Tuesday, December 30, 2014

[Review] Twist Me (Twist Me #1) and Keep Me (Twist Me #2) by Anna Zaires

Kidnapped. Taken to a private island.
I never thought this could happen to me. I never imagined one chance meeting on the eve of my eighteenth birthday could change my life so completely.  Now I belong to him. To Julian. To a man who is as ruthless as he is beautiful – a man whose touch makes me burn. A man whose tenderness I find more devastating than his cruelty.  My captor is an enigma. I don’t know who he is or why he took me. There is a darkness inside him – a darkness that scares me even as it draws me in.  My name is Nora Leston, and this is my story.
WARNING: This is NOT a traditional romance. It contains disturbing subject matter, including themes of questionable consent and Stockholm Syndrome, as well as graphic sexual content. This is a work of fiction intended for a mature, 18+ audience only. The author neither endorses nor condones this type of behavior.

Abducted at eighteen. Held captive for 15 months.  It reads like one of those headlines. And yes, I did it. I stole her. Nora, with her long dark hair and silky skin. She’s my weakness, my obsession.

I’m not a good man. I never pretended to be one. She can love me, but she can’t change me.
I can, however, change her.  My name is Julian Esguerra, and Nora is mine to keep.
***Keep Me is the sequel to Twist Me, told from Nora & Julian’s POV.***

Why, oh why, did I wait so long to read this series? As a lover of dark and twisted romances, this is a book I should have read immediately upon publication.  Anna Zaires has crazy talent.  This book was dark and ugly and beautiful and crazy all at the same time.  I was a fan after reading Twist Me.  I am obsessed after reading Keep Me.  I can only hope that book three, Hold Me, is released  sooner rather than later.

This is a dark and twisted story.  I would go as far to call this a "black romance" since "dark romance" might be too light for this one!  There are no two ways about it.  If you are not a fan of dark romances with disturbing themes, then this is not the book for you.  However, if you enjoy this sub genre, then you will absolutely adore this book.  Nora Leston was a normal, boy-crazy high school senior one day when she accidentally bumped into a stranger.  After spotting the stranger again at her high school graduation, Nora finds herself drugged and kidnapped by this handsome, complicated and dangerous man, Julian.  

Okay - so here's my rant.  I'm about sick of reading reviews that slam books like this because the anti-hero is too dark, or he can't be redeemed, or he's exactly the twisted person in the beginning of the first book that he is at the end of the last.  Listen up, y'all...I'm going to let you in on a secret........  I don't read dark romances for the realism.  I have enough realism in my own life, thank you very much.  I read dark romances for the sexiness, the twisted and dysfunctional relationships and the escapism of it all.  Would I love for Julian to kidnap me in real life?  Hell, no.  Can I get enough of a fictional Julian, even if he's a really bad dude?  Nope.  I'll never get enough of this type of anti-hero.  So enough about not liking this book, or others like it, because of the dark characters.  Not every bad boy can be lassoed and changed into a good guy.  It's more fun when they're bad!  End rant.

So Julian kidnaps the innocent and terrified Nora to his private, secluded island where he begins to mold her into the woman he wants.  At first, Julian's visits consist of just sex.  As the story unfolds, the relationship between Julian and Nora unfold as well.  Nora has a touch of Stockholm Syndrome for sure, and Julian, bless his Colombian heart, is a border-line sociopath.  As the story progresses, Julian becomes more and more obsessed with Nora, and she begins to define her life by him.  It's dark and it's scary, especially once we learn Julian's occupation.  The only thing I was sure of after reading Twist Me was that Julian fully believed that Nora belonged to him, and through his actions, he made her believe it, too.  There is a fantastic scene at the end of this book full of men that are evil - more evil than Julian.  I loved the culminating action in this book, and the suspense that followed.

Keep Me picks up not too long after Twist Me ends and we find a non-functioning Nora.  I mean, she's living her life, but she is not the person we left at the end of Twist Me.  She is fully dependent on Julian, but it's not as bad as it sounds.  Julian is fully dependent on Nora, too.  Keep Me takes us through more dysfunctional relationship moments between Nora and Julian, but we are also treated to a few happy, sweet and sexy moments, as well.  The depth of their feelings for one another is revealed, and Keep Me shows just how far they will go to keep the other safe.  

I love the darkness of the plot lines in this series.  Not just the complicated and fucked up relationship between the two main characters, but the fucked up story surrounding the fucked up couple.  They live in a dangerous world, where one wrong move can mean death or worse.  And believe me, "worse" is bad in this book.  I had a great time reading about the characters actions outside of one another.  

I also absolutely adore Julian.  Julian is a bad guy.  Like - really bad.  His dealings are illegal, but that's not event he worst of it.  This is a man that has lived through many tortuous life events.  I still question whether or not he has a conscious.  He is not completely evil, but he's more black than gray.  His obsession with Nora is fascinating, and he will go to any length to keep her safe.  His character does develop over these two books - changing from a man obsessed with the idea of a girl, to a man who would lay down his life to keep her.  I think that Julian definitely loves Nora, as much as he can.  It will never be conventional, but not all love is.  He would rather die than see anything happen to Nora, and the feeling is mutual.

Nora has changed a lot, too, over the course of these two books.  Beginning as a scared, innocent and defiant teenager, she grows up.  She's smart enough to know that her attachment to Julian is sick and twisted, but she knows that she is obsessed with him nonetheless.  She's very rational in her thought processes, even to the point where she knows she's in a helpless situation.  Things might not end well for her - she knows it and she doesn't care.  She even knows that Julian has made her into the woman he wants her to be, and she still doesn't care.  Her feelings for him are unbreakable, and she proves that she will move heaven and earth to be with her captor.  

Oh, and the sex scenes!  Holy smoking sex!  Anna Zaires can write some serious smut.  These scenes are fantastic.  Panty melting hawt!  I really can't say enough about them to do them justice.  This book was hot and sexy.  I knew it was all wrong, but it was oh, so right!  

The writing in this book was very well done.  The story moved quickly and the plot lines were very interesting.  I love the dynamic between Nora and Julian.  This story is different from others of its ilk.  Whereas in other similar stories show a redemption, or a major change in characters, this one stays true to its roots.  There are changes, but they are subtle.  Both Nora and Julian are fully aware that their obsessions are unhealthy and they each think they might be a bit crazy.  My point is that they are aware of this, and they could care less.  

These books must be read in order, or they wouldn't make any sense.  If you are a fan of dark romances containing questionable subject matter, then you cannot miss this series.  After reading these two books, I can firmly say that book three, Hold Me, has risen to the top of my must read books of 2015.


Melanie Simmons (mlsimmons) said...

I have Twist Me on audio. I haven't listened yet, but you have definitely moved it higher on my list. I haven't tried this author yet, but she was recommended to me by Kitty Thomas, another dark erotica writer. Thanks for the great review. :-)

Post a Comment

Due to an increase in spam, all comments are moderated. Even if you do not see an "awaiting approval" message, please only submit your comment once. Sorry for the inconvenience.