Review: One Man (Naked Trilogy #1) by Lisa Renee Jones

TitleOne Man
Author:  Lisa Renee Jones
Publisher/Year:  Julie Patra Publishing 6/11/19
Length:  225 Pages
Series:  Naked Trilogy #1

Overview

One man can change everything. That man can touch you and you tremble all over. That man can wake you up and allow you to breathe when life leaves you unable to catch your breath. For me that ONE MAN is Jax North. He’s handsome, brutally so, and wealthy, money and power easily at his fingertips. He’s dark, and yet, he can make me smile with a single look or word. He’s a force when he walks into a room.

Our first encounter is intense, overwhelmingly intense. I go with it. I go with him and how can I not? He’s that ONE MAN for me and what a ride it is. But there are things about me that he doesn’t know, he can’t know, so I say goodbye. Only you don’t say goodbye to a man like Jax if he doesn’t want you to. I’ve challenged him without trying. He wants me. I don’t want to want him, and yet, I crave him. He tears me down, my resistance, my walls. But those walls protect me. They seal my secrets inside. And I forget that being alone is safe. I forget that there are reasons I can’t be with Jax North. I forget that once he knows, everything will change.

Because I need him.

​Because he’s my ONE MAN.

My Thoughts

I do love a new spin off story that has main characters that we’ve never met before. There’s been no mention of either the Knight or North families is books past so that means that we get a fresh story with it’s own unique twists and turns. The nice that thing we get here though are the artifacts of people who HAVE been in other series. The Walkers and Walker Security come in handy here in the sense that we have them doing work for our mains. Savage being the one to come up the most (and he’s definitely one of my favorites). Then there’s Eric Bennett who had quite the role in another series. So all good stuff.

We join this story at a point in time in the plot’s life where People have recently died on both sides of the coin. Emma, our leading lady recently lost her father, a man who ran their empire and who had many many secrets. She’s always been a bit of the red headed step child in the family, so uncovering his secrets proves to be a challenge, and once that her brother Chance seems to not want to properly help.

That’s how we come to Jax, our leading man, who also has dealt with death. His father passed away and his brother commit suicide (or at least that’s what everyone’s been told). There are connections that we don’t yet know between the families, and Jax seems to think that Emma may have some of the information, but when he meets her, there’s so much more there than a pawn, and we see a romance develop faster than most.

The twists and turns that we go on in this story are intense. Emma has secrets of her own that keep threatening to come back up and it’s her goal to keep those secret and away from being used against her family. At the same time, Jax has made it clear that he will still be with her regardless of those secrets and swears that he won’t use them against her. No one trusts each other and that makes things dicey.

There are supporting players here that i feel will become pivotal.

Chance – Emma’s brother knows more than he’s saying, and perhaps it’s because he doesn’t know what he knows.

Randall – Chance’s right hand man and a man who Emma’s father held in high regard. He definitely knows a lot, and likely is at the core of everything that’s going on, and yet, we don’t know what his motivation is.

Marion – A woman who married into her fortune, has business partnerships with Knight hotels and had an affair with Emma’s father. She’s definitely afraid for certain bits of information coming out and thinks that she can use her business as a threat, but i think that we’ll see that won’t play into her favor

York – Marion’s nephew, Emma’s ex fiancee and a man that no one should trust since he’s proven that he’s got dark tastes, an ability to get around security and laws and is overall a bad guy.

With so many people playing into the mix, we can’t forget that Jax still has another brother who’s alive and while he’s not interested in the same parts of the family business, he’s out for revenge and information and he’s bound to make an appearance.

We run from San Francisco to Maine, and it sounds like we’re going to jump to Germany soon. All to find out what’s going on with the death of Jax’s brother Hunter, to find out how the Knights are involved and to find out if what Emma and Jax have is real. Their chemistry is intense, it sparks off the page and that’s something special. They have this level of trust for each other when they know nothing about the other, and have more reasons to be enemies than friends.

We need to read on to see how it plays out and who gets stuck in the cross fire. Where we are left in this first installment though is literally on an edge. Two Hundred feet up, with someone being pushed off the ledge. Who will survive, who will save lives and who will be left in the dust. Only book 2 will tell us and i’m off to read it. Enjoy!

Review: Wife (Betrothed #1) by Penelope Sky

TitleWife
Author:  Penelope Sky
Publisher/Year:  Penelope Sky 9/23/19
Length:  187 Pages
Series:  Betrothed #1

Overview

I was twenty-one when the gypsy read my future:

As punishment for your crimes, you will only love one woman…but she’ll never love you back.

I didn’t believe a word of it.

Until I met Sofia Romano almost ten years later.

I fell hard for this woman. Would die for this woman.

But she left me.

Now years have passed and Sofia needs a husband. Her father is gone and her mother is trying to marry her off to a man that can protect their family, protect their company. 

She’s looking for someone powerful.

Check.

Someone rich.

Check.

Someone handsome.

Double check.

Now it’s my chance to have the only woman I’ve ever loved…and I’ll make sure she feels the same way.

I have a lifetime to make that happen.

My Thoughts

I’m a huge fan of Penelope Sky which by now i’m sure that you guys have all realized so I’m happy that there’s a new series for me to sink my teeth into. In this new series Betrothed, we’re taken back to Tuscany, the setting for just about everything in her world, to see how the underworld mixes with the ‘proper world’ and how once secrets are reveled, life is changed.

This story takes place in a few different time periods. We open the story with our leading man Hades and his friend Damian on a trip to Morocco to celebrate Hades 21st birthday, and there his life is changed forever, but he doesn’t really know what that will feel like just yet.

Then we push forward a bit to where we meet Sofia, when she’s just eighteen and thinks that she’s mature but still has so much more to learn. She meets Hades at an event at her father’s hotel and is so attracted to him that she wants to pursue him, yet he makes her realize that she’s still got so much more to learn before that’s realistic.

Then we fast forward a few more years to see how Sofia has grown up now, out of university and trying to get a chance to run her family business now that her father has passed, she’s gotten an education, and wants to learn everything from her stepfather. Her mother seems to think that it’s a silly concept, to be left to whomever she marries, and there’s a lot there behind her words that we don’t know yet but will find out. Strong women are fully capable to run a business, but once we learn more about how the financing of the hotel has been done and who does business there, well it’s quickly becoming clear why there’s a need for a strong powerful man.

This is where Hades comes into play, but not in the right context. Sofia and Hades cross paths again and well, now that she’s experienced life, they some how manage to combust together, allowing the intense chemistry that’s been building for years come to a head and explode. What they have together is hot and intense and the exact connection that they both say they need. Neither is looking for a relationship with strings so what they have is great. until it isn’t.

Hades feelings come on strong and he’s quickly falling faster for Sofia than she is him. This i actually a huge trait that we have in most of Ms Skhy’s books if i’m honest. The man is the one to admit his feelings first and then he finds that it’s an uphill battle from there on to make things work as they should.

He pushes her too hard and she pushes him away. He gives her one chance to redeem herself and it seems to work, again until it doesn’t. When Sofia is almost raped and hurt, Hades comes to save her and we all think that a corner has been turned, but no – Sofia’s walls are still up. Hades doesn’t read it the same way and makes a proclamation that changes the course of this story for good.

There’s now hated. They’re at am impasse. There’s no hope for redemption. And there’s jealousy.

We’re taken taken two years into the future again when Sofia’s stepfather passes away unexpectedly, Sofia’s mom is alone and deems herself too old to find them the right protection for the family and puts the weight of the world on Sofia. Sofia is forced into a situation that she never wanted, feared and abhorred. The question becomes who will save them and who’s going to be on the other side of the coin to hurt them and take them down? We know that the mafia in Italy is something intense (thank you for all the other series that we’ve read to learn the true depth and breadth of what it is that they handle and do to those who don’t comply).

Will the hate between Hades and Sofia be the family’s ruin? Will the premonition that Hades got when he turned 21 turn out to be true and what will that mean for the progression of things. How much can Sofia take before she breaks and who’s going to be the one to break her? So many questions and so few answers. I need book 2 to be out already so i can see how this plays out. Enjoy!

Review: Rebel (Legend #4) by Marie Lu

TitleRebel
Author:  Marie Lu
Publisher/Year:  Roaring Book Press 10/1/19
Length:  332 Pages
Series:  Legend #4

Overview

Respect the Legend. Idolize the Prodigy. Celebrate the Champion. But never underestimate the Rebel.

With unmatched suspense and her signature cinematic storytelling, #1 New York Times–bestselling author Marie Lu plunges readers back into the unforgettable world of Legend for a truly grand finale.

Eden Wing has been living in his brother’s shadow for years. Even though he’s a top student at his academy in Ross City, Antarctica, and a brilliant inventor, most people know him only as Daniel Wing’s little brother.

A decade ago, Daniel was known as Day, the boy from the streets who led a revolution that saved the Republic of America. But Day is no longer the same young man who was once a national hero. These days he’d rather hide out from the world and leave his past behind. All that matters to him now is keeping Eden safe—even if that also means giving up June, the great love of Daniel’s life.

As the two brothers struggle to accept who they’ve each become since their time in the Republic, a new danger creeps into the distance that’s grown between them. Eden soon finds himself drawn so far into Ross City’s dark side, even his legendary brother can’t save him. At least not on his own . . .

My Thoughts

OH.MY.GOODNESS. Thank goodness we got to re-enter the story here with Day and June because they had major unfinished business in the epilogue of book 3 and there was no way that fans were going to be ok with that ending. Knowing that our amazing author Ms Lu was busy writing another story (which was also amazing), I was patient and that patience paid off.

We enter this story about ten years in the future. Day (Daniel) and his brother Eden are living in Ross City in Antarctica. The most advanced new country in the world – a society based on Virtual Reality, a Level system to keep you in classes, and as a result, a society that’s both thriving and failing at the same time. If we learned anything from the Republic, we know that there will be unrest and that will result in the wrong people coming into power and that will result in a catastrophe.

That wrong person is our main villian here – Dominic Hann – the man who rules the Undercity – the portion of Ross City that’s made up of people who don’t have levels high enough to survive. They can’t get medication, they can’t get food and shelter and they can’t aspire to be anything more.

The story we have here is one told in alternating chapters between Daniel and Eden. They are brothers who at the core love each other, but who have such different views on life because of their experiences in the past. Daniel wants nothing more than to protect Eden, and Eden wants to live his life. It’s that ‘living’ that gets them into trouble. Eden is noticed by Dominic while in the Under City and that means that he’s on a radar for skills. Skills that we were seeing in the previous books – his innate knowledge of tech and computers and his ability to make things that others can’t. That’s something that he thrives in here in Antarctica and he’s actually scored an internship back in the Republic because of what he can do. The challenge though is that his interaction with Dominic means that nothing will come to pass as it should.

Daniel on the other hand is now part of AIS which is a government agency. Like the FBI or CIA. he’s there to keep order, to hunt criminals and to protect the president. That’s one thing that he has in common with June as she’s in the Republic to protect Anden still. He is hunting Hann and when his brother gets mixed up in that gang, things get dicey.

Now back to June. The last we saw of her and Daniel was back in the epilogue of the last story. Daniel’s memory had been wiped because of illness and intervention and he didn’t have any sense of what June was to him anymore. Devastating!!! June knew that was a likely occurrence when she agreed to help him get treated, meaning that sh was going to sacrifice her love and future, which inevitably they both did. The great thing about their love story though is that even without the clear memories, Daniel still knew that June was special and this fourth installment lets us see how that plays out.

So you can imagine the excitement that we have in this story. We have the Utopia society come crumbling down because of interactions with the under city and Dominic Hann. (thank you Eden for being such a genius) and we have the potential to see romance rekindled. Add to that breaking laws, fleeing to the Republic and being back as square one where it all began. Watching governments struggle and society crumble. Far too many people die in this story and far too many truths are found to be lies.

But on the flip side, we see new relationships form, new alliances taking shape, we see the future for what it can be and that’s something that’s amazing. This is the closure and finale that this story truly needed and i’m THRILLED that Ms Lu finally got to finish it. Enjoy!

Review: A Perfect Lie by Lisa Renee Jones

TitleA Perfect Lie
Author:  Lisa Renee Jones
Publisher/Year:  Julie Patra Publishing 5/14/19
Length:  250 Pages

Overview

Secrets. Lies. A man. There’s always a man.  And there’s always a truth to be told. 

I’m Hailey Anne Monroe. I’m twenty-eight years old. An artist, who found her muse on the canvas because I wasn’t allowed to have friends or even keep a journal. And yes, if you haven’t guessed by now, I’m that Hailey Anne Monroe, daughter to Thomas Frank Monroe, the man who was a half-percentage point from becoming President of the United States. If you were able to ask him, he’d probably tell you that I was the half point. But you can’t ask him, and he can’t tell you. He’s dead. They’re all dead and now I can speak.

My Thoughts

i’m a huge fan of our author – Ms Lisa Renee Jones, and what we have here is a story unlike all the others that we’ve read. Completely detached from the other series and characters that we’ve spent time with over the years. And a style and plot that’s new and fresh. It’s a murder mystery of sorts – but also a story about relationships and trust.

Our main character Hailey is a girl who’s, shall we say, messed up? She’s been raised in a political family with her father setting his sights on being President. That meant that Hailey always had to be the perfect daughter and that comes at a price. One she learns in High School when she goes to a party she shouldn’t have, with a girl (Danielle) that maybe she shouldn’t be friends with, drank something she shouldn’t have, blacked out and woke up somewhere strange, all resulting in a car accident and her mother’s death.

That set the tone for her relationship with her father from then on, and it was not a good one. She was the one he blamed for the death – had she not gone to the party and been out, her mother never would have gone to pick her up and never would have died. So Hailey is cast aside for the new stepfamily, but paraded out when press needs to see the full family.

That takes us to present day when her father is running for office, and her friend Danielle again tries to remind her that she’s a young woman who’s allowed to let loose. So again, this time with her boyfriend, she goes to an exclusive bar that she shouldn’t have, with people she shouldn’t have, and has a drink she shouldn’t have at the nudge of a new man that gives her sparks (which she shouldn’t feel) and guess what? She blacks out and someone else dies.

No one knows who the killer is (or do they) and no one knows the circumstances (or do they) and there’s a rush to get Hailey out of the line of fire since there’s concern that she’s the direction the finger will be pointed.

The way that this story is written is through Hailey’s eyes. Past, Present and Really Present. It’s interesting because i suppose parts are supposed to make us think more about things. Think more about what happened, who said what, what the motivations were, but at times it’s just distracting.

After this second death, Hailey’s father sends her to Denver to get off grid, and this is where things continue to get interesting. She’s given a new ID so that she can live her life, be the person that she wanted to be, however she quickly acknowledges that her father is watching her via FBI and others. and that everything is a lie or set up.

Colorado is where we meet Logan, an attorney (GASP) that becomes either a friend, foe or love interest. You need to read each chapter to determine what role he fills at what point. We also meet Michelle who’s a business owner and the woman who gives Hailey a job as an art instructor so that she can feed her passion. Michelle seems to be above board, but is anyone really? There’s also Jake, an FBI agent that Hailey met when she went back to the bar where Danielle died and tried to get intel. We can’t get a read on him, and i think that’s deliberate. I can’t wait to see which side he’s on, who’s paying him and what that means for Hailey and the story itself.

There are also several supporting characters that play key roles. Megan and Ashley who work at the coffee house / art / bookstore owned by Michelle where Hailey works. There’s also the FBI agent that Hailey’s father hired to ‘guard’ Hailey and while he’s on payroll, you want to still believe he’s a nice guy.

Suffice it to say, it’s a murder mystery for sure but still a story about trust and love. Many more people will die, and more blackouts will occur and we’re left to wonder who’s behind it all. Who is safe in this story and who will be standing at the end. And will they be standing behind bars. I think the way this story ended was partially how i expected but partially not. That’s a good story then right? Enjoy!

Review: Ruined With You (Stark Security #3) by J Kenner

TitleRuined with You
Author:  J Kenner
Publisher/Year:  Martini & Olive 9/19/19
Length:  221 Pages
Series:  Stark Security #3

Overview

When her high maintenance boss is assaulted, manager Xena Morgan contacts the only person who can help—the sexy, arrogant, incredibly capable Stark Security agent Liam Foster. The former vigilante takes every case personally, and he’s determined to find answers—particularly since he thought he’d cleared this threat already.

Xena had been thrilled when Liam completed his assignment, because he affected her in ways she didn’t want to contemplate, awakening yearnings that threatened her deepest secrets.

But now she needs him, and her body won’t let her forget it.

As their attraction heats to a feverish degree, the web of lies, danger, and passion they find themselves in tangles further. Liam will stop at nothing to protect his client, even if it means sacrificing everything he holds dear…. and exposing the secrets that may destroy him—and Xena—forever.

My Thoughts

I love anything that has to deal with the Stark world and this third installment in the SSA series doesn’t fall short in any way. We knew that Liam had a past of sorts and that he was dark and mysterious and now its’ his turn to find happiness, or at least figure out how to move past his misery. We know that he was part of Deliverence, and that he and Dallas & Jane were really close all growing up because he was essentially part of their family. So it’s only late in the game that we see his time come.

In the last book we were briefly introduced to this story line – he was on assignment trying to figure out whether a threat was valid or not against an up and coming pop star named Ellie Love. He thought he had cleared it, after finding out that her PR team was trying to generate more buzz, only to find that something else was going on entirely. Just after he leaves her on tour, she gets attacked. She had taken precautions and even had a disguise but she was attacked anyway. The question that comes is whether it was random or not. Liam thinks not.

In this story we also meet Xena – Ellie’s personal assistant and we learn that she’s not only good at what she does but she’s got a past that’s made her tough as nails. It also makes her jumpy when she learned that the disguise Ellie used made her look like Xena, meaning this is definitely not random.

Liam picks up on a few things that she’s giving off and decides to go down that path. The other nuance to this bit too though is that there’s chemistry between them, but they both have walls up and their guard on high alert so they aren’t willing to give into temptation. Liam knows that his job will get those close to him killed (his last relationship and love is dead because of this) and Xena is running from something and is just afraid to really let anyone in and trust.

The journey here is slightly different than the other stories but still dynamic all the same. We need to know what makes both Liam and Xena tick in order to get to the bottom of what’s going on and we need to hope that they find the answers that they need before it’s too late. The entire stark team is involved in this mission now, pulling in resources from everywhere.

Xena is forced to run, Liam goes after her. They end up being ambushed, and followed even with the best measures possible put to shake a tail. They use the resources from the SSA to throw their attackers off their scent and still they find themselves as the wrong end of a gun. The question that begs to be answered is ‘who’s feeding the opposition information’ since there’s no way that anyone would know what the next move is without an inside mole. (mind you i figured that one out early as i’m sure everyone else did, but we don’t know why)\

On top of all that angst and tension, there’s romance and chemistry. What this couple wouldn’t give into in the past comes to a head here and they both see that there’s no way to stay apart. Even though they are close physically, there’s such emotional baggage that it’s a wonder if they can ever make it. Even with the intervention of family and friends, it seems like it’s a lost cause. Understandably so.

Anyhow – i think that we get the deep intense story that we need for Liam and a great continuation for the Stark Security team. I can’t wait to see what comes next since we don’t really know the guy who’s set to be the next main, but it sounds like it’s going to be juicy. Enjoy!

Review: Broken with You (Stark Security #2) by J Kenner

TitleBroken with You
Author:  J Kenner
Publisher/Year:  Martini & Olive 6/18/19
Length:  221 Pages
Series:  Stark Security #2

Overview

True love never fades…

After surviving a troubled childhood, Denise can’t believe that she’s blissfully married to her partner and soulmate. She’s confident that not even Mason’s long-term, deep-cover assignment will shake their bond. And she certainly doesn’t anticipate that when he finally walks back through her door that he’ll have no memory of her, himself, or their time together…

When Mason is pulled out of an operation gone bad, all he knows is what he’s told — that he was a covert agent, that he has information vital to national security somewhere in his head, and that they can tell him no more for fear of burying those hard-fought secrets even further. They tell him nothing else; not even that the beautiful woman who makes his heart beat faster is not just his partner, but also his wife.

The secret she must keep wrecks Denise, who wants only to return to Mason’s arms. But despite the desire that still burns hot between them, she can’t tell him who she is—or that she’s carrying his child.

But when dark forces threaten both their lives in order to retrieve the information trapped in Mason’s mind, it’s not their past that will be tested, but the tenuous new love now burning hot between them.

You don’t want to miss this sexy, suspenseful amnesia romance!

My Thoughts

Well the novella before this is something to definitely read beforehand, although if you haven’t it’s not like you miss anything huge. They tease bits of it during this story, but given that it was a night in passing, it’s ok to miss. Regardless, what we get here in this story is the return of what used to be Mason, Denise’s husband and all sorts of stress that comes with that.

As you’ll recall, Mason was away on a mission that no one knew the details around except that it was deep deep undercover and that he was about to get damning information to pass back to the SOC when he went dark. He reappears with no memory of anything, glimpses of things in dreams, and no idea how it all happened.

The journey on this story is a tricky one. We see everyone who knows him wanting to help, but knowing that if they push too hard to connect dots for him, Mason’s mind may be ruined forever. We see the path that a doctor wants to take with him, we see a path that Denise wants to take and we see the path that Mason decides he wants to go down.

It’s painful to witness, all the hearts breaking over and over again because there’s hurt when he doesn’t remember anything about himself and what Denise meant to him. We see hurt when there’s so much information that’s now lost and a fear that no one will be safe ever.

At the same time, we see some interesting things happen throughout this story. There’s a client of Denise’s that needs her help because she feels like she’s being stalked, and that opens up another path off this story. Wondering who’s following her, and why. This however is the perfect chance for Mason to get back to working, with Denise (he was told that they were partners in the past) and to see what memories are jogged. When they’re all out one night, Cerise bringing her new boyfriend, he sees a flash of a face that triggers some type of reaction and we’re forced to wonder what. Along with that ,there’s the ironic twist of fate that Cerise’s new boyfriend is Denise’s old partner from her time with the government, and a man that clearly had feelings for her back in the day.

So you can imagine of course the twists that this story will take since everyone’s personally vested, even if it’s not in the right direction. When circumstances change, and the face turns out to be a man who attacks Denise and then stalks Cerise, we are sure he’s connected to Mason and want to know how. There’s a dark turn that this takes as that man attacks denise a second time and injects her with a poison that will kill her in 72 hours.

Roller coaster for sure with a few loops thrown in. No one can catch a break in making progress, we wonder if Mason’s mind will lock away things forever and that means not only will the nations’ secrets be kept that way, Denise will have lost her love and perhaps they will never be safe.

There’s so much drama in this 2nd book of the series but i’m really glad that we get to see how this story plays out. Liam, another one of the guys that we met via Dallas in his installments as well as his role in this one, playing host to Mason, well he gets his fair share of screen time. I think that it’s safe to say that he’s got a LOT of skeletons in his closet and he’s due for some cleaning as well as for some happiness. He’s been most recently put on a job that seems a bit of a dud for a pop star, but we always know that when things seem too easy, there’s more to the story. So that’s the lead that we get once we see some type of resolution here. Everyone’s story will continue on and i can’t wait to dive into book three. Enjoy!

Review: Shadows of You ( Stark Security #1.5) by J Kenner

TitleShadows of You
Author:  J Kenner
Publisher/Year:  Julie Patra Publishing 5/12/19
Length:  29 Pages
Series:  Stark Security #1.5

Overview

For two long years, Stark Security agent Denise Marshall has been alone, mourning her missing husband. But everything changes on Valentine’s Day when she encounters a mysterious man who seems to understand her deepest desires

My Thoughts

What we’ve learned along the journey with Stark is that what they do is dangerous, who they work with are dangerous and everything always screams danger. So when Denise’s husband is on assignment for years and can’t be reached, and no one can find a trace of him, we know that things are bad . and hard. and sad.

Denny (cute nick name right?) works for Stark – she used to be with another government agency like her husband, and now she works for Stark, but not in the field. She’s experienced too much pain there and now wants to stay behind a desk, where she knows what her job will give her. It’s also an opportunity for her to dig into information about the whereabouts of Mason, until she gets caught.

It’s a good thing that Ryan Hunter and Damian Stark are such great guys who understand what she’s going through and they want to make her life better at least for a night so they gift her with a treatment that should relax and pamper her, and what she gets is so much more. Can’t wait to see what comes in the full book 2 of the series now. Enjoy!

Review: Dirty Rich Secrets: Part 3 (Dirty Rich #13) by Lisa Renee Jones

TitleDirty Rich Secrets: Part 3
Author:  Lisa Renee Jones
Publisher/Year:  Julie Patra Publishing 9/24/19
Length:  82 Pages
Series:  Dirty Rich #13

Overview

The mind-blowing finale to Ashley and Aaron’s story is here! Everything they know is not what it seems, but will they find out the truth before it destroys their future?

My Thoughts

Well, you get absolutely nothing from that summary – so sorry folks! What we have here is a nice closeout to the series – seeing how Aaron and Ashley’s story plays out and whether there’s a way to have a happy ending.

we last saw this couple as they had moved into what they thought was a safe house and turned out that it wasn’t so safe. While Aaron and Blake were across the street watching out for things since they have a ‘feeling’ that they’re not safe, Ashley and Savage are in the house….and it gets blown up.

They of course manage to get out and the men of Walker Security are back in business getting everyone to safety while trying to put the puzzle pieces together to clear Aarons name.

Much of this third installment novella like object are spent wondering if Aaron will ever trust the Walker team to do right by him, and us wondering what information Blake and team can uncover and wonder if they can find it out fast enough.

The relationship between Aaron and Ashley continues to be strained. She still resents him from walking away from her and fears that he’ll do it again, and at the same time, he feels like he’s dangerous to her and she will never be free with him.

The dots are being connected and we see that there’s almost enough information to get Aaron’s name cleared, but of course timing is everything and that means that lives are going to be lost in the amount of time it takes to gather everything. we don’t know what intel will get him off the hook and we don’t know what he’ll have to sacrifice to get there but we want to believe that it’ll pave a road to something that resembles happiness.

Sadly this is a quick read, but at least we got to enjoy their story. Can’t wait to see what’s next. Enjoy!

Review: Shatter City (Imposters #2) by Scott Westerfeld

TitleShatter City
Author:  Scott Westerfeld
Publisher/Year:  Scholastic Inc 9/17/19
Length:  331 Pages
Series:  Imposters #2

Overview

When the world sees Frey, they think they see her twin sister Rafi. Frey was raised to be Rafi’s double, and now she’s taken on the role . . . without anyone else knowing. 

Her goal? To destroy the forces that created her.

But with the world watching and a rebellion rising, Frey is forced into a detour. Suddenly she is stranded on her own in Paz, a city where many of the citizens attempt to regulate their emotions through an interface on their arms. Paz is an easy place to get lost . . . and also an easy place to lose yourself. 

As the city comes under a catastrophic attack, Frey must leave the shadows and enter the chaos of warfare – because there is no other way for her to find her missing sister and have her revenge against her murderous father.

My Thoughts

It’s been a while since we’ve been in this series but this second book gives us all the feels you could hope for. (definitely an overused phrase in this story though). Anyhow, like the summary says, we are thrown right back into the middle of a war – where Rafi and Frey are against their father because all he has in mind is to destroy the world for motives unknown aside from a need for power.

When we left off, Frey traded places with Rafi in the hopes of saving her love Col, and well, we know how that turned out. The bomb collar was switched from one sister to the other, meaning that identities had to be faked yet again. Frey at least had the chance to be with Col in these unusual circumstances, all while trying to figure out how they could both get out unscathed. Thankfully, Col has his allies on call and they were able to devise a plan to get them out and hopefully on the road to freedom.

The challenge here is that Frey is on the hunt for Rafi since her entire life she was raised to protect her sister. She learns that her sister is in a city called Paz, the next target for their father, both for the notion that Rafi is there but also because Paz is a city that believes in true freedom and doesn’t conscribe to the notion of dust or spying. It’s truly free. Their father threatens devastation that no one can fathom, a Rusty weapon that appears like natural destruction and then invasion.

What Frey finds when she gets there is a mess. She learns that Rafi is gone and that she’s left everything to Frey in the meantime. she’s set up an apartment, made sure she’s taken care of, but the reasoning behind it is still a semi mystery to Frey.

That’s really what a lot of this story is about. There are semi truths or incomplete pieces of information that everyone’s working with and we don’t yet know what’s intentional, what’s accidental and what the end result here could be.

There’s so much going on that i don’t know where to start otherwise. We spend time in Paz trying to broadcast that their father is evil and is trying to take over the world, yet he’s a step ahead and while he’s destroyed the city, he appears to be the first to help build it back up. There’s a secret there that they don’t yet know the motivation behind, and when we do figure it out, there’s no surprise.

Then there’s the issue of Rafi being out in the Wild, with rebels and we don’t know what her end game is. Trying to locate her gets Frey caught by a neighboring city and held captive in the hopes of securing a stronger network of allies. When she’s freed by Col and his crew, we start to see the story speed up.

there are Easter Eggs throughout this story that trigger questions. The Paz AI tells Frey about something called ‘Iron Mountain’ but there’s no context to what it is ,where it is and what it will do. When we get to the wilds, we learn that a few people have deeper insight and it could be a key to unlocking a lot of information.

Then there’s a hint that someone that the girls know of may be in the rebels, and that there’s a key link there to Rafi’s focus on being out there. She has heard rumors and if they are true then there may be hope. The way that this specific story line plays out is so shocking though that i’m glad i assumed wrong for the bulk of the time.

We are left at a point of hope, yet a point of instability. There’s no clear direction on who will win, if their father can be bested and what that will mean to the world. Relationships continue to grow and build, and there’s something solid and sweet about each friendship and romance. The depth that we get to see psychologically with everyone is really intense as well and that’s a new feature to all of the stories that i’ve read by our amazing author.

There’s an interesting idea here that we get throughout both the Uglies and the Imposters series. Originally when you read Uglies, you see that people are never happy with what they have naturally and as a result, they surgically change or enhance everything that’s possible to change about themselves. What we learned there is that it’s not always better and sometimes tech makes things worse. What we have in this series is a tease of that since most of the modifications are now illegal, with only a few Specials remaining for example, but there’s such fear and mis information on what it was that led to the need for Surg. There’s fear of invaded privacy and that you’re never allowed to be free. It makes you wonder if this is going to be our future. The way that we enhance ourselves and the way that we allow innovative technology to watch all of our activities and even help to make life easier…..just a philosophical question today about what’s good and right and worth the stress. Ponder away until we get book 3. Enjoy!

Review: No Longer Lost (Secrets of Stone #9) by Angel Payne & Victoria Blue

TitleNo Longer Lost
Author:  Angel Payne & Victoria Blue
Publisher/Year:  Waterhouse Press 5/7/19
Length:  235 Pages
Series:  Secrets of Stone #9

Overview

Lost…
Lovesick has never been in my vocabulary, but now that Maclain Stone has entered my world, I’m practically dying of heartache. And there’s nobody to blame but myself. But his brushoff has made me never want to see his sexy, smug face again.
When a stalker forces me from my home and lands me on Mac’s front door—and into the warmth of his bed—I can’t avoid the truth any longer. I’m in love with him. I need him. I’m lost without him…
Found…
What the hell was I thinking, falling in love with a stubborn spitfire like Taylor Mathews? For the first time in my life, a woman is driving me insane with need. If I can win her back, I vow to never let her out of my sight again.
Though it takes the threat of a maniac to drive her into my arms, I’m not letting opportunity pass me by, and everyone needs to learn this woman is mine—especially the woman herself. Without each other, we’re nothing. But together…
We’re no longer lost.

My Thoughts

So, i’m not sure yet if this is the last book to the series or not. We didn’t get an epilogue and we didn’t get any grand closure so i wonder…hmmmm. must go to research.

Anyway, what we have here is the continuation of Mac and Taylor’s story. They have been through their ups and downs. Taylor feels like she’s not worthy of what it is that Mac has to offer her and she pushes him away. Every move he makes is wrong to her because it’s at the wrong time, for the wrong reason or just something that she’s not open to. Every baby step that they make, even in trying to make things right between them proves to be a challenge.

That in itself should be enough to keep this story going, but of course we have so much more. We have John, a man who volunteers at the blood bank that Taylor knows – and he’s an interesting character. When we meet him, he seems like an eager puppy, trying to get into Taylor’s good graces. What we see though underneath is that it’s pushy, and not welcome at all. It causes jealousy for one thing with Mac, but that’s not even the real thing. He uses information that he has from Taylor’s files and goes rogue and that’s where we see this story take a dark dark turn.

Mac gets sucked into the mess because he confronts John and that results in a suspension from work. It’s really not looking good for anyone in this ninth installment. We spend the bulk of the story seeing how this couple deals with crazy and then tries to find their footing together on a slippery slope that doesn’t give much. Mac’s mom continues to be the ‘lovely’ woman that she is and makes their relationship that much more complicated and we see how easy it is to buy Taylor’s mom off to get information. Makes you really lose faith in family.

All in all, the idea of this story is exciting but the delivery is a bit lack luster. there’s not nearly as much depth to this story as we’re used to but i guess that with the anxiety from their troubles, we have enough to keep the story moving.

So, i guess all i can say is that if this is the final installment, then it’s been a fun ride with these characters. We’ve definitely gotten to see quite a bit of excitement with all of our relationships and I’m sad to be done with them. on the off chance that there’s more – i can’t wait! Enjoy!