Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Book Review: Lev by Belle Aurora

Lev (Shot Callers, #1)

Adult, Romance, Contemporary
Publication.Date  October 11th, 2015
Published By:  Belle Aurora
WebsiteBelle Aurora

Lev on Goodreads
My review copy:Bought (Kindle Unlimited)

Where to get:

From the moment Lev Leokov spots the young woman hiding behind her hair in the middle of the gentleman's club, he can't take his eyes off of her.
For the very first time in his life, he is affected. Having been told his entire life that he can't process or understand emotion, he considers it a big deal.

When Mina Harris gets caught red-handed with a wallet that isn't hers, she falls apart. She's tired, lonely and hasn't eaten in days.

Lev offers her an ultimatum... A nice warm bed, a hot meal and a job, or the cops.

Mina takes her chances with Lev.
After all, a person with nothing has nothing left to lose.


"They say penguins mate for life." He reached up again and jerked hard at his tie. "ANd I want to be your penguin."
"I'll be a good father to them. I pray that our babies will be like you but if they are like me, I don't want you to worry because I'll guide them and show them they are loved even if they don't understand what that means. I will teach them."
He kissed me softly once, twice, three times, then whispered against my lips, "I love you, Mina."

Since Lev released, I have been seeing it everywhere. People talking about it, enjoying it. Quotes that made ME want to pick it up. So when I clicked on it recently and saw it was available on Kindle Unlimited (which it hadn't been at first, so this was a lovely surprise!), I snatched this baby up. And dear goodness, I am glad I did. Lev is a sweet story that I enjoyed immensely from start to finish.

So we have Lev, this guy who isn't really in tune to emotions. He doesn't experience many, and he's terrible at picking up what other people are feeling. He does his best, but there's a huge disconnect for him. Personally, I LOVE characters like this. They're fascinating, and often tend to have these huge sweet sides just waiting to be uncovered. (My favorite example of this is Corrado from Made by J.M. Darhower, but that's a discussion for another day.) Lev in particular is a big sweetheart, and being inside his head was one of my favorite parts of this novel. Very protective of his family, very kind and fair. He does have a dark side, too, but he doesn't unleash that on his loved ones.

Then we have Mina, a destitute girl living on the streets. Sleeping in alleys, eating scraps when and if she finds them. Her life is ugly and unhappy and no good. Desperate for a way to buy food, she slips into a random place (which ends up being the club Lev's family owns and runs) and attempts to steal a wallet. She only takes one hundred dollars and plans to put the rest back, because all she really wants is something to eat since she's starving, but Lev catches her. Turns out the wallet she stole was his brother's. But because Lev is an awesome person and took notice of the fact that she was seriously in need of help and obviously a good person, seeing as she'd left A LOT of money in that wallet and only took what she needed, he offers to help her out. He gives her a job at the club and a place to stay, and then the story goes from there.

Mina was a good heroine. Definitely a fitting counterpart to Lev. She starts out more meek, but gradually gains confidence. Her growth was great. Spending time in her head was also interesting. Not AS wonderful as it was seeing Lev's thoughts, but Mina's narration was certainly entertaining. Seeing Lev from her eyes was important and helped give an even better grasp of him as a person. Knowing Lev from inside his own thoughts is one thing, but viewing him through the eyes of someone else was super helpful in giving a full picture of him.

There was loads to swoon over in this story. Lev and Mina are the best couple, and seeing them together rocked. But it was also awesome watching them get to that point. They start out as strangers, then get to know each other and their relationship grows. I adore these two and experiencing that evolution with them was another of my favorite things about this novel. That, and just the plain fact that I swooned all over the freaking place. I love when that happens!

This is the first Belle Aurora book I've read, so I didn't know what to expect as far as writing went. Would be good? Just okay? Meh? My hopes had been kind of high, because the story seemed so up my alley and I wanted to like it. Luckily, the writing was well done. It is dual POV (for the most part), and both Lev and Mina had very distinct voices. Plus, both their narrations held my attention. Neither of them were boring. I was partial to Lev, but the odds were really in his favor because he's the hero and he's the TYPE of hero that I just die for every time. But Mina was cool, too, honestly. So yay for that!

The only little issue I had with this story was that it didn't seem to have much of an overarching plot. Don't get me wrong, this book drew me in and kept me reading from the first page to the last. I was amused, entertained, in love, all that fun stuff, the entire time. BUT. It seemed like there was a bunch of stuff happening, and the only thing that really connected them was that they were happening to these characters. There was no big conflict tying it all together or anything. Which I guess just means that this story was solely meant to be the story of Lev and Mina, a fact I can accept and am okay with, but still. I have to acknowledge this.

Oh, and I also wouldn't have minded more Lev chapters. I'm not counting this against the book at all, just reiterating my obvious love and adoration for Lev.

Overall, Lev was a sweet and captivating novel I absolutely devoured. I loved Lev and Mina, and experiencing their story was lovely. This may have been my first Belle Aurora book, but after enjoying Lev to the end of the earth, I will without a doubt be reading more of her work.

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