Songbird by AJ Adams – a review

Songbird is the second novel in the Zetas series that I have reviewed. They are about young women emerging from the hardest of lives imaginable, and men who are the ultimate baddies. Songbird is the sequel  to The Bonus.

Gorgeous model held captive behind bars

Blurb:

When cartel boss Arturo Vazquez discovers his girlfriend Gina is a DEA rat and his deputy Escamilla is staging a take-over, Arturo fixes his problems by killing everyone – except for Solitaire, Escamilla’s unwilling mistress. Solitaire is intelligent, tough, and shares Arturo’s interest in BDSM. Arturo falls head over heels but someone is leaking information – and the evidence point at Solitaire.

Songbird is a complete and self standing novel. Warning: This book contains explicit scenes of dubious consent, graphic violence and sex.

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I am impressed with how Adams was able to redeem Arturo after his actions in the first book. Talking so cavalierly about the murder of a four year old child to further business, and his ordering of Chloe’s torture at the beginning of The Bonus, made me feel like there was no way Arturo could possibly be a protagonist in his own novel.

I was wrong.

I liked how he took a chance on Solitaire. He could have easily killed her or ordered Kyle to, and not dealt with the hassle and risk of letting her out of that house alive. I think Kyle’s (admittedly limited) morals have rubbed off on good old Arturo a bit!

This book was great because it wasn’t just a repeat of the first novel. Although Solitaire and Chloe both have some serious mental issues to deal with following their pasts, they have very different personalities and coping mechanisms, which keeps the material interesting.

There was a lot more mystery and subterfuge in Songbird, compared to the first book where it felt like the reader just watched events unfold.

One thing that I didn’t like though, is that it was obvious (to me at least) who “Songbird” was from the get-go. The mystery sections of the novel should definitely have been written better.

I also would have preferred to see Solitaire have some problems adapting to her new life in Mexico! She just seemed to soar into this whole new world like it was nothing new, and that is unrealistic. She doesn’t have to struggle pathetically the whole way through, but it just seemed all a little too easy.

* * possible spoiler * *

My favourite scene by far was Kyle’s interrogation of Solitaire in the hotel. Going into that scene, knowing his usual methods of interrogation, I had chills! I wish that the book had of stayed like that all the way through.

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xx

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Ethan Frost series by Tracy Wolff- a review

The Ethan Frost series is very similiar to the Crossfire series by Sylvia Day, which I read a couple of years ago and liked.

The first two books, which I’ll review in this post, are written from the perspective of the heroine, Chloe.

Background info: Chloe is a university student, pre-law, who scores her dream summer internship working in intellectual property law for a big, reputable company. She runs into billionaire CEO on her first day without realizing who he is and they hit it off.  He pursues her relentlessly, trying to start a relationship but she has some serious past scars preventing her from jumping at the chance to be with someone who makes her heart-rate quicken.

Book 1

ethan 1

Blurb:

Ethan Frost is a visionary, a genius, every woman’s deepest, darkest fantasy—even mine. And, somehow, I am his.

He stole into my life like a dream. Turned my reality upside down and made my every desire come true—especially those I never knew I had. He demanded everything I had to give and gave me everything of himself in return.

But dreams don’t last forever, and ours is no exception. Because my nightmares are darker, and my wounds deeper, than I could ever reveal. And as much as Ethan wants to protect me, the secrets we share will only tear us apart.

Book 2

Ethan 2

Blurb:

Ethan Frost is everything a woman could want in a man. He’s rich, gorgeous, powerful, one of the most eligible bachelors in the world.

But that’s not why I’m with him.

I love Ethan for all the things no one else gets to see: his innate kindness, his reckless spontaneity, his unwavering determination to use his brilliance for good. I love the way he looks at me, the way he touches me. The way he makes me forget the wreckage of my past and the twisted fear that still lives inside me.

But sometimes it terrifies me how much I crave him, how much I need him just to breathe. I always thought it would be my past that ruined us, but there’s a darkness in Ethan I never dreamed existed. Can we survive as his secrets surface—threatening to unravel us both?

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I liked both of these books, a lot more than I had expected to. Wolff writes about very complicated relationships and characters, which is always something that I am looking for in a book. I like depth.

I also liked that there were some complications that I didn’t see coming in their relationship, that develop around the end of the first novel. Can’t talk about it without major spoilers, but you know I mean if you’ve read the book.

Their back and forth over the blender was hilarious but it also had meaning. That stupid blender represented something far more complicated and important, that was affecting their relationship. Chloe is extremely uncomfortable with Ethan’s billionaire status. She doesn’t trust people with money, having had many awful experiences with “the other half” in her short life.

There are a few things that I would have picked up on though, if I had been beta reading for Tracy.

Firstly, I question how Chloe didn’t recognize Ethan the first time that they met. Granted, their chance meeting placed him completely out of context, but if she has supposedly done all this research on him and his company and looks up to him as an ethical CEO, you’d think she has a pretty good idea what he looks like. Even more so because he is a billionaire bachelor who is always in and out of the society pages and gossip magazines.

The other things are more minor, mostly personal preference. The first book was too long in the ‘getting to know you-should we have a relationship’ stage. I was getting bored, but thankfully lots of good stuff happened to bring me back.

In the second book, Ethan and Chloe get torn apart and then find their ways back together several times. Even though Chloe had A LOT that she was dealing with, I didn’t like how she ran away from their relationship so many times. I wanted him to call her out on that and remind her that it isn’t a relationship when one party runs out every time things get difficult. You can leave for awhile to think and get perspective, but that isn’t the same as running out and breaking up.

There is a third book out in this series, and a fourth due to be released in 2016. They are both written mostly from Ethan’s perspective however and I am not a fan of authors who switch halfway through a series. Not sure if I will be reading either of those.

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xx