Thursday, October 31, 2013

Sacrificed Anthology

The allure of the beautiful young woman as a sacrifice is one that has long been a part of storytelling. From the virgin sacrifice given to calm the monsters/gods to the child who is tithe in fairy stories to a member of their party sacrificing themselves so that everyone else can continue their quest, there are all kinds of examples of women as sacrifices in fantasy fiction. Often, they are rescued by a dashing prince or a cunning wizard or some other male archetype furthering his own story. Not here. In Sacrificed, these young women's salvation comes in the form of other women, and together, they rewrite the end of the tale on their own terms.

With The Solstice Kiss, Lorena is marked by the pagan goddess Awilix and told she is to be prepared to sacrifice herself to the goddess on the night of the summer solstice, six months away. But as the date approaches, Lorena is plagued with doubt—Awilix could be what she claims, but she could also be a demon intending to devour her soul! In a village committed to Following the Old Ways, the young virgins are rounded up and a candidate selected to be sacrificed to a vengeful dragon. Kassandra is the unlucky selection this time, but she fears how the dragon will react when it learns she had shared a night of passion with her dearest friend Rebekah, and is no virgin after all. Song faces her Sacrificial Destiny when she is accepted as tribute by the dragon Farcloud, who deems her worthy of survival and allows her to serve. Song is reluctant at first, but when Farcloud reveals she also has a human form named Isaronel, Song's desires are kindled, and her service no longer seems a burden. The Spellbound servant Imogen is bound to the sorcerer Linn and charged to care for a captured rebel girl who is to be prepared for a sacrifice to an entity from the beyond. But when Imogen refuses and escapes with the girl, Linn focuses all his power on tracking them down, and now no longer cares which girl falls under his knife!

I thought these were good stories. However when I started to read a new story it felt like tuning into a drama when a few episodes were missed. It takes you a few pages to figure out what is going on. They definitely have potential but I feel as if there was more details needed and more back story for them or lead up to the main part of the story. Overall the stories were enjoyable.

3 1/2 Smooches for the Sacrificed Anthology. You can find it here.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Tuesday Apocalypse by Vicy Cross

In the war-weary year of 1940, just one rundown hospital survives London's collapse. Sister Barbara, a nun and volunteer nurse, inspires hope in her patients, but that faith is shaken when an unidentified aircraft explodes near the hospital. The half-eaten corpse beneath the mangled wreckage appears to corroborate the pilot's story that some sort of "tentacle-monster" attacked his plane. However, Sister Barbara pushes these dangers aside and plunges beyond the rubble when the man she loves disappears in the wastelands.

She discovers a bloodstained beauty in his place—but the girl's outward innocence hides a voracious sexual appetite, and an even more disturbing secret. One by one, the terrified patients vanish from their beds. Titillating tentacles lick the hospital walls at night. And the dreams, always the dreams, drawing Sister Barbara deeper into a well of madness. She suspects she and the other women at the hospital are transforming into something... unholy. Sister Barbara knows she must figure out what before the evil in their midst consumes them all.

Interesting is all I can really say. While stories involving tentacles are not necessarily everyone’s “cup of tea”, this book was surprisingly good. Written journal style, the feelings and experiences of Sister Barbara as the events take place are gripping and had me on the edge of my seat wanting to know what happened next. I was surprised when the story sucked me in and didn't let go until the end.

4 ½ Smooches for Tuesday Apocalypse. You can find it here.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Serve Me Anthology

For some people there's nothing more appealing than the idea of a man forced to serve against his will, as a second-class citizen: a slave. Despite the dark history surrounding forced servitude and slavery, there remains a growing desire for depictions of fetishized slavery fantasies. Like rape fantasy, the appeal for readers in slave fiction lies not in a desire for the actual act, but in the ability to explore such things in a safe space. Many people harbor a secret wish to be forced into certain acts that they know they want, but have been socially conditioned to abhor. Such is the core of the Serve Me anthology. Be warned: these are not stories of consensual, negotiated power exchange. The stories in this anthology focus on true sexualized, erotic slavery: stories of men forced, coerced, or otherwise bound into a second-class life servicing another in whatever ways their master sees fit.

Idris is part of The Spoils of war: the last surviving member of a barbarian clan, he is famed in the gladiatorial arena for his bloody ruthlessness and outside the arena for his carnal appetites. His inner beast is calmed by the presence of his slave and lover, Theo, but to be true to his heart, Idris may have to risk breaking it. Samuel has spent years striving toward the Viscount's circles, where rich and fantastical parties are given and elaborate slave auctions held. He thinks he wants a young lover, but when he buys an Adonis known as Apollo, he realizes what he was truly missing. Now Apollo gives the orders, and it is Samuel saying, As You Wish. Life is Unforgiving for Aidan and Aaron, criminals who have been doomed to live as slaves to vampire masters, whose appetites can be agony... or bliss. When Aidan is given a new lease on life with a benevolent Master, his relief is tainted by pain at leaving Aaron behind; pain which only his Master Ryce has the power to end. Yuta is a gentle giant who joins a local gang for the sense of family that they can provide, but when they leave him high and dry in the middle of a failed heist, it's his captor, Takashima, who shows him what family can really mean as the vicious gang enforcer tenderly turns him into Takashima's Pet.

This collection of short stories definitely explores the darker side of sexual slavery. None of the men are willing slaves and are used brutally by their masters as bodies instead of people. However there are some tender scenes as well that bring the humanity back to these tortured souls whether it’s a new tender master, a fellow slave turned lover, or being pulled from a miserable life all together. The scenes are intense and succeed in pulling powerful emotions from the reader. These are well written and each story left me wanting more.

5 Smooches for Serve Me. You can find it here.

Midnight's Jewel by J. Annas Walker

Sabrina Rivers, an orphaned half witch and magical misfit, has been hidden from the world for almost a century by her Aunt Eleanor. Her only possession is a mysterious dark crystalline pendant she can’t remove. She knows nothing about its powers or purpose.

When mercenaries attempt to steal the pendant in broad daylight, Eleanor has no choice but to entrust Sabrina’s safety to vampire Brandon Thorpe, kingpin of Atlanta’s supernatural underworld. While Eleanor hunts the would-be assassins, Sabrina learns what it means to finally be free to live and to love, but freedom has a cost. Her sheltered life left her with a heavy burden and no way to protect herself.

Is Brandon’s love real or a ploy to get Midnight’s Jewel? Will what she doesn't know about her past get both of them killed? Can he protect her from her enemies and his? What price will she have to pay for love?

I really this book. The story was addicting and pulled me inn until the end. While sad at parts, all of the events came together to shape Sabrina into a confidant and powerful woman and Brandon into a man a woman can love. My only complaint would be that there were few actual steamy scenes and the story abruptly changes pace from sex to story. Overall, very well done.

5 Smooches for Midnight’s Jewel. You can find it here as well as the sequel The Jewel of Darkness.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Stanley's Scent by Lacey Denair

Stanley Vargas is an accountant for the FBI. When he’s enlisted to go on assignment he jumps at the offer, tired of the stogy ordeal of office life. Stanley is a skunk shifter, with mad computer skills. This mission, however, could make his career or get him killed.

Mason Nichols, beta for alpha Andrei Kozlov’s werewolf pack, has reached his limit dealing with the man. After another particularly insane meeting, Mason snaps, challenging Andrei to become Alpha, and soon dispatching the wolf.

When the two men meet and learn they’re mates and that Stanley is an accountant, Mason thinks he has found the help he sorely needs.

His mate accepts his request and the two begin an adventure that gets them and their pack into dire straits with Stanley’s employers, the IRS, Russian Mob, and Columbian cartels.

Will Stanley be forced to do the FBI’s bidding?
Or will he finally do... what’s right for his beloved.

For me the book was really enjoyable but the writing was a bit confusing at times. At times, I had to reread a section to sort out which character the view point was from because the point of view jumps around a bit with no breaks in the story. However this didn't detract from the overall story between Stanley and Mason. The interactions between them are passionate and the time passing in the book as well which is a nice touch and rounds out the story. Except for the point of view jumping I loved the book and look forward to more with these characters.

Overall 4 Smooches for Stanley’s Scent by Lacey Denair