Vengeance by Zane

on 2016-05-24
Pages: 304
AmazonNarrator: Jewel Rubenstein
Mega bestselling author Zane returns to the world of her hugely popular novels Addicted and Nervous in this dark and exhilarating follow-up featuring a beautiful but emotionally damaged pop star desperate and determined to enact revenge on those who have caused her to hide behind her fame.

After fleeing from Atlanta years ago following a traumatic event, Caprice Tatum decides it’s time to return to her roots—only this time, she’s coming back as Wicket, the international pop sensation who’s the very definition of fame and fortune. And while she may be the perfect diva onstage, offstage she’s desperate to finally lay her past to rest. Her plan? Revenge. The deeper she worms her way into Atlanta’s most elite circles, the more Caprice unravels, putting herself and the few people she trusts at risk, including Jonovan, her childhood crush whose compassion and allure is almost too hot to handle. When her father suggests she see a therapist, Dr. Marcella Spencer, Caprice finally begins to pick up her pieces and find an inner-strength. But can Caprice truly overcome her past? Or will it drag her even further into darkness?
three-half-stars

This story follows popstar Wicket, whose current name LaDonna Sterling is Caprice Tatum. This book is told both in the past and present as the reader to given a front row seat to what motivates LaDonna

After a trauma at age 15, Caprice Tatum ran away from Atlanta to New York City and was adopted by businessman Richard Sterling. Caprice was renamed LaDonna Sterling and was received plastic surgery in order to give her a new lease on life. Her therapist diagnosed her with Intermittent Explosive Disorder, a condition where the sufferer has bouts of intense rage, emotional and perhaps violent tendencies. Richard continues to lavish her with his wealth, to make up for her terrible childhood. Her father’s only condition was that Wicket never returns to Atlanta. A request that Wicket had honored until now. This foray led to the reopening of many wounds that Richard thought were long buried. When LaDonna sees some of those who contributed to her painful past, LaDonna is full of thoughts of Vengeance. She hatches a plot and began exacting the revenge she feels she was denied. These machinations also lead to LaDonna’s undoing.

What I loved about this story is that it wasn’t about sex. It was about a person’s spirit, heart and soul. LaDonna was a very complex character and I am impressed with the author’s thorough laying of foundation. The heroine was not necessarily likeable, but I was rooting for her to overcome her past and forge a stronger future. I don’t know if I loved this story, but I love HOW Zane told this story. I found it compelling, interesting and informative.
I did wish that the author had given us a glimpse into the antagonist’s mind to see whether they had repented or felt any remorse to the events that occurred decades ago with Caprice. It’s clear that the trauma affected the heroine, but how did it affect the perpetrators? This book was definitely about Caprice aka LaDonna aka Wicket’s journey. I was satisfied with her end and there was hope and healing. I highly recommend this book to those who have faced something and need some hope. This book shows that there is light at the end of the tunnel.

This book was full of quotes that I loved but my favorite was AFTER the book. People change so you can learn to let go. things go wrong so you can appreciate them when they are right. You believe lies so you can learn to trust no one but yourself. Sometimes things fall apart so better things can fall together. (Marilyn Monroe).

Special Thanks to Atria via Netgalley.

The Book of Harlan by Bernice L. McFadden

The Book of Harlan by Bernice L. McFaddenon 2016-04-11
Pages: 400
AmazonNarrator: Robin Miles
During World War II, two African American musicians are captured by the Nazis in Paris and imprisoned at the Buchenwald concentration camp.

The Book of Harlan opens with the courtship of Harlan’s parents and his 1917 birth in Macon, Georgia. After his prominent minister grandfather dies, Harlan and his parents move to Harlem, where he becomes a musician. Soon, Harlan and his best friend, trumpeter Lizard Robbins, are lured across the Atlantic Ocean to perform at a popular cabaret in the Parisian enclave of Montmartre—affectionately referred to as “The Harlem of Paris” by black American musicians.

When the City of Light falls under Nazi occupation, Harlan and Lizard are thrown into Buchenwald, the notorious concentration camp in Weimar, Germany. The experience irreparably changes the course of Harlan’s life.

Based on exhaustive research and told in McFadden’s mesmeric prose, The Book of Harlan skillfully blends the stories of McFadden’s familial ancestors with those of real and imagined characters.

Wow. I almost quit this book but I am glad I didn’t. This book is really touched my soul. I have never given much thought to black people in the context of World War II period as most of the narrative revolves around the Jewish Experience. This is the most detailed accounting I’ve personally read about a real black person captured and sent to a concentration camp.

Harlan Elliot grew up in that 1920’s period where music was going through a revolution. Harlan, his best friend Leo “Lizard” Rubenstein “and their bandmates got an opportunity to travel abroad to Paris and perform.

Harlan and Lizard were captured by the Nazi’s when Paris was invaded in 1940, and they were sent to the Buchenwald Concentration Camp. Five long years later Harlan made it out but Lizard didn’t survive and Harlan’s life was forever changed.
The latter half of Harlan’s story portrayed a wounded soul. This story was painful yet informative. Disturbing yet rousing. At times, I wanted to stop, but I couldn’t bring myself to halt. The author’s use of imagery and prose leaves the reader feeling raw at times, but also mesmerized with the portrayal of the period’s musicality.

There were other subplots in this story but Harlan’s experience was the centerpiece. It was written with care and I was left astonished by the time I was done. This is Historical Fiction done well. I appreciate the author sharing this story and giving voice to a marginalized segment of the 1920-40’s era. This book wasn’t a flowers and candy read, but it was engaging, informative and inspirational.

*Special Thanks to Perseus/PGW/Legato via by Edelweiss for the e-arc given in exchange for an honest review.

Bound to Fate (Bound #1) by Kiru Taye

Bound to Fate (Bound #1) by Kiru TayeSeries: Bound #1
on 2016-01-25
Pages: 296
Amazon
Lara Johnson is coping with the emotional scars of losing both parents in a tragic incident and facing the challenges of starting a new school. Getting involved in a relationship isn't on her priority list. Certainly not this illicit desire for a man, who demands the best from her, yet leaves her breathless in his presence. All Ike Thomas wants to do is to keep out of trouble and get through the one year internship required for his degree program. But trouble finds him, in the form of an intelligent and brave girl who turns his world upside down. Falling in love is forbidden. So why does it feel so right? A love like theirs cannot be denied. But catastrophe lies in wait and one night changes their lives forever. Bound to Fate is a story about surviving tragedy, forgiveness, and the overwhelming love that pulls through against the odds. Content warning: This book contains scenes that might be triggering for some readers.
four-stars

I really enjoyed this book because the location and culture resonated within me. The storytelling was vivid and descriptive, that I felt like I was watching a film. I can’t say that I considered this story a love story as much as a story about growth, hope, survival and second chances.

Lara Johnson moved to live with her Aunt in Enugu (Nigeria) with her younger sister after a tragic car accident left them orphans. The transition was rough for the introverted Lara, who was still having nightmare from the crash. She was in a new state, a new home and was beginning a new college. But she found comfort in a teacher, Ike Thomas, who was suffering from loss of his older brother. Their mutual grief and physical attraction soon turned into a relationship. Ike and Lara were young so there was physical intimacy but not much emotional intimacy. So when some devastating events occurred at a college party, Lara and Ike’s infatuation didn’t survive those issues. Lara and Ike’s lack of communication resulted in Ike breaking things off. Lara was heartbroken but they their separate ways.

Five years later, Lara got a job working at a company owned by Ike’s family and they resumed their physical relationship despite the fact that Ike was engaged to be married. Lara was still suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder so she was still having anxiety attacks regularly.
This time around with the support of her best friend, Lara was able to get the help she needed and finally decide make her move to get what her heart has always desired, Ike Thomas.
But Ike is engaged to another and his family expects his compliance as this union has business implications for the family empire. The decision is very complicated for Ike because following his heart will mean disappointing his family again.

I have to be honest here. I didn’t like Ike Thomas. I felt as the older one in the relationship, he was selfish and self-centered. If he loved Lara, he would have noticed that something was very wrong after the house party incidents. In addition, Ike lacked remorse about his infidelity which turned out to be multiple incidents with different women. Ike’s fiancee was a piece of work. That’s another reason I questioned his character. How could he live with such a devious person and have no idea what a malicious person she was. I just couldn’t get past all of that.
I felt bad for Lara and hoped she would find a man better than Ike. She was a survivor and she was a hard worker. I wished that Ike had been as loyal as Lara was. Lara made me proud, not because she always made the best decisions, but how she rebounded if she made a wrong turn.

The author did a great job developing Lara as a heroine and making the reader empathize with her. This is my first book by the author and I am definitely going to check out more of her work.

*Special Thanks to KT Press via Netgalley for the e-book given in exchange for an honest review.