Book Review: Forgiving Gia by Gina Whitney


4.5 passionate Stars

Saving Abel took me off guard. I had expected it to be a good book, but I never in a million years expected it to crawl under my skin the way it did. It stayed with me for days. By book’s end Abel and Gia were living, breathing people that I very much wished to know in real life. The sheer authenticity built into their characters was riveting and refreshing and I loved the honesty Gina Whitney laced through the entire book. That transparency served to bring the whole story into the real world, inject it with huge amounts of tangibility that enabled me to not only relate to the characters, but feel what they were feeling as they were feeling it.

When I opened Forgiving Gia, I expected more of the same. But I never expected it to be multiplied across so many levels to the point where I was breathless, sobbing and laughing out loud. And I was, all of those things. Whitney strips these characters down to the studs and then builds them back up, never once disguising any of the pain, discomfort or awkwardness of the process. We get to walk hand in hand with Abel and Gia as they continually find their way to each other and not only embrace what they find, but integrate it as their own.

This book picks up where Saving Abel left off. Gia and Abel both are trying to process the aftereffects of her lies and his reaction to the truth and neither of them is dealing well. We don’t have to wait long for them to get back together, however, thank goodness. While they are both intriguing characters on their own, they’re so much better together. The threat of Morgana and Gia’s mother still holds heavy in the air around Abel and Gia, but they continue to love and live in spite of that threat.

Whitney has once again infused this part of Abel and Gia’s story with an incredibly huge, thumping heart. Her writing is such that you have no choice but to feel everything so keenly right along with the characters. Every time Gia cried, I cried with her. Every time Abel raged, I raged right along with him. And every time they came together in the incredible sex scenes, well let’s just say I wanted to be right them then as well.

Saving Abel had a fair amount of objectivity in it; necessary because the reader had to have the time and ability to get to know the characters. That distance is gone in Forgiving Gia. You are walking right next to these characters (all of them, not just the main characters) as they move down the next piece of their journey. They are huge and vivid and so utterly emotional that you get sucked in immediately and never even want to look back.

I thought about laying out a skeleton plot for you in my review, but I went into this book blind, with no expectations and it was a gorgeous experience, so I want the same for you. Don’t read the blurb, don’t read other reviews, just read this book. It’s gorgeous, heartrending and so very, very worth the time and attention it commands.


Release Day: RUIN by CD Reiss

    C.D. Reiss' Ruin Release Day Launchantonio-teaser-ruin-hurt-protect
CoverRuin front full
Book Info

Title: Ruin

Author: C.D. Reiss

Genre: Erotic Romance

Cover Design: Paradox Book Cover Designs

Release Date: Oct. 14th 2014


WARNING: This book contains delicious sex scenes with a hot man dirty-talking in Italian; women handling firearms and explosives; and scenes of violence with a crystal Virgin Mary cigarette lighter.

What happens when a mob capo falls for a lawful woman?

Does he ruin her, or does she ruin him?

Do they live together, or die together?

This is Antonio Spinelli’s story.

Buy Links

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Meet C.D. ReissCD Reiss
CD Reiss is a USA Today and Amazon bestseller. She still has to chop wood and carry water, which was buried in the fine print. Her lawyer is working it out with God but in the meantime, if you call and she doesn’t pick up, she’s at the well, hauling buckets.

Born in New York City, she moved to Hollywood, California to get her master’s degree in screenwriting from USC. In case you want to know, that went nowhere, but it did embed TV story structure in her head well enough for her to take a big risk on a TV series structured erotic series called Songs of Submission. It’s about a kinky billionaire hung up on his ex-wife, an ingenue singer with a wisecracking mouth; art, music and sin in the city of Los Angeles.

Critics have dubbed the books “poetic,” “literary,” and “hauntingly atmospheric,” which is flattering enough for her to put it in a bio, but embarrassing enough for her not to tell her husband, or he might think she’s some sort of braggart who’s too good to give the toilets a once-over every couple of weeks or chop a cord of wood.

If you meet her in person, you should call her Christine.


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Book Review: RUIN by CD Reiss

Ruin cover

5 electrified Stars

There are books you snuggle up with. Wrap your fingers around a cup of something hot while you scrunch your toes into the soft blanket you have tucked securely around you. You flip open the first page knowing that you will be taken somewhere fantastic and safe.

RUIN is not one of those books.

This is a book that makes you beg. You find yourself on your knees weeping with joy and terror and an unrealized orgasm. This is a story filled with characters walking a ledge between life and death, inviting you to watch as they make that choice. And what a choice it is.

Antonio and Teresa both come from worlds with rules. Ironclad rules that demand to be followed. And when you’re in their world, you do follow them. Because there is no other choice, not really. But this part of their story could not be more aptly named because we watch them each ruin their respective rulebooks. Choose each other over the rules, no matter how dangerous or unorthodox that choice may be.

Teresa Drazen is a warrior, born and bred from birth. She is wrapped in a cold façade of control so complete that to liken it to armor wouldn’t do it justice. Armor bends. Armor allows room to move and breathe. Armor has chinks. Teresa is complete, ready, willing at all times to stride into battle and win. Loving Antonio only serves to enhance her impermeability and reinforce her strength.  Loving Antonio gives her permission to unleash her hidden feral nature and in that freedom she becomes a gorgeous and fearsome woman with whom anyone would tremble to clash.

Antonio Spinelli starts to show his cracks in this book. We get more in-depth perspective into who he is as a man, what he wants, how tired he is. But he is still undoubtedly formidable and never more so than when he has his Contessa in his hands. He can mold and shape the world as he sees fit, he’s simply deciding what he wants it to look like.

CD Reiss will never cease to amaze me with the sheer force of her writing. Her words open a spigot to the heavens simply so she can direct the lightning with a sentence. She writes with such intense intelligence and passion that every time I finish one of her books, I want to go back and re-read it again just to make sure it was all real. Her characters do more than just live and breathe, they give orders, and it’s everything I can do not to follow them.

Reiss has crafted this book as a free fall. Before even turning the first page, you already know how inextricably connected Antonio and Teresa are. You know the sheer weight of their love is already beyond measurement. But what this book does is put you right in there with them as they learn what it’s like to step inside the skin of their love and feel it breathe on its own. You get to watch them choose to live and die for each other, fuck and fight for each other, draw up blueprints for what they want their life together to look like and then burn those carefully drawn plans to the ground a few times. You get to watch these two characters take their starkly adhered to rule books and turn them inside out in an effort to subvert and subjugate the world to their love. It would be easy to describe it as a spectacle, but what it really is, is a fierce battle not only for their love, but their souls.

RUIN is book two in the Songs of Corruption series, so if you’ve not yet read book one, SPIN, you must do so before delving into this book. But don’t think of it as a chore, think of it as an opportunity to dive head first into another example of Reiss’ perfection. Think of it as the chance to get to know these characters from the outside in first. You won’t regret it; you’ll thank me for it. Because these books and these characters will take you on a ride of a lifetime and they’re nowhere near done yet.

Blog Tour: Testing the Submissive by Al Daltrey

Testing the Submissive Cover

Testing the Submissive by Al Daltrey

My review:

Abby stood nervously before her Master in the classic submissive pose: fully nude, legs apart, wrists placed behind her back; deeply ashamed of her evident arousal. Worse, she had to recount in exact detail the proceedings of her last whipping. The whipping had been severe; as was the case with most of the clients she was commissioned to serve. These client appointments were scheduled a few weeks apart, in order that the welts, bruises and whatever other marks were left behind had ample time to heal. After all, each new client – whether male, female, a couple, or even a group – surely deserved a fresh canvas upon which to begin. Despite these harsh sessions, her body reacted like that of a wanton whore as she retold of the sadistic punishments and extreme sexual use inflicted upon her body.
How far would her Master push her with these ‘tests’? How far would Abigail go? How many times could she stand before him blushing; yet with that unmistakable tingle? Their relationship was surely headed for a collision course. Or was it?

This story contains STRONG BDSM. While fully consensual, it includes submission, dominance, sadism and masochism. Please do NOT buy or read this if you are offended by graphic sexual descriptions including sexual violence. All characters are aged 25+, and it is recommended for an adult audience ONLY (aged 21+). This story is pure fiction and the author does not condone any violent behavior.

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Review: The Beast by Jaden Wilkes

The Beast Cover

4.5 whirlwind Stars

A lot of books are slow burns. They spend a lot of page time working up to the main conflict or event that happens in the story, allowing the reader to get to know the characters, see them respond in a number of different circumstances and build the suspense. It’s a good formula. But occasionally, I’ll find an author who takes all semblance of a working formula and not only throws it out the window, but lights that sucker up like a Molotov cocktail and pitches it at the nearest cop car.

The Beast is exactly that kind of explosive glory. It moves so fast and so hard from the very beginning that you spend the entire book speed reading, just trying to catch up. Trying to wrap your head around these gorgeous and broken characters and how they come together in such an inexplicably perfect way.

Dimitri is The Beast. We learn that almost immediately. A former enforcer for the Russian mob (the Bratva) he is a larger than life character. The kind of man that both beguiles and terrifies simultaneously. The kind of man who grins wickedly at the thought of how much blood he has spilled and then delicately spoons caviar onto a water cracker. He is a walking, talking nightmare of a man to all but the darkest corners of society. And even those have rejected him.

Columbia is a broken girl. She’s sacrificed her life and happiness for her younger sister, to keep her safe from the monster that haunts both of their lives. She has taken the brunt of his abuse and anger for the majority of her life and done so willingly to keep Eden safe. But the cost has been substantial; wrung her dry of confidence, motivation and her core center of emotion. To cope she has started evicting the pain from her system in an incredibly destructive, and lasting, way.

There were so many directions this book could have gone once Dimitri and Columbia join each other on the same page. It could have been a more typical story of abduction laced through with a generous helping of Stockholm Syndrome, spoon-fed to the reader in just the perfect way to make us accept it. Or it could have been a straight tale of two broken people finishing each other off. What happens, however, is nothing I could have ever seen coming.

What happens is a lightning storm. One of those once in a lifetime things that epic tales are written about. Despite all of the gore and the pain and the violence, this book is a fairy tale in the truest sense of the word. It’s a story so huge, so grand, that it could probably never really happen. But, fuck, we all want it to. It’s the kind of story that if it could actually happen, would infuse so much hope back into the human condition. And not only that, but would shift perspectives on what love could look like, how it could feed us, nurture us, truly light us up the way it’s supposed to.

Jaden Wilkes has crafted an incredible book.  There is very little arc to this story, it is pedal all the way down, from the very beginning to the very last page. You don’t open this book and merely begin to read. You strap yourself in, put on a helmet, say your last goodbyes, do a couple shots of vodka and hope you survive. This book is exquisitely written – beautifully composed as well as told. The very words that Wilkes chooses serve to bring the reader that much farther into this world; serve to infatuate us with both Dimitri and Columbia to the point where I was gasping my way through their story.

I could probably wax poetic about this book for pages. I was so immediately in its thrall, and happily so, that I made myself slow down reading so it would last longer. It didn’t help. I still devoured it.

I’ve spent a lot of time applauding authors who are willing to push the envelope, dissect human nature on a level most would otherwise shy away from. If I could, I would arrange a standing ovation for Wilkes every time she left her house. She so thoroughly took the idea of a love story, infused it with archetypical elements of a perfect fairytale and then loaded the whole thing into a bazooka and shot it at the moon, I find myself wanting to follow her anywhere.