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review 2014-01-13 05:43
Indebted - A.R. Hawkins

This was such a colossal disappointment and I was so excited for this one, based on the blurb and cover.  I’m one of those people that pretty much reads it all from the uber fluff to the super dark and gritty that might make a few people uncomfortable.  So a criminal who is owed a significant amount of money and doesn’t have any problems taking care of issues or ridding himself of nuisances, whether that be materials or people.  A father who gives his own son to this criminal as a payoff and the son a virgin.  Ahhhh yeah, this shit is going to be good!!!!  Except…it wasn’t.  It really, really wasn’t.  Where was the tension?  Where was the build-up of emotions and decisions?  Where were the characterizations for any of them?


No character no matter the description or the point of view read any differently.  It all felt very juvenile, extreme actions and emotions with no depth behind them, and the dialogue choppy.  Not to mention the overuse of internal musings accompanied by equally overused exclamation points and I begin to wonder if I’m reading someone’s teenage diary.  And why exactly that any time a character felt he was doing something he disliked he crapped on himself for being a “girl”.   Below are some of the many,many thoughts of the two main characters (excuse the cursing):


*Cry? Really, dude?  You’re turnin’ into a fuckin’ girl.


*Great, asshole, way to ruin the evening by getting all whiny.  Since you’re such a girl now, put on your big-girl panties and deal.


*Shut up and stop babbling.  You’re sounding like a damn woman again.  What the fuck is up with you?  Get this date going and then go fuck like a real man.


As if that’s not insulting and annoying enough, are we seriously calling genitals “Junior” now?


The relationship is insta-love, which is my big no. no. no.  But then that is accompanied by giggles, pouting, blushing, and internal screaming.


*“Aaron! Rein it in.” – I reach down and pinch my thigh to cool it down.  “Damn, that hurt!”


Let’s not go into the sex noises…OK, lets.   I can take sometimes an occasional “argh” or whatever in sex scenes, but a good old fashion groan/moan/gasp works fine, and when it becomes nonstop “argh”, “nghnn” and “unh”s I begin to laugh or get aggravated…or both.


The premise is awesome, and I think with several rounds of editing this could have gotten there, but it was so smothered in pet names, poor dialogue, etc. that it’s stagnant.  Just flat and not ready yet (IMO).  I wanted depth from the characters, I wanted torment/anger/resentment/that slow build to attraction & love and I got none of that.  I struggled to even finish this, but I’m hopeful that maybe in the future the author will write something more to my tastes.

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review 2014-01-10 00:00
Indebted - A.R. Hawkins Indebted had a lot of good qualities. There was a lot of funny dialogue between Liam and Aaron. It was through these inside jokes that Liam was able to keep Aaron safe, and no one else would have a clue. The sex was well-written and super hot. I really liked Liam and Aaron as individuals, and together. I could empathize with Liam’s internal battle over pleasing a father who had forced him into this dangerous business, versus his desire to find his own way. Also with Aaron’s father being a manipulative bastard.

See the entire 3.5 star review at The Novel Approach: http://thenovelapproachreviews.com/2014/01/09/ar-hawkins-deals-with-the-mafia-in-indebted/
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review 2013-12-24 03:15
A.R. Hawkins – Indebted
Indebted - A.R. Hawkins

Reviewed by: Mandy


Summary  For Aaron Quinn, the decision to drop out of med school turns his life upside down, and his father piles on the guilt over the tuition costs. So when his father cooks up a plan to hold off a Mafia loan shark's wrath, Aaron reluctantly agrees, desperate to make up for his failings.  

Raised and groomed to take over his father’s position in the Mafia, Liam Sandoval has his own issues. Looking for any escape from his horrible life, he accepts the offer of a weekend of pleasure from Aaron. A mutual attraction ignites, and they realize a weekend will never be enough. But the growing relationship will be put to the ultimate test when enemies target Liam's new weak spot—Aaron. Can they overcome the outside forces threatening to pull them apart?

Review:  I read the blurb and saw the cover and though, now this is the book for me. 

Danger and intrigue, a hardened bad boy who can be good to his sweet innocent lover.

I liked that we get both POVs, I usually feel like I'm missing something when I only get one POV. 

And the idea was great, unfortunately the execution of it didn't quite work for me.

Liam's mother left him when he was young, his dad turned to the mob and Liam's dreams for his future went up in smoke. His life had been decided for him, and as they say there is only one way to leave the mob.  He's called 'the machine'.. He is a ruthless enforcer, but also has moved up in the organization and does a lot of the finances too. When one of his 'customers' can't pay up, he's offered a deal he can't refuse.

Aaron's dad guilts him into whoring himself to Liam for a weekend in exchange for his payment. 

And they hit it off immediately. Like in his office, on his desk. Liam takes 0.3 seconds to decide and surprisingly (at least to me) Aaron harbors no resentment towards Liam and Liam thinks nothing of Aaron agreeing to it. Liam never questions that there might be ulterior motives, didn't seem like a very smart thing to do.

Then comes a real sex-fest, this book was heavy on the sex as a whole, too much I thought. I get instant love and lust and attraction. I can even believe in it, but I pretty much only saw their relationship based on their sexual encounters and not on any kind of affection in other areas. 

Their conversations and interactions just seemed a bit stilted and the possessiveness that Liam feels immediately seemed a bit OTT. I wasn't as invested in these men as I wanted to be. 

The 'danger' situations in the book didn't work well for me either, I am not an expert on the mob or criminal minds, but they all seemed a bit amateurish and silly. None of the twist surprised me and I didn't feel any kind of angst or nail-biting anxiety during the action parts.

I like sweet and sappy, but I expected Liam to be a badass. I didn't see him that way, but I did get sick of him constantly thinking he's 'a girl or turning into a woman' because he has strong feelings for Aaron.

Aaron also seemed to take to Liam's work and life situation without any hesitation, Liam just has to look at him and touch him and he forgets all self preservation. His feelings for Liam trump all, even within an hour of meeting him, he has a gun to his head and sees someone being beaten and his reaction is to want to have sex after and he misses Liam when they part. 

There is some drama and a very convenient and sweet, if slightly far fetched ending. 

It might be that my expectations of this story were so different from the actual story that I wasn't  able to enjoy it as much I wanted to.

I'm sure there will be readers who love this book and like seeing a bad boy reformed.

Source: heartsonfirereviews.com/?p=24138
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review 2013-12-14 21:02
Indebted by A.R. Hawkins
Indebted - A.R. Hawkins
4 Hearts
Review written for MM Good Book Reviews
Aaron’s life began to fall apart when his mother died, he dropped out of med school and he feels guilt for failing. Now his father is playing on his guilt and is making him pay the price for his father’s outstanding loans, Aaron has to pay the loan with his body and he can only pray that the Mafia loan shark won’t make him pay a higher price. Liam has been groomed into his position by a power hungry father, forced into a life he never wanted, accepting Aaron’s offer isn’t the way to do business but it gives him some release. With their mutual attraction burning bright they realize that a weekend will never be enough, but Liam’s enemies won’t leave Aaron in peace and Liam has to come up with a way to protect Aaron and keeping them both alive.
Ohhhh a Mafia enforcer falling for a poor guy forced to pay his father’s debts and the poor guy accepting the Mafia enforcer warts and all, soooo romantic. Aaron is a sweetheart who couldn’t cope when his mother died and dropped out of med school, he feels guilt over the money spent on his education that was wasted and his dad uses that guilt to full measure. Liam is a great man who is stuck in a life his dad dragged him into, he accepted his fate but longs for something different. When these two guys meet the sparks fly and they begin a hot relationship but Liam’s enemies try to make Aaron pay a price and Liam comes up with great plan to get out of the life.
We see this story from both Liam’s and Aaron’s point of view so we get to know both characters really well, we see how both of them got to be in that office the first time they meet and we follow along as they fall in love. Aaron’s character is one that sees beneath the surface of Liam’s veneer, to the honest caring man underneath the brutal enforcer and Aaron opens his heart to that man. Liam’s character is one that wants more from life but until Aaron came along he never pushed for it, Aaron has him striving for peace and safety instead of violence and money. They make a fantastic couple who are perfectly suited and through Aaron’s eyes we see Liam for who he really is.
While reading this story I was expecting the usual ‘enforcer goes to the other side for love’ but got a very nice surprise with Liam’s solution. I was also really enjoying Aaron’s attitude to Liam’s life, instead of demanding Liam gets out of the life he warily accepted Liam’s life and friends. This is a very good story which I enjoyed for not having rose-tinted glasses, there’s violence that doesn’t apologize and men who are what they are. The sexual element of this book is hot from the very first encounter and neither Liam nor Aaron give a damn about how their relationship started, with sex as payment for a very large debt. This is a great story that is slightly gritty, with danger and callus men but with a strong thread of love throughout.
I recommend this to those who love Mafia enforcers finding love, violence and danger, enemies dishing out retribution, protecting your love, loving someone no matter what and a wonderful ending. 
Source: mmgoodbookreviews.wordpress.com
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