Donna Reads: For a Good Time, Call… (Scars #1) by Jessica Gadziala

4 out of 5 Goodreads stars

Fiona (Fee) Meyers is a hard-drinking, tough-talking, phone sex operator. She stays out all night, sleeps until noon and takes calls for her self-owned business during the day. Most of who she is serves to hide what’s on the inside. Fiona has a tragic past, and she struggles to get through each day. When a new tenant moves into the apartment next door, Fiona’s world is turned upside down. Hunter is gorgeous, and Fiona thinks he’s perfect. They get to know each other, and as Fiona lets him in, things begin to change for her. Hunter is hiding a dark, secret past of his own, however, and when it catches up with him, he disappears.

This story was an interesting one. Fiona has been horribly abused by an ultra-religious father, but she ran away when she reached 18. She’s learned how to cope and survive on her own, but she is far from “normal”. At times, I found her character funny and endearing. I also admired her courage and backbone. Then other times I found her to be disappointing, especially those times when she slipped back into her self-destructive, old habits.

Hunter was more of a mystery. Yes, he seemed perfect (and perfect for her) in so many ways. He helped Fiona, bringing her out of her miserable existence and helping her find self-acceptance and love. He was sweet, protective and funny. We never learn anything about his family or his life before he met Fiona, though. All we know is that he builds furniture, and he’s also a tattoo artist. He’s ashamed of his violent past, but he doesn’t discuss it. As the story unfolded and they inevitably parted, I was disappointed that he hadn’t shared more, but there was a reason why he had not.

I enjoyed this one although it had dark elements to it. Fiona has risen above and continues to confront and overcome her tragic past. Hunter was forced to confront and reconcile with his. I especially liked that he is given the chance to reconnect with the woman he loves.

 

Donna Reads: Dark Mysteries by Jessica Gadziala

A34FDAAD-4F3C-4345-BCE9-05394FDE0A603 of 5 Goodreads stars. I read the first 50-60% word for word, and then I skimmed the last 40-50%. When the bad guy(s) caught up with the heroine again and captured and tortured her, I just wasn’t interested in reading every word. I was hoping for something less predictable.

I really liked the hero, and I respected the idea that the heroine had gotten away and ran. She got training in self-defense, but she was still a target and was always going to be caught. I wondered about the abusive drug lord ex-boyfriend. He couldn’t have been very good at his “job” if he spent 4-5 years chasing one woman. Also the hero’s bail bondsman best friend? Every time he tried to sneak up on someone around the heroine, she attacked him AND got the best of him. It doesn’t sound like he’d be very good at his “job” either. Yet the heroine is easily caught and subdued by the bad guys. I found that to be inconsistent.

I must admit that the abused heroine type of romance novel isn’t really my favorite genre although I have enjoyed other books by this author.

UPDATE: I did go back and finish the book and read it more thoroughly (I still skipped the torture parts), and I admit I liked it better.

Donna Reads: 367 Days by Jessica Gadziala

The Blurb: I’m not crazy.It’s not amnesia. But I somehow lost a year of my life. When the cops and doctors think you’re out of your mind, but you still need answers, where else is there to turn but a private investigator? Sawyer is nothing you’d want in a friend- a little detached, cool, sarcastic, cocksure. But he’s everything you’d want in a private investigator- calm, capable, experienced, and just jaded enough by the darkness he’d seen to take a chance on some random girl who insists something more sinister must have happened to her than simple memory loss. But thrown together, trying to get to the root of my mystery, feelings that were most definitely not client/professional start to emerge.

This is a hard one to review without giving away the surprise/mystery. It was an extremely quick read for me. The story grabbed my attention from the first page, and I tore through it in a couple of days. I loved Sawyer. I liked Riya, too. If anyone had been through what she had, they would’ve needed extensive therapy. It wasn’t a traditional love story in that they don’t profess their love for each other although it’s mentioned in the epilogue. The epilogue is the only part about the book I really didn’t like. It tried to cover too much. It gives snippets of their lives from the next fifteen years. I would’ve preferred a glimpse into the future, not the whole future. I kept thinking one of them would die in the epilogue since it was touching on so much. It was an odd addition.