Twisted Emotions (Camorra Chronicles #2)

camorra chronicles book 2

Nino Falcone is genius and monster. As the right hand man and brother of the Capo of the Camorra, his lack of feelings is a blessing, not a curse – until his brother asks him to marry for the sake of the Camorra.
Kiara Vitiello, cousin of the Capo of the New York Famiglia, is chosen to marry Nino Falcone to prevent war with the Camorra, but what she hears about Las Vegas makes her veins pulse with terror. After her father betrayed his Capo and paid with his life, her family thinks marriage is her only chance to bring honor to her name; but only Kiara knows she’s a faulty prize given in return for peace.
A man incapable of emotions and a woman scarred by the past – an arranged marriage with the potential to unite, or destroy…

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This was my favourite book from the author since her first one, Bound by Honor. It pumped me up for the next in the series which is supposedly coming out in April 2019. Thankfully, I don’t have a long wait until then.

For a long time fans of Reilly, Twisted Emotions will feel like a throwback to her earlier style. Rather than a love match, Kiara Vitiello is forced to marry Nino Falcone in order to secure a period of peace between the Las Vegas and New York mafias.

Nino is a bit of a cold fish, much like the character Dante Cavallaro was in the second book. However, underneath that cold, calculating brain there is a simmering volcano of emotions, brewing from severe childhood trauma that he has yet to deal with. Slowly, Nino’s emotions break loose loose with Kiara, although he remains very emotionless in every other situation.

Twisted Emotions ended very abruptly, and I didn’t feel like the story built up to an explosive ending. It was a little bit anticlimactic other than the epilogue scene. However, that epilogue very clearly sets up the next book in the series – starring Remo – and I have a feeling that Nino and Kiara’s story will continue to unfold as secondary characters.

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xx

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Tormentor Mine by Anna Zaires

Note: This is the first novel in a new series that is a spin-off of the Twist Me series, but Tormentor Mine CAN be read as a standalone.

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A new dark romance from New York Times bestseller Anna Zaires

He came to me in the night, a cruel, darkly handsome stranger from the most dangerous corners of Russia. He tormented me and destroyed me, ripping apart my world in his quest for vengeance.

Now he’s back, but he’s no longer after my secrets.

The man who stars in my nightmares wants me.

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Tormentor Mine is a dark romance novel written by Anna Zaires. The relationship between the two main characters is strained and non-consensual to begin with, but this book does not contain any scenes of rape or sexual violence between the hero and heroine. If you are a fan of the original series, Twist Me, I do not think this book is as dark in comparison.

I wish Tormentor Mine had been longer! I finished in about 3 hours so the most disappointing part of the story for me was that it ended so quickly! I have a bit of a book hangover from Peter and Sara, to say the least. They are my new favourite couple from this author and I cannot wait for the sequel! It hasn’t officially been announced yet, but it is obvious from the ending in TM that one will be written.

I was eagerly anticipating Peter Sokolov and ever since his introduction a couple of years ago, I have wondered at his actions and his backstory. Thankfully the author takes the time to provide all the information I had been hoping to get. And now, when my typical anti-hero romance authors have been going through a drought, I was especially excited to get my hands on a dark new book.

Sara is different from most of the previous heroines that Zaires has written, in that she is highly educated, confident and comfortable in her life. Not that everything is perfect – far from it – but she is a full-fledged OBGYN doctor, a homeowner and just generally seems to have all her shit together (unlike myself).

I like that Peter fell in love with her from afar.  His traumatic life, from childhood all the way up to the present, has created a need in him to possess love, to be fully in control of his woman. But this violent and controlling nature is tempered by fierce protective instincts.

Peter’s wife and son were murdered five years previously and although his marriage was one of convenience, he was affectionate towards this first wife and loved his son fiercely. In his relationship with Sara, he isn’t only protective of her safety or of his position in her life. He respects her intellect and her skills as a doctor, and is proud of her work with mothers and babies.

Peter respects her strength and the inherent emotional vulnerability that he sees in Sara. She is loyal, strong, compassionate and good. The type of good he hasn’t seen much of in his life and these are the main reasons that he decides to insert himself into her life. He has already fallen in love with her, knows he wants her to be his permanently, and also recognizes that his previous actions have left her absolutely terrified of him.

It is kind of cute and romantic – in a decidedly creepy way – that he inserts himself into her life completely against her will, and almost becomes a sort of househusband. During the daytime while she is working at the hospital, or volunteering at a free clinic, he does his super secret “shadow work” as the head of a team of assassins. But every night this run-down, underfed, stressed out, PTSD-suffering doc comes home to a home-cooked, candlelit meal, and is pampered and taken care of. He doesn’t press her for sex until she initiates it, just sleeps with her in his arms so that she can become desensitized to him and learn to trust him.

Peter has the power to abduct and keep Sara anywhere in the world. To keep her exclusively his. He makes sacrifices and undertakes significant risk to stay in her world, so that she can remain close to her family and care for her patients for as long as possible, supporting the work that she does. Sara’s wings may be clipped, but he still wants her to soar as high as possible, within the cage he has created.

I love how Zaires has expanded the original Twist Me world and introduced three new hunks with potential future hero statuses: Yan, Ilya and Anton. This is one book that I would love to see be turned into a movie!

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xx

The Lucky One – a film review

The Lucky One is a romantic-drama, based on the book of the same name, written by Nicolas Sparks. Released in 2012, it stars Zac Efron (“Logan”), Taylor Schilling (“Beth”), and Blythe Danner (“Ellie”).

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Trailer (via Youtube)

While I don’t think that any “Sparks” movie could ever come close to topping the masterpiece that is The Notebook, The Lucky One is another favourite of mine, and one that I have watched numerous times. Especially this time of year (I live in cold, snowy Canada), it is relaxing to watch a movie based in the South, and I do love me some southern accents. The Carolinian scenery is breath-taking. I think I need to take a trip down that was sometime.

Efron plays an American Marine recently returned from Iraq where most of his buddies died. He escaped a fatal blast by stepping out of range just seconds before, to pick up a picture he noticed fluttering in the wind.

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Upon his return to the States, he decides to track down the girl in the photo and return it to her, and thank her for saving his life. He doesn’t expect to fall for her, and her son, before he can figure out how to explain.

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The Lucky One is a sweet movie. I love how Efron depicts his character. Although Logan seems to suffer from PTSD, it isn’t the focal point of the film. He isn’t depicted as being a danger to himself or anyone else, and is certainly more stable than Beth’s ex-husband, a local cop.

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You wouldn’t want to me alone with this guy

It is amazing to see how naturally Logan takes to being a father-figure to Beth’s son and just what a good man and hard worker he is. He inspired me to work hard in my own life, and to look for a man with many of the qualities that he depicts. Beth and her son will never need to wonder about their security in the future, because Logan will make sure they don’t want for anything, and that they are safe and happy together.

The Lucky One

I loved how he was there for Beth as a friend, before they became romantically involved. She is initially an unpleasant character, filled with pain, and verbally lashes out at him multiple times, but is more than redeemed shortly on. Her brother, the one who lost the photo in Iraq, didn’t make it back alive, and Logan can certainly relate to her grief and anger. Together, they help each other through and grow.

** Minor spoiler, as to whether the movie ends happily or not:

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The Lucky One is a great romantic comedy. It has drama, and tears, but ultimately, the film ends positively, with Logan and Beth’s relationship in-tact. I have watched this movie multiple times and definitely recommend it to you.

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