30 Day Challenge

Day 9 – Dark and Twisted

Today’s pick is Destruction by Jennifer Bene. Boy this is everything dark and wrong in all the best ways. I have read stories that perhaps were darker and more twisted, but very often those books felt as though they were written for shock value. As though the dark were there so the author (and maybe readers) could brag about just how depraved a book it was. When the whole plot is the darkness then the story feels forced – in fact when you take the degeneracy and perversion away there often isn’t anything left.

So to get back to an excellent example for this prompt, Destruction is the first book in a trilogy. It’s the darkest book of the three and it’s a series I would highly recommend to all dark romance fans.

Review // Redemption (Fragile Ties #3)

Redemption (Fragile Ties #3) by Jennifer Bene

Damn you Ms Bene, you left me on such a floaty and wondrous ending. And I should have known better than to trust that you wanted me to be happy, but no! So I foolishly sallied forth and read the bonus scene. My advice to other readers is DON’T DO IT!, well at least for a few days. Not unless you want to have all that warm gooeyness ripped from your grasp only to be replaced with utter heartbreak and devastation.


It’s said that good things are worth waiting for and that was never more true than when referring to the conclusion to David and Lianna’s story, which is so very, very good indeed.  Redemption took me on a roller coaster ride of emotions, though it was like riding one blindfold, never sure when the next drop, twist or turn would occur. I want to say I devoured this book but at times I felt more like it devoured me, as it caught me in it’s tangled web and did with me as it pleased.

Their connection had started in the darkest of places, fueled by pain and rage, but they’d both changed. Become someone new. Evolved together, and she hoped that continued even though the Faures had a place in her life now.
Because as messed up as their story was… she didn’t want anyone else at her side.

There are a lot of new characters introduced in this book, some good, some not so good. Who to trust, who is lying, who is being honest… not only is it difficult to know, but Lianna and David struggle to agree on it. Just as things seems to be working out for them, meeting the Faures imposes untold stresses on their relationship and you just know there will be trouble ahead.

The whisper of the belt moving through the air wasn’t near enough warning for it to crash down onto that impossibly agonizing strip of skin… She cried out, tears burning her eyes as she kicked, digging her toes into the floor to try and move, but she was caught. Each blistering strike only hurt worse than the last, building on top of each other, bleeding together until her ass and thighs throbbed and she couldn’t hold the sobs back anymore.
Finally, he stopped, releasing her wrist and removing his knee from her back so he could rip her off the floor by her hair. She only made it to her knees, but he leaned down to look into her eyes.
“God, I love it when you cry for me.”

This pair have a complex relationship, rooted in all that is wrong and twisted, but from it has blossomed something that is their beautiful. The sex scenes are not sweet nor gentle, because neither of them want that. Theirs is a love that is brutal, extreme, violent and furious, all encompassing and no-holds bared. David has a darkness to his cravings, a darkness Lianna craves. They may have been softened by love but there are times when you wonder if he truly has them under control.

She wasn’t even halfway there when he slammed into her back, his arms coming around to squeeze her tight, lifting her off the floor as he laughed in her ear.
“You know I like it when you struggle, so feel free.”

I re-read Destruction and Inheritance in preparation for reading this. I wasn’t sure if it would (a) live up to the magnificence of those books and (b) just what exactly would be in store for me. It totally surpassed all my expectations. Jennifer Bene wrote a conclusion to the Fragile Ties series that was unpredictable, captivating and I quite simply couldn’t have wished for better than this.

Photo by Anthony Beck on Pexels.com

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Redemption (Fragile Ties #2) by Jennifer Bene
Genre – Romantic Suspense
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/54394899-redemption

“No one will tear us apart.”
Everything would be easier if he could just tie her up.
Lock her away and keep her safe.
Well… from everyone except him.
But that’s not how love works.
David chose Lianna over his hate. Every part of her.
Love of his life. Heiress to a dangerous crime family. Prior focus of all his rage and obsession,
and current focus of his… everything.
Her family is the only thing standing in their way.
But family isn’t everything, no matter what they say.
She may share their blood, but those can be fragile ties when put to the test.
In the end, it’s who we choose that matters. And he will always choose her

Review // Inheritance (Fragile Ties #2)

Inheritance (Fragile Ties #2) by Jennifer Bene

I’ve just completed a re-read of this, ready for Redemption and loved it just as much. It’s so wrong but just feels so very right.

The only promise he’d ever break was the one he’d made to leave when she told him to go.
That promise they’d broken together. Tonight. But every promise he’s made on the cold tile he’d keep. He’d die to keep them, because she was his hill to die on.
His world, his future.
His everything.

I need to start by reassuring Ms Bene that all the angst, all the heartache, all the tearing at her hair, cursing at her keyboard and despairing at her first drafts was so VERY WORTH HER TIME AND EFFORT. In fact I would go so far as to say that all her suffering, all her emotion, bled into this work and made it SUCH an emotional read. Once started, it is one of those books that you just don’t want to put down until you’ve read every word. It’s way beyond the mere 5 stars available to bestow upon it.


David and Lianna are where they want and need to be, with each other. Yet everything is wrong. Instead of being left alone to rebuild her and their life, outside forces are determined to hold them back and drag them down into the corruption that both are desperately trying to claw their way out of. I need to add at this point that Inheritance isn’t a stand alone book. It’s the second in a trilogy, Destruction must be read first to fully understand David and Lianna’s tale.

Inheritance is full of power, passion, and pain. So many times it slips back into the dark waters of David’s soul, leaving marks both physical and mental on the both of them. Yet that suffering and hurt are necessary, for there lays the path to light, hope and redemption. Lianna and David continue to burn up the sheets with their explosive, and ofttimes violent, chemistry. Theirs is a raw, visceral and twisted relationship but, as two sides of the same coin, they somehow make it work.


So much happens in this book, and yet in some ways not very much at all. It is very much a tale of personal growth, of accepting who you are but also realising that you can change that individual. Realising that the past doesn’t dictate the future. Acknowledging that the sins of the father do not need to be visited upon the son. I loved every single minute of reading Inheritance, even when it made me cower away in horror. And it builds such a twisty, tangled web of love, suspicion, hope and distrust that will no doubt fray and shatter when they find their final Redemption

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Inheritance (Fragile Ties #1) by Jennifer Bene
A dark romance
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/44646352-inheritance
David took Lianna to destroy her… and then everything got complicated.
Falling for the girl he kidnapped shouldn’t have happened. Especially not Lianna Mercier, daughter of the man he hated, and heir to a family name steeped in blood and violence.
But, now she’s his entire world, and Lianna’s is burning down around her.
David may have lit the match that set her life on fire, but all he wants now is to keep her safe. With their future on the line… can he even ask her to choose him after all he’s done?

Review //\\ Destruction (Fragile Ties #1)

Destruction (Fragile Ties #1) by Jennifer Bene

I’m obviously as messed up as Lianne to also fall for David


I have had Destruction sitting on my kindle, waiting to be read for quite some time. Life, arc reading and buying too many books has meant that I just hadn’t gotten around to reading it. However I do know the author is working on completing the second book, so I decided it was time I got myself caught up.


The title is very fitting in so many ways, including the devastation to my soul. This is a pretty dark read, with non-con (albeit it’s enjoyed, but she definitely says no), sadism, violence and what is possibly a healthy dollop of Stockholm Syndrome.


David is an antihero of the first order, doing bad things for misguided reasons. He and Lianne share some very warped but extremely hot chemistry. There are passages that make for uncomfortable reading – because you really shouldn’t be turned on by such depravity but you are. Lianne is very easy to like and connect to, their is a very natural and likeable feel to her character. I disliked David for so much of the book, but that’s because he is written to BE hated, until you don’t.


The writing held my attention, the characters interested me, whilst the plot and suspense was well paced so as to hold my attention. I was huddled in the corner of that dank, concrete cell. I was chained across that thin, worn mattress. The skill of the author put me into the middle of the story, had me screaming in the dark and crying in misery alongside Lianne.


If you’re looking for your next dark erotic read then you’ve found it here.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Title – Destruction (Fragile Ties #1)
Author – Jennifer Bene
Genre – Dark Erotic Romance
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/36671520-destruction

Vengeance and destruction are all he has left.
Lianna Mercier has everything. She’s beautiful, well-educated, her father is rich, powerful — and she works for him. The perfect little princess, raised to be just like daddy.

But it’s all a lie.
A bloody, screwed up lie, and David Gethen is about to tear it all down and destroy Lianna in the process. He wants revenge, he wants to finish the plan his father started years ago — but after he takes her, after he tortures her, he begins to realize just how wrong he may have been.

Review //\\ Black Light: Valentine Roulette

Black Light: Valentine Roulette

This is an anthology of short stories, all based around one event at the BDSM club featured in the Black Light series. I read the book back in 2018 but didn’t review it back then, and since I seem to be an a re-read streak I indulged myself by reading individual stories in between arc reads and other reads. Even though I have a mountainous TBR list of unread books.

Photo by Ellen Araujo on Pexels.com

Broken by Renee Rose – 4 stars

Slave to pain (aka Jennifer) and Master D scene together at Black Light each week. But that’s all Jennifer will ever allow them to be, ships that pass in the night, no attachment, no emotion, no connection, despite the fact that his brand of sadism is a perfect fit for her mile wide masochistic streak. Jennifer has barriers so high Master D will need a miracle to break them down but first he needs to win her on a spin of the wheel.

They spin three kinks, age-play, whipping and anal-intercourse. Don’t be put of by the age play, it isn’t really any more than her using the word Daddy, and if you skip this one you will miss a wonderfully intimate portrait of a man using dominance to release a sub from years of unhappiness and pain.
I liked that Jennifer and Master D already had a connection, it made the scenes more intense and I found I easily believed in the depth of their feelings. I remember first time round finding the level of sado-masochism in this hard to handle, but I’ve now read so much more that it no longer makes me cringe. It’s not my kink but I understand the beauty of the dynamic. This is one scorching hot read, and a great opening story.

Revealed by Livia Grant – 3.5 stars

I love Khloe and Ryder, and have read all their stories though I’d actually forgotten this one where they first met. I really felt a huge emotional connection to Khloe, reading about her pain and loneliness was like hearing it from a friend. The girl who seems to have it all has nothing at all. Her emotions were heartbreaking to read about.

There is some intense medical play, plus two other spins that gave us some scorching hot scenes to observe. My only issue at the end was that Ryder’s play felt far too hard core for a total newbie to the scene to handle. It was addressed at one point, and yes this is fiction, so perhaps others found it easier to let go. Personally it felt that, along with boundaries being severely pushed, believability was also being pushed too.

However this was more than made up for with the intensity of the connection between Khloe and Ryder. He went from zero to hero during the story, with the way he saw the true Khloe and what she needed. Though that ending is quite tough. If I hadn’t been aware of what the future had in store for this pair it would really have been a bitter pill to swallow. Thankfully it’s very much a sugar-coated one.

Wet by Jennifer Bene – 5 stars

Sienna so beautifully portrayed the lack of worth those of us with self esteem issues can suffer from. A sub willing to forego aftercare and any real affection because she wasn’t worthy of it. Alexander, of course, was the uber confident and in charge Dom with a liking to be called Daddy and a craving to push his sub’s buttons. Written so well, he induced shivers down my spine.

Ms Bene pushes our boundaries, and poor Sienna’s, with a terror inducing scene of water-based breath play. As someone who struggles to get their face wet in the shower, this both horrified and thrilled me in equal measure. It was certainly hot. Communication is vital to any BDSM scenes, so Alexander was determined to push until the very tongue tied and shy Sienna let go and talked. I can totally empathise with her when she struggled with answering his questions

There was no script for this interaction, no easy answers, she had to fucking talk to him, and that was the problem.

You either know, or you don’t know, that terrifying hot-cold feeling of opening your mouth and having a totally blank, panic filled mind. Because whatever you could say they will obviously find boring and not be interested in. It was both hard to read Sienna in those moments and uplifting too. I love that the author gives her characters real flaws that resonate with many readers.

Given that the majority of this scene wasn’t overtly sexual in nature I was amazed by how incredibly intimate it felt. A part of me did feel that Alexander overstepped the boundaries in demanding personal information from someone who he had no long term commitment with, but without it we wouldn’t have had such an amazing story.

Unmasked by Lee Savino – 2.5 stars

Whilst this story didn’t have quite the emotional or ‘kink’ impact of other stories in the book, I appreciated how it examined the feminists dilemma of submitting to a man. Chessie and Kane were both easy to like characters, though neither really captured my heart if I’m being honest.

Kane did seem to take extra care with Chessie since she was yet another “totally new to the scene and never tried it before” submissive. However I would have liked him to remind Chessie of her safeword/signal given that very fact. I also felt the ‘nasty/jealous sub’ moment was not only cliched but fed into that cliche of having to have a rival and bitchy female in the story.

Unraveled by Addison Cain – 2 stars

This was one of those books that I enjoyed well enough as I read it, but mental cogitations after the fact saw it mimic the title and unravel somewhat. The ‘hero’ of the story not only isn’t the Dom that the heroine plays Valentine Roulette with, but their relationship prior to the night had been toxic. So it made believing that they had any sort of feelings for one another very difficult. All three characters also had personality defects, and not in a good way.

Klara was brilliant in that she had taken on huge responsibilities at a very young age. She was so tough and strong, when life kicked her in the lady balls she pulled up her big girl pants and kicked it back twice as hard. So it made my wonder why she would burn her bridges by not giving adequate notice to her employer. Nor did I believe that employer held enough sway to get her blacklisted by his competitors.

For an ex-military man, Spencer was a childish, whiney bottom-hole whose behaviour was as far from professional as it was possible to get. Self-centred to the nth degree he didn’t deserve Klara in any way shape or form.

And Will, I kind of liked him until their last scene where he deliberately pushed Klara beyond her breaking point, despite knowing she was totally inexperienced and that she was unlikely to safe word until he took things to the extreme. He even acknowledge that the play wasn’t ‘sane’ because Klara had felt forced into taking part. He knew that and still continued. He also knew, from the previous scene, where her breaking point was and he stomped right over it. At that point I wasn’t sure who was the most despicable male, him or Spencer. The only way either man would ever get any sympathy from me was if I threw a dictionary at their conceited, idiotic heads.

Unbroken by Maren Smith – 3 stars

This story is less about the BDSM play and much more about the two protagonists, Abby and Newton, connecting. This really left me in a quandary because I loved the depth it gave the story, and you could really see not only the characters grow but also the fledgling connection start to bloom. However it meant, for me, that it lacked that sizzle that I want from a BlackLight book but overall the pros and cons are balanced.

I did like both characters and enjoyed the story, it was also a nice change of pace to give the book some balance. Extra points were earned for the pair NOT being madly in love with one another at the end of the story!

Bared by Measha Stone – 4 stars

I’m a real sucker for second chance, so this was already going well with me. Add into the mix a heroine who hid her vulnerabilities behind a hard as nails exterior and an amazing Dom who was determined not to let her run away a second time, and you’ve got yourself a winner.

They spin humiliation, but don’t worry, it never felt too much or too over the top. In fact it was very gentle in those terms. However Dane does lay bare all of Riley’s insecurities and fears, pushing her to truly accept her submissive nature. Yes he pushes her, and pushes her hard, but he is there every single step of the way, ready to catch her should she fall and always, always giving her the strength and support she needs.

When Dane got Riley to wash the word she wrote about herself off of her arm, I wasn’t sure whether to sob or swoon.

Stripped by Sophie Kisker – 3.5 stars

I really enjoyed this story, though it did stir a bit of conflict inside me. I admired that Sari made the decision she did (in the bathroom) though I could equally understand why Adam was upset by it. I didn’t agree with his “special” comment, that’s a very male perpetuation of a problem that has been around for a long time.

I felt we spent more time in Sari’s mind during the story, which was great because the author really showed us what some peoples submission looked like. I found her thought process and decisions to be fascinating and enlightening. It wasn’t the steamiest offering in the book but it was a well written and very entertaining story.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Title – Black Light Valentine Roulette
Author – Various
Genre – BDSM Erotica/Romance
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/34209488-valentine-roulette

Three hours. Four hard limits. Eight sexy stories.
Are you brave enough to spin the wheel?

Black Light is the most exclusive BDSM club in Washington, D.C. and for one night they’re changing the rules of play to entertain their members with a game of chance – Valentine Roulette. Challenge and adventure awaits as these sexy dominants spin to win their submissives, and the subs spin to choose how they will play. Their prize if they last the night? One free month at Black Light, and for some of our daring participants… even a chance at love.

Review //\\ Hunted

My Rating – 3.5 Stars

When we first meet Jared (and Harper) he is a really sweet, fun and caring guy, so his later transformation was really something else. His alter-ego is definitely sinister and poor Harper most certainly comes off worse when he’s around. Jared’s slow descent into “madness” was very finely crafted, and so terrifyingly believable.


I found it easier to connect with Harper, though that isn’t surprising since Jared wasn’t always quite himself. This meant I didn’t connect with the story with as much emotional depth as I prefer, but I still really enjoyed the story. With both characters being so adorable and cute at first, I was rather puzzled as to just where things were heading, though it quickly becomes clear that not all is well. The plot then rattles along at a rapid pace, with lots of darkness, lots of twists and lots of a very bad man.


Harper remains strong throughout, and I loved her resilience during her trial in the woodland. I did wish nasty things to befall not-Jared, and I had absolutely no idea how the situation would be resolved. Needless to say it was resolved in a very satisfactory way. Hunted is a good addition to the Dirty Heroes collection and shouldn’t be missed.

Title – Hunted
Author – Cassandra Faye (Jennifer Bene)
Genre – Dark Paranormal
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/52259867-hunted

“It doesn’t matter how far she runs.
This is my forest, and I always catch my prey.”

As a Loxley, I know the rules, I just never took them seriously. I only knew when I finally brought a girl here it would be special. She would be special. And Harper is… perfect. Now we’re out here, alone, and something’s gone terribly wrong.
I broke the rules, I’m losing myself, and I’m afraid she’s going to pay the price. I need to fight this. I need to protect Harper. We’re meant to be, and I know she feels the same. I don’t want to hurt her but… I have to claim her.
I have to make her mine. Before I do something I can’t take back.

Photo by Ray Bilcliff on Pexels.com

Top 5… Books With A One Word Title

Top 5… Books With A One Word Title

Top 5 is a weekly meme hosted by Devouring Books, where each Saturday you share your Top 5 books on a given theme. The idea is to tag 5 other blogs, but I don’t seem to have much luck with tagging people from WordPress, so if you’re interested in writing your own post then consider yourself tagged!

Kate Canterbary was one of the many authors I discovered soon after I got my first e-reader. She’s one of the few who I still read to this day, a fact made even more impressive by the fact that “just” contemporary romance doesn’t feature very high on my TBR list these days.
Preservation was the final book of a wonderfully written, very salty, incredibly steamy and full of feels series based around the Walsh family. It is the story of the youngest brother, Riley, and his special someone. To truly appreciate all that is Riley, from his man-bun to his eclectic dress sense (including a propensity to not do up his flies), his love of all things super-hero and his gift of giving people nicknames, you really need to read the whole series. There was so much hype, so much expectation for his story, that I was worried it would prove to be a disappointing let down. It wasn’t, in fact it was the cherry and icing on a delicious, not-to-be-bested cake of delightful love stories.

Title – Preservation (The Walshes #7)
Author – Kate Canterbary
Genre – Contemporary Romance
Goodreads – https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/31084536-preservation

Two lonely hearts.
Just once, she’d like to be someone’s first choice.
She’s strong-willed and spunky, but she’s left picking up the pieces from her ex’s lies and manipulations, and daydreaming about taking a scalpel to his scrotum.
Flying under the radar is what he does best.
He’s laid-back and loyal, but he wants the most off-limits woman in his world, and nothing will ever make that a reality.
An arrangement of mutual benefit.

Two months, four dates.
Five, if things go well.
Five at the most.
But possibly six.
Definitely no more than six dates.
Only the appearance of a romantic relationship is required, and they expect nothing more from their time together. There will be none of those benefits involved.
One wild weekend.
After waking up in bed together—very naked and even more hungover—the terms and conditions of their arrangement no longer apply. Now they’re faced with something riskier than exposing their fake relationship: letting go of the past and zipping up the future.
Some things have to fall apart before they can be put back together. 

Cari Silverwood writes in a genre all of her own. Her men range from flat out bad through to good but with devious tendencies. Her heroines are strong and smart but with a craving to submit to the delicious torment their heroes devise. Dry wit and humour are always part of the mix, along with sound world building and entertaining plots.
Blade is the story of two people travelling through space an a glorious quest, accompanied by a sentient sword who likes to chat, and can be read as a stand alone.

Title – Blade (Dark Monster Fantasy #3)
Author – Cari Silverwood
Genre – Dark Sci-Fi Romance
Goodreads – https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/41825438-blade

When irresistible force meets irresistible girl more than sparks will fly – fur, spiky bits, and possibly tentacles.
Ledderik is a slightly homicidal cyborg and is ready to lose himself in a virtual world for the rest of his tomorrows, until he saves Thorn from death and gets sucked into the wake of her cataclysmic siren attraction.
Maybe life can be fun?
Besides, she has such a cute … tail.
One small problem, Led no longer owns his body.
Thorn has also lost everything in one day. Cross out being a starship captain or her own species, or having friends. Instead she’s been cursed with being a hurricane force sexual magnet.
She has questions.

Why is she a biohazard on most reputable planets and how can she avoid triggering an extinction event and killing every male nearby? The two of them cross the galaxy, with Led swapping from loaner body to loaner body.
He’s the one male who can resist her, and he’s upskilling.
Up against the wall? Upside down? With tentacles and DD drilling power? Led is good at what he does. Always.
Meet the hot ex-cyborg who no longer looks in the mirror, in case his latest loaner body is ugly. He has one priority – make sure the downstairs department is BIG.
Warning. This story may contain robots, cyborgs, dark naughtiness, and species that come equipped with extra wriggly bits.

If you visit here frequently, you’ll be aware that I may feature this author rather a lot. The 1000 Revolutions is one of my favourite series by her, it boths surprises and saddens me to know that it isn’t a good seller. Maybe it has too much romance for those more into sci-fi and isn’t steamy/explicit enough for the romance audience. For those of us who love both genres this is the perfect blend and truly deserves greater recognition to my mind.
Caleb Sheppard is full of bad choices, One is a malfunctioning AI, Fran can be trusted just about as far as you can throw her and far too many have a bone to pick with them.

Title – Betrayal (1000 Revolutions #1)
Author – Pippa DaCosta
Genre – Science Fiction Romance
Goodreads – https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/35496899-betrayal

WARNING. Rated: R. Restricted. Contains space battles, killer AI, intergalactic ass-kicking. Read at own risk.
She is programmed to kill.
He’ll do anything to survive.

Ex-con Captain Caleb Shepperd believes being good is overrated. All he wants is to smuggle illegal cargo through the nine systems and live a prosperous (likely short) life on the wrong side of the law.
But there’s a problem with that plan. The priceless synthetic stowaway on his ship is a distraction he doesn’t need.
Torn between selling her and tossing her out the airlock, Shepperd fails to realize the synth is a killer, and he’s the one locked in her sights.
In a world where only one thousand synthetics were built, synthetic number One Thousand and One should not exist. She is no ordinary synth. Memories locked inside her code could bring Shepperd—and the entire nine systems—to its knees.
Captain Shepperd and the oppressive corporations are about to learn that you can’t hide from the sins of your past, especially when that past has orders to kill.

Elin Peer is a relationship coach, and that feeds into her romances, which avoid all the cliches and usual tropes of a contemporary romance. What I can rely on is reading a story where characters actually discuss their feelings and share concerns, though they are far from perfect. I also know that I will get a story filled with emotion and genuine feelings.

Title – Blue (Clashing Colors #4)
Author – Elin Peer
Genre – Contemporary Romance
Goodreads – https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/33287651-blue

Am I the only one who purrs inside when I hear a deep male voice with a sexy Scottish accent?
Logan MacKay is a complicated man, scarred from a plane crash that left him gloomy and withdrawn. And yet, when we speak on the phone, the confident and flirtatious man he used to be, comes out to play. Of course, he has no idea that ‘Mary’, the stranger he flirts with on the phone, is me.

To him, I’m Faith. The too happy cheerleader who brings out his anxiety for beautiful women. It’s not that I want a relationship with him. I just want to help him past his ridiculous belief that all women find him unattractive because of his scars. Damaged people like Logan, are the whole reason I’m studying to be a psychologist. With my eternal optimism, I can fix Logan. I know I can.
If only he would stop scowling at me and say yes to my brilliant idea of taking me in as his roommate.
I’m broke and need a place to stay, and he needs help with the house chores. What could possibly go wrong?

Cassandra Faye is the paranormal/fantasy alter ego of Jennifer Bene. In Fae we get the same darkness that we have come to expect, but with magic, gods and intrigue. This story held me rapt from the beginning to the end, with a tough as nails heroine and a hero with unexpected warmth and reserve. From the world building, to the plot, pace and characterisation I loved every single moment.

Title – Fae (Daughters of Eltera #1)
Author – Cassandra Faye
Genre – Dark Paranormal/Fantasy Romance
Goodreads – https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/30341325-fae

Chosen. Cursed. Enslaved.
Fae just wants to live day to day. She doesn’t want to think about a future filled with another two thousand years of servitude. She doesn’t want to think about her past, or the way she failed the goddess she swore to serve forever. And she really doesn’t want to think about the men and women that suffer around her every day while she can’t protect them – no matter how hard she tries.
She’s definitely not ready when her entire world is turned upside down and the one person she would never choose to spend a minute with shows up. After millennia of suffering, is it even possible to trust someone? To let herself believe that good still exists?
Damned. Cursed. Corrupted.
Kiernan doesn’t know what he wants. After centuries of bloodshed, and war, and killing – he’s waking up, and if the things he dreams in his sleep were only nightmares that would be one thing, but they’re all real. The only light in his darkness is a girl inside a glass, and he can’t stop watching her. Her bravery fascinates him, inspires him. Her suffering is what he deserves.
Yet some part of him craves more, craves something good. But is there anything that can be done when gods have used you as pawns in their own war? Can good things come out of evil?

So that’s my top 5 – what books would you choose?

Six For Sunday

Six For Sunday… Favourite Series

Six For Sunday is hosted by A Little But A Lot, please do go and visit them! This month the prompts have been all about series, so of course we are rounding of the theme with a favourite series. I’m not sure if I can genuinely narrow it down to just six of them, so at some point I may be picking names out of a hat!

1. Machinery of Desire by Cari Silverwood

Genre – Dark Science Fiction Romance

Goodreads – https://www.goodreads.com/series/211137-the-machinery-of-desire

This series ticks so many of my boxes. First of all it satisfies my craving for really well written science fiction, with its awesome world building.
These books could NOT be transferred to an Earth setting and still work, unlike a disappointing proportion of sci-fi romance currently on the market. There are elements of both dubious and non-consensual acts, though there is no rape or abuse, just lots of boundary pushing and steaming hot kinkiness. There is a lot of political (with a small p) sub-text too, little thought provoking elements that reflect ways we could and should be improving our world.
I always think that if Terry Pratchett had been a woman and included naughty sex scenes in his books, he would have produced something similar to this.

2. Demigods of San Francisco by KF Breene

Genre – Paranormal/ Urban Fantasy Romance

Goodreads – https://www.goodreads.com/series/245213-demigod-of-san-francisco

KF Breene is the ‘straight’ equivalent of Cari Silverwood. Both write scorching hot stories, with strong female characters, outstanding world building and humour. However whilst Ms Silverwood delights with her bondage, humiliation and submission, Ms Breene is more mainstream, with vanilla characters.

3 Emperor’s Edge by Lindsay Buroker

Genre – Steampunk / Science Fiction

Goodreads – https://www.goodreads.com/series/66385-the-emperor-s-edge

Where as the previous two authors include sex scenes in their books, Lindsay Buroker doesn’t. That is saved for her Ruby Lionsdrake pen name. The Emperor’s Edge series is much more of a steampunk suspense, though there are some subtle elements of romance within the series. An epically slow burn and very frustrating romance that is very much in the backseat. These books are first and foremost science fiction, rather similar to Anne McCaffrey or Mercedes Lackey.

4. The Sanctuary Series by Robert J Crane

Genre – Epic Fantasy

Goodreads – https://www.goodreads.com/series/86746-sanctuary

This series took me back to my David Eddings days. The Sanctuary series is a tale of daring do, of brave knights and evil villains. The world building is complex and captivating, I couldn’t read these books quickly enough when I first discovered them, and I remember waiting anxiously for the last few to be released so I could discover the fate of Cyrus, Vara and their friends.

5. The Messenger Chronicles by Pippa DaCosta

Genre – Reverse Harem Space Fantasy

Goodreads – https://www.goodreads.com/series/222402-the-messenger-chronicles

Yes I know I mention this series and author a LOT. No I’m not being sponsored, or paid, nor am I the author of these amazing stories. But this series made me weep buckets, made me swoon, made me hate, made me elated and shattered me repeatedly. I also laughed like a nutter at some of Sota’s one liners.
There is romance, because that’s what I mainly read, but it’s very slow burn and, as with Lindsay Buroker’s books, it’s secondary to the plot, mainly fade-to-black but is an integral part of the story.

6 The Thalia Series by Jennifer Bene

Genre – Dark Romantic Suspense/ BDSM Romance

Goodreads – https://www.goodreads.com/series/150762-thalia

I can’t do a post without including my favourite genre of dark contemporary romance, so here it is. Book 1 of this series is a very dark tale indeed. It is sprinkled with scenes that require trigger warnings of the sexual abuse kind, since Thalia is kidnapped and being trained as a submissive sex slave. I found it too dark the first time I tried reading it, but after moving to darker sci-fi/fantasy stories (which my mind strangely finds easier to accept, possibly because they feel less ‘real’) I came back to this series.
The book went from a DNF to a 5+ star read. I then completed the rest of the series which, whilst not as dark or the first book, also has it’s moments.

BOOKISH FRIDAY



I’m joining in with Bookish Friday this week, a meme created and hosted by LauReads and Niffler Reads. This weeks prompt, spookily enough, is First Lines, which is what I’ve been sharing for the last few Fridays! I’m going to feature 6 first lines this week, which may seem a strange number choice but they are all from an amazing anthology that released yesterday. It’s dark, it’s twisted and it is definitely unpredictable. I’m talking about The Institute by Dani Rene, Anna Edwards, Murphy Wallace, India R Adams, Jennifer Bene and Sian B Claven.

1 Echo by Dani Rene

It was ten years ago when my life took a turn for the worst.
It was also in those dark times that I realized I wasn’t going to be the same after what had happened. Instead of running from the darkness, I embraced it.

2. Marbh by Anna Edwards

“Marbh, we have a few new people today. Why don’t you tell them a bit about yourself?”
I don’t acknowledge the doctor talking to me. Why should I – he’s keeping me prisoner here. This is his fault. The mid-forties man with graying temples stares at me, urging me to respond. I’m not going to give him the satisifaction.

3 Hostile Illusions by India R Adams

Cruelty and all its power
Why am I the game of each hour?
Every pain, every slice…
It was not only me in this deadly vise


As I lie here, life draining from my body, there is a clarity present that is bringing me cherished peace. I smile in relief, knowing that there is truly an Evermore…

4 Mr Cat is Not Real by Jennifer Bene

The walls are breathing again, but at least they’re not whispering this time.
Yet.
Dr. Nickelsen says it’s not real, that I just have to focus on something that still feels normal and push the bad thoughts away, but it’s not easy when I can hear every inahle and exhale like the volume’s been cranked up to 11.

5 Release Me by Murphy Wallace

Shit! Fuck! One moment I was getting fucked senseless by the guy that I met at the bar tonight. The next, I am on top of his lifeless body, loosening my grip on the rope around his neck. There is a broken bong laying in pieces by his head, and he is bleeding. Not again.

6 Sanitorium by Sian B Claven

The world is so bright after you’ve been enveloped in the darkness of sleep for so many hours. Molly had never been a morning person; the light streaming through the windows was not magical and awakening to her. Being pulled form the deep slumber that her medication granted her was anything but pleasant and yet, the sun streamed through the window, tugging at her eyelids to flicker open and squint at the bright world around.
Bright, but bland.