*I received an ARC copy of this book for an unbiased review.
There are some stories and some characters that just stick with you. Some authors who just excel at putting you through the emotional wringer and still make you so damned happy you read the book.
Jamie Zakian is one of those authors, her characters Sasha, Dev, Vinny… and the secondary characters, too… are some of those characters.
I read horror and crime books, though at a 1/10 Crime/Paranormal Romance or Urban Fantasy ratio. The only reason I read a lower percentage of crime books is because they have to be even better than my romance books to hook me. (I’m picky with everything I read.)
I’m so glad I decided to grab a copy of the first in this series, Ashby Holler, around 8 months ago. I found one of my newest favorite authors.
I can’t wait for the next and last book of this series. Seriously, if it were out, I’d go buy and read it right this second. Even though I have a feeling I’d be sobbing by about halfway through.
I will do a trigger warning for my readers, this book has graphic violence and isn’t a pretty type of story. I love that about it, though.
The gritty, real aspect of this story and the emotional fallout followed by joy from the characters’ choices is such a gripping read.
By gripping, I mean I started this book at around 10 am today, after posting my last review of a different book, and I haven’t done a damned thing all day except read and fetch my kids from school. I forgot to eat lunch I was so engrossed in the sanguine adventures caught within my digital pages. I finished reading about an hour ago. This book made me laugh, snicker, snort out loud, it gut-punched me and made me messy cry and when I flipped the last page, I grinned. (The kindle edition comes with a bonus short story you can download from the publisher, you so want to download the bonus, it’s wonderful!)
The author carries through from the first book the doubt any bi-woman in the ’90s felt, that we were somehow messed up because that was before the whole bisexuality-is-really-a-thing revolution.
I lived through the ’80s and ’90s, I know what it felt like and this series nails exactly how it felt.
I could gush for an hour how much I loved about this book. I’m a fast reader, but even I don’t usually get glued to the pages this much.
Thank you, Ms. Zakian for another excellent book that transported me to another life. It was indeed, a pleasure.
Readability: 5/5 stars: Page turning, literally had to tear myself away from the story to get the kids from school and I forgot to eat lunch. I laughed, I cried, I got mad at the author for something… really, it took me on a whirlwind storm of emotions and I loved every second of this fast-paced installment in the Ashby Holler series.
Arcs: 5/5 stars: I adore series books, but the 2nd book isn’t always better than the first, as much as I loved Ashby Holler, I admit I was a little worried that I wouldn’t love this one as much. I love it more. (Though I don’t know how the heck Ms. Zakian is going to top this one and I’m almost afraid to know what she’s going to do to some of my very favorite characters next!)
Writing Craft: 5/5 stars: My editor brain slept through most of the story, meaning I could really enjoy the story. I noted one homonym error and one use of passive voice, in an entire manuscript length book. (That’s so, freaking, rare, you’ve no idea.)
Would I buy it for a friend? I’d be careful about which friends I’d buy it for because it is graphic and real and gritty. But if I knew for sure a friend liked those things? I’d buy them the whole series including the next one when it comes out.
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