Into the Dark

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 26 Dec 2019

Member Reviews

Into the Dark was my first Karen Rose novel and I’m so excited to be able to read all the rest! 

This was truly a pageturner. Thank you to Berkley and Netgalley for the free review copy - I also bought the audiobook when I couldn’t stop reading. 

There was a lot going on in this book - and I was jumping in late to the series but I had no problems following what was happening. Two young brothers are escaping an abusive home and end up in the care of Dr Dani Novak and Diesel Kennedy. In order to keep the boys safe - Dani and Diesel end up teaming up with their friends and investigating a serial killer. 

Dani is HIV positive and this is the first romance I’ve read where that has been represented. There are also multiple characters who are deaf. I learned a lot without ever feeling that I was being lectured. 

I am really looking forward to going back through the other books already out in the series and learning more about all the side characters. 

Content warning: so many - basically if you have triggers, proceed with caution. Child abuse, sexual abuse, suicide, gun violence, drug abuse, parental neglect, car accident, human trafficking.
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Wowzers!  What a book!  Sometimes, once you get so far into a series, you find that each book gets a little less exciting and you find you want to read a little less or you anticipate less.  THIS IS NOT THE CASE WITH KAREN ROSE AND THE ROMANTIC SUSPENSE SERIES!  Each book seems to get better and better and I feel like I can't get enough!

Karen Rose has become my absolute favorite author!  I can depend on every story she writes being a solid story that keeps you guessing until the end, on the edge of your seat with the turn of each page, and falling in love with each and every character she writes about!

Into the Dark is no exception!  I was so excited to finally get to learn a little more about Dani and Deacon!  Dani is such a unique character and this new story about her made me want to devour it up!  Deacon never gives up, which is such an admirable trait!  But together, they will do whatever they can to protect two innocent little boys that they come to love as if they were their own!

I was hooked on this story from the first word to the last word and kept finding myself wanting more and more, staying up into the late hours of the night just to finish another chapter!

Karen Rose is such a talented author, and as always, I absolutely cannot wait until the next book in this series is released!
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I love that we (finally) have a sensitive, well-researched romance novel starring a heroine living a relatively normal life with HIV. Honestly, it’s about time. Brava Karen Rose for giving this book the love, research, and tone it deserves. This is the second romance novel I’ve read this year where one of the main characters has a sexually transmitted disease; both were published by Berkley Romance. So, thank you to them for leaning into serious topics in romance novels.

Okay, onto my review. Is it weird to say that a romantic suspense novel covering topics like HIV, child abuse, and murder is cute? Because it is. Well, at least the romance between Diesel and Dani is freaking adorable. Diesel has been in love with Dani for years, and their whole friend group is aware. Dani herself is aware but has reservations for many valid reasons. Dani is a fierce survivor and I admired her as a character, even when I occasionally wanted to shake her for ignoring her feelings.

Now, onto Diesel. My sexy, bald, mountain of a beta hero. I love him. How can you not? He’s a hacker with a heart of gold and a mile-wide soft spot for kids in need. I would recommend reading this book for him alone! His emotional vulnerability and gentleness with the traumatized children in his care turned my heart to mush. New book boyfriend alert for sure.

This sweet push and pull love story was contrasted by a truly dark thriller. This book isn’t for the faint of heart. The child trafficking and child abuse are explored in-depth and could be triggering for some readers. As I mentioned, Ms. Rose handles tough topics with grace and sensitivity, but that doesn’t make it any easier to read.

I did knock off a star because I felt Diesel and Dani’s love story got repetitive at times. I also felt the many, many, MANY characters were a little overwhelming. I’m sure it will be a treat for series devotees, but the book didn’t stand alone as well as I would have preferred.

Overall, I read this 500+ page book in two days. Find a comfy chair and hot beverage because this book is the perfect companion.

**I received an ARC of this book in order to provide an honest review**
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Excellent read, I have always liked Karen’s writing but feel she really out did herself with this one. Outstanding.
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3.5 Star

Holy crap was this book emotional and graphic in detail (murder, human trafficking, rape, child abuse, and molestation). Not my favorite of the series, but I did love Dani and Diesel, and all the supporting characters.  

I struggled a lot with the back and forth between Dani and Diesel. 90% off it was Dani's doing. I get her inner turmoil, but man it drove me absolutely insane! On top of that, I got tired of Dani's focus on Diesel's looks and vice versa. Why do authors do this?! Do they think we can't read or that we aren't intelligent enough to understand it the first 100 times they have to pound it in our heads? We got it, Diesel was downright hot, with his tight body, bulging muscles, and captivating eyes. And we got it that Dani was so unique and beautiful.  Less is best, people. 

Technically this can be read alone but I felt a little lost with all of the extra name and players, as I haven't read most of the books in this huge series. I guess Dani and Diesel are in a few of the prior books. I wish I had known that and which ones so I could get a better handle on their back stories. 
Other than that, I had no trouble following along. It was more of a personal thing, than a reader thing as a whole.
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Unsurprisingly, this book packs quite the emotional punch. Karen Rose has such a gift for pulling the reader into the story only to spit you out at the end with all the feels. That was Alone in the Dark for me. Whenever there is a child involved, especially in KR book, it hits me hard. Like really hard. This book was no different.

Michael Rowland has been abused by his stepfather for years. The only reason he hasn’t run away is because he has to protect Joshua, his little brother. When he sees his stepfather inject Joshua with something, the fight is on. Michael gets Joshua away safely. For now. When Brewer comes looking for them, Michael hides in the bushes along the road. He then witnesses something that is hard to comprehend. A man murdering his stepfather. Michael is deaf so he didn’t hear anything that was said. He does feel relief that Brewer is dead, followed by terror that the killer will come after him and Joshua next.

Diesel Kennedy coaches peewee soccer. Joshua is on his team. When his brother, Michael, runs six miles to make sure he is okay, it sends up red flags for Diesel. The only person he can take the boys to is Dani Novak. Dani is not only a doctor, but she is able to do emergency foster care for deaf children. When Dani and Diesel realize the extent of Michael’s abuse, they will not let him out of their site. Diesel has taken it upon himself to protect Dani and the boys, something he takes very seriously. It is hard for him to be around Dani because she’s been rejecting his advances for 18 months. Still, Diesel can only look at the situation as the chance it is to make Dani see that they would be good together.

With Michael able to identify the killer, he is now being hunted by the killer. Who is not just a killer, but a serial killer. Dani, Diesel and all their friends now have to fight to keep the boys safe when it becomes evident that the killer won’t stop coming after Michael. And what a crack team they are together. I loved the dynamic with all the friends and visiting couples that I have read about in previous books.

KR did a superb job here. I was angry at the killer, yet at the same time rooting him on. If that’s not effed, I don’t know what is. KR just has that knack. I loved Michael and Joshua. Their problems were very real and they came out loud and clear through the pages. Dani and Diesel’s love was sweet and passionate. I liked that once Dani decided she was in, she was all in. With Diesel and with the boys. This is yet another book that shows Karen Rose is on top of the romantic suspense genre and not leaving anytime soon.

Rating: 4.25 out of 5.
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Into the Dark by Karen Rose was exactly what I expect from her Cincinnati series and I loved it. First, I must say that her inclusion of deaf characters was amazing. As someone who is mostly deaf in one ear, I love to read about characters who have similar struggles and still maintain active, happy lives. The BAHA that Dani wears was an option offered to me by my ENT a year ago!

Now, I have to say that Into The Dark is pretty much one long trigger. There is child molestation discussed throughout the book as several characters have dealt with it and the plot of the story is focused around it. So it's difficult to say I loved this book because the content is so heartbreaking. However, Rose writes such wonderful characters and terrifying plots that I was hooked from page one. Dani and Diesel have such awful backstories. These two have had more trauma than any person should have to bear. Diesel's devotion to Dani for over a year before she gives him a chance was so endearing. You can't help but adore Diesel! Add in how wonderful he is with Joshua and Michael and you are a goner (and so is Dani)!

If you are able to read stories about horrible human tragedies like child abuse and human trafficking, I encourage you to read Karen Rose's Cincinnati series! She handles the delicate topics by showing the reader the effects in the immediate aftermath and the long term. The focus is on the people who survive these abhorrent crimes and how they rebuild their lives. In that sense, you get a hopeful look into the possibilities for those who are survivors and that is what I loved about the stories. Into the Dark shows you all sides of the puzzle: the cop looking for a missing sister, the children rescued from an abusive home, and a vigilante who wants to kill the people involved in trafficking.

Into the Dark will take you on a journey that is at times painful, at times endearing, yet always hopeful despite the challenges of each person. Rose's books will always be "must buys" for me because of her writing style and her gripping characters.
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4 1/2 STARS!

Complex, endearing and oh so satisfying! With the fifth book in The Cincinnati Series, Karen Rose brings us Dani and Diesel's story. If you're not familiar with this series already, you might be a little overwhelmed with the number of people this cast consists of, but you'll quickly become accustomed to the group of extended family and friends that help bring this case through ups and downs of evil.

Teenager Michael grabs a readers attention immediately as he tears through danger without thought to try to rescue his little brother from the monster he knows oh too well. As the story unfolds, he becomes a favorite character as he works hard to overcome the trauma he's been through and learn to trust in this family that helps him take care of his little brother.

Dani won't let her guard down around Diesel ... not because she doesn't want him but because she thinks he deserves better than she can offer him. He's an awesome guy, so watching him start to slowly build a connection with her that he's been dreaming of is super sweet amid a lot of ugly deeds they are uncovering.

I highly recommend this story to anyone wanting a very suspenseful thriller that has an underlying warmth of a close knit group of family and friends.
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In to the Dark is the 5 book in Karen Rose's Cincinnati series. I haven't read any of the other books in the series, but after reading the first book in her Sacramento series Say You're Sorry this past March I had to pick up this book when I saw it at Netgalley. Thankfully it could be read as a stand alone. There are a few references to events in the other books, but enough information is provided for a new reader to know what is happened.

I loved Say You're Sorry. Sometimes when you discover a new to you author the first book wows you but then the second one doesn't live up to expectations because you've set the bar really high. I will say I had really high expectations going into this book. And I can also say that Rose not only met but exceeded those expectations. Into the Dark is brilliant!

The writing is raw, realistic, and emotional. I had tears streaming down my face before I even hit the 10% mark. The story is very emotionally, but the plot is paced well so there are moments of relief from the suspense and shocking details. Rose does not shy away from the evils of the world. She shows how dark the world is, but also shines the light on the good.

I loved the characters. This book is focused on Dani and Diesel. I gather that the previous books in the series focus on different individuals in their circle of friends. These characters play a supporting role in this novel, but their personality is quite evident and I want to know them more. I want to pick up the other books, not just because they will be great thrillers, but because I want to know these characters more. Even without the dangerous plots, I would still want to pick up this series just for the characters.

Into the Dark has a unique element. There are deaf people as key characters. Dani's brother is deaf so this element is woven into the whole series (at least I would assume Greg shows up in the other books). In this book, one of the children they Dani and Diesel (and the rest of their friends) are trying to protect is also deaf. Rose has experience with the deaf and hard of hearing culture and I felt she portrayed the characters accurately and fully, and they aren't just stereotypical "handicap" characters. I have deaf relatives and Rose brought into the story issues that I have seen them discuss.

I will warn you that reading Into the Dark will give you a book hangover. I'm having trouble picking up my next book because I'm not quite ready to leave this story yet. Thankfully, Rose has a long backlist that I'm sure will be just as satisfying.

This review will be published at Girl Who Reads on Tuesday, Nov. 26 -
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This review was originally posted on  Books of My Heart
Review copy was received from NetGalley. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
4.5 hearts

I really enjoy the Romantic Suspense series. I've read them all. I started the series with the first Cincinnati book, with Faith and Deacon.  It was actually #16 overall. Then I went back and read the previous 15 books. Into the Dark takes us back to Cincinnati, where we see many old friends from the other Cincinnati books.

There is always a mystery, and in each book there is a new couple. Someone is usually in law enforcement. Besides the layers of the mystery and romance, is the character development which is part of the new relationship.  All of this makes for an engrossing, suspenseful read with plenty of action.

Dani is a doctor, sister to Deacon, who had a bad experience in a previous relationship which left her HIV positive.  She doesn't believe she can have a good relationship. Diesel was abused as a child and has an injury from his military service. Both of them lost their parents during their teen years. Diesel works in IT investigations at the Ledger (newspaper).  While neither of them are in law enforcement, many of their friends and family are.

The mystery centers on several murders starting with a stepfather who is abusing his sons. The theme of child abuse and human trafficking is a difficult and heart-breaking aspect here. I do love how hard Dani and Diesel and their amazing peer group works to protect and support those who have been abused and / or are in danger.

The suspense and action kept me on edge.  The children broke my heart.  The compassion of this character group I know and love was incredible.  I shed tears more than once.

Every book is great; I highly recommend them. I would start in order or at least within a city. These are long books; each one is about double a regular book in length.  There are connections between all the books because of the law enforcement aspects or family connections.  I love the circle of friends who support each other, and seeing them briefly in future books to get updates on their lives.

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Highly enjoyable, the book kept me up late wanting to finish it. This is the second book that I have read by Karen Rose and it will not be my last. Fast paced and exciting with relatable characters and a gripping plot.

If you are a fan of thrillers with a great does of romance, this is one not to be missed!
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I've never read anything from this author in the past, but I'm likely to check out her future books, as this one quickly pulled me in. It's a fast-paced, emotional story, and there's even a romance angle (that's not overwhelming). The characters are flawed, which makes them realistic and relatable. There were numerous twists and turns to keep me engaged and guessing as to who the killer was.

The book appears to be part of a series, but I had no problem following the story line, so this could be read as a standalone. I loved the fact that there are some characters I don't typically see in novels, especially psychological thrillers (a deaf child and a doctor with HIV). Difficult topics, such as child sexual abuse and human trafficking, are handled in a delicate manner. I look forward to reading future books.
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I’m starting this soon and I’m so so excited to get started... Thanks to Netgalley and publishers for allowing me a copy.
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I love Karen Rose novels. They are always well written with interesting characters, including the antagonists. This lived up to my expectations. I was sucked right in and stayed that way until I finished the book.
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Into the Dark is the twenty-third book in the Romantic Suspense series by Author Karen Rose. This series includes many characters from different professions but all the professions are aimed at helping others and all of the protagonists are about exposing the truth, no matter how ugly. This book features two characters, Diesel Kennedy and Dani Novak, who are both drawn to each other but Dani has been resisting the attraction. She has been successful at keeping Diesel at arm’s length for quite some time but after the events that take place in this book, well, let’s just say that Dani will start singing a different tune.

Diesel is a man who has been living on borrowed time and he knows it. To that end, he has committed to making a difference as long as he is able and coaching a youth league is just one of the many ways he gives back. It was in his capacity as a coach that he made a startling discovery that would bring him and those around him into the lives of two boys who desperately need advocates. There was only one person that Diesel could think of who would be beneficial in the situation he had been placed in and that was Dani. Together they would encounter many horrible truths, wrestle difficult decisions, and learn a few important lessons that would open their eyes and their hearts along the way. 

The opening of Into the Dark was just heartbreaking and learning everything that Michael went through was very upsetting, to say the least. I immediately loved Diesel because of his protective instincts as well as his vulnerability. Everything that was taking place took him to a very dark place but he stayed the course. Dani was an amazing advocate in this story and I liked that she was an HIV positive character who still lived her life to the fullest that she could. What took place between her and Diesel was a slow building romance that was very swoony. I loved, loved, loved, the fast-paced action and mystery that unfurled in Into the Dark because it kept me on the edge of my seat! This is a story and series that I absolutely would highly recommend to those who love to read a good thriller.

This review is based on a complimentary book I received from NetGalley. It is an honest and voluntary review. The complimentary receipt of it in no way affected my review or rating.
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Karen Rose knows how to write thrilling suspense and this action packed story, kept me riveted to my seat from start to finish. It has a complex plot that is interwoven with an intriguing cast of characters. It is an intricate fascinating puzzle that is slowly uncovered one piece at a time. This story kept me spellbound, although the subject matter of child abuse can be difficult and there are some gruesome and grisly parts. 

Along with this intense emotional story, their is a beautiful love story taking place between Diesel and Dani. They are both flawed and vulnerable. Even though they are damaged, they are selfless and want to give back and help others. Their pasts have not made them bitter but they are afraid of being hurt. Dani is even more closed off than Diesel and is afraid to start a relationship with him. Diesel never wavers in his feelings for Dani, as he patiently waits for her to put down her guard and trust him. 

There is a tangled and twisted web that Diesel is trying to uncover.  I too, couldn’t figure out who was murdering everyone until the very end. There are many entertaining characters in this story. They are all interconnected and making appearances from past stories in this series. If you like suspense and romance, along with great writing, you don’t want to miss INTO THE DARK.
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Karen Rose is one of my favorite Romantic Suspense authors and I know with every book of hers that I start that I will love it. Into the Dark was no different and right from the beginning this story had me captivated. Dani and Diesel had a relationship and connection that actually surprised me with how personal they got. It was a bit of a change from the usual heavy focus on the suspense that Ms. Rose does but I liked that we got to see so much of these characters all while still getting that mystery aspect.

There was a lot going on in this book and it all came together really well. Dani and Diesel had so much to work out, we had a mystery trying to be unraveled, the killer's thoughts thrown in giving clues that will keep you guessing. And it all worked so well together and added to the intrigue that had me loving this book.

This was actually my first book in the Cincinnati series but I could follow along with all of the side characters without issue and now I can't wait to go back and read their own stories. I do think it would be better to read the series in order so that you get a better understanding of the characters, but it's not necessary.
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Into the Dark by Karen Rose is the 5th book in her Cincinnati romance suspense series.  The last book I had read in this series, I had noted that it was one of the best thrillers of the year.  I have read a few of Rose’s other series, and they were equally as awesome.  I was thrilled to find out that Into the Dark returns to the Cincinnati series, which has some wonderful secondary characters. Once again, Rose gives us a sensational book, which not only keeps us on the edge of our seats with intense and exciting action, but was also an emotional and heartwarming story.  

The book starts off with a bang, as teenager Michael Rowland is being chased by first his step father, trying to run away with his 5-year-old brother, Joshua.  Michael is protecting Joshua from his evil father, and just when he thinks he is safe, he sees his father murdered by another man.  

Michael, who is deaf, will run into his coach Diesel Kennedy (our hero), who will notice that Michael is bleeding and brings him to Doctor Dani Novak, who will treat Michael.  Dani, our heroine, is also deaf in one ear; works with abused children, and is able communicate with the deaf using sign language.  She is also an emergency foster care provider. The police find the father’s body, and early on suspect Michael may have killed his father, since his mother claims he did.  But evidence will prove that Michael is innocent, but his life is in danger, as the murderer will find out that Michael can identify him. 

Both Dani and Diesel will take on the responsibility of taking care and protecting both Michael and Joshua at her place.  The best part of this is all the wonderful secondary characters we have come to know in the previous books (Marcus, Stone, Scarlett, Meredith, Deacon and Adam, just to name a few), who are cops, FBI, doctors, therapists; who all come to their aid and work together to protect the boys, as well as try to find the murder; especially since so many bodies are showing up.  

There are two main parts of this story; a mystery revolving around a murderer, who is a vigilante, killing anyone who was trafficking or abusing children, even if he killed innocent people along the way; and the romance between Diesel and Dani.  Make no mistake this is a very heartbreaking and emotional story, with topics such as child sexual abuse, HIV, human trafficking, etc. We couldn’t help but feel sorry for both Michael, and Joshua, and I loved how Diesel and Dani were with them.  We know that Diesel has always love Dani, but she has held him off due to her lack of confidence (losing a boyfriend to suicide) and mostly due to her HIV status.  It was great to watch as she slowly brought down her wall to open her heart to Diesel, and both boys.

This is just the beginning of an intense & complex murder mystery that will result in more murders. What follows is an amazing story that held me on the edge of my seat from start to finish.  Even though we knew who the murderer was, it was an action-packed thriller, with Diesel, Dani and the rest of this great team in danger so many times. We held our breaths, as their lives would hang by a thread.  In between these many tense moments, I loved how Diesel and Dani opened their hearts to Michael and Joshua, and the close bond between them and their strong, smart and loyal team of close-knit friends and family.

I am in awe of Karen Rose, as her books are so well written with fantastic characters, evil villains, a great couple, and a totally intense mystery that keeps you in suspense to the very end.  If you love suspense, with a touch of romance and a thriller all the way, you should be reading anything by Karen Rose. I know I will.
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What a brave young man. He didn’t know what he was facing but MICHAEL went into the woods and took his younger brother. I enjoyed the surprises and twists in the story. How does he know the good guy from the bad?  MICHAEL had other hindrances that would stop any normal teen. He was truly a hero.
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Into the Dark, which is the fifth installment in Karen Rose's Cincinnati series, is one of my most anticipated releases of 2019. I fell in love with Dr. Dani Novak and computer hacker extraordinaire Diesel Kennedy way back in book one (Closer Than You Think), and I have been on tenterhooks waiting for their story. Ms. Rose has finally delivered it, and it's everything I hoped for and then some.

Before I get into the meat of this review, I want to let potential readers know that it's completely possible to read Into the Dark even if you haven't read the previous books in the series. Both the romance and the mystery are wrapped up at the end of the book, and while the story makes reference to events from previous installments, you can follow this one with no problems. Of course, your understanding of the characters and their relationships with one another will be much fuller and richer if you read the series in order, but if you absolutely cannot wait to dive into this one, you can definitely do that.

Dani Novak is a tough, hard-working doctor who spends her days tending to the sick and injured at one of Cincinnati's only clinics for people on low incomes. She sometimes misses the hustle and bustle of emergency medicine, but she was forced to resign her position at the local hospital when her HIV status was revealed two years before this story begins. Even so, she leads a happy life, even if there's not a special someone for her to share it with.

Elvis (Diesel) Kennedy has had a huge crush on Dani since the moment he laid eyes on her nearly three years earlier. He knows she's attracted to him as well, but she has persistently kept him at arm's length, and he's beginning to lose hope. He knows she's HIV positive, and although this is not a deal-breaker for him, he can't help but wonder if it could be the reason for Dani's refusal to be anything more than his friend.

In his spare time, Diesel volunteers as a soccer coach, serving as a male role model to boys in need. Years ago, Diesel himself suffered unspeakable abuse at the hands of a trusted adult, and he's made it his personal mission to protect as many children as possible, so when Michael Rowland, the older brother of one of the boys on Diesel's soccer team, shows up to pick five-year-old Joshua up from practice with a bleeding head injury, Diesel knows something is dreadfully wrong. He convinces Michael to accompany him to the clinic where Dani works, and once Dani examines the boy, it's obvious he's been abused.

The story takes off from there, but I'll leave the rest for you to figure out on your own. Readers of Ms. Rose's previous books are no doubt familiar with her high-octane brand of romantic suspense, and she definitely does not disappoint with Into the Dark. Dani and Diesel are both extremely kind and caring people with a lot of emotional baggage to sort through before they are able to claim their HEA, and their journey is breathtaking. There's something so special about the way Ms. Rose is able to enter the heads of these complicated characters and bring their struggles and their triumphs to life on the page.

I was particularly pleased with the way the author handles Dani's HIV status and her partial deafness. Readers of the previous books in the series will know that Dani has struggled to come to terms with the fact that she’s HIV positive and the implications it has on all aspects of her life, but she never seems to let it get the best of her, and the same is true of her hearing loss. The author allows readers to get to know Dani as a whole person, not simply as someone with a disability, and this sets her apart from many of today's authors.

Some people complain about the length of Ms. Rose's books, but they always fly by for me, and this one is no exception. At a little over 600 pages, it's a book you might expect to drag on and on, but it never does. Despite its length, the story is fast-paced, making it possible to devour it in just a couple of sittings.

If you tend to steer clear of books containing graphic descriptions of violence, this won't be the book for you. Ms. Rose doesn't shy away from the darker side of humanity, and I know that's not something everyone enjoys. She doesn't describe things in a way that feels over the top, but there are a few scenes that could turn your stomach if you aren't prepared for them.

I loved everything about this book, and I can't wait for Dani and Diesel's story to be released into the world. It's a book with so much heart filled with characters who have begun to feel like friends of mine, and I want everyone to embrace them the way I have.

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