Book Review: Taming Cross by Ella James

Taming Cross (Love Inc., #2)

Title: Taming Cross (Love Inc. #2)
Author: Ella James
Genre: Contemporary Romance, New Adult, Suspense, 
Publisher: Barkley’s Books
Publication Date: August 2013
Pages: 236
Rating: 3.5 stars

Synopsis (from goodreads):
For twenty-three years, Cross Carlson was a playboy. You know the type. Tall, dark, and wealthy. Blue-eyed. Charming. He seemed to have it all so easy. But Cross was harboring a terrible secret – one that helped ruin the life of an innocent girl and almost ended his own.

Finally out of the hospital, Cross is flailing, scarred in both body and mind and stifled by the weight of the secret he still keeps. The only way to absolution lies in a Mexican convent, and going there could cost him everything.

If there’s anyone who knows what it’s like to screw up big time, it’s Meredith Kinsey. Just a few years ago, Merri was an ordinary girl with a job at her college newspaper and white picket fence kind of dreams. Now she’s holed up in a Mexican convent, hiding from a drug lord who thinks he owns her.

What happens when the only way out of hell is with the son of the man who put you there? They say love conquers all, but does it really?

My Review:

This is one of those books that is fast, sexy and at times serious. Cross is a man with a guilty conscious. He knows that an innocent woman is wasting away after being sold to a Mexican cartel as a sex slave. Still recovering from a near fatal motorbike accident, Cross decides to pack up his bike and rescue Missy King from the horrible fate he feels somewhat responsible for.

Meredith Kinsey – aka. Missy King – has found salvation in a convent. But when Cross comes riding up, she needs to leave with the mysterious stranger or face certain death. Merri starts to feel things for Cross but knows that she can’t let her inner hussy free just yet. First they both need to get back to the States without dying. And what’s Merri going to think when she founds out her rescuer is the son of the man she blames for getting her sent to Mexico in the first place?

I haven’t read the first book in the Love Inc. series. But despite not having read Selling Scarlet, Taming Cross does a fair job as a stand alone novel. I feel like all the vital information covered in the first book was rehashed and I get the general idea of what’s going on in the Love Inc. universe.

Cross is one of those deliciously damaged heroes- he’s still suffering from the bike accident and he’s somewhat lost with regards to his place in the world but he’s determined to save Merri. I love his gruff attitude and the way he treats Merri. Merri is a great heroine and I think she’s a great example of how one bad choice in life can snowball into the direst circumstances. She’s strong and resilient which I admired. Despite all she’s been though she can still keep a cool head in the depths catastrophe. Her reactions regarding Cross made me laugh- although that probably wasn’t always most appropriate reaction.

This is a book with some fairly serious subject matter – sex trade, drug cartels and political immorality. But I thought that Ms. James managed to tie it all together in a way that I couldn’t help but want to read more and find out what happened to her characters! The romance is rough and yet sweet – I enjoyed Cross and Merri as a couple.

Taming Cross is a New Adult novel and yet had the characters been ten years older, they would have been completely believable and I wouldn’t have been surprised. Sometimes I wonder if I completely understand NA as a genre…

I enjoyed this book a lot and have since bought myself a copy of Saving Scarlet (Love Inc. #1). Ella James is a great author – I read Here last week and I loved how different her two series are. She’s one of those authors that I can’t wait to read all she’s written.

Purchase the novel from:

Amazon

Oohh…. Taming Cross (Love Inc. #1) is currently free for kindle on Amazon.

Book Review + Giveaway: The Rig by Joe Ducie

The Rig Blog Tour banner

Title: The RigThe Rig
Author: Joe Ducie
Genre: Thriller, Young Adult, Action, Mystery
Publisher: Hot Key Books
Publication Date: September 2013
Pages: 368
Rating: 4 stars

Synopsis (from goodreads):
Fifteen-year-old Will Drake has made a career of breaking out from high-security prisons. His talents have landed him at the Rig, a specialist juvenile holding facility in the middle of the Arctic Ocean. No one can escape from the Rig. No one except for Drake…

After making some escape plans and meeting the first real friends of his life, Drake quickly realises that all is not as it seems on the Rig. The Warden is obsessed with the mysterious Crystal-X – a blue, glowing substance that appears to give superpowers to the teens exposed to it. Drake, Tristan and Irene are banking on a bid for freedom – but can they survive long enough to make it? Drake is an action hero to rival Jason Bourne and the CHERUB team in this debut author’s fantastically imagined sci-fi nightmare.

My Review:

Will Drake has already escaped from three maximum security juvenile detention facilities. But he’s seen nothing like the Rig. Located in the middle of the Arctic Ocean at a former oil rig, it’s not just the conditions that are brutal. With a tracker accounting for each inmates every move and guards who are crueller than the weather – it seems like there’s no escape for Will. But he’s determined. With a techno-genius for a cell mate and a girl who helps Will discover some of the secrets the Rig holds, there’s nothing going to stop Will escaping… not even the mysterious Crystal-X.

From the first page of The Rig I felt like I was watching a movie. There’s so much cinematic potential for this book. From the helicopters landing on one of the five old oil platforms now turned prison for criminal youth to the brilliant sport Ducie came up with “Rig Ball” – I felt like I could see all the action playing out like a film.

Will is a great character to let us into the secrets of the Rig. He’s street smart and practical but he’s nobodies fool. We get to find out as we read that whilst he may be an inmate of one of the world’s toughest juvenile facilities, he’s not a bad guy. That said – he can hold his own even against super enhanced bullies. There’s more than meets the eye to Will – and we get to see that as hardened as prison has made him he still cares for his family and friends. Tristan – Will’s cell mate – is an oddly likeable guy. He’s a quiet guy who just wants to do his time and get out – the opposite in many ways to Will – but he’s willing to stand up for his friends no matter the consequences to himself. I liked him. His interaction with Irene, a female detainee on the other side of the Rig, was somewhat adorable to read as it unfolded and added a little to the comic relief for what is a mostly serious novel.

The action is this novel is brilliant. There’s a lot going on and Ducie has come up with some great concepts. The idea for his magnetized lacrosse game – known as Rig Ball – is as fun as it is absolutely brutal. The trackers which not only detect location but also keep track of how much the inmates owe the establishment for their stay is an interesting design that I thought was pretty cool. The plot around Crystal-X is something that I wish was developed a little further. There’s a lot about the blue crystal that I thought had a lot of potential however it felt a little out of place. This book is suspenseful and a great contemporary thriller up until about half way though when the Crystal-X is introduced and it brought me out of the story a little. The alien mineral gave the novel a paranormal element which just felt a little odd considering the rest of what was going on.

I enjoyed reading this book. Great characters with a setting so vivid I felt like I could be there on the Rig with Will and the others – this book was a brilliant read.

Thanks to Five Mile Press for the review copy

Purchase the Novel From: 
Amazon| Booktopia | Book Depository

GIVEAWAY!

Thanks to Five Mile Press, as a part of this blog tour I have 1 paperback copy of The Rig to giveaway. Open to Australian residents only.

To Enter:

Leave a comment at the bottom of this post and then click on the link below and fill in the form.

CLICK HERE TO ENTER THE GIVEAWAY

Entries close 14th October, 2013.

Winner will be drawn via random.org and will have 48 hours to reply or another winner will be chosen.

 

Book Review: Name-Given by David McLean

Title: Name-Given (Riddle-Quest #1)
Author: David McLean
Genre: Action, Adventure, Middle School 
Publisher: Delta Psi
Publication Date: 1 April 2013
Pages: 152
Rating: 3.5 stars

Synopsis (from goodreads):
Cast into the night, four young travellers must venture from the comfort of their villages to find their names. Each has a staff, a challenge and a history of riddling to help them on their way. But the press-heavy sounds of animals approaching, the limb-sky of the forest and the fear of the unknown are all about. How will they survive? The answer may just be in the riddle – “What always runs but never walks, often murmurs, never talks, has a bed but never sleeps, has a mouth but never eats?”

My Review:

In a world where riddles are a way of life, young people must undergo a quest to find their name – and their position within the village. Meeting up with other young travellers also searching for their names, Stumbler and his new companions riddle their way through the forest and towards their futures.

I love riddles and one of the best things about Name-Given is the way the riddles interspersed throughout the novel are not just entertaining to read but are imperative to the plot. The language used is easy to read and very inventive at the same time – the short hand compound words (like Name-Given, heart-warm and pocket-close) which McLean created for his characters are so simple and yet so clever. The characters evolve throughout the short novel constantly learning more about the world, each other and themselves as they journey on their quest.

This is a quick and fun book which I think would appeal to younger aged readers.

Thanks to Delta Psi for the review copy.

Purchase the novel from:

Amazon