Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Blog Tour Double Review: Collateral & Damage by Natasha Knight


Happy Tuesday! Today is the publication date of Damage by Natasha Knight, the second and final novel in the Collateral Damage duology. I'm sharing my review of both Collateral and Damage. I hope you enjoy!


Review of Damage:


Damage by Natasha Knight
Book Two of the Collateral Damage series
Publication Date: October 15, 2019
Rating: 4 stars
Source: eARC sent by the publicist

Official Summary:

We’re a match made in hell, Stefan and I.

He took me to exact his revenge. I went from being a pawn to my father to being a pawn to Stefan. The only difference is I have a ring the size of a boulder on my finger and a husband I don’t want.

And the hardest part is I thought he was different. I thought I was falling in love.

I guess my father was right. I’m not a very smart girl.

Stefan is a powerful man. He doesn’t play nice, not if you’re his enemy. But I’ve learned one thing about my husband.

He takes care of what’s his.

And I am his.

His enemies have become my enemies, but he’ll never let anyone hurt me. He’s fiercely protective. It’s the predator inside that scares me.

What I Liked:

I'll keep this review somewhat short, since this is a conclusion novel and I want to avoid spoilers. We met Stefan and Gabriela in Collateral, and what a dynamic, passionate, intense couple they are. Their love story is incredibly dark, and not your typical romance. There is push and pull, give and take. Their relationship is incredibly difficult, heartbreaking, and angst-ridden.

This book picks up pretty much where Collateral left off. Things are in motion from the start, and the action doesn't slow down until the very last page. I really don't want to spoil anything for anyone, so I won't say any specifics. But I will say that Stefan and Gabriela clash and collide very soon after this book starts, in a sweet and powerful way.

The romance in general is not sweet. It's not a cute, slow-burn romance. It's a slow-burn romance that is filled with pain, passion, and tug-of-way. I didn't always like Stefan's actions; I didn't always like Gabriela's compromises. But I did like how they slowly found their way into their relationship, together.

There is no love triangle in this book! One thing that I truly liked was how the two main characters were together, whether they liked it or not, from the start, and never strayed from their engagement (or marriage).

This book ends with a bang - but also a HEA! And that is all I will say. I enjoyed this novel, and I definitely enjoyed the ending. 

What I Did Not Like:

I will say that I did not always like Stefan's actions. I understand his mind, and his regret, but I didn't like how he conducted himself at times. 

I also wanted a little more development of their relationship at the very end. The author seemed to want to put a neat bow on the ending, and tie everything up quickly. But Stefan and Gabriela's relationship issues couldn't just be fixed so quickly, with one or two hurdles out of the way. I wanted to see a little more development. But on the other hand, I was really happy about the HEA!

Would I Recommend It:

If you like dark romances, then this is a good one. It is not sweet - it is intense and dark and not super romantic. But I liked the painful, tortured level of the romance. It's definitely not for everyone though. I am so glad that an author friend recommended Collateral to me - I loved this series!

Rating: 

4 stars. I am pretty pleased with this duology and so glad I gave it a chance. I'll definitely be on the lookout for new books by this author!


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Review of Collateral:

Collateral

Collateral by Natasha Knight
Book One of the Collateral Damage series
Publication Date: September 23, 2019
Source: Purchased ebook copy

Summary (from Goodreads):

Gabriela

Stefan Sabbioni showed up uninvited in my bedroom on my sixteenth birthday. He stood in the shadows smelling of whiskey and death and wrapped a broken, blood-crusted necklace around my neck. I thought he'd strangle me with it.

That night, he left a message for my father. He said he'd be back to take something precious.

I never delivered that message, though. I wonder if things would be different if I had because now, two years later, he's back. And he's not hiding in any shadows.

He's come to make good on his promise.

He's back to take that something precious.

Me.

Stefan

Marchese is the manipulator of my family's tragedy. I won't just bring him to his knees. I'll bury him for what he did.

Taking his daughter is only the beginning. I'll do it knowing I'm starting a war. I'll do it knowing my enemies will become his allies. They'll stop at nothing to destroy me and he'll stop at nothing to get her back.

I've never shied away from war, though. I'm not one to play nice and I don't share my toys. I'll demolish you if you touch what's mine.

And she is most definitely mine.

What I Liked:

I started reading this book on a complete whim. A friend on social media shared one of the author's promotional posts, on the publication day, and it piqued my interest. This friend has had excellent recommendations so I decided to check out the book. I picked it up... and two hours later I found myself at the end. When was the last time that happened? I cannot remember the last time I read a book in one sitting. I was hooked from page one. Realistically, I was hooked from the premise!

This is a dark mafia romance story, featuring Stefan, the heir of the Sabbioni mafia family, and Gabriela, the heir of the Marchese mafia family. Stefan is out for blood, after his brother Antonio is brutally murdered. He has good reason to believe that the Marchese family was behind the murder. Two years after the murder, he comes after the Marchese family by blackmailing Gabriela's father into signing her into a marriage contract with him (Stefan). Gabriela knows nothing of Antonio's murder, or her father's mafia dealings. She was a pawn of her father and she is now a pawn of Stefan. But Stefan is more than the cold man that he appears, and her father isn't all that he appears.

I love mafia romances. One of my favorite romance novels is The Marriage Contract by Katee Robert. All of the books in that series are fantastic, but that one in particular is my favorite. So when I saw this book, also featuring an arranged marriage, and hate-to-love romance (and slow-burn, at that), I figured I would love this. And I did!

Gabriela seems like a spoiled brat at first, but she isn't. She is a pawn, always used by someone. She has lived her life surrounded by bloodshed and violence - it's no wonder she hates Stefan Sabbioni on the spot. From one dangerous man to another - she knows she is powerless in any situation. But she's the type that won't go down without a fight. She fought her father constantly and was punished every time. When Stefan takes her away, she doesn't allow him to bully her. (Or she tries!) Her situation is so heartbreaking all around, but she is so tough and resilient.

Stefan appears a cold, heartless man. He forces Gabriela to become engaged to him, and to marry him within a month. He has rules for her and he expects her to follow them without question. He's a hard, clever, alpha male, which should have made me dislike (and I did at first). But the author digs deep into his character and slowly shows layers of him. I warmed up to him after a little. He didn't have any patience with Gabriela at first, and I hated him for that, but I started to understand him and see him differently as the book went on - especially when he himself started to soften and change.

For a romance novel, this book was actually sparse on the romance, in a way. There's very little physical romance in this book, and the softer feelings aren't totally developed. But the tension was so well-written. The tension and chemistry between Stefan and Gabriela is thick enough to slice with a knife. They have volatile, passionate chemistry, and I have no doubt that there will be some heavy, complex, intense scenes in the next book. I actually really like how this is set up. The author split the story into two books, and did not rush the romance OR the chemistry. The chemistry is built up slowly but very surely, and the romance (the emotional side) starts in this book but there are no declarations of love (heck, I don't think these two characters love each other - yet).

Stefan and Gabriela do not have an easy journey, and their relationship is nothing but difficult. They don't trust each other, they have their own baggage, and they don't get along. But you can see things changing as the book goes on. I really like the how the author paced this story. I am so vexed that I have to wait for another book BUT it appears to be very much worth it. Please don't disappoint, Damage!

The ending is a cliffhanger, beware! Book two (the final book) publishes in two weeks, so the wait isn't too bad, but the cliffhanger is a lot to handle! Just keep that in mind.

I really liked this book. I am hoping that Damage will be even better, especially with so much unresolved between Stefan and Gabriela (gah! I need more kissing!), and so much about her father that needs to be uncovered... I'm ready!

What I Did Not Like:

There is a scene, in the beginning of the book, that I did not like. It bothered me when I initially read it, and know that I've finished the book, it's still bothering me. Now that I've finished the book, I can look at the entire story, and that scene almost seems out of place in the story. I can't say what the scene is, but it was something involving Stefan and Gabriela, early on. Stefan had no patience with her at first,and I'm not excusing his initial behavior. This is a dark romance novel, and neither of them saw each other as human beings at first, but this scene stuck out to me. That's my own notable negative about this book. It probably wouldn't even bother most people!

That, and Clara. An unnecessary relative. Very unnecessary.

Would I Recommend It:

If you like dark romances, or mafia romances, then this is a great book for you! Note that the romance isn't fully fleshed out in this book, so there aren't many physical romance scenes, but I expect Damage will be different. Plus, the tension is fantastic, and the pacing is really well-written. It's a slow-burn romance story, and very worth it!

Rating: 

4.5 stars -> rounded down to 4 stars. I read this book in one sitting and was a tiny bit disappointed when I realized I couldn't one-click book two and start reading! But two weeks is not too long to wait. I'm excited!


Was this review helpful? Please let me know in the comments section!


About the Author:

USA Today bestselling author of contemporary romance, Natasha Knight specializes in dark, tortured heroes. Happily-Ever-Afters are guaranteed, but she likes to put her characters through hell to get them there. She’s evil like that. 


3 comments:

  1. I'm sold on mafia romance! I'm glad that these two books were great for you. Damaged sounds really good and good to know it ends in a HEA!
    Genesis @ Whispering Chapters

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