Review Tour ~ Guns n' Boys (Chokehold Book #5) by KA Merikan ~ (Reviews + Excerpt)
Author: KA Merikan
Release Date: August 27 2016
Length: 110,000 words
The ugliest truths blossom into the prettiest lies.
A year into the relationship with Domenico, Seth still wants him as desperately as ever. Nothing is better than being intoxicated with lust for his deadly man and feeling his steady hands all over.
No matter the misunderstandings, the fights... The crash. The burn.
Crossing the Mexican border has been a goal for Seth and Domenico for a few months, but the trip couldn’t have ended in more of a disaster. While Domenico is stuck at home, for Seth each passing day becomes more difficult. Desperate to keep his family afloat, he accepts a job offer from Los Sepultureros. The Gravediggers.
When Domenico’s need for control starts eroding their trust, Seth is sure their love can conquer all. But when Domenico rips open the wound left after the violence at the beginning of their relationship, it gushes blood all over their cozy lies and this time, there may be no way to seal it.
*** Copy of the series provided to Bayou Book Junkie in exchange for a fair and honest review. ***
What I loved: I am a huge fan of Mafia books and movies so I just knew this would be right up my alley. The premise is great, the prodigal son comes back home after being kidnapped. Told he will be taking over as the head of the family when it's time. Sent to train with the man who rescued him, the two begin a volatile and forbidden relationship.
What I liked: Domenico is definitely a very complicated character. It takes almost the entire book for me to like him, but the authors did a great job of peeling back layer after layer in Dom. He's someone I'd be interested in reading more about and figuring him out. He may be a psychopath but he has more to him that makes him intriguing.
What I didn't like: Honestly, there's quite a bit I didn't like. Firstly, Seth. I could not stand Seth, he's whiny and immature. Overly combative and sensitive. He loves to pick a fight like a spoiled brat. He can't make up his mind about anything. My opinion of him never changes, I couldn't find anything about him I liked.
The story is extremely hard to read, it felt like I was reading a soap opera a lot of the time. The characters and their reactions are overly dramatic. They fight then make-up, fight then make-up. Their sex isn't at all soft or tender and honestly, it's a bit awkward. I don't understand their chemistry and pretty much started to not care about it.
I found it extremely hard to get into this book, the story didn't do it for me. If I could have I would have called it a DNF and moved on. However, I knew from reviews that the rest of the books would be better and I wanted to read those so I kept going. At least I began to like Domenico by the end.
*Note to readers: I urge you to not give up on this book if you feel similarly to me about it. The rest of the books in this series are excellent and are so worth reading. So push through it, you need to know what happens in book 1 to have a better understanding of the following books.
What I Loved: Book 2 is so much more engaging than the first book was. I'm now a huge fan of Dom and that made it a lot easier to read and enjoy the story. I loved getting to see more of Dom's humanity and emotions. It's obvious how he feels about Seth and that morphs him into more than the caricature of a Mafia killer we got in the first book.
I also loved the fact that by 50% I didn't want to put this book down. Between the sex, which went from awkward (in book 1) to hot, the suspense of what would happen next, will they be discovered? and all the twists and turns of what is really going on with Mr. Tropico and the family.
What I Liked: New York City. I really thought that this part of the book gave us a look at Seth and Dom as an actual couple. That's sometimes a problem with high action books like this. How are they going to work as an actual couple when all the drama is over? We get a glimpse of that here.
What I didn't Like: Seth. Again I have to say I do not like Seth. He drives me insane and honestly I just wanted to shoot him myself on many different occasions. By the end of the book, I didn't hate him anymore but I certainly did not like him.
The constant fighting between Seth and Dom. Most of the time I felt like Seth started the stupid insipid fights they kept having. He knows what kind of person Dom is, what he's capable of, yet he pushes him constantly. He's inappropriate at times and then gets angry at Dom when he reacts to it. They both can be brats at time and they clashed a few too many times.
Overall I loved this one, it was leaps and bounds better than book 1. I'm now addicted.
What I Loved: A more sweet Domenico. Amnesia looked pretty good on Dom. While he didn't remember anything, he still had a sense of who he was and what he could do. He's also funny which made him even more real.
What I liked: I am so happy to say that Seth actually became more likable in this story. He takes more charge, he's not such a simpering scared brat. We get to see him trying to do what he thinks Dom would do and while it's hard he does his best. He still had a way of pissing me off but not as much as before.
The sex scenes are very good, something KA Merikan is excellent at. These two men definitely have killer chemistry and it pretty much jumps off the page.
The Hitchhiker. This is one of the best parts of the entire book honestly. I laughed so hard at this scene. There is nothing funnier than Dom trying to interact with a hippie hitchhiker. One thing is for sure, never ever mess with Dom's chocolate.
What I didn't like: These two fight way too much. It drives me insane listening to them fight over such stupid stuff. I feel as if there is way too much emphasis on stereotypical gender roles in the relationship. They both want to be macho alpha men and instead of just accepting that, they bicker about who will fill the girl role when dancing, topping vs. bottoming.
Overall I'm a fan of this series so I have to recommend it to anyone interested in these types of books.
What I loved: There are some really great moments with Dom and Mark and it is almost a combination between older brother and father. There are funny moments as well as not so funny moments. It makes so much sense that he would connect to this young man.
We also get a more tender side of Domenico when it comes to Seth. We have gotten to see how much he loved Seth throughout the different books but in this one it is a bit different, at least to me. He's more vulnerable not knowing what is going on in Seth's mind. He feels guilt for what has happened to him and Seth. He needs to feel closer to Seth but Seth is pulling away a bit and that scares him.
What I liked: Mark and Dana. Personally, it's nice to have a bit of new blood for the guys to play off of. They also allow for different storylines to be created.
What I Didn't Like: Ugh, the fighting! These two men are the poster couple for relationship therapy. They are so hot-headed and quick to anger. They need to stop fighting so much lover stupid stuff. They also need to communicate. Seth not telling Dom about his insecurities is stupid because he knows what kind of man Dom is and how he works. And Dom has to control that jealousy. My gosh does he fly off the handle at every man Seth talks to.
Book 5 Chokehold:
Wow! Five books in and I am still addicted to Dom and Seth.
This book was so hard for me to read emotionally. I was literally on a roller coaster of ups and downs, laughing and wanting to strangle Seth. I truly do not like him and it is very hard to get through a book and root for the main couple when you can't stand one of the men and wish he weren't in the picture anymore. But in the end, I love Dom and the story and I tried to just suck it up when it came to Seth.
What I Loved: Dom, Seth and Mark finally cross over the border to Mexico. As always with these men, things don't go smoothly or to plan and Dom is temporarily out of commission. Seth has to do what he can to take care of their makeshift family. I liked Seth at this point, he was really stepping up and it was great to see.
Domenico is always my favorite part of these books. He is funny and dark and protective. He's definitely a little psychotic, but is it weird to say he has a good heart? When he loves you, he will do whatever he can to protect you.
What I Liked: I liked seeing Dom really want to make Mark a strong, good man. At least his idea of a good man. He wants to keep his family together in the afterlife.
What I didn't like: Obviously Seth had to go and make me hate him again. He is way too secretive and lies when he really shouldn't. He may have good intentions but truth be told, this is more Domenico's life and as far as Seth has come, he's not trained to deal with people like the ones we meet in this book. He's too stubborn and very bad at communicating with Dom and it drives me nuts.
The Religious aspects of the story felt a tad hypocritical to me but it may just be my own ignorance of Catholicism. Dom is Roman Catholic and while he believes so much about what is seen right or wrong, the word of God, the man is a cold blooded killer. He is quick to rage and has no problem committing these sins. His obsession with marriage to ensure he and Seth are still together in the afterlife made me roll my eyes.
When all is said and done I loved this book. I can't get enough of Guns n' Boys. I will definitely be reading the next book and the one after that. KA Merikan has done an extraordinary job at creating a world that readers can get lost in and not want to pull themselves out. These characters are so real that I picture them perfectly in my mind and can see everything they do as if I am standing there watching it play out before my eyes.
*** Copy of the series provided to Bayou Book Junkie in exchange for a fair and honest review. ***
Due to some time constraints, I was only able to read books 1 to 4, but rest assured I'll be reading book 5 as soon as possible, because I'm hooked! This is a true series and it needs to be read in order since it's a continuing story.
Book 1: He Is Poison
Seth gets himself kidnapped and Domenico is sent by his father to rescue him.
Seth escaped to New York to get away from his mafia family and make a new life for himself, however, he didn't count on the fact that he'd be roped in the power struggle between his family and the Chinese mafia or on how attracted he'd be to his rescuer.
Domenico is not quite a knight in shining armor, but there's no denying the explosive chemistry between him and Seth, even if they're half-brothers. When Seth's father decides to appoint Seth as his successor as the new Don, Domenico has to train him and sparks fly. As they grow closer, they don't just have to fight against one another, but against everyone else that doesn't want Seth to be the new head of the Family.
I have to be brutally honest here, I had to push myself to finish this book and read the reviews for the next ones, because I wasn't sure I could read the series if all books were like this one, which thankfully they aren't. The writing wasn't as good as KA Merikan has me used to, which makes sense since they started writing this book in 2007, they've come a long way since then. Also, I didn't like Seth and Dom at first, and frankly, while my opinion on Seth hasn't changed much, by the end of this first book, I already adored Dom, who is a very charming sociopath that you just can't not love.
The rest of the series is so good, though, that I recommend trying to read this book, and if you can't get into it, find a good summary and just move on to book 2, I promise you won't regret it.
Rating: 2.5 Stars!
Book 2: He is Mine:
In this book, Seth is being forced to return to Italy and marry the daughter of one of his father's associates. Neither of them is happy about it, but they have to go through with it or else. After the deed is done, however, Luigi Tassa sends both of them to do a job in New York, which ends up being the 'honeymoon' of their dreams as they continue to fall more in love with each other. However, their happy time together ends up abruptly when Dom receives new orders to kill Seth.
I love Domenico with the force of a thousand suns. He's brash, jealous and dominant and still, he just melts with Seth. The love he feels for him is just so obvious and I melt into a puddle of Mari-goo everytime they are together. Now Seth, well, while I don't exactly hate him, I don't particularly like him, either. He's a whiny brat and generally the source of all the troubles they find themselves in.
Anyway, this book was amazing! It was fast-paced, fantastically written, very action-packed, with detailed (very yummy) sex scenes that I just can't get enough! Because yes, while I don't care for Seth, I have to admit his chemistry with Dom is electric and they're undeniably hot together, despite their silly fights.
Rating: 4.5 Stars!!!
Book 3: Homicidal Instinct:
Really, I can't stress enough that this series needs to be read in order, as it continues directly where book 2 ends and really, you don't want to miss out on any of it!
After narrowly escaping from their pursuers and managing to save Dom, Seth's life is sent into a tailspin when Domenico wakes up from surgery with amnesia. Unfortunately, they can't stay at Seth's ex's apartment for too long, since the Villani's are still after them and now Seth has to deal with the fact that he can only be Dom's brother and not his lover.
Dom isn't sure he can trust Seth, as he keeps feeding him half-truths and lies, but with them on the run, there isn't much he can do about it, or the attraction he feels for his brother.
I think of all the books in the series, this is my favorite. I almost liked Seth in some parts, and of course, there's nothing that Dom can do to stop me from loving him.
I love books that deal with some form of amnesia and I really liked KA Merikan's take on it. I also loved the pull that Dom felt toward Seth, even when he didn't know of their past. They are so passionate, even when they're fighting, that it's no wonder that they're explosive together.
I'm very intrigued with the Mr. Tropico storyline since he keeps being mentioned and the presumptive suspects I had have been disposed of. I really can't wait to find out more.
I really love how action-packed this book was, I'm completely enthralled by it all! It could have easily be considered far-fetched, but I think the authors are doing a fabulous job in keeping it fairly realistic. Very recommendable!
Rating: 4.5 Stars!
Book 4: Swamp Blood
In this book, we're introduced to Mark, a teenager runaway/hooker and reintroduced to Dana, who we met in the previous book when she tried to kidnap Seth. Also, it features members of the Coffin Nails MC Louisiana Chapter, which, if you're familiar with KA Merikan's MC books, you probably know of as well.
Seth is dealing with the aftermath of being tortured by his brother, Vincente, and refusing Domenico to be as close to him, making Dom feel as if he's losing his lover, while trying to cope with his own nightmares of not being able to protect Seth.
Seth convinces Dom to take in a runaway boy they find, and after finding out that Seth has been keeping secrets from him, Dom ends up fighting with the local chapter of a motorcycle club and moving them all into a swamp house to hide from them.
I loved Mark and having his POV included in the book. It was nice to see him becoming a part of their little family. Dana was a really great addition as well. I just loved Dom's dynamics with both of his trainees, especially Mark, who he sees as his sort of little brother. It was sweet.
It was really cool to see how both worlds, the MC and the mafia, collided in this book in such a realistic way. I liked the secondary storyline with the human-trafficking, even if it was kind of scary in some parts, it was still fast-paced and filled with lots of action.
I adore Dom. He's just amazing and I love him to bits. And again, I don't care for Seth, who unfortunately keeps putting them in harm's way and doesn't take much responsibility for his actions. Yes, he has great chemistry with Dom, and their scenes are hotter than hot, but he's very annoying in some parts. I have to admit that Seth kind of surprised me on the last 35% of the book, though, since he was actually a whole lot more helpful and less whiny than usual.
All in all, I'm thoroughly hooked on this series! It's well-written and intriguing and I just can't get enough of Dom (hee)! I'm looking forward to reading the last book in the series, hopefully soon.
Rating: 4.5 Stars!!!
K. A. Merikan is the pen name for Kat and Agnes Merikan, a team of writers, who are taken for sisters with surprising regularity. Kat’s the mean sergeant and survival specialist of the duo, never hesitating to kick Agnes’s ass when she’s slacking off. Her memory works like an easy-access catalogue, which allows her to keep up with both book details and social media. Also works as the emergency GPS. Agnes is the Merikan nitpicker, usually found busy with formatting and research. Her attention tends to be scattered, and despite pushing thirty, she needs to apply makeup to buy alcohol. Self-proclaimed queen of the roads.
They love the weird and wonderful, stepping out of the box, and bending stereotypes both in life and books. When you pick up a Merikan book, there’s one thing you can be sure of – it will be full of surprises.