Book Review

#TBRChallenge2022 – Post #5

The Lady (Dirty Heroes Collection #15)
by Golden Angel

Set in Victorian times, The Lady is an erotic historical romance. It’s been on my e-reader since the 28th March 2020 but just never quite made its way to the top of the TBR pile.

Whilst this wasn’t a terrible read, there wasn’t particularly any plot to speak of and there were quite a few typos and misplaced words. I do not tend to notice editing issues so it tells you something that I did in this one.


The focus very much was on the smut and if you’re ok with that then I do recommend it as it’s pretty good quality filth. I found the two main characters pleasant enough, though for the life of me I couldn’t tell Tramp’s two henchmen apart. It’s a fairly kinky read and includes both spanking, humiliation and some scenes of dubious consent. The latter doesn’t bother me, as a rule, but what DID specifically earn my ire was the author victim-blaming the heroine!


Early on there is a scene where Henry (Tramp) stripped Delilah and molested/groped her without consent. This wasn’t a problem. The heroine “boxed” Henry’s ears in response so he started to spank Delilah. Again not a problem. As she was laid over his knee, Delilah considers how she was out of order to physically assault Tramp, even though it was provoked by his behaviour/assault. That wasn’t ok with me. It felt as though the author was gaslighting the heroine 😂. The “hero” can do what he likes but if the heroine fights back she is out of order and needs punishing? Bull-crap.


I did manage to lay that early annoyance to one side and enjoyed the rest of the book. It’s perfect if you’re looking for a hot, naughty, quick read.



Goodreadshttps://www.goodreads.com/book/show/51862744-the-lady

Genre – Historical Romance

SynopsisTo stay safe in a world she’s never known, this lady will pay a steep price…
Adored. Cherished. Pampered. Lady Delilah Darling lives an enviable life. But when cruel hands drive her away from home and into the dangerous streets of London, she’s suddenly frightened, vulnerable, and alone. Desperate for safety, Lady Delilah stumbles right into the arms of Henry Gaunt, the irresistible overlord of the London Underground.
Known as The Tramp to his contemporaries, Henry rules his dark world with both charm and violence, bending the willing and breaking all others. Intent on claiming the newly fallen Lady Delilah for his own, Henry offers her protection for a price. Now Delilah is leashed. Claimed. Mastered. And as she accepts her fate as The Tramp’s pet, she’s left with one question: will she also be loved?


Overall Rating

Rating: 3 out of 5.

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


Book Review

#TBRChallenge2022 – Post #2

Killian (Benedetti Brothers #4)
by Natasha Knight

If I had known just how loose a retelling this was I might have searched for something else on my TBR. I bought it on a whim several years ago after reading a duet by this author that I really enjoyed. I think I missed out by not reading this one when I purchased it, still, it was an enjoyable read if not a truly memorable one.

I’ve had this on my kindle for a couple of years and read it for a TBR challenge I’m taking part in this year. Killian/Captive Beauty is a Beauty and the Beast re-telling, a very, VERY, loose one but enough that it fits the criteria, lol. The story entertained me enough that I read it all without skimming any or considering DNF’ing it. The plot is very much of the dark mafia captive trope and whilst it is somewhat cliched on occasions this would have been one of the originals of the trope so gains points for that.


Whilst I liked both Killian and Cilla I never found myself fully convinced of their feelings for one another. In part, this was probably due to Cilla being a victim of betraying body syndrome, which sits alongside insta-love as a trope I just don’t enjoy. The chemistry between the couple was fiery and intense, bordering on violent and, initially at least, very dubious in consent. When you are given the choice of giving your body or watching your brother be violently beaten or worse, then consent isn’t truly given freely. A very dysfunctional relationship of sorts develops but as we get to know Cilla it becomes clear just how perfectly it fits the darkness of her soul.


We get quite a sanitised, romanticised version of organised crime with world-building that was fairly sparse. I also wasn’t ever truly convinced of the feelings this pair had for one another, lots of sex scenes is not akin to showing me them falling in love. That said if you’re looking for a well written and easy to read mafia captive romance this is one of the better ones.


Goodreadshttps://www.goodreads.com/book/show/36568555-killian

Genre – Organised Crime Romance

Synopsis
Cilla
The Beast had Belle. Killian Black has me. 
How I got here doesn’t matter, even though he says it does. Says it was my choice. He doesn’t get it, though. It wasn’t ever a choice for me.  And now, he’s changing the rules.
The agreement was one month. For thirty days, I’d be his. He’s no longer satisfied with my body alone, though. He wants my soul, too. Wants every part of me. And even though I can pretend I’m safe when I lie beneath him, this man does something to me. Something wicked. A thing that will break me. 

Killian
Cilla made the choice. She offered the deal. I just took her up on it. So what if I changed the rules half-way in? I’m not apologizing for it. See, Cilla and me, we’re the same. She’s dark. As dark as me. Something happened to her. Something bad. It damaged her. 
But it’s not a hero she seeks. It’s an avenging angel. A dark knight. That, I can do. I’ll slay her dragons, but it’ll cost her, because in return, I want everything. And I’ll take it. She’s mine. 

Author’s note: Killian: a Dark Mafia Romance is an emotional romance originally published with the title Captive Beauty.


Overall Rating

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

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


Book Review

// REVIEW \\ Evgeni’s Obsession by Merel Pierce

Evgeni’s Obsession
(A New Reign #1)
by Merel Pierce

Photo by vierro on Pexels.com

I’ll be honest and say that I beta read this, so I have a slightly vested interest but this is still my genuine opinion of the book.

Back when my kindle was still new and shiny, I discovered a love of mafia romance. I read every single one I could get my hands on, to the point that I overloaded on them and stopped reading them altogether. So I did initially worry about being the right person to read this, but incredibly well written characters and an intriguing storyline soon had me spellbound.

This is NOT an omegaverse, which is what the author is perhaps more well known for, but I’m still happy to recommend this novella serialisation that is fairly slow burn. Despite there being no actual sex scenes in this book, the sexual tension is high with enough scorching chemistry to hold your interest. The opening scenes are a little contrived, though they were given a nice sense of individuality and were definitely required for the set-up of the story.

Great writing meant I soon found myself caught up in the story, loving the not very subtle flirting between Elena and Evgeni and wondering where the tale would take me. Both MC’s were very easy to like, neither is perfect but they are honest characters, both believable and “normal”. Good world building and succinct descriptions readily set the scene. Enough to do a good job of building a mental picture, without being OTT or distracting.

Evgeni, our anti-hero, is actually a fairly decent human being. Well as much as a Bratva member can be, but he does have a sense of decency and integrity that set him above many of his mafia brothers. What really impressed me is that he isn’t portrayed as rich or powerful or indispensable within the organisation. He is, for want of a better description, just a common foot soldier, though one with both drive and ambition.

Elena is no doormat, but wisely chose her battles to pick. She’s a fun-loving girl and I can’t wait to see how she handles the situation with Evgeni. I don’t want to give away any spoilers but I do need to comment on how refreshing it was that in later parts of the book she wasn’t led by her libido.

There were times where in other books I would have been rolling my eyes at the heroine’s out of control lust, as in those circumstances sex would be the last thing on your mind. Instead we get a much more realistic response of Elena wondering if/when she (view spoiler) and avoiding being physically close to Evgeni. I did a little happy dance that whilst she might find him attractive it didn’t make her forget the dire situation she is in.

Throughout the book one thing that stood out was how very genuine the emotions felt. The author certainly has a wonderful ability to put you inside her characters heads and hearts and has left me eager for the next book.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Genre– Bratva/Mafia Romance
Goodreadshttps://www.goodreads.com/book/show/55285689-evgeni-s-obsession

She came to Moscow to escape, to forget how her life was falling apart. All sunshine and sweetness, she calls to the predator within me like no other woman has. I think of nothing else.
But she is a good girl, not made for a soldier of the Bratva. I try to keep my distance, but the pull is too strong. Oh, my solnyshko. I fear I cannot let you go.
Fate has gifted you to a monster.

** Evgeni’s Obsession is the first book in a new Bratva dark romance series that features sizzling chemistry, danger, suspense, and a cliffhanger that will leave you gasping for breath**

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com
Book Review

REVIEW //\\ Ruthless Sinner

Ruthless Sinner (Zetas #6) by A.J. Adams

A well crafted, captivating and thoroughly enjoyable story.


Spirit is definitely full of just that, a tough cookie of a heroine who, even when life kicks her down, paints on a happy face and thinks of others. Coop is a mystery wrapped up in an enigma, all parceled up in one gorgeous package. Both of them have secrets, both of them have known suffering, both of them are loners, used to coping on their own.


When Coop first met Spirit he really didn’t impress me, he wouldn’t take a polite no and then took offence when she stretched the truth to fob him off. It took a loooooong time but Coop did eventually realise just how wrong he had been, but not until Spirit has suffered through a few fraught encounters, and a lot more, with him.


I don’t want to say too much due to spoilers, so I’ll stick with how much I loved these characters. We get glimpses of old favourites, from previous books, though this story could very easily be read standalone. Neither of the main protagonists are perfect, they both have made mistakes but equally they are incredibly loyal people. The chemistry between them felt very natural, meaning it was incredibly easy to believe in the developing relationship.


The romance between Spirit and Coop is only one element of the book. There are also a couple of different mystery elements and plenty of action filled plot that add up to one really great read.  Ruthless Sinner is quite a long book, allowing plenty of time to fully develop both the characters and the story line. It was the perfect balance, so that nothing felt rushed but at the same time it didn’t drag either.


I sort of guessed who the bad guy was, though it was more of a hunch. I wasn’t totally convinced it was definitely that person, for a while, and I did waver over other suspects too. The suspense element was really well written through the story and the big “show down” was unexpected, twisty and amazing. I loved how it drew in previous elements of the story, how it sort of drew a line under things and allowed a fresh start of sorts.


Elements of the book are pretty thought provoking too. Coop is a “chemist” who cooks up drugs for the cartel to sell, he kills other bad guys and makes no apologies for that. Spirit, with no qualifications and in need of money, spent a brief period as a sex worker and she seemed to be the more judged for that past. She had done nothing to harm anyone, but was a pariah in her community. Looked down on, disregarded as trash, yet she had the most caring and forgiving soul. In real life I really wouldn’t want to know a Coop, because drugs to ruin lives, but (a) this is fiction and (b) in all other aspects he was a very honorable man. He drove himself into the ground to try and ensure the safety of local women. He was also loyal to those who had earned his trust and respect. We can be pretty quick to judge and in some ways this is a case of ‘let he who is without sin cast the first stone’.


TL;DR
In summary this is an action packed, well written, steamy mafia romance with two great main characters and a fantastic plot. Highly recommended.

Title – Ruthless Sinner (Zetas #6)
Author – A.J. Adams
Genre – Mafia/ Contemporary Romance

Goodreads – https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/53410129-ruthless-sinner

Blurb
Determined to get her mother the healthcare she needs, drop dead gorgeous Spirit Westcott works as a stripper, not caring that it cements her reputation as the Beauview village bad girl. But when Spirit falls foul of John Cooper, the newest member of the notorious Zeta Cartel, she loses her job. Furious, Spirit confronts Coop–only to discover his secret drug lab. When Coop decides to save her, by disappearing her and keeping her captive, Spirit is less than impressed. However, she quickly learns that Coop has an even deadlier secret, and one that may drag her into the abyss.
When dangerous, single-minded John Cooper learns his best friend was murdered, he resolves to exact bloody vengeance. The knowledge that his prey is a Zeta, one of Mexico’s most dangerous cartels, doesn’t stop him. Coop joins the organisation, only to discover that finding his prey won’t be easy. To his annoyance, sexy Spirit Westcott is also a spanner in the works. After embarrassing him in public, Coop suddenly finds himself saddled with her as an unwanted captive. Then, just as things couldn’t get worse, a killer starts to pick off Beauview village girls. As Coop is drawn further into the cartel, he is forced to make decisions that may cost him his life–and that of his love.

Book Review

REVIEW – Darker Than Love




This is a short read since it’s the prequel to Darker Than Love by the same authors. There is a lot of action in this, including some scorching hot sex scenes, and plenty of character building. This didn’t leave a LOT of space for world building/ background setting BUT there was enough of that and I fully expect to learn more in the full length novel.

Mina, Yan and Ilya are incredibly intriguing characters and I can’t wait to learn more about them. I will definitely be continuing what I hope is their story in Darker Than Love. A great prequel, novella that is currently free and is well worth reading to see if these authors are for you.





3.5 stars

This is my first encounter with either of these authors and based on this book it won’t be my last. I know that some readers may criticise that the first 25% of this book is the free prequel, but since there is still a good 4 hours of reading remaining in the book it’s still great value for money.

There were things I loved about this book and things that, for me personally, could have been better/different. However you can’t please all of the people all of the time! I loved that Mina was a genuinely strong character, a fighter, a survivor and one bad-ass female. I didn’t care for the one TSTL moment that flared like a warning beacon and resulted in quite a cliched ‘plot twist’. HOWEVER, clever writing around this allowed me to still enjoy the story and forgive this obvious move.

I liked how very different Yan and Ilya were, I have identical twin sons so I know how true this can be. Mine are like chalk and cheese 😂. Ilya broke something inside me when he had his heart-to-heart with Mina, this may be a work of fiction but I’m still hoping she had a chat with Yan at some point and opened his eyes to Ilya’s needs. It also explained why he appeared to be a bit of a douche at times, and I’m really hoping Ilya (and Anton) will get their own stories in the future.

Yan – what a guy. I loved him, I really did but he changed far too quickly and easily for my liking. I needed the dark, broody thug to remain for longer. I needed his resentment of Mina to be a little more forceful, a little more convincing. Whilst it took him most of the book to realised he could have, and indeed did have, feelings for Mina, those feelings changed him far too quickly. Softened him to swiftly, leaving behind a man who clearly was no threat whatsoever to the heroine. If you’re selling me a dark romance then I need the heroine (and Hero) to suffer, I need to feel peril, threat, conflict, I need to feel the couple are walking a knives edge and one slip could end it all. I didn’t get that feeling for most of this book, and that’s why I couldn’t give it a higher rating.

The writing, the flow, the dialogue and plot are all great (aforementioned plot cliche aside) and all worked together to make a very good read. Overall the pace was also good, with the book generally holding my attention. I did lose focus part way through, though I’m not sure if it was a me or a book thing. It was at about 58% in, just after Mina’s TSTL moment, so I’m not sure if it was just my frustration at knowing where one part of the plot was heading. However I pushed through and soon found myself totally caught up in the book again.

My final thought is that whilst the sex scenes were scorching hot, I did end up skimming over some. There were just too many and not all of them added anything to the story other than eroticism. I love a good sex scene as much as the next person but once or twice I felt as though it distracted from the story, rather than enhancing it. I already got that this pair couldn’t keep their hands of each other, that sex was a way they communicated their feelings for each other. I didn’t need it smashing over my head quite so many times. It started to feel almost as though they were filler, and this story didn’t need that.


So in summary I recommend Darker than Love because it has a great writing, a good plot, wonderful characters and is really enjoyable read.






Amazon US
Sweeter than Hate- https://www.amazon.com/Sweeter-Than-Hate-Darker-Prequel-ebook/dp/B0821JQ476/
Darker than Love – https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07Z743YST/

Amazon UK
Sweeter than Hate – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Sweeter-Than-Hate-Darker-Prequel-ebook/dp/B0821JQ476/
Darker than Love – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Darker-Than-Love-Anna-Zaires-ebook/dp/B07Z743YST/