**spoiler alert** This one was a DNF for me. So disappointing, because in the beginning I thought it was going to be one of the better offerings from**spoiler alert** This one was a DNF for me. So disappointing, because in the beginning I thought it was going to be one of the better offerings from the Love's Landscapes event.
I loved the setting, which was a very intriguing blend of science-fantasy. The story is told from Reynard's PoV, in a storytelling/flashback style that put me in mind of The Princess Bride. I'm normally not too keen on flashbacks, but I found I enjoyed the way this was done very much. I also love a good enemies-to-lovers story, and these two characters were setting off some major sparks at the start. The bickering and sniping and sexual tension were wonderfully done, and I was loving the hell out of it all. And then the story just choked and died...
They're suddenly bound together (if you blink, you'll miss it), and it's done in a way that felt so incredibly lazy and contrived. Then a little bit later comes the first, brief sex scene, which just left me feeling... meh. After all the insults Reynard had endured from Sebastian, he's suddenly happy-happy gung-ho to jump in the sack with this man? And Sebastian obviously has some serious issues with Elementals. Not to mention, we already got a hint previously that he's had a bad sexual experience with one before, and yet he just passively rolls over and begs for sex? That whole scene just felt so... off, and completely out of character.
And then the scene the next morning was even worse. They both very casually and off-handedly agree that the sex was "pretty good" and oh hey, we should do that again.
Errr... no thanks. At that point, my interest in the relationship between these two instantly evaporated and I had to call it quits. :(...more
**spoiler alert** I’ve never read anything with pony play before (it’s not something that’s particularly interested or appealed to me before), but I w**spoiler alert** I’ve never read anything with pony play before (it’s not something that’s particularly interested or appealed to me before), but I was in the mood to try something new and decided to give this one a shot. Which turned out to be a very bad choice, especially for a first introduction to this type of kink.
I haven’t finished this story, and I’m not sure if I ever will. I got to about 54% (at the scene where Reuben is introduced to the “reading chair”) and decided to call it quits. I may try to finish at a later date (out of sheer morbid curiosity), but for now, I wanted to get my thoughts down while it’s all still fresh in my mind.
I guess I’ll start out with what I actually liked. Just a couple of things, which are what saved this one from a 1-star rating. First was the professional writing. There is so much unpolished, juvenile writing, and silly, corny, unrealistic dialogue in this genre, that finding something that’s well-written (even if you don’t like the actual content, characters, etc.) is like finding a diamond in an ocean of pebbles. So, kudos to the author for the high-quality writing. Secondly, I thought the world building was very well done. It’s a fascinating, unique setting, and I had no problems at all, picturing this strange, historical, steampunk-ish, zombie-ridden, post apocalyptic-type version of our world.
But, as for the rest of the story… Well, I still don’t know how I feel about the pony play aspect, and I honestly don’t know if that’s because it just doesn’t do it for me, or if I couldn’t really focus and appreciate it because my mind was too preoccupied with all the other fucked up shit that was going on…
I don’t know if anyone else has mentioned this (I haven’t had a chance yet, to read through any of the other reviews here, and I don’t really want to – I don’t want to be influenced by them before I write my own review), but this story is NOT a romance. It’s advertised as one (on the Smashwords page, where I purchased my copy, it’s tagged as “Romance”) but holy hell… In what twisted, fucked-up universe could this EVER be considered a romance? And the BDSM? NOT the typical kind you would expect. The BDSM aspects of this story are all about punishment (and NOT the erotic, titillating kind) which involve Reuben being bound while he has his face smashed into a wall (bloody nose and all) by his Master’s lackey, being hit/slapped in the face by his Master, and having his Master snap, fly into a rage, and beat the living fuck out of him with a cane.
Which brings me to the characters. In the beginning, I was really fascinated with the “Master”. He was presented as a very odd, mysterious type of character, and I was looking forward to learning more about him. But as the story progressed, I slowly started getting some really bad vibes about him. And by the time I reached the scene where they had their first dinner together, in that “house of horrors” dining hall, I realized he was NOT some sexy, darkly sinister “make you shiver in a good way” type of character. He’s just a creepy fucker. Like, “mentally ill serial killer” kind of creepy.
And then there’s Reuben. Poor, stupid Reuben. I liked him very much in the beginning, but again, as the story progressed, I started to realize just how ironic it was that he was always so upset about everyone calling him “stupid”, because… he actually IS. And oh god, how I can’t stand stupid main characters. It’s the final nail in the coffin that completely kills a story for me. And this character really does fall under the TSTL (too stupid to live) category, which again is ironic, because the man that owns him may very well kill him… literally. But oh no, he’s more worried about being called stupid, worried about what he’s going to be fed, worried about the humiliation, whining and sulking about not being allowed any alcohol. Not to mention, attacking his Master and mouthing off every chance he gets, even AFTER he’s been repeatedly beaten for that. Slow learner? Umm, yeah… that would be putting it mildly. Hell, even a retarded half-wit would have enough sense of self-preservation to keep their mouth shut and behave (while waiting for a chance to escape), especially when they know for a fact that “disobedient horses” get “put down”, and have their heads stuffed and mounted on the dining room wall.
Like I said before… Lots of fucked up shit going on in this story. Creepy as hell. NO romance (yes, I’ve only read roughly half of it, but I honestly don’t see how this could ever turn around and become “romantic”). A creepy, mentally ill, abusive, murderous main character, paired with an incredibly stupid, sulky/whiny one. And I’d be hard-pressed to even call this erotic, although, to be fair, that part of it is purely subjective. If I didn’t have so many issues with the characters, the sex scenes would probably have been much more enjoyable for me.
But as it is… this story just left me cold and queasy, and I really wish I could get my $4.99 back. :(...more
**spoiler alert** I normally enjoy Kari Gregg's work, so I was really surprised at how much of a disappointment this one was for me. :(
To begin with,**spoiler alert** I normally enjoy Kari Gregg's work, so I was really surprised at how much of a disappointment this one was for me. :(
To begin with, it started out on a very sour note when Noah is literally manhandled and dragged out of his home, crutches and all. And the love interest (Wade) just stands there and watches. A crippled man and intended mate, who at this point is more of a human than a shifter, is being treated this way by those who claim to be "rescuing" him? Really?
Then he's cuffed upside the head (ummm... skull split open, acute migranes - any of this ringing a bell??) for simply balking at being shoved into the car, after which his wrists and ankles are bound. Again, does nobody give a damn that he's got crippled legs and incredibly fragile knees?? WTF?
After that, Noah spends a lot of time in the bedroom, alone, sick, collapsed on the floor in pain, etc., with the occasional visit from Fletcher (AKA: Mr. 'I couldn't care less if you're suffering' Insensitive). And the even less occasional visits from Wade, which were mostly just for a fuck session.
One good thing I'll say about this story is that the sex scenes were hot, and Kari Gregg's writing in general is very good, which is the only thing that saved this one from a 1-star rating. However... the sex was not as hot as it should have been because there was absolutely no chemistry between the two MCs. And the further I got into the story, the more I disliked Wade. At the point where I gave up on this (at about 75% - just after the knotting scene) things between them had started to change a little, and we finally see that maybe Wade's not such an indifferent, insensitive prick after all, but by then it was too late for me. I just couldn't bring myself to care what happened to the two of them and I called it quits.
There were also a number of things that were never properly explained (at least, not up to the 75% mark):
* How the humans know about shifters. * The whole "taboo issue" of humans giving medical treatment to shifters. * Why they would even want to murder an injured child. Are they really just that cold? Well, I guess that's not too much of a surprise, considering the way the story opened... * The m-preg seemed to come out of nowhere (even though, yes, I knew it was going to be in there) and was very matter-of-fact, leaving me thinking: Ummm...okay...
In conclusion... poor, poor Noah. I really felt like I wanted to pluck him out of this story and drop him down into one with a kinder pack and a more loving, caring mate.
If I were a character in this book, I would avoid that pack like the fucking plague.
LOVED this! I couldn't put it down...devoured the whole thing in one sitting. Wonderful characters, plot and world building. And not a single dull momLOVED this! I couldn't put it down...devoured the whole thing in one sitting. Wonderful characters, plot and world building. And not a single dull moment. It also has one of the most interesting and unusual menage relationships I've read.
**spoiler alert** Oh wow...this story was absolutely riveting! I've never read anything quite like it before. Just like the authors' other story (Scha**spoiler alert** Oh wow...this story was absolutely riveting! I've never read anything quite like it before. Just like the authors' other story (Schadenfreude), I could not put this one down. Stayed up all night to read it from start to finish!
Schadenfreude was very dark and disturbing, but this one is even more so. It's extremely violent, bloody, gory, and has a lot of very graphic, disturbing content, so make sure you heed the warnings before you give it a try.
The protags (Oberon and Leander) are not the "good guys". They're sick, twisted, sadistic killers who love to murder, maim and torture...and I loved them! They were both such incredibly fascinating characters, and together they were just so wonderful and perfect for each other...in that sweet, serial killer kind of way. :P Lots of great character development as well, especially in regards to Leander. I loved seeing how he embraced his true nature and became a killer, with Oberon's guidance. The supporting characters were also very interesting and well written.
A major kudos to the author for his amazing skill in making me care about these "evil" characters so much, and having me root for them all the way! And make no mistake...they both have some major traumas in their past (especially Oberon), but that's not what makes them the way they are. They're not "misunderstood" heroes with redeeming qualities, who turn out to be not as bad as we're led to believe. They were born that way, and they remain that way through the entire story...possibly becoming even more bloodthirsty once they connect with each other. They are definitely soulmates, IMO. :)
The only thing I really hated about this story was the kiddie rape/molestation. Now, I'd read the warning in the description, but I didn't think this would apply to the main characters. But Unfortunately, it did. That disturbed me quite a LOT, and it's a line I really wish the author hadn't crossed. (I really wish he'd just had the kids tortured/killed, like everyone else, and left out the sexual stuff). But ultimately, I loved everything else so much that I tried to mentally delete those parts from my brain, and pretend like they didn't exist. If I didn't do that, I would have ended up hating the characters, and giving up on the story. So...5-stars for my personal, mentally-edited version. :P And 4-stars for the original pedophilia version. :(
On a side note...does anyone know if this author has written anything else? And if so, where can it be found? ...more
It's sadistic, twisted, horrifying, disturbing...and I just could not put it down, even though my stomach was all tied up inThis was an amazing read.
It's sadistic, twisted, horrifying, disturbing...and I just could not put it down, even though my stomach was all tied up in knots through the entire thing, and I actually felt physically nauseous several times. That has never happened to me before. I usually have a very strong stomach when it comes to violence and torture (in literature), and have actually read much more brutal, graphic content than this in other stories. But this one had a much more profound effect on me, most likely because the medical experiments/tortures described are based on real life events: Nazi human experimentation (Josef Mengele also makes an appearance as a fairly prominent character in this story).
As for the main characters...despite what you may think for a large portion of this story, there is actually a "romance" here (IMO), but I found I had to create a new label/shelf for it, because to call it an "erotic romance" would be ten kinds of wrong. It's dark, twisted and sadistic (Stockholm Syndrome at its very worst) and the "romance" kind of creeps up on you so very slowly. At the beginning of the story I was horrified with their "relationship"...during the last quarter I was an emotional wreck, hoping like hell that they would have a happy ending...together. ...more