Control (Cherish, #1)

Control by Olivia Ryann

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


A “punch you in the face” start to this series

This book (which also contains the prequel Capture) gets this series off to a roaring start. I couldn’t put it down, needing to know what happens next. Wanting down into my bones for Fiore/Katherine to find her escape from Arsen/Monster. He thought to himself, even verbalized to Fiore, that he wouldn’t take what wasn’t his (i.e. force himself on her). But then he used threats and coercion to get her “consent,” so…

PSA: that is not consent.

So, what I’m saying is, I hate Arsen so far. He also thought fondly about how he’d made his last “girl” wish for death. Referred to her as “nothing but a whore.” Thought excitedly about breaking Fiore/Katherine down until she, too, wished for death. And then, in his infinite mercy, granting her that death. He makes me sick. I’m going to continue reading in hopes that she gets one over on him. That she causes him some pain. Man, in hopes that ANYONE causes him some pain. Because right now he is, as he is rightfully named, a monster. Irredeemable. And he can go to hell.

This is dark. If you’re looking for a sexy kidnap book, this book is not that. I’d say it is more of an erotic thriller. I can’t say what Arsen’s character will be like by the end of the series, or how I’ll feel about him, but right now I’d like very much for him to fall off a cliff. A big one. On to some rocks.
Still, if you’re cool with an erotic thriller, this is a good one. Just don’t expect to like Arsen. At all.


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This dark and twisted tale of ownership will make your blood run hot. Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and Amazon Bestseller Vivian Wood writes dark romance as OLIVIA RYANN.
I wake up terrified, humiliated, and chained to a wall. The shackles around my wrists mean only one thing. He owns me now. With his dark glares and barked orders, he is dangerous. He is my tormentor, my captor, a threat to my very existence. Not to be toyed with. Even if my frightened mind whispers maybe… Even if I am very curious how such a man came to be. I am still his dark and twisted pet, to cherish or to scorn. And I am starting to love the darkness… Reading Order: Capture (Cherish Series FREE Prequel) Control (Cherish Series Book 1) Covet (Cherish Series Book 2) Cherish (Cherish Series Book 3)

Deceit

Deceit by Ava Harrison

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


Four “Really Liked It” stars!

I was intrigued by the premise of this book. Sucked in by the blurb, and further enticed by the sample in the Billionaire Book Boyfriend anthology. That said, there just wasn’t enough going on outside of the relationship for me. I need more- more suspense, more danger. I guess I just prefer a darker read. As such I am rating this expressly as a contemporary romance, and not in general.

I found this book to be good for what it is- a contemporary romance (according to my non-professional opinion). I do enjoy it when the hero bungles everything beyond belief, and has to do some good old-fashioned groveling. Bonus points if the heroine doesn’t immediately take the bait. I want him to WORK for it. And in that capacity this book delivered. Oliver refuses to give up, and I definitely enjoyed that.

I thought the writing here was good. I liked the dynamic of the heroine’s two brothers, and kind of wish we’d gotten some more of them. I also found myself wishing there might have been some kind of threat later in the book from a particular old flame of the heroine. Alas, I can’t win ’em all.
Disclaimer: I only read contemporary romance (which I would consider this to be) here and there, and mostly stick to romantic suspense and dark romance. I guess I need more excitement in my books.

Anyhoo, if you are a fan of contemporary romance I would recommend this book.


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Now a Top 40 Amazon Bestseller!
From USA Today Bestseller Ava Harrison comes a new STANDALONE romance.

I needed to get away.
My ex was getting married.
So, I left.
The English countryside was a picture-perfect escape.
The dashing stranger an even better one.
And what started as a chance encounter quickly became more.
He promised to show me how to live, how to feel alive and forget a past best forgotten.
He made me believe things could be different.
That was until I found out who he was . . .
He was Oliver Blackthorn.
The 16th Earl of Lockhart. Thirty-third in line to the throne.
And a liar.

Protect (Protect, #3)

Protect by Olivia Ryann

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


A satisfying series

I enjoyed this book, and this series. I didn’t feel quite as much suspense in this final book as I did with the previous one, but I still really liked it.
I am torn on the inclusion of multiple villains in this series. On one hand it keeps it fresh, but on the other hand I also love singular super-villains that seemingly can’t be bested.
I am happy with the way this ended, but I was hoping for resolution on Damen’s runaway wife, mentioned in a previous book. In the absence of that I’d love to see Damen and Arsen get their own books/series. From my lips to the author’s ears! 🙏

Update: Damen and Arsen DO have their own books!

This series was my first read from this author, but it won’t be my last!


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This dark tale of obsession, beauty, and lust is by Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and Amazon Bestseller Vivian Wood. She writes dark romance as OLIVIA RYANN.
I wake up in the wreckage, ready to fight for Rue. Only she is gone, stolen away by my archenemy. I start to see red. No one touches my girl and expects to live. The deck is stacked against us. Emotions are running high. There is one thing that no one else realizes, though. Rue is mine, and I will get her back if it is the last f*cking thing I do. Reading Order: Provoke (Protect Series FREE Prequel) Punish (Protect Series Book 1) Possess (Protect Series Book 2) Protect (Protect Series Book 3)

Possess (Protect, #2)

Possess by Olivia Ryann

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


Oooh! The suspense!

This was the most suspenseful book yet from this series! Loved it!
This book came out swinging- sexy times, suspense, TWO villains to worry about, a hero who messes up and has to make amends, a dark past coming to light, and a misunderstanding. Yasss, girl!
I flew through these pages, and am now off to the next one to find out what happens!


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This dark tale of obsession, beauty, and lust is by Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and Amazon Bestseller Vivian Wood. She writes dark romance as OLIVIA RYANN.
There is something blooming between my captor and I, hot and wet and fragile.Lust. Obsession. Maybe it’s even love.But there are still secrets that stand between us, looming large over whatever happiness we might find together.Dangerous secrets. Things worth killing over.If I reveal my secret to Dryas, he very well might die to protect me.The last thing I want is to confront those that hurt me without him at my side.But I might not get a choice, if Dryas has his way…Reading Order:Provoke (Protect Series FREE Prequel)Punish (Protect Series Book 2)Possess (Protect Series Book 3)Protect (Protect Series Book 4)

Punish (Protect, #1)

Punish by Olivia Ryann

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


Now we’re talking!

Yes! I needed this!
I really liked this book and its prequel, and can’t wait to dive in to the next book in this series. Head’s up- this one ends in a cliffhanger.
I enjoyed the growth of the relationship between the two main characters, but I did think the progression of Rue’s comfort level with Dryas seemed a bit quick. She sped right from terrified to accepting physical contact. Zero to a hundred, real quick. That said, it lent some realism for me that Rue experienced shame after encounters with Dryas. After the brainwashing she experienced in her youth that only makes sense.
This was a quick read in that I couldn’t put it down. I can’t wait to see where this story takes us! Have we seen the last of Father Derrik and the prince? I hope not, because they deserve some karma. Like, maybe a high-five. To the face. With a chair.
Also, what happens with Rue’s sister? Does Rue get un-brainwashed? Does Dryas get his revenge? Does Rue?
I need answers! Off I go to get them!


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A dark tale of obsession, beauty, and lust! Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and Amazon Bestseller Vivian Wood writes dark romance as OLIVIA RYANN.
Stolen and abducted… yet in the same stroke, saved.On one hand, I escaped certain death at the hands of people who have already hurt me.On the other, now I’m trapped with him.The rival of my abuser, who is every bit as terrifying. Dark and sinfully handsome, he wants me.He wants me to turn my back on the religion that has raised me.He wants me to spread my legs for him and him alone.He wants to punish me. He wants to teach me to like his lessons.Or else he’ll kill my little sister and turn me over to the men who controlled me before.Either way, I will have to make sacrifices. Sacrifices that have lasting consequences.I walk on the knife’s edge between falling prey again and completely losing myself.And if I’m not careful, I may end up worse than dead…Reading Order:Provoke (Protect Series FREE Prequel)Punish (Protect Series Book 1)Possess (Protect Series Book 2)Protect (Protect Series Book 3)

Provoke (Protect, #0.5)

Provoke by Olivia Ryann

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


Sort of an extended hook

I am intrigued. I am intending to carry directly into the next book to find out what happens next. So- mission accomplished, prequel!
I need to know what happens to Rue. I need to know who her father is. I need to know what is happening to these girls. I just need to know everything!


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A taste of this dark tale of obsession, beauty, and lust… FREE! Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and Amazon Bestseller Vivian Wood writes dark romance as OLIVIA RYANN.
I meet her in a wedding dress, walking down the aisle towards my sworn enemy. Our eyes catch from across the room. And monster that I am, I know I have to have her.Not just because she is precious to my sworn enemy… but also because her wide blue eyes tell me things.That she’s afraid of me. That she’s even more afraid of my enemy.That she’ll do almost anything to escape him.I seize on her fear.I abduct her, while she’s screaming and fighting me.And that’s when our story begins.Reading Order:Provoke (Protect Series FREE Prequel)Punish (Protect Series Book 1)Possess (Protect Series Book 2)Protect (Protect Series Book 3)

The Contract: A Mafia Vows Prequel (Mafia Vows, #.5)

The Contract: A Mafia Vows Prequel by S.R. Jones

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


A tasty appetizer

The Contract is the prequel to The Debt, book one of the Mafia Vows series. It had a good pace, and kept me interested. Maya does come across as a bit vapid, but maybe that’s part of her character evolution? I am continuing the series, so I’ll find out soon.

This is definitely not a standalone- you’ll need to get the next book unless you don’t intend to continue. The good news is that, as of today (9/5/2019), all three books in the series are now available. Hooray!

My curiosity is piqued, which was the point, so I’d say mission accomplished. Onward to the next one!


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In my world, family and honor are everything.
In my world, women are powerless.
In my world, men call all the shots.

My uncle is a mafia king, and my father wants the same power. I am a pawn in their games – to be used and traded.

Two weeks ago, I was promised in marriage to a man I barely knew.
Two days ago, I discovered that man liked to torture women for fun.
Two hours ago, I begged my mother to stop the marriage.
Two minutes ago, I found myself promised to another man… to my uncle’s terrifying enforcer.

The only way to avoid marriage to a madman is by becoming the bride of a murderer.
He’s six-feet-five of sheer muscle and power, and he scares me as much as he excites me.
Ruthless, merciless, and without fear, his cruel smirk tells me he is going to enjoy having me at his mercy.

He might own me, but I’m not giving in without a fight.

**Please note this book contains adult and dark themes and suspense, so please be aware that trigger warnings do apply!**

Convict (Sin City Salvation, #2)

Convict by A. Zavarelli

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


5 amazing stars!

“You shouldn’t want this, Birdie,” I growled. “Tell me to fucking stop.”

Aaagh- I loved this book. Even more than the first book, Confess. Don’t get me wrong- loved ’em both, but this one edged ahead for me.

I did feel some kind of way about Ace’s treatment of Birdie in a few of the scenes, and was glad when he later felt bad about it. I’m cool with my book heroes messing up- it makes them human. But they better be sorry about it later.

The backgrounds of these two main characters were so unimaginably tragic, and yielded two such profoundly damaged people. At different points both of them get separately warned off of the other, told they aren’t capable of love or relationships. Friendship, even. I wanted to shake those side characters and tell them to leave these two the hell alone to figure it out. With their own innate fears and insecurities they sure didn’t need other people weighing in on why it could never work. Let ’em try, people! Dang!

Anyway, I think the author did such a great job with these characters. As always these books had well developed characters, strong stories, great suspense and pacing, and smoking hot sexy times.
Time to take another spin through the A. Zavarelli book list to make sure I haven’t missed anything because her books are easy one-clicks.

Please never stop writing books, A. Zavarelli! ❤


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From USA Today bestselling author A. Zavarelli comes an enemies to lovers romance full of blackmail, emotional twists, and explosive chemistry.

From the shadows, I’ve tracked her every move.

I was just supposed to watch her. But now, I can’t stop.

She’s my obsession. My addiction. My poison.

Watching her isn’t enough.

The savage in me won’t be satisfied until I take her and make her mine.

One taste and I’m hooked. Too bad for her… I’m never letting her go.

***

Stalked. Hunted. Captured.

He took me from my life and locked me away in his compound.

The ex-con. The big bad biker. Inked, bearded, and inhumanely sized.

And yet, every time he looks at me, I melt.

This broken beast hides demons behind those brutal eyes. I hate him… and I crave him. His touch, his words, his lips.

When my enemies come for me, he vows to protect me as long as I do what he says. I’ll be secure in this prison he created for me.

But who will protect me from him?

Convict is a full length standalone within the Sin City Series and has a complete ending.

Confess (Sin City Salvation, #1)

Confess by A. Zavarelli

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


WHAT IN THE WORLD! In a good way. 🙂

She should have pulled away, and I should have stopped. But neither of us moved. And when my fingers found the tender flesh of her throat, I drew her closer, tasting what was never meant to be mine.

This book. It exhausted me. My emotions ran the full gamut. I was happy. I was sad. I was hot and bothered. I laughed. I cried and cried, and checked reviews for information to see if I should go on.
This was good. Really good. Lucian is a bossy, seemingly sorta mean alpha guy, and damned if I don’t just love those. Granted, he is kind of weird in the beginning with the way he goes about things- it has kind of a fatherly ring to it (such as ordering her to go sit in the corner), but whatever. I still grew to love him. Just as our heroine did.

“I shouldn’t be doing this to you.” His voice held so much agony, I couldn’t stand it.
My fingers wrapped around his face, forcing him to look at me. “I want you to.”


I enjoyed the backgrounds of both of the main characters. Not because they were happy or good (spoiler: they WEREN’T), but because they made sense for their hangups/issues. I was hoping that Gypsy connecting with a local Roma gypsy might yield some kind of information on or connection with her mother, but I suppose I can’t win ’em all.
I was a little taken aback by a turn of events in the book, but so happy about the outcome that I was willing to suspend belief a bit about the journey of getting there. I won’t comment any further about that.
I definitely recommend this book. I just can’t believe it took me this long to read it!

Lucian nipped at my throat, his words so low I barely heard them. “You’re going to ruin me.”

PURE FIRE!


TRIGGERS: there are some pretty harsh triggers “off-screen” (past events that are referred to)- sexual exploitation/assault of children, death of a child, physical abuse of a child.


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One contract. Two signatures. A marriage of inconvenience.

Gypsy

Lucian West isn’t husband material. He’s a stiff in a suit. Granted a hot one, but still. He’s one of the most hated men in America. An arrogant alpha. A ruthless attorney.

He gets what he wants in the courtroom, and outside of it.

Now, he wants me.

For reasons I can’t fathom, he’s determined to make me his wife.

He makes it clear he’s not above blackmailing me to put a ring on my finger.

The man might be richer than sin with devilish good looks, but hell will freeze over before I ever give my heart to him.


***

Lucian

I don’t do love. I don’t even do relationships.

But all of that changes when I stumble upon the tragic, beautiful woman confessing her sins in the dark of night.

She’ s supposed to be nothing to me. Nothing but a wife. Her smart mouth drives me crazy. Her attitude brings out the beast in me. I want to protect her. I want to bring her to heel. I want to own her pretty lips.

She belongs to me, she just doesn’t know it yet.

I’ve already made her mine in name. Now it’s time to claim the rest of her.


Explosive chemistry. Plenty of angst. Packed with emotion and dark themes. Confess is a standalone within the series and has a complete ending.

Twisted Bonds (The Camorra Chronicles #4)

Twisted Bonds by Cora Reilly

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


More of Cora’s Camorra? Yes, please!

Yep. This was what I needed. I’d been so excited for Luca’s book prior to this one, only to not love it as much as I’d expected. It was still good, but not quite what I’d been starved for. There was too much overlap with the previous books for me. Now, this one here? This one did it for me. There was still overlap (with Remo’s book), but it seemed more separated to me. It didn’t feel like I was re-experiencing the same events. Perhaps because Luca’s book was the POV of other half of the featured duo whereas THIS book took place during Remo’s book, but in the dual POV of a different couple. We get to know what was happening off-stage (with Nino and Kiera) during that time, and then the book continues on beyond the end of Remo’s book to give us new adventures. Yes please! I always need more Camorra! I can’t WAIT for Nevio to grow up into a complete hell on wheels. He will drive Remo crazy, and I’m gonna love every second of it.
Anyway, I enjoyed the struggles (that sounds mean, but I don’t mean it like THAT) Nino and Kiera experienced. I loved getting more of a glimpse of how Adamo dealt with the aftermath of his time with the Outfit. Speaking of that, I loved getting the tension and reactions of the Vegas set while Adamo, and then subsequently Remo, were held by the Outfit. We missed out on that with Remo’s book. We also got to know Savio better in this book, and what a book he will have when it comes out (that bad, bad Savio!). Adamo and Savio are growing into their own; no longer just the kid brothers, but now men in their own right.
I so love this world that Cora Reilly has created. I hope she never stops writing about them. In ten years I want to be reading about Remo’s great-great grandchildren. Fingers crossed!


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Can you ever truly leave the past behind in a house full of haunted souls?

Kiara always wanted a loving family she could take care of. She never thought she’d find it with the Falcones.
Nino and Kiara both lost part of themselves in their traumatic childhood. Together they’re trying to recover the missing pieces, but they aren’t the only broken souls in the Falcone mansion; Kiara fears that not all of them can be saved. Determined to protect her new family and the future of her dreams, she’s on a mission to help each of them in her own way, even if it means stacking up secrets.

Four brothers bound together by an unbreakable bond forged in their dark past. If one of them falls, will they all?