Lesley Clark & Jennifer Bene-Black Light: Unbound

The 18th book in the Black Light series brings us a couple of new things. One is that we get Lesley Clark. The other thing that Unbound gives us is a full-length MM story. We’ve seen some MM action with Jaxon and Chase, but they also have Emma, so we get bi action instead of straight up gay action, and yes, I totally realize how funny it is to say straight when describing gay sex. Don’t get me wrong, I’m happy with MFM, MMF, MM, FF, and any other number or configuration, I’m just pointing out the difference between Jaxon, Chase, and Emma and Jamie and Dom’s story.

Jamie has just come back from tour with his best friend, Jazz. When they get home, her man and Dominant is waiting for her, which leaves Jamie kinda sad. He wants what Jazz has. So, the next day, Jamie decides that he’s going to go out to a BDSM club and get his play on. First, though, he’s going to go to the gym in their building, when he meets one very, very hot Italian stallion. That night, Jamie goes out, and meets up with a terrible fate. A couple of men grab him and beat him down because he’s gay.

Fast forward 8 months, and Jamie is dealing with a huge fucking dose of PTSD and depression. He can only manage to make it to the gym in his building, where he will leave, unless the Italian stallion is there.

Over the past few months, Dom has been trying to make an effort to connect with the pretty boy who lives in his building. Then, when a friend asks for help, he gets a connection to his pretty boy handed right to him.

Poor Jamie. While we don’t get to know him all that well before his attack, you can tell that he was a sweet, loving, friendly, and fun person. Then he was put through hell. I mean, it’s no wonder that he’s dealing with all kinds of mental health issues. And of course, he’s going to push everyone away. It’s just kinda what happens. It’s not like he’s trying to hurt anyone or that he wants to hurt anyone, it’s just that he hurts so much that he just can’t really do anything else. He tries to be fine, but it just hurts those who love him. I think part of the reason that Jazz hurts so much about Jamie’s situation is that she does loves him so much, and she just wants him to be better and she wants to make the situation better. Which, I can understand that feeling too. I really had a lot of sympathy and empathy for Jamie. I was cheering for him the whole time.

Dominic the Dominant is a good guy. He takes care of Jamie quite well. I think that his version of tough love is the only thing that could’ve gotten through to Jamie. But no matter how tough he was on Jamie, Dom was very careful with him too. He made sure that he spent the time to think about what to do, and to think about what might help Jamie the most. Sure, Dom was getting his rocks off, I mean, who wouldn’t in that situation, but that wasn’t his main goal. His main goal was to help Jamie, and to build him up and make him stronger. He doesn’t stand in front of Jamie and shield him, unless absolutely necessary, but he does stand beside Jamie and give him support.

All in all, this was a fantastic book, and Jamie and Dom are one of my new top fave Black Light couples.

I love the scene in Black Light. It wasss seriously hot as fuck.

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

Jennifer Bene-Redemption

Redemption is the last book in the Fragile Ties series with David and Lianna. Jennifer really put them through it and gave us a book that really fit in with the rest of the series. It has an HEA, I think? But it isn’t an easy one. It hurts. It’s incredibly hard-fought for everyone involved. When you read it, make sure that you read the bonus chapter at the end.

Warning before I get into things, there are likely to be spoilers for the first two books, so if you haven’t read them yet, go read them and come back. If you read past this point and are spoiled, well, you only have yourself to blame.

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So, we left off with Lianna learning about her family and that her father kept so much from her. Her uncle, Jean-Luc, (not Picard) has invited her to come to France, which there is a lot of conflict about. She wants to know more about her family, and meet them. After all, she’s been completely isolated from everyone by her asshole father. But David, he hates the Faure family, and he really doesn’t want to go. But he also knows that if he doesn’t go with her, that there is a chance that Jean-Luc (still not Picard) will manage to somehow seduce her into staying in France, and David will lose her altogether.

Off they go to France, with David tense AF. And when they land, the entire family is there to overwhelm them. Then they get to the house in Provence, and it doesn’t get any better. Of course, David is worried and tense, while Lianna is actually reveling in having a family, and not just having a family, but having one that seems to like her. There are bumps and potholes along the way because of course there are, but there are also good times, even for David.

I understand why David feels the way he does. It’s a whole combination of things, including the fact that his father pretty much brainwashed him into hating the Faures. Look, I’m not saying that they were the good guys, but they definitely weren’t the worst guys, and David was not willing to give them the benefit of the doubt, no matter what. Then there’s the fact that Lianna is really the love of his life, and nearly the only good thing that has ever happened, and you are going to get tense and antsy when you run into something that might risk that good thing. He’s also very protective of her. There’s only one person allowed to hurt her, and that’s him. (Consensually, of course, and no more than she can handle.) There’s also the fact that the Faure family has more money than Scrooge McDuck, and David just doesn’t. That’s hard to deal with. So, there’s all those things that go into his feelings, and all those things push him hard and make him act like more of an asshole than he really is.

Then we have Lianna. She’s conflicted too, but less so than David, I think. She is happy to have found a family. She loves David, and doesn’t want to lose him, and she knows how much he hates being there, and she appreciates his sacrifice to be there. Of course, that doesn’t mean that she’s happy when he acts like an asshole, which, being David, he does. They do fuss at each other over stuff going on there, and it isn’t easy on either of them. I do love it when Lianna stands up for herself against whoever she needs to. She does what she feels is right and protects those she feels need her protection.

I like the Faures. Jean-Luc (again, not Picard) and his wife are just so much in love. I loved how he digs the holes in the garden for her because he has a black thumb. There are questions behind him and what he is or isn’t doing. And he makes some choices in this that I knew were mistakes as soon as he made them, but that’s what people do.

When it comes to the title of the book, there are a lot of people who get redemption in this story, so it’s hard to tell precisely who is getting their redemption in this, or if it is even just one person. I like how it’s up to the reader to decide who is being redeemed.

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Really, don’t miss the bonus chapter at the end. You will kick yourself if you do. It really just destroyed me.

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

Cassandra Faye-Hunted

I have a very embarrassing confession to make. My husband is a huge Robin Hood fan. And by huge, I mean he has like 6 different Robin Hood movies, including the Disney animated one, and a couple of series. I don’t know how many different Robin Hood books he has. That’s not the embarrassing part. The embarrassing part is that it took me forfuckingever to realize that Hunted was a Robin Hood story. In my rather pathetic defense, the prologue made me think Pandora, sooo… I mean, the name Loxley did tickle at my brain a bit, but it still took me way too long.

Harper and Jared have been in a relationship for a long time, and now it’s time for Jared to do something really important. So he’s decided that he’ll bring Harper up to the Loxley family cabin. Only male Loxley family members generally come up to the cabin, so it’s something really special and sacred to Jared. He has a whole huge plan of how it’s going to go. He’ going to hunt a deer on the family land, take a hike up to a special area with a fantastic view, ask her to marry him, and then cook her a romantic venison dinner. He’s been planning this for a while, so he’s really excited. He also acted a tiny bit squirrely ahead of time, so Harper is a little bit nervous but also really looking forward to the trip.

At first, everything is great. Harper and Jared have no problem properly christening the cabin, and enjoying themselves, all happy and in love. But then, things change. Because this is a Cassandra Faye/Jennifer Bene story, of course, things change, and not necessarily for the good.

Jared is honestly a sweet man who really cares a whole lot about Harper. It’s so obvious that he really loves her. He has put so much thought into making this whole trip so special. He’s a good man too, I think. I mean, his family’s whole view on hunting is one I can agree with, you eat what kill, you don’t hunt for trophies. OK, that doesn’t necessarily mean that he’s a good man, but it is one thing that proves my point, I think.

I think that Harper is the stronger one in this couple. I’m not saying that Jared is weak in any way, because he’s not. I just think that Harper has more emotional strength than Jared does. I think that it makes them a great complement to each other. I also think that without her emotional strength things would’ve turned out quite badly for everyone involved.

I really, really want to know what all the rules of being a Loxley are, and I think it was a good idea of Harper’s. I would really love to see more in this world.

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I think that Jared should’ve listened to Harper much sooner.

OK, that’s all I have to say on this one, go check it out! Happy reading!

Jennifer Bene & Yolanda Olson-Scorched

Yolanda gave us the original Inferno books, and really, they are excellently disturbing books. She opened up the world to a whole lot of authors, which is what has given us the second round of Inferno World books. And she has teamed up with Jennifer to give us Scorched. Now, you have to be familiar with the Inferno books to understand everything that is going on in this one. At the very, very least you should read Burned before this one, but I personally recommend going back to the beginning and reading the original Inferno series, which is Sparks, Inferno, Cinere, and Embers. Do be aware that these are all dark, twisted, taboo, and all fucked up, so if you don’t like those things, these are not the books for you. However, I do like all those things, so here we go.

Scorched focuses on two groups of people. We have Richter and Skylar, and then we have Bryden and his bounteous brood.

Richter is fixated on making sure that Skylar is a good wife to him and to finding his sister Cleo. Their father took her away many years ago, and he wants to find her. He wants to bring her back home so he can love her the way that he should. It’s just been him and Skylar since the old man died, like 10 years ago. And it’s not like they are very old, early 20s, so they have been dealing with life on their own for a long time and from a young age. Richter finally finds out where his sister is and goes to bring her home, but he finds a huge surprise instead.

What he finds is Bryden, his much older brother. Their father dropped Cleo off at his house years ago and told him to raise her, which he did. Cleo has settled into the family, including calling Bryden Daddy and loving everyone equally. When Richter shows up, she’s upset because she doesn’t recognize him and he’s very aggressive and wants to take her away. Bryden’s house is relatively calm, he doesn’t allow hitting, yelling, disrespect, or any of that kind of stuff, so Richter’s aggressiveness is offputting, at the very least.

Bryden runs his house and his family based on what his father laid out, but he does it with love. His house seems much more friendly than his father ever had a hand in, and everyone truly does seem to love each other.

I want to say that this is one of the biggest mindfucks I’ve ever read, but I think that goes without saying. And considering some of Yolanda’s books have been mindfucks from the very, very, very first word, that’s gotta be saying something.

I both like and vehemently dislike Richter. Don’t ask me how it works, because, well, it does. I think he’s trying very hard to live up to the standards that his dad set up, but it just isn’t there. I think that the dad in his head is both better and worse than the real man had been. So I felt sorry for him for that. But he had choices he could make.

Bryden was really interesting, and I think that I liked him, mostly. He seems like such a kind and loving man.

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Family Meeting!

And that last chapter totally broke me.

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

 

Anthology-The Institute

Welcome to the Serenity Institute. Dr. Ansel Sterling started The Institute after seeing his mother suffer with her own mental illness. Now, he has created a safe place for other people to come and get treated. So, we have 6 stories written by 6 fantastic authors, 2 of whom are new to me. Without any further ado, let’s get into the stories, shall we?

Dani Rene-Echo

Dani gets the book started for us. She introduces us to Dr. Sterling and his special patient, Katya. Katya suffered a traumatic event and she broke into pieces, including one named Rose. Now Dr. Sterling is trying to treat her. So, the whole time I read this, I wondered if Katya or Rose was the real one, and what Ansel was going to do with them. Excellent. I mean, damn. This was definitely a great Dani story.

Anna Edwards-Marbh

Anna gives us Marbh, whose name means Death, and is a 500 year old assassin. She is currently locked up at Serenity because people are sure that she’s delusional. She just wants to get back to her Laird. The ending of this was spectacular. It is one of those that left me wanting and made me happy all at the same time. I often say that I would like to see more of a particular couple, but I think that this was perfectly perfect.

India R. Adams-Hostile Illusions

Vera has amnesia. She is covered with scars, but only on her left hand side. This story. OH. MY. FUCKING. GOD. That is all.

Jennifer Bene-Mr. Cat Is Not Real

Nina is at the institute because she has hallucinations, and dangerous things have happened around her. But she’s not the one who does them, it’s always Mr. Cat. I thought that the treatments that Dr. Nickelsen gave Nina were… interesting. I do kinda think that Mr. Cat is real, though.

Murphy Wallace-Release Me

Brynn has a thing when it comes to sex. She’s what they call hypersexual. That means she likes it. A LOT. But she also blacks out sometimes, which causes her to end up at the institute, with Dr. Dick. I like Brynn, and I kind of agree with her about a doctor.

Sian B. Claven-Sanitorium

Molly’s identical twin sister, Lizzie, is a nurse at the institute, so they have permission for Molly to be treated there, since Lizzie has been taking care of Molly because of her illnesses over the years. Molly is so very sweet, and I just want her to be all kinds of happy. Sian was another new author to me, so I’ll be looking for more. The whole time I was reading this story, Metallica’s Sanitarium kept running through my head.

So, there are our 6 stories. They are all disturbing to some extent, some more than others. Some of them left me nearly destroyed. They were all fantastic though.

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Jennifer Bene-Black Light: Charmed

Today we get a twofer. We get a new Jennifer Bene and a new Black Light, all at once! Yay! We all know that I’m always down for both of those things, so combining them makes me a happy reader! So, let’s talk about Charmed.

This is the story of Logan and Cassandra. She’s a model, he’s the president of a big family company. They met at a Roulette event at Black Light West, and had a beautiful time. Then, they never saw each other again. They tried, but Cassandra is a model in high demand, and she’s working really hard to build her brand, so she takes every job she can. She’s rarely, if ever, in LA right now. She and Logan tried to get together, but they couldn’t make it work, so finally, they just fell out of contact with each other. However, Logan couldn’t get her out of his mind, so when he found out that she was doing a show at Runway West, he arranged to be there. He wanted to meet with her, and try to get her to date him.

Cassandra has thought about him, and then there he was. He asked her on a date and she turned him down. She’s pretty sure that they can’t have any kind of relationship because of her schedule and the fact that he’s tied to LA. If she’s going to be as successful as she wants, she can’t stay tied to LA, and she will have to travel all over the place. That doesn’t work well for a relationship. But, it’s December, and she’s going to be in LA for a few weeks, so maybe they can get at least get together for playdates or coffee, or you know, hot monkey sex.

I loved Cassandra. She just has this awesome free spirit, and is open to the universe and welcoming to what will come. She makes friends easily, and wants to have fun with her life, not just work hard. I mean, she will work hard too, she wants to, and she likes what she does, and she is serious about her craft and her brand. I think that she would definitely be a great person to know and to spend a lot of time with. I think that everyone who does spend time with her thinks that.

I had some problems with Logan. I liked him, but he had some daddy subscriptions issues. He really had some voices in his head that wouldn’t let him go. He doesn’t necessarily treat most people well. One of my favorite scenes with Cassandra is when she goes after Logan for the way that he is treating someone. She goes after him and makes him apologize. I was impressed by that, so much.

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I think that Logan would really benefit from the help of a good therapist.

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

 

Anthology-Black Light: Roulette War

We just had Valentine’s Day, which means it’s time for the annual Roulette book from Black Light. Black Light: Roulette War is the 4th Roulette book, and the start of a new Black Light season. The first two books took place at the only Black Light at the time, the original in DC. Last year’s book took place in Black Light West, and featured celebrities. This one takes place in both clubs.

Now, I was lucky enough to get to read an ARC, and I was so thrilled to read it. I mean, the Roulette books are always great and always kink AF. But do you know what those mean authors did? They didn’t tell us ARC readers who won! How mean is that? LOL. I mean, really, when it comes down to it, we’re the real winners, so I guess I can’t complain too much.

So, here’s how the story goes. Spencer, the DM for BL East, is at BL West with his wife, Klara. While they are there, Spencer decides to start some shit with Elijah, the DM at BL West. Now, we all know that shit-talking happens, especially among friends and co-workers, which Spencer and Elijah are. But sometimes it gets way out of control, which happened here. Spencer, who can get a little over sometimes, got a little over, and it escalated to the point where the guys are arguing over who is going to have the best ever Roulette. They finally get to a point where they place a bet on it, with Chase and Jaxon acting as judges. (Which pisses them off for reasons.)

We get the stories of 4 couples from each of the clubs. You can judge which one is the hottest for yourself, and which one you think should be the winner. Then you can find out which one the authors thought should win, andI’ll never tell. Ever.

Black Light East

Renee Rose-Prelude

Renee’s story is all about Ravil and Lucy, Master R and Lady Luck. He’s a member of the bratva, she’s a lawyer. She’s all about control, but she’s the sub today, and Ravil isn’t about to give her any control. The thing that I really liked about Renee’s story is that we get to see how much Ravil’s plan is to get inside Lucy’s head, and how quickly he does that. It’s like there is a trapdoor only he has. And it looks like Prelude is the perfect name for this one, and I’m really happy about that.

Eris Adderly-Breathless

This is Eris’ intro into the BL world, (other than the fact that all the covers are hers) and damn, did she hit the road running. Breath play really isn’t my kink at all, it’s a personal hard limit, but the way that Eris wrote about it? Holeeee fuck. And the latex with the gloves? Woooooowwwwww. Violet and Anson were one of my favorite characters.  That put everything over the top. Eris writes kink in such a good way. And she didn’t step back from Anson’s issues while she was writing him, and I thought that was interesting. (Also, can you find the Lit easter egg?)

Kay Elle Parker-Burn

Kay Elle s another newbie to BL. If you’ve followed the blog for a while, you’ve seen me review some of her stuff, and I’m absolutely in love with her books, so I was glad to see her here. I’m hoping that this means she’ll get to do a full book at some point. This is the story of Finn and Ava. I really adore Ava. She’s been through so much, but she was really strong, and Finn challenged her in just the right way. And the fisting and the trust? Wow.

Golden Angel-Inflamed

Golden wrote a full length BL Daddy book last year, and in that book we met Elliot. He gets to play with Lisa, who is excited to play with him, but he’s not all that excited to play with her. He thinks she’s manipulative. They have an incredibly hot scene. And by hot, I mean seriously hot. He sets her on fire. Fire flogging is a thing. Fantastic. I thought the way that Lisa chose her hard limits was hilarious. One of their scenes is something that lives in my head, so yeah, that was so hot.

Black Light West

And now, just as the event at Black Light East is ending, we’re gearing up for Black Light West to get started.

Jennifer Bene-Wicked

Jennifer is one of the original BL writers and is a total staple in Roulette. Her story gives us Pierce and Baby, whose real name is Tori. Tori is a little and Pierce is totally not a Daddy. He’s pretty fucking hardcore, and he really loves humiliation, so the fact that they rolled that works for him. I’m telling you, Roulette makes for interesting play partners and scenes. That scene is hot, but the face fucking that happens is just amazing. I always look forward to Jennifer’s stories because of the touches like that.

Sue Lyndon-Trained

Sue wrote a fun little story with Daddy Xavier and his Dolly, Rachel. Their first roll was pet play, and she made an adorable kitten. You know, one of the things I really liked about Sue’s story is that it is very sweet and it is truly lovely. Don’t get me wrong, it’s still sexy AF and Rachel and Xavier have a great connection, it’s just also low angst and low drama, just the perfect touch for the book.

Measha Stone-Unexpected

Measha’s story has Jack and Quinn. Quinn is new to LA and is looking for new people to play with, so Roulette. Where she gets Jack, and oh yeah, diaper play. Which is totally not what she wants. Jack is actually perfect for her. I love how he gets into her head so much and how she teaches Quinn so much about herself.

Livia Grant-Facade

Livia finishes out this year’s Roulette with her story about Sean and Stephanie AKA Karly Starr, former porn star. Stephanie has come to Black Light because she wants someone who will fuck her silly, without playing any of those silly BDSM games, but she signed up for Roulette, and Sean is going to make her play. These are two words I never thought that I would say on this blog: spontaneous fisting. And the breath play? Siiiiiigggghhhhh. I think that Facade is a really great title for this one.

OK, there you go. Eight fantastically kinky stories by 8 fantastic authors. When you read the book and get to find out who the winner is, you get some great 3 way sex with Emma, Jax, and Chase. Yay!

I’m already looking forward to next year’s Roulette, a whole year from now. I’d love to see an Mm, Fm, or Ff couple in the upcoming season some time, but I’ll be perfectly happy however the authors end up writing their books, so it’s all good.

Go check it out and make sure you have plenty of really cold water to cool yourself down.

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2019 Round Up-Top 10 Redemption Books Pt. 2

So, we’re back to redemption books again today. I’m hoping that you liked the first part of the list, and that you’ve liked the rest of my lists. I think, after this one, that I might have just 1 or 2 lists left. We have Omegaverse books coming and a best Daddies, I think. Maybe more, if I think of any more lists to write, or if I get any suggestions of round up lists that people want. I live to please you guys. Or at least I am going to let all y’all think that.

***Disclosure: I may get a commission from Amazon on any purchases made from the links on this post.***

Kay Elle Parker-The Shadowcrown Duet

Kay is all over my round up lists this year. And there’s a good reason for that. I love the way that she writes. I’m putting her Shadowcrown duet on this list because I think that they fit really well. I can’t put one or the other of the books on this list, because the redemption arc encompasses both books. The first book in the duet is King of Shadows and the second is Queen of Shadows. These books are the story of Alliana, Kian, and Islador. Alliana’s mother was human but her father was an archangel. She was raised by Kian, the King of Shadows, and his second in charge and best friend, Islador. Kian was raising her to be his Queen. Things happen, demons show up, Lucifer gets involved, horrible, terrible things are done to Alliana, Kian and Isla both die, and Alliana becomes the queen. There are some extenuating circumstances to why Kian did what he did, but he still needs to get redemption for it, and prove himself to both Isla and Alliana. The books are dark, but fantastic.

Anna Edwards-Stolen Choices

Technically, Stolen Choices isn’t out yet. It doesn’t come out until 1/2, and I’ll have a full review on my blog about it tomorrow, but trust me when I say that this is really an excellent redemption story. It’s part of the Glacier Blood series, and it is not a standalone. You have to have read the other books in order to understand what is happening in this one, but it’s an excellent PNR.

Nikita Slater-Luna & Andres

Luna & Andres is one of the books from the Blaire’s World shared world series. These books are spun off of Anita Grey’s Blaire books. Which I’m dying for the next one. Anyway, back to L&A. Andres is a member of a Mexican cartel and Luna is his wife. They are combustive together. In this, Luna takes their kids and runs from him. Of course, she has reasons that I think are good, but still. It turns ugly. Both Luna and Andre have to go through a redemption arc in this one, for very different reasons. The majority of this book is just the two of them, which makes it very intimate and very intense.

R. Cayden-Clark’s Bully

R. Cayden writes MM romances, usually menages. Clark’s Bully is a menage. It’s part of a series of books that take place in Seattle surrounding a particular bar and comic book shop. I happen to be reading the latest one in the series right this very second. Anyway, here’s the redemption in this one. Clark and Rip went to high school together. Clark was rather obviously gay, Rip was confused. Rip’s friends bullied Clark horribly, and he stood along with them. Years later, Rip is back with his best friend/FWB, Mars. Mars meets Clark, and sparks fly, until Clark finds out he is besties with Rip. I really like Rip. He has spent a long time thinking about what he did and making changes in himself.

Jennifer Bene-Inheritance

I debated about Inheritance, because I think that if it were written by anyone other than Jennifer, I wouldn’t consider it a redemption story, but since it is her, it is. It’s the second book in the Fragile Ties series, and it’s the continuing story of David and Lianna. David kidnapped her because of her father, and did some pretty terrible things to her. Of course, she pretty much liked those terrible things, so it worked out after all. The reason I put it in this one is because David and Lianna are working hard to put together a relationship, and David is working hard to get past everything in the past. Anyway, I think that it fits well in this.

OK, that’s my Top 10 redemption books of 2019. We have reviews coming up in the next couple of days, but over the weekend, I’ll do some more round ups. Like I said, O-verse and Daddies.

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2019 Round Up: Top 10 Darkest Reads Pt. 1

So, we’re just days away from having another year under our belt. I’ve read another 800 books. I’ve written a few more blogs. Life has been in an uproar, it has been calm, it has been happy and sad. So, with a few more days left in the year, I thought that I would start my yearly round up. This blog is going to be part one of the top 10 darkest reads I read this year. They are going to be in no particular order, just however they happen to come to me.

Before I get started, I want to mention that I’m going to be giving away books and gift cards in my group, Slip in Between the Pages tomorrow and Christmas, so come check it out! And now, on to the books.

Addison Cain-Immaculate

Immaculate first showed up as a short story in Twisted Sacrament, and damn, was that twisted, and this won’t be the only story to show up on this list from that anthology. Anyway, when Addison got the rights back, she brought it out on its own. It takes place in the Vatican during the Renaissance. Our main character is a lovely young lady named Lady Agnese who has been kept pure and virginal so that she can serve God. It’s a very disturbing story because the story could absolutely have happened.

Jennifer Bene & Shane Starett-Jasmine

Jasmine was Shane’s second book and a co-write with Jennifer, who shows up on the blog all the time. I have a feeling Shane will too, as long as he likes me. 🙂 Jasmine is a woman who has been trapped by a man who says that she’s his wife, and she will obey him. The problem is that she really isn’t. The book was twisty turny, and packed full of places where if one small thing had happened differently, the entire book would’ve been different.

Jennifer Bene-Reign of Ruin

Reign of Ruin was another book that came out of Twisted Sacrament. RoR is what happens when Handmaid’s Tale meets the Apocalypse. I am going to flat out say that it scared the shit out of me. Handmaid’s Tale is hands down one of the scariest books I’ve ever read, because I can see how it can happen. I could see RoR happening too. I really did love the book though, even being scared by it. I would really love to see more of this world.

Eva Dresden-Broken

Broken really flat out broke me. Eva wrote a very dark MF Omegaverse, and Quinn really got the shit end of the stick. I mean, the stick was dipped into the shittiest, nastiest, most disgusting shit that you have ever seen, and then it was handed to her. And that was the good days. She ends up stuck in hell, and doesn’t see any chance of her hell getting better. And she’s right. I really felt for Quinn, a lot. The second book has come out, and I’m eagerly awaiting the 3rd.

Myra Danvers-Delirium

Delirium may not be as dark as some of the others on this, but it is pretty fucked up. There is a whole lot of action in here, and a whole lot more dark humor. I figured it was going to be a space opera, which it was, but it was a space opera plus. It was a twisty ride, and Iris just made it better. She’s in that category of crazy heroine who is fucking chaos embodied. She will take a disaster and make it even worse. And laugh while she’s doing it. I like that about her.

So, there’s the first 5 of my Top Ten dark books of 2019. Check back tomorrow to see what comes next.

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Jennifer Bene-Crazy Broken Love

So, sometime in the past year, several authors got together and wrote an amazing and gut-wrenching anthology called Just Breathe. All the stories in the anthology dealt with some kind of mental illness, and more than one of me has stuck with me since I originally read it. You can’t get it now, because the rights have reverted back to the authors. However, some of the stories are now available, like this one by Jennifer, Crazy Broken Love. Jennifer took her original story and expanded it out to give us what we have now.

Here’s our story. Amy is a woman who is dealing with a very severe form of OCD. She’s been hospitalized because of it. She has a series of rituals and routines that she must follow in order to fight the Noise and to keep herself sane. For example, her alarm goes off at 6 am. She lets it go for three beeps and then turns it off. Not 2, not 4, only 3. The number 3 rules her life and keeps everything under control. As long as she can have a multiple of 3, she’s going to be OK. She doesn’t leave her house, working online, getting everything delivered, and her therapist coming to her house instead. She belongs to an online forum for others with mental illness, where she’s known as Mittwochgirl, because Wednesday is the perfect day, it divides the week in two perfectly, 3 days on either side. (I like Wednesday for that reason too.)

Then there’s Equilibre, which is French for balance. For the past few months, they have been talking through the forum and emailing each other, and they have formed a deep relationship. Equilibre is probably the most important person in Amy’s life. She’s pretty sure she’ll never meet him because if she goes outside, the Noise and the chaos will get her.

Jennifer does an amazing job of showing what it’s like to live with OCD, which is an anxiety disorder. As you read the story, you see what it’s like to live in Amy’s head and in her world. It can be a really scary place. As a person who is mentally ill, I can tell you how terrifying it is when your own brain plays tricks on you and you have to fight it like Amy did. We all have ways that we pin our mental illness into place and keep it under control. With Amy, she developed her routines and adherence to 3s. I’m not going to judge her for how she lives because she has done what she can. I relate to her so much because of my own personal perspective. I think that she is infinitely stronger than she thinks that she is.

When I read this story as the short in the anthology, it blew me away. As the expanded story, it blew me even further away.

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Colton is a really fascinating character. He changed so many things, all for one purpose.

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