Review: Tears of Tess by Pepper Winters

Posted September 1st, 2013 in book review / 16 comments


Tears of Tess Series #1

by Pepper Winters

Publisher: Self-Published (Aug 28, 2013)
Genre: Dark, Contemporary Romance, Erotica, BDSM, Adult,
Format: eBook (Novel Length)
Source: Free book from author for honest review
Find It: Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Rating: ★★★☆☆ (3 stars)

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?

At A Glance
It started out good but ended on a pathetic note. I enjoyed reading Tears of Tess but it was also hard for me to agree with Tess’s decision making.

The Good
As you can see, I had a lot of bad to say about this book below, but it doesn’t negate the fact that this book also blew my mind in a lot of ways. It was like watching a car crash. You know it’s horrible, but you can’t look away. The beginning half was the best for me. It was scary, raw, captivating, and nerve-wracking.

Tess interested me right away. She seems like an average girl, but she has dark fantasies. Fantasies her boyfriend finds uncomfortable, so she locks away her true self in order to have a decent life. But then she is kidnapped, debased, and sold to a sadistic man. She is thrown into a world she craves but despises at the same time. Tess really gave her kidnappers a run for their money. I respected her tenacity to fight even though the punishments were bad. I felt bad for her because she did crave a lot of what was done to her by Q, her Master. But she felt like a sick monster for liking it when she shouldn’t. Tess was a complicated character that grew a lot during her experience.

Q was a rough character. He does so many horrible things but you always hope there is humanity and love in his heart somewhere. He does show compassion occasionally, which gives us hope. I really liked the end of the book, which gives us a glimpse of Q as a child and what he had to grow up with. It helped me understand him.

I loved the mystery behind Q and why Tess was brought to him. I loved the unpredictability of what Q would do and how far he would go. I like dark, disturbing books so this premise drew me in right away. Q and Tess butting heads was what kept me reading. They are horrible/perfect for each other. Yeah, as you can see, I was totally mind-f*cked by this book.

The Bad
I can handle a lot of things, but stupidity from a main character is not one of them. Tess started out so strong, so resilient, then she became weak, pathetic, and mentally sick. I think this went beyond BDSM, dominance, and slave mentality. Tess becomes a shell of what she once was. We may see a little of her fire a couple times, but mostly it goes like this: I hate him, he’s sexy, I hate myself, I deserve this, I like him, I hate him, I love him, no one else will love me, I deserve to be treated like sh*t, why wont he love me, why would he do this to me, I belong to him, I am a monster so I should settle for this.

Watching Tess’s self-deprecation and Q’s need to own and hurt someone may have been fascinating but it was also disgusting. It just made me sad and sickened. Tears of Tess took Stockholm Syndrome to a whole other level.

Tess’s inner struggles were more annoying than anything. She was so wishy-washy. One page she is in love with Q, then the next, she hates him and wants to run away.

Q has almost no redeeming qualities. I don’t trust him to not kill Tess on day. I should not be saying that about the “romantic hero.”

I hated Suzette. Her sense of reality is so warped. She treated Tess like sh*t but did it with a smile so she seemed nice.

Also, I don’t know why this book is labeled new adult. It is NOT. It’s adult or erotica. Period.

There were a lot of plot holes, can’t really mention them without spoiling things.

This is no Captive in the Dark by CJ Roberts. Don’t think because you love Roberts’ books that you will love Tears of Tess. This book doesn’t have the same interesting relationship and it has more disturbing elements that are hard to forgive.

The Snuggly
Tess and Q are one of the worst but also appropriate couples to ever get together. Tess needs to find someone better and more mentally stable. Q should not be let around women period. But for Tess’s personality near the end, them getting together made sense. They kind of belong together if Tess really wants what she says.

Dear sweet baby cheeses. The sex is Hot, Scary, Wrong, and Raw. This is not for the faint of heart. There is a lot of degradation, abuse, along with just steamy sex. Beware, there is a rape scene and it’s hard to read.

Final Thoughts
This book is not for everyone. You have to be okay with some dark concepts and disturbing scenarios. But it is entertaining and hard to put down. I don’t know who I would recommend this book to, so this is totally a judgment call on your part. Kind of recommended.

“Q was safe.
I was his.
It made perfect sense in my f*cked-up mind.”

“Three men guarded the exit. Arms crossed, lips stretched against dirty, rotten teeth. Leather Jacket Man stood in the middle. Our eyes locked and the same evil energy assaulted me, casting oozing black shadows. Unable to look away, my very existence stuttered under the weight of blackness. My instincts had been right.

I was in deep sh*t.”

“You can’t lie. Not now. Not when your body blares the truth.” He moved his fingers, stroking inner parts of me, throbbing with the need to release. 

He was right, I couldn’t lie and I cried harder.

“You are mine. I can do what I want with you. I can dress you. F*ck you. Send you away. Loan you to others. You belong to me. And you’ve finally realized it isn’t romantic, it isn’t sexy or fun. It’s something no one should want or desire. You’re a captive.”

He shook me, his headache etching eyes with pain. “My role as your master is to debase you to the point of having no feelings, no emotion, no hopes or dreams. I tell you to f*ck another man, you ask for how long. I tell you to wear something, you do not f*cking chop it up in defiance. You wear it and appreciate what I give you. You’re mine, esclave. And it isn’t a f*cking happy ever after.”

“I need you to say it again, then you can go.”

Two options. Two decisions. Neither was easy. Both had consequences. But for now, I chose the one protecting my virtue for another night.

I hung my head and murmured, “Yours.”

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16 Responses to “Review: Tears of Tess by Pepper Winters”

  1. Sarah Elizabeth

    Great review hon! I love how I know that you will tell it like it is!
    ‘It started out good but ended on a pathetic note.’
    ‘Q should not be let around women period.’

    I thought this one look good, but maybe it’s not something to rush to read. Have you read ‘You are mine’ by Janeal Falor? That has a sort of slavery element, but the main character is a lot stronger.

  2. Ashley Robertson

    I was totally thinking Dark Duet until you said there was no comparison. This book has been on my TBR and I am very curious about it. I think it may have to wait though because you introduced me to the world of Kate Daniels so stepping outta paranormal isnt possible rt now 🙂 that said, I do think I will have read this book by the end of the year. The ratings are all over the map with this one. Thanks for your review.

  3. Trish Hannon

    Great review, I’ve being wondering about this one. Thanks for being so honest. The MC sounds very mixed up and wishy-washy and Mr Q sounds v scary. I might pass!

  4. Jaclyn Canada

    LMAO – the “I don’t know who I’d recommend this book to” just had me giggling for some reason. I love your review, but I know this one is not for me. I appreciate all the quotes, I know from them that this just isn’t my type of read. I’m also with you on annoying MC’s. I will always love the Iron Fey series but she irritated the piss out of me in the 2nd book so if you read that series you’ll probably feel that way too. Great review! Jaclyn @ JC’s Book Haven.

    • Jennifer Bielman

      Yeah, I don’t see you liking this one. I am still conflicted with this one. I liked it but I also didn’t. I am so confused. I just can’t get over stupid MCs.

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