Review: Craved + Twisted by Lola Smirnova *Explicit*

Posted February 5, 2016 by Lizzie in Review / 0 Comments

Review: Craved + Twisted by Lola Smirnova *Explicit*Craved by Lola Smirnova
Published by Createspace Independent Publishing Platform on June 30th 2015
Pages: 316
Goodreads
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HONORABLE MENTION of The 2015 'London Book Festival' Annual Competition!!! The highly anticipated sequel to Twisted - Craved is the second book in the trilogy. Riveting and dark Realistic Fiction with a touch of Thrilling Suspense. "Closing with a depressing cliffhanger, Craved is a remarkably eye-opening, heartwrenching, and one-of-a-kind must read that is indubitably 'meant for the open-minded readers who are not afraid of a little blood, sweat and semen.'"- Pacific Book Review "This dark, mesmeric tale will take you on a carefully crafted and twisted journey that will make you beg for more. An amazing, thrilling suspenseful ride." - Readers' Favorite * * * Having been to hell and back, the eager sisters from Ukraine - Natalia, Lena and Julia - decide to retire from selling sex and walk the straight and narrow path back home. But when an old friend calls them with an opportunity to make buckets of 'easy' money in South Africa, they find it impossible to refuse. Their return to the night life of the entertainment business brings with it all the old familiar temptations - alcohol, drugs, prostitution... Can the girls resist their vices and stay together? Or will this industry destroy their sanity and their family? * * * Inspired by real life events, Craved is a fascinating story of addiction, survival and the art of making a living in the sex trade.

Review: Craved + Twisted by Lola Smirnova *Explicit*Twisted (Twisted, #1) by Lola Smirnova
Published by Createspace Independent Publishing Platform on January 21st 2014
Pages: 314
Goodreads
Buy on AmazonBarnes & NobleThe Book Depository

Back in the 90’s, the corrupt post-Soviet Ukraine with its faltering economy, is thrown into a devastating depression. Times are hard. Opportunities are scarce.
Three eager young sisters – Natalia, Lena and Julia - dream of a better life and weigh their options: do they stay and struggle like their parents, or join scores of their compatriots in the sex trade in glittering western European cities, who earn in a night what they’d take several months to earn at home? Naive and tempted by the allure of 'quick' money, the girls set off on an adventure that changes their lives forever...
Can they stay out of trouble enough to fulfill their ambitions? Can they hold on to their idealism in a world where depravity and danger are constant companions?How far are they willing to go to make a buck?
Inspired by real-life events, Twisted is a fascinating New Adult SUSPENSE THRILLER about vulnerability, courage and the art of making a living in the sex trade...
'TWISTED' IS THE FIRST BOOK OF A PLANNED TRILOGY. THE SECOND ONE - 'CRAVED' - IS ABOUT TO BE RELEASED! To stay updated follow Lola on Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/twistedlolas... or Twitter - @AuthorSmirnova.

Review: Craved + Twisted by Lola Smirnova

“Back in the 90’s, the corrupt post-Soviet Ukraine with its faltering economy, is thrown into a devastating depression. Times are hard. Opportunities are scarce. 
 
Three eager young sisters – Natalia, Lena and Julia – dream of a better life and weigh their options: do they stay and struggle like their parents, or join scores of their compatriots in the sex trade in glittering western European cities, who earn in a night what they’d take several months to earn at home? Naive and tempted by the allure of ‘quick’ money, the girls set off on an adventure that changes their lives forever… 
 
Can they stay out of trouble enough to fulfill their ambitions? 
Can they hold on to their idealism in a world where depravity and danger are constant companions?
How far are they willing to go to make a buck?
 
Inspired by real-life events, Twisted is a fascinating New Adult SUSPENSE THRILLER about vulnerability, courage and the art of making a living in the sex trade…” (Synopsis taken from Goodreads.com)
 

Standout Quotes:

“We sell the concept, the vision. Is it a warm and comforting woman or a kinky, dangerous one?…What are they buying?”
“We are nurses Jul, and those arrogant motherfuckers are our patients. Get it?”
“Mostly the guys are decent, except for one. He’s drunk as a skunk and has decided that he can do whatever he wishes because the world belongs to him.”

Thoughts:

My oh my, dear Darlings! These were some tough ones. I discovered this series when Smironva’s publicist so kindly sent me the books for review. The synopsis sounded so interesting, and completely unlike anything I would usually read. This series is a London Book Festival Honorable Mention, and marked as a Reader’s Favorite: Five Stars. If you look on Amazon/Goodreads, the pages are swimming with reviews. With all the raving going around, I was SO looking forward to reading it myself and seeing how good it is. But, I must admit, once these books arrived I was very hesitant to pick them up. I knew the subject matter would be heavy, and I knew that I would be left thinking about the story for days afterwards. So, once I finally got my courage and sat down – I read.
Don’t get me wrong, I actually liked this series. Though, my reasons for liking them were definitely not based off my usual mental scale. Because these were so different, I have arranged my thoughts as follows:

The Writing Style:

This series was given to me as an English translation with footnotes to better explain areas that were hard to directly translate. Very easy vocabulary to digest, and just enough helpful footnotes to not distract the reader from the story. I think because I received a translated copy, the story lost some of its writing style. The vocabulary was so easy that it almost made the story feel immature. It really lacked in any kind of “voice” for the main character, and made me think that this story would have been better told in a film format.

The Characters

The series follows three sisters: Natalia, Lena, and Julia. Julia was the “main” PoV throughout the series, with added dialogue between her and her sisters. I was left feeling very unsatisfied by these characters. They felt very surface level, lacking any kind of inner monologue, voice, and internal/external thoughts that didn’t directly involve the scene at hand. From the synopsis I was expecting significantly more self aware characters. Girls who knew the implications of what they were getting into. Or, girls who didn’t realize at first, but gain some insight after a while. What we are given is three very cut and dry girls lacking any kind of conflict/resolution. Their lack of self awareness does fit well with the tone of the series, so I could see them being made out the be shallow on purpose. But, I feel like if that were the case then it could have been done in a way were you don’t lose the ability to identify with the characters in ANY way.

The Plot

I had a very hard time following what was happening throughout the duration of both books. Again: could be due to the translation, but something just felt off. We are only ever given moments of a scene. It’s as if someone felt each book was too long and decided to cut out any information that could have been deemed unnecessary to the plot. Because you get so little of each event, it feels like the story doesn’t progress naturally. Everything is as it happens, and you’re not given any of the five scenes or any thoughts about what is happening. It reminded me of something that one of my Fiction Lit professors always says during lecture: you have to show me how something happens, not tell me.

The Subject Matter

Reading the various sex scenes throughout the series was definitely difficult. This is not light subject matter, or romantic entanglements. It’s raw, heavy, and the cold hard truth of prostitution. This is what made the series for me. I liked that the author didn’t try and sugar coat these events. It was also during these scenes that we were given some rare insight into Julia’s inner thoughts. THIS is what stuck with me after reading, and this is why I think this series has won it’s awards. The sex, the drugs, and the violence are so haunting. I couldn’t put these books down because I had to know how the girls would survive each scene. From the stigma, popular culture, and news, we know that sex workers are treated abhorrently. Reading about it in detail with the added knowledge that this story was based on true events is mind numbing. It made me want to go hug my boyfriend and thank him for being such a great guy. THIS is why I think this series is worth reading. You’re left with the vast understanding that sometimes it does not get better.

So, what do you think?

Would you read this series? If you already have, what did you think? Let me know down in the comments, or hunt me down on Twitter @Lizalee_ 🙂
Until next time my Darlings!
 
 
 

 

Lizzie
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