Friday, July 22, 2016

Release Day Review: Červenà by Louise Lyons (Jaymie's Review)

Release Day Review: Červenà by Louise Lyons (Jaymie's Review)

Title: Červenà

Author: Louise Lyons
Release Date: July 22, 2016
Category: Contemporary
Pages: 200

When Joel Jones finds homeless Russian Sasha outside his gay nightclub in Prague, he cannot find it in his heart to turn him away, so he offers him a home and a job as a dancer and stripper.

Despite a fifteen-year age gap, romance develops between them but is interrupted when Joel has to return to England for many weeks to deal with a death in the family.
Upon Joel’s return, he is horrified to discover his business partner, Karel, has gambled away the club’s money and put them all at risk. Joel buys him out of the club, but when Karel continues to gamble, the people he owes pursue Joel for the debt instead—and they’ll stop at nothing to get paid.
Suddenly Joel and those he cares about—especially Sasha—are in danger, and Joel finds himself with no choice but to seek the help of known criminal, Vincenc Jankovic. Ensuring a happy future for himself and Sasha will mean a struggle and some difficult decisions, but Joel is determined to protect what they’ve built together.

Buy it at Dreamspinner Press:

Joel Jones appreciates the life he's built for himself, owning half of a well respected strip club in Prague.  When he stumbles onto a homeless young man digging through his trash outside the club, he immediately decides to help. Sasha, as it turns out is barely 21, kicked out of his home back in Russia for being gay, he's been traveling and working at various places in order to survive. Immediately Joel feels drawn to Sasha and cannot find it in his heart to turn him away, so he offers him a home and a job as a dancer at the club. 

As Joel gets to know Sasha a bit, he finds that he wants more than friendship and despite their difference in age, Sasha feels the same. Just as the two decide to begin something, Joel receives a devastating phone call and has to return to England to see his ailing mother. Unable to leave his family after his mother's funeral, he stays in England the next two months leaving the running of the club to his partner Karel. 

Joel’s unaware that Karel has gotten deeply into gambling and now is indebted to a very dangerous man, only it's not just Karel that is affected but the club as a whole. Karel has gambled away the club’s money and in an attempt to make more, he enacts changes that puts them all at risk. Joel is driven to buy him out of the club and cut ties with him. Unfortunately for Joel and his club, his troubles don't disappear with Karel.  The man he owes to, decides Joel is responsible for the debt and he expects to get paid. 

With no one to turn for help, Joel is terrified of something happening to those he cares about. Tough times call for tough choices and with Sasha in danger, Joel finds himself left with only one hope, in the form of well-known criminal, Vincenc Jankovic.  

This was a highly entertaining read that I found myself drawn into throughout most of the story. There is a combination of action and romance with a touch of suspense and while there were a few moments of predictability, it was still enjoyable. I liked the idea of a club in Prague, it was unique and exotic. However, I would have liked to have had more immersion into the location and its culture. 

As for Joel and Sasha, while I wasn't sure what the initial attraction was on Joel's part, I grew to like them together.  They were a good couple and believable for the most part, although there was something missing, intensity and passion. As individuals, we get a good idea of who Joel is, but we could've benefited from seeing Sasha more, possibly getting his POV.  It wasn't easy to care as much about him as Joel. 

All in all, Cervena is a good read and I would recommend giving it a go. 

4 Stars!

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