Tag Archives: gritty

MUSCLE MEMORY by STYLO FANTOME :: REVIEW

5 Star TBB Read!
Standalone second chance/amnesia theme

SYNOPSIS
Her lips, the way she feels, how she moves against me. Her voice when she laughs, her eyes when she cries. Her soul connected to mine, for better or for worse, for all eternity.

I don’t remember.

A blank face. Unrecognizable. The darkness and impenetrable fog, day after day after day. Who am I? And for that matter, who is she?

I can’t remember.

Two sides to the same coin – one wants to remember, and the other wants to stay forgotten. Which side will win? Can he trust his heart to bring him back to her? Or will she stay lost in the fog forever?

I might never remember.

Warning: features adult themes

MUSCLE MEMORY is available to purchase below

          


Reviewed by Gitte & Jenny

 “I’m glad I forgot us.”

Wow -without question- this is one of THE BEST books we’ve read in this -amnesia second chance romance- theme. It could’ve been full of clichés or over the top drama, but it really wasn’t. It was perfection! It was beautiful. It was heart-breakingly intense. It was incredibly romantic. It showed that no matter your past, you have the ability to change your life, deserving a second stab at it without judgement, sometimes what makes you YOU on the surface is not a complete nor true reflection of who you are on the inside. Muscle Memory features a wonderful hero who completely stole our hearts in every which way and a heroine who we admired and fell in love with for her strength and her beautiful soul. We lived and breathed their story alongside them.

“We’re two parts of a whole, always making up for the other one. We couldn’t survive without each other.”

The secondary characters entwined in this journey played a tremendous part creating a story that felt emotionally complete. In all honesty, this story felt new, unique and it was quite simply flawless in its exploration of Jayson and Delaney’s past and present. Whilst the journey this Author took us on had a melancholy and an initial ugly broken dreams feel, it was also hopeful, inspiring and had such depth. It re-affirmed the message that true love has no hidden agendas, rather it endorses the selflessness of love and sacrifice. That second chances of life are possible and the will to make that happen is a reachable goal.

‘If she couldn’t be the love of his life anymore, she would help him love life.’

This story of tragedy, love, re-discovery, healing and acceptance was vividly written without hesitation, whilst shining the light on an intense soulmates romance whose path of self-destruction came to an abrupt climax. What followed was a well-paced journey that had us crying, laughing through tears and clutching our kindles to our chests as we fell in book love.

“I don’t know her, but she’s in my blood and in my bones and in my body. I wake up reaching for her, but can’t remember her ever being there. I turn around to look for her, then realize she was never with me. She’s my ghost, she haunts me. I don’t remember her, but I know her.”

The ultimate gift of love has many nuances and can come in an abundance of guises such as friendship, loyalty, understanding and guidance. This story shows that second chances can make or break, that lives and people can change by either unexpected circumstance or by self- belief or even will power.

“You were…life.”

You know we hate spoilers, so this is a completely spoiler-free review as per usual where we talk feelings instead. Our feelings, well they were utterly-completely and wholeheartedly tied up in the words of this fabulously written romance by Stylo Fantome. This second chance story is one that’ll stay in the heart of any hopeless romantic. We’ll leave you with these words; the heart always knows!

“In love we trust.”


We also recommend this TBB 5 Star novel by Stylo


My Time In the Affair by Stylo Fantome

MY TIME IN THE AFFAIR – STANDALONE 

‘They erased everything. Her past, her future, her present. Gone, with one thrust. All that existed was this man, this room, this bed.’

SYNOPSIS
~Mischa~
I made a conscious decision to cheat on my husband.
Now, before you judge me, hear my story. Hear how much I’m like you, how similar my thoughts are to your own. Yes, I’m a horrible person. Yes, I’ve done horrible things. Yes, I don’t deserve forgiveness. Yes, bad things happened because of my actions.
But I’m willing to bet I’ve done things that maybe, just maybe, you have thought of doing.

Maybe, just maybe, you’re not as innocent as you’d like to think.

Or maybe I’m not so guilty …
WARNING: This book involves CHEATING. The word AFFAIR is in the title. The main character has an AFFAIR. In the synopsis (directly above), she states that she intentionally has an AFFAIR. If you don’t like CHEATING, then you have been VERY WELL warned. Also, this book is primarily written in the third-person narrative. 

MY TIME IN THE AFFAIR is available to purchase below

                    

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MERCY by DEBRA ANASTASIA :: REVIEW & FIRST CHAPTER SNEAK PEEK

Standalone gritty romance
“27 days until I change how you perceive love.”

           SYNOPSIS 

He taught me to kill. Murder is in my blood now. It runs through my veins and though I hide the monster I see in the mirror with ink, it doesn’t keep him from coming out.

My street name is Mercy, but I never show any. Except for her. I watch Becca, though she doesn’t know. She saved me a long time ago; the day my father killed my mother. Her bravery turned her into a target.

My father holds a grudge and knife with the same proficiency, and Becca is the focus of his hatred. And I’m the only monster who can save her.

MERCY is now available to purchase below

                   


Reviewed by Jenny & Gitte

4.5 Stars

‘If she wanted it, she could have it. My hand. My heart. My life. She took my hand, and that was enough.’

Wow! We loved this contradiction of a story! Mercy is difficult to categorise and in some ways had a bit of an identity crisis. If you were to go off the synopsis, you’d be thinking this was a particularly sinister, dark read – for us, it wasn’t. Yes, there were dark elements, especially in the last 20% of the book, however the story was essentially one of never ending love, acceptance, destiny, redemption and courage; interspersed with guffaw type humour, loads of emotion and some really sweet romance, all delivered with this authors fabulous ability for gripping and entertaining storytelling.

Mercy is the story of Fenix Churchkey and Rebecca Dixie Stiles. Two children who had a very brief interaction, yet it’s one that would stay with them and have a particularly lasting effect on the young Fenix (Nix). Becca and Nix were a destiny, a love story in the making – written in the stars if you like.

“Sweet girl, I’m covered in ink. I’m broken. Things happened to make me this way. I have trouble being with myself, so I can’t imagine that anyone else would want to spend time here.”

Fenix Churchkey is a man weighed down with misplaced guilt over the death of his mother. Vengeance be thy name, because Nix has a score to settle with his Dad, the man who brutalised him as a child and who was responsible for the death of Nix’s mother. We couldn’t call Nix an antihero per say, although there was darkness in what he did for a living, the man himself however was a protector, a loyal friend and all round sweetheart, driven to his actions by a punishing past.

“In my head she saves me.”
“You don’t need no saving. You’re real. Be yourself. It’s enough.”

The tenacious little Becca stood up to Nix’s cruel father and when she showed Nix kindness and uttered the words “Are you okay?”  Those words would stay with him forever. The story then shifts to fifteen years later when we meet the very mixed up Nix who is working as a hit man and Becca who is adrift in her life working at a bar. Nix always made a pact to never let Becca see him, to always protect her, thinking up ingenious ways to be a part of her life, to watch over her without actually being a part of it. Well, that was all about to change when Nix, at the coercion of his best friend Animal, seizes an opportunity for Becca to get to know the man beneath the menacing appearance, to know the man inside.

‘I could never meet her. I would never touch her. But I was hopelessly in love with her.’

Debra Anastasia didn’t rush the romance between Nix and Becca, instead treating us to a slow build, allowing us to get to know the characters before the feverishness of their feelings took hold, summoning our emotions through Nix’s past and his healing process. We loved this man! Nix begs the question, what is normal and he shows us how we need to dig beneath the surface to find the jewel. Their love story was intense, exhilarating, sweet, honest and beautiful, if not a little chaotic and crazy.

“Wait for me?”
“I thought you’d never ask.”

The secondary characters were fabulous – in particular the relationship between Nix and his best mate Animal. This huge big brute of a man who spoke so sweetly and sometimes had the hilarious demeanour of a little old lady won us over. Animal soon became a crucial part of the story and bloody hell, we cannot wait for his story and to learn who his love interest is, though we have some idea!

The only issue we had is one that readers will either love; or not -which is our case- it’s a personal thing, however for us it’s one that took us out of this story for a moment or two. We have a bit of a pet peeve when Authors bring their ‘online real life’ into their books with people and/or their conversations. The dialogue between certain characters in Mercy made us feel as though we were reading a Facebook thread, not living this particular moment of a fictional story, but thankfully Debra soon pulled us back in and overall it didn’t take anything away from our enjoyment of this gripping, sweet, intense and tumultuous love story that had our hearts bursting with romance one minute whilst fiercely beating with anticipation the next as Nix’s past crashes into his present!


CHAPTER ONE SNEAK PEAK

Chapter 1 of MERCY by Debra Anastasia

Superhero

Fenix

“Hold these eggs.”

My father handed me the white carton in the grocery store. The aisle was cold. I was cold. My hands were shaking.

“Don’t you drop those eggs, son.” His voice was menacing. But everything about him was menacing.

He’d finally done it. He’d killed my mother. Last night. This morning.

We were in the grocery store because we needed food. My sister was at my aunt’s house, which was good.

Because Mom was dead.

My hands shook more. I stared at them and willed them to stop shaking. I begged them to stop shaking.

Mom was shaking before she died. Seeing her like that was all there was. In this grocery store. In my head. My hands were clean now, but Dad had scrubbed them before he’d put me in the truck.

To come here. To get groceries.

I felt sick to my stomach.

Mom had been trying to make dinner. In the end all the food from the fridge had been tossed around the kitchen.

The squeaky Styrofoam container the eggs were in was giving me away. He was watching. He was getting even angrier.

Mom wasn’t here anymore. To step in. To stop him when he got this way.

“Stop shaking, Fenix Churchkey.”

It was a whisper from the scariest man on the planet. I tensed my muscles. There was no difference. Maybe it was making it worse.

“You’re the best boy, Nix. I love you so much. Just remember that.”

Mom. She was gone.

I watched in horror as the carton tumbled from my hands and hit the floor. The eggs made a sickening noise inside.

Mom was shaking before she died.

Before he murdered her.

I looked at his face, knowing he would kill me too. Not here. Most likely not here.

He liked private. He liked closed doors.

I knew not to make a sound when his hand grasped my arm so hard. He would squeeze right through the bones maybe someday.

I started to count my matchbox cars in my head. It was how I kept quiet. In a box under my bed there was three cars. The red car. The blue van. And the Hummer, my favorite. It was purple and…

“What did I tell you?”

His mouth was next to my ear. His breath smelled bad. His sweat smelled bad.

Mom was gone now.

At least my sister was at my aunt’s house. She was just a baby.

Dad grabbed my other arm, a little lower than the edge of my T-shirt sleeve. I watched as my skin came up between his fingers.

I felt the tears.

Crying always made it worse.

He was going to break my arms. Both my arms.

“Hey! Mister! Leave that boy alone.”

I felt chills up my spine. We were private. We liked closed doors. No one was allowed to know.

“I said let go! You’re bigger than he is. And let him go. He’s good.”

She was a kid. Like me. She put her hands on his forearm and pushed. I was stunned quiet. I was stunned stupid.

She wasn’t wearing matching socks and her hair was a giant halo of curls. She had a shiny purse with a stuffed dog sticking out of it and a fistful of coupons. There was a spiral pad with a cat doodled on it popping out of a pocket.

Dad took one hand off of me and lifted it. He was going to backhand this little girl. I put my hand up to block him.

I saw my death in his eyes then. You don’t stand up to him.

Ever.

Mom was gone.

The little girl didn’t flinch.

It would occur to me years later that she’d never been hit a day in her life. But not now. Now she was a superhero.

“You don’t hurt kids. That’s wrong.” She looked from his face to his hand that was still squeezing me.

“Go on, girl. ’Fore I change your mind.” Dad wiped his mouth with the back of his threatening hand.

Restraint.

He had it for her. For this little girl.

She frowned at my father and then put her lips to the side like she was fed up with him.

I felt my mouth drop open.

Then she was looking at me. Her clear blue eyes saw me. Saw through me. “Are you okay?”

To see this wild disrespect of what my father could do, what he demanded from Mom, from me was like getting hit with a wave in the center of my chest.

I felt my father’s warning hiss to me. This girl was the sun on the darkest horizon. She made dark turn to light.

I nodded. I was fine. We were always fine.

Mom was gone.

“Mister, you need to let go of his arm.”

The girl pointed at me. I knew what she saw. His fingers biting into me like teeth on a tiger. I had so many bruises all over my body that were in the outline of my father’s hand. This new one on my arm would only be unique because it didn’t feel entirely in the safe zone of how my shirts lay. I would wear a long sleeve if I could find it tomorrow. If I made it to tomorrow.

“I said for you to get. And mind your own damn business.”

The girl’s eyes went wide at his use of the word “damn”. If she only knew.

I wanted her to know.

She narrowed her eyes at my father. “You’re a bad man.”

The veins in my father’s neck were starting to pop out.

She was in danger now. And I knew I should protect her from him, but to not be alone for a moment. It was making me breathe, and I needed that so much.

“You’re about to learn how bad I can be.”

It was a low growl. It was his home voice. It was his closed-door voice. It was the voice I was never going to get away from. It was the last voice my mom heard.

Mom was gone.

“You’re trying to scare me, and I don’t scare easy. I sleep in my own bed with the lights off and no nightlight anymore.”

She lifted her chin at my father like a boxer just before the first punch.

“Dad, let’s go.” I spoke for her. Normally I never spoke. Not when my father’s voice had cracked its way into my soul. But I didn’t want to see the light in the girl’s eyes fade.

I didn’t know what a soul was until I watched my mother’s leave last night—or this morning. It was that eye light.

“Rebecca Dixie Stiles!”

The girl snapped her head around. Rebecca had to be her name.

“Over here, Dad! I need your help!” She crossed her arms in front of her.

I watched as my father shifted his weight and a muscle twitched in his jaw.

My father didn’t say anything else. He abandoned our groceries on the floor by the egg carton and pulled me with him.

I looked over my shoulder at her. She was waving down her father, who I didn’t get to see. “Dad! This guy! Wait!”

She reached past her stuffed animal into the sparkly bag and jogged after us. She held a lollipop out to me. I looked at it. The words “Hug Me” were printed on it. I stuck it inside my pocket.

Rebecca locked eyes with me then. “Be okay. Okay? Be okay.”

I nodded.

It just didn’t happen that day.

Or the next.

Or the next.


TBB RECOMMENDATIONS from DEBRA 


POUGHKEEPSIE is a standalone beautiful romance that will steal your heart.

 What a difference a smile and giving a damn about someone down on their luck can make. Livia and Blake will steal your heart.  Theirs is a love story that you will cheer from the beginning.  You want these two to succeed.  You want the best for them. You will love them. You will cherish them.

“You make the rest of the beautiful things in the world cry for even trying at all. You make it hard for me to breathe.” 

 


FOR ALL THE EVERS is a standalone emotional and beautiful otherworldly romance.

Written from the heart, this is a journey where past meets present, depicting bravery, addiction, sacrifice, determination, perseverance and redemption. Ultimately it captured the very essence of love and what we’d do in the name of love.  We cried tears of joy and devastation.

“If true love hurts more than this does, I don’t want any part of it.

All the Evers


 

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THE UNREQUITED by SAFFRON A KENT :: REVIEW

Standalone student/teacher forbidden love story

SYNOPSIS
Layla Robinson is not crazy. She is suffering from unrequited love. But it’s time to move on. No more stalking, no more obsessive calling. 

What she needs is a distraction. The blue-eyed guy she keeps seeing around campus could be a great one—only he is the new poetry professor—the married poetry professor.

Thomas Abrams is a stereotypical artist—rude, arrogant, and broody—but his glares and taunts don’t scare Layla. She might be bad at poetry, but she is good at reading between the lines. Beneath his prickly façade, Thomas is lonely, and Layla wants to know why. Obsessively.

Sometimes you do get what you want. Sometimes you end up in the storage room of a bar with your professor and you kiss him. Sometimes he kisses you back like the world is ending and he will never get to kiss you again. He kisses you until you forget the years of unrequited love; you forget all the rules, and you dare to reach for something that is not yours.

NOTE: Please be aware that this book deals with sensitive topics like cheating. 18+ Only.

THE UNREQUITED is available to purchase below

          


Reviewed by Jenny & Gitte 

‘I know he’s married. I know he’s an asshole, rude and mean and some kind of genius poet – but maybe that’s the appeal. I don’t want him to love me back. ‘

What a deliciously f***ed up, deeply emotional and utterly addictive read this was! The Unrequited was that unputdownable train wreck type of love story we devour. We couldn’t look away from for a minute,  at times holding our breath through this rapid and thoroughly absorbing and compulsive story.

‘No matter how much you convince yourself otherwise, reciprocation is important. It’s what keeps the love going. Without it, love just dies out, and then it’s up to you. Do you bury it, or do you carry the dead body for a while. I want to see reciprocation. What does requited love look like? I want to see it.’

Now, there are forbidden love stories and then there are forbidden love stories. You know what we mean? Some make the claim but don’t deliver on the tense, gut churning emotions we love to experience in this theme. In this case, The Unrequited certainly lived up to its claim. Our hearts were in our mouths as Thomas and Layla took risk after risk in their need for one another. Their story was nerve wracking, exhilarating, emotional, tender, volatile and gripping! We read the entire book with baited breath wondering if their elicit desire was going to be uncovered and if/how it could ever prosper.

‘Thomas Abrams is magic. He’s a wordsmith, a baby whisperer, a blue eyed asshole, but most of all, he’s like me…..brokenhearted.’

To label this as simply forbidden or a cheating book wouldn’t do justice to the layered and complicated characters and story created by Saffron A Kent. On the surface this is a coupling that felt somewhat toxic. Two emotionally exhausted characters trying to ease their pain and evolve through lustful, dirty, forbidden sex. And boy the sex was hot, erotic and intense and plentiful, but the story was more than that.  More than appeared on the surface. The characters more complex than first thought and our hearts ached for them.

“…I’m selfish, Layla. I’ll ruin you, set you on fire, and won’t even look back. I’ll take and take until you’re empty and hollow.”

Layla was a character whose actions and internal monologue came across at times a little disturbing. With Layla we found we were always waiting for that other shoe to drop and could never truly settle into getting to bond with her, to feel comfortable around her chaotic and impulsive behaviour, yet her air of vulnerability did draw us to her.

Thomas’ actions gave us whiplash as he danced between kindness and cruelty, and just at the time we questioned if we could relate to the man and his coldness, the author gave us his POV providing a whole new perspective and layer to him and his story, changing our thinking about this man completely. Thomas, was a man with a wounded heart – responsible for such beautiful, painful and heartbreaking poetry, and yet could sprout such panty melting dirty talk….wow! What a contradiction.

“You’re…the poem I can never write. Yeah, you’re the piece of poetry I can never hope to finish, no matter how hard I try.”

Saffron A Kent delivered an emotionally charged story about two messed up lonely, vulnerable people. Sure, they weren’t the easiest characters to love at times, but they certainly made for interesting reading! Each a casualty of unrequited love who share an inherent need to be loved in return, and in doing so find  some sort of solace in the physical form with one another.  An exquisitely written erotic, thought provoking, moving and exciting story, delivered with potent storytelling and multifaceted characters showing us love in all its ugly, painful, sad and yet somewhat beautiful form.

‘My heart has many faces. Restless heart. Desperate heart. Selfish heart. Lonely heart.’

Saffron A Kent showed them all! Be prepared to be engrossed by this one!


TBB ALSO RECOMMENDS BY THIS AUTHOR
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Filed under 4.5 Stars, Pick an Author, Saffron A Kent

DIRTY GAMES by BARBARA ELSBORG :: REVIEW

Standalone dark MM romance

SYNOPSIS

The last thing Linton needs when he arrives home after three months in the States, is to find his beautiful flat is a squat, complete with his younger brother Dirk, who’s lying in Linton’s bed with a couple who’ve paid him for sex. Dirk isn’t even supposed to have a key. But after Linton throws Dirk out, life slams in hard and if his brother is to have any hope of a future, Linton has to play dirty. Or at least pretend to. What he hasn’t factored in is having to play the game to the bitter end.

Film star Thorne Morrisey has everything. Good looks, charm, seductive magnetism and a voice that could charm a snake from its basket. He can also be a real shit and yet people still love him – though he’d rather not have the love of his suicidal ex, dumped by Thorne in a very public and humiliating way. His ex’s wealthy brother has his own reasons for wanting revenge on Thorne, and his weapon of choice is Linton.

Linton and Thorne are on a collision course and in for the game of their lives. But who is playing whom?

This book has dark themes and violence.

DIRTY GAMES is available to purchase below

          


Reviewed by Jenny & Gitte

4.5 Stars

‘How was it possible to hate and love someone at the same time?’

We’ve been huge admirers of Barbara Elsborg’s work for some time. Whether it’s MM, MF, Contemporary romance or paranormal, we’ve been impressed and loved everything we’ve read and wish more readers looking for a ‘new to them’ author would experience this talented lady’s work!

With Dirty Games, we found ourselves completely captivated by this emotional, angsty and passionate story of love, revenge and manipulation. Though, at the core of Thorne and Linton’s s story is one of love, loyalty, healing, forgiveness and acceptance.

‘He wasn’t going to break Thorne’s heart, but he worried that in the process, he might break his own.’

Linton Williams is an up and coming architect who returns to England after a three month working stint in New York to find his life turned upside down. Linton’s brother Dirk is a drug addict, unemployed and has moved himself into Linton’s flat without permission during his absence. Trouble follows the damaged Dirk and soon Linton sees himself an unwitting victim in Dirks seedy world. Being forced to make a deal he’s dead set against in order to save Dirk and get him the help he so desperately requires. There is nothing Linton wouldn’t do for Dirk. He’s always protected and cared for Dirk, leaving him feeling incapable of love, this aspect of Dirty Games broke our hearts!

“All my life I’ve tried to let pain flow over me without letting it touch me. A bit like standing at the back of a waterfall and watching the torrent fall in front of me but I only get a bit wet, not drenched.“

Thirty year old Thorne Morrisey is seductive, charming and ridiculously good looking actor with his star on the rise. Whilst his career might be on the up, his personal life is anything but. Thorne has been unlucky in love, has made some poor choices and trusted the wrong people. The consequences of which have made it difficult for Thorne to open up and trust completely. Thorne would rather strike out and hurt someone before being deeply hurt himself. A coping mechanism that’s been forced upon him from his past issues.

‘He dragged his teeth over his bottom lip as he smiled, and with that one simple gesture, broke into Thorne’s damaged heart.’

It is through six degrees of separation and fate that Linton and Thorne’s paths cross, with players in the story being interconnected in more ways than one. Thorne and Linton strike up a friendship which becomes more. Both Thorne and Linton are devoted to, protective of, and fiercely loyal to their brothers, River (Thorne’s autistic brother) and Dirk (Linton’s troubled drug addict brother) a quality each respects in the other.

Thorne is drawn to Linton in ways he hasn’t felt before and Linton’s connection, patience and understanding of River has Thorne wanting to pursue something on a deeper level with Linton which is a big step for the cagey Thorne who believes everyone has a motive and Linton is harbouring a secret which could tear their relationship apart.

“I don’t want to have to choose between loneliness and a broken heart.”

We were completely immersed in Dirty Games, as the emotion of Thorne and Linton were stripped raw. The sex, though sensual and steamy, never overshadowed the emotion, instead enhancing the feelings, connection and passion between Thorne and Linton. Barbara’s wit is always spot on. We adore her droll, sarcastic humour which always endears her characters to us even further. The sarky humour ensured the story, whilst dramatic, never became melodramatic. We loved it!


Click below for more TBB Recs from Barbara

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Filed under 4.5 Stars, Barbara Elsborg, Our Reviewers, Pick an Author, Reviews by Gitte, Reviews by Jenny

RIOT (A Scarred Souls Novel #4) by TILLIE COLE :: REVIEW

Gritty, dark Mafia romance series to be read in order. Final book in series.

SYNOPSIS

Stolen by the Arziani Georgian crime mob as a child, 152 was raised and conditioned to be a Mona—the most subservient of the Arziani Blood Pit slaves.

Gorgeous and kind, she has been and under the imprisoning influence of the Type B drug and under the command of the Blood Pit Master’s sister, Mistress Arziani, for most of her life, until the Master calls her back home to Georgia.

He wants her under his total control, and Master always gets what he wants.

But when 152 is gifted to the Blood Pit’s fearsome champion death match fighter as a prize, 152 suddenly finds out that the men who appear most brutal, may just own the kindest hearts. And love may be found, even when living in hell.

Freedom, family, love, 152 will have to fight for what she wants and ultimately make an impossible choice.

RIOT is available to purchase below

                   


Reviewed by Gitte & Jenny

4.5 Stars

 ‘The male with the cruel eyes. The infallible killer. The Pit Bull of the Arziani Empire. Master’s living god among men.’

Wow, what a compelling way to finish this fabulously dark and highly emotional series. It’s been quite the horrific but brilliantly written ride, with each book giving us a new tormented hero and heroine all with a harrowing and tragic past and present.  All with the fighting pit at its centre. It’s been a tearful and upsetting journey but a journey that’s been lit up by a beacon of shining bright love.

“Our names are part of our path to freedom.”

In this series finale we hear the voice of 152, the lost sister of Valentin, and 901, the king of the fighting pit. The master’s favourite but for how long? This series has always had a flair for the dramatic and over the top, but it’s worked for us. We’ve been gripped, addicted and invested in every single book and Riot was no different. We loved it.

‘He was the most intimidating male I had ever encountered. And I was trapped in his cell. Completely alone. In the unwelcome company of a killer. And there was absolutely nothing I could do.’

152 – Inessa, the lost one, the beloved sister. She stole our hearts and they bled for her fate. She was a fighter a survivor and her story broke our hearts. She’s the chosen one for Master Arziani, who runs an evil and inhumane empire set to break the human spirit for his own gains and desires. Using her as bait to get final control of 901 who isn’t running the line of commands. This catalyst sparks a series of events that ultimately sets in motion a revolt that could see freedom at the end of a very long imprisonment under an evil reign of punishment.

“You became my heart. He made me want you like I have never wanted anything else. Even my freedom does not compare. If I had to fight every day for the rest of my life here in this pit, I would do it gladly to have you with me.”

901 and 152 are thrown together as part of a concluding plan for Arziani’s final blood lusting glory. However, where the evil intent succeeds the strength of love, protection and human spirit was ultimately underestimated. There’s such a vulnerable almost innocent essence to 901 and 152’s relationship. Considering the gruesome circumstances, this was such a beauty to read because of this. For two people so deeply embedded in the sadistic and brutal side of life there was such a beauty to their characters.

‘901 thought me beautiful. And he told me in Russian. In the language of our hearts. The language of our home.’

What we absolutely loved about Riot was being back with everyone and everything coming full circle, seeing vengeance and redemption. Finding happiness and love. We loved how it played out, how after such a long time being spent in virtual hell with our hero and heroine we saw a culmination of the previous books through Luka, Zaal and Valentin. We loved the final climax and what a fabulous ending to what has been a crazy good suspenseful, dark and passionate series.

‘We had been thrust back into hell. But this time the only way out was to burn it in our wake.’

‘We would maim. We would slaughter. We would kill. Together, we would fucking raze hell.’


THE SCARRED SOULS SERIES

Raze Book – One

                    

Reap Book – Two

                    

Ravage Book – Three

                    

Riot Book – Four

                   

 

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Filed under 4.5 Stars, Our Reviewers, Pick an Author, Reviews by Gitte, Reviews by Jenny, Tillie Cole