From Fame to Ruin by Jina S. Bazzar

From Fame to Ruin: A Romantic Thriller Standalone Novel
by Jina S. Bazzar

Romantic Thriller

321 Pages

Published 21st December 2021

Purchase from | Amazon AU | Amazon US | Amazon UK |

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My rating: ⭐ ⭐ ⭐

I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.

Actual rating of 3.5

Carol has been through a lot. She’s suffered through and survived heartbreak, the loss of the family business and attempted murder, yet this is not the worst thing that she will need to endure in her life. When Carol was younger she met a man named Ricardo at a time in her life when everything seemed dark. They spent a whirlwind weekend together of which neither had ever experienced before, it was a dream come true. However, you can only escape from real life for so long, when their pasts found them, the weekend they shared together went down in a hail of flames. Fast forward a few years and Carol is running a lucrative Advertising agency and minding her own business taking care of her children, but when a psychopath decides that she is a prime target, her world comes crashing down. She has only one choice to make, swallow her pride and approach rockstar Ricardo for help with the ransom, or let her son die. But will Ricardo be as forgiving as she hopes?

I’ve never really read a romantic thriller before so I was super keen to check this one out. The story is told through alternating POVs and alternating time lines. We jump between the past which is roughly four years ago when Carol and Ricardo first met, and the present day where Carol is trying everything she can to get her son back unharmed. At first the alternating timelines seemed very full on as I had to keep switching my brain to past and present and connect the dots, but once I fell into the rhythm of this it was a breeze. It was great to get a step by step reveal of how Ricardo and Carol’s weekend together turned into something they both wish they could forget. I feel like writing it in this way was a brilliant way to give the reader all the information without it being a huge info dump.

The story line itself was well written and well thought out, and while I had picked one of the small twists (if it even was a twist) about Carol’s son, I didn’t quite pick the culprit or who all were involved in the kidnapping itself until virtually the reveal which was fantastic. I was keen to see if Carol’s son would be returned safely, because at times it seemed like this would not be the case. So having those moments of uncertainty kept me reading as I needed to know what would happen. The romance story line was done tastefully and I love that it was a story of redemption and learning to trust again and open their hearts. I was rooting for them the whole time and couldn’t wait for them to just give it a chance, I may have been silently yelling at them both because they were incredibly frustrating, yet at the same time I completely sympathised with their reason for not wanting to trust each other again.

The characters were well written, though we didn’t get to really know the characters of the children, I was still incredibly sympathetic to the son as he went through absolute hell at such a young age, and in the end, he is a child. The characters of Carol and Ricardo were well written, I was endeared to them from the beginning. Carol because she was being forced into a life that she did not want because of past family infighting, and Ricardo because of the lies that his ex had told about him, forcing him to be scrutinised under the public eye to prove himself innocent. When these two met, at first I wasn’t really feeling it and felt Ricardo was a little bit creepy, I actually thought that he may have been involved in the kidnapping, but his character soon turned into the sweet, charming man that he is. Getting to see the heartache and the turmoil both these characters were going through really made their character development that much deeper and made them seem real. Even though Carol came across as quite a cold person, you could see underneath it all that she was just trying to protect herself from being hurt again. All the support characters worked wonderfully and really rounded out the cast of characters nicely.

The story itself I felt that the pacing was a little bit lacking at times where it felt like it was dragging along. There’s a lot to get through in this book because we don’t only have the kidnapping, it’s also a redemption love story, so there’s a lot going on. I did feel like the kidnapping almost took a bit of a back seat and was the driving point behind the love story, which worked great for it. The sense of urgency was there which kept you reading. I’m not sure how the pacing could be fixed, I think there’s just a lot to get through, I don’t feel that any parts should be cut out as they all served a purpose. There’s a reason behind everything in the story which is fantastic.

I did feel like the climax happened rather quickly, but again, this actually worked really well for the story because we got our closure and everything was tied up in a neat little bow and it wasn’t dragged out unnecessarily, and we were able to focus back on the redemption story line which was nice.

All in all, this was a rivetting read, at times the pacing fell a bit short for me and I felt like it was a push to get through, I did want to throttle Carol on occassion, but I could also understand her reluctance to let herself trust Ricardo again, and vice versa. This was a strong addition to the romantic thriller genre, and I feel like I’ll be keen to check out more books like this.

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