Hi, readers! Please welcome Sarah B., our guest book reviewer, to ILRB! She’ll be hanging out with us today, taking the time to give us her take on a cool romance novel!
Let’s give her a hand…
Sarah, take it away and show us what you have for today.
Mindgames by Jasmine Gold
In the end, I’m still not sure. I wasn’t sure if I would enjoy this story. I enjoy reading in this genre, and I was aware of the book’s explicit content. However, the book’s extremely high level of sexual violence…I mean, it could have been stated or implied. First, some chapters were a bit “Disturbing”, and apart from all the violence, it was a “good” book. There were parts that could have been better edited, perhaps with storyline, and readers “might enjoy” it more without all the violence. It did also take a long time to read, but that’s what the story includes, so it is a 3 for me. It’s a unique story and, as books are subjective, some readers might enjoy it better.
In this erotic romance set in a dystopian future, healer Gabriel’s attempt to convince slave girl Mariah to trust him goes too far, endangering his life, his freedom, and his sanity. Mariah can save him from the despair that envelopes him only if she can find the strength to trust herself.
Gabriel, on a mission of mercy, is horrified by what he finds when he arrives in Riviera, a land far from his home. So-called “humans,” bored and decadent, amuse themselves with the senseless torture of their slaves. Yet Gabriel finds unexpected friends. An artist named Animal, who notices everything except Rose, his slave girl. And Mariah, a slave foisted on Gabriel when he unwittingly prevents her from escaping.
Mariah knows that Master Gabriel’s talk of a different way of life, in which slavery does not exist, is merely the latest and cruelest of the mind games that humans have inflicted on her for her entire life. She must play along, but actually believing in it would bring disaster to her and to everyone she cares about.
Mindgames is about love, and friendship, and the potential for redemption. It is about how one person can change the world, or be destroyed by it.
Universal Reader Link: https://books2read.com/u/bOnlLQ
Here’s a teaser from the book…
Mariah woke with a start. A hand was on her breast.
“I’m sorry,” Master Gabriel said, pulling his hand away. “I didn’t mean to wake you.” Mariah remembered his face when they met on the path, outside the gate, how broad and sunny it had looked. Now it was drawn and shadowed. On the path where she had trusted him, Mariah reminded herself. Defiantly she refused to speak, but the master didn’t seem to notice. “I’m going to touch you,” he said, “but I’m not going to hurt you.” Slowly, he moved his hand back to just below her left breast, and lay it flat there. Mariah’s heart pounded. Her body was so tortured that she was sure even gentle sex would kill her.
Master Gabriel drew his hand away. “Below your chest is your rib cage,” he said conversationally. “And inside your rib cage are your lungs, which is what you breathe with. I think you have a cracked rib. I want to see if you can breathe okay. So I’m going to put my hand back on your rib cage, and I want you to take a deep breath.” He held Mariah’s eye. “All right?”
His voice was kind and urged her to trust him. The same voice as on the path. The voice that had promised freedom and had betrayed her.
“I hate you, master,” Mariah said.
Master Gabriel flinched as if he had been whipped. He looked away from Mariah, and Mariah felt that she had won a victory. But he looked back at her almost immediately. “It takes a lot of energy to hate,” he said. “And it takes a lot of energy to heal. You get better. Then you can hate me all you want.”
Mariah knew he was playing a mind game with her. He would heal her so the torture could begin again.
Gathering all her energy, Mariah spat on the master. Or she tried to. The saliva got no farther than her chin, where it dribbled down. Master Gabriel, expressionless, took out a pocket handkerchief to wipe her off. She jerked her chin away from his hand, but the sudden pain made her dizzy. She closed her eyes for a moment. “I hate you,” she said, more weakly than before.
Master Gabriel said, “If you don’t wipe the spittle off your chin, pretty soon it will start to itch.”
Mariah said nothing, but as soon as the words were out of Master Gabriel’s mouth her chin started itching, almost burning. She glared at him. Master Gabriel let her suffer before he handed her the cloth. Scowling, she wiped her chin. He took the handkerchief back from her. “I still want to feel your ribcage. Okay?”
Slowly, Mariah nodded.
Gabriel put his hand below her left breast, flat on the skin. “Breathe slowly, as deep as you can,” he said. Mariah stared straight ahead and refused to obey. Gabriel said nothing, sitting still as a statue. Mariah resolved to outwait him. She closed her eyes, pretending to sleep.
Minutes passed. Mariah heard a soft sound from Gabriel. Opening her eyes, she saw that, without moving, he had fallen asleep, and was snoring softly. As she watched, he slowly slid from the edge of the bed where he was sitting down to the floor, his hand trailing down her side as he did so. At last, he came to a rest, leaning against the bed.
Mariah watched him warily. Was this part of his strange mind game? Was she supposed to react in a certain way? As the rebellious runaway, should she do the opposite of what he wanted? Her arm ached, and her chest, and she had trouble thinking straight.
She started at the sound of a quiet chuckle from the open door. It was Master Animal, leaning on the door frame, watching the whole scene, his eyes glinting with amusement. When he looked to Master Gabriel sleeping on the floor, his expression softened. Silently, he crossed the room and sat in the chair on the other side of Gabriel. He leaned forward so he could speak softly to Mariah. “For a week, he’s hardly slept, watching over you.”
“Why, Master?” Mariah asked, mystified that any mind game could matter so much to a human.
Master Animal shrugged, his sardonic expression returning. “I guess he just likes your looks.”
Author: Jasmine Gold
Genre: Erotic, dystopian romance, fantasy
Themes: Dark erotica, BDSM romance, Dystopian smut, Human trafficking
ILRB’s Content Warning: sex, rape, sexual assault
Release Date: June 18, 2019
Publisher: Independently published
OUR RATING: ♥♥♥
REVIEWED BY: Sarah
Guest Blogger Bio: Hi! I’m an avid reader in Australia, love to read romance or watch TV, and write. I hope to one day develop reviewing skills, and maybe “start my own blog”. You can find me on my medium, as I sometimes write articles.
Medium Profile: https://medium.com/@Sarahbooks13
Thanks for reading our latest book review on ILRB! ♥ Have a great rest of your week, everyone!