REVIEW //\\ Mafia Captive










I’m really disappointed with how low the average rating is for this book, because to my mind it takes the “captive romance” genre and twists it into something uniquely and refreshingly different.



Kitty Thomas writes complex characters in difficult situations and refuses to follow the expected conventions and ‘rules’. Perhaps that is why so many give the books low ratings, their enjoyment comes from a certain set of expectations being fulfilled, plot rules and routines being stuck to, no criticism if that is your preference. However I loved this book because it really DIDN’T stick to those preconceived notions of what happens in a captive romance book.



They do say to be careful what you ask for because you just might get it, and that’s what happened for me with this story. So often when I’m reading a dark romance I want the heroine NOT to be dripping like a leaky tap (faucet to you USA folks) in the hero’s presence. Faith was attracted to Leo, but the situation she was in, and his sadistic desires left her cold. I feel it only fair to warn you now that this does contain a lot of dubious-consent and one scene that is non-consent. It wasn’t the darkest non-con scene but it is pivotal to the story.



Leo is a good man prepared to do bad things for, at least to his mind, good reasons. So despite now owning Faith, when she reacts with the inevitable (and oh so realistic but usually missing from these books) fear and terror he, as the blurb says, keeps her almost as one would keep a pet or a piece of art. Leo is a complex man, born and raised in a mafia family but with too many morals and too good a heart to live that life. However it has left him with a darkness in his soul and a liking for the more sadistic aspects of BDSM.



I did think the abuse Faith had suffered as a child, her utter fear of ‘the belt’, would feature as an aspect later in the book. It almost felt like a loose end but, at the end of the day/book, this was a M/s relationship and really it was never going to make a difference. The ending, for some, may feel abrupt. Kitty Thomas doesn’t really go for the nice, sweet, tied-up-in-a-bow ending. She leaves us with a raw, realistic ending, one where I would argue quite ferociously that both characters are happy.



Neither has exactly what they want from a relationship, Leo felt like he compromised a lot less than Faith did, but isn’t that what life is like? And that ultimately is what I most enjoy about Kitty’s work. Whilst the original plot basis might be a slight stretch, how the characters feel and react does feel very genuine and real. I adore dark romances but so very often I can predict how the story will proceed almost blow-by-blow, or beat for beat I believe the literary version is. How much I enjoy the book is then entirely down to the quality of writing. Mafia Captive is just a breath of fresh air and the type of read that I just didn’t want to put down. I highly recommend it. 




























Without any family, Faith Jacobson faces the grim reality of Christmas alone. Walking home one night after drinks with friends, she stumbles upon a mob hit. Faith expects to be killed for what she’s seen; instead she is given to a wealthy and dangerous man tied to the Raspallo crime family. As a gift.

Leo Raspallo is beautiful, yet terrifying. But inside his home Faith is no longer alone, especially when his family arrives for the holidays, forcing her into the ruse of a fake wedding engagement. But she isn’t his beloved fiancé; she’s his captive. And he can’t be her savior while harboring dark desires of his own.









Amazon UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00CF4U874/

Amazon US – https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00CF4U874/

Goodreads – https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/17737134-mafia-captive





Ratings
5 stars – This is a book I will not forget and would definitely read again.
4 stars – I really enjoyed this book, I might not read it again but I would definitely recommend it to others.
3 stars – This story was good but either forgettable or just very typical of its genre.
2 stars – Whilst the book was readable I either didn’t enjoy parts of the plot or just could not connect to the main characters.
1 star – This is a book I simply could not finish for reasons listed in the review.





Review //\\ True Control 4.1 & 4.2








The True series, by Willow Madison, is one that very much polarises readers. I’m obviously in the ‘loved them’ camp since I don’t usually post reviews on here of books I didn’t like or books I DNF’d.


The series has been out quite a while now, I know the author and reviews mention editing issues but I can’t say this was a problem for me, which means I was either so caught up in the story I missed them, there weren’t actually that many for it to cause an issue or the books have been polished up at some point. I have no idea which of the three it is, and quite frankly it doesn’t matter. I just wanted to to let people know that the editing wasn’t atrocious.


Following reader reaction as she released the first three books, Willow decided to write two alternate endings to Max and Lucy’s story, thus allowing readers to choose their own conclusion to it. Personally I’m glad I chose True Control 4.1, Willow’s original ending, to read first. It’s a very dark story that finally opened my eyes to the true consensuality of the relationship that Max and Lucy are in. It is full of triggers, so I strongly advise readers to proceed with caution. However it is also the most perfectly imperfect ending and fits so well with what BOTH Max and Lucy want and need.


I read True Control 4.2 a couple of weeks after reading 4.1 and whilst the writing was top notch, with a story so full of incredible feels it left my emotions reeling, I was still left with a slight feeling of unease. It felt like the ending was a bit of a cop out, as though somehow Max and Lucy’s relationship was wrong, was unacceptable, that Max needed to change. It’s definitely the “morally easier” story to read, and if Willow Madison ever decides to write an angsty contemporary romance I’ll be buying shares in Kleenex tissues because boy did it pack an emotional punch to the feels. But without having read 4.1, which will forever by MY ending to the story, I think I would have felt robbed. The whole point of the True series was to push buttons and boundaries, have you questioning your beliefs and judgement and 4.2, whilst a brilliant book, felt like a sop to the unease of readers. It felt like an easy out, a get-out-of-jail-free card, it felt like a travesty of the truth.









TRUE CONTROL 4.1 by Willow Madison





So addictive I read all 4 books over 2 days – and nights *ahem*. Good job it was the weekend!



The beating I gave her once would be nothing in comparison to this amount of rage. It wouldn’t just be once. I’d have her black and blue for weeks for what she’s done.
I stop pacing though.


It’s no use to imagine. She’s not here. God help me, she may never be here again.

Max, True Control 4.1, True Series



Having taken the chance on the original, darker ending to Max and Lucy’s story, I’m not sure if I want to read the alternative. Though I am super curious as to what happens in that book, having bought 4 books one after the other I’m not sure my pocket can take the financial hit. If I had any sense I would have saved myself a few quid and signed up to KU for the month – ain’t hindsight a bitch?


Anyway, back to the important thing – my review of this dark beauty. So it’s difficult to truly do this book justice in a review without scattering it with too many spoilers. And you need to go into this book as blind as I did, because that allows you to truly understand the TPE dynamic that Lucy and Max share.




I know my girl. Lucy didn’t know her submissive side when I met her. I saw it in her. I recognized the signs, saw what she could be for me.
I broke her and made her mine quickly. I forced her to submit to me completely. I gave her only one choice, one chance to back away from her destiny with me. I smile thinking about that night.
She was so scared. And so yielding.


Max, True Control 4.1, True Series




So all those debates we’ve had over whether this pairs relationship was healthy, was consensual, was a TPE or abuse, were blown wide apart in this book. Because the author took us down a pitch black path of genuine abuse. There are some very traumatic and possibly triggering events in this book and it really is a proceed with caution read. However if you appreciated the first three books (I’m not sure enjoyed properly describes the experience 😉) then hopefully you are someone who is used to the difficult and troubling journey a truly dark read can take us on.


Lucy suffers in new ways, ways that make clear her true feelings, needs and desires. Suddenly we see that she isn’t the weak, doormat we all assumed her to be. We discover that her quietness is just her truth, her willingness to bend in order to please Max was her choice and her subservience was her pleasure. I owe the girl a massive apology, she is the strong one of the pair, the cement that secures their foundations.


I haven’t mentioned it before, which is very remiss of me “Sorry, Sir.” but Max had a very traumatic and difficult start to life. He suffered physical, emotional and mental abuse. It powers his need for control, and may well be the source of his anger. And I think it’s the author’s portrayal of that anger, constantly bubbling below the surface, that has concerned me most throughout this series. It wasn’t until this book that I truly believed in Max. Truly understood the depth of his feelings for Lucy and accepted his ability to control his anger.




I’ve never felt helpless before, powerless. I always had choices. And I know that it’s choices that give a person control.
That’s why I don’t give Lucy any. I am in control. Of her. Of me.
But … not now.

Max, True Control 4.1, True Series



Within the first few chapters it became glaringly obvious that, however much Max’s behaviour pushed our buttons, however much it made us uncomfortable, made us frown and judge (and oh boy does this book make that judgement so very apparent) Lucy fully agreed, participated and welcomed it. And yes, he does love her. Not in a way many of us could understand, not in a way many of us would probably want, but he loved her with every fibre of his being. It’s a crazy way of caring, but it’s what they both want and need.




She tries to stall, talk back. Bad move, little girl. I slap her. Not her left side, this is still too hurt.

Max, True Control 4.1, True Series



Whilst this isn’t a conventional love story, whilst it isn’t a typical romance, IMO it does deserve both labels. Each couple are entitled to live and love in the way that best suits them, and that’s what Max and Lucy do.


Even that final chapter, where it could be assumed that Max took away every last scrap of Lucy’s ability to choose and decide. I was just getting angry at Max for not respecting Lucy’s wishes when I realised that he was doing exactly what Lucy wanted. If she truly hadn’t wanted that reaction from him she could have made some very different decisions earlier in the day.




I am a monster. And she just loves me. Always.

Max, True Control 4.1, True Series



















WAIT! YOU HAVE A DECISION TO MAKE BEFORE BUYING THIS BOOK!


Note from the author:

I’ve written two completely different, alternative endings to this series. See for yourself why fans are saying this makes all the other dark romances look like greyed out shades of fairytales.


This is the end one way or another.
~Willow


ONE OR TWO
There was only ever one ending for Max and Lucy, but I aim to please—or torture—however you wish to look at it. I believe in true choices, so I give you control of their fate to pick which ending you prefer.


LOST OR FOUND
This is the darker ending for Max and Lucy. The monster gets the girl. When love is lost, it may be impossible to find a way back to True Control.



NOTE: All the books in this series are available for purchase/download now, so you won’t be left wanting or waiting. This series involves a combination of Domestic Discipline, D/s, and Sm
Now available in paperback too!


Excerpts:
I know my girl. She didn’t know her submissive side when I met her. I saw it in her. I recognized the signs, saw what she could be for me. I didn’t go slow. I didn’t have patience. I didn’t ease her into anything.

I broke her and made her mine quickly. I forced her to submit to me completely. I gave her only one choice. One chance to back away from her destiny with me.

She can’t be lost. I need her. Here with me. I’m lost without her.

…..


He’ll kill me eventually. In a rage, he’ll do it without thinking. I start to cry again, but shout at myself to stop.

I look in the mirror again…I’m only getting more broken by the day…mentally and physically. I try to stand up, to take a deep breath. But I wince at my reflection.

I hear him shouting at me and I turn away from the girl in the mirror…I can’t be her today. I can’t be strong when I’m this weak.



~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~







True Control 4.2 by Willow Madison




I really enjoyed this, with all it’s emotional intensity, but I would still recommend 4.1 for the true dark romance lover.


I wasn’t sure if I would read this alternative ending because for me True Control 4.1 was the perfect ending to Lucy and Max’s story. This one I both loved and hated. I definitely loved the amazing story telling of the author, my word did she make me feel . So many emotions, so much pain, such sweet love. These more subtle emotions had been masked by the anger, fear and total domination in previous books. This book is worth reading just to recognise how incredibly skilled this author is at crafting complex characters and situations. Because I wasn’t distracted by my Lucy’s struggles with submitting to Max, my focus was less on being shocked, irritated, angry, surprised, horrified, awed and bemused and more on the beautiful nuances of the story.


On the other hand I hated it too. I won’t say what caused that feeling, because that would be a spoiler, though if you read the other reviews many of them allude to just why this made me feel both hurt and let down. I didn’t like the suggestion, or impression, that Max was somehow wrong. Max was never wrong, he quite happily told us that on many an occasion. Whilst his brand of domination wouldn’t be for many, he wasn’t wrong or bad, he was just a different sort of hero.


On the surface we see a much stronger Lucy in this story, however I still firmly believe that her true strength lay in her decision, her choice, to submit to everything Max demanded of her. Her ability to let go and acquiesce with every fibre of her being. There is a very judgemental part of me that believes if you needed this book as the ending of the story you should hand your “dark romance reader” card in right now. For chunks of this I felt as though I was reading an angsty contemporary romance. An amazing and well written one but one that wasn’t true to the rest of the series. A bit like putting a sticking plaster on deep gash, this was fantastic but not suited to the job of being the conclusion of a dark romance.


Thank you to the author for kindly gifting me a copy of this book, because my curiosity had me desperate to know what the alternative ending was. I don’t regret reading it but I’m really, really glad I read the other one first. If this is the ending you prefer that’s fine because we all enjoy and need different things from our reads.
















ONE OR TWO
There was only ever one ending for Max and Lucy, but I aim to please—or torture—however you wish to look at it. I believe in true choices, so I give you control of their fate to pick which ending you prefer.


LOST OR FOUND
This is the lighter ending for Max and Lucy. When destiny gets in the way, love may have trouble finding a way back to True Control.



NOTE: All the books in this series are available for purchase/download now, so you won’t be left wanting or waiting. This series involves a combination of Domestic Discipline, D/s, and Sm
Now available in paperback too!



Excerpts:
I try to be still in Max’s arms. I’m too chilled by his words. So calm. So clear. “What if…what if that’s not what I want…what I need…?” I say this as almost a whisper, too afraid to say it…to afraid to keep it in.

He doesn’t say anything for a long time. I almost think he didn’t hear me until his voice answers in a whisper too, “You gave up having a choice when you became my wife, Lucy. What you want…what you need…I decide. You’ll take whatever I do to you.”

Even in a whisper, I know his final tone when I hear it. There’s no point in talking more. I swallow and still only speak in a cracked whisper, “What…what are you going to do to me, Max?”

And he waits to answer me again. His voice slides across the words, like he’s enjoying hearing the fear in my voice, feeling the shiver in my body. “Do you really want to know, little girl?”


…..


I don’t really want to be cruel to her. I like hurting her, sometimes just for my pleasure…but I want to be loving and kind to her too. And most of the time, I am.

I give her all of my love. I deny her nothing. Within reason anyway. I’m not a fool though. I know what I demand isn’t for everyone. I’ve had enough girlfriends throw modern feminism and equal rights crap in my face to know that Lucy isn’t like any other girl.

She understands that she needs my guidance. She gets that all of my rules, demands, punishments are meant to help her, to help us. To be happy.

I know I’m a monster. I’ve come to terms with this. I don’t care what anyone thinks of me. I only care about Lucy. About her obeying and submitting to me.











True Control 4.1
Amazon US – https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00S9YNP7O/
Amazon UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B00S9YNP7O/
Goodreads – https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/24517063-true-control



True Control 4.2
Amazon US – https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00S9YNMBS/
Amazon UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B00S9YNMBS/
Goodreads – https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/24516154-true-control




Ratings
5 stars – This is a book I will not forget and would definitely read again.
4 stars – I really enjoyed this book, I might not read it again but I would definitely recommend it to others.
3 stars – This story was good but either forgettable or just very typical of its genre.
2 stars – Whilst the book was readable I either didn’t enjoy parts of the plot or just could not connect to the main characters.
1 star – This is a book I simply could not finish for reasons listed in the review.

A Journey into the world of Black Light

BlackLight: Scandalized
by Livia Grant

5+ STARS 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟



BOOM! Mind blown and mouth agape at this masterpiece.

Wow, wow and triple wow. Having had the massively good fortune to not only meet Livia Grant but chat with her (after the Four Brits Book Fest), I know how much blood, sweat and tears were involved in writing this book. I want to just say that it was worth it because without a shadow of a doubt this is her best book to date, and is up there as one of the best Black Light books too.

The book mainly follows a new couple, Nalani and Shane, though there is enough of Piper and Nolan’s story to satisfy the ‘need it now’ feeling, resulting from their appearance in the Celebrity Roulette anthology. There are several ways that these four characters are linked, some obvious, others less so.

I wish I’d re-read Piper and Nolan’s Celebrity Roulette story, just to have the events and ‘feelings’ fresh in my mind. However this book has been written in such a way that you can enjoy it without having read that story first, it really is a standalone book. I absolutely fell in love with these characters, they were believable and had depth, growing and learning as their stories unfolded.

There are some incredibly hot BDSM scenes for those who enjoy a little spice to their read. Shane has a penchant for humiliation play on an almost sadistic level, Nalani is a BDSM novice. Thankfully safewords were discussed and encouraged, though I would have liked to see some discussion/negotiation of limits too.

I just couldn’t read this book quickly enough, always desperate to know what was going to happen next. At the same time I wanted to make it last forever, savouring each moment and submerging myself in the amazing world created by this supremely talented author.

Scandalized is an absolutely amazing read, firmly ensconcing itself as one of my favourite reads of the year. I had the day off and, despite my best intentions to take my time, I just couldn’t put it down. It’s an absolute must read for any Black Light, Livia Grant or BDSM romance fan. I would also happily recommend it to those who like contemporary romance and are willing to be a little more adventurous.

***This book does contain a fairly graphic sexual assault scene, if that is a potential trigger this may not be the book for you. I felt the issue was handled sensitively, respectfully and in a believable manner. ***


BLURB

Four lives tangled by an invisible thread…
Prepare to be scandalized!


Nolan and Piper have a lot in common, and a complicated history that has already hit the rocks twice before. But their undeniable chemistry keeps pulling them back together, and even if she’s Mistress Ice, Nolan is determined to have Piper any way he can get her — secrets and all. 

Famous actor, Shane Covington has almost nothing in common with Runway housekeeper Nalani Ione, but after one fateful meeting there’s no denying the fire between them. Dirty words and naughty fun bring them closer and closer together… but there’s danger in the halls of Black Light.

One dark force will bring these two couples crashing together, and it will take love to bring the scandal to light.


Buy LInks

1-click it now US ➡️ https://amzn.to/2W35H2O
1-click it now CA ➡️ https://amzn.to/2MJ7lU7
1-click it now UK ➡️ https://amzn.to/2N3tICE

Free in Kindle Unlimited

Ratings
5 stars – This is a book I will not forget and would definitely read again.
4 stars – I really enjoyed this book, I might not read it again but I would definitely recommend it to others.
3 stars – This story was good but either forgettable or just very typical of its genre.
2 stars – Whilst the book was readable I either didn’t enjoy parts of the plot or just could not connect to the main characters.
1 star – This is a book I simply could not finish for reasons listed in the review.