*REVIEW* – The Assassin’s Wife, by Nikita Slater

#darkromance #captiveromance

Blurb

A standalone dark captive romance novel by USA Today Bestselling Author Nikita Slater.

With this ring…

With a career as a prima ballerina and married to the man of her dreams, Natasha’s life was a fairytale. Then she witnessed something she shouldn’t have. Now she’s on the run, fleeing the one person she thought she’d love forever. Her husband.

To love and to cherish.

He should’ve seen her following him, should have known that curiosity would get the better of her. Now she’s gone and he’s on the hunt. He’ll find his wayward wife, and when he does, he’ll show her the monster she thought to escape.

For better or worse.

Trapped with a man obsessed with revenge, Natasha must weather the storm and hope that he’ll remember their once fierce love before he does something they’ll both regret.

Until death do us part.

The Assassin’s Wife is a standalone dark captive romance novel. It contains themes of violence and sexual content that some readers may find offensive.

My Review

Dark Captive Romance – 5 stars

This is a dark and emotionally complex read from start to finish. David is very much the anti-hero, devoid of morals and empathy and initially there was little if anything to make me warm to him. Natasha, a young ballerina is his polar opposite and his obsession. I found it terrifying how he casually ‘acquires’ Natasha, after becoming obsessed with her when he witnesses her on stage, taking her away from pursuing her dreams. That said, I was hooked, wanting to find out how their relationship would develop, what motivates David and if there was any hope for his redemption.

My heart was in my mouth when he finally caught up with Natasha after her escape – it’s a heated and visceral scene. The author does an excellent job of creating ongoing suspense and conflict between the couple as the plot develops. Will Natasha keep her life and her sanity with such a violent and controlling man? What will he do if she once again steps out of line? How can she reconcile her complex feelings for him when her freedom is at stake? The sex scenes between them sizzle but the trigger warning contained in the blurb relating to violence and sexual content is there for a reason.

I enjoyed how Natasha’s actions continue to test her captor and how her emotional strength and resilience grows. This young woman has had so much thrown at her by David and I silently applauded her each time she stood her ground. David’s character also undergoes some change – there are a number of heart wrenching points where his icy exterior cracks, but I still felt he was a monster at the end – just Natasha’s monster. He is nevertheless one of the most memorable anti-heroes I have read in the genre.

Recommended for readers of dark romance.

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*REVIEW*- Blurred Limits, by Marissa Farrar and S R Jones

#reverseharem

Blurb

For them it’s all a game, but to me it’s survival.

When an opportunity to work at the exclusive island resort called The Limit comes up, I can’t say no. I’ll only be a maid, but at least it’ll get me off the streets and offer me somewhere to hide out from my stepfather.

But a case of mistaken identity changes everything.

The men who own this place—Brody, Wilder, Rafferty, and Asher—think I am someone else, and when an offer of winning a million dollars is put in front of me, how can I tell them the truth?

These men are all different, but they all have one thing in common, they’re all broken, and now they want to break me.

The game involves a hunt across the island. If I win, I get my heart’s desire. If they win, they get to do whatever they want to me.

But as the days pass, limits get blurred and boundaries are broken, and as my secrets bubble to the surface, the danger only increases.

What will happen when they discover my lie?

Goodreads

My Review

Dark, Twisted and Smoking Hot! 5 stars

Oh my heart! This is one smoking hot dark and twisted capture fantasy from start to finish. Once I bought into the premise of the book I was hooked – when Honor reports for duty for employment as a maid at an exclusive island resort she is mistaken for another. She decides to go along with the offer of allowing herself to be hunted by the four uber alpha owners, Brody, Wilder, Rafferty, and Asher. With one million dollars up for grabs it would be rude not to and Honor can use the money to ensure her future safety.

Honor’s backstory which prompts her to deceive the men added an interesting layer to the story and made me feel for her. I also loved that the men in question, all so very different, are bound together by their own dark experiences (not to mention their various depravities which come to light).

I enjoyed the various hunt scenes Honor is subjected to and how the tension, stakes and the level of kink ratchet ever higher. Honor learns just what a devious and deviant group of men she has become in involved with.

Can Honor survive each of the hunts without falling prey to their desires and leave the island richer or will she find herself captured and subject to their whims? What of her self-worth in engaging in such activity and can she keep her emotions distant from what she endures? Has she discovered a side of herself she did not know existed? Also, what if the men discover she is not who she pretends to be?

This is a compulsive read which I could not put it down – literally shooing my family away until I had finished it. I can’t wait for next instalment – without giving anything away the way the book ends is killing me – in a good way!

I received a free copy of this book via Booksprout and am voluntarily leaving a review.

Reviewed by Tina Williams

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*BOOK REVIEW TOUR* – A New Dark Age: A Reckoning, by Ross Patrick

#Dystopian #Speculative

 “A dark vision of our coming future where the flickering glimmer of hope is the human capacity to form relationships and help each other. This is rebel fiction.”

 For readers who appreciate Cormac McCarthy,

Nicholas Matthieu & Margaret Atwood

Publisher: Brown Dog Books

Publication date: eBook – 14th December 2021

Paperback – 27th January 2022

Blurb

When the collapsing began, in a system where scarcity was a commodity, there was always a need for the unemployed, the homeless and the hungry. When most people could no longer afford consumer goods, there were riots. The rulers called it an attack on democracy.

The riots were met with militarised, armoured police. With falling tax revenues, companies took over financing the police, so the police increasingly functioned as capitalism’s own Praetorian Guard; sometimes supporting rival business leaders, sometimes bringing about their demise, and all the while living standards fell and the state started to crumble. 
For Esme Sedgebrook, growing up in the provinces, there is no future other than an arranged marriage, motherhood, and domesticity, fleeing to join the uprising is as much about personal transformation as it is political. 

My Review

Prescient and dramatic tale of a dystopian future – 5 stars

Set in the year 2061, this novel is a bleak and dramatic tale of a dystopian future, which explores the best and worst of humanity. I found it to be eerily prescient – I could easily imagine a future world where at least some of the events come to pass, given the trajectory the planet is on at this point.

It is also a story of the journey and enlightenment of seventeen year old Esme Sedgebrook, a downtrodden young woman from the provinces, who joins the rebels in their bid to shake the foundations of a society that has become sick, twisted and corrupt. Women have been reduced to chattels and the exploitation of the populace by those in power is cruel and stark. The read is a dark one but there are shafts of light in the bonds of friendship and the bravery and commradeship of many of the characters, often at great personal cost.

The world building was excellent – I could easily visualise the people and places Esme and others encounter as the plot progresses.  This future England is still recognisable, but it is scarred, broken and decayed and technology and medicine have all but disappeared. Society is divided between the obscenely rich, isolated from the common people who eek out a living and many have reverted back to the old ways of building local community ties and religion has once again taken hold. And then there are the lawmakers and the military, who do the dirty work for those in power and finally the revolutionaries, who baulk at the many wrongs in society and devote their lives to bring the system down. 

I found it to be a deeply thoughtful read which draws on our collective memories of the Peasants’ Revolt, enclosures, the Industrial Revolution and the development of capitalism. It contains rich characterisations and descriptions and a complex plot with dark undercurrents of violence and desperation throughout, interspersed with friendship, hope and the determination to bring about change. 

I enjoyed how the lives of the various characters encountered within the story became interwoven as the book progressed and reached its conclusion. Esme is not the same person at the end of the book as she was at the beginning and she is at various points a bystander, an active participant and a victim of some of the events in between. Indeed, there are a number of violent and disrurbing scenes which are integral to the story and the development of its characters.

I know that this read will stay with me for a long time, not least because of Esme’s personal journey but also as it cautions us about what could very well come to pass if circumstances allow.

Reviewed by Tina Williams

Please note, a copy of the book was given to me by the author and I am voluntarily leaving a fair and honest review.

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About the Author

Ross Patrick was born in the Scottish enclave of Corby in the English East Midlands. When the Steel Works started shedding jobs he moved with his family to rural Leicestershire. Introverted, Ross drifted through a grey school of tired buildings and lingering temporary classrooms to provincial universities at Leicester and then Norwich, the University of East Anglia, where he studied Literature, having previously studied History. He then “lost a decade” working in wine retail and education before a breakdown and suicide attempt in 2014. Ross learnt that people’s sympathy for mental illness is often more generous in theory than in deed. During a housebound recovery from depression and PTSD, initially as catharsis, he began writing more seriously. 

Ross lives quietly in a house by a stream back in the English East Midlands with his cat, Graham. He admits to disliking numbers, though this could be a reaction to his dad’s work in accounting: Life isn’t to be measured but to be experienced, though he says he’s mostly experienced his vicariously. He finds distraction in long walks, studying the philosophy of consciousness and the hope that we are all one dream experiencing itself subjectively from infinite disassociated perspectives. Otherwise, Ross says he suffers persistent disappointments of following Nottingham Forest, and the joyous feelgood escapism of following Ben Fogle’s New Lives in the Wild. He enjoys both cooking and eating Italian food, an inheritance from his mother’s family. He is also vegetarian; Graham the cat is not. Ross believes in the collective whilst Graham is frustratingly individualistic – these differences continue to bring some small amount of tension to their otherwise companionable existence.

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*REVIEW* – Perfection, Kitty Thomas

#DarkRomance #Contemporary

Blurb

Everyone thought I was married to the perfect man. But if Conall Walsh were perfect, I wouldn’t have killed him.

I thought I got away with it until I received an anonymous note at the ballet company I dance for:

You were a very bad girl. If you don’t want me to report what I know about last night, meet me at the old opera house after rehearsal. I will tell you the price of my silence when you arrive. If you speak of this or bring anyone with you… no deal.

But his price isn’t money. It’s me.

THIS BOOK IS A STANDALONE contemporary dark romance.

My Review

Beautiful and suspenseful dark read – 5 stars

This is a dark romance containing murder, blackmail and eroticism set within the beautiful world of ballet and I read it in one sitting. I particulary liked the Phantom of the Opera vibes of the setting where much of the action takes place.

Having rid herself of her controlling and abusive husband, Cassia falls prey to a blackmailer who threatens to tell all if she does not pay the price he demands. Rather than money, the blackmailer insists that Cassia submits to him at a specific time and place and in a manner of his choosing…

I will not reveal any more, suffice to say that there are plenty of deliciously erotic scenes where Cassia is compelled to surrender to the will of her blackmailer. What starts off as understandable fear and trepidation on Cassia’s part soon turns to compulsion as she becomes wrapped up in his twisted game. I was on the edge of my seat throughout wondering what would happen next. I also found myself craving the growing connection between the couple, despite the obvious wrongness of the situation.

The read, which explores control and submission, also contains plenty of mystery and suspense as Cassia strives to come to terms with her new reality. The twist at the end completely blindsided me! It is a super read for fans of the genre.

Reviewed by Tina Williams

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