Book Review: Masked Innocence by Alessandra Torre

Book: Masked Innocence by Alessandra Torre – kindle edition, 304 pages.

Synopsis: The man was sinful. It wasn’t just the looks that made him dangerous, it was the cocky confidence that dominated every move, every touch. And the frustrating yet ecstatic fact about the whole package was that he could back it all up…

Julia Campbell never knows what to expect with win-at-all-costs Brad De Luca. And she’s starting to like it that way. She gave up safe, conventional relationships when she let the elite divorce attorney seduce her into his world. Now that he’s determined to strip her naked of every inhibition, she’s in danger of falling too deep and too fast.

But their affair begins to feel even more dangerous when a murder leaves a trail of suspicion that points straight to the mob… and Brad. Trusting a man with a bad reputation and a past full of secrets seems like a mistake. But when she’s forced to make a choice, the consequences will take her further than she could ever have imagined.

My thoughts: The first book off the shelf for 2017 was something a little bit different for me, as you could probably tell from the synopsis. I read the first book in this series last year, and was surprised by how much I enjoyed it. My introduction to Alessandra Torre was through her Deanna Madden ‘Girl in 6E’ series, and after absolutely devouring those I decided to check out some of the other books she had written. Although the majority of what she writes falls more under the chick lit/erotica banner than crime/thriller (which is more my cup of tea), I’ve found that her books are always a lot of fun and I enjoy reading them.

Having said that, I didn’t enjoy this book as much as I enjoyed the first in the series. I’m not sure if it was because it wasn’t as new and fun to me as the first book was, but I felt like it fell a little flat. I found the protaganist in this book quite grating, and I’m not sure if that was because she made some terrible decisions throughout the book, or because I’m not a fan of “sassy” characters in general. The ‘hero’ in the book was also far less appealing to me than he was in book one. At one point in the story the lines of consent get a little bit blurry, and although I know erotica can push the boundaries in this area I’m still not a fan of the idea in general.

Overall I didn’t find this as fun and lighthearted as book one, which was the appeal for me in the first place. I think if you’re looking for an easy read (that’s more than a little bit raunchy), try Blindfolded Innocence; if you’re a fan of that, check this out… just go into it with mid-to-low level expectations.

Rating: 4/10

50 Book Challenge (part 8)

The Raven Room by Ana Medeiros – 1/10 – Hmm. I really don’t like writing negative reviews for things, especially books. Having said that, I really did not like this book. I think this book should come with a trigger warning of some kind, because it features a lot of physical and emotional abuse and some scenes that border on rape. Really, beyond that is there any need for me to explain why I didn’t enjoy it? I don’t think so.
What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty – 8/10 – I love the way Liane Moriarty writes about Australian life. It’s so honest and her characters are always believable. Although this wasn’t my favourite out of her books that I’ve read so far, I found it really enjoyable and difficult to put down. If you’re after a funny contemporary fiction with a few twists and turns along the way you can’t go wrong with this.
The Secrets We Keep by Trisha Leaver – 5/10 – You know that feeling when a main character in the book you’re reading constantly makes mind-bogglingly terrible decisions that don’t really make any sense? That’s what this book will give you. The story is basically laid out in the blurb, so I don’t think I’m giving anything away by saying this – the thing that pissed me off the most about this book was the fact that Ella completely took away her parent’s ability to properly grieve the loss of their daughter. Bizarre.
The Girl In 6E by A.R. Torre – 9/10 – So close to a perfect rating! So very close. I enjoyed this book a lot, so much so that halfway through reading it I put a reservation on the second book in the series at my local library. Gotta be prepared. This book was really different to anything I’ve ever read. Murderous female protaganist? Check. Interesting and believable erotica? Check. Romance!? Check. This was a great book, and I highly recommended it – but it’s definitely not for the faint hearted.

50 Book Challenge (part 7)

You by Caroline Kepnes 10/10 – Guys, this book was amazing and is my favourite book of the year (so far). Having said that, this is definitely not a book for everyone and I can imagine a few people actually flat out hating it so proceed with caution. I won’t say too much about the story because I think it’s best to go in blind, but if you’re a fan of dark psychological thrillers, this could be one to check out. The sequel comes out at the beginning of next year, and I am VERY EXCITED about it.
Dangerous Boys by Abigail Haas 3/10 – I read ‘Dangerous Girls’ by Abigail Haas last year (I think?), and enjoyed it quite a lot but unfortunately I didn’t like this book nearly as much. The story follows a similar sort of path, something big happens and we go on a sort of backwards journey to try and figure out what actually happened on “that fateful night”. The characters in this book weren’t as believable to me, I didn’t connect to them in any way so the ending left me feeling really flat and unimpressed.
The Good Girls by Sara Shepard 5/10 – I’ve never read any of the Pretty Little Liars series, but I know they’re wildly popular so I was excited to read this book to see what Sara Shepard’s writing style was like. I was pleasantly surprised by this book, and enjoyed it quite a lot. It was also a good one to help with my 50 Book Challenge, because it was a very quick read for me. If you’re looking for a bit of fun teenage mystery or if you’re already a fan of the Pretty Little Liars series, this would definitely be a good one to pick up.
The Killing Lessons by Saul Black 9/10 – I’m always a bit nervous picking up a hefty sized book after a couple of light YA novels, because I often get stuck in them and they can be a bit of a speed bump in my reading progress. Thankfully I was captivated within the first chapter of this book, and it was so hard to put down that I finished it in a couple of days. This is an awesome thriller/crime novel, but is very violent and kind of gruesome in parts so again I’d say it’s not for everyone and certainly not for the faint hearted. As a general recommendation, if you liked Intensity by Dean Koontz, I think you will like this.

50 Book Challenge (part 6)

It’s amazing how a good book can really motivate you to read, and to keep picking up more books after you’ve finished that one. God bless these books for kick-starting my love of reading. I’m down to 12 books behind, which means I’m one book ahead of where I was at the last time I posted a 50 Book Challenge wrap up. We can do this!

Pleasure Island by Anna-Lou Weatherley 6/10 – This was my first ever NetGalley book, and I was excited to see what it was like. I like that it was the kind of book that I’d never have picked up if I hadn’t seen it listed on NetGalley. I really enjoyed this book, it was a bit of an adventure and a lot of fun. I think it’d make for a good beach read, so if you’re after something a bit sexy and fun this is one to pop in your beach bag this summer.

The Rest Of Us Just Live Here by Patrick Ness 6/10 – This book was gifted to me by the lovely Tonile from My Cup and Chaucer (thanks again Tonile!), and it was a really fun YA paranormal with a twist. I’ve often wondered about all of the normal people who live in book-based paranormal worlds – don’t they wonder what the hell is going on with all of the vampires and werewolves running around? This story deals with people inside a world like that, but separated from the main “action”. A fun read, and worth picking up if you like YA books that sit just outside the norm.

A Time To Run by J.M. Peace 7/10 – I didn’t realise this book was set in Australia until I picked it up, which was a pleasant surprise for me. This book was all too real and extremely creepy. I love a good police procedural, and what I liked about this was the healthy balance between the parallel stories as they played out. I also love a book with strong female characters, and this did not disappoint. I powered through this book pretty quickly, it was definitely thrilling and even brought a tear to my eye a few times.

A Hundred Summers by Beatriz Williams 8/10 – I put this book on my to-read list after seeing a booktuber mention it as a book she re-reads every summer. I love books like that (for me it’s a children’s book – All In The Blue Unclouded Weather by Robin Klein – don’t judge), ones you can read over and over again and they never lose their magic. I didn’t really know what to expect when I picked this book up, but obviously I liked what I saw because I read this book in one day. The whole book. And it’s 357 pages long. I adored the setting of this book, Rhode Island in the 1930s. I especially loved the character development, and the believable romance. There are a few twists and turns along the way that aren’t too surprising, but still interesting enough to watch play out. Would I read this again next summer? Without a doubt.

50 Book Challenge 2015 (part 1)

I was in two minds about whether I wanted to participate in a reading challenge this year, especially one with such a high book count. The reason I decided to bite the bullet and join in again for 2015, is mainly because I have so much holiday time owing to me this year. One of my favourite things to do while on holiday is read, and I think this will help motivate me to make the most of my free reading time this year. I’m currently on holidays, and have spent quite a lot of time reading. So much so, that I’m already ahead in my reading challenge. Very exciting! Here’s what I’ve read this year so far –

The Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraith (8/10) – It took me a little while to get stuck into this book, but once I did I really enjoyed it. J.K. Rowling has a knack for creating characters with real warmth and depth, and writing under Robert Galbraith has definitely not robbed her of that skill. If you like a good murder mystery and enjoy reading books that instantly transport you (in your mind’s eye, of course) to London, I would suggest picking this up.

The Night Listener by Armistead Maupin (3/10) – This was my first book club book for 2015, and I listened to it on Audible (audiobooks are great if you have a long commute to/from work like I do, and you’ve already listened to Taylor Swift’s album so many times that you now you kind of hate it). I think I had expectations of this book that weren’t fulfilled, because it really disappointed me. I’m fine with books remaining open-ended, if it seems that there was some purpose to the story as a whole, but this just didn’t do it for me. Despite this, I’m still excited to discuss it at our next book club meeting, especially after discovering that it’s based on a true story.

Astonish Me by Maggie Shipstead (5/10) – Em over at Em For Marvelous mentioned this book in a post last year, and it sounded quite interesting so I added it to my Goodreads to-read list. I had a chance to pick it up at my local library at the beginning of the year, and I got stuck into it right away. I actually found it really hard to get invested in this story, which is something that seems to happen when plots span a long timeline, and the story jumps back and forth every few chapters. I did, however, really enjoy the ballet element of this book. So much so that I had a strong urge to watch Black Swan again (which is still a great movie, if you’re wondering).

The Raft by S. A. Bodeen (2/10) – I really didn’t have very high expectations for this book, I knew it would be a quick and easy YA read and in that regard I wasn’t disappointed. I love a good ‘castaway’ style story, and this was good in that regard. Everything else about it was pretty average, and way too many animals died for my liking.

The Merciless by Danielle Vega (7/10) – I really enjoyed this book. I remember Kimberley saying she really enjoyed it when she read it last year, and now I know why. This is YA done really well. None of the characters are annoying, the story flows well, and there is something of a resolution at the end of the book. I was picturing this whole story playing out in my mind while reading it, and I feel like it’d make for a really good movie or TV series. Is this going to be a series of books? It should be. I’m so lazy, I should probably google it myself. I’d suggest picking this up if you’re in the mood for a well written but easy YA read. Also if you like your books slightly on the creepy side.