WHAT JUST HAPPENED?! I don’t even want to take the time to write this review- I need ANSWERS! In yet another episode of “searching Goodreads lists for my favorite tropes” I was over the moon to discover a book by A. Zavarelli on one of the lists. Say what? One of my favorite authors has a book with one of my favorite tropes, and I haven’t read it? Thank you, Jesus! This is just what I needed right now! I haven’t had a good reader high in too long. Obviously I thoroughly enjoyed this book- from start to maddening finish. Coerced relationship? Check. Over-possessive alpha hero? Check. Stalkerish tendencies that would yield a restraining order in real life. Yep… check. Be still my unhinged heart! I was frustrated in the best way by the push and pull of Ryland and Brighton. And all of the suspense woven in? I LOVED IT. There are still mysteries left to unravel in book 2, even beyond that cliffhanger (gearing up for one of my very favorite tropes in book 2, which I won’t name because spoiler). Gah- I’m so excited I found this duet! Me thinks I won’t be getting any sleep tonight- I have a VIB (very important book) to attend to. So now I’ll go skipping off to read book 2! Recommended!
This was my first read by this author, and I really enjoyed it. There was suspense coming from several angles- not just the main relationship. It kept the book moving- no lulls. I do wish there had been some resolution for Hannah’s parents, but everything else I can think of was resolved. I need my stories to have an HEA, and this one delivers. Granted it is more HFN than HEA, but this is NA- they are young. Let them be! Everything about this was good. The writing was good. The story, the characters’ back stories, the supporting characters, even the teasers laid for the next book (will poor Logan find love? My guess is… most likely)- all really good. That said, I’m on the fence as to whether this would be a re-read for me. But, to be fair, my re-reads are generally darker (kidnapping, forced marriage, etc.). That’s not to detract from whether this is a good NA book- it really is. I’d like to read more from this author, perhaps her romantic suspense. All in all, definitely a recommended NA read!
This was my second read in this series, and is likely to be my last. I struggled to finish this one, but momma didn’t raise no quitter. So here we are. I didn’t feel any suspense or action in this book. And where the first book was at least (one-sidedly) an enemies-to-lovers this one was just (again, one-sidedly) reluctant and scared-to-lovers. It didn’t give any urgency. I found it to be dull. I need some intrigue! Some suspense! Without that, what other than a pathological need to complete something will get me to finish the book? The answer is: nothing. I had no desire to finish this book. I made myself do it. I found the reason Trinity was mad at Drew to be weak. I’m sure almost any man who met a woman in a situation like that would lie. Unless he was only trying to get her into bed, of course. Outside of that, lying would make the woman get to know him as a person, not as a billionaire executive. That changes things- either dollar signs flash in the eyes, the woman becomes intimidated, or perhaps she even decides to bail due to a stereotypical distrust of wealthy men (which would have been my move). If I were Drew I would have lied, too. And he didn’t lie for a nefarious reason- it is understandable to want to be just “Drew” and not “Drew, the billionaire resort owner.” Trinity held her grudge ENTIRELY too long. She assigned a disproportionate amount of distrust. Anyway, I did not personally enjoy this book. The writing was decent, but it meandered along like a lazy river, and unfortunately I was bored.
This was my first read from this author, and I really enjoyed it. Secret baby is one of my favorite tropes, so I was pretty excited to find this series. I like that she held back and didn’t resolve all of the issues in one fell swoop- it kept the suspense going throughout the book. The paternity of Jacob wasn’t the only matter at hand, and I had to keep reading to see how everything would get resolved.
There is no mystery in this book as to what happened, who Jacob’s father is, etc. The mystery and suspense come into play regarding the interactions of the characters- who would find out what, and when? How would they react? Would there be appropriate groveling? We need answers! I can’t imagine being in the situation the heroine was in, and would have handled it initially the same way she did. As for how she handled being faced with the hero as an adult, she managed that better than I would have. I found this story very satisfying, and it scratched my secret baby trope itch. I’m looking forward to the next one.
Note: I read this as part of an anthology- it is not my normal cup of tea. A fun, breezy read. It doesn’t have a huge amount of substance to it- if it were a film it would be an adult video (perhaps made by women). A late-night Cinemax feature, maybe. Still, if that’s what you are in the mood for, it’s fun. I read a review that described this series as “campy,” and I think that hits the nail on the head. It isn’t serious. It isn’t dark. It isn’t going to have you in nail-biting suspense. I rated this based on what it IS, not what it isn’t. I personally prefer a dark romance with suspense elements every day of the week, and this isn’t that, but that isn’t the book’s fault. It’s my fault for going to the hardware store to buy milk, as it were. I liked the writing, and the snappy heroine. I think good differentiation was established between the male characters. You should be able to tell which character is in a conversation even if they aren’t named, and the author did that here. It is a light and breezy read, perfect for the beach. That said, it isn’t my normal kind of read as I generally prefer darker heroes/storylines (kidnapping, arranged marriage, and coercion, oh my!), and a good bit of suspense. As such I don’t plan to continue with this series.
Lawdy, November is proving to be an AMAZING month for book releases! I should have taken the whole thing off work, because… wow. I will be getting NO sleep. Because I have my priorities in order. Books being at #1.
November 22, 2019 the next book will be releasing! It’s a standalone forbidden romance featuring all-new characters. There is an age gap (the hero is older than the heroine) and a gruff, protective, rough around the edges hero whose moral compass could certainly use a little calibration, but… what fun would that be?
If you haven’t read Sam Mariano yet, and you like dark romance with super hot, alpha-tastic heroes, then I must insist you immediately stop what you are doing and go read her Morelli series (my #1 all-time favorite series). Or, if you can really tolerate some dark (and triggers), perhaps start with her fire-from-the-pages standalone, Untouchable. Did I mention that both the Morelli series and Untouchable are included in Kindle Unlimited? You’re welcome.
My introduction to this author was her amazing Elite Kings series, so I got a bit spoiled by that. I still really enjoyed this book. It was really good for a standalone. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again- I have been spoiled by series. They allow so much space for character and story development that standalones pale in comparison. Standalones are forced to develop faster, and it can come off a bit like insta-love. I loved this story, and these characters, and I only wish it had been a bit longer so the relationship/feelings between Beatrice and Aeron/Manik could have developed slower. It felt a bit quick to me. I thoroughly enjoyed the darkness of this book, particularly that of pretty much all of the characters with the exception of Beatrice. I liked that the author made Aeron/Manik conflicted about having feelings after being trained not to for his entire life. I loved the back stories of the characters, and the mystery throughout the book of how they intersected. I was on the edge of my seat trying to figure out what the secrets were- why was he supposed to keep her alive? Why was he supposed to stay away from her? Why was he supposed to get her back? Why was he supposed to prevent her from leaving? Who is she, really? Why does she matter? I had to know!! I love the gritty darkness of this author’s books, and I am so excited to dive into the rest of them!
Sadly I saw the twist in this book coming as well… dang it. The foreshadowing was a bit too heavy. That said, I still enjoyed the read. I enjoyed it a touch more than the first book, which is odd because book one included an overly-alpha hero who wouldn’t take no for an answer. That is WAY more my jam than a sheepish/insecure hero (which is how I saw Ryan). I would have liked to see Ryan have more confidence in himself- his misfires with trying to woo Valentina might be viewed as charming by some, but I prefer my male characters to be unshakable in their confidence. But, maybe that’s just me. I do enjoy reading series books that are connected standalones (as are these). It gives the book so much more room to advance the storyline when the characters do not ALSO have to be established from scratch within the same pages. So, bravo to the author for that. As with book 1, I recommend this book (and series, thus far) for a breezy, easy beach read. Recommended if you’re in the market for an easy, digestible read.
I liked the premise of this story- it seemed a bit different. This time the big city mobster came to the small town, and met the small-town girl. And she, once she found out who he was, wanted nothing to do with his lothario, mafia ways. Well, to be accurate, she most definitely did WANT something to do with it, but her head/logic were telling her to avoid him like the plague. Or like Wal-Mart on Black Friday. It’s a toss up which is worse. Anyway, this was a quick, enjoyable read. Unfortunately I saw the twist coming, so that was a bummer. Still, I enjoyed the read. I intend to read the next two books in the series as well. These are connected standalones (no cliffhangers), and so could technically be read individually. But, when series books take place in the same world I always read them in order. Is it OCD? A desire to wring the maximum enjoyment out of my reading experience? Let’s just go with that second one. Recommended for a quick, breezy mafia read with HEA.