**Double Review** ~ Seeking Nirvana and Eluding Nirvana (Dark Evoke series: #1 and #2), by V.L. Brock

The Dark Evoke Series

Genre: Dark Romantic Suspense/Psychological/Thriller

Step into the Abyss…..

I am overwhelmed after reading the first two instalments of this series, which I would describe as a dark romantic suspense/thriller. After devouring the first instalment, Seeking Nirvana I truly did not know if I was coming or going as I was as confused as the heroine Kady. And what an ending! I could not wait to get my paws on the next book, Eluding Nirvana! Although much is revealed in this second instalment I am itching t0 read the final book in the trilogy, Transcending Nirvana!

Scroll down for my reviews. My review of Eluding Nirvana, the second book in the series, naturally contains some spoilers for the first book (although I have tried my best to keep them at a minimum). If you think this series is one you’d like to read I’d therefore advise you not to read this particular review. Tina 🙂

Please note, both books were given to me by the author for the purpose of a fair and honest review.

Seeking Nirvana (Dark Evoke #1)

Seeking Nirvana

Blurb

They say that old habits die hard, and twenty-seven year old, Kady Jenson, is about to discover how true that statement actually is.

Waking up in a hospital room with a complete stranger at her bedside, should have caused panic and confusion, but for a reason unknown to her, Kady finds herself drawn, and calmed by the presence of the rugged, devastatingly handsome man with the pleasant Irish brogue. It’s when she discovers that she has just woken from a four day coma, with a three year void in her memory, which spawns confusion and panic.

Kady soon comes to realize that things change with time, and not only appearances.

Not only is the sexual chemistry she once shared with her long-term boyfriend, now a long-ago memory, but Kady also begins to unconsciously fall back into unremembered habits, and with each day, the increasing sense of foreboding, becomes increasingly harder to ignore.

Left on her own when her boyfriend goes on a business trip, Kady seeks help from the Irish stranger as they go on a quest together, in a race against time, to piece the puzzle together.

My Review

Suspenseful and Addictive *****

Seeking Nirvana, the first instalment in the Dark Evoke series is a dark romantic thriller par excellence. After waking up from a coma following a car accident Kady, the heroine, suffering from amnesia desperately seeks to remember what happened during the last three years of her life and struggles to come to terms with the present. Told in the first person, from Kady’s POV, I thought that the novel was expertly crafted (after reading book 2 (reviewed below), I realized this even more so).

On returning home with Liam, her long term partner, Kady is stunned to see that the reality of her life bears little resemblance to the one she led three years ago. What happened to her? Where is the woman she used to be? Why are her family estranged from her? Who is Mrs Steinbeck, the menacing and nosey neighbour who watches her every move? And more to the point, why does she increasingly feel more at ease with the handsome Walker than her longstanding and beloved Liam? Why do the two men appear to be so much at odds when it comes to Kady?

As the novel unfolds I felt as if I was walking hand in hand with Kady as she tries to remember and uncover the truth of what her life has become. It is Walker who makes Kady feel like a woman and who offers her solace, whereas Liam’s becomes ever more distant. Doubt and confusion become commonplace and Kady feels ever more desperate and conflicted over her feelings towards the two men in  her life, as the novel becomes ever more menacing. I began asking myself who was Kady’s friend and who was her foe as the book progressed and we are given glimpses of the reality of Kady’s situation.

The characterisations of both Walker and Liam are excellent. The two men could not be more different. As I read I was itching to solve the puzzle of Kady’s life and began rooting for her HEA. The novel does end on a major cliffhanger, which sets up book #2 perfectly.

It is a must read for fans of dark romantic suspense and for readers who like psychological thrillers.

Reviewed by Tina Williams

Eluding Nirvana,  (Dark Evoke, #2)

***Due to the dark nature and content in this story, Eluding Nirvana is recommended to readers over the age of 18.***

Eluding Nirvana

Blurb

Three years lost; a body marred and a mission complete. Waking after a four day coma, Kady Jenson felt her life was crashing down around her. Three years of her memories were missing, and the compelling man at her side was not her years-long partner, but a stranger – a stranger who promised to help her recover what she had lost.

But how did Kady come to such a place?

What dark, mysterious events stole her past and threatened her future?

How did her lover become a stranger, and a stranger become so terribly important?

What happened to turn Kady’s orderly life into a terrifying nightmare which would leave her permanently marked, body and soul?

**AUTHORS NOTE**

Eluding Nirvana is the second instalment of The Dark Evoke Series, and is therefore not intended as a standalone novel.

My Review

Dark and Psychological Page Turner *****

This is a dark, dark read! Kady’s memory has returned and we find out about events in the last three years and the run up to her car accident. Both friends and foes are confirmed and we bear witness to the extent of control that a sociopath can have over their victim and the physical and emotional abuse that this can entail. It is truly terrifying and the author portrays it brilliantly.

Many of the passages and situations are dark and sometimes the emotions that they invoked made me want to put the book down, only to want to pick it back up immediately. I was just so emotionally invested in the characters.

The light in the darkness for Kady and myself, as reader, was undoubtedly Walker, a man who has his own dark past to come to terms with. Walker seems to understand Kady’s demons and helps her find release from her situation. It is clear that he would never hurt her. The motivations for Walker’s actions in the first book and those of Liam are explained more fully in this novel. We also learn more about the part their characters play in the story: Liv, Laurie and Mrs Steinbeck (a character who I wanted to slap).

The read brings us back full circle and I am eagerly awaiting the next book to find out where Kady goes next in her quest to find herself and secure her HEA.

I recommend this read to readers who like psychological suspense alongside their romantic reads and who are able to handle dark themes.

Reviewed by Tina Williams

Purchase Links

Purchase links for ebook, Seeking Nirvana: The Dark Evoke Series #1:

U.S: http://amzn.to/1nhZQmd UK: http://amzn.to/1lI3VNr

Seeking Nirvana Paperback:

US: http://amzn.to/1sOYA6d UK: http://amzn.to/108Kaab

Purchase Links for Eluding Nirvana: The Dark Evoke Series #2:

US: http://amzn.to/1tRfEJO UK: http://amzn.to/1n6BVpS

Transcending Nirvana: The Dark Evoke Series #3

US: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00X68GR0A/ref=series_rw_dp_sw

UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B00X68GR0A?keywords=Transcending%20Nirvana%20(The%20Dark%20Evoke%20Series%20Book%203)&qid=1437642191&ref_=sr_1_1&s=digital-text&sr=1-1

Author Links

Amazon Author Link: http://www.amazon.com/V.L.-Brock/e/B00IJIB16C/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1408268470&sr=8-1

Facebook author page: https://m.facebook.com/author.V.L.Brock 

**BOOK BLITZ** ~ Better When It Hurts, by Skye Warren (includes excerpt and giveaway)

BetterWhenItHurtsBlitz

Better When It Hurts
by Skye Warren
Stripped #2
Publication Date: June 4, 2015
Genres: Contemporary, Romance

Blitz: Better When It Hurts by Skye Warren
AmazonNookiBooks

Five years ago we lived in the same house. He was the ultimate bad boy. And my foster brother.

Now he’s back. Tougher, harder, meaner. All of it aimed at me, because I was the one who sent him away. It’s payback time. He wants his pound of flesh, and I am helpless to say no.

****************

Excerpt

I try not to scan the floor when I enter. There’s already a buzz in the air, the hunger and desperation of a strip club on Saturday night. I’m ready to earn money, ready to move my body.

Ready to pretend Blue doesn’t bother me.

He’s nowhere in sight, and I breathe a sigh of relief. A group of men are still gathered near the railing. They’d tipped me pretty well while I was up there, so I figure I have a good shot at a lap dance. I saunter over, my breasts barely contained in the red bikini top, my skin coated in sweat and glitter and the thick smoke of this place.

“Nice set,” says a low voice from behind me.

I turn to see Blue standing there, arms crossed so his muscles bulge, lids lowered in that intense way of his. Shit. “Thanks,” I say, but the only thing I’m really thankful for is that my voice doesn’t shake.

He’s the head of security at the Grand, which should make me feel safe. Except we have a history. And he hates my guts. So there’s no affection in his eyes when they scan me up and down. No kindness in his voice when he adds, “You look great.”

The way he says it, it sounds like a threat. He makes me feel like the scared little girl I used to be when I knew him before. And him? He’s like the big bad wolf, sizing me up before he swallows me whole.

I force myself to shrug at him, to toss my hair. “Thanks, sweetie.”

He circles me, surrounding me. “But then, you always look great. That’s what you like, isn’t it? Having men panting after you? Leading us along by our dicks?”

My throat gets tight. I know that’s what people think of me. They take one look at my lipstick and my short skirt and assume the worst. God, they’re right. But it’s worse to hear it from him. Worse because he once believed in me. “Do you expect me to apologize for earning a living?”

His lids lower. “Not for that.”

I can’t meet his eyes. I know exactly what he wants me to apologize for. And he’ll never believe me. Even showing weakness in this game is enough to get me killed. “I don’t apologize to anyone.”

“Of course you don’t,” he says, his voice full of loathing. “But I don’t want your words.”

I can’t help but whisper, “What do you want?”

That makes him smile. It’s not a nice smile. “I think you know the answer to that.”

He wants to hurt me, to use me. He wants to fuck me. I swallow hard. “That isn’t for sale.”

“I wasn’t planning to pay you.”

This should be easy. Tell him no. Make him believe it. I’ve done this for a thousand men before. Somehow he’s different. Maybe because I don’t really believe it myself.

I know he’s watching me. I know he’s hatching his plans. My heart speeds up every time I turn away from him, wondering if this is the time he’ll pounce. One of these times, he’s going to dig into me with his teeth and his claws. He’s going to hurt me, and I’m not sure I’ll survive it.

Not tonight, though. Not now.

I take a step away from him. “If you aren’t going to pay for my time, I think I’ll find someone who will.”

His eyes darken. “Your call, gorgeous.”

I hear the unspoken message beneath his words, steel under velvet. For now.

Books in the Stripped series

 ½. Tough Love (prequel)
1. Love the Way You Lie
2. Better When It Hurts
3. Pretty When You Cry

Praise for the Stripped series by Skye Warren:

“It’s gritty, edgy, and sexy, served to you in the well-written, absorbing style that Skye is so talented at delivering. I can’t wait to get my hands on the rest of the Stripped series.” – Shameless Book Club

“A jagged, layered and enthralling adventure that weaves darkness and light with precision and purpose.” – the lusty literate

“It’s dark, mysterious, sexy, and I loved every page of it! There were twists and turns that I never saw coming! I love when an author is able to keep me guessing until the very end of the book.” – Book Fancy Book Blog

“Love The Way You Lie was heartwarming, exhilarating and tantalizing with just the right tinge of darkness.” – Warhawke’s Vault

Add to Goodreads

About Skye Warren

Skye Warren is the New York Times and USA Today Bestselling author of dark romantic fiction. Her books are raw, sexual and perversely romantic.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

**COVER REVEAL** ~ Noah and Me, by Beckie Stevenson (includes excerpt and giveaway)

Contemporary Romance Cover Reveal

A BIG welcome today to Beckie Stevenson’s forthcoming release Noah and Me! Check out the super cover and read an excerpt (it’s one of the most intriguing excerpts I have read this year!) There is also a super giveaway where you could win an ARC of the book. Tina 🙂

 
 
RELEASE DATE: 15th December 2014
“So you fix broken hearts, do you?” I ask. “Seems a little ironic.”

Noah Carter is one of the best cardiothoracic doctors in the country. He’s incredibly intelligent, funny, kind and he’s a beast in the bedroom. He has scars that drizzle down his chest and painful memories of an unforgettable night that plague his every waking hour.

Seven years ago, Noah stumbled upon me at the side of a grave and saved me in one of the most compassionate ways another human being can save another.  I will always love him for that. Always.

He loved me in a way that no man has ever loved me since, and I gave him everything. I gave him it all until my secrets and lies tore us apart, forcing me to shatter his heart into a thousand little pieces.

Seven years ago he loved me, but now he hates me. And I hate that he hates me. Leaving Noah is my biggest regret in life – and I have a lot of things that I regret. A lot.

I’m Ariel Miller and this is the story of Noah and Me.

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/23384124-noah-and-me

Noah and Me BookCover5x8_Cream_380 v3 (Full Wrap)

EXCERPT:

I glance around the corner of the small building and spot a woman who isn’t dressed like a smart teacher. She’s wearing white stilettoes and a tiny little black dress that just about covers her backside. Her breasts, which are definitely fake, protrude out from the scoop neckline of the dress. Her chocolate-coloured hair is poker straight and falls to her shoulder blades. I hear her giggling. I see her hand shoot out to touch a glistening, tanned and extremely toned forearm.

“That’s Candy,” whispers Ben.

“What does she do?” I ask. She arches her back and pushes her breasts out even further than they were before.

“She’s a Lawyer,” he tells me. “They call her the black widow.”

I glance at Ben and realise he’s not joking. I look back at Candy and hear her giggle again, watching as she flicks her hair over her shoulder. “Does she eat men after she’s slept with them?”

“No,” he says, shaking his head. “She eats them after she’s done with them in court instead.”

More like she hypnotises them with her breasts and hair flicking, I think. “I see,” I say.

“Her tongue is evil,” he says before adding, “and not in a good way.”

I grin at him.

“Anyway,” he says, pulling on my elbow, “we should go and say hello to the birthday boy.”

I take a step forward and then the earth stops moving as all of the blood in my body rushes to my ears. I can hear the beat of my own heart as it bangs against my chest. The birthday boy’s blue eyes collide with mine and they’re slowly turning to hard stone in front of me. He steps away from the wall, roughly pushing Candy off him, and marches towards me.

I can’t take my eyes off him. How can someone who is beyond beautiful look so ugly at the same time? His light brown hair is styled perfectly on his head as if he’s just got out of bed. Or maybe he has, if Candy’s performance was anything to go by. His pale, crystal-blue eyes display nothing of the thoughts that I have no doubt are obviously running through his mind. He’s wearing a dark grey shirt and black trousers. Even with his clothes on, I can tell that there’s a wall of pure muscle hiding underneath them. I see a faint smattering of chest hair poking out from the top of his shirt where his top button is undone. His face is tanned and freshly shaven.

“You!” he says, his deep voice wrapping around me like a warm blanket. His gaze shifts to my neck like lightning. His eyes linger for a fraction of a second on my necklace and I see a hint of astonishment flash across his face. Then it’s gone, replaced by the cold, screwed-up face that he had before.

I open my mouth but nothing comes out. Every single hair on my skin stands on end as his angry breath washes over my face. Air leaves my lungs and doesn’t come back in. How the fuck is he here? Of all the places in the entire world, how is he here?

I finally realise he’s still towering over me, looking as if he wants to strangle me. I take a deep breath. I can’t do this.

“Erm, do you two know each other?” asks Ben.

Ignoring Ben, I continue to stare at him. He stares at me. What could we possibly say to each other that would make any of it okay? I can’t be here. I can’t be near him. I need to leave.

“No,” he hisses, as his eyes trail all over me.

Liar.

“I don’t know who this girl is,” he says.

I know it’s wrong to feel hurt that he called me a girl, but I do. I don’t want him looking at me like that either. Not when I feel so shitty about what I’m wearing. I wish I could cover myself up, but I don’t have enough clothes on to even start.

Ben blinks, looking confused. “Noah, this is Ariel. Ariel, this is the birthday boy, Noah.”

This isn’t Noah. This is a stranger that doesn’t know me anymore.

“I’m going,” I announce, tearing my gaze away from Noah. I look at Ben and feel myself beginning to panic. “Erm, I have to go.”

“You have to?” Ben questions.

I nod quickly and start to back away from them. “I have to go. Right now. I have a horrible headache. Here,” I say, pushing my glass into Ben’s hand, “take this. And I’m sorry.”

“Ariel,” Ben calls as I turn to leave.

“Let her go,” Noah says. “She wasn’t invited and she’s not welcome.”

AUTHOR BIO:

Beckie - Author Photo

Beckie’s real name is Rebecca, but she get’s called (and answers to) any of the following…Beckie, Bek, Becca, Rebecca, Pip, Pippy or Stevo. Beckie is the author of ‘Sorrow Woods,’ the ‘Existing’ series and ‘Noah and Me.’

She is due to publish more YA and NA novels in 2015/16.

She lives in Staffordshire, England, with her partner and two children. Beckie likes putting music on in the house and dancing around like a mad woman. When she isn’t playing with her children, doing housework, dancing around the house like a mad woman, walking, cycling reading or writing, then she can be found working in an investment bank. Or sleeping.

You can find Beckie here… 

Twitter: @BeckieStevenson

Facebook: www.facebook.com/BeckieStevensonAuthor

Instagram: BeckieStevo

Blog: http://beckiestevenson.blogspot.co.uk

GIVEAWAY:

Enter the super giveaway where 3 ARCs of Noah and Me and some bookmarks are up for grabs!  

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 
COVER REVEAL HOSTED BY: