Hello! I hope you’re fine since I’m’cause I just finished my monthly exams in university, and I just have a little more of time to spend here doing what I like the second most: writing honest and fangirling book reviews.
So this week I got excited and I read the first and (till now) only book released of the Shot Callers series. I’m talking about Lev by Belle Aurora.
Well, what can I say more than it was something more than what I expected. Here we are introduced to the two main POVs: first is Mina Harris, a twenty three or four homeless woman who has lived like that since she was seventeen and run away from her foster her home. She lived with her biological mom until she was six that’s when she died leaving her with a mean grandma who didn’t want anything to do with her so she was send to many foster homes till she was adopted by a lovely couple with two young kids and a happy life till she turned twelve and the elder son of her foster mom moved with them. He was flirty and they fell in teenage love with each other, his name was James and she ended up giving him her virginity but everything was done when mom found out and called her a slut. Mina was heartbroken and left her home to live in the streets, until a night where she hadn’t eaten for days and was starving. She even was so desperate that she begged in a humiliating way for it, and when nothing worked she sneaked in a stripper’s club to steal a wallet. Without knowing she stole the walled of the big bad owner, whose brother followed and found her guilty. They are introduced, he gives her his name: Lev Leokov (he is the second POV); and after seeing that she only took $100, he chose not to report her crime. Instead, he hires her as a bartender and offers her a home. She notices he’s weird, handsome and intense; he wants to protect her and give her everything she’s missed. Since Lev has some difficulties understanding people’s emotions when these are not outed in words (must be Asperger or some sort of autism), and that earnt him the fact his mother physically abuse him for not being perfect as she, and then abandoned him, his tender dad and his elder siblings. Life has taught him to be thought and distrust people messing in his life, but he immediately knows that Mina is different: she has eaten in a long time, practically looking like a starving teenager, and he won’t allow her to live like this again. He even shares his room with her, locking them both every night to protect them of a childhood fear he had. He lets her in his family and life, introducing her to his siblings: Sasha, a bossy effing controlling eldest brother who acts as leader of the family, and who’s so protective over Lev that didn’t doubt to point his own mother with a pistol only to stop her from keep beating his little brother (which earn him the points he lacked for me); he’s also in love with a family friend who works as a bartender for them (she’s a redhead, I don’t remember her name) who’s a crush for Lev since they were children. Then there’s his elder sister, Nas who becomes Mina’s best friend from the first moment and helps her understand Lev a little more; she even gives her instructions to improve her cero bartending abilities, but Nas also has her back story since she’s also in a toxic sexual relationship with a man she loves but who will never love her back, and Mina gives her the balls to end it. And finally, there’s Lev’s little toddler daughter: Lidiya; she’s the result of her mother’s family ambition and desire to have Lev for their own business, and Lev’s own wish to keep his daughter with him. She’s in the care of her addict mother, and her dad is struggling to gain the full custody of her. The baby girl immediately loves Mina, and the feeling is mutual.
Things get messy when their family drama gets in between, and just when Mina and Lev had kissed for the first time they are interrupted by it. We are introduced to Laredo, the Leokovs siblings former uncle by marriage, his business is fighting against Lev’s besides his adoptive son was punched so hard by Sasha once for sleeping with his one night wife, that he disfigured the Adoptive Son; and things get dirty when Mina discovers Laredo knew her mom and actually was in love with her when she worked in his club as a stripper, he ends up being her paternal uncle and reveals to her that she has an elder brother and that is the Adoptive Son (yeah, sue me for not remembering his God forsaken name). Their initial meeting doesn’t end up well for Mina, but then they build a good relationship. And other problems come when the Leokov’s business is getting without clients and they are forced to reinvent it thanks to Mina’s good idea of remaking it into a Burlesque show like the ones in NYC; and then Irina (Lidiya’s mom) dies and Lev thinks he might be guilty but everything is cleared later on. So everything concludes well after a meeting with Mina’s past foster family who missed her dearly and regret treating her that way, she even gets to talk to her former crush realising that she truly loves Lev as a woman she became not the child she was force to be living of people’s garbage can. They are meant to be. ♥
The tears of sadness and pain and happiness and just delight that this book brought to my eyes, were incredible. I feel in love with each one of the characters cause of their intriguing stories, since the book was not what I expected it to be. You know, I was thinking it would be a normal new adult book with lots of sex and controlling relationship basically focusing only in the main couple’s sex life but it was nothing like that: for a start, there were like two sex scenes and two halfs of one, then there was no control but respect and fear of loosing the other to childhood scars, there was family dynamics of trust and love, and how everything led them to themselves. How the author managed to get the “aws” out of me with simple lines like this:
“This is Mina. She was homeless. I found her. I’m keeping her. She loves me. So we’re getting married.” And I died. Embarrassment seeped out of me like oozing slime.
I just melted in their love for each other that was built so well without even me realising of it till their first kiss, and the fact she’s one of the few people that can make him laugh so hard. She waited patiently for him, he fell slowly for her; together they form a little but strong family with their daughter, expecting to have others when the future comes and they marry.
So you can only imagine how excited I am about this being a series for the Leokovs since many loose ends where left for some couples, like my favorite till now: Mina’s brother and Irina’s badass sister! I need that sequel now! Please Belle, like… Could you hurry up? Please!! At least a little summary, no covers but just that?