Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Blog Tour: Tears of Tess by Pepper Winters

Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for Tears of Tess by Pepper Winters, organized by CBL Book Tours.  Now I do think I need to say that this is most definitely not a YA book!  I'm actually working on changing my blog header to Stephanie Parent, Reader and Writer, because so much of my reading lately has been outside the YA genre.  I'm actually planning to write my own dark adult book under a pen name, so when the opportunity to join the Tess tour came, I couldn't pass it up.  And I'm so glad I read this one...read on for my review!

Title: Tears of Tess by Pepper Winters
Release Date: September 9th, 2013
Genre: Dark New Adult Romance


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?

Add it on Goodreads and purchase on Amazon and Barnes & Noble.


Tears of Tess wasn’t exactly the read I was expecting, but in the end I really enjoyed it and was impressed with what Pepper Winters accomplished here, and I’m so glad I read it.  From the synopsis and author’s warning, I was anticipating something a bit grittier and more disturbing, but instead Tears of Tess read to me like a dark fairy tale—specifically, a version of Beauty and the Beast.  And since I love fairy tales and believe that at their core they are very dark, adult, erotic stories, this really ended up working for me!

I loved the way Winters developed this fairytale feeling through the setting, atmosphere and imagery of the story.  The attention taken to the details of clothing, Q’s lavish mansion with its many hidden and mysterious rooms, and the French countryside setting that seems so tranquil but pulses with hidden dangers, all combined to create that lush fairytale feel.  Q, of course, is the beast in this tale, despite his outwardly gorgeous appearance.  The “beast ,” in this case, is the part of himself Q thinks of as monstrous; the author even uses the word “beast” to refer to him several times.  And my favorite part of the fairytale imagery was the reoccurring motifs, including the use of seasons and weather (Tess’s last name is “snow,” and Q tells her she reminds him of winter), and, most of all, the birds.  I loved the way the bird motif was integrated on so many different levels throughout the story.

Now onto the part of the reading experience that did frustrate me somewhat…that was Tess herself.  I really appreciated that the author made Tess such a complex character, and I identified with her a lot, but at the same time I became a bit exhausted by all the mental flip-flopping Tess did.  Similarly, while I loved that Tess was a reflective character who really tried to understand why she had the desires and reactions she did, I felt the internal thought became repetitive at times.  I was so glad that the author delved into the psychological depths of Tess’s situation, and so many of her observations were spot-on, but in some places I felt the same thoughts were repeated and I just wanted to move on with the story.

As for the story itself, it absolutely kept my interest on several levels, both the practical question of how Tess and Q’s complex situation would resolve itself, and even more than that, the mysteries of Q’s dark past and internal struggles.  While I did guess most of Q’s story before it was revealed, I still really liked getting the epilogue from his point of view.  He was an alluring and very sympathetic character to me right from the beginning; I actually thought the author tried a bit too hard at times to make us see that deep down, he was a good man.  Her characterization of him already convinced me of this, so I didn’t need to be reassured so often!  As for the way the plot resolved itself, it was probably a bit unrealistic, but with the fairytale element to the story, I didn’t mind.  I was happy with the way things wrapped up, and I am definitely excited for the companion book from Q’s point of view!

Oh, and if you haven’t figured this out yet…this story is pretty damn sexy and romantic, too!


Writer, reader, sometimes wife. An avid devourer of sexy romance and angsty New Adult. Nothing beats lolling in a bubble bath with her array of book boyfriends, and plotting torturous stories to put her characters through.
Living Down Under means she writes in the Queen’s English, not Obama’s, and aims to have an entire catalogue of sexy books that keep you wanting more. Oh, and she may or may not be in love with Q from Tears of Tess.

Visit Pepper on Facebook, GoodreadsTwitter, and her website.

And finally, don't forget to enter the GIVEAWAY...


  1. This book looks so good, Stephanie. And I think it's really interesting that you say it has a fairytale feel.
    Thanks for the review!

  2. You're welcome! I'd be interested to hear what you think of it...