Raze, by Tillie Cole

Raze 2

Grade: B+

Doing it at: 47%

Catnip: Mortal Kombat, Russian Mobsters, Amnesia, Revenge, Dangerous Criminal Villain, Star-crossed Lovers, Virgin

Shame Scale: Low.

Fantasy Cast:  Stephen Amell, Katie Cassidy

Book Description:

TO TAKE BACK LIFE, ONE MUST FIRST FACE DEATH…

Conditioned in captivity to maim, to kill and to slaughter, prisoner 818 becomes an unrivaled and unstoppable fighter in the ring. Violence is all he knows. After years of incarceration in an underground hell, only one thought occupies his mind: revenge… bloody, slow and violent revenge. Revenge on the man who wronged him. 
Kisa Volkova is the only daughter of Kirill ‘The Silencer’ Volkov, head of the infamous ‘Red’ bosses of New York’s Russian Bratva. Her life is protected. In reality, it’s a virtual prison. Her father’s savage treatment of his rivals and his lucrative and coveted underground gambling ring-The Dungeon-ensures too many enemies lurk at their door. She dreams to be set free. Kisa has known only cruelty and loss in her short life. While working for her church-the only reprieve in her constant surveillance-Kisa stumbles across a tattooed, scarred, but stunningly beautiful homeless man on the streets. Something about him stirs feelings deep within her; familiar yet impossibly forbidden desires. He doesn’t talk. Doesn’t communicate with anyone.

He’s a man beyond saving. But Kisa becomes obsessed with him. Yearns for him. Craves his touch. Needs to possess this mysterious man… … this man they call Raze.


Tillie Cole really impressed us with her Hades Hangmen series, so I was super excited to tuck into Raze, the first book of four in the Scarred Souls series: Russian mafia, underground Mortal Kombat fighting, star-crossed lovers, and amnesia. It basically has everything. 

Prisoner 818 (Raze) has been imprisoned in an underground cell in a deplorable Russian Gulag prison/fighting club for as long as he can remember. Like, he literally can’t remember anything before being brought there as a boy years ago; he has been shocked, tortured, and drugged till he had no recollection of his identity. He has been forced into death match fighting, and he is a monstrous killing machine filled with nothing but hate, with over 600 kills under his belt. His only goal is revenge on the man who did this to him; he has a name and an address in Brooklyn carved on the wall of his cell. Raze has no idea about the specifics of why he needs revenge, but the wall says he needs to kill him, so, YOLO. Then one day the prisoners overpower the guards and he escapes. With nothing on his mind but revenge, he heads to NY.

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Dirty Promises, by Karina Halle

dirty promises 2

Grade: A

Doing it at: 8%

Catnip: Once Upon A Time In Mexico, Marriage on the Rocks, Revenge, Mexican Drug Cartels, Hate To Love You, He’s Basically A Criminal, Dangerous Criminal Villain, A Lot Of Blood, Adultery

Shame Scale: I can’t even rate this.

Fantasy Cast: Gael Garcia Bernal, young Penelope Cruise

Book Description:

Dirty Promises is the final book in The Dirty Angels Trilogy. While the first two books can be read as standalones, Dirty Promises can not. Reading Dirty Angels and Dirty Deeds beforehand is HIGHLY recommended.

Also, people sensitive to violence and immoral characters who make questionable decisions should refrain from reading this book. The real cartel life is not pretty, not easy and certainly NOT romantic and that is more than reflected in Dirty Promises.

Blood. Sex. Revenge.
It ain’t easy being king.
Drug lord Javier Bernal has sliced and diced his way to the top of the Mexican drug trade, presiding over the country’s largest cartel. But his rise to power comes at a brutal price: the death of his sister, Alana. Devastated and wracked with guilt, he turns away from his new wife, Luisa, forcing their marriage into a steady decline. But it isn’t until she’s pushed into the waiting arms of Esteban Mendoza, his right-hand man, that Javier realizes everything he’s lost.
And it isn’t until he learns the truth about Alana, that he realizes everything there is to gain.
Blood will spill.
Cities will burn.
Heads will roll.
Because Javier will stop at nothing until he gets what he wants.
And what he wants is raw, ruthless revenge.
The most dangerous man is the one with nothing left to lose.


Mary: We were having an important Blog Meeting.

drunk alec

drunk amy

drunk lucy

Cleone: We are a PROFESSIONAL blog, so of course our meetings have cocktails! And we were drinking Old Fashioned’s, like Don Draper.

M: We were watching Too Wong Foo and discussing Karina Halle’s upcoming release, Dirty Promises (the sequel to Dirty Angels and Dirty Deeds), and how we needed to get our hands on a copy of the ARC at any cost. So that’s when we decided to drunk message one of our very favorite authors. Cleone wrote a very appropriate and polite request for an ARC. But then I left the room, and she went rogue and closed it with:

 P.S. The original draft of this message was, “Whose dick do we have to suck to get an ARC?”

C: I can’t be trusted, but I’m funny, right? Right!

M: Karina Halle never responded, which, duh, means our hilarious message went to her spam folder, and not that she decided to ignore our way-too-informal-for-a-stranger, totally tasteless email. Please don’t try and convince us otherwise, we live in this place called Denial with #noregrets.

C: It’s pretty here, all of our bad decision bar hook-ups look like Tom Hardy in Denial.

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Dirty Angels, by Karina Halle

Dirty Angels

Grade: A-

Doing it at: 68%

Catnip: Mexican Drug Cartels, Dark Romance, Dangerous Criminal Villain, He’s Basically A Criminal, Revenge, Hate To Love You, Stockholm Syndrome, Virgin

Shame Scale: I don’t even know why we’re still rating this. We’re hardly ashamed of anything anymore. No shame, even though the hero is a savage who literally enjoys sawing off people’s body parts.

What Do We Taste Like?: Seductive, more delicious than milk and honey. “I should drink you with my tea in the mornings.”

Fantasy Cast: Gael Garcia Bernal, A young Penelope Cruz

Book Description:

For Luisa Chavez, a twenty-three year old former beauty queen, a better life has always been just out of her reach. Sure, she’s had men at her feet since she was a young teenager but she’s never had the one thing she’s craved – security. Having grown up in near poverty, her waitressing job in Cabo San Lucas can barely let her take care of herself, let alone her ailing parents. Every day is another unwanted advance, every day is a struggle to survive. 

When Salvador Reyes, the depraved leader of a major Mexican cartel, takes an interest in her, Luisa is presented with an opportunity she can’t afford to pass up. She’ll become Salvador’s wife and exchange her freedom and body for a life of riches – riches she can bestow upon her deserving parents. But Luisa quickly finds out that even the finest wines and jewels can’t undo the ugliness in her marriage, nor the never-ending violence that threatens her every move. 

Soon, Luisa is looking for an escape, a way out of the carefully controlled life she’s leading. She finally gets her wish in the worst way possible. 

As it is, being the wife of Salvador makes her an ideal target for rival cartels and there’s one particular man who needs Luisa as part of his cartel’s expansion. One particular man whose quest for power has destroyed lives, slit throats and gotten him out of an American prison. One particular man who will stop at nothing until he gets what he wants. 

That man is Javier Bernal. And he wants Luisa. He wants to take her, keep her, ruin her. 

Unless she ruins him first. 

Some men were born to create empires, some women were meant to be queen. 


Mary: This book was so much fun, you guys. It’s a dark romance, but it’s also really light, if that makes any sense? The hero is a ruthless savage who kidnaps the heroine and literally carves his name in her back, but it was also incredibly funny and sexy. And not in a torture pain sexy way, but in a legit that sex sounds real fun way.

Dirty a 8

M: We met Javier in The Artist Trilogy, and admittedly, Cleone and I were both strongly #Team Cam, but with sympathy for Javier – so I was looking forward to him getting his HEA.

C: Javier is a real bad man, he’s not like villain-lite or a guy who just made some bad choices, he’s damaged and dangerous. He’s everything Dylan McKay claims to be when he says he’s mad, bad, and dangerous to know.

M: This book picks up several years after we last saw Javier. He’s back in Mexico, and is now the leader of a medium sized drug cartel.

C: He has money and power, but not as much as he would like, Javier is looking to move up the ranks and control more of Mexico’s drug trade. Reading these books is making Mexico sound like a really scary place, googling cartel+violence is making it seem even scarier. You might want to safe-search your images if you decide to do that, I don’t know your level of comfort for pictures of corpses on pastoral roadsides.

M: Luisa Chavez is a ex-beauty queen, struggling to make ends meet while taking care of her parents. (Note – googling “Mexican beauty queen” is also a terribly depressing search) One day, Salvador Reyes, the leader of Mexico’s largest and most powerful drug cartel, walks into the bar where she works, asks her some really intrusive questions, and just generally scares the crap out of her.

When he asks her to marry him, she says yes, because it would allow her to give her parents a better life. And also because she’s no dummy. She knows that if she says no he’ll kill her.

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