Release Day Review: Menace by J.M. Darhower

Menace by J.M. Darhower
Series: Scarlet Scars #1 (full reading order below)
Publication Date: January 16th 2017
Links: Ebook • Goodreads
Source: I received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review

Once upon a time, there was a guy who got so fed up with life that he resorted to murder and mayhem just to feel alive.

Lorenzo Gambini is bored. So f*cking bored. Most people either annoy him or avoid him, afraid to face him. Figuratively. Literally. With his face partially disfigured, scarred, he looks every bit the monster the stories make him out to be: the notorious menace they call Scar. They say he’s a sociopath. Maybe he’s a psychopath. Whatever path he’s on, people tend to stay far away from it.

Until one day, a young woman bumps right into him–a woman just as fed up with life, but for much different reasons. With a Scarlet Letter inked on her wrist and secrets buried deep in her soul, Morgan Myers is running from something… or maybe somebody. Lorenzo isn’t quite sure.

You can bet your ass he’s going to figure it out, though.

J.M. Darhower is one of my top favorite mafia romance authors, and every time she has a new release (which recently usually comes as a surprise), I get SO excited and ready for it. Menace is the first in the Scarlet Scars duet, which is a spinoff of the Monster in His Eyes series. Admittedly, I’d completely forgotten who Lorenzo was so I had to do a little reread of the Monster in His Eyes series, which I couldn’t complain about – it’s only my favorite mafia romance series ever. But thankfully the reread got me prepared for Lorenzo’s story, which was an absolute fantastic experience to read. I loved it so much, even though it’s not a typical love story. You just need to read it to experience it!

Lorenzo Gambini is anti-hero personified. He’s not a good man – in fact, many are terrified of him and you could say that he’s a sociopath. He’s got issues from his past and a scar on his face, but that doesn’t stop him from being top dog in his underworld. Nobody crosses him without getting punished, so it’s a surprise to him when he bumps into a gorgeous woman… who ends up robbing him of his wallet. Rather than exacting his revenge though, Lorenzo ends up intrigued and captivated by this woman, who’s internal scars match the ones he holds inside him.

“I’d wreck you for any man that came along after me, put them all to shame, because I’d give you exactly what you wanted.”
“How could you possibly know what I want?”
“Because,” he says, grabbing a fistful of my hair and twisting my head, forcing me to turn away from him. “Looking at you is like looking in a mirror, Scarlet.”

Morgan Myers, aka Scarlet, is mystery personified. Who is she running from? How is she involved with the Russian mafia? What is she looking for? Morgan is very different from heroines that I’m used to, and her tenacity and frankness felt like a breath of fresh air to read about. She knows what it’s like to struggle, but she keeps getting up every time she’s pushed down, and I loved her for it. I especially enjoyed the way she never backed down from Lorenzo. They were the perfect match for each other. I do want to warn you, though, the romance between them is very slow to develop. I liked the pace that it went at, but I will say that I’m excited for it to move more forward in the next book.

I know he’s just a man. A man with flaws. A man with his own problems. And I know he can’t solve my problem. Not really. He can’t fix what’s wrong with me. Nobody can. They can’t even understand. But being around him, it makes me feel things, things I’ve missed just as much as the music and the laughter, things that make me feel alive again.
He’s excitement. He’s adrenaline.
He makes my heart do stupid shit.

Everything about this book, from the characters to the story, took me by surprise in the best way. To say it was unpredictable would be an understatement. I was so impressed with the way I never really saw things coming. And the twist at the end was KILLER!! The ending isn’t too bad, but you’ll definitely want to get the next book asap. Sadly it won’t be here until next month, but I’m waiting with baited breath! J.M. Darhower honestly never disappoints, so if you love her books, you’ll probably love this new series. It’s a little funnier than her other books too – Lorenzo’s POV is hilarious. It’s crude and blunt, sarcastic and a little sassy. Not what I was expecting from this crazy man, but I loved it anyway!

4.5 hearts
lacey

Quotes are taken from the arc and are subject to change in the final version.


Reading Order: Scarlet Scars series

#1 ~ Menace: Ebook • Goodreads
#2 ~ Grievous: Goodreads (out Feb. 2017)

The Scarlet Scars series is a spinoff of the Monster in His Eyes series, though you don’t have to read the previous series to understand the new one.

Reading Order: Monster in His Eyes series

Monster in His Eyes by J.M. Darhower Torture to Her Soul by J.M. Darhower Target on Our Backs by J.M. Darhower

#1 ~ Monster in His Eyes: My ReviewEbook • Paperback • Audible • Goodreads
#2 ~ Torture to Her Soul: My Review • Ebook • PaperbackGoodreads
#3 ~ Target on Our Backs: My Review • Ebook • Paperback • Goodreads


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Release Day Review: Felony Ever After (a Domino novel)

Felony Ever After by Helena Hunting, Debra Anastasia, Nina Bocci, Vi Keeland, Penelope Ward, Leisa Rayven, Liv Morris, Tijan, J.M. Darhower, Belle Aurora, K.A. Robinson, S.M. Lumetta, Katherine Stevens
Series: Standalone
Publication Date: March 22nd 2016
Links: Ebook • Goodreads
Source: I received an ARC from the authors in exchange for an honest review

***13 Authors put their brains together to write ONE story***

Verity Michaels is new to New York City, but even she knows riding in a stolen a cab is not a normal way to meet someone. Damn it if that tattoo-covered would-be felon isn’t everywhere now, and lighting everything on fire under her skirt.

His name is Hudson Fenn, and he’s frustratingly impossible to pin down. He works as a bike messenger, but has the manners of a prince—along with a strange tendency toward breaking and entering. As much as Verity knows he’s not her type, and likely to land her in jail, she can’t help but find her truest self when they’re together.

Can she be brave enough to give Hudson a real chance? Will he be bold enough to reveal the man beneath the ink, or will his secrecy doom their connection? Also, WTF is the deal with Verity’s boss? No less than thirteen of your favorite romance writers have teamed up to tell this sexy, wacky, snort-inducing tale. With them you’ll visit the world’s most irritating office, a VIP room of questionable cleanliness, and the fanciest apartment a bike messenger has ever inhabited, but you’ll still never see this ending coming.

I absolutely LOVED the idea of Felony Ever After! Thirteen authors collaborating on ONE story – I was really excited to see how it would all work out. While I found the story fun but way over the top, the actual execution of it by all the authors more than impressed me. Despite the slightly different writing styles, I nearly couldn’t tell that each chapter was written by someone else, the story moved so smoothly. I would definitely read another book like this!

Verity Michaels gave up her failed dream job as a photographer and moved to NYC to work an office job with a perverted boss. On her way home one day, a gorgeous tattooed man jumps into a cab with her, offering to split the ride, but soon enough ends up hijacking the taxi and bringing Verity home. Is he a felon or a white knight?

“You’re a total criminal, aren’t you?” she asked, but to her surprise, she was grinning ear to ear.
He shook his head. “Have I stolen your heart yet?”
That stopped her cold. She blinked several times. “What?”
“Don’t answer,” he whispered. “I won’t take it until you give it freely.”

Hudson Fenn is more than just his tattoos and his job as a bike messenger, and he’s determined to show Verity that he’s perfect for her. Hudson is sweet, sexy, and hilarious – but he’s still keeping secrets that Verity is dying to know. He’s a bike messenger by day, but what does he get up to at night?

Felony Ever After is over-the-top hilarity. I laughed so much during this book – it truly is a fun read, even if I didn’t completely love it. The story kind of glosses over things, never really delving into the plot, but it’s a quick, entertaining read. Each author writes one or two chapters at a time, and you really can’t tell that much whenever it switches authors. If you’re a fan of any of the authors of this unique anthology, I recommend you give this book a try, if only to experience this kind of collaboration!

3.5 hearts
lacey

Quotes are taken from the arc and are subject to change in the final version.


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Release Day Review: Target on Our Backs by J.M. Darhower

Target on Our Backs by J.M. Darhower

Target on Our Backs by J.M. Darhower
Series: Monster in His Eyes #3 (full reading order below)
Publication Date: February 23rd 2016
Links: Ebook • Paperback • Goodreads
Source: I received an ARC from the author in exchange for an honest review

The best way to keep your word is never to give it.

Not long ago, in a chapel in Vegas, I swore to love Karissa for the rest of my days. But nobody’s promised an infinite number of tomorrows. Nobody’s promised forever. Sometimes, all we have left is today.

Carpe Diem.
Seize the day.

It should’ve been over, we should’ve been happy, but people are making it hard for me to live in peace. I’ve got so much blood on my hands they’ll never be clean, and somebody out there seems to want me to pay for it. Happily Ever After always comes at a cost, one any real man would be willing to pay. But that doesn’t mean I’m just going to roll over and accept these consequences.

Because when it comes to the woman I love? The life I’ve fought for?

Nobody is safe.

“Not sure how many times I have to tell you… I’m not a good man, Karissa, and try as I might, I probably never will be.”

J.M. Darhower writes romance and mafia stories like no other. The Monster in His Eyes series is my favorite series of hers – Naz and Karissa’s story is just so addicting, thrilling, sexy, and heart-pounding! Theirs is a story that I just can’t get enough of, so when I heard that they’d be getting a third and final book, I jumped for joy! Honestly, I thought the second book, Torture to Her Soul, ended perfectly, but J.M. Darhower proved me wrong. THIS ending in Target on Our Backs is the perfect one for Naz and Karissa. I’m so sad to have to say goodbye to them, but I couldn’t have hoped for a better heart-stopping conclusion that the one we get in this book. If you loved the first two books, you NEED to get your hands on Target on Our Backs!

He wants to be a better man to ease my guilt for loving someone like him.
A leopard doesn’t change its spots.
… You can dress a wolf up in sheep’s clothing, but the son of a bitch will still eat you alive if you let it.

After killing one of the mafia leaders of New York to protect the love of his life and now wife, Naz has a target on his back (heh). Someone’s gunning to take him out, and Karissa just might be a casualty in this new war. But just because Naz has left the mafia life doesn’t mean he’s forgotten how to protect those he loves – and he’ll do anything and everything to ensure Karissa is protected.

I’ve missed Naz and his dark, twisted mind. I don’t know how the author does it, but the way she writes Naz’s POV only makes me love him and his darkness more and more. He’s not a good man… but he’s not exactly an entirely bad one either. Karissa is the light in his life, and the love he has for her makes my heart swoon. And now that they’re husband and wife? My heart couldn’t be happier.

This man owns me. He consumes me. Every part of me was made for every part of him. It’s the kind of love I can’t imagine ever living without. It’s raw, and real, and it’s ours.
It’s ours.
It goes on forever.

It’s been a while since I’ve read a good mafia book, so this continuation of Naz and Karissa’s story came at just the right time. Target on Our Backs is told in alternating POV, and both Naz and Karissa’s POVs were absolutely amazing. The author’s writing is brilliant, as always, and reading this book reminded me of just how much I love her stories. I’m desperately hoping we don’t have to wait too long for her next book, because I’m already in need of another J.M. Darhower fix!

5 hearts
lacey

Quotes are taken from the arc and are subject to change in the final version.


Reading Order: Monster in His Eyes series

Monster in His Eyes by J.M. Darhower Torture to Her Soul by J.M. Darhower Target on Our Backs by J.M. Darhower

#1 ~ Monster in His Eyes: My ReviewEbook • Paperback • Audible • Goodreads
#2 ~ Torture to Her Soul: My Review • Ebook • PaperbackGoodreads
#3 ~ Target on Our Backs: Ebook • Paperback • Goodreads


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Cover Reveal: Target on Our Backs by J.M. Darhower

I’m so excited to share with you all the cover for J.M Darhower’s next upcoming release! Monster in His Eyes fans, we’re getting another book to Naz and Karissa’s story! Check out the cover and blurb below for Target on Our Backs!

Target on Our Backs by J.M. Darhower

Target on Our Backs by J.M. Darhower
Series: Monster in His Eyes #3 (full reading order below)
Publication Date: February 23rd 2016
Add to Goodreads

The best way to keep your word is never to give it.

Not long ago, in a chapel in Vegas, I swore to love Karissa for the rest of my days. But nobody’s promised an infinite number of tomorrows. Nobody’s promised forever. Sometimes, all we have left is today.

Carpe Diem
Seize the day.

It should’ve been over, we should’ve been happy, but people are making it hard for me to live in peace. I’ve got so much blood on my hands they’ll never be clean, and somebody out there seems to want me to pay for it. Happily Ever After always comes at a cost, one any real man would be willing to pay. But that doesn’t mean I’m just going to roll over and accept these consequences.

Because when it comes to the woman I love? The life I’ve fought for?

Nobody is safe.

Buy Links:
Amazon

Reading Order: Monster in His Eyes series

Monster in His Eyes by J.M. Darhower Torture to Her Soul by J.M. Darhower Target on Our Backs by J.M. Darhower

#1 ~ Monster in His Eyes: My Review • EbookPaperback • AudibleGoodreads
#2 ~ Torture to Her Soul: My Review • EbookPaperback • Goodreads
#3 ~ Target on Our Backs: Ebook • Goodreads (Feb. 23, 2016)

about the author button

JM Darhower is the USA Today Bestselling Author of romance novels of all flavors (erotic, suspense, contemporary, paranormal). She lives in a tiny town in the Carolinas with her family, where she churns out more words than will ever see the light of day. She has a deep passion for politics and human rights, and when she isn’t writing she’s usually ranting about those things. Chronic crimper with a vulgar mouth, she admits to having a social media addiction. You can find her there.

Website • Twitter • Facebook • Goodreads


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Release Day Review: By Any Other Name by J.M. Darhower

By Any Other Name by J.M. Darhower

By Any Other Name by J.M. Darhower
Series: Forbidden #1
Publication Date: February 23rd 2015
Purchase: Ebook • Paperback
Source: I received an ARC from the author in exchange for an honest review

A deadly rivalry.
Two families at war.
Nobody is safe, not even the innocent.
Especially the innocent.
Blood will be spilled.

Genevieve “Genna” Galante knows a thing or two about causing trouble. After all, it’s engrained in her DNA. As the only daughter of Primo Galante, notorious boss of the Galante crime family, her life is dictated by a certain set of rules… rules Genna was never very good at following.

Matteo “Matty” Barsanti never wanted anything to do with the family business, but as the first-born Barsanti son, certain things are expected of him. It’s his duty, according to his father, to help take down the enemy… even if that enemy means something to him.

A chance encounter on an elevator changes the course of lives, causing the biggest trouble of Genna’s young life. The only good Barsanti is a dead Barsanti. She’s heard it said time and time again. So what happens when she falls in love with one of them?

The story of star-crossed lovers caught in the middle of the biggest rivalry New York has ever seen, determined to make it… if only they can survive their parents’ feud.

It seems that every time I finish a book by J.M. Darhower, all I can feel or say is OH MY GOOOODDD!!! J.M. Darhower is one of the few authors I trust to give me a well-written, fleshed-out, and addictive mafia story, and she has yet to let me down. Her newest one, By Any Other Name, definitely lived up to my expectations. I freaking loved this book! If you haven’t read a mafia story based on Romeo and Juliet, you haven’t lived yet.

A deadly rivalry.
Two families at war.
Nobody is safe, not even the innocent.
Especially the innocent.
Blood will be spilled.

Seriously, I was nearly salivating at the thought of reading a mafia story with a forbidden love like Romeo and Juliet’s. Two rival mafia families whose children fall in love with each other? YES PLEASE!!

“The Prodigal Son and the Ice Princess, huh? Sounds like a terrible fairy tale. You know, the kind where the big bad wolf eats everybody at the end.”

The Barsantis and the Galantes are enemies. What used to be a friendship turned into a bloodthirsty rival, with too many deaths and murders between them for the two families to ever reconcile. Genna Galante’s older brother was killed by the Barsantis, so she grew up fearing and hating the Barsantis. I was very impressed by how the author was able to portray the hatred as a real, powerful thing between the families. It’s a frustrating kind of hatred that the families brought upon themselves, but, like the star-crossed main characters, I held onto the hope that the rivalry could end. But what exactly would it take to end their feud?

When Genna Galante and Matty Barsanti meet, they don’t know who they are to each other, so instead of hating each other on sight, they’re instantly attracted to one another. I didn’t connect with them very well in the beginning – they fell for each other too quickly for my taste, but I was able to forgive that as I kept reading. Their romance felt more genuine later on in the book, and my heart was aching for them once their identities were revealed. They were too deeply into each other at that point, so the only thing they could do was keep their relationship a secret.

He was a Barsanti…
…but maybe the Barsantis weren’t the enemy.

Oh, how I adored Genna and Matty. Once I got over the rough start with them, I was rooting for these star-crossed lovers to get their happy ever after. But every time it seemed like their relationship could work, their families got involved and tried to force them apart. I adored the tender way Matty and Genna were together – they make the sweetest couple ever, and it’s so obvious that these two are meant for each other. But how will they ever make their families see the same?

By Any Other Name was an unputdownable, heart-pounding read that had my on the edge of my seat! The suspense builds and builds, and this was one of the few books where I was terrified for the main characters. Genna and Matty’s love is caught in the middle of a dangerous feud, but theirs is a love that won’t go down without a fight. I grew attached to the main characters, as well as the secondary characters. The writing is impeccable and the story is seriously addicting. This is another thrilling, dangerous, romantic novel from J.M. Darhower! I cannot WAIT for the sequel!

4.5 hearts
lacey

Quotes are taken from the arc and are subject to change in the final version.