Blog Tour: Corrupt by Penelope Douglas, Review + Top 5 List + Giveaway

★★★★★ 5 stars!

When I first read the synopsis for CORRUPT, it sent chills down my spine. The words are the stuff of thriller films, the kind that would make me cover my eyes. It also confused me: so there are four guys, and only one girl..? Will there be a love triangle, a love square?

Well, there certainly wasn't a square, there wasn't even a romantic triangle. There is, though, one widely-talked about scene involving three. Hint: this is an erotic romance, remember that! *wink2!*

Speaking of erotic romance, this is Penelope Douglas' first foray into the genre. Although her sexy scenes definitely lived up to expectations, there are only a few of those in this book. This isn't a sexfest (which most people would assume whenever they see the word "erotica"). There is a very thrilling and exciting story here. The hint of danger and threat definitely added to the intensity and sex appeal of the book.
...Rika alone at college. In my city. Unprotected. 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. 

As always, Miss D does a great job at giving us small pieces of the story, one at a time, throughout the book. We know the score: Erika Fane did or said something that sent Michael Crist and his friends, Damon, Will and Kai, to prison. Three years later they finish serving their sentence. Now that they are out, they only have one goal: make her pay.

The narration shifts from the events of that fateful night three years ago to the present. The point of view also alternates between Rika and Michael. The downside of all these alternating timelines and pov's is that my mind was all over the place, so it was a bit slow for me at the beginning. On a positive note, this style became very useful as the story gets more exciting. Readers are given the opportunity to get into the minds of the guys, which was a very good thing because otherwise, readers will only ever see them as monsters out for revenge. We find out that Michael isn't really as vengeful as he thinks he is; that Will is struggling emotionally even though he appears to be more cheerful than any of the guys; that Damon has become more dangerous than we think; and that Kai has become stone cold inside. Each of them just begs for his own book! I am rooting for Kai's first!

I enjoyed Ms. D's character development. I witnessed Rika's transformation from a sheltered society princess to young woman who can own up to what (and who) she wants. By the end of the book, she's fighting her fears. She will no longer allow people with malicious intentions to make decisions for her future. She is not a victim because she won't allow herself to be. Michael was the one who helped her realize this.

Michael didn't get any less intense, but he certainly became more human to me by the end of the story. At the beginning, he and his friends seem to be on a different dimension. They're just so intense and passionate even as they are described as having a poker face, or something. With their blatant disregard for rules and decorum, plus everyone's deference to them including adults in authority? I think I put them on a pedestal. I couldn't even imagine them pooping, know what I mean?

The only other transformation we've seen is in Kai (won't say more about it though, keeping my mouth zipped!), but surely that was just the tip of the iceberg. Like I said, I am so ready to find out more about this guy! As for Will and Damon, we've only so far only seen how they have changed after being in prison. I am holding out hope that Damon will be reformed, and that Will may find the peace of heart and mind that he tries to fill by sleeping with numerous women.

What you can expect about CORRUPT is that it will keep you on the edge of your seat. Michael and his friends, collectively called "The Horsemen", are very seductive as they threaten Rika. It truly is a lengthy foreplay of words and goosebumps-inducing touches! What makes the words effective is that Ms. D made it obvious Rika also likes it. Sure, she's scared by it, but it is also her kink. Remember that, ok? I'd hate for people to jump to conclusions and say that this book promotes toxic and abusive relationships. Whatever, this book is not that at all.

CORRUPT is definitely not just for erotica readers. If you enjoy intensity and stories that ooze sex appeal even without the sex scenes, this one is for you. The thrill of being chased, the seductiveness of danger, Ms. D was able to convey them on page effectively. Just pick this up and you'll enjoy delicious tingles down to the tips of your toes!

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And now for the TOP 5 list! I was given the opportunity to ask the author a list of Top 5's, and here it is!

Top 5 Most Difficult Scenes to Write in CORRUPT

My Question: What were the Top 5-10 Scenes/Aspects in CORRUPT that was most difficult or challenging to write? How did you get over the difficulties?

When the horsemen storm the school and come into the classroom—this chapter was a flashback, so I had to make Rika more shy, more scared, and more unsure of herself. It was difficult to make a character digress. It took a long time to figure out her voice then as opposed to three years later. 

The Rika-Alex scene in the bedroom—at any other time a man might be turned on by what was happening, maybe even want to see more, but I really had to dig deep into Michael, and even though under normal circumstances, he might let it play out, he was so afraid to give her an inch. He was afraid to relinquish any strength, or it might change who he'd worked so hard to become. So he challenged her again.

The steam room scene—making it believable and relatable was important, otherwise readers would accuse me of adding it for shock value. When I wrote it, I had to lead into it in a way that made sense, and my editor was scared for me. Her exact text was "I don't know whether to be proud of your bravery or terrified on your behalf." She knew what some would say. But she told me not to take it out, that I led into it well, and I trust her judgment more than anyone's when it comes to my writing. The scene had to look like 3 people who were all struggling and who all found themselves in a moment when they needed each other. It was important to write it a certain way. 

Any of the "scare" scenes—the stairwell, Sticks restrooms, the drive into the forest, the confrontation at the house, all those scenes were high tension and scary for Rika. It was exhausting writing them and getting the emotions right.

THE OVERALL PLOT! Seriously, getting all the details to match up, so there were no plot holes. This book was 135, 000 words, about 40K larger than the average romance, and I needed every single word. I actually had to make a Thinking Map for this book to track the plot and the character's motivations, what they knew, what they thought SHE knew, what she did and didn't know from her point of view, and what needed to come out when the truth came out. Man, oh man, there were LAYERS upon layers involved in the outline for this book. And now, readers would like Kai's book, and I'm like "I can't go through that again!"  :)


The giveaway is international and ends at 11:59 PM CST 12/15/2015.

(1) Signed copy of Corrupt + $100 Amazon or B&N gift card, winner's choice (Intl)
(2) $20 Amazon or B&N gift card, winner's choice (Intl)

Penelope Douglas is the New York Times, USA Today, and Wall Street Journal bestselling author of the Fall Away series.  

She dresses for autumn year round, loves anything lemon flavored, and believes there is too much blood in her Coca Cola stream. Or too much Coca Cola in her blood stream. Or...

You know what? It doesn't matter. She loves Coke. Now you know.

She lives in Las Vegas with her husband and daughter.
Follow Penelope!



  1. Love to hear the author's process through this book! It's interesting and just contributes to the book's overall awesomeness.

    1. True! Stories like this makes you want to know what the author went through while writing it.

  2. I'm reading corrupt Right NOW. I have chores to do, food to cook, kids to feed, ....this book is Not.Letting.Me.Go!!!

    1. LOL, I could relate! =) I had to keep reminding myself I'm an adult, and that slacking at work is a no-no.

  3. The sauna scene was absolutely fantastic.


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