Raise the Blood, Twenty One, and Unruly

June 12, 2024

Hello and Happy Wednesday. I hope your week is off to a great start!
I'm sharing three books I read and quite enjoyed and maybe you'll find something here to read too!

Raise the Blood by Nenia Campbell

primarily heroine pov 3rd person, descriptive heat, dark romance, 448 pages



Shy and anxious Nadine Harnois has spent her whole life living in the shadow of her older, prettier sister, Noelle. But when Noelle mysteriously vanishes just months after her fairytale wedding, Nadine gathers her courage to go to her brother-in-law's home in Argentum to seek answers.

Caledon Cullraven, the family's youngest son, takes an immediate interest in her, becoming both her tormentor and her ally. But beneath his playful demeanor lurks something twisted and depraved, and as her reluctant attraction to him grows, so, too, does the potential for real danger.

The Cullraven family legacy goes back for generations, with secrets that run as deep and as dark as the town's abandoned silver mines. The people of Argentum are suspicious and fearful of their town's reclusive benefactors, and possibly with good reason: because the more time Nadine spends with this family, the more she suspects that they're hiding something truly terrible.

“You want to run, Nadine? Run to me.”

Rating - 1/2

I feel so guilty for thinking of this as a romance of any kind, but there's no denying that as horrifying and terrifying as this story turned out to be, a love story was building there the entire time.

Nadine was a naive fool and I guess I was supposed to care that she was only 21 with limited life experiences, but she tried to make herself appear mature and so I made the effort to give her the benefit of the doubt. I get loving your sister. I get worrying when there is cause for worry. But when ALL OF THE CLUES HINT TO DANGER, maybe do the smart thing. If everyone seems to be against you, if there are people out to get you, maybe get yourself gone. Get some outside help. Figure something else out. You know, take rational, intelligent steps.

"I don't—are you saying you're dangerous?"
Yes. It seemed to echo in the otherwise silent car. "To me?"
"Especially to you, little sparrow."

Then again, if Nadine was as reasonable as I wanted her to be, this story wouldn't have worked as well as it did. Her naivete worked in this book's favor. If she was a bit more clever, she would have picked up on the innuendos far too soon and it was fun to see her floundering around, turned about, and completely discombobulated like a newborn deer.

I was very entertained. I know I shouldn't have laughed as much as I did, but Nadine made keeping a straight face impossible.

Then there's Cal, who I couldn't get a real handle on and honestly... I still don't get this man and the story is over. He was friend and foe. He was savior and tormentor. And he was the only person who seemed to want Nadine to live, even if we didn't know his reasons.

In the end, I was thankful that there weren't any loose ends and I got the answers I needed. The truth of this story is rough, but it was well worth the read.

Twenty One by Clarissa Wild

dual pov, dark romance, explicit heat, 346 pages
Originally read in 2018

21 years
On her 21st birthday she’s taken. Collected by a rich family as an unpaid debt. Her body sold. Her mind his.

21 weeks
For 21 weeks she carried a burden no girl should ever have to carry. Now she loses her freedom to a man born to destroy her.

21 days
His name: Angel DeLuca. His mission: To break her in 21 days before she sees through his lies. But she won’t give up without a fight.

21 minutes
It takes only 21 minutes for their lives to be forever entwined.

21 seconds
21 seconds to spill. Time is running out.

Secrets ruin them … but not all truths are worth the price.

Rating -

I'm currently going through a dark phase and when I asked a fellow avid reader for a recommendation, this is what I got. Not bad. There were several elements of this story that I liked, such as the existing connection between Angel and Sky (their names couldn't be more original), the contentious relationship between Angel and his father, the betrayal, the deceit, and ultimately what Sky is willing to sacrifice her life for.

I'm a fan of descriptive torture scenes. Not particularly gory but evocative. It helps me build a connection to the captive and/or the captor. Yes, I'm that weird!

There were elements I didn't like, such as the timeline. I kept getting confused! I eventually caught on but listing "yesterday" and "past" became a bit much for me. Also, Sky was one of those captives who think that the more you mouth off and cause problems, the safer you will be. It was pretty unbelievable because in a true captive/captor relationship, she would have been dead already. If I would have killed her, I suspect a vicious captor would as well. I'm just saying.

Overall, a good dark read that I would recommend to anyone who likes a good dark read.

Unruly by Cora Brent

Originally read in 2016
Contemporary Romance

After a humiliating betrayal, Claudia Giordano heads home only long enough to watch her irresponsible father, Jack, marry her old high school nemesis.
Claudia doesn’t believe in love stories anymore.
But she never planned on connecting with a wild young baseball player named Easton Malone. She tells herself Easton is cocky, careless and a bad choice on every level. The only option is to forget the hot, reckless week they shared, no matter what her heart says.


Jack Giordano thinks that after all the mistakes he’s made since becoming a teenage father he’s finally found his happily ever after with sweet Anya.
Jack believes love can conquer anything.
But he didn’t understand how the joy of building the perfect family would dissolve into agony as he watches the girl of his dreams fade away.


In the midst of one couple’s tragic ending, another will find a new beginning.

And it turns out the most unruly collision of two hearts might have been fated all along…

Rating -

Easton was your typical cocky, arrogant hotboy. No surprise there. But at his core he was such a sweetheart. The way he felt towards Claudia made me empathize with him, especially when he described his crush and the lengths he went to to gain her attention lol. He was just too cute with the skateboard incident.

Claudia was confusing and I think it was more because of the fact that she kept harping about the age difference. To me, age really ain't nothin but a number. Her father Jack proved that in spades.

As for Jack. I'm glad he found love finally. Reading about him and Anya was a treat. We get to see him come into not only adulthood but also fatherhood, and it wasn't too late.

This story is a tale of love and loss. Please don't be confused. There are two love stories involved and they are extremely touching. I enjoyed it.

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