Book Review · Dark

Release & Review //\\ The Institute


The Institute

by Dani René, Anna Edwards, Murphy Wallace, India R. Adams, Cassandra Faye, Sian Claven


Release: April 30, 2020

Genre: Dark Romance

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/49350158-the-institute




Having read all the stories in the anthology, there is definitely something in here for every one who enjoys an erotic twisted story.


1. Echo by Dani Rene
I really enjoyed the idea of two completely different personalities in one body and whilst this is they type of anthology where I’m not expecting any sort of traditional HEA, the ending seemed a little bit pointless. It’s hard to explain without spoiling the story but I couldn’t understand what had led Dr Ansel to suddenly change his mind/behaviour. Where did that sudden volt face come from? I liked the story but it was just a little too disjointed/underdeveloped for me to totally love it.


2. Marbh by Anna Edwards
I really liked this, particularly in it having an antiheroine as the main focus. Again this is vague because it’s a fairly short story and – spoilers! – but I loved the reveal and thought the ending was not only brave but actually perfect. The story totally drew me in, had me fascinated and Marbh is an amazing character.


3. Hostile Illusion by India R Adams

description

A wonderfully tragic, dark, depraved, inspiring, heartwarming, heartbreaking story. Words, words have left me. This story alone makes the book worth buying. I really can’t say too much but it’s got such a wonderfully dark but happy ending. Beautiful, tragic, amazing.


4. Mr Cat Is Not Real by Cassandra Faye (Jennifer Bene)
Oh my word, Nina made me cry! Her desperation to be good, to go outside, to have a friend, for Tom to like her, maybe to get well enough to go home. I’m not quite sure how I feel about Dr Nickelsen and Tom. Are they truly trying to help or just taking advantage. This is such a dark, very dub-con story. In fact given Nina’s mental state it’s non-con, even if she does agree and enjoy it.
JB dragged me through a whole range of emotions with this short story, and left me sort of heart hurt and sort of hopeful. I need to give Nina a hug.


5. Release Me by Murphy Wallace
As I was reading this I wondered how the author was going to wrap things up, because it read and progressed like a full length book. Then I got to the part that said ‘end of part one’ and realised that this probably will eventually become a full length story.
However don’t be put off because the story of Dr Richard and B contained in this book is a twisted, difficult, thought provoking, well paced and very erotic read. It totally captivated me and I definitely will read the rest of the story when it’s released. I would describe it as ending at a natural break point rather than a cliff-hanger ending.


6. Sanitorim by Sian B. Claven
This is a totally new-to-me author and I have to say I was very impressed with the story of Mollie, Lizzie and James. I sort of guessed a few of the twists because of the foreshadowing but that didn’t take away from the enjoyment in anyway. Especially since there were plenty of other twists and surprises along the way.
I’m still wondering about Riley and Jana, that’s possibly the only plot hole but nothing too big and irrelevant anyway given the ending. Which I LOVED!



Blurb:
The Institute
Serenity is an illusion

Dear Reader, 
I trust this letter finds you well.  
It is with the utmost concern that we invite you to join us at the infamous Serenity Institute. You’ll be able to observe the goings on of the asylum, meet the patients and the doctors. We do however ask that you please be quiet. Do not interact with the patients, and respect the special treatments our doctors administer. 
This is where nightmares come alive.
A home for the shattered psyche of its patients. 
Hope is lost when they cross the threshold.  
The deranged. The demented. The unstable. 
Six stories, six authors, non-stop madness. 

Kind regards,
The Authors
Dani René, Anna Edwards, Murphy Wallace, India R. Adams, Cassandra Faye, Sian Claven





Buy Links (Kindle Unlimited):
US: https://amzn.to/397CSYz 
UK: https://amzn.to/38ZXTUX 
CA: https://amzn.to/2vExLR2 
AU: https://amzn.to/3aYX68v 



Authors/Facebook Pages:
Dani René: http://bit.ly/2pN100b
Murphy Wallace: https://www.facebook.com/authormurphywallace/
Anna Edwards: AnnaEdwardsWriter 
Indie R. Adams: https://www.facebook.com/IndiaRAdams/
Cassandra Faye: https://www.facebook.com/fayebooksromance/
Sian Claven: https://www.facebook.com/sianbclaven/

Book Review

APRIL WRAP UP



April was a pretty decent reading month. Whilst I struggled to get into a couple of books, and just struggled to read anything at times, that is more a reflection of my state of mind than the quality of story. I didn’t have ANY DNF’s, though that was probably more due to me being a lot more picky about what I chose to read. Some books were quite gripping and enjoyable, some were good but forgettable.



TOTAL BOOKS READ – 28, all e-books.

Novels – 24
Anthologies – 1
Novellas – 1
Short Stories – 2

***

ReReads – 12
Arc Reads – 13 (strangely this includes 2 of the re-reads due to them being updated and re-released)
Arc Books That I Subsequently Bought – 5 (+1 more when finances allow)


This month has been unusual in the number of books I have re-read. It isn’t something I normally do but I have a couple of series’ I needed to complete, so it was necessary to remind myself of the plot line. For some it was just plain fun, and knowing they were books that wouldn’t take much thought power.


I started the month with some very dark and dirty reads and finished it with a couple of YA stories. I don’t think you could ask for much more of a contrast!



  1. Bind and Keep Me by Cari Silverwood
  2. Shameful Influence by Emily Tilton
  3. Perfection by Kitty Thomas
  4. Crave to Conquer by Zoey Ellis
  5. Devil’s Angel by Raven Steele
  6. Crave to Capture by Zoey Ellis
  7. Crave to Claim by Zoey Ellis
  8. Devil’s Soldier by Raven Steele
  9. Danger You Know by Lily White
  10. Nathan by Elin Peer
  11. Finding His strength by Measha Stone
  12. Reign to Ruin by Zoey Ellis
  13. Reign to Ravage by Zoey Ellis
  14. Reign to Rule by Zoey Ellis
  15. Black Light: Charmed by Jennifer Bene
  16. Always Daddy’s Girl by Delta James
  17. Stripping the Sub by Golden Angel
  18. Dark Citadel by Cherise Sinclair
  19. Club Shadowlands by Cherise Sinclair
  20. Breaking Free by Cherise Sinclair
  21. Jaded by Shane Starrett
  22. A Savage Debt by Zoey Ellis
  23. The Riding School by C.P. Mandara
  24. Learning the Rope by C.P. Mandara
  25. Hot to Trot by C.P. Mandara
  26. The Institute – anthology
  27. Ignite by Raven Steele
  28. Killshot by Aria Michaels
Book Review · Omegaverse

REVIEW //\\ A Savage Debt


A SAVAGE DEBT (Beholden Duet #1) by Zoey Ellis



An interesting start to the story.


This is a very pleasant read with a high heat level and lots of mystery. Whist it is part of a duet, the ending isn’t a dramatic cliff-hanger, more of a natural break point. The author also informs us that this break point is not midway through the story and #2 will be the longer book.


Whilst the story maybe didn’t grip me in quite the same way that the Myth of Omega books did, it is still a very enjoyable read. I didn’t feel my emotions were engaged in as much depth as when reading the trilogies, though I very much enjoyed the world building, character development and overall story telling.


Ana is a very pampered and sheltered Princess, very naive in the truth of life but not spoilt or selfish. Her struggles following the first night were well portrayed, though I personally needed more fear, more anger, more sense of injustice in Ana prior to those events. She felt a little like a characterless doll, and I don’t care how eager to please she was, where was her anger at her parents for failing to protect her?


I really loved the last chapter, from Maddoc’s point of view. I wish we’d maybe had a few more ‘mini chapters’ from him to balance the story a little more, though I can understand why we didn’t. Whilst there are some incredibly steamy scenes between Ana and Maddoc, my lack of emotional connection to him as a character made them feel a little perfunctory at times. They lacked a bit of chemistry and zing, but again I’m expecting that passion to explode once this pair get to genuinely know each other. I interpreted that feeling of slight removal as a reflection of the distance between them at the moment. That said the balance between the smut and the plot was perfect, and the story moved with good pace.


Ana really does undergo some growth in quite a short time, mainly due to the machinations and manipulations (or is it actually support and help?) of Maddoc. She clearly isn’t going to believe what he tells her, so he has to find ways to open her eyes and see for herself. We get inklings and foreshadowing throughout that all is not rosy in the garden (particularly Milly’s ‘fall’) and I’m really looking forward to discovering hidden truths along side Ana. Though that girl certainly needs to wake up and smell the coffee.


Roll on book #2!



3.5 stars


As payment for her father’s debt, he wants:
Her
At his mercy
For three nights


Notorious outlaw Maddoc follows no rules.
When he walks into the palace demanding repayment for a debt no one knew existed, he wants only one thing.
The Omega princess.
Protected and revered, Ana struggles to find control in a life planned for her from the moment she was born.

When she is forced to give three nights to a dark, lawless Alpha, his primal touch turns her world to chaos.
But the more she tries to resist, the deeper she is sucked into the intense savagery he has saved just for her.


A SAVAGE DEBT is the first installment of the Beholden Duet, a fantasy Omegaverse romance that explores themes of justice, punishment, and dark, savage love. For fans of Alpha anti-heroes and sassy heroines. Cliffhanger included. This story features romance and situations of a dark nature.


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Book Review · Romantic Suspense

REVIEW //\\ Jaded


Jaded by Shane Starrett



Four and a half weeks into a lockdown, still trying to get my head around working from home (a surreal situation when you’re a 1 to 1 home ed teacher who can’t video call students because of safeguarding). Rapidly loosing track of the days along with my sanity, I’ve struggled to read anything other than lightweight stories or fantasy books, things that take no brain power or are so far removed from real life that I can sink into them.  The last thing my head thought it could cope with was a gritty romantic suspense.  Yet not only did Jaded prove me wrong, it damn well hooked me tight and reeled me in.


Mason was a substantial side character in the book Jasmine, Trish held a much smaller role.  However fantastic writing means that you don’t need to have read ANY of that story to both understand and enjoy this one.  I adored Mason, really grew to understand him and, yes, my heart broke for him when we got the 10 years ago prologue.  Trish was strong, smart and so, so sassy and I loved her.  She set her sights on Mason Jones and was not going to let her quarry escape. 


The suspense element was very convincingly executed, the various threads weaving together into a fast paced, engaging, fleshed out and convincing tale.  The balance between the romance, character building, story development and plot was perfect, I mean *maybe* we could have had another steamy scene between Trish and Mason, but I loved that what there was felt like an organic development of the storyline, rather than being shoe-horned in to tick a box.  And boy do that pair have some scorching hot chemistry!


To summarise – Jaded is well written, captivating and just an all round wonderful read.




Blurb:
One broken FBI agent.
One sassy, sarcastic journalist.
Brought together by one set of circumstances, there’s another—a threat which could destroy them both—that may push them even closer.
But he’ll need to bring down the walls he’s built so carefully and let her in.
And she’ll need to trust a man so jaded…

He might be incapable of the very thing she’s looking for.




Amazon UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B087R4VVP3

Amazon US – https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B087R4VVP3

Goodreads – TBA


Photo by Digital Buggu on Pexels.com



Meme

Top Ten Tuesday


Books I Wish I Had Read As a Child


Today’s challenge posted by That Artsy Reader Girl felt a little challenging at first. I was a voracious reader as a child, the library was my second home and a good chunk of my pocket money (and my parents money) went on feeding my obsession. So on first reflection I read what I wanted to as a child.


I read The Famous Five, Tom’s Midnight Garden, Carrie’s War, The Secret Garden, Little Women and so many more. I think I read all the Chronicles of Narnia, I remember Voyage of the Dawn Treader and Prince Caspian. These books, however, belonged to my brother and he had strict rules for how they were to be treated.


His book shelves were organised to the nth degree and the books upon it looked unread, even though they weren’t. He kept them pristine, no bending of the spine on a paperback, no folding dog-ear corners. I had to gently curve the pages to form a shallow ‘u’ shape, so that no creases formed anywhere on the cover. Lo and behold if any damage occurred, and the stress of maintaining his high standards often negated any enjoyment to be found from the story.


But then inspiration struck and I realised that there have been quite a considerable number of years between when I was a child and now. Which opens up a whole host of books, both read and unread, that have been released in the intervening years. There were also a couple that were around then that I can add to the list.

1 George’s Marvellous Medicine by Roald Dahl

Charlie and The Chocolate Factory, and it’s sequel Charlie and The Great Glass Elevator, were amongst my favourite stories as a child. However it wasn’t until I saw Rik Mayall perform this book on Jackanory – one of the greatest shows the BBC ever created for children – that I knew of it’s existence. I felt a little too old to read it, but I sure enjoyed secretly watching Rik’s amazing and funny performance.

On a side note Bernard Cribbins was hands down my favourite narrator on Jackanory, though Kenneth Williams was a close second.

I have since read the book many times to my children, along with many other Dahl classics that we all love and enjoy.


2 – 4 The Hunger Games Trilogy by Suzanne Collins

I adored science fiction and in particular fantasy, as both a child and teenager. I’m sure that love developed from my love of fairy tales and Alice in Wonderland (oh and Through the Looking Glass too).

I was the strange kid who willingly read Day of the Triffids and not only enjoyed reading the short story A Sound of Thunder, by Ray Bradbury, but still to this day remember both the plot and how it made me feel.

Via my son our household actually has the paperback copies of these three books, and one day I WILL read them!


5 – 8 Tiffany Aching Books #1 – 4 by Terry Pratchett

I have read some of these, but as an adult. I still loved them, with all the wearing of black and the Wee Free men, but I do feel my childhood would have been enhanced had they been available back then.

Nobody writes quite like the late, great Terry Pratchett. The random, seemingly bizarre little facts and events that, with one tug on a thread, he could pull together into the most astounding and amazing of stories was simply amazing.



9 – oops Harry Potter #1 – 7 by J.K. Rowling

I’ve read every single one of these books, and watched the films too many times to count. I envy those who grew up alongside Harry, Hermione and Ron. I was forever the adult peering in from the outside, but these a right of passage books and should be on every child’s reading list.


10 (who’s counting!) Percy Jackson and the Olympians by Rick Riordan

I might have seen 1 or 2 of the film adaptations, though we all know the book is always better, but that’s probably as close as I’ve gotten to this series.

The fact that the main character is a boy (yucky😉 ) might have put my younger self off, but gods, myths, legends and magic? Who could resist that? Not me.


So technically my list is either a lot more than 10 books, or a lot less if you count a series as 1 entry, but it’s my post so there! I was wondering if there were any other books to add into the mix but, if I have to go searching for inspiration, then they probably wouldn’t have been for me. Thank you if you’ve taken the time to read my list! Are there any of these books you would have, or indeed DID read, as a child?