Review: Skin Dive by Ava Gray

Format: E-bookskindive
Read with: iBooks for iPad
Length: Novel
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Series: Skin, #4
Publisher: Berkley Books
Hero: Taye
Heroine: Gillie Flynn
Sensuality: 3
Date of Publication: July 5, 2011
Started On: October 24, 2013
Finished On: November 13, 2013

The Skin series by Ava Gray which comprises of 4 books in total started out so great. And by great I mean like the type of books that keeps you riveted and at the edge of your seat mixed with so much passion and heart thumping variety of alpha heroes that totally makes one swoon. And after I finally painstakingly managed to finish the last and final book which happens to be this one, I’m left with the question; what the hell happened?!

We meet Taye and Gillie, if I am not mistaken in book 2 of the series. Even then my interest was at an all time high to read about the mysterious Taye with the ability to control electric power and magnetic elements and of course his obsession with the woman who holds his undivided attention with whom he escapes from the prison in which they had both been subjected to various tests and experimentation, not to mention torture. And in Skin Dive we finally get their story, their journey of trying to find their own footing in a world that is still riddled with danger as their captors never cease in their attempts to look for both of them.

Gillie is a healer who bears the scars left behind by every person she had been forced to test her abilities on. She would rather she never have to use her abilities, but that doesn’t mean she is not going to stand up on her own two feet and test her boundaries and the sense of freedom that comes from leaving behind her days of captivity. Her need for Taye starts out as a slow burn that grows into an inferno of wanton desire, something Taye seems quite adapt at turning his back on though Gillie comes to realize later on just at how much of a cost he does it.

Skin Dive had all the elements that would have actually made this a wonderful read. Taye is a hero who has that brooding thing down to perfection. He has no memory of his past apart from fragments of disjointed nightmares that makes him believe that he is no good for someone pure like Gillie. The heroine Gillie sometimes made me question her abilities into truly seeing into the person Taye is. Taye hides from Gillie the price his “gift” takes on him, just how much of himself is withering away and dying every time he makes use of his powers to fight with their captors.

Then came a period of separation, which I’m all for if it adds on to the angst factor of two people supposedly so much in love with each other. Taye loves Gillie more than life itself and wants the best for her which is one reason he keeps out of her life, leaving her to make her own way. And though it did add a bit of angst to the story, I just somehow came up feeling empty rather than fulfilled when these two eventually make their way together again. Perhaps it had something to do with Taye’s feelings during the separation being kept under lock and key while Gillie’s were explained in depth.

Towards the latter part of the book, I just skimmed through the pages which seemed to bring to an end the organization that had been responsible for keeping people like Taye and Gillie as their own test subjects under captivity. And one other aspect of disappointment turned out to be how Tanager, the girl with an attitude a mile wide had her happily ever after crushed right in front of her which just made me sigh out in unhappiness and disappointment though I know that that is how life works out for most of the time.

I would recommend for those interested to read up to book 3. I loved those three books and would definitely recommend them. This one? Not so much.

Favorite Quotes

She had kissed him before, a clumsy caress that left him reeling with pleasure. He’d kissed her at McGinty’s to get the bastards to leave her alone. This time it would be different. He snared her hand and spun her into his arms. Lowering his head, he claimed her lips with fierce longing; he parted them with a single movement and then touched his tongue to hers. She whimpered, a sound full of innocence and curiosity. It set him on fire.

With such casual friendliness, he smiled like it hadn’t broken her heart to say good-bye to him, as if he’d never made love to her with his mouth, and she didn’t know what his face looked like when he came.

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Review: Skin Heat by Ava Gray

Format: E-bookskinheat
Read with: iBooks for iPad
Length: Novel
Genre: Paranormal Romantic Suspense
Series: Skin, #3
Publisher: Berkley
Hero: Zeke Noble
Heroine: Geneva Harper
Sensuality: 4
Date of Publication: January 4, 2011
Started On: August 9, 2013
Finished On: August 19, 2013

After more than a year’s hiatus since I read the 2nd book in this 4 book series by Ava Gray, I finally managed to delve into Skin Heat, the 3rd book in this delectable series featuring Zeke Nobel, a hero from the wrong side of town and Geneva Harper, the only daughter of the richest family in the town of Harper Creek.

Zeke is a changed man after his escape from those that had held him under captivity and tortured him until he had thought that he wouldn’t be able to carry on. Given his family history, Zeke is a man who keeps to himself and that alone forces himself to shoulder his burdens all alone and take one step at a time to bring at least some semblance to normalcy into his life.

Neva is the owner of Paws & Claws, a veterinarian, defiantly standing tall and proud in her quest to be true to what she wants in life and not what her parents want her to be. Though her choice of a career drives a wedge between her and her parents, Neva refuses to give up the one thing that gives her happiness.

When Zeke comes knocking on her clinic’s door looking for work, this marks the beginning of a relationship that grows slowly amidst a lot of misgivings on both Zeke and Neva’s part. Zeke because though he has yearned for Neva more than half of his life, knows deep down inside that Harpers and Nobles will never mix believes that he is not good enough for the likes of a woman who is as wonderful as Neva. Neva feels that being Zeke’s boss, she should not be the one who cannot keep her thoughts from straying into more sinful ventures when it comes to Zeke.

But the time Zeke and Neva spends together finally pushes their frayed control to the edge until the break brings with it a passion that refuses to be denied, no matter what. But then, there is a darkness that seems to hunt Neva, a killer on the loose whose victims bear a striking resemblance to her, with the web of danger around her closing in until it all comes down to who will win; her or the killer.

Though my memory might be faulty, Skin Heat seemed to deviate a bit from its usual pace and setup and seemed to offer a story that was a bit laid back when compared to the rest of 2 books in the series. Even then, Skin Heat is a book that invoked a lot of mixed reactions from me. The biggest one of which was related to the villain, who definitely turned out to be a surprise. His background and the life he had led as a child was one that haunted me while reading and I believe it is still haunting me even as I write the review. There is this hint of something almost desperate in his last thoughts before succumbing to death, a fact that I don’t think I will get over anytime soon.

Zeke makes for a heartbreaking hero. I loved him. Oh my god, how I loved the broken but yet strong man he is. There is a fire that burns in his soul that refuses to be tamped down though life hasn’t been all that great to him. And when the bastards who held him captive and tortured him for days changes something fundamental inside of him that renders him almost completely helpless if you judge the world through the modern standards people have to live up to, simply put it just broke my heart to read about him. Ava Gray did a marvelous job out of creating Zeke, and she has achieved what she set out to do, especially given the fact that I wouldn’t be able to forget him soon, if ever!

For more than half the story and beyond I thought that Neva would never be able to earn my wholehearted approval as she always seemed to be hesitating and reserving a piece of herself when it came to Zeke. But when push came to shove, she stepped up beautifully and replaced all that lingering doubt with love for the way she accepts Zeke and loves him and accepts him for who she is.

A review of Skin Heat would not be complete without mentioning the very interesting ABI agent Emil Hebert whose happily ever after I would definitely love to read!

Recommended for fans of the Skin series, fans of Ava Gray and fans of romantic suspense with a dash of paranormal in the mix.

Final Verdict: Skin Heat is a novel that has a haunting quality to it, and that alone is a testament to Ava Gray’s remarkable talent.

Favorite Quotes

“Take me,” she whispered.
A shudder rolled through him. He pounced on her. That was the only word for it. In one graceful leap he had her in his arms. He ripped his own shirt off her back, tore the fabric with his hands. A low growl escaped him as he buried his face in the curve of her neck. This time he used his teeth on her, not hard enough to break the skin, but fierce animal nips that made her want to fall back and give him her throat.

He entered her in one fierce thrust. Hard. Fast. His hands hurt a little, but it was a pain that made her lift up higher to push back against him. Her field of vision went white with the pleasure sparking through her. His low grunts of pleasure woke an answering atavistic need in her. Nothing mattered, nothing but this.

Neva came in a cascade of heat. Moaning, she swept a hand beneath and wet her fingers, riding them as she flicked her clit to another orgasm. Then she eased it outward and encircled his throbbing shaft. Squeezed.
“Mine,” she whispered. “I marked you. You smell like me.”
He gave a possessive growl and went with a raw groan, spurting hot from her hand all over her thigh.

Her contractions drove him over. His whole body tightened and he urged himself into her over and over, trying to imprint himself on her. Nobody else for you, ever. Only me. Just mine. Love you. Mine. The words melted into a kaleidoscope of cascading colors and feelings. He wrapped his arms around her while they both trembled. Tingles spilled through him, lighting him up from base of spine to base of skull. He’d never known anything like it.

“Spread for me.”
She almost came at his white-hot instruction and rose on her tiptoes, quivering from head to toe in anticipation. Zeke sank himself home in one long thrust; a satisfied growl tore free as he pumped into her, rough and hard. Neva tried to support herself on her arms, but they trembled. She couldn’t think, only feel.

Her whole body felt flushed and hungry. “Now? Please, now.”
His reply came when he hitched her up and sank into her. Neva locked her ankles behind his back, gloriously full. He made her feel soft and small and so cherished. She rolled her hips, tightening her muscles on his cock. Zeke moaned. He gripped her hips and thrust in long, deep strokes.
“Oh. More.”
“Mine,” he whispered.

Purchase Links: Amazon | B&N | Kobo | iBooks


Review: Skin Tight by Ava Gray

Format: E-book
Opens with: Amazon Kindle
Length: Novel
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Series: Skin, Book 2
Publisher: Berkley Sensation
Hero: Søren Frost
Heroine: Mia Sauter
Sensuality: 3
Date of Publication: June 1, 2010
Started On: February 16, 2011
Finished On: February 16, 2011

Those who have read Skin Game, Book 1 in the Skin series would know what I mean when I say that the hooker scene featuring the enigmatic Addison Foster totally reeled me in on his character and made me impatient to find more about him and what tragedy it was that was driving him to seek the destruction of whoever it is that he is seeking. And it is during the aforementioned book 1 that Mia and Addision come in contact with each other which made me totally itchy from the need to read Skin Tight. And thank God for the fact that this title had already been released by the time I decided to indulge in the Skin series or I would have been in deep trouble if not! Though Skin Tight can be read as a standalone, I would advise you to read book 1 first because you really need to see Addison in his element in book 1 to really appreciate and feel for his character in his own story.

Søren Frost or Addison Foster is a man who has lived by so many personalities and names in the past few years that he has almost forgotten who he really is. Originally from Denmark, Søren’s parents had arrived in America as immigrants when Søren had been 3 years old. It is two years later that Søren gets vaccinated by “free” vaccines passed out by The Foundation whose main agenda had been experimenting on humans to create a superior race which would profit them with millions and billions of dollars in the times to come. Søren’s ability lies in making those who come in contact with him live or believe him to be what their fantasies want him to be. Unable to bear with the loneliness of being single all his life Søren had taken the plunge and got married to a woman who had never seen him for who he really is but called him James all throughout their marriage. Piece by piece, shard by shard, Søren had crumbled and fallen apart so much that he had turned into a shell of the man he had once been until his daughter Lexie had been born who had been his single most priced “possession” in his otherwise bleak world. When Lexie had been taken away from him in a horrible car accident, leaving just a brainless body behind who requires a life support machine, Søren’s fury knows no bounds as he vows vengeance on The Foundation who has turned him into what he is, nearly driving him to take his own life at one time. It is when Mia accidentally stumbles into his life that color begins to seep into his otherwise gray world, thawing the blocks of ice that has surrounded his heart and locked away his emotions for far too long.

Mia Sauter is the daughter of a feminist American mother and an Iranian father who had tried and failed to convince the woman he had fallen in love with to marry him so that they could become a proper family. Mia had never known any happiness during her childhood, either at home or school where she is ridiculed for being geeky and nerdy and not being interested in the usual things that kids her age are forever losing themselves in. Mia’s carefree photojournalist mother resented Mia’s existence which had reined in her constant need to roam and travel around the world and later had turned to the bottle to cure all her woes. Mia, a woman who has a way with numbers and computers becomes a forensic accountant specializing in corporate embezzlement and it had been her ingenuity in stealing from others that had made her so successful in finding out those who were stealing from the big corporations who were willing to pay huge sums of money to sniff out those leeching money from them. Like Søren, Mia too has no place she would call home and constantly travels from one place to another as her career demands from her though she yearns for someone to love her and ride into the sunset with her as Reyes had done for Kyra.

It is when Mia rushes in to save Kyra that she meets the enigmatic Søren, then known as Addison and the attraction that flares between them is hard to ignore for Mia though Søren makes a convincing job of showing that attraction is the furthest thing he feels for her. When Søren feeds her to the wolf and leaves her alone in captivity till Kyra and Reyes comes along to rescue her, Mia is more shattered than she should be about a man with eerie glacier blue eyes ringed with silver, who seems to affect her in ways no other man has ever had.

When Mia stumbles across Søren once again a year later when she takes up a job at Micor Technologies she doesn’t know whether to consider him friend or foe; but neither is she immune to the strong feelings of the baser nature that Søren still seems to be able to invoke in her – feelings that he seems to feel for her in spades this time around. With secrecy surrounding Søren’s every move, Mia is hopelessly ensnared in Søren’s plans of revenge against The Foundation without having a clue into the kind of world that she has stepped into.

As the body count begins to rise, so does Mia’s need for answers from the man who is such a bundle of contradictions, who steals her heart regardless of the continuous pep talks that she subjects herself to. And Søren is not much better off when Mia steals the key to his heart and unlocks the steel fortress that has surrounded it for so long and it is then Søren has to decide whether his love for Mia should triumph over his need for revenge or whether he should walk the Earth as a lonesome shell for the rest of his life.

Things that made this book rock my world:

  • Søren Frost. He is undeniably one of the most broken heroes that I have come across and that made me fall for him that much harder in the end. I felt his pain, anguish and sorrow at things he couldn’t change regardless of how much he wanted them to and when he is confronted with baring his soul once again, I understood what was driving him to deny his feelings even though it was clear for all the world to see how he really felt about Mia. Seen through Mia’s eyes, Søren is a character that any romance reader would feel for and fall head over heels in love with and I was in no way an exception to this rule.
  • Mia Sauter. I didn’t care much for Kyra in Skin Game and was prepared to not feel much for Mia as well. But Ava Gray has done a splendid job with her heroine in this one and I couldn’t help but admire and love her all the more because even with all the secrecy that shrouded Søren’s character, she accepted him for who he is and loved him for the man he is inside trying to break free from the emotional shackles that had bound him for such a long time. Loved Mia for seeing the man underneath all the ice and breaking it apart so that Søren could live and love once again.
  • The stimulating conversations between Mia and Søren. Though Søren is hardly the type for jovial conversations, Mia’s wry sense of humor is hard to ignore and it is those moments that she manages to steal a rusty smile from our hero that belong in the most unforgettable moments in the story. Loved the dialogs!
  • The insane Dr. Jasper Rowan who lends this story the heinous villain it needs. He is just what the doctor ordered to make this story of the spine tingling variety.
  • Trey and Gillian’s characters to whom we are introduced to in this story. I did some quick digging to find out that their story will come out in July of this year and let me tell you – the cover alone would make me buy the book, let alone the fact I am highly intrigued to find out more about both of them!

I can’t think of anything that could have made this book a more intriguing one than it already is. I would say, it is just damn near perfect the way it is!

Favorite Quotes

“I’ll share if you like.” He cut into his mushroom with surgical precision, using both knife and fork in the European fashion, reinforcing her belief that he hadn’t been born in the United States.
“In case you hadn’t noticed, I’m a vegetarian.” Mia lifted her glass and took a sip.
“Hm. Does that mean no oral sex?”
She nearly spat her wine.

“Are you suggesting a partnership?” she asked. “To what end?”
“You can get into the lab. I need to see what’s there.”
Her expression hardened. “Why?”
There was no help for it. He had to tell the truth. “I suspect Micor is conducting illegal experiments on human beings. I want to stop them.”
“What are you, Batman? You go around righting wrongs?”
Despite his tension, he smiled. “Something like that. But latex gives me a rash.”

She bit him lightly on the ear, earning a shudder. “I don’t have any protection. I’m on the pill, but it’s not one hundred percent.”
“I don’t care,” he breathed. “I’ll take my chances.”
“Are you sure?” In answer, he pulled her atop him. She settled, thighs framing his hips. “I guess you are.”
He lifted up, rubbing against her heated flesh in long strokes. “Now. Take me, nothing between us this time.” It was both a plea and a demand. “You’re mine, and I’m yours. I won’t lose you again. Oh, God, Mia, you’re my breath and bone. You’re the song I sing.”

Recommended very highly for fans of romantic suspense who love a tortured and broken hero and a feisty heroine who has the guts and what it takes to bring the said yummylicious hero back to the world of living. Ava Gray’s characters will certainly never leave you bored as they never behave in the way you expect them to.

Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes&Noble | BooksOnBoard | Kobo



Review: Skin Game by Ava Gray

Format: E-book
Opens with: Amazon Kindle
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romantic Suspense
Series: Skin, Book 1
Publisher: Berkley
Hero: Porfirio Ten-Bears Reyes
Heroine: Kyra Marie Beckwith
Sensuality: 4
Date of Publication: November 3, 2009
Started On: February 12, 2011
Finished On: February 14, 2011

My first Ava Gray certainly has left me begging for more. My expectations for this book were at an all time high since reviewers who are pretty picky in giving high ratings for books have seemed to love the 1st book in the Skin series and thus I wanted this one to rock my world unlike any had done in a long time. Though I had a bit of tussle in getting into the story at the beginning, once Reyes showed up and things started getting interesting, I was hooked line and sinker and never looked back.

This story has got to be one where the hero and heroine have the weirdest names I have come across. Porfirio Ten-Bears Reyes or Reyes as he is known as is a professional assassin for hire. Its hard to say much about his past though there are glimpses into his less than ideal childhood every now and then. Reyes had picked up the skill of killing when he had served time for allegedly raping a white girl who had evidently liked her sex a bit rough, who had been too scared to own up to the fact when others had found out about it, thus convicting Reyes of raping her. Though Reyes kills for money he has one rule that he doesn’t mess up with ever. He kills only the worst scumbags that he comes across, the ones that he knows with conviction that deserve their life on Earth to be brought to an end.

Kyra Marie Beckwith or Kyra as she is known as grew up with a father who had conned people to make a living. Always travelling around nomad style, Kyra had never gone to school and is self taught with whatever skills she had been taught by her father. Having never had a home base of her own, Kyra is a restless soul as they come until she vows vengeance on the man who leaves her father to die after giving him a brutal beating. From that moment onwards it is Kyra’s mission to make Gerrard Serrano suffer, and that is exactly what she does when she cons him and humiliates him unlike anyone has done in a long time, earning her his wrath and vow to exact revenge of the worst kind on her. Kyra has a strange power which enables her to suck the abilities of the people she comes physically into contact with which makes it difficult for her to to touch and be touched because she never knows just what she might pick up along the way.

It is Serrano’s need to exact revenge from Kyra that sets Reyes on her path. Dispatched to kill her after being fed with a bunch of lies convincing Reyes that Kyra deserves what is coming for her, he is not at all prepared for the intense attraction that takes a hold of him when he comes in contact with her. From the first encounter itself, Reyes is intrigued to learn more about his contract and thus he cons his way into her life, earning her trust and deeper feelings along the way whilst the mutual attraction between them burns out of control every moment they spend together. When the truth does inevitably come out, Kyra feels more betrayed than she has ever felt and no matter what Reyes does to convince her otherwise, Kyra is too hurt to really take stock of Reyes’s actions and behavior the past couple of weeks to arrive at the conclusion that Reyes really does love her and wants only her happiness.

This is a pretty interesting debut of a series that combines romance, red-hot loving, suspense with a touch of paranormal to make it a very a good well-balanced read. For those who are icky with the paranormal stuff, it doesn’t play much of a role in the story apart from Kyra’s abilities that comes in pretty handy throughout.

Couple of things I loved about this one. First of all Reyes who is hot, lethal and definitely my kind of hero when he would practically lay down his life for the woman he falls for. He doesn’t apologize for who he is, but rather when Kyra does enter into his life Reyes realizes the darkness that is his constant companion and yearns for the peace that he finds in Kyra’s arms which I couldn’t just help but sigh all over the fact. The next thing about this story that I loved was the fact that at the end, Kyra’s need for vengeance and revenge over the man who threatens to destroy everyone who means something in her life doesn’t just end with the typical forgiveness-will-make-you-the-bigger-person crap. Rather, Serrano meets his very well deserved death at the hands of Kyra and that fact alone makes this a story well worth my time! And loved the intense chemistry between Reyes and Kyra that set the pages afire, each and every time that they come together.

Though I loved the story that unfolded, I had an intense dislike for the way Kyra makes Reyes feel when she discovers who he  truly is. I just found her holier-than-thou attitude a bit annoying though I did understand where she was coming from. Yes, I always tend to be a bit biased towards my heroes and maybe that’s why I couldn’t muster up much love for Kyra towards the end.

I’m hoping that I would be able to see Reyes and Kyra in the coming story which features the enigmatic Foster and Kyra’s best friend Mia whose journey towards happily-ever-after begins in this one.

Favorite Quotes

His actions made no sense and didn’t follow the rules by which she’d lived. In her experience, one warm body was much like another, interchangeable. Sometimes the skill levels varied, but with enough imagination almost anyone could serve the purpose. Hell, given her lifestyle, she often worked in that capacity alone.
He shook his head, darkly intent. “You’re out of your mind if you think that anybody else will do. I could f**k a hundred women, and still go to sleep with this ache in my gut. It has to be you.”

Reyes reached for her then, not calculating the probable outcome of his actions. He pulled her into his lap and sifted his hand into her tangled curls. She surprised him by yielding, not fighting him like a wildcat, and her body felt like seven kinds of heaven in his arms.

They listened to music on an old radio until the batteries gave out. They napped, talked, and made love with a gentleness that often left her weeping. He was so careful of her leg that she almost felt breakable in his arms, not because of his vast strength, but because of her great vulnerability to him.
Each time he touched her now, she rocked with a quiet little earthquake of the soul. Because he could. Out of the billions of people on the planet, all of who were prospective marks on her, targets from whom she could steal, he could wrap his arms around her and bury his face in her hair. She would have felt impossibly exposed, if she hadn’t sensed that he soaked in the contact as much as she.

Recommended for fans of contemporary romantic suspense with a dash of paranormal tossed into the story.

Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes&Noble | BooksOnBoard | Kobo