Friday, August 8, 2014

BOOK REVIEW: Monster in His Eyes by J.M. Darhower

Happy Friday! To finish off the week, I’m recommending one of the best books I've read this year. Have you read Monster in His Eyes? The sequel is coming out soon (I hope).  If you haven't, now’s the time to check it out. If you've already read it, this is one to read more than once.

Monster in His Eyes by J. M. Darhower
5+ stars

Fresh, Suspenseful, Dark Romance Mystery That Will Keep You Guessing Up Till the End…and then some!

Karissa Reed is an eighteen going on nineteen year old college freshman at NYU.  Ignazio "Naz" Vitale is the thirty-six year old mysterious stranger she first meets outside her Philosophy class. She quickly becomes drawn to him, and they engage in a love affair. But while Naz doesn't tell lies, he is full of secrets—secrets from his past and hers!

I think this is my ultimate favorite read all year, and I really hope the sequel lives up to this one. (As in I’m hoping for all the goodies outlined below along with a HEA. I think that’s what I’m holding my breath on. I have no idea how Ms. Darwhower is going to do it but in the end I’m rooting for Karissa and Naz together.) So since I don’t want to spoil the story, I’ll give you all the things that are great about this book in general categories:

Fresh—There are a lot of cookie cutter plots out there. This is not one of them. By any means.  Monster in his Eyes takes you on a ride, a dark ride, but a daring and delicious ride that will have you questioning good and bad along with right and wrong.
“The monster is peeking through, peering at me from behind his mask. He wants to come out. He wants me to play with him.” —Karissa

Suspenseful—Told from Karissa’s first person POV, Naz’s intentions, background, and associates are to some degree a mystery with devious clues planted for the reader in Naz’s words, actions, and often double entendres.  The devil is in the details, and this is one story to read twice.
“There’s something about you…something I’ve sought for a very long time. Something I’ve always wanted. And now that I’ve found it, I don’t know if I can let it go.” —Naz

Dark—Naz is a self-admitted bad man. So if you love bad boys, well he takes them to a whole other level. But like any great dark hero (okay I might be using that term really loosely) Naz is broken and damaged and that makes him intensely deep.  
“I lost my life…And then I almost died.” —Naz

Romance—This is not a hearts and flowers kind of romance. Well, actually there are flowers, expensive dresses, and high roller weekend trips. But there’s also dress ripping, some ominous black gloves, late night visits, and some intense role-playing.
“...If you love me…If you mean it, you’ll fight back.” —Naz

It’s deep, it’s dark, and it pushes traditional conventions of love and sex.  This is for the reader that enjoys something gritty, gripping, and riveting but without a ton of angst and over-done drama. While there is a large age gap between the two, it is very much necessarily to make the plot work, as well it adds to the depth and psychological layers of their relationship (to which there are many).
“Love means seeing the beauty in the ugly, the light in the dark, and accepting that even if the lights are off, and I can’t see what’s in front of me, there will be something there to guide my way. Love means turning yourself inside out, handing yourself over to somebody else, and trusting them…” —Karissa

MysteryWhat are Naz’s intentions with Karissa? How chance was their meeting? Why is Karissa’s mom so paranoid?  What does Naz want with Professor Santino? Will Karissa pass his class?  What is the deal with her roommate’s new boyfriend?  What will Karissa do when she finally gets the big picture?  So many mysteries unravel the deeper Karissa’s relationship with Naz becomes.
“You know who I am…The question you should be asking is who are they.” —Naz

The Ending—Without giving anything away because this is one book where the magic is in the gradual reveal, I’ll admit that prior to reading the book I was concerned about the ending. I’m a stickler for HEAs, and I don’t like to be strung along or left for months on a cliffhanger.   So is there a cliffhanger?  Well, not exactly.  By the end of the book some new questions are raised, some old ones are left to be answered and some items may simply be open for interpretation.
“The wound is deeper, an emotional scar I think won’t ever heal, no matter how much time I give it. He touches my body but he tears at my soul, ripping pieces out of me that are now his and his alone.” —Karissa
The ending most definitely wets your appetite for more of Naz and Karissa in Torture in Her Soul. Okay, it doesn't just wet your appetite it makes you starving for the rest of their tale. But there is enough closure to leave you temporarily satisfied as the book is well structured from prologue to epilogue and comes full circle by the last page.

Check out Monster in His Eyes at the following:

9/29/14 UPDATE: Book 2, Torture to Her Soul

2/23/16 UPDATE:  Book 3, Target on Our Backs

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