ARC Review: The Darkest Joy by Marata Eros

Format: E-bookthedarkestjoy
Read with: iBooks for iPad
Length: Novel
Genre: New Adult Contemporary
Series: The Darkest Joy, #1
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Hero: Chance Taylor
Heroine: Brooke Elizabeth Starr
Sensuality: 3
Date of Publication: February 18, 2014
Started On: February 17, 2014
Finished On: February 21, 2014

The Darkest Joy is my second novel by Marata Eros. I absolutely loved what she brought to the table with her novel A Terrible Love, a story that I adored on so many levels. With that in mind, I requested for a galley of The Darkest Joy from netgalley, its premise and setting one that intrigued me when I read the blurb. And everything seemed to go really well, especially with the opening chapter introducing the reader to a wealth of horror when Brooke’s family is slaughtered while she listens in on as the whole nightmare unfolds.

Five months later, the investigation into the brutal killing behind her family’s death still remains to be solved and Brooke is running, running from the darkness of the memories and the guilt that threatens to swallow her as a whole. Moving to Homer, Alaska seems to be a farthest that she can go to bury herself under the cloak of anonymity, where no one would ask her the pressing questions which she needs to get away from, questions that haunt and plague her even as she flees the guilt ravaging her heart and soul.

When Brooke meets her employer Chance Taylor, it is at first the music he strums effortlessly from his guitar that pierces her to her very soul, reaching deep into the frozen cold that has protected her from her baser emotions for the past couple of months. Leaving her prospective future as a pianist, one who has had a future at the Juilliard well behind her had seemed like a wise choice up till the moment Chance invades her soul and etches a place for himself in her heart.

Chance is the love and leave them type personified, his one true and only love being the sea, the passion for which is satisfied by his occupation as a deep sea fisherman. But the minute Brooke enters the picture, everything Chance has believed in up till then ceases to exist until all he can think, feel and want is Brooke in every single way he can have her. But Brooke’s fear and guilt for a past that cannot be changed, together with a killer that seems to be nowhere near to stopping the litter of bodies that keep mounting proves to be the obstacle that seems to stand in the way of the joy that could be theirs if only Brooke were willing to make peace with the past and move on.

The Darkest Joy is a story that disappointed me on many levels. The opening chapter was the only good thing about this novel, the level of detail that went on to showcase Brooke’s life in Alaska in the chapters that followed sometimes getting so tedious to the point that I skim read large chunks of the novel to pick out the story that should have flowed smoothly otherwise. I found the whole thing with Brooke denying herself the closure that was required, especially turning her back on the authorities trying their hardest to keep her up to date on the developments of the case unbelievable at times. I can understand survivor’s guilt, the fact that someone might want to bury themselves right in the ground with their loved ones when tragedy strikes, but I couldn’t understand Brooke not being moved enough to actually WANT to seek justice for the death of her entire family.

I found Chance to be at odds with what his character was portrayed to be at the beginning of the story. Having lived practically most of his life in Homer, Alaska, everyone who knows him attests to his love em’ and leave em’ lifestyle. But throughout the story, Chance seemed too besotted with Brooke to really live up to any of the traits revealed to be the background of his character. I can understand a man changing for the right woman though it seldom happens in real life, but going against every single facet of his character for Brooke that soon just seemed highly unlikely to me.

When the villain was finally revealed, the surprise came from the fact that it all seemed so hard to take in, the fact that there seemed to be several gaps missing in the tale of how the villain had come to be as portrayed in the story. I believe that the novel could have done away with more than half the story and added more relevant chapters to keep the story flowing in a direction that would have captivated the reader rather than just portraying the sense of guilt that plagues Brooke, keeping her bound with an inability to let go and move on.

The only thing positive for me about the novel was the at times beautiful writing that came to light in bits and pieces as the story progressed. The Marata Eros I remember from my one single experience with her prose is one who writes beautifully well and reaches deep into your heart to invoke emotions that cannot be otherwise. And that was practically the only thing that kept me turning the pages even when I wanted to give up and label this a DNF. But all that being said, you just might find this to be your cup of tea while it didn’t meet any or all of my expectations when I picked it up. Recommended for fans of the author and fans of new adult romances.

Favorite Quotes

But those eyes, those haunted eyes, they’re burned into my brain. Her sadness has caught me like the fish I net. I’ve hit her hook without even knowing I’m in the ocean; saving her has reeled me in inextricably.
And I don’t even know her name.

He looks up and our gazes meet. Chance Taylor steals my breath. His open smile melts me.
I walk toward him.
It feels like a death march.

I feel the tip of him at my entrance, and his knees split my legs farther apart even as he enters me slowly, each hot inch sinking deeper, and I let out a hoarse cry, pressing myself back against him. My hips rise and he puts a staying hand on the back of my head and the other at the small of my back, pinning me in place, and I whimper in surrender.

Then he’s fully inside me with a single thrust and I scream my pleasure into his quiet house, absorbed by all that wood and I come until I can’t breathe. The pulses of my orgasm radiate through my tingling body and wash over Chance, grabbing at him as he grows impossibly harder, his own release crashes into him as he pours himself into me.

Purchase Links: Amazon | B&N | BookDepo


ARC Review: A Terrible Love by Marata Eros

Format: E-bookaterriblelove
Read with: iBooks for iPad
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: A Terrible Love, #1
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Hero: Devin Castile
Heroine: Jess Mackey
Sensuality: 4
Date of Publication: April 26, 2013
Started On: September 22, 2013
Finished On: September 26, 2013

Jess Mackey leads a life that gives her the sort of security that she craves after the brutality of the past that she endured and walked out from. All that Jess wants to do is blend in and be one with the crowd so that no one would notice that she is not whom she pretends to be, day in ad day out.

Jess’s one vice remains to be her love for the ballet and that turns out to be the reason for her to break out from her shell and leave that wall of anonymity behind her after two years of living under its protection. And along with embracing her love for the ballet comes another kind of “danger” calling into her life in the form of bad boy tattoed hotness Devin Castile.

The attraction between Castile and Jess is instantaneous and you can practically feel the heat between them burn the pages with the slightly erotic and very sensuous scenes of passion that leaves you begging for more. In the midst of Jess rediscovering herself and her buried passions, her very much troubled past comes calling in a way that leaves a lot to be desired and forces Jess to face her fears and come out victorious even with all odds seemingly stacked against her.

A Terrible Love is told in the first person from Jess’s point of view. Though my very first book by Mantara Eros, I fond myself totally captivated with the story that was unfolding, her ability to draw the reader in, a testament to her ability in weaving a magical story. A Terrible Love is by no means a light read. There are dark elements to it that makes it a very enjoyable page turner with that hint of menace and danger snipping at your heels all the while.

I loved the hero Castile to bits. He is the perfect combination of danger and sexiness that practically revs up my engines. A hero whose body alone speaks volumes, the way he rides that tough meanie motorbike of his enough to make this girl swoon. And that take charge attitude of his and smouldering I-am-dying-to-take-you-against-the-wall-or-any-flat-surface-available-right-now stare of his was just the right amount to leave me practically sighing all over the place.

Jess turned out to be an equally endearing heroine too. Though at times I was of the opinion that Jess just should’ve trusted her instincts and gone ahead with Castile from the start, I could understand the whys of Jess’s actions when it comes to Castile. The woman who wants no emotional entanglements, whose commitment to the ballet demands that she focus on little else but just that and the fact that Castile makes her feel all too much makes Jess hesitate in putting her heart on the line when it comes to him. And then there is that shred of mystery that surrounds Castile like an invisible aura that drives Jess a bit crazy trying to figure out where he is coming from.

I wouldn’t term the love that flares to life between Jess and Castile as a terrible love. I would label their love anything but that. Combustive, fiery, consuming; all words that I would use to describe the love between them, a love that felt right, a love that just seemed to click in all those places that hums yes when an author gets it right and a love that had me smiling as I turned the very last page. A job I would say very well done by an author who is unfamiliar to me and yet already just a step away from becoming an auto-buy for me. The best bit about looking up this book on Goodreads today? Turns out that the second book in this series is told from Castile’s point of view and its already out. How delicious is THAT going to be?

Final Verdict: One hell of a page-turner. The twists and turns this book takes leaves you drained. Yep, that good!

Favorite Quotes

“May I kiss you, Jess?” he whispers above my mouth.
No. “Yes,” I whisper back against every impulse not to.
He doesn’t take my lips softly but crushes my mouth against his, a storm crashing into the shore, his full lips working over mine, forcing them open, and I groan as he gathers me against him, his huge hands splaying against my lower back in a con- vulsive surge, bringing me into the line of his body.

I don’t know who moves first but before I can take my next breath I’m in his arms, his fingers tearing out my damp braid and plowing through my long hair. He holds my face, slam- ming his mouth against mine until I groan and open it for him. His other hand goes to the small of my back, then dives down to my ass as he lifts me against him, my legs automatically winding around his waist.

“Watch me, Jess,” he says in quiet command, and I don’t look away, can’t. He pulls out torturously slow, then slams his cock so deeply inside me my walls clench around him and he moans softly, the beautiful ebony of his eyes disappearing when he closes them in paused ecstasy.

I grip him hard and pull; he shudders under my touch. “Don’t do that, vanilla girl.”
“Or what?” I ask breathlessly.
And he shows me. Cas hikes me against the wall. “You said just fucking, Jess.”
He grinds his hips against my lower body, his engorged cock splitting my lips apart, and I gasp as an electric surge floods my system, beginning at my sex and spreading like a wildfire ignited. My hips give a responding swivel.

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