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You know when you re reading a book and it s not really grabbing you by the hair from behind but you still want to finish it so you start a second book to accompany it and then the second book doesn t smack you on the ass while pulling your hair from behind This is that second book.Honestly I only finished this book so that it would count towards my 2019 Reading Challenge to read 5000 books this year For those of you keeping count I am a mere 1590 books behind schedule so no worries. In the faint moonlight, the grass is singingOver the tumbled graves, about the chapelThere is the empty chapel, only the wind s home.It has no windows, and the door swings,Dry bones can harm no oneT.S Eliot, The Waste LandOk, wow, so hold up one minute I feel the need to preface this review for my regular readers because this is a very different type of book than I typically pick up If you follow me for my mystery thriller suspense musings, here is your PSA that this book is an erotic romIn the faint moonlight, the grass is singingOver the tumbled graves, about the chapelThere is the empty chapel, only the wind s home.It has no windows, and the door swings,Dry bones can harm no oneT.S Eliot, The Waste LandOk, wow, so hold up one minute I feel the need to preface this review for my regular readers because this is a very different type of book than I typically pick up If you follow me for my mystery thriller suspense musings, here is your PSA that this book is an erotic romance featuring graphic sexual content If that s not your jam, no hard feelings, feel free to bow out until the next regularly scheduled programming continues, but if you re here looking for something new, like I was, then follow along as we fangirl over one of the best books I ve read in 2019Everything is possible To be honest, I wasn t really sure what to expect going into A Lesson In Thorns, but I ve been really slumping inside my comfort zone, and have been looking to expand my reading horizons in hopes of getting my mojo back I ve never thought of myself as a lover of literary fiction, but I ve fallen in love with the genre over the past few months, so why not give erotic romance a try I m no prude, but I ve stayed away from the genre previously for the sole reason that I like my steamy sex to be mixed up with a bit of plot, otherwise I lose interest This book was the perfect balance of sexy oh lawd help me and compulsive, fantasy like mystery Plot wise, we have a group of six friends who have gone their separate ways after experiencing a rather intimate childhood Proserpina, or Poe as she not goes by, is returning to her old friend Auden s sprawling country estate to help digitalize the manor s library swoon and also find out what happened to her missing mom All of the friends are somehow drawn back to Thornchapel, and what follows is a sensual, somewhat mystical romp of ritualistic sexual awakening If you want diversity that feels natural, here it is Our cast features a wide spectrum of race, culture, socioeconomic status, but also of sexuality We have an extremely positive portrayal of polyamorous relationships, BDSM, and consent Bonus a really cool and honest portrayal of a character with narcolepsy without cataplexy The ending wraps things up nicely without leaving a huge cliffhanger, but also leaves us ready and waiting forin the next installment Highly recommended to readers looking for a super sexy read that also features a compulsive mystery and delightful gothic atmosphereThornchapel knows my name and the crooked corners of my heart, and it wants me to make promises that I m going to keep Me, making the conscious decision to read erotica knowing damn well this is firmly outside my circle of interests and immediately regretting it I didn t sign up for this I mean Technically, I did sign up for this I justdidn t read the fine print incoherent mumbles Fine I did read the fine print And I still signed it inhales Why did I sign it.This is a glaringly obvious case of it s not you, it s me It is me I m really just too asexual for this That said, the book is defini Me, making the conscious decision to read erotica knowing damn well this is firmly outside my circle of interests and immediately regretting it I didn t sign up for this I mean Technically, I did sign up for this I justdidn t read the fine print incoherent mumbles Fine I did read the fine print And I still signed it inhales Why did I sign it.This is a glaringly obvious case of it s not you, it s me It is me I m really just too asexual for this That said, the book is definitely not without merit On a subtler level, A Lesson in Thorns examines, with grace and veracity, the social construction of virginity , affirms sex positivity and the choices others make regarding sex, and completely annihilates the concept of heterosexuality being the default It might not be the read for me, but I do appreciate the questions it asks and the important conversations it drags to the fore not as wild as people saypros real kink shit lots of bi repcons poe was annoying saint was whiny auden was a pretentious lil cuck every sex scene or reason to justify the ritual sex felt like watching a bad porn 5 STARS The place claims you, it knows your name and the crooked corners of your heart, and you ve pledged yourself to it before you ve even realized what s happening.Thornchapel knows my name and the crooked corners of my heart, and it wants me to make promises that I m going to keepHypnotizing.Captivating.Spell binding.All enrapturing.Those are just some of the words that were running through my overly sensitized brain as I was reading this book No Not reading EXPERIENCING 5 STARS The place claims you, it knows your name and the crooked corners of your heart, and you ve pledged yourself to it before you ve even realized what s happening.Thornchapel knows my name and the crooked corners of my heart, and it wants me to make promises that I m going to keepHypnotizing.Captivating.Spell binding.All enrapturing.Those are just some of the words that were running through my overly sensitized brain as I was reading this book No Not reading EXPERIENCING Because this isn t just a story you read It s one that unravels before your eyes with every turn of the page It s an out of body experience unlike any I ve ever had with any other book And I don t even know how to begin to even TRY to review what I just read I want him to be mine Or I want to deny him the right to ever call me his I want to heal him and I want to hurt him All because of one broken kiss Truth be told, I jumped at the chance to read this book way before it had so much as a blurb All I knew was that Sierra Simone wrote it and so I had to read it I went into it completely blind not knowing what to expect and if you were to take away one thing from my review it s this go into it in exactly the same way Trust me For the reason of allowing every reader out there to experience this book in exactly the same way I did, I m going to keep this review just as vague as the blurb And you ll thank me for it after I d let him do anything I d let him love me I d let him make me fall in love with him right back I d admit that I m already in love with him I won t tell you who the main characters are I won t tell you how the romance evolves But I will tell you that there is most definitely a riveting romance at the heart of this story.The story spins around six characters.The heir.The dreamer.The priest.The genius.The socialite.The saintEach a unique and broken soul in their own right Each one you will be dying to learnabout Each that will capture your heart in their own way.There s an added allure of something almostparanormal about this book There s a deep history that drives what happens with these characters There are rituals, love and pain, jealousy and betrayal The story has this haunting auto to it that weaves its way around your heart and doesn t let you draw a breath until the last page It may take a vanilla reader out of their comfort zone at times It may make you question everything you just read And it will leave you with a reeling head and not knowing which end is up.It.Was.Absolutely.EPIC.If you read one book this year, make it this one Now if you ll excuse me, I m off to rock myself in the corner with a bottle of vodka until the next book ARC courtesy of publisher in exchange for an honest reviewFind me on 4.5 starsI m upsetti spaghetti that this book ended as soon as it did I went into this thinking it would be just vapid smut, so boy was I surprised The writing in this is actually one of the most gorgeous styles I ve read all year, and I m 100% gonna readfrom this author This had a great segmenting of smut versus actual plot, and the actual plot was wait for it interesting I will admit that.5 stars came off of the rating because it was a little confusing, but it was an enchant 4.5 starsI m upsetti spaghetti that this book ended as soon as it did I went into this thinking it would be just vapid smut, so boy was I surprised The writing in this is actually one of the most gorgeous styles I ve read all year, and I m 100% gonna readfrom this author This had a great segmenting of smut versus actual plot, and the actual plot was wait for it interesting I will admit that.5 stars came off of the rating because it was a little confusing, but it was an enchanting concept nonetheless I just wish there wasdirection on why the characters were doing what they were doing because it felt a bit aimless, and by the end of the book, I forgot why the characters were so invested in doing this ritual Still, I think this book is really modern in how it examines virginity and polyamory In between the sexy scenes, there s so much angst and pining, and it s my exact cup of tea I ve heard lots of negative things about book two, but I m interested nonetheless to see where this goes This took a while to actually get going, but once it did God tier smut Have MERCY. I ll start with the positive things I liked the cover, writing, I learned a lot of new and difficult words, I adored St Sebastian who is the reason for the second star, otherwise I wouldn t have made it to the end because of all the ridiculous stuff I have to wrestle myself through and I liked the idea of the setting the house, the maze, the chapel, That being said this book sighs To sum it up convenient The entire plot is convenient They even added some bad weather without I ll start with the positive things I liked the cover, writing, I learned a lot of new and difficult words, I adored St Sebastian who is the reason for the second star, otherwise I wouldn t have made it to the end because of all the ridiculous stuff I have to wrestle myself through and I liked the idea of the setting the house, the maze, the chapel, That being said this book sighs To sum it up convenient The entire plot is convenient They even added some bad weather without really saying anything else about it, aside from it being cold and the roads being bad as a reason for all of them to spend the night together Like I said convenient So here comes the bad stuff and the spoilers view spoiler First of all If the main character is called Proserpina, and she needs a shorter nickname because who the fuck wants to read a difficult name like that 86 times Why would Poe be the the chosen name Why not Prose or Rose both would have be so muchfitting or Ina for all I care It makes no sense.Second of all this book should have been called A Lesson in Convenient And Weird Plot Devices That Make Absolutely No Sense At All Or What s the fastest way to get 6 almost strangers to get it on in a sex ritual, just for fun straight ahead apparently The 6 main characters have spent one summer together as kids They were around 10 years old if I m not mistaken , at Thornchapel, and now, while the group didn t really keep in touch at least not all of them , they are all back at Thornchapel, all for completely bogus reasons Even that felt forced and completely unnatural Other things that felt forced and unnatural Everybody, and I do mean everybody aside from maybe the maid and the dog, I don t know is bisexual The entire group of 6 people, even their parents one of them even had a lovely chat about how her dad was once in love with another guy and that he also loved kinky stuff, I never cringed harder in my life because who the fuck talks casually about sex with men and women like that with their dad , and all those people are also really into BDSM and kink apparently it s a genetic thing then I had no idea And to top it off out of the 6 20 something people, 3 of them were virgins and 1 of them didn t really have sex yet because she was raped One of them is a sub, and one of them is a domme, the rest don t know what they are yet but trust me, it doesn t take long for them to realize what they like The most ridiculous thing I read was when I found out that Poe had been into BDSM for as long as she could remember, but she d never had sex She needs an orgasm a day to function But she s never had sex She thinks about sex constantly and is on the verge of humping the nearest leg at all times, but she s never had sex REALLY Probably because most rituals require a virgin How convenient To get things going, we never really have bonding moments, no we just go straight to a game of spin the bottle, where very quickly, Poe is on a dude s lap with her ass in the air, panties down and she is getting 35 hard slaps to earn a kiss from the person who had the bottle I don t know about you but hey, whenever I m around friends and people I don t really know, I just love that fun part of the evening where you start spanking the living daylights out of somebody s ass while playing spin the bottle NOT weird at all No, that scene was an eye opener to all of them for some reason, where everybody just went from a fun spank evening to LET S DO SOME RITUAL SEX Y ALL No, my friends and me, we play board games and drink wine which, apparently, makes us a very boring lot One side remark one of them is Instagram famous with 2 million followers, if I m not mistaken And during the spin the bottle scene, Poe, who is getting spanked with her panties down, is across the lap of the fiancee of the influencer, and she is in a room where she barely knows anybody and isn t worried about somebody taking a secret picture or video and posting it online If she has that many followers I think she s getting towards the bigger bucks Her entire online image could be destroyed by just one picture and the thought didn t even cross her mind What also bugged me about this book is that THAT girl was only there because she was engaged to Auden, and right before the ritual they have conveniently again that word broken it off so that they could have sex with other people without cheating on each other Also just in time because Auden, Poe and Saint are in love with each other.Just let me know at what point this book is starting to make sense to you because honest to god, I don t see it The connection between the characters is supposed to be deep and meaningful, but I m sorry one summer as 10 year old kids is in no way enough to fuck each other as a group 12 years later And another thing if why not is the answer to the question of why 6 people would do a ritual involving sex, then I don t think that explanation is good enough to see it through I like a little realism in my books, in any genre I want the decisions and actions to make at least somewhat of sense, even if I don t agree with what the characters say, do or think This was just some random things thrown together to make sure the story evolved into people getting naked This book could have made some sense if it was at least 700 pages longer But trust me there is no reason for them to do the ritual in this book No reason at all.Even the thing going on between Poe, Saint and Auden didn t feel like it was built on any real foundation the 3 of them got fake married in the chapel as kids but that s where it ends so when people started claiming they were falling in love with the other it felt really rushed and underdeveloped.This book read like how people claim to read Playboy magazines oh but the articles are so interesting No, this was just an excuse to get 6 people naked together, like it was the most natural thing in the world I don t care if you like men, women, or both, you do you and make sure you are happy, but everything was so goddamn convenient and ridiculous and it made absolutely no sense hide spoiler However, I am going to give the second book a try, and hope it s from St Sebastian s POV because I can t stand to follow Poe around that much again EDIT Yes, I did drop my rating to four stars I emailed the author and she was very kind and very respectful, but she did confirm that all six of these characters are for sure bi but not deeply tied to their labels for this entire series I m going to be probably a little too real with you, but this has been a really rough Pride for me in the book world In my real life, I am so lucky to be accepted and supported as a pansexual and panromantic woman, but the book world constantly makes me f EDIT Yes, I did drop my rating to four stars I emailed the author and she was very kind and very respectful, but she did confirm that all six of these characters are for sure bi but not deeply tied to their labels for this entire series I m going to be probably a little too real with you, but this has been a really rough Pride for me in the book world In my real life, I am so lucky to be accepted and supported as a pansexual and panromantic woman, but the book world constantly makes me feel like I m a lesser version of bi and I can t take it any longer The fact that I am forced to try so very hard to see myself in literature, to force myself in cutouts that apparently weren t made for me, and just knowing that authors could so easily give me a breadcrumb of representation without having to do any work what so ever, yet here I am crying over a romance book that refuses to acknowledge my queer existence once again I m just tired friends, and I m fed up, and I can t believe that I ve still only read the word pansexual on page in about ten books for my entire life, when I read and review 100 books a year I m sick of being erased, I m sick of being not enough, and I can t wait for the day when pan kids don t have to figure out what pansexual and panromantic mean in their 20 s, because the book world proves over and over that we aren t worth the representation and that bisexual and biromantic should always be the default for multiple gender attraction charactersThornchapel knows my name and the crooked corners of my heart, and it wants me to make promises that I m going to keepOkay, I m just going to be real with you all, if you love The Secret History, If We Were Villains, and or Strange Grace, but wish they were allsexually explicit Then this is the book for you This book is a love letter to polyamory, without ever using the word This is f f, m m, m f, and a whole lot of sexual group scenes The atmosphere of all three of those books are the same, and a work of magic that most writers cannot craft, but Sierra Simone delivers and gave me a story that I ve been waiting for what feels like my whole life for This is ownvoices for the queer representation and the narcolepsy representation I only recall the word bisexual used once by one character Beckett , but besides that bisexual or pansexual is never used on page even though, if pansexual is used on page in book two, you will hear me screaming all the way from Vegas, this I swear , but all six characters express sexual attraction to multiple genders, and the author is bisexual I have seen reviews that state all six characters are bi, but I just believe in my heart that there is no way that all six MGA multiple gender attraction characters are bisexual, I m sorry And if so, that s not too inclusive and my pan self wouldn t want to read it, to be real honest with you all A Lesson in Thorns is a story that follows six characters who stayed at a remote manor, that is falling down, but is filled with secrets, called Thornchapel when they were young The prologue of this book which I really recommend you read onshows them in the run down chapel on the estate, where they are performing a fake marriage And unexpectedly, the bride ends up marrying two grooms Yet, the actual story starts out many years later, where all six of them are adults, but they all have returned to Thornchapel for one reason or anotherI want him to be mine Or I want to deny him the right to ever call me his I want to heal him and I want to hurt him All because of one broken kissAuden The heir Pan or bi, and owner of Thornchapel Prosperpina Poe The dreamer Pan or bi, narcoleptic, total submissive, and just took a job at Thornchapel in the library, but she is secretly trying to figure out what happened to her mother after a mysterious note is sent to her Becket The priest Bisexual, and living his life for God Rebecca The genius Pan or bi, Black, and the Dom of my dreams Delphine The socialite Pan or bi, plus sized, Instagram famous, and engaged to Auden St Sebastian The saint Pan or bi, biracial white and Mexican , and feels like he ruins all the lives that he toucheshe wanted to shelter them from the rain and force them to kneel in the mud too, and he didn t know what it meant or why it was happeningAnd when these six characters get together, and get to re know each other, secrets unfold and lives change Even though Poe is the main character, each of these individuals feels completely fleshed out, and each are on their own personal journeys toward happiness, even if the road is very bumpy to get there But this is ultimately a book about finding yourself and your acceptance and happiness, even if it feels like your life has already been decided for you, regardless of your wishes and wants It also showcases the importance of friendships and romantic relationships, and how sometimes those lines can blur, and sometimes they don t, but sometimes they become somethingAlso, I am just really into polyamorous stories right now, and I think that this one is really beautifully done, especially with the chilling atmosphere that leaves so much mystery in the air This story is truly has so many compelling elements, it was just impossible to put down I also want to briefly mention that I really love and value the discussion this book has about the concept of virginity, and what a stupid pedestal so many people place it on Also, how virginity and losing it can mean so muchthan a penis going inside a vagina I really loved how this book handled that, and I love how it completely shattered the stereotype of what it means to lose your virginity Be still, my queer heart Overall, I just love Sierra Simone and I have enjoyed everything I ve read from her, but A Lesson in Thorns is for sure my favorite This is such an inclusive novel, from race, sexuality, and social and economic standings This book also talks about reclaiming your body after someone takes a piece of it, while also discussing that there are so many ways to heal from loss and hurt And I just think it is so wonderfully done, on top of being one of the sexiest things I ve read all year Like, I will never be the same after that spin the bottle scene, holy shit But I absolutely cannot wait to read Feast of Sparks this summer Blog Instagram Twitter Tumblr Youtube Twitch Content and trigger warnings talk of rape and assault in the past, abandonment, and loss of a loved one I read this for smutathon, which is being hosted by Lainey and Riley Buddy read with Riley, Jane, Paloma `READ DOWNLOAD ☞ A Lesson in Thorns ⇱ When librarian Poe Markham takes the job at Thornchapel, she only wants two things to stay away from Thornchapel s tortured owner, Auden Guest, and to find out what happened to her mother twelve years ago It should be easy enough keep her head down while she works in the house s crumbling private library and while she hunts down any information as to why this remote manor tucked into the fog shrouded moors would be the last place her mother was seen alive But Thornchapel has other plans for her As Poe begins uncovering the house s secrets, both new and old, she s also pulled into the seductive, elegant world of Auden and his friends and drawn to Auden s worst enemy, the beautiful and brooding St Sebastian And as Thornchapel slowly tightens its coil of truths and lies around them, Poe, Auden and St Sebastian start unravelling into filthy, holy pleasure and pain Together, they awaken a fate that will either anoint them or leave them in ashes From the author of the USA Today bestselling New Camelot series comes an original fairy tale full of ancient mysteries, lantern lit rituals, jealousy, money, murder, sacred torment, and obsessions that last for lifetimes A Lesson in Thorns is the first of four books in the Thornchapel series Friendly Fire (Jonathan Grave she only wants two things to stay away from Thornchapel s tortured owner A Necessary Evil (Sam Wyndham Auden Guest To Hold (The Dumont Diaries, and to find out what happened to her mother twelve years ago It should be easy enough keep her head down while she works in the house s crumbling private library and while she hunts down any information as to why this remote manor tucked into the fog shrouded moors would be the last place her mother was seen alive But Thornchapel has other plans for her As Poe begins uncovering the house s secrets The Eerie Adventures of the Lycanthrope Robinson Crusoe both new and old Murphys Ambush she s also pulled into the seductive Ecotarian Diet elegant world of Auden and his friends and drawn to Auden s worst enemy Dust Devil the beautiful and brooding St Sebastian And as Thornchapel slowly tightens its coil of truths and lies around them Synowie Kaina, 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Rzecz o wampirach w fantasy Poe Follow Me to Zion Auden and St Sebastian start unravelling into filthy Melancholia holy pleasure and pain Together Rozbieranie do snu they awaken a fate that will either anoint them or leave them in ashes From the author of the USA Today bestselling New Camelot series comes an original fairy tale full of ancient mysteries Yul lantern lit rituals Logoterapia jealousy Untamed (Long, Tall Texans money Love Lyrics from the Carmina Burana murder Social Media Marketing sacred torment Forbidden Colors and obsessions that last for lifetimes A Lesson in Thorns is the first of four books in the Thornchapel series