Monster in his Eyes – J. M Darhower

J. M. Darhower

Goodreads blurb:

Ignazio Vitale is not a good man.

I suspect it, the first time I see him, sense the air of danger that surrounds the man. He has a way of commanding attention, of taking control, of knowing what I’m thinking before I even do.

It’s alarming and alluring. It’s dark and deadly. It’s everything I’ve ever wanted but the last thing I truly need. Obsession.

It doesn’t take him long to draw me into his web, charming me into his bed and trapping me in his life, a life I know nothing about until it’s too late. He has secrets, secrets I can’t fathom, secrets that make it so I can’t walk away, no matter how much I beg him to let me go. I see it sometimes in his eyes, a darkness that’s both terrifying and thrilling. He’s a monster, wrapped up in a pretty package, and what I find when I unmask him changes everything.

I want to hate him.

Sometimes, I do.

But it doesn’t stop me from loving him, too.

My thoughts:

I pulled an all-nighter and finished this one in one sitting. It’s funny because I began Sempre (also by the same author) a few weeks ago and did not finish it. Maybe because the hero and heroine (in Sempre) were Young Adults and I prefer adult novels to YA. I’m glad though, that I didn’t realize Monster in his Eyes was from the same author; who knows, I might have decided not to read it and that would’ve been a shame.

The story – and Naz, of course – is what really pulled me in. I thought the story was about a young girl trying to make a life for herself in a big city, away from her overly protective mother. She meets a man, a handsome, older, enigmatic man and naturally she is attracted towards him. It is very, very easy to relate to someone like that or may be it’s just me because I have a mother who is exactly like that. Her life already has a touch of tragedy/melodrama what with an absentee father and a paranoid mother. She has been a prisoner in her own home for all her life and now she has a chance to live. Naz is attentive, very perceptive and irresistible. He pays attention to her, showers her with gifts and is genuinely interested in her. You begin to think he is a gem – a weirdly kinky gem – with murky past and a hidden agenda, totally unconnected to you. Right? Right???!!

Wrong. I did not see that twist coming. I should have; in hindsight, I can see all those clues the writer so cleverly placed throughout the book. But I missed them because I was so blinded by what was in the writer’s left hand, I forgot all about the right one. She’s got a mean right hook, J. M. Darhower.

And I love it when a book catches me unawares like this.

I thought the chemistry between Karissa and Naz was electrifying but I found myself skipping through most of the sex parts. All those animal sounds and wild abandonment were very off-putting to me. And that is before the whole choking-her-to-near-death-in-the-middle-of-an-orgasm came into the picture. Give me handcuffs, a blindfold, a bit of spanking, multiple orgasms and I’m good to go. Weird sex is not a turn off for me; it’s simply not a turn on.

Naz was definitely an alpha male but he never came across as an asshole to me. He was unyielding and confident but never arrogant. Karissa was quite young and it showed. She was indecisive, ready to go with the flow (not that that is really a teenager thing) and nervous most of the time. When facing an overwhelming man like Naz (and having had the upbringing we know she has had), it’s unfair to expect her to behave differently. But she isn’t pretentious or annoying, just unsure. Understandable.

Now to the bits I didn’t like:

I like it if the characters actually talk to each other about stuff -deep stuff – before they have sex or even say “I love you” to each other. I find it less and less in romance novels written in recent times. There’s a lot more emphasis on the physical attraction. Before Karissa says “I love you” all that’s happened is they have sex all the time, he buys her tons of new expensive clothes and takes her out to expensive restaurants (I assume). All this is great and everything but what do you really know about this guy? You don’t know a thing about his past or his present. If I were Karissa, I’d start getting worried about Naz’s “freelancing” a lot sooner.

Sadly, there is only one reference to a condom in the entire book – while referring to a ramen flavor packet. They never once talk about safe sex and considering that one of the participants is an eighteen year old girl (in way over her head), this rubbed me off wrong.

As a kid, I either loved a book or hated it; there was no in-between category. Now, I find myself having mixed feelings all the time. There are bits that I love and there a bits that I abhor and I still have to give the book a single rating. I was bothered by some things but they did not dull the impact of the suspense or the great writing style of Ms. Darhower.


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