Monday, August 15, 2016

The Russian Tattoos: Prisoner by Kat Shehata; Blog Tour hosted by Xpresso Reads



Hi, yall!  I am here today to review the book Russian Tattoos: Prisoner by Kat Shehata, and I am also a part of the blog tour for this book.  Huge shout out to Xpresso Reads for putting this all together and allowing me to be a part of it.  Just click here if you would like to follow the tour stops.
Don't forget to check at the end of the review for an international giveaway and good luck!!!

                                                           
Russian Tattoos: Prisoner
by Kat Shehata
Published by Limitless Publishing
Date of Publication: Aug 2 2016
Genre: Dark romance, suspense, New Adult, 18+


American tennis player Carter Cook is being held prisoner by the Russian mafia…
Carter is the obsession of mob boss Vladimir Ivanov, a man she once loved. Now a mafia war has erupted on his home turf, and Vladimir’s enemies have put a bounty on her head to force him to surrender. If she is captured, his rivals will deliver a deadly ultimatum—his life in exchange for hers. The price for Carter’s freedom is Vladimir’s blood.
Vladimir holds ultimate power as godfather of the Ivanov Bratva…
He spent five years in a Siberian prison camp and has earned every tattoo inked into his skin. He is a powerful man who rules his crew with an iron fist.
But his enemies have discovered his only weakness—Carter. Vladimir knows if she stays in his world, he is handing her a death sentence, so he vows to get her home and never interfere in her life again. Giving up the woman he loves is the only way to protect her from the bad guys—including himself.
Vladimir’s rivals have a different plan for the ill-fated couple…
Some punishments are worse than death, and the head of the Ovechkin Bratva will go to any length to seek vengeance and inflict maximum suffering on Vladimir.
Carter may be Vladimir’s weakness, but she is also his only hope for survival. When the boss of the Ovechkin family threatens the man she loves, she must fight for Vladimir’s freedom before their rivals can deliver the fatal blow.
Love is blind—but it could also be deadly.


My Review:

I didn't really know what to expect when it came to Prisoner.  I thought maybe I could read book 2, even though I hadn't picked up book 1, Obsession.  That is a no no! You must read book 1 before you read book 2!!!  
Which is probably a big fat "duh" for most people but I am weird.  
So I did read book 1 and it pushed my emotions to the wall.  There are some things in it that just screamed at me "NOOOOO!" But there were other parts of it that I really liked.  
Of course, you have to understand that Russian Tattoos isn't your typical romance.  I think the author was intending it to be more of a dark romance/BDSM type deal.  Without the leather whips and playtoys.  
It is also not marketed towards Young Adult (hell no) and has some definite erotic scenes in the storyline.  
So when you look at those factors, then it is a little bit easier to get past the rough treatment of Carter.  But not completely. 
Honestly, I didn't know if I was going to love it or hate it until I realized that is what really great writing is.  The ability to push me to such extremes and wreck my emotions so harshly.  I was crying with both books.  I may not agree with everything that happens to Carter because of Vladimir and his goons but I don't think the author does either.  Or at least, everything isn't going to be sunshine and roses when you are dealing with the Russian Mafia. 
I believe that is what the author is trying to convey to us, as well as the fact that love is blind.  Love doesn't see the dangers, just what the heart wants.  And for Carter, she wants Vladimir even when she knows he may not be the knight in shining armor she expected.  
The plot was amazing and  I loved the details Shehata went to to make it feel like we were a part of the Russian mafia scene.  It is gritty and she doesn't romanticize it as much as you would expect in a romance book.  She shows us the dirty behind the scenes side of it, and through this,  we also get to see the lesser of the two evils.  

The characters are a mixed blessing to me.  I like Carter's spunk but couldn't stand her immaturity when it came to her life.  I kept having to go back and check to make sure she was in college, instead of high school the way she acted most of the time. 
Besides her immaturity, I did see some similarities of myself in her.  Especially, the low self-esteem.  That was a major point with me as I was hoping she would stand up for herself more while  I knew I have some of the same issues she deals with too.   
Vladimir is the "sexy Russian" we all dream about at night.  Actually, when I pictured Vladimir, Illya from the movie, The Man From U.N.C.L.E. would pop into my head.  Of course, that isn't a bad thing at all.  I love that character! 
 Vladimir has a very pronounced dark side to him being the pakhan of his family in the Russian mafia.  I liked the bad boy type he played but he became very scary when he drank.  And vodka is a major object in his Russia.  There is definitely issues there besides the fact he is the leader of his bratva in major crime.  

Then there is Boris.  Ah, Boris.  I have this love/hate relationship with Boris.  As I read through with Boris, I kept reminding myself that he was raised in a completely different environment than what anyone in America was used to.  Am I condoning him for some of his treatment of Carter? No way.  But I am trying to understand from his viewpoint.  
He is loyal to a T. Family is everything to him. His family, though.  I think he admires Carter but thinks she is too naive and immature for her own good.  No argument there.  And Boris believes in the using the belt.  Very much.  But again, we need to remember that Russia is a completely different environment than where Carter grew up.  
Later, we understand how this "iron fist" attitude comes to help everyone in the family and how Boris isn't the only one who relies on it.  

In Prisoner, we get meet other characters that are important to the story, but I feel these three characters are the ones you will interact with the most.  Although, I do love me some Dimitri, the sisters, and Pasha.  

There really isn't a good vs bad guy here.  There are just different degrees of bad guys.  And the really  really bad guy is the "douche bag" who we all want to sucker punch.  

I also really appreciate the research that was done into the Russian mafia, the Russian culture, and the language to give us a well-rounded book that seemed to be very in the know of its characters and backgrounds.  In fact, I would love to read more about Russia from a historical standpoint because it does have a beautiful side to it too.  And I loved the language so much!  Da!

All in all, I was torn between loving this book and despising the treatment of Carter.  I loved the plot, some of the characters, and the descriptions of the Russian dealings.  I enjoyed the banter Carter put out but at the same time, I still think she needs to learn when to let it go.  
There is also a lot of dark moments in the both books.  It makes for some major suspense but at the same time, some may have gone a little too far.  It's all in the reader's point of view.  
I give Russian Tattoos : Prisoner four hearts.  I loved it more than the first book and I feel like we really get a more in-depth look into Vladimir and Boris.  And Carter finally gets some growing up out of the way.  
Oh and there is a huge cliffhanger at the end of both books.  I am talking "holding on by one finger" type cliffhanger.  So if you're not a cliffhanger type person you may want to think hard about reading it.


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Author Bio:




Kat Shehata’s first career involved caring for exotic, dangerous, and adorable animals as a zookeeper. As an author, Kat weaves her love of animals into her work. She is the co-author of the New York Times bestselling children’s book Animals on the Other Side wrote with Sylvia Browne.
She is an avid tennis player and spends her free time playing matches in a recreational league in Cincinnati, Ohio. She holds a bachelor’s degree in theatre from Wilmington College, a professional writing certificate from the University of Cincinnati, and a master’s degree in creative writing from Spalding University.



Giveaway Time!!!

Click here to be taken to the Rafflecopter to enter the giveaway.  My html is just not wanting to cooperate.  








Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Waiting on Wednesday : Three Dark Crowns




It's been awhile since I have participated in a WoW post, but I want to get back into blogging regularly more often so I thought this would be a fun way to do it! 
This is a great way to get to know fellow bloggers and find out what they can't wait for!  Huge thanks goes to Breaking the Spine for creating such an awesome concept.  Head over there for all the details. 


So what is my Waiting on Wednesday pick, you ask?  




Three Dark Crowns
by Kendare Blake


Date of Publication: 
Sept 20, 2016


From Goodreads:


Every generation on the island of Fennbirn, a set of triplets is born: three queens, all equal heirs to the crown and each possessor of a coveted magic. Mirabella is a fierce elemental, able to spark hungry flames or vicious storms at the snap of her fingers. Katharine is a poisoner, one who can ingest the deadliest poisons without so much as a stomachache. Arsinoe, a naturalist, is said to have the ability to bloom the reddest rose and control the fiercest of lions.
But becoming the Queen Crowned isn’t solely a matter of royal birth. Each sister has to fight for it. And it’s not just a game of win or lose…it’s life or death. The night the sisters turn sixteen, the battle begins. The last queen standing gets the crown.
If only it was that simple. Katharine is unable to tolerate the weakest poison, and Arsinoe, no matter how hard she tries, can’t make even a weed grow. The two queens have been shamefully faking their powers, taking care to keep each other, the island, and their powerful sister Mirabella none the wiser. But with alliances being formed, betrayals taking shape, and ruthless revenge haunting the queens’ every move, one thing is certain: the last queen standing might not be the strongest…but she may be the darkest.


So what are you waiting for?

Friday, June 10, 2016

Book Review: A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas A.K.A the book that stole my heart away!

A Court of Mist and Fury
Sarah J. Maas
Bloomsbury/ May 2016
Book 2 in A Court of Thorn and Roses

Synopsis:
Feyre survived Amarantha's clutches to return to the Spring Court—but at a steep cost. Though she now has the powers of the High Fae, her heart remains human, and it can't forget the terrible deeds she performed to save Tamlin's people.
Nor has Feyre forgotten her bargain with Rhysand, High Lord of the feared Night Court. As Feyre navigates its dark web of politics, passion, and dazzling power, a greater evil looms—and she might be key to stopping it. But only if she can harness her harrowing gifts, heal her fractured soul, and decide how she wishes to shape her future—and the future of a world cleaved in two.
With more than a million copies sold of her beloved Throne of Glass series, Sarah J. Maas's masterful storytelling brings this second book in her seductive and action-packed series to new heights.

My Thoughts:

I have found the book that if I never read another book as long as I live, I can die happy knowing I found this treasure.  Of course, I would very much like to read the next book; but I am beyond fulfilled having this novel in my possession.   
A Court of Mist and Fury brings together all these chaotic and beautifully surreal characters crashing towards us creating  this friction that forms these majestic scenes in our heads, our hearts, and our souls.  I am forever changed by this novel and I wouldn't have it any other way.  I finished reading it today and I can't find myself in the bed even now.  I don't want this "glow" to end just yet.  But I honestly don't think I will ever lose any of the happiness Maas has given me.  

There are so many emotions rolling around in this story.  And I relate to Feyre more than I thought I could with a fictional character.  After the turmoil she went through Under the Mountain, Feyre finds herself in mental agony all the time.  She is severely depressed, and suffers from panic and anxiety that is enough to break  the world apart.  
I understand the panic and anxiety all too well.  I have watched myself go from a fun loving adventurous person to someone who is scared to death to go out in society in case I can't protect the ones I love most.  
To see someone so strong, so amazing experience some of these same terrors was heartbreaking for me. But it was also a light in the darkness.  I may be able to get through my panic just by keeping Feyre in my mind.   I wept so long and knew right then that this book was my soulmate.  

There was even a time while reading, that I thought to myself:
"I may not survive this book.  My heart is so ensconced with these characters, I will be completely changed forever."
And I was utterly right.  I am wholly changed.

I loved A Court of Thorns and Roses but that love is infinitesimal compared to the adoration I have for this second book in the series.  

There isn't much I can say that isn't absolute love for ACoMaF; I had no issues at all with the characters, the plot, or the world building.  
There were certain characters that I wanted to wrench their necks.  You don't fall in love with a free spirit and then try to cage it.  Never does that turn out well. 
And then there were other characters that I couldn't steer my thoughts away.  
The descriptions used to show us the Night court was enchanting.  The city there, Velaris, had me picturing Savannah, Ga.  I don't know why; I just did.  Perhaps, Savannah is my home in my heart, no matter where I am. 
I don't really want to give anything away in case you haven't read the first book yet.  Honestly, I had to get my reactions down before I exploded from the emotions that were taking over.  Rage, despair, and utter devotion.  But more importantly, hope.  So much hope...for Lucien, Feyre's sisters, the Night Court, and yes, even Tamlin.  

Please if you have ever loved stories about Fae, about magic, and love - then give this series a try.  Do you instead yearn for a strong female character who grows and learns what she needs and loves?  Do you need to see characters fight for what they know is right; although they most definitely will stumble along the way?  Then you need to read this series too.  It is more than just a paranormal romance.  It's more than just a book about magic and the different Fae courts.  This novel is soul wrenchingly complicated at times; simply perfect at others.  
Maybe as I start to process everything better I can come up with a better review.  I don't know.  But I do know that I am eternally grateful to Ms. Sarah J. Maas for creating this masterpiece and sharing it with the world.   I feel like she has given me a piece of my heart back that I didn't even realize was missing. 



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