ARC Review: Sinful Secrets by Melissa Ohnoutka

Sinful Secrets

Sinful Secrets
Author: Melissa Ohnoutka
Publisher: Entangled Publishing
Date of Publication: November 14, 2016
Genre: Romance, Adult, Suspense, Contemporary

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Synopsis new

Event planner Joanna McNamee is scrambling to ensure her father’s company Christmas party goes smoothly, but one disaster after another has her convinced someone is trying to sabotage her career. With the help of a man from her past who she’s still not sure she can trust, she puts the pieces together and realizes her business is the least of her problems—a cold-blooded killer is out to destroy her father and take her as his prized possession.

The last thing Deputy Ryker Kane expects is for a simple truck hijacking to throw him back into the middle of the Black Widow case he’d been forced to abandon, not to mention right into the arms of the sweet woman he’d let walk away ten years earlier. When he finds Jo Jo kidnapped and drugged, he has to use all his wits and skills honed from years as a detective to save them both. Despite the secrets between them, Ryker’s bound and determined to give them a second chance at love.

my thoughts new

I’m sad to say that I really didn’t enjoy this book. Maybe because my expectations were different. I expected it to be more on the romantic side than on the suspense since the cover and the synopsis tells otherwise. Apart from that, there were just so many issues that made me dislike it.

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So the story was all about event planner Joanna “Jo Jo” McNamee and Deputy Ryker Kane who used to have an affair in college but weren’t able to see each other again due to Joanna’s issues about men. Now after several years they meet again and it happens when Jo Jo gets herself into trouble. Sad to say, Jo Jo no longer wants to engage herself with Ryker again so she pretends that she doesn’t know him.

Pathetic girl. I know, right? Jo Jo is one of the heroines that are wearing on my nerves. All throughout the book she was all like “I don’t want him” blah blah… and I just don’t know why she kept on saying that. I have no issues with Ryker. I believe he’s a good guy and his intentions are good but I can’t see the reason why Jo Jo was hell-bent on avoiding him.

The writing style was good, but it didn’t keep my attention. I wished it was written in 1st person POV. I felt like the narrations from both Jo Jo and Ryker were jumbled and confusing.

And as I mentioned, the majority of the book (85%) fell into the suspense/action side. There were little to no romantic scenes. Also, the chemistry between these characters was non-existent. It’s difficult to like a book when you don’t feel a spark between the characters. Sinful Secrets, for me, was a difficult story to like. 😦

(An ARC was provided by Entangled Publishing and NetGalley in exchange for an honest review)

Rating:

1 star new

Buy this book at:

READ ALL MY REVIEWS HERE

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Review: Sempre Redemption by J.M. Darhower

Sempre: Redemption (Sempre, #2)

Sempre Redemption
(Forever #2)
Author: J.M. Darhower
Publisher: Gallery Books
Published: April 1, 2014
Genre: New Adult, Dark, Romance, Contemporary, Suspense
My Rating:

5 stars new

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Synopsis new

In this thrilling and sexy follow-up to Sempre, two young lovers struggle to keep their relationship intact after they become deeply enmeshed in the dangerous mafia-run crime ring they once tried to overthrow.

The electrifying sequel to Sempre! This is a story about loyalty and love. It is a story about finding redemption— even when all seems lost.

Swearing allegiance to the Mafia in order to save Haven Antonelli—the girl he loves—forces Carmine DeMarco to make the ultimate sacrifice. Sent to Chicago to work for La Cosa Nostra, he refuses to place Haven in harm’s way by taking her with him. She deserves a shot at a normal life. But as he becomes more and more immersed in a world of terrible crimes, he realizes that surviving without her may be more than he is able to bear. . . .

Stunned and hurt that Carmine has left her, Haven must now learn to make her way in the world without him. Her heart aches with the loss, but for the first time, she’s making her own choices and accomplishing dreams she never thought were within her reach. The past, however, is not done with either her or Carmine. As Haven discovers dark secrets about the family who enslaved her and her mother, and why she matters so much in this web of lies, she realizes what terrible pain may still lie in wait for her and the boy she loves. And what they must suffer to find redemption. . . .

my thoughts new

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“What do you do when the thing you want most suddenly feels like it’s beyond your fingertips?”

5 stars will never be enough for this book.

I still can’t believe how this series ended in such a beautiful, satisfying, and all-consuming fashion. This is absolutely one of the riveting series-enders I’ve read so far– one that will stay glued in my mind forever.

In this second and final book of Sempre duology, Carmine and Haven’s life totally changed. Both of them were forced to separate and go in opposite directions because of the deal Carmine made with Salvatore in the previous book. Carmine is now a full-pledged member of the Mafia while Haven is basically free and is pursuing a normal college life in New York. With the absence of each other, their hearts didn’t seem to grow fonder and despite the things that happened, both of them weren’t able to forget their love.

I cannot think of better words that will do the book justice. Everything messed up my emotions. First off, I loved J.M. Darhower’s writing. As always. It just didn’t get old. This author manages to leave such an overwhelming impact to her readers because of her raw and brilliant way of writing. The dialogues shared by the characters were so intimately sensitive that I found myself falling in love and feeling their sadness and pain.

“He was surrounded by violence and death, the ugliness eating away at him, but then on the other side, there was her. She was peace and hope, and pure beauty. She was the good that he hoped would overpower the bad.”

Sempre: Redemption didn’t particularly prepare me with its much darker approach. I thought Sempre has a mild touch of darkness and graphic violence scenes but in this book, I can say that J.M. Darhower gave it all when it comes to the intensity of its dark theme. Some daring actions were thrown in and even the major character Corrado Moretti(who was so much badass-er) was given an opportunity to stand out.

Haven and Carmine’s character was also nicely developed here. I loved their strength and their faith. What basically made them admirable was how they didn’t give in to possible new relationships when they were no longer together. It took a lot of chapters for me to endure their sacrifice but in the end, I was glad because what happened to them was exactly what I wished to transpire in the book.

Yes, this book was hard to read at times because of its emotionally-draining scenes which were dragged on an interlude of heartaches and even tragedies, but it was so worth it. This book was so heartfelt and it wasn’t just about two characters in a forbidden love but it was also more about how these Mafia people value their devotion to their family. Given the length of the book which is about 500+ pages, I wasn’t intimated. It’s because no matter how tough this book was and even if there were sad and terrifying moments that occurred, the ending turned out to be a perfection it made me wept both sad and happy tears. I will never forget this series. It will remain in my heart, SEMPRE.

“Everyone falls sometimes, son, even me, but the trick is to get right back up. They’ll always target the ones who appear vulnerable, so you need to be strong. Fake it until you make it.”

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Rating:

5 stars new

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Review: Sweet Jayne by K. Webster

Sweet Jayne

Sweet Jayne
Author: K. Webster
Publisher: K. Webster
Published: May 31, 2016
Genre: Dark, Suspense, Adult, BDSM, Erotica, Romance
My Rating:

4 stars

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Synopsis new

Nadia Jayne’s world is full of villains.

Kasper thinks he hates her.
Donovan thinks he loves her.
Logan thinks he owns her.

Sweet Jayne is a complicated girl…

She needs Kasper.
She hides from Donovan.
She has a plan for Logan.

But maybe complicated Jayne isn’t so sweet after all…
In fact, she might just be the biggest villain of them all.

WARNING: Story contains dark taboo themes and violence both sexual and physical which could trigger emotional distress in reader.

my thoughts new

“We all played parts that we’re ashamed of.”

4.5 Dark Stars!

Holy crap. This was some sick and f*cked up book, but it was so good and unpredictable that I just want to shout and give this author a one helluvah standing ovation.

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First things first, this book is not for everyone. It’s dark and literally twisted. It contains sexual assault and BDSM with a bit of dark taboo, so if these things don’t sit well with you, then this book is not for you.

Sweet Jayne is a very complicated story. I don’t even know where to begin with because the characters’ lives are so messed up. Nadia Jayne is the heroine here. She’s a young and beautiful woman who seems to attract every asshole she meets. When her mom married the rich business tycoon Donovan Jayne, her life basically turned in a completely different direction. It became worse when she met a new friend named Kasey who was kidnapped right before eyes. For years, Kasey hasn’t been found and Nadia’s guilt continued to nag her which led her to push through the investigation and seek the help of the authority with the assistance of her step-dad. That’s the time when she met Logan, the Chief of Police in their town who later on played a significant role in her life. Another man soon approached Nadia’s life– Kasper, a.k.a. Ghost who’s sole purpose was to hurt her in order to avenge her lost sister, Kasey.

I didn’t regret my abrupt decision to read this book. This was not even on my tbr until last week when I’ve read my friend Candace’s review which intrigued me and pushed me to dive into it. The story was unlike any other dark books I’ve read. Each of the characters were flawed in a f*cked up way but they’re very interesting to read about. I loved getting into their minds, no matter how corrupted they seemed to be.

The plot was certainly the best! I loved how every chapter made me feel very excited to know what’s going to happen next. The mystery was certainly there and it kept getting edgier page by page. There were tons of action scenes and cringe-worthy moments, too, which gave me the right amount of thrill.

Sweet Jane, overall, was a total page-turner. Certainly one of the best dark books I’ve read in my life! I highly recommend this book to fans of Killing Sarai by J.A. Redmerski, Captive in the Dark by C.J. Roberts, and Bang by E.K. Blair.

Rating:

4 stars

Buy this book at:

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xo pearl

Review: Mud Vein by Tarryn Fisher

Mud Vein

Mud Vein
Author: Tarryn Fisher
Publisher: Tarryn Fisher
Published: April 5, 2014
Genre: Dark, Romance, New Adult, Mystery, Contemporary, Suspense, Thriller
My Rating:

5 stars new

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Synopsis new

When reclusive novelist Senna Richards wakes up on her thirty-third birthday, everything has changed. Caged behind an electrical fence, locked in a house in the middle of the snow, Senna is left to decode the clues to find out why she was taken. If she wants her freedom, she has to take a close look at her past. But, her past has a heartbeat… and her kidnapper is nowhere to be found. With her survival hanging by a thread, Senna soon realizes this is a game. A dangerous one. Only the truth can set her free.

my thoughts new

“It’s the darkness that pulls me in. Your mud vein.”

Tarryn Fisher, you just left me speechless there!

This may be one of the best unsettling books I’ve read in my entire life. It’s dark and twisted, chilling and psychotic, and totally riveting. Mind-blown!

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“Someone could take your body, use it, beat it, treat it like it’s a piece of trash, but what hurts far worse than the actual physical attack is the darkness it injects in you.”

Mud Vein begins when Senna Richards woke up one day in a strange home. She didn’t exactly remember what or who brought her there. She later on found out that she’s not the only one who was abducted but also Isaac Asterholder, the surgeon who saved her from a traumatic incident months ago and the one who operated her breast cancer away. Together they did everything to survive in that inescapable place and tried to bring themselves out. But when days and weeks passed without getting any clue, their intricately deep and dark feelings were slowly unraveled which made their situation a lot more twisted.

“I am an animal, bent on surviving. I let nothing in. I let nothing out.”

It’s my second time to read a novel by Tarryn Fisher. The first one was her F*ck Love which unfortunately didn’t amaze me. I vowed to give her another chance after that and now I don’t regret it. This one is going straight to my favorites!

“I am a self-fulfilling prophecy; destroying before I could be destroyed.”

There were so many things that I loved about this book. First was of course, the impeccable writing of Tarryn that is all her own. I found myself so engaged because of the gripping quality of her writing. Secondly, the gasp-inducing thrilling scenes that the book brought. Also, the book had that certain effect, one that invited me to dig more and more to discover the mystery behind. It basically left my mind reeling in ten different directions all at once. Hands-down!

“That’s what it’s like to be a prisoner of anything. You want your freedom until you get it, then you feel bare without your chains.”

One of the things that also surprised me was the romance. I didn’t thought the romantic aspect here had a bigger role in the entire story. Which was good, in my opinion because in the end, everything just made a perfect sense.

“Being stuck on love was a real bitch to cure. Like cancer, I think. Just when you think you’re over it, it comes back.”

The plot also impressed me. I loved when the book took me from present to past and back to the present. It just made the mystery more and more interesting.

“I never thought of love as a choice. Rather, it seemed like the un-choice. But if you stayed with someone who was self-destructing and chose to keep loving, I suppose it could be a choice.”

My favorite parts of course, were those scenes when Senna and Isaac interacted before they were kidnapped. Isaac was such a perfect hero. Just one of a kind. The gentleness he exuded and the way he did everything to stay by Senna’s side after what happened to her was so admirable. I mean, damn, I can’t help but fall for this man.

“If someone was going to be digging around in my chest with a scalpel, I wanted it to be the guy who showed up and fixed things.”

And then when this conversation happened…

“Why are you here?”

He hesitated briefly then said, “Because you are.”

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Senna, I admit, was difficult to understand. Her dark thoughts and her self-destructing personality made me cringe every time. But she was uniquely portrayed in this book and scrutinizing her way of thinking was the best thing of all.

There were lots of cry-worthy moments here. I felt so connected to the characters and their emotions and everything they went through together. There was just something about their insane experience that made me feel so emotional.

“You are a stillness. And I tried to move you. It didn’t work. But that doesn’t mean you didn’t move me. I heard everything you didn’t say. I heard it so loudly that I couldn’t shut it off. Your silence, Senna. I hear it so loudly.”

Another scene that broke my heart into pieces…

“Tell me a lie, Isaac.” His fingertips trace a curlicue on my shoulder.
“I don’t love you.”

This book was also unpredictable. I developed a lot of conspiracy theories but none of them was correct. Lol. I guess I’m just not a good detective.

“You loved me so much that I started to love myself.”

Overall, this book was a real surprise. It’s a great psychological, romantic thriller. The ending of course, made me cry. (view spoiler) I think that conclusion was just the right way to end it. It was strongly delivered and it sure gave me goosebumps. I would highly recommend this amazing book for fans of dark and mystery/psychological suspense and thriller books.

“You can’t fix me,” I said, looking at his knees.
“I don’t want to.”
“I’m mangled,” I said. “On the inside and the outside.”
“And yet I love you.”

Rating:

5 stars new

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xo pearl

 

Review: Reviving Izabel by J.A. Redmerski

Reviving Izabel (In the Company of Killers, #2)

Reviving Izabel
(In the Company of Killers #2)
Author: J.A. Redmerski
Publisher: J.A. Redmerski
Published: December 4, 2013
Genre: New Adult, Dark, Romance, Contemporary, Suspense
My Rating:

5 stars new

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Synopsis new

Determined to live a dark life in the company of the assassin who freed her from bondage, Sarai sets out on her own to settle a score with an evil sadist. Unskilled and untrained in the art of killing, the events that unfold leave her hanging precariously on the edge of death when nothing goes as planned.

Sarai’s reckless choices send her on a path she knows she can never turn back from and so she presents Victor with an ultimatum: help her become more like him and give her a fighting chance, or she’ll do it alone no matter the consequences. Knowing that Sarai cannot become what she wants to be overnight, Victor begins to train her and inevitably their complicated relationship heats up.

As Arthur Hamburg’s right-hand man, Willem Stephens, closes in on his crusade to destroy Sarai, she is left with the crushing realization that she may have bitten off more than she can chew. But Sarai, taking on the new and improved role of Izabel Seyfried, still has a set of deadly skills of her own that will prove to be all she needs to secure her place beside Victor.

But there is one test that Izabel must face that has the potential to destroy everything she is working so hard to achieve. One final test that will not only make her question her decision to want this dangerous life, but will make her question everything she has come to trust about Victor Faust.

my thoughts new

You can never go wrong with J.A. Redmerski! This sequel was a tough one but she handled it perfectly well.

The series continues with so much bad-assery. Sarai, or rather Izabel, is now pursuing a different path in life after realizing that a ‘normal’ life isn’t for her. She wants justice and vengeance and to be able to attain those, she must join Victor in his dangerous missions. In this sequel we meet a new character– Fredrik Gustavsson. Equally hot and dangerous and a new assassin to fangirl over!

As the series continues, the story gets even better! I enjoyed this sequel so much because of how the author delivered such a fast, exciting pacing and how she plotted those blood-curling action scenes. There were even morbid scenes that made me cringe… but that’s how I like it.

Even the characters became more interesting and very well developed, especially Izabel. What a kick-ass woman! I loved her even better here because even if she made some reckless decisions, she was no longer helpless and vulnerable. She’s deadlier!

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“She is the perfect liar and manipulator. She can become someone else in two seconds flat and deceive an entire room of people who are not likely to be deceived by anyone. She can make a man believe anything she wants with very little effort. And she doesn’t fear death.”

The romance was especially hot and so much better than the first book and it’s because we can see a different side of Victor here. His softer side.

“It’s in Victor’s eyes that I see so much more. An everlasting bond between us not created by this moment, but by the night we crossed paths in Mexico. Thrust into each other’s lives by a twist of fate and held there by our rare similarities and our need to be together. We are one in the same.”

All in all, Reviving Izabel was a great follow-up to Killing Sarai. So many thrilling, action-packed scenes that will leave you gasping. You can’t just miss this sequel after reading Killing Sarai!

Rating:

5 stars new

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xo pearl