Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Valentine / Petrilo Series by Reyna Hawk

Valentine / Petrilo Series
by Reyna Hawk

Looking Through Blind Eyes and Reflection of Secrets are the first two books in the Valentine Petrilo Series. Shattered Visions Haunted Memories, the third and final book in the Valentine/Petrilo series, was released on 19 September. Read my blog post for more information about the last book in this series. The three books are now also available in one volume, Valentine Petrilo Trilogy

Looking Through Blind Eyes (Volume 1)

Looking Through Blind Eyes is first book of the Valentine/Petrilo series.
All Janie and Daniel wanted was a better life and growing up in small town Louisiana did not give them that opportunity. So the sister and brother headed to Los Angeles, California to make the most of their lives. However, their hopes begin to diminish when Daniel's work in organized crime lead them down dangerous and deadly roads. After Daniel's mysterious disappearance and death, Janie plunges headlong into grief and love for the assistant to the "boss". The couple seems to have everything going for them except for Rico's job that takes him away for days on end sometimes. Janie's suspicions and worries over Rico's possible infidelity reveals information she never imagined would come to light. Her undying love for this man leads to secrets, lies, and murder. Soon Janie finds herself on the wrong side of the gun hanging off a cliff deep in the woods of North Carolina.

When I was approached to read and write a review for this new author I wasn't sure what to expect. Usually I am blessed or disappointed with new writers. This time I was definitely blessed. Reyna Hawk has crisp clean writing skills. She develops characters well and develops plot lines extremely well. The book is about half the length of most novels now a days but that was not a drawback. As a matter of fact the plot was so well developed that the only disappointment in shortness was that the story was over and I wanted more. But she has another installment coming later this fall, so not too long to wait.
Now for the book review:
Daniel and Janie are brother and sister and are facing life together and alone. Their parents died in a house fire that appeared to be mysterious. The local townspeople are a bit afraid of Janie because she has the ability to see visions of the future or see into someone's soul by just touching their hands. Now it is not with everyone, just with some. But enough so that people think she is a witch and maybe had something to do with her parents death.
Daniel lands a new job that is going to pay lots of money, but they have to move to California. So, they move. Daniel sets Janie up in a new home that is modest but very comfortable. He helps her to get a job (at a local bar even though she is not yet 21). The owner of the bar is connected with Daniel's new boss.
Janie meets Scott, a musical celebrity who falls for her. The problem is he is abusive. Daniel then introduces Janie to three of his friends, his boss and two associates. Janie is nervous around them because it appears they are not nice people. But one of them, Rico, thinks Janie is beautiful and wants to get to know her better. But what about Scott?
Worse than Scott is that Rico and friends are part of the Italian Mafia from New York. This makes things tense. If Rico wants to be with Janie then Scott might want to look elsewhere for love so that he may maintain his health.
During this time Daniel is murdered. He dies in a burning car. Why? It appears to be a mob hit. Janie is left now without any family and without the one person who cares for her. Janie finds a note from Daniel, it tells her that something might happen to him and if it does to stay close to Rico because he is the only one that Daniel trusts and secondarily Rico loves Janie. Really, stay close to the mob guy? Hmmmm.
Back to Scott. Scott eventually goes ballistic and kidnaps Janie. Enter Rico and Anthony and friends to save the day, OK, they save Janie but it costs Scott big time. Rico takes Janie with him back to New York and now she has to live with the mafia while maintaining their secret about what happened to Scott.
To make things short, good goes to bad and Janie becomes a liability. Anthony wants Rico to end Janie's life. Can he do it? Will he do it? What will happen when he tries to do it? Will Janie survive and bring done an Italian Mafia family?
Those are the questions and the story does a wonderful job of making you want to know what is going to happen. Part of the plot is predictable but then out of left field a surprise comes along that really helps with the plot.
The ending is good and will give you the desire to know more about what is going to come next.
I'm sure you will enjoy this new writer and her work as much as I did.
One disclaimer for my church readers. There is a bit of steamy sex in the book, not bad, not over the top too much. But it is there. If you know my drill, just skip those few paragraphs and it won't distract from the overall story. Remember this is a crime family and their morals are not necessarily the same as yours :)
Enjoy! (By William D. Curnutt)

Reflection of Secrets (Volume 2)

Janie had high hopes of getting her life on the right path and freedom from the Petrilo Crime Family, but more tragedies and startling revelations send her plans right out the window. Janie's past trouble and sadness lurk back from the shadows. The beautiful life Janie has come to love takes a turn leading her right back to where she started in the clutches of the Petrilos. Will Janie survive another go around with the organized crime family?

In Book two of her trilogy we join Janie, her brother Daniel, and her new best friend, Malachi Wolfe and Janie tries to get her life under control. Janie has given birth to Daniella and is trying to start her new life living under Malachi's roof.
Malachi does his best to bring comfort and care to Janie, without asking for anything in return. He loves Daniella as though she were his own daughter. He provides, protects and brings a sense of healing and safety to the lives of mother and daughter.
But brother Daniel is not too sure that he wants Janie living with Malachi. They have a falling out because of this, but Daniel upon further investigation decides that Malachi is OK and actually finds himself liking this man.
Malachi's family comes more into play in this 2nd novel. They come around he and Janie and Daniella and really start to bond with them. Janie is finding healing. But she doesn't want her daughter to forget her father, so each evening she shows her a picture of Rico and tells her that he is her daddy.
Things are going well and we start to learn more about Malachi. It turns out that he has a special gift, much like Janie does. He is a gifted `holy man' of the Cherokee people. He brings insights and healing to others, and when she is ready he will bring healing to Janie from her emotional pain.
Eventually Janie settles into a good life, a safe life, a protected life. The FBI wants her to testify against the Petrilo mob family, but she doesn't have to. Anthony gets sentenced to 25 years in prison and it appears that things are going to be good for Janie and her baby and they don't need to worry.
But then tragedy hits again, someone kidnaps her daughter, neither she nor Malachi saw this coming and they are distraught. Months go by and the FBI is unable to find Daniella. They don't believe the Mob has taken her, so who has?
Janie and Malachi come to terms with the loss, they come to terms with their relationship and they get married. Janie gets pregnant and even though her daughter is missing she and Malachi are moving on.
Then an accident happens, Malachi falls off the roof and is injured. He is rushed to the hospital. While there Janie's water breaks and she gives birth to their child . . .  or she at least is in the process of giving birth. Everything goes black and then . . .
Well, let's just say the story takes a very interesting turn at this point. The last third of the book focuses on how our minds can play tricks on us, or at least it appears that is happening.
Reyna Hawk brings a twist to the story that you won't see coming. She brings a surprise that you might not like, or you just might think is cool. I know I was caught off guard and wasn't sure I liked this new twist. But the more I read the more I was caught up in what was happening.
Janie's mind is playing tricks and you won't know where it is going to head and how it is going to end.
The best part, in true Trilogy fashion you are left hanging, wanting to know how things are going to turn out. I haven't been this interested in the next volume of a series since reading the Lord of the Rings trilogy.
Reyna's writing continues to be refreshing, well balanced, engaging and well frankly, just so down to earth that I feel like these folks have become some of my best friends and I just want the best for them. I am so drawn to these characters that I am left speechless wanting to know what is going to happen.
Enjoy! (By William D. Curnutt)

About the Author
Reyna Hawk is a 44 year old mother of one son and grandmother to one beautiful 3 year old little girl. Born and raised in Cincinnati, Ohio Reyna has always loved writing and story-telling. Her passion for telling stories began at a very young age when she was making up stories to tell her school friends. Reyna has an Associate of Arts in Psychology and a Bachelor of Arts in Cultural Anthropology.
For a further insights, read the interviews with the author (links below).