Scarlett Snow and Loxley Savage-Saphyre

Oh my ducklings, this is DARK. This is disturbing. This is intense, and if you don’t like those things, then Saphyre is definitely not the book for you. Which is definitely not anything to be upset about, we all like what we like. And you’re in good company, Amazon doesn’t like it either. In fact, Amazon banned this book, not just once, but twice. Once under this name, and then after Scarlett and Loxley reworked and renamed it, it was banned under that name too. It had reached bestseller status too, both times. But, do not despair, oh my darlings, the buy link I posted is good, and you can get it there, at least as a mobi file. And once you have it, you definitely have it forever.

Scarlett and Loxley are both new authors to me. I saw the cover in passing in Sara Fields’ group and thought that it sounded like a good book, but then my brain sabotaged me, as it does. Then Katie Douglas and I were talking about other things, and she asked me if I knew anything about it, since she couldn’t find it anywhere. So, I went and looked and asked, and found out that yup, it had been banned. Loxley told me that they were trying to find other options, and then they came out with Ember, and by the time I had a second to read it, it was banned again. So, the very second I found the new buy link, I jumped on it. We all know that I buy banned books anyway, and a banned book that I want to read? Yupper.

So here’s the way that the story goes. It’s post-apocalyptic and dystopian AF. There are two very, very, very distinct castes. You have the Emperians and the Tenebrians. Emperia is made up of 4 floating islands, three of which have a separate kingdom on it. This book, we’re concerned with the kingdom of the manticore shifters. Manticores, by the way, are a beastie out of Persian mythology. It has the head of a man, the body of a lion, and can either have a scorpion tail or a long tail with spines all over it. The pix you see of manticores tend to have a humanish face with a mane. And oh yeah, lest I forget, they also have wings. The Emperian manticores have 3 tails, one which kills you when you are stung, one which gives you incredible pain, and one which is an aphrodisiac. Anyway, the Emperians are all that, a bag of chips, and the extra large soda too. They are the creme de la creme, the rulers, the tyrants, so on and so forth. Then you have the Tenebrians. Tenebris is the lands which lay far beneath the floating isles. They are the slums, filled with the peasants, the poor, the people who are trying to scratch out a living. There are better areas than others, but even the better areas of Tenebris aren’t all that great. The Emperians will come down to get themselves a little bit of trade, but generally, the only thing that Emperians value coming out of Tenebris are the breeders.

Saphyre and her sisters are part of the resistance that their mother set up. They have very good reasons to be, including the fact that they have what is called the Golden Curse. They are what is called Aurelian Breeders. They have a special birthmark on the crown of their heads, with a golden streak of hair coming from the mark. That golden streak of hair and the birthmark singles them out as something special, unique, desirable, and very, very valuable.

As one of the heads of the resistance, Saphyre takes her responsibilities very, very seriously. So, since they need some money to get food, she’s off to do what she can to get some. She’s going to dress all super sexy and visit one of the clubs that the Emperians hang out at, and she’s going to rob one of them. And hopefully kill them too. Each Emperian has a special emblem that they wear, and the more valuable the metal, the higher their rank is. So when Saphyre sees a guy with the most expensive emblem ever, she knows that she has to get him. But of course, nothing ever turns out that way. Instead, she gets caught and harvested by King Leonidas to be his Breeder to bear his royal heir. But first, he’s going to give her to his two friends and advisors to break her in and train her. His friends are Raphael and oh yeah, General Ryker, the man she stole from and tried to kill. Oh fuck.

I love Saphyre. She is fierce, loyal, and smart. She isn’t going to give in to the manticores who are trying to be her masters, at least not all the way. I think that there is always going to be that core of steel right down in the center of her that Leonidas, Raphael, and Ryker won’t be able to see, let alone touch. I think that they should definitely question themselves anytime she seems to give in easily, and maybe just not get all that complacent. I think that she’s always, always, always going to have more than one reason to do whatever she’s doing at any one time. She might not even acknowledge those reasons to herself, because acknowledging them means that someone else might figure them out. I think that she will be a force to be reckoned with, and I will definitely want to stay out of her way.

Oh, I hated Leonidas, Ryker, and Raphael in the beginning. And I’m not talking hate to love them or love to hate them kind of hate. I mean complete and utter loathing. They could’ve died by fire and spent the eternities boiling in a sea of lava and hellfire and I probably would’ve thought they were getting off lightly. But, they started to grow on me as the book went on. Of the three of them, I think Raphael is my favorite. Ryker is my least favorite most of the time, and Leonidas flows around there somewhere back and forth. They are occasionally brutal when it comes to how they treat  Saphyre. I mean, the nipple clamps? Or the first interactions between Leonidas and Saphyre? Holeeeeee fuck.

Scarlett and Loxley have promised that there are more books in this world coming, and seriously, I may have to go find them, drag them to my “spare room” and lock them in until they can write them, because I really don’t want to wait. (Just kidding on the dragging them to my spare room part. That’s reserved for Addison Cain.)

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OK, I’m not going to say anything much down here, other than karma is a bitch.

Go check it out, and happy reading?!?

Petra J. Knox & Raven Dark-Captured

Petra and Raven write a lovely dark RH series that I really enjoy, Saving Setora. So, when I heard they were starting another dark RH series, I may or may not have jumped for joy. And since there is no photographic proof one way or the other, no one will ever know. It’s the Schrodinger’s jump. But none of this has anything to do with Captured.

Captured is dark. There are no warm and fuzzies here. If you are familiar with Setora and you think you are going to get another Sheriff or Hawk, be aware that Malek, Z’pheer, and Raul make Sheriff look like a big cuddly sweetie.

Here’s how our story goes.

Danika has spent the last 4 years living in the Xandar Home for Girls. It’s supposed to be a great place for young women and give them a chance for a good life when they leave at 18. Well, tonight is Danika’s 18th birthday and she’s about to go audition for the biggest nightclub owner in her town as a singer. She’s really good at it and she is both nervous and excited. The head of the school is going with her, as well as Shelly, who is one of the employees of the school. The employees aren’t supposed to be friendly with the students, but Shelly is Danika’s best friend, so she’s going to go. And it goes splendidly. Right up until it goes splendidly wrong and Danika wakes up naked and far from home.

She wakes up with her hands cuffed and an alien man in front of her, as well as a huge fluffy pink beast that she briefly thinks of as Falcor, the luck dragon. Right until he opens his mouth and she gets a good look at his feet.

Even worse, Danika doesn’t understand a word of anything that is being spoken, and it doesn’t get any better when the other guys start showing up. She has no clue what they are saying, but it’s obvious that they understand her, so the only things she can feel right now is mad and scared.

Malek, Z’pheer, and Raul are Xandari men. They are members of the Order, and have been awarded their nayna. Their slave. And guess who it is? I’ll give you 3 guess, and the first 2 don’t count.

The men basically break down into the muscle, the leader, and the nice one. Raul is very obviously the leader. Malek is very obviously the muscle, and Z’pheer appears to be the nice one.

OK, here’s the thing. I really, really, really didn’t like any of the guys for a good chunk of the book. I disliked Malek the most, at least most of the time, and Z’pheer the least. Raul kind of floated around, depending on what was happening at any given time. But, I loved to hate them and even as I really didn’t like them, I started to kind of love them too. It wasn’t a quick process, not in any way, but it happened, and I kind of hated to love them. Do you know how hard it must be to write characters like that? I mean, I have DNFed books where I liked the male main characters more than these guys. That being said, I was so dragged into the book, and the guys were so magnetic, and the story was just so compelling, that even though I wanted to strangle them on a regular basis, I couldn’t put the book down. I needed to know what was going to happen next. It was such a need that it practically hurt. That’s how compelling this book was.

I mostly like Danika. There are a few times where the fact that she is 18 is really obvious. She has some black and white thinking, I think, which is something that you really have to grow out of, and as an adult, you learn that nothing is ever entirely black or white, but infinite shades of grey. Way more than just 50. She also builds walls. I mean walls that make the Great Wall of China look like nothing. I don’t blame her for a minute, because she’s been abducted, taken by men whose language she doesn’t speak, and had just about everything taken away from her. I’d be fucking pissed and put up walls too. I love her spirit and fire. She’s got a very strong core that keeps her going and keeps her from totally breaking. However, it does sometimes keep her from bending when bending would be easier, I think. But without that core, she wouldn’t be who she is, and we’d been looking at a different book.

There are so many things I like about this book is that it is all in Danika’s POV. We have no clue as to what is going on in the guys’ heads, nor do we know anything about them other than what Danika is able to find out. There are times when I really want to have a multi-POV, but this is not one of them. I think that a multi-POV would’ve weakened this book a lot. I really love that we find out what is going on in the world only as Danika does, and since we are seeing her filter, we only get certain things. I think that’s part of what makes this book so freaking compelling. Honestly, it truly is one of the most compelling books I’ve read in a good while, and considering some of what I’ve read in the last 6 months, that’s really saying something.

This is a standalone, but it is the first book in a series. I can’t wait to see where the series is going to go.

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Shelly, hmmm… That’s an interesting subject, now isn’t it?

I never trusted Laric. He was scummy.

I really like Danika’s wish, and how it works out.

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

Kay Elle Parker-King of Shadows

King of Shadows is the first book in The Shadowcrown Duet by Kay Elle Parker, and frankly, I would run over to Amazon and buy it before they decide to ban it. I don’t think that they will, but frankly, I didn’t think her last book deserved to be banned and it was, so what do I know? And do be aware that this is a duet, and we all know what that means.

Allianna is on the run. She spent 25 years living in the Shadow Realm as the ward/captive/prospective bride of the Lord of Shadows, Kian. But, she was able to slip into his mind and found out things that she shouldn’t’ve known, and it killed her love for him. Up until that moment, she adored him and was so looking forward to being his wife. And, the truth is, she still loves Kian, Lord of Shadows, who was there for her entire life. Who she doesn’t love is the demon, an actual demon escaped from Hell, who is living in his head. So she ran away and hid herself as well as she could. She’s living on the mortal plane, which is sort of where her heritage is. You see, she’s a half archangel and half mortal. If she hadn’t dyed her hair, she would’ve stood out because of her beautiful white blonde hair.

After 3 months away, Kian has finally come to claim his bride, so he takes her back to the Shadows, and he’s going to do a ritual for mating. Now, it doesn’t say anywhere outright, but I suspect that this marital rite thing that he wants to do is more demonic and Kian the Demon wants to do it more than Kian, Lord of Shadows does. It’s a pretty brutal sounding ritual, and Kian orders Alli to be prepared, including given some drug so that she’s pliant, not combative, and that the ordeal will be some kind of pleasurable. For a given subset of pleasure, I guess. In walks Islador, Kian’s Second, and Alli’s protector. He sacrifices himself so that Kian won’t do this ritual with Alli right now, because Isla knows that it will cause her to hate him.

I am completely torn when it comes to Kian. I mean, the Kian that we see is one I really hate. And I hate him more and more as the book goes on. This isn’t the bad guy that you love to hate or hate to love, who may have some redeeming features. No, this is the bad guy who is so unrepentantly bad that he comes up with new ways to be bad. There is no good in his actions. However, that Kian doesn’t mesh with the Kian of Alli and Isla’s memories or feelings. Also, I don’t know how much we see is Kian, Lord of Shadows vs. Kian, the demon, at least until we get to a certain point. I think that there is a possibility that I would like Kian. After all, anyone who inspired love from people like Allianna and Islador couldn’t be terrible. I can’t tell you for sure and I can’t even tell me for sure because, again, it’s hard to know who is who until a certain point in the book.

The last book of Kay’s that I put on here had one of my top heroines ever. I think that Allianna is going to join that company. She is pretty fucking awesome. She is incredibly strong, fierce, loyal, loving, and damned determined to do what needs to be done and what she thinks is right. And, oh, she may be just plain damned. I don’t know yet. I do think that all of her enemies should be wary of her, and tread very lightly. Frankly, I think that her allies should be somewhat wary of her too. There are some people who will have nothing to fear from her, but I’m 100% sure that those people are going to be incredibly few and very, very far between.

I like Islador. Not that I figured out how to say his name. Half the time when I say it, it sounds like Isildur from LOTR. The rest of the time it sounds like Ile-door. When it’s shortened to Isla, I think of Isla Fisher, and hear it in my head as Ila, with I like eye. Whatever way it’s pronounced, I really like him. He’s a good and honorable man. He really tries to do what’s best for his realm, his Lord, and his Queen, Allianna. He is very loyal to Allianna and to Kian. He’s also madly in love with Alli, and has been for pretty much ever. He won’t do anything though, since she’s bound to marry Kian, but that doesn’t mean that he doesn’t love her and won’t do everything he can to protect her.

There is a lot of stuff that happens in this book. It’s incredibly layered, and there are so many things that go into pretty much everything that happens. If one thing were to change, it would totally change everything else. I really can’t wait to see how everything plays out and falls into place.

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I love Alli’s meeting with her father and his associates. I’m looking forward to seeing how that will affect everything.

I also love Dhur. He’s so incredibly awesome.

OK, that’s all I have to say here. Go check it out, you won’t be sorry! Happy reading!

Kirsty Dallas-Blaire’s World: Beauty

Blaire’s World is a shared world set of 7 books. They are all based in the world that Anita Gray created with her book Blaire, but they can all be read as a standalone. There may be some mild spoilers to Blaire or Blaire 2, but you don’t have to have read those books in order to read the Blaire’s World books. They don’t have to read in any particular order. However, I highly recommend reading the Blaire books, just because I think that they are great books. Six of the books are coming out on 2/26, but Demetrius will be coming out later in the year, for personal reasons.

Beauty is, I think, my first Kirsty Dallas book, but I’m here to tell you, it won’t be my last. If she brings the dark and the emotion to every book like she did this one, she has certainly made a new fan, because damn. I know that I say that a lot of books were intense, but this one was mad intense.

So, Beauty is a young woman who was taken by a man she knows only as Virsininkas, which is apparently Lithuanian for Master. She has spent 3 years in hell with this man, and when I say hell, I truly mean hell. V and his crony Matis aren’t very nice to her at all. The book opens up to a big old sex party that gets busted up by some guys who are dressed in black tac gear with a giant red Z on the front. Beauty tries to escape, but doesn’t quite make it.

Hart was in on that raiding party and he saw a beautiful young woman who was being dragged away. Then, he finds her again when he goes to an evil man’s house to get him for his boss.

Well, since this is a dark romance, I’m sure that I don’t have to tell you that some fucked up things happen in this book. Some are very fucked up, some are poetically fucked up, and some are fucked up beautifully.

Beauty is spectacular in so many ways. She’s so profoundly broken, but I think that she’s also completely and totally whole in a whole different way. It’s a very interesting dichotomy and one that I don’t think everyone would be able to write, so well done to Kirsty for that. She is a very fascinating character that I’m intensely curious about because there is so much to her.

Hart is… I don’t want to say interesting, because I use that a lot, and I don’t think interesting is the right way to describe him anyway. Magnetic maybe, or compelling, or something similar. Whenever he is on the page, he seems larger than life and it makes him a very tangible feeling character.

The two of them together are definitely some kind of event. A hurricane or a tornado or a forest fire. One of those perfect forces of nature that is beautiful to look at, but destructive. Really, that’s the only way I think that I can describe the two of them. But honestly, so truly engrossing.

When I was reading this book, I got a flash of Beauty as kind of a demented and broken Alice in Wonderland. Not your Disney version for sure, and not even the dark video game version, but a really demented version. I think that it kind of fits.

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I can’t wait for part 2. I am so looking forward to it because there are so many things I need to know.

OK, that’s all for this one. Depending on when you are reading this, either pre-order this or go read it. Happy reading!

Measha Stone-Blaire’s World: Kristoff

Blaire’s World is a shared world set of 7 books. They are all based in the world that Anita Gray created with her book Blaire, but they can all be read as a standalone. There may be some mild spoilers to Blaire or Blaire 2, but you don’t have to have read those books in order to read the Blaire’s World books. They don’t have to read in any particular order. However, I highly recommend reading the Blaire books, just because I think that they are great books. Six of the books are coming out on 2/26, but Demetrius will be coming out later in the year, for personal reasons.

Kristoff, by Measha Stone, is the first of the Blaire’s World books I’m reviewing.

Magdalena is a freelance reporter who has flown over to England to research Andrei Dowidoff. She knows from her sister, Danuta, that he is a human trafficker, and she wants to get a big story. Isn’t that what every journalist wants? And it seems to be working really well, at least until some guy ends up snatching her, drugging her, and taking her away.

Andrei is not a nice guy. Well, of course, he isn’t, he’s a trafficker, among other things. After a little light torture, he decides to hand Magdalena over to his son, Kristoff, to get her ready.

This was very intense. I couldn’t put it down at all. Kristoff and Magdalena grabbed a hold of me and just wouldn’t let go. I honestly didn’t know what to make of Kristoff at the beginning, and I flip-flopped a lot on him for a while. He is a great anti-hero though. He’s one of those guys who you like but you don’t want to like him, or you hate but you don’t want to hate him, and you vaguely wonder if you should seek some help from a mental health professional for your feelings. I think, overall, that I do like him, but I don’t have to like him all the time, right?

I like Magdalena. She’s strong, stubborn, and fierce. But I sometimes found myself wishing that she would bend, just a little. Of course, if she did that, she wouldn’t be who she was. And honestly, I don’t think it would’ve been as good a book if she did every bend. And it was a helluva good book. There’s just something about Magdalena that really drew me to her. She is just such a real character if you know what I mean. She feels real.

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Just because I’m an evil bitch, I’m going to put nothing down here and not warn you about it, LOL.

Depending on when you are reading this, you should go pre-order or get this. It’s really good. Happy reading!

Addison Cain-Broken Captive

Addison has finally decided to spare us our agony and #ReleasetheMeat and give us the 3rd installment of Wren’s story with Broken Captive. And oh my sweet and unholy fuck, it sure as fuck broke me. If you haven’t read the first 2 books of this series, you should probably put this review down, go read all the books, and then come back. There will be spoilers from the other 2 books in this review, that’s the nature of a serial like this where Addison tortures us with cliffies. So, you have been warned. If you follow me past the cliff and you get spoiled for books 1 & 2, you only have yourself to blame. Last chance.

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So, at the end of the last book, Wren went a little… crazy. OK, maybe more than just a little. Maybe a lot crazy. She attacked Caspian, Kieran, and Toby with a piece of rebar that had a chunk of cement on it. She was punished, badly. She was beaten, bitten, fucked, and broken. And in that time, Caspian actually mated with her, so now she’s mated to Toby and Caspian, and she’s pretty sure that Kieran hates her for sure. Toby says he loves her, but his version of love is… odd. Caspian is just Caspian and needs to die burning in a lake of hellfire covered lava.

At the start of this one, Caspian is yelling at the doctor to heal her and to keep her from being in pain, and that he doesn’t want her to have any scarring. If you didn’t know any better, you could almost believe that he was a caring man worried about his beloved mate. Almost. For a second. And… it’s over now.

Caspian tells her that all she had to do is play house with them, be good, and act like a proper Omega until her estrous, and then he’ll let her and her boys go. She’s willing to fake it until then, and she has 10 days to make Caspian believe it because one of her boys needs to be punished, and if Caspian isn’t feeling it, then her boy will be badly hurt.

Toby, meanwhile, is doing everything he can to try and make Wren feel good. He keeps building her a nest out of all the bedding right there. He knows that Omegas need to have a nest, so he keeps trying. Caspian keeps fucking Rosie right in front of her because Wren’s healing, and heaven forbid that Caspian not get his freak on. And Kieran just lectures her the entire time about how she should behave for them.

The one good thing that comes out of Caspian fucking Rosie right in front of Wren is that she informs him that Wren needs to have a clean nest, not one covered in blood and stiff with other body fluids. So, Wren gets her new nest.

At the end of the last book, I pretty much hated all the guys equally, and wanted them all to die horribly. At the end of this one, I hate Caspian more, I hate Toby a little less, and I’m kind of up in the air about Kieran. There are some things that happen that show more of Kieran than we’ve seen before, but still, he’s Kieran, and he’s still kind of an asshole. I’m not sure where I stand on Rosie. I want to like her, but I don’t know if I do. I don’t know that I hate her though. I’m just torn on her. I do want to smack the everloving shit out of Alec. He just is clueless. Of course, I think part of that is being a teenage boy and suffering from testosterone poisoning, but he’s still fucking clueless, and Wren sacrificed a lot for him and he just threw it back in her face.

And now, I’m going to have to leave us with these words, Book 4 is coming. If you ask Addison, she will probably just say sometime soon. And then do the whole evil villain laugh, while sipping on our tears, because that’s what she does.

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Kieran and Wren have a moment, and to me, it’s really important. I think it is to both Kieran and Wren too. I think that they are actually the only two people who see each other right now. Sure, Caspian and Toby are her mates, but I don’t think that they see the actual Wren. They see in her what they want to see, what she is showing them to make them happy so they don’t hurt her or her boys and so that they let her go, not that that’s ever going to happen. They have expectations of what they’ll see, so that’s what they see. But with Kieran? Hmmm… I’m looking forward to see how that affects things.

OK, that’s all for this one. Go check it out, if you like dark, reverse harem, and Omegaverse. Seriously. Happy reading!

Aria Adams-Defiled

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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