Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Book Review: Masquerade

Masquerade (Games, #3)
Masquerade by Nyrae Dawn
(Games #3)
January 7, 2014
320 pages
Genre: New Adult
(contains: descriptive sex, strong language)
Source: eARC from NetGalley for Honest review
Book Blurb:

A biker. A tattoo artist. A love to last a lifetime.

Maddox Cross has always had to be tough. When his father went to jail for murder, the teenager took care of his sister and mother. Now on his own and working security at a night club, Maddox wants to become a tattoo artist-a dream that comes closer to reality when he falls for the hottest, most tatted woman he's ever seen. She's wild and beautiful, and Maddox will do anything to be with her.

Bee Malone came to town to open up her new tattoo parlor, Masquerade. Since being kidnapped as a young girl, Bee has had trouble getting close to anyone. But when she meets Maddox, she sees that under his hard biker's body is the sensitive soul of an artist. What starts out as a sizzling one-night stand soon becomes so much more.

Bee wants Maddox to join her tattoo business, but letting him into her life means revealing all her most intimate secrets. And as the past begins to intertwine with her present, Bee fears their love may not be as permanent as their ink . . .

My Review:

Honestly, I wasn't sure about the start of this one in the first couple chapters. I wasn't sure about the characters. I wasn't sure about how the storyline would be handled. I wasn't sure if I would like the direction being taken. BUT I should have trusted Nyrae Dawn all along, especially after loving Charade and Façade. Though the start for me was different, once again Nyrae pulled me right into the story, bringing these characters to life in a very captivating and different way.

Maddox, Bee, and their stories were compelling and drew me in. Theirs was a journey that seemed completely out of order, yet it made so much sense when you look at who they are, were, and needed to become. These two displaced, lost, closed-off souls truly met their match, but the journey to breaking down those walls and barriers would not be easy or straight-forward. "You are your worse enemy" is a great way of describing these characters. Combine their tragic pasts with their current hang-ups, and we find ourselves wrapped up in their thoughts and hoping they will find a new way of handling it all. But really, this was a beautiful journey.

I will say that this was not a book entwined with suspense in that we aren't inundated with off-the-wall shock and awe and plot twists out of the blue. We know pretty soon much of what is "wrong" with Maddox and Bee, though maybe not every detail. To me this story was more of a journey. It's a journey of self-discovery, of forgiveness, of understanding and acceptance, of taking chances, of humility and vulnerability, of finding the truth in love. It was the chance to watch two people finally find themselves, as painful as the journey was. But with all the depths of their personal struggles, it was also a sweet love story. I loved watching them together in their tender moments when their walls would come down. Their bonding over tattooing and its artistry was particularly endearing. I laughed and smiled during what I would deem a portrait competition, and I was touched and moved by one particular "mark" application. There were so many great scenes between them.

There was the perfect balance of internal and external dialogue. I know not everyone cares about that, but I have a personal issue with too much telling, not enough showing. That was not a problem here. We get Maddox and Bee's whole story, the ins and outs, the ups and downs, the good and bad, the sweet and frustrating. And we get the full picture of their relationship, complete with banter and silence, chemistry and compassion, heat and honesty. We get it all, and as it progressed, though I wanted to knock sense into these two several times, I really respected the depths of their struggles and the difficulty they faced in pulling themselves up and out and hopefully able to move on.

And let's just give a shout-out to Adrian! Of course I liked Maddox and Bee. I liked getting to know them and rooting for them. We also get to see Colt, Cheyenne, and Laney. But Adrian was such a stand-out guy here. The few scenes he was in were so pivotal, so endearing, so touching. He was quite the scene stealer. I simply loved Adrian and think Nyrae wrote him amazingly. I'm so glad we got more of him and Laney in this book. Just beautiful.

I'm a huge fan of this series, and Masquerade did not disappoint. Once I got over the start, I really enjoyed Nyrae's unique approach to Maddox and Bee and the evolution of their relationship. The journey of these two broken souls was a beautiful blend of touching and sweet moments, passion and vulnerability, tenderness and tension, and ultimately the discovery of healing, forgiveness, redemption, and love. If these are qualities you like in a book, then I recommend you check out this series.


Charade (Games, #1) Facade (Games, #2) Masquerade (Games, #3)

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