Review: Behind Closed Doors, by B. A. Paris

Behind Closed DoorsBehind Closed Doors by B.A. Paris
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Whew! This was certainly one creepy and screwed up story. I expected it to be really messed up, but not in quite the way that it was. A pervasive sense of uneasiness stayed with me the entire time that I was reading this book. Creepy…Very creepy.

The book opens with a dinner party at Jack and Grace’s home. Jack is a successful attorney, well-known for advocating for battered women. Grace is the soft-spoken, elegant wife. Everything about their life seems to be the picture of perfection.

It is all a lie. What goes on behind closed doors would shock their friends and the community. Nothing is what it seems. Jack is not the man that everyone thinks he is. Only Grace seems to be aware of his true nature and she is racing against the clock to stop him before he does worse than he already has.

This story kept me on the edge of my seat right up to the very last word. There was no time wasted and the story moved quickly. It was a nice change of pace for me.

I was appalled by some of the things that Jack did in this book. Yet, it was the anticipation and the fear of the unknown that was most chilling. Unlike other books dealing with abuse and sociopaths, ‘Behind Closed Doors’ did not provide a lot of graphic, gory details. Instead, the author chooses to give you just enough information to piece things together for yourself and leaves the rest to your imagination. If your mind is like mine, it can go to some pretty disturbing places when lead down that path.

There were several times that I did want to shake Grace. Mainly, I couldn’t understand how quickly she seemed to submit to Jack’s will. Although, seeing how things worked out for her on the few occasions when she did try to get away did help to convince me. It was unbelievable that Jack could wield so much influence, but it worked for the storyline I suppose.

Overall, this was a fantastic, fast-paced story. I listened to the Audible version and the narration was great. I highly recommend this standalone for anyone that loves a suspenseful, psychological thriller but cannot stomach the gory details. If you can keep your imagination under control, the author doesn’t provide any horrendous details that will leave you scarred. You will definitely be creeped out though. Count on that.

View all my reviews

Advertisements

Review: My Skylar, by Penelope Ward

My SkylarMy Skylar by Penelope Ward
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Once I finished ‘Jake Undone’, I had to start ‘My Skylar’ to get Skylar’s story. This book can be read as a standalone, but reading ‘Jake Undone’ will provide a brief introduction to Skylar and a little insight into her background. Similarly, you’ll have the backstory for Jake and Nina, Skylar’s super-supportive friends, if you’ve read that book first. However, it is not necessary to read ‘Jake Undone’ first to understand and/or enjoy ‘My Skylar’.

Skylar and Mitch meet when they are young children. Mitch’s grandmother lives across the street from Skylar’s family. He comes to stay with his grandmother one summer while his parents split up.

The two find that they have a lot in common, despite their separate upbringings. In no time at all, they become best friends. They spend every waking moment with each other, until Mitch has to return to his home.

When Mitch’s father shows up unexpectedly early to pick him up, he is surprised. He is only more surprised by the news that his parents are getting divorced. As a young boy, the demise of his parent’s marriage has shook his belief in the foundation of marriage. He even questions the permanence of “love”.

Skylar does not hear from Mitch for years. As a teenager, she hears his name at a party and immediately the memories come back. She has never forgotten the boy that walked into her life all those years ago, even if he seemed to have forgotten her.

When Mitch returns as a teenager to live with his mother in his grandmother’s home, Skylar and him pick up their friendship where they left off. It is almost like he never left. Only, now there is a definite sexual attraction brewing between the two.

This was a story that delivered a ton of angst and teenage melodrama. There were several times that I found myself wanting to shake Mitch and Skylar. So much heartache could’ve been avoided if they had only been open and honest with each other. It was incredibly frustrating at times, as they danced around each other ignoring the elephant in the room.

Along the way, the story takes a few unbelievable twists. I can’t say that I didn’t enjoy the story, but I did think that some of the twists were over-the-top. Skylar and Mitch were dramatic enough without having some of the extra twists in my opinion. I kept thinking “What else?”. It was like the universe was working to keep these two apart.

This story follows Mitch and Skylar’s relationship from childhood into adulthood and there are plenty of angst-filled moments along the way. They are together, then they aren’t. They’re inseparable, then they’re estranged. It was enough to give me whiplash at times.

Despite all of the back and forth, I found myself glued to my headphones while I listened to their story. It was angsty and over-the-top, but I loved it. My heart broke at times, but it worked out perfectly in the end. I recommend this story for anyone that loves a HEA, but isn’t afraid to work for it or cry a few tears along the way.

View all my reviews

Review: Jake Undone (Jake, #1), by Penelope Ward

Jake Undone (Jake, #1)Jake Undone by Penelope Ward
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

‘Jake Undone’ is one of those books that I’ve had sitting on my Audible shelf for quite some time, but never got around to listening to. After finishing a couple of great dark books, I was looking for something a little “lighter”. While this book ended up having some pretty emotional twists, it certainly was uplifting enough to balance out some of my recent dark, gory reads.

Admittedly, I was a little worried that I wouldn’t like it since my tastes have changed a bit. Lately, I’m finding that many of the college-aged, YA-type books just aren’t doing it for me. I was worried that this book would be one of those irritatingly immature romances that have started to lose their appeal for me. Luckily, ‘Jake Undone’ ended up being just right.

Nina Kennedy meets Jake Green when she moves into the apartment that he shares with a childhood friend of hers. Only, when Nina shows up she gets more than she bargained for. What better way to meet your new roommate for the first time than to eavesdrop on his steamy one night stand, right? Talk about awkward.

As Nina struggles to adjust to life in a new city, Jake becomes her primary source of support and comfort. The two become fast friends and the sexual tension is thick between the two. Jake becomes her math tutor and a life coach of sorts, helping Nina conquer the irrational fears that plague her daily life.

Little by little, Nina comes out of her shell. Jake helps her to face her fears and she is able to make it through her days without suffering from crippling anxiety. The two are practically inseparable, with the exception of the weekends when Jake has to return back to his hometown of Boston.

Jake is standoffish at times and avoids taking his relationship with Nina to the next level. They want each other, but his repeated brush-offs leave Nina feeling unwanted. That couldn’t be farther from the truth where Jake is concerned.

There is a huge part of Jake’s life that he hasn’t been upfront with Nina about. He doesn’t know how to tell her everything. The longer he waits, the more he fears losing her and the harder it gets to explain why he hasn’t already told her everything. Eventually, it all comes crashing down.

Even though I guessed the twist before it was revealed, it didn’t make it any less emotional or upsetting. I felt Nina’s pain. All the while, I felt Jake’s also. It was so easy to understand and to relate to each of their viewpoints. I was angry. I was heartbroken. Yet, I also felt compassion for Jake while admiring his loyalty and strength.

This was not a couple that came across their HEA easily. They had to fight for it, but eventually persevered. Although this story was heartbreaking at times, it was beautiful and worth the pain. I am glad that I finally made it a point to listen to this one. Overall, it was a great choice.

View all my reviews

Review: Entrapment (Infidelity, #4), by Aleatha Romig

Entrapment (Infidelity, #4)Entrapment by Aleatha Romig
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Intense

The fourth book in the ‘Infidelity’ series, ‘Entrapment’ serves to build tension and keep you on the edge of your seat. With only one book remaining in the series, this books paves the way for what is bound to be an explosive ending. Of course, you’ll be left hanging for a while longer, dying to know what fate awaits Alex and Nox, until the last book is released. Surely, you didn’t think your questions would be answered yet.

Picking up where the last book left off, Alex is back under the control of the diabolical trio–Alton, Suzanna and Bryce. Every move she makes is watched and her free will has been forfeited. The constant threat of having her mother harmed or being denied access to her mother is used to keep her in line.

Meanwhile, Nox and his father team up to try and rescue the women that they love from their house of horrors. Despite their troubled history, they have finally found some common ground and put their differences aside temporarily. It was nice to see the father-son duo working together for a change.

While I found Alex’s choices to be pretty frustrating in this book, I can see that the groundwork has been laid for an amazing finale. I spent a lot of time wanting to shake some sense into Alex this time around, much like Nox, I’m sure. Time after time, she placed herself in increasingly compromising positions. It was like she lost all sense of self-preservation.

Chelsea plays a more pivotal role in this installment as well. Her character really kept me engaged in the story. It was clear that she was suffering even more than Alex. Yet, she hung around out of a sense of loyalty to her best friend, despite being treated horribly. I gained a whole new respect for Chelsea.

Bryce also showed his true colors in this book. We’ve seen glimpses of his arrogant, ill-tempered behavior before, but now we’re given the whole, ugly truth. He is a psychopath!

When he was in a scene, the hairs on the back of my neck stood on end. This guy is a violent predator that gets off on humiliation and domination. Rest assured that Bryce probably has a string of victims everywhere he’s traveled.

Oren and Adelaide’s history continues to be revealed little by little. I enjoyed every little crumb of their story that was thrown my way. Poor Adelaide deserves to have someone watching out for her for a change.

Patrick also plays a crucial role in this book. I just love his character. Like Chelsea, he proves to be a loyal friend to Alex. His mother also stepped up to help out in this book, which was a nice twist.

While I loved the way everything seems to be coming together and building up to a big ending, I have to admit that I’m ready to see this series come to a close. With each book, this story gets more complicated and convoluted. I’ve enjoyed it, but I’m ready to see things come to a close.

The things that Alex and her mother have endured for the sake of money, all while claiming not to care about the money, is ridiculous. Why they just haven’t given Alton the middle finger and walked away is beyond me. It is kind of unbelievable, especially when they’ve both had incredibly wealthy men that have wanted to play knight in shining armor. I just don’t get it.

Overall, I thought this was another great addition to the series. In spite of my few reservations, I continue to enjoy this series. After the huge cliffhanger that this book ended with, I am dying to see how everything ends.

View all my reviews

Review: Fidelity (Infidelity, #5), by Aleatha Romig

Fidelity (Infidelity, #5)Fidelity by Aleatha Romig
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Aleatha Romig is one of my all-time favorite authors. She has a way of pulling me into her stories and keeping me utterly captivated from start to finish. I am addicted to her special brand of antiheroes. Nobody can craft a guy that you love to hate and hate to love quite like her.

It goes without saying that I devoured every word of the ‘Infidelity’ series. I loved the taboo and twisted circumstances that surrounded Nox and Charli throughout this series. They were nothing, if not complicated.

That being said, this series was not my favorite of Ms. Romig’s series. While I love the way she takes the time out to develop her characters and the storyline, at times that meant that the story seemed to move at a snail’s pace. There were several times when I found myself questioning the necessity of some of the redundant details while reading this series. Book 4, in particular, seemed to have several slow spots for me.

The fifth, and final, book in the series, ‘Fidelity’ ties up all of the loose ends. I wasn’t left with any lingering questions. I also felt quite satisfied with the way everything worked out, which was a far cry from how unsettled I felt at the end of the last book.

As expected, Nox and Charli, aka Alex, are a huge part of this book. However, I found myself equally intrigued with Oren and Adelaide’s story. Some of the supporting characters seemed to become a more important part of the story this time around, giving way to some new questions. I wonder if any of them will get their own spin-off books.

I thoroughly enjoyed ‘Fidelity’. It was a fantastic conclusion to a great series. As much as I enjoyed this series, I have to say that I’m glad to take a break from the Montagues, Fitzgeralds, Demetris and Spencers. It was nice to see things eventually work themselves out, but it was definitely exhausting.

View all my reviews

Review: Deception (Infidelity, #3), by Aleatha Romig

Deception (Infidelity, #3)Deception by Aleatha Romig
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

In this third book in the ‘Infidelity’ series, Alexandria’s life continues to prove to be ever more complicated than imagined. Betrayal after betrayal comes to light, revealing a complex web of deceit. The manipulations and lies are everywhere, with her own family seemingly controlling things from afar.

Despite a few rough patches, this book shows Nox and Charli settling into a more stable relationship. However, secrets revealed about Nox’s business affairs may prove to haunt them yet. It seems that his life is not entirely his own, much like Charli’s.

What made this book memorable to me was the history between Oren and Adelaide. As their past relationship was unveiled in small pieces interspersed among the present-day viewpoints, I found myself having to fight the urge to skip ahead until the next tidbit of their story was told. I was, and still am, dying to learn the full extent of what transpired between them.

Adelaide also proved to be the most interesting character for me in the present-day storyline as well. Finally, she is growing a spine and setting out to right some wrongs. Aside from her past with Oren, more details are provided about her past at Montague Manor, which provide more insight. She’s finally trying to fight back, even if doing so places her in grave danger.

Like each of the earlier books in this series, ‘Deception’ ends with a cliffhanger. Ms. Romig has dropped a big bomb and we’ll have to wait until September to see where she’s going to take us. With Alex back Under the influence of her crazy stepfather, there’s no telling what’s to come.

View all my reviews

Review: Cunning (Infidelity, #2), by Aleatha Romig

Cunning (Infidelity, #2)Cunning by Aleatha Romig
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Picking up where the first book left off, Nox now “owns” Alex for a year. Gone is the considerate man she was falling in love with in Del Mar, replaced by a cold, shut-off stranger, determined to degrade and punish her. Alex is determined to make it through this year and to leave him wanting her when their time is up.

As Alex and Nox’s story unfolds, they begin to reconnect again. Nox has some serious control and trust issues to work through. Meanwhile, Alex’s past refuses to go away and she has yet to explain everything about who she is to Nox.

When Alex’s best friend and roommate is attacked, they take a trip back to San Francisco. While there, Alex is confronted with some abhorrent accusations about Nox. Being far from forthcoming about his deceased wife, Nox inadvertently causes Alex’s suspicions to mount.

Flashing back in time, the story of Alex’s mother, Adelaide, unfolds. It seems that her relationship with Alex’s step-father, Alton, is more miserable than it first seemed. I actually felt bad for Adelaide as she recounted the events that led up to her marriage to Alton.

Talk about cold and calculating! This family is more screwed up than I could have imagined. It seems that Alex has more weight on her shoulders than she ever could have known.

Little by little, the mysteries surrounding Alex and Nox are beginning to be exposed. I enjoyed this chapter in their evolving story, but have to admit that I didn’t love it as much as I expected to. I expected some darkness and a twisted, disturbed anti-hero in Nox, reminiscent of Tony Rawlings. It didn’t happen. This book felt like it provided the necessary background information for things to come, but never really built to a climax for me.

Usually, Ms. Romig has me on the edge of my seat. This time around, the story seemed kind of “flat” for me. I kept waiting for something big to happen, but it never came. There was a bit of a twist at the end, but I’m sure it will be explained as a play on words in the next book.

Overall, I give it a solid 4 stars. Despite my gripes, Ms. Romig still writes a fantastic story. At her worst, her books are still far superior to most of the books I read. I’ll definitely be continuing this series. I only hope that the next book is a little more eventful. So many seeds have been planted now and I’m dying to see what becomes of them.

View all my reviews

Review: Betrayal (Infidelity, #1), by Aleatha Romig

Betrayal (Infidelity, #1)Betrayal by Aleatha Romig
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

What A Ride!

I cannot wait to get my hands on the next book in this series! I don’t think I’ve ever one-click, pre-ordered so quickly! The suspense is going to kill me while I wait two more months for the next book to be released.

After graduating from Stanford, Alex decides to spend a week with her best friend at a resort, cutting loose before she moves to NYC to begin law school at Columbia. She vows to have a week of fun, the likes of which responsible Alex never allowed herself to have before. Assuming the name of “Charli”, her free-spirited, fun-loving alter-ego, she finds more than she’d bargained for when she falls for the enigmatic Nox.

One week of fun was all it was supposed to be. No last names. No personal details. It was what they agreed upon. Alex couldn’t have imagined that one week would change her life so drastically.

Shortly after her time with Nox, Alex finds her world being turned upside down again. Summoned to return home by her mother, Alex is plunged back into a world she thought she’d left behind.

In no uncertain terms, she’s informed that she’s expected to marry and continue her family name. Until she does as she’s told, she won’t have access to her trust fund, or the means to support her lifestyle or pay her tuition. She’s allowed to complete her first semester at Columbia, only because it was already paid for.

Arriving in New York City, Alex is desperate. Her situation leads her to make some decisions that she never would have considered before, even a month prior. Unexpectedly, her past soon collides with her present reality.

The book ends with a cliffhanger that will keep me guessing until the next book is released in January 2016. I loved this story, but am kicking myself for doing this to myself. I knew I’d have to wait for the next book to be released and that it would kill me. So, let the waiting begin!

View all my reviews

Review: Raze (Scarred Souls, #1), by Tillie Cole

Raze (Scarred Souls, #1)Raze by Tillie Cole
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A Raw, Gritty, Story Of Revenge And Love

Holy hell! This was an intense and amazing story! I devoured this book. I was completely consumed by this story from the first paragraph, to the last. It was gruesome, sad, tragic, and at the same time, it was brutally beautiful. Surrounded by unspeakable acts of violence, an incredible love story unfolds.

I won’t be able to provide a better overview than what is already provided in the author’s blurb, so I’m not going to try. Read it. It will give you a good idea of what the book is about and won’t leave you to “go in blind” as many blurbs do.

I will say, that I was in no way prepared to fall in love with Raze like I did. That Ms. Cole could make a man with over 600 kills and interpersonal skills that were brutish, at best, invoke compassion from readers, is a testament to her exceptional storytelling skills. He may be a killer, but I just wanted to cuddle this poor, lost, sexy man.

The connection between Raze and Kisa was undeniable. Their attraction seemed feral, possessive and animalistic. Yet, there was also an unmistakable tenderness and protectiveness in Raze’s actions. I could not get enough of these two!

Loved it, loved it, loved it!

View all my reviews

Review: Reap (Scarred Souls, #2), by Tillie Cole

Reap (Scarred Souls, #2)Reap by Tillie Cole
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Taboo And Sexy!

I love forbidden, taboo love stories and ‘Reap’ did not disappoint! Centered on the love story of Zaal and Talia, two lovers from rival Mafia families, there was plenty of angst and conflict to go around. Add in the fact that Zaal has spent the greater part of his life being drugged and forced to fight as a slave, and you have a gripping story.

Despite being a conditioned killer, Zaal had an extremely vulnerable side that I found endearing. With his Alpha-male protectiveness, I found him to be irresistibly as a main character. I came to think of him as a kind of gentle giant. He was tough as nails, but also sweet and tender with Talia.

Talia was also a fantastic character. She was strong-minded and kept things interesting with her rebellious antics. Tired of being under the thumb of her powerful Mafia family, she took every chance that she could to live for herself. At the same time, she was realistic about the world that she was born into.

The history between their two families is tragic and cannot be changed. Actions taken years before either of them were born continue to impact their present reality. When the nature of their relationship is brought to light, their love is put to the test.

I enjoyed every minute of this story. The characters were engaging and the story flows easily from where the first book left off, transitioning smoothly and tying up loose ends. The connection between Zaal and Talia was almost tangible it was so strong. I would have liked more of their story, but only because I’m greedy.

The sneak-peek into the next book in the series has me very excited as well. It will certainly be a game-changer for Zaal, in a good way. I am looking forward to reading it ASAP.

View all my reviews