Gods, goddesses, pantheons, explosive magic, vengeful antagonists, and a world on the brink of destruction is just the beginning in Galenorn’s newest PNR series-Fury Unbound. This action-packed supernatural conflict is saturated with Galenorn’s trademark wicked humor, personable characters, and explicit attention to detail. Set in an alternative post-apocalyptic Seattle, the world has been changed drastically due to a temper tantrum thrown by the goddess, Gaia. One woman, Kaeleen Donovan aka Fury, a servant to Hecate, is charged with recovering an ancient artifact before it falls into the wrong hands. As with most fantasy-based stories, the world building, and character setup holds a large part of the storyline though I found the sheer amount of information pushed at us in the beginning daunting and somewhat confusing. The story soon settles and we are off as Galenorn takes readers on a wild untamed ride that will leave readers ready for the next installment. My only qualm, besides the information overload in the beginning, was the weak interaction with the main antagonist . I hope the following novels allows them more on-screen time. ...more
Empire is Sergio's well-deserved and earned HEA. Fans of this series will want to read Elude first to understand the dynamics of Empire. HeartwrenchinEmpire is Sergio's well-deserved and earned HEA. Fans of this series will want to read Elude first to understand the dynamics of Empire. Heartwrenching but filled with humor and hope, Empire gives a man hardened by grief a second chance a love as his deceased wife attempts to right some wrongs from the grave. ...more
Anne Frasier writes a compelling and thought-provoking psychological thriller that examines the stability of a police detective who was kidnapped and tortured for three years. Frasier does a fantastic job of giving our heroine a voice; allowing us to see how her captivity changed her on a physical, mental, and emotional level. Frasier balances it with the thoughts and impressions of those around her who knew her before the kidnapping. A sly and insidious mystery builds alongside the heroine’s attempts to heal with Frasier slowly introducing clues that tie it all back to the heroine. Though I figured out who the main villain was, the additional characters who aided and abetted were a shock. The Body Reader is sure to thrill those fans who enjoy a psychological thriller that looks deep into the abyss. Frasier flips between the first and third person which some may find jarring. I truly hope Frasier looks to make this a series. The heroine has so much potential and her emotional grid is simply fascinating to watch....more
Torn is the fourth installment into Eden’s dark and gritty romantic suspense series-LOST. Even though I have not read the first three in the series, I had no problems diving right into the story and was completely pulled in by the heavy atmospheric mystery and romance that Eden develops. The story is easy to follow as Eden flashes back to earlier events in order for us to understand the dynamics of the group and chemistry playing out between our protagonists, Victoria and Wade. It does start out little slow are we follow Victoria and Wade to Georgia and watch them get up to date with the case. Eden maps out the investigation and the police interaction for us in a clear and easy to follow manner. Smooth presentation and intriguing dialogue immediately snags reader right out of the gate as she shows us the mindset of our protagonists and our villain with cryptic internal thoughts and intense emotions. As the plot picks up speed, the mystery and suspense follow suit, leaving us ripe with tension till the very last page.
LOST-The Last Option Search Team-is indeed the last option for most people whose loved ones or friends have disappeared and their cases have gone cold. LOST’s newest case will pit two seasoned investigators against a serial killer who knows their most intimate secrets. Kennedy Lane disappeared without a trace five years ago while out running. One minute she was there, the next she was gone. Her ex-fiance has hired LOST to try to find out what happened to her to give himself closure. Gage, the founder of LOST, decides to send Wade Monroe and Victoria Palmer to Savannah, Georgia to see if fresh eyes can discover what happened to this young woman. Victoria is uncomfortable not only being sent out on a new case but also being paired with Wade. She was almost killed on her last case and she has developed an attraction to Wade that threatens her very sanity.
“Wade Monroe was trouble-trouble she couldn’t quite handle right now. Handsome, dangerous, and more than ready to play dirty on any case…”
Wade Monroe is an ex-homicide detective that helped start LOST with his best friend, Gage. Gage’s sister Amy was abducted and murdered while on Wade’s watch. Wade has never forgiven himself for this and treats each missing case as a way to atone and bring Amy home. Victoria has always intrigued Wade. Her intelligence, subdued beauty, and don’t touch persona begs him to slowly strip away all her defenses until there is nothing left but the sensual woman he knows is buried underneath. When Victoria was kidnapped and tortured on their last case, Wade decided that he was done waiting for her to see him and is now determined to push her until acknowledges the attraction that burns between them and reveals the secrets that stand between them.
“She had to enjoy it. She had to enjoy me…Because they weren’t going to be together just one time. Oh, no, he had plans for her…”
Our hero and heroine are an interesting mixture of contrasts; adding depth and background to the main storyline. The romance holds an integral place in the story and Eden uses their scenes together to flesh out Victoria and Wade. The almost suffocating sexual tension between them is addressed right off the bat with some intense love scenes. It’s the emotions they’ve kept buried that are slowly unleashed and brought to the surface for display that keeps your interest. Victoria is an intelligent woman with a horrific past. She has secrets that she feels will destroy her and anyone around her if they become known. She keeps her emotional walls high in order to avoid any real connections. Wade too has secrets but he has accepted the darker aspects of his personality and now channels it into his work.
“You don’t know what hell is. I’ve been there more times than I can count.”
A diverse cast of secondary characters keeps the suspense and mystery flowing smoothly. Each one adds personality, drama, and insight into the story. Through them we finally get the full truth behind what exactly happened to Victoria, Wade, and the women being kidnapped. The villain of the story is a twisted piece of work whose dark desires has them setting up the ultimate and elaborate scheme to make sure he gets who he really wants-Victoria.
The ending comes at you fast and furious as Victoria and Wade connect all the dots and solve their case. Loose ends are wrapped up, questions answered, and the past is finally put to rest. Two new and very interesting additions are introduced towards the end to assure us Eden will definitely be visiting this world.
Favorite Quote: “I’m surrounded by the dead in the middle of the night hoping to pull a previously unknown power out of my ass. What could possibly go wrong?”
Private Investigator and immortal descendant of Artemis, Nikki Glass, learns a very valuable lesson in vengeance when a group of fertility goddesses decide to strike. The lives and loves of the gods and goddesses play out on an epic scale when Nikki’s boss, Anderson Kane, goes awol and his ex-wife goes ballistic and declares war on humanity in revenge. To add insult to injury, Cyrus, the new leader of the Olympians, has learned Anderson killed his father and he wants Anderson’s head on a pike.
Once again Nikki finds herself outmanned and outgunned but with the fate of mankind resting on her shoulders, Nikki will have to find a way to get this ex-couple into counseling quick before the world as we know it ends.
Divine Descendant, the fourth book in Jenna Black’s Nikki Glass series, has been a long time coming. Three years to be exact. However, Black shows no signs she has backed off this series and once again presents readers with an action-packed urban fantasy that uses Greek mythology to create an engaging world filled with dark humor, engaging characters, and intriguing convoluted plotlines. The world building remains simplistic in its construction yet each layer we uncover reveals a twisting mass of lies and half truths. The result is a fascinating world you can’t wait to further explore.
Heavily character driven, what I continue to enjoy about this series is the unapologetic makeup of the cast. There are no clear cut good or bad guys in here; there are just degrees of separation. These people are gods and demigods. Powerful and deadly, each has a tragic story begging to be told. And each will kill to protect it. Each installment has given readers more information on these men and women backgrounds, showing the suffering, pain, and difficult choices one must make when immortal. Nikki’s connections with her new family seem to be strengthening as she has begun to accept her destiny and getting to know them better. It’s very apparent in this installment when she is forced into a position where she has to weigh the consequences of saving the world against the damage her decisions may cause those she has grown to care for.
“It’s not like I’m going to hurt him.” I shuddered. “You might not hurt him, but you can destroy him.”
Black picks up right where book three left off. Anderson is missing and no one can find him. The whole team knows what Anderson truly is and that brings about some serious questions. Cyrus is calling, demanding answers to know what exactly happened to his father when Anderson rescued Nikki. When a young woman appears at the Liberi mansion and asks for her help, she tells Nikki and the group a horrific tale about Anderson’s dark past deeds that causes them to further question their leader. Black takes some liberties with Anderson’s past, using the legend of Niobe to weave a sorrowful tale of love, loss, betrayal, insanity, and vengeance.
“I will die happy knowing my suffering is finally over and yours just begun.”
As with book three, Rogue Descendant, the arc is pretty much at a standstill through most of the book. The conflict focuses on one character rather than the group as a whole but the action and suspense more than makes up for that. I love that Anderson is the focus of this installment and remains the enigma we met in book one. Black doesn’t alter or downplay his personality in order to create an easy resolution. Once again it’s Nikki, her close ties with to her humanity, and ability to see the whole picture that saves the day though there are some close calls that leave you wide-eyed at the events unfolding. Black does shockingly change the direction of the arc with this dark conflict and opens the door to a multitude of future storylines, one that puts Nikki firmly front and center.
On a more personal level, the slow burning romance between Jamaal and Nikki finally picks up the pace and the faint love triangle we were all seeing is no more. Nikki has made her choice and the advancements made between the two of them are phenomenal and quite sexy. A smaller secondary romance experiences some changes that leaves the reader unsure of its future. This particular love triangle seems to be destined for heartbreak no matter the choice made.
“I’ve done a lot of distasteful things in my life. This will be just one more.”
Divine Descendant was worth the wait and I’m looking forward to book five, title and release date to be announced. I am cross my fingers it won’t be another 3 year wait.
Duke of Sin is a darkly humorous and lushly sensual historical romance that attempts to redeem of one of the series most diabolical and debauched secondary characters to date-Valentine (Val) Napier, the Duke of Montgomery. Fans of this series have seen Val sweep in and out of the series like a plague, causing mayhem and slowly planting seeds of discourse. A libertine whose mercurial attitude and fluid sexual appetites only increases his appeal. A diabolical chess master who uses his skills to play a dangerous game that only one person will be allowed win-him. His utter lack of morals and conscience allows him to do whatever it takes to whomever he wants to increase his inventory of blackmail material.
“I am vengeance I am hate. I am sin personified.“
Val has returned to England in order to get the King to lift his banishment and blackmail his way into wedlock. His curiosity is peaked when he discovers his housekeeper snooping around his bed chambers as if searching for something. When he catches her in the act, he decides she is the amusement he didn’t know he has been waiting for.
”I do like to spy upon people. It gives a delicious sense of power, don’t you think?”
“I couldn’t say, Your Grace.“
“Couldn’t you?” He tutted, his sensuous lips curving as he murmured, “Oh, Mrs. Crumb. You imperil your immortal soul with lies, you know.”
Bridget Crumb is the housekeeper for the Montgomery household. Born out of wedlock to an aristocratic mother, Bridget was given away to a small crofting family for raising. She has come to the Duke of Montgomery's household for one purpose. To locate items he is using to blackmail certain members of the ton-specifically, her mother. A seemingly mouse of a woman whose attire screams severe respectability unless you dare to look beneath the surface. Intelligent and very clever, she uses her level head and calm manner to keep the household running smoothly and everyone ignorant of her true intentions. No matter what she sees or hears, she is the consummate servant with the ability to fade into the background at a moment's notice. She knows of the danger Val presents to her now that he has taken notice of her, but she is determined to complete her mission.
”Blackmail was a nasty, vile crime. And the duke was a nasty, vile man.”
Elizabeth Hoyt's Maiden Lane series bursts with vivacious characters, seductive scenes, humorous intentions, and intriguing storylines that swept the reader back to a bygone era where secrets and desires could make or break an empire. Set in the Georgian era, the series originally followed the lives and loves of the immediate Makepeace family; a middle class family of strict morals and hard work ethic whose love has granted them entrance into the glittering ton. The series has branched out over the last few books to focus on the lives of those who have come willingly or not so willingly into the Makepeace family orbit. Hoyt’s heroes and heroines ability to move confidently among the wealthy and elite while subtly flaunting their respectability is a finely edged balance that comes alive under Hoyt’s tutelage. While each story contains a respectable amount of suspense and intrigue, the romance is shining jewel that emerges from the pages.
The relationship between Bridget and Val is a dark and sensual journey, tinged with bits of cruelty and compassion. Val is who he is and offers no excuses for the things he does. He is the devil incarnate and celebrates his depravity. Yet as he begins to peel away the layers that surround Bridget he finds the passionate fire that burns within deep within his ‘Seraphine.’ A fire he longs to embrace and consume for his own.
Fair Seraphine had tried to explain to him the difference, right from wrong. It made sense to her because she burned and was an angel. But to him, a creature of hollow ice and pain, it was sound and confusion without her to filter it for him.
Bridget’s descent into hell is cushioned by the smallest of pleasures that Val gives her without a second thought to the enormity of their situation. He glimpses into her soul and draws forth her hidden desires. Temptation rolls down your back, hot and heavy, leaving an icy trail of goosebumps as they engage in this a very dangerous game. Val hunts Bridget with the skill of a predator, running her down to ground only to let her go at the very last minute to keep the game in play. He reminds her at every turn he is not the hero.
“Never mistake me for the hero of this tale, for I am not and shall never be. I am the villain.”
But Bridget has become an enigma in his life, someone he cannot ignore. Someone he cannot willingly hurt. She thwarts his plans, ignoring his commands, and blatantly flaunts her disobedience. She is his death and rebirth. Determined to be his conscience and convince him that he is worthy of love, Bridget begins to slowly fill in the missing pieces of his soul.
“Your tears taste like salvation.”
The serious tone of the story, due to Bridget and Val’s backstories and the conflict at hand, is relieved by moments of pure delight that shine and leave you laughing out loud. We are gifted with intimate thoughts and conversations between our protagonists and various secondary characters. These rare but intense scenes serve to not only offer some lighthearted interludes but also insight into Val’s and Bridget's character.
“No,” she said, very firmly, backing away, and, much lower, “It’s the middle of the day!”
So very Puritan. Who knew the lower classes were so staid in their lovemaking?
What, exactly, he wondered was wrong with the middle of the day? The light? Surely being able to see the person one was about to tumble was a good thing? Was it the lack of bed? But no-last night she’d ridden him in a chair. And very enjoyable it’s been.
Or at least he’d thought so...
Val paused on the stairs, a sudden and very unwelcome notion having come into his mind-one that had never, ever occurred to him before. What if Bridget hadn’t found it enjoyable?
He contemplated the notion for two seconds.
No. She’d come all over his cock-he’d both felt it and witnessed it. And besides.
He was Valentine Napier, the Duke of Montgomery. There simply wasn’t a better lover in the world.
Satisfied, he continued his descent.
Elizabeth Hoyt truly outdoes herself in her latest installment, Duke of Sin, by giving us a hero whose true redemption exists only for the woman that he comes to love.
But in case you were wondering just how far the mighty had fallen…
“He had seven more kittens and a garden full of his enemies children.”
Christina Henry takes us back down the rabbit hole in the much anticipated sequel to her delightfully wild and twisted- Alice. As smoothly as though yChristina Henry takes us back down the rabbit hole in the much anticipated sequel to her delightfully wild and twisted- Alice. As smoothly as though you never left, readers are drawn back into this clever little world with it’s dark humor, diabolical residents, and the bittersweet lessons of life. Though somewhat softer and more introspective in narrative than book one, Henry’s interpretation of Alice and her latest adventure perfectly showcases Alice’s struggles with her personal identity and the loss of her childhood as she stands poised on the brink of becoming an adult. Henry continues to shine as she expands upon the vision Louis Carroll first dreamed, adding her own voice and imagination to this timeless classic.
You can read the rest of my review in the July issue of Rt Book Reviews.
Genre: General Fiction, Dark Fantasy 4 Stars
Review to appear in July issue of RT Book Review Magazine....more
Favorite Quote: “We tell ourselves lies to survive when we know the truth will kill us.”
A mysterious woman attempts to steal a piece of her past only to be detained by its current owner. When she makes him an offer he can’t refuse, the unknown story of how one of the richest and most distinguished bourbon empires, Red Thread, rose and fell, in return for the very last bottle of Red Thread bourbon in the world, he reluctantly agrees to hear her out.
From the first sentence, Connor McQueen is held spellbound by the seductive Paris and the thrilling saga as she reveals almost all the tantalizing secrets of a family whose rise to wealth and fame was fueled by obsession and betrayal only to be brought down by love and revenge.
“I can tell you what happened to Red Thread. The whole truth. The whole story. […] By the time I’m done telling you the story, you’ll hand over the bottle with your compliments and an apology.”
Alternating between the bourbon soaked bluegrass of Kentucky and the sun-drenched shores of South Carolina, Reisz paints a fascinating and shocking portrait of a young spoiled heiress, Tamara Maddox, who soon discovers her place in the family tapestry is nothing more than a series of tangled threads knotted by deception and betrayal. On her sixteenth birthday, she learns the lap of luxury that has benevolently cradled her from birth to now is rotten to the core and her fall from grace is a harsh lesson learned. Using her wits and the strength of the Maddox name, Tamara defies her intended legacy and formulates a plan to take back her place in this world and make it pay with the help of a man whose own connection to the Maddox’s also flows through his blood.
A family with bourbon in the blood and blood on their hands.
Fans familiar with Tiffany Reisz’s erotically charged Original Sinners series will notice that The Bourbon Thief is not her usual fare. Though containing many of the attributes that are often found in her writing, this rich fictional drama does not contain the erotic backbone that usually runs down the center of Reisz’s stories. Two female voices alternate telling this decades-old story, one from the part and one from the present, using humor, seduction, and anger to shine a blinding spotlight on the sordid past that created and eventually destroys the Maddox family from within. Fast pacing and the smooth flowing storyline is heavily influenced by the narrative as the reader becomes instantly captivated by the strong elements of romance and mystery that surround this cast of intriguingly flawed characters.
“Who are you really?”
“You don’t want to know.”
“I told you why. The truth is like bourbon-it’ll burn going down.”
“I want to burn.”
I fell in love with the main protagonists- Tamara and Levi. Their evolution from friendly antagionts to passionate lovers is bathed in dramatically fueled emotions and scenes that made me reminisce of the older Danielle Steele novels I used to devour when I was younger. Reisz builds their story from layers, using Paris as the narrator and seamlessly transitioning between their voices. Starting from the beginning, we, like McQueen, are held hostage by the mysterious Paris as she slowly doles out the background and clues we need to get to know the two people whose destinies will not be denied.
“Fate was what brought them together. Fate was what brought about the end of Red Thread. And fate is just another name for a train that cannot stop until it reaches its final destination.”
Tamara is a heroine whose seemingly soft compliance is belayed by her spine of steel. Young, spirited, and usually faced with no greater decision than what to wear on any given day, when she is suddenly faced with incredible odds, she perseveres and overcomes. Levi, a stable hand on her grandfather’s estate, is a sweetly contained contradiction. Older than Tamara, this philosopher of life who can quote Shakespeare and soap opera dialogue on a whim struggles to control his and Tamara’s growing feelings for one another, using her age and the differences in their stations to push her away. When Tamara comes for him years later, demanding he make a stand, we see a hero who isn’t the alpha of today who sweeps in and saves the day but rather one stands by her side and is happy to be used as the sword of vengeance she wields with stunning precision. Their whimsical banter and beguiling sexual chemistry is a delightful contrast to the overall seriousness of the storyline.
“Goddammit, Tamara, you are driving me crazy.” Tamara stood up and grabbed her sundress, shook out the sand and shimmied into it. “You were born crazy, “ Tamara said as she yanked her dress into place. “I’m just driving you home.”
A solid personable secondary cast of characters stay just enough in the background to offer aid or hinder our couple from the sidelines without casting a shadow over our protagonists and their developing story. Each person’s background and connection to Levi and Tamara is thoroughly examined and remarked upon, providing more answers to the questions popping up as the events unfold.
The mystery behind the eventual destruction of Red Thread, the Maddox family, and Paris’s connection to it is altogether a dramatic and bittersweet tale that left me saddened and pleased by the long twisted road Reisz chose to led us down towards the truth. What you expect and what you eventually get are two very different things. Though the ending is subjective, there are some questions and certain subplots left unresolved, the main conflict is laid to rest and readers will be pleased to see Paris is indeed rewarded for her story… just as she predicted.
Favorite Quote: “You put something behind you, Nome, it’s got its eyes on your back. I’d rather see it in front of me, so I can see where it’s going.”
Naomi Bowes was raised in a religious home with a stern disciplinarian father and a submissive mother. When she follows her father one night deep into the woods, she discovers her father’s secret-he is a serial killer. He kidnaps, rapes, and then kills the women. Naomi risks her own life to save his current victim which results in her father’s capture, arrest, and subsequent imprisonment. She, her mother, and her younger brother all move in with her uncle and his boyfriend, in attempts to move on with their lives.
Older and wiser, she finds the house of her dreams and impulsively buys it. This leads to friends and a man who places himself in her path every chance he gets. As Naomi slowly sets down roots and begins to flourish, her past rears its ugly head in a series of murders that all point back to her father and someone’s ugly obsession with her.
Nora Roberts’s The Obsession is a compelling character driven psychological thriller with elements of suspense and romance. In fact, I would say the first half of the book has a strong women’s fiction feel to it. Detail oriented, it builds slow and steady as Roberts’s introduces and places us into the head of our protagonist-Naomi Bowes. Well written with engaging narrative and a strong sense of self, Roberts’s reveals the intentions of this book in two sections. The first half of the book is set in the past, following Naomi’s journey from childhood through high school. We experience first hand how she discovered her father’s crimes and the effects it had on her and her family as the world turned it focus on her father’s notoriety. The emotions are a potent mixture as we see how long her father’s reach was from prison; from her mother’s inability to shake the hold her husband has on her to so her called friends who wanted to capitalize on her family’s pain. The atmosphere of this section is dark, gritty, and bittersweet.
“You don’t understand.” Susan began.
“I understand. I started understanding that night in the woods. It’s you who doesn’t understand, Mama.”
The second half is set in the present; picking up after Naomi has graduated college and well immersed in her career. Naomi is a freelance photographer who has always stayed mobile and unencumbered by man or material items. Her decision to purchase an old antebellum style house in desperate need of renovation shocks her. It speaks strongly of her mindset and need to finally settle down. Having taken her mother’s maiden name, she is secure that she will be able to live here without the ever present pall of her family’s history hanging over her. For the first time since a young adult, she is able to have people in her life without the fear it’s for her past rather than her present. A lighter atmosphere permeates this section, giving readers a reprieve from the earlier horror. Here we see an even stronger Naomi, secure in her life and choices she’s made. She is finally ready to settle down and take her life in a new direction and it has a number of surprises in store for her. One is Xander Keaton.
Similar to my last favorite standalone of Roberts’s-The Witness-we encounter a strong, intelligent, emotionally isolated heroine with a lovely dry wit and a deep-seated vein of vulnerability. Seeing the changes in her from child to adult is an interesting compilation of events-especially when you see that the core of her has remained the same. Calm, cool, and collected, she has no issues with speaking her mind. She automatically does what is right regardless of the consequences. She doesn’t try to fade into the background and allow others to speak or walk over her. She knows what she wants and has the tenacity and know how to get it.
Roberts’s continues to chronicle Naomi’s life with intricate scenes detailing her new home renovation to her interactions with the town and its residents. enjoyed watching of her new home emerge from the ashes of its former self-rather like Naomi herself. She is evolving; choosing to embrace that changes that are scary to her. I also liked seeing how she deals with the constant intrusions in her life after being an island unto oneself for so long. One such intrusion being a man, who like Naomi, has never been one to want to commit to anyone long-term.
“I don’t fall in love, and I like living alone.”
Xander Keaton, a man of many contradictions, sees a beautiful woman and is intent on making her acquaintance. Her reluctance for any romantic entanglements only serves to fuel his curiously and lust for her. It’s only after a tentative friendship develops between them does he begin to see a kindred spirit and his lust for her gradually changes to something far more serious. A notion also shared by her. I liked that while Xander was an important aspect of Naomi’s healing, he doesn’t overwhelm the storyline with his own issue. He is a charming, attractive, and laid back man who serves to help Naomi learn that she has the right to a life, friends, and love.
The suspense aspect of the story creeps in slowly towards the end, almost like an afterthought to add some tension and help bridge the past and the present. I admit I guessed almost right off the bat who Naomi’s stalker was and was a bit disappointed at how it presented itself though I liked how it served to show just how oblivious Naomi had become to anything that didn’t immediately concern her. Roberts’s uses the stalker plotline to reintroduce Naomi’s family (her uncles and younger brother) and I enjoyed seeing them years later. Especially Naomi’s brother, FBI agent Mason. It was interesting to see how he and Naomi chose to deal with their past; Naomi pushing it far into the background while Mason embraced and used it.
The Obsession is the perfect escape from reality largely due to its heroine. The intriguing story line coupled with dynamic characters and a soft but potent romance only serves to remind the reader why Roberts’s continues to be such a prolific and popular author. I look forward to her next standalone and really hope to see Mason in a story all his own.
This seems to be my week for reading dark mindf*ck books. I just finished Debra Anastasia's The Revenger and then dove into this one. This isn't a nicThis seems to be my week for reading dark mindf*ck books. I just finished Debra Anastasia's The Revenger and then dove into this one. This isn't a nice book. Not at all. A broken woman, villainous hero, and a plan that was years in the making comes to a head when one man's need for revenge creates the instrument of his own demise. Warning: There is some sensitive subject matter alluded to in here. Torture, child abuse, sexual abuse, and violence. ...more
A woman standing on the edge the abyss get a chance to settle a few scores when the freak accident that killed her family gives her an added eGrade: B
A woman standing on the edge the abyss get a chance to settle a few scores when the freak accident that killed her family gives her an added edge. When her extracurricular activities catch the eye of a criminal entrepreneur, the stakes are raised in this deadly game of life and death. I want to state emphatically, this is not a romance. The book is tagged romance and untraditional HEA. There is no real heros or heroines in here but there are some good people, some bad people, and some people who are just trying to stay alive. That being said, there are romantic elements. There is love; along with hope, redemption, grief, hatred, revenge, and forgiveness. And the ending is perfect in the sense that our heroines receives exactly what she has been praying for since the beginning. Using some slight of hand and strong characterization, Anastasia builds an emotional and heartbreaking noir world that breaks all the rules and demands your retreat from reality....more
Redemption of a character isn’t an easy task. Especially if the author did an exceptional job of convincing the reader that the character in question was nothing more than as presented. Madlyn Robicheaux is such a character. In book one of this series, Sweetened With A Kiss, Callihan introduced us to Madlyn and made sure we knew she was the villain of the storyline and we would despise her. And we did. She belittled her dead fiancee’s sister, Jen, convincing her that the love of her life only felt pity for her and wanted her for her money. She helped her grandfather kidnap, drug, and then try to have the Jen’s marriage annulled so they could gain control over her fortune. She has maneuvered, schemed, lied, and if all else failed, crushed her opponents.
But as the old saying goes, there are three sides to every story. Your side, their side, and the truth. And Callihan is here to show us the truth of Madlyn Robicheaux- The Red Queen. With a lot of help from the oh so sexy Jared Marshall.
The Fall of the Red Queen is a romance contemporary drenched in heartbreak and pain that blows apart the preconceived notions that have been built by the first two books. A story of love, hope, redemption, and second chances. I highly recommend reading the first two books of the series, at least –Sweetened With A Kiss-as it provides the backstory to the events taking place in here and offers an interesting contrast to the characters we thought we knew to what we are learning now. The long game that Callihan has been creating is finally coming to an end with some explosive revelations. All the pain, sorrow, and cruelty the Red Queen has caused can be summed in one word…love.
“Emotion was a weakness he’d exploit in a heartbeat.”
Madlyn had her life all planned out at age nineteen until tragedy takes everything from her. From that day on, she has be forced to make difficult choices; choices that could spell life or death for people she loves. And every time she is forced to choose, she loses another piece of her soul. As a mother, I fully understand the emotions that have guided Madlyn. I would do anything for my daughter, even if it meant burning the world down around me. And while I fervently wished Madlyn would have had someone to lean on in the past, I’m so glad that Jared finally arrives to help.
“She’s been happy once. She didn’t expect to be or want to be again.”
Jared has always had it pretty easy. As the baby of the family, his every wish has been granted. From his music to his baking, Jared has been free to pursue his dreams up to a certain point. With his father slowly removing himself from the family law practice, Jared is suppose to come on board and help his brother Grant…unless he can convince Madlyn to take his place. Then he will be free to live his life as he chooses.
“Be a good messenger boy. Go back and tell your daddy I said no.”
Let the games begin!
The chemistry between Madlyn and Jared zings off the pages from their first meeting. Jared starts out poking and prodding Madlyn, wanting to see what’s beneath her icy exterior. The result is a hot fiery sparks that nip your fingers as we watch their insults turn to foreplay and the resulting passion take them both out of their comfort zones. Jared never expected to actually be attracted to her but the die is cast and the couple embarks on a journey that will leave them all a little battered and bloody when all is said and done.
“Don’t fuck with me, Madlyn.”
“But I want to so very much.”
Well matched in crucial ways; they are both victims of family ambitions and feel forced to push aside their own dreams in order to maintain the peace, it’s their contrasts that intrigue the reader. Tattooed & pierced Jared brings laughter and fun into the straight-laced & tightly buttoned up Madlyn’s life, something that has been sorely lacking. She feels so undeserving of it all and the lengths she has gone to punish herself is heartbreaking. Madlyn in return doesn’t put Jared in a box and sees the intelligence and hard worker beneath his laissez-faire exterior.
I loved that Jared doesn’t allow his personal feelings over past events to completely color his perceptions of Madlyn. He is a perceptive man and he sees the chinks in her armor. He pushes her to reveal more of herself, with each interaction and both suffers and marvels over her strength and perseverance. Even when she pushes him away, he’s always there for her.
“Tell me you’re not trying to save me.”
“I don’t want to save you. I don’t want to change you. You’re perfect”
The story flows at a steady pace, spilling the past and the present from Madlyn’s eyes so we understand exactly what happened 10 years ago and why Madlyn did what she did. My heart broke, I won’t lie. I had some suspicions but seeing it all spelled out in black and white was still shocking. As Madlyn and Jared work through their attraction, Madlyn is still maneuvering behind the scenes and gearing up for the final battle. Lush revealing dialogue helps to blend the romance with the conflict, making sure neither is overpowered or regulated to the corner.
While there were some odd phrases that didn’t come across as I think the author intended and sometimes the character changes weren’t always crystal clear, the story was what I had hoped for and more. Callihan not only made me understand Madlyn but completely won me over to her side. She sacrificed everything for love and finally won her redemption.
This anthology is perfect for new to erotic romance readers looking for samples to well established fans looking for a quick fix or new to them authors. Most of these stories is based on a previous, ongoing, or just starting out series which has made my (Tori’s) TBR list a little longer. These quick, short, erotic niblets hit the spot as we see all manner of kink from m/f/m and f/f, virginity auctions and incest, and new love and second chance love. I have not read the entire anthology, rather picked a few to highlight that I enjoyed.
Sole by Alessandra Torre. Torre give us a small peek into the life of the Hollywood cinderella couple we met in her best selling Hollywood Dirt-Cole and Summer Mastsen. Not as sexually explicit as the rest of the stories, Torres brings plenty of laughter and love as Cole and Summer get ready for their three-year old’s birthday party. From chickens getting swimming lessons to Hollywood’s top elite learning to slip and slide, Torres shows us Hollywood’s ‘it” couple is still going strong both in their love and marriage.
Heartbreak by Skye Warren is a dark romance that prequels Better When It Hurts. Those who read BWIH knows Blue was unbelievably angry with Hannah and sought to punish her for what he deemed was the ultimate betrayal though his never ending love for her tempers that anger and transforms it into a sexual odyssey of pain and pleasure. Thought provoking and tinged with sorrow, readers will see the reasons for what Hannah did and understand that sometimes the only way to save someone you love is to let them go. An emotional short that tears at your heart.
Naughty Wishes by Sarah Castille. A husband surprises his wife of 15 years with a special birthday present but can he tamper down his dominance to ensure her needs come first. While I enjoyed the fact this sexy romance with it’s scorching hot menage scene was between an older married couple, the best part of the story for me was the communication between the husband and wife and the wife’s nervousness over the whole situation. Her internal dialogue has me giggling as she struggles to accept the idea of bringing another man into their bed with normal thoughts about her body image, her dental hygiene, and her dog’s perchance for crotches. A fun lighthearted story that celebrates new beginnings.
Sympathy for the Devil by Cynthia Rayne is a quick intense story about a woman who escapes her abusive husband only to be found by the devil himself. A single moment of time is captured when fear, loneliness, and the unmistakable bond of a mother’s love all blend together into an emotion acted upon only to be made a memory never to be spoken of again. The eroticism isn’t a physical deed but rather more the action of a hit man with a blood stained soul who seizes a single chance of redemption. An interesting story that captured my attention though it left me wanting more.
Decadent Knights by Julia Skyes A young woman is rescued from a sadistic dom only to stay trapped in the nightmare she lived for two years. Her rescuer and new master is determined to free her from her prison with the help of a friend. This dark erotic romance is ripe with tension, love, sorrow, and hope as we watch a women struggle to find her identity after being a victim of sexual abuse. Her master sets up an incredibly hot menage scene in order to show her that the scars she wears are not brands of shame but badges of courage. Their full story can be read in Knight Impossible, #4.
Headed for Trouble is the beginning of a new trilogy series by Shiloh Walker. Built around a trio of siblings-the McKays-this romance suspense blendsHeaded for Trouble is the beginning of a new trilogy series by Shiloh Walker. Built around a trio of siblings-the McKays-this romance suspense blends an intense emotional romance with a nail-biting suspense storyline as the youngest McKay, Neve, finally comes home after leaving so many years ago. On the run from an abusive ex-boyfriend, she is forced to come clean about her ordeal and let in the family she feels abandoned her to her fate. Walker does a good job of addressing domestic violence and the mindset of someone who finds themselves victimized by someone they love. The main storyline is influenced heavily by the building the arc and character backgrounds though it doesn’t take away from your enjoyment of the story overall. Walker drops hints as to what is in store for the other siblings while creating an action-packed finale to this installment. Fans of Walker’s will be left both satisfied by the ending but more than ready for the next installment-The Trouble With Temptation-which is set to release May 3, 2016.
Fans of Ilona Andrews have begged and pleaded for Derek to get his own story since he was first introduced in Magic Bites. Originally ordered to shadow and protect Kate Daniels due to her impetuous actions upon meeting the Beast Lord; Kate gained her very own teenage werewolf sidekick and a very good friend in Derek Gaunt. From that moment on he has made us laugh, swoon, and even shed a few tears as we have watched him change from an attractive outgoing teenager to a hardened loner who has seen and done things that left him damaged on the inside and out.
Novellas are fabulous ways to divulge deeper into a particular story line or character. And it’s always a bonus when a series revolving around one couple offers readers a chance to see the world through the eyes of another character. Especially one as complex as Derek. His unique voice, heard only in the distance before, comes through crystal clear with a fatalistic tone. We can hear how rough the past year has been; completely changing him not only physically but mentally and emotionally. He is conflicted, stressed, and it shows.
While Kate is the main voice of the series, hearing from Derek gifts us with insight into things Kate doesn’t know about. And ho boy are there things going on that she knows nothing about. Things about Julie. Things about Derek. Things that are coming for them and Atlanta.
Adventure, danger, and violence all blend together to create a fast-paced action powered story that advances the arc, further builds on this incredible world, but most importantly gives us hints as to what’s to come. One deadly artifact, magic that predates time, and a man who is teetering on the edge. A man who becomes noticeably sharper and more possessive when a certain young lady comes into play. A young lady whose own secrets are more than enough scare even the hardest of warriors.
Magic Stars is an exhilarating AND informative read that only further fuels my need for the next book in the series-Magic Binds-set to release in 2016.
Overwhelmed is aptly named because it completely overwhelmed me from the character dynamics to the plotlines. Every time you thought you were done, thOverwhelmed is aptly named because it completely overwhelmed me from the character dynamics to the plotlines. Every time you thought you were done, the author throws another impossible situation at you and with a heavy sigh you dive back in. There is ALOT going on and the emotional angst and pain is frankly..overwhelming. While I didn't hate the book and it engaged me to a certain point, I was exhausted by the sheer dramatics of it all....more
“…I’m a girl and girls are made of…” “Sugar and spice,” he interjected, remembering the rhyme. “Wrong. Girls are made of vodka and ice. The two combined increase our tolerance for masculine nonsense.”
The Darkest Torment is the twelfth book in Gena Showalter’s popular long-running LOTU series. A fun, sexy, action-packed dark PNR that has kept us entertained through the years with her sexy dominant alphas and the insane women they choose to give their hearts to. Showalter keeps the pace frantic, the plotlines crazy, and the laughs coming in this release. I will admit I was a more than a little shocked when I first learned this would be Baden’s story. While Baden (The original holder of distrust) has been seen on and off throughout the series, we’ve never had any real interaction with him due to his actions bef The Darkest Night. But all that changes in here. Book e-The Darkest Touch-gave us some clues to what Baden has been up to and how he was going to become a more active player in the series but this wasn’t quite what I expected.
Showalter quickly brings us up to speed on Baden, the brewing war, and Hades involvement. We have learned that Baden has been released from Lucifer’s control and given corporal form by accepting Hades offer of freedom and agreeing to wear his bands. Bands that Keeley and William convinced him to take. Bands that essentially make Baden a slave to Hades. Needless to say, Baden is NOT happy about this development and begins to plot his freedom. As Baden comes to terms with the constraints on his new life, he learns that Pandora has also been released by Hades and he and she will be competing against one another with the winner taking all.
Insane pacing, strong writing, amusing narrative, and multiple storylines give us a well rounded look into everything that is going on in the Lord’s personal lives and their war against Lucifer. Even with the convoluted plotlines, Showalter keeps us firmly in hand and allows the story to unfold in an easy to understand manner of the issues at hand. She also spends a considerable amount of time developing Baden and beginning the seemingly daunting task of wrangling the overreaching arc into some semblance of order
The story starts out on a high note as William is trying to get Baden to have sex, explaining he is becoming increasingly unstable and needs some type of release before he goes DEFCON 20. Baden isn’t too keen on this as physical contact hurts him and the entity that has taken up residence in him really just hates everyone. Of course, once Baden gives in, the woman he picks is an agent for Lucifer and tries to kill him. Poor Baden. He just can’t win.
“I knew I should’ve just waited for you to weaken from orgasm.”
Baden seems to catch a break when Hades commands him to retrieve a gold coin from a human man. This doesn’t go well at all and Baden ends up kidnapping the man’s wife instead of the coin. Thus we meet Baden’s soul mate-Katarina Joelle.
Katarina Joelle is a renowned dog trainer whose biggest mistake was refusing to sell a man a pair of security dogs. Aleksander Ciernik, a vicious drug lord, bulks at being denied and forces her into a no win situation. In order to save the rest of her dogs, she must agree to marry him. At her wedding, Katarina is shocked when she gets her own version of a red wedding when Baden and his friends drop in and demand a gold coin. Alek refuses, causing not only the death of his entire wedding party but the kidnapping of Katarina.
“Taking a human is kind of a creeper move, you know that right?”
Similar in format to the prior romances, a healthy portion of the story is Baden and Katarina getting to know one another, learn each other’s backstories, and engage in a passive-aggressive style of foreplay. Katarina isn’t happy Baden kidnapped her and makes sure he knows it with repeated escape attempts and insults. Baden and his entity aren’t sure what to do with her though both of them are equally amused by her.
I loved Katarina. She fits in brilliantly with the rest of the gang. An amusing heroine who isn’t at all hampered by the fact she’s human. Intelligent, sneaky, smart-mouthed, and compassionate, Katarina has a will of steel only made stronger by a core of vulnerability that resides inside of her. Abandoned and/or betrayed by everyone she’s loved, she chooses to pour all her love into rescuing and rehabilitating dogs.
Baden is adorably grumpy in here and heaven at his worse, I couldn’t help but love him. He has some anger issues that need working out. He blames himself for what has happened to his friends once Pandora’s box was opened and has some serious guilt over his actions in the past. He doesn’t feel he is worthy of friendship or love and seeks to overcome his time spent with the demon distrust. Katarina is somewhat of an anomaly for him. She’s nothing like he thought and he truly fears for her life if she is dragged into the coming war.
The romance itself is very slow to develop; kidnapping and insults can put a damper on anyone love life and the animosity between them is strong. Katarina doesn’t just accept her circumstances but rather uses all her skills and knowledge to turn the tables on Baden and keep him on his toes. I find it hilarious she uses her dog training to try and bring him to heel.
Surviving a feral, rule one: Never show fear. Basically, fake it till you make it. Two: Use a soft but assertive tone. Anything else could rouse hostility. Three: Remember you get what you reinforce, not necessarily what you expect. In this case, she ignored rule number four: Place the dog’s needs first. And skipped to number five: Find out what will work best with each individual dog.
The chemistry is not to be denied and soon it sets this couple on a fiery course with some equally steamy and laugh out loud scenes as Baden struggles to override his bossy and overprotective side to treat Katarina as an equal. He is a dominant force to the core but he visibly struggles to tone it down for her and comes across as quite the romantic at times. What I truly enjoyed was no matter what Baden said to Katarina, she was able to hold her own with him and had no issues walking away when he went too far. It was also interesting how Baden’s entity comes to love Katarina as much as Baden does. She grounds them both, much to the surprise of the others.
“And Rina? You may be able to survive the world without me, but I can’t survive the world without you. We can’t. You keep us calm. You are our home.”
The LOTU craziness we all love is had here in spades. Willam almost steals the show with his advice and help. There are multiple storylines that ride parallel alongside one another and intersect at key times; bringing some needed updating to the ongoing arc and clueing us into future couples. I was happy we are given updates on the statuses of previous characters-revealing some good and not so good news. Showalter narrows her focus on Cameo’s search for Lazarus, alerting us that her book is next, while dropping a huge bomb on William and Gilly’s relationship. I imagined a million different scenarios over the years concerning them but I never saw this one. It will certainly be interesting to see how it plays out.
There were a few issues I had with this installment. Showalter seemed to really micromanage Baden and Katarina. At times, the sheer amount of small talk and play by play descriptions became redundant and slowed the story down. There is quite a bit of filler in here and the urge to start skimming through these areas was strong. I also wished Keeley’s actions concerning certain events had been explained a little better. She does a few things in here that make no sense. I’ll be honest, after reading this book, I can’t help but think The Red Queen aka Keeley increasingly reminds me of The White Queen aka Nix (Kresley Cole’s IAD series) with her cryptic prophecies, increasing forgetfulness, and offers of help that often make the situation ten times worse. As we all know, Showalter and Kresley often drop easter eggs in their books concerning each other’s characters so I wonder if this is an indication that these series will begin to interact in a more visible fashion as we near the end of both of them.
My issues aside, Showalter once again proves to readers that she has BIG plans for her LOTU and that we ain’t seen nothing yet. The Darkest Torment takes readers on a wild roller coaster ride that will leave you will begging to ride again and again.
Edwards continues to enchant readers with the fifth installment in her Araneae series. This well-plotted fantasy continues to engage the reader with iEdwards continues to enchant readers with the fifth installment in her Araneae series. This well-plotted fantasy continues to engage the reader with its intriguing characters, heart-pounding action, suspenseful intrigue and subtle romance. Dynamic worldbuilding continues to evolve while Edwards further develops the ongoing arc. Though each installment focuses on one hero and heroine, the arc is long-reaching and Edwards is not prone to recapping. -
Favorite Quote: “I would have stood for you, the law would have stood for you.”
A former senator goes missing, his cousin, Dr. Dennis Mira, is the only witness to the crime. Left with a concussion and a sense of forbidding, Dr. Mira calls his wife for help. Luckily for him, he is married to a renowned profiler for the NYSPD, Dr. Charlotte Mira, and good friends with Lieutenant Eve Dallas. When Eve and Charlotte arrive, Dennis tells them he saw his cousin beaten and sitting in a chair but was hit from behind and now his cousin is gone.
What starts out as a random abduction soon turns into something more insidious when the senator is found dead and tortured. As Eve begins to investigate the senator’s death, she discovers politics and power can make for strange bedfellows. Eve uses her badge and wealth to open closed doors, determined to shine a light on the private lives of the elite and powerful, only to discover a series of crimes so heinous that the lines between victim and killer blur.
Brotherhood in Death is the 42nd installment in J.D. Robb’s long-running futuristic In Death series. Set in the year 2061, a hard as nails lieutenant brings criminals to justice with some help from her billionaire husband and the NYSPD. Strong writing, well-plotted mysteries, intriguing subplots, and continuous characterization helps to keep the world fresh but comforting. Though there is a certain predictable quality to the story, the show us different angles used in police investigation. Robb continues to blend our heroine Eve’s personal life with her professional one, keeping the addictive action packed mystery perfectly in tune with the established romance and personal drama that constantly hums in the background. Humor and some lighthearted moments walk hand in hand with the more emotional scenes, giving readers the time to come to terms with the darker aspects of the story. Though riddled with police procedurals and investigative terms, Robb writes with an easy hand, allowing those unfamiliar with either of these aspects to follow along.
Eve is on her way home early for once when she receives a frantic call from her friend and department resident shrink, Dr. Charlotte Mira, begging her to come to an unknown address. Her husband, Dennis Mira, has been hurt and a family member is missing. Eve rushes over to learn that Mr. Mira was knocked unconscious and his cousin, the powerful ex-senator Edward Mira, has been abducted. Eve learns Dennis was at the family homestead to discuss Edward’s attempts to sell the family property out from under Dennis. With little to no evidence, Eve is starting out blind with only Dennis’s vague recollections and a politician’s legacy to help guide her.
I have noticed this series becoming progressively darker as Robb moves from futuristic based crimes into more personal timeless ones. I want to note that this particular storyline is sexually dark and may be a trigger for some. While Robb doesn’t write violence gratuitously, she also doesn’t whitewash. Per usual, the storyline revolves around watching how Eve and her team using their myriad of skills and know how to solve the case. I did feel this one started off a bit slow in the beginning. I felt more time was spent listening to Eve investigate then actually seeing her in action. There was also some oddness to the dialogue in the beginning. It seemed to struggle to find a comfortable flow. The pacing and dialogue both pick up just before the halfway point and Eve begins to make inroads into the investigation and the pieces start to form a picture. As the nature of the crime(s) speak personally to Eve, we see the connections made and the flashbacks that plague Eve as she struggles to remain objective. We also see her dismay that two people she whom she sees as friends and pseudo parent figures are hurt by this case. Dennis Mira has always been an important secondary character and I enjoyed Robb taking the time to peel back his layers to show us what lies behind his normally affordable personality. HIs and Eve’s scenes together are particularly poignant.
Familiar faces along with some new ones provide entertainment, outrage, and some sorrow tinged moments. Eve continues to loosen up in the workplace and love her ability to joke with her squad. They have her back and she finally believes it. Readers will love seeing Eve and Roarke as they continue to grow in their lives together. Steamy love scenes, romantic declarations of love, and just enough fire out of the bed (or the shower, the elevator, etc…) tells a beautiful tale of triumph over tragedy. One scene in particular sets the stage for some changes in their home, telling us that they are ready to move onto another chapter in their life together.
Brotherhood in Death is another welcomed addition to the series, giving readers an engagingly layered mystery to help solve and a dynamic couple whose love affair continues to capture our attention even 42 books in. As always, I love visiting Robb’s version of the future and look forward to the next installment.
I made it 40% and had to give up. A confusing story that had a lot going on but wasn't actually going anywhere. DNF-will post thoughts in Sept reviewsI made it 40% and had to give up. A confusing story that had a lot going on but wasn't actually going anywhere. DNF-will post thoughts in Sept reviews. ...more
Derek Sawyer has it all with a fiance, a good job, a romantic getaway cabin on the lake, and his dog, Gracie. When his best friend and coworker, Victor, sexually assaults him on a business trip then turns around and files harassment charges against him at work, Derek loses everything. Alone and scared, Derek is stuck in a web of fear and shame that is tightening around him every day.
Officer Russ Thomas owns the cabin next door to Derek. Though immediately attracted to Derek upon first meeting him, Russ isn’t about to come between a committed couple. A comfortable neighborly friendship develops between Derek and Russ. When Russ runs into Derek after not seeing him for a few weeks, he notices something is wrong. Gone is the happy go lucky man he has come to know and in its place is a scared and angry man. Having worked with victims of sexual assault before, it doesn’t take Russ long to figure out what has happened to Derek. With Russ’s help, Derek files a police report and restraining order against Victor in hopes of gaining back his life. But Victor doesn’t see what he did was wrong and Derek’s actions only serve to anger him more.
As Russ stands by Derek, being the rock at his back as he slowly tries to recover, Victor refuses to give up and soon Derek finds himself fighting for more than just getting his life back…now he’s fighting to stay alive.
Violated is a thought-provoking and sobering tale that addresses sensitive subject matter. Male on male sexual assault happens far more often than it’s reported and the aftermath for the victim and everyone around them can be devastating. Fessenden effectively identifies and reveals the physical and psychological effects that rape has on the person assaulted and the continued emotional and mental assault they face as they struggle to find justice. The plot line sets up well, introducing us to the players involved and the roles they play in the protagonist’s life. The timeline is revealed in a concise and clear manner with no confusion or questionable scenes. That in itself was part of the problem. Fessenden does a good job of telling you of Derek’s pain, sorrow, and confusion – but the emotional connection I was expecting didn’t happen. I was never able to make the jump from reading to feeling the story through Derek’s eyes and emotions.
A varied character base helps to keep the story moving at a steady place though Fessenden’s focus remains almost solely with Derek. When he does break away to other characters, the story loses itself and becomes even more disconnected. I found Tim and Victor to be weak links and they really shouldn’t have been. They were purported to have strong ties to Derek and I would have liked a more time to have been spent developing them and the reasons why they acted as they did. Instead, Tim and Victor serve as merely plot devices to give the story the villains it needed to push Derek towards his supposed HEA.
Russ had stronger characterization and I liked seeing him and Derek connect first as friends. He tries to give Derek the space and support he needs though his job as a police officer and his attraction foreshadows his need to protect Derek at all costs. He doesn’t push (too much) which I thought was appropriate considering. Again though, I felt as if I was being told of their feelings without seeing it actually happen. This gave the relationship a forced feeling as if the author wasn’t sure of his characters intentions . There were also some scenes that were supposed help us better understand Russ but they don’t really add anything to the story or procure the desired effect. Russ’s adventurous sexual hook ups wants us to see he’s looking for a solid monogamous relationship and his sister’s news hints that he understands Derek better than Derek or we think. Yet, It’s all very awkwardly presented and out of sync with the rest of the storyline.
Regardless of my issues, Fessenden does do justice to this main topic and those involved. He wraps it up in a realistic manner; Derek isn’t magically cured. He struggles until the end but with help is trying to get on with his life and making strides in his recovery. While this wasn’t quite the story I thought it would be as it didn’t solicit the reactions I expected, it is a story that I appreciated for the honesty and compassion Fessenden used in writing it.
Fans have waited for Ian's story and it doesn't disappoint. This story picks up in the past and moves towards the present as two damaged people help eFans have waited for Ian's story and it doesn't disappoint. This story picks up in the past and moves towards the present as two damaged people help each other deal with the darkness inside of them. POV alternates and a lot of time in spent in each of their heads. Headway is made towards the arc while some subplots are resolved. The "romance" is more subdued then the last couple of books but given the subject matter, it's to be expected. ...more