Are you feeling brave…..?

Mesmer
by Cari Silverwood and Jennifer Bene 

Less “Lions and tigers and bears oh my!” More “Mesmers and bottles and hooks, oh my god!”

Between Zombie Robot girls, reboots, resets, glitches, *nasty men*, evil twins and lies this is one truly dark, evil and twisted tale. Hannah most certainly isn’t in Kansas anymore and if she’s in Oz it’s not the one with nice little munchkins, a yellow brick road and Glenda, it’s that scary place with the flying monkeys and evil mind twisting wizards called mesmers.

This almost proved to much for me at first, partly because the start is deliberately disjointed but mainly because I hadn’t pulled my big girl pants up far enough. Fair warning though, I had to pull them up that far I ended up with a wedgie that’ll take me weeks to remove from between my bum cheeks. In fact I had to do that ‘skip to a couple of chapters before the end’ stuff just to assure myself that this book wouldn’t destroy my soul forever. Along with some deep breathing exercises and repeating the mantra “It’s fiction and not real life” because boy this duet’s writing has you there in the midst of the carnage and mayhem feeling every emotion and stab of the needle.

Mesmer is so much darker than The Dark Hearts trilogy and Wolfe , so much bleaker, less hopeful but thankfully not hopeless. It felt as though the authors recognised perfectly when the plot was becoming overwhelming, throwing in the tiniest speck of light to buoy your spirits and keep you afloat in their tumultuous sea of darkness.

Champagne, caviar, the head of a horse, a ballet company…..Okay, I was exaggerating but, yeah, anything. I owed her.

Hannah is a collectable, a female susceptible to the powers of a mesmer. Tomik is the mesmer who is currently pulling her strings like the puppet she has become. However the pair have history, unresolved feelings and a bond that keeps drawing Hannah back. Greta (Oh you’ll love Greta! I’m fairly certain she’s the spirit guide of Cari Silverwood herself) thinks Hannah is stupid, Greta wants to destroy Tomik, but Hannah loves him too much to allow that. The only problem is how do you truly know what you want, think and believe when you don’t have full control of your own mind?

If you’ve read any other mesmer books then Tomik, despite being our hero, is one of those really nasty ones. Happy to use and abuse for his own kicks, well that and the fact that he doesn’t have full control of his mesmer side. Oh this leads to some nastiness, it’s also made me wonder if I should get the old rocking horse out of my attic. He has an obsession with needles and making holes in Hannah, actually I think that it’s really the aforementioned author and her current fascination. He has a need to hurt her, whether she’s willing or not. But therein lies the crux of the issue – he can make her like it but then he wants her to still be Hannah.

And that is only just touching on the surface of the depravity contained within this book – I’m not sure I’ll ever look at a shopping trolley/cart in the same way again. I just hope to goodness I’m not putting my fruit and veg into one that’s been used in the ways described in Mesmer. The story is sick, wrong, perverted, deviant, degenerate, debased and immoral, so if you’re looking for light and fluffy you need to step away right now. However if you enjoy falling down the rabbit hole and getting very dirty on the way down, then this is a must read book that needs to go straight to the top of your TBR list – especially as it pays homage to Dr Who.

*A ghost? A spirit guide? A magical nymph from the land through the wardrobe? I could be many things. But those would be spoilleerrrssss!*


SYNOPSIS

“She wasn’t an angel, but she was his angel.”

Tomik took Hannah like he had a hundred women before her, like any other collectable that his mesmer abilities let him control utterly and completely. He wanted to dress her in wings, make her crawl to him, do things to her body that were worse than sinful… they were nightmarishly obscene.

But Hannah isn’t like any other collectable.

She’s the girl he ran away from, tried to protect… until she called him back.

Now there’s no stopping the darkness inside him, the cravings that demand he keep her all to himself — but that’s against the rules and his mesmer brothers are dangerous. Unpredictable. And how can he keep her safe when all he wants to do is make her scream?

Before love will come pain, blood, and the near destruction of her soul, and his.

AMAZON US / AMAZON UK / GOODREADS

INFERNO by Yolanda Olson

A disappointed – ‘Where was the story?’ 1.5 stars

I was going to start my review by saying that this is a ‘marmite book’ – you’ll either love it or hate it, but actually I felt quite impassive about it. Whilst I knew there wasn’t any romance, that there would be no HEA and that I was heading into the very depths of darkness and depravity, I did expect a cohesive story that lead me from A to B. Call me old fashioned but I also expect the blurb to have some relevance to the plot too.


I never felt as though this was ever really a story. It didn’t really contain any of the things I’m looking for in a book – connections, purpose, entertainment, thrills. There was very limited character building and the only character we ‘hear’ from (Joce) felt quite inconsistent. The story was also full of contradictions – at one point it was suggesting all the 3 had been picked and taken by Pater, then we discover they are all his natural children.


There wasn’t really any flow or build to the tale either. It felt as though both the beginning and end had been removed, leaving behind a random section from the middle to read. As though the author had arbitrarily picked a number of really bad things to write about and then just loosely tied them together. As though the entire purpose was to shock and push boundaries just for the heck of it.

I’d heard great things about this book (and series). Indeed I read it as I know a few of my ‘go to’ authors are writing their own books in this world. I also recently read Martyris, Yolanda Olson’s offering in the Cavalieri Della Morte series. Despite being quite a strange read, I loved that one so had high expectations for this. However as well written, as twisted, dark, evil and malevolent as this was, it neither entertained nor evoked emotion in the way I needed it to.

Goodreads – https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/35399884-inferno

Reign of Ruin by Jennifer Bene

5 stars – ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐

Oh my dark loving brethren, here is an offering that will torture your sinful soul.


Reign to Ruin is a reworking of Baptised in Eden, Jennifer’s offering in the Twisted Sacraments anthology. Not only has it been tidied up but it has been significantly expanded into something even more dark and twisted. There are no heroes in this world, there is no salvation, no rainbows, unicorns nor dancing cats. Instead there is only the loss of all hope, except perhaps the one for death. A continued existence of choosing the lesser of two evils, or at least doing that when you are given the option of a choice. 


Danielle is a woman with fragmented memories, trapped in a hell of man’s making. Repeatedly sacrificed to the corrupted lust of the priests who hold her prisoner. Abused, degraded, beaten, raped again and again, revived by baptism in the ‘holy’ water, only for the horrifying violence to start again. 


This story punches its claws into your gut, grasps your insides and refuses to let go. The writing held me spellbound. I suffered alongside Danielle, through her pain, despair and the countless violations of both her body and mind. I can not do this story justice, I am unable to find the words that will convey just how bloody brilliant this tale is. Perhaps I should worry that Ms Bene’s mind can produce such a dark, dark, dark story, instead I’m rather selfishly glad that she produces such masterpieces of depravity.


The original story left us just after Danielle was ‘treated’ to a very special second baptism and thrust into a pitch black chamber. Now I do remember feeling like this situation had a minuscule ray of hope within it. Well I was sort of right and a lot wrong, but you’ll need to read this compellingly twisted, licentious, deviant and obscene (and I mean that in a very good way) book.


Be warned, this book contains a multitude of possible triggers, caution is advised if you are sensitive to certain subject matter involving physical and sexual abuse.

Bonus story – The Day The Sky Burned

This is such an eerie read. It has enough of an air of the believable about it to be incredibly frightening. Mob mentality, panic and politics make it only too easy to imagine this actually happening. 

I loved the insight it gave us, both into Danielle’s life prior to the sky burning, her family and loved ones and how Eden could ever possibly come into existence. A stunning read.

Amazon – https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07R4BKRPN

Goodreads – https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/45360689-reign-of-ruin

What others are saying –

If you are looking for a dark, disturbing read then this is the book you need to get.

Jennifer Bene, Author

“This story was absolute hell and I couldn’t put it down if I wanted to.”

Amazon Reviewer

“I absolutely loved how this book confused me and dragged me (sometimes kicking and screaming) into the darkness!”

Amazon Reviewer

“I couldn’t stop reading. Partly out of intense fascination and partly because if I put it down, I wouldn’t be able to think of anything else until I picked it back up again.”

Amazon Reviewer

BLURB

‘The priests want me to thank God, but the only thing I pray for is death.’

There is nothing before Eden. Just flashes of a time before Danielle woke up in chains, in hell, to be violated and broken.

Over, and over, and over.

They say that God honors those who serve, that each baptism is a gift, but all Danielle wants is to die.

Eden has other plans.