Engrossed in Soraya Naomi

So if anyone still follows this blog, I apologize for being MIA. It has been a looong summer of multiple weddings. My day job had me studying for a certification examination that required my full attention. I still managed to get in some reading in between to reduce the stress. Well, maybe I added to it because I have been on a serious mafia crime boss kick! I  discovered three new authors to love!

Starting with the first author, I am on book 3 of Soraya Naomi‘s  Chicago Syndicate series and it is fantastic! The first two books “For Fallon” and “For Luca” are about… wait for it… Fallon and Luca! I feel guilty putting Luca on the BBB list because he is a BAD guy, but I find him totally captivating and I love Fallon. I find the series beautifully written. The chemistry between Luca and Fallon is heart felt, but not in the beginning – when it wasn’t supposed to be. This was definitely among my favorite mafia romances. It pulled me in immediately. It’s been awhile since I found a book that made me want to stay up late to read. Fallon and I share the same hobby of reading romance and tuning the world out.  I love the use of Italian phrases and I plan to have lasagna for dinner tomorrow to stay in the mood.

“For Luca” was an excellent conclusion to the Luca and Fallon story! I giggled, I cried and I was anxious for them. I also love the emphasis on nothing is as it seems.

“Life isn’t black and white, life isn’t even grey; it’s actually an entirely different, unidentifiable shade when you open your eyes and see past the standards that society sets.”

Take note that this does contain some rather explicit sexual and violent scenes; if you are able to look past that and appreciate the story, I highly recommend it.

This weekend I have moved on to the third book, “For Adriano”. Adriano is Luca’s best friend and Capo. I found him a strong supporting character in first two books and I look forward to reading about him and Camilla (a.k.a. Camila).

My Raving Review of Raze by Tillie Cole

23262621I loved this book! It’s very violent and lacks serious editing. If you can get past these points and you are are a fan of mafia romances, this is great!

Kisa Volkova is the only daughter of Kirill Volkov, head of New York’s Russian Bratva. Her life is is a virtual prison. She mourns the loss of her first and only love, Luka, who was murdered. Left with no other option for the future, she is destined to marry her father’s designated successor, who we absolutely come to abhor!

What I love about this story is that we come to care for Kisa. She doesn’t like the life but she accepts it, and she is still a caring person. She knows what her father is, yet she loves him. Surprising for me was that she actually helps run certain aspects. She tries to escape the reality intermittently and find some form of salvation in volunteering at her Orthodox church.

This is where she meets a homeless man, named Raze, who is in New York seeking revenge against the man who had him imprisoned in the Russian Gulag and conditioned Raze to maim, to kill and to slaughter. I love the connection between Raze and Kisa.

“Because you belong to me, Kisa… and he pointed at my eye, then his left. “You’re a part of me, remember? God put a piece of you within me so when we were born, everyone would know we matched.”

Swoon worthy, right? Especially from a trained killer. And then there is this next comment from Raze:

“I’m closing my eyes so I can feel being inside you.” He placed his hand over his heart and rasped out, “I’ve seen too many bad things with these eyes. This, I will feel in my heart.”

This has all the great elements: Russian Mafia, a strong heroine, extreme angst, as happy of an ending as Kisa’s life permits. You will have to read it and see what happens to Kisa’s monster fiancé!

5 Hearts and one of my new favorites! 

Visiting Backstage with Trey Taylor!

The fourth installment of the Back-Up Series by A.M. Madden has finally arrived and was worth the wait! For fans of Rocker romances, this is a must-read series. I thoroughly enjoyed each book. This series has so much story to it and is up there for me with the Love series by Tina Reber.

22493119We were introduced to the mysterious bass player Trey Taylor in the first three books. Trey is such an enigma that we honestly cannot help but find ourselves attracted to him with the glimpses that we received along the way. Click the book cover to link to a great video! Between hiding behind his shades and his famous snarky comments, we just knew there was more to his story, and I thank A.M. Madden for writing Backstage just for him.

“It’s just pure fact that I’ll always have to hide my real emotions and feelings. Like Hunter will always be a f*tard and Scott will always be pale.”

I struggle how to categorize this book. There are elements of angst and suspense which I love in a story.  This is definitely not your typical rock romance where the biggest trials are the media and groupies. Backstage is rather a dark read and contains mature themes. Trey’s story is told so well! I tend to forget how young Trey is because of everything he experiences and the way he decides to things – alone. I felt every emotion that he had, and wanted to take him in and protect him. By the end of Part 1, I was feeling as lonely and in pain as he was! I am seriously fighting loneliness today with the end of this book and missing the DL band.

Backstage can be read as a standalone, but I recommend reading the series in order to get the full context and the draw of the story.

What I also appreciate is that the other members of DL appear in this book. It’s nice to see what’s going on with them and to see the solidarity between bandmates continue. I also appreciate seeing how it all began and where it all went to. I understand there will be a 4.5 novella released Dec.23. I look forward to warming up by the Christmas tree to continue this entertaining series! 5 Hearts

Nine Minutes by Beth Flynn is Amazing!

I’m speechless. I think I need nine hours to digest everything that happened in Nine Minutes! Please avoid reading any spoilers because this book needs to be appreciated for the great story that it is. Readers really need to experience the ride for themselves, no pun intended. It is even difficult to write a review without giving away the best parts of the story, so just trust me to put this on your TBR list if you appreciate dark romance and can tolerate violence.

Biker stories do not catch my interest, and huge age differences can creep me out. I was hesitant to pick up this book until I read another very honest review that had me change my mind. Trust me, the age difference is one of the least shocking factors.

Jason William Talbot a.k.a. Grizz had been watching Guinevere Love Lemon a.k.a. Gin/Ginny/Gwinny/Kit since she was six years old. At age 15 he makes his move to abduct her. Grizz leads the pack and does some pretty atrocious things during the story, but outside of abducting Kit, he actually does love her and treats her good. My assumption going in, after reading summaries, was that nine minutes were all that was needed for her abduction. What this number actually means is truly shocking!

This is a well written story. It’s totally captivating. I was able to read it in half a day. While it is part of a series, this first in the series does not leave the reader hanging exactly. I do have solo many questions. What is the secret with Delia? tile some aspects to the story can be guessed at, hang on for the ending because it is AMAZING! 5 Hearts

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The waiting is over… or is it? Finished reading Captivated by You!

So in case you were curious, I chickened out of taking a full day off work. BUT, around noon I did develop a “stomach ache”  that required a comfy chair, a cup of tea, a blanket, and my copy of Sylvia Days’s Captivated by You. And it hurts! There is so much waiting between the continuing saga of Eva and Gideon. Then the moment finally arrives, we get all caught up in the drama, only to have it end too soon again!

This is on51zFdfbe1KL._SL160_e of my top top top most favorite stories/series and my favorite book couple. I highly recommend the series, which must be read in order. I love the characters. The writing is sophisticated and eloquent. The relationship between Eva and Gideon captives me. I love the story with them as a married couple and it is told well. I don’t even care that the series is turning out longer than originally planned, because I love it that much.

I do have to be fair in my assessment though. While I truly enjoyed this leg of the story, I cannot give it 5 stars and this hurts me. There was love and heat, but there was so much missing. This felt like sort of a filler. We are no closer to the resolution of the Cary/Trey/Tatiana/baby drama. Cary is cutting again and that got like three sentences. I expected more reaction to that from Eva even if this isn’t a story about Eva and Cary. I expected a bigger blowout between Gideon and his mom. I anticipated Gideon’s father being connected to the Russian mafia. I expected a pregnancy drama. There was none of this! Even the ending felt like a stolen scene from my favorite movie, As Good As It Gets! it feels like the last book has much ground to cover for wrapping up the story and leaving fans happy and loyal. Still, I give this installment 4 Hearts. 

I will be eagerly checking Sylvia Day‘s site for an update on the series conclusion.

Book Review – Trust in Me by Skye Warren

13446362I loved Prisoner and was anxious to read something else written by Skye Warren. I also happen to be a huge fan of dark erotica. Be forewarned that Trust in Me is not for the faint of heart. This is a dark read that continues to get darker as the story continues. There is violence, nonconsensual sexual relations, and human trafficking. If this disturbs you, look for something else from my list.

Mia comes from a sordid background that is unspeakable. I find it sad that she accepts her fate. She has one goal for redeeming herself yet accepts death will probably be the reward for her efforts. “This whole game was dirty, and so was I.”

This is a well written story and is engrossing. I was able to read it in one sitting. Whatever you think of it, you will not be able to put it down so do not start it if you cannot finish.

What disturbs me is that Mia meets Tyler, the hero, at 12 years old. Tyler is older than Mia and is of age for having sex, yet he forms this attachment to Mia enough to search for her 10 years later. This part I struggled the most with. Tyler is definitely not Grayson. In fact, I felt like we barely scratched the surface of getting to know him. I got upset with him in some scenes for putting Mia in dangerous situations. He just wasn’t the Grayson or Caleb that I was looking for.

In the end, I did like the writing. The story had me captivated, and it had a sufficient level of angst to keep me engrossed. I give it…

3 Stars

Book Review – Mr. Beautiful (Up in the Air #4) by R.K. Lilley

18631103R.K. Lilley is one of my favorite authors and I had the pleasure of meeting her (and I think her husband?) at a writers’ event this year. She was the most personable and gracious author that I met that day and was generous with her time.

I adore the “Up in the Air” series and I have been anxiously awaiting the arrival of Mr. Beautiful!  I was looking forward to hearing his side of events and it was worth the wait. What a fabulous cover! I love the camaraderie between James and Tristan. I love the passion and love between James and Bianca. This conclusion has me loving him more.

And then there is Stephan. I wish I had such a loyal and true person in my life. The relationship between Stephan and Bianca is endearing and goes straight to my heart. I could read an entire story just about them, and I appreciate that we got to see more of their past in this story. This was an unexpected surprise for me. I also find Stephan and Javier a believable and touching m/m pairing, written eloquently.

This is part of a series, which should be read in order. Otherwise, you will not have the proper context for the characters and storyline. This is sort of a collection of random thoughts from different characters at different points of the series.

5 Stars