Review: Wildcard (Warcross #2) by Marie Lu

Title: Wildcard
Author: Marie Lu
Publisher/Year:  Penguin Publishing 9/18/18
Length:   290 Page
Series:  Warcross #2

Overview

Overview

Wildcard (Warcross Series #2) by Marie Lu

An Instant New York Times Bestseller!

Return to the immersive, action-packed world of Warcross in this thrilling sequel from #1 New York Timesbestselling author Marie Lu

Emika Chen barely made it out of the Warcross Championships alive. Now that she knows the truth behind Hideo’s new NeuroLink algorithm, she can no longer trust the one person she’s always looked up to, who she once thought was on her side.

Determined to put a stop to Hideo’s grim plans, Emika and the Phoenix Riders band together, only to find a new threat lurking on the neon-lit streets of Tokyo. Someone’s put a bounty on Emika’s head, and her sole chance for survival lies with Zero and the Blackcoats, his ruthless crew. But Emika soon learns that Zero isn’t all that he seems–and his protection comes at a price.

Caught in a web of betrayal, with the future of free will at risk, just how far will Emika go to take down the man she loves?

My Thoughts

OH MY GOODNESS.  that’s literally all i can say after reading this finale to the story.  I’ve always loved how Ms Lu has this ability to twist a story in so many unexpected directions, and this 2nd book of the Warcross saga does not disappoint.  It’s intense, it’s heated, you learn so many things that are completely unexpected and you want to hope for a happy ending.  yet you knwo that there’s no way that it can happen.

As you will recall, we were left at the point in the story when Em’s life was completely turned upside down just as everyone else in the worlds was too – once the new lenses that were shipped around the world for the NeuroLink synced everyone to Hideo’s system.  He used Em’s desire to make the world better and to be a good bounty hunter against her, and she played right into his hands.

Much of the world is now under the control of the link.  they are forced to be honest, forced out of crime, forced out of anything negative all because Hideo needs to find out what happened to his brother all those years ago.

She’s so good at what she does though that she gets sucked into the world and life that Zero had created, partially because of curiosity sure, but partially because she was forced.  He sent protection after her and that then turned into Em being forced into an organization known as the Blackcoats.  The group that it seems Zero is leading.  It’s also when Em makes the connection that Zero and Sasuke (Hideo’s brother) are one and the same, and then the story gets even more complicated.

All of this kick starts a roller coaster of a story.  Zero and the Blackcoats are not at all what they seem, and the girl who’s been protecting EM, a girl named Jax must have more of a conscience than the others because she reveals the back story, the history and the future goals of the organization, probably because she knows more than anyone what this life can do to someone.  She also reveals some secrets that completely blow our minds.

Whatever you thought was real, it’s not.  Whatever you hoped was going to be the outcome – it’s not.  Those that you wanted to see together?  impossible.  so from that point on, mind blown.

What’s so nice about the way that our author writes the story though is that the same folks who were pivotal to the first book are absolutely part of this story.  There’s no way that we would have made any progress, shaped the future without the Phoenix Riders, and they are as much a part of Ems life as they are ours.  we get to see parts of their stories as well which not only makes us love them more, but makes us get them and understand the bond that they share together.

The other challenge here is that all you want as a reader is a way to humanize the bad guys in a story.  Zero, Hideo to name a few but also the Blackcoats, Henka..the list goes on.  Ms Lu somehow manages it, and gives us such unique paths for each, in such a creatively drawn, illustrative and colorful world.  I”m in awe of what i’ve read.

We’re given closure here in this 2nd book – we see how outcomes took shape along with the implications of the world around them with these changes.  it’s powerful and emotional and enjoyable all the same.  You really do have to check out this story, and read book 1 first if you haven’t because i can say for sure that this is one of my favorite books read to date and you all know that i’ve read a LOT.  ENJOY!

Review: Two Dark Reigns (Three Dark Crowns) by Kendare Blake

Title: Two Dark Reigns
Author: Kendare Blake
Publisher/Year:  HarperCollins 9/4/18
Length:   329 Pages
Series:  Three Dark Crowns #3

Overview

Queen Katharine has waited her entire life to wear the crown. But now that she finally has it, the murmurs of dissent grow louder by the day. There’s also the alarming issue of whether or not her sisters are actually dead—or if they’re waiting in the wings to usurp the throne.

Mirabella and Arsinoe are alive, but in hiding on the mainland and dealing with a nightmare of their own: being visited repeatedly by a specter they think might be the fabled Blue Queen. Though she says nothing, her rotting, bony finger pointing out to sea is clear enough: return to Fennbirn.

Jules, too, is in a strange place—in disguise. And her only confidants, a war-gifted girl named Emilia and her oracle friend Mathilde, are urging her to take on a role she can’t imagine filling: a legion-cursed queen who will lead a rebel army to Katharine’s doorstep.

This is an uprising that the mysterious Blue Queen may have more to do with than anyone could have guessed—or expected.

My Thoughts

This story has truly taken us on a crazy journey and it’s one that’s not even close to being complete or clear.  We all knew that there was no good that could come out of Katherine being Queen, but the other sisters knew that they couldn’t not stay and they were not about to let themselves be killed for a history that they don’t believe anymore.

The third installment of the series brings us to a point in time where everything that everyone believed to be necessary wasn’t the case, that there are parts to their history that have been misrepresented, and as a result, the future for the queens is all a mess.

Katherine unfortunately has the position of being Queen at a time where she’s known to be the Undead Queen, and one who has little control over the people.  She tried replacing some folks on the Black Council in the hopes of looking stronger, making the right alliances and getting people to respect her.  Sadly for her, the dead queens inside her have a different plan, and we see how that really starts to play out throughout this story.

Then there are the other sisters, Mira and Arsinoe.  They fled with Billy to the mainland and somehow made it through the mist.  They’re trying to live life as they want, but i think that we can all agree that it would be far too easy.  Mira adapts a bit better since she’s always been one to play by the rules, but even she begins to see the shine come off of life there.  She’s not able to use her powers and that’s something that is hard for her since changing the weather was always something that calmed her.

Arsinoe on the other hand is a woman who will never conform and that just piles on the problems.  She wants to be with Billy and he with her, yet his family is not having it.  Arsinoe won’t wear dresses and she’s not of the right lineage so they continue to be pulled apart.  she feels like she has no purpose until she starts to be visited by a queen in her dreams.  What the message is though – no one truly knows.

What we do know is that it takes us back to the island, where we don’t just find Katherine trying to maintain the crown, but we find Jules, who is now dubbed the Legion Queen becoming the leader of the Rebellion.  There are pockets of people on the island who are with the rebellion and believe that Jules is the rightful leader.  The question from me of course is why is Jules so powerful?  is she perhaps a Blue Queen herself or is she perhaps of a unique parentage?

I had assumed that this story was a trilogy and when we were about 75% through, i wondered how our author Kendare Blake would wrap it all up.  Only to learn that nope – there’s more.  Anything that you thought was going to happen, did and perhaps did not, and we are left on a cliff.

Peityr wants to get the dead queens out of Katherine, but will that happen and if it does, what of Katherine will remain?  he takes the information from Madrigal, Jules’ mother to understand what Low Magic to use to get them out, but i think that there’s catastrophe looming.

Mira and Arsinoe seemed so close throughout this installment, but i’m forced to wonder if that’s sustainable now that they seem to have such different motivations.  Arsinoe is also hiding some key information that she’s learned from her visions and dreams and knowing that there is no good outcome from what she knows, i think we’re gearing up for something horrible

Jules seems to have lost her mind and it’s unclear if anyone will be able to help her gain control.  without a figurehead, will the Rebellion survive and overthrow?

so many questions and so few answers.  i can’t wait to see where the next book takes us since there will certainly be few happy endings and a lot more death and despair.  Enjoy!

Review: Allied (Ruined #3) by Amy Tintera

Title: Allied
Author: Amy Tintera
Publisher/Year:  HarperCollings 5/1/18
Length:   416 Pages
Series:  Ruined #3

Overview

Emelina Flores and her sister, Olivia, were determined to bring peace to the people of Ruina. But as the war for liberation raged on, what triumph and freedom meant to Em and Olivia slowly changed. As Olivia’s violence and thirst for vengeance became her only ambition, Em was left to pick up the pieces.

But it’s not only Em who is upset by Olivia’s increased violence. Other members of the Ruined army are beginning to see the cracks, and soon a small group of them defects from Olivia’s army and joins Em instead.

The two sisters are soon pitted against each other in an epic battle for the kingdom and the future, and only one will win.

My Thoughts

Such a great bit of closure to this story – one that i forgot about if i’m honest because i read the first 2 in quick succession and then had to wait for the third to come out.  Looking back, it’s been about a year – and should have honestly been shorter had i not had baby brain and realized that the final book came out back in May.  anyway – it is what it is.

So here we are, at the finale of the series – really wondering who was going to end up where, what friendships and romances would stay intact, if families could remain true.  Which kingdoms would come out on top and above all else, if good would overpower evil.

Em has too much pressure on her shoulders.  Ever since she took on the role of pretending to be the Vallos princess in book 1 to get into Lera and marry Cas – we saw that she was meant for greatness and that it would also mean that she would have to sacrifice a lot.  she lost a best friend back at the beginning, and found herself in a world where she was feared, yet had no power to back it up, cherished but uncertain that she was cherished for the right reasons and so ambitious to make the world a better place.

In this third installment, Em is with the rest of the Ruined, including Olivia as they plan a way to overpower Olso, stave off that attack, find a way to truly get peace with Lera through the help of Cas, and then figure out how to potentially find a way for the Ruined to have some type of life.  Olivia of course makes things impossible since she’s got a huge chip on her shoulder.  She was locked up for so long and yet no matter that Em got her out, she’s still looking for blood.  Em can’t even control her and we see throughout this story that even those who were on her side begin to question if there’s even any point to going her route.

Em and Aren continue to try to pacify her while building peace, and i think that had it not been for Aren, we would have seen Em crack.  Thankfully he’s the most powerful Ruined ever and that means that people stand on her side because of trust.  In this story too though we get to see more of Aren evolve.  We knew that he was a great and solid friend to Em, but we see a side of him where love comes into play – Iria is who he wants yet she’s taken back to Olso, thrown in jail and potentially left to be killed.  Seeing the side of Aren where he will go against his best friend to go save Iria, well it shows a softer side.  Add on top of that the friendship that starts to bud with Galo, Cas’s head of the guards, and you have to wonder if the world has flipped upside down.

The nice thing about this third book is that it’s not all about battle scenes,we get to see depth and engagement between the characters.  there are so many supporting story lines with Galo/Matteo, Aren/Iria ,Cas/Em Em/Olivia, August and everyone.  There’s a new generation trying to make the world into something different and while everyone is inexperienced in how to gain and hold power, we can see the best of intentions.

Of course though, we know that it all comes down to a huge battle, where characters that we’ve spent time with throughout all the books are shot at, killed, potentially changed forever and seeing how quickly the end pulls up once we get to the final chapters brings us to a conclusion like a bullet.

I think that we got all the resolution that we needed.  The smart thing here that our author did is that she didn’t give us a happy happy ending with everything all resolved.  We never find out a few answers on things, both for the main characters or the secondary folks.  Without spoiling things too – we never find out why Em is useless and if she really is useless.  part of me was really hoping that there was some trick like how Aren’s power worked that we would learn.  but i guess it’s not meant to be here.  oh well – but on that note – hopefully you guys take a read through this and enjoy!

Review: Please Me (Stark Ever After #5) by J Kenner

Title: Please Me
Author: J Kenner
Publisher/Year:  EvilEye Concepts 8/28/18
Length:   120 Pages
Series:  Stark Ever After #5

Overview

Each day with Damien is a miracle, each moment with our children a gift. And yet I cannot escape the growing sense that a storm is gathering, threatening to pull me away, to rip us apart. To drag me down, once again, into a darkness to which I swore never to return.

I have to fight it—I know that. And I am waging the battle with of all my heart. But it is Damien who is my strength, and we both know that the only way to push away the darkness is for him to fold me in his arms and claim me completely. And for me to surrender myself, once again, to the fire that burns between us.

My Thoughts

I love continuing the story with Nikki and Damien – their main series was amazing and every spin off that they appear in is just as great.  so getting these little novellas where we have a chance to see another moment in their lives makes things even better.

We are at the point in their lives where their family is strong, they have their two little girls, Nikki’s company is doing so well and she’s managed to find a way to balance work and family life by moving her office to the bungalow that Damien built for her.  Her relationship with Damien is stronger than ever – until she begins to question what secrets he’s hiding since he’s clearly dealing with something.

The loving wife that Nikki is, she plans a weekend away so they can find their passion and heat together without kids, but what was supposed to be a relaxing weekend turns out to be an explosion waiting to happen.  What comes out of it may change their lives forever – and you have to read on to find out what happens and what that means for them moving forward.  Enjoy!

Review: His True Queen (Smoke & Mirrors #2) by Jodi Ellen Malpas

Title: His True Queen
Author: Jodi Ellen Malpas
Publisher/Year:  EverafterRomance 8/7/18
Length:   400 Pages
Series:  Smoke & Mirrors #2

Overview

A beautiful, defiant princess. A renowned, sinfully gorgeous Hollywood actor.

A love affair that is sure to rock the British Monarchy…and the world.

Their love affair began intensely and passionately. Princess Adeline and Josh Jameson knew any future together was impossible—her status as a princess and his standing as a Hollywood heartthrob dictated that. But the heights of pleasure they could take each other to were wildly unanticipated by them both. Josh’s absolute disregard for Adeline’s status quickly drew her into his hedonistic world. And her perfectly worn mask and false façade captivated Josh to the point of obsession. The boundaries became blurred. The physical became emotional. Their hearts became entwined.

But a cruel turn of events rips their worlds apart and Adeline is more bound than ever by the protocol and expectations her title commands. The army of royal advisors who guard the secrets and scandals of the Monarchy will go to unthinkable lengths to keep the smoke and mirrors in place…and Josh away from Adeline. She knows the power she possesses comes with agonizing sacrifices. Walking away from Josh devastates her…but it keeps him safe from the corrupt institution that has ruled her life.

Yet Josh refuses to lose the woman who has consumed him so completely, distorted his boundaries, and stripped him of all sensibility.

Will the power of the British Monarchy triumph? Or will their fierce love for each other change the course of history?

My Thoughts

I don’t know how she does it – our amazing author.  As if the story wasn’t complicated enough coming out of the tragedy at the end of the first installment, there’s a twist that i never even fathomed.  and i pride myself on being able to figure out the hook fairly consistently.

In this 2nd (and final) installment to the series, Adeline finds herself bound to her country – the Queen who not mourns the loss of her family, but mourns the loss of her love since that’s really what’s at stake here.  She cannot be with the one person that makes her feel free, and that’s more painful than anything that she’s forced to deal with.

Throughout this story, we see quite a few things happening here.  Outside of Adeline and Josh, there are so many more players that are trying to fight their way to the top.

Queen Mother for one – her secret is out but not – with her husband’s passing, the secret revealed that Eddie isn’t the King’s true son, and his father is Davenport.  A man who worked for Kings for generations.  While we had zero warm and fuzzy feelings for him in the first book, he turns out to be quite the human being in the 2nd.  Someone that we rely on as a voice of reason, until he chooses to remove himself from the mix

Then there are Sir Don, and David Sampson, men who have their own agendas in the royal realm and agendas that take very malicious turns.  I think that it’s safe to say that there are no redeeming qualities for these two.  or are there?

Then there’s Haydon Sampson – the man who everyone has chosen to wed Adeline, yet she’s not even remotely inclined to hear that.  She does all in her power and in her despair to be gentle with him – to put him down gently, but he shows another side that is shocking and unexpected.

And poor Prince Eddie – he’s gone off the deep end now that his life is not at all what he thought it was and he’s forced to maintain a party line in order to save face and have Adeline take the thrown.

Then we get to our amazing couple.  A pair that will do whatever it takes to be together, sacrificing everything for just those few stolen moments here and there.  Even with so many people trying to set them up for failure, trying to keep them apart, the love and passion that they share is something that there’s no chance of breaking.  Until something comes between them and causes a rift that is impossible to rebound from.

So as expected, we get such a romantic story – one that has depth and momentum, with all the customary bits of heat, passion, chemistry and spark that our author is known for.  Add to that family drama, tradition and heritage and people who are out for ‘blood’ so to speak, and we get an amazing culmination of sots to this story.  As you read it, you must consider that however you think/hope it will end, you will be surprised!  Enjoy!

Review: The Controversial Princess (Smoke & Mirrors #1) by Jodi Ellen Malpas

Title: The Controversial Princess
Author: Jodi Ellen Malpas
Publisher/Year:  EverafterRomance 5/22/18
Length:   340 Pages
Series:  Smoke & Mirrors #1

Overview

Her father is The King of England.

She is The Controversial Princess.

Regarded as down to earth by the press and rebellious by The King, Princess Adeline refuses to bow to the royal expectations her title carries. She knows better than anyone that the united front of the royal family is nothing but smoke and mirrors – lies and secrets masked by power and privilege. She wants no part of it, and she will never surrender to The King’s demand to marry a man she does not love. But despite Adeline’s determination to retain her free will, she remains deeply unfulfilled, feeling caged and suffocated.

That is until she meets Josh Jameson. Drawn in by his confidence, Adeline is soon captivated by the scandalously sexy American actor. His ability to penetrate her defences overwhelms her – his touch is pure fire, and his allure overpowering. Nothing has ever made her feel so alive in a world where she’s otherwise slowly drowning. However, while Josh may be Hollywood royalty, he’s not actual royalty, and Adeline knows The King and his advisors will do everything in their power to keep them apart.

But Josh Jameson becomes the princess’s ultimate vice.

And although she bows to no one, she bows to him.

My Thoughts

I love getting the monthly updates from Goodreads on ‘new releases from authors you’ve read’ since i wouldn’t have found this one for a bit at least without it.  So in this story, we get the introduction to a new series of sorts – featuring our main character – Adeline, a princess who has been forced into so many constraints by her family, yet as she’s grown up, she’s really having trouble coping with the lack of freedom.  You can’t blame the girl at all for that – she’s thirty, the youngest of three, she knows that she won’t ever have the thrown and she’s an utter disappointment to her father the King.

There are so many ties from this story to pop-culture if i have to admit it.  We have the duke and duchess of Sussex as characters (although not Harry and Megan), and we have Adeline who reminds me exactly of a character from the show on E! the Royals.  But other than that, we have what’s a really sweet story.

Adeline manages to make due with her station in life, trying to be happy with a friendship with her cousin Matilda, and the most amazing security lead – Damon.  Both are able to read her like no one else, and they do their best to make things a bit more manageable.  Upon her thirtieth birthday, she finds herself at a party thrown in her honor, with one surprise guest being her middle brother Eddie whom she adores, and the other, a hollywood superstar named Josh who affects her like no other man ever has.

That’s where this crazy rollercoaster romance begins.  They can’t stay away from each other yet they can’t be together since he’s American and she’s Royal.  Adeline knows that if her family catches wind of him, he will be taken from her, yet they have such strong feelings for one another that they will do whatever they can to be together.

There’s a great nuance here that Ms Malpas writes in – the D/s relationship between these two.  Josh is the one person in the world who has recognized that while Adeline is strong willed in everything that she does, she truly bends to the one person that can control her in a specific situation, a hot and steamy situation and that gives her even more freedom and release than ever imagined.  It’s something that makes their chemistry even hotter and a bond that really can’t be broken. Factor in another gentleman that the king seems to believe is better for Adeline, and you get to watch how these two make an impossible situation less so.

So the challenges that we see throughout this first installment of the series are layered in this hidden romance yes, but there’s so much more.  You know that there have to be several secrets because these are Royals, and it’s not until the end that they all spill out because of a catastrophic event.  Life as they knew it is over, and we are left wondering what comes next.  We find that so many people that we have grown to appreciate and love (or not) in this first book have died, and that means that everything is up in the air.

There are some of the hottest scenes that you can imagine, giving us a glimpse into the submissive world that Adeline is finding herself in.  This falls true to form of our amazing author – getting such detailed and sexy scenes amid a story that is strong enough to keep us interested.  Knowing where we left off at the end of this first book, it makes you wonder what will come next since the impossible just became even more so.  So on that note – i’m sad that i have to wait 4 days for the next book, but at least it’s just 4 days.  Enjoy!

Review: Royal Match (Royal Scandal #3.5) by Parker Smith

Title: Royal Match
Author: Parker Smith
Publisher/Year:  Grand Central Publishing 5/8/18
Length:   104 Pages
Series:  Royal Scandal #3.5

Overview

What to expect when you’re royally expecting
In five years of marriage to Dylan Hale – the hottest (not to mention most deliciously insatiable) duke in England – I’ve learned one cardinal rule: Never say “no” to the Queen. Her orders? I’m to be the matron of honor at the royal wedding of the century… which is, coincidentally, my due date. Dylan’s plan is to seduce me into an early labor to avoid this royal ruckus. So now I’m caught between the Queen’s command… and my sexy duke’s desire.

My Thoughts

when i thought that we had resolution at the end of book 3, seeing that everyone was living happily ever after (even if we never learned who Lydia’s mother was), we didn’t know that there was a novella on the horizon.  a chance to see what life would become years down the line.  that’s what we get in this sweet continuation of sorts.

2 children and 5 years shows us that the love that Dylan and Lydia have for one another hasn’t dwindled at all.  Friendships blossomed even more, family grew closer (i mean, Dylan’s mother truly turned a corner when Lydia stood up for her in the last book and we see that they have a camaraderie of sorts now).  Emily and Will are enjoying their lives together, Fiona, Daph and Josh are doing the same.  So that means that in order to get an additional story, we have to bring an old favorite back.  Princess Caroline.  Dylan’s ex.

It’s weeks before her wedding to an American (i mean, hello Harry and Megan) and Lyda’s 9 months pregnant with baby #3, and she finds herself being asked to step in as matron of honor.  (hello Kate).  Our author seems to have taken cues from real life for this one, but i won’t judge.  Anyway, poor lydia has to suffer through all the royal wedding fanfare even knowing that she can go into labor at any moment.

and that’s a challenge that Dylan’s willing to try his hand at making happen.  Ultimately, the dr said that he can’t really ‘touch’ lyd at all, and he’s not a man to be swayed.  We spend every chapter, every page wondering if this is the moment that Lydia will go into labor and what that will mean for the royal wedding.  Timing is everything right?

And to add to that, we get a sweet nod to Daphne in this story.  She’s been the friend beside Lydia for the entire series so far, and it’s about time that we get to see her come into her own.  what was potentially a one night stand back in NY turns into something unexpected with a great twist and i think that it makes the story that much more entertaining.

Now, i think that we’re finally at the end of the journey with these guys, and i’m happy with all the ends that have been tied.  ASIDE from not knowing who Lydia’s mother is.  i honestly think that she could have been / should have been a royal and that would have made for a really interesting story.  Anyhow – i hope you guys read this one too once you’re done with the main series.  Enjoy!

Review: Royal Treatment (Royal Scandal #3) by Parker Smith

Title: Royal Treatment
Author: Parker Smith
Publisher/Year:  Grand Central Publishing 6/13/17
Length:   250 Pages
Series:  Royal Scandal #3

Overview

All this duke needs is his duchess…


For five blissful months I’ve been engaged to Dylan Hale, the most handsome, commanding, and wickedly sexy duke in England. For five months I’ve woken up next to the man I love, indulged in secret trysts, and submitted to every delicious desire. Even better? We’ve managed to keep it hidden from everyone. That means no paparazzi scandals, no snide comments from Dylan’s mother, and no harsh public scrutiny. It’s been heaven, but with Dylan’s royal responsibilities looming, our time alone is running out. And while I can’t wait to be Dylan’s wife, I’m terrified that becoming Dylan’s duchess might mean losing myself.

My Thoughts

The romance and stress that comes along with it continues for Lydia and Dylan in this third installment.  They’ve come out with their romance, and that’s clearly not enough because everyone wants a piece of them.  Their lives are no longer theirs and that’s stressful.

Lydia is coming into her stride with her job – she’s managed to secure the funding and backing for Hannah to open a flagship store, and has parlayed that into a promotion.  Of course that causes strain on her friendship with Fiona, and that’s something new that she has to navigate.  She also finds that her new status of being with Dylan in the spotlight means that Hannah wants certain things from her – namely wearing her clothes to be photographed over and over again.

Dylan also has the stress of his father expecting him to take over Hale Shipping which has a lot of messes accompanying it, all while trying to live his dream of being an architect.

When Dylan’s father passes away and Lydia finds herself being sent to New York, there are more and more wedges coming between this couple that makes it seem impossible.  Add a secret mission with MI-6 that Dylan has to be a part of in the hopes of freeing Hale Shipping from less than savory folks, and well, there’s really no hope for a happy ending here.

What’s nice about this third book is that there are no longer any airs with the folks involved.  We see the real people, the ones who have passion and chemistry and the ones that aren’t willing to compromise their beliefs for anyone else.

We see the true person behind Dylan’s parents. We see what Emily (his sister) is truly about and we see what Lydia and Dylan are like when they are able to live their best lives alone.  So what does that mean for DYLy?  well – not so sure – and that’s why you have to read the story.  I think that there are great bits here and some that are still leaving us with loose ends.  I’ve said it before, i’m beyond curious about who Lydia’s mother is and i hope that it’s something that comes out.  you have to read in order to find out that answer.  There are also all the questions about whether they will be able to make a relationship work, and when it seems like they can’t – then what their lives become apart.  It’s really nice to see how the author imagines all that, and then hints at the future in an epilogue.  I can’t wait to see what’s resolved in Royal Match.  on that note – Enjoy!

Review: Royal Disaster (Royal Scandal #2) by Parker Smith

Title: Royal Disaster
Author: Parker Smith
Publisher/Year:  Grand Central Publishing 4/4/17
Length:   268 Pages
Series:  Royal Scandal #2

Overview

“He’s not who you think he is . . .

Meeting Dylan Hale has turned my life upside down. I’m dating an actual duke who’s devastatingly handsome and deliciously naughty. On the surface, I’m living the high life. But this surreal world of royalty and paparazzi is getting out of control.

Someone knows way too much about Dylan and me-about the moments when we’re alone, about how his hands leave a trail of fire over my skin . . . about the complete control he has over me between the sheets. And worse, it’s starting to become clear that Dylan’s keeping secrets from me, too . . .

My Thoughts

So to be completely honest here, it’s been quite some time since i read the first installment, that i couldn’t quite remember what the story was all about.  Thankfully i went back and read my review and remembered all over again how great of a series this was off to becoming and was happy to jump into book number 2.

So here we are, in london with Lydia and Dylan who are trying to make their no longer private romance work all while living up to the expectations of everyone around them.

Lydia is coming to terms with the idea that she’s with a man who’s as in demand as Dylan, while also trying to understand what his life is all about and how she can fit into it while she’s just a commoner.  It’s not easy, but the upside to it all is that she’s now seeing doors open for her that never were before.  Professionally she’s coming into her own, convincing her boss Hannah that she can help take them to the next level by opening a store for her designs.  The fact that Lydia will be constantly photographed in Hannah’s designs doesn’t hurt either.

Dylan on the other hand seems to be biting off more than he can chew in life.  He still wants to be able to do what he loves – design buildings while being with Hannah even though he knows that his family won’t accept her.

The journey for this couple is quite the roller coaster since there are so many forces trying to pull them apart.  If that weren’t enough, there’s also the fact that there’s someone who’s trying to scare and blackmail them – sending Lydia threatening emails and videos.  We spend so much of the story wondering who’s behind it that you know that it will be a wild goose chase.

Similar in nature to the first book, we see that there’s a high chance that love just isn’t enough.  Because Lydia is ‘American’ – she’ll never be accepted and that means that their relationship isn’t destined to be a long lasting one.  You have to wonder if all the chemistry in the world (which they seem to have) will be even enough to make what time they have worth it.

What we get in this 2nd book is a death, a betrayal, a blackmail, friendships torn apart, and a big question mark of whether Lydia should even be in London anymore.

Where we are left off in this story is bittersweet.  We know what we want to see happen, but it seems unlikely based on the path we’re on.  I still wonder who Lydia’s mother is – that’s one fact that i keep hoping will pop up and surprise us, but still nope.  not happening.  maybe in book 3.  As for Dylan – we know what he wants out of his life but it seems like he’s just not able to fight forces to get there – so i’m hopeful that we’ll see him turn a corner in book 3.  and on that note – enjoy!

Review: Bar Bites: A Man of the Month Cookbook (Man of the Month) by J Kenner

Title: Bar Bites
Author: J Kenner
Publisher/Year:  Martini & Olive 5/15/18
Length:   120 Pages
Series:  Man of the Month

Overview

Before Austin’s hotspot, The Fix on Sixth, became known for its sexy and fun Man of the Month calendar contest, the fictional downtown bar had already developed a reputation for fabulous drinks and mouthwatering bar bites–exactly the kind of venue to take a date and strike up a romance. Now it’s your chance to see exactly what’s on the menu … and to get a peek at the private lives of the men and women who not only work at The Fix, but who’ve made it the place to be in Austin, Texas. Join Man of the Month creator, New York Times bestselling author J. Kenner, and USA Today bestselling Southern food expert Suzanne Johnson as they guide you through their favorite bar bite and drink recipes served at The Fix on Sixth. Learn how to make the delicious bar bites that Tyree’s bar has become famous for. Whip up your favorite cocktail with the same flare as Cameron or Eric. And don’t forget to spend some time learning a little bit more about the private lives of your favorite characters in all new snippets and short stories! Most of all, come share a drink, a bite, and a laugh with us! We’re so glad you’re here. So pull up a chair, raise a glass, and dig in with your favorite Man of the Month characters, and meet a few new ones, too! Cheers!

My Thoughts

While not as fulfilling as the main installments to the series, this was a sweet way to end things since there were a few loose ends to be tied up.  That and well, it’s always nice to know how to make the food and drinks that i’ve read about for months now .

In this interesting version of a book, we get 4 novellas, one about Reece/Jenna, one about Spencer/Brooke, one about Nolan/Shelby and one about Eric/Tiffany.  Each gives us a glimpse into their story that we didn’t have already (a continuation of sorts) except for Eric/Tiffany where we got an abbreviated version of their entire story.

There’s something interesting though to call out here.  Our author tends to lean on the side of steam and heat in her other series, but in this case, there was more ‘sweet romance’ and storytelling than raunch.  nice change up sure, but in this book, she turns on the heat for sure and we get a bit more of what she’s known for.  It’s a nice change to be frank since we get the sweetness of the romances, yet the passion of Ms Kenner.

I love that we got to see a bit further into the future for Reece and Jenna – the birth of their daughter which was a main point throughout the installments.  It’s a bit of a stressful path that they go on, but it’s sweet none the less.   we get to see the happy couple become a happy family

then there’s nolan / shelby.  the couple that seemed to be totally different from one another but so well suited – but does that mean that they get their happily ever after?  and at what cost?

Onto Brooke and Spencer, the couple that had it all, lost it all and found it again.  Now however is the spotlight coming in between them?  putting on too much pressure and taking all that was great and amazing between them and turning it against each other?  i feel like we all want their happy ending – for their first show to be the success that we saw it become, and for them to get the mansion renovated and perfect since it was the stage for where their initial relationship really flourished.  the cameras though, and the constant attention makes things hard that there’s a breaking point, and we can only hope that love keeps it from falling apart too far.

And lastly, the romance that we never got in a full size story – Eric and Tiffany.  the bartender and the friend.  It’s sweet to see the crush become something more, even if there’s the taboo piece that Tiffany used to date Eric’s brother.  It’s when said brother comes back into town that we see things get dicey.

So….all in all, an even nicer way to close out the series – even though i know that Walk the Line was a really good piece of closure.  Now i really have to find something else to read.  Sad!  but enjoy!!!