Review of the Wild Side series by R.K. Lilley

I’m looking forward to using this holiday weekend to catch up on reviews for some of my recent reads. I have completed the Wild Side series by R.K. Lilley. If you follow my blog, you will know that R.K. Lilley is one of my favorite authors and I have read all of her books. While this series was entertaining, I am sad to admit that it was not among my favorite reads.

Alas214593832226600922266042dair Masters is in his 40s and has had a sort of midlife crisis when he discovers his wife cheating on him. After a period of celibacy, he meets 20 something-year-old Iris. We know nothing about her true identity: age, name, place of residence, employment status, etc. There is much mystery surrounding her person and she disappears for lapses of time, driving Alasdair crazy.

Despite the difference in their ages, the relationship between Alistair and Iris is actually quite touching and not disturbing While I do appreciate some heated scenes, this was almost too much repetition for me – similar to the first Fifty Shades. By the end of the series, you can sort of tune that part out or skip it, and you end up with a good story. However, unlike Fifty Shades, I think these three books could have been more effectively told as one novel. I rate this series 3 Hearts.

The waiting is over… or is it? Finished reading Captivated by You!

So in case you were curious, I chickened out of taking a full day off work. BUT, around noon I did develop a “stomach ache”  that required a comfy chair, a cup of tea, a blanket, and my copy of Sylvia Days’s Captivated by You. And it hurts! There is so much waiting between the continuing saga of Eva and Gideon. Then the moment finally arrives, we get all caught up in the drama, only to have it end too soon again!

This is on51zFdfbe1KL._SL160_e of my top top top most favorite stories/series and my favorite book couple. I highly recommend the series, which must be read in order. I love the characters. The writing is sophisticated and eloquent. The relationship between Eva and Gideon captives me. I love the story with them as a married couple and it is told well. I don’t even care that the series is turning out longer than originally planned, because I love it that much.

I do have to be fair in my assessment though. While I truly enjoyed this leg of the story, I cannot give it 5 stars and this hurts me. There was love and heat, but there was so much missing. This felt like sort of a filler. We are no closer to the resolution of the Cary/Trey/Tatiana/baby drama. Cary is cutting again and that got like three sentences. I expected more reaction to that from Eva even if this isn’t a story about Eva and Cary. I expected a bigger blowout between Gideon and his mom. I anticipated Gideon’s father being connected to the Russian mafia. I expected a pregnancy drama. There was none of this! Even the ending felt like a stolen scene from my favorite movie, As Good As It Gets! it feels like the last book has much ground to cover for wrapping up the story and leaving fans happy and loyal. Still, I give this installment 4 Hearts. 

I will be eagerly checking Sylvia Day‘s site for an update on the series conclusion.

Book Review – Trust in Me by Skye Warren

13446362I loved Prisoner and was anxious to read something else written by Skye Warren. I also happen to be a huge fan of dark erotica. Be forewarned that Trust in Me is not for the faint of heart. This is a dark read that continues to get darker as the story continues. There is violence, nonconsensual sexual relations, and human trafficking. If this disturbs you, look for something else from my list.

Mia comes from a sordid background that is unspeakable. I find it sad that she accepts her fate. She has one goal for redeeming herself yet accepts death will probably be the reward for her efforts. “This whole game was dirty, and so was I.”

This is a well written story and is engrossing. I was able to read it in one sitting. Whatever you think of it, you will not be able to put it down so do not start it if you cannot finish.

What disturbs me is that Mia meets Tyler, the hero, at 12 years old. Tyler is older than Mia and is of age for having sex, yet he forms this attachment to Mia enough to search for her 10 years later. This part I struggled the most with. Tyler is definitely not Grayson. In fact, I felt like we barely scratched the surface of getting to know him. I got upset with him in some scenes for putting Mia in dangerous situations. He just wasn’t the Grayson or Caleb that I was looking for.

In the end, I did like the writing. The story had me captivated, and it had a sufficient level of angst to keep me engrossed. I give it…

3 Stars

Book Review – Prisoner (Criminals & Captives #1) by Annika Martin and Skye Warren

23303963Wow! This was a dark read, which I tend to get drawn into looking for proof of light in the darkness. This was a great read for me and one of my new favorites. Prisoner, which was recently released, has probably one of my favorite heroines in Abigail Winslow and a notorious hottie in Grayson that you can’t help but love. (Do we ever learn his last name? I tried doing a search and came up nada…)

And he’s terrible!  He comes from a deep, dark and troubled past. He holds revenge in his heart. He is guilty of forcing dubious consent and tranquilizing. Yet he does this out of his twisted idea of loving and protecting Abby; in his mind, his forced captivity of Abby will protect and bind the two of them in together in the same tight-knit fashion he shares with the men that he was abducted with. His personal brand of passiveness is evident in his statement, “F#%k it. I don’t need to be a better man. I don’t need to be more. I’m in charge here.”

Abby is a self-conscious bookworm that I can relate to. We see her break out of her shell as Grayson forces her out of it. His affection for her is seen as a threat to Grayson’s gang and she holds her own. I love the unexpected moments when her intelligence shines through and wins her respect.

This story contains violence, graphic sex and dubious consent. That being  said, this did not feel like one of the darkest dark reads that I have experienced. It does have a sort of dubious HEA that left me satisfied. I give this…

5 Stars

Book Review – Beast, Part IV by Ella James

Never enough time for catching up on reviews, and there are a few. The conclusion of the Beast series has arrived and I loved it! The story picked up in the right place. There was the same level of angst, suspense, and hot scenes in the most…inconvenient?… of places, e.g. solitary confinement and on the run. The ending was abrupt but acceptable and satisfactory for this series of novellas. Sad to see it end and good while it lasted.

4 Stars

Book Review – Vanquish (Deliver #2) by Pam Godwin

20932811OMG! I waited for this sequel for what felt like forever, and it was worth the wait! Pam Godwin is an excellent writer; I couldn’t wait to see how she could possibly write a book about Van Quiso. We met Van in “Deliver” where he was an absolutely hateful monster.

Who would have thought we could come to appreciate a character that traffics slave captives? Let alone one that has a fetish for creating ugly life-sized dolls. Only Pam would have the talent to turn him into a likable and understandable character, with a fetish that we could learn to appreciate and he could turn into an honest career!

Naturally, this would require a very unique female counterpart. Van decides to find a new captive for himself as opposed to a buyer. Amber Rosenfeld suffers from agoraphobia and OCD. How convenient that she doesn’t want to leave the house!  By far this is not a humorless story, but I laughed out loud several times at how Amber’s quirks upset Van’s careful planning, which resulted in his actually helping her instead of trapping her. After a time of separation, Amber says:

Her lips slid into a foxy grin. “I made little Van voodoo dolls and stabbed them with toothpicks.”

This can be read as a standalone novel. However, I strongly recommend reading “Deliver” first to truly understand the dark and terrifying beginnings of Van. There are also characters in this book that are in Deliver that complete the story. I really love how this wraps everything up so nicely for all characters, with no loose ends.

I do have to forewarn that this is not a book for the lighthearted. It is dark and contains references to non-consensual relations. In order to appreciate the greatness of the story, it is important to be able to look past the uncomfortable. I give Vanquish

4 Stars

Book Review – The Tied Man – Tabitha McGowan

OMG, where to begin? This is an intense and absorbing read, so my recommendation is not to begin reading it if you have somewhere you need to be soon.

Lilith Bresson is an accomplished artist that basically gets forced by her father to accept a commission. The buyer is the madame of an exclusive resort. This is where we meet Finn Strachan, her “companion”. Every captive at the resort has a different role to play and each has a different threat hanging over them keeping them there. This is a very dark and disturbing story, on the same scale as The Dark Duet trilogy by C. J. Roberts. There are graphic sexual scenes and violence, as well as drugs. If you find this type of story upsetting, please do not put this on your reading list as it can keep you up at night. In fact, I actually stayed up all night engrossed in the story.

Having said that, I have the ability to look past the ugly of the story and see the good of the characters. I find Finn endearing. What he goes through is indescribable and inhumane. As he says, “But at the end of the day, everything I do costs me. The only question is how much.” Whichever words or actions he chooses, he is guaranteed to be punished; it’s just a tossup to what degree and type of punishment that he receives. Somehow, he continues to find love and light through simple pleasures and through Lilith. His pride and affection prevail. He so wants to be seen beyond what he is forced to do. “I want to keep hold of just one or two poxy secrets in the car crash otherwise known as my life in the vain hope that once or twice a year I can pretend to have some bloody dignity.”

I love the main heroine, Lilith. She matures and comes into her own during the story. We see her emotional maturity and her determination. She accepts the situation that Finn finds himself in without passing judgment or excuses. Instead, she works towards a solution. She works toward bringing Finn any small amount of happiness she can, sacrificing herself.

Do not go into this looking for a heavy and erotic read. There are mostly disturbing scenes in the story than there are romantic, and yet I appreciate the relationship between them and could feel the connection.

This was an incredibly well-written story. It is a great use of the language. I look very forward to the sequel.

5 Stars

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