Review: The Young Queens (Three Dark Crowns #0.2) by Kedare Blake

Title: The Young Queens
Author: Kendare Blake
Publisher/Year:  Harper Collins 12/26/17
Length:   89 Pages
Series:  Three Dark Crowns #0.2

Overview

In this must-read prequel to Kendare Blake’s New York Times bestselling Three Dark Crowns, the queens’ origin story is revealed. It’s a pre-crown lowdown of Fennbirn’s ruling class.

Mirabella, Arsinoe, and Katharine weren’t always scheming to murder each other. They weren’t always surrounded by rival foster families, each swearing to have their best interests at heart. And they weren’t always afraid of being unexpectedly attacked—by one of their own sisters, no less—in a way that could cost them their last breath.

They used to be together. Just three sisters. Alone in a glen.

This is the story of the three queens—after they were born, before they were separated, during the time when they all lived together, loved each other, and protected each other. It’s also the story of the day they were torn apart, and the several years that follow.

From birth to eleven years old, this is a rare glimpse of the queens’ lives…before they were at stake.

My Thoughts

In this series we were first intoduced to the queens just as they were coming of age, each trying to live up to the legacy that is bestowed upon the triplet queens, so that one – the one that was the strongest could take power from the rest.  We knew that there were 2 that were not quite able, and yet we never really saw how they grew up and came to be.

In this prequel of sorts, we get to see how they were as young girls, before they were separated and taken to their own host cities to learn their skills (or not) and truly learn to hate (and forget) one another.

The way that this novella is written, we get glimpses into the lives of these girls when they were still at the cottage up until they turned 6.  we saw who was the protector, and who was the caring one.  We saw how hard it was for them to get taken from one another, and yet no one really cared since it’s what’s done.

From there, we get to see how their lives truly progressed over the years in each of their new homes, and it’s really interesting to see some of the side stories as they happened too.  We got to see how Mirabella was feared because of her power, and as a result, she was locked up for a bit.

Then there’s katherine, the poisoner who’s not quite a poisoner, and how she takes all the torture that she’s gone through because that’s what’s expected of her.  makes you less surprised when you see what’s become of her in the main series.  And don’t forget Arsinoe.  the naturalist who isn’t quite there yet, and we see how she tries to scape and the punishment that gets all of some of the more important supporting characters banished.

All in all, it sets up the backstory for the series in a way that really does help us understand the foundation for how things came to pass, and really makes us a bit less surprised about what has just transpired in the coming installments and what the future holds since there’s still so much left that’s unsettled.  i can’t wait for what’s next since there are bigger and better story lines coming since there are secrets that are coming to life.  on that note – enjoy!

Review: End Game (Dirty Money #4) by Lisa Renee Jones

Title: End Game
Author: Lisa Renee Jones
Publisher/Year:  St Martins Press 1/2/18
Length:   221 Pages
Series:  Dirty Money #4

Overview

How deep can you love?

Passion and danger collide in the explosive finale to Emily and Shane’s story.

After tragedy strikes, Shane hovers on the edge of being consumed by darkness. He will fight for the woman he loves. He will destroy his enemy. He will not back down. As shocking twists, dark secrets, and explosive betrayals within the Brandon family come to the light, Shane must fight harder than ever before.

Every thread weaves a dangerous web. Emily and Derek. Brandon Senior. Maggie and her affair. The leader of the dangerous cartel who’s wedged itself inside the Brandon Empire. It all comes to a head in the shattering conclusion to the Dirty Money series.

My Thoughts 

What we get here is a supposed conclusion to a series that is ended just how Ms Jones ends quite a few of hers.  Way too open ended for our liking and the opportunity to come back into the world of the main characters that we love so much at a later date in time.  All the while, setting up the story for a spinoff of sorts so that we know that we’re not done with all these folks just yet.

This has been a roller coaster of a series – we see Shane and Emily going from trust issues to love, from life to death and back again, and to major decisions needing to be made to not only make sure that professionally there’s something to come home to, but personally a home to go home to.

The dynamic between these two mains is classic Lisa Renee Jones.  We see two incredibly strong people who have their own baggage from their past to get over, and when they manage to work together for the greater good – only good will happen.  There’s a romance that some how manages to supersede it all and friendships that are developed on the side that prove to be something that’s important.

Add onto all of that some cartel folks that want them dead, and of course that means that some of those that we love die, a terminal illness still threatening to take the life of senior, a wife who wants more than what her husband is offering, and brothers who will never be on the same page no matter how hard they fight.  Like i said – roller coaster.

Interspersed along with all of that, we have a great romance, some really intense chemistry and a story that makes you really upset to see it over and done with.  We still have no idea who’s going to survive, who’s safe and who’s not.  Who’s really dead and what that means for business and life.  So on that note, i think that we get what we were hoping for in a jam packed finale, yet nothing that we wanted since it’s still way way too open.  I hope you guys share that sentiment, and check it out as well.  enjoy!

Review: Cuffed (Everyday Heroes #1) by K Bromberg

Title: Cuffed
Author: K Bromberg
Publisher/Year:  JKB Publishing 10/20/17
Length:   394 Pages
Series:  Everyday Heroes #1

Overview

From the New York Times bestselling author, K. Bromberg, comes a new series about three brothers, the job that calls them, and the women who challenge them.

“I hate you. I never want to see you again.”

Grant Malone is not the reason I moved back to Sunnyville-at least that’s what I tell myself. Yet, those parting words I said to him back in third grade, ring in my ears every time a townsperson brings up one of the Malone boys. I thought time had healed my wounds. I was wrong. Nothing could have prepared me for how I felt when I finally saw him again.

Twenty years does a lot to turn a boy into a man. One who hits all my buttons-sexy, funny, attractive, and a police officer. But Grant is off limits because he knows too much about my past.

But I’m drawn to him. That damn uniform of his doesn’t hurt either. It’ll be my downfall. I know it.

What’s one night of sex going to hurt . . . right?

***

I’ve always loved Emmy Reeves.

That’s why I’m shocked to see her all these years later. The shy girl I once knew is all grown up.

Adventurous and full of life, she owns my heart now, just as much as she did back then. Convincing her of that is a whole different story.

I’ll give her the one night she asks for-like that’s a hardship-but when it comes to letting her walk away after, she has another thing coming. There’s no way in hell I’m letting her go this time without a fight.

My Thoughts

Ms Bromberg again does what she does best – introduce a new set of characters with their own interesting story to give us another introduction to an enjoyable series.  This time we’re not in a baseball theme, but instead we’re in a place called Sunnyville where there are three brothers and of course they’ve got their stories.  We start off by meeting Grant in this first installment.

Grant’s a cop and he’s a bit of a player – not one to really settle down, and often times referred to as Officer Sexy.  His father was a chief in the department back in his time, and Grant’s living up to all of that great accolade.  He’s decided to challenge himself and go for a promotion to become detective and that’s the next notch to put in his belt.

Then there’s his childhood best friend, a girl named Emerson, someone who he hasn’t seen in about 20 years, when a secret was revealed and she and her mother left to find a safer place to live.  Of course, we learned that it was Grant who told the secret because he knew that it was the right thing to do, however from that point, 8 year old Emerson hated him and wanted nothing to do with him.  Since leaving Sunnyville, she’s become a bit of a gypsy, a nomad of sorts.  She and her mom moved from place to place, never putting down roots, and it’s only now, 20 years later that she’s found herself back in that same hometown, trying to put down roots by working to purchase a skydiving school since that’s her passion.

The story that we get from here is one of clear chemistry between these two.  Remember that they were just 8 when they last saw each other, but 20 years shows us that there’s a bond there and now a chemical reaction to one another.  The bigger issue though besides that though is that there are major trust issues.  Emerson feels that Grant betrayed her trust all those years ago, and it’s almost impossible for him to climb back from that and make things right.

We go on a journey with these two, watching them fight their inner battles with trust and the struggles that come from the ghosts of their pasts, and at the same time, trying to fight what’s in front of their faces – and really enjoy what they can potentially have together.

The meddling of Emerson’s bestie Desi doesn’t hurt things and then there are Grant’s brothers, Grady and Grayson that also make things more entertaining.  All lead ins and hints into what we’ll likely see in the next installments in the series.

So all in all, a sweet romantic story of childhood best friends who are torn apart but come back together to find that there’s something amazing there.  OF course, when plans don’t go as they want, and one is forced to move away and the other sacrifices their profession and life for a cause, we know that the anxiety and angst will make it all worthwhile .  we hope.  Enjoy!

Review: The Catch (The Player #2) by K Bromberg

Title: The Catch
Author: K Bromberg
Publisher/Year:  JKB Publishing 6/24/17
Length:   286 Pages
Series:  The Player #2

Overview

After an unexpected twist of fate, All-Star catcher Easton Wylder is left questioning the loyalty of everyone around him.

Even the woman who shares his bed, Scout Dalton.

But if Easton thought being uprooted to the last place he expected was the only challenge life had to throw at him, he was dead wrong.

With an ailing shoulder and his career in limbo, his decision to make an unexpected change leads him to question everything – Scout’s love, family loyalties, and whether he can conquer the one obstacle he’s never been able to overcome. The secret he’s never shared with anyone.

He may be a man pushed to his limits, but he’s hell-bent on proving his worth no matter the cost.

My Thoughts

We knew that things were about to change for Easton and Scout and where we were left at the end of the first book is a scary place.  Thanks K Bromberg for that!

We pick up when Easton learns that he’s being traded – but has no idea where or why.  Scout seems to have seen something in some paperwork that was spilled in her meeting, and changes her story to protect him but of course he doesn’t see it like that.

So in this second and final book of the duet, we get to see a lot of ups and downs for everyone, secrets come out from just about everyone that we’ve met and there are so may twists and turns that you really have no idea what’s going to happen.

Easton lands on another team, and of course hurts himself again.  his future as a player is up in the air and that means that he’s both depressed and really unsure of what will come next.  Scout is still stuck back in Austin, working for the team that let her boyfriend go, resenting every moment of it, just so that she can secure her dying father’s last wish to have a contract with the team.

Then there’s Santiago – the guy who both injured Easton to begin with and now has taken his place on the ACES.  there’s something fishy going on with him and we can’t quite figure out what it is.  There’s also Cal, Easton’s father who’s got his own level of shady going on, and all together we see a really complex story develop and then come to a close.

There are so many questions throughout this final installment.  Will Scout and Easton find happiness, will they figure out how to make their personal relationship thrive while also making sure to secure their futures professionally?  What other shoe is around to drop to come in the way of all that they’re working towards?

At least the good thing that we as readers know that we’ll get is not just a complex complicated story, but one that has so much true romance and passion – that it helps carry things through.  We don’t end where anyone thinks, but i think that the conclusion answers a lot of questions.  I hope you guys enjoy!

Review: The Player (The Player #1) by K Bromberg

Title: The Player
Author: K Bromberg
Publisher/Year:  JKB Publishing 4/10/17
Length:   302 Pages
Series:  The Player #1

Overview

Baseball has never been sexier in an all-new novel by New York Times Bestselling Author, K. Bromberg.

Easton Wylder is baseball royalty. The game is his life. His passion. His everything.

So, when an injury threatens to end Easton’s season early, the team calls in renowned physical therapist, Doc Dalton, to oversee his recovery. Except it’s not Doc who greets Easton for his first session, but rather his daughter, Scout. She may be feisty, athletic, defiant, and gorgeous, but Easton is left questioning whether she has what it takes to help him.

Scout Dalton’s out to prove a female can handle the pressure of running the physical therapy regimen of an MLB club. And that proof comes in the form of getting phenom Easton Wylder back on the field. But getting him healthy means being hands-on.

And with a man as irresistible as Easton, being hands-on can only lead to one thing-trouble. Because the more she touches him, the more she wants him, and she can’t want him. Not when it’s her job to maintain the club’s best interest in regard to whether he’s ready to play.

But when sparks fly and fine lines are crossed, can they withstand the heat, or is one of them bound to get burned?

My Thoughts

I’m a fan of this author – Ms Bromberg has always brought us entertaining and engaging stories that really suck us in.  What we have here is another of the same, the introduction to a new set of characters that have their own struggles in life.

As the summary says, we have Easton, the star of the Austin Aces, and a guy who’s still on the DL list because he was injured in a dirty play a few months back.  Surgery was successful, yet rehab hasn’t done it’s magic and there’s only one man who can help him – Doc Dalton.

That’s where we get Scout – Doc’s daughter and the heir to his kingdom.  She’s an amazing and accomplish PT in her own right but being a female always has its setbacks.  Easton’s quick to assume that she’s a stripper and part of a prank, but quickly realizes his error, and starts to see what she’s able to do not only for his shoulder but for his heart.

So you assume that everything will come up ok for these guys right?  well of course there’s more.  Scout’s father is terminally ill, and this last job is the final star that he needs in order to deem his career a success.  Healing Easton will give him a contract with the Aces which is something that he’s not had before.  Then there’s the fact that Easton himself has a bit of a struggle in the form of Santiago – the catcher that injured him and clearly has a vendetta.

Add to that the fact that there’s a growing relationship and budding romance that has to be kept a secret and you know that things are going to get complicated.  Easton and Scout have so many barriers up that it’s amazing that they are able to get even a bit past them on their own, but we know that there’s going to be a shoe to drop at some point and when it happens, it’s a doozy.

All that put together, you can imagine that things will get dicey.  What happens in the end isn’t what we expected and at the same time exactly what we expected.  While we want there to be a happy ending in this story, MS Bromberg would not be a great author if that’s what we got so that means that we’re left on a cliff for everyone involved at the last turn of this story – teasing us to get book 2.

The good thing here is that we know that along with the great plot, we have a lot of steamy chemistry, some great scenes between these two main characters and a lot of humor from the supporting characters.  we want to root for everyone to come out on top, but we know that it’s impossible, so we’re forced to read on to see at least what may happen for the majority.  Enjoy!

Book Promotion: BEAST by L Grubb

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Synopsis:
I’m a man no one fucks with. 
I’m a man all the bitches want. 

I’m also the world champion of MMA…Mafia
style. 

I don’t get my name from winning, I get my name
for my size. I am a BEAST, I’m also the one your father’s warn you little girls
about. 

BEAST 

Beast has had his life set for him for an early
age, he was pushed into training to fight the world’s best. His father had his
eyes on the dollar signs while he forced his son into the brutal world of MMA.
He was trained hard, and he became the best. But the bosses have changed the
rules and the rules are about to fuck him over. He will bring hell down onto
the MMA circuit and he will become top man. But will he gain the power he
deserves? Or is everything he’s worked so hard for been for nothing? 

Carlotta is a fierce woman whose life hasn’t
been quite straight cut. But she leads her path in the right direction, sort
of. When the opportunity arises to make extra money to fund her passion, she
takes it. 

She trains. She fights. She wins. 

Meeting Beast was an unpleasant experience, and
her dislike for his egocentric and arrogant behaviour rubs her the wrong way,
but her curiosity is piqued and she can’t remove him from her mind. Will their
one night of passion lead to anything? Or will being in the MMA lifestyle tear
them apart before they get started? 

Who will win the ultimate battle of hatred and
anger? Will they fight for their passion or will it come crumbling down around
them with severe consequences?

BUY LINKS

Review: Darker (Fifty Shades of Grey as told by Christian #2) by E.L. James

Title: Darker
Author: EL James
Publisher/Year:  Knopf Doublbeday Publishing 11/28/17
Length:   560 Pages
Series:  Fifty Shades of Grey as told by Christian #2

Overview

Their scorching, sensual affair ended in heartbreak and recrimination, but Christian Grey cannot get Anastasia Steele out of his mind, or his blood. Determined to win her back, he tries to suppress his darkest desires and his need for complete control, and to love Ana on her own terms.

But the horrors of his childhood still haunt him, and Ana’s scheming boss, Jack Hyde, clearly wants her for himself. Can Christian’s confidant and therapist, Dr. Flynn, help him face down his demons? Or will the possessiveness of Elena, his seducer, and the deranged devotion of Leila, his former submissive, drag Christian down into the past?

And if Christian does win Ana back, can a man so dark and damaged ever hope to keep her?

My Thoughts

It’s been ages since i’ve read the series if i’m honest, but i actually recently came across Fifty Shades Darker on TV so it was nice to have this alternate POV come to life after i’ve seen it on the big screen.  All that being said, we fall right back into the story and world that Ms James crafted for us all those years ago, where we see how the roller coaster of life and romance for Christian and Ana unfolded.

There’s something to be said about getting into the head of Christian and having the story unfold from his POV since we’ve had the fortune to truly grasp it from Ana’s side before.  Where there was so much focus in the past on her innocence and how naive she was both in romance and in work, well we see the flip side of the confident and controlling Christian.  His life outside of her was so different and a mystery before, so we get to see some of what made him tick.

True to form we get a lot of the same romance, but instead of experiencing it like we have in the past we get to see it taken through control and dominance.  The scenes that we had before were from the girl who wanted hearts and flowers and this time we get to see them from the man who needs control and power in his life to thrive.  It gives the story a completely different feeling.

Personally i’m curious if we would ever get another story line from Ms James – something that didn’t revolve around the Fifty series, but i guess that’s likely something that we’ll have to wait on given that there’s still one more installment of the series that hasn’t been written from Christian’s side yet and i’d imagine that i’ts coming.  There’s so much heat and passion left to come out from this couple from Christian’s side of things for sure and i think that we would be lucky to get that culmination to the story since those of you that have read the original trilogy, i’m sure you recall all the craziness that goes on, and there’s bound to be a lot of angst and anxiety wrapped up in it.

On that note – have a happy thursday (a snowy one here at least) and enjoy!

Review: The Kings Guard (Fire & Thorns #0.7) by Rae Carson

Title: The King’s Guard
Author: Rae Carson
Publisher/Year:  Harper Collins 7/30/13
Length:   98 Pages
Series:  The Girl of Fire and Thorns #0.7

Overview

Hector of Ventierra is the youngest commander of the Royal Guard in his kingdom’s history. But before he was lord commander, he was a lowly squire. In this short fantasy novella, set in the world of The Girl of Fire and Thorns, Rae Carson introduces readers to Hector before he became the man Queen Elisa fell in love with. The King’s Guard also includes a teaser chapter for The Bitter Kingdom, the conclusion to the Fire and Thorns trilogy.

At fifteen years old, Hector is the youngest squire in the most elite military force in the country. And his first day is disastrous. Everyone assumes the only reason he was recruited is his close personal association with King Alejandro, not because he’s really earned it.

But Alejandro needs Hector for a secret mission, one that gives him the chance to prove to everyone—including himself—that he is worthy to be a Royal Guard. Hector must break into the ancient Fortress of Wind to retrieve something so important that the kingdom’s future depends on it. What Hector finds in the fortress will stretch his bond of friendship with his king near to breaking. And it will prepare him to become the fearsome warrior and lord commander Elisa will never let go.

My Thoughts

We’ve come to love and adore Hector through what we’ve seen in the main series that it’s really nice to see how he got his start, and how the friendships between him and his guards really took shape.  There was a bit of a teaser that he started out working for the king and Alejandro in a different capacity but it’s nice to see how that progressed into being leader of the Royal Guard.

What we get here is the point in time where Hector starts as a recruit for the guards – and how everyone knows that he’s probably too young and inexperienced to make the guards, but that he’s been shown favor by the kind and the royals and everyone resents that.

It’s not just the tale of being a recruit, but there’s also the piece of the story that we get when Rausora is pregnant and quite sick with the royal heir.  We know how that all ends up, but there’s actually a twist to the story that we didn’t quite get in the main series and it gives an interesting context to how things actually shaped up (that no one still knows about).

Hector is given a secret task and a chance to prove himself and that’s exactly what he does.  while the current head of the guards tries to muck it up for him, and people are out to murder him, well, we still get to see how he’s able to overcome and his natural ability to be a leader even at 15 is something to be impressed by.  All in all, a nice way to get to know him before Hector was the authority that we’ve come to love.  Enjoy!

Review: The Shattered Mountain (Fire & Thorns #0.6) by Rae Carson

Title: The Shattered Mountain
Author: Rae Carson
Publisher/Year:  Harper Collins 3/26/13
Length:   85 Pages
Series:  The Girl of Fire and Thorns #0.6

Overview

A short digital-only novella set in the world of The Girl of Fire and Thorns. While Princess Elisa was being forced across the desert by a band of rebel kidnappers, her future handmaiden, Mara, was fighting for survival as enemy sorcerers decimated the countryside. This is Mara’s story.

My Thoughts
Mara has long since been a key character in the entire series and it’s her turn to have a novella – to give us a sense of where her story began and how strong she truly is.  We knew her story before this novella – about how she and a boy named Julio had fallen in love and how she had plans to leave her village to be with him, but of course that all goes awry when the Inviernos come and attack her village.  So this is the story of her escape with a group of children and how they find the rebells, Elisa and get on the road to recovery.
It’s a nice novella since we get to see that Mara is strong in her own right – she’s smart and positive and motivating, yet she’s human and scared and doubts herself at every turn.  She’s got a skillset that proves itself to be incredibly helpful in this story and rolls over into how she aids Elisa throughout the trilogy.
There’s not much more depth to this though – as expected in an 80 page book, but at least you start to see how strong and tough she is which helps her weather what comes for her in the trilogy.  Enjoy!

Review: The Shadow Cats (The Girl of Fire and Thorns #0.5) by Rae Carson

Title: The Shadow Cats
Author: Rae Carson
Publisher/Year:  harper Collins 7/17/12
Length:   73 Pages
Series:  The Girl of Fire and Thorns #0.5

Overview

Once a century, one person is chosen for greatness. And it was not Alodia.

Alodia is the crown princess of the realm. The sister who knows how to rule, the one who is constantly reminded that she has not been marked for a grand destiny. But Alodia has plans, and she will be the greatest queen her people have ever known. So she travels—with her hopeless, naive, chosen sister—to a distant part of their land, to begin to secure her supporters. This region needs its princesses, for it is plagued with a curse; the crops don’t grow, spring doesn’t arrive, and a fierce jaguar stalks in the shadows, leaving behind only empty homes splashed with blood. If Alodia can save them, no one will be able to deny her strength and her sovereignty.

But what she discovers could change the fate of her kingdom, if not the entire world. And it will most certainly change her opinion of her younger sister.

My Thoughts

Well, too bad i didn’t realize that this was a prequel before i read the series although i’m not sure that it matters much to be honest.  What we have here is a quick novella giving us a glimpse into how it was determined that Elisa should marry Alejandro.   From the first book in the series we learned that Alodio the elder sister was the one destined for greatness in terms of politics in the royal family.  She’s beautiful and has been taught to run the kingdom from a young age, and that’s part of the plan that leads us into this novella.

Alodia has the best of intentions, trying to right some of the things that her father has done in neglecting the outer territories and she’s setting out to make things right and forming allies.  Elisa accompanies her and of course we get the sense that there’s not much that impresses Alodia about her sister.  What’s nice here is that we start to see the personality come out a bit in Elisa and we see that she’s strong and intelligent and once given a moment to prove that she’s got logical thoughts, ideas of grandeur are in her future.

This is both a set up for what we see in book one but also a hint at more than what we’ve really seen in the bigger series about Alodia’s motivations and what is really going on in her head.  She’s given more of a human side in this book and i think that we needed to see the sensitive side of her to really understand why she’s so cold and tough throughout the trilogy.  enjoy!