Showing posts with label Dark Romance. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Dark Romance. Show all posts

Review // Haunting Adeline by H.D. Carlton

December 04, 2023

Oxygen, words, coherent thoughts—all that sh*t escapes me when I get my first look at Adeline Reilly in the flesh.

Haunting Adeline by H.D. Carlton

Rating - ★★★★
Book One of the Cat and Mouse duet
Genre/Trope - Dark Romance / stalker / vigilante
Release - August 12, 2021
POV - Dual 1st person
Heat - explicit scenes / non-dub consent
Source - Kindle Unlimited
Length - 551 pages

The Manipulator

I can manipulate the emotions of anyone who lets me.
I will make you hurt, make you cry, make you laugh and sigh.
But my words don't affect him. Especially not when I plead for him to leave.
He's always there, watching and waiting.
And I can never look away.
Not when I want him to come closer.

The Shadow

I didn't mean to fall in love.
But now that I have, I can't stay away.
I'm mesmerized by her smile, by her eyes, and the way she moves.
The way she undresses...
I'll keep watching and waiting. Until I can make her mine.
And once she is, I'll never let her go.
Not even when she begs me to.

I'm going to hurry up and put some words down here because I've already got book two loaded up and I NEED to know what happens next!

Adeline drove me nuts and I couldn't get enough of Zade. I know that's messed up. Dude was seriously a creepy stalker, but the author captured just enough of his sexiness on page to make it alright. Would I condone his behaviour in real life? Would I be as welcoming as Adeline? Would I have the police on speed dial and a gun permanently attached to my hand?

The answer is obviously yes. *side eye* Obviously.

Zade was a hotbed of contradictions. He dedicated his life to protecting the innocent. Women and children who were being targeted had a guardian angel in him. But he found no problem terrifying his sweet Adeline.

"I love that I scare you. I love that you try to run from me. The push and pull. The cat and mouse game. I fucking love it. And I think a part of you does, too.” — Zade

Adeline's denials to Zade got old pretty quickly, but I did enjoy the cat and mouse game going on between them. Every scene they shared was explosive. Every time they spoke, I learned another one of their truths. And the feelings that were growing... Let's just say I'm excited to start reading the next book.

This man is going to ruin me after tonight. I can taste it on my tongue.

This story is a mixed bag and I can see those who really appreciate something filthy and taboo really loving it.

Quick Peek

"You want to know why I love the house of mirrors?" he murmurs in my ear, eliciting sparks throughout my nerve endings. His voice is full of dark promises and dangerous beginnings.
I swallow thickly. "Why?" I whisper.
"Look around you," he commands softly. Hesitantly, I pull my eyes away from his, dragging my gaze across the dozens of mirrors.
"What you're seeing now is what I see every day. No matter how far I run, how hard I try to escape you—you're everywhere I go. You're everything I see. Loving you is like being trapped in a house of mirrors, little mouse. And I've never felt so at home while being so lost inside of you."

H. D. Carlton is an International and USA Today Bestselling author. She lives in Ohio with her partner, two dogs, and cat. When she's not bathing in the tears of her readers, she's watching paranormal shows and wishing she was a mermaid. Her favorite characters are of the morally gray variety and believes that everyone should check their sanity at the door before diving into her stories.

Visit for more information

Review // Stain, Deliverance For Amelia, and Dirty Ugly Toy

October 08, 2023

I read these books a long time ago so they're not exactly new, but it was about time I shared them.
Have you read any of these?

Stain by Francette Phal

A dual POV dark YA story about abuse and addiction

"You're like the sun...and I'm the stupid moon. Always chasing after you."

I didn't know it was possible to fall so deeply into someone. To drown so strongly into their bottomless depths coming up for air was unfathomable. Until he comes along, with his sun-hot radiance, and eclipses the candle that is me. He's Lucifer before the fall, beautiful but the devil is in the way he looks at me. In the way his touch brands his name across every inch of my skin. His kisses possess my soul in the most sinful of ways.

Maddox Moore is my beginning and my end. Protector, friend, and lover—he's become my sole religion. At his side I become fearless, in his arms I burn to cinders, and in worshiping him I lose myself and discover the person he sees in me. But nothing is forever. Moments are ephemeral. No matter how much you want something life inevitably reminds you that you can't have it.

I'm damaged. He's broken. We're both covered in stains. Stains that make it impossible for us to hold onto each other.

My Rating - ★★★★★

WOW!! Now I understand the hype behind YA books because if they're anything like this, then they are definitely worth a read.

This story packed so much of an emotional punch that I'm still feeling its effect. My mind is still trying to wrap its way around what the heck just happened. It had my heart racing and I was feeling those palpitations.

This author's skill with the written word is simply incredible. Each scene was phrased so eloquently, so passionately, that I couldn't help but FEEL each and every emotion it was trying to evoke from me.

Aylee and Maddox (Max). Why two such young people had to suffer so much is beyond me. What bothered me was the fact that this is what many children are suffering through in reality and it's friggin horrific. Makes me understand vigilante justice, even if I don't sanction it.

I am not going to spell out the plot because I really, really, really want people to read this book. I will say that I was a bit disappointed by the unfinished ending until I saw that these two beautiful characters will be getting a novella. Can't wait for that to be released!

Deliverance for Amelia by Bonny Capps

Multiple POV covering tropes such as abuse, captor/captive, and a killer

My entire life I've lived in my father's shadow. As the Mayor's daughter, I'm expected to maintain a pristine reputation. Everything must be perfect. My days of tutors and piano lessons may be behind me, but the need to be my father's perfect daughter still rings true.

However, I'm in college now - so why not have a little fun? It started out that way, anyway. When I decided to go to a party with my new friend Meg, I thought my college days were just beginning. My boring little life was finally getting the shakeup that it desperately needed. Little did I know, I would become the captive of the devil himself.

He says that I'm his. He calls himself my master.

Well, well - Mr. Mayor couldn't pay up. I can't say that I'm surprised. The greedy bastard is more concerned about pocketing all that money masked as charity rather than paying his debts.

I'm not a debt that you want to forget. I did, after all, kill that poor journalist that was putting his nose where it didn't belong. Not saying that I minded - no, not one bit. It's a high. Watching them writhe in pain, their bodies seizing up as every last drop of hope is drained from their wide eyes. I live for it - the thrill of killing. Not to mention it keeps my wallet nice and plump. My clients know when they say they'll pay - they better pay. Otherwise, I take what I want from them. In most cases, the result is their own blood on my hands. Not this time though.

This time I wanted her, and I always get what I want.

My Rating - ★★★★

HOLY CRAP!! WTF did I just read?! I love dark, please don't get me wrong, but this was freaking out-in-the-country-no-streetlights kind of dark. There was no light. Can someone please turn on a damn light????!!!! A flashlight, a lighter even!

If you're looking for something dark, gritty, dirty, sexy, with lots of torture, killing and mayhem, then this is definitely the book for you.

Bonny Capps is freaking warped and I freaking love it!! Honestly, not many authors can pull of the depths of depravity found in this book, but she freaking nailed it. You know this book got me freaking good because I can't freaking stop using the freaking word "freaking"!

Gabriel/Gabe is one twisted mofo. He is only happy when he is torturing and killing. Sadistic isn't even a good enough word to describe his evil wants and needs. Amelia is his poor innocent captive, taken as collateral until Gabe became too obsessed with her to let her go. Able is her knight in shining armour. He is willing to do any and everything in his power to save her from Gabe.

This book is not for the faint of heart. This is not a love story per se. Gabriel is absolutely NOT a hero in this book, though he is featured predominantly in it. Be afraid. Be very afraid!!

Dirty Ugly Toy by K. Webster

Dark, dual POV

Her time is over.
Things are looking up.

She’s dirty and ugly.
He’s wicked but handsome.

Six months to toy with her.
Six months of vacation and a ton of money.

I’ll hurt her beyond repair.
I’ve been through much worse.

She's difficult to control and doesn't obey.
I'm done submitting to anyone or anything in this life.

I should hate her.
I should hate him.

The game has changed.
I will win.

My Rating - ★★★★1/2

I'm not even sure how to write this review because I'm still trying to absorb what I've read. My mind is blown with this piece of work! Thank you K. Webster for your amazing writing skills!! It takes real talent to get the reader into the mind of a truly dark, corrupted, warped, and tortured soul but that's just what she did with Braxton and Jessica.

Every time Jess gave some lip I was like 'you go girl!' I was also tempted to jump up and down in anticipation of how Brax would react because he was so unpredictable. I loved it. Throwing in flashbacks of Brax's past absolutely humanized him for me. Jessica's flashbacks were painful to read. I kept waiting for her to tell Brax her truth, which made me frustrated to say the least.

It was beautiful when their feelings started to get deeper, especially Brax's. I must say I was a bit annoyed with how rushed the climax was. I would have loved to see the frantic behind the scenes to set up James for his downfall. Regardless, this was a wonderful read and I'm glad I gave this author a chance!

Series Review // Decadence After Dark by M. Never

October 03, 2023

Decadence After Dark by M. Never

Today's flashback is the Decadence After Dark series by M. Never. This is a dark erotic romance book so pay attention to the warning! It has intense sexual situations, a Master/slave relationship, mild abuse, and some violence. Reader discretion is advised.

Have you ever read this series? Interested in trying it?

Owned by M. Never

Owned (book #1)

Ellie Stevens has lusted over Kayne Roberts since he first walked into the import/export company she works for a little over a year ago. As Expo’s most important client, Ellie has always kept a safe distance from the man with the majestic blue eyes — until temptation finally gets the better of her. Impulsively, Ellie invites Kayne to one of Expo's infamous company parties her flamboyant boss is notorious for throwing. Unbeknownst to Ellie, the god in the Armani suit isn’t just the suave entrepreneur he portrays himself to be. Underneath the professional exterior is a man with a secret life, dark desires, and nefarious contacts.

In a hidden corner of a trendy New York City lounge, the spark kindling between the two of them ignites. Unable to resist the sinful attraction, Ellie agrees to leave with Kayne, believing she is finally bedding the man of her dreams. Little does she know when she walks out the door, she’s about to be Owned.

My Rating: ★★★★★ ~ This book was exceptionally good. I love when the characters are described in a way in which I can actually picture them. Each scene was detailed enough that I felt like a voyeur. I was a little bit bothered by Ellie's defiance. I guess it confused me because she kept denying that she was submissive but that's exactly how she was described. Nothing about her behaviour prior to or during her interactions with Kayne hinted at a dominant personality. I understand not accepting or wanting the hand that was dealt to her, I just believe she could have fought against it in another way.

I knew it!! I knew Kayne was hiding something. I had a strong inkling that he was an undercover good guy. I appreciate getting his POV because I would fail to realize how wonderful he truly was if his character had to rely solely on how Ellie perceived him. I feel really bad for him in the end. I hope Ellie quickly realizes how unappreciative she has been in the next book.

Anyway, these two love each other so I hope book 2 has more romance.

Claimed by M. Never

Claimed (book #2)

With one look he consumed me.
With one touch he marked me.
With one kiss he owned me.
With one whisper he claimed me.

"No matter where you go or who you're with, you'll always be mine."

Ellie Stevens thought she had moved on from the domineering man who abducted her. Now living in Hawaii and following her dreams, no one is going to keep her down. But things aren't always as they seem.

Kayne Rivers reluctantly let Ellie go, but just because she's gone now, doesn't mean she'll be gone forever. She is his, and he won't stop until he's reclaimed her as his own.

My Rating: ★★★★★ ~ This book was a little bit different from the first one. I personally found it more enjoyable. I'm just glad that Ellie didn't let what happened to her ruin her. We really get to see her strength and fighting spirit in this one. I appreciate the lengths that Kayne was willing to go to in order to protect her. And the fact that he stayed by her side while they both healed from the wounds that life inflicted upon them.

Side note: how great were Jett, London and CJ? A great support system.

Fave quote: “You fill a piece of me I never knew existed, never thought I deserved. You’re the best part of all my sides, all my faces. You’re the glue. Thank you for being everything. My strength, my light, my hope, my warmth.”

Ruined by M. Never

Ruined (book #3)

Kayne Roberts.
Kayne Rivers.
Kayne Stevens.

No matter his name, one fact remains the same. He's the man who enslaved me, ensnared me, claimed me and ruined me... For all other men that is.

My life.
My love.
My happiness.
All belong to him.
I belong to no one but him.

He owns me.
And I own him.

My Rating: ★★★★ ~ Damn. Although this book was short it was extremely HOT!! I'm glad the story of what happened with Kayne's mom was resolved. The ending was sweet and it was wonderful to see Ellie and Kayne living the life they wanted. Kayne absolutely deserved it!

Series Review // Monster in His Eyes by J.M. Darhower

September 25, 2023

Monster in His Eyes by JM Darhower

Today's flashback is the Monster in His Eyes series by J.M. Darhower. One of my first ever dark romance reads, these books let me know just how much I would love this subgenre. Dark romance quickly became my go-to.

Monster in His Eyes by JM Darhower

Monster in His Eyes

Ignazio Vitale is not a good man.

I suspect it, the first time I see him, sense the air of danger that surrounds the man. He has a way of commanding attention, of taking control, of knowing what I'm thinking before I even do.

It's alarming and alluring. It's dark and deadly. It's everything I've ever wanted but the last thing I truly need. Obsession.

It doesn't take him long to draw me into his web, charming me into his bed and trapping me in his life, a life I know nothing about until it's too late. He has secrets, secrets I can't fathom, secrets that make it so I can't walk away, no matter how much I beg him to let me go. I see it sometimes in his eyes, a darkness that's both terrifying and thrilling. He's a monster, wrapped up in a pretty package, and what I find when I unmask him changes everything.

I want to hate him.

Sometimes, I do.

But it doesn't stop me from loving him, too.

My Rating: ★★★★ ~ I love my twisted dark books. I cannot get enough of the anti-hero and Ignazio Vitale is definitely an anti-hero. But he's so sexy with it. He's dominant, hot, older, scary, secretive, charming, rich, etc. There wasn't a time in this book that I wasn't interested in what he would do next. I wasn't a huge fan of Karissa unless she was interacting with him. She wasn't interesting but his intriguing shadow made her seem likable.

The history between these two characters was heartbreaking and I honestly thought once everything was revealed that that would be the end. I'm so excited that there's another book to read. I can't wait to find out more about Naz. I want to see how they earn back each other's trust. I want to see them win their hard won HEA or at least a HFN.

Torture to Her Soul by JM Darhower

Torture to Her Soul

Don't say it unless you mean it…

It's a simple concept, one I've said time and again, but something people don't seem to comprehend. You should choose every syllable carefully, because you never know when somebody will hold you to your word.

Somebody like me.

I'm not a good man. I'm not. I know. I have enough darkness inside of me to rid the world of every stitch of light. But there's one I could never harm, one light I couldn't bring myself to snuff out.


She thinks I'm a monster, and maybe I am. I taunt her with my touch, get a thrill out of torturing her soul. But I'm not the only one. The world is full of monsters, and I'm not the most dangerous one out there.

Not even close…

God help me, I love her.

I do.

And God help anyone who tries to take her from me.

My Rating: ★★★★ ~ First, I would like to thank the author for writing this book from Ignazio Vitale's pov. I am sooooooo grateful for it!!

Second, please tell me I'm not the only one head over heels for Naz????!!!! He's amazing! Getting to see everything through his eyes gave me a chance to try to understand what motivated him. To get why he made the choices he did. There were parts of this story that were absolutely gut-wrenching such as when he told what happened the night Johnny came to kill him and his wife and parts that made me laugh. I liked seeing that Naz really had a sense of humour despite his cold appearance. His inner thoughts around people was hilarious! Especially with Paul. And I loved how OCD he was with his things, such as his kitchen and his "trunk".

I'm not sure how I felt about the visiting Maria's grave scene. I couldn't figure out if it was to underline how much he still loved her or if it was to show that through his grief he was able to find love again. He said he felt guilty for what he had with Karissa and it kind of pissed me off. I completely understood it, don't get me wrong, but it still annoyed me.

I'm glad that it didn't take too long for Naz to see Ray's true colours. It's just sad all around. But I am happy that everyone got their just desserts lol.

So after some ups and many downs, Naz and Karissa got their HFN. I wonder how long it really lasts considering there is a third book! Can't wait to read that one and I hope it's in Naz's pov again. I cannot get enough of this character!!

Target on Our Backs

Target on Our Backs

The best way to keep your word is never to give it. Not long ago, in a chapel in Vegas, I swore to love Karissa for the rest of my days. But nobody's promised an infinite number of tomorrows. Nobody's promised forever. Sometimes, all we have left is today.

Carpe Diem. Seize the day.

It should've been over, we should've been happy, but people are making it hard for me to live in peace. I've got so much blood on my hands they'll never be clean, and somebody out there seems to want me to pay for it. Happily Ever After always comes at a cost, one any real man would be willing to pay. But that doesn't mean I'm just going to roll over and accept these consequences. Because when it comes to the woman I love? The life I've fought for? Nobody is safe.

My Rating: ★★★★ ~ I originally thought the series ended at book 2. And I would have been fine with the HFN that Naz and Karissa got. But I am so happy that there was this third book!! It was phenomenal!!

I've said it before and I'll say it again... I love love love Naz! He's cruel, vindictive, merciless, ruthless... but the way he loves Karissa is utterly beautiful. Everything he does is to protect her and their future together. And he does a lot to ensure that future in this book. His pov was so amazing that it made me enjoy her's a lot better. I was actually surprised to find her pov palatable. I honestly liked Karissa in this book. She's growing up *tear*

Karissa's friend Melody was wonderful comic relief. I'm not completely sure that was the intention but this character sure gave me a lot of laughs. Her music references were killer and she reminded me a lot of Melody from Josie and the Pussycats. She had a hard time stringing words in a sentence to make sense. Those quotes that were almost there but not quite lol.

Lorenzo... holy crap this character was deadly. But he charmed me and I liked him. I would like to know more about his NY takeover. It would definitely make for an interesting story. Anyway, I found his character to be exactly what I envisioned Naz to be pre-Karissa. Maybe Darhower will give Lorenzo his own version of Karissa. Maybe that story will also include Melody and her beau, Lorenzo's brother Leo. Maybe we could also get to see Naz again??? (*wink wink*)

In the end, I was sorry to say goodbye. But Naz and Karissa have officially gotten their HEA (I think/hope) and I thoroughly enjoyed their story.

Review // Pray for the Devil, The Bonus, and Target This

August 15, 2023

As you know, not every book I read will get 4 or 5 stars. Here are a few that I still enjoyed!

Pray for the Devil by Maggie MaxfieldMy Rating - ★★★
Genre/Trope - Paranormal Romance / instalove
Perspective - Dual 1st person
Heat - descriptive
Source - ebook from Kindle Unlimited
Length - 270 pages

Goodreads * Amazon

Pray for the Devil started off really slow and I wasn't sure if it was my type of read, but it started to really pick up towards the end and I'm intrigued enough to want to give the second book a chance. I felt bad for Eliza for the entirety of this story. She was living to please people, probably the wrong people, all to have a place to belong. She was devout, an exorcist for the church, but she quickly realizes that all is not as it seems. She's actually a very powerful witch and with the help of Luk, she begins to discover who she really is. I enjoyed the connection between these characters, despite the fact that their relationship literally blossomed from nothing, but I'm hoping to get more of them in the next book. I also really enjoyed her bestie, Olivia. I loved that she was a demon playing up as being a pious member of the church. Hilarious!

The Bonus by AJ AdamsMy Rating - ★★★
Genre/Trope - Dark Romance / mafia
Perspective - Dual POV
Heat - descriptive
Source - ebook from Amazon
Length - 296 pages

Goodreads * Amazon

Let me start off by saying that I liked this book. It had a lot of elements to it that it was hard not to like it. However, it also had quite a few annoying components that affected my star rating.

What I liked:

* Kyle's character was freaking hot. I love an alpha with military experience. Throw in some Black Ops or Special Forces and we have a winner! He's the bad boy you can't help but love and he makes no apologies for it
* Kyle's compassion for Chloe. Their love story was unconventional but beautiful
* some of the scenes were absolutely hilarious... Show/hide spoiler
* how the author kept Chloe's brainwashing relevant. She didn't have her hopping into a "normal" relationship with Kyle. She suffered setbacks and mental breaks, which would be typical of anyone who suffered from abuse and the writer didn't belittle or sugarcoat that. Kyle had his own share of problems and together they had to jump over some mighty obstacles to get to their HFN

What I didn't like:

* the idea of the "pun" was overused. Once is funny. Twice is cute. Three times it's quirky. Infinite times is... I almost gave up because of it. I get that it was supposed to be a quality that endeared her to me, but it was abused way too frequently. Made me miss the fuckbot.
* though the plot was great, there were times it felt rushed

Overall a good book. Not terribly dark but a quick yet gritty read.

Target This by Lily WhiteMy Rating - ★★★
Genre/Trope - Thriller / Mystery
Perspective - Dual POV
Heat - descriptive
Source - ebook from Amazon
Length - 372 pages

Goodreads * Amazon

I almost DNF'd this book. I came close so many times but I persevered.

I have a strong appreciation for dark romance. So when a friend of mind suggested Lily White, I chose this book to get my feet wet.

It was somewhat dark. More twisted than anything. It was erotic. It tried to blow my mind.


I failed to connect with these characters. I couldn't like Autumn because she came across too prudish and closed-minded. I have a low tolerance for ignorance and judgment, even in fiction. Then she showed herself up as a hypocrite by succumbing to Lucas's manipulations. I liked Lucas simply because he kept it real. I respected that.

So although there were intriguing plot twists and crazy 'I didn't even think of that' revelations, the book was just okay for me. And what was with the ending? It seemed like the manipulation hadn't ended.

A decent read and there were many elements to whet the appetite of any mystery lover.

Review // Keepsake, Lessons Learned, & The Naughty, The Nice, and The Nanny

June 19, 2023

I've read quite a few books and need to actually get my reviews of them out there, so here are three books that I enjoyed reading. Two of these are from my TBR and one was a recommendation by the lovely Nadine @Nadine's Obsessed with Books. Thanks for that btw.

Ok, here goes...

Keepsake by Sarina Bowen

Keepsake by Sarina Bowen

My Rating - ★★★
Standalone - True North #3
Release - October 25, 2016
Genre - Small Town Romance
POV - Dual 1st person
Heat - 3 out of 5 / descriptive with a few scenes
Format - ebook from Amazon
Length - 314 pages

There's a first time for everything.

Lark Wainright used to be fearless. Her life was a series of adventures, each one more exhilarating than the last. But her recent overseas adventure was one too many. Now she’s home and in one piece. Mostly. But her nights are filled with terror.

When her best friend offers her a stay at the orchard in exchange for help at the farmers’ markets, Lark jumps at the chance to spend fall in Vermont. But her nightmares don’t stop. Desperate to keep her fragile state a secret, she relies on the most soft-spoken resident of the Shipley Farm to soothe her when her dreams prove too much.

Zachariah is a survivor, too. It’s been four years since he was tossed aside by the polygamist cult where he grew up. He’s found a peaceful existence on the Shipley’s farm, picking apples and fixing machinery. But getting thrown away by your own people at nineteen leaves a mark on a guy. He doesn’t always know what to make of a world where movie quotes are the primary means of communication. Before hitchhiking to Vermont, he’d never watched TV or spoken on the phone.

Actually, there are a lot of things he’s never done.

Zach and Lark slowly grow to trust one another. One night they become even closer than they’d planned. But Lark may still be too broken to trust anyone. When she pushes Zach away, he will have to prove to himself that he's good for much more than farm labor.

There’s something about tragic characters that makes me immediately love a story… and Lark and Zach were easy to love.

Lark was known as a ‘wild child’, but a trip to make lives better turned into a nightmare. Now traumatized, she’s desperate to put on a happy face for everyone. Fake it ‘til you make it and all that. Zach had been booted from a cult. He was new to life on the outside and had to overcome feelings of inadequacy and his fear of abandonment. Together, they were just barely holding on.

I enjoyed the way the author wrapped these characters with so much feeling. I’m a huge fan of the Shipleys and while I’m unsure if there are books about them (this is the 3rd book in the series after all), I want their stories. They gave Lark and Zach such a great foundation for their relationship. If I’m ever down and out, or just plain sad, I want a family like this one at my back.

My only real complaint was that there wasn’t much going on for most of this book. They woke up, milked the cows, ate breakfast, picked apples, sold apples, ate a huge dinner, went to bed, woke up, milked the cows, ate breakfast… Lark had nightmares, Zach gave her comfort, they had feelings for each other, had sex a few times, but for the most part, I was a witness to the tedium of their everyday lives.

Lessons Learned by Marie James

Lessons Learned by Marie James

My Rating - ★★★1/4
Standalone - Mission Mercenaries #1
Release - October 13, 2022
Genre - Dark Romance / enemies to lovers
POV - Dual 1st person
Heat - 4 out of 5 / explicit with several scenes (and some triggers)
Format - ebook borrowed from Kindle Unlimited
Length - 235 pages

Despite having a previous connection, I’ve hated Lauren Vos since the day she stepped over my bleeding body and left me for dead.

We were never meant to be. She’s an undercover FBI agent, and I’m a mercenary that goes where the highest bidder takes me.

After seeing each for the first time in years, she thinks we can just pick up where we left off, but the man she once knew died long ago.

What I didn’t know is that the man I became after her betrayal was the man she needed all along.

I feed on her urgency for degradation, but heaven help me, it may be the death of us both.

I reached the end of this book and still don’t know what to think. I didn’t like the characters, and yet, they had me hooked! I couldn’t look away from the hot mess they were or the catastrophe they had created out of their lives.

Angel was a mercenary. Once he was full of heart, but being left for dead changed things. It made him harder, colder, less caring. So why did Lauren affect him so much?

Lauren was an FBI agent who was willing to put herself at the heart of true danger to save lives. Little did anyone know… she was desperate to feel used, abused and humiliated. She lived to be trampled on and assaulted. They fed her in ways they would disgust most people. Why did Angel give her everything she could ever need?

If the FBI hires agents like Lauren, I feel sorry for the federal justice system in America. She was all kinds of messed up. She wasn’t stupid, she had resources, but she did nothing to help herself. She made excuses and she frustrated me. And Angel… dude had so much to offer and I often found myself wishing he wouldn’t offer them to Lauren.

Yeah, it’s all messed up. And yet… I’m probably going to read the next book in the series. Go figure :)

The Naughty, The Nice, and The Nanny by Willa Nash

The Naughty, The Nice, and The Nanny by Willa Nash

My Rating - ★★★1/2
Standalone - Holiday Brothers #1
Release - November 4, 2021
Genre - Small Town Romance / forced proximity / single parent
POV - Dual 1st person
Heat - 3 out of 5
Format - ebook borrowed from Kindle Unlimited
Length - 165 pages

One week with one little girl—an angel, according to my staffing agency. Acting as the short-term nanny for a single dad should have been an easy way to make some extra cash. Until I show up for my first day and face off with a demon disguised as a seven-year-old girl wearing a red tutu and matching glitter slippers.

Oh, and her father? My temporary boss? Maddox Holiday. The same Maddox Holiday I crushed on in high school. The same Maddox Holiday who didn’t even know I existed. And the same Maddox Holiday who hasn’t set foot in Montana for years because he’s been too busy running his billionaire empire.

Enduring seven days is going to feel like scaling the Himalayas in six-inch heels. Toss in the Holiday family’s annual soiree, and Christmas Eve nightmares really do come true. But I can do anything for a week, especially for this paycheck, even if it means wrangling the naughty, impressing the nice, and playing the nanny.

This was a sweet, small town, ‘ohmygosh my first crush is back AND he’s hot AND he’s my new boss AND his daughter is precious’ kind of romance. From the wonder that was the Holiday family (like seriously, can I join?) to the easy buildup of what grew between Natalie and Maddox, I was entertained. One, I love when I can actually enjoy a character with my name. I think this is the first time that has happened. Two, Violet… I loved the way she was described and I couldn’t get enough of the relationship that Natalie built with her.

You want a sweet read with a swoony kind of love? You can’t go wrong with this book.

Review // Ember Glen Trilogy by Brynn Ford

May 12, 2023

Ember Glen Trilogy by Brynn Ford

I could never match the strength and bravery of Mercy Madness.
No one ever could, and no one ever will.

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Ember Glen Trilogy by Brynn Ford

Spark of Madness by Brynn Ford

Ember Glen #1
Release - July 21, 2022
Genre - Dark Romance / dystopian, forbidden
POV - Dual 1st person
Heat - 5 out of 5
Format - ebook borrowed from Kindle Unlimited
Length - 320 pages

Mercy is a sinner, and Arlo is no saint

MERCY - For years, I've served the men of Ember Glen. I've endured their depravity because it's required. But when the most vicious man in our village decides to target me during a purge, I have to make a choice…

I can kneel and serve…
or I can run and become a sinner.

I choose sin…
I choose to run.

Only, I didn't expect another man to chase me…
I didn't expect the harrowing punishments he'd make me endure once I was caught…
And I certainly didn't expect to find passion for him.

The man who calls me a sinner sets my soul on fire.

Ember Glen Trilogy by Brynn Ford

REVIEW ~ 4 stars

Let me start off by saying THANK YOU to Jessica @Chatterbooks Book Blog, From her rave review of the series, I knew I had to give it a try. Dark romance, dystopian society, strong heroine, horrific experiences, sinners and servants… Spark of Madness has all of that and more.

I admired the heck out of Mercy. She seemed to be the only one who questioned her place in life. She was the only one who spoke up for how wrong things were. Why were men allowed to subjugate, abuse, and generally mistreat women with no consequences? Why were women punished for questioning or refusing the status quo? She was a warrior for her people, even if they couldn’t see or acknowledge it.

After recently watching The Handmaid’s Tale, I couldn’t help drawing parallels, but at the same time, this story is so different. The construct of this society is also mired in twisted religion, women are oppressed, meant to be seen and to serve, not to have thoughts or feelings or to be heard. Select men are chosen to rule over everyone and each caste has a certain set of rules they must follow. In that vein, Arlo reminded me of Nick, in that he lives in the society and, until meeting Mercy, he believed in the principles of that society. However, he starts to question himself and those around him. While he first tries to rationalize it, it seems he’s coming to accept that something’s wrong with what he was forced to believe.

Arlo isn't a hero in my eyes... yet. But with the way this author writes, I can easily see her convincing me to like him.

My thoughts for the rest of this series:
- Killian must die. The elders must die.
- I think that the idea of no world beyond Ember’s Glen is a lie. I think normal society exists and this cultish environment exists outside of accepted society. I hope Mercy burns down this place and finds a new home in the real world. That would be my hope for her happy ending. I’m not sold on that ending being with Arlo, but I’m guessing the next two books will work to change my mind.

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Ember Glen Trilogy by Brynn Ford

Blaze of Misery by Brynn Ford

Ember Glen #2
Release - October 20, 2022
Genre - Dark Romance / dystopian, forbidden
POV - Dual 1st person
Heat - 5 out of 5
Format - ebook borrowed from Kindle Unlimited
Length - 404 pages

She's destined to die, yet she consumes my every waking thought.

I'm struggling against everything I've been taught to believe.
I'm falling for a sinner, and my passion for her is destroying my world.

As Mercy endures untold torment at the hands of my brothers, my soul splinters, breaking in ways I didn't know were possible. I want her so much it consumes me. I need her so much that I'd burn for eternity in exchange for a single moment with her...if only I could sell my soul to spare her life.

The fear of her looming death begs my mind to open, and all I want is a world where she lives.

Absolution. They could etch the word into my skin, and still, it would never find me.

The trials for my soul begin, but they aren't truly meant to save me.
Nothing can save me from the way I've been broken by the men of Ember Glen.

The man who hurt me the most is also the man whose touch sets me on fire. Arlo Rainn hasn’t earned my thoughts, my attention, or my desire, yet he possesses me entirely. My feelings for him strengthen as we explore our forbidden passion, and as he comes to know me better, he begins to see the world through my eyes.

My warden's perspective is shifting, and I fall deeper into the madness of my need for him.

Ember Glen Trilogy by Brynn Ford

REVIEW ~ 5 stars

I couldn’t sleep from reading and wanting to continue reading this book. I’m freaking hooked and can’t wait to see the next hurdle Mercy must pass. This woman is so strong, full of compassion, with a certain sweetness and softness I find so endearing. The warrior within her is blazing through and I can’t wait to continue to see her fight.

I still think Killian has to die. This dude is cruel and deserves punishment that meets his crimes and actions. Death is the only solution.

I’m not sure how I feel about the other members of The Control. Owen seems to be reasonable (if a lot delusional), Wesley seems to take pleasure in being cruel (and yet try to appear kind), Ryker seems to be a determined Killian follower (like that guy needs anyone to encourage his wickedness), and the other member I don’t even remember. I hope Theo is a help rather than a hindrance in the rebellion to come.

I wonder where the missing pages of Mercy’s mother’s journal are. Who made sure she found the journal in the first place? And what do those pages have to say?

I’m curious about what exists outside of Ember Glen. I’m sure it’s a futuristic version of our society and I hope I get a chance to see Mercy thrive in the freedom of it.

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Ember Glen Trilogy by Brynn Ford

Embers of Mercy by Brynn Ford

Ember Glen #3
Release - March 31, 2023
Genre - Dark Romance / dystopian, forbidden
POV - Dual 1st person
Heat - 5 out of 5
Format - ebook borrowed from Kindle Unlimited
Length - 356 pages

Death has always been chasing me, and I fear it's finally caught up.

If this trial doesn't end my life, it will surely take my mind.
And nothing could have prepared me for the despair yet to come.

Though everything seems hopeless, my love for Arlo remains constant. A part of me wants to give up and fade away with him. But secrets are being kept, and though I never expected to live long enough to learn the truth, a brewing rebellion might be the end of it all.

If Arlo and I are going down in flames, at least we can burn Ember Glen down with us.

The end of everything approaches, and I've never felt so lost.

I'm sickened by the trial Mercy is forced to endure.
If I could complete it in her stead, I would trade places with her in a heartbeat.

I can't do anything for her, and it wrecks my soul. My sanity is shattered, and I lose all control. And though my actions draw death nearer, its imminence inspires boldness. When we finally discover the truth, we have nothing left to lose.

One way or another, Mercy and I will end this—either everything will change, or we'll leave this place burning in our wake.

Ember Glen Trilogy by Brynn Ford

REVIEW ~ 4.5 stars

It's the last book of the trilogy and it gave me almost everything I could have wanted in an ending.

❥ bring on the rebellion
❥ let all castes unite
❥ Kill all those who NEED to die
❥ a happy ending for those who definitely deserve it

I'm being intentionally vague, but my only issue with this final book was that I wanted more. I wanted to spend time with Mercy and Arlo as they enjoyed their freedom. I wanted to really know what life was like for them away from Ember Glen and I wanted more justice to be found.

You know me... I'm a greedy goose.

If you love dark romance with horrific elements, situations that really push your boundaries, and love that shines a bright light through the darkness, then you NEED this series on your to-read list.

Review // Scarred by Emily McIntire

April 19, 2023

Scarred by Emily McIntire

Sara Beatreaux is not my problem.
Normally, I wouldn't care.
I shouldn't care.
But I do.

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Scarred by Emily McIntire

Scarred by Emily McIntire

Standalone - Never After #2
Release - January 4, 2022
Genre - Dark Romance / enemies to lovers / vengeance / retelling / royals
POV - Dual 1st person
Heat - 4 out of 5
Format - ebook from Kindle Unlimited
Length - 348 pages

She doesn't belong to him...she belongs to the crown.

Prince Tristan Faasa was never destined for the throne. That was always his brother, Michael. The same brother responsible for both Tristan's tormented childhood and the scar that mars his face. When their father dies, Michael is set to assume the throne, and Tristan is set to steal it. The leader of a secret rebellion, Tristan will stop at nothing to end his brother's reign. But when Michael's new betrothed, Lady Sara Beatreaux arrives, Tristan finds himself in the middle of a new kind of war. The kind that begs the question of what's more important, the crown or the woman about to wear it.

Sara has one plan. Marry the King and eradicate the Faasa line, even at the risk of her own peril. But she never expects the Scarred Prince. He's dangerous. Forbidden. And one of the men she's been sent to kill. But the line between hatred and passion has never seemed so thin, and as secrets come to light, Sara grows unsure of whom she can trust—torn between vengeance and the villain she was never supposed to love.

Find it here: Goodreads * Amazon

Scarred by Emily McIntire

My Two Cents

3.5 "Burn it all down" stars

Not quite a retelling, but it did have a lot in common with The Lion King. A scarred prince, some nefarious goings on, and a love story. I guess a villain deserves a happy ending too!

When his father dies, Tristan is alone in the world. His brother has the throne, the council is corrupt, and their people are starving. Tristan is determined to change things. His goals are dangerous, but he seems to laugh in the face of danger. << see what I did there?

When Sara's father dies, she vows revenge. She means to kill every member of the Faasa family, hopefully bringing back prosperity to her beloved lands. While her family schemed for her to be chosen as the King's future wife, she plotted and planned. And when she finally meets her future family, it's easy for her to imagine them all dying from her blades.

But then she gets to know Tristan, the outcast, the man in the shadows. He's nothing like what she thought he was and everything she needed in her life. With her conviction waning, can she find a new passion with him?

"The truth is, I am yours. Wholly. Inexplicably. Painfully. Unconditionally." He moves my hand until the dagger presses against his throat. "And if you need to sacrifice my soul so you're able to live with yours, then do it."

While I enjoyed this story, I wish someone had warned me that it was a slow build on the filth. I loved Tristan's obsessive, possessive self and his dirty mouth, but I wanted more. I know I'm greedy, but so much of this book was about these two fighting against their growing feelings that I wanted to spend time with them as a couple.

And yes, the author does offer an epilogue, but I would have to sign up for the newsletter and I'm not about to do that. No offense, but I'm on a newsletter cleanse. So I'm here, at the end of the book, happy that this couple gets to actually be a couple, but hopelessly wanting more. I'm good with all of the murder-y mayhem that happened, I was gleeful whenever Tristan's madness appeared, I'll never look at hash the same way again, and I liked everything in between. I'll be checking out the next book in the series for sure.

The Author

Emily McIntire is an Amazon Top 15 and Publishers Weekly best selling author known for her Never After Series, where she gives our favorite villains their happily ever afters. With books that range from small town to dark romance, she doesn’t like to box herself into one type of story, but at the core of all her novels is soul deep love. When she’s not writing you can find her enjoying her family, or lost between the pages of a good book.

Find more information at

Review // Owned by the Mafia by Aaron L Speer

April 14, 2023

Owned by the Mafia by Aaron L Speer

I still want you a little afraid.
It's the most natural aphrodisiac.

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Owned by the Mafia by Aaron L Speer

Owned by the Mafia by Aaron L Speer

Release - March 30, 2023
Genre - Dark Romance / mafia
Multiple POV - 3rd person
Heat - 4 out of 5
Format - eARC provided by the author
Length - 452 pages

When Danielle Stone learns of her brother’s crippling debt to crime boss Salvatore Carlino, her first instinct is to help. Carlino makes her a one-time offer to wipe the debt clean and let her brother walk away with his life; her.

So she reluctantly agrees to be his plaything. At his beck and call, day or night.

As Danielle falls deeper into a world of violence and excess, the man she hates unleashes a craving she's never experienced before. And slowly, the closer they get, the line between Carlino’s most depraved desires and her own begin to blur.

While her brother hatches a plan to free her, an enemy watches from the shadows, biding their time. Waiting for not only an opportunity to strike, but for Carlino to show a chink in his armour, and the fate of New Haven hangs in the balance as Danielle just might be that chink.

Desperate to keep control of his empire and his senses, the previously untouchable Carlino is destined to lose. The only question is, will it be his heart, or his life?

Find it here: Goodreads * Amazon

Owned by the Mafia by Aaron L Speer

My Two Cents

3.5 "Do two wrongs make a right?" stars

I've read quite a bit of mafia romance in my time, but I can honestly admit that reading Owned by the Mafia by Aaron L Speer is an experience I won't soon forget.

There's an edginess to his writing style that instantly grabs me and I never really know where the story is going. This time was no different. With so much going on, I had no idea if a happy ending of any sort was even possible (don't worry, it totally was).

First, there's Salvatore Carlino...
❥ he's the top man in town. He's got it all and everyone wants him and/or wants to be him
❥ when a man owes him money, he's usually taught a lesson. But this man has a sister and it's lust at first sight. An exception has to be made.

Then we've got Danielle Stone...
❥ she thinks she's got life right where she wants it until her brother screws up and she's left holding the bag
❥ she's with Carlino to work off her brother's debt. However, pesky emotions have her questioning why she's really staying

And then there's Paulie...
❥ he was a henchman of sorts and he had me cracking up. He took things quite literally and completed his jobs in over-the-top ways. Thanks for the laughs, my dude!

I'm being intentionally vague because any tidbit I add will potentially spoil it for you. There's a romance wrapped in mystery. Betrayal, death, and mafia mayhem were all around. So just read the book. Fall in love with Salvatore. Get a bit annoyed by Danielle. And love the ish out of the way this author plays with words.

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I have to admit that there was one part of this book that I couldn't shake. Something that bothered me and tainted my feelings for this story a bit.
Salvatore was dominant and had Danielle guessing about their status, her place in his life, etc.
When she got jealous without admitting that she was jealous and feeling possessive, she said some things that had Sal reacting in a bad way. He screwed another woman in front of her. Like she's tied up in the bed, watching him have sex with this woman in the same bed. YUCK!! Lesson learned, I guess.
So be warned!!

Owned by the Mafia by Aaron L Speer

The Author

Welcome to the Speerverse. Aaron L Speer has been publishing since 2014 and has won 4 Book of the Year Awards* and the Golden Stake Award at the International Vampire Film and Arts Festival held in Transylvania**.

The Undeadly Secrets (Paranormal Romance) spans six books so far, with the latest Peace Keeper: Part Two released in 2021. Heart Breaker is scheduled for some time in 2023.

Fans of MMA romance welcomed the hard hitting Championship Collection; Undisputed, Unbroken and Unbroken 2 into the world.

2022 will see the release of his first MC offerings as part of the Rebel Souls shared world; Rebel Sacrifice and Rebel Savage

2023 will not only see the release of Heart Breaker but also his first Mafia Romance: Owned By The Mafia

Find out more here: