Review: No Broken Bond (Secrets of Stone #7) by Angel Payne & Victoria Blue

Title: No Broken Bond
Author:  Angel Payne & Victoria Blue
Publisher/Year:  Waterhouse Press 6/5/18
Length:  226 Pages
Series:  Secrets of Stone #7

Overview

Rock.

It’s incredible what Fletcher Ford and Drake Newland have done to my world—and my soul—since igniting my desires, answering my dreams and filling every inch of my heart. I am rocked. Changed. Freed. A woman in love…

Paper.

But the adjustment hasn’t been easy, and not just for my orthodox family. Falling for one dazzling, commanding billionaire is complicated enough. But two? Wading through dysfunctions, judgments, and emotional baggage from all sides, we’re searching for the perfect balance of our love. And we nearly find it, when disaster slams again—threatening to permanently cripple us this time.

Scissors?

With our bond in shreds and our spirits in tatters, can we find the glue to keep our bond intact and our love whole? Are we broken…or just bent? Do we have the courage to find out?

My Thoughts

Honestly, i had thought that we were almost finished and resolved with this relationship between Drake, Fletcher and Talia because of the nonsense that they had gone through with Talia’s family and Drake’s running scared. But i guess i was wrong since now it was Flech’s turn to be nuts.

We get to see what his family is like after spending some much needed down time with Drake’s perfect and perfectly accepting brood. The change is like night and day though because there’s nothing that Fletchers family will do to accept them. There are things that are allowed in ‘society’ and being in a non-traditional relationship isn’t one of them.

We are faced with Fletchers worst fears at an anniversary party that his parents are throwing for themselves when they are gawked at, on the receiving end of stink eye and Fletcher gets an ‘undressing’ by his sister. when his anger gets the best of him and he shares some information about her boyfriend, well things go from bad to worse.

After that night, he has a moment of clarity (for himself not for anyone else) that makes him pull a Drake and go emo and decide that he shouldn’t be part of the relationship. Things go south in the bedroom with the three of them and words are exchanged between the men and the night can’t be saved.

This is where life changes. Because of those emotions, we know that the story will take a turn, and when that turn takes us to a trauma center because Fletcher is left in a car accident that has him hanging on by not even ONE thread, we are forced to question whether this relationship can stick. even if he survives.

What our authors are able to do well in this book but also with Killian’s venture into the darkness is that they really go all in with characters who are depressed, miserable and have lost the will to live. It’s depressing for sure but what it also does is show us the strength and power of the other side of the relationship, to really show us when people are devoted to each other.

There are more questions than answers in this book in regards to what really will be their future and what it looks like either healthy or not. Fletcher has severe brain injuries that affect his physical life, his emotional life, his weird unspoken bond with Talia, and his brotherhood with Drake. We even see the depth and heat of their relationship struggle and fall apart and that’s something that was always so powerful and unique. To get through this installment and see how it plays out is a feat of emotion and a test of how much you can stop yourself from crying.

The sweet bit is that we get to see the introduction to Taylor’s story as she’s the last one that we need to know more about. She’s clearly hiding behind something from her past which makes her the firecracker that we love, but it’s still to be uncovered. At the same time, we get to see another facet to Killian in the form of his broken relationship with his cousin Mac – a neurosurgeon that’s called in to help Fletch. there’s a dark backstory there which we never get insight into, but the men hate each other with a passion. It manifests into an intense intro to chemistry with Taylor and i can’t wait to see what that’s all about. Enjoy!

Review: No Perfect Princess (Secrets of Stone #3) by Angel Payne & Victoria Blue

Title: No Perfect Princess
Author:  Angel Payne & Victoria Blue
Publisher/Year:  Waterhouse Press 4/17/18
Length:  187 Pages
Series:  Secrets of Stone #3

Overview

Which came first? The princess or the slipper? And does it really matter?

My name is Margaux Asher. Yes, that Margaux Asher. The attitude icon. The bitch in the hottest heels. The princess of the PR game. At least until Mommie Dearest revealed that my real father is one of the world’s richest men—a secret she’d been hiding from me my whole life. What other secrets were there? Michael Pearson, my six-foot-three golden god, wants to help me reveal them all. But what if he finds out I’m no perfect princess?

Someday, my princess will come…

I’m Michael Pearson, son of an apple farmer. Now I’m working for one of the country’s most prestigious PR firms—and the sap who’s fallen for the boss’s daughter.

The rest of the world may vilify Margaux, but I know she’s just looking to be loved. The problem is, every time I volunteer for the job, she pushes me away. I want to give her that magic kiss. Set her free to finally see the truth. I don’t need her to be perfect. I just need her to be mine.

My Thoughts

Ok – I’m not going to lie – this was a tough book to get through. Like really tough. I understand the need for this branch of the story since Claire and Killian seem to be in a good place, but at times this was really painful.

What we have here is the introduction to a more human side of Margaux – the girl who’s live has been turned upside down after learning that her mom isn’t her mom, that she’s a Stone and realizing that everything she knew was a lie. She’s trying to figure out who she is now that she’s not living that life anymore, and at the same time, hiding from what can be amazing if she let her walls down.

At the same time, we get to learn more about Michael – Claire’s best friend from Asher and Associates. There were moments in the first few books that i wondered why he never made a play for Claire – they seemed so close and yet they never crossed that line. In this installment, we get to see why. He’s had strong feelings for someone else this whole time and has only barely acted upon it in fear of not being enough.

This is where the fairy tale / night mare of Margaux and Michael begins. She seems to think that he’s too sensitive and vanilla for her and yet she doesn’t know his dark past, one that makes him exactly the kind of man she wants. It’s only through a series of events that we get to see that what they think they need is what they have.

There are so many weird turns that this story takes that i get lost. Michael has to go home to take care of some family stuff yet we don’t quite figure out the crux of the history behind it all. We know that he and his uncle have a dicey relationship that’s quite contentious, but i couldn’t figure out why. We also know that Michael’s mother has a restraining order against someone but i haven’t figured that one out either. (maybe i missed it when i struggled with this story).

Then, there’s Trey Stone. A man who just won’t go down without a fight. In this week’s episode of ‘what will he do next’ – we learn that Blackmail is on the menu and he’s after Margaux for that one. Demanding $5 Million Dollars in a matter of days or he’ll go public with her sealed secrets from years past. Margaux of course doesn’t want that to happen, and also wonders how he learned about these secrets in the first place, but as a result, starts the domino effect of ‘the end of Michael and Margaux’

From this point on, i spend much of the book confused, skimming forward quickly to get past some of the ‘on the surface’ romance scenes to find something deeper to hold on to and then wondering if i missed something in between. There are admissions of feelings, pushing people away, secrets and lies that are forced, and unhappiness all around.

Thrown in the middle of all this is a scene or two that have to do with Killian and Claire’s future, but it feels like it’s an island in the midst of the story.

Suffice it to say, I’m not in love with this book. I think there is potential, but it was just missed. The redeeming factor was that there was an interesting/yet semi expected twist of a relationship here that i’m still intrigued to find out about, that perhaps book four will get us there. That and the glimpse of a mystery woman that we KNOW will be a focus for the next book as well. So….yes, i’m going to keep going with this series since i don’t let books beat me…but i may take a quick break to read the latest release of another series first. Enjoy (hopefully)

Review: No More Masquerade (Secrets of Stone #2) by Angel Payne & Victoria Blue

Title: No More Masquerade
Author:  Angel Payne & Victoria Blue
Publisher/Year:  Waterhouse Press 3/6/18
Length:  200 Pages
Series:  Secrets of Stone #2

Overview

Behind every good man…is the love of an even better woman.

Those were just pretty words before I met Claire Montgomery. Before my fairy queen burst into my life, I wasn’t able to recognize the bastard in my morning mirror. But her love has given me the strength to face the imposter—even embrace him. With Claire by my side, I’m the king I always wanted to be, the Killian Stone I always dreamed of becoming.

Which means, for once, I want the mask guarding my secret to stay right where it is.

If you want the grown-up fairy tale…learn to love the dark side.

Profound sentiment. I wish I could get on board with it, but the prince in pinstripes has other ideas. Life has been a dream since Killian burst into the ball offering the perfect fit—his heart and mine. But the treasures he bestows have become his armor, hiding the man I yearn to know. I refuse to open his little velvet box until he opens himself, letting me see every last dark hallway of his soul.

My Thoughts

I was really excited to dive right back into this series since the ending of book one gave us enough to be happy and have the ‘feels’ but on the same note, gave us just enough to know that the dam was about to break and everyone would have to deal with the fall out.

There’s SO much that happens in this second book that it’s really hard to keep up with things. Everyone’s identity that you thought you knew isn’t the case – every secret possible will be dug up and relationships are tested beyond belief.

We start off this story with Killian and Claire really making an effort to be together – splitting time between Chicago and San Diego because of their respective jobs. It’s been months of back and forth and it’s taking a toll. We know that things will have to change, it’s just a question now of what the impetus will be for that.

Enter Killian’s money and romance and an extended vacation in Europe for Claire’s birthday. Seems like the perfect trip for a number of reasons. Quality time, a chance for Claire to get the answers that she needs from Kil and a chance for them to take their relationship to the next level. Things don’t go as planned when there’s stress between them because of Killian’s internal fears and then the worst happens – a fire at Keystone manner, leaving two men dying, and the story changed forever.

Killian’s real father is the first to pass and all the secrets that he was fighting to hide from Claire come out. Then Josiah Stone passes, and in his last moments, he reveals that Margaux isn’t who she says/thinks she is. This makes for world war 3 and well, more families and relationships torn apart.

The story goes way way downhill from there because everything Killian worked for is gone, Trey goes to the media with all their family secrets, Claire is pushed away and there’s no happiness to be found anywhere.

I’ll admit that while these bits of the story were exciting, there were many many bits that dragged for me and i had to trudge through in order to get to the point where i hoped things would turn around. It takes a lot of misery, some well placed pep talks and a homeless man to make things turn a corner, but where we end this second installment is a place that really isn’t close to where we began. Business is failing, relationships are still unstable and no one really knows who they can consider family and loyal. I honestly can’t wait to see where book three takes us, i just hope that it doesn’t have the same lull this one did which almost forced me to pause reading. Enjoy!