The Book Barrio

A Blog for Fantasy and Romance Readers


3.5 Stars

Review: Lev (Shot Callers #1) by Belle Aurora

Genre: Modern Romance


From the moment Lev Leokov spots the young woman hiding behind her hair in the middle of the gentleman’s club, he can’t take his eyes off of her.
For the very first time in his life, he is affected. Having been told his entire life that he can’t process or understand emotion, he considers it a big deal.

When Mina Harris gets caught red-handed with a wallet that isn’t hers, she falls apart. She’s tired, lonely and hasn’t eaten in days.

Lev offers her an ultimatum… A nice warm bed, a hot meal and a job, or the cops.

Mina takes her chances with Lev.
After all, a person with nothing has nothing left to lose.


This is actually my first time to read a book by Belle Aurora. I’ve been hearing about her works from the blogging community, so when I saw a new release, read and liked the blurb, I thought I’d give it a chance.

The story starts when Lev catches Mina stealing his brother’s wallet for food because she’s homeless and so hungry. And Lev can’t help but want to help her. His protective instincts were triggered. So Lev offers to help Mina, by letting her stay at his place, and giving her a job at his gentleman’s club. And as they help each other along, they develop feelings for each other. This one’s a bit like a slow burn. It isn’t love at first sight, but more like protective alpha instinct at first sight.

The first half of the book was really good. It was about Lev and Mina getting to know each other. It was about Mina getting back on her feet. From being homeless to someone with a job and friends. You can’t help but sympathize with Mina and want to help her and see her get back on her feet. She’s been in the streets for 7 years after running away from her foster home. In some ways, she’s still innocent and not embittered by what life has dealt her.

Lev on the hand, has some secrets. He has a hard time reading people’s actions. So sometimes, when Mina needs something, she really needs to spell it out for him. He’s also got a kind personality. I was won over the moment he decided to help Mina. And as with every alpha hero, Lev’s protectiveness is hot.

The second half of the book felt more like a very long happily ever after. Here, we see the couple grow into their relationship. They still have issues to resolve about Lev’s family, the business and their circle of friends. We also get to meet Lev’s extended family, which I assume are characters from the other books by the same author. (Romance writers love to create dynasties of couples who know or are related to each other, they can’t help it.)

The secondary characters also provided a good diversion. The most interesting would be Lev’s siblings Sasha and Nas. They’ll probably get their own books in the future, as their stories are hinted at in this book.

One thing I didn’t like though, was that Mina kept calling Lev, “Sweetie” as a pet name. And to me, Sweetie is something a mother uses to call her little girl, and not an uber hot alpha guy. But that’s just me.

Overall, I think it’s a fun, light read. It’s good start to a series. Anyone looking for an instant Romance fix would enjoy this.

Rating: 3 stars

Amazon | Goodreads


Review: Hollywood Dirt by Alessandra Torre

Amazon | Goodreads

Genre: Modern Romance


Cole Masten. Abandoned by his superstar wife, Hollywood’s Perfect Husband is now Hollywood’s Sexiest Bachelor: partying hard and screwing even harder. Watch out Los Angeles, there’s a new bad boy in town. 

Summer Jenkins. That’s me, a small town girl stuck in Quincy, Georgia. I cook some mean chicken and dumplins, can bluff a grown man out of his savings in poker, and was voted Most Friendly my senior year. 

We were from different worlds. Our lives shouldn’t have collided. But then Cole Masten read a book about my small town. And six months later, his jet landed on our dusty airstrip, and he brought Hollywood with him. 

From the start, I knew he was trouble. For our town. And for me. 

Sometimes, opposites just aren’t meant to attract.

What the Barrio liked:

  • Summer (the heroine) – She’s got spunk, and she’s a 100% southern-bred lady. She got mad at the hero just for having bad manners the first time they met. When the hero comes to her little town to shoot a movie about Coca-Cola, he sees the potential to get her involved with the movie. She is also treated as an outcast by the town people after a failed wedding party.
  • Cole Masten – Famous superstar, movie producer and recently discovered his wife cheating on him. Travelling to Quincy was just what he needed in order to save his movie from being taken by his ex-wife in their divorce battle. He meets Summer and thinks that she is perfect for a role the movie. Of course he does this in a totally movie-star arrogant way that the sparks fly between them. Yes, he’s one of those alpha-holes that Romance readers are suckers for.
  • The filmmaking – I’ve rarely ever read something about Hollywood and this was a fresh take for me. I enjoyed reading about the aspects of filmmaking. And the little trivias here and there about the town that got rich due to Coca-Cola are fascinating.
  • Secondary Characters – such as Ben, really make the story interesting. He’s got a lovely personality is a welcome sidekick for Summer.

Overall, it’s a light, fun read.

Rating: 3.5 Stars


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