Saturday, November 4, 2017

Review: Diamond (Bratva Jewels #2) by JA Low

Diamond by JA Low

Diamond (Bratva Jewels #2) by JA Low
Purchase link: Amazon

My rating: Small star Small star Small star Small star

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Diamond by JA Low blurb

Diamond is the fast-paced sequel to Sapphire where we learn what happens to Grace after she's been kidnapped. Emotions fly high and perhaps a touch of Stockholm Syndrome as Grace battles her kidnapper.

I was told that I could read Diamond as a standalone book without reading Sapphire. I'm glad I ignored that advice and read Sapphire first because Diamond is really a continuation of what happens after Sapphire. As a reader, I wanted to know what happened to Gracie during Sapphire and this context is important as we go on the journey with Grace. I think while I may not have been entirely lost reading Diamond without first reading Sapphire, I would have felt I was missing something. A lot happens to Grace in Sapphire and in this book she is still suffering from the trauma and effects of her experience and that is where the story starts. Additionally, most of the characters from the previous book make an appearance in this one. If you wanted to know who's who in the zoo, reading the first book helps.

And what I said about the first book still stands. While this is labeled as a dark romantic suspense, it's not dark. Trust me on this because I have a weak stomach and I did not feel it was dark at all even though it touches on some dark themes. Romantic suspense, yes. Dark, no. So if you're feeling reticent about reading this because it's labeled as dark, don't be.

Maxim is a conundrum for me. I am having a hard time nailing him down. He's a feared and skilled assassin for hire but he's also a kind and caring man who has suffered great loss in his life. His kindness shows as he cares for Grace when she is ill. What felt a little out of sync for me in his character was how he seemed young after he falls for Grace in spite of his persona as a hardened assassin. Ms Low never mentions his age so I'm left to guess but to me he felt like a young man, perhaps in his mid to late twenties, but then I wonder how he could have established himself and had as many kills as he had. And while he shows a ruthlessness in the beginning in dealing with Dimitri, all that seems to fall away once he is involved with Grace. While I liked seeing the softer side to him, I also found it a bit incongruous. That said, I never doubted his feelings for Grace and his desire to keep her safe.

Grace surprises me in this book. Even as she is suffering and recovering from the trauma that's happened to her, there's an inner strength to her that comes to the forefront as things spiral out of her control again when she's kidnapped. While she's at Maxim's mercy, she also holds her own and stands up to him. I'm impressed by Grace's resilience and willingness to do what needs to be done in spite of the danger to herself.

The Australianisms once again pulled me out of the story, this time more so than before. I just don't expect some of the words being used to come out of Maxim's mouth or even Mac's. Although I do not know Mac's nationality so he could be Australian? But Maxim definitely isn't Australian and some of the things he said surprised me. Not that I mind Australianisms. In fact, I love them if the book is set in Australia or has Australian characters but this book has such a mixed bag of nationalities that sometimes when the Australian words are used, they seem to stick out like a sore thumb.

And finally, what's with this thing of Grace hitting Maxim repeatedly? It's okay for a woman to hit a man in a romance but not okay for a man to hit a woman? Kind of a double standard don't you think? I understand the circumstances which caused Grace to do it, but I do not agree with it. And it's not like she slapped him once. She slapped him hard, repeatedly. And he just let her. There's something not right about that. I certainly don't condone it.

While I enjoyed Grace and Maxim's story, I felt less invested in the story than I was with the first book. That said, I'm still interested in seeing what Ms Low does in the future because she has certainly left room for the potential of more happening.

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JA Low

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  1. Oh I am glad you enjoyed this one as I have thoroughly enjoyed both of these books and yes MS Low has left it so as there will be more and I look forward to them :)

    Have Fun

    1. Yes, I'm glad I listened to you and gave the books a shot.

  2. That sounds different from what I usually read.

    1. It's different from what I normally read too but I was surprised to have enjoyed it.