Lola: A Novel by Melissa Scrivner Love-a 5/5 star review!

The Crenshaw Six is a gang based in Los Angeles working tirelessly to maintain and expand their turf. Working with and against rival gangs’ leaders to show their strength and earn respect is a race for time and survival. The Crenshaw Six are also working to keep the true identity of their leader a secret. Most think that Garcia is the leader but only few know that it is actually his girlfriend, Lola, that is the leader.

Lola is fearless, determined, strong, and does not let emotions interfere with her job as the leader of the Crenshaw Six. Only Garcia and her brother, Hector, know her personality outside of the job. That is until a little girl named Lucy comes along. Lucy reminds Lola of what her childhood was like and Lola immediately takes to protecting the girl and wanting a better life for her. Lucy becomes a liability and a target when Lola’s identity as the leader is slowly revealed. Can Lola provide a good life for Lucy and still remain the leader of the Crenshaw Six?

There were many twists and action scenes in this book that was riveting to read. There were physical battles and emotional battles that were nerve-racking. Lola is not someone to assume that you can predict what she will do next. She is fearless yet loyal. She is battling her past by dealing with her recovering addict mother as well as collateral from past decisions she made in her process of becoming the gang leader. She is also battling her present relationship with Garcia whose ex-girlfriend seems to make her attempts at impressing Garcia very obvious. Lastly, she is battling egos by being the alpha as a female with loyalties from 5 males.

My favorite character was Lucy because she has the innocence of a child yet has gone through far too much for her five years. She wants to make others happy in a selfless way. She also brings out the inner child in Lola and her presence is a large factor in the plot.

I would recommend this book for readers who enjoy action, female empowerment, metaphors, and an unpredictable plot.

However, I would not recommend this book for those uncomfortable with violence, foul language, and drug abuse.

Please note: a complimentary physical copy of this book was generously provided by the publisher via LibraryThing in exchange for an honest review.

Missed Connections by Tamara Mataya-1/5 Star Review

Sarah’s life is an ongoing storm. She lost her job as a paralegal and lost her beloved apartment as a result. Crashing on her best friend’s couch, the only thing that helps her keep her mind off of the chaos is browsing through online “Missed Connections” ads. She dreams of the day when someone will write one about her. One day her dream comes true and the storm becomes a tornado.

The plot was predictable and the main character was immature. I think the intention may have been to make her more of a damsel in distress but she came off as a manipulator playing the victim. She was stuck between developing feelings for someone online and trying to resist her feelings for someone she had been friends with for a long time offline. She only calls her best friend, Pete, to talk about her problems but not to listen to his problems. He calls her out on it at one point and his character kind of falls to the wayside after that. She enjoys getting revenge and creating drama. She was a paralegal but had to take a job at a new age spa. This is beneath her and her co-workers and bosses are out to get her. One co-worker who is especially out to get her has the name Phyllis, but the rest of the book she is called “Phuking Phyllis”. It may have been a clever moniker the first time that I read it but it was redundant the other times. All in all, I would not recommend this book.

Points of potential concern for other readers: there was foul language, bullying, stereotyping, potential for a hate crime, and sexual scenarios. If you are in or interested in the New Age lifestyle, this is definitely not a book for you.

Please note: an electronic copy of this book was provided for free from Sourcebooks Casablanca via daily e-mails containing excerpts. You can sign up for these e-mails by going to http://books.sourcebooks.com/casablanca-stay-in-touch/ and clicking on the Free Romance Reads Daily Email.