Book Review

#BookReview #SFR #FatedBlades

Fated Blades
Kinsmen #3
Ilona Andrews

She glanced at his supine form. He had an interesting face, all harsh angles, devoid of softness. Matias had a resting kill face. Even when he wasn’t trying to intimidate, he projected a natural grimness that promised swift and brutal retribution.

The cover and title caught my attention and led me to expect a fast-paced, action-packed sci-fi adventure. I haven’t read the authors before but have heard lots of great things about their writing so expected to either be wowed or to feel seriously underwhelmed when those high expectations were not met.


Well let me just tell you that I am now questioning myself as to why it has taken me so long to read an Ilona Andrews book. Oh my word, this book blew me away, delivering not only everything I wanted but so much more too. The story proved to be captivating from the very first page, weaving a high-energy tale of intrigue, peril and suspense. The world-building is top class with no unnecessary and frustrating info-dumps, instead we are introduced to information in a very natural way.


Ramona and Matias are both the heads of their family’s business, both are Secare, and both have been betrayed by somebody close to them. Their Kinsmen families have been enemies for many generations but they must put the enmity aside if they are to prevent financial catastrophe. Matias is an absolutely charming if ruthless, hero whilst Ramona is a strong, determined heroine who very much is allowed to have agency. The story was perhaps a little slow-burn for my personal taste but the sheer entertainment I derived from reading this book meant I didn’t really care.


It’s been a while since I’ve read a book that has made me desperate to buy the author’s entire back catalogue but this one made me feel exactly like that. There wasn’t a single part of this book that I didn’t enjoy. The book would be perfect for fans of Lindsay BurokerCarol Van Natta and Pippa DaCosta.

“You were supposed to die. Why aren’t you dead?”
He nodded at the plaza below painted red with blood. “Because I killed everyone.”


Overall Rating

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Plot ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤
Characters ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤
World Building ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤
Writing ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤
Heat Level 🔥 🔥 🔥


Alternate Reality Fantasy Romance

Goodreadshttps://www.goodreads.com/book/show/59011438-fated-blades

Synopsis
An uneasy alliance between warring families gets heated in this otherworldly novella from bestselling author Ilona Andrews.
At first glance, the planet Rada seems like a lush paradise. But the ruling families, all boasting genetically enhanced abilities, are in constant competition for power—and none more so than the Adlers and the Baenas. For generations, the powerful families have pushed and pulled each other in a dance for dominance.
Until a catastrophic betrayal from within changes everything.
Now, deadly, disciplined, and solitary leaders Ramona Adler and Matias Baena must put aside their enmity and work together in secret to prevent sinister forces from exploiting universe-altering technology. Expecting to suffer through their uneasy alliance, Ramona and Matias instead discover that they understand each other as no one in their families can—and that their combined skills may eclipse the risks of their forbidden alliance.
As the two warriors risk their lives to save their families, they must decide whether to resist or embrace the passion simmering between them. For now, the dance between their families continues—but just one misstep could spell the end of them both.


Book Review

REVIEW – Enemies-to-Lovers // At His Bidding by Ginger Talbot

At His Bidding
by Ginger Talbot

The full five stars for this gripping read. Whilst At His Bidding isn’t a dark read (not in the way that Tamara, Taken was), it did still have that air of tension and conflict that I enjoy in dark romance. On the night when the clocks went forward an hour anyway, reading until 1 am perhaps wasn’t the best of ideas but I just couldn’t put this down.


An action-packed, intriguing, and hot enemies-to-lovers story, I can easily see how this book would inspire the currently popular bully trope. Ashton was one seriously angry young man, one whom the author cleverly gave just enough grievance too so that his actions were not totally irredeemable. That doesn’t excuse his awful behaviour, but it did feel as though he has a very small amount of justification for some of his actions and behaviours. The fact that he also showed good character growth, along with genuine remorse, allowed me to forgive him. And at the end of the day Riley had entered the bargain willingly.


It was impossible not to love Riley. She wasn’t too perfect, she made mistakes, took foolish or reckless decisions, but overall loved her siblings, genuinely cared for people and tried to be a good person. The little victories she had, the small triumphs, showed us a heroine with inner strength, and boy did she need it to navigate the threats and manipulations that awaited her.


My only criticism is that the blurb is, to my mind, a little misleading. It literally refers to the first two or three chapters at most. That is, the initial auction and the few scenes following that. The story is more about Riley re-encountering Ashton, the step-brother who hates her, and Gavin, the controlling ex who is obsessed by her. I’m not generally a fan of New Adult books, but I have to say that I found myself liking both characters in this. Rather than finding them irritating and juvenile, as is often the case with this genre, I could believe in why this pair felt more mature in their attitudes and behaviour.


Despite having a few noticeable editing errors, overall the writing was excellent, as was characterisation, plot and pace. I definitely recommend this one.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

New Adult Romantic Suspense
Goodreads https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/43729375-at-his-bidding


Synopsis
Adie
Two wealthy, ruthless men are in a bitter war. And Riley’s body is their battleground.

She thought they’d taken everything from her. She was wrong.
She thought she’d left her tragic past behind. She was wrong.
She knows that now. Because she’s standing up on a platform at the Betancourt auction, scorched by the cruel, hungry gaze of the world’s richest men, selling the only thing she has left: herself.
Now two men are bidding for her. One has sworn to possess and enslave her. One has sworn to destroy her.

Whoever wins this auction…Riley loses.

Book Review

REVIEW – Erotic Thriller // Obsession: Girl Abduction by Claire Thompson

Obsession: Girl Abducted
by Claire Thompson

This was a deliciously dark read, one where I was very quickly hooked into the story. It isn’t a romance by any stretch of the imagination, though there are definitely emotions involved, strong and believable ones too. For Alana those feelings are the result of Stockholm syndrome and brainwashing – or whatever the kink equivalent is of making the body and soul crave domination. I’m not quite sure how Claire Thompson achieved it, but I went from wanting Mark to be impaled on a rusty pitchfork, to needing him to find his HEA.


There were hints of Comfort Food, by Kitty Thomas, about this, though I am in no way suggesting it is copied from that. Obsession: Girl Abducted is very definitely it’s own book and story, they just both deal with similar themes. Despite this not delving deeply into how Mark “broke” Alana down, at least not in “real time” scenes, there were subtle hints, nudges and clues that worked together to convince me of the outcomes.


Those final chapters were heart breaking at times, so full of emotion and so poignant and beautifully written. And I simply loved the possibilities of that ending!

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Dark Captive Romance
Goodreadshttps://www.goodreads.com/book/show/57371200-obsession


Synopsis
He’s her biggest fan. She doesn’t know he exists. That’s about to change…

Dark, passionate obsession drives Mark to abduct the woman of his dreams. Now that she belongs to him, he’ll teach her to submit, no matter how long it takes, no matter the cost to her sanity…

Alana resists her cruel captor at every turn, but she can’t escape the constant sexual torture and conditioning, nor the erotic pain and pleasure he forces on her… Drawn deeper into his web of total control, the outside world slowly falls away…

Then she’s faced with a choice…

Previously titled: Obsession

Erotic non-con that’s not for the faint of heart. Read only if you dare.

Book Review

REVIEW – Omegaverse Reverse Harem // Baby and the Late Night Howlers


Baby and the Late Night Howlers
Sweet Omegaverse #1
by Kathryn Moon

I had seen this book mentioned several times in an Omegaverse group I belong to, but the title had totally put judgemental ol’ me off giving it a try. Reading a very positive review by a trusted Goodreads friend, and seeing that she recommended it, was enough to change my mind – and am glad I did.  Baby and the Late Night Howlers is a fun and feisty mash up of RH, romantic suspense and omegaverse, with a very light dash of biker romance too.


Despite that very cheesy title, what I found was a well written, entertaining, and enjoyable story. The author took the time to build distinct characters for each of the male protagonists, allowing me to distinguish one from another. I did feel that at times it slowed the pace a little but I would rather have that and “know” all the men, rather than have them blur into one homogenous, indistinguishable mass. I did struggle with the flicking between club names and real names. Sticking with one, until there had been sufficient time to link the name to the person and their job, would have worked better for me. I did discover a glossary at the end of the book (and after I’d finished reading it) which would have been much more useful had it been at the beginning!

This was unusual in that, unlike the majority of reverse harem stories, there wasn’t one male who was in charge or, or more dominant than, the rest. Whilst Jonah is the President of the Late Night Howlers MC he doesn’t rule over the pack, so although we meet him first (well other than Seth, his beta) he isn’t the “main” man. I mention that because other reviewers did have an issue with it, and forewarned is forearmed, as they say.


A big positive for me was that we didn’t (as can also so often be the case in RH books) get just one “big scene” with each male before moving off to the next love interest. The balance between sex scenes and story was good, this had plenty of plot to hold my interest. The sex was scorching hot, and it’s one of the things we read OV stories for, but the individual scenes didn’t drag or feel as though the went on too long.


Could I choose one of the men as my favourites? I don’t think I can, I was very much swayed by who Baby was with at the time. S eth and Books/MacKenzie were both very focused on Baby, all her men were BUT this pair seemed to understand her needs more than the others did. Bullet/Quincey was the most in-your-face dominant and protective but I loved that Green/Ryan had that natural sexual dominance. I could understand Jonah’s reticence and his issues with claiming Baby and I loved her acceptance and understanding of it, even though it stung. One of my favourite aspects was that this wasn’t a world of downtrodden Omegas, Baby kicked ass – literally – and wasn’t afraid to go after what, and who, she wanted.


I also very much enjoyed seeing the beta’s take a more prominent role. So often they are portrayed as boring, downtrodden and even worthless, but Kathryn Moon has made them just as vital a part of the world as alphas and omegas are. I know I mentioned earlier that some parts were a little slow, but I do think the author missed an opportunity of having meaningful scenes between the beta females and Baby. I’m not sure this would pass the Bechdel–Wallace test. That said, overall I was very impressed with the book. The world building was solid too, a contemporary setting but where the A/B/O dynamic exists and so alpha’s, in general, will form a pack. I definitely intend to read more from this author.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Romantic erotica
Goodreadshttps://www.goodreads.com/book/show/49205606-baby-the-late-night-howlers


Synopsis
Baby’s heat is coming…
After years of assuming she was a beta, discovering her omega designation in a biker bar surrounded by alphas isn’t exactly fulfilling any fantasies for Baby. She only wanted to get laid, not get knotted, bitten, and bonded. Now Baby’s entire life is about to turn upside down.
With the sexual frenzy of her heat on its way, she needs to find a pack, a nest, and alphas she can trust.

The Late Night Howlers have given up hope…
After years of waiting for an omega to choose them, this motorcycle club of alphas is ready to move on with their lives. Until one sweet woman takes a chance on them.
A rundown bar and apartment building is no place to spoil a new omega but the Howlers are determined to do right by Baby when she needs them. All they have to do is keep her satisfied while resisting the mouthwatering temptation to bite and bond her, permanently.

When a rival MC comes sniffing after Baby, her safety is put at risk and the Howlers may be torn apart forever.

Book Review

// REVIEW \\ Protecting It All

Protecting It All
(The Punishment Pit #6)
by Livia Grant

Well Livia Grant certainly saved the best until last. Or at least last for now since a “series 2” is already in the pipeline.


I’ve had my ups and downs with this series, so it was a great relief to end on a truly big “up”. The fact that this book didn’t really include much D/s or BDSM seems very telling. Generally I enjoy the author’s style of writing, but I did find myself agreeing with one reviewer who spoke of how the punishments seemed more important than the welfare of the submissive. I get that this is fiction, and clearly many readers have enjoyed the books, I just struggled with the men never seeming to atone for their wrongs yet going over the top in their punishment of the submissive for the slightest transgression. Particularly given that one was pretty much still a sub-in-training.


However I’m digressing form Protecting It All, which is a great romantic suspense and even though it was insta-love I still found myself believing in Dylan and Hannah’s emotions. Probably more so Dylan but that’s because he’s already a little obsessed by Hannah before she’s even really acknowledged his existence. Whilst we do get some Lukas/Marcus/Tiffany/Brianna scenes, most of the book was either from Dylan or from Hannah’s POV, so it gave it a bit of a “spin off” feel. Maybe that’s why I enjoyed it more, I wasn’t carrying any previous baggage for the two MC’s of this book.


I am wondering if you could read this one stand alone. A part of me thinks that you could, but I’ve read the other books so can’t be sure. I really did enjoy this one though, and I do recommend it. 

Photo by Ellen Araujo on Pexels.com

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Genre- Erotic Romantic Suspense

Goodreads- https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/54818820-protecting-it-all

Protecting it All is book six in the deliciously dark and dirty Punishment Pit series that readers are devouring. 
He would protect her with his life. 

Photo by Ana Maria Moroz on Pexels.com