. Ryan takes over, and he changes the way that things were done. He wasn’t about forcing submission but more about guiding a woman to find her submission and be able to give it. It works really well, and you can see from the very beginning of the story that Liz and Ryan are going to end up in some sort of relationship, it’s just hard to figure out how, since they are Master and slave. Ryan is incredibly protective of her, and it shows up when Liz is attacked and actually ends up in court.
In S, Ryan is still training and Liz is really his assistant, as much as possible, because she’s a natural leader. When Jenny comes in, she has a very hard time, since she’s been to the house many times before as a guest, and her mindset is hard to switch from. Liz becomes her mentor. She helps Jenny and if Jenny fucks up, they both get punished. It may seem mean to do it that way, but it works. Michael, who is Weiss’s heir, falls head over heels with Jenny, which makes it hard on both of them, since she’s a slave and he’s her master, plus they are trying to keep her safe. And this is where some serious, serious orgasm control comes in too. Jenny is very orgasmic, so the goal is to keep her from coming without permission. She goes through training for that. Sadly, there’s a point where that gets used against her. The Palms and their followers are massive fuckwads.
In RF, oh man, I cried. Jenny and Liz are both freed and with their loves, but Liz and Ryan are trying to figure out what him being her Master and her being the slave works with her being technically free. That’s the relationship that they want, but there are going to be bumps and bruises. Jenny is busy trying to figure out how to rule her province and how to fight Edwal while trying to get her rights as a leader. At the same time, she’s trying to figure out how to be with Micheal who is now the leader of Alaine and be both a strong woman and leader and a submissive partner to Michael. Really interesting dynamics going on in the book. While they are trying to figure everything out, something happens to Jenny that sidetracks those dynamics, and causes her to have a tremendous loss. It’s at this part that I cried, and is one of the intense parts of the book. It was a rough part to get through.
It really was the book I needed to finish off the entire series. It gave me that emotional satisfaction that I look for in the end of a long series. Yeah, I felt wrung out more than once, but that just makes the happy at the end happier. I got wrung out over the past few days as I’ve read the stories again, and I needed the end and the epilogue to feel better.
I hope I didn’t lose anyone while talking about the series. I hope that Sophie likes what I wrote. I hope no one thinks that I didn’t do justice to these stories and to the characters. Go give these stories some love.

Sophie Kisker-Fear and Desire

Sophie Kisker is one of my favorite authors, and she’s an all-around nifty person. Hi, Sophie! That would be why she shows up here a lot. Today, we’re talking about one of her books from her backlog. Fear and Desire used to be known as Captive of Fear and Desire, but Amazon is run by a bunch of pearl-clutching prudes, so she had to drop the Captive part. Luckily, she didn’t have to change the book, and we get a book full of non-con/dub-con goodness. F&D also shows up on my Top Ten dark and fucked up books list. I had just read it for the first time a few days before that post, I think, so this was a reread, so yay!

So, let’s just dive right into this one, shall we? Fair warning, this one is pretty dark all the way through.

Dan is an undercover Fed working on busting a human trafficking ring. There are a couple of reasons why he was chosen. One is that he’s from the area where The Farm, the group’s training facility, is based. The other is that he’s a Dom. The powers-that-be think that makes him perfect for training women to be sex slaves. The bosses don’t get the difference between consensual BDSM and forced training to be a sex slave. Pearson, the guy in charge? Is a massive douche of douchian proportions. Every time I’ve read the book, I’ve wanted to just reach my hands into the book and punch the guy and then strangle the shit out of him.

Anyway, Dan and his partner Josh, also a Dom, do what they can to help the women, including changing up the the “training” program so that the women can actually have something survivable and aren’t just beaten, raped, and broken. They both know that what’s happening to these women is going to cause psychological damage, but they are doing what they can to make it less.

Dan meets Laura for coffee on Saturday nights, after her shift on the OB ward. They were childhood friends who grew apart, but now that they live in the same area again, they’ve been getting closer and closer. One Saturday, Dan asks Laura, who doesn’t know for sure what he’s doing, if she’ll go away with him in a few weeks. What neither of them knows is that Marco, the incompetent nephew of the head of the ring, is spying on them. He’s got it out for Dan because he thinks he should be in charge.

The next thing we know, he’s kidnapped Laura and brought her to The Farm. His stated thought is that he’s doing it for Dan so that Dan has someone for him to use.

This is where we are going to part. Since I have things to say about this book, there will be spoilers. This book could be triggery in regards to rape, so be aware of that. Sophie has been careful in the way that she handled the situations, hopefully, it doesn’t trigger anyone because it is a good book. It is dark, it stays pretty dark, but when you get through that dark fucking tunnel, you do get an HEA. It’s on KU, but it’s only $0.99, so grabbing your own copy isn’t going to break the bank.

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When Laura figures out that Dan is there, she tries to run away, not to really run away but to make sure that Dan sees her. However, that means that she has to be punished, and it’s a pretty brutal one to her feet. That punishment also brings her to the attention to the big bad guy, who decides that he wants her, and he wants Dan to train her. He has very specific plans for Laura, and he wants her broken. If Dan won’t do it, then the nasty fuck nephew will. Dan is left with no choice.

Dan manages to get Laura away from the base, at least long enough to talk to her, under the guise of physical training. He explains to her what he needs to do and that it will be hard. She gives him her consent to do whatever it takes to get them both out safely. So, here’s the thing, can she truly be said to have given consent? While yes, she was willing to let him do what needed to be done, was it true consent since she really had no choice otherwise? It can’t really be consensual non-consent because that’s a voluntary thing. She would’ve entered into the relationship willingly, they would’ve discussed limits, punishments, likes, dislikes, so on and so forth. That’s not anything that could’ve happened in Dan and Laura’s situation. I suggested to Sophie back when I read this the first time, that maybe informed non-consent was a better phrase for it. Dan told her what she was going to have to live through, so she knew, but she can’t really consent, thus informed non-consent.

The last part of the Laura and Dan’s journey is terrible, just terrible, and intense. I was glad to get through it the first time and every other time, even though I knew what was coming up. I still got teary and all twitchy over it.

I think that all of Sophie’s stories are really good. I always look forward to the newest ones, and I like to reread the older ones fairly often. F&D is one that really grabbed me the first time, and it has grabbed me every subsequent rereading. Anyway, if you like dark, non/dub-con, but with an HEA, try out Sophie Kisker and check out this one.

Tomorrow, Breaking Grace by Rose Deveraux.

Zoe Blake-Papa’s Prey

Oh my darlings, have I got a treat for you today! By now, I’m pretty sure that we all know that I like dark and intense. And I have discovered that I enjoy reading about age play. Zoe Blake has brought us a lovely treat that is dark, intense, and full of age play. So, I present to you, Papa’s Prey.

Hopefully, I don’t have to go over my whole age play lecture today. I’m going to assume that you all remember it and if this doesn’t interest you, that you will just pass this blog post and book by. Just remember, your kink may not be my kink, but it’s all good.

Fair warning, this book is dark. It’s not the darkest I’ve ever read, but it is full of non/dub con goodness, spanking, and nurseries.

This book is set in Cornwall, England, during the Victorian era. For some reason, a lot of age play books are set in the Victorian era, which is neither here nor there, but just saying. So, let’s go on to our story.

Corinne has spent the majority of her life in a small, sheltered convent. When she turned 17, she was just about to go out to be an apprentice in Bath and get on with her life. However, while she out wandering the countryside, she was seen by a mysterious gentleman. That gentleman tracked her down and paid money to her convent so that she would be there for another 2 years, for her education. She’s sweet and innocent, and incredibly sheltered.

Lord Lucian Talon is her mysterious benefactor. What he wants, he gets, and he wants Corinne. Not only does he want her, he wants to own her, posess her, and to control every little thing having to do with her. In the 2 years he’s been waiting for her, he’s been getting his house and servants ready. He had a special room created just for her and hired new servants and made sure that they wouldn’t say anything about anything that happened in the house. When everything was ready, he went to go get his prize.

Corinne gets woken up in the middle of the night, taken out of pajamas and put into a delicate white dress. Then she’s accompanied downt to the chapel where there is a priest, the Mother Superior, and her mysterious benefactor. When she finds out that she’s about to get married, she freaks out slightly, or more than a little slightly, and Lucian throws everyone out, bends her over the altar, and spanks her bottom. Then he calls everyone back in and they get married.

When Lucian gets Corinne home, he introduces her to her nanny and takes her to the nursery. Lucian tells Corinne that she is to be his precious little toy, his treasure. He will control everything she does, she eats, she wears, everything. He will no problem with punishing her if she misbehaves, and her nanny can too. Corinne gets her first taste of his punishment and his rules when she refuses to get her enema.

OK, if you don’t want spoilers, then this is the time for us to part. I really liked this story. I got dragged into it and went right alon. I may even have had some tears in my eyes at points. I read it twice before it came out. (Have I mentioned that getting ARCs rocks?) I highlighted quite a bit of it. It’s dark, it’s intense, it is a hot mix of sexy, sexy, kinkiness. If that bothers you, pass this one up. I have some books coming up in the near future that you may like better. But, yeah, I loved it. I love Zoe’s books.

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Corinne does not adjust well at first. That’s because she didn’t have a clue as to sex or anything, and then she was very modest, having been raised in a convent. She also has problems because she is being treated as a very young child.

Lucian has a very interesting use of a camera. He wants to take pictures before he does anything with Corinne and then afterward. Since cameras are pretty new tech in this book, does this count as sexting? He has the pictures printed out and hangs them up in Corinne’s nursery.

One of the things that Lucian does that I love/hate is that he makes Corinne ask for her punishment. He tells her that he’s going to spank her, then she has to ask him Papa, please. I love the humiliation aspect of it. I would probably kind of hate it if I were her.

The original chase scene in the book is pretty exciting. I’m not a huge fan of stuffed trophy animals, but they sure work in this case.

Lest you think that Lucian is a total dickbag, he does truly care for Corinne. He may not have started out to fall in love, but he did. When Corinne is sick, he is beside himself. There are times I want to smack him anyway, but that’s true for any dark hero. I like them, I hate them, I want to smack them, I want to jump them. You get how it goes.

So, I recommend this book. A lot. I will say that the age play is intense, and Lucian is very strict. The intensity may bother some people, even people who like to read dark.

Tomorrow, we have Cari Silverwood’s new book. It is another great one. Meanwhile, happy reading!

Sasha Byrne-Brothel Beauties

Don’t worry, you’re still getting the second part of the Cynthia Sax post later today, but I kinda got to finish the book first, lol. Besides, I wanted to drop a super quick post about this story that got a drop yesterday. I honestly can’t say too much about it, because it’s short, a super quick read, around 10k words or so. It only took me around 30 minutes to read it. So, on to Sasha Byrne and Brothel Beauties.

If you’ve never heard of Sasha Byrne, don’t worry, you may know her under her other name, Zoe Blake. In fact, check this space on the 10th to get a review of her upcoming release, Papa’s Prey. Very dark, very intense. (And Zoe has offered some kind of giveaway, I need to figure out what that’s going to look like, because Zoe is very cool to do that.)

There isn’t going to be a spoiler section on this, just because with as short as it is, anything I try to say about spoilers will totally spoil everything. So, just a quick synopsis and then you have to go read it yourself.

This book is a menage, and primarily a lesbian menage, although there is some Mf action. All the action takes place in a brothel. Lola, Jasmine, and Tiffany are whores. Mike is the bartender of the brothel. Tiffany is new and has stepped on some toes and needs to be schooled. So, Tiff didn’t know that she needed these lessons and she learned some things about herself along the way.

When I went to read this book, Zoe warned me it might kill me because it is so depraved. And she’s right. It killed me. Luckily, it also brought me back to life so that I can share it with you. She’s also right about it being depraved. It’s depraved, filthy, dirty, wrong, and oh, oh, oh so right. If all of those things sound like something you want to try, make sure that you have a bottle of ice water and a hanky to wipe the sweat off your brow, because you are going to need them to try to extinguish the fire under your… collar. You can read it on KU, but you only need 99 shiny pennies to keep it for your very own.

Tears of Surrender

Earlier this week, I wrote a blog post about Sophie Kisker’s Midrosian Chronicles. Well, today her latest book came out, Tears of Surrender. It’s the final book of this series and it’s the most intense book of the series, IMO. The story winds through both Memories and Longings and gives us some peeks into those stories. Then it nicely winds up the whole story of the women of Midros.

When I say intense, I mean it. There was a point in time when I had to walk away from the book for a couple of hours to process how I felt about it and deal with my feelings. There have been very few books that I’ve had to do that with. To me, that is a great thing and means that the book is pretty awesome. I still have Parin and Mercer living in my head a couple of days after I read it, which is also a pretty awesome thing if you ask me. And so, on to the review.

Tears is the story of Parin Denos. It opens up 3 years prior to Memories. Parin was raised on Prima, with her parents, who died when she was 7. She vaguely remembers her mother telling her to never go to Midros. When she’s adult, her company is contacted by the Midrosian government to see if a product they sell would work for them. On Midros, when women come onto the planet, they have to wear a temporary collar and their DNA is routinely run through databases.

Parin’s company declines the offer to sell their product to the Midrosian government. In walks government officials from the slavery board. They tell Parin that she is a runaway slave. To her knowledge, she has never been on Midros before. However, it comes out that her parents were Midrosian, with her father owning her mother, before they escaped when Parin was two. With the Midrosian law, as held up by the galaxy wide authorities, once a Midrosian slave, always a Midrosian slave. Women who escape, and their female children who escape with them, are still slaves. Thus, Parin is an escaped slave.

The authorities drag Parin away to get her ready for her auction. She’s locked in a cell, has to endure a humiliating and punishing exam by a doctor to assess her health and her sexual capabilities, and is bathed, where she’s taught another brutal lesson by guards. Then she’s chained up and gagged so that the men who will be at the auction can inspect her, along with all the other slaves for sale.

The man who buys her, Edar Pennis, is a horrible, brutal, sadistic man, and on a planet of men who are sadistic, that is saying something. He swears to break her, but he really has no idea of what he’s doing. He has her shoved into a cage, covered up and transported. When they get to his house, he has his guards dump her out onto the driveway, and attaches a collar to her which will put poison in her system whenever it’s triggered. And being the terrible man he is, I bet you can figure out what happens with that.

Edar does lots of horrible things to her, including locking her in a hole in the dark. The final straw for Parin is that he takes her out to the garden, has her put in a hole where she has to stand on a small block which isn’t anchored on anything, and then puts two boards around her neck, so that only her head is above ground, and leaves her there. If she falls, then she hangs by her neck. Which she consciously decides to do, Edar has driven her to suicide.

In walks Mercer. And from here, there are going to be spoilers and commentary. I loved this book, I identified so much with Parin and I felt her distress and stress so much. I know I say this for a lot of books, but I really recommend this. I can’t tell you how much I recommend this. I want to give this like 11/10 stars. It is just that amazing.

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OK, a note before we get into the spoilers. In Midros, there is no legal way to rape a woman. If she is your slave, she can’t tell you no. She’s property, and property can’t say no, I mean, it’s not like a chair can tell you no that it doesn’t want you to sit on it. It’s the chair’s job to have someone sit on it. If someone else has sex with your slave without your permission, it’s theft of services, not rape. A woman who grew up on Midros would understand this concept, since it was what she grew up with and had been trained to expect and to do. Parin, however, doesn’t have that same understanding. She grew up as a free woman, with the expectation of bodily autonomy. She is upset that she’s going to be raped but Edar explains to her that no, it’s not rape, it can’t be rape. I think that’s one of the things that is the hardest for Parin to get used to in her slavery. And Edar, well, he’s an asshole, and he doesn’t do anything to make it easier on her.

Mercer Pennis is Edar’s son. He wants to be a lawyer, his father wants him to take over the mining business. There is a younger son, Jacen, but he makes his father look tame. At one point, he has his slave Dara’s vagina and vulva sewed almost all the way shut, because he prefers anal sex and wants her to be an anal only slave. However, because he’s messy, he still manages to get her pregnant, with a girl. He was going to sell her off, but Parin convinces Mercer to get her instead. Dara eventually runs away, and ends up in the same escaped slave enclave as Enna from Longings, and is able to be with her daughter, off planet.

Mercer starts out as a prat and I really don’t like him all of the time. He sees Parin as 3 holes and 2 tits to be used when he wants. Now, I have to give him some leeway, since he’s never dealt with a free woman before, but I think he doesn’t always take that into consideration with Parin. Yeah, he’s trying to teach her how to be a slave and how to survive the world she’s living in, but, still.

However, as they are together, he does start to change and realizes he loves Parin and she is more than a collection of body parts. He even lets her help him out at his business, since he has problems with math and Parin is an accountant. Without her help, he wouldn’t have been able to clean up his business as well.

To me, one of the more horrific scenes with Mercer is the scene where he decides to breed her. The way that it is done is that they go to a clinic, Mercer provides sperm and a doctor harvests an egg from Parin. Then the doctor fertilizes the egg, makes sure it’s a boy, and implants the embryo into Parin. The doctor jams a needle into Parin’s abdomen and ovary to harvest an egg without any kind of numbing or pain medication. Parin screams because it’s painful. The doctor says that they don’t waste pain meds on slaves. Parin was already not wanting to bring a child into this world, but Mercer wanted one and told her that she would accept it. That whole section just really got to me, and I had to take a little break there for a few minutes.

Anyway, Edar does try to take Parin away from Mercer, after already signing a contract with him, and lies to her and tells her that he left it in the contract that he could reclaim her at any point. We also find out that Edar used to own her mother, and that’s what he bought Parin.

We also find out the true reason why Midros started taking other women and that the galaxy wide authorities not only knew about it, but they also helped out. The paeloate mining caused infertility problems for native-born Midrosians. So, a woman who wasn’t born on Midros was much more likely to have a child. When Parin and Mercer get this information out to the galaxy, the authorities come and take over Midros and set all the women free, unless they choose to stay as slaves.

Parin makes that choice and stays with Mercer. They have a history of edging and orgasm denial. It’s how he helps her in her submission. When he lets her have an orgasm, it’s amazing because she has to wait and wait and wait for it. When Parin tells Mercer that she wants to stay his slave, she asks to never have an orgasm again, since it helps her stay focused on him and his needs, and that his pleasure his all that’s necessary. However, he says that if he denies her permanently, he doesn’t get to listen to her beg and see her disappointment when he says no. However, he tells her that he will make her edge a certain amount of times, and then he will let her come, and keep her coming until she can’t come anymore. Then he will put her back in her cage until she has him back as her focus.

I mention this particularly for a reason. That’s because Sophie made a change right before she submitted it for publishing. I’m in her ARC group and she asked for feedback on the original ending as opposed to this new part. I fully, truly, deeply support and love this. It’s devious and evil and I think it really suits the relationship well. And the cage has a special meaning for Parin and Mercer. It’s her safe place when she needs a break, and a place he can send her when he’s unhappy with her.

Anyway, I love these characters and this world so much. Parin and Mercer won’t leave my head at all, which is a sign of a good book. I will have this series, and especially this book on reread, frequently, I think. In places, it will probably be a one-handed reread.

This book is intense, but the payoff at the end, not just for Parin and Mercer, but for the entire series and all the women of Midros, is worth all the intensity. Do read this.

I received an ARC in exchange for my honest and voluntary review, so that’s what you got.

Sophie Kisker and the World of Midros

If you look at most of the authors I’ve written about, you will see that I stalk follow them on FB, Twitter, Amazon, Bookbub, their blogs, and just about everywhere else I can. Sophie Kisker is no different. She is a dark romance writer, whose books generally have BDSM and at least some power exchange. I’ve currently read everything that she’s written, and am eagerly waiting for her newest book, which comes out very soon.  Since the new book is part of the Midrosian Chronicles, I thought this would be a good time to talk about the series, which currently consists of Memories of Surrender and Longings of SurrenderBook three, Tears of Surrender, comes out the 12th of this month.

Some background on the series. Midros is a planet that is rolling in the dough. Before a special mineral was found on their planet, interstellar shipping and travel was incredibly expensive. In order to make it through the atmosphere on re-entry, the outer hulls of the ships had to be very strong. Strong generally means heavy. A heavy hull makes it hard to take off and leave the atmosphere. Anything that lightens up that weight becomes immediately precious and in high demand. If it is only on one planet, well, that planet can pretty much do anything it wants to do. That’s the case when it comes to Midros and paeolate.

In the case of Midros, that means keeping half of its population as slaves. Women were literally nothing but property. Girls are ripped away from their mothers’ arms when they turn 5 and are educated at a special “girls’ school” until they turn 18. Their education is severely limited. Females aren’t allowed to learn how to read the language that is currently used by men, Br’ini.

When the girl turns 18, she is sold to her new master. She could end up working as some kind of service person, like an assistant at a store. Or, more likely, she’ll end up in someone’s household as their sex slave. Many men have a first slave, who might otherwise be called a wife, she’s the mother of their child/ren. As part of each slave’s duties, she will have to spend one week per year (roughly) as a service companion slave, available to rent. Most women don’t look forward to these weeks, because generally, bad things happen to them during this week.

So, with some basic background, I know, you’re thinking this was basic?, it’s on to the books.

Note, while you could read these books as a stand-alone book, if you really wanted to, they do build on each other, and you will bet a much better experience if you read them in order. I’m going to give a brief overview of each book up here, and then after the break, I’m going to go more in depth. There will, inevitably, be spoilers, but I’ll make sure that no one goes past where they are willing to go.

Memories of Surrender

So, in Memories, we meet James, Lydia, and Raym. Raym is Midrosian, the head of a pharma company, and a friend to James. James is a scientist, on Midros to help figure out why Oblivita, a medicine that is used to obliterate bad memories, doesn’t work on people unless they are on Midros. Lydia, is a slave. She has taught herself to read the illegal language. I mean, it’s so illegal for her to even know how to read this language, she can be (and is) punished for simply holding a book written in it. In fact, that’s where we open up.

Lydia is just going about her house, doing her duties, which includes cleaning where there are books. She grabs one about ocean creatures, and gets caught by her master looking at it. He told her that he was willing to give her the benefit of the doubt, but she was still going to have to submit her name to Punishment Day, where she is whipped with a whip that leaves marks that look like burn marks.

James and Raym are talking about their research while Punishment Day is going on. James is a Dom, and is turned on by the idea of having a woman collared and punished, but the whole non-consent part bothers him.

A matter of days after her punishment, it’s time of Lydia’s service companion week. She’s dreading it, because with the marks of her severe punishment, there are going to people who want to rent her because of the marks. And in fact, when James come in, under Raym’s urging, there is a man who is bound and determined to really hurt her. Then James decides to rent her.

So, here he is with his lovely rental slave, and he doesn’t know what to with her. Well, I mean he knows what to do, I mean, he’s a boy, she’s a girl, he’s a Dom, she’s a sub, but this isn’t a situation that he ever would have thought to have found himself in. So, he takes her to the Archives and works on his research. Along the way, James, with Lydia’s help, finds out a huge secret which could blow Midros apart.

Longings of a Slave

This story is about Enna, a run away slave, and her search for her daughter, Miria, and the man who helps her, Matias Acoff. (Who happens to be Lydia’s brother, see why I strongly recommend you read them in order?)

Enna’s master, who never really liked her all that much, and only won her in a card game, has had Miria taken away from her mother before she even turned 5. He knew it would be hard when she turned five, so thus, the sneak attack. Enna did everything she could to fight, and eventually tricks the other slave, and she runs.

After some time, Matias is out with his group, doing what they came to Midros to do. Enna is the only slave he hasn’t been able to find as of yet. But, it’s time for him to take a week’s break.

While he is out morning, he sees a woman come to the back of a medical clinic to speak to another slave. When the woman leaves, and the slave’s master comes, she gets dragged away by the authorities. Matias comes back when the slave told the woman to come back, and saves Enna from being taken by those same authorities.

She eventually gets away from him, but that’s OK, he put a tracker in her shoe, and he follows her to where a bunch of escaped slaves were hiding, which works out just about as well as you might think it would.

Matias is attracted to Enna, and wants to help her, and her fellow run away slaves. He figures out a way to get Miria back. However, nothing ever goes smoothly, and so of course, things happen. Some very not good things.

The Midrosian Chronicles is a good series to read. Sophie writes some really strong female characters, which I really like. A lot of people think that submissive=weak, but it doesn’t, and it shows. Her women go on a journey to figure out who they are in regards to themselves and to what they want. Yes, I recommend them.

Spoilers go on from here, so you have been warned.

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So, back to Memories.

James finds out that Lydia can read, which is good, because he needs the help translating, and Raym isn’t always available to help. While they are in the archives, Lydia goes exploring and finds a women’s libary. It’s full of books that are written by women and have been hidden. One book she finds is a diary that talks about the eroding rights that women on Midros are dealing with. Another entry talks about where are all the women are coming from. Which is a darn good question. A lot of masters and slaves decide to not have girls because, well, you can guess why. But, there are always more than enough girls to go around, so they have to come from somewhere.

Meanwhile, Lydia and James are falling in love.  Except, Lydia’s master comes to take her back early. She’s due to be punished. He has her re-imprinted. It’s supposed to turn her mind to him so that she can again be happy in his service and can think of no one else. It didn’t work as well as it could’ve, and she ends up imprinted on James.

Through more research, they find out where all the extra girls are coming from. Midrosian squads go to war-torn planets and still little girls, use the medicine on them, and then trains them to be slaves. Turns out that Lydia was one of those girls.

That leads into Longings. That’s why Matias was on Midros. He and his military are testing all the women on Midros. If they aren’t from Midros originally, then they can go back to their planet of origin. If they are Midrosian, they have to stay where they are, and still be slaves. Although, Matias does manage to bend that law every now and again.

When he is at the slave camp with Enna, he talks to her about letting the women know about this, because none of them know. She points out a very valid arguement, IMO. Even if a woman is from another planet, if her daughter was born on Midros, then she’s Midrosian and has to stay there, same with sons, of course, but what woman is going to want to leave her young daughter to a fate she knows only too well? So Enna smashes the scanner.

Matias, wanting to make sure that the enclave is as safe as possible, talks to James and Lydia, and their friend Raym, and gets all kinds of help for the escaped slaves so that they can hide safely. What he doesn’t know, is that there is someone working against him, one of his own men. Enna’s sadistic and evil master has a big bounty out on her, and the guy decides to cash in on it and hand over Enna.

There is a truly horrifying scene of punishment for Enna and some of the other women. Castration with a rusty spoon is too good for her master, as well as some of the others. I’m pretty sure that I could come up with something very, very evil for them, but Sophie beat me to it.

Anyway, do read these books. Make sure to check out the new one, Tears of Surrender, on the 12th. Trust me, you’ll be glad. Also, check out other books by Sophie Kisker. There aren’t a whole lot, yet, but they are all worth reading. So far, she hasn’t written a book I don’t like. One of Sophie’s other books, Fear and Desire, is on my Top 10 darkest most fucked up book list. I came up with a new term when talking to Sophie about that, informed non-consent, which fits that really well. Her heroines do tend to go through a whole lot of terrible stuff, but they come out the other side and are able to find themselves and find love.

Top Ten Part 2

Here we are again folks, back to my Top Ten darkest and fucked up reads. These are books 6-10. You’ll notice that one of my Top Ten has more than one book, but that’s because it’s a trilogy. There are also two instances where an author has two books on my list. I think that they all fit on my list quite well, so there’s that. So, without further adieu, let’s dig back in.

Comfort Food

Comfort Food is the first book I ever read by Kitty Thomas. She is an author that Addison Cain introduced me to. Comfort Food is an interesting book, very dark, and with a fucking great twist in the tail. Emily Vargas is an inspirational speaker who is kidnapped. She’s kept in a cell by a beautiful man who never speaks to her and won’t feed her anything but chicken and noodle soup and water. This book explores what happens when what is supposed to be comforting turns it into a punishment. So good, and so dark. I love the ending.

Big Sky

Big Sky is another Kitty Thomas book. She really does write some really dark and fabulous stuff. I love the way that her mind works. Tabula Rasa and her newest one Persephone are really good too. I love the Persephone and Hades myth, and Kitty’s retelling is amazing.

Anyway, back to Big Sky. Veronica is a big ad exec, making a lot of money. On the surface, she looks like she has a great life. In actuality, she is deep in debt, at risk of losing her job, and keeps spending. She loses her job and loses her apartment. She runs into a real life cowboy, Luke, who offers to help her and take her to his ranch in Vermont. Luke has plans for her since she looks remarkably like his dead wife. It is a good mind fuck. A really good mind fuck. There really isn’t an HEA here, more like a happily for now maybe. Or closer to Veronica coming to a place she can accept.

Fear and Desire

Dan is undercover, trying to bust a human trafficking ring. He and his partner are both Doms, trying to figure out how to help the women that get taken while staying in the good graces of their boss. Then the woman Dan loves, Laura, gets taken. They end up having to walk a very narrow line to make sure that they don’t blow us cover or end up dead.

Fear and Desire by Sophie Kisker is a brand new entry on my list. Mostly because I just finished it a couple of days ago. It’s a fabulous book, as is every Sophie Kisker offering I’ve ever read. It is hard for me to figure out whether it’s strictly non-con or whether it’s non-con with some consensual non-con tossed in. I’m leaning towards the latter. If you read it, you’ll see where I think there may be some consensual non-con in there. The line is really blurry though and open to personal interpretation, which I really like.

Pretty Little Dolls

Pretty Little Dolls is a series that’s written by Ker Dukey and K Webster. There are currently three books, with a fourth coming out in the near future. The series, as it currently stands, is made up of Pretty Stolen Dolls, Pretty Lost Dolls, and Pretty New Doll.

In PSD, we meet Benny, who is obsessed with dolls, Jade, and her little sister Macy. Benny steals them away and keeps them for years. After spending years in captivity, 18 year old Jade, Benny’s Dirty Little Doll, manages to escape, leaving her sister, Macy, in Benny’s hands. She gets hit by a car and can never find where she was being kept so that she can rescue her sister.

Fast forward a few years, and Jade is now a cop, and is obsessed with her sister’s case. When something pops up that is too similar to what happened to her, she has to investigate it, with her partner, Dillon. The first book ends on a cliffhanger, and the second picks up right after. All the twists in these books are fabulous. PND takes place 3 years later, and the focus is less on Jade, Dillon, and their family, and more on Elizabeth, who is a camgirl who dresses up like a doll and goes by the name Pretty New Doll. PND ends on a cliffhanger too. I had to ask K Webster and Ker Dukey if they were trying to kill me, because I’m pretty sure that they are.

Whispers and the Roars

Number 10 is another entry from K Webster. I cannot give you any description of this book, and I recommend that you do not read any of the reviews about it. I can’t emphasize this enough. This book is twisty, twister, and twistiest. It is a true mindfuck. I love how K Webster handles the story. There are some graphic parts, especially about abuse, that could trigger people, but the story is rich and well-written. Again, don’t read any reviews.

Well, there you are. My Top Ten darkest, twistiest, what the fuck did I just read books. I highly recommend each and every book on this list. There are plenty of others that I recommend as well, but these are the current ones on my list. I have read some that are darker, like the Beautiful Evil series by B. B. Blaque and the Dollar series by Pepper Winters, but they don’t quite make my current Top Ten. That doesn’t mean that I didn’t like them, I did, they just didn’t hit my list. I will probably talk about those series sometime in the near future, because they are good.

Thursday is going to be all about urban fantasy/horror/whatever you want to call it. I expect next week to be about some of my favorite authors in that genre.