Master of Solitude

Master of Solitude is the eighth book in Mountain Masters / Doms of Dark Haven series by Cherise Sinclair.

solitude

Since childhood, Mallory McCabe has dreamed of falling in love with a hero. And then one saves her life. He’s honest…and blunt. Deadly, but filled with pain. Overpowering, yet ever so gentle with her. Oh yes, she’s found her hero. Taking him to her bed is simply…right. As is losing her heart.

How could she have known he’d want nothing more to do with her?

His indifference hurts. She vows to forget him…then he buys the land next to hers.

Released early from prison, all Sawyer Ware wants is to put his life back together. His police detective brother houses him while he makes plans. But when a violent gang targets his brother, Sawyer puts his future on hold. He’ll have to take on the gang first. After a decade as a Navy SEAL, he won’t–can’t–walk away if someone he loves is threatened.

His mission is likely to prove bloody. He sure can’t afford to get involved with a woman, especially his captivating neighbour. He hungers to be near her, to enjoy her clear laugh, her easy friendship, and the peace she brings wherever she goes. A relationship is absolutely out of the question.

Why won’t his heart obey orders?

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Master of Solitude is the newest book out by hot erotica and bdsm author Cherise Sinclair. It came out last week and I read it in 24 hours, per usual.

Mal is the most patient woman and forgiving known to man, I swear! It is genuinely nice to see that she doesn’t have huge hangups that she has to get over in the story – finally, a heroine who isn’t severely traumatized by her past, and she is a real sweetheart. Definitely not a pushover, but she forgives Sawyer when I would have been hitting him upside the head with my work belt if I were in her circumstances.

Sawyer has his head completely up his ass for the beginning of the book. He has the complete wrong idea about Mallory due to a couple of misunderstandings, and is determined to keep her at a distance. Due to an abusive childhood, a career in the Seals, and a stint in prison, he doesn’t expect much of other people and looks for alternative motives behind Mallory’s initial welcome and neighbourly friendliness.

One point that is notable about this book is that it has a much slower pace to the sex-capades than a regular reader of Ms. Sinclair might expect. The couple start off as neighbours and client/contractor, before developing into friends and then lovers, and finally into serious, romantic I-like-you-you-like-me relationship status. I found this to be enjoyable and a nice departure after recently re-reading the whole series, but it was unexpected.

I also enjoyed the fact that Morgan Masterson received so much attention in this novel as a single secondary character. It definitely points to the fact he will probably have a book at some point, which is awesome since I’ve been hoping for a while that he would!

Unfortunately, there were a few plot-holes in Master of Solitude. For one, the Aryan Hammers, a gang that has been terrorizing Bear Flat since the previous book, is again wrecking havoc. It is full-on war between the cops / Vigilante Sawyer and the gang. Sawyer keeps a running tally of how many have been arrested throughout the story, noting that their ranks are dwindling and hoping that when they run out of members, the crew will give up on Bear Flat and retreat back to LA.

But his logic is fallacious. Most of the members wouldn’t have been held without bail for the crimes they were arrested committing, so in reality their numbers wouldn’t have really declined.

Finally, there was a lot of talk about the third Ware brother, Hector, moving down to the area from Idaho. He moves over the course of the book and the characters have interactions with him, but it always occurs “off-page”. While technically not a plot-hole, this irked me.

Ms. Sinclair is an exceptional author and one of my favourites to one-click, but the last two books in this series have been “off” for me. A part of this book teases that Sir Ethan from Club Dark Haven is likely the next in the series to get a book, but I hope that the author takes a break for awhile. At the end of the day, there are 8 books in this series and 12 in her Shadowlands series … it is hard to keep a world fresh after so many stories! I hope that she takes a break from them to focus on her kinky romance-fantasy shifter stories (The Wild Hunt) and expands the worlds for both of her standalone books.

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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.

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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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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.

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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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