Friday, August 31, 2018

Blog Tour Book Review: Memento Mori by Lexi Blake

Author: Lexi Blake
Series: Masters & Mercenaries: The Forgotten #1
Audience: +18
Genre: Contemporary Romance, Erotic Romance
Publisher: DLZ Entertainment, LLC
Release Date: August 28th 2018
My Rating: 5 Cups
Source: InkSlinger PR
Blurb (from Goodreads):
Six men with no memories of the past
One leader with no hope for the future

A man without a past

Jax woke up in a lab, his memories erased, and his mind reprogrammed to serve a mad woman’s will. After being liberated from his prison, he pledged himself to the only thing he truly knows—his team. Six men who lost everything they were. They must make certain no one else gets their hands on the drugs that stole their lives, all while hiding from every intelligence organization on the planet. The trail has led him to an unforgiving mountainside and a beautiful wilderness expert who may be his only hope of finding the truth.

A woman with a bright future

River Lee knows her way around the Colorado wilderness. She’s finally found a home in a place called Bliss after years lost in darkness. The nature guide prefers to show her clients the beauty found in the land, but she also knows the secrets the mountains hold. When she meets Jax, something about the troubled man calls to her. She agrees to lead him to the site of an abandoned government facility hidden deep in the forest. She never dreamed she was stepping into the middle of a battlefield.

A love that could heal a broken soul

Spending time with River, Jax discovers a peace he’s never known. Their passion unlocks a side of himself he didn’t even know he was missing. When an old enemy makes his first move, Jax and River find themselves fighting for their lives. But when his past is revealed, will River be caught in the crosshairs of a global conspiracy?
*Disclaimer: I received an eARC of this book from InkSlinger PR in exchange for an honest review. This does not influence my rating or the content of my review in any way.

**Disclaimer: This book contains mature content. As a result, my review may contain references to content intended for mature audiences only.   
I've been waiting for this book for a long, long time, and I am so happy it didn't disappoint. Like all books by this author, this book was action packed and it pushed the series in a new direction, one I'm very excited about.

We finally get to see who the Lost Boys are, the men kidnapped and experimented on by Hope McDonald. A part of me is insanely scared of this new adventure, because I have a feeling it's going to be an emotional roller-coaster, the other part of me is excited and very happy and intrigued by where Lexi Blake will take these stories. Memento Mori, the first book in the Masters and Mercenaries spin-off series, tells us the story of Jax. He's probably the most quiet and tame of the Lost Boys. Even after the horrors he's been subjected to and the things he was forced to do, you can tell he's one of the really good guys, and I was rooting for him the entire time. I liked seeing him with River, but I also loved seeing him with his brothers. They might not be his brothers by blood, but they definitely are his brothers by choice and by circumstance and theirs is a unique bond. I don't want to spoil it too much for you guys, in case you haven't read the book yet, but there are some big surprises in store for these guys, not just for Jax, and I was surprised when we find out certain things about Jax.

River is a hurt young woman, just trying to fix what little she can of her life. She was used and conned by the man who should have loved her and cared for her, her father recently died, and the debts are so big, she might have to sell her house. Meeting Jax was good for her, but her friendship with Heather, a woman I'm very intrigued by, is what made her be the perfect partner for Jax, because it was Heather that gave her the courage to try to have a fling with Jax, it was Heather who pushed her to look beyond her ex husband's betrayal. I was very happy seeing River help Jax discover the secret lab, and I'm very excited to see her in future books, and see how her and Jax's relationship will affect the other guys.

The thing that has me excited about this series, and it's touched upon in this book as well, is the way Blake explores morality and human nature. It's rare that both the reader and the professional side of me can be actively engaged by a book, and I felt like Memento Mori managed that just perfectly. Because not only was I excited to read Jax's story, but the psychologist in me got to explore human nature in a way I never had the chance to before. Is a person's personality erased just because they have no memory of their past to inform their present decisions? Is a person the sum of their mistakes, their wrongdoings and their successes and losing the memory of that makes them almost like newborn babies? Can knowing your past in a detached way, from second-hand accounts, but not actually remembering it change who you are now? It's a tricky part of the human psyche, and one that I'm fascinated with, and Lexi Blake does an amazing job at exploring that side. I have many questions and I am thrilled to see this side of human nature and personality and human psychology explored.

There's hints as to who some of the other boys may be, but I'm keeping an open mind, since we don't actually know anything conclusive. We also find out more about Ezra and there are definitely some Easter eggs there that had me excited to learn more about him and his past. As always, Ian was in this book and he had me laugh like a loon, especially when a big thing was revealed about Ezra and he mentioned some of the things we learned in his and Charlie's book. The ending of this book was very surprising and I'm excited for the next book.

All in all this was a great book, a great story to kick off the spin off series, and I'm waiting anxiously for the next book in the series.

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“This place is beautiful,” he said when she hesitated.
She nodded but didn’t move from her seat. “I love it here. I went to college in Denver, but I always missed this place. When I was younger, my dad had a house in Creede. He started the business there, but when he could, he moved us out of town. My dad was a loner, I suppose. Creede has a population of four hundred and Dad thought that was way too many people.”
“I know the feeling. I lived in London for a while. That was definitely too many people.” He kept his tone even. It was odd. Now that he was here, that hunger he always felt was tempered by her fear. He’d thought he would take anything offered to him, but he couldn’t having met her. If the blonde had offered herself up, he would have turned her down. Over the two hours they’d sat in the booth, eating fried food and drinking beer, he’d figured something out. Some people were more special than others. River was special. He should be more cynical. He could hear Damon Knight telling him to be cautious, but he couldn’t make himself do it. Perhaps it was the fact that he didn’t have a long well of history to draw from and to teach him that this was likely a mistake.
It didn’t feel like a mistake.
“Wow. I’ve never been farther than Kansas City.” She still wasn’t moving and her voice had taken on a tremulous tone.
His heart constricted, and it was surprisingly easy to not listen to his dick. His dick was pleading with him to get aggressive. His dick was trying to convince him that if he could get inside her, she would accept him.
Yeah, he wasn’t going to listen to his dick.
“If you’ve changed your mind, I can call my brother to pick me up. I have a phone and so does he. His number is programmed in. I don’t want to scare you. I had a good time talking to you tonight. It was one of the nicest nights I’ve had in a long time.” Ever. It was the best night ever. It was the first night he felt normal, though he wasn’t exactly sure what that word meant. Comfortable was a better one. That tight feeling in his chest had eased as he’d sat in the booth with River and Tucker and Heather.
Although he’d hated lying to her.
She finally turned, looking at him. Her eyes shone in the moonlight. “You mean that, don’t you?”
He wanted to touch her. He’d had to force his hands not to move toward her all night long. The most he’d allowed himself was to have their hips and shoulders touch as they’d sat next to each other. He’d decided it had been a good thing he’d sat next to her because he was fairly certain he had a case of Big Tag’s crazy eyes, and she would have seen them had he sat across from her.
“I do mean it. Please don’t get me wrong. I want you. I would like nothing more in the world than to take you into that cabin, lay you out, and make a feast of you. I want to kiss you and when I say that I don’t merely mean your lips. I want to put my mouth all over your body. But more than I want that, I want you to like me.” It was important somehow. He wouldn’t see her after tonight, but he couldn’t stand the idea that she was afraid of him.
Everyone was afraid of him. Everyone he knew was waiting for his powder keg to blow, but he’d sworn to himself earlier in the evening that it wouldn’t blow around her. He would protect her even if it was only for one night.
NY Times and USA Today bestselling author Lexi Blake lives in North Texas with her husband, three kids, and the laziest rescue dog in the world. She began writing at a young age, concentrating on plays and journalism. It wasn’t until she started writing romance and urban fantasy that she found the stories of her heart. She likes to find humor in the strangest places and believes in happy endings no matter how odd the couple, threesome, or foursome may seem.


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