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!

Christine Besze-Redemption

Redemption is the second book in Christine’s Revenge series, which focuses on the Savage brothers. This is Kelsey & Axel’s book.

Two years ago, Kelsey came running to her father, covered in the blood of her best friend Charlee. She begged her father to help her disappear. So, she went from Georgia to a town in California where she is able to see the ocean and works in a dive bar. She eats, sleeps, works, and repeats. When the people she knows at work ask her to do things, she generally says no, because she really just wants to be left alone. At least, until one night when a co-worker asks her to do something with her after work. So, Kelsey, who isn’t using her own name at this point, decides she’ll go because she’s ready to stop pining over Axel and move on with her life. She heads out to the beach and meets up with her friend and some guys, one of whom asks her to go out on a date with him the following night. Only, when the door opens to let her date in, it’s not the puka shell wearing dude, it’s Axel.

Axel has spent the last 2 years missing his Wildcat. Al he knows is that she disappeared. But now, her father has hired him and his brothers to get her and bring her home. So, with one of his brothers, he went to Cali to bring his girl home. But of course, it’s never that easy. He went to get her and told her that she could go the easy way or the hard way. Which way do you think that she chose? Of course, it might be good that she chose the hard way, because just as she and Axel get out to her parking lot, his beloved truck blows up. So they run, until his brother manages to get them and they head back to Georgia.

I like Kelsey. I think that she is totally entitled to all the horrible feelings about Axel that she has. I mean, I would feel the same way about him if he had done to me what he did to her. Of course, the bad feelings that she has towards him and her lack of trust is all tied up with the fact that she still has good feelings towards him and all the good pants feelings that she has for him. So when he shows up, she wants to hate him but she also wants to fuck him, which makes it really hard on her to figure out what to do, and really, I think that Axel takes advantage of that to some extent. He might not know her precise feelings, and make a conscious decision to do that, but I think he picks up on it, and then does what he does.

Axel is both a good guy and a jackass. He’s also a huge smartass. And I think that it gets him very much in trouble sometimes, especially when his two older brothers smack him around. Of course, he does everything he can to get in and under their skin, so I’m not crying for him. But, overall he wants to make sure that his family is safe, especially his beautiful niece Lily, who he calls Wildflower. And that includes Kelsey. He will go toe to toe with anyone to make sure that she’s safe. And we get to see that.

I really can’t wait for Zane’s book.

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I like the surprise family members.

OK, that’s all for today. Happy reading!

 

2019 Round Up-Top Ugly Cry Books

I don’t know if there are going to be 10 or not, so this is probably just going to be a 1 part post. For me, an ugly cry book is different from a book that makes me cry. There are some books that will give me tears because there is something sad going on, a break up, a death, so on and so forth. Generally, they last for a couple of minutes, and they are just tears running down my face. An ugly cry is just that, really ugly. Full on tears, snot running out of my nose, sobs, the whole 9 yards. These are the reads that make my husband ask me if I’m OK. He’s learned to accept the answer that it’s just an ugly cry book. So, here are some of the books that made me ugly cry this year. There are some that I’ve already mentioned on other lists that gave me ugly cries, Nicky James’ Long Way Home and Eva Dresden’s Broken, so they are just getting Honorable Mentions here. So, let’s get on with the ones that made it, shall we?

***Full disclosure: I may earn a commission from Amazon from any purchase made from a link in this blog.***

Nicolina Martin-Redemption

Redemption is part of Nicolina’s Russo Saga, and is its own Duet with Absolution. (Expect to see that one show up tomorrow or Wednesday.) Anyway, no matter what the title says, there isn’t a lot of redemption going on in this book. This is the story of Christian and Kerry. Kerry is just a nice, sweet woman who happened to be working at a childcare center where a mobster’s son went. When she asked him a question, he sent Christian after her. When we first met Christian, in an earlier book, I really liked him. I didn’t by the end of this book. In fact, I downright fucking hated him. When Nicolina read my GR review on in, she asked me what my ugly cry moments were, and there were moments, not just a moment. Because it is a duet, it is a cliffhanger, but the second one is already out, so there’s that.

Addison Cain-Ravaged Captive

Ravaged Captive is the 4th book in Addison’s Wren’s Song books. They are Omegaverse and RH. All of the books have made me cry, but this one really made me cry because everything started to really fall apart. Caspian, Toby, and Kieran are at each other’s throat, Wren has been tossed out and thought dead, and the doll is in the way. I think that it was the addition of the doll that really got to me. I expect that the next one will also give me an ugly cry. Sooooooon.

Anna Wineheart-The Pretense

Anna is one of my favorite MM Omegaverse authors, and I’m lucky enough to be able to ARC her books. All of her books have some strong emotions in them, but The Pretense was just loaded with it. It’s a second chance, pretend boyfriend kind of story. It can be read as a standalone, but if you read all the Men of Meadowfall books in order, you’ll enjoy it more. They are all interconnected. There is one very particular moment that gave me a seriously ugly cry. There are some other spaces where I got teary, but this one particular scene was so hard, so heartbreaking that it really stuck with me, and made me ugly cry hard.

India R. Adams-Blue Waters

Blue Waters wasn’t published this year, but this was the year that I read it, so it counts to me, and since it’s my blog, that’s all that matters. This is the first of the Tainted Waters series that feature Whitney, Link, and Crash. All of the books in the series have made me full on ugly cry, but I’m just going to go with the first one here. It’s not a very long book, but it is very intense. Everything builds on the things before, but you do get a second to catch your breath in between. The entire series is worth reading. I don’t know that I would recommend reading them back-to-back, because of the intensity, but I would definitely recommend reading them.

B.B. Blaque-FTW

FTW doesn’t mean for the win here. It’s outlaw MC slang that means Fuck the World, and that is pretty much what happens here. This is the 3rd book in BB’s Masters MC series, and it is dark. I fell in love with Colt, Tuesday, Kash, and Barely when I read their books the first time, and I was really looking forward to this one. Let’s just say that it wasn’t a happy book. There were terrible, terrible things that happened, and I was devastated. BB will have GFY, Go Fuck Yourself, out soon, and I can’t wait.

OK, there they are, the Top 5 ugly cry books from this year.

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Nicolina Martin-Redemption

You remember yesterday how I said that Eva Dresden’s book broke me? Well, Nicolina broke me too, with Redemption. I flat out ugly cried. I mean, just straight out super ugly cried. And I told Nicolina that it was 3 different places where I was ugly crying, but the truth is that I pretty much started from the first place and had tears running down my face for so much of the time after that. It was very intense and it squeezed my heart and hurt me.

I will tell you before I get started that while this is part of the Russo Saga, Redemption is a duet, so yes, there is a cliff.

This story is Kerry and Christian’s. We met Christian back in Ruin, Eric and Anna’s story.  Christian went with Eric on the job where he met Anna. He was intense, but I really liked him. There was just something about Christian that I was really drawn to. But, he hadn’t had his own book yet.

Kerry works at the center where Luci’s son David goes. David is autistic, and she is working with him to help him. One day, David says something about all the red on the man. Kerry tries really hard not to think too much about it, but then the next time she sees Luciano, she asks him about it. He tells Kerry some story, and then stares at her. The next thing she knows, David has been pulled from her center. That totally breaks her heart because she was really attached to him. So, she and her friends go out to get smashed.

Meanwhile, Luci has decided that Kerry is too nosy and knows too much. He calls his favorite nephew and ruthless killer, Christian. He wants Christian to kill her. So, he looks up all the info on Kerry that he can, and then follows her out with her friends. He meets her at the bar, and then takes her across the street to a diner, and finally home. He realizes that there is something about her. They don’t fuck that night, but they come close.

Now, remember, Christian is a ruthless killer, and he’s been tasked to kill her. Luci wants to know what’s taking him so long, because Christian should’ve had it done the first day. But, you know, it’s not much of a story if Christian offs her immediately is it?

Christian and Kerry tore me apart, just straight up fucking wrecked me. I really don’t like Christian at all right now. He was pretty terrible and the things that he did to Kerry were just horrifying. And I’m not meaning the lovely night of kinky strangle sex either. I’m talking later. He makes choices which have some terrible consequences. Some of them are consequences he’s dealing with, but more of them are Kerry’s. I’m really hoping that Nicolina can redeem him in the next part, because I’d like to like him again.

Kerry, our poor, sweet, summer child, Kerry. She gets broken, put back together, broken again, put back together again, and so on and so forth. The problem with breaking and put back together that many times is that it creates weak spots. Those spots are always going to be a place where you can break further. The more you break, the harder it is to put yourself together and the more pieces of you get lost.

And fucking Luci. Just when I think I can’t hate him any more than I already do. Hellfire and lava is too good for him.

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You know, I don’t think there is anything that I can even put down here. Sorry, not sorry.

Go check this out, as well as the rest of the series. Happy reading!

Anna Edwards-Redemption

Anna Edwards has very comfortably moved into my must read author category. I will read anything that she puts out right now, and her backlog is on my TBR list. Have I talked about what my TBR looks like? Yeah, it’s that bad. Anyway, Anna has written a story in the Cavalieri Della Morte series. I think that Redemption is book #10, if Amazon can be trusted. I haven’t read all 10 yet, but the ones I haven’t read are on my list. If only I didn’t have to sleep or make money. Darn real life getting all up in my way.

Anna has given us the story of Gawain and his lady love, Megan. Gawain is Arthur’s nephew. His mom is Arthur’s sister, and Arthur has acted as his father figure since his 16th birthday when his dad just went one step too far. Arthur sends Gawain out on righteous kills, especially on jobs where he is rescuing women who are being trafficked.

Megan is from Stockholm, and two years ago, she went missing. The reason that she went missing is that she was out celebrating her birthday and was abducted and sold. Now, she’s learned to be quiet and do everything her owner M wants her to do. And usually, what he wants is for her to hurt and suffer. And that is exactly what she has done for the past two years. She’s covered in burns, scars, and has unhealed broken bones. Her mind is sorta there and she trusts no one, including the men who come in to rescue her. She’s pretty sure that they are a test from M.

Redemption is defined as being saved or saving someone from sin and evil, and as the action of gaining back or repurchasing something or clearing a debt. And the title works really well in both definitions of the word and for multiple characters. Gaining that redemption is really important and I think that these characters wouldn’t have worked well in any other setting.

I really like Gawain. Even though he’s an assassin and should be this hardened killer kind of person, there’s something very tender about him. It’s not that he’s an innocent, in any way, shape, or form, but there’s just something very sweet about him. I can’t put my finger directly on it though. I really like how patient he is with Megan, and how he wants to make sure that she’s safe. He goes out of his way to do things that will make her happy and help her have some good memories.

I like how strong Megan really is. Even though her mind kinda got fucked up while she was being held by M, she’s still very strong. Of course, when you are in a crazy fucked up situation your brain is going to do what it can to help you, and that can include your brain deciding to give you an out and help to block out happier things that happened prior to the trauma. But even then, she managed to keep a core of herself there, even if it was buried treasure. I like how it wasn’t an insta-love situation, but that it took a little time, because it gave Megan and Gawain time to become friends before anything else happened.

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I loved the tea party. That was seriously above and beyond, and so freaking romantic.

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

Measha Stone-Redemption

OK, yeah, I know I promised double for today, but I got involved in a gazillion things, and when I sat down to write this, I noticed it would be too late to write another one. So, today you get Measha, tomorrow you get Sansa, Friday you get Measha, and Saturday you get Sara.

But today, Redemption, Measha’s sweet, light, and laughter filled Christmas story. And if you believe that, I’ve got a bridge to sell you in the Atacama. LOL. It’s darkish, dirty, and full of Measha-y goodness. And it’s the perfect amuse bouche for her book on Friday, trust me.

Celeste is on the Naughty List, in a big way. And if she doesn’t get cleared off it, she’s going to end up stuck there permanently, and then there will be an empty voice in her life and she will never be happy. But Santa, being a good, kind, and loving Santa, has people who are there to help with that. He has special elves whose only job it is to get people off the naughty list and get them back on the Nice List. Adam is one such elf.

Adam’s job, should he choose to accept it, and he does, is to take Celeste, and help her. He needs to get her off the Naughty List and get her to understand what she did that caused her to be there. So he goes off to meet Celeste, at a bar, where she’s busy drinking because she’s pretty sure that she’s going to be fired the next day. He escorts her out of the bar, and the next thing she knows, she’s naked and in a stable. Seems like Adam may be a little bit kinky.

I love how Adam doesn’t let Celeste get away with anything, no matter what she tries. He’s doing it out of such a place of caring with her. He truly wants her to be happy and he’s willing to do whatever he has to to make sure that happens, even if that means he’s going to have to strap her ass raw. And that may just be one of his options. I had a harder time with Celeste. But, that’s because of personal things on my end, not her as a character. Some of her choices are things that people close to me have done and it was really hurtful to the people involved and took a lot of work to get things straightened out. So, looking at it as me, I had a hard time with her because of that. Once I could get away from her actions and into her as a person, it was easier for me to like her.

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OK, reindeer are just so very, very cute. Especially when they have jingle bells, right?

I was mad for a minute because I thought that Adam and Celeste were going to be separated. I didn’t want that to happen.

OK, that’s all I have to say about this one. Go read it and see all the kinky goodness for yourself. Happy reading!

 

Jane Henry & Maisy Archer-Hustler

Jane and Maisy are still working on giving Manhattan the same kind of treatment they gave Boston with the Boston Doms. To that end, we have the second book of the Masters of Manhattan book, Hustler. When my husband asked what I was reading, I told him the name, and he asked if Larry Flynt had helped to write it. Have I mentioned that he thinks he’s funny? And when you search it on Amazon, make sure that you put in Jane’s or Maisy’s name on there, otherwise, you will get info on the magazine.

Anyway, on to our book. Ethan was a grifter. His father was a grifter and he taught Ethan and his twin brother Elias to do the same. When they were in high school, Elias went straight and Ethan dropped out. He went on doing what his father taught him to do. Easy money and he was good at it. When he was 19, he was working with an older partner. They set up a phony investment deal and took a lot of money from a lot of people.

Haven is a lawyer in Manhattan. She’s currently defending a man named Max Pederson who was accused of killing his wife. Max told her to go see the people at Master’s Security. His best friend’s daughter Sabrina is in a relationship with one of the guys, and they have backstory and insight as to what was happening. When she gets there, she meets all but one person, Ethan. When Ethan walks into the penthouse, she looks at him and recognizes him as Tad. Nine years earlier, Tad had made her fall in love with him and used that relationship to steal all her parents’ money. So, when she sees him again, she sees red.

This is a second chance romance. I have a personal fondness for this trope because I’m living my own second chance romance story. I don’t love all of the books written under this trope, they aren’t always done well, and sometimes there isn’t a really good reason for everything to manage to get back together. That’s not the fact here. Every second chance story I’ve ever read out of Jane or Maisy has worked really well. Everything makes sense and everything happens in sensical fashion. But more than just the second chance thing, we also have a redemption thing going on. Ethan is working to redeem himself from his background. He been doing that to some extent before he got together with the other Masters, but there were things that made him do it more, including Haven. The combination of the two tropes is a really good one in this book. I really thought that it worked well. Now, just because he’s redeeming himself doesn’t mean that he doesn’t still use those skills, he’s just using them in furtherance of justice. Justice doesn’t always mean getting the baddies arrested and put in jail though, just remember that.

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I have to say that I kind of liked the fact that Ethan volunteered to go to prison to get the info. I’m not liking that he got the shit beat out of him, but it was a sign that he was regretting what he had done and wanted to make up for his past choices. Whole lot of symbolism going on there. Love it.

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