**REVIEW** ~ The Con Artist, by Kitty Thomas

Dark Literary Erotica

Adult/18+ Read

This book is intended for an emotionally mature adult audience and contains dark themes. This title is a stand alone (not part of a series.)

The Con Artist

Book Blurb

Art. Obsession. Twisted possession.

When starving artist Saskia Roth meets Lachlan Niche, a local art collector and tech tycoon, she has no idea how her life is about to change. One act of desperation, one con gone wrong, and she finds herself at the mercy of a powerful man she fears and despises–or so she thinks at first. As lines begin to blur, her life as his captive becomes something more… something that will both transform her and destroy her.

My Review ***** (5 Stars)

Dark, Brutal and Obsessive 

The Con Artist is classic Kitty Thomas – dark, brutal and obsessive mind- f****** at its best!

The read is an intense portrayal of the relationship between Lachlan, a tortured artist and Saskia, his muse, who he is determined to debase, own and control in his quest for their respective inspiration. The lines of consent are blurred, love in the traditional sense is absent, and the erotic scenes are deliciously dark and also deeply psychological as they explore the evolving relationships inherent in the plot.

The world Lachlan inhabits is one of untold wealth and depravity, into which the unsuspecting Saskia becomes trapped, on account of her own actions and Lachlan’s duplicity. She is totally at his mercy and becomes his captive in every sense of the word. Hatred soon morphs into a need and attraction so strong that she struggles to reject her own twisted desires as well as those of her captor, despite knowing that her acceptance and submission can only result in her ultimate destruction of self.

I will not reveal much of the plot, as it would  ruin the reading experience – suffice to say that once I downloaded his book and started to read, I was compelled to finish it! There are harsh and unforgiving scenes of BDSM and consent is used as a method by which Lachlan, incapable of the love Saskia craves, constantly tests and controls her.

Kitty Thomas’ writing is flawless, contrasting with the savage beauty of the tale and the darkness of its protagonists. There is no traditional HEA, although the ending definitely befits the complex relationships in the story. If you are familiar with Kitty Thomas’ work you will love it. Recommended for dark romance junkies everywhere!

Reviewed by Tina Williams

Connect with the Author

Goodreads

Purchase Links

Amazon US   Amazon UK

Connect with the Author

http://kittythomas.com/

 

 

 

**ARC REVIEW** ~ Mother, by Alistair Cross and Tamara Thorne

Psychological Thriller

Mother

Book Blurb

A Girl’s Worst Nightmare is Her Mother …
Priscilla Martin. She’s the diva of Morning Glory Circle and a driving force in the quaint California town of Snapdragon. Overseer of garage sales and neighborhood Christmas decorations, she is widely admired. But few people know the real woman behind the perfectly coiffed hair and Opium perfume.

Family is Forever. And Ever and Ever …
No one escapes Prissy’s watchful eye. No one that is, except her son, who committed suicide many years ago, and her daughter, Claire, who left home more than a decade past and hasn’t spoken to her since. But now, Priscilla’s daughter and son-in-law have fallen on hard times. Expecting their first child, the couple is forced to move back … And Prissy is there to welcome them home with open arms … and to reclaim her broken family.

The Past Isn’t Always as Bad as You Remember.
Sometimes it’s Worse …
Claire has terrible memories of her mother, but now it seems Priscilla has mended her ways. When a cache of vile family secrets is uncovered, Claire struggles to determine fact from fiction, and her husband, Jason, begins to wonder who the monster really is. Lives are in danger – and Claire and Jason must face a horrifying truth … a truth that may destroy them … and will forever change their definition of “Mother.”

My Review (Five stars *****)

Dark and Enthralling

Mother is a superbly crafted and enthralling psychological thriller which has emerged from the writing partnership of Tamara Thorne and Alistair Cross. For me, the novel has strong echoes of David Lynch and Stephen King: there are a myriad of secrets and dark deeds which go on behind the immediate visual landscape, complemented by a host of quirky yet intense characterisations and a devilishly twisted plot. The read also contains some very dark humour.

The words sociopath, narcissist and even monster fail to adequately describe Prissy Martin, the ‘Mother’ of the title. She is one evil package of destructive, controlling, self-serving and remorseless desires who will let no one get in her way. Indeed, this monster’s tentacles reach far and wide…..

It is into this that Claire, her estranged daughter, pregnant with her first child, reluctantly returns, accompanied by her husband Jason, the couple having fallen on hard times. Surely Mother is not as bad as Claire’s memories indicate? Indeed, at first Prissy appears to do all she can to make them feel welcome, but it is not long before they too become prey to her nefarious designs and her need to control all around her. Their marriage, health and Claire’s sanity is soon under threat as Mother reverts to form.

Mother has her own special plans (exactly what we are not made privy to until the novel reaches its conclusion) and will not be thwarted….. Family secrets, lies and the past intertwine to create a read where, with each turn of the page, my heart beat ever faster as the evil intent reveals itself as we approach the novel’s shocking denouement. Madness threatens to consume Claire and her mother Prissy and it is uncertain who will be the victor.

The novel contains some truly superb characterisations, not just Prissy herself but also the unfortunate Claire, the unsuspecting Jason, Barb, Prissy’s long-suffering neighbour and friend and Fathers Pike and Flanagan, the current and former local priests. The residents of Morning Glory Circle each have their own secrets and there are many surprises in store as they are slowly revealed.

I was open mouthed as the plot unfolded. This deeply psychological novel contains truly appalling revelations, and is certainly not for the faint of heart. If you are looking for an unforgettable and heart stopping read that explores the depths of human depravity then this is the book for you. An unforgettable read by a writing duo that are at he top of their game.

Reviewed by Tina Williams

Please note, an ARC of this book was given to me for the purpose of a fair and honest review.

Connect with the Authors

http://www.tamarathorne.com/

http://alistaircross.com/

Purchase Links

Amazon US  Amazon UK

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/29866355-mother

*REVIEW* ~ The Everlasting Spell (Celandrium Shop Tales, book #1), by Kristin Ravelle

Paranormal Romance

Ever Cover FINAL

 Word Count: Approximately 10,850 (about 42 pages)

Genre: Paranormal, Urban, Fantasy, Romance

ISBN# 9781301077687   Amazon ASIN# B00BFUOBAY

Blurb

Casting a moon spell to capture the romantic interest of Justin Rokoff seems crazy to college psychology student, Sabina Clair, but when she overhears a conversation about the powerful success of a Celandrium Shop love spell, Sabina decides to take drastic measures to attract Justin, her love crush since starting college. She visits the mysterious Celandrium shop and purchases the archaic spell. Sabina casts the spell at the next full moon and waits anxiously for its effects, which are very quick. The bliss of Justin’s immediate and undivided romantic attention very soon turns to dread when the antique spell works too perfectly and Sabina finds herself desperate to undo an irreversible spell. Surprise twist ending!

The Everlasting Spell is a curious, paranormal, urban tale that will entertain you magically!

Review ****

Be Careful what you wish for…..

I found this to be a quick, entertaining paranormal romance, which also contains magic, humour and an underlying sense of menace. It is essentially a modern day fable, which warns the reader to be careful what they wish for!

The story was very realistic in how it portrayed the thoughts and actions of the heroine Sabina, as she goes about her life at college and her attraction to Justin, the college hottie. This contrasted nicely with the scenes which described the strange and magical Celandrium Shop and the Everlasting Spell which she purchases. I particularly liked the scenes in which Sabina invokes the spell and the descriptions of the mysterious shop and the shopkeeper.

Whilst Sabina is thrilled when the spell is a great success and she gains Justin’s attention, she begins to have second thoughts….. Yet what is a girl to do when powerful moon magic has been invoked? Can the spell be stopped or reversed or will she be the recipient of Justin’s increasingly obsessive attraction to her forever?

I will not reveal any more, but suffice to say that there is a twist to this engaging tale, which will appeal to lovers of romance and the paranormal alike.

Reviewed by Tina Williams

A copy of this book was given to me by the author for the purpose of a fair and honest review. 

Purchase Links 

Available From Amazon US   UK   Smashwords

Author Contact Details

http://kristinravelle.blogspot.ca/ (Kristin’s Blog)

@KristinRavelle on Twitter

https://www.pinterest.com/kristinravelle/ (Kristin on Pinterest)

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/17382244-the-everlasting-spell

 

 

**Double Review** Cursed & Obsession (Books 1 & 2 of the Cursed trilogy) by Georgina Hannan

CursedTitle: Cursed
Author: Georgina Hannan
Genre: Young Adult, Paranormal Horror
Publication Date: 07th January 2013
Publisher: Fast-Print.net

Blurb: Reality and Myths collide.
A young adult story about a group of four friends who embark on a holiday together to the gorgeous countryside of Dartmoor, Devon. Each of them hoping for an adventure, something they will always remember. However it isn’t long before they get what they want.

The group are plagued by noises after hearing the myths and legends of the area. Is it just their overactive imaginations or is there a visitor in the spare room who is trying to get their attention?

Join the group on a spectacular journey as they discover what Dartmoor has to offer.

REVIEW

Cursed is a great beginning to this trilogy which young adult readers (I’d say 14yrs+) and adults can enjoy. The main character, Daisy, is travelling with her best friend, Alice, Alice’s boyfriend, Jake, and Tyler who is a close friend to them all. After arriving at the house they are to be staying in for their holiday it becomes quite clear that there is more than meets the eye with a possible figure in one of the room’s windows, noises around the house that sometimes sound like crying and the door to the spare room is found open after it has been closed. Could it have been one of the friends, are the noises just the wind, is it just their imagination, or is there something more sinister going on?

Cursed has quite an eerie feel to it, which I absolutely loved. These types of horror are my favourite, as well as being ghostly and unexplainable it creates a psychological feel to it as the characters question whether events are real or not. To really capture the feel for the place where the group are staying, and the surrounding area, the group enter the local pub and speak to Frank. Frank spends many an hour going through some of the myths and strange happenings around the area. Although listening intently, the gang do have their reservations and wonder just how true some of it is. But, as the story continues it becomes clearer that there certainly are at least some elements of truth to what they are being told. Some of the details Frank gives them provides them with an awareness of the possibility of what could be happening when they find themselves experiencing these strange happenings.

Daisy is the focal character and experiences the most, which does make her question whether or not she should tell the others just in case they ridicule her or believe that it is just her imagination. (Jake would have certainly taken this approach as he thinks scientifically and believes that there is an explanation for everything, although his belief waivers at times!) But, the figure of Lady Howard who seems to be haunting the house is wanting the attention of Daisy in particular. At the same time as trying to cope with these ghostly encounters, Daisy and Tyler reach a point where their relationship becomes a little more intimate and they enjoy a little romance. But as the holiday wears on Daisy begins to question whether this romance will continue once the holiday is over, or is it just a holiday fling?

The storyline and the characters come across very well. The reader can connect with them and easily get sucked in by the horrors. I did feel that at the very beginning of the story there could have been a little more build up to create more of an atmosphere, but then again as it is a story to engage young adults this may have been intentional by the author. The plotline is written clearly and therefore easy to follow, although at times I felt it could have flowed a little smoother. It is also packed with historical information of the Dartmoor area, with Alice enjoying being a tour guide for the gang and takes them and the reader through some of the nearby towns and their ancient buildings, such as churches, castles, etc.

Cursed left me wanting to read Book 2 of the trilogy, Obsession, as I wanted to find out how the group’s holiday affected them when they returned home, in particular how it affected Daisy. And I have to say that Obsession was an absolute brilliant read that did not disappoint. (Please see below for my review of Obsession.)

Cursed was provided by the author in return for an honest and fair review.

Reviewed by Caroline Barker

Buy Links:
PAPERBACK:
Amazon UK
Amazon US
Fast-Print
Waterstones

eBOOK:
Amazon UK
Amazon US
Smashwords

Obsession by Georgina Hannan_1Title: Obsession

Author: Georgina Hannan

Genre: Young Adult, Paranormal Horror

Publication Date: Friday 13th September 2013

Publisher: Fast-Print.net

Blurb: There’s a fine line between Obsession and Madness.

After a strange and exciting holiday, Daisy is looking forward to the new start University life will bring.

A life changing assignment makes her question the fine line between Obsession and Madness.

Can she tell the difference?
Can you?

REVIEW

Obsession is book 2 of the Cursed trilogy and engages young adult readers and adults. After reading book 1, Cursed, I had to continue with book 2 as it left me wanting more. I was not disappointed and felt that the writing and flow of the story was excellent. As the group of friends begin their University life they have new challenges to face. Daisy, in particular, has to deal with the affects that their recent holiday has had on her, her love life with Tyler and new-found family history facts.

The intro of Obsession is informative and recaps what took place in Cursed (book 1). It is written very well and reminds readers of Cursed at the same time as allowing a fresh reader of this trilogy to easily slip into the story without any confusion. I would strongly recommend that Cursed be read first, but it is not absolutely necessary.

As Daisy begins her first term at University, studying to become a journalist, the class is asked by the tutor to research their family history for an essay and newspaper article. Daisy spends a great deal of time speaking to her father, her grandparents and looking through family photographs to gather as much information as possible. During this time, even though Daisy has returned from the holiday in Dartmoor, she is still plagued by the ghost of Lady Howard.

Meanwhile, Daisy’s boyfriend, Tyler, is noticing the difference in Daisy and wishes that they could spend more time together. It doesn’t help when he is working on his own course and just taken up a part time job. But, when he does spend time with Daisy he feels she isn’t entirely with him mentally and is quite distant, behaving strangely at times too. Surely the myths of Dartmoor haven’t followed her back?

Daisy distances herself more and more from her friends as Lady Howard still appears to her and talks to her. To make matters worse, she also finds out the truth from her grandfather about what really happened to her mother. Her mother didn’t die, or leave, something she didn’t speak to her father about as it was too upsetting for him, but in fact had been institutionalised for mental health reasons. And what’s more is that there appears to be a connection between her family and Lady Howard. The family curse. Daisy becomes more and more obsessed with finding out as much as she can about her family history and the history of Lady Howard, becoming distant from everyone and eventually being heard talking to Lady Howard. Is she going mad or is she obsessed? Or both?

The idea of obsession being a form of madness is a constant theme running through Obsession. Is it really madness to be obsessed with something? The story provides many questions as well as answers. And again, the story is a paranormal horror but with psychological elements. It is quite a powerful read and the reader can easily become ‘obsessed’ with this trilogy.

The family curse that Daisy discovers means that sacrifices have been made in terms of life and love. Family members throughout generations have lost loves, and/or have been deemed mad and then lost time with loved ones as a result or lost them for good. Lady Howard appears to Daisy in flashbacks and talks to her in the present day. She wants the family curse to be gone, be destroyed, and it seems that she won’t stop haunting Daisy until she gets what she wants, or until Daisy is deemed mad and has lost Tyler and her friends.

Obsession carries on the trilogy’s insight into history and as the information is gathered by Daisy it makes for a very interesting read, as well as being eerie. The atmosphere in Obsession is built up brilliantly, the reader truly feels the fear and confusion in Daisy, and the flow of the writing is smooth and reads very well. I am certainly looking forward to reading the ending of this trilogy in Absolution!

Obsession was provided by the author in return for an honest and fair review.

Reviewed by Caroline Barker

Buy Links:

PAPERBACK:

Amazon UK

Amazon US

Fast-Print

Waterstones

eBOOK:

Amazon UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Obsession-Cursed-Series-Georgina-Hannan-ebook/dp/B00F6YPFLO

Amazon US: http://www.amazon.com/Obsession-Cursed-Series-Georgina-Hannan-ebook/dp/B00F6YPFLO

Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/357536

Author Bio: Georgina is an IT Consultant and Writer from Surrey, England. 

She is the Author of the Cursed Trilogy.

Georgina started writing when she was fourteen; she always had a problem with reading before she started Secondary School. It was when she was about eleven or twelve that she started going to the library and she found the books which interested her. Since then she’s become a reader and a writer. She loves writing and hopes it can continue for many years to come.

Author Links:

Blog: http://authorworld.wordpress.com

Facebook Author: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Author-Georgina-Hannan/418399218236108

Facebook Cursed: http://www.facebook.com/CursedBook1

Facebook Obsession: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Obsession-by-Georgina-Hannan/124919204352501

Facebook Absolution: http://www.facebook.com/AbsolutionBook3

Twitter: @AuthorGeorgina

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6912312

I.A.N: http://www.independentauthornetwork.com/georgina-hannan.html

Email: authorgeorgina@yahoo.co.uk

And finally, here is the blurb, cover and links to Absolution. The final book of the Cursed trilogy!

Absolution (Cursed Series Book 3)Blurb: Daisy was pushed to the limits and finally agreed to end the curse surrounding her family.

However, her agreement sees her facing some of the hardest choices of her life and she stands to lose more than just her sanity.

Can she handle the choices?

Can she end the curse without ruining her life or that of a loved one?

Absolution is available at Amazon UK and Amazon US.

~*Living Life Backwards*~ by Peter Wells ~ Review and Author Interview

~Temptation in Paradise~

20931277

 

LIVING LIFE BACKWARDS is Peter Wells’ first novel, which focuses on the issues of temptation, hidden desire and obsession, which the hero of the tale struggles to control.

I have been reading Peter’s work on his blog, COUNTING DUCKS, on which he shares his unique take on life through his writing, for over a year now. His work is full of wisdom, witticism, wry and laugh out loud humour, and sometimes profound sadness and over riding joy. His character driven prose delves deep into the human condition, often leading me to stop and think about my own life and that of others. We featured the novel and an excerpt from it earlier this year (scroll down to click on the link to this) and today we are featuring my review and an interview with Peter. You can also check out the purchase links and find out how to connect to the author.  Tina 🙂

Book Blurb

Having spent his childhood in a barren emotional wasteland overseen by a father who valued order above feeling, Bill finally meets a woman who leads him to a place he can call home. Arriving in the small coastal town in England with his new wife, he finds that he is quickly assimilated into her community and extended family. With his somewhat murky past behind him, he forges a new life within a solid, caring community and discovers what being valued means. As it happens, his wife appears to be overly interested in “organizing” everything and everyone around her, including her young cousin who is the apple of her father’s eye.

Within the garden of Eden Bill knows he can show no interest in this apple called Misty. He knows the price of doing so, and the value of what he now enjoys. Will that be enough to protect him from desire? Luck is with him: she has no interest in him. But what if circumstances where to change and she looked at her world and him with new eyes. Would he cling to common sense?

With the hand of a surgeon, Peter Wells gently probes the thoughts of the mundane to seek those corners that still long for adventure. Those bits and pieces of each of us that gaze out on the world and find something to settle on and wonder… Tenderly touching the wounded, lonely parts of his character’s hearts, Peter gently leads them to a destiny they never could have imagined on their own. When an Obsession knocks on the doors of your Paradise, should they remain closed?

My Review

~Temptation in Paradise~

This insightful novel by Peter Wells is full of quirky, real life characters, to whom there is certainly a lot more than meets the eye! The plot is ripe with hidden desire and obsession and also deception and temptation. It is a beautifully written, engrossing and thought provoking read.

In Living Life Backwards, Bill, a long suffering married man, has an obsession with his wife’s younger cousin Misty, an obsession which he does not act on and does his utmost to conceal, for fear that it will destroy all he holds dear. Bill’s back story is one of a singularly loveless upbringing from his widowed father and he is adept at hiding his feelings. At the start of the novel he is already married to Katie, a woman who in stark contrast is gregarious and highly strung.

The couple moved to to be near to Katie’s family and there Bill becomes a pillar of the community. Passion and intimacy are lacking in their marriage and Katie views Bill as reserved and unexciting. However, Bill is mindful that he has at last found acceptance amongst his peers and the love and respect of his wife’s family, who view him as solid, dependable and honest. The following quotation, found early on in the novel, is revealing:

“I kept my dreams to myself and my actions to a minimum. I discovered having a reputation for being boring has advantages………. I used the time provided by her (referring to his wife) absences to live a life of imagination.”

The only chink in his armour is his long standing and secret obsession with Misty, Katie’s younger cousin. He has never acknowledged this attraction to anyone, other than himself, and does his utmost to conceal it and keep it in check. It is an obsession which does not go away and circumstances conspire in a way that Bill becomes tempted as never before………….

Is Misty aware of Bill’s obsession and is she as innocent as she appears? Also how will Bill react? Will he sacrifice all that he holds dear for this younger woman? Once he tastes forbidden fruit there will be no going back and he will have to face the repercussions.

For much of the novel Misty is as much an enigma to the reader as she is to Bill. Her persona is of a beautiful, innocent ice maiden, who appears to effortlessly rebuff the carnal advances of men. Her actions are explained in part by her background and we do get to find out more about her as the plot reaches its denouement – suffice to say that I was as surprised as Bill with the plot developments and her character development! There are many key supporting characters, which include Katie’s parents and also Misty’s. However, the characters of Bernard and Derek and their actions are pivotal to the plot and provide a counter plot in their own right.

The novel has so many different themes and layers. Prima facie it is a romance where the hero is tempted by a younger woman, who happens to be related to his wife, and is in a moral dilemma on how to act when circumstances conspire to bring them together. However, it is far more than this and to me illustrates how we can sometimes become trapped in a certain way of acting by circumstance or individuals and the power we allow them to hold over us. It also illustrates how reality can be manipulated by others.

The novel is narrated in the first person, from the POV of Bill. It is very readable and I felt as if I was in Bill’s head. It delves deep into the psyche of its characters and is not devoid of gentle humour, often self-depreciating and contains moments which blend sadness and hilarity. It is immensely quotable and contains many memorable one liners, an aspect that applies to all Peter’s work.

I recommend this to readers who enjoy a realistic, yet quirky, character driven contemporary romance that focuses on inner turmoil and transformation.

Reviewed by Tina Williams

A copy of the novel was given to me by the author for the purpose of a fair and honest review.

Purchase Links

Amazon UK     Amazon US

Author Interview

1470122_227390787438405_1882580175_n1. When did you start to write and what prompted you to put pen to paper or fingers to keyboard?

About three years ago. I just woke up one night having one of those half asleep, half- awake sessions, and thought, “I really must get this stuff on paper or it’ll be lost.” The rest is history, or Blogging and writing history anyway.

2. Where do you find the inspiration for your writing?

I go for walks, and during them scenarios or ideas just seem to swim into my head. They pretty much all begin as Blog Posts, though a couple of them have now morphed into books

3. What category or categories do you consider your writing falls into?

I suppose you could call it either ‘general fiction’ or ‘romantic fiction’ because the stories always have some romance and examination of character in them

4. Describe your writing process in three words.

Write every day

5. What have you found is the best thing about being a writer?

Talking to myself without being told to shut up, and being able to explore ideas and scenarios at length. Creating fiction that helps me understand and encapsulate life if you follow me

6. What have you found the most challenging aspects of being a writer?

What happens next.

I really do, “ Make it up as I go along” and as any writer will tell you, the further into a novel you get, the more demanding the characters can be about how the plot should move, and that can get you into difficulties

7. I hear that you have plans for a future novel. Are you able to share anything about it with us?

I’m pleased to say I signed the contract for my next novel last Saturday, and I understand it is now cowering on the desk in the editor’s office. To be fair, she edited ‘Living Life Backwards’, and I could not think more highly of her

8. Have you any advice to anyone who is thinking about becoming an author?

Don’t give up, and write every day. Whatever your level of ability, it will always need polishing and that can only happen if you work at it regularly. You may not write a lot each day, but write something, and then you can play with it, and refine it as you go about your daily business.

Connect with the Author

http://countingducks.wordpress.com/

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Peter-Wells-At-Countingducks/211320669045417

To read our recent post focusing on Living Life Backwards, click here.