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Monday, October 17, 2016

Review - Corrupt by Penelope Douglas

Image and blurb from Goodreads
Title: Corrupt
Author: Penelope Douglas
Publication date: November 15th, 2015
Category/Genre: Dark Erotica

I was told that dreams were our heart’s desires. My nightmares, however, became my obsession. 

His name is Michael Crist. 

My boyfriend’s older brother is like that scary movie that you peek through your hand to watch. He is handsome, strong, and completely terrifying. The star of his college’s basketball team and now gone pro, he’s more concerned with the dirt on his shoe than me. 

But I noticed him.

I saw him. I heard him. The things that he did, and the deeds that he hid…For years, I bit my nails, unable to look away. 

Now, I’ve graduated high school and moved on to college, but I haven’t stopped watching Michael. He’s bad, and the dirt I’ve seen isn’t content to stay in my head anymore. 

Because he’s finally noticed me. 


Her name is Erika Fane, but everyone calls her Rika.

My brother’s girlfriend grew up hanging around my house and is always at our dinner table. She looks down when I enter a room and stills when I am close. I can always feel the fear rolling off of her, and while I haven’t had her body, I know that I have her mind. That’s all I really want anyway. 

Until my brother leaves for the military, and I find Rika alone at college. 

In my city. 


The opportunity is too good to be true as well as the timing. Because you see, three years ago she put a few of my high school friends in prison, and now they’re out. 

We’ve waited. We’ve been patient. And now every last one of her nightmares will come true. 

***Corrupt can be read as a stand-alone. No cliffhanger.

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3.5 “So wrong that it’s (almost) right” STARS

“Corrupt” is a disturbing book in so many ways that I have to wonder if something is seriously wrong with me for having devoured it. It’s one of those books that make you extremely uncomfortable while keeping you so intrigued you can’t stop reading it until you reach the end.

I stayed up really late reading this one, and I don’t think I regret it.

It had been a long while since the last time I’d read something by Penelope Douglas, but I remember enjoying her other book, “Bully.” “Corrupt” takes the disturbing factors (already present in “Bully”) to a whole other level. Penelope Douglas doesn’t hold back here.

“Corrupt” is just one of those books that you have to experience yourself instead of reading all about it before diving in, so I’ll try to keep the review spoiler free.

The MC here is Erika, a rich girl who’s lived her entire life surrounded and protected by the people from her wealthy community. She’s desperate to spread her wings and fly, but a lot holds her back.

Erika is close to another wealthy family. The two boys from that family are extremely important pieces in Erika’s life: the younger, Trevor, is her closest friend and the boy who’s been in love with her his entire life; the older, basketball star Michael, is the one Erika can’t stop thinking about.

Michael has tried to keep his eyes and mind off Erika, his younger brother’s BFF/girlfriend, but there’s something about her that calls to him. He sees in her what he sees in himself: someone desperate to break from the mold, to challenge everything around her, to be free.

One night, Michael decides to take Erika with his group of friends (three other very disturbing and wealthy guys) to do what they do best: prank and terrorize their small community, doing whatever they want because money and influence will keep them from getting in trouble. Except this time, it doesn’t work. When his friends are imprisoned for the crimes they committed that night, every one of them blames Erika.

For three years, they plan their revenge.

For three years, Erika fights to be freed of the leash the adults surrounding her try to keep on her. And then she finally takes the first step toward freedom by moving to the city to attend university.

When the three years are up, Erika goes to the city, the boys are released from prison, and Michael starts putting in motion their revenge plan.

Everything from then on turns to shit. I mean, seriously. What Erika thought would mean her freedom, suddenly turns into her prison, and the four guys who gave her the most exhilarating night of her life, are the ones holding the keys.

It’s beyond disturbing to see how Erika, Michael and the rest of the group dance around each other, playing mind games and physically and mentally hurting each other to the point where you can’t even process what’s happening. The way they played off each other’s weakness and strength was so wrong that it eventually became right, because that was when I realized this is what the book is about: disturbing people finding their matches.

If you’re coming into this book expecting a “good girl falls for bad boy” type of story, you’ll be appalled by what you find. Michael is most definitely a bad guy, but he doesn’t find in Erika a “good girl”. Instead, he finds his match. She knows how to play the game and she wants to play it. That’s the difference here… She actually likes the way he treats and scares her, which is… I know…this word again… disturbing.

I can’t say I can relate to that, or that it makes them likable characters (they really aren’t), but the fact that she wants him to be the way he is makes me not hate Michael so fiercely.

Michael is just as messed up as Erika is. Sure he’s relationship with his father helped shape him into what he is, but it’s only that. He has this restless, almost animalistic side that takes over and he doesn’t seem capable (or even willing) to stop it. The fact that he has power, money, beauty and brains just make him even more dangerous. To be completely honest, I’d run the other way if I ever saw Michael walking down the street.

His friends aren’t any better. Damon is the worst of the bunch. Dude is completely crazy. Will is the follower, which makes him just as dangerous, because if you tell him to push someone off a cliff, he’ll probably do it without blinking. Kai used to be the most sensible one, but prison changed him and froze something inside of him. With Michael, those three guys are Erika’s worst nightmare and best dream.

She wants in, but she wants out. They want her in and out. It’s a mess, but an interesting one to watch.

I’d call this book dark erotica, because it’d dark AF, the romance isn’t what you expect (I don’t even think I wanted those two together, but they sure are perfect for each other) and has lots, lots of extremely graphic sex scenes, including one in a steamy room that still has my heart pounding fast.

BTW, sorry, Michael, but I’m totally team Kai.

“Corrupt” isn’t for the faint of heart. It isn’t a cute romance. It isn’t even an angsty romance. It’s dark and edgy and takes disturbing to another level. If you’re into that, you’ll probably devour this.

*If you liked this review (or not), if you read the book (or not), come say hello and leave your comments bellow.

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