Book Review: “The Bratva’s Heir” by Jane Henry and Sophie Lark

Hello.

I can be easily influenced when it comes to books. Sometimes the cover can be enough but every once in a while, I find a book that is being shared by a favorite of mine: Brooklyn. I follow her on Goodreads and somehow I found her on Instagram and she is a lover of romance books like me, but she creates edits and shares cover reveals, deals and steals and the occasional recommendation, which is how I found out about this book: The Bratva’s Heir by Jane Henry and Sophie Lark.

I still consider myself a newbie while reading these dark romance stories, it can usually be a hit or miss, especially if any kind of mafia is involved which I know a lot of these books are–I mean this series is called Underworld Kings, which the concept is both odd and superficial in a lot of ways, that being said, I find it incredibly interesting how this series isn’t written by one author. There are over 17 books but they are all written by various women! I have the first book “”Razor’s Edge” by Mia Crawford on my e-reader to hopefully get me through these cold months a little easier! The entire series is available for FREE on Kindle Unlimited at the moment so if this book seems right up your alley, you should check them out soon. Every story is a standalone as they can discuss a different gang from each ethic background and it’s not just Italian and/or Irish. This is my second mafia dark romance where it is centered around the Bratva, which is the Russian branch and this was definitely my favorite of the two so far!

WARNING: There are spoilers below, along with some trigger that I discuss in more detail, such as bondage, rape, and regular BDSM terms!


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Prison’s a dark, bleak place.
But Clare brings me light.
My sweet little bird will be my ticket to freedom.

The first time I saw her, I had to have her.
From her big, dark eyes, to the curves she can’t conceal…
The way she can only hold my gaze so long.
The way she shivers every time I move inside these chains.
And most of all, the way she’ll bend the rules when I order her to…

I know a natural submissive when I see one.

Her degrees and titles don’t change who she is: a woman who will bend to my will.
She doesn’t know it yet, but Clare is mine.

Mine to train.
Mine to protect.
And mine to control…

taken from Goodreads.

When I began, it had a similar backstory like when Harley Quinn meets and falls in love with The Joker, however, the main defense with this, Clare did not have any romantic feelings for Constantine when they first met. He scared her like he should have for any woman honestly! Despite the events that happen within that first day together, I do not believe she was interested in him as much as he was, and even after they make their escape and what happens at the club would technically be in a form of rape. I know she doesn’t give rise to either situation but this part was a bit difficult to pull away from the act itself.

I understand that this is one of the main factors of these darker romances, but this was my first time since reading Fifty Shades of Grey back in 2011 that I’ve been brought to a similar scene where both female characters are subjected to things they may not want to experience but yet do not voice the other person’s actions immediately. This was one of my reasons why I abandoned Christian Grey in the first place. What I want to explain is that, I immediately saw a different side to both of these characters than what I saw between Christian and Anastasia throughout reading Fifty Shades. Clare was understanding and become much more confident as we continued whereas Constantine was able to flourish as a person outside of his persona there within the Bratva.

My whole body fits inside his in our reflection. I’m fully outlined with raw, muscled, inked alpha male, and I. am. here. for. it.

When there were BDSM elements, and the book is full of them by the way!

They were almost sensual which I really enjoyed since that lifestyle seems so frightening to outsiders, myself included–even though I read these types of books, I don’t consider to know the ins and outs of this style! The one thing I do know is there it is mutual understanding between the couple, and the other’s limits so even though Constantine is definitely an alpha male in this story, he was amazingly gentle to Clare. One thing that I am also learning about these books is that the authors are trying to portray these violent people as real human beings. Who they allow into their inner circles, much less their bed, has to be understandable about their intentions as a whole and change can be accomplished in some form or another too.

Have you read “The Bratva’s Heir” by Jane Henry and Sophie Lark yet? If you have been reading the rest of the Underworld Kings series, do you have a favorite book?

Book Review: “Badd Ass” by Jasinda Wilder

Hello!

I am moving pretty slow through my mini Jasinda Wilder’s Badd Brothers collection on my Kindle, but after failing to find anything to cure my thirst once I finished What Passes As Love, I decided to dive back into this one and was able to include it as part of my reading goal for the year.


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I was a Sixty-Eight Whiskey—a combat medic. So when I hear someone shout “MEDIC!” training just kicks in. It’s automatic, immediate. I don’t think I even saw the guy whose leg I tended to, not really. All I saw was him. Zane Badd. His tuxedo fit him like he’d been sewn into it, and his eyes reflected the fury and the hardness of a combat veteran, but when he looked at me, he just…softened. By the time I had his brother patched, Zane and I were both covered in blood, and I knew I had to have him.

The trouble with Zane isn’t getting him, it’s keeping him. 

And the trouble with me is, even if I could hold onto a man like Zane, I wouldn’t know what to do with him. It’s not in my nature, and if life has taught me anything, it’s to not trust anyone, least of all men like Zane. He’s a warrior through and through, hard, muscular, gorgeous, tenacious, and yet oddly tender toward me.

Experience and instincts are telling me to run from Zane Badd as fast as possible, but my heart and my body are telling me to stay, to hold on and not let go. Yeah, it’s a conflict as old as humanity itself, but it’s brand new for me. 

*   *   *

Life as Navy SEAL doesn’t exactly prepare you for normality. Yeah, I can tend bar and goof off with my seven crazy brothers, but what do I do when the woman of my dreams—dreams I didn’t know I’d had until I saw her—explodes into my life like a frag grenade? I’m trained to attack, to win, to survive at any costs, and figuring out what to do about a woman like Amarantha Quinn will take every scrap of tenacity and courage I possess. Combat is easy, it turns out, in comparison to facing your own fears and scars. 

And then sometimes, just when you think you’ve got it finally figured out, fate throws you a screwball and sends everything FUBAR. 

taken from Goodreads.

I’m slightly disappointed in myself for not only taking as long to finish the book, but also getting this review. I figured by the time I got to this story of my third Badd brother I’d be moving on pretty quickly, but I guess not… I’m not terribly troubled by this since I really enjoyed reading how Mara and Zane got together. For anyone who doesn’t know, I started with the fourth brother Baxter earlier this summer, and then finally got to start over with the entire series and now I’m down to Badd brother #3 which is Brock. However, I doubt I’ll hit a dent in that one for a while!

“You’re terrible,” I said, trying to wriggle out of his clutches, but he wasn’t letting go. “No, the name’s Badd, sweetheart. Two D’s.”

I don’t know how Jasinda Wilder can create a series of eight breath-taking brothers and yet make every book feel like a standalone, but I am a fan of it! You get a tiny snippet of each of the brothers personalities in the first book, and definitely an interesting look at the second oldest Zane, as he is described as this brawly, lookalike Henry Cavil but with tattoos (which is the best way to describe any amount of men honestly!) by the lovely Amarantha Quinn after a wonderful one night stand. I thought I loved how Dru thought, but Mara took her place quickly!

Honestly, every book I’ve read so far has the premise of being a cheesy Hallmark movie but thanks to the amount of sex and swear words, it would never make it to mainstream television – much to the loss of the network… Anyways, I loved how Mara and Zane have good hearts, even though they want to make everyone around assume they would be free because they don’t think they deserve to be loved and give into those types of feelings. Oddly as it seems, I’ve been there, but I have been working on myself and believe there is someone out there for me. These characters were afraid to give in to love and decided to attempt to tricking their hearts and fail miserably!

Have you read Jasinda Wilder’s “Badd Ass” yet? Of the eight brothers and their significant others, who is your favorite?

Book Review: “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland” by Lewis Carroll

Hi 🙂

Now that I can watch YouTube on my TV, I’ve been finding different channels to amuse myself, and one day I stumbled on an audiobook. I don’t know why I was so stunned at this, because I’ve seen crazier things! This ultimately made me remember what I had discovered on Spotify a few days beforehand. I’ve been enjoying the various podcasts, mostly the sleep ones and I found one called “The Sleepy Bookshelf” and they have a few of famous books like Pride & Prejudice by Jane Austen, The Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Braun to listen to until you fall asleep. As much as I thought this was a great idea, some of these books are actually on my TBR so I don’t exactly want to drift off into dreamland while trying to remember the events going on; and the fact that the person reading the books has the perfect monotone voice so falling asleep is somewhat easier than you’d think. Once I saw this pop up om YouTube, I thought I would try it out again and found one that had the full book of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll.

If you would like to try listening to the book via YouTube, here’s the one I used but there are others out there that include the words just in case you want to read along on the screen.


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ALICE’S ADVENTURES IN WONDERLAND (commonly shortened to Alice in Wonderland) is an 1865 novel written by English author Charles Lutwidge Dodgson under the pseudonym Lewis Carroll. It tells of a girl named Alice falling through a rabbit hole into a fantasy world populated by peculiar, anthropomorphic creatures. The tale plays with logic, giving the story lasting popularity with adults as well as with children. It is considered to be one of the best examples of the literary nonsense genre. Its narrative course and structure, characters and imagery have been enormously influential in both popular culture and literature, especially in the fantasy genre.

Dodgson’s tale was published in 1865 as Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by “Lewis Carroll” with illustrations by John Tenniel. The first print run of 2,000 was held back because Tenniel objected to the print quality. A new edition was quickly printed, released in December of the same year but carrying an 1866 date.

The entire print run sold out quickly. Alice was a publishing sensation, beloved by children and adults alike. Among its first avid readers were Queen Victoria and the young Oscar Wilde. The book has never been out of print. Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland has been translated into at least 174 languages. There have now been over a hundred English-language editions of the book, as well as countless adaptations in other media, especially theatre and film.

taken from Amazon.

Since I have watched the original Disney adaption of Alice In Wonderland throughout my life, I really tried to turn off what I knew from the film to what I was hearing – unfortunately I wasn’t that successful but then again it happens whenever I read the Harry Potter books too. I can’t change what I know but it is a nice lesson to other book to screen adaptions in the future!

For the most part, the experience was great!

I really enjoyed myself throughout most of the story, but like how I feel about the movie, my interest basically disappears as we get to the ending. I thought it was funny how much the Queen of Hearts is actually a mild character in the book whereas her husband, the King, has a bigger role. The same goes with other characters we are used to be commanding like The DoDo and Mad Hatter. In a way it was strange or I guess in this case “curious” that it doesn’t matter what age we are, but we could be swayed just as easily as Alice figuring out how tall she wanted to be throughout the entire book.

Do bats eat cats? Do cats eat bats?

Alice in general was very sure of herself but had a posh or snub personality to me. Despite not really understanding what was going on at the start of her journey, she never let go of that almost cocky attitude. The author wrote the book in the 1800’s, so children who were born and raised in the middle or higher in their social class, would have that kind of personality, well most of them! So, it was rough to get over my judgement towards her. and frankly I just didn’t care for her at all…Is there anyone out there who does not find the book interesting at all? I am curious about what made you think this wasn’t as thrilling as you thought it would be? Honestly, a part of me wishes I had fallen asleep to it when I found it on Spotify.

If you are a fan of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll, what were the elements that pulled you down the rabbit hole? Do you think I should check out “Through the Looking Glass” next? Do you believe I might like this one better?

Book Review: “What Passes As Love” by Trisha R. Thomas

Hello there!

For the last two months, I’ve been on what I thought would be a never-ending cycle of finding something to read to only abandon it later. I have been searching for my next great book (series) to at least excite me for a time, but l haven’t found anything like I had with the ‘Celtic Blood’ series, that is, until I found this little beauty.

I still don’t know what made me obsess over it when I saw it, because I had been scrolling through the new releases on Kindle Unlimited for days, and I just thought I would give it a try and then all of a sudden I was done with it in less than a week! Obviously, it was what I needed after so many over-the=top romance books. I was back on my trustee subject: historical fiction and I was able to dive deeply into it while suffering through chronic back pain. It was what I needed to get past everything for a time.


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A young woman pays a devastating price for freedom in this heartrending and breathtaking novel of the nineteenth-century South.

1850. I was six years old the day Lewis Holt came to take me away.

Born into slavery, Dahlia never knew her mother—or what happened to her. When Dahlia’s father, the owner of Vesterville plantation, takes her to work in his home as a servant, she’s desperately lonely. Forced to leave behind her best friend, Bo, she lives in a world between black and white, belonging to neither.

Ten years later, Dahlia meets Timothy Ross, an Englishman in need of a wife. Reinventing herself as Lily Dove, Dahlia allows Timothy to believe she’s white, with no family to speak of, and agrees to marry him. She knows the danger of being found out. She also knows she’ll never have this chance at freedom again.

Ensconced in the Ross mansion, Dahlia soon finds herself held captive in a different way—as the dutiful wife of a young man who has set his sights on a political future. But when Bo arrives on the estate in shackles, Dahlia decides to risk everything to save his life. With suspicions of her true identity growing and a bounty hunter not far behind, Dahlia must act fast or pay a devastating price.

taken from Goodreads.

When you first get into it, you will see a “Part I” page and I was unsure what this would mean while I passed each section. It wasn’t until I was finished did I realize why the author needed to spread things out into three acts.

You first a young Dahlia Holt, a sweet and resourceful girl who is swept up in the deep south, raised by her fellow slave family and the Holt family. Lewis Holt seems like every other slave owner of his time, but he has some secrets. One of which is that Dahlia is his daughter, so he has her come to the house to live along her sisters Annabelle and Leslie, and beloved grandmother but she’s also there to help serve them as well. Dahlia is somewhat unique as she is biracial so she could pass as both white and black, but choosing which side to be is proving harder to do than she thought. She has a friend though. Another slave, by the name of, Bo. They live separate lives on different parts of the plantation, but neither one are free.

In the second part, Dahlia goes out with Mother Rose and her sisters as they enjoy a day out into the city.

You want everyone to see through your eyes, but your eyes ain’t like the rest.

It’s there that Dahlia strays away from her family and finds two men, or well, they find her. They seem nice as regular gentlemen but Dahlia isn’t too convinced as she’s been warned to be careful around strangers, but she seems enchanted by Timothy, who wants to protect her when the city erupts in a panic over a robbery and she knows she needs to get back to the carriage, she is pulled by Timothy to escape with him and his brother Ryland. She sees this as an opportunity and takes it. Unfortunately for Dahlia, this was the only easy part of her journey.

As the final section begins, we see Dahlia finally make her way beyond what she knew about herself, the people she’s come to love and trust and find a solution on her quest for ultimate freedom.

There are not many books that allow me to dwell on the past, my American history, because it is disgusting on how my ancestors treated slaves – although I’m not sure how many family members in fact owned anyone, but there is a big possibility that it happened and it’s just better to understand that aspect of it. This book is a good insight on what it was like to be owned, and the prospect of being a women in those times and the fear of being raped by the master or overseer, having to serve ignorant people, and the thought of running away only to be brought back to harsher conditions than before.

If you are a fan of historical fiction, I highly suggest you check out this book. You will love it just as much as I did, trust me! It will make you think about everything once you finish, both about the book itself and how you love and treat people too.

Have you read “What Passes As Love” by Trisha R. Thomas yet? If you have, what to like about it? What section was your favorite too?

Book Review: “The Boleyns Of Hever Castle” by Owen Emmerson & Claire Ridgway

Hello!

It seems like it’s been forever since I’ve done anything for my blog.

Honestly, I see this as a good sign because it means that I am starting to enjoy these mini vacations! I have to say though, I did not do a whole lot of reading, ever since I finished the Celtic Blood series at the beginning of the summer, I have had a rough time figuring out what I want to get into next, as you might know I have really allowed myself to enjoy romance again, but they’re not as fun as they were around May, so I decided to dive deep into my historical fiction and even some nonfiction in there too, which is how I found this book on Kindle Unlimited in the middle of August.

I remember seeing this cover on the History of Royal Women’s instagram stories a few months before it actually came out. Moniek tries to give everyone an overview of all of the books coming out in both the US and UK and since it isn’t uncommon for the dates to be different, you may see it more than once. If you do not have instagram, she also does a blog post usually at the start of the month with more information about the books and when they officially come out too! If you’re curious about the books coming out in September, click here.


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Hever Castle is a picture-postcard fortified manor house nestled in the Kent countryside. It is famous for its links with the Boleyns, an East Anglian gentry family who rose and fell dramatically at the court of King Henry VIII.

In The Boleyns of Hever Castle, historians Owen Emmerson and Claire Ridgway invite you into the home of this notorious family.

Travel back in time to those 77 years of Boleyn ownership. Tour each room just as it was when Anne Boleyn retreated from court to escape the advances of Henry VIII or when she fought off the dreaded ‘sweat’. See the 16th century Hever Castle come to life with room reconstructions and read the story of the Boleyns, who, in just five generations, rose from petty crime to a castle, from Hever to the throne of England.

Owen Emmerson and Claire Ridgway have combined their considerable knowledge of the Boleyn family and Hever Castle to create this luxurious book. Packed with history and full-colour images, The Boleyns of Hever Castle will educate and enlighten you

taken from Amazon.

So, the book itself is divided up in three sections. The beginning is how the entire castle looked like when it was first built before the Boleyn family came along. The authors give you a lot of blueprints and reconstructed photos to give you a better idea, and this was something I could follow easily with but reading along through what was important about all of the balconies, rooms, and stairs. At some point of this, I became very confused and was tempted to skip that whole section–I complained so much that even my mom was telling me to do it! Once you finally complete this part, you move on to the origin story of the Boleyns.

This was definitely my favorite part of the book. I like to look up family trees to see where they came from and how various names play a part in the line of decedents. The first person you are introduced to is Sir Geoffrey Boleyn, who begins his quest to learn and work his way up the amount of positions like a mercer to sheriff of London. The men of the Boleyn were very good at their jobs, and this is something that continues through the generations to the point where you have Geoffrey’s great-great-grandson Thomas Boleyn becoming a diplomat for England, France, and Austria and then finally becoming the first Earl of Wiltshire in 1529.

Thomas would inherit a large amount of properties and after he married the Lady Elizabeth Howard, the daughter of the 2nd Duke of Norfolk, they would make Hever Castle their official residence. One of my favorite lines in the book was, they family could lived anywhere they wanted to, but they felt safe at Hever. The Countess would give birth to five children, but only Mary, Anne, and George would survive to adulthood. All of them were educated at Hever with their governesses and tutors, but most importantly Mary and Anne were allowed to take other courses that were mainly taught to the men of the household like falconry. Another part of their schooling, especially if they had family that worked within royal houses, they could live as apprentices or in Mary and Anne’s case, become ladies in waiting. They stayed with the Queen Margaret of Austria and Queen Claude of France before coming back to England and being part of Catherine of Aragon’s household.

This is the story of the rise of a remarkable family who, over five generations, rose from petty crime to a castle, from Hever to the throne of England.

My views on whether Anne was a schemer or a pawn has definitely changed over the years. I think the thing we all need to remember is, you never said no Henry. I am sure there was fear among the many families that served under the king, especially if you could not get something done right away, which is why my views on Cardinal Worsley’s responsibility has flipped as well. I do not believe Anne could get out of the king’s clutches or her family’s ambitions to gain even more control of the king. Unfortunately, the Queen could not give Henry a son, and Anne was at the right place at the wrong time and her fate was sealed.

The final section of the book is what happened after Hever was left to the Crown and the rest of the Boleyn family died out in 1634 with the death of Lettice Knollys, who was the daughter of Catherine Carey, who then was the daughter of Lady Mary Boleyn, the only child of Thomas and Elizabeth to not lose her head after the events in 1539. It wasn’t until William Waldorf Astor took control of the property and brought it back to how it could have looked like when the Boleyn family lived there, but with some added royal aesthetic. I thought this part was fairly interesting because it speaks to anyone who is obsessed with royal history, especially the Tudor dynasty! It doesn’t matter what century or year it is, everyone can fall in love with the stories this castle’s walls know by heart. It may be the only living thing to know the truth about Anne Boleyn’s thoughts about everything!

I really enjoyed this book, and think if you or someone you know loves learning about royal history, you should direct them to this lovely book. It is fairly short but it is full of information!

Have you read “The Boleyns at Hever Castle” by Owen Emmerson and Claire Ridgway yet? If you have, what were your thoughts about it? Let me know below!