Twist Me by Anna Zaires: ARC Review

Title: Twist Me
Author: Anna Zaires
Release Date: February 11, 2014

Kidnapped. Taken to a private island.
I never thought this could happen to me. I never imagined one chance meeting on the eve of my eighteenth birthday could change my life so completely.
 Now I belong to him. To Julian. To a man who is as ruthless as he is beautiful – a man whose touch makes me burn. A man whose tenderness I find more devastating than his cruelty.
 My captor is an enigma. I don’t know who he is or why he took me. There is a darkness inside him – a darkness that scares me even as it draws me in.
 My name is Nora Leston, and this is my story.
 WARNING: This is NOT a traditional romance. It contains disturbing subject matter, including themes of questionable consent and Stockholm Syndrome, as well as graphic sexual content. This is a work of fiction intended for a mature, 18+ audience only. The author neither endorses nor condones this type of behavior.

If you’re looking to dip your toes in the dark read pool, Twist Me is a good place to start.  Twist Me has a mixture of the popular themes that have been circulating lately - kidnapping, mind games, coerced consent, BDSM, Stockholm Syndrome, sexual slavery with a little action/suspense thrown in.  While the premise isn’t new, the story itself is wonderfully written.  The degree of dark can range anywhere from light gray to absolutely black, so I’d say this lands on the light end of the spectrum.  The writing isn’t overly graphic or brutal.  It weaves the edginess of a dark read with “romance” in a palatable way making it erotic with subtle BDSM elements.   The focus is on the mental hold and control the kidnapper has over his victim as opposed to the acts she is subjected to.  There’s just the right amount of darkness to push the story over that invisible ledge from light into dark.  So if you want to be daring and try something outside your comfort zone, you should definitely consider picking up Twist Me.

The beginning of the book definitely captured my attention; I was always worried about what would happen next with Julian.  His hot and cold temperament had me perched on the edge just waiting for what was to come.  He is totally unpredictable and will go from cruel to kind, brutal to tender, ugly to beautiful, and monster to angel at the drop of a hat.  There was a cloud of anticipation and fear that loomed over me while I was waiting for Julian’s next move.  He’s a master of manipulation and mind games and possesses patience and control which in turn make him very dangerous.  Julian does not make rash decisions when it comes to “punishment”; he is more than willing to wait and serve it when least expected.

The fact that Nora is a captive and held against her will is somewhat pushed to the background while the story focuses on the “romance” surrounding her situation.  The reality of it is there, but it’s wasn’t in the forefront of my mind.  So for those that don’t care for extremely dark books, this will make Twist Me more appealing to you.  Being a reader of hardcore dark books, this is where the story was holding back for me.  This is not a bad thing, it just helps clarify the level of darkness you’re getting here.  As Nora began to settle into her new situation and accept her reality, the story began to slow.  I didn’t lose interest, but my captivation did wane a bit.

With every kidnap story, the first question is always WHY.  Why me? It’s obvious that Julian is broken and damaged, but the reason why and his motivation to kidnap is unexpected.  The WHY triggers some very interesting events and sets the story on a course that slapped me awake and definitely recaptured my attention!  

Twist Me had my feelings going back and forth between sympathy and total and utter hatred.  My hatred wasn’t only reserved for Julian either.  I developed such a hatred for Beth I was seeing stars.  For a secondary character, she really had me fired up.  I just wanted to punch her in the face.  Or better yet, stomp her face.  That woman is so evasive and patronizing she could turn a sane person into a total and utter raving lunatic.  She is one manipulative witch.  I can honestly say I hated her more than I ever did Julian.

 As for Julian, he was definitely alluring and captivating; but, for some reason I didn’t fall totally in love with him.  I definitely have an attachment to him, but my affection doesn’t cross into love.  I feel that with a book of this nature I’m supposed to fall for the villain (and I usually do), but this time was the exception for me.  I think it’s because the story is mainly focused on Nora.  If the story was told from alternating POVs or in the third person, I would probably feel like I know and understand Julian better.  But that doesn’t change my feelings about Twist Me overall.  I enjoyed this, and I can’t wait for the sequel, Keep Me, to see where Julian and Nora’s relationship is headed.

Sequel????  Yes, Julian and Nora’s story isn’t over yet.  I know you’re wondering…… cliffhanger???  I’d say no, it’s more of a To Be Continued kind of ending.  Nonetheless, I’m still very interested to see what happens from here. 

3.75 - 4 STARS!!!

Anna Zaires fell in love with books at the age of five, when her grandmother taught her to read. She wrote her first story shortly thereafter. Since then, she has always lived partially in a fantasy world where the only limits were those of her imagination. Currently residing in Florida, Anna is happily married to Dima Zales (a science fiction and fantasy author) and closely collaborates with him on all their works.

After graduating from the University of Chicago with a degree in Economics, Anna spent eight years on Wall Street analyzing stocks and writing research reports. In 2013, she became a full-time author, pursuing her lifelong dream of writing romance novels.

Dima Zales is the love of her life and a huge inspiration in all aspects of her writing. Every book Anna writes is a product of their unique collaborative process.

In addition to reading and writing, Anna enjoys drinking tea (coconut oolong, anyone?), watching addictive TV shows, and discussing book ideas during long walks with her amazing husband.

She loves hearing from her readers, so please don't hesitate to contact her through her website or connect with her on Facebook, where she hangs out way too often. Also, please visit her husband and collaborator, Dima Zales, at and check out their fantasy & science fiction books.

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