Review: Tangled Up in Christmas (Texas Heat #2) by Lisa Renee Jones

Title: Tangled up in Christmas
Author:  Lisa Renee Jones
Publisher/Year:  Entangled Publishing 10/29/19
Length:  308 Pages
Series:  Texas Heat #2

Overview

I might be a country girl from the same small town of Sweetwater, Texas, as horse wrangler Roarke Frost, the girl next door who knows him like few know him, but I didn’t know enough to save my heart.

He’s the reason why I left Sweetwater behind.

But now fate proves she loves a wicked twist and sends me back to Sweetwater to pull together a Christmas festival—and I run smack into the man again, quite literally. His body is pressed to mine, his hands on my arms, and I’m melting like chocolate in the sizzling Texas sunshine. And I run.

I know it’s not exactly respectable, but it works, just not for long. No matter how much I try to get tangled up in Christmas, I end up tangled up in Roarke instead—and the man has me feeling the heat of our attraction and the warmth of our past friendship. He feels like Mr. Right, but history says he’s Mr. Wrong.

But if he wants a second chance, Roarke Frost is going to have to work for it. He’ll need to prove to me that this holiday is a season of new beginnings, the kind that last forever.

My Thought

Well, we were recently wrapped up in the Sweetwater lovestory that belonged to Jessica and Jason, so it’s only fitting that we get to delve deeper into Roarke – the sexy Horse Wrangler/Whisperer who lives next door, is like a brother to Jason and who provided much needed counsel when Jessica and Jason were imploding.

In this second book of the series, we get to watch how the past that Roarke can’t move on from comes fast and furious into his present, all with the help of a lady named Hannah. the girl that he grew up with, loved and never got over.

The journey in this story is quite different than that of the first book. We see a couple, who were so deeply in love that they didn’t think anything could tear them apart until something did. Then years go by and every time they tried to move on, they kept coming full circle to the memory of what they shared and what’s lost and no one compared.

Hannah, our leading lady was young when she and Rourke finally got together, but she’s grown up, made a name for herself in LA as a fashion photographer, but when her boss gets caught up in the #MeToo movement, her world crumbles and she’s forced to go home to Dallas/Sweetwater.

Roarke has always been the man that we know and love. His skill and ability matched by no one and even through the years, he’s still managed to maintain that and build. He’s pined for Hannah but couldn’t fight for her since what broke them up was tied to such a web of secrets that it would not only end them, but other friendships in town.

Back in present day when Hannah has come home and literally the moment she’s stepped for in the airport she slams into Roarke, we know that their lives are changed yet again. The heat and chemistry that they shared years ago is still there but it’s really a question on whether they can forgive AND forget what happened to make things work. That’s a huge pill to swallow and one that’s not easy.

They continue to cross paths in unexpected places and then when Hannah’s friend (a girl who’s helping her get a new business started) hurts herself, Hannah fills in on a job and is thrown right in between Jason and Roarke, two men that she has no chance with.

The story from here is quite like a dance – seeing who steps where, who avoids whom and what that means for everyone involved. We live under the pretense of a job that has to get done in town to make the community thrive, but at the same time we see this as an opportunity for conversation, for love to be rekindled and for secrets to come out. Although no one wants those secrets to come out. Least of all her parents.

In true form of our author, we have a story that pulls you in with Hope (no pun intended and when you read the end you’ll understand what i mean) breaks your faith in true love, and makes you want to see the best in people, even when it’s impossible.

We spend so much time in this second book wondering if they have a chance, and who’s help is it going to take to make love a reality. Will it be a grandmother, a friend, an animal? no one really knows, and no one knows if there’s even a chance, but everyone in this lovely town won’t give up. So on that note, read this, have faith, know that there’s love and know that when happy endings aren’t possible, there’s always something that can come out of it. Enjoy!

Review: The Truth About Cowboys (Texas Heat #1) by Lisa Renee Jones

TitleThe Truth About Cowboys
Author:  Lisa Renee Jones
Publisher/Year:  Entangled Publishing 8/27/19
Length:  308 Pages
Series:  Texas Heat #1

Overview

I had my life figured out.

Engaged to a successful man.

About to make partner at my firm.

Bought a high-rise apartment in downtown Dallas.

And then, poof, it’s all gone. Now, like in some cheesy romantic comedy, my car has broken down in the pouring rain on my way to “find myself” in The Middle of Nowhere, Texas. Cue hot guy coming to my rescue and changing my tire. This is the part where we flirt and have a meet-cute, right? That’s how it works in romance novels, and I should know—after all, I’m coming to Texas to write my own cowboy romance. But nope. This sexy cowboy lights into me about not being prepared for the country roads and how inappropriate my high-heeled boots are.

Little did I know, Jason Jenks would tilt my world into a new dimension with his sinful smirk and his bad attitude. Every time I turn around, he’s there to reluctantly save the day. And every time, I think there may be something to that spark we ignite. But there’s a reason the majority of country songs are about broken hearts. The closer I get to this man, the closer I get to learning the truth about cowboys.

My Thoughts

I do love all things Lisa Renee Jones, so finding this lovely Texas romance is another one that i’m glad to uncover. Our amazing author does it again – she brings us a story that has enough depth and breadth to make it worth reading and you get sucked into the characters so quickly that you can’t put the book down.

As the summary says, we being the story on a journey with our leading lady Jessica when her life seems to have been perfect and then implodes. Thank you to the endless men that we find in these stories – where they manage to mess up the best thing that could have happened to them by dipping their pen in someone else’s ink. The ramifications are huge, but while we think that it should mean the end of her life, Jessica realizes that this is a good thing and moves on. To a cottage. On a Ranch. Alone.

The dramatic way that this story starts, a strong rain storm, Jessica getting her car stuck in the mud, to get rescued by a sexy cowboy who clearly hates her being on his turf. To find her way to the cottage that she rented, only to get a scare because the same cowboy walks into the house and claims that it’s his house and that she can’t rent it and that she’s squatting and needs to go. This story gets better and better because you know that with all the hatred that he exudes and all the chemistry that rolls off them somehow through this, we’re going to get an intense story.

Long story short, we spend the next 300-ish pages watching this all unfold. Jason, our leading man has had his share of glory and now is living through pain and suffering because his parents were killed in a plane crash, leaving the ranch in debt and Jason has to fix it all otherwise he and his grandmother are out of a home, as are the hundreds of people who work for them. The other thing here is that Jason was a pro baseball player who left the game when he was still hot. There’s so much behind that decision, his need to be with his family, and ‘injury’ and a woman that has scorned him for the rest of his life.

We wonder if this story is possible to have a happy ending. I mean, we see the heat and chemistry between Jessica and Jason, and yet it’s something that’s never going to happen because they are worlds apart. We see the sweet woman that is Jason’s grandmother. A lady who is still grieving but also a woman who wants people to realize that she’s not fragile. Bringing Jessica to the ranch is exactly for that purpose, that and hopefully getting Jason to realize that he doesn’t need to focus on everyone else all the time. But is that a cause that falls on deaf ears?

There are moments of hilarity when we see Jessica fail in just about every form possible, and there are moments of joy when we see everyone persevere. There are moments of frustration when we know that we’re talking to a wall on issues, and those same moments when we know that they are so far under water with things that there’s no hope at times. This story is exactly what i needed – to see the struggle and how real it is. but then to see a glimmer of hope and have faith reinstilled. So on that note – Enjoy!

Review: Reveal Me (Shatter Me #5.5) by Tahereh Mafi

TitleReveal Me
Author:  Tahereh Mafi
Publisher/Year:  HarperCollins Publishing 10/8/19
Length:  68 Pages
Series:  Shatter Me #5.5

Overview

This fourth companion novella to Tahereh Mafi’s New York Times bestselling Shatter Me series is narrated by fan favorite character Kenji Kishimoto!

The explosive revelations in Defy Me have left readers reeling and desperate for answers. This fourth and final novella in the series will bring readers back to the world of the Shatter Me before the final novel installment hits shelves in winter 2020.

My Thoughts

The summary here doesn’t do anything for the story – you really have no idea what it is that we’re going to walk into, especially knowing that we were left with some INSANE revelations in the last book. Whatever it was that they thought they knew about each other, about the Resistance, about what it was that Anderson had tried to do, well the story is far more complex. Adam and James are pawns just like Ella and Emmaline are. Warner is caught in the middle again as are everyone else and it’s a mess.

As you’ll remember, they had safely made it across the country to Castle’s daughters complex. A place that no one knew existed because no one knew she existed and it’s a sanctuary to recoup and figure out what the next move will be. Told from Kenji’s point of view, we see how this will play out.

Remember that he was drugged and kidnapped by Nazeera (who could still be playing both sides) and then his plane is shot down by the Resistance to get him to safety. All part of a plan that he wasn’t informed about.

The biggest thing here is that you know that Kenji is driven by emotions and that’s part of his powers. He’s able to put others at ease, but what happens too is that he’s doing that by not letting his emotions take hold of him. We haven’t seen what would happen if he can’t control that and there are moments in this novella that we come close.

Because Kenji is so invested in his friendships, in his relationships, he’s the one that takes the latest rounds of information the hardest. Adam and James didn’t come with them from Omega Point and that can’t bode well for their futures because we learned who their father is and that makes things dicier. Kenji’s emotions bottle up and then explode when he learns of their fate and that takes the story on a fast turn of anger, fear and distrust.

Add to that the feelings that he had for Nazeera at one point, and the fact that he doesn’t know what her motivations are. This turns quickly into a love / hate relationship and while i would love nothing more than to see them together, we don’t yet know what’s possible.

When things seem like they can’t get worse – they’re in hiding from Anderson (shocker – he’s not dead), Adam and James are in limbo. No one knows who to trust, what their futures will hold and who’s going to be able to save them. Juilliete and Warner are finally in a good place but will that last? Will anyone find happiness and what will the world look like when this all comes to a head.

The last scene is an intense one brought to us via screams from the sanctuary, the world changing physical structure and form, the sun becoming something that no one understands, and Julliette on her knees screaming her sisters name. All of this begging for questions to be asked on what’s to come next, and now we have to wait a few months to see how this plays out. I don’t know if i can be patient but i guess i have no choice. Enjoy!

Review: Purple Magic by Lisa Renee Jones

TitlePurple Magic
Author:  Lisa Renee Jones
Publisher/Year:  Penguin Publishing 4/15/14
Length:  105 Pages

Overview

After her friend Carrie vanishes into the hedonistic world of Manhattan’s forbidden clubs, Jolene Morrison is willing to do anything to find her. And it may come to that when she seeks the help of the vampire Drago. Jolene may be half vampire—and free from their manipulations—but the instant flourishing desire the mere presence of Drago stirs within her is undeniable.

And Drago can smell it. He can practically taste her emotions, her lust. He knows their attraction is real, and he must have her. But Drago also knows what could happen to Jolene if she were to enter one of those clubs. The thought of another vampire having her drives him wild. Now Drago must do anything to protect her—or risk losing the woman who just might be his mate.

My Thoughts

So i’m going to start off by saying that i was going through LRJ’s library to see what books I haven’t read and that’s how i came across this one. It’s definitely not my usual. While i loved Twilight and a few others that are in that realm, Vampire related stories aren’t usually my jam. However, i read it because of this amazing author and given it’s novella length, I don’t mind.

What we have here is the romance story of our innocent (but maybe not so innocent) main leading lady Jolene – a girl who is half vampire and who really has no family aside from her best friend who’s gone missing. She’s only been given bits and pieces about her past, things that we learn aren’t the complete truth (shocker) and when her friend goes missing after spending time with other Vampires (i don’t know that we ever got to the bottom of what amount human or not Carrie is tbh), Jolene takes it upon herself to rescue her since no one else will.

When she’s directed to a man named Drago, her life changes forever. She knows what the powerful “Slayer’ vampires are like – her father is one, so as soon as she meets Drago, she knows that she’s in for a tough time. That’s only the beginning of it since we quickly see that Drago has some extreme and deep draw to her, deeper than he has ever felt before and he’s not entirely sure why since he knows that she’s not a full vampire and the connection he’s feeling, the mating bond is typically only amongst full vampires.

The story that we get from here out is one where we see them struggle with the connection that they have, both in reality and that they have to fake in the hopes of rescuing Carrie. Drago has been working to shut down the operation of another vampire Alex who happens to be the one who’s got Carrie. Drago has to play a role, make it seem like Jolene is his captive so they can save Carrie, and where that takes them is an intense journey.

In true Lisa Renee Jones fashion, we see some really hot scenes, hotter than i’ve actually read on other stories so i’m impressed. I feel like her earlier stories actually got us hotter and more bothered than some of the installments lately. Not a bad thing, just something that i’ve noticed. Regardless, we see Jolene and Drago take on the world in a sense in the hopes to bring her friend hope and we don’t know if they will be successful.

At the same time, secrets about Jolene’s past are revealed and they completely blow up her world and everything that she thought she knew about who she was and what her parents are. It explains much and yet leaves so much more in question.

Because this is a stand alone and a novella length, we know that the plot can only be so complicated and so deep, but i have to say that it was a fast read and still quite enjoyable. I can’t say that i’ll stay in the vampire romance section, but i don’t mind the sojourn. Enjoy!

Review: One Woman (Naked Trilogy #2) by Lisa Renee Jones

TitleOne Woman
Author:  Lisa Renee Jones
Publisher/Year:  Julie Patra Publishing 9/17/19
Length:  225 Pages
Series:  Naked Trilogy #2

Overview

The second book in the Naked trilogy…

Emma and Jax came together in the midst of secrets and lies, but in a castle in Maine, they seek passion and sanctuary. What they find is a mystery that could stretch beyond all their expectations. And what Emma finds is danger.

One Woman begins where One Man ended, with Emma one step from death and Jax the only man who can save her.

My Thoughts

When we left off the first book, things were intense. We were at Jax’s home – the same Castle in Maine where we know that Hunter died and the same property that Emma’s father wanted to buy for reasons unknown. Emma finds herself at the wrong end of an encounter with the other North brother Brody – and she’s on the same ledge that Hunter ‘jumped’ from.

So we pick up right there, wondering how far Brody is going to take his threat, and if Emma will survive. Did Savage get there in time or did Jax? well, of course the answer is yes since this is only the beginning of book two.

Even though Emma’s managed to get away from Brody now, we know that she’s not safe. He hates her more than you can imagine, and thinks that there’s a diabolical reason for her being at their estate. Even though Brody wants to do his won thing, he doesn’t want Emma any where near them.

Add to that, York is still a problem and we think that chance is still a problem. We have had zero resolution or close out of anything that pertains to either and we know that there’s still so much that can come to a head with both that we need to reconcile that stuff and fast. Regardless of how solid Jax and Emma think they can be, and how solid they want to be, there’s too much holding them at arms length with the secrets that are out there.

Secrets – those continue to come at them in full force. Someone leaves an envelope with a note for Emma, and we learn that there’s nothing in the envelope, not even a note. Who’s trying to play with their minds. Savage and company try to dig deeper and they still haven’t landed that one yet. There’s a new foe in this story that arises, Echo – a man who’s worked for the North family for as long as Jax can remember and he’s got his eye on Emma. He threatens her and comes at her with notions of things that she should know, but she of course has no idea what he’s saying so that makes things dicey. and then he goes missing.

Some secrets come out, and we haven’t yet heard the end of what they will do to business for everyone. York pushes people too far and that means that walls will be drawn up even further than they were before. Sides are being forced and you can only imagine that there will be implications far worse than we imagined for everyone once ALL the secrets are exposed.

Throughout this story though we see the relationship between our couple grow stronger and stronger. Their connection isn’t just for the physical connection that they have. It’s so much deeper. They do something for each other than wasn’t ever something that either hoped for and that means that not only are they moving fast, they are moving forever.

Just when we think that we may be closing in on the true reason behind the desire for the castle, and as a result, the cause of Hunter’s death, another twist is thrown at us and another person comes into the mix that we don’t yet have an identity for. So, what that means for us, we have to wait two months (or maybe just one month now) for the third and final installment to come out to see how this all plays out. I’m excited to see where it goes and i hope you are. Enjoy!

Review: One Man (Naked Trilogy #1) by Lisa Renee Jones

TitleOne Man
Author:  Lisa Renee Jones
Publisher/Year:  Julie Patra Publishing 6/11/19
Length:  225 Pages
Series:  Naked Trilogy #1

Overview

One man can change everything. That man can touch you and you tremble all over. That man can wake you up and allow you to breathe when life leaves you unable to catch your breath. For me that ONE MAN is Jax North. He’s handsome, brutally so, and wealthy, money and power easily at his fingertips. He’s dark, and yet, he can make me smile with a single look or word. He’s a force when he walks into a room.

Our first encounter is intense, overwhelmingly intense. I go with it. I go with him and how can I not? He’s that ONE MAN for me and what a ride it is. But there are things about me that he doesn’t know, he can’t know, so I say goodbye. Only you don’t say goodbye to a man like Jax if he doesn’t want you to. I’ve challenged him without trying. He wants me. I don’t want to want him, and yet, I crave him. He tears me down, my resistance, my walls. But those walls protect me. They seal my secrets inside. And I forget that being alone is safe. I forget that there are reasons I can’t be with Jax North. I forget that once he knows, everything will change.

Because I need him.

​Because he’s my ONE MAN.

My Thoughts

I do love a new spin off story that has main characters that we’ve never met before. There’s been no mention of either the Knight or North families is books past so that means that we get a fresh story with it’s own unique twists and turns. The nice that thing we get here though are the artifacts of people who HAVE been in other series. The Walkers and Walker Security come in handy here in the sense that we have them doing work for our mains. Savage being the one to come up the most (and he’s definitely one of my favorites). Then there’s Eric Bennett who had quite the role in another series. So all good stuff.

We join this story at a point in time in the plot’s life where People have recently died on both sides of the coin. Emma, our leading lady recently lost her father, a man who ran their empire and who had many many secrets. She’s always been a bit of the red headed step child in the family, so uncovering his secrets proves to be a challenge, and once that her brother Chance seems to not want to properly help.

That’s how we come to Jax, our leading man, who also has dealt with death. His father passed away and his brother commit suicide (or at least that’s what everyone’s been told). There are connections that we don’t yet know between the families, and Jax seems to think that Emma may have some of the information, but when he meets her, there’s so much more there than a pawn, and we see a romance develop faster than most.

The twists and turns that we go on in this story are intense. Emma has secrets of her own that keep threatening to come back up and it’s her goal to keep those secret and away from being used against her family. At the same time, Jax has made it clear that he will still be with her regardless of those secrets and swears that he won’t use them against her. No one trusts each other and that makes things dicey.

There are supporting players here that i feel will become pivotal.

Chance – Emma’s brother knows more than he’s saying, and perhaps it’s because he doesn’t know what he knows.

Randall – Chance’s right hand man and a man who Emma’s father held in high regard. He definitely knows a lot, and likely is at the core of everything that’s going on, and yet, we don’t know what his motivation is.

Marion – A woman who married into her fortune, has business partnerships with Knight hotels and had an affair with Emma’s father. She’s definitely afraid for certain bits of information coming out and thinks that she can use her business as a threat, but i think that we’ll see that won’t play into her favor

York – Marion’s nephew, Emma’s ex fiancee and a man that no one should trust since he’s proven that he’s got dark tastes, an ability to get around security and laws and is overall a bad guy.

With so many people playing into the mix, we can’t forget that Jax still has another brother who’s alive and while he’s not interested in the same parts of the family business, he’s out for revenge and information and he’s bound to make an appearance.

We run from San Francisco to Maine, and it sounds like we’re going to jump to Germany soon. All to find out what’s going on with the death of Jax’s brother Hunter, to find out how the Knights are involved and to find out if what Emma and Jax have is real. Their chemistry is intense, it sparks off the page and that’s something special. They have this level of trust for each other when they know nothing about the other, and have more reasons to be enemies than friends.

We need to read on to see how it plays out and who gets stuck in the cross fire. Where we are left in this first installment though is literally on an edge. Two Hundred feet up, with someone being pushed off the ledge. Who will survive, who will save lives and who will be left in the dust. Only book 2 will tell us and i’m off to read it. Enjoy!

Review: Wife (Betrothed #1) by Penelope Sky

TitleWife
Author:  Penelope Sky
Publisher/Year:  Penelope Sky 9/23/19
Length:  187 Pages
Series:  Betrothed #1

Overview

I was twenty-one when the gypsy read my future:

As punishment for your crimes, you will only love one woman…but she’ll never love you back.

I didn’t believe a word of it.

Until I met Sofia Romano almost ten years later.

I fell hard for this woman. Would die for this woman.

But she left me.

Now years have passed and Sofia needs a husband. Her father is gone and her mother is trying to marry her off to a man that can protect their family, protect their company. 

She’s looking for someone powerful.

Check.

Someone rich.

Check.

Someone handsome.

Double check.

Now it’s my chance to have the only woman I’ve ever loved…and I’ll make sure she feels the same way.

I have a lifetime to make that happen.

My Thoughts

I’m a huge fan of Penelope Sky which by now i’m sure that you guys have all realized so I’m happy that there’s a new series for me to sink my teeth into. In this new series Betrothed, we’re taken back to Tuscany, the setting for just about everything in her world, to see how the underworld mixes with the ‘proper world’ and how once secrets are reveled, life is changed.

This story takes place in a few different time periods. We open the story with our leading man Hades and his friend Damian on a trip to Morocco to celebrate Hades 21st birthday, and there his life is changed forever, but he doesn’t really know what that will feel like just yet.

Then we push forward a bit to where we meet Sofia, when she’s just eighteen and thinks that she’s mature but still has so much more to learn. She meets Hades at an event at her father’s hotel and is so attracted to him that she wants to pursue him, yet he makes her realize that she’s still got so much more to learn before that’s realistic.

Then we fast forward a few more years to see how Sofia has grown up now, out of university and trying to get a chance to run her family business now that her father has passed, she’s gotten an education, and wants to learn everything from her stepfather. Her mother seems to think that it’s a silly concept, to be left to whomever she marries, and there’s a lot there behind her words that we don’t know yet but will find out. Strong women are fully capable to run a business, but once we learn more about how the financing of the hotel has been done and who does business there, well it’s quickly becoming clear why there’s a need for a strong powerful man.

This is where Hades comes into play, but not in the right context. Sofia and Hades cross paths again and well, now that she’s experienced life, they some how manage to combust together, allowing the intense chemistry that’s been building for years come to a head and explode. What they have together is hot and intense and the exact connection that they both say they need. Neither is looking for a relationship with strings so what they have is great. until it isn’t.

Hades feelings come on strong and he’s quickly falling faster for Sofia than she is him. This i actually a huge trait that we have in most of Ms Skhy’s books if i’m honest. The man is the one to admit his feelings first and then he finds that it’s an uphill battle from there on to make things work as they should.

He pushes her too hard and she pushes him away. He gives her one chance to redeem herself and it seems to work, again until it doesn’t. When Sofia is almost raped and hurt, Hades comes to save her and we all think that a corner has been turned, but no – Sofia’s walls are still up. Hades doesn’t read it the same way and makes a proclamation that changes the course of this story for good.

There’s now hated. They’re at am impasse. There’s no hope for redemption. And there’s jealousy.

We’re taken taken two years into the future again when Sofia’s stepfather passes away unexpectedly, Sofia’s mom is alone and deems herself too old to find them the right protection for the family and puts the weight of the world on Sofia. Sofia is forced into a situation that she never wanted, feared and abhorred. The question becomes who will save them and who’s going to be on the other side of the coin to hurt them and take them down? We know that the mafia in Italy is something intense (thank you for all the other series that we’ve read to learn the true depth and breadth of what it is that they handle and do to those who don’t comply).

Will the hate between Hades and Sofia be the family’s ruin? Will the premonition that Hades got when he turned 21 turn out to be true and what will that mean for the progression of things. How much can Sofia take before she breaks and who’s going to be the one to break her? So many questions and so few answers. I need book 2 to be out already so i can see how this plays out. Enjoy!

Review: Rebel (Legend #4) by Marie Lu

TitleRebel
Author:  Marie Lu
Publisher/Year:  Roaring Book Press 10/1/19
Length:  332 Pages
Series:  Legend #4

Overview

Respect the Legend. Idolize the Prodigy. Celebrate the Champion. But never underestimate the Rebel.

With unmatched suspense and her signature cinematic storytelling, #1 New York Times–bestselling author Marie Lu plunges readers back into the unforgettable world of Legend for a truly grand finale.

Eden Wing has been living in his brother’s shadow for years. Even though he’s a top student at his academy in Ross City, Antarctica, and a brilliant inventor, most people know him only as Daniel Wing’s little brother.

A decade ago, Daniel was known as Day, the boy from the streets who led a revolution that saved the Republic of America. But Day is no longer the same young man who was once a national hero. These days he’d rather hide out from the world and leave his past behind. All that matters to him now is keeping Eden safe—even if that also means giving up June, the great love of Daniel’s life.

As the two brothers struggle to accept who they’ve each become since their time in the Republic, a new danger creeps into the distance that’s grown between them. Eden soon finds himself drawn so far into Ross City’s dark side, even his legendary brother can’t save him. At least not on his own . . .

My Thoughts

OH.MY.GOODNESS. Thank goodness we got to re-enter the story here with Day and June because they had major unfinished business in the epilogue of book 3 and there was no way that fans were going to be ok with that ending. Knowing that our amazing author Ms Lu was busy writing another story (which was also amazing), I was patient and that patience paid off.

We enter this story about ten years in the future. Day (Daniel) and his brother Eden are living in Ross City in Antarctica. The most advanced new country in the world – a society based on Virtual Reality, a Level system to keep you in classes, and as a result, a society that’s both thriving and failing at the same time. If we learned anything from the Republic, we know that there will be unrest and that will result in the wrong people coming into power and that will result in a catastrophe.

That wrong person is our main villian here – Dominic Hann – the man who rules the Undercity – the portion of Ross City that’s made up of people who don’t have levels high enough to survive. They can’t get medication, they can’t get food and shelter and they can’t aspire to be anything more.

The story we have here is one told in alternating chapters between Daniel and Eden. They are brothers who at the core love each other, but who have such different views on life because of their experiences in the past. Daniel wants nothing more than to protect Eden, and Eden wants to live his life. It’s that ‘living’ that gets them into trouble. Eden is noticed by Dominic while in the Under City and that means that he’s on a radar for skills. Skills that we were seeing in the previous books – his innate knowledge of tech and computers and his ability to make things that others can’t. That’s something that he thrives in here in Antarctica and he’s actually scored an internship back in the Republic because of what he can do. The challenge though is that his interaction with Dominic means that nothing will come to pass as it should.

Daniel on the other hand is now part of AIS which is a government agency. Like the FBI or CIA. he’s there to keep order, to hunt criminals and to protect the president. That’s one thing that he has in common with June as she’s in the Republic to protect Anden still. He is hunting Hann and when his brother gets mixed up in that gang, things get dicey.

Now back to June. The last we saw of her and Daniel was back in the epilogue of the last story. Daniel’s memory had been wiped because of illness and intervention and he didn’t have any sense of what June was to him anymore. Devastating!!! June knew that was a likely occurrence when she agreed to help him get treated, meaning that sh was going to sacrifice her love and future, which inevitably they both did. The great thing about their love story though is that even without the clear memories, Daniel still knew that June was special and this fourth installment lets us see how that plays out.

So you can imagine the excitement that we have in this story. We have the Utopia society come crumbling down because of interactions with the under city and Dominic Hann. (thank you Eden for being such a genius) and we have the potential to see romance rekindled. Add to that breaking laws, fleeing to the Republic and being back as square one where it all began. Watching governments struggle and society crumble. Far too many people die in this story and far too many truths are found to be lies.

But on the flip side, we see new relationships form, new alliances taking shape, we see the future for what it can be and that’s something that’s amazing. This is the closure and finale that this story truly needed and i’m THRILLED that Ms Lu finally got to finish it. Enjoy!

Review: A Perfect Lie by Lisa Renee Jones

TitleA Perfect Lie
Author:  Lisa Renee Jones
Publisher/Year:  Julie Patra Publishing 5/14/19
Length:  250 Pages

Overview

Secrets. Lies. A man. There’s always a man.  And there’s always a truth to be told. 

I’m Hailey Anne Monroe. I’m twenty-eight years old. An artist, who found her muse on the canvas because I wasn’t allowed to have friends or even keep a journal. And yes, if you haven’t guessed by now, I’m that Hailey Anne Monroe, daughter to Thomas Frank Monroe, the man who was a half-percentage point from becoming President of the United States. If you were able to ask him, he’d probably tell you that I was the half point. But you can’t ask him, and he can’t tell you. He’s dead. They’re all dead and now I can speak.

My Thoughts

i’m a huge fan of our author – Ms Lisa Renee Jones, and what we have here is a story unlike all the others that we’ve read. Completely detached from the other series and characters that we’ve spent time with over the years. And a style and plot that’s new and fresh. It’s a murder mystery of sorts – but also a story about relationships and trust.

Our main character Hailey is a girl who’s, shall we say, messed up? She’s been raised in a political family with her father setting his sights on being President. That meant that Hailey always had to be the perfect daughter and that comes at a price. One she learns in High School when she goes to a party she shouldn’t have, with a girl (Danielle) that maybe she shouldn’t be friends with, drank something she shouldn’t have, blacked out and woke up somewhere strange, all resulting in a car accident and her mother’s death.

That set the tone for her relationship with her father from then on, and it was not a good one. She was the one he blamed for the death – had she not gone to the party and been out, her mother never would have gone to pick her up and never would have died. So Hailey is cast aside for the new stepfamily, but paraded out when press needs to see the full family.

That takes us to present day when her father is running for office, and her friend Danielle again tries to remind her that she’s a young woman who’s allowed to let loose. So again, this time with her boyfriend, she goes to an exclusive bar that she shouldn’t have, with people she shouldn’t have, and has a drink she shouldn’t have at the nudge of a new man that gives her sparks (which she shouldn’t feel) and guess what? She blacks out and someone else dies.

No one knows who the killer is (or do they) and no one knows the circumstances (or do they) and there’s a rush to get Hailey out of the line of fire since there’s concern that she’s the direction the finger will be pointed.

The way that this story is written is through Hailey’s eyes. Past, Present and Really Present. It’s interesting because i suppose parts are supposed to make us think more about things. Think more about what happened, who said what, what the motivations were, but at times it’s just distracting.

After this second death, Hailey’s father sends her to Denver to get off grid, and this is where things continue to get interesting. She’s given a new ID so that she can live her life, be the person that she wanted to be, however she quickly acknowledges that her father is watching her via FBI and others. and that everything is a lie or set up.

Colorado is where we meet Logan, an attorney (GASP) that becomes either a friend, foe or love interest. You need to read each chapter to determine what role he fills at what point. We also meet Michelle who’s a business owner and the woman who gives Hailey a job as an art instructor so that she can feed her passion. Michelle seems to be above board, but is anyone really? There’s also Jake, an FBI agent that Hailey met when she went back to the bar where Danielle died and tried to get intel. We can’t get a read on him, and i think that’s deliberate. I can’t wait to see which side he’s on, who’s paying him and what that means for Hailey and the story itself.

There are also several supporting characters that play key roles. Megan and Ashley who work at the coffee house / art / bookstore owned by Michelle where Hailey works. There’s also the FBI agent that Hailey’s father hired to ‘guard’ Hailey and while he’s on payroll, you want to still believe he’s a nice guy.

Suffice it to say, it’s a murder mystery for sure but still a story about trust and love. Many more people will die, and more blackouts will occur and we’re left to wonder who’s behind it all. Who is safe in this story and who will be standing at the end. And will they be standing behind bars. I think the way this story ended was partially how i expected but partially not. That’s a good story then right? Enjoy!

Review: Ruined With You (Stark Security #3) by J Kenner

TitleRuined with You
Author:  J Kenner
Publisher/Year:  Martini & Olive 9/19/19
Length:  221 Pages
Series:  Stark Security #3

Overview

When her high maintenance boss is assaulted, manager Xena Morgan contacts the only person who can help—the sexy, arrogant, incredibly capable Stark Security agent Liam Foster. The former vigilante takes every case personally, and he’s determined to find answers—particularly since he thought he’d cleared this threat already.

Xena had been thrilled when Liam completed his assignment, because he affected her in ways she didn’t want to contemplate, awakening yearnings that threatened her deepest secrets.

But now she needs him, and her body won’t let her forget it.

As their attraction heats to a feverish degree, the web of lies, danger, and passion they find themselves in tangles further. Liam will stop at nothing to protect his client, even if it means sacrificing everything he holds dear…. and exposing the secrets that may destroy him—and Xena—forever.

My Thoughts

I love anything that has to deal with the Stark world and this third installment in the SSA series doesn’t fall short in any way. We knew that Liam had a past of sorts and that he was dark and mysterious and now its’ his turn to find happiness, or at least figure out how to move past his misery. We know that he was part of Deliverence, and that he and Dallas & Jane were really close all growing up because he was essentially part of their family. So it’s only late in the game that we see his time come.

In the last book we were briefly introduced to this story line – he was on assignment trying to figure out whether a threat was valid or not against an up and coming pop star named Ellie Love. He thought he had cleared it, after finding out that her PR team was trying to generate more buzz, only to find that something else was going on entirely. Just after he leaves her on tour, she gets attacked. She had taken precautions and even had a disguise but she was attacked anyway. The question that comes is whether it was random or not. Liam thinks not.

In this story we also meet Xena – Ellie’s personal assistant and we learn that she’s not only good at what she does but she’s got a past that’s made her tough as nails. It also makes her jumpy when she learned that the disguise Ellie used made her look like Xena, meaning this is definitely not random.

Liam picks up on a few things that she’s giving off and decides to go down that path. The other nuance to this bit too though is that there’s chemistry between them, but they both have walls up and their guard on high alert so they aren’t willing to give into temptation. Liam knows that his job will get those close to him killed (his last relationship and love is dead because of this) and Xena is running from something and is just afraid to really let anyone in and trust.

The journey here is slightly different than the other stories but still dynamic all the same. We need to know what makes both Liam and Xena tick in order to get to the bottom of what’s going on and we need to hope that they find the answers that they need before it’s too late. The entire stark team is involved in this mission now, pulling in resources from everywhere.

Xena is forced to run, Liam goes after her. They end up being ambushed, and followed even with the best measures possible put to shake a tail. They use the resources from the SSA to throw their attackers off their scent and still they find themselves as the wrong end of a gun. The question that begs to be answered is ‘who’s feeding the opposition information’ since there’s no way that anyone would know what the next move is without an inside mole. (mind you i figured that one out early as i’m sure everyone else did, but we don’t know why)\

On top of all that angst and tension, there’s romance and chemistry. What this couple wouldn’t give into in the past comes to a head here and they both see that there’s no way to stay apart. Even though they are close physically, there’s such emotional baggage that it’s a wonder if they can ever make it. Even with the intervention of family and friends, it seems like it’s a lost cause. Understandably so.

Anyhow – i think that we get the deep intense story that we need for Liam and a great continuation for the Stark Security team. I can’t wait to see what comes next since we don’t really know the guy who’s set to be the next main, but it sounds like it’s going to be juicy. Enjoy!