Lord have mercy, this was a LONG one. Good, but very long. I liked that this book tied up a couple of loose ends from the previous book, which makes sense as it follows the development of Francesca and Salvatore’s relationship, which took place during the same timeline as the previous books. So basically this book, in addition to building that relationship, also gave other viewpoints/additional information about events that had already taken place. It also kind of turned on a couple of existing characters, making them less appealing than they had been in previous books. I found it interesting that I was so easily swayed into having a different opinion about those characters. How fickle I am. Disloyal. The Morellis would not approve. Overall a great book, but very much NOT a standalone. The experience would be very different if someone tried to read this without reading the series (in order). And why would someone do such a thing, anyway?
I LOVE THIS SERIES!! I love this world, these characters, this drama. How does Sam Mariano do it? How do I feel anything other than hate and disgust for Mateo? Kinda makes me disgusted with myself, honestly. Still- loved the drama. Love the head games and power plays from Mateo. Love the budding relationship between Adrian and Elise- him coming to realize that he can just step back and let her be who she is, and she will be happy. Love the planting of the seeds of the future books. I can’t wait to see what happens now- on to the next book!
Redeemed! I was admittedly disappointed in the most recent book I read by this author, but this one made it all better. The sexy times were hot, the characters made sense and were likable. I’m not sure I can see a red skirt without thinking of Jackson’s description of what he would (and did) do with it. HOT. I wish the story had been longer to allow for more development, more building of tension after Piper finds out her news, and before Jackson finds out. That part felt a bit rushed. That said, it was still good. I would recommend this for a fast, easy HEA read.
Finished Accidental Witness yesterday, and Surviving Mateo today. And wow- am I loving Sam Mariano! Mateo is… awful. Maddening. Terrifying. Unstable. Unpredictable. Controlling. Surprising. This book really kept it moving for me. I hate it when a story lags in the middle. None of that here! I can’t wait to keep reading the Morelli series! I love the characters. And the person who disappeared during this book? I gotsta find out what happened to them! After Accidental Witness I couldn’t imagine rooting for Mateo. He was just too awful. Unforgivable. Irredeemable. What he did was not excusable regardless of his intentions. That said, somehow, he softens in Surviving Mateo and I found myself rooting for the HEA. Not just for Meg, but surprisingly, for Mateo as well. Maybe because he is a damaged loose cannon, and perhaps she can reign in some of that volatility. Can’t write anymore- gotta go read some more of this series!
Oh my god, I love this book. This whole series. This author. I put it off because, and I know this is stupid, the cover came off more “suspense” than “dark romantic suspense” to me. I now see the error of my ways! What a great loss if I hadn’t taken the plunge! Now I read everything this author writes, “follow” (stalk) her on social media in pursuit of news or extra bits of content (which she gives in her Facebook group, by the way), and basically can’t get enough. And it all started with THIS BOOK.
The build up of the interactions between Vince and Mia is hot, and the suspense of “does he know” (yeah, he does), “does his family know?” (yeah, they do), and more kept me flying through the pages to see what happened next. The games his family plays are just… diabolical. I love that this author really embraces the dark side. Some authors in this genre dip their toe into the dark pool. Sam Mariano goes running past those weenies and does a cannonball right into the deep end, jackknife leg and all. If you are a fan of the dark romance/dark suspense genre like I am (“fan” is putting it mildly) then you will love this book. Also, make sure you have a LOT of free time so you can immediately move on to the remaining books in the series. Because you will. You’re welcome for the warning.
I love this author’s writing in general, and it was a fun change of pace to read these short stories, different than the longer novels I love so much. She wrote at the end of Infatuation that she’d like to revisit that world and wrote more, and I’d LOVE to see that! What happens with Lila and Alec? What is the deal with the cryptic references to Annabelle (Belle)? Why does Drew care about any of it? So many questions. Loved these short stories- good for when you are addicted to reading, but know you don’t have hours and hours to devote to a novel at a particular time. Recommended!
The chemistry between Raphael and Sofia had me ALL bothered. I’m a sucker for a cocky guy who gets in the heroine’s space, stands too close, presses himself up against her, boxes her in against something…. Raphael does all of these. To which I say, “Yes, please!” I loved the various twists and secrets- it kept me interested. I can’t be bothered with a schmexy story with no storyline, so I love that the author gave intrigue as well. My heart broke for how cruel Raphael’s father was to him and his mother. No wonder he was a bit messed up and angry. Of course he is, with what he endured. Raphael was fearless and tough to Sofia’s tentative and unsure, and I loved it. Recommended!
I loved this series, so it was interesting to read pivotal scenes from Tony’s POV. I am very glad the author didn’t completely rewrite the books from Tony’s POV- that would have been a lot on everyone. The scenes she DID include were the ones I would have wanted to see, anyway. I highly recommend reading this AFTER reading the series- at least after reading the first two books. Ideally, after reading the first three books unless you have the self-control of a saint, and can not read the epilogue or timeline in the back (spoilers for the third book). This series has SO much going on- it spans multiple locations, a very large cast of well-developed characters, and a span of several years (not counting flashbacks). I’m not sure I consider it a regular dark romance, but maybe a dark thriller with romance tendencies? That way I can stomach what took place in the first book. Recommended!
It took me a day to digest this and be able to write a review. I found the writing to be sound- the grammar was a lot better than many of the books in this genre, the characters had backstories, there were good descriptions used to give the reader good visuals of the characters and locations. That said, I almost didn’t finish this book. The scene relatively early with the belt was just too violent for me. I’m not offended by a belt spanking, but that’s not what happened there. That was a beating. A whipping. And I’m not ok with it. Then relatively shortly thereafter is a scene where he forces her into anal sex against her will (whether she later claims to enjoy it or not is immaterial to me- consent should be granted prior to penetration). Once I got past that the book got much more palatable, but those two scenes nearly made me put it down. I don’t so much consider this a dark romance as a dark tale of human trafficking/slavery. I can’t wrap my head around how Livvie could ever develop real, genuine feelings for the man who (physically and mentally) abused and humiliated her. I feel like Stockholm Syndrome and/or PTSD would be more likely than love. But I digress… I like the writer’s voice/style, and once I got past those hard scenes that made me feel a bit sick I was gripped by the story. Would she get away? Would he find her? What would happen when he found her? Although, real talk, I feel like I would’ve shot him when I had the gun before I ran off. She didn’t, and he was right on her heels with a quickness. Granted it turned out she had jumped from the pan into the fire and he ended up helping her, but if she had shot him to begin with she wouldn’t have been so desperate and may not have ended up with Tiny anyway. But then, we would have a different story where she gets saved, moves home, meets a nice boy, and has her HEA with him. So again, I digress. I gave four stars because, even though it was a little too much for me, I did find it to be a good book. If you have relatively steely nerves you will probably love this whole book. I DO recommend it to such people. If you are a little more squeamish like me, and look away from acts of harsh violence even in movies and TV shows, then this might not be for you. It is for this reason that I won’t be reading the second book right now. Or maybe ever. We’ll see.
I liked the humor injected into this book by way of Rage’s reactions and thoughts- I don’t remember any humor in the other King series books (well, maybe SOME with Preppy). I get that this is a standalone, but it is in the King universe so I consider it a King series book. Still, this was my least favorite of the King series. I think it’s because of the scene toward the end where Cody insists that Smoke have sex with Rage. I just didn’t believe that that’s what Cody would have done in that situation. He spent years obsessing over her- learning about weapons and explosives, even killed for her. It seemed odd to me that someone so obsessed would then, just as he is about to have sex with her himself, hand her over to Smoke and insist that Smoke do it, especially since he felt that Smoke had taken Rage away from him. That would have made more sense if Cody had rambled on about Nolan having taken what was his, what he should have taken that night after the prom. THEN forcing that interaction with Nolan looking on would have made more sense. But, even in that case, it still would have made more sense for Cody to do it himself. It just stuck out as so odd that it took me out of the story. Maybe I just didn’t see it. That said, I liked the rest of the book. 🙂