Review: 4.5 stars!!In for the Kill by Billie Marten
“Everyone sees what you appear to be, few experience what you really are”.
WOW! This book was one helluva roller coaster for me. It wasn’t an easy ride and there were plenty of bumps for me but in the end, this book won me over and Darhower continues to be one of my top 5 favorite authors of all time. At one point I didn't think putting a gif like the one above was going to be possible but this is the kind of book you have to go in with an open mind and eyes. Leave judgement at the door and just enjoy the ride.
For me, this book started off great. The prologue sucked me in and I was hooked from the beginning. But sometime between the prologue and the next 5 chapters, things started going a bit south for me.
Karissa is like a naive lamb frolicking in the pasture, having no idea that she’s about to become someone’s dinner. If you can think of any little quirks that would scream out “young!” I can almost guarantee Karissa has it. She likes pink, quotes Walt Disney, her favorite movie is Peter Pan; really the girl is as innocent and sheltered as a 10 year old. She comes from a small home with her mother who is extremely over protective and has sheltered her, her whole life. Her going to college in the city is the first time she’s ever been on her own and able to make actual decisions for herself. Being around Naz makes her feel unsure of herself, insecure and very much like her age. It was disconcerting because I was 18 not to long ago and I knew how she felt in certain aspects but at the same time I know that I would have never started a relationship with such an older man like that. 18 year olds, hell, most college students don't know what the heck they want in life and definitely aren't ready to be in a serious relationship with a man like Naz. She was way in over her head, the poor girl. She didn't know what she signed up for when she agreed to be with him.
“He’s beautiful, in a dark sort of way, the kind of beauty that’s natural. He doesn’t try, and I think that’s what I love most about him-he just is.”
Naz’s character made me very uncomfortable, especially in the beginning. You can really tell the age difference between these two and I both love and hate that the author didn’t sugarcoat anything. He’s so much older than her and it shows in his every word, action and the air around him. The fact that a man like him is interested an 18 year old girl made me uncomfortable and at first I thought he was just trying to find an easy lay. I mean, why else would a 36 year old successful man be with a 18 year old college girl who is his complete opposite? But there’s so much more to him that meets the eye. We don’t know who Naz is at all. He has this air of calm around him at all times, seemingly not bothered by anyone or anything that tries to get in his way. He’s confident, self-assured and dangerous.
I had a hard time seeing their relationship as anything but sex for a big portion of the book. I feel like Naz showered her with gifts and money, constantly getting her drunk and manipulated her into the “relationship”. It’s clear that Karissa has no idea what’s going on half the time and she is like a small town girl on Hollywood Blvd. All starry eyes and oblivious to the dark and slimy creatures that prey on souls like her own. She really thinks she’s getting her Cinderella story. It wasn’t until around the 75% that I started to feel some chemistry outside the bedroom and see that love that they talked about actually come to life.
“If Naz forgoes sleep, and Karissa gets naked, how many orgasms can he give her before sun up?”
But to go back to the sex for a moment, one thing this book wasn’t lacking was the incredibly intense sex scenes. I might have had my moments of doubt about them in other aspects but in the bedroom? There’s no doubt they are compatible. There were times where I felt Naz took things too far
I think one of my main problems when I started reading this was I kept looking at things from an outsider prospective. The age difference-which was something originally I didn’t think would bother me going into this book- was put in such a light that it did bother me. To the point where I questioned his motives and made me think of him as some creepy older man preying on barely legal girls. I think it stopped me from connection with the characters for a really long time because I kept looking at their relationship as being wrong and let it make me uncomfortable. I kept looking at Karissa as his prey and while I still think I’m right to look at it like that, I needed to stop being so judgmental. And so after taking a few hours to think and cool off I went back into the book with a clear head and not so surprisingly, this book got so much better for me. That’s not to say the little things that bothered me before just magically disappeared because they didn’t. But I started to understand them more. Understand their actions and their choices.
My Favorite Faded Fantasy by Damien Rice
Ladies and gentlemen this is the question of the hour. Why, Karissa? I kept asking myself that over and over. I knew it couldn't be pure coincident or just a random choosing, like one day he just decided he would start going out with fresh jailbait. And here's my theory on why he chose Karissa:
I feel like Naz saw something in her that he doesn’t have. Something he lost and he so he took it. He saw her full of light and happiness; naivety and it attracted him to her. He saw those thing in her that he once had and he didn’t want to cherish them, he wanted to destroy them. He wanted to make her like him. Make her open her eyes and see the world for what it really was. And in doing that, he stole a piece of Karissa, a piece she will never get back. Maybe it was intentional, or maybe it was subconsciously but it was no coincidence that he chose her, that's for sure.
“We waste too much time looking for the next thing and not appreciating what we have right now…and right now, what we have, is endless opportunities. The sky isn’t the limit in my world, Karissa. There is no limit. You want it? You got it. Whatever it is.”
The second half of the book was a complete turnaround for me. And more specifically the last 25% of the book was pure 5 star work. It was everything I was looking for from the beginning and everything I knew Darhower was capable of writing. I still can’t stop thinking about it. Suddenly I found myself actually liking Naz and *gasp* swooning at some of the things he would say. Suddenly, that connection I felt was missing between the two was very much alive and I was back to being sucked into the story.
Why Don't You Save Me? by Kan Waken
For everyone who might be having a hard time connecting with this book in the beginning, my suggestion is to take a break from it but COME BACK. It is worth it! While I was reading this book I kept thinking I'd be rating this in the 3-4 star range but by the end I was very tempted to rate this with 5 stars because of how much I loved it.
I hope that my review isn't too much of a mess of words but my main point I want to get across is: sometimes books surprise you. Sometimes you think you know where it's going or that you've already figured out the characters but really, you have no idea just what they're capable of. This was that kind of book for me. And it just may be that kind of book for you too, if you're willing to get on the roller coaster.