Book Review ( Before & After ): Dirty Angels ( #1 ) – Karina Halle

synopsis single

For Luisa Chavez, a twenty-three year old former beauty queen, a better life has always been just out of her reach. Sure, she’s had men at her feet since she was a young teenager but she’s never had the one thing she’s craved – security. Having grown up in near poverty, her waitressing job in Cabo San Lucas can barely let her take care of herself, let alone her ailing parents. Every day is another unwanted advance, every day is a struggle to survive.

When Salvador Reyes, the depraved leader of a major Mexican cartel, takes an interest in her, Luisa is presented with an opportunity she can’t afford to pass up. She’ll become Salvador’s wife and exchange her freedom and body for a life of riches – riches she can bestow upon her deserving parents. But Luisa quickly finds out that even the finest wines and jewels can’t undo the ugliness in her marriage, nor the never-ending violence that threatens her every move.

Soon, Luisa is looking for an escape, a way out of the carefully controlled life she’s leading. She finally gets her wish in the worst way possible.

As it is, being the wife of Salvador makes her an ideal target for rival cartels and there’s one particular man who needs Luisa as part of his cartel’s expansion. One particular man whose quest for power has destroyed lives, slit throats and gotten him out of an American prison. One particular man who will stop at nothing until he gets what he wants.

That man is Javier Bernal. And he wants Luisa. He wants to take her, keep her, ruin her.

Unless she ruins him first.


 

***WARNING***

This book deals with drug cartels and as such it contains a lot of sex and violence and some violent sex. It can get pretty ugly, pretty dark and pretty crazy. There is drug use, abuse, a bit of torture and dubious consent. The hero is not a hero and the villains…well, they’re even worse. If this sort of thing bothers you, PLEASE DO NOT READ IT. This ain’t no cupcake farting unicorn kind of book. If you are even a bit squeamish about violence, brutality and rape, this is your warning to stay away from a book that you certainly will not like (and why read books that you know you won’t like?)

 

Copied from the `Dirty Angels`( Dirty Angels #1) book description on Goodreads

 


 

before and after

 

It´s been close to 5 years when I first laid my hands on this gem. Back in 2014 I was all hot and bothered to read this promising and much talked about dark romance.

Word had it ( back then ) that `Dirty Angels`was the latest shocker. Dirty, filthy, brutal and just one of those reads where you get riled up, all while falling helplessly in love with the romantic clusterfuck. dirty angels

Love / hate. Despise / adore. Exciting / shocking. `Dirty Angels` was that all that and so much more.

I´ve always been a sucker for gritty romances. The more triggers dark romances had the more intrigued I was. Did I get my money´s worth? Did my fellow book bloggers promise too much when they said this book should be approached with caution? Yes. YES. Y. E. S!

32 year old me loved this read. I remember the overnighter I pulled because I couldn´t put the book down. I remember suffering a week long book hangover after I finished the book. I remember calling my husband at work, telling him I needed to find more books like `Dirty Angels`.

I even found my 2014 review on my old blog! You´re welcome.

 

review old
Please excuse the review. It´s old and orange. Don´t know what was wrong with me back then. 

 

See? Literally the slow motion train wreck you couldn´t pull your eyes away from.

Back in 2014 I gave `Dirty Angels`( Dirty Angels #1 ) by author Karina Halle 5 out of 5 stars champagne glasses.

 

5 years later…. 

 

37 year old me decided it was time to do some `Dirty Angel`rereading. It´s been a while and I wanted to know if I still felt the same.

In a way- I do. My general feelings for the story haven´t changed. I still believe the story is just as great as it was back in 2014. For me, this book is a timeless dark romance because it still tugs at all the “right” emotional strings. Even 5 years later I still feel very strong for the characters and what they´ve been put through.

 

Do I think this book is worth the warning label? The answer to that is complicated.

2014 was the year for dark romances. Authors were testing new waters and began publishing the “mind fuck” stories. Didn´t bother me one bit. But in 2014 there weren´t many offended readers. The triggered groups were smaller. Also, in 2014 reviews looked a little different. You either enjoyed the brutal romance or you didn´t. You either accepted the warning and felt warned or you didn´t.

These days, a book can´t have enough warning labels because there are far too many reviewers who are easily offended by the slightest event.

 

I can say, without a shred of doubt, that `Dirty Angels` by Karina Halle is still a fucking awesome twisted dark romance. One readers should treat as a work of fiction.

 


Would I recommend this read? 32 year old me would have. 37 year old me still would. I still think it would be wise to trust the warning label, though. Not everyone treats certain topics as casually as I do.

Would I reread this book? Already have.


 

The Cover – 3 Stars:     I can´t remember what I thought of the cover back in the day but now… I don´t really think it´s mind blowing. Fitting for the story, sure.

The Story – 5 Stars:     This is what I enjoy. This is how I expect my dark romances to be like. Shocking, graphic and full of “Oh hell no!”

The Characters – 5 Stars:   Nothing has changed. Javier is still a bastard I appreciate and Luisa is, by far, one of the strongest characters ever created. Bad ass all the way!

My emotional state after finishing this read- 2014: Impressed. 2019: Entertained.

 

5 stars

 


 

`Dirty Angels`can be purchased on  Amazon.com

dirty angels

 

Book Review: The Book Of Love – Fionnuala Kearney

synopsis single

One love. Two people. Twenty Years.

From the moment they met, Erin and Dom loved each other too much, too quickly. Everyone said it wouldn’t last. But they knew differently.

A wedding present, a notebook, brings them together through the good times and the bad. On the blank pages of their love story, they write down everything they can’t always say – the secrets, the heartbreak, the highs and lows. It’s where they see the best and worst of each other.

Falling in love is easy but staying in love is where the story begins…

This is the Book of Love


 

 

My Thoughts 2

I´ve read many books in my life. Many that were entertaining, gripping.. and overall just fantastic reads. I´ve had the pleasure of reading & reviewing great romances in my book blogging career but none have come close to this book.

`The Book Of Love` by Fionnuala Kearney….. The Book Of Love

The hardest part of reviewing a book you love is trying to find the right words. Because whatever I say will never describe what I felt after I finished / what I still feel for `The Book Of Love`.

A few weeks back I saw a review post from a blog I follow on Facebook for this book that stated that they´ve never read such a beautiful story in their lives. A bold statement to make, if you ask me. Don´t all book bloggers make that claim every now and then?

I was cautious. Because I´m a burnt child when it comes to recommendations from fellow book bloggers. If it weren´t for the cover, the title and the tagline I think I would have skipped the masterpiece recommendation.

 

“A story for everyone who has loved and lost.” 

 

You can imagine how that line captured my attention. I was like

” I´d like to be the judge of that.” 

The title was something I haven´t seen in a long while. `The Book Of Love`- That could have meant many things. A quick synopsis scan on Goodreads and I was sold.

It´s the first time in my professional reading history that a recommendation was right. This book is a masterpiece. One I will forever cherish.

 

It´s simple but not easy. It´s gentle and raw. Innocent and powerful. It´s painful and soothing. It´s beautiful. It´s emotional. It´s the best book I´ve read in years.

 

There are many things I loved about this book but the things I appreciated most were:

  • The story comes with warts and all! A reader accompanies a young couple through the hardships of marriage and life. I just loved the opening scene because it´s relatable and I adored how their journey was not full of fluff. They live life with its ups and downs and find ways to cope with the negative sides of life.

 

  • The simple characters. I say simple because neither are exaggerated. Erin is just a simple woman and Dom is a simple man. Individually, they´re plain but together they´re the definition of love. How these characters move forward with all they go through is incredible.

 

  • The writing. I cannot preach about this enough: Great writing is half the rent. The author has the uncanny ability to draw a reader in with her words.

 

  • The pacing. Usually, I find myself often bored between scenes. This didn´t happen with this story. Because I wanted to find out what would happen next. I was dying to know who would do what and why and when.

 

To make a long review short: This book destroyed me. I rooted for Erin and Dom. I cheered for their love. I literally sat on the edge of my seat from start to finish and couldn´t keep my feelings in check the whole time. I cried and smiled. I felt the heartache and the love even if it pained me. I fell into the worst book funk in the history of book funks.

” So, my fear is more that if we try and take things apart too much to see how they work, that maybe they won´t fit back together again.”

 

 

`The Book Of Love` is truly a story about the enduring power of love.

 


 

Would I recommend this book? Yes! Although this is definitely one of those tough romances I still believe every romance reader should have this in their collection.

Would I re-read this book? Definitely. Sooner rather than later.

 


 

The Cover – 5 stars:  I love the simplicity of it. Light colors and a large title. A book cover doesn´t really need more.

 

The Story – 5 stars:     Fascinating and breathtaking.

 

The Characters – 5 stars:     I have so much love for these characters because they´re you and me and everyone else.

 

My emotional state after finishing this read:    Ruined. Destroyed. Done with the world. Shattered. All in the best way possible.

 

5 stars


 

`The Book Of Love` by Fionnuala Kearney can be purchased on Amazon.com


 

An Instagram Featured Book By Morgana´s Book Box

 

 

 

 

Book Review: The Butterfly Project – Emma Scott

synopsis single

“Where you are is home…”

At age fourteen, Zelda Rossi witnessed the unthinkable, and has spent the last ten years hardening her heart against the guilt and grief. She channels her pain into her art: a dystopian graphic novel where vigilantes travel back in time to stop heinous crimes—like child abduction—before they happen. Zelda pitches her graphic novel to several big-time comic book publishers in New York City, only to have her hopes crash and burn. Circumstances leave her stranded in an unfamiliar city, and in an embarrassing moment of weakness, she meets a guarded young man with a past he’d do anything to change…

Beckett Copeland spent two years in prison for armed robbery, and is now struggling to keep his head above water. A bike messenger by day, he speeds around New York City, riding fast and hard but going nowhere, his criminal record holding him back almost as much as the guilt of his crime. 

Zelda and Beckett form a grudging alliance of survival, and in between their stubborn clash of wills, they slowly begin to provide each other with the warmth of forgiveness, healing, and maybe even love. But when Zelda and Beckett come face to face with their pasts, they must choose to hold on to the guilt and regret that bind them, or let go and open their hearts for a shot at happiness. 

The Butterfly Project is a novel that reveals the power of forgiveness, and how even the smallest decisions of the heart can—like the flutter of a butterfly’s wings—create currents that strengthen into gale winds, altering the course of a life forever.


My Thoughts 2

I feel like I deserve to be kicked. I had `The Butterfly Project` on my TBR pile for over a full year and didn´t feel moved to read it. Why? Well, I have one excuse that makes me feel a little better.

I bought this at the RARE Berlin ´17 book signing, straight from the source, at Emma Scott´s table. I walked right up to her and told her I needed something to read that doesn´t involve college students.

“Please have something that involves adults. I need a romance. I need something with substance. I need to be able to relate.”

I must have looked like a mad woman because the confusion on her face spoke volumes. But she was quick. While I was still talking she picked `The Butterfly Project`for me and I bought it. I was a desperate mess and in the need of something that didn´t have over the top characters.The Butterfly Project

After that I drove home and totally forgot about the book again ( despite my desperation ).

Over a year later….

I finally pushed myself to read `The Butterfly Project`. Now I feel all sorts of awful because this is exactly what I wanted. Emma Scott´s writing and storytelling skill is right up my alley. The author has an uncanny ability to draw a reader in with her words.

So easy. So subtle. So worth every minute of my time. 

I won´t bother giving you my own book description ( because they´re too” special” ). The synopsis does a far better job than I ever could. Instead, I´ll just gush out my feelings for this story.

At first, I didn´t know what exactly to expect. But then with each turned page I fell more and more in love. The story is one of those makes – you – feel – good types of reads, even though nothing is perfect. The characters are flawed, even until the end. The issues the couple struggle with aren´t magically gone after the first kiss.

Let´s introduce the MCs:

Zelda ( Heroine ) was a treat. Despite her miserable past she was still strong willed and caring. What a wonderful soul. I was touched and I loved.

Beckett, the Hero…. Good laawd, that man * takes dramatic sip of coke * He´s a proper book boyfriend ( if there is such a thing ). A picture book perfect Hero with just the right balance.

Both even functioned amazingly well as a couple! I cannot ask for more.

`The Butterfly Project`is a standalone, dual POV, slow burn and kind romance that´ll definitely leave an impression.


Would I recommend this book? Yes. I would. For romance lovers who enjoy a good heart warmer…. definitely.

Would I reread this book? * nod *


 

The Cover – 3 Stars: The cover image doesn´t do much for me.

The Story – 5 Stars: I have no major complaints.

The Characters – 5 Stars: A treat, I tell you. A TREAT!

My emotional state after finishing this read: 100% satisfied.

5 stars

Buy the book!   Amazon.com    ◊    Amazon.co.uk


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Review: The Little Book Of Hygge: The Danish Way To Live Well – Meik Wiking

synopsis 2

Denmark is often said to be the happiest country in the world. That’s down to one thing: Hygge.

‘Hygge has been translated as everything from the art of creating intimacy to cosiness of the soul to taking pleasure from the presence of soothing things. My personal favourite is cocoa by candlelight…’

You know hygge when you feel it. It is when you are cuddled up on a sofa with a loved one, or sharing comfort food with your closest friends. It is those crisp blue mornings when the light through your window is just right.

Who better than Meik Wiking to be your guide to all things hygge? Meik is CEO of the Happiness Research Institute in Copenhagen and has spent years studying the magic of Danish life. In this beautiful, inspiring book he will help you be more hygge: from picking the right lighting and planning a dinner party through to creating an emergency hygge kit and even how to dress.

Meik Wiking is the CEO of the Happiness Research Institute in Copenhagen. He is committed to finding out what makes people happy and has concluded that hygge is the magic ingredient that makes Danes the happiest nation in the world.

 

My Thoughts 2

 

One of my most anticipated reads for this month and…. I can´t really say I was disappointed. I found this read to be gripping.

Interesting enough- This book on how the Danish live well was categorized on Goodreads under Self – Help and psychology, yet this book didn´t feel like that at all.

It felt more like a little guide of Denmark, or a guide on how the Danish live. hygge

Which is perfectly fine by me. I love to learn about different cultures and get to know what exactly it is that makes them who they are.

The word that´s focused on here is Hygge. The definition of Hygge is: There isn´t one.Hygge is a word that describes  the Danish ritual of enjoying life’s simple pleasures.

Good company, family, food and… candles.

Looks like the Danish are obsessed with light. There was no shortage on the mention of candles in this read. Looks like candles are the way to live a cozy life.

Too bad I think candles are dust collectors. I prefer my cozy moments with floodlights ( because I´m as blind as a bat )

Besides the candle parts ( which are almost always mentioned ) I do love the Danish lifestyle.

Just shows that life isn´t always about work and work and.. work.

Life is about taking a step back and appreciating your surroundings. Just ask the Danish people. They obviously have it all worked out. They know how to be content.

As much as I loved this book I did find a few things  that would never work out for me, personally. The 10 inexpensive Hygge Activities, for example:

  1. Bring out the board games. I´m a bad loser. It´s been said that I´ve thrown a board game off a table once because I can´t stand losing. ( that´s only half true. I walk away when I´m losing .  And that one time when the golf driver slipped out of my sweaty hands and flew towards my husband… An accident. ) I´m competetive and can´t lose. Board games are not an option.
  2. TV Night. I used to love TV nights with friends. Now I have friends who go to bed early ( even on the weekends ).
  3. Make a fire. Not a bad idea if someone would mow the lawn beforehand.
  4. Swap Party. NO. No no no. People never want to swap good stuff. That idea just doesn´t work for me at all. I really don´t want my best friend´s self made robot.
  5. Sledding. Another nice idea if there was something to sled on. Like snow. Or a sled. I don´t even have a sled ( because we hardly ever get snow ). I thought this was supposed to be an inexpensive Hygge activity. To sled I´d have to buy one and book a vacation to somewhere where it snows. Too expensive for me.

So, as you can see… I´ll have a hard time doing typical Danish activities.

That part about spending time with friends and family… Listen, I love my friends ( and some of my family ) but I don´t want to see them all the time. Some of them are exhausting AF. They all can destroy my Hygge vibes. Lol.

What I did approve of were the stuff I already include into my daily life.

  • read ( I had to laugh at that one )
  • enjoy a hot beverage and have ceramic ( this one got another laugh )
  • food ( because food is AWESOME )
  • going slow ( because you miss out on so much when moving too fast )
  • Wool sweaters and socks ( And I have the ugliest wool wardrobe, EVER!)

 

All in all I really liked this book. Enough to want to go visit Denmark in the near future.

It´s been mentioned many times before – The Danish people are the happiest in the world. I can believe that after reading this book.

Would I recommend this book? Definitely. It´s a nice book that gives you LOTS of insight on how simple it can be to be happy and feel content with the little things in life. Also, this book gives a taste on what Denmark is about.

Would I re – read this book? Sure. It´s definitely something I´ll take a look at once in a while.

 

The Cover – 5 Stars ( The cover was the first thing I fell in love with. )

The Idea – 5 stars ( Great idea to introduce the perks of Denmark and the people who live there. )

The Writing – 5 stars ( Written by CEO of the Happiness Research Institute, Meik Wiking. His study sounds like a lot of fun. His writing has an easy-going, joyous touch.)

My emotional state after finishing this read – On my way to join the Hygge movement.

5 stars

Purchase Link

Amazon.comhygge

 

 

 

 

 

Review: Back To The Club ( A Swingers Story) – Ava Sterling

Synopsis

 

Four is better than two.

Bianca and Chris have been married for years with mixed results on keeping their intimacy alive. Their one spike in recent memory was going to a swingers club. They didn’t do much that visit, but it was enough to spark their curiosity, especially Bianca’s.

A year later, Bianca wants to go back, but she has to convince her husband, who prefers quiet nights at home. She pulls it off with the help of some flirting, but what Chris doesn’t realize is that Bianca intends to do far more than last time.

She wants to experience another couple.

(This explicit, 4,500 word story is intended for adult readers only.)

 

My Thoughts

Ava Sterling delivers a hot short story that´ll change the color of your panties within 10 minutes!

back to the club

I stumbled upon this read while scrolling through my WordPress reader and found a snippet I could hardly ignore. I had to read more. I demanded more!

Every romance / erotica / mature 18+ reader knows sex in books can go 2 ways.

The sex is either extremely good or extremely off-putting.

`Back To The Club` ( A Swingers Story ) by author Ava Sterling was sensual, sexy and oh so good.
And the sex was good ( emphasis on the word `good `).

 

A really well written short story about a couple wanting to keep things interesting in their marriage.

I loved it.

There´s nothing better than reading a story that has great sex in it. ( well, the type of sex I enjoy reading about ) If the sex in a story can make a reader´s vamoomoo react then I´d say the story / author has done their job well.

A slow burn, nail bite worthy scenario that leaves you begging for more!

I definitely want more.

Would I recommend this short story? Yes. I´m sure many erotica readers would appreciate the sensuality and intensity of the theme. You don´t have to be a fan of the swinger community to enjoy this read.

Would I re – read this short story? I would.

 

The Cover – 4 stars ( It´s a catchy cover with great colors. Perfect for the genre.)

The Story – 5 stars ( Yes. There was a story and I appreciated that this short read gave some background info before diving into the nitty-gritty. And, to be honest, the story is relatable. )

The Characters – 5 stars ( Authentic. Relatable. I saw where they were coming from )

My emotional state after finishing this read – Wouldn´t you like to know…* wink *

5 stars

Purchase Links  Amazon.com    Amazon.co.uk

Be sure to follow Ava Sterling here on WordPress and see what the author has in store for you! ❤