Review: Deep (Chicago Underground #8) by Skye Warren

Author: Skye Warren
Publisher/Year:  Book Beautiful 6/28/16
Length:  349 pages
Series: Chicago Underground #8


Dark. Powerful. Dangerous.

Philip Murphy has all of Chicago under his thumb. Except me.

We met in a perfect storm of violence and lust. He saved me and then disappeared from my life. Now I pretend I never knew that kind of darkness. I focus on midterms and campus parties, as if they can wipe the slate clean.

Then he turns up outside my dorm room–wounded and barely conscious. He’s the head of a criminal empire, a powerful man, but he needs me now. There are traitors in his midst.

I can help him, but I can’t fall for him.

Not again.

My Thoughts

It’s nice to get Philips story since we met him through Collin, through Shelly and Rose. We know that the’s the protector of the family and that there’s so much more to his story than we really heard so far, so it’s great to see how this plays out.

If you remember, is ‘relationship’ with Shelly was one that worked for both of them. He needed an outlet to his desires and Shelly was able to be that outlet, to benefit from the type of things that he was into and to get his protection when she needed it most. You’ll remember from the initial series that she sold him out to the detectives but that alll seems to have been forgotten.

The dynamic that we pick up into for this story is that of Ella and Phillip. You’ll remember from the first time that we got to know more about Shelly that Ella was a bit of a tortured young soul. We learned at the end of Shelly’s story who her real parents were and that’s what brought her into the world that she’s in now, however we also saw the effect that she had on the people around her in both a desire to protect her innocence and yet to see her suffer because she’s stubborn.

Phillip’s first reaction was to take care of her because he desired her – but he knew that she was too young then. As a result, he watched her from afar over the years, not stalking but obsessed in a way – keeping tabs on every move that she made and everything that she did because in his mind, she should be his.

After Ella got back to her old life when things settled down, she went to college – she went back to what she was destined to do and while she was trying to make something of herself, she found that she was missing something. She even tried to let those feelings go and be something that wasn’t true to herself, but of course – there was a hole.

Until one night when a surprise guest finds himself at her door – injured, with probably so much more to the story than we will ever know.

Fast forward to Phillip pretending to take her hostage to protect her from even more unknowns only to find that they would have found their way to each other some how.

Ella learns that she’s being hunted because of her connection to Phillip even though they hadn’t been in direct contact for years. The question that we are searching for throughout though is who sold them out and why. and what does that mean for them.

We have a roller coaster of emotions in this 8th and potentially last installment. We have no more. characters to waffle over and we know that we want Ella and Phillip to have their happy endings – either with each other or without. there’s a question as to weather they will both be alive at the end of this story – in or out of jail – pursuing whatever it is that they wanted to at the onset. and that’s what makes for a great story. innocence lost and hope either granted or dashed. Enjoy!

Review: Sweet (Chicago Underground #7) by Skye Warren

Author: Skye Warren
Publisher/Year:  Book Beautiful 4/30/15
Length:  147 pages
Series: Chicago Underground #7


My brother is both powerful and cruel, which means I have a lot of enemies I’ve never met. He swears he’ll keep me safe, but what I want most is to break free. I especially want to break free with Drew, my brother’s lawyer.

I’ve spent my life under glass.

We shouldn’t be together, but everything about him draws me. His intensity, his kindness.

And the way he looks in those custom tailored suits.

One night when he’s outside my bedroom, I give him a sexy show. And in doing so, unlock pandora’s box. Drew shows me everything I’ve been missing. He touches my body and my heart, but when the truth comes to light, we’re both in danger.

The cost of my freedom may be the man I’ve come to love.

My Thoughts

We met our leading characters throughout the first several books in this ‘series, so it’s nice to see how things play out. Rose is a character that we got to know when we saw relationships grow between Allie and Colin and then again when Shelly was spending time with Phillip. We know she’s a talented dancer and we know that she’s been fairly sheltered much of her life, but now it’s her time to get a story.

We met Drew books as well, watching the world that he did with the brothers to keep them out of trouble. We learn that his past is a bit more ambitious than we know, and that his loyalty continues to advance him professionally and personally.

At the point in time that we are with this story, we’re watching how Rose is finally coming into her own. She knows that she can’t dance forever and has been planning for when that time comes. She’s planning to open her own dance studio and it seems to be getting more and more real. She finds a location that’s ideal, and what makes it even better is that there’s an apartment above that she can make into her own with some love and renovations and that means that she can begin to live her own life out from under the super watchful eye of her brother.

While she’s coming to terms with being independent, she chooses to take another risk – that of putting her feelings out there with Drew, and seeing where that goes. They’ve been dancing around each other for years, knowing that Phillip won’t like the idea of them together and knowing that it could impact everything. They still can’t stay away from each other, even when they know that there’s danger coming from many places.

There are lies and secrets. Happiness and loss. attempts at killing people and a fear of what the future holds. We know that the life that Phillip leads isn’t one that’s super legal, but we also know that more often than not, Drew and Phillip try to do the most righteous things they can with what they’re working with and they pay the price. everyone does.

As always in these books,, we want to hope for the happy ending and I suppose that’s what we’ll do here. Romance and patience always win out – right? Enjoy!

Review: Secret (Chicago Underground #6) by Skye Warren

Author: Skye Warren
Publisher/Year:  Book Beautiful 4/30/15
Length:  150 pages
Series: Chicago Underground #6


I’m the one with the dark past, the scarlet letter, the soul so black there’s no hope of redemption. At least, that’s what I always believed… Luke has secrets of his own, and the more I search, the more I’m afraid of what I’ll find. But I have to know. My survival depends on it.

My Thoughts

This is the finale that we’ve all been waiting for – to see how the story end up for Shelly after all that she’s gone thorugh in the last 2 books of her story and even in the pages of Allie’s story. We know that she’s trying to get Henri, figure out how to take him down and clear her name, make Claire safe and figure out all the mysteries surrounding her, luke, her father. There are just too many unknowns to name.

In this third installment, we see what happens when Shelly thinks that she’s invincible. She puts her faith in Luke and finds that while he’s trustworthy – he’s not above the means of people who are up to no good. Throughout this story too we see another side of him – we learn what brought him to where he is today – the life that he grew up in and why he’s so comfortable in Shelly’s world. It’s a bit of a surprise on one hand but not at all shocking on another.

Shelly tries to help the ‘good guys’ take Henri down and instead finds herself back in his grasp. she’s been taken back him and forced into the world that she wanted to get away from, even though we know that she can’t escape it. She’s doing all this as I mentioned to clear Claire’s name as well as her own, and to allow Claire the chance to have a normal life – since she’s so young.

There are strings being pulled behind the scenes which we don’t know and that’s a lot of the motivation in this story. We don’t know why Shelly was brought into the life that she’s in, yet we know that her father is connected some how. We know that Claire was taken for a reason, and yet we don’t know what that is until the end.

We watch kidnappings happen, shootouts, escapes, torture, fear, love – all the things happen. it’s a roller coaster of emotions but where we do net out is an ending that’s worth the story. Secrets are revealed and i’m shockingly not surprised at any of them. Frankly I should have figured out a few of them on my own. Anyway – I think there’s an adjacent series that i’m off to find – so enjoy!!

Review: Dirty (Chicago Underground #5) by Skye Warren

Author: Skye Warren
Publisher/Year:  Book Beautiful 4/30/15
Length:  150 pages
Series: Chicago Underground #5


There’s no escape for me. I’m tied to some of the scariest men in Chicago. Bound so tight I’ll never get free.

I’ll do anything to survive, except bring Luke down with me. I won’t taint him. I won’t ruin the one good man I’ve ever met. I won’t turn him into a dirty cop. Except he refuses to let me go.

My Thoughts

The summary of these installments doesn’t do anything to give you a real sense of what the story is about – but….at least you know that you’re going to continue on the exciting journey that Shelly is going on to figure out what her future holds and what drove her into the life that she’s in now, and how she can get out.

We were last with her in the previous installment, watching as she ran to Philip for protection with Ella in the hopes of figuring out who’s behind setting them up and how to get free from Henri. What we have in this second book is the complexities that come with our detective friend Luke and how he and Shelly can never be too far from each other. She uses him to find information, he uses her for his own personal reasons. They both think that they aren’t worthy of one another, but as a result of that fear, we get to see how they open up and learn more about what brought them to the point they are in life.

Earlier, Shelly learned from Jade that Luke was looking for another girl – and that put her on edge. Made her think that any connection and feelings that she felt coming from him weren’t genuine, and that she was a substitute. What we learn in this story is that the other girl is in fact his sister – and shew as taken into the life by Henri and he fears she’s dead since it’s been so many years. He sees things in Shelly that he wants to protect, but what he feels is a strong attraction that he knows will break both of them. He wants to get Shelly out of the lifestyle, but at the same time, he has this vendetta that he needs to fulfill before anything can happen.

We find ourselves in a scenario where they go undercover to learn more information and risk their safety. Then they go to a safehouse that Luke has in the hopes of planning their next moves. There’s so much uncertainty about what will come next and we’re left at the point of the story where information that Shelly had that she held back may come to break up their dynamic. So on that note, off we go to the final installment of the trilogy and I can’t wait to see if they track down Henri, figure out where Daisy is, get Ella back to the life she should have had and figure out themselves. Enjoy!

Review: Wild (Chicago Underground #4) by Skye Warren

Author: Skye Warren
Publisher/Year:  Book Beautiful 4/30/15
Length:  150 pages
Series: Chicago Underground #4


Once upon a time I was the girl who had everything, the clothes, the car. The rich dad who spoiled me. But the truth was, the only thing I had was my body. I used it to buy my way out. I took a bite of the apple knowing full well what would happen.

That’s how I became a call girl. That’s the story of how I ended up in hell.

My Thoughts

We had met Shelly in the first trilogy within the series and we got a sense for the kind of friend she was – the lengths that she was willing to go in order to provide stability for her best friend Allie as well as for herself. She had lost the sense of attachment to herself a long time ago – she knew that there was a need sometimes to disconnect because she knew the effect that she had on men and used that to her own ability.

We pick up the story after the shooting from the first few books – so we know what got her to the point that she’s at. Maybe not the history in it’s entirety but we started to understand some of the dynamics that she had in her life with the men she surrounded herself with. There was Luke, the cop that she was providing information to, and he was protecting her, building some type of bond, but what we learned is that the bond that she thought they had was potentially founded on his need to search for and save someone else. there was a pattern and a history that he didn’t quite share and when she learned some of the information, it made him both more of a challenge and yet someone that she grew even more emotions for.

On the other side of things, we start to see her dynamic with Phillip – Colin’s brother and we see what brought them together and what kept them together, but we watch how fragile things have become to see what they are now. It’s sad to watch the way that things were and what they have become now, but I have faith that we will see something resolve in a way that’s deserving of them.

Then there’s Henri – a man that has a lot of power in the city – especially over women of a certain profession and the dark underbelly of Chicago. We see how he some how tracks Shelly down, lures her in with the promise of a job to keep her safe (sort of) and the way that turns out is what takes us on the crazy and wild ride of this first installment of her trilogy.

There’s a private party and a girl that needs saving because she’s far too innocent for the life that she’s found herself in. We see that Shelly wants to save those that could still use something better in their lives probably because she wasn’t able to have someone do that for her.

What happens though at this party is debauchery, pain, and inevitably, a few murders. Shelly and the girl she was trying to save are now the ones that are being hunted as the murders and we watch Shelly try to sort out what the connection is with the girl – Ella and how she can help clear both their names and give them their lives back.

We watch how Luke wants to help her but keeps her at arms length.

We watch how Phillip protects her but wants her to make a trade that she’s not willing to make

and we wonder when Henri is going to strike and what the price will be.

So, all in all a roller coaster of sorts and I can’t wait to jump into the 2nd book now to see what’s going to happen next. Enjoy!

Review: Fierce (Chicago Underground #3) by Skye Warren

Author: Skye Warren
Publisher/Year:  Book Beautiful 4/16/22
Length:  155 pages
Series: Chicago Underground #3


I’m torn between what I want and what I need. Between the men in my past and the man by my side. Colin has tried to control me, to use me. He also guards me so fiercely my heart aches. But there’s no protection left for me. This is my battle, and I’ve already lost.

My Thoughts

We were left at a point in time where Allie had to choose the man she saw a future with or her own family and safety. It’s a tough position to be in, at her age (we forget that she’s still a teenager) and the fact that she’s got a child, that she’s got to make choices that aren’t the smartest and definitely not the most informed. She’s at Phillip’s house – Colin’s brother – looking for information to get a cop to leave her alone.

What happens next is a story that’s a bit of a roller coaster. We watch how Allie gives misinformation in the hopes that it’ll protect her and Colin. We watch how that backfires as he discovers her secrets, and we also see how Shelly gets them all into even more trouble. While it’s not Allie that puts the detectives and cops on the ‘right’ trail, it’s Allie who’s the one blamed for it and has to suffer the consequences.

There’s a trap laid, we watch the warehouse set on fire with people trapped inside and we watch a shootout happen when people don’t trust what side is what. Someone is left on the brink of death and relationships are torn apart.

What’s interesting here is that we see the dynamics shift quite a bit between characters and relationships that we didn’t know existed become something great, bonds that we thought were strong are broken and pasts become a bit of wisdom and window to the future. Add to that, there’s pain and torment since no one gets the ending that they were hoping for.

There’s romance for sure in this story, but it’s more about secrets and emotion – no one trusts one another and that means that we’re going to get a lot of angst. Which i suppose is appropriate given that Shelly and Allie really are like 18-19 years old and haven’t made the most sound choices in life. Not sure what the point of this story is, and I don’t mean that in a bad way necessarily – there doesn’t always have to be a deeper meaning for things, but this one is a bit all over the place in discovering what the narrative is, what the motivation is and what the future outcome should be. So, enough deep and philosophical from me for now – I’m off to find something else to read. Enjoy!

Review: Hard (Chicago Underground #2) by Skye Warren

Author: Skye Warren
Publisher/Year:  Book Beautiful 4/16/22
Length:  150 pages
Series: Chicago Underground #2


What Colin doesn’t know can’t hurt him. At least that’s what I tell myself about the secrets I keep. I don’t have a choice, not if I want to keep my daughter safe. There are enemies in the shadows waiting to strike from all sides. I’m holding them out with my bare hands, but it’s hard not to get crushed in the process.

My Thoughts

We’re back with Allie and Colin an we watch how their relationship grows from what was meant initially as a one night stand to something. more real. Andrew, the father of Allie’s daughter is back and that’s not a good thing for anyone – we don’t know his motivation, but we know that Colin is incredibly protective of her, and that’s not going to bode well. What we see happen is his alpha side come out and he offers to help, and does. Challenge of course is that Allie’s been taking care of herself for such a long time, that she’s not willing to just sit back, and she meets with Andrew as well. We all know that’s going to bite her but we’ll see how that happens.

Add to that, Allie is now living with Colin, their lives are intertwined, and she’s learning more about what his life entails. While he has the cafe, there’s other work that he doesn’t for his brother that’s less than savory and one day that crosses into her world. The police come looking for her when they know that Colin is out, scare her and try to get information that they likely shouldn’t have and will get her in further trouble if she discovers it.

While this is going on, we learn that Shelly is with Colin’s brother – so the families are intertwined. We don’t know what everyone does, what the motivations and implications are, but what we do know is that there’s no lack of excitement and energy.

We’re left off on a cliff – knowing that there are investigations into people’s past and connections between people that shouldn’t make sense. We don’t know what meetings were organic and what was a set up, and we don’t know what that means for the future. Who’s on what side, who’s going to lose trust and love and who’s going to end up with what they should rightly have. So, onto the third and final installment of this series (I think) to see what happens next. Enjoy!

Review: Rough (Chicago Underground #1) by Skye Warren

Author: Skye Warren
Publisher/Year:  Skye Warren 2/8/17
Length:  164 pages
Series: Chicago Underground #1


Survival doesn’t come easy…

I’m a cautionary tale. A statistic. A victim. A single teenage mother from the poor part of town. Most of the time I’m too busy working and struggling to care what people think. Survival doesn’t come easy.

I have a dark secret, a pressure valve, a rare moment just for myself. On these nights I visit a club. There I find men who give me what I need. Men who aren’t afraid to take what they want.

Men like Colin.

But he takes more than a few stolen hours. He demands more than my body. He wants my heart and soul–my happily ever after. I never thought I’d be Cinderella. I never thought a man that rough could be my prince.

My Thoughts

The summary makes you think that this story is more dark and seedy than it is, but on the flip side, it’s not a fairytale. Pasts make the present into a situation that no one really wanted, and yet we all have to figure out how to find the happy ending.

We meed our leading lady Allie on her monthly ‘date night’- the one night a month that she gives herself to be selfish and to take what she needs, just to feel. See, events of Allie’s past have created this woman that she is today. She got pregnant by someone she thought was her friend, yet he up and ran. Mind you he also forced her, which I’m not sure we ever get the full story. She finds out she’s pregnant and is immediately kicked out of her house. Her friend Shelly decides that they are in this together, and they run away together.

Fast forward about 2 years, they are living in their own apartments, Allie is working at a bakery to support her daughter and Shelly is selling herself essentially to help cover off on costs that Allie can’t manage. They don’t have an easy life by any means, but they are surviving.

It’s on Allie’s night out, when she’s looking for someone to strictly take her mind off life, and in a non-gentle sort of way that she meets Colin.

He’s sitting at the bar and he’s broody and moody. He’s incredibly sexy and he turns away women as they approach him. Allie makes her move, and their worlds change.

For some reason, they are right for each other. While Colin is hard on the outside, he’s really a good guy – and we start to learn about that throughout this story. Allie doesn’t have trust and faith in men, so she fights what he has to offer, but some how Colin weaves his way into her heart.

He’s there to protect her and to bail her out when things get dicey and that’s more than anyone has ever done. When Allie’s ‘baby daddy’ shows up, Colin is there with a plan to help her out and offers her protection. Just when she thinks that he’s the one to do it, something changes, and their balance is thrown off. She feels alone again and isn’t sure what has happened and what to do to fix it. That’s where we find ourselves at the end of this first book – so of course that means that i’m off to read the next one to figure things out. Enjoy!

Review: Hostage (Criminals and Captives #2) by Annika Martin and Skye Warren

Author: Annika Martin + Skye Warren
Publisher/Year:  CreateSpace Publishing 1/27/18
Length:  410 pages
Series: Criminals & Captives #2



I’d never even kissed a boy the night I met Stone. The night I saw him kill. The night he spared my life. That was only the beginning.

He turns up in my car again and again, dangerous and full of raw power. “Drive,” he tells me, and I have no choice. He’s a criminal with burning green eyes, invading my life and my dreams.

The police say he’s dangerously obsessed with me, but I’m the one who can’t stop thinking about him. Maybe it’s wrong to let him touch me. Maybe it’s wrong to touch him back. Maybe these twisted dates need to stop. Except he feels like the only real thing in my world of designer labels and mansions.

So I drive us under threat, until it’s hard to remember I don’t want to be there.

Until it’s too late to turn back.

My Thoughts

We met Stone in the story with Grayson and Abby’s story and learned quite a bit about him. He was the protector, the oldest of the crew and the one that has a clear perspective of what the rules needed to be in order to survive. He watched them get bent and broken when Grayson found love and now it’s time to watch him fall down the same rabbit hole.

Brooke – our leading lady is the center of our story. We meet her the night of her sweet sixteen, her family is throwing a party for ‘society’ to keep up the optics that they are as successful as people want them to be. Her father’s business isn’t doing so well, and it’s when she needs to get away from the party – that’s when she crosses paths with Stone and her world flips.

Stone is trying to get information from a man who was at the party and that turns into Brooke being taken hostage sort of while the man is put in the back of a van, and finds his own demise.

From that point on, we know that Brooke will be seeing the world through different eyes. She’s not even sure if Stone will let her live, will let her go….she’s haunted by him. but she’s also mesmerized by him. Stone is everything that’s not allowed – he’s dangerous, he’s scary and he he has the potential to give her the freedom that she wants but isn’t allowed to have.

This story takes us on a journey of their varied interactions over a series of years. We watch how Stone realizes that Grayson wasn’t wrong – there’s potential for love even with their background, but Stone is so afraid to let that become a distraction knowing that they still need to save the boys that are living the same life that they had when they were taken. They are looking for hints and clues to where the operation has moved to once they escaped and they keep running into dead ends.

Brooke seems to be the one distraction that he allows himself, knowing that he in part want to protect her, but can’t let her go. His protection turns to jealousy one night and then things really change for them both – he’s the one person that she wants, and he’s always allowed her to see the real him. because of that, they change their relationship on several levels, not intentionally, all in one night.

Brooke gets what she’s been missing from life and Stone for years, and she accidentally says something on her way to sleep that gives Stone what he’s been looking for. A name.

The rest of the story shows us that people are never what they seem, and everything that they think they know probably isn’t real. Brooke is still to ‘innocent’ to know who to trust and what information to share with whom, and that’s where our story takes an unexpected turn.

We get the ending that’s needed for this story – and we see how relationships and families are ripped apart, built differently and resolved. So, enjoy!

Review: Prisoner (Criminals & Captives #1) by Annika Martin + Skye Warren

Author: Annika Martin + Skye Warren
Publisher/Year:  CreateSpace Publishing 11/03/14
Length:  410 pages
Series: Criminals & Captives #1


He seethes with raw power the first time I see him-pure menace and rippling muscles in shackles. He’s dangerous. He’s wild. He’s the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen.

So I hide behind my prim glasses and my book like I always do, because I have secrets too. Then he shows up in the prison writing class I have to teach, and he blows me away with his honesty. He tells me secrets in his stories, and it’s getting harder to hide mine. I shiver when he gets too close, with only the cuffs and the bars and the guards holding him back. At night I can’t stop thinking about him in his cell.

But that’s the thing about an animal in a cage-you never know when he’ll bite. He might use you to escape. He might even pull you into a forest and hold a hand over your mouth so you can’t call for the cops. He might make you come so hard, you can’t think.

And you might crave him more than your next breath.

My Thoughts

We don’t know exactly what we’re getting into when we start this story, but we certainly go through a roller coaster of emotions, both good and bad, and we learn that no one is what they seem. Everyone has a story, and lucky for us, our leading lady is a student who’s job it is to bring out everyone’s story.

We start off learning about Abbigail – she’s the teacher at the prison, doing a project of sorts as a means of getting her degree. Her mentor felt that this was a project, a job that she was right for – even though it’s so far outside of her comfort zone. It’s on one of her first days there that she feels a shift in energy – all because she crosses paths with a man who’s meant to be part of her destiny.

Enter Grayson – a man who’s been sent to jail for killing a cop but apparently there’s more to the story. We learn early on that he is innocent, or so he claims (as do most) and we watch how he plans to get out and get vengeance.

Grayson feels this shift in energy when he walks past Abby on that first day as well, and we know that they are forever intertwined. He realizes that through an ‘end of term project, each participant will get a story published in an online journal and that’s exactly how he can get work to his crew since he’s not allowed any contact with them, especially now that he’s states away.

So we watch how Grayson gets under Abby’s skin during class – how he takes up her personal space, makes her uncomfortable and keeps her off balance. He knows how to wiggle his way under her skin and this bodes well for him since it means that he’ll for sure get his words out there.

Things change when his story is published, and he’s able to escape from jail. Plans change though and Abby sees his escape unfold, is in the midst of it and finds herself taken prisoner, hostage while he escapes. Driving him away from the prison to where he believes he’ll be free. Challenge of course is that they already have some connection between them from their time in class, not sure what it is, but she’s marked – and she’s his, and that means that he wants to protect her even when it goes against everything that he and his boys believe in.

The story that we see unfold from here is Grayson on the run from the cops, taking Abby with him since there’s no other alternative. We watch their bond grow and change, and we watch as they share bits of themselves through their pasts to better understand each other. Each time she’s ‘introduced’ to a member of the crew, we see how much of a problem this is – how much the men really don’t believe in keeping anyone around – how relationships are leverage and how they are all afraid of what Abby knows and can share to get them all arrested. Stone wants to kill her. Calder wants the same. Nate has grown to like her but that’s because he has a bit more trust of her than the others.

As time goes by we see what life will be like with them together as well as what happens if/when they have to separate. When that happens, we worry about her safety, her sanity as well as Grayson’s. It’s hurts to watch it all unfold but we know that there’s something more meant for them that only this story will give.

So, i’m not going to tell more, but know that there’s all the expected heat, passion and chemistry that we’ve learned to love from a story written by Skye Warren, and it’s a nice introduction to a series where we are destined to meet the other men and learn what shaped them. Enjoy!