Review: Untouchable by Sam Mariano

UNTOUCHABLE
Genre: Dark Romance
Author: Sam Mariano
Release Date: December 16, 2018

The bully isn’t supposed to win.

Senior year was off to a rough start: lube in my locker, panties on my front porch, unimaginative name-calling. See, I got a player suspended from the football team for harassing me, and in my small Texas town, you don’t mess with the football players—even if they mess with you first.

I didn’t care if it was an unpopular thing to do; I stood up for myself… and in doing so, opened Pandora’s Box.

I never dreamed I would attract the attention of locally worshipped star quarterback, Carter Mahoney. Never imagined his coveted attention would turn out to be such a nightmare. Beneath his carefully constructed façade lurks a monster, a predator looking for the perfect prey to play with. Now, since I’m the girl no one likes or believes, I guess I’m the perfect target for his dark games and twisted desires.

After surviving my first encounter with his casual depravity, all I really want is for Carter to leave me alone.

But all he seems to want is me.

Warning: This book is provocative. It is categorized as DARK ROMANCE for a reason. It will not be for everyone. If you are a reader with certain triggers or sensitivities common to the dark romance genre, please heed the author’s note at the beginning of this book.

AMAZONSpoilers to follow…

It’s terrifying, his disregard for right and wrong. The pleasure he gets out of making me powerless.

I have sat on the rating for this book for a solid week, totally and completely conflicted. On the one hand, the writing is solid and the story interesting enough to have me continuing after the HOLY SHIT DID I JUST READ WHAT I THINK I DID in the first 5%. Yes, the warning does a good job of preparing the reader and making them understand that this is not a typical angsty high school romance. It’s dark (but not in the usual sense). Yes, the author does an incredible job of painting two very well developed characters that you can’t help but be curious about. Yes, it had me reading well into the night to see how it all ends.

But…and this is a big BUT. I’m talking about the but of all buts here, people. You may argue with me that this is fiction. You may argue with me that you have to suspend your disbelief because you’re reading a darker book. But here’s the thing, no matter how you spin it, FOR ME, this book romanticizes sexual abuse. It is not, I repeat, NOT a dub con. It is sexual abuse. Pure and simple. And there is nothing dark, interesting, captivating, or intriguing about the hero to me. He’s a rapey asshole. No matter how much the author tries to justify him, or explain his actions (and she does) at the end. He’s not an anti-hero I can get behind, because there is just nothing redeemable about him to me.

I’ll be honest, this is a book that you will either love, or hate. There is no middle ground. No gray area.

HIGHLIGHT TO VIEW SPOILER This “anti-hero” forces the heroine to give him a blowjob as part of sexual blackmail/bullying in the first 5% of the book. And no, it’s not the kind of blowjob where she secretly wants it but he can see through it. She hates it. She doesn’t want to do it. And he forces her into performing the act in front of his two other jock buddies that have been making her life miserable in high school after she reported one of them for touching her inappropriately and getting him kicked off the football team. END SPOILER

I’ll let you think on that for a second here. Is that a character you can read about? If so, you’ll fall into the side of readers that would love this book.

And if you’re like me and couldn’t see past this for the entirety of the book? Welp. I’ll tell you that this book just isn’t for you.

And here’s the thing. He CONTINUES this behavior for the entire fucking book.HIGHLIGHT TO VIEW SPOILER [He takes her virginity because HE decides that she’s ready even after she repeatedly asked him not to and told him she wants to wait. He repeatedly fucks her without a condom even when she begs him to wrap him up and is scared to be a teenage pregnancy statistic. END SPOILER

And the heroine? No matter how smart, sassy, strong willed, or backboned she is…just takes it all.
Again, you’ll say to me, but Lana, it’s fiction, calm your tits.

And I’ll say to you that what it is, is tone-deaf. It spins a tale of a completely fucked up rapey asshole and shows that all he needs, is to find a woman that “understands” him and doesn’t want to change him. Because that’s just who he is, and so long as she “gets him”, it’s all ok. And it’s all ok because he only does that to her. He doesn’t feel those urges towards any other unsuspecting female victims women. Just her.
And in the midst of the #MeToo movement, I’m quite honestly shocked that a book like this is written.

I’m not a delicate snowflake. I LOVE a dark romance and I’ve read my fair share. Just take a look at my shelves. But this book is just not one I can get behind. Nor do I even consider to be a dark romance. Aside from the rapey aspects of the book, there is nothing dark about it. Perhaps if it was written as a true dark romance, it would have been a different case entirely. The author is clearly a talented writer, and I’ll be trying some of her other books. Sometimes a character just isn’t for you, and this was that case for me. Again, it’s a matter of taste. And as I’ve said, you’ll either love or hate it. So read it and judge for yourself.

Review: Absolution by Keri Lake (found in Outlaw Anthology)

ABSOLUTION
Genre: Dark Romance
Author: Keri Lake
Release Date: January 8, 2018

 

Absolution is part of Wanted An Outlaw Anthology.

According to canon law, it is forbidden for a priest to betray the penitent for any reason. Even murder.

The consequences?

Excommunication.

For years, I’ve listened to your confessions. I know your darkest secrets, and have swallowed your sins in silence. In return, I’ve offered you forgiveness in His name. But behind the partition that separates us, I’m nothing more than a man who has long questioned his own faith.

Your contrition is my invitation: to mete out the kind of justice you pray will never come. I’m neither pious, nor merciful, despite what you see. I’m an imposter, an abomination to all I represent. A quiet executioner who’s kept below the radar.

Until her.

She’s seen what I’ve done. She knows the man beneath the cloth and my every mortal sin. She has witnessed the uncontrollable vices she hopes to use against me in order to get what she covets most.

Yet, I know her sins, too. Ones she doesn’t bother to confess. The kind, for which, there is no absolution.

AMAZON

C’mon, pécheresse, let me hear you scream.”
“Oh, God!”
“There is no God here, Ivy. Only me.”

Bless me, father, for I have sinned. Oh how I’ve sinned! I’ve sinned So. Freaking. Hard. And I’m not even a little sorry. Absolution was a deliciously thrilling ride that skirts the edge of propriety and was so good, it was downright sinful!

Moans muffle into the pillows, while she rolls her head and claws at the bedding as if possessed by demons. Maybe she is. Surely, God isn’t present here, while I f*ck her with the kind of reckless abandon that’ll land my soul in hell.

If you’ve never read anything by the immensely talented Keri Lake, then this is the story you need to start with to get a good taste of her addicting story telling. And if you’re a fan of taboo romance, that you definitely need this book in your life!

Father Damon is not all that he seems. There’s a dark undercurrent to this man of the cloth and a history riddled with demons that have followed him into his present. When a man steps into his confessional to describe a crime that’s horrific beyond words, it sends Damon into a tailspin of repressed anger and vengeance. Then a a beautiful woman with her own dark secrets puts his faith to a true test.

Absolution is a sizzling story full of grit and a dash of darkness with a heavy layer of taboo. It was a page turner from beginning to finish. A high paced thrill ride of vengeance with a deliciously sizzling romance.

Ivy is a character that I wasn’t sure I’d like at first but boy did she grow on me as the story progressed. Her reasons for getting to Damon aren’t exactly altruistic. This is a woman with a hidden agenda, but one made out of utter and complete helplessness. She’s desperate to get away from a demon of her own past and she’ll do anything to escape him. Even make a sinner out of Damon…

With plenty of mind-blowing twists and turns that I’ve come to love and expect from this author, Absolution was one unputdownable read that I recommend for any fans of gritty taboo romance.

Review: In The Land of Gods and Monsters by Carmen Jenner

In the Land of Gods and Monsters
Series: Gods and Monsters #1
Author: Carmen Jenner
Genre: Dark Romance
Release Date: November 20, 2018
In the land of Gods and Monsters, she was a toy.
A plaything.
A pet.
His pet.
Taken, stolen, beaten, used.
Pet remembers nothing before his touch, and afterward, she craves nothing more.
Sinful and merciless, Ares is her God now.
He alone says when to beg, when to come, and when to kneel, but he never said anything about
leaving.
99c for a limited time!!

Ares leads me into the darkness, and I have no choice but to follow blindly.

The second I saw the blurb for this book, I’ve been chomping at the bit to get my grabby little hands on it. If I know one thing from my love affair with Carmen Jenner’s other books, the woman knows how to write some dark and gritty stuff. And this reader is RAVENOUS for it!

Now, I feel it fair to warn you that this book is most definitely not for the faint of heart. It’s not just dark, it’s DARK. It skates right past the edge of black and white and right into the gray void of human depravity.

Told in dual POVs, it throws you right into the deep end of the dark waters where pain and pleasure blur, and consent is not a thing that comes to mind. A famous ballerina, her career is all she cares about…until the night she’s taken and her identity is stripped from her along with her memory. She’s left stripped down to her basest urges and questioning everything she thinks she knows. Her captor is a violently captivating enigma. He’s not gentle or nice, but somewhere in the pits of his darkness we get a glimpse into someone else. But it never quite comes out. He’s the master and she’s the pet and their “relationship” is violence and sex.

One day, I’ll escape. I’ll be free, but my freedom will come at a price—Ares’ life. It seems a worthy exchange. After all, he stole my life. It’s only fair that I should take his.

I loved the first 40% of the book. I was at the edge of my seat and a ball of anxiety, both eager and terrified to turn the page. But then somewhere along the line, all of the punishments and sex scenes began to blur into each other. I felt like a good half of them could have been removed, and the story wouldn’t have suffered without them. I wanted more development on the story and the characters, and while that was definitely still there, I couldn’t help wanting more. I’m positive the next installment will ultimately bring the answers and more development, so I can’t wait for that. This installment felt a little stretched out, more so than necessary. It begins strong and ends with a bang. But the parts in the middle felt somewhat unnecessary. There were parts that were shocking, almost too much so. But you have to know to expect that. This felt more like dark erotica than romance, but there’s an undercurrent of something more. Something I’m sure we’ll get in the next book.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to rock myself in a corner in my wait for book two.

Release Blitz & Giveaway: In The Land of Gods and Monsters by Carmen Jenner

In the Land of Gods and Monsters
Series: Gods and Monsters #1
Author: Carmen Jenner
Genre: Dark Romance
Release Date: November 20, 2018
In the land of Gods and Monsters, she was a toy.
A plaything.
A pet.
His pet.
Taken, stolen, beaten, used.
Pet remembers nothing before his touch, and afterward, she craves nothing more.
Sinful and merciless, Ares is her God now.
He alone says when to beg, when to come, and when to kneel, but he never said anything about
leaving.
99c for a limited time!!
“Beautiful, isn’t it?” He presses his front against my back, eliminating the space between us. My heart races as I feel his erection through his suit pants. I shiver.
“Will you hurt me in here, Sir?”
“Of course.”
“Will you make me cry?”
“I usually do.” I steel my jaw, because the way he talks about my pain, my torment, is just cruel. “Then what are you waiting for?”
“An audience,” he whispers, his tongue darting out to lick the space where my shoulder meets my neck. I close my eyes, bring my arm up behind his head, and slide my fingers into his hair as he devours my flesh. My body is electric, on fire, and buzzing with need. His words terrify me, and yet I’ve never been more turned on.

Carmen Jenner is a USA Today and international bestselling author.A hardcore red lipstick addict and a romantic at heart, Carmen strives to give her characters the HEA they deserve, but not before ruining their lives completely first … because what’s a happily ever after without a little torture?

Review: Bloodstained Beauty by Ella Fields

BLOODSTAINED BEAUTY
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Author: Ella Fields
Release Date: November 6, 2018

Fresh out of college and headed straight for my dream job, I didn’t think things could get any better.
Then I met my dream man.

In an instant, my happy ever after had begun.
The life I’d stumbled into was beautiful, and the man I loved was perfect.
But perfection comes at a cost, and I’d slumbered through all the alarms.

Then I met my nightmare.
The man whose bright eyes held untamed darkness.
The man who disarmed me with his peculiar behavior.
The man whose cold, merciless hands shook me awake.
In an instant, questions started to dismantle my happy ever after.

But whoever said the truth would set you free was wrong.
It wasn’t going to repair the cracks in my naive heart.
It wasn’t going to caress my face with comforting hands and reassure me it was all just a dream.
No, the truth shoved me down a rabbit hole, and I landed in the lair of a real-life monster.

AMAZON

Fairy tales, those perfect happy endings, were indeed for suckers. Suckers who could very well wind up dead.

I’m going to keep it real with you all here and admit that I didn’t even bother to read the blurb before adding this book for two very simple reasons:
1. It’s Ella Fields. She writes it, I read it.
2. That cover. Don’t you judge me either! Tell me you didn’t want to lick it when you saw it. TELL ME!

But I digress as usual.

This book? Nothing like what I expected. It was like a dark and gritty take on Beauty and The Beast. It sucked me in with the prologue and kept me riveted to the pages until the end. I was on the edge of my seat with every twist and turn. You only thing you know what’s happening when the author takes a sudden u-turn and everything you thought you knew is left in ashes.

Benevolent tenderness oozed from his heart even as blood and violence tainted his soul.

This story truly breaks the mold to the typical romance formula. It’s nothing like I expected and it owned me from beginning to finish. I’m used to the fact that Ella Fields will always bring me out of my comfort zone as a reader, and she definitely didn’t disappoint here.

While I’d love to tell you exactly what this book is about, I’d be doing you a disservice. You need to experience this story blind. And that’s exactly what you’ll do; you’ll experience it. That blurb is vague and for good reason. That’s precisely how my review will be, too.

Jemima is a heroine that’s unique in her own right. She’s a little naive and a tender heart. She hasn’t really experienced heartbreak, deceit, or betrayal in her young age. But then a chance encounter tilts her entire world on it’s axis. You know the pivotal moment that comes with her choices, because you experience it with the prologue. But instead of putting you at ease because you know what’s coming, it does the exact opposite. The story lulls you into a false sense of security, as you wait for that other shoe to drop. You think you know how and when it happens, but you really don’t.

As for the other main character, or the anti-hero really? I’m not going to tell you much. But what I will say is that he’s one of the most magnetic and intense characters and you know next to nothing about him for the majority of the story. I was salivating for just the tiniest hint into the back void that is him. And this man is dark. There’s not much gray there, trust me.

Bloodstained Beauty was one deliciously gritty read. If you’re looking for a read that’s as unique as it is riveting, this is a must read!

#DGRFave & Review: Ballistic by @KeriLake

BALLISTIC
Series: Vigilantes #3
Genre: Dark, Contemporary Romance
Author: Keri Lake
Release Date: October 30, 2018add-to-goodreads-button-2

A life for a life.

On the streets of Detroit, it’s the code we live by. You take from me, I take from you. A balance of power, and a ceaseless war between rivals.

As a foster kid from the projects, I never had much, besides an unshakable addiction to women and drugs. Only took one glance into the amber eyes of a slave for me to realize my two worst vices could be one and the same.

And the woman behind those eyes quickly became my obsession.

Nicoleta is more than she seems. An enigma I’m determined to crack before time runs out and our enemies hunt her down. Except, she moves by her own trajectory, an unstoppable bullet on the warpath to track down the men who murdered a girl from her past.

Me? I’m the rogue whose path is less predictable. A junkie, fiending for the one thing I shouldn’t want: the only woman who gets me high. I want to keep her for myself, but when the unstoppable bullet finally hits her mark and secrets begin to unravel, another life must be paid.
A heart for a heart.

Buy LinksAMAZON 

Review5 stars

We were as tragically beautiful and fragile as a dead rose. Two souls, broken beyond redemption.

If you’ve read any book by Keri Lake, then you already know that the woman can write a dark, gritty and captivating story like no other. She has this amazing ability to suck the readers into the dark abyss that are her books and keep them at the edge of their seat from beginning to finish. She’ll throw twist after twist your way until you don’t know which side is up. But one thing you’ll know for sure is that you didn’t just read a book of hers, you experienced it.

I silenced his argument with a kiss, feeling his fingers curl into my flesh. His mouth tasted like whiskey and sorrow, wrapped in guilt. A familiar cocktail.

I’ve been waiting for Dax’s story for what feels like forever. Ever since he watched helplessly as a young girl was driven away by one of the criminals he’d been after. He’s been searching for her ever since, only to hit one dead end after another. Until finally he finds her. But Nicoleta is not at all what she seems. And Dax definitely never saw a storm like her coming.

…my Nicoleta. The embodiment of fortitude and resilience. A brand of beauty that couldn’t be replicated because one would have to walk through absolute hell to acquire it.

While this is set in the Vigilantes series, you can easily read it as a standalone. Though I highly recommend the other two books as some of the story arcs do carry over. Ballistic was a whole different beast in this series with Nicoleta being the one seeking revenge. I loved the way that Keri Lake balanced the scales with the two characters. Nicoleta really took the driver’s seat in a lot of the story, but Dax never blended into the background. He was no less alpha and no less intense in his need to be the tool she uses to mete out her punishment. I LOVED this delicious turn of roles.

Nicoleta was a mystery wrapped in nightmares; nightmares of a hell that she’s lived through and a past she barely remembers. This is a woman that’s absolutely shattered, but she’s not weak. She’s vengeance and hell, pain and retribution. She’s a fiery ball of hatred and passion, and she was the perfect balance to Dax’s intensity.

This was a dark and twisty page turner of a story filled with blood, vengeance, and a love amongst the ashes. It sucked me in right into the dark underbelly of the worst sort of underground crime imaginable and those that rose out of the ashes of the pain it brought. It was deliciously twisty. It had me a ball of anxiety with my heart in my throat the entire time. It made me cringe. It made me cry. It made shiver in anticipation. In a word? It was UNPUTDOWNABLE!


DON’T MISS THE REST OF THE SERIES

RICOCHET (Vigilantes #1)
READ MY 5 STAR REVIEW HERE

91t23tLVXyL

The only sure way to destroy a man is to take what he cannot live without.

Three years ago, I had everything.

A beautiful wife.
A son.
A reason for living.

Until a ruthless task force, assembled under Mayor Michael Culling, with a brutal strategy to make the streets of Detroit ‘safe’, ripped away everything I loved in a deadly hunt called The Culling.

They tried to kill me, too. I wish they had. Now I’m cursed by the memories of that night, and the words I whispered to my dying wife.

A promise—to avenge the wrong and set it right.

I’m no longer Nick Ryder. I’m a masked vigilante. Faceless. Loveless. Fearless. A man with nothing left to lose—one who’s seen the dark and violent truth behind the city’s flawless veneer.

Michael Culling doesn’t know who I am. Or what I want. All he knows is that I’ve kidnapped his beautiful wife.

An eye for an eye—isn’t that how the saying goes? And Aubree Culling is the perfect pawn to destroy him.

If she doesn’t destroy me first.

Buy LinksAMAZON


BACKFIRE (Vigilantes #2)
READ MY 5 STAR REVIEW HERE

Backfire+FOR+WEB

This book is a standalone set in the same world as Ricochet.

No matter how unbreakable he may seem, every man has a weakness.

A year ago, my home became a bloodstained crime scene. That night marked the beginning of my hell—the same night I was tortured by my enemies and tossed into an underground prison to die.

They failed. I survived.

Now that I’m free, only one motive burns in my soul: revenge.

Lucky for me, they think Jase Hawkins is dead. Maybe I am. I’ve got nothing but a cold, merciless rage, and Black Betty, the sharp steel blade that never leaves my side.

Then she drifts into my life.

Lucia wants answers—so much so, she’s willing to fall into the darkness where my enemies lie in wait, to kill her for what she knows.

Or to take her for the depraved fantasies her body alone can rouse in a man’s mind.

Me? I want her for the fire in her touch that feeds my addiction, forces me to feel what has become numb, but my appetite for bloodshed runs deeper than flesh.

For my own sanity, I’ve vowed to stay away from her. Because she’s my only weakness, an obsession that leaves me craving more—one that could make even the most steadfast plan backfire.

Buy LinksAMAZON | iBOOKS

Review: Booted by Pam Godwin

BOOTED
Series: Trails of Sin #3
Genre: Dark Cowboy Romance
Author: Pam Godwin
Release Date: September 18, 2018

The night I’m released from prison, she’s in my bed.
It’s been eight years since I touched a woman, and the Native American beauty is half-dressed, beaten, bruised, and devastatingly exquisite.

We’re toxic together, but we want the same things. Blood. Vengeance.
Violent relief in a warm body.

Beneath her touch, I’m alive.
Against her skin, I’m redeemed.
Buried inside her, I forget the past.
Until the past takes her from me.

Prison made me cold, but losing Raina makes me cruel. Ruthless. Unforgiving.
I killed before. For her, I’ll kill again.
I’ll end this once and for all or die in my boots.

TRAILS OF SIN series (HEAs with no cliffhangers – must be read in order):
Knotted #1 – Jake and Conor
Buckled #2 – Jarret and Maybe
Booted #3 – Lorne and Raina

AMAZON  

Beautiful doesn’t begin to describe him. He’s arresting in the way a viper is deadly. Entrancing. Calculating. Patient. If he strikes, I won’t survive the bite.

After two deliciously twisty installments, it all comes to a head in this heart pounding conclusion to the Trails of Sin trilogy.

After eight years behind bars, Lorne is back home but he’s no longer the boy that he was when he went in. He’s hardened. Cold. Detached. That’s what happens when you spend years behind bars for killing a man that had involvement in your sister’s brutal rape that you were forced to helplessly watch happen. Now Lorne only wants one thing; revenge on the one man that’s been pulling the strings.

Raina has survived plenty in her young life. A survivor at her very core, she’s used to taking care of herself. But then she finds herself chained and beaten within an inch of her life and finally asks for help. And while it looked as though she was willingly at John’s beck and call and bent to his demented sexual will, looks are deceiving. Now seeking revenge of her own against the man that’s responsible for her greatest pain, she won’t stop until John is dead at her hand.

She’s an addictive drink of legs and attitude, with a kick of heat and vinegar.

Lorne and Raina are incredibly broken characters though each for different reasons. Each of them has seen the very bowels of human depravity and paid dearly for it. Raina’s past was heartbreaking to read. I loved that through everything that she’s been through, she doesn’t lose her backbone or sass. This is a woman that gives as good as she gets and she’s gotten plenty.

The sparks with her and Lorne are immediate and downright incendiary.

Let me tell you something about me. If you were my girl, I’d make you feel like my world. Only then would I deserve to make you feel like my slut.”

There’s plenty more secrets that get unraveled and so many twists and turns it will leave your head spinning. A perfect page turner of a conclusion to an addicting trilogy. And while book two is still my favorite, Booted didn’t disappoint. It was dark and sexy, and with Pam Godwin’s signature gritty lyrical writing style.


TRAILS OF SIN Series

KNOTTED Book #1
Available Now
Amazon | Other Retailers

BUCKLED Book #2
Available Now
Amazon | Other Retailers

BOOTED Book #3
Available Now
Amazon | Other Retailers


Pam Godwin Books GrayScale

New York Times and USA Today Bestselling author, Pam Godwin, lives in the Midwest with her husband, their two children, and a foulmouthed parrot. When she ran away, she traveled fourteen countries across five continents, attended three universities, and married the vocalist of her favorite rock band.
.
Java, tobacco, and dark romance novels are her favorite indulgences, and might be considered more unhealthy than her aversion to sleeping, eating meat, and dolls with blinking eyes.
Join my Facebook Reader Group: here

Other Books by Pam Godwin

Tangled Lies Series
ONE IS A PROMISE (#1) – FREE
TWO IS A LIE (#2)
THREE IS A WAR (#3)

Deliver Series
DELIVER (#1) – FREE
VANQUISH (#2)
DISCLAIM (#3)
DEVASTATE (#4)

Trilogy of Eve
HEART OF EVE – FREE
DEAD OF EVE (#1)
BLOOD OF EVE (#2)
DAWN OF EVE (#3)

Stand-alones

DARK NOTES

DIRTY TIES

BENEATH THE BURN

INCENTIVE

 

Review: Church. by Stylo Fantome

CHURCH.
Series: Church #1
Genre: Psychological Thriller
Author: Stylo Fantome
Release Date: July 20, 2018

A broken girl.

An unusual boy.

A beautiful face that hides a dark secret and an ugly past.

Sealed lips which hide wicked words and dangerous thoughts.

She would kill for him to love her.

He just wants to kill.

Maybe, if Emma Hartley prays hard enough, Church Logan can make both their wishes come true.

Fuse, meet match.

warning: if you have triggers – this story will touch on a lot of them. This book is a psychological thriller, 65,000+ words.


AMAZON

Maybe this whole time, I should’ve been looking for someone as fucked up as me. Maybe two broken pieces can be glued together to make a whole.

Holy hell. I mean holy hell! These might be the most fucked up characters I’ve read in a long while. Or ever. I’m still trying to figure out how I felt about them. But what I do know? Is days after finishing, I’m still thinking about it. And that certainly stands for something.

First of all, this is a psychological thriller. So if you’re going into this expecting a dark romance with an anti-hero that you’ll love to hate but still has some redeeming qualities and it’ll be sunshine and unicorns shitting rainbows at the end? Well, my friend, I’d check your delicate sensibilities at the door and forget about it. You won’t be finding it here.

What you will find are characters that are definitely missing their moral compass. As a matter of fact, they don’t even know what a moral compass is.

He’s magic. He’s the devil. He’s inside me now, in my blood, in my brain. Why isn’t he always talking to me? Why isn’t he always looking at me? Why aren’t we together right now? He’s it. He’s my moment that I’ve been waiting for. He’s the greatness I’ve been missing.

I don’t want to tell you too much about the plot or the characters, because I don’t want to ruin the suspense of it. And let me tell you, this book is full of it. It’s twisted and full of twists with an undercurrent of something so dark, you’re almost afraid to name it. It’s like Charles Manson meet Natural Born Killers sort of twisted.

Church was an enigma that I wanted to peel the layers off until I got to the very twisted core of him and knew all of his secrets. This is a character unlike any I’ve ever read if I’m being perfectly honest. And I flip flopped between being intrigued by him and being seriously disturbed…and then back to intrigued. This book fucked with my damn head. Which certainly speaks to the author’s talent for creating characters that will do that.

So why a lower rating? As much as I was intrigued by these characters, I also struggled to connect with them. I can’t even put my finger on what it was exactly, but something kept me from being truly invested in them. But even with that, I couldn’t stop myself from reading, and that definitely says something. With this being the first book in what I’m assuming will be a duet, perhaps that additional foundation will come a bit later, and this was just setting the scene and throwing the hook before the reader is reeled in. I fully reserve the right to change my rating once I see how it all concludes. But for now, I’ll tell you that it’s one hell of a unique story unlike any I’ve read before. If you’re looking for something dark and twisted, this is definitely that.

Review: Verona Blood by Lili St. Germain

VERONA BLOOD
Series: California Blood #1
Genre: Dark Romance
Author: Lili St. Germain
Release Date: May 29, 2018

An arranged marriage. A brutal abduction.

And a love so forbidden, it might destroy them both.

San Francisco is going to burn if the coveted princess of California’s criminal underworld isn’t returned to her family in one piece …

Avery Capulet is missing.

Taken by a madman. Kept in the dark.

She might not survive.

He’ll use her body. Destroy her mind. All before he ever lays a hand on her.

Rome Montague is a drug dealer. A criminal. A thief.

And he needs the secrets Avery and her family are keeping – even if it means cutting them out of her pretty Capulet flesh.

Rome Montague is missing – but nobody will miss him.

Not that it matters; After the things he’s done to this girl, he doesn’t deserve to be found.

Prepare to step into the dark and bloody underworld of California, as Lili St. Germain brings you a modern retelling of Romeo and Juliet, in the same vein as her bestselling Gypsy brothers series.

Verona Blood, set in the criminal underbelly of San Francisco, follows two warring families who are ruled by blood, power and twisted desire.

AMAZON

She was second-in-line for a throne that her older sister had already been molded to fit. I was the ruins of a family legacy that had soared too high, and crashed spectacularly, the sole survivor of a broken dynasty.

Well…hell. That was certainly…something.

If you’ve read St. Germain’s Gypsy Brothers series, then you already know that her mind can take you to some dark places. The woman’s brain is downright devious, and she writes dark and depraved like no one else. Verona Blood may be a modern twist on Romeo and Juliet, and while it certainly focuses on two star-crossed lovers, there’s not much love that shines through in this story just yet.

The first in the series throws you deep into the underbelly of organized crime and the sacrifices made for family in blood. It’s gritty as hell. It’s violent and spares no detail. If you’ve read ANY book this author has written before, you’ll know that she’s not afraid to go there. And boy does she in this book.

Verona Blood introduces Avery Capulet, as she faces the ultimate reality of being forced to marry a man that she doesn’t love for the good of her family and the order of her father. Avery is headstrong and willful, but she’s not about to say no to her father. But a sick twist of fate lands her in the sights of a psychopath, and then her nightmare truly begins.

In my wildest dreams —or my most terrifying nightmares —never once did I think that I’d be trapped in hell with him.>

I’ll admit, there were parts of this book that were extremely difficult to read. And I’ve read some dark books. But what I truly appreciate about Germain’s writing, is she doesn’t do it for shock value. The depravity and violence truly serves to drive the plot forward, and as dark as it may be, it fits. This book is no walk in the park. It’s damn disturbing. But color me officially hooked.

In the style of her Gypsy Brothers, this is more of a novella length. I read it in 2.5 hrs and was left with my jaw on the floor by the end. It was long enough to hook you, yet short enough to leave you craving more. I’m equally curious and terrified to see what the next book in this series will reveal.

#DGRFave & Review: The Paper Swan by @LeylahAttar

THE PAPER SWAN
Genre: Contemporary Romance, Suspense, Dark
Author: Leylah Attar
Release Date: August 4, 2015

They say it takes 21 days to form a habit.

They lie.

For 21 days she held on.

But on Day 22, she would have given anything for the sweet slumber of death.

Because on Day 22, she realizes that her only way out means certain death for one of the two men she loves.

A haunting tale of passion, loss, and redemption, The Paper Swan is a darkly intense yet heartwarming love story, textured with grit, intrigue, and suspense. Please note: This is NOT a love triangle.

A full-length, standalone novel, intended for mature audiences due to violence, sex and language. Subject matter may be disturbing for some readers.

AMAZON | iBOOKS

You can either choose love or you can choose hate, because where one lives, the other will die.”

This weekend I didn’t just read a book, I experienced one. I fell head over heels for an all encompassing, gritty and emotional romance that kept me glued to the pages from start to finish. I’m embarrassed to say I’ve had this phenomenal story on my kindle for over 2 years and only now just read it. I’m kicking myself for it fully for only now discovering the raw talent that is Leylah Attar writing. Because this book? This book was everything. EVERYTHING. It was devastating, passionate, beautiful and dark. It was flawlessly written and entirely unforgettable.

Vengeance only begets more vengeance, more chaos, more darkness.

What ultimately hooked me on the story was the writing. It’s this unicorn of writings styles that falls flawlessly between lyrical and gritty. I fell in love with Attar’s writing style. Her descriptions, her character development, all of it was so effortless yet absolutely stunning. I can’t say enough about it.

We are a question that hasn’t been answered yet, a hiding place that hasn’t been found yet, a battle that hasn’t been fought yet.”

The readers gets thrown right into the deep end from the beginning. Left breathless and eager for answers, the authors keeps you at the edge of your seat with each morsel of information that she slowly discloses. The pacing was absolute perfection.

I instantly connected with Skye. Although she’s lived a pampered, almost sheltered life, this is not a naive or spoiled woman. She’s someone with an inner core of strength that makes her shine from the pages. You can’t help but root for her and the impossible situation that she finds herself in. Kidnapped, held captive on a boat, being led to what she knows is her inevitable death by a man that leaves her with more questions than answers.

Damian had thieving, stealing contraband eyes, and when they fell on my mouth, they robbed me of all breath and thought.

Damian. Oh man. Damian. This was such an intense and complex anti-hero. You want to hate him for what he does, and then he gives you glimpses of something more vulnerable behind the mask he wears, and you can’t help but yearn for more of it. This is a character with so many layers, that even if you peeled them all back, you’d still not get to the center of it.

His lips found mine and he latched on with a hunger that left me breathless. He was an ocean of want and need. All the raging, submerged currents that he’d kept at bay unleashed themselves on me. I tried to keep afloat, clutching at him, but I didn’t stand a chance.

The Paper Swan is a stunning story of vengeance and sacrifice, of regret and forgiveness. It was passionate. It was gritty and raw. It was absolutely, positively unforgettable and a story I’ll take with me for a long time to come.

Copyright © 2015 · Dirty Girl Romance

%d bloggers like this: