Review: Behind Closed Doors (Behind Closed Doors #1) by Lisa Renee Jones


Title: Behind Closed Doors
Author: Lisa Renee Jones
Publisher/Year: Pocket Star 10/17/16
Length:   208 Pages
Series:  Behind Closed Doors #1


From New York Times bestselling author Lisa Renee Jones comes a brand new gripping and provocative novel that ties into her bestselling Careless Whispers and Inside Out series. You can enjoy this as a standalone, but fans of Careless Whispers and Inside Out will get an exciting glimpse of who Ella really is and some of the secrets she’s been hiding from everyone she knows.

Desperate to pay for law school, Skye tries her hand at auction hunting with her friend Ella, only to find a poker chip and a note leading to an offsite locker. The next thing she knows, Jason “Red Bull” Wise—a famous, millionaire poker player—is at her door, accusing her of blackmail. Innocent, she swears he’s wrong. He rolls the dice and believes her, impulsively inviting her along to Las Vegas. And remarkably, cautious Skye takes a risk, finding herself seduced by this dangerously alluring man, on his private jet, and finally living life to the fullest. But there is more than passion waiting for Skye and Jason in Vegas when blackmail takes a deadly turn.

My Thoughts

I don’t know about any of you guys who have already read the Inside Out series and the beginning of Ella’s story in Careless whispers but i think that this intro to another side of things, we get to see a completely different side of the story.  While this story isn’t truly about Ella, you get to see a tease of something that i’m sure no one really knew about and that’s got my interesting piqued.

So in this first installment to the series, we meet Skye who’s befriended Elle at a yoga class only recently, and has some how been sucked into the world of storage wars.  We knew from the main series that it was Ella’s thing especially since that’s how the journals were found to create the whole premise for the series, but now it’s interesting to see how it all began.

It’s this night that Ella finds the journals and Skye gets convinced to buy a unit that has nothing of true value except the beginning of a lot of questions and blackmail. Skye finds a key to a locker and in that locker is a poker chip worth a lot of money and that was tied to a potential theft and cheating scandal from the professional poker tournament.  Of course this leads to a sexy man, and that’s where this story goes – with that sexy man better know as Jason the poker player.

The journey that we go on is one of seeing how badly Skye needs control but how much she’s also drawn to Jason and all that he is.  There’s also her udnerlying lawyer bits that make her want to solve the mystery but of course it’s never that easy.  With Jason, he’s dealing with the fact that he’s being blackmailed, his family is in danger and he can’t seem tofind the woman that’s behind it all.

Throughout this story, we get to see the telltale signs of what Ms Jones does well, the story is really riveting so that you can’t help but want to see how the story progresses but there so much heat and steamy passion that if the story weren’t good enough, you have even more reason to stay invested.  There’s sex, there’s the potential for love, there’s trust and friendship and there’s tons of anxiety and fear.  We spend much of the story wondering who is behind the blackmail since it seems to extend past Stephanie – but it’s really a wonder as to who it’ll truly be.  (mind you, i figured out who was behind it a while back and i’m sure many of you will as well).

I can’t wait to see how Ella’s story and this series progress since there was a chapter here that shows us truly who Ella is. That she’s got connections in something dark and likely illegal.  How that gets her to Europe where we know that she disappears to is beyond me, but we know from a conversation with Skye that she’s on her way, so we’ll have to wait and see how that turns out.  personally i can’t wait.  Enjoy!

Review: Garnet’s Story (The Lone City #1.25) by Amy Ewing


Title: Garnet’s Story
Author: Amy Ewing
Publisher/Year: Harper Collins 9/13/16
Length:   100 Pages
Series:  The Lone City #1.25


In The Jewel and The White Rose, we follow Violet in her servitude under the Duchess of the Lake. Now we’ll hear the Duchess’s son, Garnet’s, story in this digital novella—a companion story to the New York Times bestselling Lone City trilogy.

Garnet, the son of the Duchess of the Lake, has always been a spoiled playboy. But now, for the first time, Garnet is beginning to realize the horrors that his family, and the ruling community, have perpetrated. And he just may be ready to do something about it.

My Thoughts

I’ve always wondered about Garnet as i read through the series and i think that there was definitely a lot more to him than we knew.  Especially coming out of book 1, the Jewel, he’s really given a persona to live up to and it’s not until the last few lines that we see that there’s something bigger going on here.  In this novella that we get about him, we see truly what that ‘more’ is and what caused it to all come to happen.

So we know that Garnet is the Duchess’s son, the one that purchased Violet, and we know that his reputation precedes him quite a bit.  He’s known more for his partying and antics than for being someone that will be the future Duke of the Lake and i think all along i wondered if it was an act or cover, and in this novella we get to see exactly what it is.

We come into this story right before the auction i believe, and we see that Garnet is up to his partying ways which of course get him into trouble.  BIG trouble.  If it weren’t for Lucien, then things would have turned out so much differently for him in this series so it’s lucky Violet’s in the picture and Lucien is in the picture.

What we see in Garnet’s story from that point on are a lot of scenes that we had already gotten from Violet’s side – where Garnet came into a dinner late and drunk, where he bumped into Violet at a party, and the whole process of the search for a suitable wife for him.  We didn’t really get much of that side of the story before which humanizes Garnet in ways that i think were needed, but we get to see that there’s so much working behind it all that there’s something bigger going on.

The other nice piece of this story is that we get to see what the relationship is between Anabelle and Garnet.  personally, i was quite curious at that one because there were scenes where we would see them interact without any context and at least we get that and a bit more in this novella.  To be honest, i think that there’s still more potentially that we aren’t told about, but i think that we get enough to validate a lot of what i was questioning and then get to see how that plays out as the story progresses.

supposedly there are a few more novellas that i need to track down, so that’s my quest- but in the meantime, have a great day!

Review: The House of the Stone (Lone City #1.5) by Amy Ewing


Title: The House of the Stone
Author: Amy Ewing
Publisher/Year: Harper Collins 7/7/15
Length:   71 Pages
Series:  The Lone City #1.5


In The Jewel, we followed Violet in her servitude under the Duchess of the Lake. Now we’ll hear Raven’s story and her time as a surrogate for the Countess of the Stone in this digital novella from Amy Ewing.

When Raven is bought at the Auction, she knows immediately that things will not go well. And when she arrives at the Countess’s palace, Raven quickly discovers that the Countess is much less interested in having a baby than experimenting with Raven’s mind and body. Raven can only hope for an escape . . . and to see Violet again, all the while reminding herself that she is Raven Stirling, and she does matter.

My Thoughts

I’m a huge fan of getting novellas that give us snippets and glimpses into what’s going in the story with other characters who are so important to what happens to the mains but are secondary themselves.  We met Raven in The Jewel when they were still at Southgate and their lives were not yet completely destroyed.  only marginally as they had already been taken from their families to be trained in the auguries.  Regardless, from what we learned of Raven even then, she’s a strong girl who’s going to stand her ground, be a true friend and never give up.  And because of where she ends up from the auction – bought by the House of the Stone, she has no choice but to hope that what she knows of herself is enough to survive.

In this novella, we come into Raven’s story as she’s going to auction – where she’s forced to be strong for Violet so that her friend isn’t so afraid.  What she gets from that though is a life of horror and pain that we saw glimpses of in the Jewel.  Raven’s life is horrible and it’s something that’s intentionally being done – she’s put in a cage, forced to suffer through tools and things to abuse and harm her.  Ebony, the Countess and her L-i-W are masochists who take pleasure in hurting her, and the doctor there is so on board with mutilating her and getting her pregnant that there’s really no hope there

In these few chapters, we see the life slowly get sucked out of Raven, no matter how much they physically hurt her though, she stays tough, she forms a friendship with Emile who is her Lady in waiting and the few glimpses that she gets at Violet when they are out makes her hope that she can keep on.

It’s a sweet place that we go in this novella, where we get to see another surrogates perspective on things,  and therefore another POV on how the royals are living their lives since it’s clear that there’s so much more going on with forming alliances and deep rooted hatred.  This novella gives you a nice little boost as you get into book 2, but also one that’s nice to read if you did it like me and read it after the fact.  Enjoy!

Review: The Black Key (The Lone City #3) by Amy Ewing


Title: The Black Key
Author: Amy Ewing
Publisher/Year: Harper Collins 10/4/16
Length:   237 Pages
Series:  The Lone City #3


For too long, Violet and the people of the outer circles of the Lone City have lived in service of the royalty of the Jewel. But now, the secret society known as the Black Key is preparing to seize power.

While Violet knows she is at the center of this rebellion, she has a more personal stake in it—for her sister, Hazel, has been taken by the Duchess of the Lake. Now, after fighting so hard to escape the Jewel, Violet must do everything in her power to return not only to save Hazel, but the future of the Lone City.

My Thoughts

This story has finally found it’s ending and while it’s very very expected, i think that we got to see the culmination of a lot of things.  where this series differs from a lot that i’ve read and loved, it’s that we don’t get to see the details behind what’s next, but at least we get to see the ‘what’s now’ bit of things.

So as you’ll remember from the last book, we learned that Hazel was taken as the replacement surrogate for the Duchess of the Lake and that meant that Violet now had a personal quest to protect and save her in addition to furthering the agenda of the Black Key Society.  That of course means that bad stuff is going to happen since we know that once emotions are involved, all hell breaks loose.

Before she’s even able to get that sorted out, she and Sil and Raven work together to bring surrogates from the other facilities together so that they can put a plan into action – find a way to get all the powers pulled together to be united and strong and then take down the royalty.  So we see that as the means to introduce some of other powerful ladies that are also part of this historical land.

Once that’s all happened Violet makes the decision that she has to go back to the Jewel and Garnet gets her brought on as his wife’s Lady in waiting.  She’s used her powers to change her appearance and few know that she’s in there at all.  there are of course challenges there as well since Cora (the duchess’s lady in waiting) realizes who she is and gives Violet an ultimatum – to kill the duchess herself or to be outed.  so that’s one added layer of stress.  on top of that, Violet has learned that Ash has left the White Rose and that means that he’s open to be recognized and executed.  Then there’s all the fear of not knowing what’s at stake for Hazel and hoping that the Surrogates and the Black Keys are able to get together enough in numbers to make their plan work.

If we need an underlying lesson here, it’s one of love and friendship and family.  What we see over and over again that these folks really do have a deeper bond and that’s somewhat necessary to make their powers work ,but unexpected love comes along with it as well.  There are characters like Carnelia who are so underestimated throughout the story, and all she wants is to be loved  and then there are those like the Companions who are trained to be what girls want to see as love, but of course they have their own struggles because they are things only, not people.  So when we finally get to see these bonds form, it’s really heartwarming.

So where we net out at the end, this complex plot has a lot of elements that you know are going to fail, regardless of how well Lucien has orchestrated it.  We see that a lot of the characters that we love die in the line of fire, even some that we really didn’t expect.  At least i didn’t.  We see some step up and become more important players as well and i think that’s a nice twist to thing.  But the ending of course is what you want to see happen for a select few and you are left with hope and a sense of maybe there’s a way to make life bigger and better.  So on that note, have a great night all and i’ll be back soon.

Review: The White Rose (The Lone City #2) by Amy Ewing


Title: The White Rose
Author: Amy Ewing
Publisher/Year: Harper Collins 9/6/16
Length:   336 Pages
Series:  The Lone City #2


Violet is on the run—away from the Jewel, away from a lifetime of servitude, away from the Duchess of the Lake, who bought her at auction. With Ash and Raven traveling with her, Violet will need all of her powers to get her friends, and herself, out of the Jewel alive.

But no matter how far Violet runs, she can’t escape the rebellion brewing just beneath the Jewel’s glittering surface, and her role in it. Violet must decide if she is strong enough to rise against the Jewel and everything she has ever known.

My Thoughts

There’s so much going on in this second installment of the series, and whatever we thought the premise of the story was, it’ll be something entirely different.  From the end of the first book, we know that Ash has now been accused of raping Violet so he was set for execution, and Violet needed to find a way out of the palace.  we saw Garnet pop up at the last moment to help her with Lucien and that’s where we start off this journey.  We’re on the run with them on the way to somewhere safe that no one quite knows, in the hopes that clarity will be brought to them on what has to happen to save everyone from the royalty and then to see where the Lone City will go.

Throughout the journey, we see that there’s really something bigger going on.  Violet was able to get Raven out of the Jewel with the serum and they are bringing her with them in the hopes that maybe she will somehow survive even though they know that you die when you give birth if you’re a surrogate.  Then there’s the whole issue of Garnet popping up from time to time as well as lucien, the fact that Regimentals are looking for Ash and there are no clear directions to where they need to go – so we see that it’s going to be really really hard for them to make it, if they can even make it.

We know of course they’ll persevere, but i think that what’s really going to throw everyone is the whole story behind the powers of the surrogates – and while it’s not something that they expected at all, i had a feeling there was something bigger going on.  Mind you we get background to the island and what it started at before it was taken over, but we don’t really get to know why it’s only those really from the Marsh that have the Augeries.

Throughout this story we are seeing a tale of trust – who can they trust amongst themselves and who’s going to betray them.  Then there’s the point of righting history’s wrongs.  That’s the biggest thing that we see happening here.  It’s not just overthrowing the royalty to get equality for everyone, but it’s returning the island to it’s rightful owners and that’s the biggest challenge since that also means that they have to convince people that all that they know isn’t quite the case.

We see a lot of planning and plotting.  There’s a lady named Sil who’s really the shepard here -she’s the one that discovered the truth of the surrogates through her own experiences and has the pain to teach everyone else.  Violet seems to be the one that’s been chosen to lead it all – she’s got the power that she can harness the best and everyone is expecting her to conquer the world.  Then there’s Ash who really wants to find his place in this world since everyone seems to think that he’s just a companion.  There’s Garnet who’s really interesting to me – i thought he had a thing with Annabelle in the first book but i’m wondering if it’s now Raven based how they interact.  The thing with him though is that he’s playing both sides a bit – the jewel and the Black Keys – so we’ll have to see how that plays out.

We get yet another great cliffhanger at the end of the story that i was totally expecting to be honest.  Violet is on the run and the duchess needs a new surrogate who can do what she needs.  We ran into Ochre – Violet’s brother and find out that their sister is getting to be tested soon for the next auction and surprise – we learn that the Duchess all of a sudden has a new secret surrogate.  So i guess that’s what we’re going to be dealing with in book 3.  It’s a race against time to see if they will be able to put their strategy into action before it’s too late to save her sister.  all in all, a great many things to be accomplished in the finale.  Hope you guys enjoy this one – it’s really an interesting story.

Review: The Jewel (The Lone City #1) by Amy Ewing


Title: The Jewel
Author: Amy Ewing
Publisher/Year: Harper Collins 9/1/15
Length:   400 Pages
Series:  The Lone City #1


The Jewel means wealth, the Jewel means beauty—but for Violet, the Jewel means servitude. Born and raised in the Marsh, Violet is destined for the Jewel. She is trained as a surrogate for the royalty and is bought by the Duchess of the Lake at auction. And she quickly learns the brutal truths that lie beneath the Jewel’s glittering facade: the cruelty, backstabbing, and hidden violence that have become the royal way of life.

Violet must accept the ugly realities of her life . . . all while trying to stay alive. But before she can accept her fate, Violet meets a handsome boy who is also under the Duchess’s control, and a forbidden love erupts. But their illicit affair has consequences, which will cost them both more than they bargained for. And toeing the line between being calculating and rebellious, Violet must decide what, and who, she is willing to risk for her own freedom.

My Thoughts

I’ve had this book in my library for so long that i was borderline going to archive it but after reading The Glittering Court the other day, i decided to give this one a chance since the premises are somewhat similar.  The overview says that it’s a bit like The Selection and a bit like The Handmaids Tale and i guess in various pieces that’s a correct assessment.   I think that there’s definitely a unique skew to this story that we haven’t seen in the same way before.

As the summary notes, we meet Violet on the day before her Reckoning day which is the day that she goes to ‘the Auction’ where she’s to be sold to an elite woman to be her surrogate and birth her child.  We are placed in a time and place where society lives in the Lone city, a walled city that’s an island essentially with a great wall keeping the ocean out.  As you get closer to the center of the island,  you see wealth and quality of life improve taking you all the way to the center – the Jewel where the elite of the elite, the Exetor/Electress (rulers) and the Duchess/Countess (founding families live.

The journey that we go on in this story is not just one of understanding what Violet’s life will be like, but it’s also trying to better understand why she was chosen to be a surrogate and what made the girls in the Marsh so special.  They seem to have these genetic mutations where they have powers to manipulate colors, shapes and growth which is something that’s desired by these elite women since everyone is on their quest to have the most desirable child.  There are so many questions in my head to understand what makes these women so special and i feel like it’s something that was talked about a lot in the story but we never got clarity.  There’s definitely a bigger story here and as the first installment progressed, we definitely began to see how that was going to likely take shape as the series continues.

So back to Violet – she’s been forced into a life where she has no future aside from birthing a child for someone who pays for her in auction, all based on the level of her skills in three augueries as they are called.  abilities to manipulate things.  She has scored the highest at ability to promote growth and that’s something that one duchess in particular is really interested in since she needs to have the first daughter born now that the electress has a son.  She wants her child to be matched with the son so that she can further an agenda that we still don’t know.  Violet though not only has become a piece of property but she’s resigned to really living her life as someone else deems is correct.  While she’s given food, great clothing and entertainment, she’s not allowed to truly have an identity or even a personality of her own since she’s there for the purpose of having a baby.

There are a cast of characters that we meet throughout that i think make this story even better.  There’s Raven who’s Violet’s best friend and who is also in the auction.  We see that dynamic change based on who’s purchased her, and the hope that comes along with wanting something more for yourself and your friends.  There’s a twist at the end that comes up related to Raven that makes things all that more complicated but gives us something to look forward to in the next book.

Next is lucien who we meet at the Auction as he’s been assigned to prep Violet for her sale.  He’s a lady-in waiting’ for the Electress meaning that he’s got quite the high role in working class.  We quickly find that he’s someone who’s maybe not sharing all that he is to the world.  He quickly becomes a friend to Violet and we see as the story progresses that he is much much more than we know – that he’s connected and has an agenda that will hopefully help all of the surrogates.  He’s an inventor of sorts, and a planner and conspirator and from the last line in the story – he’s going to be key moving forward.

Then there’s Ash, who’s been hired as a ‘companion’ for the Duchess’s niece.  Ash seems like a nice enough guy at first – maybe the first guy that Violet’s really encountered ever and the one that shows similar interests but he’s forbidden because of who he is in the house and who she is.  The evolution of their relationship in this book is quite expected and still you want to bang your head against the wall for their obvious lack of sense of reality since you know that it’s all going to end poorly.

Aside from them, there’s Garnet who is the Duchess’s son, newly engaged and yet a bit of a disappointment to the world, but there’s a huge surprise that popped up at the end that i can’t wait to see how it comes to life in book 2.  He has an interesting relationship with Annabelle who’s Violet’s lady in waiting and i want to know more about that as well.  Tag on the Duchesses/Dukes, Countesses/Counts and the Exetor/Electress, well i think there’s quite a few personalities to wrangle and a lot of plotting and scheming.  Three are endeavors to change the world and how surrogacy happens and i think that it’ll be interesting to see which side ultimately wins out and who’s going to benefit from what.  So…on that note – have a great day and i’ll be back soon.

Review: The Glittering Court (The Glittering Court #1) by Richelle Mead


Title: The Glittering Court
Author: Richelle Mead
Publisher/Year: Penguin Publishing 4/5/16
Length:   357Pages
Series:  The Glittering Court #1


For a select group of girls, the Glittering Court offers a shot at a life they’ve only ever dreamed of, one of luxury, glamour, and leisure. To high-born Adelaide, whose wealthy family is forcing her into a loveless marriage, the Glittering Court represents something else: the chance to chart her own destiny, and adventure in an unspoiled, prosperous new land across the sea.

After a chance meeting with the dazzling Cedric Thorn, Adelaide poses as a servant to join the crop of impoverished girls he promises to transform into proper ladies. But her familiarity with upper class life comes with a price: she must hide her identity from her new friends, mysterious refugee Mira and fiery former laundress Tamsin, and most importantly, from Cedric himself—even though she’s falling in love with him.

Everything begins to crumble when Cedric discovers Adelaide’s ruse, and she catches the eye of a powerful young governor, who wants her for a wife. She didn’t leave the gilded cage of her old life behind just to become someone else’s property. But nothing is as daunting—or as wonderful—as the potent, forbidden attraction simmering between Adelaide and Cedric. One that, if acted on, would make them both outcasts in a wild, dangerous, uncharted world, and possibly lead them to their deaths.

My Thoughts

When i read that this was a bit like The Selection and a bit like Reign, well i felt like it was something i needed to pick up.  What we have here is a nice story / series intro of a girl who’s coming of age in a time when nobility and title mean everything and maintaining airs is what keeps the world going.  Elizabeth, or Adelaide as we come to know her later in the story is our leading lady and a girl who’s found herself in need of a husband to secure the livlihood of her family given that their finances are in disrepair, but that’s not enough for her as she’s grown up trying to be her own woman since the passing of her parents.

Throughout this story, we see her transform into Adelaide, a maid who has to hide who she truly is but grow into someone else entirely because it’s what’s right.  We take the journey with her from her high end home to a finishing school of sorts where she’s being taught to be a lady, and at the same time, she teaches herself how to be a friend.  All with the end goal of finding something wonderful, a new adventure and hopefully romance in the new world.

If only that were enough right?  Once they set foot on the new world, she finds herself in chaos – where she’s the belle of the ball of course, yet she’s being torn at making the right decision for everyone.  She’s chosen against her best friend in the past and that turned out mortally wrong, and then she’s made choices that her head and heart don’t agree on.  It’s how she comes into her own, but of course that’s not the entire point right?

We see throughout this first installment the interesting web of lies that comes into play – we know that her grandmother is searching for her and that’s part of the stress, but we also know that people aren’t quite what they seem in this story.  There are suitors that have motives that we’re not quite sure about, there are religious dealings that come into play and we see that romance and the idea of love is still quite important, but how that pans out, well, you know that it’s likely to be more romeo and juliette than a happy ending right?

All in all, a sweet story.  What i always tend to have trouble with in stories like this is really pinpointing not only the time that we’re in but the locale.  I never quite put my finger on where they were living to begin with and where the new world was (is it an England v. America thing?) and then there are all the other nationalities that are brought in throughout the story to raise fear for us.  Regardless, it helps add color to the story and i can’t wait to see what’s next for both Mira and Tamasin since i believe that’s the objective of the other 2 books in the series.  So, onto the next.  have a great day all!

Review: The Midnight Star (The Young Elites #3) by Marie Lu


Title: The Midnight Star
Author: Marie Lu
Publisher/Year: Penguin Publishing 10/11/16
Length:   336 Pages
Series:  The Young Elites


The thrilling finale to the New York Times bestselling Young Elites series from “hit factory” Marie Lu

There was once a time when darkness shrouded the world, and the darkness had a queen.

Adelina Amouteru is done suffering. She’s turned her back on those who have betrayed her and achieved the ultimate revenge: victory. Her reign as the White Wolf has been a triumphant one, but with each conquest her cruelty only grows. The darkness within her has begun to spiral out of control, threatening to destroy all she’s gained.

When a new danger appears, Adelina’s forced to revisit old wounds, putting not only herself at risk, but every Elite. In order to preserve her empire, Adelina and her Roses must join the Daggers on a perilous quest—though this uneasy alliance may prove to be the real danger.

My Thoughts

When we left all of these characters at the end of book 2, we saw that there was a huge divide, not only because Adelina’s powers have overcome not only herself but others, but there were deaths of beloved friends that followed.  Her powers have taken on such a dark twist that even her sister can’t be with her, and she’s fled along with others who were once not just best friends but necessary to survival.

In this final installment, we see a lot of things happening.  Adelina is on a mission to right what was wronged for so long, to rid the world of the word Malfetto and to make sure that all that are marked finally get the joy of life that they deserve with those who mock them being punished or killed.  She rules with a heavy hand for most of her time in order to make sure that people believe that she’s powerful, and it’s only through the help of Magiano, the guidance that he has been able to give because of emotions at play that we see that she’s able to turn the tides a bit and perhaps win people over with another side.

If that were only enough right?  If you remember, towards the end of the last book, we learned that it was the elite’s powers themselves that would cause them to become weak and die and we have seen that with Lucent and some of the others getting sick and weakening.  We see that Teren’s powers of healing are slowing and we knew that Adelina’s illusions were likely because of her own powers turning on her.  So in this finale we see them come to terms with the fact that in order to survive they need to give up their powers, but it’s not that easy.  We know that there are 12 gods that they consider to be important and they need representation of all of those gods to give the powers back.  That means that they have to bond together, elites that hate each other and are repulsed in the hopes that they can survive.

This is how Violetta and Adelina come back together.  Lucent and Queen Maeve along with the others.  it’s a sweet culmination to the story – to know that those who hate each other have to fight together to really survive.

What’s nice about this story is that we don’t get the happy ending that you were all hoping for.  Too many of our friends are killed on the quest for salvation, and that means that ironically there are quite a few broken hearts.  When we were able to raise them from the dead in the past, that’s something that Queen Maeve is no longer able to do because her powers are weak, and she now knows better.  So we see that there are consequences for her yes, but for Tristan and Enzo who were raised from the dead along with others that we wished could be revived.

I feel like we got an interesting finale to the series – it’s a bit different than the other installments as this one was based more in mythology than the others.  what i mean here is that we knew that the marked got their powers from the blood fever which is as a result of the descent-ion of a god, but we never spent that much time on it before.  In this final book though, we spend a lot of time getting to the root of things since that’s the only way that they determine that they can be saved, and while i like the thought here, i dont know that i’m necessarily a huge fan anymore of all of that stuff.  I spent a while reading angel type books (if you go back a year or 2 in my blog you’ll see that). it’s nice to see where things are derived, but i feel like it veered a bit off from the first 2 books.

Regardless, like i said, a bittersweet ending to this trilogy, but we get closure for most of the characters that we’ve spent a lot of time with.  I hope you enjoyed it and have a good weekend!

Review: Replica (Replica #1) by Lauren Oliver


Title: Replica
Author: Lauren Oliver
Publisher/Year: Harper Collins 10/4/16
Length:   544 Pages
Series:  Replica #1


Two girls, two stories, one epic novel.

From Lauren Oliver, New York Times bestselling author of Before I Fall and the Delirium trilogy, comes an epic, masterful novel that explores issues of individuality, identity, and humanity. Replica contains two narratives in one: Lyra’s story and Gemma’s story. The stories can be read separately, one after the other, or in alternating chapters. The two distinct parts of this astonishing novel combine to produce an unforgettable journey.

Lyra’s story begins in the Haven Institute, a building tucked away on a private island off the coast of Florida that from a distance looks serene and even beautiful. But up close the locked doors, military guards, and biohazard suits tell a different story. In truth, Haven is a clandestine research facility where thousands of replicas, or human models, are born, raised, and observed. When a surprise attack is launched on Haven, two of its young experimental subjects—Lyra, or 24, and the boy known only as 72—manage to escape.

Gemma has been in and out of hospitals for as long as she can remember. A lonely teen, her life is circumscribed by home, school, and her best friend, April. But after she is nearly abducted by a stranger claiming to know her, Gemma starts to investigate her family’s past and discovers her father’s mysterious connection to the secretive Haven research facility. Hungry for answers, she travels to Florida, only to stumble upon two replicas and a completely new set of questions.

While the stories of Lyra and Gemma mirror each other, each contains breathtaking revelations critically important to the other story. Using hotlinks in this electronic edition, readers can decide how they would like to read the book, as with the print version. They can read the story of Gemma or Lyra straight through first, followed by the other girl’s story, or they can move between chapters in Lyra’s and Gemma’s sections. No matter how it is read, Replica is an ambitious, thought-provoking masterwork.

My Thoughts

Well, let’s just say that our author is quite creative and has this ability to write a story that’s quite interesting.  She’s done it again here like she has with Delirium in the past, however this time there are a lot of contemporary references that make it just about realistic enough that we can all believe that it’s present day.  While we’ve become accustomed at this point to read dystopian stories with alternating chapters in various character’s POVs, Ms Oliver has taken things one step further in this one where we have the option to either read the chapters in alternating patterns so that we can see what’s going in at the same point in time for both Lyra and Gemma, or we can read their entire stories as one thread per character.  I chose to alternate them since i felt like there were going to be bits that intertwined as the story got more complex and i think that was the right way to go.

We find ourselves in what could be characterized as present day – there’s nothing that makes you think otherwise so we’ll go with that.  We meet Lyra who’s a replica on Spruce Island, at a place called Haven where replicas are made as a means for some type of research – which we don’t quite know what that is just yet.  Her life has been planned out since she was birthed, doing whatever it is that her crop and herd are supposed to do at Haven just to survive.  We come to know that replicas know what they are – that there’s no secret there, and that sometimes they get sick and things go wrong and they die.  she’s seen that happen time and time again.  It’s when she comes in contact with a few nurses or doctors that treat her like she’s more than just a manufactured product that she starts to wonder what else is possible for her – and that’s a wonder that’s very dangerous.  A male replica tries to escape and the entire island goes on lockdown since Hvaen is a secret that can’t get out.

Then on the other side there’s Gemma – she’s an interesting chick.  She’s your typical teen with overprotective parents, a bit of her own self issues (she’s a bit heavy) and she’s grown up with a lot of illness etc to get through.  Her father interestingly was the founder of a phrama company that was somehow linked to this Haven place that she learns about, and you know what happens next.  When a teen who’s been kept under lock and key finds a whiff of something interesting, things get turned upside down.

So this story, both actually take us on a journey for both girls where they try to uncover the truth about what’s going on while also trying to come into their own and survive.  Thier paths cross early on when Gemma stumbles upon Lyra and another replica that looks exactly like Gemma (just the skin and bones version).  To see how these two girls from very different background figure out how to trust one another and how to work to get not just off the island but to somewhere safe is a great coming of age story.

Throughout this introduction to the series, we’re giving teases and hints of what prompted the creation of Haven and what their original motivation was.  Gemma keeps getting these flashback type memories of her father being with all these powerful influential people when his company was thriving, and then he was in a long drawn out court case right around the time that Haven was created.  So there’s a lot that’s being kept hidden and a lot that no one wants to ever come out – so it’ll be interesting to see not only how much Gemma is able to uncover through the help of Jake and the replicas, but what her parents will share.

On the flip side, we have the bits of what Lyra knows of her existence, and why she was created.  She has paired up with a male replica when leaving the island, and we see how they are slowly becoming ‘human’ in the sense of trying to develop their own memories and emotions and figure out life.  That’s something that i think that all teens go through, so to see how being stunted based on what you have always that you were makes this even sweeter.

Where we are left at the end of this first installment is a place of wonder.  We know that there are a lot of people hunting for these four and they won’t give up until they are found and probably killed since there are intensely important secrets that have to be kept that way.  There was also mention in one of the chapters that Haven isn’t the only camp like it, so i wonder what that will mean for the coming installments since i think they hinted at Texas being another.  Will see see Gemma’s father get involved or has he always been involved?  his traveling all over the place makes you wonder right?  I think that it’ll also be interesting to see how the replicas acclimate to being ‘human’ and how the humans acclimate to being replicas.  Definitely a lot to think about but i can’t wait to see where this story goes.  Have a great rest of the day all!

Review: The Exposure (The Submissive #9) by Tara Sue Me


Title: The Exposure
Author: Tara Sue Me
Publisher/Year:  Penguin Publishing 10/4/16
Length:   432 Pages
Series:  Submissive #9


She’s ready for her close-up. . . .

Meagan Bishop gave up modeling after an ill-fated tryst with a sexy photographer left her career and heart in shambles. When that same sexy shutterbug makes a titillating offer to do a BDSM spread for his new photography book, she’s determined to refuse—until an anonymous blackmailer entices her to accept. Now her body is again at the whim of the man who broke her heart, and she’s finding his strong direction undeniably intriguing. . . .

Meagan is the muse Luke needs to make his shoot something special, even if it means keeping his hands off her. But each new erotic scene they capture makes it harder to ignore his need to command her in the bedroom as well as in the studio.

As their sexual tension explodes, Meagan’s arrangement with her extortionist becomes more perilous, putting in danger her darkest secrets and the fragile passion between Luke and her. . .

My Thoughts

I do so love being in the world of Abby and Nathaniel and all their friends, and from what little we knew of Meagan before, it’s nice to get more of her story now.  That and the story of Luke.  We knew that there was a past history between them, and it was certain that our author would take us to the edges of understanding exactly what that was.

When we start off this story, it’s Abby who brings Luke back into the picture, literally after finding magazine covers that Meagan had done when she was a model, and the photographer had been Luke.  We learned that she had a steamy weekend romance with him when she did that shoot and it all ended quite abruptly and there was no closure.  So years later when she’s faced with those pictures and the fact that Luke is involved in their circle of people, well you know that there’s going to be something more that comes of it, good or bad.

Luke has been commissioned to help shoot a coffee table book that features erotica models since the man who wants to do the book saw some of his shots and was impressed.  So meagan is drafted to be the model since Luke can’t imagine anyone else doing it, and because of circumstances, Meagan is convinced to do it.

Those circumstances being that she’s being blackmailed and part of the demands are to get information from Luke.  So you can guess by this point that not only are we going to see tensions and chemistry explode once these two are forced back together, but knowing that there’s a bit of dishonesty as to why she’s doing it, and the anxiety that she has for what she’s got to lose if she’s not able to do what the blackmailer wants….It’s going to be hot and intense.

The journey that we go on with these two is seeing whether it was stupid for them to have ended things years ago (well, stupid of Luke since he did it) and if there’s still something there.  We know that there’s amazing chemistry as Luke has some insane abilities with ropes and just the ability to make Meagan do all the naughty things that he wants.  It’s hot and it’s steamy and you can see why they have gravitated back to each other years later.

The question becomes what’s going to happen when the secret comes out since you know that Meagan will put her foot down and stop filling the demands of the blackmailer and what will Luke’s reaction be. there’s also the question of WHO the blackmailer is and what’s at stake.  I think that we almost guess who it is at one point only to realize that we were wrong because Meagan is put in danger.  Will Luke come to save her at this point?

the nice thing about this series is that there are so many women in the group that Meagan is never alone and will have a squad of girls to support her.  Same goes for Luke as there are all the men who come along with the ladies.  Seeing how they rally around each other is really sweet, especially knowing what they’ve all been through in each of their own stories.  I feel like there’s still so much more to learn about them all, especially with the teaser of Kate (cole’s ex slave) coming back into the mix – so i can’t wait to see what’s next.  Have a great week all!