BOOK REVIEW ~ HERO & KEEP ME BY LEIGHTON DEL MIA
February 7, 2019
That which makes me the ultimate predator also feeds dark impulses I’ve learned to control—until I bring her too close. For years I’ve watched her from afar, but what started out as duty has become obsession.
I work hard.
I play by the rules.
My scars are quiet and invisible, and that keeps me hidden.
One fateful walk home, I’m taken by someone I didn’t know I should fear. Captive and afraid, nobody will tell me why I’m confined to this hauntingly beautiful mansion. I’m given everything; I have nothing. He takes what he needs from me, and for that I hate him. But I might have loved him once.
And just because you’re reading this doesn’t mean I survive him.
“Escape is now her singular obsession, the need for it all but physiological. But freedom is the only thing I can’t give her, because I have an obsession of my own: her safety. Or, maybe now, just her.”
HERO is a dual POV, standalone erotic novel. WARNING: meant for a mature audience due to dark themes including non- or dubious-consent.
4.5 “HERO” STARS
Whenever I see the words “dark themes,” “non-con,” “taken,” “captive” etc…it’s like music to my ears. Hey don’t judge! Besides this is for books only *wink* Anyways, I will be frank and say I was a beta reader for this book. Nowadays I rarely beta because instead of reading for my own pleasure, it becomes a job and sometimes a not-so-enjoyable one. Imagine my surprise and delight that instead of viewing this book as a duty, it quickly became a story I couldn’t put down, and one I finished from 1 to 5 AM.This is my verdict: for a debut novel, I certainly hope it gets the recognition it deserves for it is one of the most unique and distinctive books I’ve read. I went into the book not knowing anything besides the synopsis and though there were twists that left me questioning what direction the story was going in, the end result left me satisfied and thinking “hey, now that’s something you don’t see everyday in an erotic/love-my-captor story.”But first, here’s a book stat section for my fellow dark romance junkies:Dark scale (1-10): 3Mindfuck scale (1-10): 5Definitely a love my captor story, but not as intense and gritty as say, the Dark Duet or Madeleine, Abducted. I would classify this story as a mix of erotica and romantic suspense with dark and sci-fi elements (the sci-fi part actually played an impressive role in the story and it was something I didn’t see coming at all).**Keep in mind that I read a lot of dark romance so what may not be dark for me might be for you. These ratings probably resonate with me and my fellow dark cohorts the most.**
Cataline Ford is a shy and innocent female lead. She’s had a harsh childhood and as a result is a complete introvert who chooses to focus on the basic things in life. Her one vice is Calvin, the reclusive and brooding owner of the company where Cataline works at and believes he is completely inaccessible to her. On the night she meets a potential boyfriend, she is knocked out and kidnapped, thus kickstarting her days as a captive.Calvin Parish has two lives: one as head owner of his company and another as Hero, the mysterious protector and vigilante of the city. I honestly can’t say more about him or it would be a dead giveaway to his role in the book and the impact he has on Cataline’s life. I will say though that this man is twisted. You can see and feel his frustration about being torn between duty and obsession. As for the erotica….I swear some of the sex scenes were both thrilling but kinky to the point of me cringing and going ouch. Doesn’t mean I didn’t enjoy reading about them
So why not 5 stars then?Now me being my picky self there are just some things I cannot get over no matter how integral it is to the story. For one, I personally don’t like fangirls, and though I completely understood where Cataline’s adoration for “Hero” came from, it doesn’t mean I like it. It’s really hard to explain and only a person who has read the book will get what I mean about Cataline “fangirling” over Hero: in a way it was her coping mechanism and what kept her from losing her shit entirely.There is a minor revelation scene in the first 25% I didn’t really agree with how it was executed. As the reader, I would like to be shocked/mindfucked/aghast at the same time the character experiences the same emotions, not before. It makes me lose interest and wonder when the character figures it out. If you’re getting worried, don’t be; this isn’t the main point of the story and like I said, it’s the little things that bother me the most and this counted as one.Though this is a complete standalone, I will never reject the idea of having another book or novella written about these characters. Their story is heartfelt, raw, and tumultuous, and though with their many faults, they are perfect in their imperfection. It’s rare for me to truly enjoy a beta read, 100%, and this book hit all those ‘oomph’ buttons. I will be on the lookout for more from Leighton Del Mia.
“I will disappoint you. I will hurt you. If I could be different, I would. But I don’t think I can.”
Keep Me is a follow-up novella for Hero readers who want a glimpse of life after breakfast. It is optional and not essential to the original plot. It is only intended to be read after Hero, and is not a standalone.
Novella length: 21,000 words
I’m naturally wary of novellas as their short length usually doesn’t provide enough of a story or details to make me feel engaged with the characters or plot, but I have to say here the author did a wonderful job of answering some lingering questions I had after finishing Hero.While the first book explored Cataline and Calvin’s relationship dynamic when she was in captivity, this short novella is about the ups and downs of their lives after reconnecting with each other in the end of Hero. What I liked most about this short story is the author doesn’t shy away from the problems Cataline and Calvin face. They may be together, but that doesn’t take away the bad memories Cataline has from her time in captivity or Calvin’s primal and dark urges that threaten to break her. Their disagreements, their insecurity, and of course, their fierce protectiveness of one another is all detailed here and I love that the author stayed true to these character’s personalities. Despite giving up his role as “hero” of the city, Calvin will always have his dark proclivities and tastes that set him apart from any average male lead, and Cataline will be the heroine who has a willful, stubborn mind. And that’s ok.Though Hero is a standalone, for some reason I wasn’t quite ready to let go of their story, but with this novella and ending I’m in that place where I can turn the page and close the Cataline and Calvin chapter ♥ ♥Oh and this quote, while taken out of context, gave my stomach flutters. If you’ve read Hero you’ll get the meaning and it’s every bookworm’s dream:“Wherever we go, you’ll get your library.”