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This is the Life Vol. 1 Welcome to the Family

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

What happens when life as you know it turns to shit? Do you just throw in the towel or do you fight? Those are the questions that plague London and Black every day.
London grew up sheltered from the life her parents lived, so when she returns home after a two year “vacation” taking over the family business isn’t what she has in mind for her future. Hell, she doesn’t even know what she wants for her future.
Andre ‘Black’ Harrison is a hood nigga through and through. Born and raised to the streets he takes to his new role in life like a fish to water and has his sights on London. 
But as they both soon learn running the family business is anything but easy. With new and old enemies rising they both lean on one another to survive the life they ultimately want to build and protect the Family they’re set to rule. It isn’t long before London and Black find themselves thrown deeper into a life where everyone seems to be playing chess.

Book Review
The author opens & closes with a Mr. & Mrs. Smith vibe, which worked well with the first-person telling of the story. Our protagonists, London is in a therapy session described as cold and without remorse for the sometimes murderous acts committed. She begins to tell the therapist about her life. 

London and Black are quickly crowned the new King and Queen of what is known as "The Family". Shortly after a website that is aware of all The Family's secrets from its inception emerges as does an old foe of London's. The newly crowned royal couple are immediately faced with multiple issues to handle in order to get these running smoothly.  As betrayal within the organization is revealed London & Black are forced to enact punishment to those who offend. Throughout the story, London grapples with leading the organization as she has never wanted life and leaves the street business to Black.  When betrayal hits too close to home the story really begins. However, book one ends with the end of London's therapy session.  

This is a good start to a new series. The author did a good job of setting things up so the story will come together in book two. Carruth's storytelling took advantage of pop culture influences and used them to her advantage i.e. the LA Confidential in the style of Gossip Girl or the "cancel Christmas" reference as a nod to Power. However, she takes them and makes them her own.  While London and Black had no chemistry with each other, they did with their circle of friends. This will help build their relationship in book two.  The character's initial (individual) development gave me a glimpse of their personalities when they began this journey. I'm waiting to see the cold, remorseless woman the "therapists" meets in his sessions. I loved the mysterious element the author infused in the story with the website and emails. This was a great way for her to create some much needed tension in the story.  That being said, I was 70% into the story before it truly captured my interest. The author gave me something to sink my teeth into and thus the anticipation to find out what happens next was created. 

From a technical standpoint, I encountered issues with formatting. This resulted in a little confusion when dialogue was in play. I wasn't sure who was speaking a time or two and had to re-read a passage to figure it out. Sentences also would break in odd places which further disrupted the flow of the story. I'm hoping that I'll be able to connect with the characters in book two, that London will come into her own and Black will stay steady. He will need her based on what's to come in book two. All in all, a good read that I would recommend because it has the potential to be a 5-star series.  You can get your copy here and support the author by leaving a review.


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