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! 

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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Book Review – Prisoner (Criminals & Captives #1) by Annika Martin and Skye Warren

23303963Wow! This was a dark read, which I tend to get drawn into looking for proof of light in the darkness. This was a great read for me and one of my new favorites. Prisoner, which was recently released, has probably one of my favorite heroines in Abigail Winslow and a notorious hottie in Grayson that you can’t help but love. (Do we ever learn his last name? I tried doing a search and came up nada…)

And he’s terrible!  He comes from a deep, dark and troubled past. He holds revenge in his heart. He is guilty of forcing dubious consent and tranquilizing. Yet he does this out of his twisted idea of loving and protecting Abby; in his mind, his forced captivity of Abby will protect and bind the two of them in together in the same tight-knit fashion he shares with the men that he was abducted with. His personal brand of passiveness is evident in his statement, “F#%k it. I don’t need to be a better man. I don’t need to be more. I’m in charge here.”

Abby is a self-conscious bookworm that I can relate to. We see her break out of her shell as Grayson forces her out of it. His affection for her is seen as a threat to Grayson’s gang and she holds her own. I love the unexpected moments when her intelligence shines through and wins her respect.

This story contains violence, graphic sex and dubious consent. That being  said, this did not feel like one of the darkest dark reads that I have experienced. It does have a sort of dubious HEA that left me satisfied. I give this…

5 Stars

Book Review – Beast, Part IV by Ella James

Never enough time for catching up on reviews, and there are a few. The conclusion of the Beast series has arrived and I loved it! The story picked up in the right place. There was the same level of angst, suspense, and hot scenes in the most…inconvenient?… of places, e.g. solitary confinement and on the run. The ending was abrupt but acceptable and satisfactory for this series of novellas. Sad to see it end and good while it lasted.

4 Stars

Book Review – The Beast Series by Ella James

The Beast is a dark four-part erotica series. Each is a novella, which makes for a very quick read. In fact, I finished the first three books in two days while still maintaining my full-time job and my regular sleep schedule. Be warned that the series could use improved editing and each book ends in a cliffhanger. The storyline is not always smooth. This might frustrate some readers, but I found this series packed a lot of punch and was very entertaining.

In Part 1 a starstruck Annabelle meets Cal/Ricardo/Beast at a party. She is basically stalking him with the intent of losing her virginity. I felt her connection to him in this book, but his was maybe intentionally not too felt. A subsequent surprising event has Annabelle and Beast forming a deeper connection.

In Part 2 there is a time lapse. We feel a stronger connection between the two, especially on the part of Cal/Ricardo/Beast when we receive a glimpse into his true feelings. The angst level builds up. After an emotional scene, we are left again with another anxiety producing cliffhanger – but oh so excellent!

In Part 3 Annabelle’s commitment to Beast is unwavering. She is a strong heroine and on a mission. The sexual scene takes place in a rather unusual location under sort of… amazingly strange circumstances. Nevertheless, the scene is HOT and again the ending had me screaming “WHAT?!” out loud.

Part 4 is rumored to be out sometime soon. I’m looking so forward to finishing this series rated…

4 Stars

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Book Review – The Story of Us (Carnage #1) – Lesley Jones

After my nice reprieve with the Cranberry Inn series, I returned to my more intense and darker reads. I honestly have no idea why I waited so long to read Carnage #1! We all love the Thoughtless series and have been looking for that rockstar boyfriend to compete with Kellen. This one had such rave reviews that I think I was holding off for this holiday weekend to lock myself away and lose myself in a great read.

You have to experience this book yourself! Stay away from spoilers! You will laugh and you will cry.  You will be angry. This is all what pulls us in and makes a great story. I was hooked from the first words and literally could not put the book down. There is a continuation, but this can be read as a standalone. The writing is fantastic. I love the dialect used by the characters and the dynamics between family and friends. I was almost jealous and wanted to hang out with the lot of them (except for all the passing of drugs among family and friends)!

I plan to read the second book. However, I am still too emotional right now to continue on just yet.

Link to Goodreads –> The Story of Us (Carnage #1)

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