Just A Quick Rant About The Current Trend…

Can someone please inform me why it is that every book I read these days seems to be a part of a series?  Now I have absolutely nothing against series, in fact I love them.  What I do have a problem with though is reading a book, pouring over it for hours, investing a huge chunk of my time where I ignore my family, my home, my work only to reach the end and find that I have to wait months until the next book comes out to find out what happens.  I can not stand cliffhangers anymore.

Once upon a time I found it exciting to have that anticipation for the release of the next book in the series.  I would mark it on my calendar and cheer when the day finally came that I could run to the bookstore or click on Amazon to get the book I have been patiently craving for months on end.  Unfortunately it seems these days that almost all the books I pick up are ending up like that in one way or another, so it’s kind of lost its charm.  I’m tired of it.  I want my books to be wrapped up at the end so I feel some sense of accomplishment, some sense of closure.

Now having said that, I don’t mind having several books in a series but isn’t there a way of not leaving such huge cliffhangers in every book.  Give me something people!  I am now purposely looking for the words: “This book is part of a series”, “This book can be read as a standalone”, HEA and so on whenever I read book descriptions now.    I watch TV and I accept that there are going to be cliffhangers, series finales etc…  I know I will have to wait the summer to find out if Derek and Meredith survive the plane crash or will Elena choose Stefan or Damon, Will Jax be able to get Tara out of Jail or will Sookie end up with…well you get my drift.  If it’s TV I can deal but when it’s book I just want to know what happens.  Is that too much to ask for?

Frustration

SEMPRE Forever By J.M. Darhower

teardropsOnly 15% into this book and I found myself sobbing, having to put the book down and walk out of the room.  Emotionally charged doesn’t even begin to describe this story.  

Sempre Forever

SEMPRE forever

By J.M. Darhower

★★★★★

The Definition of Freedom: 1. The state of being free or at liberty rather than in confinement or under physical restraint: He won his freedom after a retrial. 2. Exemption from external control, interference, regulation, etc. 3. The power to determine action without restraint. 4. Political or national independence. 5. Personal liberty, as opposed to bondage or slavery”
– Dictionary.com

Born into slavery Haven Antonelli has never known anything other than horror and pain.  Living on a desert ranch with her mother, taking care of her “Master” and his family, unsure if she’ll live another day hard work, abuse and fear are part of her everyday life.  At seventeen she has seen a world that most can’t even imagine and the last thing she ever expects to find is hope.

Carmine DeMarco is Mafia royalty.  While overcoming a tragic past that almost tore his family apart Carmine struggles to find someone to understand him and continues to let his pain and anger fuel his actions.  He knows his future will most likely be in following in his father’s footsteps when he turns 18, moving back to Chicago to join “La Famiglia”.

But then she happened. The girl who had never been able to call her life her own taught a boy who had the world at his fingertips exactly what it meant to live. He wasn’t alone anymore.” 

Haven and Carmine may have grew up under vastly different circumstances, both yearning to break free,  but now a twist of fate causes their worlds to collide.  Entangled in a web of secrets and lies, they learn that while different on the surface, they have more in common than anyone would think.  While falling in love with each other may be easy a string of events that began before either of them were born threatens to destroy them.

Murder and betrayal are a way of life, and nothing comes without a price—especially not freedom. But how much will they have to sacrifice? Can they escape their pasts? And, most of all, what does it mean to be free?

HummingbirdFlight_xlarge

Wow this book rally surprised me, I wasn’t prepared for it to throw me on the emotional rollercoaster I found myself on while reading it.  While a story of love there is so much more here.

Colpo di fulmine. The thunderbolt, as Italians call it. When love strikes someone like lightning, so powerful and intense it can’t be denied. It’s beautiful and messy,
cracking a chest open and spilling their soul out for the world to see. It turns a person inside out, and there’s no going back from it. Once the thunderbolt hits, your life is
irrevocably changed.”

Sempre is a complex story that in my opinion has the right balance of  “Character Emotional Development” plotlines or “Dramatic Action” plotlines. It isn’t a feel good romance or a fluffy mobster story.  This book is dark and at times disturbing.  There were characters in the book that I had a very hard time liking and finding redeeming qualities in, even when the motivation for their actions became clearer.

Carmine and Haven are both heartbreaking characters and I found myself questioning whether or not I would have been able to survive in their world.  Haven has a strength and a way of looking at life that I admired.  Carmine is willing to risk it all for Haven and in the end he does without hesitation.

“Ti amo, mia bella ragazza. Per sempre.”
“Sempre?” she asked.
Cracking a smile, he brushed his pointer finger softly across her lips. “Always and forever.”

 With such a complicated group of characters I felt an authenticity to the story that I appreciated.  While sad and upsetting this is still a must read.  If you love books with a modern take on Romeo and Juliet, if you loved The Godfather or Boardwalk Empire this is a story I am sure you will enjoy. Fair warning though, it is a longer book, over 500 pages so be prepared to spend some time on it.

Hummingbird

 

To find out more about Author J.M. Darhower:  www.jmdarhower.com  

 

Bully by Penelope Douglas

Bully

By Penelope Douglas

★★★★

My name is Tate. He doesn’t call me that, though. He would never refer to me so informally, if he referred to me at all.

We’re neighbors, and once, we were best friends. But then, one summer, he turned on me and has made it his mission to screw up my life at every opportunity. I’ve been humiliated, shut out, and gossiped about all through high school. His pranks and rumors got more sadistic as time wore on, and I made myself sick trying to hide from him. I worried about what was around every corner and behind every door.

So I left.

I spent a year studying abroad and bathed in the freedom of life without Jared. Now I’m back to finish up high school and get the hell out of here forever. I’m hoping that after a year of breathing room, he’s moved on and forgotten all about me.

But even if he hasn’t changed, I have. I’m not interested in avoiding him or turning the other cheek anymore. We’re going to go head to head, because neither of us wants to back down.

bossmustang

I am not sure how I feel about this book.  I have to be honest, I truly enjoyed reading it, it evoked so many different emotions from me I couldn’t put it down.  However I feel like I should not have found it as enjoyable as I did simply for the fact that the love story in this book is essentially between a bully and his victim.

This isn’t just a matter of miscommunication and misunderstandings between the two characters.  This isn’t the story of boy who simply teases  a girl and then they fall in love.  This is the story of a guy who comes home from spending the summer with his estranged father a completely different person.  His best friend, the girl next door has no clue why he now hates her.  They no longer spend time together or talk and if they do it’s him being a jerk to her.  Rumors are started at school, boys treat her like trash and most of the girls whisper behind her back.  She is the victim of pranks and public ridicule and has hardly any friends.

What makes it even worse is the fact that not only is he tormenting her but also his best friend Madoc, who doesn’t even know why he does it.  There are many times that Madoc goes above and beyond simple teasing and pranks and skirts into sexual harassment.  The upside of it is when Madoc does cross that line she seems to grow a backbone and makes it clear it’s not acceptable (between a broken nose and a good swift kick to his manhood) she at least is not a complete pushover.

Tate finally standing up for herself makes her feel as if she is turning into a bully herself, I am sorry but I totally disagreed with her.  I was glad she stood up for herself, even when it got a little physical because frankly it needed to be done.  People needed to see she was not some weak, pitiful, lesser individual.  I actually thought there were times when she should have been even tougher and not backed down.

As for finding out the reasons behind the bullying I am not sure that it was enough to justify or excuse it in my book.  I couldn’t really understand where Jared was coming from in that regard but it didn’t necessarily take away from the book.  I still found myself completely immersed in it and I am definitely anxious to read the next one and see it from Jared’s POV.  I think it will give me a better idea of why Jared chose to Bully Tate in the way he did.  After reading the first chapter on the authors Goodreads page I am anxious for the next book.

bossmustang

 

To find out more about author Penelope Douglas check out her Facebook page here.

 

To purchase a copy of Bully at: ➸ Amazon

 

Parting Shot by Mary Calmes

As a huge fan of Mary Calmes and her Matter of Time series I was ecstatic to finally have the opportunity to check out her new book Parting Shot.  Parting Shot tells the story of Duncan Stiel and Aaron Sutter and I have to be honest, I loved it!  I’ll admit I wasn’t ready to let go of Sam and Jory when the final book was over but Duncan and Aaron had me just as invested and I ate their story up.

Parting Shot

 

Parting Shot

By Mary Calmes

★★★★1/2

Life has never been easy for Duncan Stiel. His childhood was the stuff of nightmares, and his day job as an undercover police officer forces him to hide his true self and occasionally lands him in the hospital. So when he finally meets the perfect man, it comes as no surprise that everything falls apart around him. What Duncan doesn’t expect is that the hardest hurdle to get over before he can make a life with Aaron Sutter is the one inside himself.

Everyone thinks Aaron has it all—looks, money, fame, and success beyond measure. Everyone, that is, except Aaron. At the end of the day, the cameras stop flashing, friends go back to their own lives, company business is handled, and Aaron is always alone. The moment he meets Duncan Stiel, Aaron knows he’ll do anything to hold onto the larger-than-life detective. But when he realizes money won’t buy him the ultimate happiness, Aaron needs to find the strength to give Duncan something much more important—his heart.

What was it that I liked so much about this story?  First it’s the fact that Ms. Calmes has a great voice, she has the ability to suck a reader in from the very first page and keep you going straight through til the end.  It isn’t the first time I have found myself devouring one of her books in one sitting.  I love the combination of a hot steamy romance along with a good plot.  This isn’t just about sex, there is actually a story going on with a couple of twists and turns and a lot of laughs.

We only got brief glimpses of Duncan in earlier books (Acrobat and But For You) but now we get to see who he really is and what makes him tick.  From the little we learned of him in Acrobat I couldn’t stand him, in But For You I was intrigued but in Parting Shot I really liked him.  I wish we could actually have seen more interaction with him and Sam Kage but I was just happy that Sam made a brief appearance in the book.

We’ve seen a bit of Aaron Sutter throughout the Matter of Time books and I have never cared for him.  Even in But For You when he was being somewhat redeemable I didn’t feel any connection towards him.  Parting Shot completely changed my opinion of him.  I fell in love with Aaron and definitely found myself understanding him better.

Duncan and Aaron make a great pair and I loved seeing them together, they balanced each other nicely.  I wouldn’t mind seeing more from Duncan and Aaron in the future and I am very interested in seeing where they go from here.  If you are a fan of the Matter of Time series you definitely need to check out this book.

I love Mary Calmes and can’t wait to see what she comes up with next!

Tie

For more about author Mary Calmes check out her website  here.

To purchase a copy of Parting Shot at: | ➸Amazon  |➸Barnes and Noble |➸Dreamspinner Press