Natalie Bennett-Degenerates

This is the 5th book in Natalie’s Badlands series, but instead of staying ith our original 3 couples, we’ve jumped forward a couple of decades and we’re dealing with everyone’s kids. Degenerates is Adelaide and Zane’s story. She’s the Savage Princess and he’s the Venomous Prince.

Before we get into the story, here’s the list of all the kids and their parents. And I say kids, but the older ones are in their 20s. Now, considering that I have a 23 year old son, I feel perfectly justified in calling them kids. So, Romero and Cali have Adelaide, Lucifage (m), and Belladonna. Grim and Arlen have Nyx (f), who has a pet crow named Charon, and Samael (m). Blue and Cobra’s kids are twins Cameron and Braxton, who is also called Butcher, and then daughter Lilith. Adelaide and Nyx are best friends. Nyx and Butcher are in a relationship. Lucifage, Adelaide, Cameron, Butcher, and Nyx all hang out together, while Belladonna, Lilith, and Samael are all tight.

On the Venom side, we have Zane, who doesn’t have any biological brothers, but he considers Malaki and Marcus his brothers. Now that we have all that, let’s get into the story.

Adelaide finds out that her sister Bella and her cousins Lilith and Samael have gone off. While Romero wants to send out all the acolytes to find his little girl and the rest of his family, she convinces him to let her go do it. She tells him that she will take Nyx and her acolyte/bodyguard, Annie. Romero is all good with that, but Romero being Romero, isn’t going to let it stay that way. He arranges for Lucifage, Butcher, and Cameron to go as well. And off towards the unknown they go.

Meanwhile, elsewhere in the Badlands, Zane, Malaki, Trix, and Ace are working on Ace’s initiation, which involves getting rid of some people who screwed Ace’s family over. It ain’t pretty. As they are leaving, they see a young woman with the Savages’ inverted cross tattooed on her running away while she’s yelling that he’s coming.

Then, along comes Adelaide and her entourage and they rescue that woman and run into the Venom, where Zane points Addy’s own gun right at her head. Definitely a romantic start when you come to this series, right?

I like Adelaide. She’s my kind of crazy. That being said, I mostly don’t think that she’s quite as hardcore as Callista. Of course, compared to Rome and Cali, Addy had a Leave it to Beaver childhood. Well, the Badlands version thereof. She’s pretty sheltered. She’s been trained in all matter of bad things by her parents, but she’s never really been out of the compound and has only really dealt with areas that the Savages already own. She’s also a virgin, if you can believe that of a young woman living in the middle of the Savages. She’s a really interesting mix of demonic and innocent, naive and worldly. Natalie writes those characters really well.

Zane, OTOH, is completely debauched, deviant, and demonic. There’s not anything innocent about him at all. He is smart and devious. He’s got some big damn plans as to what he’s going to do. I don’t think he thinks quite as far ahead as Romero, but frankly, I don’t think that many people do. I mean, Romero is 2 steps ahead of Satan. I would like to see the two of them conniving together, because I don’t think that the world would survive. I’m pretty sure that Zane and Addy are going to be a helluva power couple. I mean, she is her parents’ daughter.

I’m really looking forward to seeing where the story is going to go. It’s going to be fascinating.

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I’m not entirely sure that I trust Lucifage. I want to know who all knew what he was doing. I’m pretty sure that Romero knew, even if Luce doesn’t know that Rome knew. We’ve already pointed out that Rome knows everything. So, that’s going to be interesting to see what’s going to keep happening there.

And Cam, my poor black heart.

OK, that’s all for this one. It’s dark, but not as dark as other books by Natalie, but I know that the next one is going to be yeah…. Happy reading!

Loki Renard-Sold

Loki’s back and she’s brought us another delicious dark reverse harem book to clutch to our dark little hearts. Sold takes place in a post-apocalyptic dystopian Texas. As a side note, I’ve read several post-apocalyptic dystopian stories that take place in TX. Gotta wonder what’s going on down there, don’t ya?

So, the way that this one works is that years ago there was an Event that happened. It included war, disease, and women dying off. Now there aren’t a whole lot of women. What women there are, are kept in harems or safely locked away. Generally, it’s only the rich and powerful who are able to get to women and to breed them. Boys are turned into soldiers and such, girls are kept so that they can breed the next generation. The goal is to breed the woman as many times as possible in the hopes of getting more females, but since most babies are born males, there still just aren’t enough women to go around.

Trissa is one of the wild people. She lives outside the city of Dallas, in a cabin that her father built before she was born. He kept her there and taught her how to hide and survive. Now she goes around disguised as a man, because if anyone were to know that she was a woman, things would be bad. But one day, she goes into town to sell some oranges that she “found”, and while eating some stew, her fake beard falls off, and a whole bunch of men, some of whom have never seen a woman, try and grab her. Then the Sheriff shows up and decides to sell her. Until then, he’s sticking her in with the cut men, Mattias and Elias.

Wild fits Trissa really well. She’s not civilized and she will fight everything and everyone, even when she gets spanked or strapped. She’s also really naive. I mean, her life has always been either her and her father or her alone. She has no problem saying the word fuck like it means nothing, but if you ask her, the worst cuss word ever is income tax. (As it’s coming up on tax season here, I can’t blame her for thinking that.) She calls the seven men who end up buying her by names that suits some personality or physical trait she sees in them the first time she sees them. Silver Eyes, Tattoo Face (Keanu), Pharoh (Mark), Gladiator (Alexios), Cowboy (Rick), Zen (Steve), and Nordic Man (Tore). So ok, they aren’t necessarily the most original names ever, but as she hates them, I figure they are pretty nice names. She’s not calling them parking warden or anything. I think that Trissa is pretty cunning but somewhat ignorant, which doesn’t mean that she isn’t smart. It just means that she hasn’t had the chance to learn about something in particular. I mean, she doesn’t really understand the whole mechanics of human reproduction because no one has explained it to her. She’s an extremely interesting mix of naivte, innocence, and sensuality all mixed up in one person, which can make it hard to get a good read on her.

This isn’t the darkest thing I’ve ever read by Loki, but it isn’t all lightness and happiness either.

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OK, I totally love what Trissa does to the Sheriff, because, well, yeah. He’s a fuckhead.

That’s all I have to say today. Go check this one outQ Happy reading!

Natalie Bennett-Heathens

Oh, holy fuck, y’all. Natalie Bennett is a sick and twisted individual and I so totally don’t want to get stuck in her head. That being said, I like sick and twisted individuals and I totally love what she wrote. The Badland books have been dark, intense, and definitely twisted. Heathens is definitely a worthy addition to the series and a great way to cap off this part of Natalie’s world.

Cobra is the final member of the Holy Trinity of the Savages. His friends, partners, and brothers, Romero and Grimm, have found their Queens and loves. Romero and Cali are definitely the Dark King and Queen of the Savages and have their Princess. She’s too young to be dark, light, or other, but I’m pretty sure that Adelaide isn’t going to be light and fluffy, not with her parents. Don’t get me wrong, I really like Rome and Cali, but… Grimm and Arlen aren’t quite as intense as Rome and Cali, but they sure as hell ain’t a comedic pair either. That leaves Cobra, who is obsessed with one particular woman. One who isn’t there. One who has blue hair.

Blue was traded to Vitus and the Venom as part of a way to solidify a partnership between the Savages and the Venom. Rome is going to need Vitus’ help to take down The Kingdom, Centriole, and I’d say that Rome has made a deal with the devil when it comes to Vitus, but since Romero is a Satanist and Vitus isn’t, I’m pretty sure that it’s sort of the other way around. Blue has spent her time trying to make sure that Vitus is happy. She’s not happy there, but she’s smart enough to know that she shouldn’t let that show. But that doesn’t mean that a particular Savage, one with a snake tattoo, isn’t always on her mind. There is a connection between her and Cobra, but she’s here and he’s there, and she has to deal with Vitus.

Then a mysterious woman shows up, and she seems to have a connection to Vitus too. Blue works really hard to not show any curiosity, but in her situation, curiosity can get her killed, but when the chance comes to talk to this wraith of a woman, it turns out that she’s a woman who is supposed to be safe in Centriole, not huddling in a literal prison run by Vitus, looking like hell, and shaking with withdrawals.

Then Blue is able to get back to Cobra, but not without collateral damage. And she has a lot to say to the leaders of the Savages.

OK, yeah, I really do mean holy fuck, y’all. This is dark and twisted. Cobra isn’t nice. Cobra isn’t anywhere near nice. He’s a very not nice who does even not nicer things and enjoys them. I mean, we aren’t talking about a guy who is a good guy who is doing bad things for a reason. We’re talking about a bad guy who gets off, pretty much literally, on torturing people and who tortures people for fun. I’m pretty sure that he doesn’t have a soul, I know that he has no conscience, and he has no morals. I’m relatively positive he couldn’t define moral if you asked him to. But, all that being said, within his personal boundaries and beliefs, he is pretty much doing what he thinks is right and there are no problems with him doing it. I mean, the only person who is going to take him to task is Romero, and I’m about 150% sure that Romero isn’t going to stop Cobra at all. Well, unless he wants to get in on the fun. I have loved this series, and it has gotten stuck in my head. Now that Heathens is out, I’m going to have to do a full reread.

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The description of Rome, Cali, Grimm, Cobra, and Blue’s attack on Centriole is pretty fanfuckingtastic. The way that they work together is almost like magic. I can totally see them doing it in my head. It’s not pretty, in that there is all kinds of blood and gore, but the way that they are working together is pretty, if that makes sense.

I’m looking forward to the next evolution of the series. It’s going to be all kinds of wrong. ALL KINDS. It’s going to be so awesome too. I can’t wait to read it. And Natalie, being Natalie, is going to torture us until we can get that into our hands.

OK, that’s all I have to say on this one. Go read the series. Trust me. I’d be willing to say happy reading, but, yeah…

Michael Kilman-Mimi of the Nowhere

So, one day, I’m just sitting minding my own business, stalking people on FB, you know, as one does, and Nicolina Martin says to me, hey, my friend Michael has a book that’s free on Kobo called Mimi of the Nowhere. It’s scifi, you like scifi? And when I told her that scifi was one of my first loves, she was all like hey, you wanna review it? And me being me, I was like sure, why the hell not. It’s a new book to me, it’s a new author to me, and we all know those are things that I love. So I went over to Kobo, got the book, and even better, figured out how to put it on my Kindle. Yay me! And I proceeded to read the fuck out of this book. And hey, spoiler. Mimi is still free on Kobo, and the 2nd book is currently 1/2 off, until 9/4, so rush over there and grab them.

Mimi is a post-apocalyptic, dystopian novel of the far future. In Mimi’s world, cities can actually walk. As in all of Manhattan was put on legs and is now walking around, trying to avoid the other cities, and trying to keep going. I almost see it as some kind of weird Baba Yaga like thing, and tried to imagine Manhattan being balanced on a pair of giant chicken legs. Left me with some interesting visuals, for sure. Inside the city, you have the Uppers, the Mids, and the Lowers. And each of those have their sub-categories as well. It’s a pretty strict class system that keeps everyone in one place pretty well. Then you have the Nowhere people. They are the people that everyone would like to forget about, the homeless, the forgotten, the despised. And our hero Mimi is one of those people.

Mimi is taking her current lover, Shannon, and showing her all the places in the Underground, and the ways to get around without anyone else knowing or seeing. Mimi knows all about these places, and more, because she’s been around for centuries upon centuries, almost as long as the city has been around. She also knows about these places because she can skim the minds of other people, which lets her know when she’s safe, when people are going to be around, and other things that she needs to know. Mimi hasn’t told Shannon her full story, even if she loves Shannon with her whole heart. Mimi is afraid to lose her, because everyone else who has learned even part of the truth has died. Mimi is pretty sure that she’s a curse to those she loves. But she does tell Shannon and takes her to the place she calls home. Shannon is totally accepting.

I feel so sorry for Mimi. She has lived for centuries, watching everything and everyone she loves die. She believes that she is the only person like herself out in all the millions of people in Manhasten. She lives lies and can’t tell her lovers everything. The last one she did, prior to Shannon, met a grisly end. I really did like this book. There is some romance, but it’s only a bit of flavoring, not the entire story. I’m really looking forward to the next one and seeing how it goes.

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The group that Mimi is now hooked up with is going to be really interesting to watch, as well as the group on the other side. I’m really looking forward to seeing how that plays out.

I’m wondering about the AI too. Is it sentient? That would be terrifying, considering that it appears to run everything.

Watching what happens with Shannon is going to be another interesting thing to pay attention to.

Go check it out on Kobo. I didn’t look to see if it’s on Amazon, but it’s pretty easy to sign up on Kobo and relatively easy to add to your device and read it there. Happy reading!

Raisa Greywood-The Tiger King

Raisa is still a fairly new writer. This is her 5th book, unless I can’t count, which, it being Friday, is always a possibility. I’m sure if I’m wrong, she’ll tell me. 🙂 Anyway, she has a series called Shifter’s Mates, which is post-apocalyptic and dystopian, involves aliens, fated mates, abductions by hostile aliens, and shifters. That sounds like a wonderful mix, doesn’t it? I think so, I really do. Now Raisa’s given us the 2nd book in the series, The Tiger King. I reviewed The Tiger Queen back when I read it because it totally blew me away. And King kept up with that breeze.

So, to recap, Renata is a tiger shifter who is living on Earth. She’s slowly starving to death because the Earth is pretty damn destroyed. A jackal friend of hers told her to go get tested to see if she can find a Ximerian mate. Then she could go off to live on Ximera and have a new life. So, she does. When she gets ready to leave, she ends up being stolen. Her last thought before being put in stasis is don’t fuck with a tiger. I’m pretty sure the last thought in the heads of a lot of people when she woke up was oh fuck, a tiger. Eventually her mate, Rakon, finds her and “rescues” her.

And now to King. Rakon and Renata, who is seriously in my top 10 BAMF heroines, have done everything that they were supposed to do in order to seal their mating. Rakon realizes that maybe he shoulda oughta’ve listened to Renata. Because of course, he should’ve. She knows what she’s talking about, but you know how men are. But they are now mated, and she is well and truly War Mate Renata. And let me tell you, I think that the title is perfect for her. Maybe she should be the commander and Rakon should be the War Mate? Just a thought.

It turns out that there is someone playing silly buggers on Ximera and Rakon and Renata are accused of kidnapping Fengar, the First Councillor. He just rolls his eyes at that, and together with a friend of Rakon’s, they all come up with a plan to deal with who is causing these problems. That leads to an empty spot on the council, and Fengar, who is very fond of Renata, wants her to be the person to fill it, to watch out for the shifters and humans who will be coming to or are already on Ximera.

As a quick note on Fengar, he is probably my favorite side character in this series. He is tricksy and wily. He’s kind of like a chess grandmaster with a twisted sense of humor. He knows what moves you are going to make before you make them, but he’s going to have fun watching you figure them out and probably point and laugh at you along the way. But not necessarily in a mean way. And for some reason, he and Renata really like each other. I think maybe she sees him as a father figure, but I’m not 100% sure.

Meanwhile, Renata isn’t all that sure she wants to be a councilor. It will mean that she has to stay in the capital, around a lot of people. Twitching tigers don’t do well around a lot of people. All she really wants to do is to go to her mate’s home, swim in the ocean, catch giant denizens of the deep, and make cubs.

I am once again impressed with Renata. I mean, she isn’t a damsel in distress, pretty much ever. She is the damsel who causes distress. I mean, even without her tiger self, she is pretty much just totally badass, but add in that tiger, and get the fuck out of the way, and don’t piss her off. Don’t fuck with anything that she considers her, and really? Probably laying down and covering yourself in steak sauce would be your best idea. I dunno, do tigers like steak sauce? Maybe just some au jus or a nice horseradish. I like Rakon. He can be an idiot sometimes, but really, who can’t? However, he pretty much recognizes who and what his mate is and is pretty much willing to let her be her without trying to hem her into anything. Of course, she would probably knock his block off if he tried to, but he doesn’t stand in between her and danger or make her live in a padded room.

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I love the bear and the tiger swimming in the ocean and catching the big old fish. I mean, how much fun was that? Neither of these ladies have been able to just let go and be themselves and have fun on a sunny beach near the ocean ever in their whole lives. They’ve always been subsisting and had to hide, so getting to just be out there in the open has to feel amazing.

I was fascinated by the history we got on shifters, and I’m looking forward to seeing how that info helps with the search for more shifters, both out in space and on Earth. I’m hoping we can see more about her family’s history as well as the history of other shifters.

So, that’s all I have to say about this one. You really, really need to read this series. The next books will be coming out in the next couple of months. Happy reading!

Raisa Greywood-The Tiger Queen

Raisa Greywood has done it again. She wrote a book that blew me away. This book was awesome and the heroine was so fucking badass, I can’t even describe how badass she was. Better yet, The Tiger Queen is the first book in a new series, and I hear that the other heroines are going to be even more kickass. Whoohoo!

One hundred years ago, the Earth underwent some solar storms that basically destroyed everything. There’s very little food, few animals, few people. Almost everything has been destroyed. The people left on Earth are starving and slowly dying. Renata is the last of the Andreyev tigers, the royalty of tigers. She can’t find enough to eat and is slowly dying. Her friend Sendra is a very old jackal who has been telling and reading Renata stories for years. But now, she has something that she wants Renata to do. She wants her to go to the Exodus Authority and get tested so that she can get a mate. If Renata has a mate, she can leave Earth, go to Ximera, have cubs, and live. When Renata doesn’t want to do it, Sendra forces her hand.

Rakon is a Ximeran warlord and is Renata’s genetic match. He’s on his way to pick her up from Earth when he gets diverted by one of the council. The council member promises that his mate will be safe on Ximera when he gets back. What they don’t know is that Renata was kidnapped and has been taken away. She was put in stasis, and her last memory was that someone was going to pay when she got out of stasis.

When I say that Renata is a total badass, I may be underestimating how much of a badass she is. You know all the old Chuck Norris jokes about how tough he was? Well, Renata could kick Chuck Norris’ ass with one arm tied behind her back. Rakon is a strong male, which is good, because he needs to be. She needs to have someone strong to stand with her and be her partner. She would completely run over anyone else. She doesn’t really need anyone to protect her and stand in front of her. She can fight her own battles, and she certainly isn’t afraid to do it. Renata needs to have someone who will have her back and not be afraid to let her do her thing. I think that Rakon is going to be that person. Of course, he will need to have his ass kicked a couple of times, but seriously, what male doesn’t need that every now and again?

And because I love all of you, I’m going to link you to the Literotica story that got Raisa the sick puppy award. It is erotic horror. There isn’t an HEA. But it’s omfg awesome.

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OK, you don’t want to fuck with a tiger. You just don’t. They are the largest of the large cats. And when they are pissed? Yeah. Just trust me on this one. People shouldn’t have taken Renata and put her in stasis. That was definitely a wrong move on their part.

The holo suite deal was pretty cool. I would love to be able to go to somewhere like that.

I love how much Rakon’s crew accept Renata, well, the tiger may scare them a little bit at first, but they give her respect for what she did. And the High Counselor was pretty awesome and he really liked Renata a lot. I love when he had Rakon put in a cell because he made Renata cry and he was being stupid.

I can’t wait to see more of these books. Hopefully, Raisa doesn’t make us wait for long. Go check it out! Happy reading!

Ilona Andrews-Iron and Magic

Ilona Andrews is a husband and wife team, Ilona and Gordon Andrews. They write one of my all-time favorite urban fantasy series, the Kate Daniels series. The last book in that world comes out later this year. I’ve had it on pre-order for nearly a year. That’s how much I love this series. So, when they announced that they were writing a story around Hugh D’Ambray, I was excited, because it meant that we would get more of that world, but also I was interested to see how they would take one of the baddies from Kate’s world and make him likable in any way. I have an interesting relationship with Hugh. I both hate him and love him. Hate him because he wants to hurt my Kate and love him because he’s a great bad guy. Horrible things have been happening to Hugh lately, and I wanted to see how well he could manage them. Well, let me tell you, I was not disappointed at all. Iron and Magic was all that I could’ve wanted and even more.

So, here’s where we start. Hugh is drinking himself to death. He’s been abandoned and all he can do is drink to try to feel better, to try to forget, to try to feel anything. The remaining leaders of his Iron Dogs track him down and tell him that he needs to man up, stop drinking, and help them. The Iron Dogs are being hunted, are hiding, running, and starving. When Hugh is sober enough to listen to them, they decide that they need a base, and one of his advisors has found one for him.

Deep in Kentucky, Elara is queen of her castle. She watches over her people to make sure that they are OK and does everything she can to keep them that way. But when Roland’s Legatus keeps trying to buy her castle, she knows that she needs an army to fight him. She doesn’t have an army, but Hugh does. Hugh doesn’t have a base, but she does. It’s a perfectly incovenient marriage made in purgatory.

When I say marriage, I speak literally. In order to bring everything together, they marry to seal the deal, just like alliances have been made over thousands of years. It doesn’t mean that they love each other or that they even like each other. As long as they are married, it’s all good.

The female characters written by Ilona Andrews are generally strong, fearsome, devious, and delicious. See Kate, Nevada, Andrea, Aunt B, etc. Let’s add Elara to that list. She is very strong, both as a character and as a magic user. She knows who she is, what she is capable of, and what she will do in order to keep her people safe. That makes her even stronger, in my opinion. She’s very smart and tends to have plans within plans. She doesn’t let her right hand know what her left hand is doing, or let Hugh know everything she knows. Elara is definitely going in my favorite female characters list.

Hugh is different from the Hugh D’Ambray we know and loathed/loved in the previous books. He’s rebuilding himself, and figuring out who he really is and what he really wants to do. Elara makes him think certain things through and figure certain things out, which I didn’t even see until Elara shoved them in Hugh’s face, and then I was like damn, how’d I miss that.

Their marriage is like a crazy monkey knife fight sometimes. It’s awesome to watch. I can’t wait to see where it is going.

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Oh so many things that I could say down in my lovely spoiler section. Hmmm… What shall I say?

I need to know more about Elara. She’s hiding so much. Who and what is she?

OMG, Erawan. That was fucking awesome. Just so fucking awesome.

Hugh and Roland. Wow!

I want to see Hugh and Kate and Curran get together and talk somehow. I think that would be epic. Especially after the epiphanies that he’s had.

OK. That’s all for this one. If you love Kate Daniels, urban fantasy, sword and sorcery books, this is a must have. Go check it out. It’s available at all the booksellers. Happy reading!