Menace (Scarlet Scars #1) by J.M. Darhower

Series:
Narrator: Iggy Toma, Kasha Kensington
Source: Tantor Audio

I received this book for free from in exchange for an honest review.
This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.


Title: Menace by J.M. Darhower
Series: Scarlet Scars #1
Release Date: June 20, 2017
Format: Audiobook (11 hrs and 51 mins)
Genre: Dark Romance, Mafia Romance
Published By: Tantor Audio
Purchase Links: • Tantor Audio
 

three-stars

J.M. Darhower is my one of my favorite writers when it comes to Mob stories so I was so stoked when this audiobook was released. I may have had Sempre in the back of my mind, or something similar in plot. This was far from it and this one didn’t grip me like that story. J.M Darhower is a great storyteller so I knew if I hung in there, I would be rewarded.
The story starts with dancer/hooker Scarlet (Morgan Myer) selling herself for protection and information from powerful underworld bosses. I couldn’t figure out the significance of the information other than she was hiding from another boss. But it was clear most of her actions were motivated out of an extreme amount of fear.
The hero Lorenzo Gambino vacillated between being a sociopath to a moody/angry mobster. You can’t be unfeeling if you are in a constant state of rage. Just sayin’. Anyway, I am unclear of Scarlet really sought him out as a protector or just picked the pocket of the wrong dude. But that moment seemed to bind them and despite several attempts to pull away from each other, they always drawn back to the other. The sex scenes were definitely the best part of this book because they were steamy, fascinating and provocative.
I couldn’t decide if Lorenzo’s curiosity was based on the great sex or the Russian monster that scared Scarlet more than him. It was like a pissing contest because Lorenzo wanted to meet the Russian who thought he was thought his game was gangsta than Lorenzo’s.
Honestly, the author took her time in getting to the heart of the plot. I prefer faster paced stories or at least great character development to compensate for slower paced yet suspenseful accounts. I didn’t feel that the characters were fleshed out that well but the author did enough to get me to like them.
I was hoping the book would get better and the last two chapters were probably the best in the book and made everything make more sense. It made Scarlet make more sense to me and then I felt empathy for her plight. Lorenzo remains an enigma for me so the jury is out on his character. The writing and the narrators kept my attention and I really need book 2 to be released as this one ended on a cliff hanger.

Ezi

Audiobook Review: Pack Challenge (Magnus Pack #1) by Shelly Laurenston

Series: Magnus Pack #1
Narrator: Kasha Kensington
Pack Challenge Book Cover Pack Challenge
Magnus Pack #1
Shelly Laurenston
Paranormal Romance; Urban Fantasy
Samhain Publishing; Tantor Audio
July 4th 2006
audiobook
213 pages

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.

Warning, this title contains the following: explicit sex, graphic language, and strong violence.

The reader meets the very feisty Sara Morrighan with her girlfriends at a bar, where Zach Sheridan, Beta of the Magnus Pack, has ends up saving her from an attack. Sara has facial and physical scarring from an attack by a Pride that left her parents dead, so Sara has learned to make due with Mr. Right Now rather than hold out hope of some happily ever after.

But there is an attraction between Zach and Sara, and when they become intimate, it begins to reveal things about Sara’s true nature. The more time they spent together, the more Sara became stronger until those who meant her harm decide to finish what they started all those years ago.

This audiobook was entertaining. It was fully of aggressive women and aggressive men (shifters). This story alternated POV between the hero Zach and the heroine Sara so it gave us just a little insight into both. Sara used her snarky mouth to hide her pain and vulnerability. After all her secret pain and the scars was something even her best friends could protect her from. It was in Sara’s unity with Zach that allowed her maturation into who she was supposed to be. Since this story was short, there wasn’t a lot of character development but there was a small introduction for the series to build upon. I plan on continuing with the series.

Tantor Audio *** Amazon US *** Barnes & Noble ***

Special Thanks to Tantor Audio for the audiobook given in exchange for an honest review.

Last Hope (Hitman #4) by Jessica Clare, Jen Frederick

Last Hope (Hitman #4) by Jessica Clare, Jen FrederickSeries: Hitman #4
on 2015-09-29
Pages: 336
AmazonNarrator: Iggy Toma, Kasha Kensington
In the explosive new Hitman novel from the bestselling authors of Last Kiss and Last Hit a jungle mercenary and a female target find love on the run...Mendoza: I grew up in the slums and lost everything I loved to poverty, illness, and death. I had only one skill to leverage myself out of my circumstances—violence. Being hired out as a mercenary hitman brought me money and built an empire. But all that I've fought for is in jeopardy. My next job: Steal secret information that could bring down world governments. Find my target. Destroy it. But then, I meet her.  Ava: Karma hates me. When my best friend Rose is kidnapped, I have no choice but to take a job as a mule for a pair of criminals intent on selling top-secret information to the highest bidder. I should have known that bad luck tends to cling, because the plane I'm on goes down. That I survived a crash-landing was a miracle. And so was being rescued by Rafe Mendoza—hot, sexy, dangerous. The thing is, he wants the information that I need to free Rose. I can't let him have it, but I need his help. And I need to fight this crazy attraction for this mercenary with hungry eyes. Rose is depending on me, and I won't let her down, no matter how appealing Rafe is.From the Trade Paperback edition.
four-stars

I need to start by saying I barely remember Rafe Mendoza from the prior books. He was a pretty minor character. I do not believe Ava was mentioned at all, and if she was, I missed it!

I found this last book to be the funniest in the series. I also found the writing to be a little different. Ava was a hand model who found herself trying to rescue her best friend from mob boss Duvall who is holding her hostage.

The adventure between Ava and Rafe reminded me of Six Days, Seven Nights with Anne Heche and Harrison Ford. It was survival in the jungle, where romance also bloomed. Ava wasn’t as prima donna as I expected but I loved the jokes about Rafe’s male member. It was just too funny. Godzilla, the monster etc. Hilarious.

The plot was okay, but the gradual relationship between Ava and Rafe, where they were able to provide a new lease of life for each other was a clincher for me. I like how the authors made each book different. Each heroine had their own quirks, their own personality and I never felt like I was reading the same book again. In addition, I appreciate it when authors don’t add gratuitous sex scenes. Even though there was a good amount of sex talk, it worked for the book.

The adventure, sex, and eventual defeat of Duvall’s cartel made this series one of the more enjoyable Romantic suspense series I have read in a long time.

*Special Thanks to Tantor Audio for the audiobook given in exchange for an honest review.

Last Kiss (Hitman #3) by Jessica Clare & Jen Frederick

Last Kiss (Hitman #3) by Jessica Clare & Jen FrederickSeries: Hitman #3
on May 5th 2015
Pages: 346
AmazonNarrator: Iggy Toma, Kasha Kensington
Naomi: When I was kidnapped I thought only of survival. I don’t thrive well in chaos. That’s why I gave my captors exactly what they wanted: my skill with computers. Making millions for a crime lord who kept me imprisoned in his basement compound kept my family safe. When he was taken out, I thought my ticket to freedom had arrived. Wrong. I traded one keeper for another. This time I’m in the hands of a scarred, dark, demanding Russian who happens to be the head of the Bratva, a Russian crime organization. He wants my brain and my body. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t intrigued, but I can’t be a prisoner forever...no matter how good he makes me feel.

Vasily: At a young age, I was taught that a man without power is a puppet for all. I’ve clawed—and killed—my way to the top so that it is my heel on their necks. But to unify the fractured organization into an undefeatable machine, I need a technological genius to help me steal one particular artifact. That she is breathtaking, determined, and vulnerable is making her more dangerous than all of my enemies combined. But only I can keep her safe from the world that she now inhabits. Soon, I must choose between Naomi and Bratva law. But with every day that passes, this becomes a more impossible choice.
four-stars

What a pleasant surprise. I wasn’t sure I’d like this one because Naomi (aka the emperor) was quite discombobulated in book 2 when her brother Daniel finally found her. I wasn’t sure how she would work with the ruthless Vasily. But the author did it! I enjoyed them just as much as the other stories.

Naomi (Daniel’s younger sister) has Asperger’s syndrome and it renders her social inept.

According to Wikipedia: Asperger syndrome is an autism spectrum disorder (ASD) that is characterized by significant difficulties in social interaction and nonverbal communication, alongside restricted and repetitive patterns of behavior and interests

The person is usually socially inept and get fixated or obsessive about certain issues and Naomi certainly had her quirks.

Vasily came to Daniel’s aid in book 2, only to take Naomi because she was one of the best cyber hackers they knew. Here in Book 3, Vasily was trying to institute himself as the new leader of the Petrovich. Bratva, and needed to prove his mettle as the top dog by finding a specific painting as required by the other Bratva members. Vasily had an idea of where it was but he needed the emperor’s hacking skills to pin point the exact location.

These two began searching all these den of iniquities to find the painting that would hand Vasily rule over the Bratva. Vasily and Naomi just worked! They were both quirky individuals and he seemed to take her OCD issues like a champ. I found their chemistry to be hot and really enjoyable. Naomi’s lack of filter cracked me up. She said things exactly as they were and from a detached literal perspective! Vasily was ruthless but he wasn’t without boundaries. He had a vision for a more progressive Bratva. I liked both characters individually and as a duo. The unconditional acceptance of each other, flaws and all, made this read so enjoyable.

I could have done without the donkey scene, but Naomi telling her brother Daniel about it was one of the funniest things I’ve read! I like that Naomi may have Asperger’s but she was so smart and resourceful. She made a great partner in crime for the Russian mobster.

The narrators did a great job making the characters endearing. Their voices allowed Vasily and Naomi to shine within the plot. I actually liked this book better than the one preceding it. Bravo! The author did it! I enjoyed them just as much as the other stories. The author really elevated her game with this installment. Now it’s time for book 4.

*Special Thanks to Tantor audio for the audiobook given in exchange for an honest review.