Book Review: Killing Sarai by J.A. Redmerski

20130619-075202.jpgTitle: Killing Sarai

Author: J.A. Redmerski

Rating: 5 of 5 Stars

Blurb: Sarai was only fourteen when her mother uprooted her to live in Mexico with a notorious drug lord. Over time she forgot what it was like to live a normal life, but she never let go of her hope to escape the compound where she has been held for the past nine years.

Victor is a cold-blooded assassin who, like Sarai, has known only death and violence since he was a young boy. When Victor arrives at the compound to collect details and payment for a hit, Sarai sees him as her only opportunity for escape. But things don’t go as planned and instead of finding transport back to Tucson, she finds herself free from one dangerous man and caught in the clutches of another.

While on the run, Victor strays from his primal nature as he succumbs to his conscience and resolves to help Sarai. As they grow closer, he finds himself willing to risk everything to keep her alive; even his relationship with his devoted brother and liaison, Niklas, who now like everyone else wants Sarai dead.

As Victor and Sarai slowly build a trust, the differences between them seem to lessen, and an unlikely attraction intensifies. But Victor’s brutal skills and experience may not be enough in the end to save her, as the power she unknowingly holds over him may ultimately be what gets her killed.

This is their story…

My Review: I guess I should start by saying that after reading The Edge of Never I’ve come to have really high expectations for Ms. Redmerski’s work. In hindsight it might appear that I was setting that bar impossibly high except for the fact that this book blew me away and surpassed all of my expectations.

Sarai has been Javier’s prisoner for years. She has survived while always dreaming of surviving. Now, after nine years she finally has the chance in the form of Victor. Victor comes off as cold and unfeeling. I was unsure as to whether he is either closed of to his emotions or is simply unfeeling. At least that’s what he wants us to think. Sarai, however, sees past his walls. As unwilling as he may be to helping her, he keeps finding himself in situations where that’s exactly what’s happening.

After Sarai’s escape, I could see that the story was headed in a certain direction. Kill or be killed. As in Javier is unwilling to allow her to live and it becomes clear that one of them has to die. The story becomes centered around this and is clearly leading to this resolution. Honestly I expected the story to end once it got to this point. Yet, I was very pleasantly surprised when the story continued.

Up until that point, Sarai and Victor had been getting to know each other and accepting each other for who they really are. Past this point in the story, everything changes. They start to bond, walls start coming down, the pace of the story changes and Killing Sarai becomes about them, their development, their relationship and their bond. All in an action packed, suspenseful package.

In conclusion, I loved reading Killing Sarai. It was unexpected but real and romantic and truly an adventure. Redmerski has this talent of drawing her readers in and wrapping them around her fingers and there are so many plot twists laying in wait to keep us readers on our toes that there are no dull moments. All in all, a great read and one I recommend.

*I received a free copy of this novel from the author in exchange for an honest review

Giveaway: If you have not entered the Killing Sarai Blog Tour Giveaway be sure to do so by clicking HERE. It’s a book you won’t regret reading. Good luck!

Book Review: Walking in the Shadows

walking in the shadowsTitle: Walking in the Shadows

Author: Cassandra Giovanni

Rating: 4 of 5 Stars

Blurb: Seconds seem like a lifetime when the life you lived is slowly drained out of you by those who care not what you felt, hoped, or dreamed. When the darkness comes it is all-consuming; there is no light and there is no pain. It is the never-ending loss of hope that now consumes me as I die in his arms.

This is Abigail Martin’s nightmare. After her parents become the first victims of a serial killer obsessed with the vampire saga, “Crimson Reign,” Abigail does the only thing that she thinks will save her from her parent’s fate–she becomes some one else. As Vera MacIntrye, she falls in love with the very handsome Tad Knightley, and then walks into her first day at her new school to see him standing at the front of the classroom. He’s every teenage girls fantasy, but as he writes “Mr. Knightley: AP British Literature” across the white board Vera realizes the one person who filled the gaping hole in her heart will soon rip it wide open again.

Vera struggles to adjust to being a ‘normal’ teenager with very adult responsibilities like paying the rent, buying groceries and making sure that lights stay on, while being drawn time and time again back to her off-limits teacher. What’s worse is he is drawn to her too, and their worlds refuse to stay apart when Tad finds Vera screaming in terror in the parking lot after the winter formal. The murderer has struck again and is getting closer to the next target–Vera. Tad will do whatever he can to save her, even if it means losing his dream job, but will it be enough when the murderer is closer than anyone ever thought?

My Review: Imagine walking in to your Lit class the first day of your senior year and seeing your boyfriend teaching the class… So that’s exactly how Walking in the Shadows starts. Yep, Giovanni definitely caught my attention with that intro.

Vera, the main character, is someone with a very traumatic past. She is independent and strong. She is also closed off and hardly let’s anyone in. She is drowning in secrets and protects herself and those she cares about by not revealing them. Yet when her past starts to catch up to her she is forced to confide in someone and it is at this point that the story gets even better.

Tad is living out his dream as a British Lit high school teacher. He is smart, protective and very much in love with Vera. He is put in a position where he has to decide what matters more to him: Vera or the job of his dreams.

I love the theme of forbidden love and Giovanni does it very well. Tad and Vera are head over heels for each other but with her being a high school student and he her teacher, the risk of being together is always hanging over their heads. Yet their romance was very sweet and I enjoyed it.

Now for the negative: Have you guys read the blurb? The last line if the blurb states will it be enough when the murderer is closer than anyone ever thought? This line left me in suspicion. That’s right, it made me suspicious of every character and it took away from the novel for me.

Also Vera, I found, was a strong character. She was dealing with a lot of problems and a lot of emotions but she found a way to hold it all together. I found her to be brave and smart and headstrong. However, at some point in the book she starts to unravel. Honestly, I found her weakness at the time to be reasonable. Yet it took away from the novel for me. After all, what I enjoyed most about her character was her strength. I dislike weak characters and once her strength started to shatter, I tended to get really frustrated with the book. I have a whole shelf on Goodreads dedicated to books like this- “cringe inducing”. It is mostly reserved for novels with weak and needy protagonists. And although this faze did not last long for her, it took the book out of the 5 star range.

Even with that, there is something about this novel that really got to me. It may have been the beautiful romance or Giovanni’s take on modern vampires. It was a good read with its action, suspense and drama. Walking in the Shadows is unique and a book I enjoyed reading.

*I received a free copy of this nil in exchange for an honest review