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Knotted (Trails of Sin Book 1) Kindle Edition
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|Length: 311 pages||Word Wise: Enabled||Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled|
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I have no objections to dark romances and dubious consent - my Kindle is filled with plenty from this genre - but this book is so off the mark in terms of realistic characters and emotional reactions that I cannot even begin to comprehend how there are so many positive reviews. I am all for escapist reading, but I could not find anything redeeming in any of the characters in this piece of nonsense. I will be taking a pass on any additional books from this series.
Knotted, the first in the Trails of Sin series, is a dark, emotional second chance romance. Right out of the gate, we are introduced to teenage Conor and Jake, two sweethearts who grew up together in small town Oklahoma. Julep Ranch also happens to be home to Conor's brother Lorne, as well as Jake's twin brother Jarret; this foursome is a close-knit unit of love, friendship, and family. Our brief glimpse into their idyllic upbringing is quickly shattered when a traumatic event occurs on Conor's 16th birthday. I won't go into detail, but this may set off some triggers for people. The event is violent, heartbreaking, intense, and changed the lives of these four friends forever.
The rest of the story follows the aftermath of such a horrific event and explores the different ways people cope and heal from an event that is so life-changing. Years pass, and secrets are told and revealed. The lives of these four may no longer be idyllic, but it's raw and gritty and real. I am in love with the connection between Conor and Jake and how they found their way back to one another. This is a love story, but it also delivers on the dark, twisty, kinky goodness this author is known for. What I loved even more was Conor's inner strength and tenacity to continue to pursue her dreams, even though she's not yet over what happened in her past. This is, hands down, one of my favorite reads of 2018 and one of my favorites by Pam Godwin.
I'm really looking forward to reading Buckled (Jarret's story) and Booted (Lorne's story). If you're a fan of Pam Godwin or have been debating whether or not to read her, or if you're a lover of cowboy romances and sexy stories, do yourself a favor and read this book. It's truly incredible.
In a word: Heart
This story got me right in the heart from the very beginning. This series focuses on 2 families occupying 1 (very large) cattle ranch. One family has a set of twin boys, Jake and Jarret; the other is comprised of Lorne (older brother) and Conor (younger sister). All 4 of these kids have been raised together and are as close as anyone can be, especially Jake and Conor, who have been in love with each other as long as they can remember; this book focuses on their story.
It opens with Jake and Conor engaging in playful flirting and banter on horseback en route with their brothers to a "secret" meeting spot where they will fully consummate their relationship, as Jake was adamant about waiting until Conor was 16 before "going all the way." The two of them are perfect as a couple - very sweet and over the moon for each other with no doubt that they are each other's forever. Jarret and Lorne, who are aware of the plans, "escort" them out there and plan to make themselves scarce while ensuring that they are not disturbed (as the fathers are not so approving of the relationship). Things appear to go as planned, but then everything goes horribly awry as the kids are attacked by two men with guns and knives. The boys are helpless to do anything as they are forced to watch the strangers rape Conor, and what happens from there changes their lives forever.
What I liked:
--- The main characters were both extremely likable; the author connects the reader with them from the start so that the attachment is there pretty much immediately
--- While the attack scene was graphic, violent, and beyond disturbing, the author gave that level of detail effectively so that the reader was in those moments with the main characters through the expected reactions (horror, disgust, anger, helplessness), but also the unexpected (tenderness/love Jake gave to Conor when he could do nothing else)
--- Interesting plot lines with some mystery... as not all was what it seemed
--- HOT lovin' (even when they were not as physically intimate, the reader could sense the main characters' connection on a deeper level)
What I didn't like as much:
--- Jake is such a likable character that it was hard for me to picture him doing some of the things he "had" to do in the story (view spoiler)
--- Without giving things away, the plans for the building of Conor's veterinary office (her childhood dream) is pretty messed up
Overall, a heart-wrenching, heartbreaking, heartwarming, and heart-reaffirming story that gives the reader "all the feels" (along with some steamy treats!).
Plot --- 4.5/5
Main Characters -- 4.5/5
Supporting Cast --- 4.5/5 (looking forward to the other 2 guys' stories!)
Steam Level --- 4/5
Violence --- it's a "dark romance" for a reason --- there are graphic descriptions of rape (vaginal & anal plus bondage) that are disturbing, especially for those with triggers
Language --- Moderate
POV --- Dual (main characters)
Other/Misc. --- contains some mild (consensual) BDSM elements