Cari Silverwood-Claimed Possession

Cari Silverwood is becoming a frequent flyer here on In Between the Pages. I spend a lot of time in her books and her worlds. There are a lot of reasons for that. One is that I think Cari is an excellent worldbuilder. It’s easy to get involved in her worlds and characters. And the Machinery of Desire series is no different. I got dragged into the world and it wouldn’t let me go.

Claimed Possession is the second book in this series, and wow. It packs a punch. There are so many things to unpack in this book. I mean, you get the whole human slave in a slave world series, then you get the dark alpha hero/anti-hero and his journey, and then you get the heroine’s journey. I see layers, and I love layers.

OK, so let’s just jump right in here. Here we are, back on Aerthe. Aerthe is an Earth-like planet. There are three groups of people who live on Aerthe, the Mekkers, the Grounders, and the Scavs.

The Mekkers live in huge landships called the Swathe. There are a few swathes, each made up of more than one ship. They never stop moving, harvesting and mining as they move. The Mekkers are not native to Aerthe, and she hates them. Aerthe generates magic, and when the Mekkers stay in one place for too long, Aerthe gets after them. The Mekkers arranged the portal for the humans to be brought through. The portal shines the humans up real pretty when they come through. Their hair and nails are kinda glowy, so it’s quite obvious that they are humans. In the first book, the Mekkers ruled that humans are property.

Grounders and Scavs are both native to Aerthe. Grounders are settled into villages and other communities. Scavs are nomads, formed into groups led by the strongest leader, and they can and will challenge the leader for leadership. The Scavs tend to be pretty wild and will raid Grounder settlements and take/sell slaves. They also go scavenge through old cities that were destroyed in the war between the Mekkers and the people of Aerthe, back in the day.

When Emery, Fern, Sawyer and the other humans were brought through the portal, they were sent to different places. Emery was given to a master in Acquired Possession. (Right now only 99 cents on ‘zon, go grab it) Sawyer was given as a slave to the Grounders. So, let’s catch up with Sawyer.

When the book opens, Sawyer is in a caravan with a bunch of other slaves. He wants to escape, because of course he does. The caravan stops so that everyone can take a rest break. When the slaves are let out, Aribelle, the caravan owner’s niece happens to walk by. Sawyer, being a big of a dicklord, takes a piss at her feet and hits her shoes. He manages to get a key away from a guard so that he can escape, but Ari sees it and tells the guard. Then she orders Sawyer to be castrated. Right after she says that all hell breaks loose. Scavs are attacking. Sawyer drags Ari down and under a wagon and saves her. When the raid is over, Sawyer comes out and tries to get in good with the Scavs and tells them that Ari is his. The Scavs tell him that he will have to wait to talk to their leader.

You all know the routine now. I’m about to put a pretty picture up, and after that you get all the spoilery goodness. Sawyer is a very imperfect hero. He’s got some serious anger problems with more than a little desire for vengeance. That gets taken out on Ari, who both does and doesn’t like it. I think he may have gone a little far sometimes, but I totally get his point of view on it. He does question himself at times, and tries to figure out where morality on Earth and morality on Aerthe should lie and how he can live with both of them. There is some spectacular sex. There are spankings and more. There is a bloody cock. There is also a hard won HEA. This story is a great journey, not just for Sawyer and Ari, but also for JI, a recurring character. Like I said, layers on layers, so awesome. Cari is devious that way.

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If you came down here, then you must not be too worried about any spoilers I may drop from my fingertips.

OMG, the bloody cock scene. I got to read it in Cari’s group before I read the ARC and oh my fucking shit, it was hot. I mean, Ari didn’t like blood, Sawyer rubbed blood on his cock and made her suck it. It’s so wrong, and yet so completely right, and very much hot.

I like that Sawyer starts to realize that he cares for Ari, and that what he wants to do to her has gone past revenge, like it started out, and into he wanted her to be his forever. The fact that he freed Ari and then wooed her was really impressive to me. It let Ari have her own journey from an angry forced slave to a willing and eager submissive who wanted to belong to Sawyer.

And JI? I cannot wait to see what Cari is going to do with him. I liked him when we met him in AP, but he was basically a child, really. In CP, he’s a teenager and then adult. Now he’s a very, very devious, sneaky, and tricksy adult. With a cock.

I wonder, with Gio’s new portal skill, if more humans will be going back through the portal. I kind of hope not because I like Aerthe. I wonder what’s happened to Fern, Sawyer’s sister. Last we knew, in AP, she was stabbed and then thrown off the ship to die. But JI was able to give some of the mechlings medical training, so maybe she lived? I want to know. I need to know. I need to know more about Gio too. Obviously, she was there before Emery, Sawyer, Fern et al, so how did she get there? So many questions, so few answers.

Alrighty, I could go on and on, but then you wouldn’t need to go to Amazon and read this book, and you really need to do that. And grab AP while you’re at it since it’s on special for the next 4 days. Trust me, if you like dark, gritty, and spanky, this will do it for you.

Tomorrow we have a book from Summer Greystone, so keep an eye out for that. Meanwhile, happy reading.

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Kate Daniels Reread pt. 2

My next-to-last post was all about the world of Kate Daniels and such. Today we’re actually going to get into the books. I’ve read the first three, but this review may or may not talk about all three. From now on, the reviews will just be about one book at a time. I just got ahead in my reading. So, without further ado, let’s start reviewing!

Magic Bites

Magic Bites is the first book in the series. In it, we are introduced to Kate, a merc. She’s sitting in her house in Savannah, GA, drinking when a vampire shows up to ask if she’s talked to her guardian lately. Ghastek was the one who was navigating the vampire. He and Kate are going to have an interesting relationship over the series, so remember his name.

She rushes to Atlanta to find that Greg Feldman, the man who was her guardian after her father died, has been gruesomely murdered. He was the resident Knight-Diviner for the local chapter of The Order of the Knights of Merciful Aid. The Order is kind of like modern day Templars, only slightly less merciful. They will provide mercy, but sometimes that mercy is provided at the edge of a sword. The Order was founded right after the tech fell and the shift started. It is very regimented. Greg did get Kate into the Order’s Academy, and she tested out at electrum level, which is the highest you can go, and there have only ever been like 8. However, she walked out and became a merc, which drove a wedge in between her and Greg. There will be more about the Order in reviews to come. Anyway, she goes to the head of the local chapter of the Order to get help and ends up with permission to work with them to find Greg’s killer.

On the way to the solution, she goes to the morgue and meets Crest. She goes to Unicorn Lane and meets Curran, greeting him by saying “Here, kitty, kitty.” She goes to the Keep and meets Derek Gaunt, faithful, teenage, werewolf sidekick. And she goes to the Casino and has to talk to Nataraja. More to come in the spoiler section.

Magic Burns

In Magic Burns, a seven-year flare is coming. A flare is several days when the magic is extremely high. It’s a high peak of magic that plateaus during that time. Saiman, Kate’s magical expert, metamorph, and deviant extraordinaire, calls it the time of the gods. And he’s not wrong. During the flare, shifters have a hard time controlling themselves, Navigators have a harder time controlling their vampires, and magic users and magical people, like Kate, get a huge power boost.

This book starts out with Kate doing a merc job partnering Jim, a were-jaguar and the chief of security for the Pack. They are trying to track down a madman with a salamander. A salamander is a magical creature that starts fire. Just as Jim and Kate catch their firebug, he gets shot with a mysterious black arrow. Then Jim gets paged by someone in the Pack and has to leave. Remember, with the Pack, it’s us against them, and for Jim, he will drop everything when the Pack calls. He’s the Alpha cat and the security chief, so he’s super-duper responsible.

Later, Derek comes to ask Kate for help because someone has stolen maps from the Pack. Their maps are uber-accurate, and highly sought after. This person poofed in, grabbed the maps, and poofed out. While she was trying to figure out how to help with the maps, she runs across a street shaman named Red who had helped her a little bit in the last book, and his girlfriend, Julie. Julie’s mom is missing and Red tells Kate to take care of her. More in the spoiler section.

Magic Strikes

Magic Strikes starts out a few months after the flare. Kate is headed home from her job at the Order. She runs across Jim and some other shifters picking up a dead body. She offers them help, Jim turns her down. When she gets home, she gets a call from Saiman, telling her to come pick up something of hers. It turns out it’s Derek, who has snuck into his apartment to steal some tickets to the Midnight Games. The Games are an underground fighting tournament. In it, teams go into the Pit and fight each other. Derek has been working undercover in the Games and has found a young woman he’s trying to help, Livvie. That’s why he wants the tickets. Saiman extorts Kate into going to the Games with him, and Derek asks her to give Livvie a note from him. While this sounds like a minor little thing, it turns out to be pretty important.

So, we’ll leave it here until the spoiler section, which, as this is getting long, is going to actually show up tomorrow, I think. I don’t like to read long blog posts, so I don’t want to write them for people.

There is romance in the series, but there isn’t really any in the first books. Kate and Curran get a little kissy face going on, but nothing else really. It’s not until the fourth book that their romance really gets going. In these books they are still dancing around each other and kind of confrontational. Really, I think foreplay for them involves arguing and physically fighting with each other, in a sparring way, not in a bad way.

It’s a good series, well-written and enjoyable. The way the books work, they build on each other. Each book adds more to the characters and to the world, so there is always something new to find out. I really love that.

So, here is where this quick overview of books 1-3 ends, and we get ready for tomorrow’s post, which is going to be spoiler-iffic. And I’m going to leave you with this beautiful picture of a Barbary lion, just because.

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Hell Squad

Ready to go to hell? Hell yeah, the Devil needs an ass-kicking!

Anna Hackett has several sci-fi romance series, one of which is the Hell Squad series. Hell Squad takes place on an Earth that has more advanced tech than we have, and where countries have banded together to form larger unions or coalitions. Think the EU or the Commonwealth, but with one common government. The US and Australia, among other countries, are in one such group.

The series takes place in Australia, where, incidentally, Anna Hackett is from. Dinosaur-esque aliens called the Gizzida have invaded the Earth, and killed large percentages of the population. They have taken other humans for terrible experiments. The majority of the infrastructure is gone, including reliable contact with other countries. Most of the military are gone, because of course, the aliens are going to attack military bases first, just to make sure that no one can fight back. Wouldn’t you? Anyway, there are some surviving members of the military who managed to escape to a secret, hidden base called Blue Mountain, located somewhere near Sydney. The base is run by a surviving general, Adam Holmes. The military survivors are broken up into small squads of 8-9 people who go out to fight the Gizzida, rescue people, etc. The premier squad is Squad 6, run by Marcus Steele, also known as Hell Squad. Through the series, we learn about other squads, such as Squad 9, which is mostly made up of women, and Squad 3, the Berserkers, who are made up of mercs, motorcycle club members, enforcers, and other people of questionable origins. The name Berserkers fits them, because they are quite wild, generally riding into battle on modified motorcycles and wearing minimal body armor. Crazy but fun.

The military survivors are broken up into small squads of 8-9 people who go out to fight the Gizzida, rescue people, etc. The premier squad is Squad 6, run by Marcus Steele, also known as Hell Squad. Through the series, we learn about other squads, such as Squad 9, which is mostly made up of women, and Squad 3, the Berserkers, who are made up of mercs, motorcycle club members, enforcers, and other people of questionable origins. The name Berserkers fits them, because they are quite wild, generally riding into battle on modified motorcycles and wearing minimal body armor. Crazy but fun. Later books focus on members from those squads, but the first books focus on Hell Squad.

While some of the other books I’ve talked about are kink and sex heavy, these books have minimal kink and fewer sex scenes. That doesn’t mean no sex scenes or that the sex isn’t hot because there are totally great scenes in these books. I mean, you get a bunch of Alpha males and strong women together, and nature is going to take its course. They aren’t insta-love stories, most of the romances are people who have known each other and worked together for some time, however, there are a couple of stories where people get into relationships shortly after meeting. None of the relationships start easy, with one person or the other fighting the pairing, for whatever reason. I’m looking right at you, Hemi and Cam. But each one ends in an HEA.

The books in this series can be read as stand-alones, it really isn’t recommended. That’s because there is an overarching storyline that builds on each book and characters do show up from one book into the next.

All the books in this series are on Kindle Unlimited, start with Marcus. They are nice, easy reads, with good plotting and good writing. If you like sci-fi and romance, these are a good choice. If you like Anna Hackett’s books, you can try  Phoenix Adventures, which aren’t on KU, and Galactic Gladiators, which are.

OK, next week will be urban fantasy week. UF is one of my favorite genres. Some of the books and authors started in the romance genre and are listed under both romance and urban fantasy. It’ll be fun, so make sure to check it out!