Review: Black Sheep by Zara Cox

Review: Black Sheep by Zara CoxBlack Sheep by Zara Cox
Series: Dark Desires #2
Published by Forever Romance March 14, 2017
Genres: Dark Romance, Erotica
Pages: 320
Format: ARC
Source: Copy for Honest Review
Also by this author: Porn Star (I #1)
Amazon US
Goodreads

In a family of cold-hearted black sheep,
I, Axel Rutherford, am the blackest.
My father has hated me since the day I was born. The feeling was mutual. In the shady underworld that was my legacy, Cleo McCarthy became my light. She was beautiful, passionate, and my whole world. So naturally my father had to destroy us. First he sent me away. Next he claimed Cleo as his own. But now I've returned, and nothing will stop me from taking back everything that is rightfully mine.

He was the love of my life - when my life was still my own.
We were young enough to believe we would last forever, Axel and I. But neither of us realized how cruel life - and our families - could be. Now I'm trapped in a gilded cage: desired by Axel, who must never know the full truth, and controlled by his father, who would sooner see me dead than free. And I wouldn't even care, except that it's no longer only my life at stake.

Black Sheep may be the second installment in Cox’s Dark Desires series, but it is so loosely related to the first book (I, Porn Star), that you do not have to read that title before jumping right into this one.

Jumping in is exactly what I suggest you do! Black Sheep mixes second chance romance, a dirty talking hero, and scandalous deceptions with an easy expertise.

Axel is the estranged son of a mob boss. His father is desperate to bring him back to the fold, by any means. Including tempting him with the love of his life, Cleo, who left Axel’s bed in the worst sort of betrayal.  Axel has plans of his own, however, and Cleo and his father sit in the center of them. You get a bit of a Romeo and Juliet – star crossed lovers – feel with the added danger of mobster lifestyles.

This story moves fairly quickly, but is full of twisty secrets. Cleo hates Axel for reasons he doesn’t know. Axel hates Cleo for reasons she doesn’t know. Neither has the full story, they’ve been fed lies and half truths for so many years. The hatred, though, only feeds the sexual tension that still sizzles between them, which leads to some steamy sex scenes. Even though the story is a bit rushed at times, you still feel the depth of the secrets and the hurt of the betrayals. I found it very easy to like both Axel and Cleo, right from the start.  Seriously, Axel’s dirty talk was an A+, for me!

The ending could have been fleshed out a little more to my liking, but overall Cox vastly improved in style and emotion from I, Porn Star to Black Sheep. Which has me eager for round three, Wicked S.O.B., due out this August.


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Chat Review: Black Hearts by Karina HalleBlack Hearts by Karina Halle
Series: Sins Duet #1
February 19, 2017
Genres: Romantic Suspense, Romance
Pages: 238
Format: ARC
Source: Copy for Honest Review
Also by this author: Dust to Dust
Amazon US
Goodreads

For Vicente Bernal, truth is all he’s known. The son of an infamous drug lord, Vicente was born to help run the family business, which means he’s been raised on a throne of sordid pasts and dirty laundry, violence and pride. But when Vicente stumbles across someone he’s not supposed to know about – a woman from his father’s checkered past – he sets out to California to find her behind his father’s back.

What Vicente doesn’t expect to find in San Francisco is Violet McQueen, the woman’s twenty-year old daughter. Beautiful and edgy with a vulnerability he can’t resist, Violet tempts Vicente from afar and though he promised himself he’d stay away from her, curiosity and lust are powerful forces. Besides, Vicente has always gotten everything he wants – why shouldn’t he have Violet too?

Soon his wants turn into an obsession, one that sweeps Violet into his games as they fall madly, deeply in love with each other, the type of first love that can drive a person mad.

But it’s a love with tragic consequences.

Both the truth – and the lies – not only threaten to tear them apart, but threaten their very lives.

Someone has to pay for the sins of the fathers.

And they’ll be paying the price with their souls.

 

Review is probably not the best word for this. It should just be described as ‘that time Tiffany and Ali reminisced about the characters they love’. Hopefully, you get something out of this. Hopefully, that something is that you want to read this book. 😉

What three words would you use to best describe Black Hearts?

Tiffany: You always do this to me and it’s hard. Lol. But let me try… Vicente, Javier, Bernal. Because that blood line is FUCKING GOLD!

Ali: Javier is back.

Tiffany: Hahah! I mean Javier is a self centered asshole it makes sense we have similar answers!

Ali: I love him and all his fucked up flaws.

Tiffany: FOREVER AND EVER!

Ali: Yes!

Tiffany: Dude…omg. Every part he was in, I just about died!

Ali: I know! I’m so glad age didn’t change him. He’ll be a grumpy ass murdering grandpa and I’ll still think he’s hot.

Seriously though, how exciting was it to see Ellie, Camden and Javier back on the pages?

Ali: It’s pretty awesome to get a glimpse of some of your all time favorite characters, years later. These three hold a very special place in my heart and one of them, in particular, is still living up to everything I loved about them from the start.

Tiffany: I totally agree with you although I read them like a year and a half go, no other drug lord trumps JAVIER, none. He is the ultimate. It took a second for me to adjust and envision them older while reading but once I did it was like NOSTALGIA HEAVEN.

And this…

Javier feels remorse snake through his body but then it’s gone. It never stays for long. It knows it’s not welcome.

Ali: Fuck. That’s so good. 

Tiffany: But this is my favorite: 

Wherever they go, we will follow. If he wants to fall in love while getting his dick sucked, it will only make his own life harder, not mine.

First impressions of Violet?

Tiffany: She kind of bored me, not in like a bad way where I didn’t like her but her personality was a bit monotone. I did however LOVE that she is an aspiring photographer. By the end though, I really did like her. But I think I especially liked her when her and Vicente had their first spat. I loved how she pushed back and didn’t accept him giving her bullshit.

Ali: She’s much more timid and sensitive than I expected from parents with such strong personalities. I think I expected someone edgier, someone with some bite. I guess I can understand how she’d be a more quiet and sensitive girl though, too. I imagine that could happen, constantly living around alpha types. I really had to have a good ‘think’ about her.

I agree, by the end I liked her more. I hope she comes in to her own in the next book.

Tiffany: Yes! There was definitely layers to her that are slowly being peeled back. I can’t wait to see what Vicente evokes out of her.

First impressions of Vicente?

Tiffany: Actually I wavered with my impression on him at first. Seeing as he is the son of Javier I instantly was in love with him but I think I was expecting him to be just like Javier. Then when he wasn’t I was like WHAT?! But that was my own personal hinderance I had to get over. Once I did, I was like damn! And he likes licking all the frosting off the cupcake if you know what I mean!

Ali: I thought the same. I expected him to be so diabolical. Where as he’s much more calculated and methodical.
Javier is too, but he was a bit more of a hip shooter. Vicente doesn’t give me that same feel.

Tiffany: Yes that’s it’s exactly it, Vicente has more feelings than Javier and it’s like an ice water shock. Lol

Ali: Yes! That’s a good way to put it. But, I loved him no less. He’s much more in tune with his feelings but his mind is still totally twisted.

I wonder what our take would be on it, had we not read The Artist Trilogy and Dirty Angels series first. I bet it would be completely different. We should have made Leah read this with us.

Tiffany: We should have!

Man… that part where Vicente was like I heard stories of what my dad did to Esteban. Seriously at the thought of Esteban I physically shrieked!

Ali: Hahaha! Esteban is not an image you easily forget. 

Tiffany: That (Dirty Promises) is still one of the most gruesome books I’ve ever read. 

Ali: Me too. So violent. I mean, it’s a drug cartel, so it’s fitting. But damn.

Tiffany: Luisa and the chicken. I couldn’t eat chicken for weeks!!!

I hope no one dies in the next book that matters, I couldn’t handle it. 

Ali: Hmmm. I don’t know how you get out of this situation with nobody dying. 

Tiffany: That’s what I’m most scared of. 

Ali: I have a feeling the four parents are not going to be all rainbows and unicorns about this love connection. 

Tiffany: You know even though I’m all for Javier I’m excited to see how Camden reacts, I want to see his violence unleashed!!

Ali: OMG, ragey Camden. Yes, please. For all the days.

Honestly though, I really want to see Vicente and Violet to just take all of this to the street and teach their parents to butt the fuck out.

Tiffany: Yes! I have a feeling Luisa is going to pull some ninja shit. Idk what but I have a feeling.

One thing is for sure, March 17th couldn’t be further away! This will definitely be where we see how truly similar or different Vicente is from his papa.

Ali: I’m pretty anxious for that showdown!

About Karina Halle

Karina Halle is a former travel writer and music journalist and The New York Times, Wall Street Journal and USA Today Bestselling author of Where Sea Meets Sky, Racing the Sun, The Pact, Love, in English, The Artists Trilogy, Dirty Angels and over 20 other wild and romantic reads. She lives on an island off the coast of British Columbia with her husband and her rescue pup, where she drinks a lot of wine, hikes a lot of trails and devours a lot of books.

Halle is represented by the Waxman Leavell Agency and is both self-published and published by Atria Books/Simon & Schuster and Hachette in North America and in the UK.

Hit her up on Instagram at @authorHalle, on Twitter at @MetalBlonde and on Facebook. You can also visit www.authorkarinahalle.com and sign up for the newsletter for news, excerpts, previews, private book signing sales and more.


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Review: Deep Redemption by Tillie Cole

Review: Deep Redemption by Tillie ColeDeep Redemption by Tillie Cole
Published by Tillie Cole July 12th, 2016
Genres: Dark, Dark Romance
Format: ARC
Source: Copy for Honest Review
Also in this series: Souls Unfractured
Also by this author: Souls Unfractured

ONLY THROUGH BLOOD CAN THE DEEPEST REDEMPTION BE FOUND…

He was born to ascend.
He was destined to lead.
He was never meant to fail.

Prophet Cain lies broken and defeated on the floor of his cell. A cell he has been thrown into by the one person who was supposed to stand by his side until the end. His flesh and blood, his only companion. His beloved twin brother.
Cain has sacrificed everything for his people. He left the safety and security of his life of study to infiltrate the infamous Hades Hangmen. He lived with them, rode with them, and then betrayed them. All in the name of a faith he can now feel slipping away from him. Like everything else he once held dear…

But then his isolation is broken. Another prisoner is brought to the cell next to his. A woman fighting her own demons and fears. A woman who Cain understands needs him, as he needs her.

As the connection between them grows, so does Cain’s resolve. He will right the wrongs he has done. He will atone for the evil acts carried out in his name. He will save the one he loves…
… Even if the battle takes him to the gates of hell itself.

ALL HAIL THE PROPHET! 

What the fuck did I just read?! Like did all of that really happen?! Did my eyes just digest all the words Tillie spilt on these pages, pages that I adore might I add. (No surprise there I am sure!) Now at that the risk of sounding like a broken record I am going to say Deep Redemption was one of my most anticipated reads of the year, let’s be real here, all of TC’s books rank high on my list but this one even more so as book three in the Hades Hangmen Series ,Unfractured Souls, left a big gaping hole in my heart! *cue the dramatics*

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We all know the ending of that and I will refrain from elaborating for anyone who hasn’t yet read this MC series or maybe just hasn’t yet read book 3.  I’m not sure I would call it a cliffhanger but it definitely left a lot of doors open for speculation.

So how did I really feel… Confused, infuriated, happy, REALLY HAPPY, REALLY SAD, and then complete, basically I felt all of it.  Which is expected of course but still my emotions could not control themselves with this book, they raged and literally made me lose my mind.  So many revelations for so many characters, so much growth and set backs in said characters.  All the complexities are what make this series one of my all time faves!

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Now remember all those emotions from above, well I’m going to try and base my review off of those to keep this as SPOILER FREE as possible. Here we go in order:

  1. Confused- I know I’m supposed to hate Rider/ Cain but I didn’t I mean I finally understood him and it helped me to see him in a different perspective. Granted its not like I hated him to begin with but I was mad at him. Bottom line I love him, not in the way I love Styx but he repented in a way I couldn’t imagine him doing if he wasn’t truly sorry or remorseful.
  2. Infuriated- I will forever HATE Judah, I mean all caps shouting and shit hate him! Fuck him! Sadistic-pedophile prick and that little whore Sarai, no just no, I mean since Souls Unfractured I’ve wanted to gut that little cult freak my damn self.  This covers nothing of the infuriation I feel but know there’s more reason but remember I’m trying to stay spoiler free and shit.
  3. Happy- Finally things were changing paths and I loved it, there was a little weight lifted from my heart for these characters. Enter Harmony, God I love her with something fierce.  I truly believe she is Rider/Cain’s redemption.  But more than that she brought a fresh view she was strong and held her ground (not that I didn’t love the others, cause Mae is my best friend) she fought so hard that she demanded her respect but not just for herself she stood for Rider when no one else would.
  4. REALLY SAD- Sad fucking piercing ugly girl crying sad. Just unleashed no fucking way hurt all the way down to my soul and then back up again sad. I wish I could say exactly what made me sad and basically vomit in my own mouth.  Only two other books have soiled me from the inside like that creating rage then seeping into sadness for the unfairness of the situation.
  5. Complete- Now a lot happened from my above sad but this is thing, all the things, I never finish a book from Tillie and think I wish there were more or this feels unresolved. I feel whole like all the small details are there and every conflict has reached a resolution, well all the ones that needed to be resolved at least until the next book. Like all the trials I have been put through by the hands of TC have all been part of a bigger picture a puzzle piece locking into place.

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After reading through this I’ve realized this is over 600 words of me just just ranting and I sort of apologize for that but I mean really this puts us four books in now so if you are already a Hangmen fan you get the gist.  If you are completely new to this series hopefully my emotions will want to help provoke some of your own, and I would highly recommend it seeing as the first four books are .99 each! 

It Ain’t Me, Babe – Amazon US: http://amzn.to/29T14Ce

Heart Recaptured- Amazon US: http://amzn.to/2alcNrv

Souls Unfractured – Amazon US: http://amzn.to/29T06pV


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The DNF Journals: Dark Mafia Prince by Annika Martin

The DNF Journals: Dark Mafia Prince by Annika MartinDark Mafia Prince by Annika Martin
June 28, 2016
Genres: Dark Romance
Format: ARC
Source: Copy for Honest Review

THE DARK MAFIA PRINCE IS BACK TO RECLAIM ALL THAT HER FAMILY STOLE.

Aleksio

Don’t look at me like that. So trusting.

Like you think I’m not a monster.

Like I won’t wrap your hair in my fist and bend you to my will.

Like I won’t sacrifice you, piece by piece, to save my brother.
I’m the most dangerous enemy you’ll ever have because every time you look at me, you see somebody good. That friend who died.
And when you look at me like that, I die again.

Mira
I spent years making myself invisible.
A good girl, apart from the noise.
Then you came back, beautiful and deadly in your Armani suit.

Don’t look at me like you still know me, you say.

But I remember your smile and those sunny days.
Before they lowered your small casket into the ground.

Before they told us the prince was dead.

Let me start off by saying I really wanted to love this story, I really tried.  I thought to myself this would be such a pretty paperback to have on my shelf, the sypnosis sounded promising enough, and I love mafia romance so I found myself excited to read this.

I made it to 20% in and I was initially ready to DNF at 10% but I wanted to give it the benefit of the doubt before I called it quits.

Each chapter alternates between Mira & Aleksio’s POV and I felt as if it weren’t for the chapter heading advising which character was narrating I would of mistaken it for a single POV book. Their voices sort of meshed together and I felt like there could of been a bit more distinction to their tone.

***M I L D  S P O I L E R S***

Seriously stop now if you aren’t okay with spoilers, they aren’t major but I’m giving you fair warning now.

As hinted in the sypnosis Aleksio has felt he has been wronged by Mira’s family and he is back to set things straight and take back his kingdom. Early on a plan is set in motion and well fast forward he is acting upon that plan and Mira and her dad happen to be his main targets.  This is where is quickly went down hill for me…

The first confrontation was hard for me over and over Mira kept mentioning how familiar Alek was to her and I get that as an initial thought but girl you have more important things to worry about now you are being held against your will! Fast forward just a little and Alkesio does not get the information he hopes for which sends him on a bit of a detour and he takes the mafia barbie with him making sure to keep her close as leverage.  His inner thoughts and voiced dialogue was a bit off putting for me as well at one point he said how laughing baby cartoon characters eventually morph into something evil and Mira responded with something such as thanks for ruining that and whats next Santa Claus.

Finally one of the henchmen was described wearing a winter hat and having bleached tips, I just couldn’t imagine someone in the Bratva having bleached hair.

As much as I wanted to keep reading I couldn’t, I did however scroll to the very last chapter to see how things ended and even then I was a little let down with Alek.  I think I just wanted him to be meaner and really just more of an asshole.

Sadly this one just wasn’t for me.


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Review: Hush by E.K. Blair

Review: Hush by E.K. BlairHush by E.K. Blair
Series: Black Lotus #3
April 12, 2016
Genres: Dark Romance
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Also in this series: Echo
Also by this author: Echo
Amazon US | B&N
Goodreads

I've come to learn there is no escaping your past.

It doesn't matter what you do, it will follow like a phantom--haunting you--reminding you.

While Hush is my least favorite book of the Black Lotus series, I have to bow down a little to the big balls over there on E.K. Blair. She threw something into this finale that I don’t think many romance authors would have the moxie to pull off.

That’s a plus. A huge plus. I think “that thing that won’t be mentioned because I refuse to spoil this book for anyone” was the most fitting thing to happen in this final book.

The desperation and loneliness that Hush evoked was definitely another plus.  Sometimes you can be surrounded by people but still feel absolutely alone in your pain and misery.  This is the case for both Elizabeth and the man in her life.  I’ll be vague there for anyone who has yet to read Echo, book two.  I felt Elizabeth’s depression and her rage at the belief that no single soul ever loved her enough to just stay with her.  That’s a testament to Blair’s writing, to have my heart stutter step at several parts of this book because I can’t imagine the pain someone in her situation would be feeling.

BUT, there were some minuses too.

First off, sometimes, the thesaurus is not your BFF.  I’m all for people with big vocabularies. However, at times, it’s just too distracting. If I have to keep pausing in my read to look up a word that I think is a damn plant but is actually a color or some shit AND then I have to process what exactly is being said with that sentence…I fall out of the book’s world.  I lose the feel. I can handle that a couple of times in a book, but it happened too often in Hush for my liking. Call me simple minded, I’m okay with that. Also keep in mind though, Elizabeth only has a 9th grade education. I’m not a firm believer that reading text books later in life makes you as scholarly as she sounded at times.

Two, I really did not enjoy the epilogue. It was too child like, it threw the feel of the book off for me. Just not my thing.

Three, there were a couple of things that seemed too contrived or too easy.  The utility bill, for one.  Also, Elizabeth’s hate for certain “new characters” really, REALLY, bothered me.  Maybe that’s because of my own personal life and feelings on the subject.  Regardless, I didn’t like it. 

Sidenote: WRITING ABSOLUTELY SPOILER FREE REVIEWS IS SO DAMN HARD

If you read both Bang and Echo, you know they each have a different feel to them.  Hush is not different in that respect. It’s not as raw, not a violent, not as dark.  It focuses more on healing and moving on.  Some readers may find that strange, I found it to be a proper feel for the final book.

Reading back through the above, it kind of sounds like I disliked this one more than I liked it. That isn’t the case though.  Overall, I really enjoyed it. Didn’t love it, but really enjoyed it.  Perhaps most of my love for this book is because of that big ball move that Blair made.  It was so, so fitting and really beautiful in a totally fucked up way and I loved that she did ‘it’.  You know, that thing that I can’t mention?!?!

 

About E.K. Blair

New York Times, USA Today, and International bestselling author, E.K. Blair, takes her readers on an emotional roller coaster with her books. A former first grade teacher with an imagination that runs wild. Daydreaming and zoning out is how she was often found in high school. Blair tends to drift towards everything dark and moody and has been noted as ‘The Queen of Dark and Twisted’. Give her a character and she will take pleasure in breaking them down, digging into their core to find what lies underneath.

Aside from writing, E.K. Blair finds pleasure in music, drinking her Starbucks in peace, and spending time with her friends. She’s a thinker, an artist, a wife, a mom, and everything in between.


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RERUN Reviews: Bang by E.K. Blair

RERUN Reviews: Bang by E.K. BlairBang by E.K. Blair
Series: Black Lotus #1
May 9, 2014
Genres: Dark Romance
Pages: 418
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Also in this series: Echo
Also by this author: Echo
Amazon US
Goodreads

They say when you take revenge against another you lose a part of your innocence.
But I’m not innocent.
I haven’t been for a very long time.
My innocence was stolen from me. Taken was the life I was supposed to have. The soul I was born with. The ruby heart embedded in a life full of hopes and dreams.

Gone.
Vanished.

I never even had a choice.
I mourn that life. Mourn the what-ifs.
Until now.
I’m ready to take back what was always meant to be mine.

But every plan has a fatal flaw. Sometimes it’s the heart.

**Due to the dark and explicit nature of this book, it is recommended for mature audiences only as some scenes may be particularly disturbing.**

Rerun Reviews features reviews by Debbie, previously published on Keep Calm Read Romance or Talk Supe — and reviews by Ali previously published on GingerRead Reviews.

If, like me, you like your romance laced with all things dark and sinister…this is the book for you.  To say I was surprised by where the story of BANG went, would be an understatement.  Blair expertly took me on a wild ride from start to finish.

Vengeance is a funny thing.  It comes in two forms.  Some seek vengeance as retribution for a grievous crime against an innocent person.  Wanting to right a wrong.  Wanting for something good to come out of something bad.  Others will seek vengeance in a much more evil and twisted way.  Wanting more bad to come out of the original crime. 

Either way, you feel you are in “the right” for seeking such balance.  Even if you aren’t.  

The twisted tale of BANG is very much a story of vengeance.  A woman so desperate to cause some level of pain on the people she believes were instrumental in ruining her life.  What she will do for her vengeance has no boundaries.  

But maybe people like me aren’t supposed to be saved. Maybe I’m just destined to bear the weight of the demons that lurk among the good.


Until she meets someone that shows her a different way to live. Someone who gives her what she never had, what she never knew she needed and can bring a little light to a life full of darkness.  But the web is too well weaved to escape it that easily.

BANG is not a book for the faint of heart.  There are some extremely horrific moments in it that if they don’t make your stomach turn, you aren’t quite human.  

The heart is a weapon—a self-inflicting weapon—that if not trained properly, can destroy a person.

One thing that I truly loved about BANG is how well Blair wrote the characters.  Even the ones you should hate by the end of the book, are really difficult too.  They are not black and white people, their lines are blurred and you can’t help but sympathize with them on some level.

BANG will disturb you, rattle you, excite you, make you sweat, make you cringe, make you hot. It’s an intense read with an ending that will have you sad, livid and guessing at what is to come.  

BANG is one of my favorite reads of the year and I think it will be lingering around in my brain for months to come.  

About E.K. Blair

New York Times, USA Today, and International bestselling author, E.K. Blair, takes her readers on an emotional roller coaster with her books. A former first grade teacher with an imagination that runs wild. Daydreaming and zoning out is how she was often found in high school. Blair tends to drift towards everything dark and moody and has been noted as ‘The Queen of Dark and Twisted’. Give her a character and she will take pleasure in breaking them down, digging into their core to find what lies underneath.

Aside from writing, E.K. Blair finds pleasure in music, drinking her Starbucks in peace, and spending time with her friends. She’s a thinker, an artist, a wife, a mom, and everything in between.


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Review: Reap by Tillie Cole

Review: Reap by Tillie ColeReap (Scarred Souls, #2) by Tillie Cole
Published by St. Martin's Griffin November 10th 2015
Genres: Dark, Dark Romance, Fiction
Format: ARC, eBook
Source: Copy for Honest Review
Also by this author: Souls Unfractured
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...

INSTANTLY after finishing this book all I wanted to do was start it again, but that’s the effect of Tillie Cole, her words make you needy and ache for more until you are left helplessly full in a world this woman has created with characters you know better than yourself.

REAP is the second in a 4 book series and being this is book 2, the series is already half way done and I am mourning the end before it has even come. We were first introduced into this Russian family in book 1 titled RAZE and I along with the rest of the world did not know there would be more after the conclusion of Luka and Kisa’s soul matching love, but there was…

This is a forbidden love story a little different from the norm, considering Talia belongs to a Russian Bratva family and her love interest as she learns is none other than the enemy she’s been taught to hate her whole life. Okay so maybe not so different, but the love these two begin to foster is completely soul-shattering and in their case life altering. But how deep does that hate run and can one forget the damage thats been done, and can the other get past what still lies ahead to be learned?

“He wasn’t mine to have. He couldn’t be. It was a stupid naive obsession.”

One of the things that I absolutely loved about this book is that there are 3 POV’s… Talia, Zaal, and Raze all narrated and usually I am opposed to “too many” POV’s for the simple fact that it’s annoying and can be distracting, but it felt actually crucial in this book. I needed to experience Luka’s chapters almost if not more than I needed the others, his struggle to become the man he was expected to be played heavily into Talia and Zaal’s storyline and created a balance.

With all of that covered… I loved both Talia and Zaal’s characters, Tillie has this gift of crafting amazing characters in a nutshell nurturing heroines and need to be tamed heroes. But I can never say this enough her characters never waiver in their essence of who they are and we see the growth when need be. The connection was not immediate in this book but it was gradual and once it happened it was like a hammer to my heart, the space these two shared was completely beautiful and all-consuming. But the reality of their situation was also very sad and draining. Talia was looking for an escape only to be brought further into a life she was looking to hide from if only for a short while and Zaal literally had no sense of life or even basic knowledge of where he came from all he knew was that he had a master and he was to be obeyed.

“My stomach knotted so hard I thought I’d never breathe again, the crack in my soul so great I thought it would never heal.”

Lastly I want to address all that is ZAAL Kostava, this man has stolen all of me! He is the epitome of broken even though it is almost hard to believe when you take into account his physical form but oh my, my heart kept falling for him and then the final drop just shattered it.

He knew nothing more than the fate he served as a slave to a Georgian leader and the killer he was bred in to. He was experimented on since being only a mere child stripping him of any memories or human life he ever had. Watching Talia care for him the way she did knowing his capabilities and the threat he could be only made me love her more. Ugh I need this man to be REAL!

I would say throughout reading I had an inkling of the next book and the direction things were heading, so even though it was a little predictable it was completely shocking when a turn of events arised. All in all I loved this book and the journey it took me on, ZAAL Kostava, “You are for me?”

#REAPWHATYOUSOW

 

About Tillie Cole

After years of teaching high school Social Studies and following her Professional Rugby Player husband around Europe, they have settled in Calgary, Alberta where Tillie spends most of her days (and many a late night) lost in a writing euphoria or in her dream of pursuing a dazzling career as a barrel-racing, tasselled-chap, Stetson-wearing cowgirl… Ye-haw!
Tillie Cole is a Northern girl through and through. She originates from a place called Teesside on that little but awesomely sunny (okay I exaggerate) Isle called Great Britain. She was brought up surrounded by her mother — a farmer’s daughter, her crazy Scottish father, a savagely sarcastic sister and a multitude of rescue animals and horses.

Being a scary blend of Scottish and English, Tillie embraces both cultures; her English heritage through her love of HP sauce and freshly made Yorkshire Puddings, and her Scottish, which is mostly demonstrated by her frighteningly foul-mouthed episodes of pure rage and her much loved dirty jokes.


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