Review //\\ The Velvet Collar

The Velvet Collar (Pony Tales #9/Velvet Lies #3)

I don’t think even in my wildest dreams I could have ever imagined such a conclusion to this series. Was it a little OTT? At times yes, but in a wonderful way that just made you smile, or cringe, wince and take panicky breathes. I loved this book, I loved this series, so much so that a little part of me wants to take a few minutes to mourn it’s end.


If you haven’t read this series, and you love a good kinky romantic suspense, with a fair dollop of wit and humour, then I do highly recommend it.  Ms Mandara’s mind is incredibly devious, twisted and sinisterly kinky. I wanted Kyle and Michael to face some retribution, but that??!!! My word it takes the word revenge to a WHOLE new level. They deserved it, maybe, no definitely, but I’m with Mark, someone else can make that decision.


We get some seriously erotic times again, before the story takes a darker turn and we get some breathe play scenes that would have been scorching had it been consensual, or even had it been at Leyland’s hands.  (I missed him sooo much. He really, really needs his own book!)  However since it was Kyle at the helm, things were never going to go well. Yes, I’m starting to think Laurel’s idea’s weren’t so horrific after all.


A part of me would have liked to see some consequences for Albrecht, given that they knowingly had unwilling participants there. Michael being the owner felt like a little bit of a lose end BUT I loved this too much for it to matter, in the end. I know this book has been out a while, but could we have a bonus epilogue of Michael’s downfall, and some tormenting of him and Kyle? Pretty please??? 😉😁


The writing is excellent, the plot rattles along at an almost break neck speed, though not so fast that you get left behind. It slows nicely for all the important parts (yes I do mean the sexy times) so that we can enjoy the delightful torment that Mark inflicts on Jennifer. Whilst the previously mentioned OTT parts of the story enable a somewhat easy resolution – though not easy from Mark and Jenny’s point of view, more from an author side of things – I felt it fitted well with the whole larger than life feel of the book. Anything else would have felt far too tame, boring and uninspired.


I’m hoping the final “Beautiful” book won’t be too much longer because I’m not planning on re-reading #1, reading #2 (which I already own) and I know I’ll be desperate for the ending, once I do.

Title – The Velvet Collar
Author – C.P. Mandara
Genre – BDSM Romantic Suspense
Goodreads – https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/44639143-the-velvet-collar

I made a bet with my newlywed submissive wife. I told her that if she could behave herself impeccably for a week, she could wear the trousers for a day. That included being able to dominate me. The bet was almost guaranteed to be impossible to achieve, and yet somehow she did it. It looks like I’m in for a fun night, doesn’t it?
If that wasn’t bad enough, Kyle has been spotted near our home. It scares me. I can feel the net closing in, and I’m still no closer to unravelling the pieces. We need to figure out what Redcliff wants, and fast. In order to do this, I’m going to have to talk to my mother-in-law, who still isn’t speaking to me. I have no idea what her problem is. She tried to kill me, not the other way around…

Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday Turns 10!

I’m joining in with That Artsy Reader Girl and her meme, Top Ten Tuesday. It’s a very Happy 10th Birthday to this meme, so the floor is open for the choice of topic.

I was considering using the very first prompt ever, but my childhood was a loooong time ago, and I’m not sure I could remember all of my favourite books, so have decided to pick my favourite 10 books of the year so far.

The Velvet Chair – https://louisesbookbuzz.home.blog/2020/06/21/review-the-velvet-chair/
Resistance – https://louisesbookbuzz.home.blog/2020/05/09/review-resistance/
Myth of Omega – https://louisesbookbuzz.home.blog/2020/04/11/book-review-myth-of-omega-books-1-3/
Missing In Action – https://louisesbookbuzz.home.blog/2020/03/30/review-missing-in-action/
Primal Sin – https://louisesbookbuzz.home.blog/2020/03/26/review-primal-sin/
Midnight Fae Academy 1 – https://louisesbookbuzz.home.blog/2020/02/23/book-review-midnight-fae-academy-1/
Destroyed – https://louisesbookbuzz.home.blog/2020/02/13/destroyed-by-eva-dresden-review/
Twilight Seeker – https://louisesbookbuzz.home.blog/2020/02/02/twilight-seeker/
The Escape Artist – https://louisesbookbuzz.home.blog/2020/01/16/the-escape-artist-by-kitty-thomas/
Sin & Spirit – https://louisesbookbuzz.home.blog/2020/01/11/sin-spirit/

Do you have a top ten to share? Let me know and I’ll come by and comment.

Review //\\ The Velvet Caress

The Velvet Caress by C.P. Mandara

I’m currently re-reading/completing the Pony Tales series and I don’t know why I only gave this four stars last time because I adored every moment of this book. It’s a lot less steamy and erotic than the previous books though we do get one heck of a sensuous scene towards the end. The reason for the cooler feel is because this book really allows us to know and fall totally in lust love with Mark. Oh my word he totally and utterly earned his redemption here. I would have loved being a fly on the wall of Sophia’s dungeon!


The story moves on at a good pace, with more intrigue thrown into the mix, more peril, a life-threatening danger for Mark, and an unexpected visitor. I adored Leyland, he wasn’t quite the butt-hole I judged him to be in The Ties That Bind. We saw glimpses of a less bad man in The Velvet Chair but in this we see a man who is as devious as Mark, but who doesn’t take himself as seriously. The scenes of him with Marianna were delightful and one day I’d rather like Ms Mandara to consider giving them a book of their own.


I utterly enjoyed every single word, line, paragraph and chapter. Totally recommend this series to those who enjoy BDSM accompanied by a good story and can’t wait to read The Velvet Collar, though will be sad to have to say goodbye to Mark and Jennifer.

Title – The Velvet Caress
Author – C.P. Mandara
Genre – Erotic Romantic Suspense
Goodreads –
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/36115207-the-velvet-caress

When one lie is shattered, another begins.
My wife is on her deathbed and I’ve barely been married a day. The poison she took was meant for me. I should be the one lying in a hospital bed looking as though each moment might be my last. The guilt I feel is indescribable.

It’s a bit too late to realise I’m in love with Jennifer. I’ve screwed the poor girl over so many times she can barely stand to look at me. Every time I come near her she flinches, and I can hardly blame her. All I know is that I need to make this right. I owe her that much.
I used to be good at delivering the impossible, but this time I’m not so sure. The odds are not stacked in my favour.
Losing isn’t going to be an option, though. If I lose her, I lose everything…

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading?

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading?

It doesn’t seem two minutes have passed since I mentioned that surely we couldn’t be in June already. Now we’re well over half way through. 2020 really is the strangest year most of us will ever live through. It’s hard to believe we have been under restrictions for over three months in the UK, they are slowly being relaxed (though not always as slowly as some of us would like). Sadly too many people are behaving as though the threat were over and covid-19 no longer exists. Quick onto happier thoughts!

Thank you to Kathryn at Book Date for hosting this meme. I love joining in each week, even if I do forget to link up to her blog – Doh! For the first time in a LONG time, I’m talking years here, I have a month that isn’t overloaded with arc reads. Even more amazing is that my calendar for July holds just 3 arc reads in total. For too long I was lucky if that was the number for a week! I do know that there will probably be at least 2 or 3 more books that drop on me during the month, from the arc teams I belong to.

The Books I Read Last Week

Reading was very kind to me last week. I enjoyed all four books that I read, 2 were arcs and 2 were re-reads ready to complete the series this week, hopefully.

Currently Reading

I’m reading the two books concurrently because my mind feels like a flitting butterfly at present and it refuses to settle on one book!

Please Let Me Get These Read This Week

The first two are deadlined arcs, the other two are arcs that I really should have completed by now, but have been struggling to get too or to settle with. That is totally due to me and not the writing, I usually enjoy reading both of the authors.


So that’s my reading week. What are your plans? Are you tackling that TBR mountain? Too busy to read much (boo to whatever is making that true)? Enjoying re-reads, or searching for something new? Whatever your plans, keep safe, be happy and enjoy your books!

Review //\\ The Velvet Chair

The Velvet Chair (Pony Tales #7, Velvet Lies #1)

Wow, just wow. How had I read this before and not left glowing reviews everywhere? Shame on me.


That said I think I enjoyed it even more this time, particularly since I’ve just completed a re-read of the first 6 Pony Tales books. You can read this without reading those, but you will definitely enjoy this more if you understand what happened in books 5 and 6 at the very least.


This is an amazing mix of salacious kink and damn good story. I got so many feels from this book (get your dirty mind out of the gutter! Oh alright I did get those kind too 😉). There are times when you want to step into the pages, give Jennifer a great big hug, and throat punch all those POS’s around her. Other times when you are jealous of the orgasm train she is riding and some where you want to high five and celebrate with her. For a good chunk of the book I also wanted to be able to enter their world just so I could punch Mark’s teeth out, or lights out, or both at the same time.


However , just as I decided that red hot poker enemas and entrail removal through small orifices sounded reasonable the damn man went and got a conscience. Then I had to admit how much I like the sexy devil. Admittedly the man has some many reasons to be annoyed, though if he just got his head out of his behind he would realise that the numbers don’t add up. Still after what happened in book #6 he’s bound to be more than a little perturbed and unsettled by current events. He needs to remember who the true enemy is though.


Talking of Michael, we get a couple of glimpses of that obnoxious streak of excrement, just enough to know that trouble is in store for someone. And chances are poor Jennifer will pay the price somehow. I totally loved seeing Leyland Forbes again, and again he is on Jennifer’s side – even if as he takes great delight in her sexual torment.


It ends on a thumping cliff-hanger but since all the books are out now that should no longer be a problem for those who hate them. I’m going to be diving straight into the next book, because (a) why not and (b) Jennifer and Mark! 

Title – The Velvet Chair
Author – C.P. Mandara
Genre – BDSM/ Erotic Romance
Goodreads – https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/34199364-the-velvet-chair

“Oh, darling. You’re going to be so easy to conquer.” His finger reached under my chin and pulled my face back to meet his. “I can’t wait to strip you out of that dress and watch you crawl around my home naked. I’m going to spank that delectable ass with every damn pervertible I can find. Hairbrushes, wooden spoons, spatulas, and I might even try a damn baking sheet. That ass of yours is always going to be prettily pink and perfectly swollen while you’re under my roof.”

My name is Mark Matthews. I own half of London, and the part I don’t own, I’m working on.

Life was all going swimmingly well until Michael Redcliff entered my life, demanding that I marry his daughter. Actually, swap demand for blackmail. He’s got goods on me that I want no one else to see, so for the time being I need to be his little lapdog.

I’ll marry his daughter. I’ll give him all the status, money and power he can handle… for as long as it takes me to get a divorce. You see, I can’t renege on our little arrangement – but she can. I give her a week. One week and she’ll be screaming the place down for her legal counsel.

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 //\\ Pony Tales Book 1 – 6

The Riding School (Pony Tales #1) by C.P. Mandara

3.5 Stars
I originally read this somewhere between 3 and 4 years ago, so I’d forgotten that it’s pretty short (27 pages), but since it was a freebie I’m not complaining.


This can easily be read just as an erotic short story but if, like me, you become addicted to Jenny and Mark’s story it continues through 5 more books (8 if you count the Velvet series). One thing that stands out is that the author certainly has a way with words, despite the initial scenario requiring somewhat of a suspension of disbelief, I thoroughly enjoyed reading this boundary pushing, slightly (very?) dub-con, erotic romance.


Whilst I can imagine this type of school existing for the willing, enrolling unwilling participants and ‘selling them on’ would open them to a whole host of criminal charges, should that person ever get to contact the police. That said, this is fun erotic fiction and so, in the interests of enjoyment, I’m happy to let that little fact slide.


Despite Jenny being a selfish, spoilt individual, I kind of felt sorry for her. Particularly as it struck me that poor parenting might have been at least partly to blame. This is too light a read to worry about such deep topics (at the moment anyway). The heat level is quite very high, though the content of this book is fairly tame. I do seem to remember it getting kinkier and kinkier as the series progressed and I’m certainly going to be ‘Learning the Ropes’ next 😉!

Learning The Ropes (Pony Tales #2)

4 Starsbecause it’s brilliant but still only 37 pages
This is another titillating, naughty and down right deliciously depraved snippet of Jenny’s ongoing introduction to the life of a pony girl. Books 1 – 3 are all short stories, they would combine together to make a story somewhere between novella and novel in length. Each is a vignette, a scene of Jenny’s torment and slide into the strange world of the Albrecht Stables. She isn’t there willingly, so the entire thing is very dub-con/non-con but at the same time it isn’t overly dark. Jenny is unwilling but also very much enjoys the punishments she is subjected to. There is nothing that would cause a threat to her life, nor cause severe, permanent or lasting damage to her body.


Whilst Jenny will suffer pain, humiliation and indignities galore, she is ‘only’ subjected to BDSM style activities. I say style because we all (should) know that the tenets of BDSM are based around SSC (Safe, Sane and Consensual), RACK (Risk Aware Consensual Kink) and/or PRICK (Personal Responsibility, Informed, Consensual Kink). Jenny has NOT given any consent so this immediately goes against everything BDSM holds dear. However it IS a work of fiction and not purporting to be an instructional guide, indeed the author has a very clear disclaimer regarding that very fact, so for me this is a non-issue.


I am loving this naughty story and am now moving on to ‘Hot to Trot‘ for a little more boundary pushing fun.

Hot to Trot (Pony Tales #3)

4 Stars for 55 pages of filthy fun
Humiliation upon humiliation is heaped upon our poor heroine. Despite her being a rather petulant, spoilt and selfish individual, I do feel some sympathy for her. This is something the author does quite well. She makes her characters just imperfect enough, just the wrong side of right, so that whilst you like them, you don’t feel too much empathy or sorrow for their terrible plight! She enjoys a lot of that plight and a multitude of orgasms does sound enjoyable. However forced orgasm torture probably isn’t called torture because it’s so much fun.


We get more and more intrigue thrown in, and if I ever met Jenny’s dad I think I would castrate him with a blunt table knife before stabbing him in the eye with a rusty spoon. There are other players afoot in this game, and lots of backstabbing, not to mention tongue-stabbing – though that’s a very different activity all together.


I’m impressed with how well Jenny’s holding everything together. I’m sure I would have descended into a quivering mess of forlorn sobs or become a raving lunatic after being subjected to the same treatment. After all this is very much non-con, though very gentle non-con as there is no rape, violence or physical abuse. Being forced to train as a pony-girl does probably count as mental and emotional abuse though – even if she does enjoy some of it. Or maybe she’s just so incredibly used to getting her own way that poor Jenny’s brain can’t comprehend fully the truth of her situation. Either way it makes for a darn good, kinkily depraved, read.


I now own all 9 the books in this series, but overloading on arc commitments for the past two years means I’m very behind on finishing them. So the re-read is two-fold, firstly to remind myself of events so I can understand the books I haven’t read, second is that I read them in my pre-review on goodreads days, and not having a review on here bugs the heck out of me. This is the last and longest of the ‘short’ parts of the story, there are 3 additional full length books in Pony Tales plus the three Velvet Collar books (which in many ways can be read as a stand alone trilogy).

Named and Shamed (Pony Tales #4)

4.5 Stars for the one where Jenny is used, abused and given a new name.
Where Pony Tales 1 -3 introduced us to Albrecht stables and the erotic delights that await Jenny there, this book gives us a more rounded story. I thoroughly enjoyed the book, loved the heat factor, adored the intrigue and can not wait to find out what happens next. Not only do we have lots of delightful pony-girl training to look forward to, but there is a clearly emerging story as well. One that is clearly about more than just simple erotica. But just as Jenny was teased to the edge of orgasm (repeatedly), so are we teased, by the author, with little hints and clues and snippets of information.


This book is significantly longer than the previous three (120 pages), allowing us to learn more about Mark as well as providing us with plenty of depraved, kinky torture of the hapless Jennifer. We understand that there is more to this story than just forced pony play, with the author introducing some finely crafted elements of suspense. We aren’t seeing the whole picture yet – where would the fun be in that? But we certainly know a lot more than Jenny does.  Or should that now be P?  Thus far we have gotten to know Jenny quite intimately, on all levels 😉, every pun intended! In Named and Shamed the personality of other main players is also built on, turning them from caricatures/outlines into recognisable, distinct characters.


There were so many times I wanted to slap Mark. His arrogant head is so far up his own behind and he is so busy thinking with his not so little head, that he is missing big clues. Particularly the one that points out how annoyed Jenny gets when he treats her like she is less than human. Which is a paradox because the objectification also turns her on. Unlike Mark, she never loses her intelligence, wisely knowing which battles to fight and making the best of a bad situation by finding pleasure where she can, whilst biding her time until she can somehow escape.

A Rough Ride (Pony Tales #5)

4.5 Stars
I loved this much longer installment of the Pony Tales series. We got more gloriously kinky pony play, more dub-con deliciousness (which Jennifer enjoys immensely) along with lots more clues and hints as to what is in play behind the scenes. There was more of Mark in his ‘real’ life and some scenes of him at play with his submissives.


I will say that we still aren’t at a ‘romance’ point in the story, though there is a definite connection between Mark and Jennifer. There are scenes that some might interpret as cheating, or on the borders of it, but as there is no actual relationship/commitment between them, I don’t view it as such.


Jennifer learns some shocking truths in this book, enough almost to break her resolve. She also suffers the consequences of her naive/foolish trainer choice. Added to all that, she is subject to 48 hours of the most cruel sexual torture, humiliated beyond belief, set impossible to achieve tasks, barely fed and watered, driven to exhaustion and abused by a sadist. Despite all that she finds herself enjoying much of it and using the rest of it to keep herself angry and sane.


The writing is good, with some nice little touches of humour. The plot moves along well and this is an excellent read for when you want to indulge in a scorching hot, NSFW, filthily depraved story but also want a decent plot with it, rather than just crudeness. I’m off to read the final book now!

The Ties That Bind (Pony Tales #6)

5 Stars and saving the best until last(?)
How can a book be both wrong, funny and super sexy all at the same time? I’m not sure but Christina Mandara has certainly achieved that with The Ties That Bind. She has also produced an amazing story, full of suspense, peril, snark and heat.


Over the last few books we got to know Jenny, in this book I felt we really got to grips with knowing Mark, and I really liked what I saw. Unlike the previous five books, in this one we spend barely any time at Albrecht stables, though there was still lots of delightful kinky and perverse fun to be enjoyed, involving carousel horses and fish tanks.


There are dark elements to the story, though it doesn’t ‘feel’ dark, in part due to Jennifer’s mental attitude and fortitude throughout the books. The vast majority of the kinky sexual torment that she is subjected to would be considered at best dubious consent, and sometimes non-consensual. It is softened by the fact that Jenny thoroughly enjoys most of what she is subjected to, and further tempered by both a message from the author in the foreword and the fact that so very much of this story is fairy tale like in it’s stretching of the possible.


I found myself totally absorbed in the story, spellbound by the excellent writing, drawn in by great characters (both good and bad), mesmerised by the twisted eroticism and entranced by the chemistry between Jenny and Mark. Theirs is not a conventional relationship, in fact it is still debatable if it could be called a relationship at all. It is, however, a compelling and all encompassing connection.


With each book read my enjoyment of this series has continued to increase. I really enjoyed the first few books but I am now totally invested in this pair and can’t wait to see how their future plays out in the Velvet Lies series. Just so long as Michael Redcliffe, and a few others, get their comeuppance!

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading?

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading?

Last weeks treasures (and trash)

I beta read several chapters of one book, scenes and chunks from another book and re-read a 2/3rds completed book because the author had added a few more chapters. Honestly you go weeks with no beta requests and then get three all at the same time!

What’s on my ereader at the moment.

This continues Jenny and Mark’s story that began in the 6 book ‘Pony Tales’ series. However you can read this (and the rest of the trilogy) without having read those. You won’t have all the background information at first, but the author does feed in anything you do need to know.

Planned reads for this week.

Velvet Caress is a re-read, but it’s so long ago I can’t remember many details. I never read Velvet Collar, so I’m really looking forward to completing the series. Fraud is an arc and part of a very complex and multi book series. Each story is stand alone but with a subplot that runs throughout the whole series.

Shelf Control


Welcome to Shelf Control — an original feature created and hosted by Bookshelf Fantasies.

Shelf Control is a weekly celebration of the unread books on our shelves. Pick a book you own but haven’t read, write a post about it (suggestions: include what it’s about, why you want to read it, and when you got it), and link up on Bookshelf Fantasies post for the week.


Books I want to read this month

These books can be read as a stand alone trilogy, though they do continue the story of Jenny and Mark, who we first met in the six books of the Pony Tales series. The first three books of that series are pure erotica, over the course of the next three books the story builds, and we get some excellent suspense elements too.

I read the first two books quite a while ago, so only remember some of the major plot points/pivotal moments. Despite having purchased book #3 I just never quite got around to reading it and have embarked on a complete series re-read (or in the case of Pony Tales #6 a first read) to ensure I maximise my enjoyment of the story.



SPECIAL AGENT BDSM #6

Ashes: A Dark Romance Love Triangle
(A Special Agent Novel Book 6)

by C.P. Mandara

An amazing conclusion to a fantastic series – I’m going to miss these guys so much

I already know I’m going to struggle to write a review that does this book justice without also throwing spoilers around like confetti at a wedding. Suffice to say Alain continues to terrorize with how twisted, evil and psychotic he is. Which means James, Lois and Adie continue to suffer at his blood stained hands.

The story is fast-paced and action-packed, venturing repeatedly into some pretty dark territory. It didn’t want to put this down, and when my thoughtful teenage son had me awake at the crack-ass of dawn, instead of being sensible and attempting to grab a couple more hours of sleep, I picked this up and read it until it was finished.

Strike that, I didn’t read it, I devoured it like the most delicious of meals, savouring every morsel and extracting every last drop of flavour that I possibly could from it. I want to say I loved every single word of it but the author, and those who have already read the book, will know that isn’t possible. There is possibly a tiny little lose thread that was left. It didn’t play out the way I expected, but I’m hoping against hope that the author possibly has plans for it. Please. Otherwise I may seriously fall out with her.

Written first person from Adie, James and Lois’ points of view, all 6 books must be read in the correct order, this isn’t a stand alone. (I made the mistake of attempting to start with book #4 and quickly found myself totally lost.) This, along with Ariana Nash’s Silk & Steel series, is my joint favourite series of 2019 and is without a shadow of a doubt my top BDSM/romantic suspense/dark read of the year.









All hope is lost. James has slept with me twice. When we arrive back at Lavande, Alain takes a great deal of pleasure in telling me I have two weeks to live. Two miserable weeks where he will torture me with his hands and knives until I am screaming for mercy. The worst part is that James will be forced to watch every second of it.

Why didn’t we run when we had the chance? It’s a question I will ask myself again and again over the upcoming days because Alain is rather inventive with his torture methods. At first, I thought we might stand a chance, but then he brings out the drugs. There’s a reason his nickname is ‘The Chemist.’ The man is truly evil in every way that counts.

This is a war we cannot win, fought against an adversary who is one step ahead of everything we do.

We desperately need to turn his dark and twisted games against him. There is always a way – I hope.


Publisher’s Note: The Sixth Book in C.P. Mandara’s intense, suspense-filled thriller ‘Special Agent Series’ is a Dark Romance featuring BDSM erotic romance, complete power exchange, violence and drugs. If such material offends you, please do not purchase.














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.

Favourite Reads from – Part One

For the last few years I’ve written a post on my top 12 books of the year, and my top 12 series’ of the year. This time I’m going to do thinks a little differently and talk about my top 3 reads in various categories/genres/tropes.


First category is Contemporary Romance.

This is a genre I’ve found myself reading less and less of, at least in terms of ‘straight’ contemporary. My first, and greatest, love in reading was the sci-fi/fantasy genre with authors such as Anne McCaffrey, Julian May, Katherine Kerr, Andre Norton and David Eddings being amongst my favourites. Terry Pratchett and Douglas Adams will forever hold a special place in my heart, and prominence on my book shelf. Of late I have found myself drawn back to the genre, but preferring those books which also combine it with a good love story.

However I have read some excellent contemporary romances this year, and actually struggled to narrow the group down to a top 3! Colour me surprised because I didn’t actually expect to find even that number to include.

CONTEMPORARY ROMANCE


1. Bass-Akwards by Eris Adderly.

This is one seriously under-recognised author. Her writing is superb and I just wished she was more well known, Eris thoroughly deserves it.

It’s the story of a seriously messed up pair, who are dysfunctional to the extreme yet who somehow come together to create something wonderful. It’s one of those “so wrong, it’s right” stories and I loved every minute of it.

My full review can be found here – https://louisesbookbuzz.home.blog/2019/04/09/bass-akwards-eris-adderly/ – for what, to me, is a must read book.


2. Crazy on You by Amelia Wilde.

This is part of a series of books on the Bliss brothers, and oh what bliss they do bring. I really enjoyed the whole series, but Charlie and Leta just had that something extra special about them.

It’s a second chance romance, which has always been a guilty pleasure of mine. I’m just a sucker for folks getting their much needed HEA and this story just ticked all my boxes.

The full review can be found here – https://louisesbookbuzz.home.blog/2019/05/31/crazy-on-you-bliss-brothers-4-by-amelia-wilde/. This is a book that will give you plenty of feels.


3. Rogue Wave by Gwyn McNamee.

This is part of an ongoing series, which really needs to be read in order to fully enjoy and understand the back story. Each book features one couple, Cutter, the hero in this one, is a complete alpha-hole but in the best way possible. He’s constantly brought down to size by the bad-ass heroine that is Valentina.

The book is full of twists, turns and steam. Find the full review here – https://louisesbookbuzz.home.blog/2019/08/22/rogue-wave/.



I did have a fourth book, Rebel’s Redemption by Lexi C Foss, that I also need to mention. It is A-MAZ-ING and it’s only because I’m going to be featuring this author in other categories that I didn’t feature the book more widely here.



Next are my favourite 3 books containing BDSM. This was a category that I DID struggle with deciding on, I could easily have included many more books. In fact I’m featuring a series as one of my choices.

BDSM romance

1. Special Agent BDSM series by C.P. Mandara.

There are 6 books in the series, the final one was released a few days ago and I am currently reading (and loving) it. The first book, Sparks, is free. It is more erotic, less dark than the subsequent books, which take us into a dark, underground world full of danger and kink.

These have been amongst my most favourite reads of the year in any genre/trope. The author writes with a subtle humour and her characters are always strong. In fact along with Cari Silverwood, she has written some of my favourite heroines.

Sparks review link – https://louisesbookbuzz.home.blog/2019/09/03/special-agent-bdsm-1/
Smoke review link – https://louisesbookbuzz.home.blog/2019/09/04/special-agent-bdsm-2/
Flames review link – https://louisesbookbuzz.home.blog/2019/09/05/special-agent-bdsm-3/
Fire review link – https://louisesbookbuzz.home.blog/2019/09/06/special-agent-bdsm-4/
Embers review link – https://louisesbookbuzz.home.blog/2019/12/21/embers/
Ashes – https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/3104159478



2. Twisted Fates by Kitty Thomas.

Let’s face it, Kitty Thomas is the QUEEN of the dark romance. If you haven’t read Comfort Food I can only say – “Why?”. It’s not an easy read but it is amazing, as is Twisted Fates which is part of the interlinked Pleasure House series and may be read as a stand alone story.

Whilst it’s a morally dubious story, it doesn’t contain non-consent and the dubious consent isn’t all that dubious either. On paper we should hate the hero, and in real life I’d want to see him locked away from society for a very long time. However Kitty persuades us that not only is Lyndsay perfect for Shannon, but she made me love him too.

My review can be found here – https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/2654606.Kitty_Thomas – heaven only knows why I haven’t shared it on the blog yet. It must have been a busy arc period!


3. Black Light: Scandalized by Livia Grant.

Technically the Black Light books can be read stand alone, though part of this story builds on a short story by the same author in the Celebrity Roulette anthology. The book features two separate couples, mainly focusing on two new characters, Shane and Nalani, but also concluding Piper and Nolan’s story that began in Switched.

This book should have a trigger warning – there is a very violent and detailed rape scene. It wasn’t added just for the shock factor and the aftermath was handled well, in my opinion.

My review can be found here – https://louisesbookbuzz.home.blog/2019/10/30/a-journey-into-the-world-of-black-light/.




Romantic Suspense


1. The Savage Duet by Nicolina Martin.

The link will take you to all 5 books of the Russo Saga. It’s a series of interlinked books, all of which I can highly recommend, but the duet of Absolution and Redemption are definitely my favourites. T

he story takes you to hell and back, along with the anti-hero and heroine. There were times. whilst reading Absolution, where i had to take an “feelings break” in order to recharge my emotional batteries.

My reviews for this duet can be found here – https://louisesbookbuzz.home.blog/2019/08/08/redemption/ – and here – https://louisesbookbuzz.home.blog/2019/08/24/book-review-absolution/


2. The Kingmaker Saga #2, 3 & 4 by London Miller.

Book #1, White Rabbit: The Rise, was listed amongst my favourite reads of 2018. The series has gone from strength to strength this year, with the release of 3 further books and the imminent release of book #5, Dark Horse.

White Rabbit: The Fall, Black Swan and Red Herring continue the story of Belladonna and The Kingmaker, otherwise known as Karina and Uilleam. And oh what a twisty, cat-and-mouse, game-of-chess, power-play story it is. London Miller has an amazing talent for weaving a complex tale where a seemingly random array of threads pull together at the last minute to form an intricately detailed tapestry.

My links can be found here – https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/2722883777?book_show_action=false&from_review_page=1 , here – https://louisesbookbuzz.home.blog/2019/05/27/black-swan-the-kingmaker-saga-3-by-london-miller/ – and here – https://louisesbookbuzz.home.blog/2019/08/17/red-herring/.


3. Beauty (Part 1 & Part 2) by Kirsty Dallas.

Part of the Blaire’s World collection, and based on Anita Gray’s books of the same name, this is a dark and delicious duet. It delves into the underbelly of society, a world of pain, cruelty and evil and it doesn’t pull it’s punches.

One could argue that this belongs in the “Dark” catagory, below, but it’s my post so it’s my rules.

My reviews can be found here – https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/2705398076?book_show_action=false&from_review_page=1 and here – https://louisesbookbuzz.home.blog/2019/05/19/beau2y-part-1-by-kirsty-dallas/.


Again, I need to mention a Lexi C Foss book, this time it is the amazing Scarlet Mark. Part of the Cavalieri Della Morte series, it was the book that brought the author to my attention. When I discovered this was her first foray into Romantic Suspense I was gobsmacked to say the least. I tell you, she hit this one out of the ball park, and then some.





I’m going to finish today’s post with my top 3 Dark Reads of the year, and will be back tomorrow with 4 other categories of goodness to share. I think this was the hardest group to pare down to just 3 books, but I did it eventually!

Dark Romance


1. The Five by Lily White.

No list is complete without a Lily White book, she is an expert at knowing how to mess with your mind. She’s had some personal struggles this year, so has been very quite for the last few months, but we are expecting a new release soon and I, for one, can’t wait to read more by this wonderful author.

The Five is typical Lily White, and was a very popular Book of the Month over in the Dark Erotica group on Goodreads. It’s not your typical romance and is very psychological, testing your morals, pushing your boundaries and challenging your judgemental side. It was a book that seemed to have a marmite effect, dividing readers into loved it or hated it. I was most definitely in the former camp and highly recommend it.

My review can be found here – https://louisesbookbuzz.home.blog/2019/03/20/the-five-by-lily-white/.


2. Crazy Broken Love by Jennifer Bene.

This story started life as Cocoon in the ‘Just Breathe‘ anthology, but has since been extended and improved, even though I didn’t feel that was possible as I thought the original was already perfect.

This is not as dark a piece of work as we are used to from Ms Bene. It does contain strong elements of dub-con, hence including it in this group. Crazy Broken Love spoke to me deeply and left me questioning my own prejudices, however unintentional they are.

My review of this amazing story can be found here – https://louisesbookbuzz.home.blog/2019/11/16/a-truly-crazy-story/.


3. Dark Necessities Prequel series by Felicity Brandon.

For some reason the link only takes you to the first two books of the trilogy. Book #3, Forbidden, can be found here. The trilogy of books are NOT stand alone and must be read in order, they feature Ethan and Lily, the parents of Conor, who is the anti-hero of the original Dark Necessities trilogy.

Despite not liking Ethan for most of the story, my love for Lily (and her love of Ethan) made this one gripping must-read series for me. It’s dark and Ethan is not a good man, not a good man at all. But he does love Lily and that was his saving grace for this reader.

My review of the books can be found here – https://louisesbookbuzz.home.blog/2019/05/07/flawed-by-felicity-brandon/ – here – https://louisesbookbuzz.home.blog/2019/06/26/fallen-dark-necessities-prequel-by-felicity-brandon/ – and here – https://louisesbookbuzz.home.blog/2019/08/10/forbidden/.