Review: Empress in Lingerie (Lingerie #5) by Penelope Sky

Title: Empress in Lingerie
Author:  Penelope Sky
Publisher/Year:  Createspace Publishing 6/6/18
Length:  167 pages
Series:  Lingerie #5

Overview

I’m Vanessa Barsetti, the daughter of the infamous Crow Barsetti.

My father taught me how to fight. If a man lays a hand on me, I’ll put him in his grave. As a Barsetti, I’m proud, stubborn, and don’t take nonsense from anybody. 

I walk home from a bar and take the wrong path.

And witness a brutal crime.

The murderer won’t let me go. He’s handsome, lethal, and terrifying. With tattoos on his forearms and a presence full of threat, he’s a shade of evil I’ve never encountered. And then he tells me the most terrifying thing of all.

His name is Bones.

My Thoughts

Vanessa can’t catch a break now can she? First she was kidnapped and almost murdered by Knuckles – the guy who had a vendetta against Sapphire, and now she crosses paths with Bones Jr who has a vendetta against the entire Barsetti family. Poor girl. No matter how good of a fighter she is, she’s gotta cave at some point. or does she?

we know from the last book that the family discovered that Bones (the one who bought Pearl) had a son, but they didn’t know much about him. What we learn here is a bit more about who he is, what his life has been like and why he’s got a chip on his shoulder. He’s drawn the short stick because his mother was Bone’s mistress, and when he was killed by Pearl and family, she was left with nothing. When she was forced into prostitution to support her son, well that didn’t turn out well either and she was murdered and Bones was left on his own.

Where we are now in present day is just shortly after Vanessa’s horrible situation with Knuckles, she’s back to her old life and trying to really move past everything. She’s back at school, she’s getting involved with men again, but her guard is up. She takes different routes home every night in case someone is trying to follow her and wait to scoop her up, she’s taken precautions again in her home, but unfortunately for her, the route she takes home one night is the wrong one. Because she comes across a man murdering another man in an alley, and her life is changed forever. She’s kidnapped and when the man realizes who she is, things get worse fast.

Bones knows who Vanessa is, and while he’s got this score to settle with the family, he wasn’t actively pursuing her. She fell into his lap and that’s the best blessing he could have hoped for. He has his plan to kill her on video, send it to her parents and make them suffer. The problem though, as we’ve seen with Pearl and Adalina, these women are able to exude confidence, sexuality, power, and all of those things combined make their keepers unable to follow through in what they wanted to do. Vanessa makes a pea for Bones to let her go by offering herself to him, and from that point, we see a corner that they’ve turned.

The balance of the story that we have here is the endless question of what Bones is going to do with Vanessa and what chance will she have at freedom. The game that he’s playing is an interesting one because he keeps her hostage for about a week, and then allows her to go home, to live her life, have her phone, interact with her family, but if she breathes a word of anything to them, they are all dead. You can only imagine the complexity here since this is a family that doesn’t hold anything back, and doesn’t lie.

While she has her freedom though, he’s claimed her. Vanessa is his and no one is allowed to have what he wants and has. This is really where their chemistry becomes something unimaginable. It’s powerful, and intense ,to a level that none of the other couples have shared yet in my opinion. While they need each other as things progress, they also have this hatred and distrust that is a layer that’s unique to their story. The question that you have to remember is who will die since you know someone has to and how is it going to happen. Every time Vanessa thinks that she has the upper hand, she learns that Bones is a step ahead of her.

There are so many other spokes to this story that make me intrigued. For one, Vanessa keeps asking Bones what his real name is and he’s so opposed to sharing. i think there’s a story there that we don’t know yet. Next, Bones has always wanted to know who killed his mother so he could get revenge, and when things are narrowed down, it’s someone who’s maybe too powerful to take down.

The dynamic though of Vanessa and Bones is something that keeps this story moving so quickly. If you remember, Bones the elder was HORRIBLE. he was disgusting, inhumane, and vile. Bones Jr is really trying to be something different because he doesn’t believe in all that his father did, but he has to keep some sense of power because that’s what’s necessary to survive. Because he’s his own man though, we see so many redeeming qualities to Bones and want him to be a better man.

The moments when that man comes out, he is tender, romantic, sweet and really gives Vanessa everything that she could need. But he still has his bite. Vanessa on the other hand is Barsetti through and through and never gives up fighting for what she believes is right either physically or in spirit. The way that she’s able to get through to Bones during certain moments is intense, and that makes their passion and magnetism even more intense. Their scenes are completely reflective of how they are – when they come together, their heat and passion is explosive, hot and well….one of my favorite pairings in the series so far.

So many questions, so few answers. Will the Barsettis figure out what’s going on without Vanessa telling them and what will it mean? Who will come close to killing the other first and what are the repercussions? Will Bones survive trying to avenge his mother’s killing, and will Vanessa be caught in the crossfire? So much to wonder, so now i need the next book. Enjoy!

Review: Queen in Lingerie (Lingerie #4) by Penelope Sky

Title: Queen in Lingerie
Author:  Penelope Sky
Publisher/Year:  Createspace Publishing 6/6/18
Length:  167 pages
Series:  Lingerie #4

Overview

Muse told the world how she felt about me.

Instead of feeling joy, I felt terror.

This isn’t what I want.

This isn’t how our relationship is supposed to be.

I end things because I have no other choice.

But I struggle to cope with my misery, to sleep in an empty bed without her beside me.

My Thoughts

Again, i think that the summary doesn’t do the book justice. What’s alluded to here is just one snippet of the greater story that we’re really immersed in. In this 3rd book, we see what Sapphire and Conways relationship has truly become. There are real feelings and real emotions, and while sapphire is more honest with how she feels, Con is never going to admit it. He does things for her, and protects her in ways that he would never have before, but that makes him uncomfortable on a different level.

The journey in this installment takes us on some amazing adventures. We see Conway and Carter’s participation in the Underground evolve, with an after affect that hurts their family and uncovers something that they never expected. We see adventures taking us to romantic locales, Sapphire getting to experience the luxury that Conway can give her in Greece and beyond. We see Sapphire finally decide to admit her feelings and that’s where the story takes a sharp left turn.

Conway is a man who NEEDS control and won’t survive if someone else tries to take it. When Sapphire takes things into her own hands, she finds herself thrown out of Conways house in the middle of the night with nothing, no money, no assets, and no where to go. Thankfully she had that offer from Andrew Lexington to be his model for years, so she uses that as an opportunity to rebuild her life.

This bit of the story seems very reminiscent of Pearl and Crow- when Pearl went back to America because things just weren’t what they should be. Here, Sapphire has a job, she crafts a new life in the hopes of getting past the heart break, and starts to build a new friend ship with a successful man named Nox who helps her realize that she’s worthy and should be cherished. Conway realizes the error in his ways, tries to make things right by chasing her to NYC, but when he can’t offer her what she needs in ‘forever’ – he goes back to Italy with his tail between his legs.

The path that this story takes is so moody and sad. Sapphire can’t seem to move past Conway and how she feels about him, even when she tries to live her life. He’s always in her thoughts but she also knows that she deserves better. It’s only when Conway’s world crumbles, his work suffers and he’s unable to design anything, all he does is drink and starve himself…Crow talks to him and gives him the kick in the pants that he needs. Crow shares with him a bit of his experience with his mom and we see that maybe it lights a fire and there’s hope.

If only that’s where our story ends right? Seeing Conway come to his senses, but we also know that regardless of what Sapphire feels for him, she’s not going to back down for what she believes she deserves and their journey continues to get complicated, even with unexpected twists and turns in both their professional and personal life. That bit of the story i won’t go into, but know that it’s compelling and intriguing.

We have all the romance and chemistry layered into this story as we have in the others- the connection here with these two as something that’s super symbiotic and it adds a dynamic that we haven’t seen with the other couples.

What does come as a surprise (but maybe not?) is what happens with Knuckles here. I think that we were all jaded if we thought he was going to disappear and well, he comes back with a mission and that’s to get Sapphire back somehow, putting the entire Barsetti clan on alert and presenting a show of force that would make anyone cringe

The story doesn’t stop there, and i’m happy to say that the version of the book that i have gives me the next installment and i don’t even need to go searching for it! Enjoy!

Review: Lady in Lingerie (Lingerie #3) by Penelope Sky

Title: Lady in Lingerie
Author:  Penelope Sky
Publisher/Year:  Createspace Publishing 5/17/18
Length:  187 pages
Series:  Lingerie #3

Overview

I refuse to let this woman have any power over me.

She’s just my prisoner.

But once my Muse is in trouble, I’ll do anything to save her.

Anything to protect her.

She was supposed to inspire me, please me.

She was never supposed to care about me.

Or make me care about her.

My Thoughts

We get to see the more human side of Conway, the side that his family knows and loves, the side that he doesn’t show anyone, and this is the side that the world should see. All because Sapphire was able to break through some of his walls.

The bulk of this story is taking us on a journey where Conway realizes that he needs ‘Muse’ and she admits to herself that she needs him, but as we’ve seen in the previous installments, she’s not willing to compromise and diminish her worth just to let him feel powerful. The exchange of power between them is complex and entertaining. Conway realizes quickly that without Muse, his work suffers. And when Conway ‘frees’ Sapphire, she realizes that she can’t live without him.

Add to that the layer of the Barsettis that come into play in this story. We get to see a lot more of Vanessa since she and Sapphire have developed a friendship. We see that Conway’s parents are truly happy to see their son finally in a relationship and one with a woman as lovely as Sapphire. We see Carter even begin to take on a more vocal role in things. The dynamic of Carter and Conway is exactly that of Cane and Crow and i really like seeing that.

At the end of the last book, you’ll remember that Sapphire was made an offer to go work for a competitor of Conway, and that’s something that comes back up in this story as well. She’s offered more money than anyone could fathom having, and her feelings for Conway makes it a hard decision to make/turn down/take. It’ll be interesting to see how that one plays out since we know that Mr Lexington reached out to Conway first and then found his way to Sapphire. She still doesn’t know that Conway knew about the offer first.

Add to that, Bones reappears. You’ll remember him from Pearl and Crow’s story and i think that the name alone makes everyone nervous. The way that Conway and Carter discover him puts their families at risk, puts a wedge between everyone who loves each other, instills fear in everyone, and forces the younger generation to make a promise about how they will live their lives moving forward. HUGE compromises for men who are powerful, feel that they are invincible and really don’t like being told what to do.

Where we net out though is an admission of truths, anger and hatred, and all relationships that we thought were solid being pulled apart. It’s anyone’s guess on how things will pan out in the next book, but the names Knuckles, Bones….Skull Kings…they all come to mind and you have every reason to be concerned!

The consistency though that keeps this series going and makes it so enjoyable and engaging is the fact that the dynamic between Conway and Sapphire is hot, and it’s real when they are alone. They share something so deep and romantic, but it’s only behind closed doors. The chemistry that they have, the magnetism that they share is something truly remarkable and very well written in this story, that when you see things crash and burn, you know that there has to be something on the other side – even if it’s different than what was intended. On that note, i’m off to read the next book and i can’t wait to see who ends up where and with whom. Enjoy!

Review: Beauty in Lingerie (Lingerie #2) by Penelope Sky

Title: Beauty in Lingerie
Author:  Penelope Sky
Publisher/Year:  Createspace Publishing 4/17/18
Length:  165 pages
Series:  Lingerie #2

Overview

Conway Barsetti doesn’t want me to be a model anymore.

He wants to keep me all to himself.

I inspire him in ways no one else does. 

Now I’m living with him in his beautiful mansion, and I don’t feel like a prisoner anymore. I’m free to do what I want, with some limitations. But he treats me so coldly, seeing me as an object rather than a person.

His family comes by for lunch and he tells me to stay in my room so they won’t see me.

But I have a better idea. I’ll make them believe I’m his girlfriend, that we live together and we’re in love. Unless he treats me better, I’ll tell his parents and sister what our arrangement really is. 

And humiliate him.

My Thoughts

This second book in the series takes their relationship to a new level. While we know that Sapphire was strong and smart and was not going to let her situation define her, Conway didn’t know that and we have an interesting story from here on out. She’s the one person who’s able to challenge Conway, who’s about push him and get him to begin to admit things to himself and that benefits both of them.

His work has never been so inspired, and he is putting out more product than ever before. There’s more demand for him and that’s all because of his Muse. There’s a downside to this however, they both become incredibly jealous of one another. We know that Sapphire HATES when his models get too close, still not trusting that he’s not with anyone else. Conway on the flip side is beyond protective, and we know that it’s a Barsetti trait that will never go away. Given the threat that Carter voiced regarding Knuckles, there’s a reason that Sapphire gets limited freedom.

And this is where Crow, Pearl and Vanessa play a big role. Now that Sapphire forced her way into the family, and they adore her, she’s able to get more and more from Conway. To push his boundaries, to get freedoms. It’s nice to see what her life is becoming.

Where we find ourselves in this story’s end is that there’s an offer on the table that may take Sapphire away from Conway, and he had been shielding her from that offer. Knowing the type of woman that she is, we’re likely going to see heart break and betrayal at the beginning of the next book because it seems like it’s an offer she can’t turn down.

The other bit that i want to note in this story is that the dynamic between our mains continues to be unique to what we’ve read in all the other series so far. There’s an innocence sure, but there’s a bit of power swapping here that’s different than what i’ve read before. Sapphire doesn’t use the same tactics that Pearl or Adelina did, or any of the other ladies to be honest. She has a different approach and one that’s grounded in the life that she lost, and it’s something that works here….most of the time. So i guess now the only way to see what happens, if there’s a way to come back from the impeding betrayal and at what cost….if Knuckles will find her when she’s out of Conway’s grasp, …we must read on. Enjoy!

Review: Muse In Lingerie (Lingerie #1) by Penelope Sky

Title: Muse In Lingerie
Author:  Penelope Sky
Publisher/Year:  Createspace Publishing 4/3/18
Length:  298 pages
Series:  Lingerie #1

Overview

My brother got mixed up with a crime lord and lost everything he had, including his life.

And now I have to pay his debt.

All I have is twenty bucks in my pocket and the clothes on my back. The bank took the house, and my last living relative was murdered. Knuckles threatened to torture me if I ran. He’s counting down the days until he’ll claim me…making me treasure my final days of freedom.

But I’m not going to wait around. I’m running like hell.

To Milan.

The greatest lingerie designer in the world is looking for new talent for Barsetti Lingerie. I’m not exactly model material, but maybe I can get a job doing something…and get paid under the table.

But when I meet the infamous Conway Barsetti, he has other plans for me.

Did I just run away from one monster into the arms of another?

My Thoughts

I think this was a great segue into the next generation of Barsettis since we just spent so much time with both Crow and Cane. We know that they both had children and that means that the story continues. This introduction to this new series is around Conway at the beginning, Crow and Pearl’s eldest child. He’s chosen to carve his own path, not staying within the family business of the winery, which of course frustrates Crow, but instead, moving to Milan and creating his own empire. One that he’s been afraid to tell his family about, but one that they are insanely proud of. He’s the worlds most influential lingerie designer and that doesn’t shock us at all.

Enter Sapphire – a girl who’s on the wrong end of something that her brother did/didn’t do. We know that this is the way of crime organizations – no one is sacred and if someone doesn’t pay a debt, all family is collateral. Sapphire has to go into hiding, figure out how to pay off all the debts that have been wracked up and make a new life since hers has been completely derailed. When she sees a glimpse of Conway on the TV, seeing that he’s hosting a model search, she takes the last few dollars she has and flies to Milan in the quest to make a new life.

The story from here is expected, yet interesting. We know how Ms Sky, our amazing author writes these things – giving us the anxiety of organized crime that has no qualms about torture and pain, while also introducing a strong female who takes no crap from anyone and who will be the reason for the surly main man to change.

Where we know Crow/Pearl’s story was all about naughty intense heat, and Cane/Adelina had the sweet romance, this is a mix. Sapphire needs the romance and Conway has closed himself off to emotion.

The problem that arises though is that because Conway has the walls up and potentially a false sense of security that his wealth and celebrity have earned him, he’s putting himself directly in the path of danger after paying $100M to save Sapphire’s life. Carter, Cane’s son tries to talk reason into him, the way that we saw Crow and Cane do for each other, and where we are left at the end of this story is on the cusp of a war that’s brewing and we don’t fully know the capacity of the opponent.

This introduction to the Lingerie series shows us restraint, passion, drive and motivation, and gives us hope that there are people who will help put an end to the trafficking problem that was so prevalent in the other series. It comes at a cost though and we don’t yet know who’s going to pay for that with their life and well being. Enjoy!

Review: Buttons & Grace (Buttons #6) by Penelope Sky

Title: Buttons & Grace
Author:  Penelope Sky
Publisher/Year:  Createspace Publishing 12/19/17
Length:  190 pages
Series:  Buttons #6

Overview

I started a blood war.

I’ve made a terrifying enemy.

Over a single woman.

It was a stupid decision, but I don’t have any regrets.

Because Bellissima is finally mine.

My Thoughts

The summary doesn’t do this story justice, but it at least sets the tone for what we’re going to get. We know that the relationship between Adelina and Cane is one that’s destined to fail, and it’s more painful to live through than the roller coaster that was Crow and Pearl’s story. the notion of Cane finally having Adelina in a secure place is a nice notion, but one that doesn’t have much sound foundation.

We spend a lot of this story wanting to see a happy ending, but that’s impossible. Tristan isn’t dead, and being able to get Adelina back from him was a set up. one that was planned and was more like a test than anything else. What comes of it is Crow being kidnapped and tortured, with the only solution being giving up Pearl as a trade. We all know that she’s not an option, which means that we have to prepare ourselves to say goodbye. Nothing for Cane is panning out in this book – he loses the girl he loves because she doesn’t love him back, and he’s losing his brother because there’s no way to make a trade like that.

Crow’s only job in life is to protect Pearl, and so he sends her away with Lars which was maybe the smartest move ever. An added twist factors into things now too – being that of a new Barsetti on the way, and we know that things will get even more crazy. The connection that Pearl and Crow have makes this story rooted so deeply in all things that fairy tales are made of, and we want to see that play out in a good way, but have a bleak view of the future.

The mission to get Crow back is a suicide mission once they realize that Tristan has been setting them up time after time, and it’s getting BAD. The solve, thankfully from the sane thoughts of Adelina and Pearl are to trade their arms business for the help of the Skull Kings and, which means that Cane again loses something important, but maybe gets his brother back.

From this point on, we see a depressed and dejected Cane, a man who’s heart is broken, who’s soul is broken, who has no professional purpose in life. He gets angry, resents Adelina for her feelings, and agrees to let her go back home. It’s not what his heart tells him to do, but he has to do it for her. Even with Crow and Pearl reassuring him that things will work out, it’s an impossible thought to him.

If there’s one thing that we’ve learned from all of the stories by our author, it’s that no two relationships and plot lines are the same. What panned out in one way for one duo will not be the case for another, so while there is so much weight against how things netted out for Crow and Pearl, we know that it can’t work out that easily for Cane and Adelina. Everything that we’ve seem between them have been on a different level, so their ending to their story has to be different as well.

We still get moments of sweet romance and tenderness which is unique, all while still seeing the same rage and anger that’s the Italian trait. Both carry this story through and certainly kept me beyond engaged that i was able to finish it in just one day. I can’t wait to see how things continue since there has to be more of the Barsetti story somewhere. Enjoy!

Review: Buttons & Blame (Buttons #5) by Penelope Sky

Title: Buttons & Blame
Author:  Penelope Sky
Publisher/Year:  Createspace Publishing 11/11/17
Length:  185 pages
Series:  Buttons #5

Overview

I’m supposed to return her to Tristan to finish the deal.

But now I’m dreading the day when I have to drop her off.

Can I really do it?

I’m not supposed to care about this woman. I’m not supposed to care about anyone, actually.

But I care about Bellissimo.

My Thoughts

This story was one of the more predictable ones, but i think that it continues on the same path of hope, innocence and romance. The tone that was started in book 4 and was such a welcome change from all others from our amazing author.

The relationship between Cane and Adelina is a tough one because they all know that their time is limited and that there’s truly nothing that can be done to change their circumstances. Instead, all they can do is try to live in the moment and have something good to hold onto.

Unique to this story is that we have 2 paths of POVs happening. Whereas in the past it was really just the lives of the two main characters that we’ve enjoyed, in this story we get the added layer of Pearl and Crow, since their lives are so intertwined and it adds another layer of depth into the mix. I really enjoyed it and it’s nice to see how things evolved between this family to make this story into what it is.

Adelina has a different strength than that of Pearl, and it adds to the sweetness of this story. She won’t take risks for herself because she wants to save her friend, but she also knows that the outcome may not be what she hopes. She sees the good in Cane and is rewarded for it, being given the chance to say goodbye to her parents under the cover of darkness and being able to let that peace come to them. Once everyone’s resigned to what has to be done, life just goes on.

With the added layers of 2 story lines amongst the couples, we see the dynamic shift with Pearl and Crow as well. There are so many moving parts that of course Pearl does something that angers Crow so badly that there are days of rage and anger to contest with. We know where that will end up, any couple that’s as connected as they are will see that anger manifest into passion, but it’s intense to see it play out.

Our good friend Bones continues to be referenced in this story, and now the Skull Kings are brought into play. (mind you i’ve read these series out of order, so the leader of the Kings isn’t who i came to adore in the other series). Anyway, they’re making a play for Bone’s power and potentially the Barsetti power as well, and that can’t ever end well.

we are left at a point in this story where attempts at freedom are made, safety is compromised, and the notion of ‘until we have a body – someone’s not dead’ is our lifeblood. No one knows yet who will be at risk, but it happens, and we’re left in the dark at the end, wondering who’s taken, who’s killed, what allies may come along and if it’ll be unexpected. I’m diving into the next book now since i’m on pins and needles! Enjoy!

Review: Buttons & Shame (Buttons #4) by Penelope Sky

Title: Buttons & Shame
Author:  Penelope Sky
Publisher/Year:  Createspace Publishing 7/17/17
Length:  192 pages
Series:  Buttons #4

Overview

Tristan is one of my biggest clients. He always pays on time, and he always keeps his word.

But this time, he’s short on cash.

He needs the shipment now, so he offers me collateral.

He loans me his slave.

Adelina.

Now that Pearl and I are so close, I can’t condone this type of exchange. It’s wrong.

Inhumane.

But she wants me. I can tell.

And I definitely want her.

My Thoughts

You knew that there would have to be an interesting continuation to this story knowing how evolved Cane has become since Pearl came into their lives. He’s a much more ‘humane’ person for lack of a better word, and while he’s driven by power, money and sex, he’s opened his eyes to a new perspective on things.

What the summary doesn’t do justice with is the nature of how Cane crossed paths with Adelina in the first place. He saw her at the airport going to France, even before he met her at Tristan’s house, and there was an attraction, yet he knew something was wrong. It was fate of course that puts them together again, and when he tries to do the right thing by staying away, especially knowing what Pearl went through, his hands are tied and he’s forced to step in any way that he can.

Adelina was unfortunately in the wrong place at the wrong time with her friend and was quickly picked up and trafficked while on a trip with her friend. Her life is basically over, and she would sacrifice herself, but Tristan holds the fact that her friend is still in his possession and Adelina would do anything for her.

Cane makes a trade for Tristan’s slave, and gives Adelina a chance to have a slightly better life as a slave for him for 31 days. We all know that Cane is the kind of guy who will do what he can now to protect her, and keep her from going back to Tristan, yet there’s really no hope since he needs his money from Tristan, Adelina won’t run away because of her friend, and Crow can’t even help.

We know from the first three books that Pearl, Crow’s wife is on a mission to find a way to protect and free all women from human trafficking and this is just up her alley – to find a way to free Adelina. She can’t seem to get the response that she’s hoping for from Crow and Cane, so she takes matters into her own hands which causes problems of epic proportions. She goes to Tristan to make a deal, and he’s on the same level as Bones, so you can only imagine the rage that Crow will feel when he learns of all this. That’s where we are left off, rage, the fact that a slave still isn’t free, and a lot of hopelessness.

There’s something more innocent about this story – sweet, romantic and tender. While the other stories that i’ve read from Pene Sky have all had intense hot passion and heat, this one has more of a simmer and a slow burn. We know that Cane has carnal needs, and that he’s used to getting what he wants, however he has compassion for Adelina and won’t push her to do what she doesn’t want. Instead, he takes on the quest of making her want what he wants. It’s really a nice spin on things since it’s so very different from all the other books so far.

I”m curious to see how this plays out since everyone’s angry, afraid, uncertain, but you know that there has to be something to come out of it for someone. Biggest question is who will gain from this….i’m going to read on to find out. Enjoy!

Review: Buttons & Pain (Buttons #3) by Penelope Sky

Title: Button’s & Pain
Author:  Penelope Sky
Publisher/Year:  Createspace Publishing 5/16/17
Length:  192 pages
Series:  Buttons #3

Overview

When I saw my escape, I took it. Now I’m in New York City and trying to get my life back on track. Despite the tracker in my ankle, Crow hasn’t come for me. He hasn’t even called me. I told him the depth of my feelings but he cruelly rejected them. 

Maybe he’s forgotten about me.

One day, I walk into my apartment and spot the pile of buttons on the counter. I never left them there, and there’s only one explanation for their presence.

Maybe Crow hasn’t forgotten me after all.

My Thoughts

This story has continued to take so many different twists and turns that it’s really anyone’s guess on how it will end. We left off with Pearl being kidnapped from Crow’s house, a feat that seemed impossible, and the assumption was that it was bones. Well, it wasn’t, it was a bounty hunter who thankfully looked enough like Pearl for her to steal her ID and fly back to America. As Pearl makes her mad dash to the flight, she thinks about how to get in touch with Crow, but doesn’t have a chance since time isn’t on her side. She needs to get away, get back to a life that really was nothing much anyway, and figure out how survive now that her heart is broken, she’s alone and she has nothing

Upon her return to New York, we see the feisty strong vengeful version of Pearl come out – she quickly learns that she has no friends to turn to, so she bangs down the door at her old apartment and shocks the heck out of Jacob. Who’s moved on and that girl is currently at the apartment. Pearl holds NOTHING back, takes over the apartment for the night, demands that Jacob pay her the $100k that he sold her for and blows up his spot with the girl in revealing that she was trafficked. She also holds the notion over his head that she can/will turn him in at any point in time.

Being able to do this gives Pearl a sense of normalcy, and her life takes a quick right turn. When she goes to the police to remove herself from the missing persons list, she learns that it was her ex Jason who set the search across the pond in Italy. That’s a surprise and a truly welcome thing to know that someone cares about her enough to set up a search. They start to rekindle their friendship and relationship, but something is always missing. Pearl compares him to Crow and that’s not a surprise at all. The challenge too though is that Jason sees her as damaged and can’t give Pearl what she wants and that causes a spiral. It’s perfect timing for Crow to pull his head out of his rear and make a move – all thanks to Cane and Lars.

The Theme for the majority of the story from here on out is trust, regaining trust, compromise and being honest with yourself. Pearl already put her heart out there and her intentions out there and got denied by Crow. Crow on the other hand isn’t honest enough with himself to admit that the real reason that he won’t admit his feelings is because he’s scared that he can’t save the world and save himself.

He wants what he wants, takes what he wants, Pearl is at a loss to be able to control herself around him due to her feelings and it’s a circular monstrosity. What Pearl has done throughout all this is focused on her situation with Crow that she’s lulled herself into a false sense of security not putting much thought into Bones, and thinking that if she’s been ok thus far, that he’s not on her trail. Boy is she wrong

It’s like groundhogs day all over again and Crow can’t even stop what’s happening this time. He won’t admit to loving Pearl, but he won’t let her go and can’t live without her. We see the depth of his character really develop here and propel the story forward. What’s really nice here too is that Penelope Sky, our amazing author sets up the dynamic and support around Cane even more so in this book, making him human and making him a man that you want to like all to set him up for book 4 i’d imagine.

We continue on this roller coaster with Bones getting his hands on Pearl once again and the future is entirely uncertain. We know that he won’t just keep her but he’ll torture her and torture Crow at the same time. He’s out for so much more than blood and it’s unknown if the Barsetti brothers are strong enough to survive or get past.

Romance and passion aren’t enough. Chemistry and emotion aren’t enough. The intense heat that we see when Crow and Pearl come together, it’s sexy and naughty and incredibly engaging, but again, is it enough? there’s no way to know unless you read. Enjoy!

Review: Buttons & Hate (Buttons #2) by Penelope Sky

Title: Buttons & Hate
Author:  Penelope Sky
Publisher/Year:  Createspace Publishing 2/7/17
Length:  187 pages
Series:  Buttons #2

Overview

I’m working off my buttons.

But I’m also giving them away.

The more I fall for Crow, the more I want him to do the things that I want. Dinners, dates, and evenings at the beach.

Everything comes at a price, and quickly the hoard of buttons I worked hard to earn are depleted. 
 

Will this go back and forth forever? Or will someone run out of their buttons first?

My Thoughts

This intense story continues down the same path that we saw throughout the first book. Pearl is now in a place where she knows what betrayal truly is, and her faith and trust in anyone is now gone. Once Crow revealed that Jacob was the reason that she was sold into slavery, she lost all will to try to get back to America because she knew that there was no one there waiting for her.

What that means is that we have a girl with a broken spirit, who doesn’t want to be where she is, yet who has no where else to go. This story line takes a turn for Crow though because it forces him to let his wall down a bit and perhaps to thaw. The challenge though is that every time he becomes a bit more human, we see that it costs him a bit of his soul and he’s not willing to let that happen. He closes up faster than he opened and Pearl is left to deal with that.

There’s still the jar of buttons that is the focal point of all that they do – Pearl does what she can to earn more and more, even willing to participate in things that she had no interest in before because of the price tag, and at the same time, Crow isn’t happy that her jar is almost full, and pushes to get her to pay for information that she wants from him.

Part of the motivation of the jar is the ability to really build on the intense chemistry that these two have. Kudos to our author Pene Sky for being able to give us such hot imagery that you know that what they have is really and it makes you a bit jealous. There’s a balanced mix of romance when forced, and BDSM esque stuff since they do love a power struggle.

What happens as a result is that we see a real relationship start to form. Even though Pearl has made it clear that she trusts no one and has no desire to love again, and we know that Crow isn’t capable of love, we see the compromises that they make to one another and it grows into a deeper connection. Pearl forces Crows hand towards being romantic and they see that there’s far more in common than is different. Is there a chance for happiness?

Well, no, because Cane isn’t having any of this, and he breaks into Crows house and beats Pearl to a second of her life. That is the pivotal moment in this story for all that happens in the back half. Pearl now lives in fear, Crown spends his breaths hating Cane, and Cane is trying to get revenge for Vanessa and feels vindicated a bit. At the same time though, everyone knows that Bones is still gunning to get Pearl back, and well, she’s not safe anywhere.

This takes the last few chapters for us on a roller coaster of even bigger proportions. The relationship that Pearl and Crow developed changes its dynamic past repair, the same goes for Crow and Cane. There’s no hope or good feeling between anyone to be frank, and it’s a shame to see how it all came to be. It’s the perfect moment though for Bones to make his move though no? We’re left with a break in, a kidnapping and even darker emotions than ever. The decision has to be made whether it’s even possible to continue to fight, when we know that fighting gets us no where. I guess that’s what we’ll find out in book 3. so enjoy!