Jennifer Bene-Burned

In the immortal words of Samuel L. Jackson, hold onto your butts. Jennifer is back and she has brought us Burned. And damn. Just… damn.

So, a couple of years ago, Yolanda Olson who is a mistress of dark, horror, and the epic mindfuck, wrote a novella called Inferno. She added onto her world with Sparks and Cinere. The first is a prequel, the latter a sequel. But, Yolanda wasn’t happy with just those books in her very disturbing world. She decided to add on to it. She invited several authors to join her oh so very happy little world. And Jennifer was just one of those authors, and so we have Burned.

This is the story of Bryden, his wife Marian, and his children, Wesley and Ella. Bryden loves his family. He loves them a lot. A whole lot. All he wants is for his family to know how much he loves them all, and that he loves them all equally. He does what he can to make sure that they know that he loves them all equally. And if he has to do difficult things to and for his family, he’ll do that, because that’s what a good daddy does.

That’s all the synopsis you are going to get from me. This story isn’t happy. It isn’t light. And you really will get burned by it. This book is one of those books that you start reading and you don’t wonder what goes on in the author’s head that she creates something like this. You wonder what’s wrong with you for reading this. And not just for reading it, but for liking it. Burned is disturbing and uncomfortable in places. Did that stop me from reading it? Hello, have you met me? I read it faster at that point.

We get the story from Bryden, Wesley, and Ella’s POVs. All we know of Marian is what we see of her from those three, and since it happens that way, it really seems to marginalize her in the story. I thought it was a really interesting way to write the story. It’s also a very intimate and up close story because there is such a limited cast of characters. You are up close and personal with all of the happenings in the story, which makes everything hard to hide from.

In case you can’t tell, I really liked this book. It is not a romance though. I think that I might put it into horror, but more like psychological horror, but that might not be the right classification for it either. I think it just needs a fucked up, twisted, mindfuck category. It would fit really well right there.

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Aria Adams-Burned

Oh my darling children, this is not a light and happy story. This is an amazing, fiery, twisted story that I loved, but not a whole light of light and happy going on in Aria Adam’s Burned.

So, many years ago, Hans Christian Anderson, a Danish author, wrote fairy tales. His fairy tales don’t really have any happy endings. Yes, he wrote The Little Mermaid, but in his story, Ariel and Eric don’t have their happily ever after. He leaves her and she turns into sea foam. Anderson also wrote a story called The Little Match Girl. Yeah, this one didn’t have a happy ending either. The way his story goes is that an innocent young girl who is out selling matches on New Year’s Eve freezes to death. As she’s slowly freezing to death, she lights all her matches, because she sees happy visions in them. In the last one, she saw her beloved grandmother, who was the only person who treated her nicely, and grandma came to take her to heaven. Only after she’s dead, do people care about this poor little match girl. Depending on how you want to look at it, there could be a happy ending, but I don’t really see it this way. Personally, I like Terry Pratchett’s version in Hogfather better. Well, now I can add in Aria’s book in there too.

So, in the winter of Victorian-era East End London, Eve has been chased out of the house by her father so that she can go out and sell matches to support them. She used to work at the match factory, but she started getting sick, so she left because she didn’t want to die. But her deadbeat dad still needs his booze, so out she goes to sell the matches she used to make. If she doesn’t go out, he will beat her. If she doesn’t bring home money, he will beat her. It doesn’t matter if it’s snowing and freezing and she doesn’t have the right clothes or shoes, she has to go out. On this particular day, Eve has no luck. She doesn’t want to have to go home, so she goes and finds an alcove to hide and to stay the night. She’s reasonably sure that she won’t be able to survive the night.

In order to try to be warm, she lights a piece of paper that came near her on fire. She gets a little bit of fire for just a little bit and it kind of warms her up. But she knows that her dad is going to get after her for missing a match without any money. She decides to light another one, just to watch it, because why not. She’s already going to get the beating, she might as well really deserve it. Then, something happens.

A well-dressed, obviously well-to-do man comes up to her and asks her what she will do to stay warm. She tells him that she would do anything. Would she do anything that he asked her? Oh yes sir, she would do anything and everything that he asked her. Would she obey him? Yes sir, she would obey him. So he helps her up, escorts her to his carriage, and takes her home. He gives her her very own room and a servant, a full wardrobe, and a bathroom. Pretty good for a street urchin, right? All he asks is that she does everything that he wants her to do, when he wants her to do it. If he comes to her room, she’s to stop doing whatever she’s doing and see what he wants. In return, she’ll be warm, fed, and clothed. Yeah, this doesn’t sound sinister or anything, does it?

So, the sickness that Eve saw the signs of had a couple of different names. It went by phossy jaw or the blackening. Its real name is phosphorus necrosis of the jaw. The fumes from the phosphorus would break down the bones in the jaw of the people who worked in the match factories and it killed them. She had a good reason to be afraid of it.

This book had a lot of things that I loved. There were also a couple of places where I was like aw hell no. I would cut a bitch before I agreed to a couple of those things. But Eve liked them, even as they scared her, so it’s all good for her. I love Ignis’ name. I just think that is such a great name for a book about fire and fire play. And there is a lot of fire in this. Eve likes fire. Ignis likes fire. There’s a lot of fire. I like fires, but I guarantee that I don’t like fire the same way or near the same amount as these two. When I say they like fire, I mean that they LIKE fire. There is a kink called fire play and anyone who likes that kink would like this book, I think. It is very intense in a few places. It is pretty dark. I loved every single word of it.

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Eve’s first punishment with the wax? Yeah, that was pretty exciting. I really liked it. The deal with the straight razor? Yeah, I didn’t like that one near as much. That was kind of scary. Or maybe a lot of scary.

I love the wedding, or rather the wedding after the wedding. That was pretty hot and sexy.

OK, that’s all I have to say about this one. Go check it out and give Aria Adams some love. Happy reading!

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