Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Review/Special Guest Post from Q/Blog Tour for 'Quintessentially Q' by Pepper Winters


Thank you to Pepper Winters for sending me an ARC copy of Quintessentially Q for an honest review.

I completely fell in love with Tess and Q in the first book of the dark erotica Monsters in the Dark series, Tears of Tess, so I jumped at the chance to read this ARC. I don't consider this sequel to be a standalone. A lot of things were left unexplained because the reader is already expected to know it. 

Please read the first book or you most likely won't like, appreciate or understand this book. 


SPOILERS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Tess and Q are already in love (she says it, he doesn’t, but they both feel it). The sex is HOT and it takes up the majority of the first third of the book. We feel their emotions, learn about their expectations of one another, but something holds them back from being truly happy together—namely, each other. They want their unusual relationship to work but both are too afraid to really give in and trust the other completely, especially Q. He pushes her away but expects her to give everything of herself to him, but he’s too afraid to give himself in the same way. Tess keeps pushing his buttons to break him, disregarding the fact that he just needs time to trust her and to open up. They both want too much, too soon, and they’re too stubborn to just sit down and talk about what they need. Communication has always been a problem for them and it continues all throughout the book.

The first time Q takes Tess to the office with him ends up in disaster. The same people who originally kidnapped her in Mexico kidnap her again. We have her POV of the horror that she experiences while in captivity and Q’s POV as he tries to find and rescue her. 
Both Q and Tess forgot to remove the tracking device in her neck which led the bad guys right to her. At first, I didn't think Q knew about the device which is why he never removed it during the first book. It turns out that he did know about it so it pissed me off that he just left it in so he could track her, not realizing or caring that the bad guys could too. My respect for Q faltered because of this. Tess tried to get it removed but the hospital kept pushing back her appointment date. Then the bad guys found her and it was too late. 

My only problem with her kidnapping is that I had no idea it was going to happen. The blurb for QQ doesn’t state anything about it. I had heard that this book was darker than the first—and it is—but I expected it to be darker with Q and Tess in the bedroom, not at the hands of traffickers. According to the last book and the beginning of this book, Q and Tess planned to go after the bad guys to make them pay so I wasn’t surprised that they had a big part in the book. What confused me was how they were introduced. As I read the kidnapping scene, I kept thinking that it wasn’t a big deal because I expected Q to rescue her at any second, long before the bad guys had a chance to leave the building with Tess. He never showed up which floored me! I didn’t expect all the brutality and torture that happened to Tess because it’s not what I’ve been led to believe. Anyway, the kidnapping worked out as a great plot device for the story and it turned out that Tess and Q needed it to happen so they could find each other without fear or restraint.

My main question that I had for the original book was finally answered in this book. The question: Why did Q string Tess up during the dinner party? Frederick asks this and Q explains. I totally forgive Q for doing this horrible thing because his explanation made perfect sense. My only problem is that Q didn’t tell Tess and she still wonders why he hurt her like that.

We first meet Frederick in the previous book and, even though I knew he was a good guy, I still didn’t like him. I just didn’t trust him or know much about him. I now love Frederick thanks to this book. He plays a much bigger role and I loved the scenes where he stood up to Q, his best friend, and beats the crap out of him. He doesn’t fear Q at all, which is great, and Q cares for him like brother. Their scenes together were some of the best.

I loved seeing Franco as a badass! I knew he was tough—after all, he is Q’s head of security—but seeing him kick ass, murder rapists and treat the blonde girl with the belly button ring with such kindness makes me swoon.

I wish we saw more of Suzette. She’s an awesome character.

I loved watching Q get his hands dirty—literally. He kills whoever deserves it in order to find the love of his life. He’s so determined and headstrong, even though he’s breaking on the inside and suffering from deliberating migraines. His company is ruined by his brutal actions as he hops around the globe, the local cops visit him a few times, and his reputation is slandered. Frederick deals with the damaged company and takes over as CEO while Q stays at home to rehabilitate Tess. The author didn’t give much detail about what happened to the business or exactly what was leaked to the papers, so I’m not sure how badly his business/reputation has crumbled to the ground.

One of the final scenes left me in awe. I had hope Q would submit to Tess and it finally happened!!! She beat the crap out of him and I loved every minute of it. I know she thought he was someone else—her main abuser—but I still liked seeing the tables turned on Q. I loved that he sacrificed his need to control and the beast inside him because he loved her so much and he knew she needed closure of the worst kind. By submitting to agony and the loss of what he believed made him a man, he learned to embrace his sweeter side and finally understood Tess much better than ever before. They became friends and the trust they finally shared melded their hearts and life forces into one. Without giving himself to her, he never would have understood her pain and depression. He would have forced her away from him—she was already prepared to run away and let the bastards who hurt her win—instead of helping her come to terms with her abuse.

Even though a lot of horrible things happened to this couple, the bad was needed to bring them closer together, to prove they could overcome any obstacle and to finally trust each other, not hide from one another. If he didn’t trust her with his life and if she didn’t trust him with her horrific secrets, they would have lived horrible lives, away from each other, and never heal from the trauma they experienced. The bad made Tess darker and, once Q submitted himself to her darkness, he became lighter. He found balance with the beast, which is what Tess had wanted since the beginning of the book—for him to be both man and monster at the same time.

I really liked this story, it moved me to tears several times, but I found myself distracted and a little bored because of the book’s repetitious nature. At times I felt that the author just copied sentences from a previous passage and pasted it into a new section. My sympathy for the characters faded in the middle of the book—where most of the drama and pain should be felt—because of the repetition. I understand that Q and Tess went through hell, physically and mentally, and I know that it takes time to heal, but the author used the same words, again and again, to express how the characters’ felt.

When the author didn’t repeat herself, she used lots of interesting similes to describe emotions and surroundings. That’s normally great but I felt that it took away from the story because she used so many. It made the story sound wordy.  On top of that, for all the hell the characters went through, I was surprised that they were sane enough to come up with some of these very detailed similes to describe what they felt or what had happened. Their brains should be mush from drugs, pain, guilt, lack of sleep, etc; not well enough to overly describe their surroundings.

Overall, I really enjoyed this book. I loved watching Q and Tess grow as humans, monsters, friends and lovers. They deserve a happily ever after. Let’s hope they get it! ;)

4 Stars!

Title: Quintessentially Q
Series: Monsters in the Dark, Book #2
Author: Pepper Winters
Genre: Erotic/Dark Contemporary Romance
Release Date:  December 15, 2013
Tour Organized by: As the Pages Turn


SYNOPSIS:

“All my life, I battled with the knowledge I was twisted… fucked up to want something so deliciously dark—wrong on so many levels. But then slave fifty-eight entered my world. Hissing, fighting, with a core of iron, she showed me an existence where two wrongs make a right."
Tess is Q’s completely. Q is Tess’s irrevocably. But now, they must learn the boundaries of their unconventional relationship, while Tess seeks vengeance on the men who sold her. Q made a blood-oath to deliver their corpses at Tess’s feet, and that’s just what he’ll do.
He may be a monster, but he’s Tess’s monster.



EXCERPT:

Q moved suddenly, pushing off from the cage and striding toward the entrance
of the aviary. He unlocked the deadbolt and entered the space. Birds chirped louder
as Q stood in the centre of their world. He looked like a man robbed of his own
wings. A fallen angel that had no place on earth and fought a daily battle to fit in.
I stepped forward. Should I say something? Comfort him? My heart twisted,
needing to be there for him, but no longer able to. No matter how many kind words I
spoke, Q would see I no longer lived inside.
My soul jangled with chains and locks, saving me but also ruining me. The
longer I lived in my tower the more passion and connection faded.
I hated the numbing virus inside, spreading slowly, deleting all memory of who
Tess had been. I was replaced with a carbon replica who would float away in the
wind, robbed of her convictions and thoughts. All because I wasn’t strong enough to
face what I’d done.
Q cursed under his breath, his chest pumping with emotion. “Why should I keep
you when you don’t want to be here? You’re not here for me. You’re here because I
lock you up. You’re my prisoners, my captives, my trophies.”
He hung his head before waving his arms. “Allez vous-en. Je ne veux plus de
vous. Elle ne veut plus de plus alors ça sert à quoi, putain? ” Fly away. I no longer
want you. She no longer wants me, so what's the fucking point?
The birds went crazy, darting left and right, spying freedom through the open
door. They exploded through the exit and into the conservatory, weaving through
plants and water features.
Wings rustled as I ducked from a small flock of robins.
“Get out!” Q yelled; the birds flurried harder. “Get far away from me.”
I stepped backward, not wanting to see Q breakdown. I wanted it to hurt—to kill
me with knowledge that I’d ripped out his heart—but all I felt was emptiness.
Q looked up and froze.
His eyes locked on mine, shining with rage and blackness. I prayed for some
awakening, so I could put both of us out of our misery. I wanted to bring forth all my
love for him and keep hiding from my guilt. I wanted to erase the darkness, the
lostness and hate from his eyes, but I was useless.
Bowing my head, I dropped my gaze.
Q cursed, exiting the aviary, humming with anger and rage. He stalked toward
me, stopping so close his body heat seared my skin.
I flinched, expecting him to lash out—to grab my hair, slap me—something to
wake me up.
When he didn’t touch me, I looked up. Q murmured, “So low you must think of me.”
He captured a curl, running it gently through his fingertips. “Fly away, esclave, if that is what you want. I won’t stop you.” His tone was bleak and derelict.


Flash Back on Q’s Childhood.

Unedited. Copyright Pepper Winters.

“Not yet, mon petit.
I looked up into my mother’s pale, wintery gaze. Instead of being happy and full of love on this supposedly best night of the year, her eyes were hazy and unsteady.
She smiled, showing a smear of lipstick on her teeth as she stumbled upright, nursing the goblet of liquor.
At six years old I knew the reek of alcohol better than I knew the smells of a bubble bath or perfumed-laced hugs.
My fingers tightened around the present that I’d grabbed from beneath the tree. I didn’t want to put it down. After all, Mrs. Sucre told me I could open this one as it was from her. She’d done all this: bought the tree from the local farmer in the village, decorated it with me watching silently from the staircase, and placed a big box under the fronds before patting it and smiling. “This is for you, Quincy. I hope you like it.”
I knew I would like it as I loved her. I loved her more than my hiccupping mother and my angry, violent father.
My fingers slipped under the sticky tape and I unstuck just a little of the bright red glittery paper.
My mother’s head swivelled toward me. Normally she noticed nothing. I could be banging pots and pans and creating havoc and she wouldn’t pay attention. But now, when I wanted nothing more than to open this one present from the only person who I liked in this family, she had to be eagle-eyed.
“What did I just say? Put it down.” Her words slurred and I wished she’d throw away the liquid in her glass and be a better mother.
With a huff, I stood on my little legs and shoved the present away.
I didn’t say a word as I stalked out of the lounge and up the stair case.
A scream followed by a man’s evil chuckle drifted down the corridor to my left. I’d been banned for ever going down there and my skin pricked as another noise sounded followed by a muffled cry.
I shuddered. It sounded as if my father had started on his Christmas gifts early.
Yet another Christmas.
Yet another day of my young life that I wished I could run from. 


AUTHOR BIO:

Pepper Winters wears many roles. Some of them include writer, reader, sometimes wife. She loves dark, taboo stories that twist with your head. The more tortured the hero the better and she constantly thinks up ways to break and fix her characters. Oh, and sex… her books have sex.

She loves to travel and has an amazing, fabulous hubby (who speaks French—hot!) who puts up with her love affair with her book boyfriends. She loves to hear from her readers so hit her up at pepperwinters@gmail.com


AUTHOR CONTACT INFO


Pepper is offering up (5) eBook copies of Tears of Tess (INTL) and (2) swag packs (INTL) up for grabs.  Giveaway ends at 11:59 PM CST 12/30/2013.




Rafflecopter link for tour wide giveaway:




SCROLL DOWN FOR TEARS OF TESS INFO
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Title: Tears of Tess
Series: Monsters in the Dark, Book #1
Author: Pepper Winters
Genre: Erotic/Dark Contemporary Romance
Release Date: November 18, 2013
Purchase Link:




TEARS OF TESS SYNOPSIS:

A New Adult Dark Contemporary Romance, not suitable for people sensitive to grief, slavery, and nonconsensual sex. A story about finding love in the strangest of places, a will of iron that grows from necessity, and forgiveness that may not be enough. 

“My life was complete. Happy, content, everything neat and perfect. 
Then it all changed.  
I was sold.”
Tess Snow has everything she ever wanted: one more semester before a career in property development, a loving boyfriend, and a future dazzling bright with possibility.  

For their two year anniversary, Brax surprises Tess with a romantic trip to Mexico. Sandy beaches, delicious cocktails, and soul-connecting sex set the mood for a wonderful holiday. With a full heart, and looking forward to a passion filled week, Tess is on top of the world. 

But lusty paradise is shattered.

Kidnapped. Drugged. Stolen. Tess is forced into a world full of darkness and terror. 

Captive and alone with no savior, no lover, no faith, no future, Tess evolves from terrified girl to fierce fighter. But no matter her strength, it can’t save her from the horror of being sold.

Can Brax find Tess before she’s broken and ruined, or will Tess’s new owner change her life forever?


Quintessentially Q - Book Trailer




Tears of Tess - Book Trailer




You Tube link: http://youtu.be/ZI1azW2ydUo

FOLLOW THE 'QUINTESSENTIALLY Q' BLOG TOUR