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! 

Jacked (Tina Reber)
Jacked (Tina Reber)

A new story from Tina Reber – finally! It feels like we have been waiting forever. I am a huge fan of her Love Series, and Ryan Christensen is one of my favorite all-time book boyfriends – right up there with Christian Grey, Kellen Kyle and Gideon Cross. This is why it pains me to say that Jacked just didn’t do it for me.

Adam, a member of the auto theft task force, meets ER doctor Erin on a false arrest. Both come from personal tragedies and form an immediate bond. I really liked the storyline potential, and I thought there was good chemistry between the characters. It’s obvious that Tina Reber did the necessary police force and Shibari research to write in detail. I loved the hospital room scene towards the end!

Unfortunately, the beginning moved much too slow for me. The characters had some rather graphic thoughts about each other, yet didn’t kiss until about 29% into the story. The second half finally had all of the action and depth that I was looking for from the beginning. It seemed odd to me that Erin put her new relationship and job before dealing with a family crisis. I also don’t know if the art of Shibari added to the story or if it was thrown in as part of FSOG fashion. Lastly, I am getting a little bored with alpha males coming across like cavemen and speaking with incomplete sentences.

Jacked is part of a series about each of the Trent brothers. It can definitely be read as a standalone. I did like the lead into Jason Trent’s story Amped and plan to keep it on my TBR list, despite rating Jacked 3.5 Hearts.

18697821Katy Evans did it again! Ripped (Real #5) was released this month. I always feel a bit embarrassed at my age to admit that I enjoy this new adult series, but it is just sooo good (although maybe too erotic for YA…?). Honestly, I find the whole Real series entertaining. I love this click of girlfriends and their men.

While being part of a series, Ripped can be read as a standalone. If you want the full context of the characters and their friends, I would recommend reading the stories in order but it is not necessary.

Ripped is a second chance romance between Pandora and her rockstar boyfriend MacKenna. Pandora is Brooke’s gothic friend who was introduced in the first three books. We know nothing about MacKenna before this except that he broke Pandora’s heart. Circumstances bring them together six years later under a scenario I found humorous. It certainty helps to remember what being young felt like and acting impulsively. It also befitted Pandora would be in love with a rockstar that wears colored Mohawks in concert. They make a perfect couple and I could feel their connection.

This had several elements that I enjoy in a book. It made me laugh and cry. I love a sassy heroine. Any amount of angst works for me, and the ending made me CRY! 4 Hearts

I am lite22474626rally swooning! This next installment of the Hacker series, Hard Limit, by Meredith Wild was released this month and worth the wait. Seriously, could we be any more in love with BBF Blake Landon?!

The Hacker series has been ranked right up there with FSOG. My first love is still Christian. However, there is no denying the pull of this series. Given that I also work in IT as part of my real life, I can relate more to the characters and angst.

This installment does feel like a filler in this series, in line with Captivated by You. This is focused more on the romance than the suspense. However, the relationship between Erica and Blake is that much more solidified and enthralling. There continues to be external threats to their relationship. I might have expected a little more than what we received, e.g. Erica’s relationship with her father and Sophia posing a larger threat than she turned out to be –  although who knows what will happen in the next book!

The writing is fantastic, as we have come to expect from Meredith Wild. The connections between characters are solid. It has a swoon worthy conclusion. I anxiously await the next book! 4 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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Review of the Wild Side series by R.K. Lilley

I’m looking forward to using this holiday weekend to catch up on reviews for some of my recent reads. I have completed the Wild Side series by R.K. Lilley. If you follow my blog, you will know that R.K. Lilley is one of my favorite authors and I have read all of her books. While this series was entertaining, I am sad to admit that it was not among my favorite reads.

Alas214593832226600922266042dair Masters is in his 40s and has had a sort of midlife crisis when he discovers his wife cheating on him. After a period of celibacy, he meets 20 something-year-old Iris. We know nothing about her true identity: age, name, place of residence, employment status, etc. There is much mystery surrounding her person and she disappears for lapses of time, driving Alasdair crazy.

Despite the difference in their ages, the relationship between Alistair and Iris is actually quite touching and not disturbing While I do appreciate some heated scenes, this was almost too much repetition for me – similar to the first Fifty Shades. By the end of the series, you can sort of tune that part out or skip it, and you end up with a good story. However, unlike Fifty Shades, I think these three books could have been more effectively told as one novel. I rate this series 3 Hearts.