Review: Riot (Scarred Souls, #4), by Tillie Cole

Riot (Scarred Souls, #4)Riot by Tillie Cole
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

***I was provided an ARC of this book from the publisher, through Netgalley.com, in exchange for honest feedback.***

I love this series! Each one of the books in this series has grabbed my attention and left me craving more. I just cannot get enough of these tortured fighters and the women that tame them. It may sound ridiculous – and logically, it kind of is – but it just works so damn well.

There is something about the over-the-top, Alpha-male heroes in this series that appeals to me on a very primal level. In fact, much of the dialogue would be laughable in any other book, but Tillie Cole pulls it off flawlessly. The heroes are similar to those from Kresley Cole’s ‘Immortals After Dark’ series, in their overwhelming need to answer to their baser needs. Phrases like “my female” and other possessive, rudimentary speech patterns fill the pages, but it manages to be incredibly H-O-T.

In this fourth, and final (?), book, we meet “901”. He’s the Blood Pit’s undefeated champion fighter and he’s proved to be a challenge to Master Arziani, the head of the Arziani Georgian crime mob. It is clear that 901 fears nothing, including Master Arziani. This presents a tremendous problem for the crime boss, who needs to reign in his champion.

When Master Arziani shows off his new favorite pleasure slave, “152”, he finally finds the leverage he’s been searching for. Despite his attempts to hide his interest, 901 is taken aback by 152’s beauty. He’s never wanted for anything as much as he wants her.

The two are thrown together, as Master Arziani uses 152 as a tool to break 901. No matter how hard 901 fights his attraction, he ultimately must cede control in this regard. Master Arziani has finally found a way to control 901.

Meanwhile, Valentin is determined to rescue his sister, 152, from the life of slavery that he was able to escape. Along with Luka and Zaal, he plots to bring down Master Arziani once and for all. Their plans are daring and they know that they will either succeed or die trying.

From start to finish, this book kept me on the edge of my seat. The plight of 152 and 901 was desperate and heartbreaking at times. Arziani was sadistic and seriously unhinged, so I never knew what to expect from him.

Unlike earlier books in the series, which followed a predictable pattern of the hero’s escape/rescue from slavery and gradual acclimation to “normal” life on the outside, aided by the heroine, this book saves the rescue for last. In contrast to earlier books, this book is primarily set during the time of captivity. 901 and 152 are both slaves when they meet and fall in love. Only later, are they rescued.

This book was fantastic. I absolutely enjoyed every minute of it and could not put it down. Old and new characters come together and everything comes full-circle. We finally get the HEA that these characters deserve. I can only hope that there will be a spin-off series in the future. I loved it!

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Review: Raze (Scarred Souls, #1), by Tillie Cole

Raze (Scarred Souls, #1)Raze by Tillie Cole
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A Raw, Gritty, Story Of Revenge And Love

Holy hell! This was an intense and amazing story! I devoured this book. I was completely consumed by this story from the first paragraph, to the last. It was gruesome, sad, tragic, and at the same time, it was brutally beautiful. Surrounded by unspeakable acts of violence, an incredible love story unfolds.

I won’t be able to provide a better overview than what is already provided in the author’s blurb, so I’m not going to try. Read it. It will give you a good idea of what the book is about and won’t leave you to “go in blind” as many blurbs do.

I will say, that I was in no way prepared to fall in love with Raze like I did. That Ms. Cole could make a man with over 600 kills and interpersonal skills that were brutish, at best, invoke compassion from readers, is a testament to her exceptional storytelling skills. He may be a killer, but I just wanted to cuddle this poor, lost, sexy man.

The connection between Raze and Kisa was undeniable. Their attraction seemed feral, possessive and animalistic. Yet, there was also an unmistakable tenderness and protectiveness in Raze’s actions. I could not get enough of these two!

Loved it, loved it, loved 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: The Pawn (Endgame, #1), by Skye Warren

The Pawn (Endgame #1)The Pawn by Skye Warren
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This book has wrecked me. It completely blew my mind. I am a total mess, suffering from the book hangover that this one left me with. Wow…just wow!

I have read several of Skye Warren’s books. Some of them have been great. Some have been okay. Others have been a miss for me. This book is by far the best book that Skye Warren has released to date, in my opinion. You do not want to miss this one.

As you can gather from the blurb, Avery James puts her virginity up for auction. Gabriel Miller is the man that buys her. He isn’t a nice guy. He is responsible for the downfall of her father and Avery’s current dire financial situation.

In more ways than one, Avery has to pay for the sins of her father. Her father was convicted of fraud and embezzlement. Gabriel Miller was one of his alleged victims and the man that brought her father to justice. Now he’s seeking vengeance.

When I read the blurb, I thought this would be like a thousand others. I was wrong. Avery’s plight pulled me in and held me tight. I didn’t expect to feel the raw emotion that I did or care much, but I did. This book brought me to my knees!

I won’t spoil the ending, but I have to say that I wasn’t prepared for it. Although a part of me expected it, I was in no way ready to deal with the fallout. I have so many questions. I’m enraged, devastated and completely addicted to this series.

I would kill to have an ARC of the second book. This is going to be one of those waits that is unbearable. I must know where this story goes. I need the next book. Thankfully, it is due to be released in a few weeks time. I think I’d go out of my mind if I had to wait much longer.

Read this book.

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Review: Razing Grace: Razing Grace Part 1 (The Devil’s Own, #3), by Amo Jones

Razing Grace: Razing Grace Part 1Razing Grace: Razing Grace Part 1 by Amo Jones
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Wow! Where do I even start with this one? As my friend Alicia said, this book was a hot mess.

I told myself I would read this one last book in ‘The Devil’s Own’ series, since I was so curious about how things worked out for Millie at the end of book two. This author has a way of hooking me with an ending that leaves me wanting more…even after reading a book that is mediocre, at best. It is quite incredible really.

Not this time though. Despite the huge cliffhanger at the end of this book that left me with unanswered questions and a mild curiosity, I refused to get sucked back in again. I’m hanging it up!

If you’ve read ‘Hellraiser’, then you know that Melissa’s sister, Millie, has been kidnapped by The Army. That is where this book picks up. Sweet Millie, the nun, is being held captive. She doesn’t know why they want her, or to what end, but she adjusts to her captivity pretty quickly.

Tripp, aka Raze, aka Executioner, aka 000, is in charge of “breaking’ her, along with five or six of his Army friends. Every day they show up wearing their assigned Halloween mask and torment Millie…with pleasure, of course! Yes, Millie has been abducted by assassin/gigilos who aim to please!

Tripp allows his friends, at multiple points in the story, to use and molest Millie. Yet, despite that, we’re supposed to believe that he has some sort of protective, possessive claim on her. Say what? It just didn’t ring true to me.

Top that off with the fact that he takes Millie to his house, only to have her cohabitate with his “two” girlfriends. Wow! That’s romantic. What a stand-up guy! He actually flaunts his sex with his play thing in front of Millie’s face at every opportunity. Can you say, true love?

Believe it or not, I could actually overlook some of that. I’m that disturbed individual that loves an asshole in my stories. As long as he grovels, I can forgive just about anything. In fact, the more horrible he is, the better! I love a hero that can rip my heart out and then has to spend some time atoning for his sins.

What I couldn’t overlook were the plot holes the size of the Grand Canyon…or the obvious lack of basic research…or the ridiculous, over-the-top scenarios. For example, the setting is in the Las Vegas area. At one point, Millie is looking out the window at Tripp’s yard. She describes the green grass and trees that don’t require landscaping. It’s been a few years since I went to Vegas, but grass and deciduous trees are not part of the natural topography. Just sayin’. Sandbox is more like it, dotted with mesquite bushes and cacti.

The lack of attention to detail was apparent throughout the book. Tripp and Millie’s first sex scene was one of the worst. Her hands were handcuffed behind her back…you know, above her ass. Then, while cuffed, he stands her up, bends her over and tells her to grab her ankles. Even worse, the author acknowledges that her hands are cuffed and tries to somehow explain that “I didn’t realize just how flexible I am until my fingers are wrapping around my ankles with ease”. That I’d love to see! Did she dislocate both shoulders and swing them around over her head?

Perhaps the biggest plot hole is the fact that all of the events in the preceding book were completely ignored. It was as if Tripp and his buddies didn’t beat Millie’s sister nearly to death when they kidnapped Millie. Nope. It is like it never even happened.

In fact, when Tripp requests a meeting with The Devil’s Own members, they are happy to oblige. No hard feelings. Not even a mention of the fact that he had put Hella’s old lady into a coma. It was like they were all one big, happy, criminal family. I couldn’t believe how absurd it was!

Like the earlier books in the series, this one ends in a manner that has made me wonder what is going to happen next. However, I refused to get sucked in again. I’m not spending any more money or time on this series.

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