arc · new adult · review · romance

Gluttony by K. Webster

Gluttony (The Elite Seven #6)
by K. Webster

Rating: ★★★★
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My life has been served to me on a gold platter to be devoured by my silver spoon.

Money, money, and more money. It’s the backbone of the Goddard name. I’m the only son, so it’s all mine for the taking.

But sometimes money isn’t enough. I always want more, yet nothing seems to satisfy me.

My father has made sure I become a part of The Elite Seven. Where most candidates are chosen, I was given my place. Everything comes at a price, though. Luckily, I can afford any price—no one has more money than God.

The Elite Seven have their initiations. My assignment is personal and beneath me: steal a car and send a warning. It’ll hurt my best friend in the process, but we both made a pact going into this. There’s no line we won’t cross.

My task makes an ugly turn and I nearly take a life. Such a small, unimportant person—someone no one would even notice was gone. She’s a problem my money and power can easily sweep under the rug.

It’s what my father wants. It’s what my brothers want. But when she finally opens those big, innocent brown eyes, I realize I’ve found what I’ve been searching for my entire life. I don’t want my little problem to disappear…I want to keep her.

Accept your sin wisely, for the tasks given to earn your place are not for the weak—they’re for The Elite.

Money is my legacy, but I want something money can’t buy.
I am Baxter Samuel Goddard V.
I am Gluttony.

*ARC provided by author/publisher in exchange for an honest review*

You can also read this review on Goodreads

K. Webster delivered an enthralling installment featuring a lead character who embodied his assigned sin and was more complex than expected, confronted unexpected matters within a secret society and established a relationship that flourished and bloomed. Gluttony maintained a perfect balance of romance and intrigue, furthering the story-line surrounding the Elite Seven without disrupting the momentum or disregarding the burgeoning relationship between God and Zemira.

“I hate how we got here, but I’m not hating that we’re here.”

I assumed nothing more than some entitled, self-absorbed and conceited asshole in Baxter Goddard, but his character captured my attention, leaving me riveted and captivated. Hidden complexity is waiting to be discovered beneath his superficial over-indulgent and materialistic personality, an undeniable pleasant surprise that made this story great. Brimming with self-hatred and intense insecurity, God expressed selfishness and selflessness in equal measure. But, Gluttony goes beyond this—it focuses on God’s growth as he traverses the ramifications of destroying someone’s life… almost.

Zemira is in my blood, in my veins, in my soul. Burning through me like lava—hot and explosive. Changing me. Evolving me. Hiding the ugly parts and molding me into something new.
I yearn to be new and whole and better.
I crave to transform into someone a girl like Zemira deserves.

Zemira Coleman is perhaps my favourite heroine in this series. Despite the hardships she has experienced, Zemira’s strength, outlook and philosophies are awe-inspiring. Her kindness and stability manage to balance God’s chaotic, perturbed life, the perfect counter and lesson that exhibits there’s more to life than money and power. She’s also, quite easily, the only developed character within this series. Unorthodox, though somewhat romantic—perhaps because it is the only developed romance in this series—God and Zemira have a connection that is unique and refreshing as they inspire and support each other through difficult situations.

Me, the girl with nothing, gave the man with everything something worth having: love.

Gluttony transcended my expectations, showcasing what this series should have achieved. K. Webster’s writing is fantastic, a combination of compelling and enthralling, as she balances the romance and darkness within a shorter format without wavering. Shame we needed to wait five sequels to have this moment.

arc · new release · review · romance

Enthralled by Giana Darling

Enthralled (The Enslaved Duet #1)
by Giana Darling

Rating: ★★★★★
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It was the biggest day of my life.
I know most people say that about something joyous; a graduation, a wedding ceremony, the birth of their first child. My situation was a little different.
Sure, it was my eighteenth birthday, but it was also the day that I was sold.
Sold to a man with hair like a crown of gold and eyes blacker than the darkest pits of Hell.
He bought me to own me, to control me, and to use me as a means to an end.
I was his tool and his weapon.
And through it all, somehow, I also became his salvation.

*ARC provided by author/publisher in exchange for an honest review*

You can also read this review on Goodreads

Giana Darling’s poetic prose is my absolute favourite thing to consume—a seamless flow of enchanting sentences and enthralling moments weaved together to create an evocative narrative that will captivate your attention, entice your senses and summon an array of diverse emotions to surface. I’ve been charmed by every facet of this author’s writing since devouring the emotionally raw and passionate affair between Giselle and Sinclair.

But the true interest that truthfully attracted me lied with Alexander Davenport, the enigmatic and detached man who appeared beside Cosima Lombardi, screaming hushed tones of wicked deviance and unsolicited desire without needing to utter many words. Beautifully wretched, devilishly enticing and sinfully haunting, Enthralled will lure you into its darkened depths of servitude and dubious consent, unveiling the severe complex threads that bind, together in irrevocable ways, a slave and Master.

Five years might pass, the contract between us might dissolve into dust with time, but I would always be, elementally and crucially, Master Alexander’s woman.

I’ve been enamoured with Cosima, a delightfully aspiring woman with endearing vibrance, wise self-preservation and intense fierceness, its earnestness unrivalled by anyone else, since she was introduced in Giselle’s equally intense story. Cosima’s harboured secrets created an aura of mystery beyond her beloved daughter, loving sister and flourishing model persona, leaving me desperate to discover more of what lies beneath this fascinating woman’s carefully crafted facade. Reading Enthralled magnified my unsatiated curiosity, meanwhile satisfied my burning interest to understand this secretive woman better. Her poignant romanticist view on life is an endearing albeit heartrending quality that stands against the darkening atmosphere creeping and lingering throughout this narrative and contrasts beautifully with Alexander’s domineering character.

“Some monsters are made and some are born. You could say that I’m the worst of both worlds.”

Without doubt, Alexander is an enigma—comprised of an unfathomable series of hidden facets and untold secrets threaded together to manifest itself into a hardened and unreadable seeming gentleman. Promises of lascivious domination, debauched servitude and the bindings of an inescapable relationship demanding give and take without remorse burns bright within his shrewd irises, obvious in rare smiles he grants. I can’t stop myself from gravitating towards this commanding man’s intimidating yet alluring persona, despite his rough touches and all-consuming kisses that aren’t gentle or loving.

His controlling nature shouldn’t have been so intoxicating, but I knew myself well enough to admit, I was in his thrall.

Realistically, I shouldn’t be drawn towards the darkness of forced servitude or the exacting attitude of dominance, but there’s something powerfully seductive and fascinating about submission. Witnessing Cosima’s inevitable subservience, the way her body and mind, in its own unique method, commands Alexander is an act of reverent strength and dominance in itself. I adored her transformation from sheltered and sexually uncertain to blossoming into this liberated, wanton woman without hesitation.

Enthralled is sexually wicked and morally corrupt, however the darkness so blinding and compelling in deliverance, the juxtaposition between dominance and submissiveness written beautifully, it is hard to resist being drawn towards this narrative. I didn’t want to disclose much information regarding this duet because walking into this unaware with an open mind amplifies the sensations you experience, the emotions you undergo, the conundrum your thoughts will have to overcome.

arc · new release · review · romance

Cruel Sanctuary by Tara Leigh

Cruel Sanctuary (Wages of Sin #1)
by Tara Leigh

Rating: ★★★★★
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They say New York City is the Devil’s Playground.
They’re wrong.
This city belongs to me.
And so does Aislinn Granville.

She is a pampered politician’s daughter.
A decorative ornament, raised to smile and nod and do what she’s told.

Except… she doesn’t. Not with me. Ever.

In this city full of thugs and thieves, I’ve kept Aislinn safe.
From my enemies.
From me.

Until now.

*ARC provided by author/publisher in exchange for an honest review*

You can also read this review on Goodreads

Weeks after devouring Cruel Sanctuary, I’m still floating within the clouds, unable to step away from this enthralling introduction with a clear conscience. Beautiful darkness and enrapturing suspense creeping through this wonderfully written narrative ensnares your attention, pulling you towards its gravity of jaw-dropping revelations and heart-stopping unexpectations. Aislinn and Damon’s sinfully decadent chemistry renders you breathless, totally captivated and utterly wanton.

Damon King might reign over Manhattan, but I will never bow to him.

Damon King is my newest obsession, an irresistible dangerous enigma with an imposing and conceited attitude that infuriates you, but also leaves your insides a confused mess of fluttering desire. I’m unable to resist the complexity buried underneath a ruthless anti-hero, one who exudes sweet corruption and merciless intentions, but carefully unfurls an unexpected compassionate side. Witnessing this emotionally detached man quietly obsess over Aislinn’s safety sends the heart soaring and belly fluttering with so many good feelings. Despite walking the fine line between right and wrong in precarious ways, Damon possesses a personally instilled code of honour, a sliver of goodness that balances the darkness inside.

Damon King is a ruthless bastard. A dark warrior with the soul of a savior.

I adore a fierce and feisty heroine with an inner strength that conflicts and coincides with the hero’s equally intense personality. Aislinn Granville astounded me—she’s carefully constructed walls around her heart, fortifying them whenever possible, but when those constructs begin to crumble she learns to embrace the darkness surrounding Damon. Her ability to maintain an open mind and caring heart, as well as remaining undeterred and resolute, despite her deeply ingrained ethics being continuously challenged by an infuriating hero is an admirable feat of strength.

After a lifetime of being the dutiful daughter, the good girl, minding my manners, I am intrigued by the darkness Damon has exposed me to. Tonight, I want to dance with the devil.

Aislinn and Damon’s connection bursts with hatred filled lust; a type of chemistry with an intensity that crackles seamlessly into a passion filled relationship as they open up to each other. I love this author’s writing—the poetic, almost fairytale-esque nature of it with a hint of darkness to balance the scattered sweet moments throughout. And she writes a brooding asshole so damn effortlessly, you can’t help but love him, even when he is insufferable!

Darkness is where I thrive. Dark minds. Dark rooms. Dark hearts. Except that my heart doesn’t feel so dark anymore. Aislinn has brought light into my life.

arc · new adult · review · romance

Wrath by Claire C. Riley

Wrath (The Elite Seven #3)
by Claire C. Riley

Rating: ★★★
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I’m a motherless son to a father who hates me. Fury has lived and breathed in my black heart for so long, it’s a part of my soul now. The only thing that’s ever mattered to me is protecting my twin sister, Sabella, from my father’s temper.

So when the chance to join a secret society presents itself, there’s no question I’ll do whatever it takes to become a member and earn my place in the ranks of only the most Elite.

With a taste for the deviant, I’m drawn to the darkest of desires, and no one ever leaves my bed unscathed. My task: seduce Patience Noelle, St. Augustine’s sweetheart and the mayor’s beloved daughter—then break her heart.

Sinning is what I live for, and deviance is my passion. Failing has never been an option.

But what happens when my sin becomes my curse—when destroying the only woman I’ve ever wanted is my key to protecting my sister? Accept your sin wisely, for the tasks given to earn your place are not for the weak…they’re for The Elite.

This isn’t just my chance, it’s my legacy and reckoning.
I am Samuel Gunner.
I am WRATH

*ARC provided by author/publisher in exchange for an honest review*

You can also read this review on Goodreads

The Elite Seven continues as dark, deranged and dangerous as before. I’m learning to expect the unexpected; don’t assume we’ll receive answers and romance isn’t a priority in this series. I wanted to love Wrath—a man hellbent on enacting revenge on an unloving father with a penchant for sexual deviance used to conquer and destroy an innocent woman called to me. However, the execution was lackluster.

I don’t love like most. I love darkly, cruelly, and brutally, or not at all.

Driven by hatred and fuelled by vengeance inspired by harrowing childhood experiences, Samuel Gunner won’t stop until the Elite Seven notices his presence. But when they finally notice, in an unexpected turn, Samuel is torn between protecting Sabella, his twin sister and luring the mayor’s sweet daughter, Patience.

Patience Noelle is an endearing, innocent woman caught within this devious game. I admired the attitude she showed Samuel, creating an enemies to lovers vibe with an irresistible and delicious chemistry between two opposites. Intense and heated, the encounters between Samuel and Patience are sexually deviant, passionate and filthy. And the way Patience manages to keep Samuel grounded—the rare occurrences of sweetness to soothe the raging bitterness—makes my heart flutter tenfold!

I’m not the good guy, and I’ve never claimed to be. I’ve surrounded myself with rage and darkness, embracing the hateful side of myself for so long, it’s become a living thing inside me.

I loved these two characters together, but the moments we witness between them is awfully limited, making it difficult to fully appreciate their chemistry. Reading the beginning and ending of this novella made me lose interest—Samuel’s backstory was far too descriptive, a massive information dump essentially that could’ve been disclosed through flashbacks or passing remarks. And the crude sex scenes featuring other woman to highlight Samuel’s deviant nature wasn’t really necessary.

Wrath sets a different tone for this series. It is lengthier, written with gripping scenes and tantalising encounters that made this difficult to step away from; however, it is missing more moments between Samuel and Patience, as well as deeper insight into the Elite Seven. In saying that, if you are into mind-numbing and jaw-dropping dark romances; a dominant hero; an endearing heroine, I recommend picking up this series because while it does lack in certain areas, it is good for what it is!

arc · new adult · review · romance

Pride by J.D. Hollyfield

Pride (The Elite Seven #2)
by J.D. Hollyfield

Rating: ★★★★
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The greatest trick the devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn’t exist.

But who said the devil was a he?

In my world, she was out to cause havoc on all our lives.

She’ll use the one thing I care most about to control me—force me into her Elite world, filled with sin, deceit, and power. And under her spell, I’ll lead a sinister brotherhood of seven at one of the most prestigious universities in New Orleans.

Seven tasks set forth by the devil herself, promising nothing less than the forbidden fruit of power. What they don’t understand is it will all end in bloodshed and regret.

They call me the alpha. The one in charge. The one with pride bigger than any task I could be given. And my pride won’t let me be anywhere but at the top of the food chain until she gives me what I truly want.

My task is Meghan Thorne.

She’s too pure for me to touch, too good for me to ruin—and the only thing standing in my way to freedom.

Accept your sin wisely, for the tasks given to earn your place are not for the weak…they’re for The Elite.

As they say, pride comes before the fall.

I am Mason Blackwell.

I am Pride.

*ARC provided by author/publisher in exchange for an honest review*

You can also read this review on Goodreads

I can’t get over how twisted and deranged this novella is. J.D. Hollyfield pulled this series along, giving us deeper glimpses into The Elite Seven’s corrupt and devious world while skilfully keeping this intertwined with Lust. Sinfully delicious and compellingly manipulative, Pride will captivate your attention in its darker, more erotic entirety. I can’t seem to turn away from this enormous clusterfuck!

With the thirst for revenge and hate flowing inside me, there was no room for anything else. I could barely see passed the retribution I set to viciously achieve. But then she came along.

Having bounced from home to home, Mason Blackwell is used to monsters lurking within the shadows. When the Elite Seven approaches Mason—using his younger sister as incentive and collateral—to complete dishonest tasks and assume his position as Pride, he is pulled further into this darkened secret society of influence, manipulation and unfathomable benefits. Despite his assigned sin, Mason is selfless, swallowing his pride and egotism to protect Evie and his newfound family of brothers.

But the deeper I plummet into the abyss of our forbidden attraction, the heavier my emotions become, and I know it’s no longer just physical between us.

I didn’t know what to expect from Megan Thorne—it wasn’t a seeming innocent teacher hiding intense sultriness and unexplored kinkiness. She’s naive, loyal with fault and wholly inexperienced when dealing with romantic relationships. However, she’s an admirable sexually liberated and intelligent woman with so much goodness within this crazy world.

It is kind of difficult to consider this a romance; I wasn’t expecting it to be so though after reading Lust. Mason’s relationship with Megan is more defined and despite their initial encounter being unrealistically over the top, everything that happens afterwards between them will ignite your Kindle. It is intense, explosive and downright filthy.

Seeing some teasers for Wrath is making me excited to find out more about Samuel Gunner—Wrath, the next Elite Seven, in this strange albeit fascinating world.

arc · review · romance

Roma Queen by Callie Hart

Roma Queen (Roma Royals Duet #2)
by Callie Hart

Rating: ★★★★★
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Son.
Lover.
Protector.

KING.

I’ve been many things to many people over the course of my life, but that title – King – has always been a tough pill to swallow. If I want to help Zara save her friend, then I must find a way to shoulder the pressure, though. I must unravel this complicated tangle of clues and hunt down a madman I thought I’d already killed three years ago in order to bring Sarah home in one piece.

My people are depending on me to protect them.
Zara is trusting me to keep her alive.
There isn’t a sacrifice I won’t make for her.
My Firefly.
My Queen.
I’ll raze this world to the ground to keep her safe…

*ARC provided by author/publisher in exchange for an honest review*

You can also read this review on Goodreads

He is the most beautiful, savage creature I have ever seen.

I’m always left floating within the clouds, charged with adrenaline and sighing in pure, utter bliss after finishing anything by Callie Hart. I wanted to devour this intricate duet wholly, yet pulled myself back to savour this riveting tale that concluded in both compelling and captivating ways. Roma Queen left me awed, my eyes wide from learning revelations and discovering totally unexpected connections.

Our eyes meet, and so much passes between us: I’m proud of you. I’m amazed by you. I’m here for you. I will never fucking leave you.

Zara and Pasha are entwined, their relationship a unique connection bound together by certain, unforeseeable circumstances. When a past face resurfaces, testing this newfound couple’s strength, no matter the difficulties and adversities that appear, Zara and Pasha are unwavering—an unstoppable force prepared to do everything necessary to keep those they love safe.

“Touch me. Kiss me. Fuck me,” I whisper. “Make me lose myself in you. I want to forget where you end and I begin.”

I didn’t just adore every single moment—I absorbed every facet of this heart-stropping, jaw-dropping and toe-curling narrative. It is heated and passionate, with many turns and twists to keep your interest piqued. Questions are answered and shocking truths are unveiled. I wasn’t certain where this would head, only that Callie Hart’s signature anti-hero and brand of sassy, witty heroine would continue to capture my heart!

Everything about Roma Queen is emotionally satisfying. If you love dangerous anti-heroes, strong heroines and darkness in your romance, you need to read this duet, especially if Zeth Mayfair is your favourite Callie Hart hero. Watch out, Mr. Mayfair—Pasha Rivin might dethrone you.

arc · new adult · new release · review · romance

Lust by Ker Dukey

Lust (The Elite Seven #1)
by Ker Dukey

Rating: ★★★
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I was born with wealth, athletic ability, and looks that could melt the panties off a nun.
I had a clear path to success.
Until fate dealt me a cruel blow, leaving me empty and in need of purpose.
My only focus now is to become part of The Elite—a secret society in one of the most prestigious colleges in the world.
But everything comes at a price, and with The Elite, you have to earn your place.
Lucky for me, being sinful is in my DNA.
The only obstacle to full initiation is my task: seduce the un-seducible, the forbidden, and lure her with the sins of the flesh. Easy for a man like me…in theory.
She started as my task, but what happens when the lines between lust and love blur, and the need for power rages war with the need for her?
Accept your sin wisely, for the tasks given to earn your place are not for the weak—they’re for The Elite.
This is my life, my chance, my legacy.
I am Rhett Masters.
I am Lust.

*ARC provided by author/publisher in exchange for an honest review*

You can also read this review on Goodreads

What a ride! And interesting introduction to what will become a captivating series centered around a secret society promising an unrivaled amount of wealth, prestige and benefits. I wasn’t really sure what to expect—maybe a dark, erotic romance of intrigue, debauchery and manipulation. However, this isn’t dark, or even erotic as the romance is pushed aside to create the foundation for the series.

I would still take lust over love every fucking time. Fuck love.

Chastity Griffin appears to be shy and timid, but there’s inextricable boldness and feistiness hidden beneath her appearance. She’s smart and sweet, with a touch of innocence about her demeanor, but there’s this admirable sensuality about her, too. It balances the dark wildness and teetering instability within Rhett.

Rhett Masters is desperate to escape from reality. Crushing guilt after losing someone and his father’s insufferable attitude have pushed him towards drowning in women, drugs and liquor. Conceited, arrogant and feeling an unhealthy amount of invincibility, nothing is forbidden or dangerous. Rhett embodies lust, however, more so through reputation than action.

My entire high school years were built on my reputation of panty peeler, pussy realtor, heart stealer.

It is one reason for pulling my rating down. I assumed this short story would be filthier, more forbidden and teeming with an intense amount of eroticism, finished with a dash of passion and romance to sweeten the connection. And that is my second reason for lowering my rating—the romance is minimal. When Rhett and Chastity are together, the pages explode with sexual tension and witty banter. You can sense unexplored chemistry between them that would have made an excellent forbidden romance.

Lust is a violent desire, destructive and uncontrollable.

I can say one thing for certain—I’m excited to continue delving deeper into this world of secret societies and sinfully devilish assignments. Ker Dukey’s writing is fantastic, the emotions will roll you over straight away, the pacing of this short story is decent and the concept of this series captivating.

arc · review · romance

Roma King by Callie Hart

Roma King (Roma Royals #1)
by Callie Hart

Rating: ★★★★★
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“911. What is your emergency?”

Every night, Zara Llewelyn picks up the phone and assists people in distress. House fires. Assault. Motor vehicle accidents. Home invasions…

Between the hours of six and two, she is the answer to a thousand cries for help. But when the payphone outside Zara’s apartment building mysteriously begins ringing night after night, the very last thing she wants to do is pick it up. And yet, she can’t seem to help herself…

Pasha Rivin’s trying to outrun fate. He’s been running from it for years now, but escape isn’t in his cards. As the oldest son of the oldest Roma family in the country, he’s not just a member of a proud and fiercely traditional clan. He is their reluctant king…and now he’s expected to find a wife.

The fiery redhead that shows up on his doorstep, following a trail of breadcrumbs, hunting for a missing little boy, is the last person Pasha’s mother has in mind, however. She’s an outsider, an intruder, and as far as his family are concerned, she’s not welcome on their land, let alone in their king’s bed.

Pasha has never allowed his destiny to stand in the way of what he wants, however. And he’s never wanted anything more than he wants the girl with the burning green eyes.

Zara Llewelyn picked up the phone and learned a secret.

Falling in love has never been so dangerous…

*ARC provided by author/publisher in exchange for an honest review*

You can also read this review on Goodreads

Holy shit, I’m still stuck in cloud nine after finishing Roma King. Brimming with intrigue, suspense and surprise turns, I devoured this read within twelve hours as everything about it is perfect! Zara and Pasha’s unique relationship, bound together by an intricate series of events, pulled me in—they made me fall in love with it. Every step of the way.

Callie Hart writes bad boy anti-heroes that will have you down on your knees begging and wanting more of them. They’re always damaged, oftentimes rebellious and dripping in tantalising naughtiness with a hint of buried sweetness that only the women they obsess over discover. If you’ve had the pleasure of meeting Zeth Motherfucking Mayfair, Pasha will capture your heart in similar fashion.

I want to fucking consume her. There’s a part of me that wants to fucking destroy her, if only so no one will ever be able to look at her.

Pasha Rivin is an anti-hero that will capture your attention straight away. He’s the epitome of tall, dark and handsome while simultaneously screaming titillating sin and veiled danger. He isn’t just wicked, full of cockiness and intimidation, and brandishing a filthy mouth that’ll leave your cheeks burning.

Pasha’s an enigma that you’ll want to learn more about. Destined to become a Roma king, a path paved with greatness, he craves freedom—to be free of responsibilities and superstitions and manipulative clan members. And the more you pry open, the more entranced and obsessed you’ll become with Roma’s upcoming king.

I’ve done everything in my power to banish him from my thoughts, but there’s something about the man standing before me that won’t be quelled.

Despite leading an independent simple life, Zara Llewelyn is an intriguing and compelling heroine. She’s filled with so much empathy and compassion, you can’t help but find her wonderfully endearing. I admire the strength and determination and ferocity she exudes—especially when confronted with unexpected situations that transform her humble routine into something more complicated.

Sometimes a glimpse of vulnerability will surface, making Zara a more real and relatable character. She isn’t easily intimidated though—her own sassiness and fierceness comes through when coming head-to-head with Pasha in verbal sparring.

“I take it back,” he rumbles. “You’re no nightmare, Zara Llewelyn. You’re every single beautiful dream I’ve ever had. And I don’t plan on letting you go now.”

When Zara and Pasha are together, your panties will melt and your heart will pound—they’re scorching and burning with intense chemistry and sexual tension. Roma King is teeming with suspense and premonitions, your jaw will drop in surprise. You’ll almost forget that this feels like a slow burn, forbidden romance between a Roma and gadje.

While there’s a suggestion that implies they know each other through predestined dreams—feeling almost paranormal—there’s no instant-love here, but rather instant-attraction. It doesn’t come across as unrealistic; instead it is an interesting example of Roma culture’s fascinating world.

Roma King is unique, a riveting story where the author weaves detailed segments into a captivating storyline filled with deep-rooted traditions and superstitions of an intriguing culture. If you’ve read, loved and obsessed over Callie Hart’s other series, I guarantee you’ll want to acquaint yourself with Pasha Rivin. Get ready—you’ll lose your panties, heart and mind to this Roma king dripping in sinful naughtiness and wicked cockiness.

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arc · contemporary · review · romance

Secrets by Aleatha Romig

Secrets (Web of Sin #1)
by Aleatha Romig

Rating: ★★★★
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I’m Sterling Sparrow. You’ve no doubt heard my name or read it on the top of tall buildings. There’s more to my business—my realm—than what is seen aboveground.

Within the underbelly of one of America’s largest cities lives a world where a man’s word is either his most valuable tool or his most respected weapon. When my father ruled that world and that city, he promised me someone who would one day make my reign complete.

Since that day, long ago, Araneae McCrie has been mine.

She just didn’t know.

My father is now gone.

The city and the underbelly are now mine.

The time has come for me to collect who was promised to me, to shred her life of secrets and make her who she’s always been—mine.

*ARC provided by author/publisher in exchange for an honest review*

You can also read this review on Goodreads

2018 is becoming my year of introducing myself to different, fabulous authors. I haven’t read anything by Aleatha Romig, though I’ve heard about her romances—the twisted darkness she weaves throughout and the commanding men she writes about, she’s an author you’ll want to read!

Secrets is filled with everything a reader could want—lies, secrets, deception, all unexpected yet enthralling, complex characters and captivating dark, delicious romance. Sterling and Araneae are multi-faced, intriguing characters that will demand your attention within an intricate storyline.

I knew since that fateful afternoon that Araneae and I were meant to be, with too many factions at work, the timing was imperative and her ignorance of her fate necessary.

Araneae McCrie/Kennedy Hawkins is gorgeous, intelligent and selfless. She’s also shrouded in almost impenetrable secrecy. Ultimatums and warnings are thrown her way every moment, but she remains grounded and filled with independent sass. 

Sterling Sparrow is arrogant and demanding, enigmatic and sinfully wicked. Countless secrets and uncertainties surround this mysterious businessman. And he’s the only person capable of giving Araneae the information she covets. 

In all situations, Sterling Sparrow moved like a lion: majestic, strong, proud, and above all, powerful. He was the king of the beasts and everyone within his realm was either a peasant, present to do his bidding, or prey, waiting to be devoured.

Fiery tension and tangible chemistry is rife in Secrets. When Araneae and Sterling come together, they’re explosive and passionate. Always pushing and pulling. Defying each other. Bantering and engaging in battles of wits. 

I cannot wait to have more of Araneae and Sterling in Lies, as well as receiving answers to innumerous questions, especially to that cliffhanger.

review

Review | Want You by Jen Frederick

Want You

by Jen Frederick

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SYNOPSIS

Bitsy

I might be only nineteen, but I know what I want. It’s Leka Moore. I don’t care that he took me in when he was barely more than a kid himself. I don’t care that he raised me. I don’t care everyone thinks being with him is wrong. I know we belong together, and the only person I need to convince is him.

Leka

I found her in the corner of a dark alley. If I hadn’t taken her with me, she would’ve died that night—or maybe worse. Before I knew it, she became the light in my dark life, the haven from the madness. I watched her grow up. I tried to teach her right from wrong. Now that she’s an adult, I’m feeling things that no good man should ever feel. But then…I’ve never been a good man. I have a chance at redemption by saving her from the greatest danger of all—me.


REVIEW

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Trigger warning:
Rape, rape and more rape.

I won’t hesitate here: I did not enjoy this story.

I love a good dark romance. I understand violence and degradation happen, because they’re recurring themes and features within the genre. Rape, sad to say, is still an ongoing issue in society and because it is such a dark, harrowing topic oftentimes it is featured in dark romance to dehumanise and demonise the antagonist.

But this? Kind of went too far.

Every woman, but three (including the female protagonist) either fell into: being a whore, prostitution, raped beyond belief, degraded, etc. Not one woman possessed a feeling of self-worth or agency, including Bitsy, to become the voice for every female character.

Poverty, hunger and homelessness will push humans towards making questionable actions and saying horrible things; police brutality and corruption happens everywhere around the world, but the way these topics were approached and handled was done with nonchalance.

Bitsy’s maturity levels are nonexistent. While she refuses to grow up, Leka is forced into it, too fast, too messily, to compensate for Bitsy’s inability to be an adult for two seconds.

I wouldn’t consider their “romance” romance, but rather a dysfunctional, toxic codependency with an emotionally stunted dynamic that even Dr. Phil couldn’t analyse. Bitsy harbours an unhealthy obsession and attachment towards Leka, who’s essentially a combination of father figure, older brother, perfect saviour and strange partner.

She’s initially nothing more than a girl Leka saves, making this coming-of-age narrative turn into some kind of forbidden romance. In the beginning, she’s some sweet, little girl who’s attached towards her saviour. But the minute she turns nineteen, Bitsy becomes this sudden, uncontrollable sexual fiend who enters a never ending push-pull game with Leka.

In no way does a smooth transition happen between teenage Bitsy and adult Bitsy. It is odd. Rough around the edges. And her sudden transformation feels a combination of expected and unexpected.

I also hate every male character, including Leka, who possesses no redeemable qualities whatsoever. I don’t care that he maintains a virgin status at 26. I don’t care that he cares about Bitsy. He is an awful human being with zero compassion for everyone around him until poor little Bitsy is threatened by some madman who, by the way, doesn’t seem to care about the danger surrounding her.

I’m disappointed that this story didn’t work me, because the synopsis was intriguing. I expected Want You to focus on Bitsy and Leka’s relationship as adults, with flashbacks weaved throughout to solidify their relationship, and create this connection between the reader and the characters. Instead, the story explored them as children/teenagers more so than as adults. I understand the decision to do this, as it does show that the main characters have history, but the time they have as adults is fairly limited.