Review: The Crown of Embers (Girl of Fire and Thorns #2) by Rae Carson

Title: The Crown of Fire and Embers
Author: Rae Carson
Publisher/Year:  harper Collins 8/27/13
Length:   297 Pages
Series:  The Girl of Fire and Thorns #2

Overview

The second book in Rae Carson’s award-winning The Girl of Fire and Thorns fantasy trilogy, perfect for fans of Game of Thrones and Kristin Cashore. Tamora Pierce called the first book, The Girl of Fire and Thorns, “A unique and engrossing read!” A seventeen-year-old princess turned war queen faces sorcery, adventure, untold power, and romance as she fulfills her epic destiny.

In The Girl of Fire and Thorns, Elisa won the war. She saved her kingdom. But no one prepared her for how hard it is to recover from a battle, or to rule a people who still don’t trust her. She’s still fighting—against assassination attempts and more—and her enemies lie both outside her court and within it. So Elisa will cross the ocean in search of the perilous, uncharted, and mythical source of the Godstone’s power. With her go a one-eyed warrior, a loyal friend, an enemy defector, and the man she is falling in love with.

My Thoughts

While this series reminds me of several others that i’ve read, I’m still enjoying it quite a bit.  We have the continuation of Elisa’s journey – of the life that she’s found herself living now – where she’s the Queen and bearer of the Godstone, and the only one who can hope to make right all the troubles in the world.  Lots for a seventeen year old girl to be responsible for right?  Add in deceit, romance and lost friendships and you have quite the story.

We left off book one where Elisa was now that Queen of Joya D’Arena, her husband Alejandro was killed by the Animagi and she’s left to sort out what that means for herself and for the kingdom.  Elisa’s proven herself to be quite strong and capable so that’s where she’s starting things off.  She’s being led by those who think that they have more power than her though in the kingdom and that means that she has to prove herself worthy, while also trying to defend her people from the Inviernos – a people who were likely the first on the earth and have been trying to take back power and land.

This is an exhausting journey that we’re on, and we see the reappearances of several of the main characters from book one.  Cosme is now a Queen as you’ll recall from the first book, and she sends a delegation to Elisa and we see that they become incredibly valuable, especially when Elisa’s life is in danger time after time.  We also see Belen the traitor come back into the mix and his story gets more complicated each day.  We still don;t know if he can be trusted and that’s a big piece of this story.

The other plot lines are even better.  There’s a romance and a true love blooming for Elisa with someone who she’s not quite sure returns those feelings, and the same person that is perhaps being linked to her sister now in the hopes of another strong political bond.

If that weren’t enough, our author throws in another story line where we are learning more and more about teachings that were banned that may hold the secret to a lot of what everyone’s been fighting for.  So that means that Elisa and her crew are off on a search for a mythical land and power source in the hopes that they will come out on top.

Where we are left a t the end of this second book is a place where the friends are all split again – some by their own means and some were kidnapped.  We don’t know where things will end up, who’s going to be a true ally and who’s going to prove to be working for their own motivations.  We just know that Elisa must succeed or there will be nothing left for anyone to fight for.  So that means…..we have to move onto book 3 and see what comes of it all.  enjoy!

Review: Royal Pain (His Royal Hotness #1) by Tracy Wolff

Title: Royal Pain
Author: Tracy Wolff
Publisher/Year:  Random House Publishing 9/26/17
Length:   230 Pages
Series:  His Royal Hotness #1

Overview

He’s a womanizer. He’s cocky. He’s not exactly a prince. Only he technically is. Meet your new royal obsession in this addictive novel from New York Times bestselling author Tracy Wolff.

Being rich opens a lot of doors. When you’re rich and royal, those doors lead to a new bedroom every night. I should know. The tabloids call me His Royal Hotness, Prince Kian of Wildemar. Women across the world see me as a naughty fairy tale, an image I’m happy to indulge. As the spare to the heir, I’m the prince with none of the power . . . and all of the perks.

Then my twin brother is kidnapped, and suddenly I’m the one who could be king. The crown chasers start circling—and yet it’s a luscious waitress who catches my eye. With a smart mouth and the curves to back it up, Savannah Breslin is as brazen as I’d expect an American commoner to be.

But Savvy’s not interested in playing Cinderella. As sexy as she is, she’s no stranger to heartbreak. Besides, a nice guy wouldn’t drag her into all the drama that comes along with royalty. Lucky I’m not a nice guy. And, as it turns out, I might not even be her first prince. . . .

My Thoughts

This is a sweet story in the same vein as a bunch of others that i’ve read recently but all in all not bad.  light, sweet, romantic – so great for a post thanksgiving read.  What we have here is the first installment to a series that takes place in a fictional country called Wildemar where we have a set of twin princes who are quite different as expected and trying to live their lives as they have been laid out their entire lives.  We get to focus on Kian here, the younger twin who’s really more of the wild child and believes in fully living life to it’s fullest since he’s the ‘spare’.  So of course we get to see his antics, hear how he’s referred to as His Royal Hotness because he’s got a reputation and yet he’s still trying to be himself.  It’s not until tragedy strikes that we of course get to see how much of a mature brother and crown prince he can be.

That’s where Savvy comes into the story. Kian is in need of saving one night at a gala and she’s there to try to save him by getting him out of the claws of some crown chasers who want a piece of him.  Lucky for the two of them, there are instant sparks, but Savvy knows that it’s not a likely match both because of his reputation as well as the fact that she’s American.  If that’s the only thing standing in their way at least based on what we think, then readers are quite wrong.  the other shoe is about to drop.

Where the story goes from here is on the journey of Kian being forced to grow up when his brother is kidnapped and is missing for months – almost presumed dead.  Kian has to step into the shoes of the next in line to the throne, a position that he’s never wanted while also finding out what it’s like to truly fall in love with someone, something that he’s never really considered in the past with all his women.

Savvy on the other hand is a bit mysterious to us.  She’s a straight shooter – she tells it like it is, but there’s a huge secret that she is hiding that makes the story even more interesting.  While the romance between these 2 blooms, we soon learn that she’s got a past with Garrett, Kian’s twin, a relationship that was both secret in itself but quite intense to the point of love.  So that makes this all that much more complicated.

The journey that we have from then on is one where they have to decide if there’s something solid that can usurp the fact that Garrett was in the picture first. Then there’s the point that Kian keeps getting pulled into royal duties while also searching for his brother.  And Savvy finds herself in the position of being a secret again and wondering if it’s all worth it.

there’s so much that they are fighting to be together or to stay apart that you have to wonder what is going to be that final straw to force a resolution.  Regardless, we get a nice story here – one that’s not fully complete at the end of the book but i think we are taken to a point where you can get a sense of the drama to come.  So like i said, light, sweet read and something to keep you entertained as you come off the high from the holidays.  Enjoy!

Review: Wicked Torture (Stark World #3) by J Kenner

Title: Wicked Torture
Author: J Kenner
Publisher/Year:  EverAfter Romance 11/14/17
Length:   300 Pages
Series:  Stark World #3

Overview

He’s very good at being bad…

Outwardly, Noah Carter is riding high as Stark International’s newest tech genius. Inside, he’s still reeling from the death of his wife and daughter. For years, he’s thrown himself into his work, cutting himself off from emotional ties because they hurt too damn much. But when an old girlfriend walks back into his life, Noah realizes three things: That it’s time to heal. That Kiki is the woman he wants. And that he’ll do whatever it takes to convince her.

Aspiring singer Kiki Porter remembers Noah only too well. He’s the man who ripped her heart into tiny shreds—and then stomped on it. She’d believed he was the love of her life, but then he left, and his departure left her confused and reeling. Now he’s back, and pursuing her with a sensual relentlessness that leaves her breathless.

She wants him—she does. But even though she melts in his arms, how can she trust that this time he’ll stay? Especially when long buried secrets threaten their hope for a future together…

My Thoughts

I love this series – even the larger series and i think that there was so much build up to Noah’s background that it’s great to see it play out here.  His past continues to haunt him with the kidnapping and murder of his wife and child, but what we see is that his past was even worse.  He has another love – a true love that he had to walk away from because Darla had gotten pregnant.  So that’s where we are in this third book in the series.  their paths cross in Austin and life is turned upside down.

Kiki is back – and in Noah’s life in so many forms that he can’t even function.  He sees her in a bar singing, which was her passion back when he knew her, and now she’s doing it again right in front of him.  then there’s the fact that a day later she’s in front of him in his office of Stark Enterprises pitching a marketing plan.  They can’t seem to stay away from each other but know that being near each other is bad.  She’s got everything at stake here and he’s under a lot of pressure from Damien Stark to perform.

The story from here goes on a few different paths.  Everyone is afraid for Kiki that she will get sucked back into the world of Noah and get hurt again – get her heart broken and find herself beyond repair.  Noah on the other hand is as sure now as he was before that Kiki is for him, but he’s got so much baggage from the loss of his family that it’s hard to open up.

When they do allow themselves to try – we see that true to form of Ms Kenner our amazing author, that they are intensely connected.  There’s so much heat and passion there, the past speeds up and meets the present so fast and furious that it’s combustible and that’s exactly what happens.  So of course when things are going well and someone returns from the past, it all blows up.  Poof – gone.

I think that it’s one of the great things that our author is able to do.  She’s weaving this story that gives you hope up to a certain point and knows exactly what is needed to rip the rug out from under us.  There’s so much uncertainty in their lives and there’s even more with this past bit creeping in.  You want to root for them, but you also know that there’s so much more being discussed now.  So on that note, cold shower needed and i can’t wait to see what’s next in the series.  enjoy!

 

Review: Ours to Love (Wicked Lovers #7) by Shayla Black

Title: Ours to Love
Author: Shayla Black
Publisher/Year:  Penguin Publishing 5/7/13
Length:   400 Pages
Series:  Wicked Lovers #7

Overview

Between two brothers…

Xander Santiago spent years living it up as a billionaire playboy. Never given a chance to lead his family business in the boardroom, he became a master in the bedroom instead. His older brother, Javier, inherited the company and worked tirelessly to make it an empire. But while cutthroat corporate espionage took its toll on Javier, nothing was as devastating as the seemingly senseless murder of his wife. It propelled him into a year of punishing rage and guilt…until Xander came to his rescue.

Comes an irresistible woman…

Eager to rejuvenate Javier’s life, Xander shanghais him to Louisiana, where they meet beautiful London McLane. After a decade of tragedy and struggle, London is determined to make a fresh start—and these sexy billionaire brothers are more than willing to help. In every way. London is stunned to find herself open to every heated suggestion…and desperately hoping that her love will heal them.

And inescapable danger.

But a killer is watching, on a single-minded mission to destroy everything the Santiago brothers hold dear, especially London. As fear and desire collide, every passionate beat of her heart could be her last.

My Thoughts

Going into this 7th installment, i was wondering how we were going to get deep and meaningful stories for both Xander and Javier but of course our lovely author Ms Black was able to answer all those questions for me.  If you recall, we spend a lot of time with Xander back in the last book when Tyler and Del were getting their stuff sorted and we also got to see a bit of a tease into what’s going on with his brother Javier.  So we see how that all pays out.

We also got the teaser of London, Alyssa’s cousin when the ladies were looking for someone for Tyler to settle down with.  So it’s nice to see how her story unfolds as well.  She’s had a rough life, almost dying in a car accident years ago and living with the scars and trauma of it since then.  she’s trying to get her life back together and finding stability in Lafayette with her cousin and their network of friends who are also family.  She gets independence from her family, and she gets a job and some of her confidence back, and that’s all where the Santiago brothers come into play.

A chance meeting with Xander at Alyssa’s club shows London all that she’s been craving yet she has insecurities about herself and Xander that she’s not able to really make things happen as she wants.  She walks away, and is some how put into Javier’s path, for a job and to watch more sparks fly.

Javier’s trying to cope with the murder of his wife and all that’s going on in his life as well and he’s crashing and burning better than you could imagine.  he’s been taken to Lafayette in the hopes of a detox and restart of his life so that he can get his mind and company back on track.  Someone’s trying to get a hold of information from their secure database and that’s not a good thing at all in their line of business.

So the journey that we are taken on in this book is complicated.  Playboy Xander wants to be tamed, Javier needs to be saved from himself and London learns to stand on her own two feet.  What’s even better is that to go back to my original question – how do we get both stories for the brothers out, well it’s because we find ourselves in another little menage situation.  So, all the kinky and hot passion that you’ve been missing from the past few installments comes back to us fast and hard in this one.

The other bit that keeps things exciting is that we’re trying to sort out the connection to Javier’s wife’s killer and it’s going to much deeper and darker than we ever expected.  There’s so much tied to it that really starts to blow your mind that if you wanted substance outside of heat and passion, well you’ve got that in this book too.  So on that note, i can’t wait to see who’s next – i’m sure Thorpe is due to have his own story since he’s the DOM of the club that these guys seem to all like – so we can see how that plays out.  Enjoy!

Review: The Girl of Fire and Thorns (Girl of Fire and Thorns #1) by Rae Carson

Title: The Girl of Fire and Thorns
Author: Rae Carson
Publisher/Year:  HarperCollins 8/21/12
Length:   320 Pages
Series:  Girl of Fire and Torns #1

Overview

The first book in the acclaimed and award-winning New York Times bestselling trilogy. The Girl of Fire and Thorns is a remarkable novel full of adventure, sorcery, heartbreak, and power.

Once a century, one person is chosen for greatness. Elisa is the chosen one. But she is also the younger of two princesses. The one who has never done anything remarkable, and can’t see how she ever will. Now, on her sixteenth birthday, she has become the secret wife of a handsome and worldly king—a king whose country is in turmoil. A king who needs her to be the chosen one, not a failure of a princess.

And he’s not the only one who seeks her. Savage enemies, seething with dark magic, are hunting her. A daring, determined revolutionary thinks she could be his people’s savior. Soon it is not just her life, but her very heart that is at stake.

Elisa could be everything to those who need her most. If the prophecy is fulfilled. If she finds the power deep within herself. If she doesn’t die young. Most of the chosen do.

My Thoughts

Well, the summary above sort of gives you a sense of what this story is about, but really doesn’t give you at all the full picture of the journey that we’re about to embark on.  Yes Elisa is the second sister, the one who’s not beautiful in a standard sense (she’s fuller figured) and her older sister is the one being groomed to be queen, but Elisa is the bearer of the Godstone for the century and we get to see what that means for her since there are prophesies about what the bearer is supposed to do.  No one has truly seen the greatness completed aside from a few great tasks, so Elisa feels like she’s unworthy all around.  When she’s married off to the king of the largest domain, her sister gives her some great advice to act as the queen that she can be and everyone will follow.

So what we get is a coming of age story here of Elisa and what it means for Elisa to see her true potential both in herself and as someone who can lead others.  She’s hoping for a friendship with her new husband but he decides to keep her a secret to his people while also keeping his mistress, and that doesn’t bode well for a healthy relationship.  it’s only when Elisa is kidnapped after some discover that she’s got the Godstone that the story truly takes shape.

Elisa finds herself with a clan of travelers led by the ‘maid’ Cosme – and while trying to survive the desert with them, she not only sheds weight and becomes the lean beautiful one, she learns about herself in ways that she never knew, and that means that her future is completely open.

She’s poised to be great in the face of war, if only she understood what her future was supposed to be.  She’s devout, studying the writings of the past over and over again, and even gets her hands on some that her country has kept a secret from her which truly guides her down her path to success.  It’s nice to see that she’s open to putting the puzzle together of what she should be able to do, and realizes at the same time that she can’t do it alone.

Of course as we have come to expect in these types of books, there is war – there are people who use magic and those who use fire and weapons to overpower nations who have what they want.  we see that alliances were formed out of the wrong intentions and when we find out who’s lied to whom, it makes us really second guess who we can trust in this story.

The question that we have throughout this first installment is whether Elisa is strong enough and cunning enough to help save her ‘husband’s’ country – and if she even wants to.  She’s made sound and strong friendships with those who may not be on his side and she has started to realize that maybe there’s love elsewhere that she should be focused on.

All in all a great start to this series – i’m not entirely sure where it can go though given that we got a lot of closure in this first book, but i think that i’m going to continue on and see what comes next.  Enjoy!

Review: Wicked to Love (Wicked Lovers #5.5) by Shayla Black

Title: Wicked to Love
Author: Shayla Black
Publisher/Year:  Penguin Publishing 10/28/11
Length:   71 Pages
Series:  Wicked Lovers #5.5

Overview

Just when Brandon Ross gave up on the woman he’d always wanted, he found the one he needed–right under his nose.
A politician’s son, Brandon reined in his desire to serve his community for years after a former friend blackmailed him for desiring the man’s wife. Years later, he’s still haunted by Kayla, holding every woman to her standard. And Brandon’s secretary, Emberlin Evans, knows she can’t measure up.

Emberlin would do anything to make her boss notice her. But when one phone call from Kayla sends Brandon running after her, she knows it’s time to stop waiting for him to see her and move on. Funny how her resignation gets Brandon’s attention in a way short skirts didn’t.

When Brandon confronts Emberlin, he realizes that he’s been blind to his feelings for her–and that the way she always calls him Sir and says “please” has his thoughts turning wicked…

My Thoughts

I’m so confused on what i just read.  It wasn’t even substantial enough for me to get to the point, literally like 2 chapters worth maybe?  We have Brandon who is friends with Jack Cole, a guy that we know and love from other books, and his secretary Em.  We have a really short and fluffy story between these two.

Em has resigned from working for him because she think that he’s still pining for Kayla – an ex flame of sorts, and her own feelings are clouding everything.  Too bad Brandon has other thoughts in mind and it takes her walking away from him to realize it.

So from there we get a really quick 24 hours of where they make that decision to be more than just coworkers and it’s as steamy as expected.  Again though, so confused about what i read since there was no substance at all.  oh well.  Enjoy!

Review: Mine to Hold (Wicked Lovers #6) by Shayla Black

Title: Mine to Hold
Author: Shayla Black
Publisher/Year:  Penguin Publishing 9/3/13
Length:   297 Pages
Series:  Wicked Lovers #6

Overview

A friend’s duty.

Tyler Murphy was an LAPD detective, single and happy—until a near-fatal tragedy crippled his friend, fellow detective Eric Catalano. While Tyler supported Eric, he also became a shoulder for Eric’s wife, Delaney, to lean on. But with one naughty suggestion from Eric, a drunken night with Delaney spilled into erotic abandon. Before it was over, Tyler saw his best friend’s wife as a woman and yearned for more. When Eric struggled to deal with the aftermath, Delaney begged Tyler to leave. Crushed, he fled to Louisiana, hoping to escape his longing for the one woman he could never have again…and unaware of what he’d left behind.

A lover’s desire.

After two years of living with regret, Tyler finds Delaney on his doorstep, her husband having abandoned her long ago. She’s protecting a shocking secret and desperately needs refuge from a stalker determined to see her dead. As they fight to stay alive and catch the killer, they struggle to resolve the guilt of their past pleasures. But they can’t deny that what was once a spark is now a flame burning out of control. To possess Delaney—body and soul—Tyler must heal her pain and thwart the evil that’s a mere breath behind her…

My Thoughts

it’s nice to get Tyler’s story here – he’s been a constant in the series so far, ever since we got introduced to him in Alyssa and Luc’s story and well, it’s about time that we see what really makes him tic.  We know that he was brought into the series because he was hired by Alyssa’a brother to find her and we also know that he’s a serial womanizer – a guy who really hasn’t had much of a reason to plant a solid foundation anywhere.  at least romantically.

So this story is where we see what his past was like, and what it means for his future.  We know that he was a cop from LA and that he left that job to become a detective and then went out on his own.  Thankfully before that though, we know that he at one point in time had a best friend and partner who was married to an amazing woman.  And that’s where the stories cross.

Delaney was the wife of Tyler’s partner, and after prodding from her now ex husband, they ended up becoming much closer than friends.  Of course you know that it’s going to end poorly and that’s exactly what happened – 2 years ago.  Tyler ends up in Louisiana and Del is still in LA trying to rebuild her life now that she’s singer and a mom.  yup a mom.

Our 6th installment to the series opens up when Del has come to Tyler for help since she’s being hunted by a drug lord and an ADA who’s got a god complex.  She needs Tyler to protect her (their) son so that she can write her story and hopefully wrap things up.

If only life were that simple right?  Well we learn that Tyler has always had incredibly intense feelings for Del and they haven’t reduced at all over the years.  Seeing her again is the only thing that potentially keeps him from chasing other women and seeing his son, a boy that he never knew about, well that just about turns his life upside down.  This is where Ms Shayla Black does  an amazing job of giving us a completely different perspective of Tyler than we ever had before.

The story from here is one of a roller coaster – trying to figure out how to get the story finished, keep everyone safe and figure out what they are to each other now.  We see the help of just about every character that we’ve met come into play in this story and it’s a really sweet way to continue the saga.  They truly are a family who want Tyler to be happy and now Del and Seth too.

Let’s just say that while there is closure on some pieces of the story, there are still so many open ended bits.  We know that all relationships can;t be fixed and that’s actually ok.  We see a lot of death, injury and hints at what’ to come next for some of the characters which means that this series is long lived even after a 6th book! The passion and heat between our two mains is intense per usual and that’s exactly what we need to keep things going.  Where we had BDSM and kink in the last book, we have romance and emotion in this one.  A nice way to mix things up.

All in all, a great continuation and i can’t wait to see what’s next.  We saw an awful lot of Xander again on this book like we did in #5 so i can’t wait to get to the crux of what makes him tick and hopefully his brother as well since we know there’s a murder mystery there too.  So, i hope everyone takes a read – and enjoy!

Review: Belong to Me (Wicked Lovers #5) by Shayla Black

Title: Belong To Me
Author: Shayla Black
Publisher/Year:  Penguin Publishing 8/6/13
Length:   368 Pages
Series:  Wicked Lovers #5

Overview

An FBI analyst goes undercover and gets in over her head in this Wicked Lovers novel from New York Timesbestselling author Shayla Black.

When Tara Jacobs’s fellow agent and best friend goes missing while investigating a sex ring, the FBI analyst goes undercover as a submissive in a Dallas BDSM club called Dominion. But no man can top a woman with Tara’s moxie convincingly enough—until an edgy, dangerous Dom takes control of the scene and sets her heart racing with a single, commanding glance. Too bad he’s also the man to whom she will never submit…

Navy SEAL Logan Edgington knows Tara will never forgive him for what he did in the past, but he has no doubt that he possesses the knowledge to guide her through an unfamiliar world of pleasure and pain. He alone can protect her on a dangerous mission that reveals both wicked depravities and terrible secrets. And no matter how much Tara insists their fling will end after this mission, he’s determined that she will be his once more—and this time, he’ll never let her go.

My Thoughts

In book 4 we heard a lot from Hunter about his concerns for his brother Logan, and how Logan was in such a dark place because of a broken heart all those years ago.  Add to that, he was the one to find his mother’s murdered body and well you know that he’s damaged goods.  So it’s about time that we got to see what was going on in his head.

In this 5th installment of the series – we see what Logan’s life has become – he’s on leave from his work with the SEALs and he’s getting out his energy at Dominion, a local BDSM club.  What’s interesting about him is that he will only control a scene and never finish it – and that’s where his buddy (sort of) Xander comes into play – he’s the one that will make sure the subs are fully taken care of.

It’s one day when in walks a duo of FBI agents who need training to go undercover that things get interesting.  From behind, the female who is training to be a sub reminds him of Cherry – the girl who he is broken from, and when he walks around and sees that it is her, his world comes crashing down again.  not just because of all the feelings that he has for her and has always had (i mean look at all his tattoos about her) but because she still has intense hatred towards him.

So this story that we have is a journey of how they find a way to work with each other, to be around each other when there’s clearly so much more between them, all while Cherry (or Tara) works to help solve the case that has gotten her best friend and fell agent kidnapped and sold into sex slavery.

Where they go as a couple is a tough game of cat and mouse.  There’s an attraction there that they can’t fight and it’s hot to see – knowing that Tara is walking away from her fiance because Logan is able to bring feelings to her heart that Brad never could.  There’s also the trust issue – that she has zero trust in him because of what he put her through in high school.  So it’s a hard story to read.

Add on top of that the quest to find out who’s behind the sex slave trade ring and when you learn who it is, you will both be surprised and completely expecting the outcome.  Personally i had part of the answer earlier on about unresolved cold cases and the fact that it all ties together, well it’s a nice bow put on it all.  I will say that there’s a character that i’m still on the fence about – really not sure what his motivation is and all, but i’m sure that we’ll get to see that in another story.

Anyhow, you get all the expected bits that Ms Black, our great author is known for.  Some of the hottest BDSM scenes ever, amazing connection between our characters and a story that is both loving and angst ridden.  So hopefully it’s something that will get you through this freezing cold weather since it’ll surely make you hot.  Enjoy!

Review: Surrender to Me (Wicked Lovers #4) by Shayla Black

Title: Surrender To Me
Author: Shayla Black
Publisher/Year:  Penguin Publishing 7/2/13
Length:   297 Pages
Series:  Wicked Lovers #4

Overview

A secret fantasy turns into an uncontrollable obsession in this Wicked Lovers novel from New York Timesbestselling author Shayla Black.

Hunter had everything until a bullet put his career as a Navy SEAL on hold. Restless and in need of distraction, he accepts an intriguing proposition: share an acquaintance’s girlfriend and fulfill her fantasy of a ménage. It should have been just one night of sexual adventure among three consenting adults. But Kata is like no other girl Hunter has ever met. By turns audacious and sexy, then vulnerable and aloof, she’s a heartbreaker he is determined to master. But he needs more than one night. And he wants to do it alone.

Kata never expected to leave her comfortable relationship and explore something so dangerously forbidden with a stranger. Though she tries to resist, the guilty pleasure overwhelms her and she surrenders herself, inch by inch, to the hard-core warrior who wants her for himself. Consumed by blazing desire, they’re soon threatened by the shadows of the past. To keep Kata safe, Hunter makes her a bold proposition of his own. Saying yes will destroy her heart, but saying no could cost Kata her life.

My Thoughts

I don’t know why i assumed we would get Tyler’s story next but nope – it’s Hunter.  And in this 4th installment to the series, we get to see the serious brother come to life.  This is a story of a girl who’s too independent for her own good but has a birthday fantasy handed to her, courtesy of a casual bedmate and his buddy Hunter.  What happens in vegas usually stays in vegas except when it doesn’t – and that’s what happens here.

Kata and Hunter find themselves married after an interesting of drinking (kata), pursuing (hunter) and play (both).  What happens from there, they end up  married, she runs home and he runs to follow her.  Hunter is the kind of guy that we all want in life i think.  someone who’s able to dominate and control, but someone who also has the warmest heart.  it’s unexpected in a sense because we have seen how he was with Kimber in the other books, but i think that it’s expected in the sense that there’s no way that he can be sooo hard.

Kata has a tough situation now that the story is built around.  as a probation officer, she’s got her fair share of tough stuff going on, always on edge because of what she’s had to do to thugs and the like.  well, on her first day home, she finds herself at the wrong end of an assassin, and no one knows who’s behind it.  that’s where our story really starts to take shape.

Hunter gets to do what he does best – protect, and hopefully in the same breath he’s able to show Kata that they are meant to be together and that it’s not just a whim.  the roller coaster from there of course is a rocky one since Kata has a family background of a mother who’s been controlled and dominated all her adult life and that’s not something that she wants for herself.  Too bad Hunter isn’t her step father, and Kata is of the mindset not to be open to the fact that the men are different.  It takes her mother being put in the hospital, endless attempts at her life and the fact that they still don’t know who is behind trying to kill her, and these 2 find themselves pushed together even though she fights it.

There always comes a point where great chemistry isn’t enough, and although they have amazing passion and heat, Kata is so stubborn that she’s willing to walk away.  Ms Black our amazing author has a knack for pulling us back in through the way that she writes some of these scenes – makes them so steamy that you can’t help but to read faster, but to me, it tends to also lack a bit of something that makes it deeper than just the physical.  We have Hunter trying to push Kata to admitting something more psychological but it’s not an easy fight.

We end up seeing everyone set up, a huge gunfight that a few don’t make it out of – some characters that we have known of for the better part of the story don’t survive and it’s a heartbreaking end to the installment.  I think that we all hope for a happy ending and then a lead in to the next book, so angst is always welcome.

So, my guess is that it’s Logan’s turn next since Hunter’s brother came up quite a bit here – we even got teasers of what has made him so closed off these past 5 years, so i can’t wait to see what’s up next.  Happy Friday everyone!

Review: Delicious (Wicked Lovers #3) by Shayla Black

Title: Delicious
Author: Shayla Black
Publisher/Year:  Penguin Publishing 6/4/13
Length:   282 Pages
Series:  Wicked Lovers #3

Overview

He can’t control his desire.

Luc Traverson’s entire future is planned out—but there is one very sexy obstacle in his path: Alyssa Devereaux. She’s a former exotic dancer turned strip club owner and restaurateur. Recently, Alyssa and Luc shared one night of wild abandon that left Luc terrified by his loss of self-control—and Alyssa desperate for more.

And that’s just the way she wants it.

Fulfilling a promise, Luc is the guest chef for Alyssa’s restaurant debut. The sight of her makes Luc wild, so how can he survive a week without letting loose and ravaging her—especially when she’s begging for it? Luc’s desire for her explodes when he realizes he isn’t the only man desperate to have her. But one of the others is deadly. And that’s not the end of Alyssa’s secrets…which are as dark and mysterious and enticing as her fantasies.

My Thoughts

You had to love Luc from book 2 of the series so it’s nice that we get to see his story unfold in book 3.  here we see his path cross again with Alyssa, the owner of Sexy Sirens, the girl that Deke had ‘feelings’ for at one point but the girl that Luc has always felt more for.  Where their story takes them is one that’s really quite complex

Luc is doing a return favor for Alyssa in the form of being the opening week chef of her new restaurant that she’s started in the hopes of doing something more with her life.  Of course that comes with stress since there’s clearly a HUGE attraction between them and Luc is afraid to act on it, but Alyssa is very adamant about making it a reality.  at least for a week.

So when things get deep for them, when they realize that they can’t fight each other anymore and that there’s something there, we see a great story begin for their relationship.  What’s added to the mix here though are a few more things that are based in a lack of trust.  There’s Tyler, the bouncer of the club and a guy that Luc is confident is having some type of relationship with Alyssa.  He is convinced that there’s more than just a friendship even though Alyssa denies it.  Luc knows what he sees in how Tyler acts towards her and it makes him incredibly jealous and aggressive.

Add to that someone who keeps breaking into her house, her car, her office, leaving threatening messages and notes and she’s terrified and no one knows which of the many guys around could be the culprit.  They are all on the defensive and it seems that they are constantly behind the eight ball since Alyssa keeps suffering.

Throw in a baby that Luc can’t father and doesn’t know who the father truly is, a marriage that’s destined to fail since they are both to each other about, and a crazy person from the past.  All in all we get to see quite a complex story come up.

The nice thing about this story is that we see people tear themselves down to the core in order to really become the strong people that they need to.  we also get to see other characters from previous installments get a larger role which tees up the next books in the series i;m sure.  i can’t wait to see what’s next for Hunter since i feel like there really is a heart in there.  and then there’s Tyler – the guy who deserves a happy ending even if he doesn’t believe it.  Enjoy!