Book Review – Judgment by Denise Hall

by Maryse on November 20, 2012 · 35 comments

in Alternative

Judgment
Okay so, I’m backtracking to a book I read quite a few months ago. It was so rough on me, that I… put my head in the sand and pretended I didn’t spend a day devouring it. You know. Out of sight, out of mind and all that. neutral But… it’s come hopping back into my life when someone asked for another dark read. This one popped into my head and said.. “Hey there girlie who loves pink sparkly things. Remember meeeee?”  eek *gulp*

Ummm. Yes. *clears throat* Yes I do remember you. And lemme just say that after this review, I’m gonna need sweet, fluffy love. Oh yes. Just barely re-living this one makes me wanna cuddle and be cuddled.

Do you remember a few months ago, when I had a “Dark Reads Week” marathon? It was… fun. In it’s own way. ;) Thrilling, creepy, and well, pretty much mind boggling. You know. “Feeling” for the bad guy, and all that? That’s right. While it consisted mostly of a BDSM theme, that is not the reason I considered my selections “dark reads”. What made them dark reads were the circumstances that the female characters unwillingly found themselves in. Stockholm Syndrome, anyone? I experienced a lot of it, that week. But like I keep saying, if it keeps me on the edge of my seat, if I can’t put the book down, If I’m connecting to the story and feeling everything (the good and the bad)… it’s a thrill-ride, right? I like horror. This is just a different kind. Maybe more like… terror. Either way, I’m SO there. After all, it’s fiction, right? Yep. I kept telling myself that, and it helped.

Until I got to this book. This was my grand finale of the week, and OMG I was so exhausted after reading it, that I couldn’t speak of it right away. I don’t know if it was a culmination of all that I had “literally” experienced that week, or if this one was just that hard on me (it was!! LOL) but, wow. Just… wow.

All I could write is a “mini-review” on my reading progress page, and even that took me awhile to put up.

Judgment by Denise Hall (review to come, I just need to take a breather from it. I’d say —> 4 stars for keeping me reading but 3 stars for making me ache and grimace and feel outrageous shock, wayyyy too often. One of the hardest “dark reads” that I’ve read yet. Full on, non-stop, “Master/slave” commune type place and the training/”caning” is just too much for me. I didn’t put it down, mind you (the whole … “can’t look away thing”), and there were moments of hope that kept me reading ’cause I HAD to know (two aspects of the story being told at the same time), but… I wouldn’t recommend this to others unless I was sure they particularly liked (or at least somewhat enjoyed) hardcore BDSM/kidnapping type reads. And I mean hardcore.

If you want dark… I’ve got your dark right here.

Yep. That pretty much sums it up. It was hardcore.

But, some of us were just discussing “dark reads” and a few wanted another “really dark” suggestion. So I thought it was time to release this one.

Dena: I loved her recommendation for the captive in the dark series, comfort food, etc..

Michele: Dena, Dark reads are probably my favorite genre… I have SEVERAL that I could recommend… but they are REALLY DARK!

Maryse’s Book Blog: Do you guys wanna read something really rough? *squinches mouth* I still have to write the review. I was exhausted by the end, but the story was actually good. Just… painful.

Dena: I don’t know! I didn’t think I’d like the ones you’ve recommended so far, but, I loved them!!

Michele: YES Maryse!!! Please!! :D

Maryse’s Book Blog:  Okay this one is similar in theme to the others (kidnapped and brought to a training center) – all different levels of girls as they “raise in rank” but OMG the punishment and discipline -eeeeeeep!! I felt as if I had been the one caned, by the end. You’ll need FLUFFY and sweet after this.

Michele: I can’t wait!!! Think I will start this one next…. I REALLY hope it’s not one I have read yet!!!

A girl traveling abroad that gets kidnapped and taken to a “training center” where cruel masters “break” the kidnapped women into absolute submission. And I’m not talking about BDSM play, or some of the erotica we enjoy.

“Please, I want to go home.” My knees failed. I sank into a heap on the carpet at his feet, rocking myself as I wept.

“I want to go home!”

“I am your home,” he said above me. “You belong to me now. You just don’t know it yet.”

*shudders* <— I just did that.

This is a psychological thriller mind-mess of a book that explores the initial fight, the cunning thought processes, attempts at escape, rebellion and eventual (and inescapable) submission, because really. That’s what it takes to not be punished. Except… *shakes head* these are absolutely sadistic “masters”, and well, they get their pleasure in tormenting. So even the “good perfect subs” get called on for public humiliation and pain. Pain? I meant torture.

Deeeep breath in… Deeeep breath out.

It. Was. Rough. And what made it even rougher was her need to connect to something… anything. And therein lies much of the story. The moments of reprieve that I gobbled up. I was dying of thirst. Love-thirst! Compassion-thirst! And that’s how this (and so many of the authors of this genre) “get you”.

Aside from the crazy “I can’t look away” torture that bleeds the reader dry, there are glimpses of… emotion? Feelings? Love? OMG What am I saying!? How can I possibly connect to these horrific sadists in any way? Love? Ugh. No Nuh uh. HOW?! No. NO! No way. Yah, I’ve lost my marbles. See? Seeeee what this book did to me.

But I suppose it’s human nature. Stockholm Syndrome. I was grasping at straws, accepting anything that resembled… humanity. Hope? and yes… “love” in whatever way it could possibly be presented. You’ll see what I mean. The possibility of more despite the reality that I was forced to accept. But my mind insisted. Her mind insisted… there was more. There had to be.

And there are ranks… and all of that. Prized “subs” that all the women eventually aspire to become (even though at one time, they all aspired to escape). Wow how things change. *sigh* Yep. *scratches head* <— literally I just did that, too.

I have no idea how to say anymore without giving anything away, other then, throughout the whole story, there are possibilities.

“Honey, I could fix it so nobody ever hurt you again. If you talk to me, I guarantee you’ll never have to go back to the one who did this.”

You won’t know until the end, and that, too, kept me reading. I had to know.

So if you’re game to give something this dark a try, if you like that whole “I don’t wanna I don’t wanna, but I can’t stop reading…” and can successfully remind yourself that it’s just fiction while you’re affronted by the horrendous acts of these *%^&*#@%!!!!*… then… by all means.

It’s a different kind of horror. Just don’t say I didn’t warn ya. ;)

Okay so for overall “unputdownability” I’m giving this one 4 stars. It’s not my favorite dark read, and I’ve connected (eeeeep!! *blush*) much more to a few others, but this one sure had it’s shock value and it’s claws in me, while I was reading it. It’s been long enough, and since I can pretty much still remember every detail… 4 stars it is.

Now it’s time to go cuddle me a werewolf! ;)

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{ 35 comments… read them below or add one }

Michele November 20, 2012 at 5:24 PM

OMG, Maryse! I’m feeling so guilty about recommending this to you. Yep….*ahem*…*hides face*….it was me that suggested this during that discussion on FB. If it’s any consolation, this was extremely difficult for me too! I was practically crying for a little tenderness in this story! Sheesh…

Elizabeth M November 20, 2012 at 5:57 PM

Great review!! I think I may have to try this one at some point.

I don’t know if anyone needs another VERY dark (potentially traumatizing) read, but Break Her by B. G. Hall is the single darkest, most difficult book I have read to date. It’s a graphic, disturbing, mindf*ck of a story, but I do feel like underneath all that, there’s a lesson to learn. I hope you don’t mind if I link to my GR review of it? http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/442317331 If you’d rather not have this comment here, feel free to take it down, but this book comes to mind whenever I think of truly, *truly* dark reads.

Angie H. November 20, 2012 at 5:57 PM

Count me out of the dark stuff, I’m a lightweight, not even up for Tiffany Reisz’s trilogy or even Undeniable, BUT I so appreciate the honest and thorough review. Plus, you’ve got plenty of reading buds who can handle “the dark side” ;) Honestly, I’m still reeling from The Edge of Never. Sigh.

Maryse November 20, 2012 at 6:26 PM

Oh Michele yay! I must search for that recommendation! It was perfect for Dark Read week!

Tricia Smith November 20, 2012 at 6:33 PM

Am I normal if I wanna read this?? LOL

lynn November 20, 2012 at 6:34 PM

Break her is on my TBR list…I like darker reads every now and then!

Sandra E. November 20, 2012 at 6:50 PM

I found out there is also another story after Judgement
called Judgement 2: Mercy. Sounds just as dark.

me November 20, 2012 at 6:56 PM

So excited.

LucyLou November 20, 2012 at 7:00 PM

Wow, haven’t read this one but I did read “Diary of a Submissive” by Sophie Morgan. I couldn’t put it down and just had to know. It was like a car wreck, I was very disturbed, but couldn’t look away. I’ll put this book on my TBR list when I’m in the mood for a dark read..he he. ;) I think my favorite BDSM author is Michele Zurlo. Her books are fun, romantic, angsty and her characters are real. ;)

Michele November 20, 2012 at 7:06 PM

LucyLou, I LOVE Michele Zurlo’s book Letting Go! Maryse, I don’t know if you’ll ever take my advise again, but Letting Go is a great read. It’s got BDSM in it, but it’s really romantic and a FUN read. Kind of BDSM lite.

Michele November 20, 2012 at 7:12 PM

Sandra E., I’ve read Judgment 2: Mercy and it is dark. The difference is that the female main character SEEKS out the slave compound and BEGS to be allowed in to be trained. It does have a HEA ending though, well as far as there can be with coming out of THAT place!

Kathy November 20, 2012 at 7:42 PM

I haven’t read this one, but I finished a darkest of the dark read not long ago that was terrifying, yet brilliant. “Break Her” by B.G. Harlen. No Stockholm Syndrome at all! Just psychological twists and horrific abuse by the “professional rape artist.” *shivers thinking about it*

Cheri November 20, 2012 at 7:52 PM

You mentioned you had a “Dark Reads Week” marathon – do you have a list of the dark books you all read on your blog?

Michele November 20, 2012 at 8:05 PM

I haven’t read Break Her and I’m not sure I’m brave enough to! Maybe, I’ll have to think about that one. As far as the very darkest most disturbing BDSM I’ve ever read is As She’s Told by Annke Jacob. I’m only mentioning this to warn everyone-PLEASE DON’T READ THAT BOOK!!! Please! I only got 3/4 through and I was so disgusted, so angry, so incensed I literally could not finish it. It made physically ill. It was that appalling. The quality of the writing is excellent and the author really made the characters come alive. Unfortunately! The male main character systematically and completely DEHUMANIZES this woman with her approval (she was completely stupid IMO). He forces her to eat all her meals from a dog bowl on the floor with her hands behind her back so she gets food all over her face which he scolds her for, she’s forced to chain herself up as soon as she gets home so she can’t leave and has to wait till he gets home to let her free, she’s not allowed to use the toilet like a human being. No, he has her use a kitty litter box, I mean it just goes on and on and ON all the things he does to her. And the thing is, the blurb on Amazon describes it as some kind of romantic total power exchange relationship–judging from the reviews of people familiar and practicing BDSM, this book is total bull****.

So I can only hope that you see this and steer clear of that book. It’s not offensive. It’s UGLY.

Kathy November 20, 2012 at 8:12 PM

Oh my gosh…that is very much like Break Her. “Dehumanize” is the exact word needed to describe it. I will definitely steer clear of the one you just mentioned. I’ve already experienced night terrors and a heaving stomach from one. I don’t need to add to it. I think we all need a little more Tara Sivec in our lives after these. ;)

LucyLou November 20, 2012 at 9:19 PM

Michele, Your right! Michele Zurlo’s Letting Go Series is BDSM lite and so sexy HOT, HOT, HOT!!! Definately Mommy Porn.. he he he ;)

Michele November 20, 2012 at 9:30 PM

I think we should totally try to convince Maryse to read Letting Go! I’d love to read her take on Jonas! ; )

Maryse November 20, 2012 at 9:56 PM

I am on it!! I actually have it! LOL!

LucyLou November 20, 2012 at 10:54 PM

Oh Maryse… You will love Letting Go!!!! Like Michele, I would love to hear your take on Jonas…he he he. Get ready for some fun, HOT kink. ;) (and you might even shed a tear or two) Actually the whole series is great. Let us know when you start to read it, I want to reread it with you. :)

Nikki Eddy November 21, 2012 at 12:47 AM

ok. After reading all of this. First….Maryse…you need a “Dark Reads” section. Some of us just need it……esp after a lot of YA….albeit good YA…edge of never was Great,,,,,afterwhich I need some Dark read. Please make a dark read section. SECOND….I need a kindle. Is NOOK too conservative for these types? Because NONE exist. W/ the exception of Letting Go. After SITD and CITD……I need another fix. Guess I know what I’m getting for Xmas….a Kindle.

Maryse November 21, 2012 at 1:13 AM

Ok new list coming up! ;)

CaroleDee November 21, 2012 at 2:17 AM

OMG I’ve seen this one around a few times and have to say the blurb scared the bejesus out of me.

kelsey November 22, 2012 at 7:27 AM

Downloaded this one for my nxt read.. I would like to recommend Slave Girl by Sarah Forsyth , I couldn’t put this down and its a true story!

Nikki Eddy November 22, 2012 at 11:55 PM

I wish I had got the free sample of Letting Go before purchasing it. There is hardly any backstory on either character, Jonas or Sabrina, before they are plunged into each other’s lives. And the reality of their situation…..I’m just not buying it. I’ll keep reading, hoping it gets better, but I’m just having a hard time buying what is being written.

Angie H. November 23, 2012 at 3:28 AM

Yes to Letting Go! I really liked this one, Jonas, in particular. There were some sensational/gimmicky details, but I could overlook those to get to all of the twists and turns of the main couple’s relationship. Their story is complicated, a little angsty and very very sexy. Did I mention that Jonas is super hot? ;)

LucyLou November 24, 2012 at 12:34 PM

Keep going Nikki, it gets alot better. You will read more about the character’s backstories, and their “issues”, as you read. It’s kind of like “The Marriage Bargain” when it first starts with Sabrina needing to find a husband fast to receive her inheritance and Jonas needing money to pay off his ex-wife’s debts. But after the sexy, kinky honeymoon the story evolves into a wonderful angsty love story.

Kathy November 24, 2012 at 12:37 PM

I loved Letting Go. Jonas was such a great book boyfriend for me…but I did have a little problem with the voyeurism. *shivers* It kinda shocked me a little.

Nikki Eddy November 24, 2012 at 1:49 PM

Thanks. I’ll keep reading. I stopped and read “Comfort Food” in about 6 hours. OMG! I loved it. If you like darker reads (isn’t that what we’re discussing here?) and liked SITD and CITD you’ll love this. Kitty Thomas. I can’t wait to read all her books!!

LucyLou November 24, 2012 at 3:56 PM

Kathy, I know…Jonas has…NEEDS..he he he. He’s a freak, but a Hot, sexy, alpha male freak that’s easy to get attached to as a reader. A few of the scenes in the book remind me of Olivia Cunning’s writing, which sometimes has a shock factor too. ;)

Nikki, I haven’t read Comfort Food yet, but I bought it a while back and is on my looooong TBR list. I’ll have to move it up with your recommendation. :) Glad you decided to keep reading Letting Go. It’s not really a dark read, Jonas isn’t intentionally cruel, he just wants to give Sabrina what she needs… most of the time. ;) But, I’m eager to hear your final opinion of the story. It’s my favorite BDSM book, but I like ‘em kind of lite (no blood or bruises). :)

Cheri November 29, 2012 at 12:32 PM

Who wrote Letting Go? Is this the book you are talking about with Jonas?

Angie H. November 29, 2012 at 2:04 PM

All this talk about Jonas is making me want to re-read Letting Go (Michele Zurlo)! Grrrrr, there goes my TBR list, but Jonas is so worth it ;)

LucyLou December 2, 2012 at 7:53 PM

We really do need to get Maryse to read Letting Go and put the books on her Reading Order Site. All this talk has me wanting to re-read it too Angie, but I really want a group read-along, I just love those. :)

Angie H. December 2, 2012 at 8:45 PM

Agreed, LucyLou. That would be fun and this one has plenty to talk about. Now I want to re-read Letting Go AND any follow-ups that Ms. Zurlo has out!
Errrggghhh, I need a book vacation…BAD! :/

LucyLou December 3, 2012 at 3:36 PM

Angie, I emailed Maryse last night and **Squeeeee**, she emailed me that “Letting Go” is her next read!!!! AND… she is going to post a Read-Along Blog for it.. **SQUEEEE** . I am soooo excited!!! You need to email her and thank her too. We are going to have so much fun with this one!!! THANK YOU MARYSE!!!!!

Nicole December 31, 2012 at 12:26 PM

Ok. So sat and read this one last week. I didn’t read it as fast as I thought, it took me a couple days. But from the very begining I thought it was a good..Eeeek, does that make me……I don’t know, nutty? It just totally took me out of my element. I would have never thought such a place would exsist or that someone would write about it. The switch from past and present had my head swimming with so many emotions. And the ending was great. I was like, “huh?”. Anyway I thought it was a good read if you’ve been reading about the same ole same ole for a while. At the same time, yes, very shocking.

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