Sunday, August 11, 2013

Book review: Miss Scandalous (Shaw Family Saga - book 2) by Nicole Dunlap

Have I seriously not blogged since June 5? Wow. (Shocked at myself) But I assure you it's because I've been one busy gal. I needed a brain break from book writing, so I started writing articles and sending them to various publications. I had one accepted by a big-name book series, which I will share with you fully once I have all the details and the deal is officially locked down (meaning, I've signed the acceptance papers and know it's for real). I've also been penning some other story ideas that have been racing around my mind like NASCAR. Lots to come, so stay with me! But, for now, let me share with you one hell of a book. 

I was given a copy of this book by the author for a review.

Here is the synopsisA mother’s love vs. A daughter’s revenge. Charlene Shaw has gone through hell. She was raped and left for dead, yet she continued on her quest for fame. She’s a beautiful, desired actress who has found her Mr. Wright. According to the magazine headlines, her life is perfect. There’s just one thing her heart cries for…her daughter, Raven. This might be her hardest challenge yet–building the mother-daughter bond she’s prayed so hard for.

Raven Shaw has been abandoned by love. Her mom preferred Hollywood and her childhood best-friend, now ex-lover, disappeared when she became pregnant. Now, she’s adjusted to a “new” kind of love…motherhood. She’s determined that her daughter will have everything she didn’t. The only thing she wants for herself is revenge, even if it means disconnecting from a small piece of her heart that still cares. Raven’s acts of rage slither into her mindset, overpowering her in the form of nightmares and delusions of skeletons long dead.

After Raven’s scandalous ways, can Charlene mend Raven’s heart or will she be pulled down into the abyss? And then, there’s always the option, Charlene can get a little scandalous too… 

This is book 2, so in case you missed the first in the series, check out my review of Miss Nobody 

I have known some family drama and turmoil in my life, but this is beyond my comprehension, which makes it a great story. I felt like I was hiding around corners, peeping in on all this family's scandals. If you haven't read the first book, I warn you that there will be spoilers in this review. If you don't plan on reading the first book, at least read my review of it before proceeding. 

Raven found her mom after a lifetime of rumors, taunting and wondering who Charlene Shaw really was. The reunion wasn't all that she'd hoped for. It seems as though no one is truly who you think they are in this story ... until you keep reading. Everyone has a skeleton or two in their closet. I love how Dunlap sprinkles in the surprise plot twists gradually. Even the grandmother has a dark secret. In was heavily guarded in book 1, but now she sees how it is tearing her family apart, and she's ready to let it out. After all, it was the driving force behind Charlene's decision to run away. Just when I thought Raven and Charlene would strike a good mother-daughter relationship balance after all the resentment and hurt caused by Charlene's absence, Raven has some sinister plans for revenge ... not just on her mom but on Jon as well. I did NOT like the way she teased Bill, a man who truly loved her for a long time, and used him to fill the void when she was lost and lonely. 

I liked Raven in the first book and sympathized with her, but this time I hated her at times. She is full of spite and wants revenge on anyone who has hurt her. I believe she's a good mom to her own daughter, but she could be a better mom if she let go of all the burning hatred within. Her attitude is repulsive, and she does some evil things. Example: when she pretended to be cool with her mom and accepted the invitation to Charlene's wedding. Although she was a total bitch half the time, she was cool enough at times that she convince Charlene there was a chance they could work things out. Raven got stinking drunk and embarrassed Charlene and Damien at their wedding. And she took secret photos and sold them to Scandalous Magazine. Charlene is a well-known actress in this book, so this move was a huge stab to the heart since she wanted her wedding to be a private ceremony with close friends and family. After Charlene has a baby, her precious child's photos are also sent to Scandalous, and she blames Raven who denies it was her this time. The family is torn apart once again. 

Jon comes back in the picture after Raven's friend convinces her that her daughter, Royael, deserves to be provided for by this filthy-rich sperm donor. Raven charges into his office like she ruled the world and made some demands ... and threats. Jon is shocked inside but keeps his composure. I was both impressed and angered at how he handled her with an ice cold attitude. Raven threatens to let out his family secrets to the hungry-for-dirt magazine circuit if he didn't agree to cough up some money to support their child. He starts giving her money, they get cozy, then more scandal happens to drive them apart AGAIN. It's literally a roller coaster of emotions in this book, and totally worth the read. Jon's friend Tyriq seems to have a thing for Raven, and she melts in his presence. He also happens to be a cop who seems to know more about her and all the family secrets than he admits. I sensed something dangerous about him. The book ends with yet another plot twist. Raven finds out who her real dad is, and he somehow manages to rattle her Christmas cheer with a mysterious gift. 

The only thing that bugged me about this book was that Raven didn't seem the slightest bit shocked to see Elise, Jon's mom, alive after she thought she'd murdered her (which how book one ended). Raven was even seeing a shrink  and discussing her recurring nightmares of killing Elise. At the start of the book, she even thought she had seen Elise's ghost. I was more surprised than Raven when she was alive and doing quite well. And I couldn't figure out why no one had ever tried to get Raven in trouble for what she'd done to Elise since Jon's family hated her so much. It would have been the perfect way to ruin Raven considering the powerful connections this family has. Perhaps this was the point, and the next book will tell all! I can't wait. 

Overall, this book was a thrill ride, and I grant it 5 stars! Go get it on Amazon today!

Cover revealing of the book 3!

Miss Perfect: Shaw Family Saga, Book 3

Their desire for perfection will be… shattered
Charlene Shaw embodies perfection as a highly-acclaimed actress. Within her gilded walls of beauty, she is scrambling to save her daughter, Raven, from sins she can’t even fathom. This is her self-imposed curse for abandoning Raven as a child.

Raven Shaw is captivatingly gorgeous but burdened by a closet of skeletons. After a rough childhood, she is finally living life. Jon, her best friend and the only man she’s ever loved, has returned. Yet, a stalker looms just out of reach, blackmailing her for Jon’s fortune. She’d do anything to keep this man–even if it means turning to another… Mysterious, handsome Tyriq may have the key to erase her deepest, darkest secrets forever. Yet, this savior might threaten her mind’s rationale of “happily ever after” with Jon.

In this intense third installment of the Shaw Family Saga there will be blood, murder, and a beloved …will be shattered. 

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