Saturday, September 27, 2014

[Early Review] Torture to her Soul (Monster in his Eyes #2) by J. M. Darhower

Release date: September 29, 2014
Published by: J.M. Darhower
Source:  Author
Purchase Link:  Amazon Pre-Order

Don't say it unless you mean it…  It's a simple concept, one I've said time and again, but something people don't seem to comprehend. You should choose every syllable carefully, because you never know when somebody will hold you to your word.  Somebody like me.  I'm not a good man. I'm not. I know. I have enough darkness inside of me to rid the world of every stitch of light. But there's one I could never harm, one light I couldn't bring myself to snuff out.  Karissa.  She thinks I'm a monster, and maybe I am. I taunt her with my touch, get a thrill out of torturing her soul. But I'm not the only one. The world is full of monsters, and I'm not the most dangerous one out there.  Not even close…  God help me, I love her.  I do.  And God help anyone who tries to take her from me.

Torture to her Soul is the rare sequel that is better than the original book.  This book is the continuation of Naz's and Karissa's story, with the major difference being that it is told from Naz's point of view.  I loved this sequel to pieces - it had romance, angst, drama and plot twists.  Not only did Naz have to face what he had previously done to Karissa, but he also had to deal with his own family, Ray Angelo and his tortured past.

You already know that Naz narrates this story.  But let's face it, Naz is who we want to hear from.  This is his story, not Karissa's.  This story was about Naz's soul - coming to terms with his life and with the kind of man he is and wants to be.  Maybe I felt more of a connection to this book because in my mind, Naz is the more interesting character.  While Karissa's life changed dramatically in Monster in his Eyes, the story was never hers.  For me, this was always about Naz, his life, his past and how that past has fueled him to become that man that he is at present.  Karissa becomes a part of this story, but the depth and emotion comes from Naz.

One thing I really enjoyed in this book was how Naz faced his demons.  We know from the previous book that Naz lost his wife at a young age.  He never really dealt with that and the rage and anger he felt overtook his emotions and left him a hollow, shell of a man.  That is until he met Karissa.  By not dealing with his wife's death, Naz became the monster he is.  It left him cold and calculating, with only revenge to keep him warm at night.  Although Karissa is the new love of his life, he has dealt with tremendous guilt over his feelings for her.

Naz didn't just stop with dealing with the fall-out of his wife's death, he also had to deal with his family, especially his father who has basically disowned him.  We meet Naz's father a few times, and one thing I learned quickly was that Naz's father imparts vast amounts of wisdom.  His wisdom might not always be pretty or nice to hear, but the man has lived a long life and understands people and their motivations.  "Don't say it unless you mean it," is just one of the kernels of truth that Naz's dad preaches, and it is a theme throughout this book.  This is a phrase that we hear directed at Naz, Karissa and Ray at different times.

Karissa was very distant from Naz at the beginning of this book, dealing with her own issues.  She had every right to hate Naz after what he did in the previous book, and she felt that she was being held prisoner in his house.  Karissa very slowly, agonizingly slowly, warms up to Naz.  He has to work very hard to get Karissa to even speak to him.  But this goes both ways.  Naz and Karissa must learn to trust one another again, and it's not something that is fixed after one good bout of hat sex!  Their story is not rushed, and in the end, it is obvious that these two belong together.

Ray Angelo plays an important role in this book.  You may remember Ray as the Boss.  He also happens to be Naz's father-in-law.  Ray is a very secretive and manipulative character.  He has used Naz to further his own agenda for many years, and when Naz starts questioning Ray's motives, Ray becomes increasingly cold towards him.  Ray had a blind hatred for Karissa, only because of what she represents to him, having nothing to do with the kind of person she is.  

There is a philosphical undertone that is front and center throughout this story.  We are continually faced with the question of if man can exist in gray, or only in a sense of black and white.  Does doing bad things make you a bad man?  Does a bad man deserve any good in his life?  These are all questions that Naz and Karissa tackle as their story plays out.

I enjoyed the ending very much.  From the Epilogue to Karissa's PoV chapter at the very end.  It was nice to get a glimpse of the man Naz becomes in the not so distant future.  

If you are a fan of smartly written, dark romances, then give this series a try.  The main character is written with so much anguish and depth that you have to love him at some point!  I am sad to leave Karissa and Naz behind, but every story comes to its end.  I applaud the author for ending this after two books and for not dragging it out.  This was a perfect ending to one of my favorite mafia couples!


Megan @Reading Books Like a Boss said...

I've heard from so many people that this series is great! I have the first book. I need to get on it!

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