I don't have time to write a review just yet, but I will! This is the best series I've read in 2013 so far and I wish I'd written it! I can't wait to...moreI don't have time to write a review just yet, but I will! This is the best series I've read in 2013 so far and I wish I'd written it! I can't wait to find out how it ends, but I know the author will not disappoint. Holy shit this was good. I feel like I need to find the author and observe his/her method. The skill that went into putting this together! I'm just...I'm a fan...for like...ever!(less)
Tracey has a very easy writing style. I meant to just take a peek and found myself looking for the next sentence as soon as I read the previous one. I...moreTracey has a very easy writing style. I meant to just take a peek and found myself looking for the next sentence as soon as I read the previous one. I really loved the story and the way it unfolded. A very realistic portrayal of the emotions one might experience in these extraordinary circumstances. The gooey girl in me loved it and I don't let her have her way often. I also don't stop working on my own material unless I am hijacked by a book, so if you needed to know how good I really thought it was - there you go.
I had the pleasure of meeting Tracey during our book signing in Chicago. But I get to see her again this year and this time through the eyes of a fan. :)(less)
So, here we are at the end. Was it good for you? It was for me. I suppose in the end that’s all that really matters. I know that’s selfish, but you know I’m selfish and you love me anyway.
For what it’s worth, I think I might actually miss you.
Will you miss me?
Will you cry?
If you do, please drink a tear for me and know that I never meant to cause you pain. Our parting is no cause to fret. In the words of Frank Herbert, “There is no real ending. It’s just the place where you stop the story.”
Livvie and I go on. We still live and have adventures.
Will we see each other again? I don’t have the answer to that. Life has caught me to expect the unexpected and it’s a lesson I learn over and again. Suffice to say – I hope so.
To be perfectly honest, I’ve gone around and around trying to find the perfect ending to this novel I never intended to write. In the end, I’ve come to the conclusion that there wasn’t anything wrong with the way Livvie ended things. Her epilogue was short, but it captured the essence of our story: Survival is the most important thing. It affords us the chance to live and to find all of the things that make living worthwhile. I found redemption. I found forgiveness. I found love.
That said, Livvie did a beautiful job with the ending and I can think of no greater tribute than to end this book as she wrote it (with my helpful commentary along the way of course). Submitted for your heartbreak, I present: The Epilogue (2.0)
James swallowed thickly as he stared at the words on the screen. Sophia had written a very tragic love story, but it was a love story just the same. She had been very generous to him, painting a far better picture of the man he had been than he would have. (I think we’ve learned this is absolutely true.) She’d been working for weeks, sequestered in her little room upstairs. He wasn’t allowed in there, and though he didn’t like it, he respected Sophia’s wishes. He respected all her wishes these days. (Because I’m the best boyfriend ever! Sorry, Rubio.)
Several hours ago, she’d flown into the kitchen and thrown her arms around him.
“Why are you smiling, Kitten? Did you finally finish?” James asked.
“Yes! I finished,” she said and followed up with a little dance. (I love the little dance.) She’d immediately dragged him upstairs and planted him in front of the laptop so he could start reading. There wasn’t another chair, so she’d gotten down on her knees and rested her head on his knee. (She lies; she just likes kneeling at my feet.)
As he read, he stroked her hair. James had been scared to read everything from Sophia’s point of view, but he was glad he’d made it through and discovered just how Sophia remembered everything. She loved him, he was sure of it, and while he still didn’t think he deserved it, he was happy about it nonetheless. (This is entirely true.)
He once again gazed on her sleeping form, unable to resist shifting her hair away from her face and behind her ear. Her mouth was slack, and he was sure she had drooled on him, but it didn’t matter. She was the most beautiful thing he had ever seen. He couldn’t help but stroke her. He loved the soft noises she made when he did. He didn’t deserve her. He never did (also true).
She’d been with him for over a year now, and secretly he always hoped she would tire of him and decide to leave. (I didn’t hope—I feared.) She told him she loved him often, (I’ll give this to her. She did tell me she loved me often—not with her words, but with her deeds) and each time, it cut him down to his core. He didn’t deserve her love (no, I don’t). He couldn’t bring himself to pretend he did (no, I can’t).
When he’d learned she’d been writing their story, he helped her in any way he could. It was his outlet as much as hers. He needed to see it in black and white – the pain he put her through, the monster he had been. He never wanted to forget what he could never allow himself to become again (true).
Since the night Sophia had met him at the Paseo, the night he had decided to leave everything behind and integrate into mainstream society, so much of him had changed. Away from the horrors of his youth, away from blood and vengeance, he was just – James.
At first, he’d had no idea what to do with himself. All around him, real life was happening, and he was a spectator. What did he know about meeting people in cafés? About having friends that weren’t killers? (I love you, Livvie.)
But at night, in the dark, when he found he couldn’t sleep because the world felt suddenly too big – there was Sophia (yes).
Whenever he thought about running away and returning to the life he knew, he thought about the day he’d given her the note. She’d burst into tears and run away from the café. He’d thought she would call the FBI, and he’d been prepared to go to prison if they were the ones to meet him at the Paseo. (It sounds silly… now.)
Instead, she had met him there. She stood, looking like a goddess among commoners. Her hair lay in soft waves down her back, occasionally being picked up by the breeze. She wore a black halter dress that hugged her breasts and bared her back. She also wore incredibly tall heels. They were dangerous, considering the cobbled streets. She’d wanted him to know she was a grown woman, and she wasn’t afraid of him anymore. (I can still picture this in my mind.)
He approached her from across the square. He was nervous. He wore jeans and a black cashmere sweater. The sleeves were pushed up to his forearms. He wanted her to know he was different. He didn’t want to hurt her anymore.
Her back was to him as he approached, but the breeze suddenly died and she turned when she heard his steps approaching.
There had been no words. He simply stood in front of her with his hands in his pockets. Her breath caught, and for a while she only stared at him. She stepped closer, and he almost took a step back – but didn’t. She was suddenly very close, and he couldn’t help but inhale her scent and close his eyes. (I love the way she smells.) She touched his shirt and pulled him down. His head swam. (It did!) Then she kissed him, and it was all that needed to be said.
He moved to Barcelona so she could still attend university. They never talked about the past. When people asked them how they met, she was quick to intercept the question and respond. They had met at the Paseo de Colon. (If only it had been so simple.)
When they made love, he was surprised to discover Sophia’s tastes had evolved. She wanted him to spank her. She wanted him to bind her arms. He felt sick about it at first. Her proclivities were obviously his fault. Still, their games turned him on to the point of physical pain. (They still do.)
He felt villainous, but what was done was done, and now he would do everything he could to give her what she wanted. He owed her much. Besides, it wasn’t always rough. Sometimes it was vanilla – and he liked that too (very much).
Carefully, James lifted Sophia into his arms and carried her to their bedroom. He laid her down on the bed, smiling as she shifted around, seeking some way to get comfortable. He undressed and got in bed next to her. Just touching her made him hard. He owed her so much. (Only everything.)
Suddenly overwhelmed, he held her impossibly tight. She whimpered and whined until her eyes opened and she stared up at his face. “Oh my god, what’s wrong?” she asked and stroked his distressed face.
“I love you,” he whispered.
“I love you, too,” she replied. Sophia’s eyes welled up with tears and she tilted her face toward his.
She kissed him so passionately, so sweetly, that James thought if she never kissed him again, this was the kiss he always wanted to remember (it still is).
I could never write an ending better than the one Livvie gave you, but I’ll leave you with this: Once upon a time I saved Livvie. She’s been saving me ever since.
6/12/13: I have started traveling for book signings so I'm hit/miss on communication. ON AMAZON INCOMPLETE DRAFT ISSUE: I apologize for the issue, I have my agent involved now since she has better relationships over there than I do. However, if you call customer service, they will fix it in minutes. Be sure to have deleted the book from your Kindle first or it will cause issues. Final version should have 15 Chapters and an epilogue. Thank you for your loyalty and support.
AMAZON READERS: I've heard from Amazon and they are on it. They said they will notify everyone who purchased a copy and replace it with the final version. It should take no more than 6 to 12 hours. Again, I apologize for the error and I'm deeply grateful for your loyalty and support. Reminder: If you do not have 15 Chapters and an epilogue in your version. It is the draft!
ALL OTHER OUTLETS: I will try and get the book up on Smashwords today. They aggregate to all other outlets (iStore, Kobo,Sony, etc.). It can take 2 weeks. However, all the files will be available on Smashwords and can be read on all devices.
6/10/13: Just so you know, the version Amazon is sending out to pre-orders is the draft version. If you don't have 15 Chapters and an epilogue, don't read. I'm working on resolving the issue.
4/25/13: Epilogue is currently available for pre-order on Amazon. Before you ask any questions (I still have to write), please check out website for links and FAQ: http://aboutcjroberts.com/
3/7/2013: You are all well within your rights to want to spank my ass raw...but I'm still writing and I leave for Boston next week. I suck, I know. I just didn't anticipate that I would have so much to say from Caleb's POV. Sigh...["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
A very nice email asks a common question: Does Captive in the Dark romanticize human trafficking? My reply:
Thanks for the email. I'm glad you cared e...moreA very nice email asks a common question: Does Captive in the Dark romanticize human trafficking? My reply:
Thanks for the email. I'm glad you cared enough about the work to contact me. I understand your hesitation and your trepidation in 'enjoying' the work. While I don't necessarily consider myself 'one of the great ones', I'd like to think my work can be compared to other controversial works such as, Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov. The work is written from the view point of the abuser and therefore entices the reader to sympathize.
I did not set out to 'romanticize' the slave trade. I think you'll find I do not paint it in a flattering light. Instead, I present my readers with characters. What my readers ultimately come to feel for those characters is up to them.
Some discover things about themselves they didn't know were there, things they don't wish to see, and others embrace it whole-heartily.
I think people would be surprised by how many messages I receive from people who have suffered abuse, thanking me for writing this type of work. For some, it helps them explore deep-seeded fantasies they are too scared to admit to and explore. The sexual fantasies of former abuse victims is not something always understood by mainstream society.
Additionally, I think some would also be surprised by how many readers HAD NO IDEA the sexual slave trade exists. It's a different journey for everyone, in much the same way it was a journey for me just to write these two novels. I'd love to hear your thoughts on the sequel when you're finished.
I must say, it took me a second to wrap my head around the purpose of this story. It is NOT erotica, NOT romance. I don't say this negatively either....moreI must say, it took me a second to wrap my head around the purpose of this story. It is NOT erotica, NOT romance. I don't say this negatively either. I mention it because this book is often compared to mine and it perhaps isn't a fair comparison. A lot of MY scenes ARE written in such a way to be titillating. The scenes in THIS BOOK are not written to arouse the reader and are spare in the details during the sexual acts. I don't think the author's intent was titillation. I believe this story is a straight-up psychological thriller.
I've read a lot of reviews where people are angry about the story because its so brutal and not 'sexy' or 'romantic'. It's not intended to be. If you're looking for hot sex scenes and hotter alpha males, this book is not for you. I like a smexy story featuring bare chested alphas chasing down honey's just as much as the next girl, but I also don't expect all my books to be about that.
Once I accepted the fact this book was not INTENDED to make me feel tingly in my naughty bits it took on a whole new shape - one that I really enjoyed.
It's very smartly written and I really give credit to the author for taking her readers into the depths of such depravity with Tony Rawlings. As a villain, he's exceptional. He is unapologetically evil.
Claire makes a lot of stupid mistakes early on. However, I enjoyed reading about her becoming a stronger and more nimble-minded person. I believe I'll enjoy her character much more in the second book.
Round one, I'm afraid, belongs to Mr. Rawlings.(less)
It started with a post from one of my readers on Facebook talking about Caleb and Olivia. I thought they were talking about my book so I checked it ou...moreIt started with a post from one of my readers on Facebook talking about Caleb and Olivia. I thought they were talking about my book so I checked it out, NOPE, they were discussing a different Caleb and Olivia.
I had to investigate.
THEN, Tarryn and I were both invited to be a part of the 2012 TFEiC Author Meet & Greet in Chicago. We struck up a conversation and it was effortless. We decided to do a buddy read of one another's books.
The more I read, The Opportunist, the more I thought: "This b***h is squatting in my brain."
Same character names (wow), our Caleb's are both blond (ok), our Livvie's are both brunette (interesting...), our Caleb's don't remember their pasts (get the F out of here!). And...WE HAVE THE SAME SENSE OF HUMOR!
From The Opportunist: "He chuckles at me. I envision myself jamming a pen into his trachea. Blood. There would be lots of blood to clean up. I better not."
From my Facebook page: "That awkward moment when someone is pissing you off and they have no idea you're perfectly capable of murder...awesome."
Okay, so enough about how Tarryn is my suspect zero.
I LOVED THE BOOK! Not for its similarities to mine, but for its differences. Tarryn's, Olivia, is conniving and manipulative - but also incredibly honest. I loved that. Most people are selfish, but refuse to admit it. Olivia put it right out there.
I love that Caleb wasn't perfect. NONE of Tarryn's characters are perfect - they are human.
There's been some talk about the ending and let me put my two cents in: This story ended exactly as it should. To suggest otherwise is to miss the point of the story in its entirety. This is not a book about two people falling in and out of love before they 'get it right'. This is a story about personal growth and finding the true meaning of love, which is: Loving someone means putting their needs above your own.
Well done, Tarryn. I can't wait to see you in Chicago and stare into your eyes for the part of my soul you seem to have sucked straight from my mouth as I slept comfortably in my bed as a baby. The force is strong with you. I look forward to doing battle, cuz I'm a MIND NINJA!(less)
I haven't been reading much lately; I've been busy writing my sequel. Slammed is the first book I've been able to read in almost seven months and it's...moreI haven't been reading much lately; I've been busy writing my sequel. Slammed is the first book I've been able to read in almost seven months and it's not my typical read.
In all honesty, I don't usually read YA books because they usually don't have any sex in them. I read Colleen Hoover's, Slammed, because she took a HUGE chance recommending my dark erotica to her mainstream audience. I appreciate the hell out of that.
So, what did I think?
At first, I wasn't sure I was going to enjoy the book - that's just me being honest. I thought it hugged the romance 'formula' a little too much for my taste. I admit, I might have walked in with that preconceived notion. However, as I kept reading, I found myself connecting with the emotions in the book. I loved the poetry. I loved the message.
My dad past away several years ago. I don't like to think about it. I don't like to read about death and how to cope. I'm more of a push your emotions down into your stomach until they make you sick type of girl - lol. I cried when Layken found that barrette. I find things sometimes and I just sit there and stare.
I empathized with the anger the characters felt over the eventuality of Layken's mother's prognosis. My dad was diagnosed with cancer and was told he would live 6 months. He lived 6 years, but the time never seemed like enough. Also, I was angry about the fact he kept drinking after he was diagnosed. I felt like he was doing it on purpose - shaking his fist at my anger and grief.
I understood Will and Layken's acceptance. Once my father died, I realized he had lived his life the way HE wanted. He deserved that. Everyone deserves to go their own way. I am still here. I have to find my own way. I forgave him a long time ago.
By the end of this book, I was in tears and thinking about my dad, but more than that, I was thinking, 'Colleen Hoover deserves every ounce of her success'. She has written something very special. Like any author worth a shit - she parted with a piece of her soul. I take it with me.
Anthony Beal is a writers, writer. His work is not for the masses, but neither is the work of Anais Nin or Walt Whitman. And yes, I put his name in th...moreAnthony Beal is a writers, writer. His work is not for the masses, but neither is the work of Anais Nin or Walt Whitman. And yes, I put his name in that company. He won't like me doing so, probably, but tough, because it's what I believe.
To give away the plot of The Escapists would be to deprive you of a thorough mind f**king (as you can read, I lack Anthony's finesse). Let me just say that his writing is incredibly smart.
If I have anything negative to say, it's that sometimes it can be TOO smart and a reader can get lost in what he is trying to say.
One such paragraph might be: "Reverent house lights dimmed. She took the stage like a wanderer returning home from a trip around the world. Her dress she peeled off like old paint, like the skin of the most sensual and luxuriant fruit the world had ever seen; one tasted by none but kings. Oh, the hours that any man watching would have filled alone with her, naked with her, and oh, the things with which he would have filled them! Forceful acts held at bay only by consideration of their consequences played out with lurid specificity in the heart of each observer. Were these premises not devoted to entertaining gentlemen of the highest caliber, then much sexual criminality might well unfold nightly here." -- Anthony Beal, The Escapists
It can be like finding the meaning in a poem sometimes, but if you can be patient and let the words crystallize in your mind, the experience is well worth it.(less)
I contributed a story to this anthology and so you might find my opinion biased. However, I must say, I was thoroughly blown away by the talent of my...moreI contributed a story to this anthology and so you might find my opinion biased. However, I must say, I was thoroughly blown away by the talent of my fellow indie writers.
I told Anthony Beal his story was so good it made me want to quit writing! I mean really, the guy is amazing.
Having never read T.S. Addison, I was very impressed with his ability to 1)surprise me 2)turn me on!
Nikki puts a sexy twist on a old Shakespeare favorite and Rushmore Judd actually made me blush. And as for little miss Daisy Dunn...well...she's so hot I had to put her in my story with Nikki.
Read it or don't, but I'm happy to have been a part of it.(less)
Short and sweet. I've read this book all the way through twice now. This usually signals that I love it. Honestly, the prose can be a little sappy in...moreShort and sweet. I've read this book all the way through twice now. This usually signals that I love it. Honestly, the prose can be a little sappy in a lot of places - I'm not the sappy type - but it had enough of everything else to make me overlook it. The sex scenes are scorching hot and the premise is too delicious not to savor. A strong debut from Finn Marlowe. Thanks for the hot read.(less)
This review was written prior to this book being picked up by publisher. Final content may not be reflected in this review.
Moving on: The biggest compl...moreThis review was written prior to this book being picked up by publisher. Final content may not be reflected in this review.
Moving on: The biggest compliment I can give to this tale is that I remained awake past my bed time to read 'just a little more'. I thoroughly enjoyed the story of Tamir and Neriah. The world created around these characters (Tazier) is at once original and familiar. It had a very Middle Eastern feel to it, coupled with some magic and otherworldly elements (Aladdin meets King Arthur). It was very easy to instantly submerge myself in the scenery and the confines of the story and I really enjoyed that.
The story-telling was superb. I quickly grasped each characters motivations and desires. No plot holes and little to no errors in the text to distract me from greedily making my way from one sentence to the next. I found the story-telling so engrossing that I didn't notice or really take heed of certain elements I usually characterize as 'missing' from a romantic/erotic story. For example, the sex was usually brief and not very descriptive, still, there seemed to be some emotional subtext that made me say 'good enough for me; I don't need a blow-by-blow (no pun intended)'. Also, the story operates in a time warp, entire months/years pass in the mention of one sentence. Normally, I would raise a flag and call that lazy, but somehow - it just worked in this story.
In the end, while I DO wish the story were longer (just so I could spend more time with Tamir and Neriah), I have to say that I was very impressed with this author. 'The Dream of a Thousand Nights' is a ruby in a sea of crap! (less)
In college, upper classmates will tell you: Take the professor, not the class. It’s sage advice. My first thoughts while reading this story were: Read...moreIn college, upper classmates will tell you: Take the professor, not the class. It’s sage advice. My first thoughts while reading this story were: Read Anthony Beal – no matter what he writes because Anthony Beal is a magnificent writer! His command of the English language is the best I’ve read in a very long time. Reading one of his stories is like taking a trip backward in time when the written word was poetry and prose was an exhibition of skill and imagination. As a writer – I aspire to his level of talent.
That being said, his stories are sexy as all hell! He understands his characters and his reader. He’s able to create a world of back-story in a short number of words so that when his characters interact sexually, you get the full force of their emotions behind their lascivious acts. His grasp on sensuality is unparalleled in modern erotica and you would be doing yourself a great disservice if you didn’t experience his work for yourself. Read this story – then read Anthony Beal. (less)
I wouldn't read it again, but I found it to be: brutal, compelling, and psychologically sound.
I stayed up all night to finish this book and then had t...moreI wouldn't read it again, but I found it to be: brutal, compelling, and psychologically sound.
I stayed up all night to finish this book and then had trouble sleeping. The material is raw and it digs into real fear.
Although I thought the book was too long, went into too much depth during violent scenes and not deep enough into character motivations or plot, I was engrossed. I couldn't look away from the horror I was reading and so I tip my hat to the author.
I can tell the author knows quite a bit about human nature and psychology and I found myself saying things like: "Yes. Exactly." Toward that end, certain things were affirmed for me and I learned a few others. Shame is an absurd emotion when confronted with circumstances beyond our control. It makes people weak when they should be strong. I like that.
Anyway, this book is definitely a mindfuck. I don't recommend it for anyone who doesn't have a strong stomach. This is NOT a romance. No one is redeemed. There is nothing beautiful to hold on to throughout the story. There is only survival. There is only the struggle to win no matter the consequence.(less)
Loved getting to know Seht and Ravnos better after reading Victorious Star. Couldn't help but feel there was more story to tell in this novel; I felt...moreLoved getting to know Seht and Ravnos better after reading Victorious Star. Couldn't help but feel there was more story to tell in this novel; I felt rushed in some places. Also, the characters once again 'fell in love' a little too quickly for me. Still, loved the characters and it was enough for me to surrender my disbelief.(less)
Really enjoyed this book recommended by Belinda McBride. It had all the ingredients I love in a great read: strong, likeable characters, action, sci-f...moreReally enjoyed this book recommended by Belinda McBride. It had all the ingredients I love in a great read: strong, likeable characters, action, sci-fi/fantasy, and lots of scorching sex.
AMBIGUOUS SPOILERS BELOW!
The only reason I'm not giving it a 5-star rating is because I didn't feel as though some of the reactions were equal to the actions in the book. For example, I didn't really get a sense that Victoria was a submissive in denial, so the dub-con scene really threw me for a loop. I mean, it was super hot and sexy, even if it was *incredibly*, uncomfortable to read (btw: I count my real discomfort as a credit to the author for creating such a visceral scene), but in my mind it really painted the heroes as the villains. I did not, until much, much later, understand that the only reason they did it was because they had a moral certainty it was what she wanted. Because I didn't know it was what she wanted, her blase attitude after the fact made me raise my WTF eyebrows. Once her inner yearning(s) were better explained, I let it go rather easily, but it took too long to get there. Furthermore, I thought Victoria fell in love too quickly given the fact that the entire story takes place over a three day period in which her entire life is destroyed and rebuilt.
Still, for all that, I really enjoyed the book and immediately purchased the prequel: Lost Star(less)
I read this book a while back. The sex is good, but it felt as though that's all there was available for my consumption. I don't know when it happened...moreI read this book a while back. The sex is good, but it felt as though that's all there was available for my consumption. I don't know when it happened...but...I guess...I need some substance with my sex. I know - I totally hate myself. LOL! I wanted more out of the story and characters.(less)