Series: Shot Callers #1
Published by Self Pub on October 10th, 2015
From the moment Lev Leokov spots the young woman hiding behind her hair in the middle of the gentleman's club, he can't take his eyes off of her.
For the very first time in his life, he is affected. Having been told his entire life that he can't process or understand emotion, he considers it a big deal.
When Mina Harris gets caught red-handed with a wallet that isn't hers, she falls apart. She's tired, lonely and hasn't eaten in days.
Lev offers her an ultimatum... A nice warm bed, a hot meal and a job, or the cops.
Mina takes her chances with Lev.
After all, a person with nothing has nothing left to lose.
You know that feeling you get when you finish a book that just makes you want to tell everyone how great (or horrible) it was and why they should read it immediately? I call this feeling “reviewers high”. I imagine it is something akin to runners high, though I have no true intentions on finding out because running = blah to me. Anyway, reviewers high is something I’ve been majorly lacking lately. I’ve finished book after book after book but all I can do is shrug my shoulders and keep going. Nothing has stuck with me enough to truly want to discuss it with people. To explain, in the most flail worthy way possible, why others need to grab a copy and start reading immediately. Nothing has given me that wonderfully anxious feeling of getting all my feels and thoughts out to other book nerds in the hopes that at least one person will actually listen to me.
Honestly I went into this one with mediocre hopes, but I downloaded the sample and needed to know what would happen next. I never expected this, completely off the radar self pub gem to be one of my favorite reads of 2015. It was raw without being over the top. It was steamy without being raunchy. And above all it was fresh. I’ve read my fair share of New Adult and Adult books this year; 24 out of 32 books to be precise, and they have all followed the same theme.
- Boy meets girl
- Girl falls in love with boy
- Boy is no good for girl
- Boy changes way for girl
- Girl and boy have a ridiculous misunderstanding that could have been avoided if they communicated like adults
- Girl has life altering revelation about how in love she is with boy
- Boy and girl confess their love
and everyone lives happily ever after in rainbow unicorn land.
Where’s the substance? The realism? The romance?! Am I hopeless romantic looking for my own dream love life in books? Not really. Am I a 24-year-old woman who wanted to see that romance still exist somewhere? Even if that somewhere is in a fictional book? YES! Lev was the kind of story that, while completely surreal to me was also made to feel plausible. And yes I realize that makes no sense what so ever but that’s the only way I can explain it. Do I really think that a homeless girl will somehow find sanctity, passion, and honest to god love in this brooding Russian “muscle” who co-owns a strip club? No. Not in the least. But the way Aurora told this story, not just the POV, but the actual writing made me WANT to believe it was possible. I felt so bad for Mina. I felt this ridiculous urge to help her and kick anyone’s ass who dared to try and stop me. She was dealt a shitty hand in life (something I know intimately) but instead of being a shitty person she was still sweet, and kind and just the kind of person you want to see more of in this world. But it wasn’t just Mina I loved. Lev, in all his “broken”, blunt, and bad assness was equally awesome. He isn’t the knight in shining armor you see in most Adult books and he definitely isn’t the white knight we’ve been conditioned to believe in. But he loved Mina and his family with his entire soul and I respect anyone who will literally go to any lengths for those they love.
But the best part of Lev was the straight forwardness! Never did you have that ridiculous inner monologuing that characters do when they like someone. Or that ridiculous fight scene that could have been avoided if they just TALKED! With Lev and Mina you knew exactly what was going on because they discussed it. Straight to the point and blunt but nervous callous or rude. If you read as much NA/A as I do you’ll understand how rare this is within the genre and why it meant so much to me. Don’t get me wrong, there were obstacles and bumps along the road but instead of it being your typical jumping to assumptions nonsense that usually happens in these books they were things that really were big deals. Things that were life altering and deserved the time and effort to be worked out. Not something so small and ridiculous that one paragraph solved all the problems. And that alone is worth five stars to me.
I will definitely be reading the rest of this series (as it is released) and plan on picking up Aurora’s other books soon!