CC’s ARC Review ~ Buy Me, Sir by Jade West

 

4 Stars! 

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Melissa “Lissa” Martin is a nineteen year old who was forced into adulthood when her parents died in a tragic car accident. Since then, she has been raising her toddler brother and had to put her education and dreams on hold. But Lissa never gave up on the dream of meeting the man that showed her kindness on one unexpected day.

“He’d just been a posh guy in a suit, until he smiled at me. And that smile was enough for me to gift my heart to a man I’d probably never see again.”


Alexander James Henley, Jr. is a high profile criminal defense attorney known as the puppet master, pulling strings to get his clients the best outcome. While his professional life is in the spotlight, Alexander prefers to keep his private dealings off the radar, as his predilections are considered deviant to many.

“I’m interested in all fucked up. Damaged and dark. Broken. Like me.”


With a plan in place, Lissa implements each step in order to get close to this elusive man. While it all clicks into place, much easier than Lissa planned, her determination borders on obsession but she has her eye on the prize. Meanwhile, Alexander is feeling more than he’s felt in years and believes he’s met his match.

“And fuck, how I fucking fuck her. I fuck her like a man fucking possessed, her body shunting under me s I keep my grip tight around her pretty neck.”


“I kiss her. Plunging my tongue inside her breathless mouth as she chokes for me.”


While Alexander and Lissa move forward, the fear that Lissa’s manipulation will be discovered is ever present. Knowing how Alexander feels about Lissa, each time she deceives him becomes more painful especially knowing Alexander’s past. Even when Lissa is put to the ultimate test, she chooses the deception

“The crazy train collides with the end of the track, and it feels wild and scary to be this unhinged.”


As it all unfolds, Alexander must come to terms with his past and those that continually choose to label his sexual needs. Knowing Lissa doesn’t place any limits on Alexander, he feels acceptance for the first time but when all he knows is a lie, it all falls apart.

When starting a Jade West book, I always feel comfortable about the journey she is going to offer. For one, it’s always going to be hot as hell, but she also has a way of dealing with different themes in an interesting and fresh way. With Lissa, she has many admirable qualities, as she is hard working and assumes so much responsibility but her obsession leaves the reader conflicted – purposely so – at times. For me, I liked Alexander from the start. Even with his outward air of confidence, he is still human and has quite a vulnerable side. And the scenes with Alex and a certain character absolutely made my day!

Buy Me, Sir offers a story about two people trying to live the only way they know how given their family circumstances. The plot unfolds at a steady pace and you can be rest assured about getting some dirty, hot times! For those looking for some kink with a big heaping of a character driven plot, I recommend!

 

TITLE: Buy Me, Sir

AUTHOR: Jade West

GENRE: Erotic Romance

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CC’s ARC Review ~ Dirty Souls (Sins Duet, #2) by Karina Halle

4 Stars

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In Dirty Souls, the timeline continues without interruption and it is a wild ride from the first page. As Vicente Bernal and Violet McQueen flee to get answers about the past, there are factions that have different motivations and they will stop at nothing to achieve their end game. During their journey, the truth slowly unfolds but lines remain blurred until the very end.

 

“I have changed too much. I wonder if this is something I’ll ever be able to wash from my skin.”


With Vicente and Violet pushed to their limits, they learn more about themselves. Violet realizes she has a dark version of herself and knowing Vicente is there to shoulder her softer side keeps her from spinning out of control. Vicente is up against much more than he anticipated and Violet gives him the strength to forge ahead. As such, both characters showed dimensionality and their arcs sustained their development.

 

“Good people do bad things.”


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With all the plot points coming together into an action packed and giant crescendo, these characters are driven to extremes. In addition to Violet and Vicente’s plight, the larger story between the Bernals and the McQueens comes to a head. And, this is where I loved all the dark parts and yet felt conflicted for certain characters regarding the motivation behind the overall plot. For those who are familiar with the backstory (The Artist’s Trilogy and Dirty Angels series), it’s one that evokes much emotion and defines alliances. Since then my team choice hasn’t changed or wavered. (view spoiler) So, to be reunited with Javier, Luisa and Ellie, it was a heady combination that put Violet and Vicente in the background for me.

Karina Halle is such a natural storyteller and essence of her characters really appears to be effortlessly communicated. Setting the stage for darkness takes an exacting and creative mind, which is evident in this duet. Once again, Karina effectively pushes boundaries that are intended to make readers question the morality of her characters.

Dirty Souls will take a reader into some depravity but also has themes of family, love, sacrifice, vengeance and ultimately hope. For those who like suspense with shadowy darkness and manipulation, I recommend!

Sins Duet:
Black Hearts (Sins Duet, #1) by Karina Halle Dirty Souls (Sins Duet, #2) by Karina Halle

Author: Karina Halle

Title: Dirty Souls (Sins Duet, #2)

Genre: Romance Suspense

Type: Multiple POV

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CC’s ARC Review ~ Animal by Marni Mann

 

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Title: Animal

Author: Marni Mann

Genre: Dark Suspense

POV: Multiple first person

Releases on March 23, 2017

 

4.5 Stars! 

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Tyler Richens is a hardworking student attending university on an academic scholarship. Not having family to rely upon, Tyler is determined to move forward and start a new life. With always wanting to feel like she belongs, she finally accepts her roommate’s request to go out on the town. During that evening, Tyler is approached by a woman offering stability, a sizeable income and a sense of family she so desperately craves.

“We love unconditionally. And we will love you.”
“I didn’t know what that felt like.”


Upon meeting and dating Jae, Tyler begins to feel the weight of her decision as she becomes entangled in the rules of her new job. While Jae has been understanding of her schedule, Tyler must make a decision that will affect their future. Knowing what the consequences will be, Tyler chooses to protect those she loves.

“I wanted to always remember his arms. His breathing. The way he felt against me.”


Beard is a prison guard at an underground prison. As a young man, Beard’s family circumstances changed causing his closest friend’s father to provide a home for him. During that time, Beard learned how violence could be channeled toward those who seemingly deserve it. Not expecting to such feel pain again in his life, Beard experiences a significant loss that propels him into a world of darkness. While the prison helps to calm the screams from within, Beard’s additional outlet is hard sex.

“Prison guard, captor, torturer – I had many titles. They all meant the same thing; I lived in the dark.”


Told in multiple first-person POV, the characters really come to life and the tone of each character’s essence is perfectly conveyed. With Beard he is raw, broody and cold but it’s partly due to how he’s chosen to insulate himself. For Tyler, she is naïve at times, but she is driven and willing to take a risk to protect others, though her methods may not be ideal. What transpires between all these characters is a balancing act and their lives intersect in such unexpected ways. And, the sex offers plenty of dominating and dirty goodness.

“I wanted that pussy on my tongue. I wanted that taste coating me. I wanted my noise buried there, so all I could smell was her.”


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As each piece appears to click into place, further complex questions arise leading to more significant consequences. With escalating tension and suspense embedded into this plot, the pacing incrementally rises until the timeline is at critical point. To say the plot is twisty would be an understatement.

Animal is a story that pulls you in from the first page with damaged characters trying to survive in their own ways. It is dark, mysterious and addictive, as Marni Mann successfully creates a world where morality is flexible and shadows lurk in one’s souls. I highly recommend!!

 

 

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CC’s ARC Review ~ Bound by DH Sidebottom

4 Stars! 

★★★★

 

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In Bound we are reunited with Anderson Cain after two years has passed. Since then, Anderson’s life has been filled with pain and sorrow but also moments of joy whenever he is with his son. Still, fighting in the underground sates his aggression and having his friend, Robbie, helps to ease Anderson’s unique needs as well.

“It’s always amazes me how tenderness shocks you. Yet the bite of pain doesn’t.”


Jeanie Carlson is a divorced pediatric nurse with a naturally docile personality. Having experienced trying times in her life, she understands loss, rejection and fear but it doesn’t make dealing with life any easier. When Jeanie meets Anderson, she feels an innate sense of safety with him despite his brusque exterior and given her current situation.

“There was something hypnotic in the way she looked at me, like she begged me for something I wasn’t sure of, asked me for hope, and pleaded with me to help her.”


Observing people is one of Anderson’s strengths and his intuition tells him that Jeanie is frightened, submissive yet forthright. In addition, he sees emotions that mirror his and for the first time since Khloe, Anderson begins to think about having more. When it becomes evident that Jeanie craves what Anderson can provide, they move forward to experience their darkest desires.

“He was back inside me with another hard thrust. Except, this time, he didn’t take me gently. He fucking owned me. He annihilated every thought in my head.”


In starting Bound, I wasn’t sure what to completely expect, as I had some reservations about just how Anderson’s life was going to progress because I was completely satisfied with how his story ended in Caged. That said, as the plot progressed, it became clear that it was time for Anderson to take the next step in his life. With Jeanie, she felt like a natural match for Anderson with her caring and kind nature. There were moments when I felt protective for Anderson, but he ultimately needed closure for his family. As always, Robbie proved to be a standout friend and I hope he continues to be a part of Anderson’s life in every delicious way.

In this novella, DH Sidebottom succinctly captures the dark and raw emotions of her characters, by showing how their vulnerabilities can lead to strength. From the first page, I was hooked and I appreciated how she was able to take Anderson to a new level.

For those familiar with Anderson’s story, I recommend Bound!

Caged Series to be read in order:
Caged (Caged, #1) by D.H. Sidebottom Chained (Caged, #2) by D.H. Sidebottom Bound (Caged, #2.5) by D.H. Sidebottom

 

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Title: Bound

Author: DH Sidebottom

Genre: Dark erotica

Type: Dual first person POV

Releases on March 17, 2017

 

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CC’s Review ~ Figure Eight by Calia Read

5 Stars!

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Selah Kerrington is a 33 year-old elementary school teacher who returns home to care for her sick mother. Always having been a quiet and rather introspective person, Selah becomes aware of stares and hushed whispers strangers who observe the signs. In keeping her focus on her mother’s well-being, Selah tries to do the best she can as provider and protector from interlopers but she also has her own demons she is trying to keep at bay.

“There are very few places in the world where I feel comfortable. Places where I can really be myself.”


Being a creative person, Selah’s passion is reading and wants to be a writer. After establishing a connection with Jackson, another member on an online writing site, they agree to meet and form a friendship. The male attention is a welcomed distraction and it serves to curb Selah’s loneliness but as she begins to want more, it becomes more complicated.

“In the end we’re all made up of secrets.”

Adding to Selah’s stress is a neighbor who seems to be eerily aware of her activities. While she knows being more discreet is the obvious way to deter questions and onlookers, Selah is determined to get answers of her own and the path she takes is the one that feels right to her.

“The truth is a powerful thing. When it’s suppressed for such a long time and then suddenly set free, it doesn’t come quietly.”


From the first page, the tension slowly builds as questions arise and suspicions mount. With varying perspectives, the plot flows in such a way that purposefully jigs and jags yet remains steady and portentous. With Selah, her character is one that has many relatable elements, as she is a woman who wants balance in her life yet she feels the weight of her own emotions and fears. The main characters are just as convincing and each serve a purpose in Selah’s life and are intricately weaved into this taut and compelling narrative.

In starting this book, I wasn’t sure what to completely expect but it exceeded my expectations, as Calia Read successfully writes a convincing story in a truthful and challenging manner. For those seeking a story with a range of emotion, mystery, psychological elements and twists, I highly recommend Figure Eight.

 

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Title: Figure Eight

Author: Calia Read

Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Suspense

POV: Dual POV – First person, second person

 

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CC’s ARC Review ~ Ripple Effect, Episode 3 by Keri Lake

5 Stars!!

★★★★★

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Without interruption in the timeline, Dylan and Rip become ensnared in a larger web of deceit. Knowing there are greater forces at play, Rip initiates certain steps in anticipation of protecting what is his. As he and Dylan continue to get closer, they begin to reveal more about each other’s past, unified in pain, but Rip tries to insulate Dylan the best he can once his weakness is exposed.

“Everything he does is a confusing dance between dominance and reverence.  A wolf cloaked in soft lamb’s wool.”


In this episode, more is revealed about Dylan’s past and how she’s been programmed over the years to respond to abuse. However, Dylan finds solace with Rip despite his rough and impersonal persona. With Dylan piercing a part of Rip that he believed to be permanently closed, there’s no doubt about his feelings and cravings for Dylan. The sexual chemistry between these two is off the charts and Rip is sex on fire!

 

“How’s that feel, Bandit? Huh?” My fingers dig into her shins slung over my shoulders, my willpower on the verge of cracking as I bury myself deep, so fucking deep she’s got my head spinning. “This what you wanted?”

 

When certain figures in the chain of command advance, Rip is unsure of motivating factors and the end game but it puts he and Dylan on high alert. Without many choices, Rip must play the game until Dylan discovers a connection that she could have never imagined.

“Her broken pieces are hidden behind a fragile mask of normalcy that could crack at any moment.


In this third episode, the action is nonstop with varying factions vying for their rightful place. In addition, the sexual dynamic and intimacy between Rip and Dylan is scorching. From the beginning, I was waiting for a certain truth to be revealed and when it happened in this book, I absolutely loved the delivery and reaction. Rip continues to be a steamy, broody, possessive and protective character and it balances so well with Dylan’s humor, forthrightness and naivety at times.

In continuing this series, Keri Lake delivers such a captivating story with raw edginess, adrenaline charged pacing and characters that meld easily together. I highly recommend Ripple Effect!

Ripple Effect Series (must be read in order):
Ripple Effect Episode 1 (Ripple Effect, #1) by Keri Lake Ripple Effect Episode 2 (Ripple Effect, #2) by Keri Lake Ripple Effect Episode 3 (Ripple Effect, #3) by Keri Lake Ripple Effect Episode 4 (Ripple Effect, #4) by Keri Lake

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Title: Ripple Effect, Episode 3

Author: Keri Lake

Genre: Erotic Romance Suspense

POV: Dual POV – First person

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CC’s ARC Review ~ ROOKE by Callie Hart

 

4 Stars!
4-stars

 

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Five years ago, museum curator, Sasha Connor, experienced a tragedy that caused her to lose practically everything she loves. Trying to live her life in the only way she knows how, with her heart fiercely protected, she is numb and resigned to being alone.

“And then … everything went black.”


At 23 years old, Rooke Blackheath is an ex-con with a formidable presence and has an affinity for fixing mechanical things. While he enjoys the adrenaline rush of criminal enterprises, Rooke is also a person that observes and sees people for who they are. After a chance encounter, he meets a woman that gives him pause.

“He looks beyond the surface, beyond what you might want others to see, and he delves deeper.”


Upon accidentally running into Sasha, Rooke is intrigued by this slightly older woman who appears to be reserved and professional. After retrieving the romance novel she drops, he decides to read the book to learn more about her. Determined to see her again, Rooke arrives unannounced at Sasha’s book club and makes his intentions very clear.

“I’m attracted to the dark ache in her soul, becaue it’s something I can understand. Something that feels real to me.”


To say Rooke and Sasha are opposites is an understatement. Rooke is purposeful, brash and willing to take risks. Sasha is insular, quiet and doesn’t want to disturb her routine. But when they are together, Rooke forces Sasha out of her shell while still respecting her feelings. For the first time in years, Sasha feels safe and begins to want to feel again.

“The very moment he’s all the way inside me, he’s true to his word. He flips me onto my back, a sharp, jagged-edge smile cutting across his face. Feel free to scream.”


What ensues isn’t a straight path of romance, as Rooke and Sasha endure outside elements that test their strength and dedication to each other. With Rooke, he knows without a doubt how far he will go to protect what is his. As for Sasha, being put in the position of protecting another is terrifying but ultimately she accepts what she’s always known.

While Rooke offers action, hot sex and appealing characters, the overall plot left me wanting more, as there were plot points that were slightly disjointed and not fully explored. Additionally, the speed at which Rooke and Sasha find love felt a bit quick for me. However, there are tender moments when wounds are healed and love is accepted. And, I absolutely loved Rooke’s reactions to Sasha’s romance novel.

Ultimately, Rooke offers a chance at redemption and the renewal of hope.

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Title: ROOKE

Author: Callie Hart

Genre: Romance Suspense

Type: Dual POV

 

Author Biography

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Callie has experienced many changes throughout her life, and gone through many ups and downs that have all worked towards shaping and moulding her into the person she is today: fun loving, active, social, and hard working. The only thing that has remained a constant throughout her life is writing. Creating characters who will tear your conscience in two is a favorite pastime of Callie’s. There are few real saints and sinners in her books; more often, the denizens of her stories are all very human. Broken, flawed, and always with the potential for redemption.

Despite the subject matter being markedly hot and heavy in comparison to the stories she wrote in elementary school, there will always be an element of fairytale to her work.

http://calliehart.com/

 

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