Skye Warren-Survival of the Fittest

This is the first book in the newest duet from Skye Warren. If you are used to her writing, you know what that means. If you aren’t familiar with her writing, you know that it means that you are going to have your heart ripped out of your chest, stomped on, mashed into bits, and then handed back to you so that you can wait for the next one to come out.

Survival of the Fittest brings us the story of Harper and the two men who have her in their sights, Sutton and Christopher. Like other Skye books, it takes place in Tanglewood, so we get to see old friends, like Bea and Hugo, and Penny and Damon.

When Harper was 15, she flew to Boston to spend spring break with her extremely rich father and his newest wife on his yacht. She isn’t planning on getting close to this wife, because she knows that all his wives are temporary. There’ll probably be a new one next year, so why bother really paying any attention to her. This wife brings a tag-along. She has a son, who is a little holder than Harper, and already in college. In the middle of the night, Harper sneaks out and goes to sit on the railing of the yacht. Christopher follows her and asks her if she has a death wish. She tells him that she’s been sitting there for years without any problem. Of course, we all know what that means. Yup, she falls into the ocean. I don’t know about you, but I wouldn’t want to fall into the ocean around Boston in springtime. That fucker is cold. Luckily, Christopher is there, he jumps in after her, and drags her over to the swim steps on the yacht so that she can haul herself up and out of the water.

Over the years, even after their parents divorce, Harper and Christopher write letters back and forth. She even invites him to a huge art show she’s doing, all about Medusa. Then things change. Christopher is left in charge of Harper’s money until she turns 25, and there are strict proscriptions as to what the money can be used for. The money cannot be used to take care of her mother in any way, shape, or form. It can only go for Harper’s education and her immediate living expenses. This leads to years of Harper and Christopher’s cold war, until she has to go to Tanglewood to confront him. When she does, she meets Sutton, who is Christopher’s business partner. He starts hitting on her, and she’s definitely interested. But then, she’s got feelings for Christopher too, even though she’s pretty sure that she hates him.

OK,  I don’t trust Sutton as far as  I can throw him. He definitely has some kind of agenda going on. He’s just going to keep fucking with Harper and with Christopher. It’s going to be a huge fucking mess, until Skye manages to pull it all back together and makes it work out the way that it should be. I know how I want it to work out. But, at this exact point in time, I’m not sure if that’s going to be the way that it actually works out. Christopher is a good man. He’s an honorable man. I think that he does what he always thinks is the right thing in any situation, at least the right thing for everyone but him. I like Christopher, but that kind of thing makes me mad. It’s perfectly OK to be selfish sometimes and do the things that you think are right for you and fuck what may be right for someone else over what may be right for you. All I know is that I can’t wait for The Evolution of Man to get here. And pro-tip? It’s already on pre-order. And I can neither confirm nor deny that I 1-clicked that fucker.

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Damn, that ending. Fuuuuuuck. I went back to reread the last chapter just so that I was sure that I didn’t miss anything because damn. I knew that it was going to be a cliff because this isn’t my first go-round with Skye and how she likes to rip people’s hearts out. But still, it nearly killed me.

I love how fierce Harper is. But, I think that Sutton will wear that fierce right off of her. He’s not a good person, I don’t think.

Christopher is just being too fucking nice for his own good. He knows that Sutton wants Harper. And he knows Sutton, so he’s going to know what Sutton’s motivations are. I’m pretty sure that there is more than just Harper is pretty and sexy. He knows that Christopher is into Harper, so he’s trying to hurt Christopher or play some kind of game. I hope Christopher smashes him down good.

All I know is that Harper and Christopher had better end up together. I refuse to envision any other outcome.

Go check this out. You can also get the prologue for free, called Trust Fund. Happy reading!

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Natalie Bennett-King of Hearts

This is the second book in Natalie’s Old Money Roulette series. It’s dark, mysterious, and left me with so many more questions that I had going in. I mean, wow.

So, let’s talk about King of Hearts, shall we? Before I get into it, there’s a good chance that there are going to be spoilers for Queen of Diamonds. I don’t mean to leave them, but it is likely to happen. It’s the nature of the beast when you get book series that are set up the way that the Old Money Roulette books are. So, if you haven’t read QoD and it’s on your TBR, you may want to reconsider looking at this blog until you have read it. I will say that KoH is a big mindfuck. I mean, most things that Natalie writes end up fucking with your brain in some way or other. But this is a big one. It’s dark and there isn’t really a glimmer of light going on. So be aware of that.

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Celia Aaron-The Church

We have finally reached the last book in Celia’s Cloister series. It’s been a long, fucked up, twisted journey, and one that left me hanging at the end of the first two books. I mean, I would count down when the next one would come out as soon as I would finish the last one. I both blessed and cursed Celia’s name, usually multiple times in each book. But then we get to The Church, and damn. I was so satisfied when I got to the end of this book. It was perfect. Of course, being Celia Aaron, it wasn’t easy. Nor was it particularly nice. But, it had to be done.

And now, my precious ducklings, I have a warning for you. This review will contain spoilers for The Maiden and The Prophet. Because of the way the books have been written, with the beginning of the next book picking up immediately after the end of the previous books, spoilers are going to happen.  So, be aware of that. If you haven’t read the other books and you don’t want to be spoiled, this is the time for you to leave. If you continue on past this point and you get spoiled… Well, I warned you. Choices have consequences.

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K. Webster-El Malo

No one is surprised when I have another K Webster book on here anymore, are they? If you are, you must not have been following me long. I’ve reviewed several of her last releases, and blog gods willing, I’ll review many, many more. This one is a doozy though. When I finished, I just looked at my husband and was like damn, that was good. It was just so satisfying.

Before I get started on reviewing El Malo, I just have to mention the cover. The woman on the cover is super hot, and it’s a great cover. OK, on to the book.

Rosa was born in Texas and adored by her mother. She talked her mother into taking her to her favorite restaurant in Cuidad Juarez, where some bad guys raided at the exact wrong time. Rosa’s mom covered her and ended up bleeding to death on the floor of the kitchen of that restaurant. Rosa was filled with righteous anger and was determined to bring down all mafia and gangsters in Mexico. For the past 4 years, she’s been working undercover for the CIA, working as a maid in Javier Estrada’s house.

Javier is the head of El Malo, a cartel that is running their section of Mexico. Javier is determined to ruin Acapulco, where he lives, so that he can send all the business to his father in Puerto Vallarta. His dad owns a huge chunk of the hotels in that area, so they are going to make serious bank on the deal. Javier is really good at it. He and his boys own the town, and work their way through everything and everyone. Rosa is there to get all the information she can, and then once a week, she goes to her handler and gives him her information.

Javier has only noticed Rosa in the context of her job as the head maid of his house. She’s very good at her job. He knows better than to fuck the staff, but when she comes home one Saturday injured because she was attacked on her way home, all of a sudden, he really sees her. Not just that, he knows that she’s his.

Now, while I was reading this, there was one sentence that popped up that really stuck with me. El es el malo. He is the bad guy. El es El Malo. He is El Malo, as in a member of the organization. There’s just something really powerful about that sentence, either way that it’s written. It just struck me hard and made me think. I mean, we’re supposed to know that Javier is bad, after all, he is a Narco. He tortures and kills people. He’s not necessarily a nice guy. But, is he really the bad guy? After reading the book, I’m pretty sure that I know the answer. Rosa has to keep reminding herself of that, because frankly, Javier makes it really hard to remember sometimes. Other times, it’s not so hard.

Javier is an anti-hero. He’s smooth, handsome, well-spoken, and charming. He’s forceful, passionate, and magnetic. Rosa is a very strong woman. I mean, you would have to be to be in deep cover for 4 years. Four years of having to be someone you aren’t all day every day? That has to be exhausting, and yet she manages to do it. She’s brave, resourceful, and caring. Together, the two of them are explosive. Their love story is so all-consuming, it jumps off the page. I was sucked into it and just couldn’t out of it. But there isn’t just the love story, there’s also a lot of suspense going on too. Really, this was just such a helluva ride. I mean, I just couldn’t put it down when I was reading it. My family had to just deal with it, and my cats got shoved out of the way when they tried blocking my Kindle. Poor Chainsaw and Jaguar. They pouted. I almost felt bad about that, but nahhhh. Javier and Rosa helped me over that. Calling it a roller coaster would be putting mildly.

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I never trusted Michael. He was scummy to begin with and just yuck. I mean, the way that he treated Rosa was just shitty and then got worse. Poor Rosa. I felt so sad for her because he was the only person who knew the “real” Rosa. Too bad he was so nasty.

I like Marco Antonio. He doesn’t really trust Rosa in the beginning, but I have a feeling that he only trusts Javier. But, that doesn’t mean that he doesn’t take care of Rosa. He knows that she is important to Javier and that he trusts her. They both know that she’s lying about something that she’s keeping secret, but Javier knows that he will get it out of her.

Angel, what a fuck he was. But everyone handled that well. I loved it. Of course, I was really scared when it was happening, but I should’ve trusted Javier more. It was great though.

I loved Javier’s dad. He was super sweet, if you can call an old gangster sweet. But the bits with him and Tania and Emiliano are just awesome.

OK, that’s all I have to say about this one today. It’s on KU and I can’t recommend this one enough. Go forth and read. Happy reading!

Alison Mello-Refuse to Lose

We have a new author on the blog today, Alison Mello. I saw her on FB and was like, sure I’ll be happy to read and review your book. Have I told you how much I love my life? Being a blogger/reviewer is cool af. I get a chance to read alllllll the things. I get a chance to share allllll the things with you. It’s a win/win situation for all of us.

So, Refuse to Lose. This is a sweeter and lighter story than I would normally read, which isn’t a bad thing. Even my dark and twisted soul needs some sweetness and light sometimes. It balances me out, and sometimes, when I’ve read a lot of dark all at once, I need to have something lighter. It’s like the pickled ginger that you eat when you are eating sushi. It helps to clear your palate and get you ready to go on. Of course, I’m the person who loves eating pickled ginger right out of the jar. I like it so much that my stepfather got me a jar of pickled ginger one year for Christmas. OK, enough digression. This book is a piece of yummy, yummy pickled ginger. It was good to read and it made me happy.

The story starts out with Stella and her son, DJ. They are living in NYC, and it’s been a couple of years since Stella’s husband was murdered. Stella has decided that she wants to take DJ away from NYC and to some place where he can grow up in the fresh air and sunlight, and she doesn’t have to worry about him walking down the street. So, when DJ comes home after the last day of school, Stella tells him that they are leaving first thing in the morning, here’s a couple of boxes, I’ve already packed your clothes, go pack the most important things you have. She’s done some research and has decided that West Virginia is the place to go. She’s not sure where, but she’s sure they’ll find a good place.

When they get to a nice, small town, she finds a diner where she and DJ can eat, and finds out that they are hiring, so she asks Misty, the boss, for the job. Misty hooks her up and voila, Stella and DJ have somewhere to live.

Six months later, Stella is still going strong at the diner. She’s renting a house from one of their old-timer regulars. DJ is getting ready to start baseball. And Trystan, who calls Stella sugar when he sees her at the diner, is in front of the judge because he was arrested on a DUI. The judge sentences him to community service as a little league baseball coach.

Trystan loves baseball. He was trying for the semi-pros when his National Guard unit was called up to the war. While he was there, his girlfriend Sophia cheated on him. When he came home, he started working with his friends at a construction company. On the night that he got arrested, he was out with his boys, and he was driving his friend Billy home because Billy was drunk as a skunk. Trystan isn’t happy about being sentenced to coaching, but the judge tells him that he thinks it will be a good thing for him and for the boys.

Those poor boys. They really have no real team going on. Their last coach wasn’t all that interested in coaching and everyone was glad when he moved. Trystan knows that he’s going to have to get the boys playing as a team, so he does what he can to build camaraderie. Meanwhile, he and Stella start getting closer.

Anyway, you know how it goes now. You don’t want the risk of spoilers, stop at the picture. You don’t mind spoilers, keep going. Like I said, I enjoyed the book. I did think that there were a couple of small places where it didn’t flow as well as it could’ve, but that’s just my personal opinion. And flow issues are something that happens to every author from time to time, so, in the greater scheme of the book, they didn’t really me overly much. It was a good story, with a lot of sweet moments in it. Trystan is a very good man, and he takes a lot of care of Stella and DJ, as well as all the boys on his team. He does really well stepping up to the plate there. Stella is a strong woman who has had more than any person should deal with, but she doesn’t let it break her and she has not only survived, but she’s also thrived, and has made sure her son has thrived.

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OK, I knew that Sophia was a problem, but I didn’t realize that she was a complete nutter. I didn’t like her from the first time we saw her, but I didn’t expect her to go to the extent that she did.

I’m glad that Billy found someone to help him fight. He needed that, and Daisy and Landon could really use having a man around to help them. I liked Billy. He seemed like a really nice guy, so that made me happy.

OK, that’s all I have to say about this. The book is on KU, so go check it out. Happy reading!

Sunniva Dee-Regretfully Yours

Sunniva Dee is another new author for me, not just for the blog. And, before we get to anything, can I just say how awesome I think the name Sunniva is? Very, very awesome. Anyhow, back to the book, Regretfully Yours.

Silvina is out at a club with her bio partner, John, and watching the bane of her existence, Gioele, on the dance floor. When John touches her after buying her a drink, Gioele rushes over and beats John down, and then takes Silvina home. Silvina and Gioele have a lot of history together. They’ve always been really tight, with an incredibly tight bond. As teenagers, that bond went from very close to romantically close. That wouldn’t necessarily be a problem, except for one small, little, tiny fact. They are cousins. The family caught them when they were 16 and 17 and did everything they can to scare them into not being in love anymore. The problem is that it didn’t work out as well as they might’ve liked. While Silvina and Gioele worked hard to maintain some kind of distance, they still have that incredibly tight bond. When she moved to San Francisco to go to college, Gioele followed her.

Silvina tries to separate out her life from Gioele as much as possible, wanting to date and find other men to date. Gioele tries to listen to her, but he knows that she’s the only one for him. She’s his Ina mia. He wants no one other than her, no matter what.

And oh, there’s one more tiny little thing that can affect Silvina and Gioele. They aren’t just cousins, they are also the prince and princess of a huge mob family. Generally, that’s not a huge problem, but Gioele’s father is the head of the family, and he isn’t necessarily as sane as one could hope. That means he occasionally takes turns up the cold war between his family and another family and makes it a hot war. Just like he’s about to do any.second.now.

There’s also the fact that Gioele decides he’s going to do porn, but his brother won’t let him do it at his studio, so he goes to the competitor and films an audition reel. That shit never, ever, ever turns around and bites someone in the ass.

OK, this book was different to what I expected. I expected something darker than this. It had its dark points, and some really shitty things happen in it, but overall, it’s not that dark. I do love how much Gioele takes care of Silvina, and I love his name for her, Ina mia, my Ina. It’s such a sweet, intimate name to call the person who owns your heart. The book, for all the dark parts to it, is overall sweet, and is really good. I enjoyed every word of it, and my heart was light at the end of it.

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I didn’t see the bad guy being who he was, but damn if he didn’t just go way into I’m a crazy land. The parental unit of the bad guy wasn’t far off either. I mean, they were a pair of co-dependent nutbags.

That’s all I have to say on this one. Hit up the Zon on go check it out. Happy reading!

K. Webster-Pearson

I’m sure by now you are all oh so surprised when I have a new K. Webster book on the blog. I just listen for a hint that she’s going to have a book out and then sign up for everything I can. There’s another one coming up not too long from now, too. Just enjoy the twisted mind that is K. Webster. I know I do.

Pearson is part of a 4 book set written by JD Hollyfield, Dani Rene, K. Webster, and Ker Dukey. Each book can be read as a standalone, but they are all interconnected and the characters all show up in the different books. So far, Pearson is the only one I’ve read. I have JD Hollyfield’s and Dani Rene’s, and I’ll have Ker Dukey’s when it comes out next week, so I’ll be reading them all in order, back-to-back. Oh darn, I’ll have to reread Pearson. Damn.

The very first thing you are going to see when you open this book is K’s warning. It’s got to be one of the greatest and shortest warnings I’ve read, and K has written some great ones. Basically, it says that you aren’t going to like this hero. When the writer says something like that, you should probably oughta listen.

Eric Pearson is a single dad. He’s got 4 pretty good teenage boys. He’s also part owner of Four Fathers Freight, and is doing pretty damn OK. Eric believes in getting what he wants. Or rather, he believes in taking what he wants. He sees it, he wants it, he takes it, and bedamned to anyone in his way. He will run them over, friend, enemy, innocent bystander. Right now, what he wants is the very beautiful young woman who is playing around in his swimming pool. Her name is Rowan.

Rowan is on the very verge of turning 18, has a father who treats her like a little girl, and a boyfriend. And did I mention the fact that her boyfriend, Brock, happens to be one of Eric’s sons? And that all 3 of his other sons are enamored with her? That’s not going to stop Eric though. He’s been waiting for her to turn 18 for the past 2 years, and now that she’s about to, he’s going to get her, no matter who he has to destroy to get there.

Rowan has been very aware of Eric for some time, but she’s happy being Brock’s girlfriend. They’ve gotten close and fooled around some, but never had full on sex. After her 18th birthday, where her father gave her a dollhouse, thank you very much, she sneaks next door to Brock’s and is going to get it on with him right up until his dad busts in the door. He kicks Brock out of his own room and points out to Rowan that she’s 18, Brock is 17 and if she does anything with him, she could go to jail, but he’s more than happy to punish her now. And he does.

OK, this is the time we all know is coming. I love Eric. I hate Eric. It depends on the page. He’s a fucking asshole all the time, so that part doesn’t change. He blows very hot and cold with Rowan at first, and that kind of really pisses me off. I know, what can I say. I’d still fuck him. He’s just not really a nice guy. But K writes him very well. I expect it’s hard to write an asshole as a hero. Not that I really think of him as a hero, but you get my drift.

I don’t think that I really have any spoilers on this one. It’s a pretty short read, so go check it out.

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