Natasha Knight-Giovanni

Natasha Knight writes a lot of mafia romances. She has a series about the Benedetti brothers. Giovanni is not one of those books, but it is a standalone spinoff from those books. You don’t have to have read the Benedetti books in order to know what’s going on here, and they are only side characters in this book.

Emilia is a cartel princess. Her father is dead. The head of the cartel is now her only living family, her twin brother. She’s spent the last 4 years trying to hide. She’s even gone so far as to change her name, going from Emilia, cartel princess to just plan Em, event planner for a boutique hotel. She’s doing really well staying hidden, until the night she comes home and there are 5 men in her apartment. She knows that something bad has happened, and that nothing good is going to be happening because of that.

Giovanni is way up in the Benedetti organization. He made a deal with Em’s twin brother, and he got screwed over. Now he’s out to get ahold of Alessandro, and since he knows where Emilia is, he figures that she can get him in touch with Alessandro, so he and some of his men break into her apartment and wait for her. What he doesn’t expect is a woman who has been broken and who has learned when to accept what she can’t fight while fighting when she can. Including pulling a gun on him when she gets into her kitchen and wants him out of her house.

I have to admit that I didn’t particularly care for Giovanni for huge parts of the book. When I liked him, I really liked him, but I don’t think that he listened to Emilia as much as he should’ve. I think he sometimes got a little too Alpha-y and he just made some decisions that weren’t in her best interests. However, he does redeem himself, and even when I don’t particularly care for him, he does still appear to care for Em, even when he’s being an asshole. I do like Emilia and I really enjoyed following her story. She is strong, even if she’s broken, and she’s a fighter. She may accept that there are times she can’t fight, but she does wait and watch to see what she can do and she will do that. She’s overcome a flawed past and made herself successful in her present. Altogether, I really enjoyed the story, and the like I had for Em took care of anything I may have felt for Giovanni, and I had no problems reading the book and staying in the story.

altar-ancient-arches-1056670

I thought that Em was really tricksy with what she did with her dad. It took some serious guts to do that. She had ovaries of steel, for sure.

I thought the storyline with Giovanni’s dad was interesting. It would have been interesting to see more of that, I think.

OK, that’s all I have to say about this one. Go check it out! Happy reading!

Advertisements

K. Webster & Ker Dukey-Ven

K and Ker are two of my favorite authors and then when they get together, that favorite-ness is more than squared, it’s like quadrupled. And yes, I have a lot of favorite authors. I could probably do you a list, if you really wanted, but the best way to know who they are is to just watch who I blog about. Anyway, neither here nor there. What is relevant is Ven.

No, these lovely ladies haven’t given us a book about diagrams or anything. Wouldn’t that be funny? A dark romance written around Venn diagrams. This book is about Veniaman Vetrov, scion of one of the First Families of Russian crime. It’s also the second of the V Games books.

This one more or less, kinda sorta, maybe picks up where Vlad left off. Well, I think it might be more accurate to say that it overlaps with the end parts of Vlad, timing wise. You really don’t see a whole lot of overlap between Vlad’s book and this book, and you could read Ven as a standalone and still have enough of an idea as to what’s going on, but I would always recommend reading the whole thing, because why the hell not?

So, Diana has been disgraced because she was having sex with another man. Vlad guts the man and drags her to the Vetrov’s house and throws her at Ven. He tells the Vetrovs that he wants Diana in the V Games. However, Ven has long had a thing for Diana. She’s had one for him too. Now that she’s in his house, he’s going to keep her safe, from everyone, including his father.

Diana has been devastated. All of the First Families now look at her as trash and as a whore. She had a valid reason to do what she did, but now she’s paying for it and is lost. She can’t cope and she’s in a house of vipers. She has to deal with Ven’s evil father, his idiotic brother, and Vika, who’s engaged to Ven’s younger brother, is Vlad’s sister, and is a poisonous snake.

OK, first off, yeah, I hate Vika. She’s a poisonous nasty little bitch, but no one deserves to be saddled to Ruslan, nor to have to deal with all the things that she ends up having to handle. Vika really wants to be Diana, though, I think. When Diana is in good shape, she’s strong, powerful, and a queen. Vika is basically a cockroach under her show, and Vika knows it. Vika may be good at plotting and planning, but Diana is better. It’s the difference between someone who’s cunning and someone who is Machiavellian. Guess which one I think Diana is? The fathers in these books all need to die slow, painful, and torturous death. Death in the most terrible way possible. They need to be disjointed finger joint by finger joint. I wonder how long you could keep someone alive like that? Ven is… I’m not always sure if I like him or not like him. I got mad at him, a lot. He reacted a lot instead of acted and didn’t always listen when he should’ve. Or maybe he listened but he didn’t hear. Either way, he done fucked up. His cousins, his cousins are pretty damn awesome.

vulture

I love Vika, Vas, and Diana’s plan. And the milk was just such a splendid touch. That was the perfect cherry on top.

It’s going to be interesting to see what goes on with Vas. I didn’t like him much in Vlad, but he got better in Ven. He was actually likable, even though he had the shitty taste to get too close to Vika. And speaking of her, HA! Sucks to be her at the end.

Diana pretty much is a queen. She’s strong, she’s fierce, she’s a proven warrior. How could I have not loved every word about her? So, go read and tell me if you love every word about her too. Happy reading!

Natalie Bennett-Ace of Spades

Stop! Hammer time!

Seriously, no, stop. If you haven’t read the first two books in this series, put this review down, put Ace of Spades down and go pick up Queen of Hearts and start the series. If you don’t, you will not know what’s going on, and you will spoil yourself. If you continue to read past my warning, you will be spoiled for the first two books. Sorry, it’s the nature of the beast. I try really hard to not spoil, you know that I do, but talking about the current book will spoil the first two, just because of the way it’s written. So, be sure that this is what you want to do.

beach-blue-sky-cliff-555709

So, we’re back to Elena who has just found a box of ashes with her twin sister’s necklace in it. She knows that this means that her beloved twin sister, the other half of her soul is dead. Elena has to run to get some space so that she can think and make some plans. She calls Mateo and tells him that she’s not running away, she just needs a few days to take a break and think. Of course, we all know what this means, We all know how Mateo is. He’s freaking out over the whole thing, well, freaking out to the extent Mateo actually does. He demands that everyone find her, but do it quietly, so as not to warn the Ace and their people that Elena is missing.

Elena calls her buds, Mel and Peyton so that they can come and help her figure out what’s going on. They make her think of some things that she hadn’t before. Elena has spent a lot of time reacting instead of acting. Sadly, Mateo puts her in that position sometimes. I don’t think that he is doing it to be mean. He is doing it purposely though. There is a reason for him to do everything he does. Here’s one reason that I think that he’s doing it, at least my opinion. If he tells Elena who the Ace is, everything that’s going on, without making her work for it and without making her do things that she doesn’t agree with, then she wouldn’t believe him and wouldn’t appreciate all the facts. The fact that she had to go through all these steps, no matter how painful they were, she’s going to know that the facts that she found are true facts. And she’s going to know that all the steps that have been taken to keep her safe and to find out the truth were necessary.

OK, there have been times when I said I didn’t trust Elena’s BFFs because I thought that they were in on some conspiracy of Mateo’s, and I’m not too proud to say that I’m glad that I’m wrong. This book also changed my POV on Mateo. I was always in the love to hate him hate to love him camp, depending on what’s going on with him, but this book changed him for me. This book made me understand why he did the things that he did. Do I necessarily like what he did? Nope. Do I understand why he did it? Yup, or at least more yup. Overall, the book answered a lot of questions that I had. It left me satisfied and that’s always a good thing. One more thing, the Ace of Spades is often called the death card, so I found that an interesting title for the last book in this series.

ace-bet-business-262333

I figured the Ace was a relative, but not the relative that it was. It was kind of both a surprise and a non-surprise, if that makes sense.

I understood better why Elena’s father made the choices that he did with Mateo. It was the only thing that he could do. I would’ve done pretty much the same thing or my version of the same thing. I would want to make sure that my children would be safe.

OK, that’s all I have to say on this one. Go read the entire series. It’s awesome, and since AoS is out, there is no worry about cliffies. Happy reading!

Natalie Bennett-King of Hearts

This is the second book in Natalie’s Old Money Roulette series. It’s dark, mysterious, and left me with so many more questions that I had going in. I mean, wow.

So, let’s talk about King of Hearts, shall we? Before I get into it, there’s a good chance that there are going to be spoilers for Queen of Diamonds. I don’t mean to leave them, but it is likely to happen. It’s the nature of the beast when you get book series that are set up the way that the Old Money Roulette books are. So, if you haven’t read QoD and it’s on your TBR, you may want to reconsider looking at this blog until you have read it. I will say that KoH is a big mindfuck. I mean, most things that Natalie writes end up fucking with your brain in some way or other. But this is a big one. It’s dark and there isn’t really a glimmer of light going on. So be aware of that.

beach-blue-sky-cliff-555709

Continue reading “Natalie Bennett-King of Hearts”

Renee Rose-King of Diamonds

If it has Renee Rose’s name on it, odds are that I’ve either read it or I’m about to read it. My Renee Rose collection on my Kindle is nice and full. If it were a physical shelf, all the books would be falling off. There are a lot of reasons why I love e-books, not the least of which is that I can have 834 books on my Kindle without having to worry about them falling off my shelves. Which is neither here nor there and only sort of relates to King of Diamonds, at least in an oblique fashion, I guess.

So, here’s the story. Sondra doesn’t have the voice of reason, she has the voice of wrong. She has shitty taste in men and always ends up with the wrong one. The latest wrong one was a drug-dealing bartender who she found in bed with 3 women, none of whom she knew about. Because of that, she packed up her car and left Reno, where she had been teaching as an art history professor, and went to Las Vegas where her cousin Corey worked as a dealer in a casino. Corey told her that she could get Sondra a job as a dealer at the casino, but it turns out that the only job open at the time was in housekeeping, so that’s what Sondra took. Hopefully, she’d be able to move up, but at least it’s a job and she’ll be able to save up money to get an apartment and a replacement for the car she crashed on her first day in town.

Nico is the scion of a Chicago mafia family. He did everything he could to get away from his family, at least to the extent he could, which included opening up a casino in Vegas. It’s as legal as he can make it, but since he took family money to open it up, he has to do some work for the family, primarily laundering money. I would expect that casinos would be a great way to launder money since they do so much cash business. Anyway… Nico is basically doing everything when it comes to running his casino and hotel. He doesn’t have any real help. He has his friend Tony, but working in the capacity that Nico needs for help isn’t Tony’s forte. Because he’s doing everything, his brain is wired all the time. He doesn’t sleep. He will go for days without sleep. When the book opens up, he hasn’t slept for 48 hours.

Now, I don’t know if you are familiar with extreme sleep deprivation, but there’s a reason that it’s used as a torture technique. Among other things, it can cause you to be really fucking paranoid. And that’s what happened to Nico. He’s working on mere hours of sleep after being up for days on end, and he’d be a little paranoid to begin with, since he grew up in a mafia family, but the lack of sleep doesn’t help. So when he comes into the bathroom and finds Sondra in there, he freaks the fuck out and scares the ever-loving piss out of her.

There’s a lot going on in this book. You have Nico’s journey. You have Sondra’s journey. You have the journey for them to come together in a way that works for both of them. Then there’s all kinds of outside drama that they have to deal with. Nico thinks that he’s terrible and the worst kind of person on two legs and that he’ll totally destroy her. He’s trapped by his family and their demands. Sondra worries that he’s a gangster and she doesn’t know if she can be with someone who has blood on his hands. She also worries that he can’t be faithful to her, and that’s one thing that is an absolute hard limit with her. Like I said, there’s a lot of things going on, but Renee manages to work it all together really well.

80c858f4650b32806eb2d65bb5840cc9

Ugh, Corey’s boyfriend is such a sleazeball. I’m glad that Nico punches him. Too bad Sondra made him stop. He deserved so, so much more.

Tony is a pretty cool guy and it shows that he’s there to keep Nico grounded. Good thing that he does. I think he’d be a good friend to Sondra too.

I thought the whole contracted marriage thing was resolved rather well. I’m looking forward to seeing what happens next.

OK, that’s all I have to say about this one. Go check it out, as well as all of Renee’s other books. Happy reading!

K. Webster-El Malo

No one is surprised when I have another K Webster book on here anymore, are they? If you are, you must not have been following me long. I’ve reviewed several of her last releases, and blog gods willing, I’ll review many, many more. This one is a doozy though. When I finished, I just looked at my husband and was like damn, that was good. It was just so satisfying.

Before I get started on reviewing El Malo, I just have to mention the cover. The woman on the cover is super hot, and it’s a great cover. OK, on to the book.

Rosa was born in Texas and adored by her mother. She talked her mother into taking her to her favorite restaurant in Cuidad Juarez, where some bad guys raided at the exact wrong time. Rosa’s mom covered her and ended up bleeding to death on the floor of the kitchen of that restaurant. Rosa was filled with righteous anger and was determined to bring down all mafia and gangsters in Mexico. For the past 4 years, she’s been working undercover for the CIA, working as a maid in Javier Estrada’s house.

Javier is the head of El Malo, a cartel that is running their section of Mexico. Javier is determined to ruin Acapulco, where he lives, so that he can send all the business to his father in Puerto Vallarta. His dad owns a huge chunk of the hotels in that area, so they are going to make serious bank on the deal. Javier is really good at it. He and his boys own the town, and work their way through everything and everyone. Rosa is there to get all the information she can, and then once a week, she goes to her handler and gives him her information.

Javier has only noticed Rosa in the context of her job as the head maid of his house. She’s very good at her job. He knows better than to fuck the staff, but when she comes home one Saturday injured because she was attacked on her way home, all of a sudden, he really sees her. Not just that, he knows that she’s his.

Now, while I was reading this, there was one sentence that popped up that really stuck with me. El es el malo. He is the bad guy. El es El Malo. He is El Malo, as in a member of the organization. There’s just something really powerful about that sentence, either way that it’s written. It just struck me hard and made me think. I mean, we’re supposed to know that Javier is bad, after all, he is a Narco. He tortures and kills people. He’s not necessarily a nice guy. But, is he really the bad guy? After reading the book, I’m pretty sure that I know the answer. Rosa has to keep reminding herself of that, because frankly, Javier makes it really hard to remember sometimes. Other times, it’s not so hard.

Javier is an anti-hero. He’s smooth, handsome, well-spoken, and charming. He’s forceful, passionate, and magnetic. Rosa is a very strong woman. I mean, you would have to be to be in deep cover for 4 years. Four years of having to be someone you aren’t all day every day? That has to be exhausting, and yet she manages to do it. She’s brave, resourceful, and caring. Together, the two of them are explosive. Their love story is so all-consuming, it jumps off the page. I was sucked into it and just couldn’t out of it. But there isn’t just the love story, there’s also a lot of suspense going on too. Really, this was just such a helluva ride. I mean, I just couldn’t put it down when I was reading it. My family had to just deal with it, and my cats got shoved out of the way when they tried blocking my Kindle. Poor Chainsaw and Jaguar. They pouted. I almost felt bad about that, but nahhhh. Javier and Rosa helped me over that. Calling it a roller coaster would be putting mildly.

blur-candies-close-up-618918

I never trusted Michael. He was scummy to begin with and just yuck. I mean, the way that he treated Rosa was just shitty and then got worse. Poor Rosa. I felt so sad for her because he was the only person who knew the “real” Rosa. Too bad he was so nasty.

I like Marco Antonio. He doesn’t really trust Rosa in the beginning, but I have a feeling that he only trusts Javier. But, that doesn’t mean that he doesn’t take care of Rosa. He knows that she is important to Javier and that he trusts her. They both know that she’s lying about something that she’s keeping secret, but Javier knows that he will get it out of her.

Angel, what a fuck he was. But everyone handled that well. I loved it. Of course, I was really scared when it was happening, but I should’ve trusted Javier more. It was great though.

I loved Javier’s dad. He was super sweet, if you can call an old gangster sweet. But the bits with him and Tania and Emiliano are just awesome.

OK, that’s all I have to say about this one today. It’s on KU and I can’t recommend this one enough. Go forth and read. Happy reading!

TL Smith-Sinister Love

Well, here we are, another day, another book. Have I mentioned lately how much I love my reading life and getting to read all kinds of fantastic books? I get to find a bunch of new authors and find books that I might not otherwise have seen. Today’s book is the sequel to Distorted Love, Sinister Love by TL Smith. And this one is as good as the first one, and kept my mind going crazy trying to figure out what was going on. So yay, that is great.

Warning, there will be spoilers for Distorted Love, so if you have read it first, go read it before reading this review. I can’t not spoil parts of DL, just because of the way it left off. You guys know that I try really hard not do that, but sometimes it’s pretty unavoidable. So, you’ve been warned.

beach-blue-sky-cliff-555709

Continue reading “TL Smith-Sinister Love”