Read Staged by Kim Fielding Online

staged

Once the second-prize winner on My Slave’s Got Talent, Sky Blue has spent the past few years singing at a failing New York nightclub. While Sky has never had control over his fate, his life seems to take a turn for the worse when he’s torn from the familiar comfort of performing and sold to a rich and enigmatic man.Morgan Wallace takes his newly purchased slave to San FranOnce the second-prize winner on My Slave’s Got Talent, Sky Blue has spent the past few years singing at a failing New York nightclub. While Sky has never had control over his fate, his life seems to take a turn for the worse when he’s torn from the familiar comfort of performing and sold to a rich and enigmatic man.Morgan Wallace takes his newly purchased slave to San Francisco, his intentions unclear. On the one hand, he treats Sky with more kindness than Sky has ever known—treats him like a real person. On the other hand, he shares Sky at parties hosted by his sadistic new friends.A confused slave is an endangered slave, and Sky isn’t even sure of his master’s real name. Is he Morgan Wallace, wealthy and cruel, or Mackenzie Webster, caring and compassionate? Caught between hope, fear, and an undeniably growing attachment, Sky struggles to untangle which parts are real and which are merely a performance. His future, his heart, and even his life may depend on it.Reader discretion advised. This title contains the following sensitive themes:dubious consentexplicit violencenon-consent...

Title : Staged
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9781626494664
Format Type : ebook
Number of Pages : 255 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Staged Reviews

  • Optimist ♰King's Wench♰ & MANTIES Champion
    2018-12-15 18:27

    BR with The Adam!4.25 HeartsIf you’re not familiar with the Belonging Verse, it’s AU wherein slavery was never abolished and has expanded to most of the world. Also, slavery has been instituted as a possible punishment for a crime. It baffles me how a government, any government could justify subjugating an entire family because of one person’s crime. Then again, what’s a “good” justification for enslaving people? That subjugation was more troubling for me in this book because the “BDSM” highlighted the disparity between slaves and freemen to horrify effect. Trigger warnings-aside from the obvious, explicit violence and rape occur on page. Mind the content warnings.Sky is a born slave and was first sold at 8 yrs old. He’s been a singer in a boy band and has been making his way most recently as a singer at a struggling supper club when he’s sold to Mr. Burgess, slave dealer, who treats all his slaves like chattel. This plot point didn’t really make sense to me. I’m assuming he buys and sells people to make a profit, so wouldn’t you endeavor to make them more appealing rather than shoving them in a cell in a dark warehouse, feeding them inedible slop, dressing them in threadbare and dingy tunics and not allowing them to bathe? Sky’s then bought by Mr. Wallace and it’s clear quickly that Morgan Wallace isn’t a typical Master. He gives Sky atypical rules with impunity such as always telling the truth and asking for clarification if there’s something he doesn’t understand. He gives him freedoms he’s never had before. Simple things like deciding for himself how to spend his time, letting him use the computer and buying him books.“Do you think one person’s pain makes another person’s suffering less important?”Along the way we get to know Wallace and his history. He may be free but he’s suffered throughout the course of his life through poverty, marginalization and survived unthinkable tragedies. Those events have given him purpose, driven him to be the person he is and to fight for what he believes in. The entire story is told from Sky’s perspective and he finds himself attracted to Wallace despite the power differential and the abuse that he suffers at these “parties” held by Wallace’s acquaintances who are monsters. Wallace makes it clear to Sky that he despises these people but he has no choice but to attend and bring Sky along, though he does try to bring him infrequently. Not to put too fine a point on it, but Sky’s experiences are hellish and these people are psychopaths not sadists. I won’t give anything away because figuring out what was really going on was my favorite part of Staged. The plot’s well constructed, held my attention throughout and packs a punch with its relevancy. Fielding did a superb job with the inherent power differential and how that precludes having a relationship with any hope of sustainability or longevity. But that doesn’t stop Wallace from falling for Sky.“Because I want to. Because...God, when you hum to yourself or smile, it’s like a heavy burden lifted off my heart. Because you’re stronger than me and braver than me, and I’m fairly certain you’re smarter than me too. And because I want...I want to do what I can within the cage I’ve built us both.”The sex is in the medium hot range but it did have a twist that I quite enjoyed. Quite.“Suffering can be a gift. It can even be beautiful when it’s willingly taken, willingly given. But when it’s stolen, that’s an abomination.”“You’re mine” [...] “Not forever. But right this minute, you are truly mine.”The ending is hopeful. It’s not a firm HEA, but I think that’s the genius of Staged. Since it’s told exclusively through Sky, I didn’t feel anything more than attraction and care from him so a tacked on HEA would’ve felt disingenuous to me. One nitpicky thing-the peeing. There was an inordinate amount of peeing. We all pee it's a part of life and some of it was pertinent to the plot, but I don't need to know every time a protagonist pees.If the content warnings don't put you off and you're a fan of Fielding this could work for you.An ARC was provided by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

  • Adam
    2018-12-12 11:33

    BR with Cupcake!I haven’t read the preceding books in the Belonging series yet, so I wasn’t sure what to expect in this alternate universe where slavery still exists in modern Western society. However, ‘Staged’ works perfectly fine as a standalone. Kim Fielding, as always, does an excellent job with the world-building, portraying this alternate San Francisco and how it came to be.Though this book revolves around slavery, and readers get a front-row seat to the torture that Sky suffers at the hands of Morgan’s friends, it isn’t as dark as I thought it might be. This is in large part because Morgan, despite the mystery and contradictions that surround him, clearly does care for Sky, and tries to minimize the pain he suffers. That care, of course, doesn’t make Sky’s situation any better, but it does add some hope to the story.I immediately connected to Sky, and I think it would be hard not to. Despite his circumstances, he has a strength in him that refuses to bend. He knows what he wants, even though he’s been told all his life that he deserves nothing. It was difficult to read what he went through, but Sky doesn’t let the abuse he suffers break him, and comes out stronger in the end.Sky and Morgan’s relationship takes a while to develop. They begin as master and slave, and then become tentative friends. At home, Morgan doesn’t use Sky, and instead treats him like an equal. The two spend a lot of time together - cooking, exercising, watching movies, and just talking. It’s during this close proximity that they begin falling for each other.I thought Kim Fielding did a very good job balancing Sky and Morgan’s feelings for one another with the reality of their situation as slave and owner. Both Morgan and Sky recognize that there can’t be anything between them while one of them holds all of the power.Despite that power dynamic and the violent world they live in, Sky and Morgan’s relationship is sweet. Both men find in each other someone they can be honest and open with, and around whom they can be who they truly are. It was easy to root for Morgan and Sky.There’s also a mystery angle in this book. I won’t give anything away, but I think if you pay attention it’s not the hard to figure out what’s going in. Even so, the few twists made for a good story.‘Staged’ is at times a hard book to read, but I think the ending is worth it. If you’re looking for a slave fic that delivers a sweet happy ever after, I’d recommend this book.

  • Kim
    2018-11-23 19:24

    This book came about when I read the previous two books in the Belonging 'Verse--an alternate universe much like our own, but where slavery is legal. A huge plot bunny hopped right up to me. His name is Sky Blue, and he once came in second on My Slave's Got Talent. I was thrilled when I received permission to write in the universe, and I had a wonderful time. Now I'm excited to share it with you!Staged is a bit of a departure from my usual... only not so much. Like most of my books, it features unusual heroes, authentic emotions, and a strong sense of place. And it has romance and a happy ending. It's a slave story and therefore a bit darker than many of my books. But if you've read my Ennek trilogy and The Pillar, you know the consequences of slavery are something I've explored before. This time, I've looked at some of the ramifications of what slavery would mean in modern day San Francisco.Incidentally, Staged can easily be read as a standalone. But I encourage you to read the others as well--they're amazing.I hope you enjoy this visit to the Belonging 'Verse as much as I have.

  • Tully Vincent
    2018-12-04 19:24

    LOVED this. I’ve not read any of the previous books in this series, but it can definitely be read as a standalone. I never once felt like I didn’t understand anything during reading this story.I’ve owned book one for a while, but had not yet read it. But when I was offered the ARC of this one, now way would I turn it down since I’ve enjoyed every single book I’ve read by this author. And yep, I loved it. Sucked me in from page one and was one of those rare books that I hated to put down and was almost sorry to see end.This isn’t the first book in which this author has ventured to the dark side, but beware that there is non-con, violence, and some pretty horrific torture scenes to be found here. Sky and Morgan/Mac are two of the most enthralling main characters I’ve read in a while. Sky is a slave in a world where folks say that slaves aren’t like others, don’t feel emotions the same, aren’t fit to care for themselves. And yet Sky is, as Morgan/Mac says, just the most amazing person. He enthralled me from the beginning. The entire story is written from Sky’s POV. Very often in single POV stories, at some point I find myself wanting to get into the head of the other character for more depth and insight, but that was never at all the case here. It was perfect the way it was written.There were so many feels! It touched my heart and made me say “Awww”, then turned around and horrified me. It also at parts alternately had me tears-eyed, irate, on the edge of my seat, and stupidly proud. Sky’s personality really starts to unfold and bloom as he’s allowed for the first time to experience all of the many bits and parts of life that were withheld from him which exhilarates and confuses him. He experiences TLC for the first time, but is understandably too confused and fearful to be able to trust in it. Watching him find pleasure and joy in small things and living in the moment even when he knows that more bad is coming because he has been warned to expect it. So poignant to see him learn in tiny sips what it feels like to be in control for short periods of time, to make decisions on his own, to read and search the net and learn things about the world. But it wasn’t all feeling, as there are also many bits that made me think.Morgan/Mac, a man who’d never owned a slave but had an awful childhood of his own driving him, also grows a lot in this book as he discovers that all he’s accepted about slavery is wrong. And as he begins to lose his heart to a slave. Right from the start, he seems in awe of him. Throughout a lot of story, Morgan is left a bit of an enigma, and yet through Sky’s narrations, we see his heart come out, see what kind of man he seems to be.I’m going to stop as I don’t want to go any more into the story. I definitely want to read the other one I own and revisit this world again soon. I just wish I could also revisit these characters—I didn’t want to let them go.

  • Ije the Devourer of Books
    2018-11-20 11:20

    I generally really enjoy this author's writing and I did enjoy this one but not as much as some of her other work. Set in the Belonging series in a modern-day alternate universe, we meet Sky Blue who is a slave in a world where slavery is legal. This is a dark story but the darkness is presented in a clever way, almost pleasant, sometimes gentle. The story has a really great way of portraying a society in which slavery is the norm all over the world and freemen can condemn themselves to slavery if they commit crimes.Sky is a singer. He is owned by a night club and entertains customers but this changes when his owners start losing money and he is sold to the mysterious and enigmatic Morgan Wallace who treats him kindly one minute but allows him to be brutalised by others the next.Morgan Wallace is not like other slave owners or freemen Sky has known. In private Morgan allows Sky a great degree of freedom to learn, to question and to challenge, but in public he allows him to be humiliated even though Sky can see that Morgan is affected by this humiliation and brutalisation.As Sky ponders his own slavery and his growing desire for freedom, he is deeply perplexed by this man who has two facades, two names and a hunger for sexual submission. He knows there is far much more to Morgan than meets the eye and he also recognises that his private relationship with Morgan is far deeper than a normal slave/master relationship should be. As time goes on and things come to a head, Sky realises that he will have to step beyond his fears in order to respond to both the public and private faces of Morgan Wallace.The story is well written and I really liked the two main characters and their relationship together. I just thought it was a little too predictable for me. I knew what was going to happen very early on. I still enjoyed it and it is a good story, just not one of my favourites from this author.Many thanks to the author and to Riptide Publishing who provided this copy via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

  • Jo * Smut-Dickted *
    2018-11-28 15:33

    I find this world endlessly fascinating - and I hope we get more books set in it. This was a really engaging book to read. I liked both MC's and the stark way the world is presented really brought it all home. There is a much better sense for how the world works - which I appreciate. This is dark at times - though ultimately it provides a good ending. I thought the contrasts here were marvelously done - you start to see things from multiple points of view. It's the two guys though that take center stage.

  • Barb ~rede-2-read~
    2018-11-28 13:30

    ARC provided by the publisher through Net Galley in exchange for an impartial review. Caution: This review contains descriptions that some readers may consider spoilers. Sky Blue was born a slave to a slave mother and an unknown father, or at least unproven—his mother suspected that Jonny Walsh, legendary singer, was the free man who fathered Sky. But since a slave has no rights, Sky can only internally cherish the fact that he looks and sings like Jonny, but he can never reveal his suspicions.His good looks and singing ability have kept him in the entertainment industry for most of his adult life, though his ownership has changed hands a number of times. Shocked when he’s suddenly sold once again, he’s bought by a handsome older man who doesn’t act as if he has a real purpose in owning Sky. The enigmatic, broody, muscular man doesn’t even seem to know how to treat a slave—Sky is treated kindly, fed well, and encouraged to exercise, so he’s pretty surprised. Even more, when the man encourages Sky to read to alleviate his boredom and later teaches Sky how to use the Internet, Sky is hesitant to trust his reaction to the man, assuming his master is setting him up for a fall.Morgan Wallace is, in fact, a man on a mission. He simply refuses to reveal that mission to Sky. But when his mission forces him to take Sky to a party hosted by a businessman known to be a sadist, he’s concerned about the treatment Sky may receive. And his reservations are well-founded because he has to beat Sky to maintain his cover and then stand by while another Dom uses his whip on Sky’s back and then proceeds to rape him.Bringing Sky back home to his apartment and caring for him as if he was sorry about what happened makes Sky inordinately confused. Who is this man who owns him? How can revel in Sky’s misery one minute and be contrite and caring in the next?On the surface, this story fits into the universe where slaves have no hope of freedom and no right to care or think or act independently. It’s a universe first created by Rachel Haimowitz in Anchored and Alexander Voinov in Counterpunch. But it’s below the surface where the real story takes place. Sky is like a flower whose petals are slowly unfurling as he experiences someone caring for and about him for the first time. He’s praised and given positive affirmations on his intellect, his singing, and his strength. At one point Morgan tells him: “God when you hum to yourself or smile, it’s like a heavy burden lifted off my heart.” His level of self-perception, his outlook on his environment, and his desire for freedom all grow and expand under Morgan’s care and nurturing. And eventually he also discovers that slaves can love and be loved in return.Morgan Wallace, aka Mackenzie Webster, also changes his outlook during the story, becoming more self-reflective, tapping into a greater inner strength, and ultimately finding his heart has the capacity for unconditional love. He learns that his job does not define him; he can freely give up control in moments of passion; and he can fight for what he feels is best for the man he loves. A number of words and phrases come to mind to describe this amazing story but powerfully moving sums it up best for me as it engaged both my mind and my heart, interweaving both in a story fraught with intrigue, drama, moments of tender poignancy, and conversely, outright cruelty. It challenged my intellect while it warmed my heart, and though there are scenes of graphic violence, they were kept to a minimum but were necessary to instill the sense of danger and the cruelty of being without a voice in an otherwise free world. And there are many more scenes of each main character’s introspection as well as their philosophical discussions and heartfelt confessions of each other’s strengths and positive attributes than there are of the negative and violent scenes.This story reached deep below the surface to yank up those emotions I generally keep well hidden, and I’m grateful for the experience of becoming involved with these characters. I very highly recommend Staged to those who are looking for more than a simple romance.From the blurb:Reader discretion advised. This title contains the following sensitive themes: dubious consent, explicit violence, and non-consent.Listed as part of the Belonging series, however, this can very easily be read as a standalone as there are no continuing characters from the other books.

  • Ami
    2018-12-08 19:32

    Hmmm ... I liked it enough but I didn't love it. I finished it; it was able to capture my attention. But, I never really felt that the relationship was mutual -- especially from Sky's perspective. At least Sky didn't tell "I love you" back to his Master *shrugs*. I also kept imagining Sky to be much younger than his 32 years of age, which totally made up for some weird reading when I was reminded that Sky was that age.I picked this as part of my personal reading challenge; it wasn't as dark as I thought it would. Most of the torture scenes are short and not as intense. I liked the twist when it comes to the sexual preference in the bedroom.I'm marking it as 'okay' for now.Part of my Personal Challenge 2017; Category 4: Dark/Dub-Con/Non-Con/Slavery

  • Dee Wy
    2018-12-05 15:30

    4.5 stars - I can always count on this author to give me a story with lots of feeling and I find myself having a great deal of empathy for her characters. After buying Sky as his slave, Mac warned him that there would be some tough times ahead, but couldn't tell him more than that. As best he could, Mac was apologizing in advance for what he needed Sky to do. To the reader there were clues that Mac was a good guy, but you can't help but be upset at Sky's suffering and pissed at Mac. It helped the reader accept what happened, knowing the world they lived in was partly to blame. Slaves were often mistreated and suffered greatly while free people felt they deserved what they got. There is also a small BDSM element in the story, but overall, it's a human story in an unkind world. The ending left me with good feelings about both their futures. Great read!

  • Bree Cheese
    2018-12-19 14:18

    Loved this. My favorite of the series so far. Can be read as a standalone book.

  • ⚣❣☙ Michaelle ❧❣⚣
    2018-12-15 15:33

    4.5 StarsOh gawd, this book was everything, everything I needed right now.

  • Tamara (緑)
    2018-12-10 15:46

    This was... well, it was dark. I usually avoid these kinds of books but it was Kim Fielding so I decided to give it a try.I don't enjoy reading graphic descriptions of violence and Fielding managed to have just enough so you're aware of and can feel the kind of treatment and abuse the MC's going through without making you want to puke your guts out. I also loved that there was no Stockholm syndrome and that the MCs were aware they were gonna have to work some things out. Five stars.

  • Karla
    2018-12-17 14:18

    This author has been hit or miss for me but this one really wowed me. Recently sold to a new master, Sky does not understand his purpose. His new master Mac is kind to him in private and cruel when at parties. Sky knows there is more going on than he knows, but Mac can't trust him to reveal the truth.

  • Angie Elle
    2018-11-18 14:30

    Thank you to RIPTIDE PUBLISHING and Netgalley for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.Just seeing a BDSM novel at this point makes me want to yell my safeword, so I’m not sure why I requested Staged. But I’m glad I did. BDSM may have played a small part in this book, but the bigger picture was being trapped in your circumstances with no way out. Sky was an interesting character. In a world where slavery was legal, he’d never known freedom and didn’t even know why he was enslaved. With the voice of an angel, Sky was forced to perform night after night for a dwindling crowd. But that wasn’t all Sky’s slavery entailed. When his owners are in a financial bind, they’re forced (I use this term loosely) to sell Sky, and he’s taken away from all he’s ever known. It’s obvious that Morgan was a more complex character than Sky, even without Morgan’s point of view – though I wish we’d gotten it. There was enough foreshadowing in this story to know what Morgan was doing (lacking the mystery the author may have been going for,) and I think his POV would have added a lot to this story. It was easy to see why Sky was enthralled with Morgan. He’d really been the only person who had ever shown any kindness to Sky, and I think that adoration may have been what drew Morgan right back to him. I liked the pacing of this story, and while I think each character was fleshed out nicely, again, I think Morgan’s POV could have really added depth to this story. Morgan’s torment, even through Sky’s eyes, was tangible, and his desperation to do what was right made him such a good man. I thought this story ended in a realistic way, and I would definitely go back and read more from this series, and from this author.This review was originally posted at Badass Book Reviews.

  • Christi Snow
    2018-12-16 12:26

    My Review:This is an alternate universe story. In this world, slavery was never outlawed so having slaves throughout the world doing various things is normal and accepted.Warning: these books are dealing with slaves who have NO CHOICES. As a result, there are scenes and actions in these books that are really rather dark. You need to be well-aware and ready for that going into the story. Take note of the warnings on the story description.For the most part, Sky has had a pretty decent slavery experience...or, at least as good as it gets, although no slave is truly happy. He's a professional singer, but lately the club he's employed by has been strapped financially so they sell him. And then things get...not so pleasant for Sky. The book is told entirely from Sky's point of view, so it's hard to know exactly what's going on...because there are definitely some secrets happening in the background making the reader question everything. Although I had some pretty accurate guesses. While the world he lives in is horrific...I did enjoy the book. This series is difficult, and I've read them all, but I liked the outcome of this story the best. I don't want to offer any spoilers, but I really like where the story went. But it's not all about shocking the reader either. This is an alternative world, but it's important to see these stories...as reminders about just how lucky we truly are to live in this day and age, especially right now when the world seems to be in so much turmoil. There are ways our world could have been so much worse and that's an important reminder to have. And a happy ending is always a good thing, too, especially for what these two characters go through. I received a complimentary copy of this book in return for an honest review.

  • Veronica of V's Reads
    2018-11-27 17:27

    This book is the third set in the "Belonging 'Verse" series that explores an alternate world where slavery was never abolished, and is set in current times. It is a stand alone read. The book has these warnings: dubious consent, explicit violence, and non-consent. You need to understand that this is a fictional slave society. Slaves are not allowed to refuse any task or action desired by any master, even ones not their own. This book contains rapes and horrific beatings of slaves, including the MC, Sky Blue.Sky Blue is a slave, born from a slave in a whorehouse, though his father was a well-known freeman singer. He was sold at age 8 to a music producer. He later took second in a slave singing competition, and toured the world with the all-slave band 2Nyte. These days he sings in a rundown club, and he knows his days are numbered there. He's not surprised when he's sold to a slave trader, and he's fretful, awaiting purchase in a filthy warehouse where he's caged all day and night. Then he's bought.Morgan Wallace seems wealthy and kind, at first, but he's never handled a slave before. Sky is anxious for direction, and has no idea what to do with himself. He travels from NYC to San Francisco and there he learns the worst of his new experience. He and Morgan make the rounds at all-male, private, BDSM parties. Which are horrifying. Truly. Not only are the slaves there mistreated, they are disfigured and raped for the dubious enjoyment of their masters. These are freemen who take great pleasure in breaking the toys of their fellows. Morgan seems genuinely apologetic and torn regarding his employment of Sky at these parties. He seemingly takes no pleasure in it, and spends days tending Sky's wounds in the aftermath. He buys Sky all sorts of gifts, and it's utterly confusing to Sky. Why? Why torture? Why make amends? Can none of these people see him as human? The answer to that is: NO. Sky challenges Morgan's beliefs regarding the intellect of slaves, but Morgan's in a position where he can't stop his association with the horrible cretins, and manumission (freeing of a slave) is not allowable--unlawful--in any case. That said, he has a genuine affection for Sky. Sky's also perversely attracted to Morgan--and often takes the upper hand in their private, intimate activities. Sky's never had a home, only a place to stay where he was communally housed with other slaves. The apartment that he and Morgan share is the first place that feels uniquely home to him. I don't want to give away the big twist, but I will acknowledge that I expected it. Morgan's activity is too shady, and his remorse too sincere. He's clearly playing a dangerous game with Sky and his new BDSM associates, and he's unable to pull out, even if it means hurting Sky more and more. Still, Morgan recognizes that Sky is as much a man as he is, and just as intelligent, debunking the indoctrinated fiction that slaves are somehow lesser beings, and unable to feel any sense of their position. This makes Morgan realize that his actions are all the more heinous. I loved how Sky was so in touch with his humanity, and the limitations and injustice of his station. While there is absolutely a thriller/horrifying aspect to the book, the ending is truly tender and spectacular. Sky never imagined what his fate might be, but he made actual decisions--generally forbidden--that directed the course of his new life and happiness. When he had the opportunities to escape, he demonstrated, without any shadow of doubt, his humanity and commitment to Morgan. It was really so sweet, and I was happily rewarded by bearing witness to Sky's HEA. Writing a book from a slave's perspective is never easy, I imagine. This whole alternate universe is a statement about control, and the lack of it. It allows deep investigation of the darker side of humanity, perspectives that linger malevolently on the side of our current experience, but have never really faded: entitlement, prejudice, absolute power, exploitation, and the like. It's not a pretty picture--and surely exists on the fringe of society today. By internalizing these stories, readers are able to gain a new empathy for those who don't have any real power over their destiny or livelihood. I enjoyed the previous two books in this series for that same reason. That said, none of the books are upbeat or happy, though they do end with an HEA, as well. There are no actual repercussions for owners who abuse their slaves, while there are many torments to which a slave can be subject, not the least of which is being sold off to work in dangerous mines. There is a small movement to abolish slavery, but it is still in its infancy. You are warned in the blurbs--non-consent, violence and dark themes within. Let the reader be wary. I received a review copy of this book via NetGalley.

  • Helena Stone
    2018-11-26 11:28

    For possibly the first time ever I'm not entirely sure whether or not this review contains (a) spoiler(s). Proceed with caution.First things first. While this is the third book in a series it can easily be read as a stand-alone. In fact at no point while reading this story did I feel I was missing information or wished for more background on either the characters or the world the story is set in. While Staged certainly made me curious about those earlier books, I don’t think there’s any need to read them first…unless you want to of course.Staged. *sigh* The story is told from Sky Blue’s perspective and I think Kim Fielding did an amazing job getting into the head space of a man who was born a slave, raised a slave and destined to always be a slave. His descriptions of his life were devastating. It wasn’t just the fact that he was treated without any consideration, at best, and with cruel disregard at worst, although that was heartbreaking enough. What really got to me was that he basically lived a life without any possibility of it ever getting better. It wasn’t so much that he lived without hope, because he still wished for an owner who wouldn’t be cruel, who wouldn’t hurt or mistreat him, but as hopes go, that is scraping the barrel. What really got to me was his resignation and the fact that it made perfect sense. When being a slave is all you’ve ever known, when you’ve been told so often that you are less, that you don’t feel like normal—free—people do, that you almost believe it, resignation is probably the only way to survive.Given that context it makes perfect sense for Sky to be utterly confused when his new Master, Morgan Wallace (or is it Mackenzie Webster?) treats him with kindness, looks after him, buys him nice clothes, and cooks him great food. Sky has never encountered this before. Nobody has ever cared about his comfort or his feelings, and he has no idea how to deal with someone who appears to do just that. Especially when that same person is also the man who hands him over to strangers to be hurt and abused in the most horrific ways, only to tenderly nurse him back to health afterwards.Poor Sky is confused and doesn’t know what to think. For me the one issue I had with this book was that I didn’t share Sky’s confusion and fear about his new Master. As early as the third chapter Wallace has told Sky that he’s sorry about what he will have to put him through, but that he doesn’t have a choice. While Sky doesn’t have the frame of reference to either understand or fully believe that statement, for me as a reader, that was the moment the story lost some of its tension and became less dark, despite the fact that the horrendous abuse scenes were still to come.This is of course a very personal opinion and others may well disagree with me, but I would have preferred it if I’d been kept guessing about Wallace, his motives, and his feelings towards Sky. While the fact that I, as the spectator, didn’t worry about Wallace as much as Sky did, was a wonderful way to illustrate how Sky’s slave mind worked, it did, for me, make the story less edgy than I thought it would be.Other than that one point, this book was wonderful. The world it describes is ours, except that slavery is an almost worldwide routine, and that makes the story that much more credible and scary; it’s all too easy to believe in this version of the world. I completely and utterly fell for Sky and cheered him on for every step of his long, difficult, painful, and confusing journey, and rejoiced when he finally found his own power.I’m impressed that the author managed to give me a clear idea about who Webster was and what he felt without ever getting into his head. We only see him from Sky’s perspective and yet we see Webster’s struggle clearer than Sky can. That is fabulous writing.One word of warning. There are a few very ugly scenes in this book. While they are ‘only’ scenes and not the tone of the book, they will without a doubt shock some readers. Having said that, comparatively speaking, those dark scenes make up only a small part of the story. Most of this book tells the story of two men from different worlds, with no idea about the other person’s reality, learning about each other and in the process about themselves.Overall this was a very good, very well written and totally engrossing book. I’m very glad I had four consecutive hours of almost uninterrupted reading time because I don’t think I would have been able to put the book down for whatever reason. While the book wasn’t quite as dark as I expected it to be, and I would have preferred to have been kept guessing about Webster a while longer, I still highly recommend this as a fabulous read.

  • Erica Chilson
    2018-12-01 11:23

    I received a copy of this title to read and review for Wicked Reads 4.5 Dark Stars.Kim Fielding is a new-to-me author, and I read the 3rd installment of the Belonging series as a standalone. Truthfully, I'm unsure how to review Staged, fearing spoilers, so I'll just state how I felt while reading the book. Staged hooked me from page one with its intriguing premise unlike any other. It was a refreshing change of pace to read a book that didn't have the usual wash-repeat premise. While Staged is set in our current time frame, it's an alternate universe where slavery is still flourishing. Delve into the mind of Sky Blue- the mind of a slave. In a world where they lie to themselves about how slaves have no souls so they can live with themselves, sleep at night, and are able to debase fellow human beings as if they are sub-human, Sky knows his place yet proves he is just as intelligent and capable as the freemen. The novel revolves around Sky being purchased by a new master, and the reader knows there is more behind the scenes going on, which I did surmise correctly but it didn't take away from the entertainment value. Staged contains a heavy thread of realistic romance, which is a good balance to the darkness of violence, powerlessness, and abuse that heavily weaves this tale. Like a train wreck, the reader is drawn into the story, intrigued but can't stop reading until the very end.Recommended to MM Romance fans who aren't afraid of the darkest facets of the human condition, or for those who truly enjoy exploring it.

  • Angie
    2018-11-30 18:19

    ~I received a free copy of this book to read and review for Wicked Reads Review Team~I haven’t read any of the previous books in this series, I didn’t seem to need that but the whole slavery thing kind of threw me. I am used to slave in BDSM or people sold as sex slaves but slave slaves? That was new for me and took a bit of adjustment for me. How anyone reading this story couldn’t guess what Morgan’s intent was from the start is beyond me. Even knowing what it was I still was interested in the story and really liked it.Characters: well written Sex: yes but not all consensual Religious: noWould I recommend to others: yesMore than one book in the series: yesGenre: M/M Would I read more by this author: yes~Wicked Reads Review Team~

  • Dawn Edwards
    2018-12-16 18:47

    ** I received a free copy to read and review for wicked reads review team**I haven't read an of the other books in the series so I didn't really know what to expect. I knew it was about a slave, however it took me a moment to process that it was about and actual bought and paid for slave. This was a first for me so it very much intrigued me. I enjoyed the story, however I found it quite predictable as I guessed a lot by around 30% I liked Sky he was a good character, he was strong no matter what was thrown at him. Morgan however annoyed me with the way he acted all the time. aside from being slightly predictable it was an enjoyable read.

  • Tori Thompson
    2018-12-05 15:31

    4.5 heart review for Love Bytes ReviewsA copy of this book was provided in exchange for an honest review. This review was originally posted at Love Bytes Reviews, please visit www.lovebytesreviews.com to see this and many more reviews, interviews, and giveaways!Wow. What a difficult book to read, and I loved it! I’ve read the other two books in this series so I knew what I was in for, but it was hard….This book is set in an alternate universe, it’s very strange to read about locations, celebrities and television shows, but slavery is legal. Yes, you can watch Friends while beating and raping your slave. Ugh. This is a bit of a mystery, we don’t know what is going on with one of the characters for most of the book, but under that is the ugliness of the world.Sky Blue is a slave. He’s a singer and formerly in a boy band, now singing in a club, but he is a human that is bought and sold. He’s been raped, beaten, tortured, sold, and bought. Has no freedom, no life, no education, in fact he didn’t know how far away China was from San Francisco. He can read, and understands the concept of the internet, but has very little experience. He’s pretty, and has a good voice. That’s about it. He’s just maintaining his voice, singing in a club, hoping to survive a bit longer, when he is sold to a broker. Then sold again, to a man he now calls Master. Master appears to be a decent man, not experienced owning slaves, but something else is going on and poor Sky gets the worst end of the deal, yet again.Master treats Sky well most of the time, but takes him to BDSM parties where he lets Sky be beaten and raped. Then cares for him afterward. Sky is very confused by Master’s behavior. Something is up with him, he spends time on the phone, and his computer, and Sky gets just the hint that all is not as it appears. I began to suspect what was happening long before Sky does. The two grow closer, Master developing pesky feelings for Sky, Sky being confused!So I don’t get this whole “non-consensual” sex thing. It’s either sex, or rape. Non-con makes it sound like it’s not so bad, but really it is. Sky is raped. That’s what it is. He’s a slave, he’s owned by Master, who lets him be beaten and raped. Then Master feels bad after. I had a really hard time with this! Luckily the rape and most of the violence is off page.I really liked this book. The story of Sky and Master, and what actually turns out to be going on, was very well done. I wasn’t sure how this was going to go, I’ve loved Kim Fielding’s books, but this seemed like a stretch for her. Kim can write angsty dark books, but they haven’t really been violent. She proved my concerns unfounded! She can do dark and violent! She has made me cry multiple times, and did in this book as well. I absolutely loved Sky. He just broke my heart. I liked the relationship between Sky and Master, even as odd as it was. Master is a very intriguing character… I like what turned out to be his issue, and I loved the ending. Yes I’m avoiding plot details, this is just too cool of a story to give too much away!Kim is truly one of my favorite authors these days, and this is a fantastic book. But it is not for the faint of heart. This is not a nice world at all. Again, most of the violence is off page, but you know what’s happening. And just the whole concept of owning people is horrendous… But the book is really good! It is a stand alone novel, set in a world with two other books. I have read the others a couple of times, they are much more violent and dark. Good, but harder than this one. I’d start with this one, then try the others.I do recommend this book, but you need to know what you are getting in to with it…. be careful, if you can handle the potential triggers, read it!

  • Susan
    2018-11-19 17:45

    I'm giving this four stars, not because I really liked it, but because Kim Fielding's writing is almost always successful for me, even when she writes stories with themes I really don't like. Slavery, hardcore BDSM, and extreme power imbalance are very much NOT my kinks (probably right there at the bottom of the rung with foot licking and wearing diapers, ha ha). So it's not like I wasn't properly warned that this book was not my 'thing' when I went into it, but my author crush on Kim Fielding compelled me to give this a try. And I have to say, for the subject matter, Kim did an amazing job of keeping me interested. By the time Sky finally took the reins into his hands and started to steer the plot, I was really rooting for him. As for Mac... eh. I I don't know if it was the subject matter that kept me from connecting to Mac and Sky as a couple, but I was pretty unmoved by the romance. I suspect the general horror of Sky's treatment and Mac's involvement in it kept me emotionally distanced, but this definitely was not one of those novels where I *felt* the love between the two MCs. Not my favorite Kim Fielding novel by a long shot, (and I hope she does not write anymore novels like this) but it was worth the read.

  • Elena
    2018-12-18 16:24

    Kim Fielding’s writing skills are usually good and this book is no exception. I’m almost tempted to give it four stars because it’s certainly a step above anything I’ve read recently, but I can’t bring myself to ignore the fact that, however interesting the set up and the themes explored here, I couldn’t feel the romance between Sky and his master. To say that the story is predictable would be an understatement, I had everything figured out at around 15%, but I kept reading because the writing was good and I was looking forward to see exactly how the events would unfold. I wanted to see the connection between the MCs being established and grow, but it fell a little flat.

  • Marisella
    2018-11-18 15:48

    This is the third book in the belonging 'verse, a very interesting look at slavery everywhere. It starts with a group of people who've been marginalized, and the reader can see how possible it is for people to fall into the mindset of completely and blindly trusting the government. The characters themselves are interesting and likeable, and the evolution of Sky from "slave" to "free thinker" is wonderful to see

  • Heidi Dover
    2018-11-30 15:33

    Decent read, not as in your face or dark explicit or even psychological as I anticipated from the first two in this series. A lot of my belief (and immersion) in the story depended on plot devices and situations that felt a little for the plot and story convenience but overall decent read.

  • Ya
    2018-12-03 17:37

    What a sweet and heart warming story... Very captivating right up to half way point where I figure out what "Master" was doing. (yeah, I am slow I know) Maybe he should have lower his voice on the phone to keep the suspension going.

  • The Novel Approach Reviews
    2018-12-02 19:48

    4.5 Stars ~ I love books that test the definition of traditional romance, the stories that make us read outside the box and reach for the beauty of a relationship built outside the norms. Kim Fielding’s Staged is a great example of that sort of book. Fielding forces readers to see the love that grows between a slave and his Master through a distorted lens of horror and brutality that exists in the Belonging -verse, and she does so in a way that still somehow ends up being a touching and beautiful love story.If you’ve not yet read the first two books set in this Alt Reality Contemporary series—Rachel Haimowitz’s Anchored and Aleksandr Voinov’s Counterpunch—let me start off by warning you that this is a world where slavery exists. Not the sort of voluntary servitude that takes place in consensual D/s relationships, but the sort of slavery that demeans and devalues human lives. The slaves in this world are subjugated to a degree that categorizes them as less than animals, believed to be soulless and incapable of feelings or intelligence. As a result, there is a level of cruelty toward the slaves that means habitual rape and beatings and a complete stripping of their freedom and dignity along with their humanity. While these circumstances may be unpalatable to some readers, the purpose this serves isn’t gratuitous within the narrative. Rather, it contrasts a society where those who are considered to be superior are the same humans who are the aggressors and predators, and therefore, are far more animalistic than the slaves upon whom those freemen prey.Sky Blue is a slave in this world. Born into that life by virtue of his mother being a slave in a bordello, and then sold at the tender age of eight for his ability to sing, Sky found a slave’s version of success performing in a boy band, and later at a nightclub where he didn’t have anything resembling a good life, but there was at least a consistency to his routine of singing, waiting tables, and being used sexually by whomever his owner rented him to. Sky has never been his own man—but he’s self-aware enough to question the dogmatic concept that the freewill of which he’s been systematically stripped is due to a genetic deficiency which makes him intellectually inferior to his oppressors. In spite of him being denied his dignity, there is yet a spark inside Sky that makes him question his status in life and keeps him dreaming of the unattainable freedom that he knows exists yet remains so elusive.When Sky’s sold at the whim of his current owner and enters into the terrifying unknown, he’s subsequently purchased by the enigmatic Morgan Wallace. And this is where the romance and the hell of Sky’s forced subordination intertwine and juxtapose. Morgan is unlike any Master Sky has ever encountered, and, of course, the puzzle of who this man is doesn’t fall into place in Sky’s experience as a slave. It becomes clear rather early on that Morgan isn’t the man he needs Sky to believe he is, and I loved the building of this relationship in all its contrasts—the inability for Sky to trust Morgan for any number of reasons beyond the fact that they are Master/slave, yet Morgan proves time and time again that he can be solicitous and kind. But then, just as suddenly, the nightmare of Sky’s status reemerges in rape and beatings that remind him trust and kindness don’t exist for slaves in this version of San Francisco. There was such a deep emotional underpinning to their story and the conflict of liking Morgan while loathing what he allowed to happen to Sky. That’s the sort of investment that, for me, allowed me to sit and binge read this book in a day. There was a fierce need for me to see this relationship through to the end, and in the end, I was so happy with the way the author resolved both the dramatic and romantic arc of the storyline.With all its potential triggers, Staged is most definitely not a book for every reader. True to form for Kim Fielding, however, it is a well written love story that’s deeply romantic—it’s just a different sort of romance from the norm.Reviewed by Lisa for The Novel Approach Reviews

  • Andrea
    2018-11-28 11:28

    Chilling

  • Melissa Mendoza
    2018-12-04 12:27

    Title: StagedAuthor: Kim FieldingSeries: Belonging Series, Book 3Publisher: Riptide PublishingReviewer: MelissaRelease Date: July 18, 2016Genre(s): M/M Erotic RomancePage Count: 255Heat Level:4 flames out of 5Rating:4 stars out of 5Blurb:Once the second-prize winner on My Slave’s Got Talent, Sky Blue has spent the past few years singing at a failing New York nightclub. While Sky has never had control over his fate, his life seems to take a turn for the worse when he’s torn from the familiar comfort of performing and sold to a rich and enigmatic man.Morgan Wallace takes his newly purchased slave to San Francisco, his intentions unclear. On the one hand, he treats Sky with more kindness than Sky has ever known—treats him like a real person. On the other hand, he shares Sky at parties hosted by his sadistic new friends.A confused slave is an endangered slave, and Sky isn’t even sure of his master’s real name. Is he Morgan Wallace, wealthy and cruel, or Mackenzie Webster, caring and compassionate? Caught between hope, fear, and an undeniably growing attachment, Sky struggles to untangle which parts are real and which are merely a performance. His future, his heart, and even his life may depend on it.Review:“God, when you hum to yourself or smile, it’s like a heavy burden lifted off my heart. Because you’re stronger than me and braver than me, and I’m fairly certain you’re smarter than me too.”4 sing to me stars! Beautiful, gut wrenching, and passionate!Sky was born into slavery and that’s all he’s ever known. But he’s an amazing singer and has spent the last few years singing in New York clubs. His life is uprooted, when he’s sold to another master. Morgan, the new master, takes Sky to San Francisco, but never fully discloses what his intentions are with Sky. He’s a kind man that treats Sky with complete respect, but during Morgan’s parties, Sky gets passed around like a party favor. Confused and unsure, he tries to figure out who is master is. And while doing this he realizes that he may be falling for his mysterious man. Can these two actually make it work or will their “relationship” never go further than slave and master!This book really spoke to me on so many levels. While it has it’s heartbreaking moments, it is so passionate and well put together. I read this book in one sitting, I had a hard time putting it down. I was so invested in Sky’s life and everything he’s gone through and put through. And while you want to dislike Morgan, you can’t help but fall for this hard man!! I didn’t read the other books in the series, but I didn’t have hard time following along! Really great book, and I think I’m off to buy the others in the series!ARC provided by author in exchange for an honest review. Reviewed by Melissa from Alpha Book Club

  • Tbird London
    2018-12-08 19:29

    Please take note as you read this, I am a huge fan of dark books, so my enjoyment and thrill of this book could mislead any reader who is squeamish with very dark themes. One aspect that I was very excited about was even though this was a fictional place, it read like it could be the very reality we live in today. That made me stop and think how close we could come to the reality Skye lived with if we don’t keep our morality in this country today.I really admire how the author was able to put us into the mind of Skye and fully understand his acceptance as a slave. While he knew his world would never get better, he never lost hope, even when he had to shut down his mind from thinking about his mother. He didn’t dwell on the things he lost, he took each moment as they came and survived the best he could. The way it was written, it wasn’t a surprise that Morgan was going to be a mysterious character and I did predict a few things that were to come, but his character was still intriguing for me.As the plot unfolded the reader was held in suspense regarding just who Morgan was and would each scene be the final breaking point for Skye. At first when he bought Skye he treated him like a human being but with a semi like sense of remorse from Morgan, Skye’s life was about to take an evil turn. I think there could have been ways to make Morgan more of a mystery and less predictable to the reader but for the most part he held my attention and fed my dark read desires. This isn’t a book that you just jump into if you aren’t used to a high level of evil and darkness, but the brilliance of the author constantly reminded me that this was the life of a slave.My favorite thing about this author’s writing style was the beginning of the story. I am not a fan of those long build ups in the first few chapters of a book. I have been known to stop reading if I’m not given something to hang on to by chapter three. With Stage, you are given a few pages of background and then the plot explodes and takes control of you. By chapter two I was totally a Skye fan and felt I had a really good understanding of him and his behavior. I wasn’t aware this was part of a series till I had finished the book, so that validates the fact you don’t need to read the other books before this one. I do know I will certainly be going back to get more work from Kim Fielding because she has made me a fan with her style, talent and intense plots.received in exchange for an honest review for Crystal's Many Reviewers