Review: The Pawn (Endgame #1) by Skye Warren

TitleThe Pawn
Author: Skye Warren
Publisher/Year:  Skye Warren 10/28/16
Length:  312 pages
Series: The Endgame #1

Overview

Gabriel Miller swept into my life like a storm. He tore down my father with cold retribution, leaving him penniless in a hospital bed. I quit my private all-girl’s college to take care of the only family I have left.

There’s one way to save our house, one thing I have left of value.

My virginity.

A forbidden auction…

Gabriel appears at every turn. He seems to take pleasure in watching me fall. Other times he’s the only kindness in a brutal underworld.

Except he’s playing a deeper game than I know. Every move brings us together, every secret rips us apart. And when the final piece is played, only one of us can be left standing.

My Thoughts

I have to feel just a bit impressed that there’s a book from years ago that I haven’t read (or at least I don’t think i’ve read it before) by an author that i’m a fan of. So that’s what we get with the first installment of the Endgame series. You have the beginnings with Avery, a girl who’s grown up with the means to maintain a specific lifestyle but it seems like there are things taking place behind the scenes that has the chance to jeopardize it all.

We start our story with her at her graduation party, where she’s wearing the right things, and talking to the right people until she goes to find her father, and walks in on a conversation that makes her rethink all that she knew. She goes to run and almost falls down the stairs to be saved by a man that exudes power, and has this appeal that makes her stop and think. Little do we know the role that he will play in her life in the future.

Fast forward a few years when the world has come crashing down on Avery. Her father’s poor business choices have resulted in them losing all their money, and then her father getting beaten to an inch of his life, leaving Avery to take care of everything and herself. Her dreams are dashed and she needs to figure out how to keep her father alive.

Enter Gabriel and the men from the Den. She knows that while unsavory, they can give loans for the right payment terms and she goes in knowing that she has nothing to offer, and learns that perhaps herself is the best thing for her. The agreement ist hat she’ll be auctioned off to the highest bidder for a month and then she’ll get the money that she needs to survive. Gabriel is the #2 in The Den and to watch how he orbits around Avery, how he’s drawn to her and to protect her, well we all know how this will end.

What happens from here is a story that really takes us on quite a few twists and turns. We can only assume that the objections that they have overtly will slowly change into a chemistry and relationship that neither expected. There’s revenge on the part of one, and naiveté on the side of another, and all together, that means that we’ll see combustion, heat, passion and most likely hatred.

Secrets come to light and bonds of trust are broken. What ever path we thought this story was going to go down is dashed when there’s a trade made at the end and that leave us wondering if there’s more revenge than even Gabriel and Avery we’re aware of. So on that note, i’m off to get book 2 and get back into their world. Can’t wait to see who outsmarts whom, and what it means for the other.

Review: My Cruel Salvation (Fallen Saint #3) by J Kenner

Title: My Cruel Salvation
Author:  J Kenner
Publisher/Year:  Martini & Olive 5/18/21
Length:  358 Pages
Series: Fallen Saint #3

Overview

He’ll keep her safe, no matter the price.

Investigative reporter Ellie Holmes has uncovered billionaire Devlin Saint’s dark and dangerous secrets, and he has both stripped away her protective armor and tamed the wildness within her. Bound by a shared past and the hope of a blissful future, they grow even closer, each exposing more of themselves as their love deepens. 

But now that Devlin’s true identity has been publicly revealed, old enemies appear, intent on destroying Devlin. And while he vows to enlist all of his resources to protect her, Ellie soon realizes that the only way to save them both is to take the last, final step to fully join Devlin in the dark. 

My Thoughts

Just when we didn’t think that their story could get any more complicated – the rest of the secrets come out. It was only a matter of time but that doesn’t make it any easier to stomach. On a night that should have been something amazing not just for Devlin but for DSF as well, turns into a monster of a night where his identify is leaked, outed and what he’s worked his adult life for is on the end of being ruined.

We know Devlin and Ellie are not the type to shy away from confrontation – they are going to take their opponent on head first, and while that’s happening, we just have to worry about who’s going to get caught up in the crosshairs. There are inklings of who leaked the information, especially now that Anna’s dead, and there’ a plan in place to take that person down once they have enough concrete evidence.

It’s a race to the finish here – with several of our favorites meeting a less than stellar fate. There were so many sub plots that were on the move to being something great, and those lines of story are cut short.

Brandy and Christopher were on the road to happiness – we know Brandy’s path and were so happy to see what she was able to overcome with Christopher, however the challenge that we see her face is the notion that Christopher was not who he seemed. He is the brother of Joseph Blackstone and while they weren’t on great terms, there’s manipulation going on behind the scenes and we don’t yet know if he’s trustworthy. He goes missing at a prime time and there’s evidence shared that doesn’t paint him in the best light, and that means that we really don’t know if he’s good or bad. What we do see though is Brandy is stronger than she appeared to begin with, and this is just a bump in the road for her – an opportunity for her to find her footing and come out on top.

Then there’s Lamar and Tracy. Lamar is the consumate cop – the man who’s always trying to stay on the right side of the law, even when it doesn’t seem like it’s directed to him. He’s struggled with what Devlin does within his organization, but after a variety of things transpire in this third installment, he walks the fine line with our friends. Tracy is a character that we’ve enjoying watching grow in her role at DSF and her relationship with Lamar really starts to take a new phase. It’s cut short when circumstances of revenge come into play and this is another jumping off point for bigger and better things to happen for the crew.

We fall back into Ellie and Devlin’s story over and over again, and what this third book does is that it takes us on a journey both in the past and then back to the present. There are moments and memories that come through in sub chapters so that we’re able to see what caused things to happen, what put things in motion in Devlin’s past to make him into what he is, and to give us hints at who was potentially behind all that’s going on.

There are a few snippets here and there that make it clear to me as the reader who we need to watch out for, but the journey that our amazing author J Kenner takes us on is a bit round about and doesn’t give us the direct route. It’s adds to the tension and it makes us question some other characters that come up from time to time, but that’s what gives us the resolution and closure that we need.

We know that we want a happy ending and we know that it’s possible if certain dominos fall into place but there’s really no direct answer on how that will happen, and who will be left standing. We have the notion of long lasting true love – good v. bad, family – and all that pays itself off as we see this part of the journey come to an end. I”m really happy with the way that this story plays out even if it doesn’t mean a happy ending for everyone. We’re left with more questions than answers for several people, but that’s what makes a good book good right? you don’t want everything buttoned up nicely, We see a glimpse of hope of a new romance coming along, and I think that’s what we get in the next spinoff – Sinners Game, so i’m going to track down when that one’s available and hopefully dive right back in. Enjoy!

Review: Boss Woman (Boss #4) by Victoria Quinn

Title: Boss Woman
Author:  Victoria Quinn
Publisher/Year:  Createspace Publishing 2/23/18
Length:  170 pages
Series:  Boss #4

Overview

He betrayed me.

I trusted him, like a fool, and he stabbed me in the back.

Diesel Hunt.

He hurt me. Lied to me. And now he ruined me.

But I’m not the kind of woman who stays on the ground.

I’m back on my feet. I’m back from the dead. And I’m stronger than before.

It’ll take something a lot stronger to bury a woman like me.

Tatum Titan.

My Thoughts

This couple is GOING THROUGH IT. There’s no way for them to catch a break, every time they take a step forward, it seems like they take a step back. They admitted that they’re more to each other and that there’s true feeling, there’s love between them, but then when they least expected it, someone revealed the one secret that Tatum was trying to keep from the world – her experience 10 years ago that made her into who she is. And that someone apparently was Hunt. Or was it?

When we left the last book, a story was published in the NY Times revealing all that Tatum went through at the hands of her abusive ex boyfriend. The source was noted as being Hunt, and that means that he betrayed the trust that they built, revealed the one thing in the world that no one could know, and ultimately pushed Tatum back to Thorn. We readers of course know that it wasn’t Hunt who did this, but there’s no way to prove this. That’s where we spend much of this fourth installment – watching Hunt trying to prove his innocence by figuring out who was out to get them, and then trying to get Tatum back.

This piece of the story is heartbreaking on so many levels. Not only do we see one of the most intense romances fall apart, but we see strong people crumble, and that’s the worst. Walls that came down are now back up, and we are back in a cold and frosty world.

Hunt thinks that it’s Carol, the man that they ruined and bought a business from. There are thoughts that it’s Thorn (and to be honest, i think that it’s Thorn, because the timing was just tooooo coincidental) My other guess is that it’s Hunt’s father, since we know that he’s declared war once Hunt bought a business that he was going after. 200 pages of trying to figure this out while trying to win Tatum over is exhausting. Every time a step is made in the right direction, we fall back a few more.

The rift in the world is getting bigger. There are questions that Tatum poses to Thorn that pushes them apart and that’s a relationship that hurts almost too much to bear for her. Hunt makes the decision to take the eyes off Tatum’s story by revealing his story of why he and his father are estranged, and that makes his life even more complicated.

We are still at a point in this story where we don’t know how things will net out. Thorn and Tatum give Hunt a 2-week period where if he doesn’t prove that he didn’t leak the story, that they will move on and get married, and we all know that it’s an impossible feat for him to accomplish so we see his world shatter.

I”m an eternal optimist – i believe that there have to be happy endings for people who deserve them, but i’m wondering if our author is one at this point. It seems as though someone is going to get hurt and it’s our main character here. There’s no way to prove that he hasn’t done what they claim, and life is moving on. Thorn gets what he wants ideally, but i still question what that is. I think that he’s got this hidden dark side and i’m just waiting to see how that manifests. So….i’m diving right into book 5 now and i’ll let you know how that goes. Enjoy!