'Luca' by Sarah Castille is Book Two in the "Ruin & Revenge" series. This is the story of Gabrielle Fawkes and Luca Rizzoli. I have read the previous book but I feel this can be a standalone book if you wish to do so.
Gabrielle is a detective that is looking into activities in a drug cartel along with avenging her husbands death. Luca is in a crime family and a ladies man. But these two finding their attraction to hard to ignore. But can these two from the opposite side of the road have allot to overcome to get to their happy ending.
I enjoyed Luca being the strong man that he was and trying to protect Gabrielle. But Gabrielle was an even stronger person and she tried to protect him too.
This has been such a great and exciting series!
"My honest review is for a special copy I voluntarily read."
Luca by Sarah Castille is a mafia book. Let me start this review by saying, my moral compass points so far toward law and order I avoid reading mafia, mc or any other type book that glorifies criminals. I probably had no business agreeing to read and review this book. That being said, Ms Castille has delivered a book that is well written and even if you don't care for this type book, it will suck you in like dust through your vacuum cleaner. The characters in this book are phenomenal. Luca and Gabrielle's story is loaded with drama, action, suspense and sizzle. There are hints of humor that make this a lighter story than it could have been. I enjoyed reading Luca and look forward to reading more from Sarah Castille, hopefully, something not mob/gang related. Luca is book 2 of the Ruin & Revenge Series but can be read as a standalone. This is a complete book, not a cliff-hanger.
I voluntarily reviewed an Advance Reader Copy of this book that I received from NetGalley.
From the moment I met Rhampage aka Jack Caldwell in ‘Against the Ropes,’ he intrigued me. His quiet demeanour, his camaraderie with his friends and his propensity to gossip made him an interesting character. A man shrouded in mystery and it made me curious to learn what made him tick. Therefore, you can imagine my excitement when I had the opportunity to read and review his story.
When I read the blurb, my excitement dimmed somewhat, as I am not a fan of BDSM. However, I must confess I was pleasantly surprised with the way the story unfolded. Yes, it has BDSM theme, but ‘Fighting Attraction’ was more than that. It is a story of healing, self-discovery, acceptance, trust and love. It tells the story two people who suffered betrayal at the hands of the persons they believed they could trust. Be warned this book touched on some heavy themes such as abuse, suicide, and self-mutilation, so if you have triggers where these issues are concerned then skip this title.
The name of the book is fitting as the main characters who, clearly attracted to each other were determined to fight their feelings for each other. They felt they did not deserve each other. Eventually, though they came to realise that they belonged together. They helped each other to realise they were worthy of love. I enjoyed their interaction with each other, which at times were funny, sexy and emotional.
Connecting to the characters was easy. Penny Worthington is a damaged heroine. She grew up in an abusive environment and was constantly made to believe that no one loved her. Years of hearing this led to her having low self-esteem issues, which I understood. It is my belief this was one of the reasons she attracted the wrong men. Her struggles with the physical and emotional pain were real and watching her overcome them was admirable. She had many layers, which made her a fascinating character. She is a fiery, strong, prim and proper British woman willing to fight for what or who she wants.
Jack an up and coming MMA fighter is a DOM who gets pleasure through pain. He is this way not because he is damaged, but because it was in his nature. His fiancée betrayed him, and his family disowned him and since then he kept this side of him a secret from his friends and counterparts. He is ashamed of what he is as he is as he was made to believe a southern gentleman would never indulge in such behaviour. His attraction to Penny is evident, but he refuses to seek anything but friendship from her, as he was afraid to cause her pain. However, she broke down his barriers and made him feel things he never expected.
Due to them, thinking they did not deserve each other, there was a lot of push and pull especially on Jack’s side. At times, their behavior got a bit frustrating, but eventually, they got their act together. What I liked about their relationship was that they were friends long before they became lovers. There were many great scenes, but the one that put a smile on my face was seeing Jack grovel to win over Penny when he finally came to his senses.
‘Fighting Attraction’ was a great read from start to finish and I am eager to know whose story will be next. I recommend this title to persons who love MMA fighter stories, alpha males, and hot romance.
N.B It can be read as a stand-alone
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I never remembered that I had received ‘Full Contact’ for review until I received a request to review the fourth book in the Redemption series. Although it was unnecessary to read ‘Full Contact’ prior to reading the fourth book, I decided to read it in order.
Having read and enjoyed the earlier books in the series, my expectations for this instalment was high. I hoped for well-developed characters, strong romance and a great storyline. I got most of what I hoped for except the romance, which was disappointing. What I got was a pull-push relationship and sex that had a touch of BDSM and lots of pain. I found the pain aspect of main characters’ sexual relationship disconcerting, in light of the heroine’s past issues.
Sia O’Donnell, a fan of underground fighting and even bigger fan of the MMA fighter known as ‘The Predator’. Her visits to the club are two-fold. As a tattoo artist, she goes there to get inspiration and ideas for her designs and to view her fantasy in the flesh. Sia has been fantasising about ‘The Predator’ for some time now but was not willing to go beyond fantasy due to the danger that surrounds him. However, when he sets his sights on her, she found that reality proved better than the fantasy.
I admired her resolve to move past her traumatic experience, although I thought the steps taken were drastic. These steps were only a band-aid and not a solution to her problem, which was evident in her interaction with her family, friends, and associates. Her failure to address the root of the problem prevented her from moving on and as result prevented her from having a meaningful relationship. There were times her actions frustrated me. One moment she was confident and sassy and the next she appeared to lack confidence in her abilities to succeed and overcome her past.
Ray Black AKA ‘The Predator’ is a man of mystery and he remained that way even after the story ended. The tragedies from his past shaped him into the man he is today. He has no desire for a committed relationship due to the danger that surrounds him, but Sia would have him breaking his rule. In addition to being an underground fighter, Ray is a PI and by all appearances, he is involved in other activities, which no one is privy to. He is a man of few words, but when he speaks, his words have an impact. Despite his dominant nature, he had a sensitive side, especially when it concerned Sia.
I was not a fan of how Sia and Rays’ relationship developed. It lacked credibility and so I had a hard time connecting to them as a couple. Their knowledge of each was limited. He told her of the tragedies in his past, but she was not that forthcoming. It was around 60% into the story before she disclosed her painful history to him. I found it strange that Sia did not know Ray’s full name until 90% into the story. In addition, what was even more strange is that they have never been on a date. There was no substance to their relationship, as it was not built on a solid foundation. Furthermore, the constant push and pull between them nearly gave me a crick neck. One minute they are into each other, and the next, they are not good for each other. I believe that having the story told from both character’s POV would have enhanced the storyline, as it would have helped the reader understand what makes the characters tick. Unfortunately, we only got Sia’s POV.
The story was well- written, for the most part. There is a scene I could not figure how it fit into the series of events. Someone connected to Ray kidnapped Sia, but the information provided was sketchy. He appeared in the story several times, and it was evident he was up to no good, but I had no idea who he was and why he wanted to get even with Ray. I enjoyed the interaction with the secondary characters which funny and interesting. I am interested in learning more about them, especially Sia’s brother.
This was an average read. Out, of all the books is the series, this is my least favourite. Despite the issues, I had with this instalment, I am not giving up on the series. If you have, an interest in contemporary romances set in underground fight clubs, with a dominant
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