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.

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Ghost by A. Zavarelli

Rating: 4.5 stars

Series: Boston Underworld #3

Definitely darker than the others in the series, but I love books with emotionally disturbed characters. Talia had a shitty life. Being kidnapped shattered her fragile grasp on reality. What she went through was unimaginable and heartbreaking. It takes a special kind of strength to survive what she did. One of my favorite things about this book was that Talia’s recovery was depicted realistically. It was long, slow, torturous, and never truly complete. No one could go through the things she did and ever be the same as they were before. A small part of her would always be broken, and it made me like her even more.

It didn’t take much to see that Alexei was different than most of the men around him. There is something incredibly appealing about a mysterious man, and he was very good at keeping his secrets well guarded. Talia and Alexei were well suited since they both had issues going back to their childhoods, but his issues paled in comparison to hers. I understood why Alexei acted the way he did, but it wasn’t always appropriate. Sometimes he was downright cruel. I did like them as a couple and wanted them to be together, but I feel like there was a bit of stockholm syndrome going on. I believe she genuinely loved him, but I’m not sure she would have if she met him some other way. Towards the end I did get annoyed with Alexei. For such a smart man he was blind to what was going on around him. It was obvious who really wanted to hurt him, and everyone but him could see it.

This is a hard one to rate. It’s a toss up if this should be 4 or 5 stars. I really can’t decide. It’s close to 5 stars but just not quite.

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

Blood Bound by Rachel Vincent

10583175Rating: 4 stars

Series: Unbound #1

Three words: Mafia with magic. It’s the best way to describe this world. In this city there are two rival syndicates. Everyone in each syndicate is bound to the leader via magic meaning they have to do anything the boss tells them to do. They can’t flee because they can be tracked via magical means. Once someone signs on with a syndicate they’re screwed because their life isn’t really their own until their contract is up.

Some people are unskilled which means they’re a person without magic. Plenty of people have magic called skills. Commons skills are binding, shadow walking, and tracking. People with rare skills or lots of magical power are highly desired by the syndicates and hunted down if necessary.

Liv was a tracker. She was best at tracking people by using their blood. An old friend Anne showed up unexpectedly because her husband was murdered. They were bound to help each from an old childhood oath. Her friend asked her to do something she really didn’t want to do, but she had no choice but to help her. Worse yet she wanted Liv to work with her old boyfriend Cam who she hadn’t seen in years and didn’t want to see again.

Liv was tough. She came off as bitchy at first, but there was good reason for it. She was being backed into a corner by people she cared about when she already had troubles from the Cavazos syndicate she was bound to. The more I learned about Liv the more I liked her. At first I was unhappy that Cam wormed his way into Liv’s life the way he did, but I grew to like him quickly. I understood why Anne did what she did, but I thought she was a bitch. Even as I learned more about her situation, I couldn’t sympathize with her.

The story was told by alternating Liv and Cam’s POV. It really helped to get both of their perspectives and know what was going on in their heads. There were some unexpected twists in the case they were working on and were some surprising revelations about Cam and Liv’s relationship. This was an original take on UF and a really good for the first book in a series.

Crow by A. Zavarelli

28511008Rating: 4 stars

Series: Boston Underworld #1

Mackenzie and Talia were best friends but more like sisters. They grew up in foster care on the streets. All they had was each other. After Talia began working at a club run by the Irish mafia, she went missing. No one cared. The police didn’t devote much time to the case. Mack was determined to find her. Infiltrating the club was the only way to get any information about Talia’s disappearance. She wasn’t really prepared for what she was getting herself into.

Mack could definitely kick some ass. She could take on men bigger than her. She was tough, but the one thing she didn’t count on was how deeply her emotions could be affected by the mafia. The minute Lachlan laid eyes on her she was in trouble. Neither of them trusted the other, but they couldn’t stay away from each other either.

I loved Lachlan! He was a bad ass and didn’t take shit from anyone. Anyone with a position like his in the mafia has done far too many bad things to ever be considered good, but he was fair and loyal. Lachlan’s loyalty was to the mafia, and that didn’t work in Mack’s favor. He was a constant threat, a danger, but appealing nonetheless.

There was a good balance between the romance and mafia storylines. I really like mafia romances, but they’re always better when they’re like this with plenty of murder and mayhem. The ones that focus just on the romance are boring. The author did a great job of differentiating between Lachlan and Mack’s POV. Their voices were completely different, which doesn’t happen in a lot of books. The side characters were interesting. I really hope there will be more books about some of them.

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

Reap by Tillie Cole

Rating: 4.5 stars

Series: Scarred Souls #2

221 was abused, damaged, and completely dehumanized. He was forced to endure and do horrible things. He was a gulag prisoner. He would have remained that way forever, subjected to the whims of his master with no free will of his own if he hadn’t been freed by an unexpected person.

I desperately wanted to get my hands on this after reading Rave, and it was oh so good. I loved 221. He was so damaged mentally it was hard not to feel for him. The drugs he was given for years stripped him of any sense of self. He lived and breathed to do what his master told him to do. It was sad to see someone in that situation and know they had no control over it.

Talia became obsessed with 221. She was supposed to stay away from him but couldn’t help herself. No one else had been kind to him or had been there for him. She was determined to prove there was more to him than a mindless killer. There was insta-love between them, but I didn’t care. I absolutely adored them as a couple.

Aside from the romance, 221 had an interesting back story. It’s too complicated to say anything about without giving spoilers. I thrilled that some chapters were from Luka’s POV because I wanted to know more about how things were going with him and Kisa. Luka was struggling with his new position in the family. His past made him incapable of dealing with it the way others had.

Holy crap! That epilogue had quite the unexpected revelation. I want the next in my hands right now.

Thanks so much to NetGalley for giving me this ARC in exchange for an honest review!