Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Blog Tour Review | Reap by Tillie Cole

Reap by Tillie Cole
Expected publication: November 10th 2015 by St. Martin's Griffin

Synopsis from Goodreads:

Raised as a prototype for the Georgian Bratva's obedience drug, 221 fails to think, act, or live for himself; he's his master's perfectly-crafted killing puppet. Standing at six-foot-six, weighing two-hundred-and-fifty pounds, and unrivaled in to-the-death combat, 221 successfully secures business for the Georgian Mafiya Boss of NYC, who rules the dark world of the criminal underground. Until his enemies capture him.

Talia Tolstaia dreams to break from the heavy clutches of Bratva life. She dreams of another life--away from the stifling leash of her Russian Bratva Boss father and from the brutality of her work at The Dungeon, her criminal family's underground death-match enterprise. But when she stumbles upon her family's captive who is more monster than man, she starts to see the man underneath. A powerful, beautiful, damaged man whose heart calls to hers. But sacrifices must be made--blood for blood...life for life...souls for scarred souls...

What I Thought....

Oh my goodness.....If you thought Raze was good, Reap will take your breath away. Cole combines two very unlikely souls and breaks our hearts with them. Between the suspense, action, and down-right dirtiness of it all, we understand the organized chaos. After all is said and done, I don't think this novel could have been any more well written.

In Raze, we were introduced to Talia Tolstaia as Brooklyn's Bravata Princess. Sister of Luka, AKA Raze, Talia has only ever known the life of a Mobster. She is the only daughter, heir to the legacy, and is considered a prize possession. She's beautiful, intelligent, and fearless. She know's what she wants and isn't afraid to go after it. However, after taking a break from the city on the coast, little did Ms. Talia know how one night could change her world forever. He was ferrel. He was mean. He was dark and determined. He was a cold blooded killer. Yet, he held her world in his hands. One night was all it took and he had her.

221 only knows how to do one thing: kill. He has been medically perfected to take down any target, friendly or foe at the drop of a command. There is no one can beat him. So, when he is taken hostage, 221 doesn't know how to react. Chained and sectioned off in a dark prison, 221 is left to detox alone....or so he thought. She was a light in his dark path. Her touch was that of a butterfly, soft and steady. For the first time in 221's life, someone wasn't afraid of him.

I know this review has been vague, but I couldn't say much more without giving out some major spoilers. I will say, the journey this novel takes us on is a rocky one. Be prepared for some heartbreak and for some mayhem. Whip out the tissues and hold on, because by the end of the novel, you'll be lucky if you're still standing. As always, Cole does not disappoint.

Victoria ♥

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Dual Blog Tour Review | Lux by Courtney Cole

Lux by Courtney Cole
Published October 28, 2015
Self-Published through Amazon

Author's Website | Goodreads | Buy the Book on Amazon

Synopsis from Goodreads:

My name is Calla Price and I’m broken. 
My pieces are all around me, floating on the wind, even as I desperately try to grasp them. 
Who is dead? Alive? Insane?
What is the truth?
I don’t know. 
I do know this: The darkness is strangling me. With every breath, I choke on another lie. 
My mind has protected me, but that shield will soon be lowered. 
All will be revealed. Every answer to every question. 
It’s all been leading to this. 
Don’t be afraid. Be terrified.

Victoria's Thoughts....
For anyone who has read this series, you know how greatly anticipated Lux was. Scheduled to release first in April of 2015, then August of 2015, and now October, we were all getting antsy. Let me just say, the wait was worth it! At first, I was angry after reading Lux. I was confused and a bit miffed at the ending. However, after re-reading it, I found beauty within its pages. We are all in charge of our own destiny and Lux was meant to show us that.

The triangle of Calla, Dare and Finn already had us on our toes in Nocte and Verum, and now it has us out of our seats with Lux. Originally, I was going to go into more depth of how they evolved as characters, but decided not to, as it would have given too much away. All I can say is that be mentally prepared for a mind explosion. You don't see the end coming until it is too late. We see a completely new side of Calla, a side that was slightly reveled in the novella before Lux, but still was mostly hidden before. It will take you on an experience like no other. Again, hold on to your seat, it's about to get bumpy.

As previous stated, I was frustrated with the ending of Lux, because I felt like with all the hype for the novel, it was a bit over-done. It's a great series, especially if you love a good thriller/psychological roller coaster, but I felt like it was rushed. Also, this isn't a novel that can be skimmed, it must be read with close attention, or you'll be confused from the beginning. Over all, I give it a solid 4 stars. I believe Cole accomplished what she set out to do. 

Victoria ♥

*Disclaimer: I was provided with a copy of this book courtesy of the author in exchange for my honest review.*

Shelly's Thoughts...
I gave this book 3.5 stars on Goodreads and I fully stand by that rating.  I was one of those readers that didn't come across this series until probably last April and I was excited that the the final book was due to come out right away.  Let's just say I was a little disappointed when the date kept getting pushed back.  I am going to (sort of) disagree with Victoria about the wait being worth it.  I didn't dislike the book by any means, but there was so much anticipation built up with the wait that I expected more than what was delivered. 

This series has been very confusing from the very first book and it continued to be so throughout this book.  In fact, I think it's safe to say that this one was probably the most confusing.  The repetition was not my thing.  Not only did Calla continuously repeat words and phrases (which I get due to the nature of her "condition"), but there were multiple, multiple scenes that were repeated from the previous books as well as this book.  Actually, I would venture to say that probably close to 40% of this novel was repeated information and that's what I had a problem with.  There were times that it was necessary to further the story and the way that she was directing the plot, but other times it seems as if a fresh approach could have been taken to make the scenes less repetitive.  There were many times I felt like Calla as she had an episode of deja vu.

I am not going to talk about the plot at all because it's just too hard to do so without spoiling anything.  Also it's a little hard to articulate what was going on most of the time.  I will say that if you haven't read the novella that was released recently you need to read that before this one.  It may not seem like it's relevant to the current story, but you need that information to piece it all together. This isn't a series that I see myself reading again, but I did enjoy it even though there were times I was wondering what the hell was going on!  I do think that she ended the book well and I was pretty happy about that....otherwise this would probably be a very different review.

If you like stories that make you really think about what's going on then this is a series that you will want to read.  If you like a nice. light easy read then it's most definitely not!

XOXO, Shelly

*Disclaimer: I was provided with a copy of this book courtesy of the author in exchange for my honest review.*

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Blog Tour Review | Finding A Way by T.E. Black

Finding A Way by T. E. Black
Published September 28th, 2015

Author's Website | Goodreads | Buy the Book on Amazon

Synopsis from Goodreads:

I am finally free.
This is my chance for a fresh start. 
My chance to live the way I want to. 
Boston is my destination.

Just when I think things are going to get better from here, I meet him.

Malcolm Davis.

He is the image of masculinity, with rough edges I would love to soften. Although I wonder what it would be like to be with a man like him, I know it would never work. But, I do know two things, ever since I met him, I’m happy and he makes me feel safe. Both of those things lured me into taking a chance. I mean what’s life without taking any chances? It’s not much of a life without the risk of getting your heart broken.

I imagine that for Malcolm Davis, falling in love with someone would be akin to a hurricane; anything that stands in the path of what he wants; gets demolished.

Well, I guess my theory will be put to the test.

What I Thought....

I have to say, for a first time author, this book was fantastic! Black does a great job of introducing well-rounded, complex characters that evolve steadily throughout the novel. This was a clean, no cliff-hanger, adorable romance novel that captured my interest from the very first page. 

Callie Matthews has had a rough start to adulthood. When her ex-fiance Derrick is killed because of a drunk driving accident, she struggles to stay above the surface. With any bout of depression, Callie does unspeakable things that eventually led her to hospital stays and therapy. However, three years later, she's headed to Boston University with her best friend and is ready to make the most of whatever life has to offer. 

Malcolm Davis is your picture perfect bad boy. Tatted up, with a sailors mouth, he couldn't be much more delicious, or more different then what Callie was picturing for herself. After Callie's best friend enlists a couple of men to help them move, she gets her first up close and personal interaction with Malcolm, or Mac, as he prefers her call him. What Callie doesn't realize is that meeting Mac is the beginning of a very long road of recovery. He very well may be just what the doctor ordered....

In order to understand the full relationship between Callie and Mac, this novel is a twice read due-over. I read it once, then again to make sure I didn't miss anything, then a third time just because I was that connected to the characters. The only negative thing I have to say is that the last fourth of the novel is a bit rushed; especially with character feelings. I felt like it could have been more drawn out, but it still did not take away from the novel. As always, if you haven't purchased this yet, do it! You won't regret it!

Victoria ♥

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Blog Tour Review | QUICKSAND by Carolyn Baugh

Quicksand by Carolyn Baugh
Thriller/Mystery/Crime Published September 29, 2015
Forge Books
Author's website  |  Goodreads  |  Buy the Book on Amazon

Synopsis from Goodreads:

The beginning of an engrossing new suspense series featuring Philadelphia policewoman Nora Khalil

Officer Nora Khalil is used to navigating different terrains. As part of a joint task force set up by the Philadelphia Police Department, the FBI, and the local sheriff’s offices, she works to keep Philly’s mean streets safe from gang violence, while trying to honor the expectations of her traditional Egyptian-American family. She can hold her own against hardened murderers and rapists, and her years as a competitive runner ensure that no suspect ever escapes on foot.

Nora tries to keep her professional and personal lives separate, but when a mutilated body is discovered in a tough section of town, Nora must rely on both her police training and her cultural background to find out whether this is another gang-related killing or the grisly evidence of something even darker and more disturbing.
My Thoughts...
I have to say that I really enjoyed this book.  I started it one day while I was on my lunch break at work and because of all my school work wasn't able to pick it back up for 4-5 days, but once I did I finished it in one sitting.  I was pretty much hooked from the 2nd chapter and now I am going to have a hard time waiting for the next book in the series to come out.  What I really liked about it is that this book is pretty much a self contained story, but a tiny thread of romance that will hopefully be the "thing" that carries over to the other books in the series.

Nora Khalil is a young police officer who has been tapped to join a special gang task force that's been set up with the FBI.  John is her older more experienced male partner who loves her like a daughter while at the same time teaching her what she needs to know to survive her job.  She's Egyptian and her family is very strict in their beliefs and traditions.  She's falling in love with Ben, one of the FBI officers that she works with, and vice versa, but inter-racial dating/marriage is not something that's looked on kindly in her family so she keeps him at arms length.  Nora and John, along with Ben and his partner are working on a case where a very young girl is murdered.  They believe it's gang related and it pulls them in to a much bigger and potentially deadly situation.  Some of the key players in this case are Muslim and Nora's language skills and her cultural knowledge and background are the things that help to crack the case wide open.  At the same time, she is finding out things about her own family that will aid her in decisions that she must make about her own life and future, both personally and professionally.

I felt like this novel was very well paced and pretty much action packed from start to  finish.  The whole of the case plays out over the course of about a week, maybe a little more.  All of the characters are very well developed, especially Nora and John.  You can't help but feel for Nora and what she's going through and when she stands up for herself and her beliefs you feel the need to root for her.  This is the first Carolyn Baugh book that I have read, but it definitely won't be the last.  I think that she has tapped into something that is possibly lacking in this market.  Her knowledge of the Egyptian and Muslim community is extensive because of her education and I think that her choosing to use it in this way is excellent.  It's a lighter way to bring topics such as these to peoples attention.

XOXO, Shelly

*Disclaimer: I was provided with a copy of this book courtesy of the publisher in exchange for my honest review.*

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