Review: To the Ends of the Earth (Stripped #5) by Skye Warren

TitleTo the Ends of the Earth
Author: Skye Warren
Publisher/Year:  CreateSpace Publishing 11/15/16
Length:  174 pages
Series: Stripped #5


Another rundown apartment. Another job that pays cash. Every new city it becomes harder to hide but I can’t stop running.

There are two men after me… One wants to save my soul.
The other wants to claim my body.

Part of me wants Luca to catch me, even knowing what he’s capable of. An enforcer. A fighter. The only language he speaks is violence. How far will he go to find me? What will he do once he does?

A wild glance over my shoulder. The shadows are moving. I’m about to find out.

My Thoughts

We first met Beth when she was at Harmony Hills – when Ivan went about doing his manly stuff to get retribution for what’s been done to Candy. Beth was caught in the crosshairs a bit since she took over for Candy’s position with Leader Allen (not by choice I have to say) and she was left to be abused, neglected and we can only imagine what the means for her in the long run.

We saw the interaction between her and Luca when she was first ‘re-captured’ and there is chemistry there, desire, but the question becomes who will break whom and what does that mean. We saw in Candy’s story that Luca is willing to sacrifice a lot for Beth, that’s how much she cares for him, and this next installment takes us into the future where we see how that worked out.

Some how Beth got back on her own two feet – she’s working the best jobs she can to provide food and clothing and shelter for her daughter (Leader Allen’s if you’ll remember) but she’s on the run. Both from Luca whom she wants to put distance and from her brother who was the one who was sent to Tanglewood to do harm. People put this notion in his head that Beth’s baby is a message from god and now he has all these notions about things that should be happening with the baby and none of them are good.

She had been so careful each time she’s moved from state to state, into Canada, off the grid – just for a little bit of security. Any time it seemed like someone may be getting too close, she’s picked up roots and gone on the run again, but Luca is not far behind. He’s a man on a mission and not willing to say goodbye.

So we watch how Beth is constantly looking over her shoulder. how she’s learned to forgo everything for herself because she needs to protect her daughter. She’s gotten stronger, she does what she can to keep them safe until it seems like things come to a head. She’s attacked by a bunch of drunk men, and her protector – Luca comes to her rescue.

The journey from here is one where we watch him try to do all the right things to keep her safe – to give her and her daughter the life that they deserve, and Beth fights him every step of the way. She’s afraid to let someone in, and she’s afraid of what it will mean if she gives him that amount of power over them. But what she hates more is that she wants to let him in because she’s afraid of the outcome otherwise.

The tension between them is hot, and it adds to the tension of the unknown with the story. Trying to find her brother before he finds them, and trying to get things back on track. The lengths they go to in order to do all of that – well….it’s entertaining to say the least. What I will say though is that this story resolves how we need for their installment – and now it’s onto the next.

Review : Hold You Against Me (Stripped #4) by Skye Warren

TitleHold You Against Me
Author: Skye Warren
Publisher/Year:  CreateSpace Publishing 5/31/16
Length:  312 pages
Series: Stripped #4


My sister and I barely managed to escape alive, and we’ve lived in relative hiding ever since. I’m safe now, but I can never forget the boy who gave his life to save mine.

Except there’s a chance that he’s still alive. And he’s fighting a war.

Even knowing the risks, I have to find him. I have to find some way to protect him, the way he protected me. But he isn’t the boy I left behind. He’s a violent man. A criminal. And he’s been waiting for me–the final pawn in a dark game of survival and love.

My Thoughts

I like the tone of this story as it’s a bit different than that of the others. We have spent so much time Grand adjacent in the prior installments, that it’s nice to get this one – a shift away from the Grand and back to a place that no one expected to go. There was a novella earlier in the series about Clara, giving us a sense of what she and Honor went through when they escaped. We got to see how a boy named Gio fell in love with Clara and helped them get away from an environment where they were both in danger. We assumed that would be the end of things – knowing that when the girls got away, someone would have to suffer, and yet while there was suffering, the story didn’t end there.

Fast forward about eight years and we find ourselves on the night of Clara’s sculpture unveiling. We saw this unfold in the last book – seeing that she was there to give beauty to the newly opened Grand and then she disappears. The message that she left Amy in that book was one that implied she left on her own, but what we see in this story, that’s not the case at all.

Her past has come back, and what she thought she knew of Gio isn’t the case at all. Gone is the boy who was caring, emotional and loving. In his place is the man that has taken over the Family – he’s now the leader of the Mafia in Las Vegas and that means that there’s danger all around. He wanted her eight years ago and he wants her even more now. Not just for how he felt then since he’s convinced himself that neither of them are worthy of that, but because of her lineage – because of who she is. Clara will secure his position in the family and he’ll have everything that he worked for. survived for.

The story from here is one of watching a captor take and own what’s his. He isn’t a nice man, he’s not a fair man – and that’s what we have expected. Clara though is still the same sweet girl – the one who may have grown up, but who wants to believe that there’s something that can be done to get under the walls of ice that have formed. She schemes to get her freedom, befriends the wrong people. Tries to escape time and time again to no avail, and then is forced into a marriage. The one thing that she feared the most when she was living with her father and now it’s her present and future.

We watch this roller coaster unfold. The dance these two do around each other – hating each other because of the circumstances that they are finding themselves, yet loving each other because their hearts and souls were promised to each other all those years ago. There’s innocence lost, there’s hardened walls found and there’s uncertainty for what the future holds.

The sub plot here of course is that Gio’s mother has been taken by one of his adversaries and they need to find her. At the same time, Clara needs to get news to her sister that she’s alive and ‘ok’ and she chooses to trust the wrong person – a person who’s connected to the enemy and has motives to do them all harm.

We don’t get the closure necessarily that we need, which means that there has to be another book to continue this story. I can’t wait to see how that plays out because when a mafioso goes missing, you know he’s going to turn up in a bad way….and there will be a lot of collateral damage.

Mix into that some steamy rekindled love and passion, and well what we have is a great fourth book to this series. onto the next one and Enjoy!

Review: Caught for Christmas (Stripped #3.5) by Skye Warren

TitleCaught for Christmas
Author: Skye Warren
Publisher/Year:  CreateSpace Publishing 5/31/26
Length:  122 pages
Series: Stripped #3.5


I’ll be home for Christmas…

The plan is simple. Break into the club and steal the money I need to save my father. The ex-military bouncer isn’t going to stop me, even if he is hot as hell.

If only in my dreams…

Except he has a curious knack for knowing my next step.

And there’s something dark underneath his desire, something dangerous. If he catches me, he might not let me go.

My Thoughts

We met West in the last book and we saw his close relationship with Blue and of course wanted to see him have a story of his own. His temperament is quite the same as Blue’s and that means that we can only hope that he’ll find someone as amazing as Lola/Hannah.

Bianca is one of the dancers at The Grand – the newly transformed burlesque club rather than the straight strip club that it once was. Bianca’s story doesn’t come to full depth here since this is a novella, but what we learn is that she’s got a dodgy past – her parents taught her at a young age how to steal, how to break into places as a means of getting them out of financial troubles. She’s working at the Grand where she makes good money but since she’s at the mercy of her ‘parents’ – she lives on nothing, no food, has a crap apartment and really struggles.

It’s just before christmas which means that we know her parents are going to do something to make the holiday worse. Ever since they moved to tanglewood and her parents saw the opportunity with stealing money from The Grand, they positioned Bee to figure out how to break in and get 50 thousand dollars. This means that they will have to run again, any friends that Bianca made will be history and Ivan will be after her forever once he knows it’s her. which of course he will.

She’s planted roots a bit here, and while she’s not super close to many of the girls, she has friends. She has stability in a sense and she resents her family for doing what they do. Her mother comes to her one night saying that the people they owe money to have kidnapped her father, so they have to move the operation up a bit. We know this can never end well. and that’s what happens.

Bianca is set up, by West, and now she has to pay the price. She doesn’t know if he’s going to turn her in or turn her over (his knee) and that’s where this novella takes shape. There’s an attraction and then there’s fear of being rejected and both of those paths cross with this pair.

Eyes are opened to lies, and fears are put to rest and we are left to wonder which is more important, family or self. all the while, enjoying some nice naughty bits between two adults who clearly like one another and deserve to have something good in life. Now….I get to read book #4 in the series and see what clara is up to. Enjoy!

Review: Pretty When You Cry (Stripped #3) by Skye Warren

TitlePretty When You Cry
Author: Skye Warren
Publisher/Year:  Skye Warren 11/02/15
Length:  250 pages
Series: Stripped #3


I came from a place of dirt floors and holy scriptures. They told me the world outside was full of sin, and the first night I escape, I find out it’s true. Ivan saves me, but he does more than that. He takes me. He makes me his own girl.

My conditioning runs too deep. Ivan sees what I am.

That’s the thing about showing a mouse to a cat. He wants to play. And it’s terrifying, even for me. Because the only thing darker than my past is his.

My Thoughts

Well, this was an interesting story to say the least. From all I knew about Candy, I didn’t expect her past to be what it was, and it really shaped this story quite nicely. I saw in other series the bond that she and Ivan have and it’s one for the record books, but to watch how it came to be, how they met and what that evolution looked like, well it’s something that really does seem quite compelling.

We start Candy’s story as she’s run away from home with the assistance of her mother – but her home wasn’t a normal place – not even talking about upper or lower class here. She was born into a religious commune of sorts, and she was taught that the more she sinned, the more she was punished, and as she grew older, punishments were hinted at and taken out sexually.

Candy’s mother didn’t want her to live the life that she had, she wanted more for her daughter, so she helped Candy escape and that’s how we end up in Tanglewood and The Grand. She finds herself surrounded by a group of men one night who want to do all sorts of nefarious things, and Ivan somehow crosses her path. He protects her from them, brings her to the club and makes the decision to take care of her. He calls her ‘little one’ and just wants to be her protecter.

Throughout this story we watch how he makes her into a woman that she’s not sure she wants to be. She left the commune because Leader Allen was ruling everything that she did although he wanted to do so much more to her. Ivan on the other hand while providing for her, he gives her a spark of something unknown, but doesn’t act on it. Leaves Candy questioning why she allows herself to be controlled by men all the time.

She tries to run away several times, only to have Ivan come back and get her, but we see how she enjoys the punishment that he gives, so sometimes you have to wonder if it’s all real escape or just foreplay.

In the last novella, we saw someone coming after Candy – someone that she assumes is from her past – who has discovered where she lives now and wants to bring her back or worse. Ivan spends the bulk of this story fighting how he feels about Candy personally, to doing everything in his power to protect her from whomever is after her and whomever is damaging his club.

We watch the roller coaster of emotions with these two – they play cat and mouse quite well. We watch how they are separated and how their paths take them to very different places – happiness on one side and misery on the other. We get a glimpse into what a future could look like with the right attention, but we also know that neither is able to compromise. Definitely one of those stories that keeps you moving really quickly through the book.

The ending though gives us hope, but then gives us uncertainty. We see where the series is going to take us when another one of the supporting cast becomes a main, and she runs away. So thankfully this is an old series, so I can get the next books to dive in now, and that’s what i’m going to do. Enjoy!!

Review: Even Better (Stripped #2.5) by Skye Warren

TitleEven Better
Author: Skye Warren
Publisher/Year:  Skye Warren 9/30/15
Length:  67 pages
Series: Stripped #2.5


A story about how coming together can break us apart…

An old military friend of Blue’s comes to stay with us, and suddenly I have two muscled men surrounding me. Before I can take a breath, we’re diving into something dirty together–something dangerous. Dangerous because three is a crowd.

This is Blue’s best friend, and one of us will have to leave.

My Thoughts

I do enjoy a nice novella in between the larger stories since they give us an extension of what we just read, and often a lead into the next book. that’s exactly what we have here and i’m sooooo for it!

If you’ll remember, in book 2, we watched how the years have changed (and yet not changed) Hannah and Blue and how they some how get thrown back together by forces that Hannah can’t control. I mean, it’s pointless to try to control or fight a man like Blue right?

We watched how they circled each other and how they finally managed to gravitate towards one another, giving themselves a resolution that was appropriate for their story. Now we see how life continues on for them, Hannah especially since the path her life was on before being committed with Blue was very different.

She’s now living with him in his really nice condo, and is able to take classes since she no longer has to be the sole provider for Ms Owens care. She’s in a safe and quality home now, and that means that Hannah has her life back a bit. The challenge of course is that Hannah’s never had the opportunity to do things for herself so we watch her struggle with her place in life, the future and what she means in value to Blue.

That changes a bit of course when Blue’s military best friend comes to stay with them while he’s getting back on his feel and working for Blue’s security firm at The Grand. West is just as troubled and tormented as Blue and we see that’s not yet at the healing phase that Blue is at coming out of service.

This of course is where the air in the room gets tense, thicker – because we learn that these men used to share in a sense, and there’s interest in sharing Hannah. She’s open to it of course since she likes the attention if she’s able to control it, and she wants to make Blue happy. What happens next is a dynamic shift and we don’t know how that will have an impact on friendships and relationships at all. There’s nothing juicier than a threesome story and this one while it isn’t exactly as we see often in this genre, it gives you the tease and the hint of what you need and want.

This novella wraps up with Candy – giving us a glimpse into the story that we’re about to get for her. We don’t know much about her aside from her habit with drugs and that she seems like she’s teflon. nothing can bother her. She and Ivan circle each other, very much the same as how Hannah and Blue did, so we know that when things happen, they will explode.

We’re left in a scene where someone has broken into the club overnight and has left a message for Candy in the form of a bible verse. That means she knows exactly who’s after her and now we’ll get her history and story in her next installment. I cant wait to see how this plays out – enjoy all!!

Review: Better When It Hurts (Stripped #2) by Skye Warren

TitleBetter When It Hurts
Author: Skye Warren
Publisher/Year:  Amber Shah 6/3/15
Length:  198 pages
Series: Stripped #2


A forbidden romance about pain that binds us together…

Five years ago we lived in the same house. He was the ultimate bad boy.

And my foster brother.

Now he’s back. Tougher, harder, meaner. All of it aimed at me, because I was the one who sent him away. It’s payback time. He wants his pound of flesh, and I am helpless to say no.

My Thoughts

It’s really nice to see how Lola (Hannah) and Blue’s story began / evolved, changed throughout their years together. From their prologue, we saw when they first met, when their paths first crossed and how a decision made by Hannah to protect herself had implications to Blue’s future. now we find ourselves five years in the future and we get to see how that’s all turned out.

Hannah is now working at The Grand as it’s the place where she’s able to make money to take care of the one foster mom who ever cared about her. She tries to stay detached from everyone and everything because she knows the dark side of any sort of relationship, but then there’s Blue. The man that she believes hates her but the same man that’s some how shown back up in her life and she’s sure it’s no coincidence.

We remember Blue from the foster home and we know that the choice Hannah made to put herself in a safer situation ended up sending Blue to the military. It was a way to keep him out of trouble and to hone skills that have some how managed to work towards everyone’s benefit. What it means now though is that not only is he security for The Grand, he’s Hannah’s personal protector again.

This story takes us through their journey of hating each other, knowing that they are still drawn to one another but not being sure if its’ because they believe there’s a debt that has to be paid or if there’s something more.

Hannah finds herself in situations that are unsafe that require Blue’s help and of course that means that he takes actions that could have consequences to his freedom which is something Hannah’s not willing to stand for. She fights with him and for him as he does for her and we watch them go around and around and around.

Where we net out at the end of their story is one that’s expected but bitter sweet regardless. There are hints at what’s to come (much of which I already know since i’ve read Ms Warren’s series out of order) but still a great lead in to some exciting stuff. So on that note – enjoy!

Review: Heartbreak (Stripped #1.5) by Skye Warren

Author: Skye Warren
Publisher/Year:  Createspace Publishing 3/27/16
Length:  100 pages
Series: Stripped #1.5


Some wounds never heal…

She’s stuck in another foster home. He’s the new boy with a bad reputation.

Falling in love in the wrong place and the wrong time never felt so good.

My Thoughts

We met Hannah and Blue in the first installment of this series, of the first real installment and we saw that there was an interesting dynamic between them. They gravitated towards one another but they also had this anger, this lust that was back handed and it added to the tension. We knew that Hannah came from the Foster world and it made sense that Blue did as well. At the time of the first book, I didn’t fathom that they may have known each other prior to The Grand, but what we get in this prologue novella is their story – how it began.

We find ourselves with Hannah, in a foster home where she’s a teen, and she’s being tormented by the son of the dad in the family. He’s above them all, he has power that no one in the foster service has and he tries to yield it. That means that Hannah’s not safe in the house, that at any moment Matthew, the son will go after her and try to rape her.

Welcome Blue – he comes to the house one day and there’s an instant connection. One of intrigue, one of attraction but one of mutual benefit. Blue promises to protect Hannah and they grow a bond, a friendship that we know has potential to become more.

The challenge of course is that Blue has a past and one that forces him to walk a tight rope to stay on the right side of the law, eventhough he’s a minor. What happens in this first book changes their trajectory and a decision that Hannah makes to protect …..I don’t know who…..means that the path they were on is severed. Which of course takes us to their longer story – which i’ll dive into now. Enjoy!

Review: Tough Love (Stripped #0.5) by Skye Warren

TitleTough Love
Author: Skye Warren
Publisher/Year:  Createspace Publishing 3/21/15
Length:  120 pages
Series: Stripped #0.5


A story about the sacrifices we make for love…

I sneak out of my room every night. My father’s guards don’t see me. My sister doesn’t see me.

No one sees me, except him.

He’s the son of a mafia foot soldier. My father is the boss. I shouldn’t even know Giovanni. And I definitely shouldn’t kiss him. Our relationship is doomed to fail, but that won’t stop me from trying.

Not every girl wants to be a princess. I just want to be free.

My Thoughts

Reading this after reading the first book in the story doesn’t actually hurt anything, but what it does is give us context to the moments that changed the lives of both Honor and Clara. We remember meeting them in Tanglewood when they’ve run away from the life they knew, from the fear that they had living in their father’s world and being subjected to whatever decisions were being made on their behalf. It’s a sad existence, a scary one, and it was really nice to see how Honor and Clara took control. Or Tried.

In this prologue novella of sorts, we get to see how Clara was living her life in the weeks leading up to their escape. To see what kind of girl she was living in a world where she had hints that she wasn’t ‘one of them’ and yet she had no choice but to be what they expected her to be. She had a rebellious side that brought her closer to Gio, one of the ‘soldiers’ in her father’s army and that came with it’s own risks for her and him.

The timing of this story is all around the engagement for Honor and Byron – a man that we learned was absolutely no good for her. He has motivations that tie not only to Honor but to Clara as well and we watch how those plans are slowly being put into place. What he doesn’t expect, what no one expects is that Honor and Clara have the guts to run, the means to run, and when they do…..the story unfolds.

So on that note, young love, hope and a desire for freedom are really what kicks this series off for us. Enjoy!

Review: Love the Way you Lie (Stripped #1) by Skye Warren

TitleLove the Way You Lie
Author: Skye Warren
Publisher/Year:  Amber Shah 3/9/15
Length:  244 pages
Series: Stripped #1


A dark romance about the lies that lead us down…

I’ll do anything to stay hidden, even if that means working at the scariest club in town. Then he shows up, mysterious and yet strangely familiar. And so damn sexy.

When he looks at me, I forget why I can’t have him. He’s beautiful and scarred. His body fits mine, filling the places where I’m hollow, rough where I am soft.

He’s the only man who wants to help, but he has secrets of his own.

He has questions I can’t answer.

I’m running from my past, but his might catch me first.

My Thoughts

I’ve clearly read all of Skye Warren’s books / series out of order but it’s ok, i’m learning! This is the first installment of the series related to The Grand, a location that we’ve come to know and love throughout Samantha’s story and an opportunity for us to see a bit more about Ivan. The scary gent. This isn’t his story though, so we’ll have to wait a book or two before we get into that one.

What we have in this first installment to the series is a story about Honor, the girl not the name, although it’s interesting that her parents named her that given their heritage. She comes from a family that has ties with the Mafia, so she’s incredibly valuable to her father and what she can do for him, and as a result, she’s engaged to a man that’s not the best for her. He’s a cop gone bad, he doesn’t treat her well, and after a variety of circumstances, she’s forced to run, taking her younger sister with her. She’s treated like an object and not one that’s beloved. She overhears her father and fiance talking about her, (until she realizes that it’s her sister they’re talking about), and that causes her to fear for their safety even more. There’s a mystery surrounding her mother’s death and disappearance and that scares Honor on top of all else that she’s going through.

Their only chance for survival is to stay under the radar and get away. We find ourselves in Tanglewood, at The Grand, the strip club that Ivan owns, and she’s working there to make ends meet. She’s a classically trained ballerina so this isn’t quite the style dancing that they had in mind for her, but it’s what helps her provide a roof over her and her sister Clara’s head.

While it’s not an ideal place for them to be, especially given that Clara is still in high school, it’s a place where Honor has managed to survive, until one day when a man comes in to the club and shifts the energy. Distracts her and makes her wonder if she’s met him and what he’s after. That’s where our story takes a turn.

Kip, he’s our man in charge here – he is known by Ivan, by others apparently, but no one tells Honor the relationship. She is warned away from him, told that he’s dangerous, yet some how she doesn’t listen since she’s drawn to him and he’s able to get under her skin just a little bit. Kip is a rogue guy for us, we don’t know his background and his motivation. We don’t know who he’s connected to but we know that he’s also drawn to Honor.

When we find out who he is, we see things take a dark turn. When we find out who he brings around as a result of his connections, we see that he should not have been trusted. What we get to towards the end of this story is a shootout, a death, a question of what the future will hold and then beginning of a relationship, and the hint of another. The who’s and the how’s are yet to be determined but I think that we get a good jumping off point to get into the rest of these stories. Enjoy!