Tuesday, April 22, 2014

BOOK REVIEW: Captive by Samantha Jacobey

Summary from Goodreads: 
Captive - A New Life Series 
To what lengths would you go to break away from a life filled with pain and suffering? 
Tori Farrell has lived a dangerous life. When you grow up with a Motorcycle Gang of Mercenaries and Drug Lords like the Dragons, a normal life is more like a fairytale. For years, she accepted her dark reality, a world consisting of drugs, sex, violence and murder. In the end, she learned the most valuable lesson: survival. 
After years of being ruled by the Dragons, Tori uses her skills of seduction and assassination to free herself from the grasp of the people who vowed they would never let her go. Taken in by the FBI, she fears not everything is what it seems, and soon finds herself lost in a web of lies and deceit. She thought getting away from the Dragons would put her on a path to a new and better life, but now she must face the “cold hard truth” ~ there is always a price to be paid.


This book is intended for readers 18+ and contains scenes that may cause distress to some readers: Domestic Abuse, Kidnapping, Rape and Substance Abuse are described in detail.

R.E. Hargrave's Review:
* * * *
Wow. Where to begin? 

Let’s get the negative stuff out of the way first: the editing could have been a bit cleaner. There was the occasional tense slip, abrupt POV shift, and some other minor issues, but their occurrences were rare enough that they didn’t detract from the great story being told here, just caused the random stumble in reading flow. I’m enough of a stickler, however, that these did keep me from giving Captive a five star review.

That said, the storyline ~ OMG!

You hear it said time and again, “There are no more original ideas, only new ways to present them.” Well, friends, Captive has a nice, fresh feel to it. Within the first few pages, Ms. Jacobey pulls you into Tori’s tale, and you find yourself invested in her well-being~past, present, and future. Due to the graphic content, both violent and sexual, which happens within the story makes this a read for mature audiences. Some of the subject matter is not for the faint of heart; the heroine has been to hell and back, and her story is not an easy one to hear, but you won’t be disappointed in this action packed, emotional read.

Excerpt from Goodreads:

"Quietly, he explained to her that he was going to arrange for another group to kill the Dragons and send her to live with someone who would take care of her. Not understanding, she asked why she would have to go with someone else. If the Dragons were dead, why couldn't she just go with him? He refused to explain, and simply said, "You are going to have a different life, baby girl. A life I cannot give you. You must be strong and willing to do whatever it takes to make this happen. Promise me you will do this...."

A note from the author:
˃˃˃ Book 1 of 7 in A New Life Series<<<
This is the first in a series that chronicles the life of a young woman who is raised by a group of men who work as freelance mercenaries in the dark world of drug trafficking and murder for hire. They acquired the young woman at a very young age, as she has no memory of life before them. The book opens as she has broken free and moves through a series of current events and flashbacks that explain the beginning of her story. It is very dark with an unfinished feel, because in the end, the past is not the real story - the real story is what happens from here.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Book Review: This Man by Jodi Ellen Malpas

Summary from Goodreads:
Young interior designer Ava O’Shea has an appointment for a first consultation at The Manor with the owner, Mr Jesse Ward. She is expecting nothing more than an overweight, cravat wearing, well-to-do countryman, and on arrival, nothing would suggest otherwise. How wrong could she be? This Man is devastatingly handsome, charming and confident. He is also a conceited, hedonistic playboy, who knows no boundaries. Ava desperately does not want to be attracted to him, but she can’t control the overwhelming affect he has on her. Every instinct is telling her to run, so she does, but Jesse Ward is not so willing to let her go. He wants her and is determined to have her. She knows she is heading for heartbreak, but how can she run when he won’t let her?


R.E. Hargrave's Review:
* * *
Last week I was in Target and on an impulse, splurged and bought all of the This Man trilogy because I've heard nothing but good things for months. Now that I've finished the first book, I can say I wish this was one time I hadn't been impulsive. I’m not overly interested in continuing to read the series, but since I've bought them, I probably will at some point.

Jesse Ward is the mysterious playboy who owns The Manor, a posh country hotel he inherited from his Uncle Carmichael when he was twenty-one. Rich, handsome, great in bed: how could anyone not want him? Enter Ava O’Shea who has been hired to do the interior decorating on the newest additions to the establishment. From the moment she arrives at the remote country ‘hotel,’ the questions and odd behavior start racking up as the few people she is allowed to meet are polite, but evasive. Mr. Ward finds himself inexplicably drawn to Ava and sets a course to make her his, no matter how many times she says to leave her alone. 

What follows reads like a Twilight fanfiction, and this is where I have my problem. 

Overall, the writing was decent (although there were way too many adverbs), but I just couldn’t get past all the similarities to Twilight. If you’ve not read the Saga, then you can probably jump on in and enjoy this trilogy, maybe. As someone who has read the Saga multiple times, and gone on to write my own fanfiction and original fiction, I can’t not see the parallel themes. This story is what Twilight could have been had it been all human and set around a sex club. 
  • Edward, I mean, Jesse Ward becomes possessive of Ava and obsessed with her safety to the point of following her so that he can swoop in and save the day anytime she finds herself in a rough spot. 
  • As mentioned earlier, she is put off by his forceful insertion of himself in her life and tells him to leave her alone, which he refuses to do. Except for once; and when he does listen and disappears for four days it leaves her a frantic mess, because, well, how dare he?! (This whole story arc reminded me of Edward going to Denali~ just saying).
  • The Manor was left to Ward by an Uncle Carmichael. Erm, or was it Carlisle?
  • Ward drives an Aston Martin, and rides a Ducati for side fun. Coincidence?
  • Apparently Ava is often dazzled by Ward’s piercing green eyes and his sexy smirk. *coughs* Good news here is that Ward is the lip chewer, not Bella, I mean, Ava. 
  • Why is Jesse so evasive with his age? At the end of book one, we still don’t know how old he is!
As a fanfiction, the storyline would’ve been one I’d have followed. Presented as an original collection, however, I’d like to be able to read the story and not find Twilight reminders every other page. All the Twilight-isms aside, the development of the story itself was also lacking. The sex scenes soon felt like A sex scene on repeat (Jesse rolls his hips and thrusts … a lot. Oh, and I guess vertically, up against a wall, is his favorite position since that's where they always get busy.) His aggression also bothered me. In the real world, if a man forced himself on a woman like he does to Ava, and then used sex to ‘remind’ her they have to be together, well, that woman would be filing a restraining order. 

The book ends with a pretty big cliffhanger and several loose threads, but yet, there is something about it that keeps you turning the pages.