Review: Ruin (Slay Quartet #2) by Laurelin Paige

Title: Ruin
Author:  Laurelin Paige
Publisher/Year:  Paige Press 10/29/19
Length:  299 Pages
Series:  Slay Quartet #2


With her heart literally in his hands, Celia will have to try and bargain with a devil.

Edward Fasbender is my captor.

Trapped on this island he owns everything on–including, it seems, me.

He told me he would break me, but I thought he meant in the bedroom. It turns out Edward is playing a completely different game.

And he won’t stop until he’s ruined me.

My Thoughts

This is quite the diabolical story that we’ve got here – everyone is playing a game, most of it as a form of revenge against someone or something, and it’s really anyone’s guess on how it will net out.

We left the first installment with a marriage, chemistry and pure hate. Celia’s plan to take Edward down was figured out since she didn’t realize how much he dug into her and her actions, and what that means is that she’s really at his complete and utter mercy. As though she wasn’t already…..

Edward on the other hand has even more motivation to take Celia and her family down outside of the games that were being played, yet it takes the bulk of this story to learn exactly what that motivation is. What we do see though is that his plan is going off track since his impression of Celia prior to keeping her hostage and trying to break her was way off base. He thought that she was spoiled and surface when in fact there are layers and layers to her that no one had expected.

Throughout this second book we watch torture at it’s finest. Celia is captive on the island, a place where all the people owe Edward everything, and his word is bible. She’s not able to convince anyone that he’s keeping her against her will, he even goes so far as to weave a story as to why she’s there and the staff is quick to support his word. As a result, we spend the first quarter/third of the story watching Celia try to escape any way that she can. It’s a valiant effort for sure, but one that we all know will end up with no success. Instead, we watch her break a bit, bend to what he wants of her and when she does that, she gets rewarded with ‘things’ and the opportunity to design parts of the house etc. Little scraps to make her hate him just a bit less.

The other bit of this is that no matter how much they hate each other, they have such a connection, such heat and chemistry that there’s really no chance in fighting it. He tries, and fails. She tries….but then again doesn’t really. So when we see those scenes, i’ll tell you that they are some of the hottest that i’ve read lately.

We learn that Edward’s kink is psychological pain of sorts – he wants to break her down not through physical submission, although that’s massively attractive to him, but instead to get inside her head and her soul and find out who she is and why. What pain in her past made her into what she is today. In doing this, we see their relationship change and we see unexpected revelations come out.

Where we are left at the end of this second book is a completely different place than we were at the end of the first book, and it’s a moment in time that give us hope, but at the same time, there are so many other factors that will make that hope fall aside quickly. I can’t wait to see how this relationship and story plays out since revenge is still quite important and death is a possibility. Off to find book 3 now – Enjoy!

Review: Rivalry (Slay Quartet #1) by Laurelin Paige

Title: Rivalry
Author:  Laurelin Paige
Publisher/Year:  Paige Press 6/4/19
Length:  296 Pages
Series:  Slay Quartet #1


Edward Fasbender is a devil.

He’s my father’s business rival, a powerful, vicious man who takes what he wants and bows to no one. I only took the meeting because I was curious. I thought he was going to offer me a job.

But that’s not what he’s after at all. His proposal is much more intriguing, and I see an opportunity. An opportunity to turn the tables and bring down the devil.

I’ve gotten in trouble playing these games before. I know when the risk is too great, when the stakes are too high. I know how to be cold and strong-willed and destructive. I know how to withstand dominant men with arrogant charm and rugged features.

Yet I can’t resist taking on Edward.

And I can’t resist the pull he has on me.

Soon I’m not so sure which side of the battle I’m standing on–if I’m the warrior meant to slay,

Or the one who will be slain.

My Thoughts

This is an interesting start to the series – giving us enough to keep us hanging on word for word, page by page, with the last line of the book giving us much to think about.

We meet our leading lady Celia who’s the daughter of a very successful media company owner. Her father has control over the entire US market and she’s been living in his shadow to an extent, and trying to forge her way forward. Her mother has these lofty goals for her – for the type of life she’s supposed to have now that she’s an ‘adult’ and yet that’s not the path that’s laid out in front of her. The expectation was that she would marry Hudson, an ex i suppose, but life didn’t work that way. So we see the fall out from that without really knowing what happened, and it’s damaged everyone. What did come from that though is The Game.

The Game is a manipulation that Celia was taught by Hudson in how to get what she wants from people, in how to ruin people and in doing so, she’s walled herself off from even herself. She’s got no emotions any longer and she’s got a black soul. Perhaps that’s why Edward is so intriguing, since he’s clearly playing his own game and he gets under her skin.

Edward on the other hand is our dominating British lead – a man who’s equally as successful as Celia’s father in every market BUT the US and cannot seem to break into the market. That’s where his play comes to life, marrying Celia in order to get what he wants from her father.

The path that this first installment takes is one where we watch what’s unfolding in front of each main character. They have their boundaries, and yet they are not boundaries at all. Edward requires complete submission and control, someone who will look nice on his arm but will never argue or contradict him. Celia on the other hand is the complete opposite of that, except for when Edward gets a tone in his voice and she has no choice but to follow. In agreeing to his terms, she lays the ground work for her next Game. She’s intent on ruining him and how that will play out, we don’t know yet. What we do know though is that she thought she was under cover when she was trying to gain intel on Edward, but the last line of the book makes us think that her cover was blown. So…..we know that the intent is for this marriage to last as short as possible and that everything that Edward wants will be his. What ii wonder though is whether he knew what he was getting into with her and whether he’s prepared to play defense since she’s far smarter than he’s given her credit for. Off to book 2 now – enjoy!

Review: The Sham (Convenience #1) by Stella Gray

Title: The Sham
Author:  Stella Gray
Publisher/Year:  Stella Gray 5/5/20
Length:  235 Pages
Series:  Convenience #1


Our marriage is a sham. I’m the first to admit it. Only privately, of course.

Notorious playboy Luka Zoric needs a wife, and the good PR it brings.

I just need the career boost being his top model will give me. It’s a win-win–on paper. But since when has real life been simple?

His jealousy makes me crazy.

The control he maintains over my body is unacceptable.

I really shouldn’t be so turned on by it.

But there’s more to both me and my husband than meets the eye.

And it isn’t long before I’m wondering–which of us has made the bigger mistake?

My Thoughts

It’s funny – i was going to read this book before the Arranged series and i’m glad that i didn’t. That’s the set up to this, the prelude to this bit of the story and it really helps set the stage.

We met Luka in the first book – he’s the younger son of the KZM dynasty and a playboy at that. Throughout the first series, we saw him as a drunk, as a guy who’s out for the next quick affair, usually with a model from the agency and really just a PR nightmare. Now that the brothers are in charge of things, we see that Stefan and Luka need to turn things around in the agency’s image and while Stefan has done a great job from a business perspective, Luka now needs to help give them a more human image….resulting in another arranged marriage.

That’s where Brooklyn comes into the mix. These two met a few years back when Brooklyn was trying to make her big break on the modeling scene which resulted in a string of lies from Luka and a great one night stand for these two. Fast forward 3 years, and we’re back at the newly formed DRM agency where Brooklyn is trying to get her shot at the open audition.

What all the girls soon realize is that this isn’t a usual audition, the girls are being asked unique and personal questions, and this is all for the hunt for Luka’s wife. Brooklyn checks all the boxes and we get to watch the push pull throughout the first half of the book between these two. There’s chemistry between them but Brooklyn is so upset about how Luka clearly doesn’t remember her, and Luka on the other hand is sooo attracted to her that he’d be dumb not to remember her. Mind you, all this brings out jealousy and tension that’s really intense and unexpected on both parts of the couple.

The journey from here is a roller coaster. We watch the games that they play with each other because it seems like they both are holding onto this notion of a temp marriage, but there’s history there, there’s chemistry and need and clearly stronger and deeper emotions that anyone expected.

Throughout this though, there’s also a secret that Brooklyn is hiding that i caught onto pretty quick and i’m sure most others did as well. I don’t know what motivated her to get into the situation that she’s in, but it’s one that’s going to hurt a lot of people, especially her new family, and i can’t wait to see how she gets out of this one.

We get a lot of the same heat and passion levels that we saw in the former series. There’s a chemistry and intensity that Ms Gray writes that really keeps us engaged. The moments that this couple steals together, in closets, in bedrooms, anywhere – they are on fire and that’s exactly what’s needed to keep a story like this moving. So…now i have to wait until July to get book 2, but in the meantime, you should read this and the other series and enjoy!

Review: The Choice (Arranged #3) by Stella Gray

Title: The Choice
Author:  Stella Gray
Publisher/Year:  Stella Gray 11/25/19
Length:  236 Pages
Series:  Arranged #3


On the day my husband and I committed to each other, I didn’t wear a white dress.

We didn’t exchange rings.

There was no audience or minister to witness our union.

Only the two of us.

We swore to put each other first, to take on the evils our families had perpetuated together. Side by side.

But that was before the past returned to haunt us.

Now everything has changed.

Stefan can’t have both his past and my future.

I can’t ask him to choose.

And neither of us can do what has to be done without the other. It’s an impossible choice, but we’ve run out of time.

My Thoughts

When we were left at the end of book 2, Stefan’s past was paraded in front of his face at a time that could not have been more destructive, with implications that challenged everything that he knew. His father was behind it all, the past and the present and i think that it’s clear to us that there’s no length that he will go to that’s too far.

Anja – the woman that Stefan loved all those years ago is the woman that’s in front of him now. Not only has she come out of hiding, but she’s come with a seven or eight year old son – the perfect age for when she left Stefan. Meaning…Stefan has a child that he didn’t know about. And to add insult to injury, when Stefan was sure that she was running to protect herself, it turns out that she was likely under his nose – because his father had paid her to stay away, and had paid to keep her cared for all these years – waiting for the right moment to bring her and the boy out.

So we spend much of this third installment watching how this has implications on everyone in the plot. What choices can Stefan make that will care for everyone involved. He’s clear to himself that his intentions towards Tori are the same, that she’s the person he loves and the person that he needs, yet Tori being the young girl that she is, she feels that she has to step away. She puts on a brave face for a while of course, but she knows that she has to back away since there’s a family involved now, and she can’t be the one to break it up.

Anja is the pawn in all this – brought back under false pretenses, of course all at the manipulations of Konstantine. Thinking that she has a chance to be with Stefan again, thinking that they will have a happy ending, but that’s not necessarily the case- until a fantastic day at the zoo makes it a possibility.

Throughout this finale to their story, we’re on a roller coaster of emotions. Trying to determine when you’ve fought enough to say that you’ve done all you can and walk away from emotions. Don’t forget the plot to take down the dark side of KZM which is still in play, yet much more challenging now that there are all these other distractions.

Someone in this story dies – hearts are broken and families are torn apart. What we get in addition though is a lead into the next series that i’ve picked up, giving us a glimpse into what could be a new reality for some of our characters and what we hope will be a happy ending. All while enjoying some of the steamiest scenes of this series yet. There’s chemistry that keeps bringing characters together, and at the same time, pulling them apart.

So, on that note, i’m excited to see what comes next in The Sham, another series by our great author and i’ll be back soon im sure with that review. Enjoy!

Review: The Secret (Arrangement #2) by Stella Gray

Title: The Secret
Author:  Stella Gray
Publisher/Year:  Stella Gray 10/14/19
Length:  204 Pages
Series:  Arranged #2


On the day I was married, I promised to love, honor, and obey my husband Stefan.

Little did I know how literally I would mean obeying.

Stefan tells me what to do, and I do it. There are questions asked, but I always submit in the end.

It would hurt less if I hadn’t started falling for him.

It was supposed to be pretend. But the secrets we now share are too real, and they’re crumbling every piece of who I thought I was.

If only Stefan was the man I thought he was.

If only I weren’t so powerless.

But there’s one thing I have that he wants.

My body.

And I’ll do anything it takes to right the wrongs I’ve discovered.

My Thoughts

This story gets more twisted and complex as we go on. We know that there was such hopefulness and perhaps quite a bit of innocence in the first installment as we know that Tori really is just eighteen and doesn’t have much life experience. She really felt a connection to Stefan and hoped that he felt the same but what she saw throughout her time with him and on her honeymoon leads her to see otherwise and to realize that life is definitely not what she wanted so she has to forge her own path.

Throughout this second installment, we watch Tori get to find her own way – find her footing in school and really start to excel. She’s doing well in her classes and has friends that are willing to give her the benefit of the doubt even though her husband embarrassed her in ways that weren’t ok. She befriends a guy Gavin who seems to have romantic feelings towards her even though she holds true to the notion of being married and we watch how that brings out all sorts of problems through the book.

Stefan on the other hand continues to be everything that we expect from him. He’s working all the time and it seems like he’d rather be anywhere but with Tori. We’ve seen the insane chemistry and attraction that they have and we see how intimacy some how brings them together but there are so many times in this journey with them that it’s not quite enough.

Stefan feels the need to protect Tori at all costs and that means having her followed as well as tracking her. That breaks her trust especially when it brings out insane jealousy on his part and we see every little thread of this relationship unravel. Every time it seems like they’ve come to an understanding of what their relationship will be, they break it.

About half way through this story – we see that the come to a compromise – as a result of a night out gone wrong. Tori was out with Gavin and some school friends and drinks too much, essentially gets drugged and Stefan comes to her rescue. There’s thought that Gavin was the one who drugged her and that makes this story even more interesting. We don’t exactly know where things will go but i think that we can’t wait to see it.

Tori has moved into another bed room, then back in with Stefan….their lives are pulled apart and then brought back together. Their bond is now forged strong, and that is proven again and again, even with Stefan’s father comes at them, trying to strangle Tori and threaten her. It’s not until the closing scene of this second book that we get to see what he’s really capable of. Stefan has opened up to Tori and shared his secrets and as a result, those secrets are paraded in front of him now with an added unexpected surprise that we don’t yet know what it means and what the outcome will be.

Book 3 is called the Choice and clearly it’s obvious that there’s not just this one choice that has to be made, but several others that will be put in front of everyone in order to get us to a point that brings closure. We don’t know yet who’s on what side and who’s working against Tori (and Stefan for that matter) and we can only hope that it unfolds in a dynamic and exciting way. I’m excited to see where this story goes in this next book and i’m going to root for the romance of things that everyone ends up happy, but given this latest twist, i’m not sure that it’s possible. so on that note, i’m off to read the next installment and enjoy!

Review: The Deal (Arranged Series #1) by Stella Gray

Title: The Deal
Author:  Stella Gray
Publisher/Year:  Stella Gray 9/10/19
Length:  235 Pages
Series:  Arranged #1


On my eighteenth birthday my father, the senator, gives me the gift he thinks every little girl dreams of.

The man of my dreams, and the wedding to match.

Stefan Zoric is heir to an elite worldwide modeling agency. Practically a prince.

My arrangement is simple, as far as sham marriages go.

I give him my virginity, behave as the perfect wife and he’ll pay for the college degree my father found irrelevant.

But I don’t want to be the perfect wife.

I want him to want me the way I want him.

I want him to confide in me.

But Stefan has secrets that he holds close, dangerous secrets.

And soon I’m wondering what kind of devil have I made a deal with?

My Thoughts

I don’t think that i’ve ever read anything by Ms Stella Gray before, but I have to say that i’ve really enjoyed the introduction here to the Arranged Series. It’s the expected dynamic of the innocent being given to the powerful man for business reasons yet there’s something unique here.

We find our journey starting on Tory’s eighteenth birthday where she’s finally an adult and she’s trying to find her own path in the world outside of her Senator father’s and yet, just when she thinks that there’s hope, she’s thrown for a loop and finds herself under the finger of another man. Granted a very very attractive man.

Enter Stefan – the man who’s powerful and sexy and controlling and the one that we end up wanting to root for but the same man who does everything i his power to make us hate him. He agrees to a marriage in order to get the role in his family’s business that he feels that he deserves to have and i think that perhaps all the dark and dirty that we learn is the reason that he wants control. to make changes that are for the better.

This first installment to the series takes us from the wedding to a European honeymoon that has it’s fair share of ups and downs, more downs in fact than ups. We see Stefan’s devotion to his work at the sacrifice of Tori’s attention, leaving her essentially locked in a hotel room not able to see the amazing places that he’s taking her to. He seems afraid of her innocence and no matter what she does to lure him in, to catch his attraction, we find that it’s impossible for her to succeed – making her think that she’s not a woman and not the wife that will even manage to be in a relationship that is worth surviving.

One of the nice things about this story is that our author does a fantastic job of making sure that we sense the chemistry and intensity between them, and it amps things up that much more until we get to the point of no return. The way that these steamy scenes are written are so hot that you can’t help but to wish that you were the one in the relationship experiencing everything.

As this book progresses, we see there are moments of hope, we see corners turn as Tori gets into her school program and finds a rhythm with Stefan. We want to believe that there’s a way to make this into a real relationship instead of a temporary arrangement for the better good of business, but that all crashes and burns when Tori overhears something and realizes that she’s the only one who didn’t know about it. We’re left on a cliff and i can’t wait to see what comes out and happens in book 2. Enjoy!

Cover Re-Reveal: Owen (Vale #1) by Sarah Darlington & Alora Kate

Title: OWEN
Authors: Alora Kate & Sarah Darlington

When a beautiful woman grabs you, presses her soft lips to yours, and strips off all her clothes … you don’t think, you act.

I had no idea my brother came early with his girlfriend to our family’s cabin in Colorado.

I had no idea she wasn’t just another girl I’d picked up at the bar.

I’d been drinking.
These were all excuses. And by a stroke of luck, no one caught us together, and Joslyn didn’t seem to notice the difference between me and my twin. So maybe all is right with the world. Maybe I can pretend nothing happened and move past this.

Except…I like this girl.

Available for purchase on all platforms…

Sarah Darlington

Sarah Darlington was born in Colorado and grew up all over the United States. These days, she calls Virginia home, where she lives with her husband, two kids, and large dog. The best word to describe Sarah is ‘creative.’ She’s passionate about designing, crafting, and photography. But most of all… she loves creating stories through her writing. Her romance books are sexy and heart-gripping at their core, guaranteed to make you swoon. Any of them can be read as a stand-alone, but all are connected within the same world.

Facebook Group | Instagram | Bookbub | Goodreads

Alora Kate

“I hear voices in my head and I love that its totally okay.” – Alora Kate Alora Kate is a multi-genre author who likes to be bold and original; stepping outside of the box and bringing her readers fresh characters from all parts of life. She’s a mother, college student, photographer, and graphic designer. She resides in northern MN with her son, where she plans to stay for a long time despite the cold winters.


Review: Lie (Betrothed #8) by Penelope Sky

Title: Lie
Author:  Penelope Sky
Publisher/Year:  Barnes & Nobles Press 6/2/20
Length:  198 Pages
Series:  Betrothed #8


Why did I let her go?

I can’t answer that. How do you expect me to answer that when I don’t even know? I’m the Skull King. I never let ANYONE go.

When I see her at the bar six weeks later, she’s still the feisty handful that I remember. She owns the room in that tight dress and that fire. Now that she’s not dirty in a locked cage…she’s stunning.

She cleans up good.

I decide to say hello…and see what happens.

My Thoughts

I love how we were introduced to Catalina’s story and what it ultimately means is that things are going to get very complicated very fast. We knew there was some type of connection between them when Heath realized that she was more than he first thought – and seeing their ‘relationship’ evolve throughout this story shows us that there’s much more than meets the eye.

When we first met Heath, youll remember that it was in Balto’s story and there wasn’t much that Heath had to redeem himself. He was rough around the edges, didn’t really have a sensitive notion at all in his being and even knowing the story around who Cassini was both to Balto and outside of him, there wasn’t much that made you want to like him. We saw him do things for his brother to help when needed and as a result, when. Balto stepped down as the Skull King, Heath stepped in.

He’s not the typical king and we saw that through his interactions with Damian. Sure, he was out for the money piece of things since that’s how the Skull Kings made their business thrive, but he also had vendettas and revenge to deal with. He also has Vox in the back of things to make life miserable. Vox being the Skull King that felt that he was next in line to be king and will take whatever opportunity he can to take the throne.

Catalina on the other hand is exactly as we remembered and is exactly how all other leading ladies are in Penelope Sky stories. We see how independent and strong she is. how she is able to take care of herself and needs no one, yet has this idea in her mind of how her life should be. She’s made the mistake of seeing the gypsy as well and feels like she’s got to follow that premonition to a T since the prophecies have played out for Hades and Damian.

This first real installment of their story is one that’s rough. We see that Catalina continues to avoid Heath, push off his advances because of what he has against Damian as well as what he put her through when she was kidnapped. It doesn’t matter that there’s an insane attraction between them, it’s still something that’s never going to work out.

Heath of course is persistent and we see walls come down. We see what could be between them and we see how there are still far too many obstacles to make it work as it should. It’s not until Catalina is trafficked that Heath comes to her rescue, and there’s a chance for whatever it is that they want to make their relationship to become.

If only Damian wasn’t an issue and he didn’t continue to come at Heath every chance he could get. We know that it can’t possibly end well for everyone and when we watch Catalina get put into a position where she’s devoted to her brother and yet wants to protect Heath, someone’s going to die and that’s not good for anyone.

We’re left off watching a plot go wrong, and then we don’t get to see the after affects. – that’ll come in the next installment which i think i have to wait a month for. So…i’ll be patient, try to find something else to read in the meantime and enjoy this nice weather. Enjoy!

Review: Forever (Betrothed #7) by Penelope Sky

Title: Forever
Author:  Penelope Sky
Publisher/Year:  Barnes & Nobles Press 6/2/20
Length:  204 Pages
Series:  Betrothed #7


She’s mine once again but she’s practically a ghost. 

She’s just using me…not that I mind. 

But her indifference is suffocating. I mean nothing to her…less than what she used to mean to me. Admissions of regret and apologies aren’t enough to fix it. 

I have to return to the gypsy…and hope for the best. 

My Thoughts

I don’t think that the summary really does a good job here in describing what your’e going to read. In this 6th book of the series, it’s not that Anna is indifferent to Damian, but she’s in a tough spot still. She’s made her decisions in life because that’s what she felt was the best thing at the time and yet she’s miserable. Everyone’s miserable.

We spend much of this next installment watching everyone go through the motions knowing that they have to bide their time in order to get what they want. Liam continues to be a problem, he’s got this hold over Anna that makes no sense to anyone, and yet it’s still there. He doesn’t yet realize that Damian is the man that holds Anna’s heart until he actually does figure it out and then we watch the downfall of everything. He’s out for blood, Anna won’t let Damian kill him, and that means that someone’s going to die and the who dynamic of our characters will shift.

If that weren’t enough, the Skull King Heath is in the mix yet again. He continues to have this vendetta against Damian and that means that he’s not going to give up his quest for torture and revenge and insane need to just make the poor guy miserable.

Throughout this series, we’ve always felt that Hades and Damian could figure out how to get through anything, how to pull in the right resources to get what they need done, yet in this book, that’s not going to happen. Heath and Liam are on the same side. Bones is out of the game, and while Hades will always be there for his best friend, he’s got a family to think about and that means he’s not as ready to put his life on the line.

There are moments of despair when we see that Liam can’t seem to keep it in his pants and Anna learns about his infidelity again. We hope that it means that she can finally be with Damian, but that’s too easy. She’s too moral and wants to put time and space between any decision that she makes. Damian is patient, but that also means that he’s suffering.

At the same time, we watch Liam realize that Damian is the guy that has come between them and that means that he’s out for death. He comes after Damian time and time again, and it’s not until he breaks into Damian’s house and there’s a gun battle that the story changes and not in a good way. Where that one resolves is the expected way yet the path that they take to get there is unorthodox.

Then there’s the involvement of Heath in all this. Liam engages him to kidnap Catalina in order to get under Damian’s skin and what we always knew about Catalina is that she’s tough and she gives them a run for their money. She’s not the kind of girl who will give up easily and we watch that one with sheer enjoyment. The way that her involvement is used in this story gives us a direct and clear path to see what book 8 will be and i can only imagine how poorly all this will go down since there’s nothing good that can come out of where i think this story will go.

So on that note, i can’t wait to dive into the next book since this story keeps getting better and better. Enjoy!