Review: Dirty Rich Cinderella Story (Dirty Rich #2) by Lisa Renee Jones

Title: Dirty Rich Cinderella Story
Author:  Lisa Renee Jones
Publisher/Year:  CreateSpace Publishing 5/18/18
Length:   298 Pages
Series:  Dirty Rich #2

Overview

With only nine months left at Stanford, and despite being top of her law school class, Lori Havens takes leave to care for her sick mother. That means she juggles three jobs, the best of which is researcher for novelist, and syndicated columnist of “Cat Does Crime,” Cat Summer.

One evening after finishing up her work at Cat’s apartment building, Lori has an encounter with a sexy stranger, and does something out of character. She goes home with him. The night is perfect, he’s perfect, wealthy, powerful and from out of town. Morning comes, and despite their connection, Lori leaves before he finds out she’s far from the equal he believes her to be. She’s not a charity case and she’s not after his money. She will make her own. In other words, she leaves before her Prince Charming finds out she’s no princess.

Flash forward a few months, Lori’s mother is healing, and Cat’s husband, Reese, has merged his firm with another and Lori lands an internship there, with school credit and scholarship money.. Everything is falling into place. That is until fate reveals a wicked twist of events and Lori walks into a conference room to find her new boss, Cole Brooks, one of the partners, is her one-night prince charming. One sizzling shared look across a boardroom, and it’s clear: this man is not done with her. It’s not long before Lori is informed that she’ll be working high profile cases with her one night prince charming which will require long nights and travel, starting immediately.

My Thoughts

We’re dropped right into the midst of a story where our leading lady needs to catch a break and our leading man seems to have his life in order – or at least he thinks he does.  As we’ve come to expect and appreciate from these types of stories, it takes a chance encounter, a one night stand, and limited information to go off for us to get a steamy and exciting story.  That happens here just as it did in the first book.

From the beginning we want to root for Lori.  I mean, who wouldn’t right?  she’s brilliant, (just as Cat was), she was on a path to success, she put her life on hold to take care of her mom, while struggling to right the ship that her father left them in post his death.  Things started to turn around when she got a job working for Cat, and that’s literally where she runs into her future.

Enter the hottest man that you could picture – Cole – the name says it all, his link to Reese firms it up and the presence that he has, even on a street corner is off the charts sexy.  We know that he’s no match for Lori, except that she’s able to one up him.  she gives him control one moment, and leaves the next, without even giving him her last name or identity.

This story is similar to the first book in the sense that we have mains that have had a troubled situation in some form on the journey to get their power and independence.  These women are so strong on their own that maybe it’s their downfall, submitting to a powerful man is against all they know but it’s perhaps something good for both of them.

We spend much of our time with Summer & Brooks, the merger of 2 firms where Reese and Cole are partners.   Reese and Cat make it so that Lori has a scholarship to finish law school, get an amazing internship and that puts her in the sights of Cole at the firm.  She’s a skilled lawyer to be, a rising star, so while she’s potentially at risk to be thought of as a girl who’s slept her way to the top, she’s proved herself over and over again.

The way that Cole takes Lori under his wing is both selfless and selfish.  He’s able to mentor someone who’s going to be amazing for his company, yet he’s also able to bring Lori closer to him personally and that’s wonderful and distracting.

Our author brings back various sentiments from past series here – we get to see a bit of the BDSM nature that Cole has without going in to the lifestyle.  We see that he likes control and recognizes that maybe Lori needs to give it up to be free.  The problem of course comes when he pushes too hard and it pushes her away (granted she’s done the same, so they are maybe too good of a match).

Because this is a series with law at the backbone, of course we’re put into the middle of several cases where the defendants are innocent until proven guilty, until they’re not.  Cole this time around has to figure out how to defend a woman that has the cards stacked against her, and a cop who’s got a vendetta against him.  Lori has the legal mind to help, but the dynamic between the couple makes things challenging.  The secret of their relationship makes the case even harder.

It’s a roller coaster, but one that’s got some intense chemistry and passion.  Just when we get lulled into the romance, catastrophe hits and there’s anxiety and angst.  turmoil and heat are a great blend, one that makes the outcome less clear each chapter we read through.  I don’t know what’s meant to be, either professionally or personally for our mains and the secondary characters that we come to love, but i do know that ms. Jones, our author can write these complex stories better than anyone else.  So on that note, it’s on to the next installment if i’m able to track it down tonight.  Enjoy!

Review: Dirty Rich One Night Stand (Dirty Rich #1) by Lisa Renee Jones

Title: Dirty Rich One Night Stand
Author:  Lisa Renee Jones
Publisher/Year:  Julie Patra Publishing 10.18.17
Length:   260 Pages
Series:  Dirty Rich #1

Overview

That’s all it was supposed to be. Her. Him. Pleasure. And then a fast goodbye. He’s a stranger. And yet, he’s not. She knows him even though he doesn’t know her.
He’s the powerful attorney, now world-renowned after coming off the trial of a century which was publicized across the country. And I’m one of the reporters that sat in his courtroom.
I watched him, studied him, got to know him from afar which isn’t hard since I know his exact brand of confidence, arrogance, and wealth.
I know his type. I’ve dated his type. Which is why when I happen to come face to face with him, when sparks fly and heat simmers between us, I know what happens if I say “yes” to Reese Summer.
I know he’ll taste like sin and sex, even before he kisses me.
I know he’ll feel like pleasure and passion, even before he touches me.
I know he’ll demand more than I wants to give, and yet, because I dare to give myself to him, the result will be deliciously hot.
I know that I will not leave his bed without being utterly, completely sated.
And I know that I will leave the next morning anyway.
And so, I do.
And so, he follows.
And as the chase begins my question becomes: Is Reese Summer THE one or is he really just a dirty, arrogant lie that should have stayed a one night stand?
My Thoughts
i was on the hunt for something new to read and thankfully one of my favorite authors had a series that i wasn’t fully aware of.  The joys of reading ‘The Bastard’ and seeing ‘other books by the same author’.  This first installment of what is somewhat a standalone book / series is a great intro.
We have Cat who is an independent SMART woman, a girl who graduated from Harvard Law but who decided that it’s not in her to follow the family’s path to be an attorney – instead she’s a writer of a successful NYT bestseller crime story and the owner of a column that reports on criminal trials.  This is where the meat of our story comes from
Enter Reese, Mr Asshole, Mr Hotness, and the man who cut in line of our dear Cat while she was waiting for her morning coffee.  Reese is a successful attorney – graduate of Yale law, and a point that Cat won’t let him miss.  He’s the defense attorney for a man who’s being put on trial for the murder of a woman who was pregnant, and Reese doesn’t lose.
The journey from there is one of trying to see where there will be crossed paths, where there will conflict.  Both Cat and Reese have walls, they have been burned in the past by lovers, they have been burned in the past based on their professional choices, and there’s never been an opportunity for those to align with a good resolution.  As a reader, we can only hope that it happens, but that’s all for the movies right?
As the trial plays out, Cat reports on what she sees – while playing a bit of a ‘cat and mouse’ game (pardon the pun) with Reese since he knows that he’s intrigued by her but not sure what that means.  Cats commentary of the trial continues to be objective but we see skews here and there for what she’s feeling and before long we see that the skew takes it form in real life.  The chemistry between our mains can’t be held at bay and that’s how the story really takes shape.
is it a conflict of interest for them to be together?  can’t say that we know for sure.  Reese feels wholeheartedly that his client is innocent, and Cat seems to have her column leaning in the same vein, but the question begs who did it and will Reese find that person before it’s too late.
True to the form of Ms Renee Jones, we get such a great romance, such passion and heat that if there wasn’t a plot line tied up in a murder trial, we would be fully engrossed and engaged.  There are moments when you know that you have to get back on track for the trial but the relationship that develops between Cat and Reese keeps us from thinking about things in a sane way.
The twist comes 2x in this story.  once in the form of the trial outcome and one in the form of how Cat’s family does business.  I think there’s a clarity to the point that there’s no love lost since no one is willing to accept what Cat does outside of practicing law, but i think the unexpected happens, and it has major impact to Cat’s life, her livelihood and the life that she wanted to build with Reese.  All has been washed down the drain.
So many questions come from this first installment at times when i thought we had resolution.  Are happy endings real.  are they meant for everyone or is it something that’s a dream and never actually going to pan out.  Are our families our downfall and what comes of it when families are blended or combined?  What’s innocent and what’s guilt and what happens when there are such blurred lines that you’re forced to make a decision without all the information?
I’m surprised where this story took us since it’s not 100% down a path that our author has taken us before, but it’s a path that keeps me wanting to read more – even if the next book it’s tied as a series.  so on that note, so many questions, and i can’t wait to read more.  Enjoy!

Review: The Bastard (Filthy Duet #1) by Lisa Renee Jones

Title: The Bastard
Author:  Lisa Renee Jones
Publisher/Year:  Julie Patra Publishing 11.14.18
Length:   200 Pages
Series:  Filthy Duet #1

Overview

I’m the bastard child, son to the mistress, my father’s backup heir to the Kingston empire. He sent me to Harvard. I left and became a Navy SEAL, but I’m back now, and I finished school on my own dime. I’m now the right hand man to Grayson  Bennett, the billionaire who runs the Bennett Empire. I’m now a few months from being a billionaire myself. I don’t need my father’s company or his love. My “brother” can have it. I will never go back there. I will never be the mistake my father made, the way he was the mistake my mother made.

And then she walks in the door, the princess I’d once wanted more than I’d wanted my father’s love. She wants me to come back. She says my father needs to be saved. I don’t want to save my father but I do want her. Deeply. Passionately. More than I want anything else.

But she’s The Princess and I’m The Bastard. We don’t fit. We don’t belong together and yet she says he needs me, that she needs me. We’re like sugar and spice, we don’t mix, but I really crave a taste. Just one. What harm can just one taste do?

My Thoughts

I do love a good new series by Lisa Renee Jones, and this one – this intro doesn’t let us down.  We’re introduced into a world that we’re not quite clear about, with characters that we don’t know, but that makes it all that much more interesting.

Eric, our main, we know that he was semi born into a family that has power and money, but who want nothing to do with him since he doesn’t play by their rules.  He tried for a while and then decided that he needed to be his own moral compass and go on his own.  He’s made a name for himself, but at the sacrifice of losing the woman who’s struck him like no other.  his step sister….

Enter Harper – a girl who’s mom married into the family, a girl who wants to make her mother happy, and yet a girl who knows when something is wrong but can’t solve the problems on her own.  The fact that Eric got under her skin years ago as well means that she’s apprehensive to ask for his help yet she knows there is no alternative.

The journey that we go on from here is a story where we honestly don’t know what’s going on, who’s behind what and what it means for our characters.  Eric and Harper clearly have chemistry from years past, but is it something that’s sustainable and even realistic now?  do they even trust each other?  that’s the biggest question of all.

The nice way that our author writes this first intro to the series is in a back and forth in the chapters from each character’s POV.  We get to see how Eric’s mind works and then how Harper’s mind works as well. They have the same end game but they want to get there differently because of what it means to those they care about.

I spend a lot of time trying to figure out a few things in this story.  What’s actually going on in Kingston Motors and who’s behind it?  What secrets are being kept from Harper and Eric and what secrets are Harper keeping from Eric as well since we know that there have to be some?  what’s to gain and lose here and what will that mean for the pair that seems like maybe there’s something more concrete between them.

There’s intense heat and chemistry that’s laid out on the table here and then there’s angst and mystery wrapping all around it.  we’re left on a cliff hanger of one person leaving .  hatred is exploding all around, distrust is something that’s coming at us from all angles.  A huge secret is revealed, one that i should have known that i didn’t think about that tears our world apart, and then someone’s in danger – imminently.

What this means for us though is that i really want to know what’s going to happen next, what’s happening now and where we go from here.  I can’t wait for book 2 and i’m sad that i have to!  i hope you guys check this one out – enjoy!

Review: Lost with Me (Stark Trilogy #5) by J Kenner

Title: Lost with Me
Author:  J Kenner
Publisher/Year:  Martini & Olive 10.23.18
Length:   250 Pages
Series:  Stark Trilogy #5

Overview

His touch takes my breath away. Our passion feeds my soul…

My love for Damien fills me, and the intensity of our bond brings me to my knees. For him, there is no burden I wouldn’t bear, no decadent punishment to which I won’t submit.

The dark days seemingly behind us, we have carved a life out of adversity, chiseling away pain to reveal strength and beauty. Now, all I want is to laugh with our children in the sunlight, then surrender myself to Damien’s embrace in the dark.

But lingering secrets and hidden menace threaten our family. Now, Damien and I must forge a new strength from our shared passion and hope the fire between will burn away the darkness and protect everything we hold most dear.

This sexy, emotionally charged romance continues the story of Damien Stark, the powerful billionaire who’s never had to take “no” for an answer, and his beloved wife Nikki Fairchild Stark. Be sure not to miss any part of this sensual, romantic saga:

My Thoughts

Every time we get a new installment to this series, i wonder what’s next and who’s going to be the focus of it all.  There’s so much great foundation between Nikki and Damien, that there’s so little to guess at what will cause conflict.  So in this fifth installment, we find ourselves with outside forces pushing these two apart, and ghosts from the past potentially being the reason for it all.

The premise we have going into this story is that Nikki is in a great place with her company, they are successful to the point that they are moving into a new space, hiring more employees and that means that she has to balance work and being a mom in a way that’s new to her.  It’s nice though to know that she’s being recognized for her success as both by a magazine, yet she quickly finds that the reporter has a vendetta. And an Agenda.

Damien on the other hand is living his life per usual.  Making deals, building his empire, and of course dealing with people who feel like they’ve been slighted at his success.

While that’s all playing out, their lives continuing in this new normal, the unthinkable happens.  Nikki seems to be targeted by someone who hates her – leaving notes on her car and spraying her office walls with horrible words.  Damien has been threatened by someone who says he’ll go after him where it hurts.  Nikki gets the sense that someone’s watching her – following her.  And where does this leave them?  Someone kidnaps the nanny Bree and their daughter.

From then on we play the game of ‘who did it’ and ‘what needs to happen to get them back safe’.  I had my idea on who did it and i was right as i’m sure you will be as well when you read it, but it’s still impressive how this person got to them.

The great thing that J Kenner does here is she writes the story with realness to it.  A bigger real reality than we’ve seen lately.  this is a couple that’s rock solid – but there are cracks that maybe they didn’t even realize were there- and it starts to break them.  There are trust issues with mystery people popping up, secrets coming out, and Nikki’s past coming to haunt her in a big way.  You want to be hopeful and positive, but there really are so many things stacked against both the hopes in finding who the kidnapper is, and maintaining stability in the Stark’s relationship.  That’s where we spend our time in this story and that’s the resolution that we hope for.  So on that note, only you will find out how it nets out by reading – so do it!  Enjoy!

Review: Royally Yours (Royally #4) by Emma Chase

Title: Royally Yours
Author: Emma Chase
Publisher/Year:  Createspace Publishing 9/11/18
Length:   197 Pages
Series:  Royally #4

Overview

Princess Lenora Celeste Beatrice Arabella Pembrook had an unusual childhood. She was raised to be a Queen—the first Queen of Wessco.

It’s a big deal.

When she’s crowned at just nineteen, the beautiful young monarch is prepared to rule. She’s charming, clever, confident and cunning.

What she isn’t… is married.

It’s her advising council’s first priority. It’s what Parliament is demanding, and what her people want.

Lenora has no desire to tie herself to a man—particularly one who only wants her for her crown. But compromises must be made and royals must do their duty.

Even Queens. Especially them.

**

Years ago, Edward Langdon Richard Dorian Rourke, walked away from his title and country. Now he’s an adventurer—climbing mountains, exploring jungles, going wherever he wants, when he wants—until family devotion brings him home.

And a sacred promise keeps him there.

To Edward, the haughty, guarded little Queen is intriguing, infuriating…and utterly captivating. Wanting her just might drive him mad—or become his greatest adventure.

**

Within the cold, stone walls of the royal palace—mistrust threatens, wills clash, and an undeniable, passionate love will change the future of the monarchy forever.

Every dynasty has a beginning. Every legend starts with a story.

This is theirs.

My Thoughts

I really enjoyed the first 3 installments to this series, all stories that laid a nice framework to the history is Wessco and what it’s like to be a royal there.  With this fourth book, i’m happy to see that we get to see a Princess, a Queen as the leading lady, and the one that has to truly reign and lead her country while tying to find her own happiness.

We go on a journey with Leonora where she grows from being a girl who knows her future, to a woman who’s forced to live in the present, during a time when there are still so many expectations on what is ‘right and proper’.  It’s through a friendship that she starts with Thomas, a newly appointed Duke of his family’s land (taking the title because his older brother decided that he had a different purpose in life) that Leonora finds freedom.  Thomas is the kind of friend who gets her into trouble but not enough to cause problems.  Just enough to let her feel like she’s living.  He shares the stories of his older brother with Leonora, and some how even though it’s only through writing, she starts to feel butterflies when Thomas’ brother Edward sends regards to ‘Lenny’.  More to come on that later.

Leonora finds herself in the role of Queen earlier than expected and her world is thrown into a tailspin.  She’s forced to grow up very quickly, earn and keep the trust of her citizens, and some how keep the old men of Parliment at bay and happy.  Which of course means that she must get married.  Since in the 1940s/1950s, it’s just NOT ok to be a single woman ruling a country.

The story from here is expected yet frustrating and sweet at the same time.  A list of appropriate men is shared and countered.  The determination that Thomas is the perfect guy of course makes the most sense…and on to wedding planning we go.  Until Thomas falls gravely ill, terminally so, and the world comes crashing down.  Here enters Big Brother Edward and the world is perhaps righted again.

What’s really nice about how Emma Chase wrote this one is that we had a fairly innocent and clinical first part, and then things start to get romantic.  Even dirty in places.  It’s like there’s a tangible shift once Edward comes into the mix, partially because of how commanding he is in physique and character but also because there’s a clear chemistry between them, and Edward is able to teach Lenny things that she never really understood.

Theirs is a partnership built on grief of Thomas, but also developed and strengthened because of who they are to one another.  We can only hope that this strength is able to keep them together while there are those who are out to discredit Edward’s faith and loyalty to Lenny.  Add to that the sense that Parliment is constantly against everything that Lenny wants to do, there’s concern that Edward has too much power over Lenny and the country and then the crazy ‘live your life as you want’ little sister of Princess Miriam.  So much that can be overwhelming and so much that can derail even the best laid plans.  Who gets caught it the cross fire, what is sacrificed to make the country prosperous and what does that means for our mains?  you’ll only find out if you read.  Enjoy!

 

Review: Kingdom of Ash (Throne of Glass #7) by Sarah J Maas

Title: Kingdom of Ash
Author: Sarah J Maas
Publisher/Year:  Bloomsbury USA 10/23/18
Length:   860 Page
Series:  Throne of Glass #7

Overview

Aelin has risked everything to save her people-but at a tremendous cost. Locked within an iron coffin by the Queen of the Fae, Aelin must draw upon her fiery will as she endures months of torture. Aware that yielding to Maeve will doom those she loves keeps her from breaking, though her resolve begins to unravel with each passing day…

With Aelin captured, Aedion and Lysandra remain the last line of defense to protect Terrasen from utter destruction. Yet they soon realize that the many allies they’ve gathered to battle Erawan’s hordes might not be enough to save them. Scattered across the continent and racing against time, Chaol, Manon, and Dorian are forced to forge their own paths to meet their fates. Hanging in the balance is any hope of salvation-and a better world.

And across the sea, his companions unwavering beside him, Rowan hunts to find his captured wife and queen-before she is lost to him forever.

As the threads of fate weave together at last, all must fight, if they are to have a chance at a future. Some bonds will grow even deeper, while others will be severed forever in the explosive final chapter of the Throne of Glass series.

My Thoguhts

OH. MY. GOODNESS!  what we have here is a finale to end all finales!  a perfect culmination of a series that has been so amazingly written, picturesque, detailed, full of emotion, tension, twists and turns.  And i’m actually ok with it being over because i don’t know how we could continued.

Like the summary says, we start off this final installment with Aelin being trapped in iron bonds – which suck the power out of her while she’s tortured by Maeve and Cairn.  Aelin proves to be stronger than anyone imagined, surviving through all that they do to her and never revealing where the wordkeys are.  She wavers though between hope and resigning herself to death because no one knows who is going to find whom and what that means for Terrassen and survival.

At the same time we have Rowan, Gavriel, and Lorcan all trying to find Aelin but also rally allies to fight Erawan and Maeve (and the Valgs).  we spend much of this book wondering if they will make any progress either way and succeed.

Parallel yet some more to that is the Dorian and Manon piece of things.  Manon and the Thirteen are no longer part of their clan, they’ve been exiled because of several reasons if you recall, and they are now in search of the Crochans – who are supposed to be mortal (or immortal) enemies, but whom Manon also should be their queen.  The alliance with the witches and Dorian is an interesting one, however we did see that there was a bond between Manon and Dorian in the last book, so it’s definitely fun / intriguing to see where that goes.  There’s a humbling factor in this story line with Manon and she needs to find a way to temper her personality and humble herself in order to win over the Crochans for their support and numbers.  There are strong personalities in both clans that makes for some combative interactions.

And lastly, there’s the mix of Aedion, Lysandra, the Khaganate and everyone else.  They are defending Orynth, the land of Terrassen itself, and they are both the final battle and the ongoing front line for everything.  If they fail, then the land is lost, but it’s an impossible task because while they are skilled, they don’t have the numbers and the powers that the Valg do.

So much of this story is comprised of parallel story plot lines – all converging at the final battle.  While we hope and wish for a happy ending, there’s no chance that everyone that we have come to love will make it in the end, and the sacrifices that are made really resonate.  With the exception of one death, i think that all had been validated and feel as though they were worthwhile, but one still hits me the wrong way.

I don’t know how our author Ms Maas does it.  To read this story and see the vivid picture in my mind of every interaction, character, scene, battle – it’s amazing.  There are so many details that could have been written any other way and still told the story – but the picture that’s been painted here is so thorough and complex that i’m in awe.

When i started this series, i was pulled in because of the underlying story here – of a girl who was trying to find her identity after being in limbo her whole life after her family was murdered.  She’s led into the light by a prince who has been under the thumb of a controlling family – and both ultimately want the same thing -freedom.  When that’s taken from them, from the world even through a race from a different world, well, they are forced to partner in an entirely new way to get that freedom.

They encountered so much adversity, so many different types of beings, and yet when there’s one common goal to pull people together, we see that maybe there can be hope.  Even when people deceive them, when they lie and trick and just all around are not honest.  Partnership, fighting for a common goal, against a common enemy shows how strong you can be and how perhaps there’s reason to partner instead of fight.

We’re left in a place with a full resolution of things that have happened throughout this series – and while not entirely happy or as expected, things have been laid out in a way that does everyone justice.  I hope you guys read this one, and if you haven’t started this series PLEASE DO!

 

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!

Book Release: Royally Yours by Emma Chase

New York Times bestselling author Emma Chase returns with a sweet and sexy standalone in the Royally Series.

Princess Lenora Celeste Beatrice Arabella Pembrook had an unusual childhood. She was raised to be a Queen—the first Queen of Wessco.
It’s a big deal.
When she’s crowned at just nineteen, the beautiful young monarch is prepared to rule. She’s charming, clever, confident and cunning.
What she isn’t…is married.
It’s her advising council’s first priority. It’s what Parliament is demanding, and what her people want.
Lenora has no desire to tie herself to a man—particularly one who only wants her for her crown. But compromises must be made and royals must do their duty.
Even Queens. Especially them.
**
Years ago, Edward Langdon Richard Dorian Rourke, walked away from his title and country. Now he’s an adventurer—climbing mountains, exploring jungles, going wherever he wants, when he wants—until family devotion brings him home.
And a sacred promise keeps him there.
To Edward, the haughty, guarded little Queen is intriguing, infuriating…and utterly captivating. Wanting her just might drive him mad—or become his greatest adventure.
**
Within the cold, stone walls of the royal palace—mistrust threatens, wills clash, and an undeniable, passionate love will change the future of the monarchy forever.
Every dynasty has a beginning. Every legend starts with a story.
This is theirs.
**********
ROYALLY YOURS will be available on October 30th
Preorder:
→iBooks: http://bit.ly/RoyallyYoursiBooks
→B&N: http://bit.ly/RoyallyYoursNook
→Google Play: http://bit.ly/RoyallyYoursGooglePlay
→Kobo: http://bit.ly/RoyallyYoursKobo
→Amazon Paperback: https://amzn.to/2NNoIET
→Kindle LIVE alert: http://authoremmachase.com/newsletter/
→Add to Goodreads: http://bit.ly/RoyallyYoursGoodreads

Special thanks to:
Photographer: Rafael Catala
Cover Model: Fabian Castro
Cover Designer – By Hang Le (she’s so awesome!)

**The Royally Yours paperback includes the bonus short story, Royally Yours, for the first time in print!**

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!