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XV: (Fifteen)

War of Roses, Book 1
By: Lana Sky
Narrated by: Caitlin Allgood Knight
Series: War of Roses, Book 1
Length: 7 hrs and 19 mins
Categories: Romance, Fantasy
4.5 out of 5 stars (17 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

When hate becomes obsession....

Mistaken for her beautiful half-sister, Ellen Winthorp is taken captive by a madman who declares that she will be his "15": The 15th victim of a vicious mafia blood feud. Armed with only her instincts, Ellen must resist her captor for as long as she can - which is easier said than done the more she's exposed to the complex man beneath the beast. Because Mischa Stepanov isn’t a mindless monster - he’s a wolf, and she’s the unwitting doe caught in his midst.

Unraveling the torment of his past may be her only hope of salvation....

Or the secrets uncovered may destroy them both.

This is a dark romance.

©2019 Lana Sky (P)2019 Lana Sky

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XV: Fifteen (War of Roses, Book 1)

I read this book when it was first released and recently had the opportunity to listen to the audiobook. What follows is the review I originally left for the story with an additional review added for the narration.

XV: Fifteen left me absolutely breathless. It was a dark and brutal story with scenes of unthinkable violence. It was so well written, with many secrets and twists, I couldn't put it down. It does end in one heck of a cliffhanger and has me anxiously waiting for book two.

Ellen was the ultimate underdog, she had been all her life. From a young age she was hidden away, a dirty little secret, and never measured up to her half-sister. Then she became the wife of an abuser, someone who only wanted candy on his arm and someone he could control and possess. Despite all that, Ellen was a fighter. She was never going to let Mischa win without putting up a fight. My heart broke for her though. She had definitely been conditioned by her husband. Her undying loyalty for him was tough to take.

Mischa had an ax to grind and a hatred of the Winthorp family that stemmed from a terrible injustice over two decades ago. It didn't matter to him how a person was related to the Winthorps, he just wanted revenge. He did unspeakable things to Ellen. He was cold and relentless. However, there were glimpses that eluded that maybe he was different with Ellen than any of his victims in the past.

Despite the events that took place between these two, you can't help but wonder where they're going to end up. Mischa made Ellen feel in a way she never had before. I also got the impression Ellen did the same for Mischa. It will be an interesting and twisted ride, that's for sure.

This was the first story I've listened to by Ms. Knight. Normally I like audiobooks with both a male and female narrator. However, I thought Ms. Knight did an excellent job with the male characters. Her accent was believable. I thought she also did Ellen justice. Her narration is very much how I pictured Ellen would talk while I read the book. It's hard to describe but there was a vulnerability to her voice, as well as a resignation of this is just how her life is. I would definitely listen to another audiobook by this narrator.
*I was provided a copy of this audiobook and voluntarily chose to leave a review. This is my honest review.*

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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Don't think. Don't move. Just breathe....

That phrase is played repeatedly in Ellen's head as she goes from one abusive situation to another. It starts when she is a child living in the shadow of Briar, her 'sister' who treats her like a servant and Robert, the boy who would later trap her into an abusive marriage, stripping her of her dignity. If she thought being the wife of Robert Winthorp was demeaning, she is then kidnapped by a maniac enemy of her family.

His name is Mischa and his connection to her family goes back years. As Ellen tries to survive day by day with her captor, he drags her into his world of violence, money, and very dangerous people. And as day by day goes by she is drawn to Mischa, uncovering her painful past. What is shocking is that Ellen truly has no idea what horrors had been going on while her was living at the Winthorp manor, suffering her own nightmare. As for the ending, Kudos Lana Sky! Not only was the 'rug' pulled out from Ellen/Elle's feet, so is ours trying to put the pieces together in this dark romance.

The Narrators voice was perfect...reigning in her emotions as she tries to navigate the horrors that she witnesses and experiences herself. Caitlin Allgood Knight did a fantastic job with all of the other character voices as well!

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Extremely Dark Romance!

I read this story before, and loved it. I was thrilled to listen to it. This is the first book in the captivating War of Roses Series. This is an extremely dark romance, really well written. Mischa, a mafia man, is ruthless, and extremely violent. He has a dark soul, and he is seeking out for vengeance. Ellen is an absolutely beautiful character, definitively strong. The story is told with only Ellen's POV. I would love to have Mischa's POV. The storyline is very suspenseful, fast-paced, and twisted. This story captivated me from the start to finish. This is a breathtaking dark romance, that ends with a cliffhanger. Now, I can't wait to listen to the next book in the Series, VII. Caitlin Allgood Knight is a new narrator to me. She did an outstanding job with the narration. She has a beautiful voice, perfect for this story. Her narration is well paced and the characters are easy to distinguish. I believe this wasn't an easy narration to do, with all the accents, and she did it perfectly.

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Love

I absolutely have no words for this amazing book. I was completely blown away by this dark, intense, twisted, page turner. I can't wait to read more books by this author. Caitlyn did an amazing job narrating.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

WOW!!!!!!!.

Brilliantly written and narrated. Rich with darkness that the narration captures perfectly! I will be waiting on the edge of my seat until the next book is released and until then scouring g for more books by both author Lana Sky and narrorator Caitlin Allgood Knight.

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dark and twisted

Such a dark read, I didn't even know what I wanted to happen but I'm pretty sure it didn't happen but I still really enjoyed the read / listen. I loved the narration - Catlin Allgood Knight rocked this read - I don't think I would have enjoyed it half as much with out her. The storyline is so dark and twisted and definitely leaves you wanting more. This is not a flowers and roses read but for sure a mafia war story where no one will win...

Favorite lines:
"I'm addicted to the sting of his poison" and "Only fools with nothing worth having risk it all"

this book was given to me for free at my request and I provided this voluntary review

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Stunning & Addictive!

This is a book that will totally slay you. The intense story stuns you and pulls you into a dark world that will leave you emotionally raw and gasping for breath with each powerful twist and turn. The characters are complex, the situation complicated and the tension nail-biting. As Ellen and Mischa's story unfolds you realize that what may have been planned as a simple hunter and prey situation is actually shaping up into an epic battle of wills. As this is only book one, prepare for the cliffhanger and the desperate need for more that it will leave you with. I felt that the narration on this book was spot on perfect. I had previously read this via the ebook format and I will be honest and say that I did not anticipate the narration of having that much of an effect on my enjoyment, as I already knew that this was a great read. However, the audiobook version simply blew me away! The gritty rawness of emotions, the dark brutality and the agonising pain of this story are brought to a whole new level by the incredible performance of Ms. Knight.

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She kind of deserves her fate, She's a mess.

Are there really people that stupid, that gullible, that weak, that incapable of believing in themselves or their self worth? I can't accept or appreciate a woman who wants to die instead of live just because she can't face that she's been a victim her whole life and she isn't strong enough to become a survivor. she is dumb and cowardly. She gives abuse survivors a bad name and she needs to stop being completely weak and instead decide to live with courage and autonomy. I completely understand feeling mentally trapped as well as physically trapped in a relationship and feeling like your unable to move on but I'm unimpressed with people who don't make an effort to live. I suppose she was never truly a heroine to begin with, and I have a hard time feeling sorry for her.

However, I will say that this story is interesting enough for me to continue reading the series, even if it is really frustrating.

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XV (War of Roses, #1)

I'm a huge Lana Sky fan and this book was simply AMAZING,
The story is very internse and dark and it just hooks you instantly. it's very suspenseful and there's a huge mystery elemement to it.
The main charchters here are introduced perfectly and they were brought to live very well as the story progressed,
I liked that the tone of the narrator was pretty calm and mysterious, i felt that it fit pretty well with the atmosphere of the book and i liked the accents that she manged to bring in.
The ending is a cliffhanger, that keeps you hooked waiting to find out what happens next.

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    4 out of 5 stars
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Deliciously depraved!

STORY
I’ve listened to over 600 audiobooks and I’ve never had the problem I had with this one, struggling to follow the storyline. Sure, I always zone out when listening to an audiobook at some point, but I always catch on again after a quick rewind. However, no matter how many times I rewound this book, I always seemed to be confused about something. 50% in, I still didn’t know which character was the villain! I also kept feeling like there were gaps in the storyline. This may have been due to me missing some of the words when the narrator spoke with a strong accent, or I might have been confused because the story is not over - this book does end with a cliffhanger, so I’m hoping that all will be explained by the time I finish this series. Despite my questions and confusion, I did enjoy this book! I loved that Sky wasn’t afraid to cross boundaries, writing a story that is deliciously dark, disturbing and depraved!

PERFORMANCE
I listened to the Audible audiobook narrated by Caitlin Allgood Knight. Aside from mispronouncing mangled, copse and nefarious, Knight delivered a flawless performance. While reading narrative for the female characters and non-dialogue portions, she spoke with a somewhat monotone voice, yet this worked well for the characters/story. She does and incredible job speaking for the foreign men, using an accent so strong/believable that sometimes I couldn’t understand what she was saying (a factor that may have contributed to my missing aspects of the story).