Top Dark Reads of 2020 pt. 2

OK, we’re back for part 2 of my top dark reads of 2020. Keep in mind, these are in no particular order, and just because something doesn’t get mentioned doesn’t mean that I didn’t think it was dark, it’s just that these are the ones that really stuck with me. (You should see how many GR, Zon, and WordPress tabs I currently have open, lol)

Natalie Bennett-Periculum

Natalie Bennett tends to write dark, twisted, and fucked up, and this one is no different. I don’t know why I didn’t look up the definition of periculum back when I wrote my blog post, but I did today, for shits and giggles. It means danger or risk, and that totally fits for this book. Anyway, this book stars Lana and her friends, as well as Ciaran and his friends. There’s an accident, there’s some strange and terrible things, and there’s lots of darkness and twists, so, yeah, Natalie Bennett. This is the first book of a duet, and the next one comes out in March. I can’t wait for it.

Addison Cain-Swallow It Down

You didn’t think I was going to create a dark list without an Addison Cain book, did you? Yeah, that will likely never happen. Swallow It Down is another near future, post-apocalyptic, dystopian story. Yes, I have a type. LOL. This takes place 6 years after the bombs have dropped, and what’s left of humanity is huddling around each other in small places, trying to survive. Except for Eugenia. She’s trying to get to this one specific place she heard about. She heard it was safe. But then she runs into this huge ship, and well, things change. Even months after reading it, I’m still wondering about certain things.

Kitty Thomas-The Game Maker

Kitty is one of the OGs when it comes to dark romance. And she will fuck your brain over with nary a blink. She has created some of my favorite male characters, and one of the best mindfuck books ever. Go check out Comfort Food. But today we’re talking about The Game Maker. Now, knowing that it is a Kitty Thomas book, and it’s got a title like it does, you might think that there are some mindfucks and twists around the corner, and you would be right. I never knew what was going to happen with this one.

Loxley Savage-Feathers and Fire

Feathers and Fire is a 3 book series. It’s a MFMM, RH, PNR. (My husband laughs at all the acronyms in Romancelandia) The books in the series are Bound for Blood, Cursed to Crave, and Freed By Flames. The story is about Trinity, who has spent her life as a slave. As a child, she had frequent blood draws. As an adult, she’s a sex slave in high demand, mostly because, as a 1/2 succubus, 1/2 phoenix, she can take a lot of abuse and heal quickly. Trinity goes through hell through all 3 books, but she becomes who she is and who she should be by the end of book 3. Books 1 & 2 end in cliffies, but the whole series is out, so you can go read it all back to back. Which is what I did. And I was just like WTF through a lot of it, in a good way. It is dark, it is dirty, gritty, and wow.

Alright, there we are. My Top Dark Reads of 2020. Go check them all out!

Sinistre Ange-His Pretty Kitty

Yay! Another Sinistre Ange story, which means we are into something kinky, dirty, and just obscene. And that describes His Pretty Kitty really well. HPK is part of Sinistre’s Planets Apart series. She hasn’t written a new one in this series for a while, so yay!

So, the way that this series works is that there are 4 prison planets, and each of the planets covers a different kink. So far, we’ve had hucows, age play, and now we have pet play. When someone gets caught breaking the law, they end up sentenced to a prison planet. While they are on the way out to the planets, the prisoners get to look at all the planets and decide which one they want. After they make their decision, it goes to a committee where each selection is either approved or argued over.

Katherine embezzled from her company for years. For part of that time, her crimes were blamed on someone else who was guilty of corporate espionage, but eventually it was discovered that nope, that person was innocent of stealing, and it was all Katherine. So, she got sentenced to spend the rest of her life on one of the prison planets. On the ship, she looks at all the planets and decides that she found the planet for her. She’s going to go be a pet. So, she goes up for auction, and is bought. Her new owner wants her to have kitty ears and kitten fur on her lower arms and legs, so she really looks more like a little kitten. And thus, Katherine becomes Kitty, and is owned by Dominic and his wife. And she has to share the household with their long time pup. Let’s just say hijinx ensue.

I fully admit that I didn’t always like Katherine in this book. She is really entitled in the beginning, IMO. She never really seems like she’s sorry for what she did or for what happened to that poor innocent guy. It kind of makes her hard to like at the very beginning, at least for me. There are times while she’s settling in that I don’t particularly care all that much for her either. I never totally dislike her, but don’t like her all that much, if you get the difference. And when she’s finally in the house, she keeps acting out and seems suprised. It’s not like she didn’t know what she was getting into, so I don’t know why she’s so surprised. Ok, well, maybe she didn’t know exactly what everything would be like, but I’m in the well, she made her bad, she gotta lay in it camp. I do think that she really deserves everything she gets and maybe a little more on that.

I know that I’m not talking about anyone else in the household, but I think that they really need to be discovered on your own. I will say that the book is primarily from Kitty’s POV, but we do get looks at everyone’s heads, so we get to know everyone. I liked it that way.

OK, nothing under the pic today. Go check out this delightful piece of filth, especially if you need some help staying warm this winter. Happy reading!

Sinistre Ange-Serving Her Sentence

So, today we get the first of 2 Sinistre Ange’s releases between now and the end of the year. Now, all of Golden Angel’s books are kinky, but it’s when she write as Sinistre that we are truly blessed with loads of filth, smut, and kinkery fuckery. And damn if Serving Her Sentence doesn’t live up to that. It is is downright obscene, in all the best ways. It’s also more hardcore than the books that she writes under the Golden name, so if you don’t like hardcore fuckery, this is not the book for you. Luckily, I do.

Noelle is facing prison. She got caught embezzling money from her boss. A lot of money. And it’s a lot of money that she can’t afford to pay back, because she’s spent most of it. So because of that, she has two choices. One is going to prison for 10 years. The other is to sell herself at an auction for a year as a slave. And in this case, slave means sex slave. However much money she sells for will be split. First it will go to her company to repay them, then the leftover will be split between her and the government. She just has to make it through the next 365 days and she’ll be set for life. So, that’s what she decides to do. After all, you can do anything for a year, right?

So, after having been asked about 190098979879 times if this was really what she wanted to do, Noelle goes to have a medical exam, which is recorded. Then she goes up for auction. She’s bought for a huge amount of money by a man named Damien. And he has an hour to lay out his expectations before Noelle has to make her final decision, and lay them out he does.

This book is all from Noelle’s POV, and I’m all good with that. I don’t think that I want a POV from Damien or anyone else involved. I don’t think that being in their head would’ve been anywhere near as interesting as just being in Noelle’s head. I mean, I like all their kinkery fuckery that Noelle is subjected to, and damn it’s all fucking hot, but for me, the part that was interesting to me was Noelle’s interior struggle. We wouldn’t get that from Damien. I’m pretty sure that he doesn’t have any conflicts in his head about what he’s doing.

Anyway, that’s all for this one. If you want loads of fucking hot fucking, go check this one out! Happy reading!

Cari Silverwood-Sacrificed to the Sea

So, when you go look at Sacrificed to the Sea on the mighty Amazon, you will see that it has a big orange banner for bestseller in number theory. That’s because, for some odd reason, the PTB at Zon have decided to put the book in Math. There is a warning on the blurb that guarantees this isn’t a math book, that it’s a romance. I think that’s a trip. This is a very Cari book. When I finished reading it, I just sat and stared at my kindle for quite a while. The whole book was a total WTF moment, and I totally WTFed over it.

We start with Rafaella. She is on a ship sometime hundreds of years ago, whoring herself out to the sailors in exchange for passage. Right up until there is a hurricane, then she’s bad luck, and she’s tied up and sacrificed to try to appease the sea. Instead of dying, she ends up becoming a mermaid. On top of that, Rafaella periodically has to go kill and devour a man.

Many years after her transformation, Rafaella takes Wolfgang’s lover and fucks and eats him. Of all the men she’s ever devoured, he may be the one that she actually regrets.

So, Wolfgang is a marine scientist who thinks he’s figured out the secret behind Rafaella. He comes and sits on the beach each night talking to her. Then he manages to catch her. Then, being a Cari Silverwood book, he decides to do horrible, terrible, sexy, dirty, wonderful things to her.

I don’t know whether I love to hate Wolfie or hate to love him. I do know that I’m fascinated by him. There’s just something about him that’s both hard and vulnerable. That’s a really tough line to have to walk, I think. I mean, he knows what he wants, he wants his revenge on Rafaella, and he’s very angry, rightfully so, but when he gets her, he’s pulled in and there are times that he gets really wrapped up in what he’s doing, and it seems like he loses his way and desire for revenge sometimes. He thinks of himself as a monster, and with some of the things that he does to Rafaella, yeah, I can see how he could think that.

With Rafaella, it’s different. I both like her and maybe kinda hate her. I understand why she is the way that she is. Frankly, I would probably be the same if I went through what she did. Especially since she really spent a lot of time completely alone in the sea. It’s easy to lose yourself, and she did. The reason that I kinda hate her is that she has completely lost herself too. I know, that doesn’t make any sense to anyone, but it makes sense to me. I think that she has some really hidden depths and there are things about her that she doesn’t know, and she doesn’t figure them out on her own.

I feel like this book really just scratched the surface of these characters, and I love that. It gives me a lot of room to decide how I feel about everything, and gave me room to imagine what comes next. While I wouldn’t mind another book with these characters, I am perfectly happy without one. Of course, that doesn’t mean that I wouldn’t line up to read one if Cari wrote it.

OK, no spoilers on this one, because, well, you really don’t want any. Go check it out! Happy reading!

Claire Marta-The Dove and The Darkness

This is the 2nd Claire Marta book of this week, as promised. The Dove and the Darkness is the 5th book in her Ceasefire series, and it covers Cassandra’s story. You have to read these in order, you can’t just jump into a book in the middle of the series and get it. There’s a whole lot going on, and you need the background to understand why Cassandra did the things that she did and why she has ended up where she is.

For those who aren’t familiar with Ceasefire, it’s a lot to try to explain. It’s a PNR. It primarily deals with Hell and various Hell and underworld dimensions. Lucifer is a main character in the first books, and is a supporting character in all the other books, including this one. So, Cassandra is an Oracle, who was raised in Hell from the time she was 6, as Lucifer’s foster daughter and her 1/2 sister is Mavi, who is Lucifer’s consort. It’s complicated.

Cassandra made some choices based on some information she got from her visions, and, well, it didn’t necessarily go well for her. When she wakes up somewhere she isn’t familiar with, she starts to worry. That’s when she finds out that she’s been taken from where she was and is now in a prison, waiting to be trained so that she can be given to the person who has bought her. And her training isn’t going to be how to sit and embroider a pretty picture. Nope, she’s going to learn to do all the sexual things out there, and if she doesn’t do it right, bad things are going to happen.

That’s where Master Soren comes into play. He’s there to train Cassandra. He’s all very Dom-ly. He is nominally under the Warden, but you get the idea that there is a lot more going on there than we are seeing. The Warden, who is a nasty ass bitch, really likes him, because he will totally Top her when she wants him to. Soren is basically in charge of the training, which is what brings Cassandra to his attention. He’s been doing this for a very long time, so he knows what he’s doing. That includes isolating her in a room by herself and giving her no other contact for days, other than sliding food in under a grate. When he comes to get her again, she’s so grateful to see him, because she gets to see someone. When Cassandra is good, she gets orgasms. When she’s bad, she gets punished. Soren really enjoys it. Cassandra definitely enjoys it, at least parts of it. There are other things that she likes about the time she spends with him.

I like Cassandra. I think that she is a lot stronger than anyone really gives her credit for. I mean, she does have all these visions, and if she’s not careful, they do overwhelm her. I mean, they do get overwhelming enough that she has hurt herself to help control everything, but she’s still dealt with these things all her life. Being raised by a demon and Lucifer, she has been really protected from a lot, but that doesn’t mean that she hasn’t had terrible things happen to her anyway. And she survived that. In this case, even as Soren is breaking her down and she is getting in deeper with him, she is still trying to be herself, and she is still fighting. I have a lot of respect for that, and I think that it’s going to do her a lot of good in the future.

Interestingly enough, I feel like I don’t have as good a grasp on Soren as I could. I think I like what we’ve seen of him, but there’s just a lot hidden when it comes to him. Even being in his head at times doesn’t necessarily give us a lot to him. But, like I said, I think that I like what we know about him. I can’t wait for the next book, to see more about him.

Before you read this, remember that this stuff may be spoilers.

It took me an embarrassingly long time to realize who Soren is, where they are, and who his brother is. I wanted to dope slap myself when I got there, because duh.

OK, that’s all for this one. Go check it out! Happy reading!

 

Felicity Brandon-Curse Me

Today we have the 3rd book in Felicity’s Demonolgy series, Curse Me. This is the story of Lucien and Penny.

Penny is a successful author who has made beaucoup bucks writing romances. But it’s been a minute since she finished anything. Her ex left her, and since then, her life has kind of just fallen apart. She can’t really write, and she’s basically living in front of her computer and in her bedroom. Just trying to get anything written is really hard on her, and she keeps sinking deeper and deeper into despair and depression. Then comes the day when a patch of darkness talks to her.

That patch of darkness is, of course, Lucien, a pride demon. He’s been watching Penny for a while now, and he’s decided to take her. And take her he does. He takes her to a dark basement, strips her, chains her up, and tells her that she’s going to write for him. No matter what she might want, she’s going to write, and he’s going to help her. Of course, his help may come at the end of a lash and he may tell her that she has to call him Master, but he’ll help.

It took me longer to warm up to Lucien than it did for Raif and Solomon. I’m not entirely sure why, but I think that Lucien was more distant and colder than the other demons were. I mean, he’s demonic, so of course, he’s got a whole demon thing going on, but he’s just different than the other guys. The other demons seemed to warm up to their mortals faster than Lucien too.

Penny is also a lot more stubborn than the other ladies were. She wanted what was going on, but she didn’t want to want it. She thought that it was dirty and wrong, so she really worked hard at fighting off Lucien. I kind of respect her for that.

I’m really looking forward to the book with Satan in it, because I think that it’s going to be really good, and I’m really hoping it’s next.

I wonder if Lucien is going to bind himself to Penny, because we didn’t seen any sign of it in this book, so, I dunno.

OK, that’s all for this one. Go check it out! Happy reading!

Felicity Brandon-Daddy’s Game

Daddy’s Game is the last book in Jared and Sophie’s story. And I have to say, I totally adore what Felicity has done with their story and their ending. It really satisfied me in all the good ways. As this is the 3rd book in the trio, there is likely to be some spoilers. I will always try not to spoil anything, but you know it is, especially with how Felicity writes her books, where the action picks up in the new book exactly where the action ended in the last book.

So, we have Sophie trying to escape from Jared. She wants to get to her children, Billy and Lucy. When Jared stole her away, he took her from them, and she couldn’t get him to understand that she had to be with her kids. But, her escape attempt didn’t work. Jared caught her, and brought her back. And, as you might guess, Jared wasn’t best pleased that she had tried to get away from him. After all, everything he’s done has been for her, and he loves her.

So, Jared brings her home, and punishes her, because she didn’t listen. She tried to leave her Daddy’s safety, and she didn’t obey. All those things are bad things, and all those things make Jared unhappy. And making Jared unhappy is a very bad thing. Sophie finds that out because he uses some ginger on her and spanks her.

OK, here’s my thoughts on Jared. No, I still don’t like him. I think that he’s completely fucked up and his cheese done slipped cracker, left the kitchen, and is outside on the porch. I don’t think that he actually knows anything about love. I think he knows about obsession. I think he knows about possession. But love? No. He could probably find the word in the dictionary and read it, but I’m pretty sure that he wouldn’t understand it. He does understand fucking with people’s minds. He understands that part real well. He messes with Sophie’s mind so much. I think that’s his true goal. Yeah, he wants to own her entire body, but it’s more that he wants to own everything about her, especially her mind. And he’s willing to twist everything around her so that he can get into her head. I mean, he wants to get her submission, and I think that the only way he might totally get her submission is to twist her brain around so hard.

Sophie is incredibly strong, stubborn, and singleminded. She wants her kids, which means that she needs to get away from Jared. Her body may like some of what Jared is doing, but her mind doesn’t. She doesn’t want this. She tells him, but he doesn’t listen to her, not at all. So, after one unsuccessful escape attempt, she knows that she’s going to have to take her time and figure out what she needs to do. And not only is she going to have to figure out what to do, she’s also going to need to try not to actually lose herself while she’s doing it. I think that’s the hardest thing that Sophi has to do. It’s not to escape, which isn’t going to be easy. It’s going to be having to fight off Jared’s games while still looking like she’s playing his game and giving him what he wants.

I really loved this series. I loved being able to hate Jared. I kinda disliked Sophie at times, but I have to really admire her strength and determination. There’s a lot of grit in there, and I think that even with the short amount of time she was with Jared, that he knocked some of the stuff that hid that grit and made her stronger. I really like her in this one.

ginger-1714196_1920

I can’t even say how much I love the ending of this. I think that Jared learned some things that he needed to learn.

OK, that’s all I have to say about this one. Go check it out! Happy reading!

 

Felicity Brandon-Countered

Countered is the second book in Felicity’s Rule of Lawes series. For those who may have forgotten which series that is, it’s the perverted dentists. I do just want to point out that I may or may not (definitely may) have the ARC for the last book in Felicity’s dark Daddy books. I can’t wait to find out what happens with Jared. But for now, let’s get back to Hannah, April, Mr. Fuller, and Mr. Lawes. Warning, there are likely to be spoilers for the first book. You know that I’ll try to not put any, but I make no guarantees.

So, we have Hannah, who tried her damnedest to escape, and we have April, who inadvertently gave Hannah her chance. Only, they are both recaptured and they are punished for their actions. Hannah’s is relatively mild, but only relatively. After all, she’s brand new, so she was only locked in a pillory and introduced to a paddle. But April, who is one of the first women they took, is stubborn AF. She’s been trying to escape since they took her and she’s been fighting them at every damn turn. She refuses to let them win, and she’s going to do everything she can to fight. Which, as you can guess, doesn’t really endear her to Lawes and Fuller.

I like April. I really like her stubbornness and the fierceness with which she fights to try and get her freedom. Not only her freedom, but also the freedom of the 10 other women who are trapped there with her. Until Hannah showed up, April was the only person fighting, but now the two of them are going to plot and plan together. The two of them are going to be great partners, I think.

There’s just something about Fuller and Lawes. Don’t get me wrong, they are definitely monsters, so I’m not saying that they aren’t, but there’s just something about them. I dunno, it feels like there is some humanity deep down there somewhere. It feels like maybe they could have some actual emotions. I don’t know. Were going to have to see what happens, I guess.

I think that this one was more intense than the first book was. We see more of the inner workings of the place, and we get to know the women more, so we’re more invested. We don’t get any looks into Lawes or Fuller’s heads. We only see through April and Hannah, and I like that. I think that seeing through either Lawes or Fuller’s eyes things may have been watered down some. I think that it would’ve taken away some of the aspect of the whole what’s going to happen next mindfuck that happens in this book. I like that aspect in this book.

I can’t wait until we get the next one.

dentist-372792_1920

April’s punishment is just… wow.

OK, that’s all I have to say today. Go check it out! Happy reading!

 

Kitty Thomas-The Con Artist

So, we have another Kitty Thomas book on the blog today with The Con Artist.

Here’s our story. We have Saskia. She’s a very talented artist. She used to create her own original art, but after a fire, she just hasn’t had the energy to start back up. It wasn’t like she was selling anything anyway, so now she’s a starving artist. She paints forgeries, or more accurately, she paints reproductions for people who want to have their copies of the great art. The difference between a reproduction and a forgery is basically whose signature she signs on the picture. If she signs hers, it’s a reproduction. If she signs the original artist’s, it’s a forgery. There’s more to it than that, but that’s a good basic difference.

Saskia has run into Lachlan Niche. He is a tech whiz, and is worth piles and stacks of money. He wants a particular painting by Joseph Quill. Quill had died years ago, and he specialized in nudes. This particular painting is one of his early nudes. Lachlan has tried to buy the picture more than once, but the owner isn’t selling. So he hired Saskia to make a forgery and to steal the original for him. She’s supposed to switch the paintings around, easy peasy, lemon squeezie. Except, yeah, it never is.

For one thing, Saskia isn’t any kind of art thief, no matter what she told Lachlan. And for the second thing, she’s not planning on giving him the original. She’s running the long con. Her goal is to get her own pile of money from Niche, who is sleezy and who she feels perfectly justified in stealing from, then go to a tropical island and spend the rest of her life happy and creative, painting her own art and not caring if anyone buys it.

And again, it’s not as simple as it sounds, because if it was, the book wouldn’t be all that exciting or all that dark, would it?

This is a very Kitty book. I don’t think it’s the darkest one I’ve read of hers, but it is dark. It’s like a sensual dark though, thick, and rich, and velvety, and layered, and nuanced. Does that make sense? It does to me, and that’s about the best I can explain it. Part of what makes it a very Kitty book is her “hero”, not that I would call our MMC a hero, really. She writes these men that you want to hate and hate to want and yet can’t pull yourself away from. You know how, in nature, the venomous and poisonous bugs and critters are all brightly colored and basically scream leave me alone? Well, imagine that some of her heroes are neon pink with acid green stripes. Everything is saying to stay away from them because they are dangerous, deviant, and dark. You know that they are the bad guys, but you just need to be with them, no matter what. There isn’t necessarily a whole lot of redemption arc for the guys to go through, and in some books, they get worse as the books go along, but you still can’t manage to stay away from them.

That’s not to say that her women aren’t strong or they are pushovers, because they aren’t. They are flawed, deeply flawed, often broken, and are basically just like every person out there. You can really see yourself in her women, even if you aren’t an artist or whatever, because they are so real.

Saskia got cocky, and thought that she could get away with everything she wanted, and she ended up in trouble because she found someone who had this whole dominant huge personality thing going on. He’s also more broken than she is. But even in that damage that both of them have, he does what he does for a purpose. Might not be the way that you or I would do them, but, he has his reasons.

There are some really hot scenes in books that always stick with me, and the performance art installation is one that is in my personal top 10 list, because dayum.

greenhouse-1246536_1920

The first time I read this, I wondered what went through the MMC’s head sometimes. And frankly, I still do. There’s a lot that runs through there. Fascinating though.

OK, that’s all I have to say about this one. Go check out all of Kitty’s work, you won’t be sorry you did. Happy reading!

Cari Silverwood & Jennifer Bene-Mesmer

Cari and Jennifer are two of my favorite writers ever, and they have teamed up to write a very dark, downright dirty, and devilishly disturbing book called Mesmer. This book takes place in Cari’s mesmer-verse, but it can totally be read as a standalone, if you aren’t familiar with the universe.

So, here’s the story. Mesmers are men who have an extra power. They can collect women. In other words, with certain women, they can completely take control of the woman. They can make her feel lust and pleasure, or they can, you know, not. But, if that was all the mesmers wanted, it wouldn’t be so bad. What they really like to do is depraved shit, and shit that will hurt women. They like pain. They like to cause it. It’s like it feeds them.

Tomik is a mesmer. He has a life he likes. He collects women, he does terrible things to them, he disposes of them. He has a brotherhood that he hangs out with, and they all do all kinds of fucked up things.

Then, there’s Hannah. Hannah and Tomik were friends and very close as teenagers. But then, Tomik just left, and Hannah doesn’t know why. But she does know that she missed him, and when she had trouble, she did the only thing she could think of. She called Tomik for help. The problem is, she doesn’t know what Tomik is.

Tomik is really layered. I can’t tell you if I like him, hate him, hate to like him, like to hate him, want him to die by fire, or want to fuck him. Or, you know, all of the above. He starts out really kind of flat, but with Cari and Jennifer, you can bet he doesn’t stay that way. It really is fascinating to watch him and watch the changes in him and how he reacts to the world and to Hannah.

Hannah is harder for me to get a grip on. I think, though, that’s because of Tomik. I think I see bits of her popping through, but I’m never sure. It’s really interesting to watch and to find out. I know that I will be thinking about her for a while and trying to figure out who is the real Hannah and who isn’t.

I think that Cari and Jennifer egged each other on, and I’m not going to complain if they did, because that means that we ended up as the winners, because I’m telling you, this book is just totally awesome. It’s one of those that I’m mad that I’ve already read it because I’ll never be able to read it for the first time again, and I really want to.

And I don’t know who came up with the rocking horse, I just know that I will never look at them the same again.

rocking-horse-2906530_1920

Greta is really interesting. I really want to know more about her. Hopefully we can find out more about her at some point.

OK, that’s all for this one. Go check it out! Happy reading!