Born into a Russian Mafia family, Vlad Karev is no stranger to violence…but this time it’s personal. Someone has murdered his father and Vlad can’t rest until he finds the killer. When the trail leads to an art gallery, Vlad wants to dig deeper, but he needs help from the owner’s daughter. The pretty redhead is far too innocent for a man like Vlad, but he’ll do what it takes to get the information he needs. His obligations are to the family, even if that means using the fiery woman.
Madison O’Connor works hard to keep her family’s gallery going, although secretly she has little interest in art. But when she discovers her father’s been laundering money for the Russian Mafia, she’ll do everything she can to keep him out of jail. She hates to lie, but she has a plan…seduce the Russian bad boy to learn the mob’s secrets. Never mind his dangerous exterior or icy blue eyes, Madison’s going to get her family free of the mob, even if she has to use Vlad Karev to do it.
As the killer gets closer, so do Vlad and Madison. But is their connection just the means to an end, or could their romance be real?
Safety Level: Safe
Cliffhanger: Ends on a semi-cliffy
I’ve read many books from Ms. North. Most of those have been about handsome sheikhs finding true love with women who are seemingly incomparable from their usual type. I took a chance on this series because I like Russian mafia stories, and I wanted to see how the whole series would be played out. I didn’t expect that the bigger series arc was going to remain unsolved until the very last book.
On the romance-side, I think that the insta-love factor in this book wasn’t detrimental at all. I like that both characters started out with a lack of trust for the other. It made them aware of what the other person was capable of. Because of that, I believe that, in the long run, this pairing would work because they both seem to really know each other better than I would have expected.
I will be moving on to the second book right after this review because I want to know what contributions Maxim would give to the investigation.
Her Rogue Russian Author: Leslie North Series: Karev Brothers #2 Published on: January 11th 2017 Pages: 102 Genres: Contemporary Romance Hero: Maxim Karev Heroine: Savannah Casillero
Former Russian mobster Maxim Karev is a man with something to prove. His father’s been murdered and even his own brother thinks he’s guilty. To clear his name, Maxim has to return to the organization he left behind. He likes to work alone, but this time an FBI agent leaves him little choice—either she goes in undercover with him, or Maxim can rot in jail. One thing’s for sure—he’s not going down for a crime he didn’t commit. If playing with the beautiful agent is what it takes to prove his innocence, Maxim is prepared to go the distance.
FBI agent Savannah Casillero never backs down. She already lost her partner on this case, and now she’s more determined than ever to find Sergey Karev’s killer. With the Mafia’s former head of security under her thumb, she finally has a way inside—as Maxim’s girlfriend. Controlling the lone wolf may be a bit of challenge, but Savannah’s confident she can handle it. The six-and-a-half-foot Mafia man is certainly not her type, but she’ll do more than play along to make it believable.
They’re willing to work together to track down a killer, but when the ruse becomes a little too real, will Maxim and Savannah give in to temptation or hold fast to their original obligations?
Safety Level: Safe
I was very excited for this book because Maxim was painted out to be the black sheep. He’s one of Vlad’s suspects for their father’s death. He’s the one who left the “family” and made his own way by working at a motorcycle shop. Unfortunately, I have to honestly say that this book fell short of my expectations.
I was really thinking this was going to be a good redemption story. I was expecting that Maxim was going to uncover significant facts that will move them closer to finding the real killer and traitor. That goes without saying that the ending kinda disappointed me. The most that happened was that he was take into custody again, with the heroine making arrangements so all charges against him were dropped and he was made into an FBI “consultant”. Yeah, that sounds too impossible. I don’t understand how he’d get to be a consultant when he didn’t have any vital info. He was still an outsider in the bratva, and the heroine was actually the one who did more work than him.
The love story wasn’t that great either. There were so many places that this book could have gone, but I’m sad to say it stuck to a one-dimensional story line that just didn’t work for me.
Her Relentless Russian Author: Leslie North Series: Karev Brothers #3 Published on: January 24th 2017 Pages: 103 Genres: Contemporary Romance Hero: Dmitry Karev Heroine: Harper Allen
Rare bookstore owner Dmitry Karev left the Russian Mafia behind when his wife died, but there’s too much at stake to keep his back turned any longer. His father is dead and his brothers may be next. Someone’s been leaving Dmitry clues about the killer, but he never expected his informant to be a bombshell like Harper Allen. Now the curvy computer expert is testing not only Dmitry’s methodical nature, but his self-restraint as well. But with his family’s lives in the balance, Harper may be the best chance Dmitry’s got to catch a killer.
When hacker Harper Allen’s parents used her college money to pay off the Mafia, it was Sergey Karev who financed her education. Now that he’s been murdered, she’s repaying him the only way she can…by helping his son solve the crime. To follow the trail any further, though, she’ll have to convince Dmitry to work with her. The buttoned-up Russian seems hesitant at first, but it doesn’t take long for Harper to discover what’s beneath Dmitry’s icy cool demeanor.
As Harper and Dmitry worm their way deeper into the Russian Mafia, their chemistry becomes undeniable. But with a killer at their heels, they’ll have to stay focused if they want to stay alive.
Safety Level: Safe
As disappointed as I was with the second installment, I still had to read and review this book because I got this free from NetGalley in exchange for this review. The least I can do is put up an honest review about this book and the series as a whole.
Honestly, I wanted to like this book. The hero, Dmitry, was a quiet man who would rather hang out at his book store and spend time with his books than lose himself in the bratva. In a way, I actually like his character, and it was consistent with how he appeared in the previous books. However, what I couldn’t get over with was the heroine. Seriously, I just don’t know how to connect to her character. She was this hacker, this burlesque trained seductress, and a whatever else she probably is. It was just not a credible enough character.
I would have thought that the ending of this series would have given readers more action and suspense. However, I couldn’t decide if it was a romance masquerading as a suspense book or vice versa. Yes, romantic suspense novels are actually great, but this book felt like it didn’t know if it wanted to give more weight to the suspense or the brewing romance between the main characters.
Leslie North is the pen name for a critically-acclaimed author of women’s contemporary romance and fiction. The anonymity gives her the perfect opportunity to paint with her full artistic palette, especially in the romance and erotic fantasy genres.
The truth of the matter is she loves her fictional persona, Leslie North, more than her normal, day-to-day persona! Her bestselling books focus on strong characters and particularly women who aren’t afraid to challenge an alpha male. Inspired after years of travel, her stories are set all over the world, from the tough streets of Russia to the beautiful beaches of the middle east.
Leslie fell in love with romance when she first picked up a scrappy, dog-eared romance book from her local library. She began writing soon after and the rest, as they say, was history. She now lives in a cozy cottage on the British coast and enjoys taking long walks with her two Dalmatians, George and Fergie.