Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Review: Hold Me Close

Hold Me CloseCompelling, devastating, dark and tumultuous, Hold Me Close is not to be missed @MEGAN_HART
Hold Me Close by Megan Hart

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Compelling, devastating, dark and tumultuous, Hold Me Close is not to be missed. I loved this book. I started this book with great reservation mixed with a bit of dread. When I see a Ms. Hart book, I must read it because I know chances are good I will love it and feel completely exhausted at the end. I love her writing style and I hate it. Not unlike Effie and how she loves yet loathes Heath, I'm in a similar albeit a non-destructive relationship with Ms. Hart's books.

Effie is a woman who is not able to move past a defining moment in her life. There are many different moments which are memorable, but this one where she was held captive by a sick mad man for three years overshadows it all. Her one person she depended upon during that time was Heath. The two of them together are toxic. Toxic because they can't help but keep reminding each other what they suffered at the hands of a psychotic abuser.

This story is dark not because Ms. Hart graphically describes what happens to Effie and Heath. In fact, she does not go into detail. There is little sexual abuse from the time the two were held captive. What is dark is the negative effect it has upon Effie and how she relates to lovers, friends and family after her ordeal. The character development in this book is fabulous. Effie is lost and stuck in a never ending cycle of hell she places herself in. She becomes a black hole dragging everyone within her sphere of influence into a universe of despair and anger. I am not happy with Effie, yet I do not hate her. She is a character who is so flawed and broken yet is designed in a way that I just hurt for her. I know there is no one who can fix her. Just as I understand she is the cause of her own misery. She is not a spiteful person. She is a person who needs to have her festering wounds lanced and finally able to heal. Heath as the faithful friend and lover at Effie's convenience is a strong man. What I really liked about Heath is that he isn't a fantasy man. He's not rich. He's not famous. He's not super intelligent. He doesn't turn his life around in an awe-inspiring way after his release. He is so realistic to how people can be in real life. The one difference is his unending patience and his giving heart in spite of all he has suffered.

This journey through darkness finally ends in a cathartic release that moves me beyond words. It's story about how bad things happen to good people. Sometimes, it is not possible to overcome it. Sometimes it takes years. Sometimes only death and confrontation will give the finally spark to break free from heavy mental chains. For Effie, watching her struggle against herself and others, it is both frustrating and disheartening. She is an anti-heroine who in the end eventually finds peace. This little hidden fragment of hope is something I can always count on from Ms. Hart. This dark romance is recommended for those who derive pleasure from angst.

*provided by NetGalley

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Monday, November 23, 2015

Review: Open Doors

Open Doors (Suncoast Society, #27)Open Doors by Tymber Dalton

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

  The Romance Review

Derrick and Marcia love their little community of friends. If only they had a place to call their own. In OPEN DOORS, Ms. Dalton shows what it takes to open a BDSM club. Many books have high end clubs for the rich and privileged. I'm not saying that these don't exist. They just happen to be far fewer than it appears in BDSM glitterkink books. Personally, I have been at the start of when a community of kinksters tried to open their own club in a building. Due to several variables and one of them a zoning issue, the club was closed down. So when I read about how Derrick and Marcia open up a club and how it starts out, I'm impressed.

Ms. Dalton does a great job of showing how a club grows organically through contributions from the entire community. As the community grows, more people help out through service or donations of furniture. Seeing a place grow from ground up is a special experience. The frustrations and heads are worth it.

I loved the accuracy of the book. I loved how there are men with great plans and forget about the details. Showing how a dominant husband's relationship works with a business savvy submissive wife is a great representation of how D/s dynamics can work in real life. Learning about how the Suncoast Society started is a treat. What is even nicer is seeing how well Ms. Dalton captures reality and transforms it into an erotic education. This story is highly recommended to BDSM readers who want to learn what it takes to create a safe haven for kinksters.

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Sunday, November 22, 2015

Review: Laughing at Danger

Laughing at Danger (Shifting Crossroads, #33)Laughing at Danger by Zenina Masters

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

A matriarchically society does not always equate to a loving and peaceful community. For hyena shifters, it is all about the alpha female and strength. Might makes right in this world. Fortunately for Lima, she is stronger than any others, especially her conniving mother. Lima works as a hunter and now that her last little sibling is married off, she can go find her own mate.

What gets to me most about Lima is how she eats her food. She divides her food evenly into four parts. When she explains why she compulsively does this, my heart melts for her. She's a good one. She is loyal, fierce and stands for justice. For her to find a matching mate, it has to be a pretty amazing man. With the fae now mixed in the Crossroads, Lima may just find her male.

This world continues to burst forth rainbows and stardust whenever Crossroads appears. Ms. Masters balances this with the sadist world of shifters kept as pets. The inhumane treatment is a good reminder that evil knows no bounds. Lyros is the latest survivor and he is determined to conquer not only what happened to him but find others who are still bound. Lyros and Lima make a good team. It is once again insta-love and it works. This is another delightful addition to the series. I am eagerly awaiting the next book. I can't read them fast enough. Recommended for paranormal romance readers who like alpha females.

* Provided by Manic Readers

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Saturday, November 21, 2015

Review: Indentured Freedom: Owned by the Vampire

Indentured Freedom: Owned by the Vampire
@CandaceBlevins #bookreview #glorious #dark Grimm's fairy godfather

Indentured Freedom: Owned by the Vampire by Candace Blevins

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Teresa is a beaten down werewolf who is used to being raped and told she is worthless. When she finally escapes, it's not all she expects. She still has to use her body but now she has to provide for herself. Helpless and trying to adjust, she is lucky and a vampire finds her to his liking. Gavin is the 2nd most powerful vampire in this Southern region. As the right hand man of the Abbott, he has power and money. At first, Teresa is just a blood slave for Gavin's food. Then Ms. Blevins gets it on.

For those who are expecting a love story, this is not the book for you. For those who enjoy S&M, formal protocol and lack of privacy, this is the book for you. Gavin is a sadist and he makes no apologies for it. He doesn't set up arbitrary rules so that he can "catch" Teresa and give her some funishment. He beats, whips and tortures her for his sexual satisfaction. This is not a book for the mild. For those who need to have love and romance, this is not that kind of erotica. This is raw, gritty submission without any safewords. There is a contract which I'm not surprised to see. If there is one fetish Ms. Blevins has, is her love for contracts. I loved it. This is a dark, intense Master/slave relationship. For some, they may find it bad for Teresa. For others, they may find it just what she needs. Personally, seven years of paying her dues will bring a lot for her. The one part I liked most is why Teresa decides to stay with Gavin. He's like her fairy godfather from a Grimm's fairy tale. The most precious of sacrifices is in blood for a vampire. Teresa will be shedding and paying in blood and tears. Delicious.

This book is a dream for me. Because my dreams follow along the same lines as what Gavin does. Reading this story gives me that frightened arousal because I know it hurts so good and the man with the power is neither good nor bad. If I were a shifter, I would take the contract as a slave with Gavin. It would be a long painful term yet so glorious.

Recommended for kinky readers who enjoy dark, violent and painful sexual pleasure.

* ARC provided by author. A review requested even if I hated the book. The only part I hated was the short length.

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Friday, November 20, 2015

Review: Willa's Master

Willa's Master (House of MonMarte, #1)Willa's Master by Violet Summers

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

  The Romance Review

House of MonMarte caters to all types of kinks. One kinkster is an avid voyeur who fantasizes after seductive Vampire dominant, Victor Breon. When Victor is no longer willing to wait, he takes Willa Amber to task for her wallflower antics.

This story is short and sweet. For those who enjoy a little light BDSM with a sexy vampire and shy submissive, this story will work well. There is little development or plot. It is merely a scene where Willa's dreams finally come true. Victor is also able to dole out a bit of funishment for his chosen submissive. The characters a bit one dimension. The story does hint of a broader series which may be more meaty.

This paranormal erotica is recommended for vampire lovers who enjoy a sizzling bite of kink.

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Thursday, November 19, 2015

Review: The End Game

The End Game  (A Brit in the FBI, #3)The End Game by Catherine Coulter

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This series just gets better and better with the suspense and character development. In The End Game, Nicholas and Mike are back with a doozy of a case. This time, they have a terrorist group working to destroy the US power grid. This type of fanatical thinking which started out somewhat reasonable is scary because it mimics reality a bit too closely. Ms. Coulter does an excellent job of posing the "what-if" scenario. Is this an alarmist book to call to arms American citizens? No. Is this a crazy crackpot conspiracy theory to get Americas all stirred up as a misdirection? No. What this story does, is cleverly provide a way to educate readers on how good causes can go so far off the edge.

The suspense and action in the story kept me on the edge as Nicholas works against the clock to find the targets and defuse the bombs. What is scary about the bombs is how small the bad guys are creating them. Is it possible for such small bombs to be created? It's speculative yet still teases me with possibilities of current military R&D. The way the terrorist are represented is well done. Seeing how they are at the inception of the group and as they morph over time shows how objectives change. I like how Ms. Coulter shows the group of "tightly" knit protesters becoming increasingly erratic and violent.

This story is more focused on Mike. We learn more about Mike's background and her perseverance. Mike and Nicholas are a great duo who partner so well together. Mike is a good balance for Nicholas and vice versa. The supporting character, Vanessa is impressive. I really liked Vanessa as a deep cover agent. The fear she experiences as things go pear-shaped is described so well. My heart beats faster as she's threatened. When she tries to fool her compatriots, I am sweating. In addition to Vanessa, the tie ins with Sherlock and Savich showing up to help out only brings me glee. S Squared team are unbeatable. When they work on the case from a different angle, it is a pleasure to watch.

What I also liked about this book is the hefty length. I felt it was just right. The pace of the book starts out a bit slow and quickly picks up. With all the different threads going on at the same time, I'm never bored. There is something about Ms. Coulter's writing style which appeals to how my mind processes data. She provides just enough information to keep my mind stimulated, trying to figure out the pieces and anticipate the next steps. I can't wait to see the next book in the series. It keeps my attention from the beginning to end. Recommended to suspense readers who enjoy current event tie ins.

*provided by Edelweiss

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Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Review: Dark Heart of Magic

Dark Heart of Magic (Black Blade, #2)@Jennifer_Estep #bookreview how quick can I get my hands on the next book? *wink* 

Dark Heart of Magic by Jennifer Estep

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Books in this series can't come fast enough. I'm hooked on another Ms. Estep world as I devoured this second book. Surprisingly, there are more big reveals in here than anticipated. It keeps the storyline moving forward and makes a reader also feel a sense of urgency. Lila is back and she's pushed to the head of the Sinclair family in an honoured position to fight in the tournaments. Not interested in the tournaments due to the spotlight, Lila is surprised to learn more about her mother through the competition. Specifically, she is following her mother's footsteps and that her mother made some mistakes which resulted in grave consequences.

The tone of this story is definitely catered towards the readers who prefer grandiose romances, star-crossed lovers, forbidden alliances and extremes. The extremes come in the form of bat shit crazy villains and estrangements between family and best friends. It is as if Lila is now unraveling all the young adult drama her mother and respective generation caused - basically sins of the father stuff. Lila does a decent job of keeping her a level head as everyone else comes across as overly emotional. Even her little fairy, Oscar is a bit of a drama queen. It took me a little bit, but I figured out who Oscar reminds me of. He reminds me of Jinks the pixie from The Hollows Series. Oscar's attitude is a bit more bitter if similar in waspy wit.

The pace of this book is amusing because it is a hurry up and wait feeling. Sometimes it moves fast and we arrive at a point faster than expected, then it takes a while to finally get to the next point. This stop go motion may be off putting for some. For others it may work to help them process the crazies and their behaviour. This is not in reference to Deah's mother who behaves crazy yet seems to be the only one who knows what is going on. The reveals in this story help set up for the next book. This build up may cause a reader to wish for the next book to come out immediately. I read the first two books one after and another and it was quite satisfying. Now that I have to wait for the next book to come out, I am impatient. For readers who rooting for the underdog, this is the book for you.

*provided by NetGalley

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