Domina by L.S. Hilton

Domina

L.S. Hilton

The second installment in an unforgettable trilogy, Domina is the next sexy, ruthless, and decadent thriller from mastermind L.S. Hilton.

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In this riveting sequel to the instant New York Times bestseller, Maestra, femme fatale Judith Rashleigh once again leads readers into the mesmerizing and dangerous underworld of Europe’s glamorous elite.
 
Since opening her own art gallery in Venice, Judith Rashleigh—now Elisabeth Teerlinc—can finally stop running. She’s got the paycheck, lifestyle, and wardrobe she always dreamed of, not to mention the interest of a Russian billionaire. But when a chance encounter in Ibiza leads to a corpse that is, for once, not her own doing, she finds her life is back on the line—and she’s more alone than ever. It seems Judith’s become involved with more than just one stolen painting, and there is someone else willing to kill for what’s theirs.

From St. Moritz to Serbia, Judith again finds herself maneuvering the strange landscapes of wealth, but this time there’s far more than her reputation at stake. How far will Rage take Judith? Far enough to escape death?

The second installment in an unforgettable trilogy, Domina is the next sexy, ruthless, and decadent thriller from mastermind L. S. Hilton, and an adventure that will push Judith further than even she imagined she could go.


Advance Galley Reviews

One of the main things I love about books is that they transport you to many worlds, I enjoy coming into these worlds and getting entwined into the characters lives that are presented to us. What keeps me reading a book is escaping into these worlds and interest in the characters lives, L.S. Hilton could not provide either for me. I did not like this world she portrayed for us or her characters. Nothing was appealing, regardless of my love for art or fashion I didn’t care for her dark twist on either world… Sorry First To Read, but this book just wasn’t for me, thank you for the ARC though.

Domina, book 2 of the Maestra series was a mix for me. I enjoyed L.S. Hilton intelligent, detailed and unexpected mix of the world of art and it's culture with a crime thriller. The vivid locations around Europe kept the story fresh and suspenseful but it was a longer read than I expected. It took longer for me to get into the story and it seemed that once it finally took off it was over. Some of the story line felt forced and unneeded while other parts felt rushed. It was lacking a bit in the important details and filled with trivial fillers. Yet the story had wonderful characters full of eccentric characteristics. for me it was an ok read, but not as good as the first book. I will not be reading it again, but still look forward to the next in the series. The best part was the unexpected ending. It is not necessary to read the first book but it may fill in some of the material lacking in this one. I recommend this book to people who enjoy the Art World, crime thrillers, and a bit of a twist on the normal action book.

I actually preferred Domina to Maestra. Judith seemed like a far more sympathetic character this time around as she is more beholden to the schemes of others in this book. The first book had me wondering if Judith was a sociopath vs. a psychopath, a thought I didn't have while reading the second book. I routed for Judith more this time around. This book was neither more or less believable as Maesta; Hilton merely traded a trip around the Italian coast for Russian oligarchs.

Perhaps had I read "Maestra," I would have liked "Domina" better. However, I was disappointed with this novel in every way. I found the characters superficial, and the plot simply a vehicle for sex and potential violence. I forced myself to finish the book, hoping it would somehow redeem itself, but it remained a disappointment till the end.

Once I knew I was going to get a ARC of Domina, I made sure to read Maestra first and I am so glad I did. If I hadn’t, I would have been lost in this book. Domina continues with Judith as Elisabeth Teerlinc running her gallery in Venice and living the life she thought she always wanted. Good things don’t last forever and soon she finds herself on the run again. I wasn’t all that impressed with Maestra, so I wasn’t all that excited to read Domina. However, I found that Domina actually seemed to have a plot, even if it was hard to follow. There are a lot of characters to keep track of and enough double crossing and brand name dropping to make your head spin. Judith, as a character, is ok, but personally I had a hard time believing her uber savvy, spy-detective-like persona. How did she get THAT smart when she supposedly *just* fell into this dark underground art world? There isn’t a lot of evidence(in either book) to support her skill set, other than her saying she reads a lot of crime books and the details of her schemes seem to take place in the background, never fully explained. Ok story overall, but the beating over the head with all the characters and name brands make it tiresome to read.

The second book of this series now has Judith becoming Elizabeth Teerlinc, living in Vienna and the proprietor of an art gallery. She thinks that Judith has been erased and no one is left to uncover her secrets. The money that she now has is letting her live the life that she always wanted. And because of her art knowledge, a wealthy Russian asks her to evaluate his collection and after seeing it, wonders why her, and refuses. So starts a convoluted thriller with more deaths but not all of her doing. Who knows of her past? Who is manipulating who, as she travels around Europe, moving, hiding and trying to figure out what is going on. Other players come into her life and leave just as quickly. An intense read and an unforeseen twist, which is only the beginning of her continuing drama. Thank you First-to-Read for this e-copy of Domina.

Enjoyed reading my ARC of Domina but looking back I probably should have reread Maestra first. Fortunately the opening prologue caught my attention and names brought back past characters and plots. The middle book of a trilogy is often the most challenging and some of Judith's flashbacks seemed like throwaways that we'll need in book three. Fair enough. I enjoy dark characters - am a big fan of the Dexter series and liked Tom Ripley's machinations - and the art world setting is perfect for a Judith (I could also see her fitting in well in Hollywood, a la The Player). Her wry commentary on the ultra rich and their impact on the businesses of art and sex seemed perfectly in tune with her workmanlike approach to blackmail and murder. Looking forward to book three and Judith's final masterpiece.

I thought I would be able to read it without reading the first book and even went and looked at reviews for the first book hoping it would help but I just could not get into the book or the way the author wrote. There was too much writing about the art world & Judith/Elisabeth's wardrobe and not enough to draw me into the characters. I could not relate to the main character so that made it even less enjoyable to try and read.

Nothing new, more of the same from the previous book, it seems that Hilton run out of ideas, really boring and difficult to read, there are a lot of stuff about art that seems unnecesary and other that are simply incongrous and forced.

I really enjoyed Maestra as it was a fast paced crazy ride; however Domina seems to drag and it was very hard for me to finish. I was disappointed in the writing in this novel but I do appreciate First to Read allowing me to have an advanced copy.

I received an advanced readers copy for free in return for my honest review: Judith Rashleigh thought she had escaped the life she had grown to despise. With an alcoholic mother who could barely hold down a job as a housekeeper, judith found her only respite in her love of Art. But with the past behind her, she had reinvinted her life. Now that livelyhood was threatened. A double cross, the Russians and fake art culminate in the ultimate game of cat and mouse. But which one is Judith?

Thanks to Penguin First to Read for the ARC of Domina. This was an uneven book for me. Granted, I have not read the first book in the series Maestra and that may have contributed to my difficulty getting into the book. The psychological/thriller aspects were well written, but the author would have done well to leave the explicit sex scenes out. They came across as mechanical and boring. If you enjoyed the first book, you will likely enjoy this one.

Did not love this book. Could not get into the characters, even though the story made sense without having read the first book. Spoiler, ending comes in book three. The writing was almost bipolar, the mystery parts of the book were well written but the sex parts of the book were just awful...like bad porn. Not worth the time to read it.

I just could not get into this book. This book was written under the presumption that the reader has read and knows the characters already. I just felt confused and uninterested in the characters as a whole. Definitely do not recommend this book unless you have read the first one.

What an outstanding read it was! After having been fascinated by Hilton's first book, Maestra, I couldn't help but feel completely immersed in Domina as well. Just like the first book, I loved how the author's writing hasn't altered. Her storytelling skills are still stunning as always. Although I have to say, this second book has gotten me more engaged than the first one had. We get to see Judith's back story that involves her relationship with her mother and how she was neglected by her when she was younger. Those flashbacks still make me shiver for how emotional they felt. The author also guides us through the protagonist's journey on how her personality changes and how she operates through her thriller adventures in the world of art in order to grow and be her true self. The cliffhanger at the end has got me hooked, and I cannot wait for Book 3!

Judith Rashleigh is back, living an alter ego in the world of fine art and running her own gallery. Running on paranoia to erase all evidence of her murderous past, Judith appears to be a sociopath who will do anything to cover her tracks, even if it pulls her deeper into the pit she's dug for herself. Her narrative is indifferent and unemotional, and I found the occasional explicit sex scenes devoid of any feeling whatsoever so that they appear to be thrown in for titillation purposes only. If anything, Judith gets off on the art rather than on relationships. The positive: Well-researched, the author clearly knows her art, the artists and the provenance of the pictures. The negative: The story often gets bogged down in what everyone is wearing, designer name dropping and European travelogues. Skip the sex and the fashions, but stay for the art lessons.

Somehow, I managed to entirely miss any and all references in the synopses for Domina to the fact that this book is a direct sequel to Maestra. I was led to believe that this book would be a loosely-connected sequel to Maestra, but when I found myself really confused at times, I realized it was probably because this book is not as loosely-connected as I thought it would be. I was also led to believe that this book would include something of a thriller/murder mystery plotline, as well. I was able to make it through about half of the novel, and I found much of it to be extensive and tedious descriptions of either sex, art, or parties. I could see someone enjoying this book. There were some things I liked about what I was reading, as well as some things I was really trying to like about this book. But I was not liking enough things about this book for me to keep going past more than about half of it.

The second installment in Hilton’s trilogy hits all the right notes of a good suspense novel and will leave you wishing the final book was already waiting at your favorite bookstore, but unfortunately it will probably be next summer before we find out Judith’s fate. In Domina, Judith has taken on a new identity and has opened an art gallery in Venice and is living a good life; however, her past is not far behind her and soon she finds her cover blown and on the run with a Caravaggio drawing that will bring several new characters to the story as well as some from the past. Due to some explicit sex scenes, Hilton has been compared to Fifty Shade of Grey’s E. L. James, but I find the Hilton trilogy must more readable and the story line is much more captivating. Judith is more Lisbeth Salander (Girl with the Dragon Tatoo) than Anatasia Steele if I were to make a literary comparison. Perhaps the plot is less than believable, but as a reader, I really don’t care! This trilogy has so far proved to be good fun escape reading.

I will say the story line is better than the first one. I just wish there was more of a point to the story. A lot of stuff happens ( don't want to spoil it for others) but I wish there was more depth to it.

I received an ARC of this book from Penguin Books, firsttoread.com, for an honest review. This is the first time I have selected a book there without reading reviews. This is also the first time I have written a negative review. Had I followed my usual pattern, I would have made a different choice. I did not finish the book. I enjoy reading psychological thrillers, but not ones riddled with sex and wanton killing by the main character as this one was in the first few chapters. I could not make a connection with Elisabeth/Judith or any other characters. Apologies: This review is about as disjointed as I found the events in the book to be. If you enjoy books like the Gray series, this might be for you. Not for me.

The only thing I found this book good for was to put me to sleep. I read up to chapter 19 and was never able to get into the book. It had 3 or 4 plots going at one time and they did not flow together.

 


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