mob

Knitter in His Natural Habitat (Granby Knitting, #3) by Amy Lane Review

 Knitter in His Natural Habitat   by Amy Lane 3 Stars! 

Stanley’s life took a left turn at a knitting shop and hit a dead end. The closest thing he’s had to a relationship breaks things off to date a “nice boy,” and none of the pretty young things in Boulder’s limited gay scene do it for Stanley. He needs to reevaluate whether working as a floor designer for a series of craft stores is really where he wants to be.

 

Then Stanley does a peculiar thing: he starts to live the life he fell into. Stitch by stitch, he knits his life into something meaningful. Just when he does, Johnny, the store’s new delivery boy, walks in.

 

Johnny is like no one Stanley has ever met: he doesn’t believe in quickies in the bathroom and has a soft spot for theater and opera. There has to be a catch. When Johnny’s dark past comes back to haunt them, Stanley realizes how much he loves his cushy life in the yarn store—but he’ll give it all up to keep the man who makes his ordinary life extraordinary.

Review

This is a book you need to read as part of the series to really enjoy it but it has lots of its own charms.

Johnny is someone we know of from the previous book and his story is compelling. I am really happy he finds his prince.

Stanley, we also met in a previous book and he is great. He learns to be treasured and treasure himself and really value his life in this book.

The romance is a bit insta love but the dating is nice.

Wake Up Married Serial, Episodes 1 – 6 by Leta Blake and Alice Griffiths

4.5 Stars!!!

Episode One: Will & Patrick Wake Up Married

After a drunken night of hot sex in Vegas, strangers Will Patterson and Dr. Patrick McCloud wake up married. A quickie divorce is the most obvious way out—unless you’re the heir of a staunchly Catholic mafia boss with a draconian position on the sanctity of marriage. Throw their simmering attraction into the mix and all bets are off!

Episode Two: Will & Patrick Meet the Family

Meeting the family is challenging for every new couple. But for Will and Patrick, the awkward family moments only grow more hilarious–and painful–when they must hide the truth of their predicament from the people they care about most. Throw in the sexual tension flaring between them and you’ve got a recipe for madcap laughs and surprisingly heartwarming feels.

Episode Three: Will & Patrick Do the Holidays

A couple’s first holiday season is always a special time. Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Eve are magical when you’re in love. Too bad Will and Patrick’s marriage is a sham and they’re only faking their affection for each other. Or are they? Sparks fly in this episode of the Wake Up Married serial. Will the sexual tension between Will and Patrick finally explode in a needy night of passion? Or will they continue to deny their feelings?

Episode Four: Will & Patrick Fight Their Feelings

Will and Patrick have embraced adding hot sexy-times to their fake marriage, but as their emotions deepen, they confront whether or not they want to be more than friends-with-benefits. The heat is high (and occasionally kinky) as Will and Patrick struggle to accept their mutual affection.

Episode Five: Will & Patrick Meet the Mob

Patrick has finally accepted that he’s in love with Will, but his newfound determination to do something about that runs up against his father-in-law’s mobster plans. Will must face the truth about his family before he can fully come to terms with his feelings for Patrick. And Patrick has to decide if this whackadoodle world is something he truly wants to be part of forever.

Episode Six: Will & Patrick’s Happy Ending

Sure, Will and Patrick are in love now, but they weren’t when they got married in Vegas. For Patrick, that’s no problem, but Will can’t shake his doubts that a relationship started through coercion can ever become the real deal. Since the Molinaro crime family has reversed their position on divorce, Will and Patrick have a chance to rectify their drunken mistake. But is divorce the right choice for them?

Review

This book has all the cat nip. It is a sheer joy to read as it plays with tropes through hyperbole and reversals while mixing in powerful psychological depth.

It is at once silly and moving with a grand love story at its heart.

It would have been a 5 Star read for me but its a Serial (I hate them with all my heart) and there is some sex aftermath body stuff that happens repeatedly and is just a bit ewww for me in the way that it is described.

There is a lot of silly here that makes it fun. We have a strangers marry Vegas while drunk fun with opposites attract joy through in. They have to stay married because of an inheritance clause from the Mob family of Will who is much younger than the Patrick. Fun!

And yet each of these standard (and great in my opinion) is explored at the same time with emotionial truths. Will was drunk that night because he was relapsing in his alcoholism after getting dumped by his long time boyfriend via a phone call. The book does a beautiful job with addiction, recovery, and family made more compelling because Patrick is a neurosurgeon and looks at addiction biologically.

The mob family stuff show layers of recklessness and disfunction of Will’s family. Will has diabetes and the book details the daily life of such a disease. Will’s last relationship was awful and Patrick’s gruff but steadfast treatment and care and eventual love of will is a wonderful display what love should be. He respects and treasures Will.

Patrick is his own gruff, arrogant, funny mess. I don’t want to give to many spoilers as to why but he has a hard time with so much feeling and yet…he is the very best. The friendships he develops are their own awesome love story.

There is a joy in this book too that while internalized homophobia does come up they fact that gay marriage is legal means that everyone in the book simply looks at their marriage as a marriage.  The end.

This is just such a wonderful read with so much healing and love. Read it.

Ravage (Scarred Souls, #3) by Tillie Cole Review

3 Stars!

Is finding one’s true love worth committing the greatest sacrifice of all?

Taken as a teen, prisoner 194 was stripped of his name and freewill, meticulously honed to be a ruthless machine. Even as he tries to fight his captors hold on him he knows that obedience is the only way to save his sister, who is the one person that keeps him from turning into a monster.

As a young girl Zoya Kostava barely escaped the brutal attack that killed her entire family. Now twenty five she lives in secrecy. That is until she hears her brother also survived and is living with their greatest enemy.

Zoya risks her safety and anonymity to find the brother she thought dead and is captured by a beautiful, brutal man. A man who both captivates and scares her, in him she sees a soul as lost as her own.

They both have so much to lose will they be able to save each other…and survive.

Review

This addition to the Scarred Souls series and goes right off the rails as the hero actually hurts the heroine. I will admit to skipping those scenes. I just couldn’t take it.

To be clear, he is drugged and compelled but … ewww.

So, this world still has me watching it and the move forward it the arc of the series is a good one as two brothers trying to save their sisters from this horror show are pitted against each other.

The heroine, Zoya, needed more development to get me to complete buy into why she forgives and loves the way she does but Cole does a good enough job that I hang in there. This is another look at conditioning vs the human spirit.

The hero has been brutalized and is brutal but he is super compelling as more and more of who he is revealed. The revenge in this one is great and we are all set up for the next book.

I am ignoring the mob stuff because except for the very good writing of the two previous heroes working to take their places in the family and the death match awfulness, we don’t really get to see the heroes doing those awful things to anyone we don’t think has earned it.

The last scenes of the book wen Valentin is treated with value are kind of great in a dark dark way.

Darkside Blues (Dark Planet Warriors, #4.5) by Anna Carven Review

Review:

Darkside Blues: SciFi Alien Romance (Dark Planet Warriors Book 4.5) - Anna Carven

 

 

 

Be careful in Darkside, because its darkness is seductive. Once you feel its allure, you won’t be able to resist.

Zyara al Sirian has devoted most of her adult life to the art of healing. As the First Division’s medic, she’s seen more than her fair share of war wounds and trauma. And ever since the Kordolians arrived on Earth, she’s had her hands full tending to a motley group of survivors.

She hasn’t had a break in longer than she can remember.

A break? What’s that again?

After much persuasion, she finally agrees to take some well-deserved time off to explore the city with Sera, Arin, Jia, and their Kordolian mates.

You need to relax. It’ll be fun, you’ll see. Darkside comes alive at night.

When she crosses paths with a mysterious, charming Human called Kainan, she realizes there’s more to this lawless place than meets the eye. The Federation holds no sway here. Beneath Darkside’s glittering facade, Humans rule hidden empires from the shadows through secrecy and violence.

Zyara gets a taste of their world when Human conflict spills out onto the street. She can’t help but intervene. It’s what she was trained to do.

Her actions save a life. In return, Kainan says he will give her anything she desires.
Oh dear. What’s a Kordolian to do?

 

 

 

Review 

I love it when in the alien romance the human is male.

 

The hero in this is an honorable mob boss. Not that the heroines cares that he is honor. She figures his job is a job like any other.

 

I love in this series that humans are seen for their strengths as well as their follies.

The hero is mega sexy. A sharp dressed asian gang tattooed man. I can’t tell if he is asian but it is likely that he is mixed in some way.

 

The heroine is the wonderful healer from the series. The romance is very good and sexy as hell.

 

He loves that she is so strong in all ways. 

 

This part of the world is kind of dropped on the reader which made me not love the book in terms of the series plot arc and the novella is shorter than the love story deserved but it a pleasurable morsel of a book.

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

3.5 Stars

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…

 

Review

In this second installment of the Scarred Soul series, we get the story of Zaal. Zaal is way more intersting that Talia but thats okay.

All the elements of the first book are here but thankfully with less sexual violence (though there is enough). You need to read the first book to be really compelled by this book.

This book is a lot of about healing. It is sweet and compelling in the middle of all the over the top and brutal world building.

The heroine does some dumb things but she is steadfast.

You want Zaal to have a better like and you want Luka (from Raze) to complete his healing as well.

The romance is a fated mate/star crossed piece but again the world building really strengthens every aspect of the book.

 

Riot (Scarred Souls #4) by Tillie Cole Review

4.5 Stars!

BRUTAL. INTENSE. PASSIONATE. THE WORLD OF THE SCARRED SOULS.

They call me 901. I am a monster, a killer, a champion. In the blood pit I am a god. I have no name, no family, and no identity. When master says fight, I fight…until I am the only one left standing. I have one goal, to fight so well that I am freed. I don’t need friends, I don’t need women. They are weaknesses. I am strong.

Until I see her. She is gorgeous and kind and off-limits to me. She was stolen as a child to be the worst type of slave and now master wants her. What he wants, he gets. With a smile, she melts my brutal heart. I have never wanted anything more.

I need to make a choice. Freedom or Love. I cannot choose wrong.

Review 

Okay, this addition to the Scarred Souls series is crazy dark. Dark. So much sexual violence to the heroine and this has been her life. They drug women to need sex and they are all in the hands of a sadist.

This is an underground death match gladiator slave systems.

Despite the horror of this world and some parts I could barely read, this is by far the best book of the series.

Again, the world building is pitch perfect. The love story is compelling and real. The issues of overcoming conditioning powerful.

Then, there is the sweet revenge and a visit from the other heroes to make this world burn. Good stuff.

This is the couple I most believe in because they are the most lost and then come to see each other.

The epilogue piece is wonderful.

Read the rest of the series first!

I was given this book for my honest review, so there you have it!

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

 

4 Stars!

TO TAKE BACK LIFE, ONE MUST FIRST FACE DEATH…

Conditioned in captivity to maim, to kill and to slaughter, prisoner 818 becomes an unrivaled and unstoppable fighter in the ring. Violence is all he knows. After years of incarceration in an underground hell, only one thought occupies his mind: revenge… bloody, slow and violent revenge. Revenge on the man who wronged him.
Kisa Volkova is the only daughter of Kirill ‘The Silencer’ Volkov, head of the infamous ‘Red’ bosses of New York’s Russian Bratva. Her life is protected. In reality, it’s a virtual prison. Her father’s savage treatment of his rivals and his lucrative and coveted underground gambling ring-The Dungeon-ensures too many enemies lurk at their door. She dreams to be set free. Kisa has known only cruelty and loss in her short life. While working for her church-the only reprieve in her constant surveillance-Kisa stumbles across a tattooed, scarred, but stunningly beautiful homeless man on the streets. Something about him stirs feelings deep within her; familiar yet impossibly forbidden desires. He doesn’t talk. Doesn’t communicate with anyone.

He’s a man beyond saving. But Kisa becomes obsessed with him. Yearns for him. Craves his touch. Needs to possess this mysterious man… … this man they call Raze

Review

I don’t usually read dark romance. I can’t get past the violence and immorality (meaning the lack of value of life and dignity).

However, I have been reading some really dark stuff of late. Maybe as an escape from my own dark days? Not sure.

This book succeeds for me because the world building is excellent. I believe in the horror of this underworld. This is just the ways things are. The “goodness” of the hero is in juxtaposition to the the truely evil slavery that he inhabits.

Usually, I dislike mob romance. Here, the sexual violence to the heroine that goes on outside the world that the hero has been forced to inhabit but in the New York’s Russian Bratva is a horror show. Her father stands by. Everyone stands by, It is not okay. And nothing ever happens about it. I hang in there because the sexual violence is not sexualized (the reader is no expected to aroused) though complexly Cole does show that pleasure can come from even such demeaning and brutal treatment as body do what they do. She also explores how the heroine as been conditioned to think she is saving this insane man she is engaged to (not the hero).

I should not be okay with it and I am not. Yet, I sucked into the world watching because these rules are not rules I agree with but Cole builds a cohesive world. It would make me happier in this book or in the future books that the heroes who know how wrong that kind of treatment is make change in the culture. This doesn’t not happen in this book.

There is a hyper masculinity that is amped up even more with the drugs given to the hero and one of the many villains of the piece. Yet, the hero never acts on the heroine in brutal ways.

It is also clear that she saves him. This might be a kind of fantasy of woman as redeemer but it is clear that he needs her. She rescues him.

The book becomes about conditioned ways of thinking and behaving and love of course.

There is revenge which is very satisfying and hope. I like the hero a great deal. The family dynamics. It is all riveting.

I went on to read the other books in the series and they are all good. They are especially good as a series where every piece falls carefully into place to avenge and overcome and heal yet each couple has a complete story of their own.

I don’t hold to the idea that I am substituting myself for the heroine or that I am in love with the hero so I can enjoy this book as a carefully built exploration of characters, relationships and a world,