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    REVIEW: Discovering Destiny by Abigail Kade

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    Familiar Magick: Discovering Destiny – Abigail Kade

    Who would believe that pretending to be your next door neighbor’s boyfriend for a simple family dinner would change so many lives forever? As two witches from two very different families learn how their destinies are intertwined, they realize they may be the only hope for their kind to survive what’s coming for them all.

    Atherton Blackwood

    Once upon a time, I was the heir to my family’s seat on the High Council of Witches. After one horrific night, the Council was no more and all the families went into hiding. The likelihood I would ever find my mo shíorghrá, my soul mate, was gone. But by fate or luck, I’ve finally found my other half. Tobias Wyvern was destined to be mine, but we’re discovering that’s not all destiny has in store for us. I need to find out if our future will be our own, or if it will be determined by a prophecy that was written before either of us were born. I’ll do whatever I have to do, go wherever I have to go to find a way for us to be together. Even if it means going home.

    Tobias Wyvern

    I invited my next door neighbor, Arthur, to a family dinner to get them off my back, but what I’m finding out is that my whole life has been a lie. I was always told we were the only witches left in the world, but that’s because my family was too frightened to tell me the truth. They signed a contract when I was a child, but had no intention of following through. The Wyverns and the Blackwoods would never be united if they could prevent it. Things happened and they were able to disappear, but now Atherton Blackwood is here to claim me, and I’m ready to be claimed. However, claiming me now has consequences far beyond a vow to each other. By coming together, we’ll set into motion a destiny neither one of us could ever have predicted.

    My first thought upon reading the blurb was that Discovering Destiny was Romeo and Juliet, witch version.

    It wasn’t.

    Familiar Magick is built upon the tragic history of witches. There are families of witches that specialized in various elemental magic. One day, malevolent entities killed the witches en masse. There were a few families who managed to stay alive. The survivors scattered and went deep into hiding, practicing their magic in secret.

    This is a short book of only 126 pages. It did not dwell too much on the details but it was able to establish a fairly well-conceived world, enough to give the series solid bones to work with. There was nothing groundbreaking or new here but this was the part I enjoyed the most.

    Destiny is the main theme and witches are fated to soul mates who compliment their magic. They’re also bound to very vocal animal familiars. They’re there as plot device and comic relief, serving as voices of reason and sources of annoyance, mostly nagging their witches towards various courses of action.

    Atherton is from the Blackwood Family. They specialized in wind magic, allowing them to affect the weather. His familiar is a raven, Lucy, a foul mouthed, foul tempered creature. She’s not that bad because she has Ath’s best interest at heart.

    Tobias is from the Wyvern family. They specialized in earth magic. In Tobi’s case, this allows him power over plants. His familiar is a cat, Chester. He’s well-spoken and has perfect manners. Excerpt when you try to scratch his belly.

    I have more descriptions for the familiars because the personalities of the two MCs weren’t as distinct, fully realized or that interesting. They were content to be swept along by their destiny, neither one questioned the state of things.

    Anyway, these two were destined to be together but were pulled apart by the evil forces who massacred the families. But as fate would have it, they ended up as neighbors 20 years after.

    Ath knew Tobi was a witch. Tobi was utterly clueless. He grew up with the knowledge that the Wyverns were the only witches left in this world. The two men were egged on by their familiars to ask each other out. Both were digging their heels. Tobi, because he’s shy and socially awkward. Ath, I don’t know.

    This part was both cute and frustrating. Cute with how the two were dancing around each other and throwing off sparks. Frustrating because, for the most part, they did nothing. Also, Chester was already talking to Ath secretly and explicitly telling him to make his move. So why didn’t the cat just tell Tobi about the existence of other witches? From what I gathered, there were no specific caveats about this thing. Also, cluelessness could be adorable but I couldn’t believe Tobi was actually that dense not to figure things out after some very obvious clues.

    The second part of the story was meeting the Wyvern family. Here, we meet horrid characters in the form of Tobi’s mother and brother. A mystery presented itself and unveiled a quest that will tie together all the books The two MCs were more active participants now, taking action to solve the riddle left by Tobi’s late father.

    I feel that the ending could have been executed better. It was going for a cliffhanger but it took the focus entirely off Ath and Tobi. It was like they were forgotten upon the introduction of the new characters who were going to be leads for the second book. I think it’s important for romance novels to end with something conclusive about the main couple even for HFNs and cliffhangers, especially if the series features a different couple each book.

    Discovering Destiny might have one-dimensional characters and wonky plot but it laid a good foundation for the series and had it’s share of entertaining moments. My interest was piqued by the next book, starring a nerdy fire witch and his leather daddy demon. Plus, there’s a fast-talking squirrel familiar. I say read this series opener to get the lay of the land so we could have the best experience out of the more promising sequels.

    3 Stars – not exactly setting my world on fire but I liked it

    Soundtrack: You Were Made For Me
    Rating: Freddie & The Dreamers

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    SERIES REVIEW: Criminal Delights Books 6, 11 & 14

    On to my quest to partake everything the Criminal Delights series has to offer.

    This is is a review of three books from the series, By Way of Pain by J.M. Dabney, Beloved Possession by Leona Windwalker and To Have and To Hold by Abigail Kade.

    All three books have a BDSM theme wherein a captive was taken against his will, subjected to training, develops feeling for captor, gets taken again by worse elements and rescued by original captor turned love interest. With several variations on the Stockholm Syndrome, some pulled it off spectacularly, others a paler version of themselves.

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    Criminal Delights: Assassins: By Way of Pain – J.M. Dabney

    Double lives were just the way it was for a man like me. By day I was a man with a reputation above reproach. Even assassins needed backup plans. For fifteen years, life was going without a hitch until I had to take out a witness. When it was time to kill him, beautiful eyes filled with fear urged me to do something else. Yet, in order to do that, I had to break him, and by way of pain, my captive would experience pleasure he’d never dreamed.

    This book is part of CRIMINAL DELIGHTS. Each novel can be read as a standalone and contains a dark M/M romance.
    Warning: These books are for adult readers who enjoy stories where lines between right and wrong get blurry. High heat, twisted and tantalizing, these are not for the fainthearted.

    I read somewhere that assassins are really just serial killers for hire. That is basically Cowen.

    By day, he’s a successful defense attorney. At night, he takes jobs. And he doesn’t do it purely for the money. He’s a misanthrope who likes making people suffer. He has been killing people since he was a child. He said it himself that he doesn’t feel things the way normal people do. He doesn’t enjoy sex or even feel aroused . I was getting my hopes up that finally, we are going to get an asexual dom, but no. They had to have sex because that’s the way this series rolls.

    Cowen’s personal assistant is Harrison. Harrison has a bad crush on his enigmatic boss. He’s too shy to do anything about it.

    On day, while in the parking lot, Harrison witness a guy being attacked and then the attacker turned on him. The next thing he knew, he was held captive by a man wearing a mask. And forced to do humiliating and painful things.

    This book stands out for having MCs with diverse body types. Harrison is a plus size bear while Cowen was described as gaunt. Interestingly, it was Harrison who submits to Cowen’s dominance. Cowen could really be dominating. So dominating that you’d forget he’s really a skinny guy who had to wear lifts in his shoes to appear taller.

    By Way of Pain is high on the darkness spectrum. It was kept from becoming pitch black by the tender connection that blossomed between Cowen and Harrison. Harrison is oh so slowly, making Cowen feel things. And given the kind of person Cowen is, “I have no desire to kill you” is probably the only way he will say I love you.


    4 Stars – minor quibbles but I loved it to bits

    Soundtrack: Pain and Pleasure
    Artist: Divinyls
    Album: What A Life!

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    Criminal Delights: Organized Crime: Beloved Possession – Leona Windwalker

    Ishmael Lux.
    A name synonymous with wealth. The elite come to him- to stay in his hotels and to play in his club, both for business and for pleasure. He has a secret, though. It’s rather an open one, though believed by most to be rumour and speculation.

    Kristoffer Jones.
    A new hire of Triborr Property Management International, one of Lux’s many legitimate fronts. He was thrilled to be in London, straight on the heels of being informed he was being moved onto the management track. Some rumours are best left unconfirmed, as he discovers when he finds himself in the wrong place, at the wrong time.

    Ishmael saw it as an opportunity..
    As with all opportunities that will pay off handsomely, he takes it. Then, he locks Kris away. Kristoffer is his and he is never going to let him go.

    The kicker?
    Kris is rapidly becoming unsure if he wants to be free.

    *This book is written in UK English.

    Beloved Possession had, unfortunately, the most unconvincing transition from possession to beloved.

    It’s compounded by the fact the the lead characters were forgettable. I appreciated that Ishmael has successfully built a billion-dollar company and has a close circle of men that was very, very loyal to him. But he lacked the charm of other doms.

    Kris was so bland, I don’t see why Ishmael was so enamored with him other than he’s pretty and malleable. The only interesting point about Kris is that he’s half-Filipino. This is rare in MM especially as a lead character.

    I forced myself to slog through this story in the hopes that it would get better. I ended up skimming.

    I say pass on this.

    2 Stars – it’s a struggle to finish the damn book

    Soundtrack: My Possession
    Artist: Ministry
    Album: Twitch

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    Criminal Delights: Taken: To Have and To Hold – Abigail Kade

    My name is Worthington Winters, and I have a confession before I die. I know he’s a killer. I know one day he’ll even kill me, but I don’t care. Because I feel more free with my captor than I ever did with my husband.

    My husband courted me, seduced me, ensnared me, then subjugated me in my own home. He pushed and I would bend. Until, one day he pushed too far, and I pushed back. I escaped and thought I was free, but I was so wrong.

    Now, my Captor has me in his grasp. He’s supposed to squeeze me until I give him the information I took from my husband. I’ll never do it, so I know I’m destined to die. But, he’s beginning to see beyond my scars, my shriveled heart, and he’s forcing me to look, too.

    As he makes me look into the darkest depths of my soul, I finally find my truth, who I truly am and want to be. As strange as it may be, through the sweetest pain and most exquisite torture he inflicts, I’ll finally feel free.

    The truth may give me a new life I never existed. If I can survive.

    This book is part of CRIMINAL DELIGHTS. Each novel can be read as a standalone and contains a dark M/M romance.
    Warning: These books are for adult readers who enjoy stories where lines between right and wrong get blurry. High heat, twisted and tantalizing, these are not for the fainthearted.

    To Have and To Hold is a terrific combination of dark and cute.

    Worthy suffered abuse from his evil husband who frequently humiliated his desires as a masochist while hurting him without his consent. The husband also stole his money and his family’s company. Worthy was able to get his properties back and he ran away. The bastard then set an assassin on his tracks.

    Crow is an ethical assassin. By that, he only kills the guilty. He caught Worthy and had every intent to make him suffer. Until he learned the truth.

    That’s when things turn sweet and fluffy with the way Crow was taking care of Worthy. It’s pretty fucked up that a person who has been abuse likes pain and Worthy’s evil husband used that against him. Crow showed Worthy the way to pleasure and pain without the humiliation.

    I love Worthy! He crawled his way out of a hellish marriage and decided to wear things that only makes him happy. He has the best fashion sense. I would gladly wear one of his kawaii statement shirts with adorable animal prints.

    Crow was a teddy bear. The fierce, morally grey part of him had no qualms about killing or torture. But he was also willing to break a contract if the target was proven innocent. Even feeding and clothing said target when the man looked liked he needed some TLC. He dropped everything and rescued his boy when Worthy was taken the second time. Also bought him more kawaii clothes.

    Crow belongs to a group of ethical assassins, what I liked to call the Bird Boys because they use birds as code names. I’m not sure if there are other books about these boys but I would love to read all about them. Especially Os a.k.a. Osprey a.k.a Obediah who had some very questionable exes.

    This is my favorite out of the three.

    4 Stars – minor quibbles but I loved it to bits

    Soundtrack: Submission
    Artist: The Irrepressibles
    Album: Superheroes

    Two wins out of three is not so bad. I still have a few ways to go before I finished the entire series. Even with the mixed reviews, I think this series is worth the time.

    Wondering which Criminal Delights books to read and which ones to pass up? Check out the reviews here.

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    PAST, PRESENT AND FUTURE (Jan 22, 2020)

    I found this tag on Chelle’s Book Ramblings . It’s simple and fun. I thought I would put my own spin on it and make it a weekly thing.