Book Review: A Sinner Born by Avril Ashton

A Sinner Born by Avril AshtonTitle: A Sinner Born
Series: Brooklyn Sinners, Book 3
Author: Avril Ashton
Genre: Romantic Suspense, M/M Romance
Sensuality Rating: Erotic
Source: review copy provided by publisher
Published: June 2013 by Ellora’s Cave

Syren Rua is at war. He battles painful childhood demons and his intense need for the first person who makes him feel. As Faro, Syren makes deals with the worst while taking the steps necessary to bring his family’s killer to justice. He isn’t one to indulge in selfish needs, but he’ll make the time in this instance. Syren has been watching Kane Ashby, craving the grieving man for his own. He’s always stayed away from temptation, but that’s about to change.

Kane isn’t over the death of his long-time partner. He’s certainly not ready for a relationship, sexual or otherwise, but Syren isn’t a man who takes no for an answer. The unpredictable Syren offers nothing but secrets and brings with him memories so dark, they could wipe out any chance the two might ever have. Syren brings Kane’s heart back to life. But it is also Syren who could inflict the most damage.

Inside Scoop: One of our heroes has a panty fetish. And it’s hot. This book also contains brief references to rape and child abuse.

Reviewed By: J9

In a Nutshell: I wanted to love this book but one lead was so stupid at novel’s end that it made me want to throw my e-reader. Still, it’s better than most MM romance out there, even with it invoking reader rage!

The Set Up: Syren is masterminding a complicated plot to take out the criminal cartel leader who destroyed his life thirty years ago, all while battling his personal demons. Syren doesn’t have time or energy to invest in a relationship but ever since he first saw US Marshal Kane Ashby he’s wanted him. Kane isn’t done grieving the death of his long-time partner and even if he was, starting a relationship with the complicated and mercurial Syren wouldn’t be on his to-do list. But Kane and Syren call to each other no matter how much it puts both their lives at risk.

Why I Read this Book: Love this series!

What I Liked: This author excels at writing complicated men. Both Kane and Syren are a blend of strength and vulnerability. Kane has believable and relatable grief about this partner’s death and readers are sucked into his confusion and desire for Syren, both sexual and emotional. Syren is a genius mastermind but underneath he’s barely functioning in life so readers get a firsthand view of his trauma. How these men interact is what makes this such a great novel because though they have an intense sexual relationship, it’s really about how they connect emotionally. For instance, Syren has deep sexual scars and how Kane recognizes and accepts this is poignant and emotional. These aren’t two dimensional characters but came to be real men I cared about and felt pain with them.

What I Also Liked: Syren’s plan to take out the cartel and the man who leads it is captivating storytelling. The theme of this series is that the men aren’t all good or all bad and this certainly holds true for Syren in his plot. Readers are privy to both his ambition and plans to destroy the cartel and how this unfolds is perfectly paced and balances with the intense romance.

This book takes place at the same time as book two and how this is interwoven was very well done, in my opinion. Scenes that were in book two are revisited from Syren’s viewpoint and rounds them out beautifully.

I also loved the inclusion of Syren’s family of sorts. Readers would have to have hearts of stone not to be captivated by his past abuse and the family who rescues him. Kane is the brother of one of the leads in book one, Gabe, who plays a big role in this book and I love the scenes that include Gabe and Rafe.

What I Didn’t Like: As much as I loved this book, I also hated it at the same time. Something happens to Syren that he has no control over and Kane thinks he sees it a certain way and ends his relationship with Syren. This destroyed Syren’s trust and rightly so. Then Kane does this thing-I-can’t-spoil-but-hated, which is the thing Syren was always concerned about and tells Syren about it. Kane thrusts a dagger through Syren who is already so fragile and broken and so emotionally vulnerable to Kane that I hated Kate for his actions. Then as if this isn’t enough, it happens very close to the novel’s conclusion and is wrapped up way too neatly and quickly.

Readers should also be aware this book contains rape and childhood abuse though not for prurient purposes.

IMO: Even with my hatred of this novel’s emotional denouement, it is much better than most MM romance being published and worth a read. I just need to calm down and wait for book four of this great series.

J9’s Rating:
3 1/2 Frogs

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About J9: Vegan. Avid runner. Android addict. Never without a book in hand. Currently devouring MM romance but reads historial romance and paranormal romance as well. Follow J9 on Twitter.


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