Slashes in the Snow (Baum Squad Novel #1) by M. Never

Book Description:

Published: March 3, 2019

Format: Audio/Audible

Ky
Three years ago my father walked away. Away from our MC club, all his responsibilities, and me. We haven’t spoken since the day he handed me the keys to the kingdom.

Shoved them down my throat was more like it.

I hate him, and the new family he’s playing house with. He left his entire life behind for a woman he barely knows. But I’m strong, resilient, and don’t need a damn soul to survive.
At least, that’s what I thought…until she walked into my bar.

Kira
Someone is watching me. I can feel it. I wake up in the middle of the night freaked out of my mind, paranoid a stranger is there. My skin prickles every time I leave my house, because I know someone is following me.
I’m afraid. Alone. And there’s only one person left to turn to.

The stepbrother I never met. The man my stepfather speaks so highly about, but never sees. He’s the president of a notorious motorcycle club, and exactly the kind of person I need to protect me.

Little did I know, Ky Parish, freakin’ hates my guts.

Review –

Slashes in the Snow is an enemies to lovers, stepbrother romance, romantic suspense (emphasis on romance) with dark elements and a motorcycle club throw in for good measure.  What more could a female reader ask for?

Fantastic read!

 

 

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Verity by Colleen Hoover

Book Description:

Published: December 7, 2018

Format: Audio/Audible

Lowen Ashleigh is a struggling writer on the brink of financial ruin when she accepts the job offer of a lifetime. Jeremy Crawford, husband of bestselling author Verity Crawford, has hired Lowen to complete the remaining books in a successful series his injured wife is unable to finish.

Lowen arrives at the Crawford home, ready to sort through years of Verity’s notes and outlines, hoping to find enough material to get her started. What Lowen doesn’t expect to uncover in the chaotic office is an unfinished autobiography Verity never intended for anyone to read. Page after page of bone-chilling admissions, including Verity’s recollection of what really happened the day her daughter died.

Lowen decides to keep the manuscript hidden from Jeremy, knowing its contents would devastate the already grieving father. But as Lowen’s feelings for Jeremy begin to intensify, she recognizes all the ways she could benefit if he were to read his wife’s words. After all, no matter how devoted Jeremy is to his injured wife, a truth this horrifying would make it impossible for him to continue to love her.

A standalone romantic thriller from #1 New York Times bestselling author Colleen Hoover.

Review –

It’s interesting (and amazing) when an author explores writing something that is completely different from what we are used to seeing from them.  And it also helps that I love reading thrillers as well.  Keep in mind if you are here for the romance, although there is one in this book, it’s definitely darker and grittier and I don’t think it’s really intended to be “romantic”.

There’s a deep, dark secret that Verity Crawford has been hiding.  She’s been in a serious accident and her publisher hired author Lowen Ashleigh to finish writing the three books left in Verity’s hugely popular series.  But when Lowen moves into the Crawford home to go through series notes she discovers some sinister secrets about Verity and her family life.  And she can’t help but feel an undeniable attraction to Verity’s husband, Jeremy.

The great thing about this is that the whole book seemed pretty straight forward.  I mean, awful in some parts, but straight forward.  It had some creepy, nail biting moments but I didn’t feel the need to solve the mystery at any point.  I thought I had it figured out.  I should’ve known better and kept my mind engaged in gathering clues if there were any. I have to give the author credit for making me so wrapped up in the story that first off, I didn’t want to stop listening and second, I just experienced it as it came. The shocker will come at the very end of the story and yes, I didn’t see it coming, (love when that happens)  Also, I think that’s the morally grey point of the book.  Where you question the characters actions and think back on the what’s right and what’s wrong.  There is an HEA but it may feel like a questionable one for people that fall on one side of that moral spectrum than others.

Nevertheless, Verity was a thrilling and exciting ride.  It’s dark and horrific at times but I couldn’t not continue listening.  I really hope that Ms. Hoover writes more in this genre because I’m definitely here for that side of her.

Five HUGE stars!

King (King #1) by T.M. Frazier

Book Description:

Published: June 15, 2015

Format: Audio/Audible

Homeless. Hungry. Desperate.

Doe has no memories of who she is or where she comes from.

A notorious career criminal just released from prison, King is someone you don’t want to cross unless you’re prepared to pay him back in blood, sweat, pu$$y or a combination of all three.

King’s future hangs in the balance. Doe’s is written in her past. When they come crashing together, they will have to learn that sometimes in order to hold on, you have to first let go.

Warning: This book contains graphic violence, consensual and nonconsensual sex, drug use, abuse, and other taboo subjects and adult subject matter. Although originally slated to be a standalone, KING is now a two part series.

Review –

OMG! I totally LOVED this book!! Dark and gritty, sweet and sexy, raw and shocking, and utterly addictive, with an unapologetic, badass Alpha male hero and unexpected twists that I never saw coming!!  Once I started listening, i found it very hard to do anything else.

I haven’t read many books by TM Frazier, but I think she writes some of the best dark romance out there. Her writing is strong and compelling. It keeps you on the edge of your seat and doesn’t hold back. Her characters hover in that mysterious and intriguing grey zone between good and bad and keep you constantly second guessing how you should feel about them. They’re incredibly complex and honestly, that’s what makes them so fascinating. And while her stories are raw and gritty, they always have a side of sweet and are woven with just enough depth and emotion to tug all your heart-strings and really make you care. 

King. Brantley King. Career criminal. Tattoo artist. Badass alpha. Fresh out of prison.

Doe was the complete opposite. Her past was a mystery to her — after waking up in a garbage dump in a heap of her own blood with no memory of who she was or where she came from, the only thing she had left was a reflection in the mirror that even she didn’t recognize. She wasn’t cut for his world. Tiny, frail, but surprisingly bold and fiesty. Everything about him screamed danger to her, but even though he scared the hell out of her, I loved the way she still didn’t take any of his shit…

They naturally got off to a rocky start. A girl like her had no place in his world and he wasn’t about to start changing things. He had a single-minded goal since getting out of prison (a secret you’ll learn as you read) and would do anything he had to to get it. She was a detour he never expected. She brought out a whole other side of him. He wanted to own her, possess her, but slowly but surely, she began to steal his heart.

There are horrible things that happen and a beloved character loses his life but this author really doesn’t hold back and many of the events are dark and gritty. I keep coming back to those two words because they really are the best descriptors for the feeling of this story. But she writes that style like no one else. Her writing is just so strong and compelling that the words flew by for me.

The ending had my heart in my throat — huge reveals, huge twists (yes, plural!) — and it’s a cliffhanger so I’ve already started  the next book, Tyrant. Can’t wait to continue this ride.

Five stars, and the cover …….

Pennies (Dollar #1) by Pepper Winters

Book Description:

Published: July 18, 2016

Format: Audio/Audible

“I’m not the hero in this story, girl. You’d do best to remember that.”

Once upon a time, I was an eighteen year old psychology student.
Now, I’m a man’s property.
Stolen and sold, I’ve been decorated in bruises since the day my world changed two years ago.
I suffer in silence, I crave freedom, but I never break.
I can’t.
Until he arrives.
Elder Prest, the only man to look at me and see me. The only man more ruthless than my owner.
He wants me for reasons I don’t understand.
He claims me for one night then leaves and never looks back.
Until he returns.
And life becomes much more complicated.

Review –

This story is told in multiple POVs, but is centered on the experiences of Tasmin, aka Pimlico. At eighteen, Tasmin has led a privileged and sheltered life. When she is taken from one of her mother’s formal functions, her existence as she knows it comes to an end. Tasmin becomes Pimlico, a sex slave.

Purchased by Alrik, a sadistic and cruel man who refers to himself as “Master A”, Pimlico lives in constant terror. She suffers unspeakable acts at the hands of Master A and his friends. He takes pride in his visciousness.

When Elder Prest sets eyes on Pimlico, he is equally intrigued and enraged. He finds himself having to fight back his urges to take her for himself, while also wanting to kill Alrik for his abuse of the slave girl. He’s no stranger to deviant acts, a notorious criminal himself, but something about Pimlico calls to him.

Pimlico, despite the horrors she’s endured, does not break. She is defiant to the end, even as she submits in calculated measures to survive. She does what she has to do to survive, but she will never give Master A what he wants most…her voice.

The more she remains silent the more vicious Alrik is to her. 

Elder comes and goes between dealings with Alrik and each time he leaves “Pim”  is beaten and subjected to horrible things because Alrik thinks she likes Elder more, DUH!!!!!! Elder isn’t the one beating her, now is he? His jealousy gets to the point that he and two of his goons are going to take her voice by cutting out her tongue and at the last minute Elder comes in and kills two and helps Pim kill Alrik and then he steals her for himself.

Though this book is VERY VERY dark most of the beatings are left to the readers imaginations and the sexual acts are implied. BUT, what a ride. After reading, I had to decompress by reading/listening to something of a different genre.

I do intend to read the rest of the series, because I’m now totally addicted to Elder Prest!

 

The Missing by Caroline Eriksson

Book Description:

Published: January 1, 2017

Format: Audio/Audible

An ordinary outing takes Greta, Alex, and four-year-old Smilla across Sweden’s mythical Lake Malice to a tiny, isolated island. While father and daughter tramp into the trees, Greta stays behind in the boat, lulled into a reverie by the misty, moody lake…only later to discover that the two haven’t returned. Her frantic search proves futile. They’ve disappeared without a trace.

Greta struggles to understand their eerie vanishing. She desperately needs to call Alex, to be reassured that Smilla is safe, or contact the police. But now her cell phone is missing too. Back at her cottage, she finds it hidden away under the bedsheets. Had she done that? Or had someone else been in the cottage? But who, and why? As Greta struggles to put the pieces together, she fears that her past has come back to torment her, or she’s finally lost her grip on reality…

In this dark psychological thrill ride—with more twists than a labyrinth and more breathless moments than a roller coaster—Greta must confront what she’s always kept hidden if she has any hope of untangling the truth.

Review –

Like a lot of thrillers, this book is told  POV (point of view) style from an unreliable narrator–in this case, Greta, a young Swedish woman. Greta is on vacation with her boyfriend, Alex, and his four-year-old daughter, Smilla, staying in a cabin in the woods. They decide to take a boat across the appropriately named Lake Malice to an island. Greta waits on the boat while Alex and Smilla explore the small forested space, but as it grows dark, she becomes concerned when they don’t return.

This is a very small island–not the sort of place a grown man and a child can hide. And no one else is coming or going. So where the hell did Alex and Smilla go?

I was pulled into the mystery immediately  but as the book unfolds I became absolutely addicted. It turns out Greta has a complicated past–she tells us her father disappeared, too. And Greta isn’t behaving like I’d expect someone to given the situation. She isn’t calling the police, but rather is searching herself while becoming increasingly untethered.

I can’t say more about this book without ruining it, but I will say that it offers some excellent “Not Sorry Not Sorry Female Rage”, as well as reflection on the relationships women have with their mothers. Trigger warnings need to be issued for depictions of domestic violence and animal abuse (the latter happens off screen).

The Missing is a dark, dark book, but a deeply satisfying one. 

 

The Pawn (Endgame #1) by Skye Warren

Book Description:

Published: December 6, 2016

Format:Free Digital Book

“Sinfully sexy and darkly beautiful, The Pawn will play games with your heart and leave you craving more!” – Laura Kaye, New York Times bestselling author

The price of survival…

Gabriel Miller swept into my life like a storm. He tore down my father with cold retribution, leaving him penniless in a hospital bed. I quit my private all-girl’s college to take care of the only family I have left.

There’s one way to save our house, one thing I have left of value.

My virginity.

A forbidden auction…

Gabriel appears at every turn. He seems to take pleasure in watching me fall. Other times he’s the only kindness in a brutal underworld.

Except he’s playing a deeper game than I know. Every move brings us together, every secret rips us apart. And when the final piece is played, only one of us can be left standing.

THE PAWN is a full-length contemporary novel from New York Times bestselling author Skye Warren about revenge and seduction in the game of love. It’s the first book in the brand new ENDGAME series.

Review –

Avery’s world is falling apart. Her father is very bad off after getting severely beaten over bad business dealings with a man named Gabriel. Gabriel  sells and buys things – things like guns and drugs. Avery goes to the “King of the Underworld” Damon Scott for hopes of a loan, but when she discovers Damon reports to Gabriel, she knows she is big trouble.

When Gabriel learns eighteen year old Avery is a virgin, he tells her that her virginity is the most valuable thing she owns and if it is sold, she would make enough money to help her father and keep his house. But she would be owned for a month. He will sell her body to the highest bidder at auction. After thinking on it, Avery feels as if she has no choice.

Of course, the night of the auction, Gabriel actually bids and wins Avery – and now she is his for one month in exchange for a million dollars.

Gabriel never forces Avery to have sex – you actually learn he has had a thing for her for quite some time and kind of arranged this entire thing so he could have a chance with her. While Avery is bought by him, she enjoys the pleasure he gives her. He saves her virginity for as long as he can – but does act out in other ways with her. Around the third or fourth day (at least that’s what it seemed like to me) he does take her virginity and none too gently. It seemed it was being cruel on purpose. Afterwards, he left her in the bedroom, alone, bloody and shaken. When she goes to him asking if he was coming back to his room, he tells her NO. He’d gotten what he’d paid for and now he wanted her GONE.

The housekeeper calls a car to take her home and once she there she finds out her father has had a heart attack after learning that the family home has been taken in criminal forfeiture by Gabriel’s company. Avery is livid. She sold her virginity so this wouldn’t happen but Gabriel made it happen anyway. END

Talk about cliffhanger!

I wanted to shake Gabriel by the shoulders for being such a bastard. He was so dark and you get the feeling he likes it just fine that way.

I’m looking for a free copy of the next book, The Knight, because I don’t feel like paying $4.99 for it and the others in there series, but who know, I might cave. 

 

 

The Call (The Call #1)by Peadar O’Guilin

Book Description:

Published: August 30, 2016

Format: Free Digital Book/OverDrive

Imagine a world where you might disappear any minute, only to find yourself alone in a grey sickly land, with more horrors in it than you would ever wish to know about. And then you hear a horn and you know that whoever lives in this hell has got your scent and the hunt has already begun.

Could you survive the Call?

Review –

I have long been a fan of Karen Marie Moning and her Fever series, which deals with MacKayla (Mac) Lane and her battle against the world of the Fae, so when I ran across this book I knew I had to read it.

I’ve seen it described on YouTube as a horror novel and the video went on and on about how graphic and gruesome it was, but in reality it’s no worse than what young adults see on video games or read in some graphic novels. I found the violence and description of the Grey Land and the monstrous Faeries and their dress (made of human skin) added to the trepidation and edginess of the book.

Vanessa (Nessa) Doherty is a 14-year-old girl who attends Boyle Survival College, one of many in Ireland that serve only to teach its youth how to survive the Call of the Sídhe.

This intense, riveting tale is set in an Ireland that the Sídhe, Irish faeries, have cut off from the rest of the world, plotting to retake their former home through a grim war of attrition that involves kidnapping human teenagers. During the “Call,” teens disappear “for a little over three minutes, but in [the faeries’] world, the Grey Land, an entire day has passed, panic and pain in every second of it.” When the stolen teens reappear, they are usually dead and/or horribly mutated by magic. All Irish children attend special centers where they’re taught martial arts, the Sídhe language, and total ruthlessness. Nessa, already relegated to crutches due to polio (Ireland’s isolation means no imported vaccines—or anything else), seems unlikely to survive her Call, but has dedicated everything to doing so. The author follows several teens, including Nessa, over into the Grey Land, delivering blisteringly fast-paced and graphic descriptions of the tortures the children endure. This is a bleak, gripping story, one where only the most muted of happy endings is possible. 

There is a semi cliffhanger and the sequel, The Invasion, comes out in March of 2108. I can’t wait.

Five stars!!!!!

 

The Devil’s Claim (Devil’s Kiss #2) by Gemma James

Book Description:

Published: July 1, 2016

Format: Free Digital Book

It’s been a year since Kayla Sutton walked away from Gage Channing. Now he’s back, and so is Ian Kaplan, Kayla’s one-time lover from her college days. Gage’s jealousy is his worst enemy, and when he thinks Kayla has chosen Ian, he sets in motion a drastic plan to claim what’s his. Only Kayla never expects him to infiltrate her heart so effortlessly, and she never dreamed there would come a day when he wouldn’t want her.

Gage believes she’s committed the ultimate sin, but will she use his mistake to finally escape the cage of his obsession? Or will she do whatever it takes to make him see he can entrust his heart to her…just as she’s already lost the core of her being to him?

NOTE TO READERS: THE DEVIL’S CLAIM is a dark romance with a BDSM edge that does NOT conform to safe, sane, and consensual practices. Includes explicit content and subject matter that may offend some readers. Intended for VERY  mature audiences.

Review –

This was offered as a free digital book, so I have not read the first one, but I think I could fill in the blanks enough to see the whole story.

There were some moments when I wanted to kick the shit out of Gage, but then he would “act normal” and I’d like him again. He was so frustrating. Evidently he’s made some changes since the first book, The Devil’s Kiss, according to Kayla. He made changes but HE did not change. He knows what he wants and will not take NO for an answer. He will just do it. Taking away Kayla’s choices once again. Kayla wants that though, I feel. She wants someone who will make the choices for her. Her mind says no, but her wetness tells a very different story. Gage is over controlling, overbearing, over-sexed,over-abusive,  over all everything, but Kayla wants him anyway.

There is a HEA but I don’t intend to read the next book, The Devil’s Wife, to see what happens to the couple because I’m afraid their future isn’t going to be all smooth sailing.

This book is very dark but I hear the first one is much darker so READER, BEWARE.


 

Darkness Take My Hand (Kenzie and Gennaro #2) by Dennis Leanne

Book Description:

Published: July 12, 1996

Format: Audio/OverDrive

Patrick Kenzie and Angela Gennaro’s latest client is a prominent Boston psychiatrist running scared from a vengeful Irish mob. The private investigators know something about cold-blooded retribution. Born and bred on the mean streets of blue-collar Dorchester, they’ve seen the darkness that lives in the hearts of the unfortunate. But an evil for which even they are unprepared is about to strike as secrets long-dormant erupt, setting off a chain of violent murders that will stain everything–including the truth.

Review –

The above blurb does little to prepare the reader or the listener for what lays ahead. Lehane’s latest is an explosive story that is at once gut-wrenchingly violent and achingly melancholy.

Having not read or listened to the first book in this series, I knew nothing about the bond between Patrick and Angie but it doesn’t take long to pick up on the sexual chemistry and tension between them.

Patrick Kenzie and Angie Dimassi have known each other since they were six-year-olds running wild on the playgrounds of South Boston. As grown-ups, they’re partners in a detective agency, and the dangerous spots they’ve encountered together have strengthened the old bonds. Angie is coming out of an unhappy marriage, and Patrick is happily in love, when a series of brutal murders intrude. As Angie and Patrick try to find out what kind of human being could perform such horrifying acts of rape, mutilation, torture, and dismemberment, they soon find that the killer’s motive is disturbingly rooted in their own distant past. The two work frantically with the Boston cops, the FBI, the local Mafia, and folks from the old neighborhood to unearth the killer. The culminating showdown is unpredictable and unforgettable with the greatest horrors being those closest to home. Every character will be forever affected by the outcome of this book. This book is dark, edgy,  and horribly violent so if you are squeamish, don’t read it. Otherwise, I highly recommend it. I’m looking forward to reading the rest in the series including the first one which I have in my quench’s now.

Five stars *****

Deliver (Deliver #1) by Pam Godwin

Book Description:

Published: February 26, 2014

Format: E-Book

 

His name was Joshua Carter. Now it’s whatever she wants it to be.
She is a Deliverer.
She lures young men and delivers them to be sold. She delivers the strikes that enforce their obedience. She delivers the sexual training that determines their purchase price.
As long as she delivers, the arrangement that protects her family will hold.
Delivering is all she knows.
The one thing she can’t deliver is a captive from slavery.
Until him.
And her stubborn slave thinks he can deliver her…from herself.

Content warning: Graphic sex, violence, and psychological abuse. Age 18+ only.

Review –

If you’re a fan of dark romance, Deliver is definitely a book you should add to your list!!

It’s dangerous, suspenseful, very dark,  erotic, and at it’s heart, it’s a love story. I’m not going to lie though, it definitely made me uncomfortable at times but that’s kind of what you should expect from a darker romance so again, in every way, this book delivered.

Please pay attention to the content warning on the blurb though. This book is not for the faint of heart but underneath everything, it was the story of what happens when good people are put into terrible situations. It shows their true colors in the face of dangerous and sometimes deadly situations. In this case, it was about one man’s care for a woman who had stolen him from his life, violated him, subjugated him to cruelty and despite it all, he was still determined to save her from a life not that different from his new one.

When reading you thinka story about  human trafficking for sex BUT it was so much  more. There is a giant twist and it changes everything.  I didn’t think Josh and Liv had a chance in Hell but believe it or not there is a HEA. That shows what a good author Pam Godwin is. She was able to pull hope from chaos.

Very good read but very very dark. Reader BEWARE.