Tuesday, February 2, 2016

New Release Review | Stepbrother Thief by Violet Blaze


Stepbrother Thief by Violet Blaze
Published by Sarian Royal on January 15th, 2016


Author's Website | Goodreads | Buy The Book On Amazon

Synopsis from Amazon:

Thirty minutes ago, my stepbrother pulled off one of the biggest jewelry heists in history—and I helped him do it. 

Now we're on the run, and I don't know what to think. 
He says he'll protect me no matter what, but I'm not sure if I should believe him. 
After all, we tried that once and it did not turn out well for either of us. 
Besides, his father raised us both after my mother passed away. 
Gill can be lots of things to me, but he can't be my lover. 

Not again. 


When I turned twenty-one, he disappeared. Just disappeared without a word. 
Over a decade later, and now he's back and more ruthless than ever. 
He says the right things, does the right things, but the truth is … 
I'm afraid of him. 
I'm afraid for him. 


What I thought….

Oh my goodness, where to begin?? As always, when Violet Blaze promotes a new novel, I jump on it as soon as it is released. This was no different with Stepbrother Thief. I was so excited for new material and like always, Blaze does not disappoint.

Gill captivated from the very first page; with his demanding demeanor and his rough calloused outer shell, I was a gone girl. Something though that I appreciated about the novel was that Gill’s character wasn’t immediately revealed. You really had to invest yourself into the story to truely understand Gill and what motivated him. As much as he wants Regi to stay at a distance, he’s pulled to her. After he left her, engaged and alone in Paris, he never thought they would be paired up once again, this time, stealing diamonds.

“Gill is….he’s too big to be contained, too explosive, too unpredictable. He’s a lion that can’t be kept in a cage.” - Regi
 
Regi is resilient, I’ll give her that. After watching cancer take her mother and being carted off to Paris with a step-father she barely knows, she’s been through the ringer. Then, after loosing the one man who meant the most to her, she still battles on. After what seems like forever, Regi is finally comfortable with life. Her step-father is more like a father to her and better to her than anyone else could ever be. Plus, she gained a half-sibling along the way. What more could she want? Yet, when Gill waltzes back into their lives, it’s like she’s thrown into the eye of a hurricane. Not only do old feelings resurface, but the real truth comes out. It takes everything for our beautiful girl to keep it together.
 
“I feel like I’ve spent a decade being eternally thirsty and now I’m drowning, drowning in him and his smell and the way his mouth always tastes bright and fresh like citrus.” - Regi
 
Again, if you’ve never read anything by Violet Blaze, pick it up! Her characters are diverse, her novels well-written, and her stories captivating. I’m giving Stepbrother Thief a solid 5 stars!

Victoria ♥

Monday, January 4, 2016

Review | The Shadows by J.R. Ward

The Shadows (Black Dagger Brotherhood #13) by J.R. Ward
Published March 31st 2015 by NAL 


Synopsis from Goodreads:
Two brothers bound by more than blood fight to change a brutal destiny in the heart-wrenching new novel of the Black Dagger Brotherhood by #1 New York Times bestselling author J. R. Ward.

Trez “Latimer” doesn’t really exist. And not just because the identity was created so that a Shadow could function in the underbelly of the human world. Sold by his parents to the Queen of the S’Hsibe as a child, Trez escaped the Territory and has been a pimp and an enforcer in Caldwell, NY for years- all the while on the run from a destiny of sexual servitude. He’s never had anyone he could totally rely on... except for his brother, iAm.

iAm’s sole goal has always been to keep his brother from self-destructing- and he knows he’s failed. It’s not until the Chosen Serena enters Trez’s life that the male begins to turn things around... but by then it’s too late. The pledge to mate the Queen’s daughter comes due and there is nowhere to run, nowhere to hide, and no negotiating.

Trapped between his heart and a fate he never volunteered for, Trez must decide whether to endanger himself and others- or forever leave behind the female he’s in love with. But then an unimaginable tragedy strikes and changes everything. Staring out over an emotional abyss, Trez must find a reason to go on or risk losing himself and his soul forever. And iAm, in the name of brotherly love, is faced with making the ultimate sacrifice...

What I Thought...

I know it's been a while since I've posted just a regular review, so I thought I'd start 2016 with a review over a J.R. Ward novel. The last novel I reviewed of hers was The Bourbon Kings, which I hated, so when I started this novel in July of last year, it took much longer than what I'd planned to finish it. However, my reaction to The Shadows was MUCH better than what it was to The Bourbon Kings. This material is the type of material I'm used to reading of Wards. It was powerful, it was sexy, and it was worth my time.

Though slow at the beginning, just simply because it had been over six months since I'd read The King (Black Dagger Brotherhood #12) and my memory was playing catch up, once I delved in I couldn't put the book down! The love story between Trez and Serena isn't told like most romantic stories usually are. Ward picks apart each character down to their bare bones to show the vulnerability found within. It is through this bareness their true passion is brought to light.

The Chosen daughter Serena is a warrior. Battling an fatal illness that has plagued her ancestors for generations, she knows she doesn't have much time before her time is up. However, that doesn't stop her from living her life to the absolute fullest. After pledging to be nothing but honest with Trez and her feelings about life, Serena embarks on a journey of healing, not just for her body, but for her mind and heart as well.

Trez has always been my favorite Shadow brother, so when I realized the main proportion of this book was about him, I could hardly contain my excitement! We are introduced to the Shadow Brothers in the BDB #7, Lover Avenged. Trez and iAm trickle through the series because they are key components of the S’Hsib feud that's brewing. Trez is the "Chosen One" of his people and therefore must marry the S'Hsib princess to complete their mating ritual. Fortunately for Serena, Trez has been running from that position for years and doesn't plan on stopping anytime soon. He finally gets the girl and wont let anything interfere with their future plans. Trez is different than most of Ward's male characters; he isn't afraid to wear his heart on his sleeve and be romantic and mushy. That is what really set this novel apart for me. 

Usually, Ward focuses on two main characters in her novels, with supporting minor characters to go with. However, here she throws a curve ball; while Trez and Serena are busy trying to fight fate, iAm is trying to fight the ritual that has his brother ensnared. Little does he know, the Princess of the S'Hsib tribe also has a curve ball to throw, and when the two finally collide....its nothing but a hot mess!

The only negative thing that I have to say about this novel, which it really isn't negative but more questionable, was that I hated how Ward ended it. For now, there is no talk of a BDB #14 in the works, which is good, because I don't have any idea how Ward would come back from where she ended this novel. I'm sad, too, because the ending is so real, it sucks everything positive out of the air and just basically ends. However, if this truly is the end of BDB, it was a great way to go out. Overall, I give it a solid 4 stars. If you're a fan of the series, definitely read it! If you've never read the series, start it!

Victoria ♥

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

New Release Review | MASTERED by Maya Banks

Mastered by Maya Banks
Adult Romance Published December 29, 2015
Berkeley
Author's website  |  Goodreads  |  Buy the Book on Amazon

Synopsis from Goodreads:

What he wants, he takes with no remorse or guilt.
She stood out in his club like a gem, unspoiled and untouched. A lamb among wolves, she clearly didn’t belong. Drawn to her innocence he watched as she was surrounded by men who saw what he did—but no one but him could touch her. He summoned her to his private quarters. He sensed her fear. He also recognized the desire in her eyes. And he knew she wouldn’t leave before he possessed her. She had no need to know his secrets. Not until he had her under his complete and utter control.
What he wants, she isn’t sure she can give him.
The moment he told her want he wanted, she couldn’t resist. Instinct told her to run, but her heart said stay and walk the fine line between pleasure and pain. Though she wasn’t sure she could ever completely surrender, the primal part of her wanted to try, even knowing this man could break her in ways she never imagined. Because once he possessed her, he owned her and it would be too late to turn back. She can only pray that he doesn’t destroy her in the end.
My Thoughts...
I will say right off that this was not my favorite of Maya Banks' books.  I wasn't bad, but my favorite series of hers is the Breathless Trilogy and this is nowhere near as good as those books are.  I almost hate to say this but the more I read the more I am finding it true....the whole dom/sub, "I own you", rich man/poor woman thing may have been semi-okay for a while, but I think, as a reader, that I am over it.  It's been overdone at this point and I think that this book, in particular, has a good enough underlying story that it would have been a better story without it.  

Evangeline is a young woman who quit school, got a GED and has been working like a crazy woman to send money home to help her parents for several years now.  She was humiliated by a man and is out for one night to prove that she's better than how he treated her.  Impulse is a club where she stands out like a sore thumb...she knows she doesn't belong, but when Drake sees her all he wants is for her to belong to him.  Drake started out poor, but has worked his way to being (apparently) one of the richest men in New York City and lets be honest, we all know what he is!  He may own clubs, and big fancy buildings, but he's a mobster and Evangeline has no clue, in fact she barely even wonders about it most of the time.

This story ends on a cliffhanger similar to the one in Fifty Shades of Grey and that's what will keep me reading this story.  That and the fact that I loved all the men that surrounded Drake, especially Silas and Maddox.  This is where I have some issues...I didn't especially care for either Drake or Evangeline, but I LOVED the minor characters and really would like to read more about them.  Drake is abrasive and demanding and I usually like male leads, but I didn't really get a good feeling about him throughout the whole book.  There wasn't anything about him that I would pick out that I really connected with.  The same goes for Evangeline, she was in her head all the time, overthinking things, making assumptions, changing her mind on a whim and I never got a sense that she was grounded or really knew what she wanted.  But then you have a character like Silas who is all mysterious and I connected more with him in the little time he was in the picture than I did the 2 leads.  

The bulk of the story takes place over the course of just a couple of days which is moving WAY too quickly for what happens in the story.  It's wholly unbelievable and there were some issues that could have been worked out with better editing possibly.  There needed to be more backstory or something to make parts of the story work more smoothly.  There was just something missing for me and it's hard to pinpoint exactly what it was.  This does have a handful of sex scenes, but there weren't up to par with her previous work.  They were awkward and, in my opinion, not as sexy as they were intended to be.  She took Evangeline to places where no inexperienced woman would be comfortable going with a man she just met days before.

I do want to read the rest of the series because I want to see how it works itself out, but like I said Maya Banks has better series out there for sure.  If you haven't read any of her work I don't suggest starting with this one. 

XOXO, Shelly

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

Monday, December 14, 2015

New Release Blog Tour Review | Sweet Soul by Tillie Cole

Sweet Soul by Tillie Cole 
Series: Sweet Home #4
Age group: New adult
Genre: Contemporary romance

Release date: 15th December 2015

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

Synopsis from Goodreads:

One shy lost soul.
One silent lonely heart.One love to save them both.

Life has never been easy for twenty-year-old Levi Carillo. The youngest of the Carillo boys, Levi is nothing like his older brothers. He isn’t dark in looks or intimidating to everyone he meets. In fact, he’s quite the opposite. Haunted by a crippling shyness and the tragic events of his past, Levi spends his days with his head buried in his books, or training hard for his college football team. Too timid to talk to girls, Levi stays as far away as possible and completely on his own… until he saves the life of a troubled pretty blonde, a troubled pretty blonde that might just be the exception to his rule.


Elsie Hall is homeless. Or at least that’s all anyone ever sees. Everyday is a fight for survival on the cold streets of Seattle, everyday a struggle to find food and keep warm. Alone in life—a life that’s dangerous and cruel—her will to keep going is an ever-losing battle. In her world of silence, Elsie has given up hope that her life will contain anything but constant struggle and pain… until the beautiful boy she has severely wronged comes to her rescue at precisely the right time.


New Adult novel—contains sexual situations and mature topics. Suited for ages 18 and up.



My Thoughts....

Let me first just say, I am SO thankful Tillie lengthened this to a full scale novel instead of keeping it a novella as originally planned. Levi and Elsie's story is a story so powerful, it just couldn't be cut short. I fell in love with Carillo brothers back in 2014 and I am so happy to see them finally get their happy ever after. They each overcame so much, dealt with so many demons, it is a relief to see them all happy and loved. 

Being the baby of the Carillo boys, Levi isn't like his brothers. He isn't  hard and reserved like Axel, or a partyboy like Austin. He's quite, compassionate, and shy. Calling Levi "soft" may sound like a negative thing, but I mean it in a naturally innocent type of way. Even though he was extremely young when tragedy struck his family, Levi still experienced the pain; the pain of losing a brother, losing a mother, and almost losing himself. He did things and saw things no child should have to ever see or do, and even after leaving it all behind, the past still haunts him. 

Elsie is probably the most genuine, most beautiful, most humble female character I've ever had the pleasure to meet. Born into a world that doesn't understand her, Elsie has no choice but to fend for herself. Life on the streets hasn't been good to her and she's hobbling around on her last leg. When Elsie is forced to steal food in order to eat, she knows she has reached the end of her rope. She has no home, no friends, and no family. Just when she is sure life has no meaning and is ready to throw in the towel, Levi Carillo is there is remind her why she must keep fighting. What started as a courtesy call, Levi and Elsie's story becomes a life long commitment.

Sweet Soul isn't like the rest of the series; it's soft. Again, by soft I mean that it doesn't revolve around life's hard edges. In terms of candy, Sweet Soul is the caramel gooey center of a hard nutty truffle. I think it was a perfect ending novel to the series, because it sums up the amount of love and adoration this family deserves. Be prepared to cry; I did from like the 10th page on. The amount of gentleness this novel seeps will absolutely melt your heart. My heart broke for Elsie and Levi, but was sewn back together by their love story. As always, Cole does not disappoint

Victoria ♥


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

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