Review: Monster In His Eyes by J.M. Darhower - Vilma Iris | Lifestyle Blogger

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Review: Monster In His Eyes by J.M. Darhower

My Thoughts

Dark and provocative with an intensifying
sense of danger and duplicity page after page.

The story evoked a foreboding sense of doom that kept me
reading and questioning until the very explosive end.



Monster In His Eyes coverIgnazio Vitale is not a good man.

I suspect it, the first time I see him, sense the air of danger that surrounds the man. He has a way of commanding attention, of taking control, of knowing what I’m thinking before I even do.

It’s alarming and alluring. It’s dark and deadly. It’s everything I’ve ever wanted but the last thing I truly need. Obsession.

It doesn’t take him long to draw me into his web, charming me into his bed and trapping me in his life, a life I know nothing about until it’s too late. He has secrets, secrets I can’t fathom, secrets that make it so I can’t walk away, no matter how much I beg him to let me go. I see it sometimes in his eyes, a darkness that’s both terrifying and thrilling. He’s a monster, wrapped up in a pretty package, and what I find when I unmask him changes everything.

I want to hate him.

Sometimes, I do.

But it doesn’t stop me from loving him, too.

My Review

“We keep the darkest parts of us to ourselves until we think others are ready to see them.”

No doubt that this is a book that ended on a lingering high. The kind where your thoughts continue warring long after you close the book. The explosive end had me questioning how I felt about things earlier in the story and even now, I still can’t seem to process a crisp and succinct takeaway. Monster In His Eyes is dark, gritty, steamy, duplicitous, engaging. It challenged my perception of its protagonists and explored the the notion of love, the notion of good and bad, and even the pliability of personas. Both characters, Naz and Karissa, are complex, multifaceted people. People who have known loss and grief. People with holes inside that need something they’ve yet to find…something they unexpectedly find in each other.

“Who are you then?”
“Someone you should stay far away from.”

When 18-year-old college student meets Ignazio Vitale, it was serendipitous. Not the  hearts and rainbows kind, however, the kind that makes you flush with immediate desire while at the same time making your skin prickle with a chilling awareness. Ignazio is intense. Dark. Alluring. An unavoidable commanding presence that consumes a room. And when fates collide a second time, Karissa can’t help but let herself be drawn to him. Let herself be controlled by him. Although Ignazio (Naz) is twice here age, his attention is electrifying. That sixth sense tells her he’s dangerous, but her body can’t help but respond to his tantalizing touch. You could almost feel the surge of adrenaline in her as she submits to him from the very beginning.

“There’s something thrilling, something chilling, about having something that’s all mine. I’ve lived a life of secrecy since I was born, a life of uncertainty… but this is another level I can’t even explain. It’s having a different world to step into, a world so much unlike my own — a world where I’m not just another person… I’m a treasure.”

Karissa is an interesting character. I admit that she frustrated me. She was so pliable. So able to be controlled by him. With a mother who constantly lived on the fringes of sanity and a father who had left them when she was young, she’s been largely on her own. I think that her mother’s overprotective nature coddled her so much that it became difficult for her sense of self to strengthen. Karissa was perfectly pliant for a man like Naz to come around and sweep her off her feet. Suddenly her life is filled with bold colors and desire and luxuries she never thought possible. Her life, suddenly defined by a man who couldn’t get enough of her. It was everything she didn’t realize she needed and was now completely addicted to.

“I think he woke me up instead, like my life so far has been nothing but a monotone dream and he showed me what it’s really like to open your eyes. I’ve never felt so alive.”

Naz is something else entirely. Intense and passionate. A man in control. A man who takes what he wants no matter the price. He’s the anti-hero personified. It’s clear there’s more than meets the eye. His relationship with Karissa starts off entirely sexual… or so it seems. He offers Karissa the world at her feet. He takes and gives, takes and gives… But when Karissa obviously begins to care for him and they spend more time together, he begins to lose the facade he tries so hard to keep. The monster inside begins to come out. The man that is always so in control becomes vulnerable… perhaps in a way he didn’t even know and certainly in a way he didn’t expect. He’s felt deep grief that has shaped who he’s become. That’s left him bereft of an affection that she begins to give and that he begins to need.

“There’s something about you… something I’ve sought for a very long time. Something I’ve always wanted. And now that I’ve found it, I don’t know if I can let it go.”

Their relationship is not typical. There’s intimacy laced with roughness, softness hiding devious intent. I wasn’t sure how real their feelings were for each other, particularly since Karissa really didn’t know anything about Naz. He was a mystery. A man shrouded by darkness and secrets. Any time she tries to reach him, he becomes more of a mystery she can’t seem to decipher.

“Be careful what you ask… The answers aren’t always pretty.”

The story continues to intensify as the two of them entrench themselves deeper in their relationship. In their new life. Despite the consideration that perhaps their feelings are not entirely “real,” their chemistry is undeniable. I think that Karissa and Naz must be get to know each other in a way that’s honest and transparent — no secrets between them — before the real emotions take flight. Twisting in unexpected ways, the story finally reveals the secrets behind Ignazio and it’s a shocking, thrilling thing that left me wanting more! I wanted her to be oh-so-very-very-angry at our deceptive, mystery man, but one thing is clear, their relationship is anything but typical and more than charged with a range of explosive emotions.

“I ate you alive sweetheart. You never had a chance.”

The next book in the series will cast a harsh and very real light on what’s transpired between them. After everything they’ve endured together (and apart), this suspenseful, thrilling story is poised to take more turns than I’m sure we’ll expect! I loved JM Darhower’s writing and the fact that she really created a multifaceted story that made me consider character motivation and intention. Torture in her Soul, book 2, will be out this Fall.

“I fell in love with him, and that’s what destroyed me in the end.
He says he would never hurt me, but he doesn’t realize he already has.
He hurt me by loving me.
By being who he is.
Because I am who I am.”


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