Monday, July 22, 2013

Love or Death: Reviews of Recalled and Charmed

This series is one-in-a-million! Highly addicting, beautifully written, and with characters who steal your heart, this series is so inventive and unique with its own twist on the classic "Grim Reaper" stories. :)
Rating: 5 stars!

That's the thing about death. It doesn't care about love. It doesn't care if you're not done living. It doesn't stop... It keeps coming until it claims everything a person has, until there's nothing left.

Death is merciless, an unforgiving merciless ruler. 

Dex knows this first hand. He's a Death Escort for the one and only Grim Reaper. G.R. made him an offer he couldn't refuse. All the money he could want, a life of immortality. All for one small price: he has to kill for it. And if he doesn't do what his boss wants, he'll get Recalled. To a place where nothing exists, where there's no peace, no happiness. A life of endless suffering. 

The choice isn't hard. Or is it?

*Possible spoilers!

Oh, how I love my tortured heroes. And Dex is no exception. He was pulled in by greed, by the money. But what G.R. doesn't understand is that deep down Dex has a kind heart, a good heart.

All my life I thought I was some hellion, a product of something bad... I wasn't. But I'd believed in it so absolutely that my wake-up call had been death. I had to die in order to see the way I should've been living.
He's not like the other Death Escorts. He's not a killer. It doesn't hit him until it's almost too late. He should never have taken the deal. And he would rather be Recalled than kill the woman he's come to love. The only person he's ever loved. He knows what's right, even though it will cost him dearly. But Dex doesn't back down. His strength lies within him, and he will do whatever it takes to break the claim that the Grim Reaper has over Piper. 

Piper is also a tortured character. She should have died that night; it was she the bus was going to hit. But someone pushed her out of the way, a man she didn't even know had saved her life. And it cost him his. But Piper doesn't know that that same man is Dex, a man she's come to have feelings for. And she also doesn't know that he's been sent to finish what started that night he died. He's supposed to kill her as part of his initiation into the Death Escorts service. But she has a supernatural gift; she sees visions when she touches someone. And it confuses her when she sees the same vision after touching the man who died for her and touching Dex. 

When another Death Escort gets in the way, secrets are unraveled and the truth comes to light. Piper doesn't want to believe it, and Dex can do nothing but tell her how he really feels. That he was sorry for all the hurt he's caused her, that when it came down to it, he valued her life and love above everything else. 

I'd never known love in my life. I always felt like I had a slow leak in my heart... that eventually everything good would drain away until I was left with nothing but a deflated, useless organ inside my chest. But now... now I felt like the leak was patched and someone was slowly breathing life back into what I thought was a lost cause.
But Piper's love for him was stronger than she realized. She knew what he'd done, what he'd tried to do. Dex had wormed his way into her life with the sole purpose of destroying it. Piper didn't count on falling in love with him, but now that she's found him, she doesn't want him to leave.

Dex found something worth living for. Something worth dying for. It was love, the one thing that was missing in his life before, and the one thing that he finally found. 

Throughout the book, it was clear that there might not be a happy ending. I didn't listen to the warning bells in my head. I foolishly believed things would turn out okay, that Dex and Piper would live happily-ever-after. That all the heartache and pain would be worth it. But that ending... God, I was bawling my eyes out. It wasn't happy, but shit, it was perfect. I'm not kidding, I truly loved the ending. For this book wasn't about Dex and Piper's love story. It was about Dex's redemption, about him finding what makes life worth it, about him learning that he really was a good man. He deserved that ending so much. He deserved peace.

This wasn't your typical reaper story. The Grim Reaper is not just Death, but a businessman. The Death Escorts is a business that he started, and he is a dictator kind of boss. No one messes with the Grim Reaper, and no one gets the best of him. Dex outwitted Death himself, saved Piper, and found peace. 

Recalled wasn't an HEA, but damn, if I didn't love the story. And that ending was beautiful. Heartbreaking. Emotional. It was downright perfect.


Rating: 4.5 stars!

I have to say, Charming was not my favorite character in Recalled. But I knew there was more to his story, and I'm such a sucker for mysterious men because I just want to unravel all their secrets. 
And so just minutes after I lived the moment that defined my life forever... I also lived the moment that would forever define my death.
Charming has been a Death Escort for over ninety years, and he's the best killer out of all of G.R.'s employees. But that doesn't stop him from feeling the wrath of the Grim Reaper for letting Dex beat Death at his own game. For punishment, he's been given the most impossible task he's ever been assigned, and he has only six months to complete it. If he doesn't he'll get Recalled without a second thought.

But he doesn't count on someone getting in his way. An obstacle who idolizes Marilyn Monroe and has a big mouth. She's also hell bent on exacting revenge on him for what he did to Piper in Recalled. What better way for her to screw up his life than to mess with his job? And although she's as tempting as the sugar she eats, he can't afford to let feelings develop between them. It would only hinder his job if he can't keep his head, and his heart, from wandering off course. 

Frankie was an amazing best friend to Piper in book one, and I was really excited for her story. She's the kind of best friend you want; loyal, caring, and always there whenever you need a shoulder to cry on. And Piper needs her more than ever after what happened to Dex, after their happiness was short-lived and stolen by the Grim Reaper. So when Frankie starts developing feelings for the Escort who kidnapped her best friend and tried to kill her, she's determined to keep it a secret. But Piper is full of surprises, and she understands what Frankie is going through, because she fell hard for a Death Escort herself. Even Charming understood Dex's sacrifice to save Piper; because he would do anything to save Frankie, to save the woman he loves.

I just have to say, I LOVED Frankie and Charming's relationship! Hellooooo, Oliver. Oops, I mean.. Prince Charming. Their relationship, throughout the whole book, was my favorite thing about Charmed. It was perfect! Steamy, intimate, funny, emotional, teasing, adorable. It was beautiful, the way they threw away that pesky little thing called hate and actually fell in love with each other. Charming and Frankie helped each other live again. :)
"I've been dead for so long that I forgot what it was like to live. I forgot what it was like to feel. Even still, I'm pretty sure nothing I had experienced was ever like this. You brought me back to life, Frankie. You make me want to live." 
Swooooooning. There's a reason they call him 'Charming' and he actually fits the name. I mean, it could be just because of that little gift he'd collected over the years of being an the best killer employed by Death. But he really does have charm underneath all that hard, i'm-a-man-i-don't-do-feelings exterior. He has a good heart, even though he was literally tricked and manipulated by G.R. into becoming this killing machine who has no feelings. And now because of Frankie, and his will to actually live life, he wants out. He wants out of being a Death Escort. 

But the Grim Reaper will not be played like a fool again. He will not let another one of his employees outsmart him. And he will not let Charming have a happily-ever-after. But G.R. underestimated Charming's cold and ruthless determination to kill, and kill, and kill. He once again underestimated the lengths humans will go to for the ones they love. Love is the one emotion that beats out death. It's the one emotion that the Grim Reaper has absolutely no control over. 

With help from Piper and a lovable Ghost Escort named Storm, Charming and Frankie go into battle against Death. Secrets and mysteries are unraveled as everyone tries to outsmart the other. And in the end, all that fighting was worth it. Because that was a happy, happy ending. I needed that after Recalled's nontraditional HEA, yet genius, ending. 

I love these characters; I love the new take on the Grim Reaper legend and myth. I couldn't stop reading these stories!


My Final Thoughts:
I wasn't kidding when I said I couldn't stop reading these stories. I read one after the other with no book break between them. And when I hit the epilogue for Recalled, I was sad because I didn't want it to end. That was my favorite of the two. I don't know why, but maybe it was because of that heartbreaking yet perfect ending. Whatever the case, I still loved both of these books. And let me just say, using those definitions for chapter titles was very creative! I liked that! 

Now I'm left wondering if there will be more of these books. I KIND OF HOPE SO! :)

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