Sunday, September 2, 2012

Captive in the Dark and Seduced in the Dark (The Dark Duet series) by CJ Roberts

Captive in the Dark (The Dark Duet, #1) 

Captive in the Dark by CJ Roberts

Caleb is a man with a singular interest in revenge. Kidnapped as a young boy and sold into slavery by a power-hungry mobster, he has thought of nothing but vengeance. For twelve years he has immersed himself in the world of pleasure slaves searching for the one man he holds ultimately responsible. Finally, the architect of his suffering has emerged with a new identity, but not a new nature. If Caleb is to get close enough to strike, he must become the very thing he abhors and kidnap a beautiful girl to train her to be all that he once was.

Eighteen-year-old Olivia Ruiz has just woken up in a strange place. Blindfolded and bound, there is only a calm male voice to welcome her. His name is Caleb, though he demands to be called Master. Olivia is young, beautiful, naïve and willful to a fault. She has a dark sensuality that cannot be hidden or denied, though she tries to accomplish both. Although she is frightened by the strong, sadistic, and arrogant man who holds her prisoner, what keeps Olivia awake in the dark is her unwelcome attraction to him.

Seduced in the Dark (The Dark Duet, #2)
Seduced in the Dark by CJ Roberts

What is the price of redemption?

Rescued from sexual slavery by a mysterious Pakistani officer, Caleb carries the weight of a debt that must be paid in blood.

The road has been long and fraught with uncertainty, but for Caleb and Livvie, it’s all coming to an end.

Can he surrender the woman he loves for the sake of vengeance? 

Or will he make the ultimate sacrifice? (goodreads description)


I will be reviewing Captive in the Dark and Seduced in the Dark together. 

I give Captive in the Dark and Seduced in the Dark by CJ Roberts together 5/5 stars.

**I will slightly discuss both novels with no spoilers from either. The only spoiler I will give for the second novel, Seduced in the Dark  will be  hidden in white. No need to fret. (just scroll over the white area to see spoiler text)**

Captive in the Dark and Seduced in the Dark review: 

I found the Dark Duet series from an article a twitter friend re-tweeted on similar novels to the Fifty Shades of Grey series. Having been suffering from Fifty Shades withdrawal, at the time, I quickly checked out all of the books on the list. The novels from the list were as follows: Bared to YouGabriel's InfernoCaptive in the DarkThe Reluctant Dom, and Rock Me

Captive in the Dark and Seduced in the Dark forced me into a world I was completely unfamiliar with in every way. This not surprising, since I’m sure not many people could relate to being kidnapped and forced/trained into sex slavery. Yet, even as the subject matter challenged me in ways I never expected, I couldn’t help but be fascinated in the world and characters Ms. Roberts created. 

I will admit that in the beginning, I disliked Caleb greatly. I thought he was a very morbid individual who had serious mental issues and I couldn’t foresee any change in him. Of course, I knew Caleb would change his ways; the series wouldn’t be a HEA if he didn’t. Though, I really worried for the majority of the first book and half of the second. Even concurring, that Livvie may end up with someone other than Caleb.


Anyone else rooting for... Agent Matthew Reed in the beginning before the whole Dr. Janice Sloan thing happened? I seriously thought Matthew and Livvie would end up together in the end since Caleb was supposedly dead. Though by the end, I’m glad Livvie and Matthew didn’t end up together. Matthew has some issues he needs to work through. Matthew and Janice seem like they could make a fascinating couple. *wink, wink*



As I mentioned before, I found the Dark Duet series because of its comparison to the Fifty Shades of Grey series. Therefore, I would definitely recommend Captive in the DarkandSeduced in the Dark is in need of a similar series that deals with the same subject as Fifty Shades of Greyand Bared to You

Point of Retreat (Slammed #2) by Colleen Hoover

Point of Retreat (Slammed, #2)
Book cover from goodreads
Point of Retreat by Colleen Hoover

Hardships and heartache brought them together…now it will tear them apart. 

Layken and Will have proved their love can get them through anything; until someone from Will’s past re-emerges, leaving Layken questioning the very foundation on which their relationship was built. Will is forced to face the ultimate challenge…how to prove his love for a girl who refuses to stop ‘carving pumpkins.’ (goodreads description)


I give Point of Retreat by Colleen Hoover 5/5 stars for being absolutely amazing and definitely less gloomy this time around. (Less gloomy equals less blubbering, on my part, which is definitely a good thing.)


Once again, like my review on Slammed, I have found myself completely emotional and struggling to write yet another review for this series. It will be short and sweet but I would give nothing less for such an amazing novel. 

Once of my biggest concern for Point of Retreat was the switch to Will's POV. It almost made me not want to continue the series (I have issues with male POV's). I'm so glad I didn't listen to myself. I would have missed out!

Point of Retreat obsession:

I would love to begin this review by point out that Ms. Hoover has mad skills. I’m not sure why it took me so long to start the Slammed series but I’m sure glad I did. I’ve cried, screamed, swooned, and straight-out want to punch a character in the face. Altogether, Slammed was one of the best books (series) of the year. I’m now eagerly and impatiently waiting for the next installment,Will s Story, due out in 2013. *finger crossed the release dates moves up*

Point of Retreat review:

Point of Retreat begins exactly where Slammed ended. From the epilogue, inSlammed, we find out that it has been an entire year since Layken Cohen and Will Cooper finally became an official couple. Much is happened in the past year, more importantly speaking, Layken and Kel’s mom Julie has inevitably passed in September from lung cancer. Since this is the case, Layken is now the sole guardian of Kel making her predicament very similar to Will and Caulder’s. 

However, of course, there wouldn’t be another novel unless there was more drama arising to destroy Layken and Will’s perfect world. That ‘drama’ is in the form of Will’s ex, Vaugh Gibson. From Slammed, we learned that Vaugh was Will’s girlfriend for the two years before his parents died. Their relationship, ended after Vaugh left Will heartbroken two weeks after his parents died. What a swell girl, huh? Oh you just wait. It gets better.


Yes!. Point of Retreat is a perfect secondary novel to follow Slammed


Once again, I find myself thrilled by the whole idea of slam poetry. I think the whole concept is brilliant and I really wish I could make one of my own. We’ll see. I may even post it later to this review. 

Slammed (Slammed #1) by Colleen Hoover

Slammed (Slammed, #1)
Slammed by Colleen Hoover

Following the unexpected death of her father, 18-year-old Layken is forced to be the rock for both her mother and younger brother. Outwardly, she appears resilient and tenacious, but inwardly, she's losing hope. 

Enter Will Cooper: The attractive, 21-year-old new neighbor with an intriguing passion for slam poetry and a unique sense of humor. Within days of their introduction, Will and Layken form an intense emotional connection, leaving Layken with a renewed sense of hope.
Not long after an intense, heart-stopping first date, they are slammed to the core when a shocking revelation forces their new relationship to a sudden halt. Daily interactions become impossibly painful as they struggle to find a balance between the feelings that pull them together, and the secret that keeps them apart.


Honestly, if I could give Slammed by Colleen Hoover more than a 5/5 star rating, I would in a heartbeat. That is how much I love Slammed


Due to the blubbering mess that has become of me since finishing Slammed, I’m afraid this novel will not get a proper review until I can control myself. Having said this, I will at least attempt to write some sort of review onSlammed for the time being. 

My attempt at some sort of Slammed review:

First and foremost, I feel the need to explain how much of a disadvantage I was at going into this novel. For the friends who recommended Slammed to me, I hate you all for giving me the wrong impression! I was completely unprepared for this novel. 

From the synopsis, the reader is made aware that 18-year-old Layken Cohen has recently lost her father. Though I fully understand the emotional fallout that would accompany such a tragedy, I was by no means expecting the novel to be as heart-wrenching as it was. 

On a more positive and less depressing note, I thought it was really awesome and such a cool idea how Ms. Hoover integrated slam poetry into her novel. I, for one, have never been too enthusiastic when it came to poetry to begin with but I have to admit, I may like this concept of slam poetry. I would love to actually see it in person one day. 


The only background knowledge I had on this type of poetry prior to the novel dates back to that movie made back in 1999 called Drive Me Crazy(based on the popular song by Britney Spears). You know the one with Melissa Joan Hart and Adrian Grenier? I remember the scene where character Adrian Grenier plays, Chase Hammond, is sitting in a coffee shop with his girlfriend and someone (maybe his girlfriend) is performing slam poetry. That is as far as my memory stretches so if I missed a detail, oh well, it was 13 years ago. 


Absolutely. Slammed is such as amazing novel, I would recommend it to any looking for a very powerful read. Yes, I won’t mislead anyone. This novel deals with intense topics that will bring out the water works. 

Cross My Heart by Katie Klein

Cross My Heart
Cross My Heart by Katie Klein

True love can blossom in unexpected places. This is Jaden pretending not to notice. . . .

Jaden McEntyre and Parker Whalen are a wrong fit from the start. Jaden is driven and focused, Harvard Med School within reach. Parker has a past-a reputation-and the rumors about his mysterious habits abound. So there's no reason why, when they're assigned to work together on a project in English, they should discover they have anything in common, or even like each other, and they definitely shouldn't be falling in love.

As they bond over Edith Wharton's tragic novella, Ethan Frome, the "bad boy" vibe Parker plays begins to dissipate. Soon, Jaden finds herself shedding her own "good girl" image: sneaking around to be with him, confiding in him, and ultimately falling hard for this leather-wearing, motorcycle-driving loner who plays into the rebel stereotype.

Still, Jaden can't shake the feeling that there's more to Parker than he's letting on. He's hiding something from her, and discovering the truth means reconciling the Parker she's grown to love with the person he really is. Because it's possible that his life inside the classroom-everything Jaden knows-is one, massive lie.


I giver Cross My Heart by Katie Klein 3.5/5 stars (rounded up to 4) for being fairly entertaining and teaching me a whole new meaning to the story ark behind Ethan Frome, in which the story heavily relies upon. 


I’m going to do a short review of Cross My Heart. Though, the story was beautifully written and the characters were very lovable, I just feel it if I wrote anything lengthier, at this time, it wouldn’t do the novel any justice since I have many concerns. 

Plus, the last thing I want to do is discourage anyone else from reading it.

Cross My Heart review:

Cross My Heart is one of those cute young adult romances that fellow readers rave about where the good girl meets the bad boy and they fall hopelessly in love despite all odds. Typically, I’m a huge fan of this theme; having read countless books before that used this same formula. However, I just couldn’t get into Cross My Heart for reasons that are still unbeknownst to me. 

I will add that Cross My Heart has one of the biggest shockers. Reading as much as I do, I'm usually very perceptive and catch on to things fairly quickly. No way did I ever see this coming! 

The Mayfair Moon (The Darkwoods Trilogy, #1) by J.A. Redmerski

The Mayfair Moon by J.A. Redmerski
The Mayfair Moon by J.A. Redmerski

After a nightmarish encounter with a werewolf, seventeen-year-old Adria Dawson loses her sister, but gains the love of a mysterious young man and his legendary family.

Strange and tragic things begin to happen in the small town of Hallowell, Maine: residents come down with an unexplainable ‘illness’ and some disappear. In the midst of everything, Isaac Mayfair is adamant about keeping Adria safe, even from her sister whom he has warned her to stay away from.

As unspeakable secrets unfold all around Adria, impossible choices become hers to bear. Ultimately, no matter what path she takes, her life and the lives of those she loves will be in peril. As she learns about the werewolf world she also learns why her place in it will change the destinies of many.


I give The Mayfair Moon by J.A. Redmerski 3.5/5 stars. I found the story to be very entertaining and a cool twist on the werewolf mythology. 

**Spoilers have been hidden in white. No need to fret. (just scroll over the white area to see spoiler text)**

Adria Dawson has never lived a normal life; Stuck in a trailer with her mother, sister, and alcoholic step-father, Adria could be better. When a series of mysterious events lead her to Maine to live with her Aunt Beverlee and Uncle Carl, Adria couldn’t be happier at a new beginning. That is until her sister, Alex, begins act strange. Suddenly, Adria is twisted into a world she never foresaw, finding love in the last place she expected. 

Issac Mayfair is dark and mysterious. He lives a life few teenagers experience. His family holds a secret so big, its ultimate death to anyone who uncovers it. Since Issac's life is filled with such danger and a past of extreme misfortunes, he knows Adria is safer without him. 

**I’m going to change my reviewing format. This will be more of my thoughts versus a review.**

The Mayfair Moon: My thoughts:

I’ll admit that, at one point, I decided I could no longer bear to read The Mayfair Moon any longer. Around chapter four, I remember actually turning to my sister and stating, “This is unbearable, I’m so done.” Nonetheless, because I absolutely hate quitting a novel, I kept going. 

I’m so glad I continued despite my previous reservations!

The writing in the beginning is a bit shaky for my taste. A lot of the sentences felt awkward and it seemed as though the author may have had trouble trying to convey what was going on in the scenes. I ended up having to reread a few sentences to understand what was really going on. In addition, I also felt some sentences were missing, which also contributed to my overall confusion. 

Another factor that really deterred me from enjoying this novel was the heavy Twilight vibes in the beginning. I know the whole Twilight comparison is thrown around a lot now so I will back up my claim; The heroine has just moved into town, the best friend is described as being quirky and strange as well as having a pixie hair cut, the love interest is dark, mysterious, and feels he is a danger to the heroine so she would be wise to avoid him. However, I did find that the further I continued reading, the more the comparisons faded and the story became one of its own. 

I felt that by chapter six, the things I condemned the novel for were fixed and everything was definitely smooth sailing after that. Once, I was able to concrete on the story, I fell in love.

One of the coolest things in The Mayfair Moon was the werewolf mythology. That’s right, there are actually werewolves; standing, furry, huge teeth, and of course, blood. Usually in the werewolf genre, it is a man turning into a wolf so the change was both interesting and exciting. That was until later when the explanation became all scrabbled and confusing (see spoiler).

Shout-out to the Magic Bites Kate Daniels 1. Too bad it involves spoilery content. 


When the werewolves were first introduced; it was two men, one turned into a wolf and the other a werewolf. This is what got me excited about the story in the first place. However, halfway through the werewolf form was then explained to not exactly be another race but a middle ground between a men and werewolf. At this exact part, I remember thinking, “Oh like what the shape shifters do in the Kate Daniels series.” I honestly feel if I had not read the Kate Daniels series first, I would be lost in this description of the races. In all honestly, I’m still confused on whether both races can turn into this middle ground or if one remains stuck where as the other has a choice…



Having decided upon a 3.5 star rating for The Mayfair Moon, I really had a self-battle on whether I would give the novel 3 or 4 stars. It was my need for the next installment that ultimately sealed the deal. 

Since this is the case, I prefer to read Kindred before deciding if I would recommend this series. 

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Pack Challenge (Magnus Pack #1) by Shelly Laurenston

Pack Challenge (Magnus Pack, #1)

Pack Challenge by Shelly Laurenston

What's an Alpha Male to do when he meets the Alpha Female of his dreams? Step one, hide all sharp objects. All Zach Sheridan ever wanted was to become Alpha Male of his Pack and be left alone. What he definitely didn't need in his life was some needy female demanding his attention. What he never saw coming was the vicious, scarred female who not only demanded his attention but knew exactly how to get it. 

Sara Morrighan knew this was the best she could expect from her life. Good friends. A nice place to live. And a safe job. But when Zach rode into her small Texas town with his motorcycle club, Sara knew she wanted more. She knew she wanted him. But after one sexy encounter with her dream biker, everything is starting to change. Her body. Her strength. That new thing she's doing with the snarling. Even her best friends are starting to wonder what's going on with her. But this is only the beginning. Sara's about to find out her life was meant for so much more. And Zach's about to find true love with the one woman who makes him absolutely insane. 

The book has been previously published and expanded for Samhain Publishing. Warning, this title contains the following: explicit sex, graphic language, and strong violence.


I give Pack Challenge by Shelly Laurenston 4/5 stars for having some of the best dialogue I have read so far.

Pack Challenge is definitely an alpha book for sure; male alphas, female was definitely alpha galore! 

Pack Challenge review: 

Sara Morrighan doesn’t live an easy life. Orphaned by her parents at an early age, Sarah was sentenced to live with her insane, paranoid, gun-wielding grandmother. If only that was the worst of Sara’s problems. Having barely survived the animal attack that took her father’s life, Sara must wear the scars across one-side of her face and leg, which bring her enormous pain and a none to flattering limp. Though, there is a bright-light or two in Sara’s life; her two crazy best friends, Miki and Angelina, who would do just about anything to protect her. However, when the Pride comes to Texas looking for retribution for the crimes Sara’s parents committed against them, Sara will need more than her friends to help her. The help Sara needs, unbenounced to her, is in the shape of Zacharias Sheridan, or just Zach for short. 

Zach Sheridan is ready to be pack leader. He has the strength, motivation, capabilities, and the permission of the pack alpha when he steps down. The only problem is that the current alpha female is bent on keeping her position and power no matter what. For that reason, Zach finds himself in the small nowhere town located in Texas. His explanation for being there is the beautiful, insane girl he just can’t keep out of his thoughts. Of course this is a terrible thing since Zach had ridden off the idea of family. 

I think I’ll leave to Zach to further explain his exact feelings on the topic:

“He decided he wanted to be Alpha Male . . . He didn’t want kids. He’d be more than happy to let the other Pack mates breed and then raise their little whelps to take over when he was too old or tired to hold the leash. But every wolf female he’d met wanted to breed their mate’s kid. So, Zach had decided, any mate he chose would be fixed.”


Yes. I would recommend Pack Challenge for any reader looking for a good shape-shifter book. 


I seem to be in a great debate with the rating I give for novels I read lately. I blame it on becoming such an analytical reader now. Having said that, the only reason Pack Challenge received a 4 star rating from is is solely on the crude language used multiple times throughout the entire novel. I am in no way an innocent reader. Profanity and crude sexual terms don’t faze me at all. On the other hand, in Pack Challenge, I think it just became too much and started to rub me the wrong way after a while. I understand that these are how the characters speak, which is perfectly okay, but for some scenes I felt it was overwhelming; mainly the sex scenes.

Breathe (Sea Breeze #1) by Abbi Glines


Breathe by Abbi Glines

Sadie White's summer job isn't going to be on the beach life-guarding or working at rental booths like most kids her age. With her single mother's increasing pregnancy and refusal to work, Sadie has to take over her mother's job as a domestic servant for one of the wealthy summer families on a nearby island.

When the family arrives at their summer getaway, Sadie is surprised to learn that the owner of the house is Jax Stone, one of the hottest teen rockers in the world. If Sadie hadn't spent her life raising her mother and taking care of the house she might have been normal enough to be excited about working for a rock star.

Even though Sadie isn't impressed by Jax's fame, he is drawn to her. Everything about Sadie fascinates Jax but he fights his attraction. Relationship's never work in his world and as badly as he wants Sadie, he believes she deserves more. By the end of the summer, Jax discovers he can't breathe without Sadie.

But can their love overcome the disparity in their lifestyles? Or will they have to learn how to breathe again?


I give Breathe by Abbi Glines, 4/5 stars for having such adorable characters and reminding how exciting first love is. 

Breathe Review:

When Saddie White finished school for the summer, she had planned to only work half-time as hired help for the rich alongside her mother, Jessica White. However, when Jessica declares herself too pregnant to work this summer, Saddie is forced to take over her job and work full time to support the both of them. Lucky enough, Saddie finds she truly enjoys her new summer job. From the warm hospitality of her fellow staff members to the new friends she has required, having never had time for friends before, everything seems to be heading in the right direction for her. That is until the owner of the summer home she is employed at, Jax Stone, shows up and turns Saddie’s world completely upside down. If falling in love with the person who signs her check every week isn’t bad enough, Jax is also the infamous rock-star heartthrob. 

When I first finished reading Breathe, I struggled to determine a fair rating. Though, I truly enjoyed the many aspect of this novel, there was one character in particular, for better terms, I wanted to strangle to death every time he/she showed up. I always favor the novels that bring out the intense emotions for me. However, in this case, I wished Saddie would have stood up to this character more frequently. Instead, I felt as though she promoted such poor behavior. For such a strong independent girl, I was shocked that she was so weak in this scenario.

How was that for indiscreet? 

Moving on...

Breathe was like a breath of fresh air on a warm summer evening. Yes, the story took place during the summer time but what I meant by that statement was that with most of the YA genre filled with immaturity and unnecessary drama, I was relieved that Saddie was so mature and grown-up. Due to her mother’s current state, Saddie was forced to become the sole provider for her family. She had responsibilities that couldn’t afford be sidetracked even during the hardest parts of her life. Since this is the case, I admired Saddie because I’m not sure many couldn’t walk in her shoes. 

One of my favorite scenes in the novel is when Jax offers to pay all of Saddie’s bills and she denies him. Here is the passage: 

“Tomorrow, will you go deep sea fishing with me?”

I faltered at his question. I worked every day but Sunday, he knew my hours.

“I still have a job,” I reminded him.

Jax frowned and shook his head. “You’re not still going to work for me.”

I stiffened.

“Jax, I have to work. If you don’t want me here, I have to go find another job.”

He placed a finger over my lips and shook his head. “No, I’ll take care of your bills and needs.”

I stepped back away from his arms. My stomach clenched. I would not be like my mother. I didn’t need a man to take care of me. He wasn’t going to pay me to spend time with him. I took a deep breath hoping I could explain this so he understood.

“Jax, listen, it is important to me that I earn my own money. I can’t be paid to spend time with you because it would make it cheap somehow. I want to be with you. There should be no money involved. I need to be an equal, and as crazy as it sounds, the only way I can hope to achieve that in any way is to work for the money I earn. Please, I enjoy working with Ms. Mary and Mr. Greg and even Marcus. I could go somewhere else if you don’t want me working for you, but I really like it here.” 

Saddie had the opportunity to enjoy a peaceful summer with her new love without the stress of working and paying bills. Yet, Saddie refused to allow herself to give up all her beliefs and become solely independent of her boyfriend just because it was the easy way out. 


Yes. Breathe by Abbi Glines was very enjoyable and definitely a summer read for sure. 

For others looking for a comparison to other novels, I feel as though Breatheis the YA version of the novel Love Unscripted. Both deal heavy on the advantages/disadvantages of fame. 

Breathe and crtics:

Critics of this novel have sentenced it to a two star rating and below due to complaints such as corniness, unreal situations, and being too happy all the time. To that I say, um…it’s a fictional novel. Yeah there are some corny lines but isn’t that how first loves are? I remember specifically saying all kinds of cheesy things to my boyfriend when I was young. From, “you are the reason I wake up every day,” to “I believe every person on earth is born with half of themselves and they aren’t fully complete unless they meet our other half and become whole.” As for unreal, well, I will probably never meet a rock star teenage and fall hopelessly in love with him. It’s fictional and supposed to be a chance to experience a life that you or I will never have.