Friday, September 15, 2017
Friday, September 8, 2017
Title: Defiant Attraction
Author: V.K. Torston
Author Links: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads
Publisher: V.K. Torston
Release Date: November 16, 2017
Genre: Contemporary, New Adult, Romance
ARC Received From & Reviewed For: V.K. Torston
Dan might be the enemy of my enemy, but I’m not sure that makes him my friend. He’s definitely not my ‘step brother’, no matter what everyone at school says. Honestly, I don’t know what he’s supposed to be to me. Or what he’s becoming…
Fact: for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.
In the yearbook, I’ll be Sophia Ramos: Valedictorian. Years of honor roll certificates, AP classes, and lugging around an obnoxiously large cello case are about to finally pay off. If everything goes according to plan, I’ll escape these decaying suburbs for a top university across the country.
The problem? A few years ago, my mom met someone just as broke, just as drunk, and just as impulsive as she is. Approximately five seconds into their relationship, they decided it would be an excellent idea for him—and his son, Dan—to move in with us. (Spoiler alert: it wasn’t).
Now I share a house with none other than Daniel Cole. Even though Dan dropped out two years ago, he’s still the tattooed, bad boy, heartthrob, legend of St. Anthony’s Academy. He and I aren’t supposed to have anything in common.
Living together means war. First, Dan and I were at war with each other. Now, our rivalry is giving way to an unlikely alliance—two opposing sides teaming up against a common enemy: our respective parents.
Which is to say, we’ve been hanging out.
Question: What happens when an unstoppable force meets an immovable object?
Here’s the thing: My brain is a complex organ. One hundred billion neurons, each with an average of seven thousand synaptic connections to other neurons. My brain is my ticket out of here.
My heart, by contrast, is a pump. It moves blood around.
I know Dan is off-limits. I know I shouldn’t do something I’ll regret. And I know how much is at stake (my family, my future).
So why can’t I stop thinking about him? Those inscrutable jade eyes. The smile that can say a thousand different things at once. That tattoo curving across his abs…
Even though I know better, I feel that pounding in my chest. And it’s getting harder to ignore.
But if I follow my heart, I can never go back.
Answer: There is no such thing as an immovable object.
Drunk parents create the most toxic home environment ever for them. Dan's always in trouble. Sophia just wants to do well in school enough to leave. They enjoy picking on and at each other. At first. Their relationship changes over time, and they go from being enemies to allies (of sorts) against the people they call parents. That change is everything. It's a launch pad for friendship to form; it's their saving grace from a world they want no part of; it's the first step needed toward a future that is brighter and more beautiful than either expected.
And there is a realistic aspect I rarely see in this sort of taboo relationship: the parents. Most books play down the parents' reactions, their acceptance sounding something like, "It's okay. You're not even related." I'm not, by any means, saying that isn't realistic. It probably is, but so is the flip side of that coin.
New adult, bad boy, good girl romances are common. It's the epitome of opposites attract. And I thought I'd read them all.
I was wrong.
This is a beautifully written taboo romance that gives more than just a sweeping glance at the pre-love relationship between Dan and Sophia. It's important that the relationship they had before is understood to appreciate, really appreciate, what their relationship becomes.
V.K. Torston is a millennial and ‘cool aunt’ to a brood of nieces and nephews. She was born and raised in San Francisco, attended university in New York City, and aspires to one day live in London. A veteran of the independent music scene, she began writing nonfiction in her late teens. Then she realized that making up stories was way more fun than coming up with endless synonyms for ‘frenetic’ and ‘danceable.’ Her hobbies include drinking too much coffee, making up stupid songs, and ranting about current events. Defiant Attraction is her first novel.
Wednesday, September 6, 2017
Tuesday, September 5, 2017
Series & Title: Alyria, Book 1: A Girl Named Calamity
Author: Danielle Lori
Author Links: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | Amazon | Newsletter
Publisher: Danielle Lori
Release Date: July 13, 2016
Genre: Fantasy, New Adult, Romance
ARC Received From: Danielle Lori via InstaFreebie
Reviewed For: Danielle Lori
*This is a New Adult Fantasy Romance*
I was a simple farm girl living in the magical land, Alyria, where men ruled and women only existed.
Call me sheltered. Call me naive. I was probably both. I never expected to be the key to Alyria's destruction.
The journey I was on wasn't only one to save me. But one where I had a lot of learning to do. With men. With magic. And with myself.
But I wasn't alone. I had an escort. One I wasn't so sure about. But one I couldn't afford to lose and one I wasn't so sure I could even leave.
I had many hopes. But the most important one was that my name wouldn't become my fate.
WARNING: This novel contains blood, violence, profanity, and some sexual content. It does end on a cliffhanger.
So. Calamity. *grins and chuckles* In a book world of odd names, Calamity is, so far, the oddest yet for me. Sent me to the Wild West, not Fantasy. Still, with a name like Calamity, how could I not be intrigued?
Calamity is young, naive, sheltered, but she is, unknowingly, more than that. More than a farm girl. More than a motherless young woman. She is key to the bad that would destroy the world she lives in. Her mother's unannounced return is the catalyst to Calamity's journey to...what, exactly? She's not entirely sure, just that she needs to make it to Undaley to stay safe from those who seek to kill her.
Easy? Of course not.
Because her escort is a dark, brooding man who's a complete ass. Weston. For all his good looks and chiseled physique, he is more anti-hero than hero. But maybe I'm supposed to feel this way about him? From their first meeting, when Calamity hires him to escort her to Undaley, to "The End", my love/hate feelings for Weston didn't lessen. They grew stronger. Really? I mean, aren't I, at some point, supposed to actually love him more than hate him?
But, again, maybe I'm supposed to feel this way for him. If so, good job, Ms. Lori. *smiles*
There are two things I really loved about this story.
First, Ms. Lori's world building. She. Is. Descriptive. And her descriptions are evocative. It helps since this is fantasy and I needed to see, in my head, what kind of world I was dropped into. Ms. Lori did an excellent job of painting detailed pictures of this new world and the characters.
Second, society. This one is weird, I think, because women in this story are little more than property. An escort is required for their protection. They are regarded as "less than". In a modern world of women's rights and gender equality, I'm thinking Ms. Lori's portrayal of women in her story should rub me wrong. But, um, it doesn't. I can tell you why though: fantasy, for me, doesn't often portray women like this. They are strong counterparts to the men of their world. What women have accomplished in real life is often transferred into the story. The idea of women treated like property rather than people is more commonly found in historical romances. It was kind of...breathtaking to see it played out in a fantasy story.
Now, onto our unlikely couple. Weston and Calamity's relationship is intense. There is a lot of push/pull between them. He's an ass, I already said that, but he has redeeming moments. Perhaps that makes him less of one to Calamity but I'm not sure how other readers will see that. Are those moments enough to bless their relationship? Is it too much to hope he'll change? Can he be less like the men of their society and more like a man of her dreams? Does he want to be?
But Weston is more than just her escort, more than an assassin. Is he, perhaps, more like Calamity, a being with magic that could, maybe, enhance Calamity's magic?
The story doesn't delve into how magical Calamity is, just that she is. Not knowing isn't a deal breaker for me. Neither is Weston's anti-hero personality. I'm curious enough to want to read the second book. I want to see Calamity come into her magic. I want to see Weston stop being an ass. Well, maybe not that last one completely. Weston being Weston is probably why he's good at being an assassin. So maybe less of that Weston when he's with Calamity?
I enjoyed, liked, and loved this story. New adult with a fantastical story line is different for me. Will I read the next book? Absolutely. Do I recommend this book? It depends. Yes, if you're looking for something to escape into. Yes, if you're okay with a complex, anit-hero hero. Yes, if you're patient enough to get to know a severely naive young woman who has no idea what kind of magic she has inside of her. And, yes, if you're okay with a cliffhanger.
Author. Editor. Reader. Schutzhund lover.