Regan Readin' & Ravin'

Regan Readin' & Ravin'

❤ I’m word haunted – Virginia Woolf  ❤

 

 

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Interview with Celia Aaron
Today on the blog! My exclusive interview with the awesome Celia Aaron!
Review
5 Stars
Animal ~ Marni Mann
Animal - Marni Mann

I'd done so many unspeakable things to hundreds of innocent people.
As a result, my death was as gory and as gruesome as I'd imagined.
There was a knife. Blood. Swearing and screaming.




Beard is the unapologetic guard and executioner in an off-shore prison located in rural Venezuela. Mercy is definitely not his middle name. When he meets an alluring woman during rest in Miami a business deal is set in motion. Little does he suspect- everything isn’t as it seems. Animal is a spin-off from Prisoned featuring Beard and his story.

Beard had been my name for enough years. It had started when Inmate #326, Kyle Lang, came into my prison. She was the only captive who had ever left my jail alive.



Another storyline follows Beards’ seamlessly; Tyler is a young college student and finds a job that is too-good-to-be-true. Tyler becomes a female worker for an elite and illegal organization after being recruited by her roommate Wynter. Both storylines happen in present and as flashbacks and you won’t guess how the two come to be connected!

I must be honest while reading this I thought DAMN this is sooo good-so much better than the first! In my opinion nothing like the first book- I would 100% recommend reading this as a standalone. I connected with the characters and plot 10x more with this one than the first. The action and surprises were non-stop. I found the organization Tyler joined to be completely unique and my heart was pounding as she discovered what it was she was truly supposed to do. This book didn’t let up during the entire ride!!

I clung to the screams for a few more seconds, letting the noise fill my body, like it was liquid.

The ending.
WHOA. That was intense. I had an inclination a few people involved weren’t who they said they were but damn- I was impressed with how gruesome this got!

The epilogue.
Okay- I’ve been racking my brain- I don’t understand the newest twist. I truly thought over and over to any hints about the twist and could not figure it out! It didn’t make sense. I felt this epilogue was added for shock value instead of connecting to the actual plot. How? When?? Where?? Hmm… hopefully there will be another book to explain this. *Hmpf*

Tell me about Shank...


*Received an arc in exchange for an honest review*

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Interview with T.M. Frazier

 In honor of the Romance Times (RT) Convention, I had the opportunity to interview the amazingly talented T.M. Frazier!

 

Stop by the blog to read more!

Review
4 Stars
Lucky You ~ Erika Carter
Lucky You: A Novel - Erika Carter

3 women.
One café.
Multiple inner demons.




Lucky You follows 3 women from Arkansas as they navigate post-collegiate life with anything but grace and dignity. After reaching an emotional dead end, Chloe and Ellie decide to join Rachel in the Ozark Mountains to capture true “health.” Health is a way of living doctored by Rachel’s charismatic yet cult-like boyfriend, Autry. Here they renounce their vices from the “old world.”

The survivalist aspect of this book definitely had my intention but while reading I learned it was anything but survivalist. Each of these women became hauntingly ill both mentally and physically during the book so I was a little disappointed that the book intimated at survivalist when in reality it was more cult-like simplicity.

Transformation.
Rachel’s story line painted her as an enigma; we truly don’t know WHO she is because she doesn’t know WHO she is. Rachel absorbs a persona and becomes that persona. She has absorbed everything about “health” and is a shell of her former self.

Narcissism.
Ellie is right up there as a sexually addicted narcissist. Ellie enjoys the humiliation she receives and causes- she never lets anyone get too close and if they do- she discards them quicker than you could imagine. Of course, the female narcissist in this book is blonde and beautiful; desired by all men and envied by the women.

Worst nightmare.
Sometimes a girl’s worst nightmare- turning out like your mother. Chloe recollects the delusional paranoia she witnessed her mother endure as a child. Now as she reaches her mid-20s Chloe begins to suffer some of the same delusions.

Overall, this book was more of a character analysis than a “story” per se. You can’t escape the dark corners of your personality – no matter what. Anyone who has taken an Abnormal Psychology class would enjoy this book in my opinion. 4 stars xx

Review
4 Stars
Cirque: Act 1 ~ Ashleigh Giannoccaro
Cirque Act 1 - Ashleigh Giannoccaro

Nothing is ever all shining lights and glitter, even when we don't see it there is darkness, a bad side of the coin.



As a young lad Sivan spent many evenings at the circus with his family. He'd sneak off to a familiar trailer and watch with fascination the carnal events taking place between one particular clown and showgirl. Since childhood, Sivan's obsession started and lasted into his adulthood. Now hiding away from the regular world he keeps his secret where it belongs: tucked and hidden away.

Imogene comes from a trying past yet she has circus in her blood- she can't escape and wouldn't want to- she's a natural. Once Sivan sets his eyes on her the attraction is overpowering. But what happens in a world where no one loves clowns?

When I picked this up I knew it would be unlike anything I've read and suffice to say I was happily impressed! This was soooo good! And so unique. I did also get the added thrill of taunting my fiance that I was reading about a sexy clown doing naughty clown things (he is TERRIFIED of clowns).



One thing that really stood out to me was the classic hedonism in this author's writing style- even the words were sexy. The way the dancers moved, the application of make-up, everything had a sexually charged description. Even when there wasn't a lot of action happening, I was lost in the pages.

The characters themselves were also a welcomed change- it isn't often to read a darker romance with a feisty girl with a pixie haircut! No doe eyes here! Imogene was something new and a character unlike any I've ever read before. I couldn't imagine a better fallen hero like Sivan who could make a clown come alive in our day and age. Sivan was a rough and gruff rugby player but deep inside he's truly his own sadistic version of a sad clown.



Overall an amazing read & one that will stay with me for a long time. I highly recommend this book to readers across various genres!! xx

My theme song for the book: *Dirty Pretty by In This Moment*

Review
4 Stars
Dark Protector ~ Celia Aaron
Dark Protector - Celia Aaron

My flower's thorns were already dripping with the blood of her enemies.



Conrad Mercer watches the pretty little florist from a distance-a safe distance- or so he believes. When his florist, Charlie, is stolen by men out to get him Conrad surges forward to rescue the damsel he admires. Charlie knows there’s a man in a black Audi watching her but for some reason, she feels safer with him out there. When she ends up in a dingy basement with bad men she is thrust into the life of the mysterious man.

He was a battlefield, his story told with blood and scar tissue.



Once the door is opened it can’t be closed. Conrad may have found the missing piece he was always looking for but Charlie has dark secrets of her own.

Celia Aaron is definitely becoming a comfort read for me- her characters are flawed yet lovable and she totally nails the classic dynamic in dark romance. I absolutely love the fierce yet vulnerable heroine- she’s soft yet guarded and the perfect match for her total Alpha male who’s a bad boy with redeeming qualities. *drool*

Her soft breaths created a soundtrack that could soothe even the most vicious beast, myself included.



What put this as a 4.5 versus a 5-star rating depended on the fact that were soooo many opportunities to really gut the reader. Multiple times I felt at the brink for the action to get really DARK- which the dark and sadistic reader in me wanted. I totally understand this isn’t the writer’s style but I did find it a little unbelievable the heroine would be in the jaws of danger and narrowly escape unscathed each time.

Also, wow. There were some incredible back stories in this book! Completely unique and new- I want Charlie’s story BEFORE Conrad- now that’s a plot line I’m talking about it! Sorry can’t say it’s spoiler-y…

Also I would love to read Nate’s story going forward. Please pretty please!!

Overall, LOVED loved it- grab your glass of Chardonnay and curl up with a fur baby this is one that’ll make your heart sing ♥.

*Arc received in exchange for an honest review*

Review
2 Stars
Strange Girls ~ Tara Dawn & Yolanda Olson
Strange Girls - Yolanda Olson, Tara Dawn

Sissy, an agoraphobic young woman, spies a new neighbor moving in and instantly becomes entranced with the shabby-chic new woman on the block. Artemis, the new neighbor, spies a woman watching her as she moves in and wonders just what the he!l has she gotten herself into?! Insert creepy yet objectified landlord Mark and we have a trio of trouble!

After reading the blurb I was sort of expecting a dark romance meets Dean Koontz’s False Memory. I’m not sure what this story is. In my personal opinion it does not fit the “dark” genre but does contain dark violent undertones. To me this was PURE hardcore erotica. A lot of shocks – this one delivers on the shock value that’s for sure.

Ever hear of the national news story about the women who superglued their cheatin’ man’s member to his body? Most would rejoice and say YAASS he deserved it! And some felt sick and sorry for the poor guy. This story fits that dynamic - and I’m in the minority feelin’ sorry for the guy.

Overall, I could not relate to the characters or the plot. A lot of elements did not match (characters portrayed as one way yet acting the opposite) and the events were not realistic to me. The twist at the end did throw everything into a tailspin but did not lessen the WTF feeling I had reading the other 90% of the time. This is definitely a case of “It’s not you, it’s me.” I admire both of the authors’ writing and dark inclinations but this story simply did not work for me. I would still recommend this book as a boundary-testing read and am interested to read reviews of all opinions. Xx

Note: I do also want to compliment the authors on their portrayal of a character with agoraphobia. It is definitely a hard and misunderstood disorder to portray yet I believe the authors excelled with understanding.

*Arc received in exchange for an honest review*

Review
5 Stars
Four Crows ~ Lily White
Four Crows - Lily  White

Women were meant to be respected. They were meant to be treated with care and protected against the injustices of the world, but I guessed that meant nothing to the thieves in the night- the monsters that fed on the fragilities and vulnerabilities of those who they considered weaker than themselves.



A young mother and child torn from the man who swore to protect them.
A soldier devastated not only after the atrocities of war.
A young girl with her innocence in precarious balance.
And a family of 3 men who would one day pay for their sins.


W.O.W. I’ve read Lily White in the past but that couldn’t prepare me for just how amazing this story was. I’m almost at a loss of words writing this review. Four Crows had every element a dark romance/thriller reader could dream of. Mystery, passion, violence, and a few major twists to keep the action at a steady pace throughout the book.

I'm a rabid dog off his leash, a hungry tiger uncaged, a feral wolf that's been injured and abused, only to be set free.



Elliott spent the last 14 years chasing the people responsible for stealing his wife and child away from him. After the police declaring the disappearances a cold case and many, many long nights, Elliott finally believes he may have found the individuals responsible. He sees an easy in- seduce the young daughter of the male ringleader of the trio of terror. Little does he know Maggie, the daughter, has a hidden strength she may tap into at any time. After all, blood IS thicker than water.

The sings of the father don't lie on the shoulders of his daughter. It's the sons that bear the weight.

Maggie has spent her life sheltered yet witnessed the atrocities committed by the men in her family. She dreams of freedom and to have a choice in her life. A choice to run, a choice to stay, just a choice period. When a stranger comes into her orbit she believes for once she may have a choice for her future, but any decision comes with consequences.



The dynamic between Maggie and Elliott was palpable and could be felt throughout reading. They were perfect prisms of light and darkness to each other. At about 40% I already had such a book hangover and a lot of the action was just starting to get good. The two characters were so dimensional and “real” my emotions were at an all-time high reading this.

I also enjoyed the author’s writing style where the atrocities surrounding Elliott’s family were left somewhat ambiguous yet also discovered throughout the course of the novel. There were no flashbacks in time to EXACTLY what happened to them but Elliott did finally learn the truth in a way an outsider can learn. It made the book all more real and even unsettling as well.

Overall, this book was gold. I can’t recommend it enough to readers across various genres- romance, thriller, mystery, horror- there is something in this story for everyone. xx

*Received an arc in exchange for an honest review*

Review
4 Stars
Blood to Dust ~ LJ Shen
Blood to Dust - L.J. Shen

I used to be a sister, a daughter, a girlfriend and a friend. A poet, a dreamer and an honor student. But now. . .now I’m alone, left to fend for myself, with no one to look out for me.



Born with a silver spoon, Prescott is no stranger to the dark underworld of wealth and prestige. Due to unfortunate life choices and circumstances, she has made her way to an additional wealth by street hustling. However, there are much bigger sharks after her and once she gets caught—her life is in the hands of a dark stranger.

Beat grew up poor and desolate followed by a young adulthood of prison for killing his abusive father. After his release, he owes Godfrey “God” Archer his service. One of his jobs is to keep watch on a little rich girl gone bad.

Rich girls love bad boys. The tattoos, the attitude, the danger. The hopelessness.

As two lost souls come together they learn they have more in common than their differences. Each with the same nightmare of an enemy, Prescott believes she can seduce her captor—and get him on her side to achieve her vengeance once and for all.



This was a new to me author and I greatly enjoyed the character dynamic. Prescott was refreshing in a sense that she doesn’t follow the typical trope of the “spitfire” kidnapped girl. I enjoyed how down to earth and real she was. Confident yet vulnerable without the typical bratty behavior we typically see in similar books.

Passion between Beat and Prescott was super intense and I could feel their connection even after their first meeting. They were a unique duo-again something new and refreshing. It’s hard to explain but I feel they were perfect complements to each other.

I love her like a slave, I kneel in front of her like a subject, I crawl back to her at night like a drunk and I worship her like a believer.

Blood to Dust was overall character-centric but the first half involved a lot of action and drama. Around 60% I found my attention dwindling a bit but the ending had some interesting revelations. I do feel there were a few too many loose ends that could’ve used tying up and I feel the pivotal end scenes were a little glossed over and “too easy.” Overall a really good story, perfect for sitting by the fire drinking a glass of wine, but I didn't get the gut-clenching feeling I normally search for. xx

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10 Thrillers to Read in 2017

So if you're like me you instantly click on every Buzzfeed or Elite Daily article with the title "What to Read after Gone Girl" or "What to Read after The Girl on The Train."  Most times I scroll and think read it-read it-that has terrible reviews- ooh that looks good...

Well I've decided to do my own looking around and have come up with my top 10 most wanted to read thrillers in 2017! Unique plots, rave reviews, && a little different than those other articles clogging my Facebook newsfeed. 

Here they are...enjoy!

Review
5 Stars
Pretty Lost Dolls ~ Ker Dukey & K. Webster
Pretty Lost Dolls - K.  Webster, Ker Dukey
Pretty Lost Dolls picks up right where Pretty Stolen Dolls left off; with the help of Macy, Jade finds herself back in her cell. But this time Jade isn’t the scared little girl she once was… She is a detective, trained, ruthless, and she was getting out alive once and for all.

Benny doesn't have little Jade.
He has Detective Jade Phillips.
The department's most ruthless cop.
A b*tch.
A rumored dike.
A f*cking nightmare.


I still feel aghast at myself for rating a book with Ker Dukey 4 stars (Pretty Stolen Dolls) but the first installment lost my interest because I didn’t quite connect with Jade. This installment still kind of went that way- BUT Benny’s backstory and Macy’s unraveling took the plot and action through the roof! This is what I’m talking about! Whoa! *this was intense*



Jade, as a character, I still find wishy-washy- and it was hard for me to empathize with her point of view. She is not a compassionate person in my opinion. With Benny showing vulnerability I would have expected her to feel some sort of Stockholm syndrome towards him but nope- she was almost robotic. I must escape. I hate him.

Okay, now onto the plot- did I say it was intense? OMG I could not put this down. This was darker, grittier, and more captivating than the first book. There wasn’t a dull moment- just nonstop twists, revelations, and action. We finally learn more about Benny and how he came to be- which is dark and f’ed up in itself. And Macy- she takes creepy doll to a new level. Wanna play a game?



Dirty Little Doll,
You are invited to a tea party.
Dress pretty and don't be late!
XOXO,
Broken Little Doll


Now. I know this can’t be the end. With the Empathy series we got some novellas. To make this convenient I have provided the authors with a list of novellas I would like:
• Macy’s point of view
• The future novella with a character introduced at the end
• Benny’s full story
• A Bethany’s point of view


Please. Please. Don’t make me beg!



5 stars hands down xx
 
 

 

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The Trump era's top-selling dystopian novels

 

Donald Trump has sparked a sales bonanza for publishers of dystopian fiction - as well as his own books on business success. Here are the titles currently enjoying a boost on the back of his arrival in the White House...

 

 

See full article here

Reblogged from Scarlet's Web
Review
5 Stars
The Masterpiecers ~ Olivia Wildenstein
The Masterpiecers - Olivia Wildenstein

"Do you know what it feels like when your future contains no pigment, no sparkle? Because that's what mine looks like. I have nothing...no one besides my sister."

Aster and Ivy are identical twins yet they couldn’t be more different. Ivy is the polished, artistic, and charismatic sister whereas Aster shows great insecurity and has many quirks. Chosen to be on the reality show, The Masterpiecers , Ivy is hoping for her big break in the art world. Contestants compete to win an elusive spot at the namesake school. While Aster is her biggest fan, Aster will be watching the competition behind bars.

Ivy


Aster


Awaiting release to a murder out of self-defense, Aster soon learns her sister doesn’t quite share the same adoration. Both of the girls have secrets. Both of them begin to start losing trust in the other. Who holds the truth?

I haven’t read a New Adult book in a lonnnggg time but I was pleased with how much I enjoyed this story! The premise was completely unique and unlike any other story I’ve read. There were elements of romance, intrigue, and crime. I absolutely loved it!

Both characters were multi-dimensional and the story continuously switched between their two viewpoints. Somewhat likable, somewhat unlikable I still found myself rooting for each girl despite their (heavy) flaws. Aster had tunnel vision while in her mindset as all of her mental energy revolves around Ivy. Will Ivy win? What is Ivy doing? Around and around we see how the dynamic between the sisters has evolved since their childhood. The “good” child and the “bad” child so to speak.



Although the story was fast-paced and exciting I did think some threads weren’t really resolved. I know there is a second book but I think a little too much never had closure- for example, we are still missing the connection between Aster’s “victim” and Ivy. I wanted to find out what REALLY happened there. I wouldn’t necessarily say this book ends on a cliffhanger but there is still a lot of story left- I can only hope all threads will be sealed after I pick up book toe. Overall an enjoyable five star read.

*Arc received from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review*

Review
5 Stars
Dirty Ugly Toy ~ K. Webster
Dirty Ugly Toy - K.  Webster

Nineteen toys. Nineteen locks of hair. Nineteen times I’d indulged in my greatest fantasies. I believe the twentieth one will be extra special.



Prostitute.
Drug Addict.
Woman lost.


Jessica or "bunny" never imagined she’d be roaming the UK looking for her next fix. She became numb through the heroin and numb to selling her body. When a tall, dark, and handsome business man offers her a ridiculous sum of money it seems too good to be true. All she has to do is be his “toy” for 6 months. When the mask is off and her “duties” are revealed- will she be able to keep up her end of the bargain.

Payback’s a b.tch and Bunny’s about to repent for the sins of my mother.

Mommy issues galore.
Angst.




Braxton Kennedy is a man who ALWAYS gets what he wants. Except this time- he wanted a strawberry blonde but her hair was dyed. Too late. He will just have to make do with his defective toy. This isn’t his first toy and they expire after 6 months but this one…. reaches him in a place he never suspects…

I absolutely adored Jessica’s character. She was rough, a little gruff, and yet had a good heart buried beneath the haze of drugs. She had an intriguing back story and her mind worked in a way I believe any reader can identify with. It was refreshing to read about such a fierce yet vulnerable captive woman.

Brax was your typical billionaire with the temper of a 3 year old- but endearing in his own way. I feel the introduction to him in the beginning of the book didn’t match the direction his character went. When I read the prologue I thought “damn this guy is twisted!” But truly he was about as scary as...



One thing I’d like to add is I don’t believe this book is dark. It was more of a grey romance with a few dark elements but I personally would not classify it as dark. That did not take away from the enjoyment to me but I believe this story is mislabeled. Who knows- maybe it’ll be dark to others. I would have liked what happened to the toys to have stayed what the book hinted at--but I understand for the ending it couldn't be that way. Overall I enjoyed the engaging writing style, banter between all of the characters, and well-rounded dynamic secondary characters as well. I would highly recommend this read! Loved it xx

Review
5 Stars
The Grownup ~ Gillian Flynn
The Grownup - Gillian Flynn

I didn't stop giving hand jobs because I wasn't good at it. I stopped giving hand jobs because I was the best at it.

Skilled as a con artist from a young age, an unnamed woman has morphed her business of deception as a soft-core sex worker and then later, a psychological intuitive. When she meets Susan, sad, lonely, rich Susan the narrator really decides its her time to go for it-- to get recommendations from Susan's friends and make her business exploiting poor gullible housewives.

I received this book as a freebie in my Book of the Month subscription and I absolutely loved it! I can't say much more about the plot but Gillian Flynn writes narcissistic women like no other author! Her eloquence and unsettling candor is bone-chilling at times.

There was a little bit of everything in this story--humor, the paranormal, a child to rival Damien, and a small tinge of horror. The ending is left ambiguous which definitely spiked the creepy mood BUT I would have liked just a little MORE-- at least one of the several ends tied up! Ugh so good! You got me Mz Flynn!

But I wasn't a well-read bookworm; I was just a dumb whore in the right library.

Review
5 Stars
Finding Love Down Under ~ Donna Jay
Finding Love Down Under - Donna Jay



Reeling from a volatile break-up Claire has no idea what she’s in for when she spies the beautiful brunette alone at the local McDs. Zoe, also recently scorned, can’t believe her luck in the form of a kind stranger and scores a “house-nanny” job in exchange for room & board.

Tucked away among the serene country-side, Zoe and Claire’s friendship blossoms slowly. These two have both had their trust irrevocably betrayed and fate has chosen them to cross paths to learn: life does go on.

The writing of this story was absolutely breath-taking! I could smell the lilac hanging in Zoe’s room and could breathe in Claire’s earthy scent from hang drying her laundry. Not to mention the comfortable description of my absolute fantasy home! I would love to live in a cottage with high beam rafters and exotic wood throughout the place.

And what's more, it was one thing to have a houseguest, and another to be sharing her sanctuary with someone who evoked so many emotions in her. The young woman was as skittish as a newborn foal and brought out every protective instinct in Claire.



Claire and Zoe’s relationship bloomed slowly yet realistically. No insta-love here; each woman fell in love naturally after their initial attraction. Although mostly a romance, there were some super hot spanking scenes that will make any reader blush and I found the circumstances of how each woman came to be scorned very unique. The past betrayals of each of their exes involved taboo instances and were unlike any other plot line I’ve read.

One thing that did stick out to me was I didn't feel Claire was necessarily true to age. Her age in the book was 27 yet I felt she was characterized to be more in her mid 30s. Her dress, mannerisms, and the way she held herself seemed overly mature in my opinion. Overall not a detractor but I did connect with Zoe more than Claire.

I love reading stories like this one that absolutely consume you and are so detailed and well-characterized you almost feel familiar with the setting and characters. Highly recommended for erotica or romance readers alike. xx

*Received an arc in exchange for an honest review*



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