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The Girl on the Train

29 Dec

TheGirlontheTrain(PICK IT)

Author: Paula Hawkins

Genre: Mystery

First Published: 2015

Page Count: 323

Type: Hardcover

Film/ TV Adaptation: Yes*

Rating: 4/5 Stars

There is a fantastic story within these pages, though the journey is a very dark one.


*Shocking Twists


*Drowning in Negativity     *Slow Sections

“There’s something comforting about the sight of strangers safe at home.” Rachel takes the commuter train every week day into London. As it passes a quaint suburban neighborhood, Rachel has taken to watching out for a particular couple in a particular house. She’s named them Jess and Jason, and created a picture perfect story for how she imagines they live from her observations. However, that fantasy is shattered one day when she witnesses something from her window in the train. She is soon entrenched in a police investigation that has her wondering whether she should have just minded her own business considering she has enough on her plate as she tries to cope with her broken past.

By the last page, you can’t help but think…wow. That was all in one book? From the beginning, the reader is drawn into the story. Who hasn’t been in Rachel’s shoes and imagined what the stranger across the street’s life is like or what is going on in the house down the road? I thought I had the plot all figured out, but Hawkins dangles so many red herrings in front of us that there was no way I could’ve predicted the ending. The story starts out so simply with the main character merely catching sight of something she probably shouldn’t have. However, by the end, Hawkins has created a complex, twisted story that leaves you in awe at how everything ties together.

I kept hearing this was the next Gone Girl. That’s high praise considering that’s one of my favorite books. Other then the fact that it is a highly engaging thriller, I had a very different reading experience with this book compared to Gone Girl. A big part of the novel is Rachel’s alcoholism and Hawkins deserves all the praise in the world for successfully capturing the hopelessness, loneliness, and downward spiral that occurs when one abuses alcohol. I felt engulfed in Rachel’s negative life style and this is compounded by the other poor choices or past mistakes that every major character in this book makes. It’s as if you’re drowning in negativity and it got to the point where I couldn’t stand any of the characters because they were all such horrible people. I didn’t want a happy ending for anyone because none of them deserved it. Reading about Rachel’s struggles not only depletes your energy but it slows the pace of the book. It takes awhile before the twists in the book start connecting to form answers to the reader’s questions, and being left with Rachel and the other character’s poor choices can be frustrating to read when you just want to know what it all means.

While this story did not live up to the hype for me, meaning I didn’t find it better then Gone Girl, it is still a fantastic read. The novel is emotionally draining because every character in this book is a piece of work. It means that the reader gets quite a story, but it also might mean that your next book have a lighter air to it so you can recover from the drama and dark tone of this one of a kind thriller.

*Film Adaptations: (Starring Emily Blunt 2016)



24 Dec

Jane Austen: Seven Novels(PICK IT)

Author: Jane Austen

Genre: Classics

First Published: 1818

Page Count: 131

Type: Hardcover

Film/ TV Adaptation: Yes*

Rating: 4/5 Stars

Though it feels a bit short and less dramatic than Austen’s other novels, Persuasion still tugs enough at your heart-strings to make it a worthy read against the rest of her work.


*Heartfelt Romance     *Laughable Characters


*Little Dialogue     *Meek Heroine     *Dull Beginning

“She had been forced into prudence in her youth, she learned romance as she grew older: the natural sequel of an unnatural beginning.” Anne Elliot found in Captain Frederick Wentworth a man she would be more than happy to call her husband. However, after much persuasion from those close to her, she was talked into calling off the engagement as it seemed beneath her. Over five years pass before Anne and the Captain meet again by chance when his brother-in-law and sister rent out Anne’s father’s house. After so many years, could any feelings still exist between the two? Or was their chance at happiness destroyed when she called off the engagement many years ago?

There is nothing better than reading a Jane Austen novel at Christmas time. Luckily this book, like all the rest, delivers in the romance department and that makes for a truly cozy read on a rainy December day. The awkward yet adorable romance between Anne and Captain Wentworth drives the story. The reader is always questioning whether love can still exist between the two after all that has happened (although with Jane Austen we can pretty much guess the answer is yes). However, even if love does exist, how can one overcome the pain, damaged pride, and strange feeling they would feel seeing each other after so many years? Aside from romance, Austen always has a knack for making perfectly deplorable characters who add humor to the story. In this case, Anne’s family and acquaintances take on this role with their mortifying views on society, class, and of course marriage.

Unlike other Austen books I’ve read, this one felt like it took longer to set up the story before we really met Anne and Wentworth. It was slower in getting us to the heroine’s story, although once I met Anne Elliot I was not jumping for joy. She is extremely meek in that she does whatever everyone wants without any thanks; in fact it is almost assumed that she act as the rug the other characters wipe their feet on to put it in simplest terms. I’m not unfamiliar with this sort of heroine since Fanny Price of Mansfield Park had this same type of character, but I wasn’t fond of it in that book either. Both of their weaker personalities derive from their purely good characters, but it is a bit dull. Another aspect of the book that felt lacking was the dialogue between Anne and the Captain. Luckily the side glances and looks of longing were enough to make you feel the desire between both of them, but a few phrases of passionate dialogue could’ve gone a long way in really upping the romance.

This is not my favorite Austen novel by far, but it was surprisingly enjoyable considering the rocky start and the short feel of the story. I’d highly recommend it to any Austen lover, because it is a very simplistic example of the romance stories that we are so familiar with. And seeing as it’s so short, it would also be a great introduction to Austen’s work if you haven’t worked up the nerve to try it before.

*TV Adaptation: (Starring Sally Hawkins 2007), (Starring Ann Firbank 1971)

* Film Adaptation: (Starring Amanda Root 1995)

City of Glass

20 Dec

CityofGlass(PICK IT)

Author: Cassandra Clare

Genre: Fantasy YA

First Published: 2009

Page Count: 541

Type: Paperback

Film/ TV Adaptation: No

Rating: 4/5 Stars

Note: Book 3 of The Mortal Instruments series

The answers to your burning Mortal Instruments questions are answered in this culmination of storylines and shocking plot twists. 


*Answers!     *New Settings/ Characters



“People aren’t born good or bad. Maybe they’re born with tendencies either way, but its the way you live your life that matters.” Clary ‘s mother is still stuck in a magically induced coma and the only way to revive her is for Clary to travel to her mother’s childhood home, the City of Glass. Her mission angers Jace, gets her vampire friend Simon in hot water with the Shadowhunters, and introduces her to the mysterious Sebastian who she finds herself inexplicably drawn to. With Valentine’s demon army nearly complete, will Clary be able to wake her mother and save Downworlders like Simon, and her fellow Shadowhunters from the threat of war?

For some reason I keep coming back to this series. It’s not the best thing I’ve ever read and when I look at the books sitting on my shelves I think to myself, “oh yeah, I still need to finish those…” And yet when I read them, there is just enough story to keep me mildly interested. Well, my half-hearted dedication has finally paid off after reading City of Glass. The questions that I’ve wanted answered, that have kept me coming back to this series, are finally answered! What’s even better is that Clare’s answer to pieces we’ve been missing in the Mortal Instruments puzzle is very satisfying and nothing I could’ve guessed. This book also hit home for me because we finally get to visit the Shadowhunter’s home base. With the addition of new characters like the curious Sebastian, this book kept me thoroughly engaged as you’re hit with twist after twist.

This book is still not the best thing I’ve ever read, but with that being said, there wasn’t anything that I considered negative. I think I got through this book the fastest out of the other two I’d read which is a testament to the story. While it doesn’t compare to other young adult or fantasy books I’ve read, that has to do more with how much I enjoy a story overall. And it is a great story, even if it’s not the best I’ve ever read. That’s where the four instead of five out of five star comes into play.

I was beyond happy to get so many answers in one book, considering I was under the impression I had to get through the next three books in the series to get them. But that begs the question, what is there left to say about these characters and this world? I’ve got three more thick books sitting on my shelf and with this nice feeling of closure in my mind after finishing this book, I don’t see what more the author could have to write about. Full disclosure, I did read the back of the next book so I do have some idea of where Clare is going in the next book. I guess I’ll have to keep going in the series to find out what’s in store, but for now, I’m very satisfied with where the author takes the reader in this book.

The Ghost Bride

28 Nov

TheGhostBride(PICK IT)

Author: Yangsze Choo

Genre: Historical Fiction

First Published: 2013

Page Count: 354

Type: Paperback

Film/ TV Adaptation: No

Rating: 4/5 Stars

A fascinating story about the rare tradition of ghost marriages that will enchant readers with its use of Chinese folklore and the supernatural.


*Novel Story Idea     *Use of Chinese folklore/ supernatural


*Hurried Conclusion

“The problem with the dead was that they all wanted someone to listen to them.” Li Lan’s father shocks her one day when he tells her that the prestigious Lim family has asked her to marry their recently deceased son as a ghost bride. Her once genteel family is nearing bankruptcy and though she will never be able to have children or have a breathing husband by her side, accepting the proposal would mean a comfortable life for her and her family for the rest of their days. As she struggles with her decision, the aggressive ghost of her potential husband begins to haunt her dreams, Li Lan discovers his death might not have been of natural causes, and his cousin, the next heir to the Lim fortune, brings forth feelings Li Lan has never felt for another man. Li Lan must decide whether to give in to the Lim family’s wishes as well as their deceased son’s, or fight for the freedom to live her life on her own terms.

Yes! What a perfect combination of all my favorite qualities in a story bound in one gorgeously covered book! It deals in the supernatural, has plenty of romance and drama, and even feels like a modern-day fairy tale with its ties to Chinese folklore. I’d never heard of the tradition of ghost marriages so right off the bat I was hooked on picking up this book. Such a strange, fascinating tradition of marrying a woman to a restless spirit was unlike anything I’d read or heard of before. Props to the author for such an original and cool story idea. While the ghost bride topic was new to me, a lot of the Chinese mythology the author infuses was also something I didn’t know much about. And being a mythology freak, I ate it up and realized after finishing the book I needed to expand my library to include more stories that include mythologies from different cultures. My hair colorist, whose family still believes in many ancient Chinese stories about the supernatural even today, had mentioned a few of the superstitions Li Lan’s family believes in the book, so it was fascinating for me to delve deeper into that supernatural world I’d only heard about in passing.

The only thing I can say that I didn’t enjoy was the ending. It felt a bit hurried and I didn’t get a solid feeling of closure. I had no idea what direction Li Lan’s life was going to take in the end and while I did approve of it, I felt like I wanted to read a bit more into how her life was after her choice. I won’t go into it any more than that for fear of spoiling the ending. For such a big decision, I felt jipped from really experiencing the consequences of her choice.

Don’t even hesitate to pick up this book if you love romance, the supernatural, or folklore of any culture. Though the ending was a bit short it does not take away from the amazing journey Li Lan takes readers on through a maze of dark family secrets and the shadowy world of the Chinese afterlife. I can’t believe that this rich, intriguing story is the author’s debut novel. I really hope we see more books  from Choo in the future!

Life of a Roadie: The Gypsy in Me

26 Nov

LifeofaRoadie(SKIP IT)

Author: Ronnie Rush

Genre: Memoir

First Published: 2011

Page Count: 253

Type: Paperback

Film/ TV Adaptation: No

Rating: 2/5 Stars

A book that attempts to give us a glimpse at the roadie life but feels more like a compilation of one man’s life and his celebrity encounters.


*Narrator’s Personality


*Story Chronology     *Clunky Format     *Lacking an Engaging Story

“In all of Rock ‘n Roll, it was the least of all cool jobs, but everyone who did it, wanted no other job: Roadie.” Ronnie Rush was a popular DJ  on COOL 101 but he also was a roadie for many different rock n’ roll bands. He was able to travel the world, meet many famous actors and musicians, and be right in the heart of the rock n’ roll scene. This book is his story of what is was like to be a roadie and DJ.

I’ve never heard Ronnie on the radio, but if his radio voice is anything like his writing voice, I can understand why so many people liked tuning in to him. He has a very personable, honest tone that comes through in his writing. Having such a likable voice as the narrator of one’s own biography does a lot to bring the reader into your story.

Unfortunately there were a lot of issues I had with this book that even a personable author’s voice cannot overcome. In general, the story just felt like a compilation of encounters with celebrities. For instance, one chapter is literally just about him catching a glimpse of Paula Abdul. His life story is not boring but I don’t think it warrants a book. Anyone can run into a celebrity; I ran into Christian Bale on my birthday a few years ago for example. And while he does have stories about his time as a roadie, the book seems to lean more towards the famous people he’s run into. On top of that, the format of the book was a bit clunky. There didn’t seem to be a proper timeline followed by the author when telling his story which would have organized the life events better. He often would start out stories by saying “I remember when” or “There was one time” which made the story feel like a run on sentence but of someone’s life. There was no rhyme or reason to how chapters or events were presented to us in relation to each other. The “Point to Ponder” sections at the end of some chapters or the inclusion of a celebrity’s death were the most random additions to the book. They didn’t seem to make any sense with what was being said in the chapter. The over use of the word “gypsy” also begin to feel like a gimmicky way to connect back to the title of the book. This is something a reader can infer about the author without the constant reminder.

The author has definitely lived an interesting life, no question. Although, what I do question, is whether it was extraordinary enough to be chronicled in a book. Maybe if the book itself were more streamlined in how the events are presented to the reader and there was more focus on roadie life and the radio industry instead of celebrity encounters, it would be easier for the reader to understand what roadie life was really like in the age of rock n’ roll. The book is lacking focus and needs to hone in on whether it wants to be about roadie life, the personal life of Ronnie Rush, or life as a radio DJ. At this point it can’t seem to do all three.

*I received a free copy of this book for this review from the author.

Keturah and Lord Death

20 Nov

KeturahandLordDeath(PICK IT)

Author: Martine Leavitt

Genre: Fantasy YA

First Published: 2006

Page Count: 214

Type: Paperback

Film/ TV Adaptation: No

Rating: 5/5 Stars

A bewitching fairytale to entertain the modern reader.


*Simple yet Satisfying Story     *Fairytale Charm     *Fresh Feel



“It is life that hurts you not death.” Keturah is faced with death at the young age of sixteen. However, her talent for storytelling stays the handsome Lord Death’s hand and lets her live another day. Will she be able to use her skill long enough and well enough to save her family, friends and, ultimately, her own life?

The chances of me liking this book were pretty darn high from the start, but I really didn’t expect to feel this much love for the book. I could’ve read this in a day easily if distracting things like earning a living didn’t get in the way of my reading time! The story and the characters are so simple but not in a one-dimensional way. The author weaved a simple tale that has captured that indescribable fairytale charm which makes the story feel timeless and magical. And yet, the story also feels fresh and unlike any fairytale I’ve read. This tale is inspired by the Arabian Nights in which the heroine survives using her storytelling skills, but that’s really where the similarities end. And though the book isn’t a substantial read, it has just enough romance, fantasy, and medieval small town drama to keep you entertained and flipping those pages at a rapid pace. It’s the perfect balance between the events occurring in Keturah’s mortal life and her encounters with Lord Death that nothing feels unnecessary or, god forbid, dull.

I had no issues with this book because the whole thing is the perfect representation of my ideal fairytale story. The romance is alluring and the magic is believable and enchanting. If you love fairy tales like I do, don’t hesitate to check this one out. As for everyone else…also don’t hesitate to check it out. It’s basically no brainer.

Hazard of Shadows

15 Nov

HazardofShadows(SKIP IT)

Author: Mike Phillips

Genre: Fantasy

First Published: 2015

Page Count: 269

Type: Paperback

Film/ TV Adaptation: No

Rating: 2/5 Stars

Note: Book 2 of Chronicles of the Goblin King 

We’re back in Phillip’s world of fantasy creatures, but this second book spends too much time on small side stories and not enough on taking us deeper into the core of the series ongoing plot.


*Exciting Closing Battle     *Introduction of New Mythical Creatures


*Gross Goblin Behavior     *Weak Main Plotline

“Blackness, a giant hole, opened before her eyes.” Mitch is now king of The World Below, and he and his goblin friends are busy trying to maintain the peace in his new kingdom. However, when the world is made up of everything from humans, to goblins, to shape shifters, and faeries, it can be difficult to keep track with the politics going on amongst the different races. Will Mitch be able to keep his friends and girlfriend, Lady Elizabeth, safe from those that wish to see them out of power?

It has been almost exactly two years since I read the first book in this series, The World Below, so my memory was very hazy when it came to trying to remember anything from the last book. The first book had not wowed me but it had been interesting enough that I acknowledged that there could be a lot more to be discovered in future books which could draw me into the series more. While Mitch and his adventures with the goblins is the focus of the series, I was excited at how many new mythical creatures the author introduced in this book. At the height of the book’s plot, in an action packed battle, the author brings together all the new and old creatures we know from the first two books to destroy another new supernatural race (I won’t spoil the surprise) and this to me is where the author shines. The battle is classic fantasy and I ate up every minute of it. Scenes like this really make the book worth reading.

Just like during my first rodeo with this series, I experienced a familiar aversion to the very characters that this series is about. I’m big into fantasy and that includes my love for royalty, witches, wizards, vampires, elves, the list goes on and on. But, apparently, goblins are not a character of the fantasy realm that I really connect with. Their behavior is disgusting and childish, but that is their nature and the author has accurately captured this in his books. I just don’t enjoy reading about boogers and farts; there I said it. Over half of the book is dedicated to the shenanigans and side missions Mitch and the goblins get into. Therefore I got to experience a lot of their characteristic behaviors but I also spent much of my time wondering what the point of this book was. There were little battles but I didn’t understand what the book was building towards. The reader does come to understand what evil forces are working in the background against Mitch, and they will continue to plague him in future books I’m sure, but it took too long to get there. The epic closing battle comes upon us too quickly and I think more background was needed to understand why Mitch was under siege.

I liked the first book because I thought the series had promise and I enjoy fantasy tales. However, now that I’ve read the second book and found myself disappointed that the story didn’t go as deep into the background of all the different worlds and creatures, I don’t feel as confident in recommending the book as I did with the last one I read. I’m two books into the series and still don’t feel that I understand enough about the fanciful worlds, it’s creatures, or the world politics. At this point, I’m not sure I’d be willing to invest more time in the series if it still hasn’t answered enough of my questions or engaged me enough with the story.

*I received a free copy of this book for this review from the author.

Hell House

3 Nov

hellhouse(PICK IT)

Author: Richard Matheson

Genre: Horror

First Published: 1971

Page Count: 301

Type: Paperback

Film/ TV Adaptation: Yes*

Rating:  4/5 Stars

Fans of classic haunted house stories will love this dark, edgier tale that is reminiscent of “The Haunting of Hill House” by Shirley Jackson.


* Chilling Setting/ Backstory


*Vile/ Disturbing Hauntings

It hadn’t been called Hell House without reason.” Four people, Edith and her husband, Lionel Barrett, a medium named Florence, and another medium named Ben Fischer, have each been offered one hundred thousand dollars to stay the week in an abode that has been aptly named: Hell House. Also known as the Belasco House, this manor has a very sordid history where every manner of evil was committed before finding itself empty. Years before the four characters of our story find themselves in the house, another investigation was led in the home that ended gravely. Ben Fischer, one of our four, was part of that investigation and the only one to come out relatively unscathed. What will the next team of investigators find in Hell House and will they be able to finally bring the property peace?

This was supposed to be posted as a Halloween review, but my photographer finally sent me my wedding photos and, needless to say, I lost my reading momentum for a day or two. However, this is definitely the perfect Halloween pick or a great choice if you just want to read a scary story in general. It’s not outright scary, but you get so entranced by what is happening to the four investigators that you shouldn’t be surprised when sounds in your home unpleasantly jolt you out of your reverie. My husband did this to me more than once while he was on too much Halloween candy. I’d be deep in my reading and something horrifying would be happening to the characters but he had decided to start humming (a byproduct of his sugar high) which caused me to jump in my seat from the unexpected noise. The author really drags out the feeling of impending doom and gloom while you experience this hellish house with the characters. This lull that Matheson puts you in as you get sucked into the story is deceiving. You don’t feel that the book is necessarily terrifying until something in reality shocks you out of the reading zone you were in. You realize your heart was pounding and you were progressively turning the pages faster and faster trying to figure out if Hell House is really haunted or a figment of active imaginations. The house and its back story are just creepy, mysterious, and vile enough to make it the perfect setting for a great haunted house story.

While this book is very similar to the classic story The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson, and in my opinion better because it goes deeper into the house’s past, it was still not a perfect ghost story for me. Jackson’s book is a bit tame for my liking and I was truly enjoying Matheson’s book more because it took bigger risks with the intensity of the paranormal events. But not all those risks paid off for me. There are a lot of very sexually explicit scenes that are just so disgusting that it take things a bit over my personal line. Nothing revolutionary is happening in the actual acts but because it has to do with the demonic, it makes the scenes feel even more violating. I’m fine with that every once and awhile but it happened so often, I think it really turned the tone of the book too dark by the end.

The one negative I had with the book is not enough to turn me away from it entirely because it has so many redeeming qualities and I was so quickly and deeply drawn into the ghost story. It’s hard to find ghost stories that really freak me out or that I find very disturbing so I’d rather have something that takes me out of my comfort zone rather than plays it safe and ultimately bores me. Fear is a bit subjective, but I think most people will find this book sufficiently engaging and just creepy enough to induce goosebumps.

*Film Adaptation: (Starring Pamela Franklin 1973)

Where Gringos Don’t Belong

25 Oct

WhereGringosDontBelong(SKIP IT)

Author: Robert Joe Stout

Genre: Contemporary Fiction

First Published: 2014

Page Count: 171

Type: Paperback

Film/ TV Adaptation: No

Rating: 2/5 Stars

*Worst Book of 2015 on Without a Book

A short story that tries to say a lot about politics in Oaxaca, but doesn’t give the reader enough to create a full-blown narrative.


*Shocking Conclusion


*Clunky Beginning     *Too Short     *Disjointed Storyline     *Spanish Heavy Dialogue

“Waving jauntily she swirled out of his grasp into the milling crowd of sweatered and jacketed university students, housewives and shoving teachers who’d spent the past hours waving People’s Popular Assembly banners and denouncing the state government and everyone associated with it.” George finds himself amongst anti-government protestors whose movement his girlfriend, Patricia, also supports, when chaos erupts. Patricia is kidnapped by the corrupt police and George finds himself rescued from federal police assault by a young woman named Claudi. George is frantic to save Patricia from her inhuman prison, but also finds himself falling for the mysterious Claudi who has agreed to help him find Patricia. Will George save Patricia or will he find his healing in the arms of the firecracker, Claudi?

This story was not really my cup of tea. However, I was surprised to find that by the end when the author throws his shocking and sad twist ending into the mix I realized I had started to connect to the characters and was somewhat invested the story. I couldn’t give this review one star, because the ending wouldn’t have hit me so hard if I hadn’t started to care about the characters and what happened to them. So for where the  story takes the reader, that alone garnered the two stars.

But now onto why I couldn’t completely get behind this book. For one, the dialogue is very heavy in its use of Spanish. Nothing against the language, but I don’t speak it and am too lazy to use “Google Translate” that many times so it caused me to skip over sections of dialogue whenever I saw the italics because I knew I’d have no clue what they were saying. Initially, I also really had trouble following along with the story at the beginning of the book. There isn’t enough background given about Patricia and George before we are thrust into the kidnapping scene. The book needed to be longer to introduce us a bit more to these characters so that we would be more invested when big events like the protest come up. I also couldn’t get a handle on what the story was really about. Is it about George trying to save Patricia? The answer must be no, because that piece of the plot gets wrapped up and never really spoken of again. Is it about his romance with Claudi or maybe this improved irrigation system that his students are trying to build? The irrigation part of the story was the most confusing because I didn’t see how it connected to what happened to Patricia in the beginning. It just sort of became the story for the last half of the book. So overall, I guess it was a love story, but with a touch of drama having to do with the corrupt government. Your guess is as good as mine.

Most of the time I spent reading this was a struggle. It took me awhile to like Claudi because I couldn’t just forget about Patricia as easily as the main character could. However, by the end the author did surprise me with his conclusion which left a good taste in my mouth about the reading experience. However, it doesn’t erase the other issues I had with the book and because of that I gave it two out of five stars.

*I received a free copy of this book for this review from the author.


17 Oct

Consequences(PICK IT)

Author: Aleatha Romig

Genre: Romance

First Published: 2011

Page Count: 567

Type: Paperback

Film/ TV Adaptation: No

Rating:  3/5 Stars

Note: Book 1 of the Consequences series

It shocks you in the beginning, meanders in the middle, and blows your mind by the end.


*Jaw Dropping Ending     *Interesting Story Concept


*Dull Middle     *Infuriating Main Characters

“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” Claire Nichols’ life is altered forever the night she meets handsome tycoon Anthony Rawlings while working her bartending shift. She wakes up in an unknown place full of fear and confusion as to how she ended up there. There is no means of escape and her only chance at freedom is to follow the rules of a man she’s only known a couple of hours. Will Claire be able to play Rawlings sick game or will she become prey to the millionaire’s hidden agenda?

The story of this book was very interesting to say the least. It’s very sexual in nature but don’t be fooled into thinking this is another Fifty Shades of Grey. The descriptions are merely suggestive about what is occurring but these scenes are not meant to inspire lust or desire….unless you’re a basket case. The book is extremely dark with a lot of physical abuse that can almost be too much to handle in its intensity and consistency. Claire’s circumstances are so shocking that the reader can’t help but be lured in. And just when the abuse is nearly too much for the innocent bystander of a reader to take, the author throws two huge curve balls in the end that tie the whole book together. You start to get suspicious about certain aspects of the book in the middle but there is no way I could’ve put it all together the way the author lays it out. If possible, it gives a purpose to the torture we endure alongside Claire through the entirety of the novel.

Once the dominos fall at the end and we see the entire picture, maybe parts of the middle that I thought unnecessary and dull did have meaning. Even so, the middle of the book, at least a good two hundred plus pages, felt like a complete drag on the story compared to the suspenseful, mysterious beginning. A lot of that is due to how annoying Anthony and Claire are as main characters. From the beginning we know Anthony is a sicko, but does he have to be such a complete sadistic jerk? Well, now that I’ve read the ending I understanding that the answer is yes, but while reading you just full on want someone to slug him right in his perfectly chiseled face. But that is nothing compared to Claire. One could argue in the book that she is under the influence of Stockholm Syndrome which is why even though at every turn when she could have easily escaped, she didn’t. Part of me just can’t accept that. He does awful things to her and her anger feels tangible, and yet the dummy doesn’t cut and run! She would waver back and forth between “he is so controlling; I just want to have the freedom to use the internet” to “oh he loves me! We’re going on vacation to a tropical island!” It begins to get a little unbelievable just based on the childish, suffocating abuse she endures constantly.

Before I reached the thrilling conclusion I was prepared not to recommend this book. The beginning was interesting but it was getting repetitive with the violence and I thought Claire was pretty much going to die before attempting to make even the smallest attempt at freeing herself. She seemed too deeply under Anthony’s manipulative thumb and I didn’t see the story going anywhere. Well I was definitely wrong on that last point! For the ending alone and what promises to be an interesting series now that I see where it could be going, I’d say check this one out if you can handle the dark plot.