Beast by A. Zavarelli

33787861Rating: 4.5 stars

Series: Twisted Ever After #1

***FYI: Over at my other blog, my friend did a Q&A with A. Zavarelli. Check it out.***
Darkest Beauty and the Beast retelling ever!

This book is not for everyone. It is very dark and incredibly fucked up.

Tortured as a child, Javi grew into a deranged adult. Hatred blossomed deep in his heart for the man that made him the way he was, and that man happened to be Bella’s father. Javi decided that the best way to exact revenge on him was through his daughter. Bella knew her father’s line of work was dangerous, but she had no idea what kind of man he really was. One thing is for certain about this book: it is no fairy tale.

Bella was sweet, innocent, and sensitive. Javi turned her world upside down. The things he did were cruel and demented. He used her in every way possible, using every trick in the book to play mind games with her. There was one scene in particular where she gave up hope. It was gut wrenching. I’m not sure if the outcome made it better or worse because of the cruelty of it, making her feel fear and desperation on a level she never had before.

It was impossible to hate Javi. His erratic behavior made him hard to read and predict. There were moments where the untainted side of him showed through. Unlike other beasts it was much harder to find his good side, to see the man beneath the scars.

I almost cried two times near the end of the book. Those two events were devastating. It was one of those things where I was reading and wanted to change the words on the page because I did not want to face the reality of what was happening. It was like being on a roller coaster ride of emotions, but it was worth it in the end.

I received this arc from the author in exchange for an honest review.

Nightshades by Melissa F. Olson

28765742Rating: 3 stars

Series: Nightshades #1

The nightshades a.k.a. vampires weren’t like the average vamp in two ways. One is the way they were made. Their saliva was the potent ingredient not blood. It had to be placed directly into the heart. That would have been some sick shit before needles were invented. It definitely would have prevented accidentally turning someone. The other way they were different is their looks. They weren’t described as exceptionally beautiful. Their beauty wasn’t what made them special.

It was a good start to the series. I can’t pinpoint why but I didn’t get sucked into the story. The focus was on the vampires and the murders. I would have liked to have gotten to know the characters better. Alex was okay but now that I think about it I don’t know much about him personally. Lindy was cool and wasn’t living the standard vampire lifestyle. It was odd when she easily acquiesced to Alex’s demands. Their goals were in alignment, but I expected her to put up a better fight for her freedom and independence. It was good enough that I’ll read the next one when it comes out.

The Heartstone Thief by Pippa DaCosta

32cc464f6ff9393819fdfb30b0b65b13Rating: 3.5 stars

Most people believed magic was nothing but a fairy tale. Those who used it were killed. Curtis Vance wanted to forget about magic and those who control it. After meeting a sorceress with some special skills, he was forced to face his past. She convinced him to help her find something rare. He didn’t help her out of the goodness of his heart; he was a thief after all.

The world building was great! There was a constant stream of new things to learn about it. I didn’t want to put it down because I wanted to find out more. It was action packed with one crazy thing happening after another. The characters were deceptive, so it hard to gauge who Vance could trust.

The reason I didn’t rate this book higher was because of the characters. Vance and the sorceress were the main ones. I liked Vance. He was intelligent and could manipulate others to save his own ass. It was kinda hard to believe the guy had lived so long because he couldn’t do shit to save himself when physical skills were required. The sorceress was fascinating because I never knew what her ultimate goal was. She did enough good things that I wanted to trust her, but she had too many secrets. My biggest issue with her was her lack of personality.

The plot was entertaining, and I liked the direction the story went in at the end. It’s unfortunate this is a standalone. The plot was wrapped up, but it’s a shame to develop such an interesting world and only get one story about it.

I received this from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Harmony Black by Craig Schaefer

51fmlttbdcl-_sy346_Rating: 3 stars

Series: Harmony Black #1

I never thought I’d say this about a Craig Schaefer book, but it was so boring. The Daniel Faust books are dark, humorous, and entertaining. Although Harmony Black is a spin off of that series, they are not alike at all. Harmony is an FBI agent, so this felt more like a police procedural than UF. The mystery part of the story was okay but lacked suspense.

My problem with this book is that I don’t like Harmony. In the Daniel Faust series, she was portrayed as uptight and compassionless. Being privy to her thoughts didn’t change that. She’s repressed to the point of being almost completely devoid of emotion. I understand why she is the way she is but it doesn’t increase her appeal. Just about the only thing to get her riled up is not following procedure. I hate how she applies human laws and logical to supernatural creatures. She’s a witch FFS! You’d think she’d be more open and understanding of the world around her but obviously not. She does care about people as in she doesn’t want innocents to be hurt, but it doesn’t seem like she really empathizes with other people.

The other characters weren’t impressive either. Jessie was weird and dull. I didn’t care about whatever was going on with her. Honestly I kept forgetting she was a woman since absolutely nothing about her was feminine. Not as much was known about the other various side characters but they were all boring police types. Unless this series ties back in with Daniel Faust, I probably won’t continue with it.

Midnight Curse by Melissa F. Olson

31352753Rating: 4 stars

Series: Disrupted Magic #1, Scarlett Bernard #4

Technically this is the first book in a new series, but I consider it to be book 4 in the Scarlett Bernard series, which is fine by me since I wasn’t happy with the way somethings ended in the last book. This was the best of the Scarlett books yet!

There was a time gap of 3 years, so the characters have matured. Scarlett was decisive and knew what she wanted out of life. Despite having relationship issues with Eli, she didn’t convince herself she wanted things she didn’t to appease him. However Eli remained the same: needy and dependent. Their relationship perfectly depicted how two people can love each other but not be compatible.

Scarlett’s life had been relatively calm and uneventful until Molly contacted her about a serious problem. Molly’s life was on the line unless Scarlett could prove her innocence in a short period of time. Knowing she couldn’t do it on her own, she contacted her old friend Jesse who was somewhat reluctant to help with the case.

Jesse had been through a lot in the last 3 years. His strict moral code didn’t mesh with the old world, and it wasn’t easy for him to come to terms with that. Other issues popped up in that time like getting a divorce and fame from writing a book. When Scarlett stumbled into his life, he was lost. Working on a case for the first time in a long time reminded him of what he wanted out of life. I always liked Jesse but preferred him even more now. He finally accepted things as they are instead of expecting them to neatly fit into the categories right and wrong.

There was not a cliffhanger at the end, but I’m really looking forward to the next one just to get more time with the characters.

I received this from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Saint by A. Zavarelli

6735f79dd0e929d0661a385a678328bfRating: 4 stars

Series: Boston Underworld #4

I didn’t want to put this one down. I even skipped out on eating lunch the day I got it because I preferred to spend every second possible reading it. Scarlett was hellbent on getting revenge, but things weren’t going as planned. Someone she despised put a major kink in her plans. Sometimes I didn’t know how to feel about Scarlett. I was completely on board with her revenge plan because those bastards deserved it. Her plans for Rory kinda made me hate her at times. OK maybe not hate but really strongly dislike. So for a while I’d like her. Then I’d get mad at her. It kept going back and forth like that.

I adore Rory. He’s a badass sweetheart. Most mafia men are not nearly as nice as he is. He really stands out from the crowd. That’s why Scarlett’s attitude towards him pissed me off. It was so easy to see he wasn’t like the other men in her life. It was totally in his character to not give up on Scarlett. He was well aware she could be his destruction, but all he cared about was helping her.

This was my second favorite book in the series. Crow is still my favorite. It was angsty at times, but not enough that it got on my nerves. The chemistry between Rory and Scarlett was good. I’m curious to know more about Storm. I expect she’ll get her own book eventually.

I received this ARC from the author in exchange for an honest review.