Review: Hundreds (Dollar, #3), by Pepper Winters

Hundreds (Dollar, #3)Hundreds by Pepper Winters
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

If you follow my reviews, you know that I love dark, twisted romance. So, it should come as no big surprise that I’m a big fan of Pepper Winters. She has a way of drawing me in and doing dirty, dirty things to my mind. This series is no exception.

The third book in the series, ‘Hundreds’ shows more character development and evolution than previous books. Pim really begins to come out of her shell, pushing her boundaries and defying Alrik’s conditioning. Elder also reveals a more personal side, finally sharing details about his past and opening up to Pim.

Aside from their personal growth, ‘Hundreds’ also spotlighted the evolution of Pim and Elder’s relationship. From the guilt and hurt that the last book left off with, they grew stronger. In fact, their biggest challenge was how strong their attraction was this time around. It seems that once Pim comes to realize that she wants Elder as much as he wants her, the tables turn.

While most of the book focused on Elder and Pim’s relationship, Elder’s past also plays an important role. His secrets are finally brought to light. The consequences of his past actions come back to haunt him. He is a hunted man.

In addition to the people from his past that want revenge for the perceived wrongs of Elder, Elder is also fighting his inner demons. He knows that every moment he spends with Pim increases the risk of danger to her. He wants to protect her from those that would harm her — most importantly, himself.

Like earlier books in the series, ‘Hundreds’ ends with quite an upset. Ms. Winters really knows how to keep you anxiously awaiting the next book. Of course, I’ve already pre-ordered the next one because I know I won’t want to wait a minute longer than necessary to see what she has in store for Pim and Elder.

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Review: Throne of Truth (Truth and Lies Duet, #2), by Pepper Winters

Throne of Truth (Truth and Lies Duet, #2)Throne of Truth by Pepper Winters
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

If you enjoyed ‘Crown of Lies’, then you don’t want to miss the conclusion to Penn and Elle’s story. Finally, all of the lingering questions I had have been answered. With plenty of twists and turns along the way, the facts and the past are unveiled. Some things were predictable, others not so much.

Picking up where ‘Crown of Lies’ left off, ‘Throne of Truth’ thrusts readers right back into the dangerous situation that Elle has found herself in. If I thought that I hated Greg before, I had no idea of how much I would come to despise him. Totally unhinged, with a penchant for the sadistic, he proves to be far worse than I had imagined.

With Elle missing and at the mercy of her abductor, Penn is determined to rescue her. Whether or not Elle wants anything to do with him once he finds her, is something he’s willing to let her decide once she’s heard him out. He’s come too far to let her slip away without hearing his truth.

Elle ends up spending more time than I had anticipated as Greg’s captive. Accordingly, this book had a “darker” feel to it than the first book did. He was one crazy guy and he had no qualms about mistreating Elle.

Eventually, Penn does come to Elle’s rescue. No big surprise there! However, the two still have their own problems to work out.

Despite the big heroic rescue, Elle still isn’t willing to trust Penn. Given the situation, the bickering seemed a little petty and unrealistic to me. I mean, come on! You’ve just been rescued from your kidnapper/would-be rapist and you’re going to refuse to talk to your savior? I call BS.

Once the two finally get things squared away again, it doesn’t take much time before they run into another problem. Elle’s company comes under fire for her association with Penn. After all that work to get her back, Penn begins to question whether or not he is good enough for Elle.

They’re off. They’re on. They’re off. They’re on again. There is certainly plenty of angst and conflict in this second book. I am a lover of angst, but it was getting to feel a bit too contrived for me.

That being said, I did enjoy this book quite a bit overall. I had plenty of gripes – like the friendship with Gio- but I have to admit that I couldn’t put it down or pull myself away from all of the drama. Sure, I rolled my eyes…but I couldn’t get enough.

I haven’t found a Pepper Winters book yet that I haven’t enjoyed. This one proved to be no different. I have enjoyed every minute of Elle and Penn’s story, albeit unbelievable at times. I also loved having a story that came full circle in only two books, versus a series that goes on and on without an end in sight. This wasn’t my favorite of Ms. Winters’ series, but I thought it was great all the same!

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Review: Crown of Lies (Truth and Lies Duet, #1), by Pepper Winters

Crown of Lies (Truth and Lies Duet, #1)Crown of Lies by Pepper Winters
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Yet again, Pepper Winters has managed to suck me in! In her trademark style, she slowly and meticulously weaved a story of romance, danger and intrigue. Bit by bit, the reader is given morsels of truth, while many facts and details remain elusive enough to keep readers guessing.

Elle Charlston is the heiress to a retail dynasty. Belle Elle has been in her family for generations and she stands to inherit the department store conglomerate. From a very young age, Elle has been trained to run the business. While other kids played with dolls, Elle perfected the window displays and learned how to best present merchandise. When other kids focused on basic geometry, Elle mastered complex spreadsheets and earnings reports.

Looking in from the outside, Elle seems to have a dream life. She leads a life of privilege and has everything that money can buy. Yet, she longs for all the things that money can’t buy.

She’s never had anything in common with the kids that she went to school with. Longing for friendship, she allowed herself to be taken advantage of by those who were only interested in what Elle’s wealth could do for them. Her father and her cat are the only “friends” that Elle has ever known.

On Elle’s nineteenth birthday, she makes an impulsive decision to sneak out into the city. She wants to spend one night experiencing life and exploring, without the protective oversight of her driver/security guard. She’s never been able to be “free” and do the things that other teenagers take for granted. For just one night, she wants to shed the uptight persona that has defined her for the entirety of her life.

Not long into her explorations, Elle finds herself in a very precarious position. Without her security guard, she has no protection against the dangers that lurk in the nighttime on the city streets. Having been sheltered her whole life, she lacks street smarts and is an easy mark for those who would victimize her.

Dragged into a deserted alleyway, Elle is robbed and nearly raped. If it weren’t for the bravery of an unnamed homeless man, Elle would have faced a fate far worse. Her unnamed hero saves Elle, beating her assailants and chasing them off into the night.

In the hours that follow, Elle walks the city with the man. The two form an unlikely friendship and eventually more. Sneaking into Central Park after-hours, they share a night of romance and adventure. Elle and her stranger share a kiss that will haunt her for years before their night is abruptly ended and the man is arrested.

For years, Elle tries to locate her hero unsuccessfully. Without his name, and only a vague physical description, she is unable to track him down. She never gives up though. She is determined that she will find “Nameless”, the only man who has ever sparked any interest in her.

Realizing that he may have sentenced his daughter to a life of loneliness, Elle’s father is determined to find a husband for her to help shoulder the burden of running the business. His repeated match-making attempts are futile. Elle refuses to consider the men that her father tries to shove her way. She is only interested in one man and she knows that she’s unlikely to ever find him.

When she overhears her father again trying to set her up with a stranger at a bar, she is appalled. Never has she met a more arrogant man. She’s outraged by her father’s behavior and this man’s cocky attitude. Drenching him in his drink, she leaves the bar certain that it will be the last time she ever has to face the handsome stranger.

As much as she professes to hate the man, she can’t seem to get him off her mind. It is the first time that a man, other than “Nameless”, has consumed her thoughts. When she runs into him, again, the sexual tension between her and the sexy, Penn Everett reaches an all-time high.

One thing leads to another and Elle and Penn begin a tumultuous relationship. The chemistry is incredibly strong between the two, in a love/hate kind of way. They can’t seem to get enough of each other, even as they each try to keep the other at arm’s length. It was incredibly hot!

While Elle is an open book, Penn is not. In fact, Elle doesn’t seem to know much of anything about the enigmatic man. All of her attempts to get to know him on a more personal level are shut down swiftly. Who he is and where he came from are a big mystery.

As the story progresses, pieces of Penn’s past are revealed. However, each detail only leads to more questions. Who is this man and what does he want with Elle really?

From start to finish, I could not get enough of Elle’s story. Admittedly, this book did start off a little slow for me. However, once I got going, I couldn’t put it down. Ms. Winters’ writing is impeccable and she never fails to hold my attention.

The characters were intriguing and the storyline had just enough danger to keep it exciting. I was particularly impressed with the way that Ms. Winters made Elle a personable character that you almost pity. Lets face it, a billionaire “princess” is not a character that most people can sympathize with. However, her kind demeanor and loneliness made Elle very human and easy to relate to.

Elle Charlston, her unnamed rescuer and the high-handed Penn Everett have completely consumed me. I think I know what happened, but Ms. Winters never fails to surprise me. I’ll have to just wait and see if I’m right.

I cannot wait to get my hands on the next book and see where things are headed. I am so glad that I won’t have to wait too long for the next book. The minute it is released, I’ll be all over it!

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Review: Pennies (Dollar, #1), by Pepper Winters

Pennies (Dollar, #1)Pennies by Pepper Winters
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Mind-Blowing!

Whew! Pepper Winters never fails to blow my mind! I know when I pick up one of her stories that I’m in for a mindf*@k and that is exactly what I got with ‘Pennies’.

This story was so disturbing that I needed to take a little time to decompress after finishing it, before writing this review. I just needed time to come to terms with what I had just read and process my emotions. To me, that’s a sign that I’ve just finished a phenomenal book. You know it’s great when it stays with you and occupies your thoughts long after you’ve finished it.

This story is told in multiple POVs, but is centered on the experiences of Tasmin, aka Pimlico. At eighteen, Tasmin has led a privileged and sheltered life. When she is taken from one of her mother’s formal functions, her existence as she knows it comes to an end. Tasmin becomes Pimlico, a sex slave.

Purchased by Alrik, a sadistic and cruel man who refers to himself as “Master A”, Pimlico lives in constant terror. She suffers unspeakable acts at the hands of Master A and his friends. He takes pride in his visciousness.

When Elder Prest sets eyes on Pimlico, he is equally intrigued and enraged. He finds himself having to fight back his urges to take her for himself, while also wanting to kill Alrik for his abuse of the slave girl. He’s no stranger to deviant acts, a notorious criminal himself, but something about Pimlico calls to him.

Pimlico, despite the horrors she’s endured, does not break. She is defiant to the end, even as she submits in calculated measures to survive. She does what she has to do to survive, but she will never give Master A what he wants most…her voice.

This was a hard story to read in so many ways. Not only was Pimlico’s account of life as a slave harrowing, but there was never any sense of hope. When Elder enters the story, it is clear that he is no knight in shining armor. In fact, he may prove to be as bad, if not worse, than Master A. Pimlico is faced with a choice between the lesser of two evils, with no happy ending in sight for her.

Ms. Winters has, yet again, managed to create a story that held my attention from start to finish. I cannot wait to see where she plans to take readers with this series. No doubt, it will be one dark and depraved journey and I plan to be front and center! I am dying to see what becomes of Pimlico and Elder, even as I dread finding out what’s in store for poor Pim.

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Review: Bonus Epilogue Tears of Tess (Monsters in the Dark, #1.5), by Pepper Winters

Bonus Epilogue Tears of Tess (Monsters in the Dark #1.5)Bonus Epilogue Tears of Tess by Pepper Winters
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

It has been a while since I visited Tess and Q. They’re one of my favorite couples and I’m so happy that Ms. Winters provided this delicious little tidbit to ease my withdrawl symptoms. I can’t get enough of these two!

Taking place following ‘Tears of Tess’, this is a short and sweet bonus told from Tess’ POV. She has just returned to Q, deciding to remain his esclave on a permanent basis. What ensues is a couple of very steamy sex scenes and some heartfelt moments between the two.

To reorient readers, Ms. Winters also included the Q’s epilogue from ‘Tears of Tess’. Reading it, I had no problem remembering exactly where the story had left off and getting right back into it.

If you haven’t read ‘Tears of Tess’, this short “extra” probably won’t have much meaning to you. If you’re a fan of the ‘Monsters in the Dark’ series, you’ll probably love this freebie. I know that I did. It was like an early Christmas gift from Ms. Winters to her fans.

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Nobody Does Dark and Twisted Like Pepper Winters!

Dollars (Dollar, #2)Dollars by Pepper Winters
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

If ever there was a time when I knew that I should have waited until the entire series was out before starting, it is now. I love all things Pepper Winters, so I am predictably weak when she has a new series out. I tell myself to wait, because the anticipation between each book in the series will drive me crazy. However, I have no self-control and so here I am again.

As usual, Ms. Winters has tied me in knots. I am dying to find out what the future holds for Pim and Elder, but Ms. Winters will keep me waiting for quite some time yet. The anticipation is killing me! No surprise there.

The second book in the series, ‘Dollars’ picks up where ‘Pennies’ left off. Pim has killed the man who tortured her for years, Master A. Taken by Elder Prest, she soon realizes that her rescuer is also her latest captor.

He may not be as cruel as Master A yet, but there is a darkness in him, lurking beneath the surface. How deep that darkness runs, or how it manifests itself, is still largely a mystery. Bits of Elder’s past are revealed, but much more remains unknown. Who exactly is he? What is this darkness that he alludes to that he struggles to control?

As Pim recovers from her injuries she maintains her silence, choosing to observe and take in everything around her. Elder is as much her obsession, as she is his. She has learned the hard way not to trust anyone, especially men. She is certain that every kindness he shows her is a trick, furthering whatever ulterior motives he has. He has hinted as much.

Like Master A, Elder grows increasingly frustrated with Pim’s silence. He vacillates between a determination to force her to talk and a recognition that this behavior would make him the exact same type of monster that she’s just escaped. Throughout the book, he flip-flopped between these dispositions. After a while, it got somewhat repetitive.

Pim’s behavior also seemed to flip-flop some. This was largely in response to Elder’s moods. Every time she seemed to be making progress, he’d grow impatient and set her back again.

This back and forth between the two went on for what seemed like forever. Don’t get me wrong, I love the angsty, push and pull between main characters. Nothing bugs me more than a story that feels forced and rushed. There is certainly no risk feeling that way with this one.

In fact, my main complaint about this book is that I didn’t feel like the storyline progressed all that much. I’m sure that Ms. Winters has intentionally done this to fully develop the relationships, characters and the storyline. However, the suspense is killing me!

As much as I love Pim and Elder as characters, I have to admit that I spent most of this book just waiting for something…anything…to happen. For the most part, there was a noticeable absence of any action or plot twists that would get my heart going. I felt like this book was just building a strong foundation for future books in the series. At times I was even bored, which is unheard of for me when reading a book by this author.

That being said, it is still a book written by Ms. Winters. Even if it isn’t my favorite of her books, it is still superior to at least 80% of the other stuff I read. She’s just that damn impressive! I might have wanted a little more action in this one, but I know that there was a well thought out reason for the flow of this book.

Don’t give up on it yet, though. The last 20-25% of the book really picks up. Suddenly, there is some action and some suspense. Questions are answered and I felt like I gained a little better understanding of Elder. Of course, all of his secrets were not revealed. I have a feeling that won’t happen until the very end.

The relationship between Pim and Elder also takes a new direction. Honestly, I was a little surprised that it happened this soon. I am looking forward to seeing exactly where their relationship is headed. This is not a couple that can just have a HEA fall into their laps easily. I’m sure that there is more hardship on the horizon for these two.

All in all, I enjoyed ‘Dollars’. There were times when I thought it was dragging along, but I know it will be worth it in the end. Mainly, I’m just anxiously awaiting the next book in this series and kicking myself for not having the patience to wait until all of the book in the series were finished before I started.

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