Blog Tour and Giveaway: Enslaved by The Ocean: Bella Jewel

Enslaved By the Ocean
(Criminals of the Ocean #1)

Indigo is running, she has no other choice. She's done something bad, and there only way to escape it, is to flee her home, and her country. She sets out on a luxury Yacht, to take her to another country with her best friend Eric. But she runs into a problem. The Yacht catches fire. She ends up stranded in the ocean, terrified, and scared of the uncertain. Until they show up. The pirates. Terrified, Indigo and Eric have to face the reality that this might be the end for them. These are pirates, they are the criminals of the ocean. What chance have they got of surviving this nightmare? Then she lays eyes on Hendrix. He's the Captain, he's gorgeous, rugged, and mean. He's planning on keeping her to repay his debt to another man, by selling her. Now Indigo has a crazy ex after her, as well as a pirate she can't seem to get out of her head. Come on this heart wrenching, dark, angsty and dangerous adventure as two people so opposite, find something so beautiful.

“You, girl, look at me.”

Oh God, he’s talking to me. Hot tears fill my eyes and I slowly raise my head. What I expect to see, and what I actually see, are two very different things. It takes me a solid moment to realize that the man I am looking at is actually a pirate. In my head, I had an image of an old, smelly man…but him…oh…he’s breathtaking. Even in my fear, I can’t move my eyes from him. It’s impossible to look away. It’s impossible to believe that somebody that looks like him would be in a place like this.
Indigo is on the run, so she and her best friend, Eric set sail on a yacht heading for London. But they find themselves adrift and in danger. Just when they think things cannot get worse and they are saved, a bigger problem emerges...Pirates. Yes, real modern day dangerous pirates. And they have plans for Indigo an Eric. These guys are tough, mean, and vicious. They do not waste time on pleasantries or pretend to be anything other than the corrupt and cruel men they are.

Hendrix is their Captain and  I have to say that I did not like him in the beginning.  He was such a cruel, mean, alpha ass. But then he started to show small chinks in his armor. You could tell he did care about some of his crew members and did take care of them. Indigo was tough and feisty herself. She gave it right back to Hendrix and the crew and was not afraid to kick some ass. And she was protective of her friend and determined to figure out a way out of the mess they were in. 

Hendrix did grow on me and we saw more of a human side. He did start to become more fun. passionate, and sexy. But he was still a violent man when it came to his business.  But Indigo was used to violence so she was able to handle it better than most. She was smart, resourceful, and determined. 

I am not sure I really felt the chemistry at first, and at times had difficulty believing the transitions in their relationship from hate as the captive to sexual attraction to love and acceptance. Some of it seemed like it happened to fast and I was not feeling the emotional connection. But it did finally seem to build and catch up and by the end I liked them together.

"You taught me how to open my heart."
"You know what, pirate?...You taught me that too."

I did also like some of the side characters especially Jess and  Drake, who was the sweetest of the pirates by far. There were several antagonists causing drama and danger. But this band of pirates also had strong bonds and they fought together and took care of their own. 

They're criminals, without a doubt, but the passion they hold for each other beats that in some of the families I've seen.

There was danger, suspense, and intrigue, and also humor. There were some plot twists, but I admit that I had figured out some of them. The pirates were described as a MC Club on the sea. And it was true, they were outlaws who did not follow laws or etiquette. There was a lot of violence in both of their lives without much sugar coating. It was a fast read with an intriguing story line with the pirates. I liked it more as the book went on and became more invested. It just seemed like it was missing some depth and transitions, character development, and chemistry. Their story is not quite over and it also set up the second book of the series Where Darkness Lies. I can already see a new unlikely pairing in the making.

Thanks to Bella Jewel for providing me with an ARC in exchange for an honest review. 

In Enslaved by the Ocean, the action starts right away. Indigo and Eric are stranded in the middle of the ocean and pirates are reportedly nearby, though not sighted. Days of drifting under the sun causes the pair to rejoice when they are able to catch the attention of a passing ship in the middle of the night. At least until they realize they have been captured by pirates. 

Indigo has had a rough life. Running from an abusive ex, once they run in to the pirates, she spends much of the rest of the book blaming herself for dragging Eric into the situation and trying to find a way to save his life, if not both of their lives. She had an impulsive streak throughout that sometimes helped her and sometimes made her troubles worse.

Hendrix. What a pirate name. He fits the image of a pirate too. Long dark hair and eyes, pierced ears, jewelry, weapons. The captain of the ship upon which Indigo and Eric find themselves imprisoned, Hendrix is a bit of an enigma. Soon after we meet him, it is obvious that there's something going on behind the hard front he puts up. He is harsh and uncaring on the front, but several of his actions early on hint at something deeper.

The relationship between Indigo and Hendrix contains a little bit of Stockholm syndrome, a little bit of her pattern (at one point before meeting the pirates, she mentions she likes men who have a rougher look to them), and a little bit of the right place at the right time, but a lot of chemistry. Initially I was worried that the captive/captor aspect of the relationship would make it uncomfortable, but the transition the characters go through to become lovers lessened that for me. 

Early on I found the side characters intriguing, particularly Drake and Jess. The entire cast of characters is a colorful bunch, as one would expect from pirates, though most are little more than names and brief glimpses in scenes in the ship. The pirates are generally described in romantic terms with a wooden mermaid on the bow of their ship and a pirate code, even though it is clearly identified as a present day scenario. While I'm not sure that's terribly reflective of true modern pirates, it worked for the story, and once I put real, modern pirates out of my mind I was able to enjoy the setting and storyline.

This is the first book I've read by Bella Jewel. Its fast pace and continuing action kept me up late into the night. Being the first of a new series, it does end in a bit of a cliffhanger, but it's more a peek at the next book than a true cliffhanger. Once I stopped fighting the modern vs. romantic pirates, I settled in and enjoyed the ride. Several twists and turns later, Enslaved was finished and I was wishing the next book was out to learn how the epilogue plays out.
Thanks to Bella Jewel for providing me with an ARC in exchange for an honest review. 

The author just announced the next books on her Facebook Page(copied from page). 
SPOILER! Do not read if you have not read Enslaved or do not want to know about a future couple. 

So The Criminals Of The Ocean series (Enslaved is Book #1) will branch out two ways. The next book, Dimitri & Jess' story, will be Criminals Of The Land #1. Then you will get Drake's book, Criminals Of The Ocean #2 and then then there will be another branched off Dimitri's book, which will be Reed's book (You will meet him in the next book) which will be Criminals Of The Land #2. So, does that make sense lol!!! Two Ocean, Two Land! Two different themes, yet all somehow combined!!!

Bella Jewel Facebook | Website | Goodreads
Bella Jewel is an Aussie girl through and through. She spent her life in Western Australia, growing up in many different areas of the state. She now currently lives in Perth with her husband, children and mass amounts of pets. She's crazy, fun, outgoing and friendly. Writing is her passion, she started at the young age of 18 but finally got the courage up to publish, and her first novel Hell's Knights was released in August 2013.
(2) $50 Amazon Gift Cards

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