debt, by nina g. jones

debtIn recognition of Valentine’s Day, tara’s take will be celebrating romantic reads for the month of February. So, in a “go big or go home” kind of way–let’s kick off the month with a review of the book Debt, by Nina G. Jones.

This falls into the totally twisted category for sooo many reasons. I don’t give disclaimers on too many books, but be forewarned on this one–subject matter content is extremely intense, graphic, and down right disturbing. What does it say about me that I really enjoyed this book??? That’s a post for another day. Let’s get started shall we?

Tax is an extremely rich, good-looking, and successful business man. Mia is successful in her own right; she’s an executive at an “adult toy” company. Both grew up in a small town with incredibly humble beginnings, Tax’s more so than Mia’s.

Their paths cross in adult-hood when Mia’s friend talks her into going on a no-holds bar fantasy site to book a service. Mia gets far more than she bargained for.

As she’s blackmailed for reasons unknown to her and subjected to down right cruel behavior from her blackmailer, she discovers unimaginable things about herself and the man who holds her fate in his hands.

tara’s take:
Tax’s back story is beyond tragic and heart-breaking. Mia’s naïveté and bravado balance one another out making her a heroine you don’t want to roll your eyes at or kill-off. There are so many disturbing sexual scenes in this book it makes Raw look… Ok, nothing could make Raw look anything but what it is…

Mia is feisty and yet unsure of herself all at the same time, which makes her relatable. There are some very sinister undertones and overtones in this book. And while quite often,  you hate the hero that is Tax, you also understand the vengeance that has been driving him and his twin sister all of their lives.

Jones writes the book in both the present day as well as flashbacks. (I feel like this is happening more and more in the books I read.) But she does a great job of balancing the new and old so that you get just enough to whet your whistle and want more before she she switches eras on you, keeping you sucked in for the whole book.

Again, I can’t stress enough the extremely graphic nature of this book. If it were a movie, you’d most certainly have to look away. But in print, it makes for a seriously twisted and captivating read.

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why are readers so angry with authors?

dog-confused-huh-150x150Let me start by putting it out there–I’m confused?!?! Said confusion was incited by the many posts I came across in reference to Sylvia Day’s Crossfire series. Readers/fans of this series are complaining about the fact that it’s been extended from 3 books to 5. WHY?!?! If you love a series, the writing, the characters–why are you flat-out angry that some of your most beloved heroes and heroines are having their lives extended by the author??? In many cases, like Raine Miller’s Blackstone series, Sylvain Reynard’s Gabriel’s Inferno series, and Belle Aurora’s, Raw Family–the true fans were clamoring for more books; Reynard stated that was the whole reason he wrote the last book in the series–for the fans.

What about the Rizzoli & Isles books from Tess Gerritsen? James Patterson’s Alex Cross series? What if those were one and done? These writers have more story to tell so they do–because it’s what they do and what their readers want. Good plot-lines extending the sagas of the characters they love.

Yes, some series may have a natural end to them–it’s why my one of my most beloved tv shows, Sons of Anarchy, had its series finale last month (still haven’t recovered from that one…). But in the case of Sylvia Day’s Crossfire series, we’re talking 5 books–FIVE.

I have seen so many write ups about this series, in particular, being extended just for money, and/or in spite of it originally being slated to end after 3 books.

  1. Day is a professional writer (i.e. she writes to make money), books are the way she does that.
  2. Seriously, if you’re going to complain about an author doing the best she can to provide readers with a good book to read, maybe reading isn’t really your thing.
  3. Lastly, you don’t have to read the book! (Something tells me Day’s books aren’t on many ‘required reading’ lists. Solely due to subject/content matter, not because they aren’t awesome–which they are!)

There you have it. My first rant of 2015. I will now step off my soap-box. For authors out there, especially the independent ones–good luck to you all!

tara’s tips: My actual review of Captivated by You is forthcoming.

top 3 books of 2014

Since this blog is primarily about books and food, I thought a ’round-up’ of my most fave reads and eats for 2014 would be a good start to the New Year. For today, let’s start with books–in no particular order:

This book falls in the ‘Totally Twisted’ category, but it stuck with me for a while. If you look past all of the twisted-ness of it, the underlying theme is about not conforming to who society thinks you should be and owning the person you are. Pretty powerful. In addition, you just can’t help but root for Twitch, even though he’s a criminal. I don’t know if Belle Aurora always intended to write about the supporting characters in this book, or if she responded to the clamoring of her fans (of whom I am one), but the next book in this series will be released later this year, Dirty. Can’t wait!

The Professional part 1The Professional part 2The Professional part 3The Professional
Kresley Cole initially released this book 1-part at a time and I devoured each one the minute they were available. Admittedly, The Godfather, is my most favorite movie so anything ‘mob-esque’ will pique my interest. Add to that an awesome alpha male and romance–I mean, we’re talking the whole package here. I can’t wait for her next in this series–The Master, coming later this month.

the kingThe King
The Black Dagger Brotherhood has long been my one and only paranormal addiction. And Wrath, the Blind King, has always been my most beloved vampire. When I heard J.R. Ward was going to write this book, focusing on Wrath, I think I shed tears of joy. (At a minimum–I screamed out loud with glee!) This book definitely did not  disappoint. I compel you, if you haven’t read this series, give it a try. The first book, Dark Lover, may not draw you in, initially, but they just get better and better. The next in this series is being released April 7, The Shadows.

Incidentally, Ward is starting a new non-paranormal series called, The Bourbon Kings; the first installment of the same title is being released on July 28th. Looking forward to seeing what she does in writing for mere mortals.

Come back on Thursday to see the Top 3 Recipes of 2014!

Book Review: Raw

rawRaw by Belle Aurora is one of those books that was following me. It was constantly turning up in my Goodreads search. It appeared, repeatedly, when I was on Google. I saw it on other book blogs. It was in my  Twitter feed. Seriously, the book was stalking me! Which is funny because…

In a nutshell:
Twitch is a sociopathic stalker. He’s been watching Alexa (Lexi), forever–and she knows it. He’s covered head to toe in tattoos, constantly wears a hoodie, and lurks in the shadows. Lexi, is a straight and narrow, upstanding social worker, helping underprivileged teenagers. Lexi soon learns that nothing is at is seems with Twitch–or is it? Aurora takes the reader through incredibly emotional twists and turns with this story–drug use, graphic sexual situations, and heart wrenching trauma. The story of Twitch and Lexi is complex and certainly not for the faint of heart.

Tara’s Take:
I admit that when I first started reading this book, it was a bit of a challenge for me. I almost gave up. Suffice to say, I persevered and finished–and I am sooooo glad I did! I cried. Literally, shed real tears. Be warned, this book is not an easy read. There are some very disturbing scenes. Often, Lexi wonders what the H*ll she’s thinking and doing and so does the reader. But it works. This is more than opposites attract or the good girl being drawn to the bad boy. There is a lot of depth to the main characters and to the supporting cast in the book.

The story is set in Australia, which I was looking forward to ‘seeing’ some of in the book. However, you don’t. It is really more of an in-depth emotional character development, which again, works. I’ve never been ‘Down Under’ so bringing some of the beauty I’ve heard about to life through words, would’ve been nice–but by no means was I disappointed.

One can only hope that there will be a sequel. Raw was released in Jan. 2014 as a stand alone and currently, Aurora hasn’t let the world know if there’s a sequel coming. But my fingers are crossed!