Mine – Books by Nikita Slater

I recently read Mine to Keep and Because You’re Mine by Nikita Slater, a new to me author. These books are listed as being part of a series, but they definitely are s

Mine To Keep: Veronica has always been a good girl.

She’s always listened and done what men wanted. It was easier that way. Less pain, easier to get what she needed to survive. Then a boy rescued her. Now her protector, the boy who saved her, is giving her away. Handing her over to another man. To him. Robert of Senator Security.

She wants to run away from the man who keeps touching her, the man who brings back the pain and the memories. He follows her, protects and hunts her with possession in his eyes. He demands she belong to him and him alone. But Veronica doesn’t want to be an obedient girl anymore.

She wants to be the bad girl she was born to be… and set the woman free.

– and –

Because You’re Mine: Her knight in shining armour or her kidnapper?

Allie has loved Jay forever. But he sent her away when she was eighteen and forced her to live her own life, away from the street and the gangs. Away from him. It had hurt, but she’d done it. For ten years she’d built a career and a life separate from him. Now he’s back and he wants what belongs to him.

Furious that Allie was hurt while out of his protection, Jay decides it’s time to bring the woman he loves home where she belongs. Whether she wants to come or not. He whisks her off to his mountain fortress where she’ll be safe and sets about arranging a new life for her. A life with him. He’s done lurking in the shadows, watching but never touching. She was always his. The difference is, now she knows it.

Will Allie quietly accept her new life and let her old one go? Or will she fight the man she’s loved her entire life because she can’t risk losing herself again…

—                         —                         —

Both of these books are novella-length stories of about 120 pages. Mine To Keep is a prequel set seven years before the second book and was my favourite of the two.

Slater’s work features angry, overly protective anti-heroes with dark pasts … shady presents to be honest. They are an insta-love type of romance, which you really have to expect in a novella, and the stories are super easy to read. One sitting for sure.

I wish that the author would take the next step and write “real” books that are full length. She has a decent writing style and interesting stories to tell. She definitely hit the right “he-man anti-hero alpha” mix I devour.

Unfortunately, there is a distinct lack of character development, mostly due to the short word count, and her heroines tend to do an about face in personality overnight with little internal agonizing or signs of working through their issues/reticence. Any plot points that should be obstacles for the hero are wrapped up too easily as well.

At the end of the day these books are entertaining enough that I will keep an ear out for information on this author in the future, but not enough that I am going to hunt down and read her other novellas. However, Because You’re Mine hints at a possible third book with an interesting male anti-hero introduced, I will probably read it, especially if my wish comes true and it is full length!

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Bind Me by Anna Zaires

** Bind Me is the second book in the Capture Me series, and these books need to be read in order. It is a companion series to Twist Me.

bind me

Synopsis:

He’s determined to break her.

For Lucas Kent, his new prisoner is a maddening contradiction: compliant yet defiant, fragile yet strong. He needs to uncover her secrets, but doing so may ruin everything.

His obsession could destroy her.

She’s determined to escape.

For Yulia Tzakova, her captor is the man of both her dreams and her nightmares: tender one moment, cruel the next. She can’t let him crack her, but resisting him may leave her broken.

A moment of weakness could cost her everything.

—                 —

I love Lucas and Yulia! They have great chemistry together and I love the darker elements of this story. It reads very differently from how the Twist Me series played out, but it works. The best things about this book are that we see a whole lot more interaction between the two and the emotional entanglement deepens.

Lucas decides that he has to keep her and sets about trying to learn all Yulia’s secrets. I got the sense that he was almost keeping her as a pet. He loves her and lusts after her, but they can never be equal partners in this relationship. His goal is to keep her safe – from herself as much as the rest of the world – containing her while indulging in carnal pleasures.

It’s about tying her to me, binding her so tightly she’ll never be able to leave.

Zaires, Anna; Zales, Dima. Bind Me (Capture Me Book 2) (Kindle Location 510). Mozaika Publications. Kindle Edition.

I got so frustrated with Yulia, for not opening up and sharing with Lucas about her brother. Her secrecy is meant to protect him, and I can understand logically that she believes Lucas will kill anyone important to her, especially since he is connected to the Agency, but as a reader, we know that Lucas believes this man she is protecting is her lover, not a teenage brother.

Ignoring the part of me that revolts at the idea of injuring Lucas, I take the fork, slip it into the back pocket of my shorts, and close the cabinet. I can’t allow him to break me. My brother’s life depends on it.

Zaires, Anna; Zales, Dima. Bind Me (Capture Me Book 2) (Kindle Locations 1196-1198). Mozaika Publications. Kindle Edition.

My favourite scenes in this book were Lucas breaking beneath the protective shell Yulia wraps around herself to find out about her past and the Agency that she worked for. They were steamy and intense and emotionally scarring for Yulia but that is what makes such a great story for the reader! I also loved when she tries to teach Lucas how to cook. It changes up the power dynamics established early on, if only briefly, and is a humorous aside to otherwise dark material.

“Okay, that’s enough potatoes, I think,” she says, getting up. Her flip-flops— the only shoes I got her— make a slapping noise on the tile floor as she comes toward me. “Now we need to take the garlic, mix it with dill, salt, and pepper, and place everything on a frying pan. You have oil, right?”

“Oil. Check.” I grab a bottle of olive oil from a cabinet to my left. “Do I pour it over the potatoes?”

She props her hip on the edge of the countertop. “You’re kidding me, right?” I frown, not appreciating the mockery. She bursts out laughing. “Lucas, seriously. Have you never fried anything in your life?”

“Nothing that was edible afterwards,” I grudgingly admit. “I may have tried it once or twice and given up.”

Zaires, Anna; Zales, Dima. Bind Me (Capture Me Book 2) (Kindle Locations 1028-1034). Mozaika Publications. Kindle Edition.

My main complaint about Bind me is that the story was too long. I felt that it would have been better to combine the first and second novels but thankfully, the author has posted that the third (and final) book in this series will be longer. In addition, the upcoming Claim Me is said to have some more scenes with Julian and Nora!

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Songbird by AJ Adams – a review

Songbird is the second novel in the Zetas series that I have reviewed. They are about young women emerging from the hardest of lives imaginable, and men who are the ultimate baddies. Songbird is the sequel  to The Bonus.

Gorgeous model held captive behind bars

Blurb:

When cartel boss Arturo Vazquez discovers his girlfriend Gina is a DEA rat and his deputy Escamilla is staging a take-over, Arturo fixes his problems by killing everyone – except for Solitaire, Escamilla’s unwilling mistress. Solitaire is intelligent, tough, and shares Arturo’s interest in BDSM. Arturo falls head over heels but someone is leaking information – and the evidence point at Solitaire.

Songbird is a complete and self standing novel. Warning: This book contains explicit scenes of dubious consent, graphic violence and sex.

—                    —                   —

I am impressed with how Adams was able to redeem Arturo after his actions in the first book. Talking so cavalierly about the murder of a four year old child to further business, and his ordering of Chloe’s torture at the beginning of The Bonus, made me feel like there was no way Arturo could possibly be a protagonist in his own novel.

I was wrong.

I liked how he took a chance on Solitaire. He could have easily killed her or ordered Kyle to, and not dealt with the hassle and risk of letting her out of that house alive. I think Kyle’s (admittedly limited) morals have rubbed off on good old Arturo a bit!

This book was great because it wasn’t just a repeat of the first novel. Although Solitaire and Chloe both have some serious mental issues to deal with following their pasts, they have very different personalities and coping mechanisms, which keeps the material interesting.

There was a lot more mystery and subterfuge in Songbird, compared to the first book where it felt like the reader just watched events unfold.

One thing that I didn’t like though, is that it was obvious (to me at least) who “Songbird” was from the get-go. The mystery sections of the novel should definitely have been written better.

I also would have preferred to see Solitaire have some problems adapting to her new life in Mexico! She just seemed to soar into this whole new world like it was nothing new, and that is unrealistic. She doesn’t have to struggle pathetically the whole way through, but it just seemed all a little too easy.

* * possible spoiler * *

My favourite scene by far was Kyle’s interrogation of Solitaire in the hotel. Going into that scene, knowing his usual methods of interrogation, I had chills! I wish that the book had of stayed like that all the way through.

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Captured Miracle – a book review

The Captured Miracle series is a captive romance story where the “hero” is actually an anti-hero who kidnaps the heroine from her bed in the dead of night.

I should say that it is a dark romance; however, after reading the first novel in the trilogy, I don’t really think it is all that dark. I’ve read books that are a heck of a lot darker. Can we create a new category of books that are grey? Things that have dark content but don’t really read that dark compared to others? Because right now I feel like that “dark romance” category is a little too broad to actually give appropriate meaning.

Alas, I digress.

captured miracle

Blurb:

Sometimes the darkest of hearts are the most blinding. Not because of their light, but because of their suffocating endlessness. The dark abyss of their possession claims you before you’re even aware of the capture. Love is not linear. There is no timeline in which the emotion blooms. Sometimes it is a slow succession of events where one soul learns another and sometimes it’s quick. Sometimes it’s like lightning. Possessive.
That’s what Calix was to me. He infused himself within my life – my mind – my body – and my heart. Until he possessed my soul. And then he shattered it all. The worst part of it all was that he owned me. Completely. And it only took him four days.
What started out as an act of revenge quickly becomes so much more. After years of plotting and two years of watching Nova, Calix takes her. In the dead of the night, three strange men in her room, tugging her from her bed, wake Nova. Terrified of forcing the men to act on their threats to harm her mother and sisters, Nova agrees to allow them to cart her from the safety of her home.
She never expected they would lead her to Calix. A dark and captivating man determined to have her as his wife – and every other way. As Nova tries to keep Calix from pushing his way past her barriers, his determination to capture her heart in the same way he captured her body grows. In his quest for her heart, Calix pushes her past her barriers and tests her every limit.

—                          —                        —

I liked this book but I couldn’t help but continue to flash towards that other capture-romance, the Twist Me series by Anna Zaires, while reading. I suspect it will be a long time before I read another series in this subgenre that matches that series, and Captured Miracle didn’t quite live up to Twist Me.  Zaires understood the emotional depth of both her main characters and the incredibly complex feelings her captive was experiencing, something that would be hard for even a professional shrink to help sort out in real life. So far, Carbonneau just hasn’t gotten that deep.

That being said, one of my main criticisms of CM got taken right out from under me because the author points it out herself in the description. Hard to argue with a dialogue that is self-aware enough to point holes in its own story.

Of course, I’m talking about the fact that the poor kidnapped girl falls in love with her captor in FOUR days. In Twist Me, it took the heroine weeks or months to reach that point, and the book itself takes place over a year and a half. But I wonder if this four days point is going to have further significance to the plot or character development in the sequential books, because as I says, the author notes it in the description and the female lead, Nova, acknowledges to herself that it is just plain weird to fall in love that quickly, especially given the circumstances. She wonders if it is even possible to establish a case of Stockholm Syndrome that quickly.

(minor spoiler ahead)

The other criticism that I have of the author in this novel is that the 21yo Nova has zero idea that her Dad is a Navy SEAL. Okay, firstly, if he has a 21 year old, he’s getting a little long in the tooth to be an active duty SEAL, and secondly, I got the impression early on in the book that her family and her father were estranged, or that he had abandoned them years before, after the birth of her youngest sibling. But at the end of Captured Miracle you realize that he comes home twice a year, making it sound like he lives with the family during those visits and is married to her Mother….

But then, why did Nova doubt that he even knew of her disappearance when she had been missing for days???

Perhaps I’m missing some key information and it will all make perfect sense in the next book. But it feels as if the author left some plot holes unplugged.

Now, I get that it totally sounds as if I am ragging on this book. I did like it and plan to read the next two, but it was the type of book where it was simpler to point out the problems I noticed. The plot is fairly straight-forward and it would have been difficult to comment on other things without reiterating the story and negating the necessity for you to read it for yourself.

Hopefully the next two pull things together a little bit and get deeper. So far, the story is enjoyable but a little flat, thus the rating I left.

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