Review: Queen of Shadows (Throne of Glass #4) by Sarah J Maas

Title: Queen of Shadows
Author: Sarah J Maas
Publisher/Year: Bloomsbury USA 9/6/16
Length:   561 Pages
Series:  Throne of Glass #4

Overview

Everyone Celaena Sardothien loves has been taken from her. But she’s at last returned to the empire-for vengeance, to rescue her once-glorious kingdom, and to confront the shadows of her past…

She has embraced her identity as Aelin Galathynius, Queen of Terrasen. But before she can reclaim her throne, she must fight.

She will fight for her cousin, a warrior prepared to die just to see her again. She will fight for her friend, a young man trapped in an unspeakable prison. And she will fight for her people, enslaved to a brutal king and awaiting their lost queen’s triumphant return.

Celaena’s epic journey has captured the hearts and imaginations of millions across the globe. This fourth volume will hold readers rapt as Celaena’s story builds to a passionate, agonizing crescendo that might just shatter her world.

My Thoughts

Honestly, i don’t think that there’s any way to make this series better.  This third installment has taken us to such an amazing place that i feel like we’ve really set the stage for something amazing since we’ve overcome so much with our characters, yet there’s still so much that’s going to happen that we have no idea who’s going to be left when it ends.

Where we were left off in the last book is where Aelin knows what she has to become and what she has to do, and hopefully she has the power to do it.  Interestingly enough, she’s going to find herself joining forces with some folks that she never would have considered before, and hopefully at the same time restore some of her friendships that were so broken because of lies and just because of who they are.

Just like we had in book 2, we have parallel stories happening here – but it’s a bit less clear since the stories are starting to merge.  We have Aelin’s story, we have Manon again, and then we see glimpses of Dorian and the Val Prince that’s taken over his body.

So in this 3rd book, we see Aelin finding herself with strengthening power through the tutelage of Rowan, a Fae warrior who’s taken the blood oath to Maeve – queen of the Fae.  Rowan pushes Aelin so far beyond what she ever thought was possible, just to get her to control her powers and learn the secrets that have been hidden from her and the world for 10 years.  The things that she learns from Maeve and even from Rowan cause her to question everything and wonder who’s side everyone’s truly on.  The bond that we see develop though between the two makes you wonder what will become of it since it seems like there’s more than just the love hate of mentor/mentee but who knows.

Then there’s the witches – Manon has to work to gain the lead position that should be rightly hers of all witches, all at the request of the King of Adarlan – meaning that his dark plans are going to take shape through the help of the immortal witches.  Whats nice about her story in this book is that we see that there’s more to Manon than we initially knew and that she’s forced to battle herself quite a bit, not just battle her coven because of questions that she’s forced to ask regarding her coven, her history and what’s being asked of the witches by the King and the Duke.

Then there’s the bits with Dorian.  We see his story with Choal and Aedion grow while they are all still together – we see that they want to do something to gain power back from his father, yet they know that there’s a dark power that he has that will make it impossible.  Dorian tries to stand his ground but that comes at a price – especially when he is forced to use his magic and that means that things will end badly.  We see a love lost, and it’s really a breaking point for these guys.

So – it’s quite a long book and i can’t get into all the amazing story lines, but what we see is a reappearance of Arobbyn, and we see that Aelin is so beyond hatred for him, that it’s more like a game at how this is being played and how it will end.  We see that there’s an interesting twist in a story with Clarisse – the ‘madaam’ of sorts, and her core worker.  Aelin finds out a few things that truly change the story a bit.

Then there’s Choal, Aedion, a girl named Elide who’s from Terrasen but who we don’t fully know enough about, and there’s everyone else.  There are a million questions about what the motivation is of the King with the rings and the collars and the Val Princes, and we have to wonder if he’s really the force of power or if there’s someone else pulling strings.

There’s so much death and destruction, so much that’s going to change the face of things as we go into the next installment – people are dead.  Lands are in ruin – and i think that there’s still a HUGE question as to who will survive and who has survived and what the new towers are going to bring.  I absolutely can’t wait for the next book  but i’m sure i have to be very patient.  Enjoy!

 

Review: Damage Control (Dirty Money Series #2) by Lisa Renee Jones

no-brainer

Title: Damage Control
Author: Lisa Renee Jones
Publisher/Year: St Martins Press 2/21/17
Length:   263 Pages
Series:  Dirty Money #2

Overview

The only thing more dangerous than a dark secret is a damaged heart…

Shane Brandon has been pushed to the brink, torn between his corrupt family and his explosive, all-consuming desire for Emily Stevens, who he now knows is not who, and what, she seems. Has he trusted the wrong person? Will she, not his brother Derek, be the ultimate destruction of his family Empire.
Emily tries to run from Shane, but he will stop her, confront her, force her to reveal all – one hot touch and kiss, at a time, under every intimate detail of who this woman is, and what she wants, is exposed. But as he tears away the dangers of the unknowns with the woman in his bed, and in his heart, The Martina Cartel, has set their sites on his company, his family, and the one piece of leverage they believe he won’t gamble with: Emily.

My Thoughts

It’s been a while since we’ve been in the world of Shane and Emily and i had to remind myself where we were left off.  the great thing with this 2nd book though is that Ms Jones, our brilliant author assumed that some of us may need a refresher and gave us that quick summary of things before we jumped back in.

In this second installment, we find ourselves in the midst of who knows what with these two. We know that Emily’s got quite a few secrets that are yet to be revealed and that Shane’s business is in a  bit of trouble because of some deals that his brother has been making with some less than savory folks.

What’s interesting here and kind of expected since we see it a lot in this genre is that the secrets between these two bring them closer together – and we see that what was potentially something good but fleeting turns really serious really fast.  Shane is willing to trust Emily from the moment go and that means that he’s going to give her protection from whatever it is that she’s hiding from as well as move her into his home as a permanent fixture in his life.

If that made his life easier we would be great but unfortunately that’s not even the tip of the iceberg of what he has to deal with.  In true form of our author, we have a lot going on at once.  We have the story line of which brother will get control over the company once Senior passes away from Cancer.  We also have Senior making shady deals with people that we don’t quite know their motivation.  Then we have Derek, Shane’s brother who’s literally in bed with the mafia and helping traffic illegal drugs.  So you know that things are going to keep getting exciting throughout this story.

If that weren’t enough, we have some really great chemistry between Shane and Emily and i think that they are a great match for one another.  Lisa Renee Jones does a fantastic job of writing women who are beyond capable of handling themselves in all situations and it’s not just Emily that we see it from.  Jessica, Shane’s secretary is just as amazing and i think that there’s definitely a spin off in the works for her.  or there should be.

As we go through this second book, there’s a lot that’s resolved but even more questions that are left for us to answer.  there’s still no idea how Shane’s going to clean up his company and what role his brother, father and even mother will have in it all.  then there’s the question around Emily’s family and what their deal is.  there’s something going on there that’s going to make for a great twist in book 3.  I’m bummed that we have to wait so long for it but i can’t wait to see how it all ends.  enjoy!

Review: Heir of Fire (Throne of Glass #3) by Sarah J Maas

no-brainer

Title: Heir of Fire
Author: Sarah J Maas
Publisher/Year: Bloomsbury USA 9/1/15
Length:   516 Pages
Series:  Throne of Glass #3

Overview

Celaena Sardothien, heroine of the New York Times bestselling series, rises from the ashes to burn even brighter than before.

Celaena has survived deadly contests and shattering heartbreak-but at an unspeakable cost. Now, she must travel to a new land to confront her darkest truth…a truth about her heritage that could change her life-and her future-forever. Meanwhile, brutal and monstrous forces are gathering on the horizon, intent on enslaving her world. Will Celaena find the strength to not only fight her inner demons, but to take on the evil that is about to be unleashed?

My Thoughts

Yes, it’s taken me quite a long time to finish this third installment and it wasn’t for lack of trying.  Life gets in the way sometimes right?  Anyway, this third piece of the story is AMAZING.  Each book gets more intricate and more complex that there are sub stories in each.

What we have here is the continuation of Celaena’s story – now that she’s going to Wendlyn on assignment for the king, but at the push of Choal who wants to protect her now that he knows her secret.  It works for Celaena because it gives her an opportunity to get away, wallow a bit (which she does quite well) and then to learn more about her past and the history behind the wyrdkeys in the hopes of solving the puzzle.

Celaena’s journey is a tough one.  We see her have trouble coming to terms with everything – the death of her friend, the fact that Choal can’t be trusted yet she loves him, her relationship with Dorian.  And the fact that she’s now forced to admit to everyone who she really is.  Throughout this book, she comes into her own, learns how to own her power and how to control it, all through the help and tutoring of Rowan, a Fae prince who is tied to the Fae Queen Maeve through a blood oath.  Their relationship is one that is a roller coaster as well, mentor/mentee, hated friends, and yet there’s something more i think.  it’s too soon to tell way though.

There’s the side story of what’s going on back in Adarlan though with Choal and Dorian.  They are at odds with each other, and the way that their friendship is being written shows that there’s still so much loyalty that trumps everything.  Add in Aedion, one of the king’s best generals and Celaena’s cousin (although they haven’t connected yet), and you have an even more interesting story.  He’s definitely in the kings pocket and causes us to take a pause to really understand his motivations and what side he’s playing and that all comes out in this story as well.

Then, enter an entirely new storyline of the witches.  We met Baba Yellowlegs who Celaena killed in the last story – and now we have all 3 major covens in this story – all being summoned to help the king – yet what they are helping with, they don’t know what.  I feel like the dynamic there is interesting since they were cursed at the same time that all the magic was taken from the continent, and i feel like once they are given the right information, the tides may turn in unexpected ways.

So all in all, you can see that there’s something amazing about how our author is able to weave these stories together.  They are all happening parallel path, yet they all are woven into one another making it so complex and dynamic.  I don’t know how she does it, and yet i can’t stop pushing myself to read more and more (even when i should be doing other things).  So on that note, enjoy and i’m off to the next installment!!!

Blog Stop: Stealing Mr Right by Tamara Morgan

Hi all!  You guys know that i love supporting authors and new releases, so today i bring you yet another one.  I hope you take a moment to check it out!  And on top of it, there’s a giveaway included!

Rafflecopter Code for $150 BaubleBar gift card:

Sneak Peek!! 

His voice was softer than I expected: low but controlled, the sound of an authority figure who knows he doesn’t have to shout to be heard. I’ve since realized that’s the most dangerous kind of man to go up against in a fight. He didn’t bluster and yell the way Riker did, and he didn’t speak in terse rebukes, the way I remember my dad doing when I made an error in the middle of a job. Grant was all control and manners.

I hadn’t expected manners.

“I’ve never seen a man so intrigued by concrete before,” I said, less polite but still within the bounds of friendliness. “I’ve run past you a total of four times now, and you never once glanced up to check me out.”

The surprise faded to amusement. “Is that a fact?”

“Yes. And I thought for sure three times would do it.”

Since it appeared he wasn’t about to book me for fifty counts of conspiracy, I took a moment to appreciate him up close. From a distance, packed into a dark suit, always on the scent of something we didn’t want him to be, he really was more like a ferocious guard dog than anything else. But up close? Unf. There was nothing canine about him, and fear wasn’t my primary reaction. He was a behemoth, taller than me by at least a foot, his build not powerful so much as overpowering. He wasn’t handsome—at least, not in a clean-cut, underwear ad sort of way—but he was incredibly attractive. It’s possible for a man to be a perfectly assembled collection of model parts and invoke nothing more than a mild appreciation, like looking at a sculpture or a really nice diamond tiara. It’s equally possible for a man to boast coarse features, oversized limbs, and a rugged smile—and make a girl want to take off her clothes on the spot.

Happily, I refrained.

“How do you know I didn’t watch your ass as you ran past?” he asked, picking up my flirtation with ease. I should have been disappointed that he was sharp enough to follow along—a  slow, stupid nemesis is always preferable to a fast-witted one—but all I felt was a warm feeling of pleasure. “Maybe I was being discreet.”

“You didn’t,” I said smugly and switched to stretching the other leg. “If you had, you would’ve stopped me ten minutes ago and asked for my number.”

“Maybe I’m in a relationship.”

“You’re not. Otherwise, you wouldn’t be watching my ass now.”

He laughed but didn’t relax. I only noted this because men have a universal way of dropping their shoulders and opening their stance once they realize they’re being hit on. Women probably do it, too—you can almost see the walls coming down around their hearts—but Grant’s wide shoulders remained firmly in place.

I stuck out my hand, hoping physical contact would do the trick.

“I’m Penelope,” I said, not bothering with an alias. That was one lie I’d never had any use for. I was born a thief, raised a thief, and would probably die one. A fake name wouldn’t benefit me any more than changing spots would a leopard. “Penelope Blue.”

That look of surprise moved across Grant’s face again, but he managed to quell it long enough to take my hand and shake.

It would have been pushing things to say there was a tingle of electricity, or that my life flashed before my eyes as the rough texture of his palm grazed mine, but there was no mistaking how strong his grip was. With just the flick of his wrist, he could have broken the bones in my hand, conquered me right then and there. Instead of being alarmed by his physical mastery, I felt no sense of danger. Only wonder.

This man could crush me, I thought. But he won’t.

no-brainer

“A sexy, fun, cat-and-mouse chase that hooked me from page one!”
—JENNIFER PROBST,
New York Times & USA Today Bestselling Author of The Marriage Bargain
I’m a wanted jewel thief.
He’s FBI.
What’s that saying? Keep your friends close…and your husband closer. 

Being married to a federal agent certainly has its perks.

1. I just love the way that man looks in a suit.
2. This way I always know what the enemy is up to.

Spending my days lifting jewels and my nights tracking the Bureau should have been a genius plan. But the closer I get to Grant Emerson, the more dangerous this feels. With two million dollars’ worth of diamonds on the line, I can’t afford to fall for my own husband.

It turns out that the only thing worse than having a mortal enemy is being married to one. Because in our game of theft and seduction, only one of us will come out on top.

Good thing a cat burglar always lands on her feet.

Available March 7th 
Penelope Blue:
Stealing Mr. Right (book 1)
Saving Mr. Perfect (book 2)
Seeking Mr. Wrong (book 3)

Review: Tempt Me (A Stark International Novella) by J Kenner

no-brainer

Title: Tempt Me
Author: J Kenner
Publisher/Year:  Evil Eye Concepts 2/14/17
Length:   127 Pages
Series:  A Stark International Novella

Overview

When sexy Stark Security Chief Ryan Hunter whisks his girlfriend Jamie Archer away for a passionate, romance-filled weekend so he can finally pop the question, he’s certain that the answer will be an enthusiastic yes. So when Jamie tries to avoid the conversation, hiding her fears of commitment and change under a blanket of wild sensuality and decadent playtime in bed, Ryan is more determined than ever to convince Jamie that they belong together.

Knowing there’s no halfway with this woman, Ryan gives her an ultimatum – marry him or walk away. Now Jamie is forced to face her deepest insecurities or risk destroying the best thing in her life. And it will take all of her strength, and all of Ryan’s love, to keep her right where she belongs…

My Thoughts

I love all bits of this series – all the spinoffs and all that’s going on.  Jamie and Ryan deserve happiness and it seems like they’ve found it but of course that’s never enough.  Jamie’s had a tough life from what we all know – she was first trying to break into hollywood and that was tough for her – and she was ok with the role that she played with men – being the pretty arm candy.  Then comes along Ryan – the man who turned her world upside down.

What they have together is an amazing romance, one that’s lasted years and they are really in love and happy.  the challenge though is that Ryan wants the fantasy – the marriage, kids, life and all that.  and Jamie’s terrified of that.  So in this installment of their story – Ryan thinks that they are finally on the same page, proposes and Jamie has a moment of fear again.  All because her parents are getting separated.

So, where we go in this short story is seeing what that means for the happiest couple of all.  Will Ryan be able to make Jamie stop being afraid or will Jamie push him too far and they will see the end of it all.  I think that while it’s so short, we get a lot packed into the story – and i think that it’s exactly what we needed to hold us until the next full length is ready.  Enjoy!

Review: Crown of Midnight (Throne of Glass #2) by Sarah J Maas

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Title: Crown of Midnight
Author: Sarah J Maas
Publisher/Year: Bloomsbury USA 9/2/14
Length:   448 Pages
Series:  Throne of Glass #2

Overview

Celaena Sardothien is the king’s Champion-yet she is far from loyal to the crown, for the man she serves is bent on evil. But working against her master in secret is no easy task. As Celaena tries to untangle the mysteries buried within the glass castle, she can trust no one, not even her supposed allies Crown Prince Dorian, Captain of the Guard Chaol, and foreign princess Nehemia.

Then, an unspeakable tragedy shatters Celaena’s world. She must decide once and for all where her loyalties lie . . . and whom she will fight for.

My Thoughts

The story continues now that we know that Caleana has been named the king’s champion and that’s where we pick up the story.  Of course it’s made even more complicated since we know that there were feelings between Caleana and Dorian but she put an end to that because of what she is expected to do, and that opens the door for Choal.  Mind you i know that there are a lot of ‘Team Choal’ folks out there, i’m not one of them.

The biggest thing about this second book is that we are seeing Caleana come to terms with what she’s been told to do by the king, and of course she’s going to do it in her way.  We also see that Queen Elena keeps coming back to her with her task and it’s really hard to see what it is exactly that she’s being asked to do.

On top of that, we still see that there’s dark magic at play like we did in the first book and don’t now where it’s coming from.  That’s the biggest bit of the story that we have to see manifest throughout.  Nehemia continues to be a really good source of information, but there’s so much distrust for her throughout the story that you don’t know exactly what she’s involved with and what side she’s on.  Caleana spends a lot of the time on both sides of that friendship, trusting and not trusting her.

Then there’s the threat of a rebellion of sorts – there are rumors that the true heir to Terresan isn’t dead like presumed, and that if there’s any hope in overthrowing the King in Adarlan, it’s this mystery heir since she supposedly has the military backing that would e needed and a magical heritage that would lay down a path of something so much bigger than anyone else.

Throughout this second book we see the stage laid out – wondering who’s going to survive and who’s relationships are going to hold strong.  Caleana continues to be plagued by Elena and the magic in the castle and when she finally realizes the meaning to some of the clues, that there are 3 keys that can open a portal to another realm, and that the king has at least one, we know that her mission is clear that she needs to get the power back.

Where we are left at the end of this story is a very exciting place.  We learn that Dorian has magic in him but we have no idea where it came from and what he’s capable of.  We also learn more and more about Caleana’s past and how it makes her so much more than she appears.  We also see that there’s really no way to trust anyone since there’s so much magic floating around.  I’m excited to see what’s next since one of our favorite characters has been killed, a favorite is being sent to another world, and one has made the decision to leave Adarlan in the hopes of saving everyone.  So….onto the next.  Have a great day!

Review: Throne of Glass (Throne of Glass #1) by Sarah J Maas

no-brainer

Title: Throne of Glass
Author: Sarah J Maas
Publisher/Year: Bloomsbury USA 5/7/13
Length:   393 Pages
Series:  Throne of Glass #1

Overview

In a land without magic, where the king rules with an iron hand, an assassin is summoned to the castle. She comes not to kill the king, but to win her freedom. If she defeats twenty-three killers, thieves, and warriors in a competition, she is released from prison to serve as the king’s champion. Her name is Celaena Sardothien.

The Crown Prince will provoke her. The Captain of the Guard will protect her. But something evil dwells in the castle of glass–and it’s there to kill. When her competitors start dying one by one, Celaena’s fight for freedom becomes a fight for survival, and a desperate quest to root out the evil before it destroys her world.

My Thoughts

I found this author when i stumbled on her other series A Court of Thorns and Roses, and i was drawn in so quickly that it’s not a surprise at all that this older series is just as amazing.  What we have here is similar in the sense that there’s a world with magic or a magical history, but the depth and breadth of the story is different and unique.

Like the summary tells us, our leading lady Caleana is the most well known assassin in the land and has been put into a slave camp after being captured (someone turned on her apparently).  She’s taken from the camp by the Crown Prince to be his Champion to fight against those 23 others to be the kings assassin essentially.

The story from there is one that’s really complex.  We see the humanity in the story, of how Calaena was made into an assassin although we never really get the full back story.  We see that she has some level of moral when she chose her jobs in the past and that’s what kept her head straight.  IT’s something that she’s fearful of when and if she becomes the king’s champion because she will have no say in what she’s told to do.

If that weren’t stressful enough, she’s got a few folks in the story that make things more interesting.  there’s the Crown Prince that she begins to see as a decent person and over time there’s definitely something more that builds between them.  there’s a romantic spark that they act on yet don’t, and it’s interesting to see how that changes once the story gets hot – especially since their roles are so disparate.  then there’s Choal – the Captain of the Royal Guard.  He becomes a friend of sorts to Calaena, although you can clearly tell that there’s something more between them, at least from his side.  I think that it makes for an interesting love triangle that you kind of feel can never come to life.

Then there’s the princess from Eyllwe – she’s definitely not at all what she seems – although it’s good that Calaena is the one that learns all this.  We see that Calaena can speak the Princess’s language and that forms a quick bond, but when we see that the princess can actually speak the ‘common language’ – well it means that there’s something going on that we don’t know about.

Aside from those that are living – we see that there’s something more – something magical going on under the tone of the story.  The big thing here is that we learned that all magic was banished or killed long long ago and it’s outlawed and all that.  However, there are strange murders going on at the palace, and there are wyrdmarks, these hyroglyphics of a sort that are showing up marking the deaths – showing us that there’s magic at play.  Calaena is lead to an underground passage that ends at the tombs of the first king and queen of the land and the queen – Elena – she appears from another parallel plane with a protective amulet and words of direction for what needs to happen etc.

You have to wonder how much magic is at play here, who’s involved and what it means.  We know that for the most part it’s evil magic being used, and we don’t know who it is.  There are moments when we think that it’s no one we know, then others where we think that it’s the princess, and then you have to wonder why Kaltain (another supporting lady) gets headaches, why the king is gone so much and returns sans his entire guard and why Calaena is able to see things that others can’t.

What we get is a really exciting story on so many levels.  One about a competition, one about friendships, another about romance and a last about history and magic.  I think that it sets up the rest of the series so well that i can’t wait to see what happens.  I was really sad to see some of the decisions made at the end, but i have a feeling that we’re going to see it all come out for the best over the rest of the installments.  Have a great day all!

Review: Kings Cage (The Red Queen #3) by Victoria Aveyard

no-brainer

Title: King’s Cage
Author: Victoria Aveyard
Publisher/Year: Harper Collins Publishing 2/7/17
Length:   430 Pages
Series:  Red Queen #3

Overview
In this breathless third installment to Victoria Aveyard’s bestselling Red Queen series, allegiances are tested on every side. And when the lightning girl’s spark is gone, who will light the way for the rebellion?

Mare Barrow is a prisoner, powerless without her lightning, tormented by her lethal mistakes. She lives at the mercy of a boy she once loved, a boy made of lies and betrayal. Now a king, Maven Calore continues weaving his dead mother’s web in an attempt to maintain control over his country—and his prisoner.

As Mare bears the weight of Silent Stone in the palace, her once-ragtag band of newbloods and Reds continues organizing, training, and expanding. They prepare for war, no longer able to linger in the shadows. And Cal, the exiled prince with his own claim on Mare’s heart, will stop at nothing to bring her back.

When blood turns on blood, and ability on ability, there may be no one left to put out the fire—leaving Norta as Mare knows it to burn all the way down.

My Thoughts

i LOVE LOVE LOVE this series.  I don’t know about anyone else, but there’s something so powerful in this book that it is a tough call between Red Rising and this one!  What we have here is the continuation of a story that you really have no idea where it’s going to end.  We’ve been on the journey of Mare having to fake being a silver because of an ability that she just happened to have, and then being the betrothed to Maven, the 2nd son of the king.  Then that all goes to crap when the first son has his mind controlled and he kills the king, and then flees for his safety.  We then saw Mare do the same essentially, with the help of the Scarlet Guard.

Then, the story took us through book 2 where they were discovering the newbloods – essentially what Mare is – one with red blood but stronger powers than silvers.  We learned that Shade (Mare’s brother was alive), we saw Mare sort of fall in love with the first son Cal, and we see that Maven has taken on the role of king and has a bone to pick because he actually has these emotional feelings for Mare.

When Maven gets too close during the 2nd book, and Shade is killed, Mare trades herself for the safety of everyone and that’s where we begin this third installment.  She’s Maven’s captive, and she’s having her powers stripped from her by Arvens, ones who have power to silence other’s powers.  We see that Maven has some strange pull to Mare even though he’s not betrothed to Evangeline (ironically the girl who was linked with Cal before), and we see that it’s because he’s got some tie to her, he can’t kill her.

The gist of this third book is that we see a huge bunch of plot twists.  There are questions on whether Mare will ever get free, and what role Maven will play.  We also see the other side of things with the Scarlet Guard and their hope for more equality and a way to overthrow Maven’s reign.

There’s so much going on here.  We see Farley pregnant, we see Mare make a decision about love (one which i wasn’t necessarily buying earlier in the series) and we see not only a lot of death but a lot of mistrust. A new kingdom is formed with the help of someone totally unexpected, and we see that there’s still so much that’s unsettled that there’s really no way to know if Maven will win.

Maven has been married to the daughter of the kind of the Lakelands in the hopes that he can gain their army and power, while also ending part of what’s caused the war – the division of Reds and Silvers.  He doesn’t know what he’s getting into and that’s to the benefit of everyone else i think.

I thought this was a trilogy so i was expecting resolution but thankfully the story continues since there’s SO much that’s left unsaid.  Where’s Maven, what’s next for Mare, what about Cal?  is Monfort really the holy grail of safety and peace and living together?  What’s Evangeline’s next move and what’s the motive with Anabel.  So you can see why it was so great – Ms Aveyard gave us so much to enjoy reading but so much more to question and wonder about.  I’m bummed i have to wait ages for book 4, but at least the story goes on!!!

Review: The Dom who Loved Me (Masters and Mercenaries #1) by Lexi Blake

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Title: The Dom who Loved Me
Author: Lexi Blake
Publisher/Year: DLZ Enterainment 9/7/11
Length:   372 Pages
Series:  Masters and Mercenaries #1

Overview

A routine mission … turns into a dangerous seduction.

Sean Taggart is hunting a deadly terrorist, and his only lead is the lovely Grace Hawthorne. She’s the executive assistant for an employment agency Sean suspects is a front for illegal activities. To get the truth, he is going to have to get very close to Grace, a task he is all too eager to undertake when he discovers her deliciously submissive nature.

Soon, Grace Hawthorne is living a double life. By day, she is the widowed mother of two college-aged sons. By night, she submits to Sean’s every dark desire. She’s living out her wildest fantasies of pleasure-intimate acts of trust she’s only read about. As passion engulfs her, a murderer strikes, and Grace learns that Sean has a deeply hidden agenda. Will Sean choose his mission and break her heart or be the Master of her dreams?

My Thoughts

Im usually a huge fan of Lexi Blake and all that i’ve read by her, and in this instance, i’m on the fence a bit and i’m not entirely certain why.  What we have here is a sweet story of the expected Alpha Male, and the innocent woman who kind of finds herself in a situation where she needs to be rescued.  Of course said dom man is the one to do it right?

This story starts off where Sean Taggart finds himself on an assignment to hopefully find an ecoterrorist who’s been up to no good for  while and off the radar because of some fairly impressive means of plastic surgery and the like.  While he’s learning about the job, he sees a photo of a woman who may be an ‘in’ to this guy, and of course all that maleness comes to the forefront when he’s attracted to her.

The story from there is watching Sean trying to get his job done while also allowing himself to be incredibly attracted to Grace and teach her the ways of his life.  We know that Sean and his brother and their friends are part of the BDSM lifestyle and Sean seems to think that Grace has been part of it too, although he learns that it’s really just from reading a lot.

Anyhow, we have 2 story lines here – one of the attraction between the two and seeing how that plays out since Grace is fairly sure of herself and she’s a bit older than him so she knows what she’s going to bring to the situation.  Then there’s the story of trying to find Patrick who’s the guy that’s gone rouge.  There are hints throughout the story on who he is and i think that it’s just a matter of time until he slips up and they’re able to get him.

The challenge in this story is twofold.  one is that Grace is somehow put in the middle of things and when things go pearshaped, she’s the one that gets the focus of the blame.  It o course has the chance to tear her and Sean up and i think that it’s a nice journey that we see them go through since they do end up split apart.  Then there’s the story of how Grace and Sean really work together.  She knows that it can’t be forever since he’s not from Dallas but she’s willing to do right now until things go wrong.

All in all, it’s a sweet story.  It’s nicely written and there are some intensely steamy scenes – yet i don’t know what about it makes me hedge a bit.  I know that there’s more to the series though which i’m going to stick with for a bit just to see how it goes.  Anyhow, have a great day and enjoy the Super Bowl if that’s your thing!

ARC Review: The Billionaire Beast (Billionaire Fairytales #2) by Jackie Ashenden

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Title: The Billionaire Beaste
Author: Jackie Ashenden
Publisher/Year: St Martin’s Press 3/7/17
Length:   198 Pages
Series:  Billionaire Fairytales #2

Overview

Nero de Santis: Damaged. Bastard. Beast.

Nero hasn’t left his house in ten years. He demands the world come to him, and the world is only too happy to bend to the strong-willed billionaire.

Ruthless, cold, and selfish, Nero wants for nothing and takes care of no one but himself. His last handful of assistants have left his house in tears, but the prim redhead applying for the job looks up to the task. Nero has spent his life shut within the walls he built, with no care to have more than a window to the outside world. But the fiery passion he senses beneath his reserved assistant’s exterior makes him want to break down the barriers he lives behind, and unleash the beast within.

Phoebe Taylor: Uptight. Misunderstood. Engaged.

Phoebe needs the obscene amount of money that comes with being Nero’s personal assistant for one thing, and one thing only—to pay for the mounting hospital costs that her fiancee’s two-year coma continues to incur. She’s heard rumors that the de Santis beast is a force that cannot be tamed—but even she isn’t prepared to handle the smoldering intensity simmering beneath his hard shell of feral dominance.

Nero is hiding something, something he is fighting with every step he takes. Yet he can’t help but stake his claim on this woman who has shaken up his life, and Phoebe can’t believe this animal of a man is the one person to ever look into her eyes and see her soul. Nero wants to keep her. He wants to devour her. And Phoebe just might let him.

My Thoughts

First off i should thank the folks at Netgalley and St Martin’s Press for sending me this advance copy since i’m really a fan both of this author and a lot of what comes from the publisher.  Anyhow, you’ll remember that we began our journey with this family – the de Santis when we met Laurent in the first book – when he saved a girl Cinderella style from being homeless and bringing her into a life of stability, wealth and love.  This 2nd book gives us more of the Beauty and the Beast aspect as the title suggests.

So we have Nero, the son that no one knew about for a while – or did they?  He had a very interesting life up until he was about 15, and that’s shaped the man that we know now.  He lived in a 5×6 room for 10 years, his mother hid him from his violent stepfather (or did she), and because of that, he’s got this insane fear of being outside and in the public.  He’s therefore closed himself off in 2-3 rooms in his HUGE house in new york city, and it’s turned him into a demanding person/employer and that’s where Phoebe comes in.

Phoebe is a Brit who’s moved to new york with her fiance, a man who we learn is in a coma as a result of a car accident 2 years prior.  Caring for him has become her life as she’s devoted all her time and money to ensuring that he’s got the best care in the hopes that perhaps he’ll wake up.  this is what leads her to Nero and that’s where our story goes.

Throughout this story we see two really broken people come together in a way that’s expected but sweet.  Aside from what Phoebe’s going through now, her past isn’t that great either as we learn about her sister and parents, so it’s not surprising that she and Nero find that they’ve got something complex together.

Nero’s demanding ways shows us that he’s going to have some type of controlling passion that will be unleashed, and Phoebe’s insane calm and innocence means that we’re going to see Nero’s alpha dominance bring out a side of her that’s so sexual that she never expected it.

What we get is Phoebe learning more and more about herself and how to pleasure not only Nero but herself too.  Nero as a result starts to come out of his shell a bit and not just open up to things that he’s terrified of, but to her too.  It’s sweet and hot all at the same time.

It’s when secrets of his past are finally uncovered and Phoebe’s forced to face a change in the situation with her fiance that we finally get resolution here and all in all it’s nicely sorted out.  It’s such a sweet and intense story all that the same time and i can’t wait to see what’s next in this series.  Have a great day all!