Measha Stone-Valor

Valor is the 11th book in the Cavalieri Della Morte shared world, and I think that this is the last one on my blog calendar, at least I’m pretty sure it is. Measha has brought us a couple that just would not leave my head. Dustan and Cherise both insisted that there was more to the story, and wouldn’t listen to me when I told them that I had read the book and that was all there was. Dustan is a pushy, dominant asshole. Hopefully, they’ll leave me alone when I’m done with this.

Dustan is one of the CDM, and Arthur has sent him out on a new job. This job is to get rid of a guy named Antonio Merde. He’s apparently skimming off the top from his family. I had to laugh at his name, because merde is shit in French, so every time his name came up, I read it as shit. My inner 12 year old was amused. Anyway, Dustan is going to kill this guy. He’s been sitting in a bar waiting for Merde to come and do his business. He keeps to a routine, which lets Dustan know when and where he can off him. The only thing he didn’t plan on was the hot woman who walked up and sat down next to him.

Cherise, who tells Dustan her name is Cherry, is trying to break out of her shell. She has dressed herself up, given herself a fun nickname, and gone to a bar she wouldn’t normally go. And then she saw Dustan. Since she was nervous as all get out, she needed someone to shelter behind, and Dustan worked. When he walked out the back of the bar, she decided to follow. Much to her chagrin.

Dustan was both more hardcore and lighter than some of the other heroes in this world. Which, don’t ask me how that works, but that’s what I think, and it sorta works for him. He doesn’t seem as much on the dark side, if you know what I mean. Yeah, he’s an assassin, but he doesn’t seem as gritty and… Ugh, I can’t come up with the right word to describe it. I know what I mean, but I can’t make it come out of my head to the screen. That’s totally frustrating. Don’t get me wrong, he’s not your happy, fluffy, dancing assassin a la Sam Rockwell in Mr. Right. If he gets the order, he’s going to kill you. If you do him wrong, he’s going to kill you. And he’ll do it without hesitation.

Cherise was a mix too. She’s both bold and retiring, which is a really interesting juxtaposition. When she gets scared, she gets assertive, snarky, and mouthy. It’s a lot easier to be all of those things than it is to be scared. When she’s not so scared, she’s more in her head and ready to hide away. I can really relate, because snarky and mouthy is my fall back when I’m upset, scared, tired, angry, well, you get the idea. Of course, it works better for me, because Dustan isn’t telling me that bad things come to bad girls and waiting with a belt for my ass. I did like her a lot, mostly because I did relate to her so much.

One thing I did find really interesting is that Arthur barely makes any appearance in the book, and none of the other Cavalieri are in there at all.

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Bobby. Yeah.

Ok, that’s all I have to say about this one. Go check it out! Happy reading!

Anna Edwards-Redemption

Anna Edwards has very comfortably moved into my must read author category. I will read anything that she puts out right now, and her backlog is on my TBR list. Have I talked about what my TBR looks like? Yeah, it’s that bad. Anyway, Anna has written a story in the Cavalieri Della Morte series. I think that Redemption is book #10, if Amazon can be trusted. I haven’t read all 10 yet, but the ones I haven’t read are on my list. If only I didn’t have to sleep or make money. Darn real life getting all up in my way.

Anna has given us the story of Gawain and his lady love, Megan. Gawain is Arthur’s nephew. His mom is Arthur’s sister, and Arthur has acted as his father figure since his 16th birthday when his dad just went one step too far. Arthur sends Gawain out on righteous kills, especially on jobs where he is rescuing women who are being trafficked.

Megan is from Stockholm, and two years ago, she went missing. The reason that she went missing is that she was out celebrating her birthday and was abducted and sold. Now, she’s learned to be quiet and do everything her owner M wants her to do. And usually, what he wants is for her to hurt and suffer. And that is exactly what she has done for the past two years. She’s covered in burns, scars, and has unhealed broken bones. Her mind is sorta there and she trusts no one, including the men who come in to rescue her. She’s pretty sure that they are a test from M.

Redemption is defined as being saved or saving someone from sin and evil, and as the action of gaining back or repurchasing something or clearing a debt. And the title works really well in both definitions of the word and for multiple characters. Gaining that redemption is really important and I think that these characters wouldn’t have worked well in any other setting.

I really like Gawain. Even though he’s an assassin and should be this hardened killer kind of person, there’s something very tender about him. It’s not that he’s an innocent, in any way, shape, or form, but there’s just something very sweet about him. I can’t put my finger directly on it though. I really like how patient he is with Megan, and how he wants to make sure that she’s safe. He goes out of his way to do things that will make her happy and help her have some good memories.

I like how strong Megan really is. Even though her mind kinda got fucked up while she was being held by M, she’s still very strong. Of course, when you are in a crazy fucked up situation your brain is going to do what it can to help you, and that can include your brain deciding to give you an out and help to block out happier things that happened prior to the trauma. But even then, she managed to keep a core of herself there, even if it was buried treasure. I like how it wasn’t an insta-love situation, but that it took a little time, because it gave Megan and Gawain time to become friends before anything else happened.

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I loved the tea party. That was seriously above and beyond, and so freaking romantic.

OK, that’s all on this one. Go check it out! Happy reading!

Ally Vance-Delinquent

Ally Vance is the next Cavalieri Della Morte author I’m reviewing. Her contribution to the shared world series is Delinquent, the story of Seth Galahad and Leeann. As a reminder, each book is a standalone, but the series is all interconnected, so you will get some crossover with other main characters showing up in the book. Arthur is in all of the books, in one form or another, just because he’s the leader of the CDM, so I’m not counting him as a true crossover character.

Seth is the youngest of the CDM that we’ve met so far, he’s right around 20. He’s very impulsive and yet disciplined, if that makes sense. While he’s still an assassin, he’s often the one that Arthur sends out to collect debts. Either he gets the money or people get dead. Caryn owes Arthur money, so he sends Seth out after her. She calls Seth and tells him that she has the repayment for him. What she doesn’t necessarily tell him is that it’s a woman.

Leeann has a brother, Arron. Arron is a fuckhole. He has a gambling problem. He’s supposed to be going to meetings to handle his gambling, but apparently he doesn’t think he needs to do that. Instead, he decides what he really needs to do is to keep gambling. So he does, and when he doesn’t win, he bets the one thing that he shouldn’t, his little sister. He told her the night he came home after losing her, and locked her in her bedroom. That night, two thugs came and took her away, locking her in a basement, and being not all that nice to her for days on end. Then along comes Seth.

I have a 23 year old son who is often impulsive AF, and the brain hasn’t really matured until around 25, so I totally get Seth. I understand exactly who he is, and where he is coming from. That doesn’t mean that I don’t want to give him a dope slap upside the back of his head. There is a time or two when he realllllly needs one. Overall, though, I do like him.

Leeann is a sweet and loving person, she even loves her brother even if he’s a fuckhole. I really do like her. Even though she’s sweet, that doesn’t mean that she’s not fierce, and she totally is. She keeps trying to get away from any and everyone, no matter what. She’s just going to keep fighting, which means she’s full of fire, and I like that fire. I think that she’ll be perfect for Seth and he’ll be good for her.

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There are some hints to certain things, if you are paying attention to them. They are very, very tiny hints, so you need to watch for them. And no, I’m not going to tell you what they are or what they’re too. I can be mean like that.

OK, that’s all for today. Go check it out! Happy reading!

 

India R. Adams-Ivy’s Poison

India R. Adams’ Ivy’s Poison is the 5th of the Cavalieri Della Morte books, and it really knocked me out. I mean, I wanted to give it all the stars and then some.

Before I get into my review, I want to strongly recommend that you read India’s warning at the beginning of the book and believe it. There are a couple of very sensitive places in the book, at some readers might not want to read those things. And that’s OK. We all like different things and have different tolerances for different things. What’s important is that you are aware of what things upset you and that you read accordingly. To be helpful, India does include page numbers to skip.

As I was thinking about what to write about this, I was going through my brain and thumbing through the Arthurian tales files that live there to see if I could come up with any trivia about Bors, but the only thing I could think of came from a movie called King Arthur where Bors, played by Ray Winstone, talks about his cock being like a baby’s arm holding an apple. I could probably look up more trivia, but I’m going to just leave you with that.

Bors is a hand-to-hand specialist when it comes to the Cavalieri Della Morte. When you want to make an example of someone, Bors is who you send. So, when Arthur sends him out after the prez of an MC, Bors knows that the guy must’ve done something bad.

When he gets there and is sitting at a bar, in comes some of the MC, along with the prez’s daughter, Ivy. That shocks him, since he’d met Ivy three years ago, when they had a crazy night together. And oh yeah, she drugged him. Bors knew that the jackass had a daughter, but he didn’t know it was the woman who had haunted him for 3 years.

This book is technically a dual POV, but in practice, it’s really a sole POV. And that POV is Bors’. I really do find it fascinating to read a primarily male POV MF romance story. When you think of MF, we tend to think of it as female driven, which means that the main POV should be the female, right? And in many cases, I would totally agree with that. And I’m good with single, dual, multi POV, whatever the story calls for and the author thinks appropriate, but there are times when the male POV and the single (or functionally single) POV is the only way to tell the story. And this is one of those times.

Since it’s told mostly by Bors, we get to understand him and his filter. I think that we get to learn more about Bors than he even knows about himself. There are things that I think that he was hiding from himself that we get hints of before he gets to them. We also get to learn about Ivy mostly from him, and I was totally enthralled by that. He learns about her very organically, I think, so we do too. He picks up little bits here and there that he puts together and connects the way that you and I would, and in fact, I think that India put things in there that we pick up on before he puts them together, and it’s not that she outright states anything, but she leads us into them. It’s totally fabulous.

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Oh, Ivy. My heart breaks. And there was one point where Bors just totally broke me altogether.

OK, that’s all I have to say about this one. You know what to do. Happy reading!

Claire Marta-His Salvation

His Salvation is Claire’s addition to the Cavalieri Della Morte series. (And do you know how hard it is to type Claire when your name is Clara?) It’s the 4th book in the series, and the 3rd I’ve reviewed here. It looks like it may have some overlap with the next book in the series, which is India R. Adams’ Ivy’s Poison. But, as that doesn’t come out until next week, I can’t say for sure.

So, Salvation is the story of Kay and Evelyn. Now, before you look at me or Claire and say, but ladies, Kay is a girl’s name, keep in mind that a lot of names that we now think of as exclusively girl’s names started out as male names, like Marion, which was John Wayne’s birth name. Anyway, Kay is an old name out of Wales and Latin, which is an interesting mix, if you look at it, but those old Romans got around. It means happy or rejoicing, which I find to be really interesting. Yes, I fell down the rabbit hole when I was looking at names. More useless trivia for the trivia monster who lives in my head.

In the original Arthurian tales, Merlin took infant Arthur from his parents to keep him safe from anyone who might want to hurt him. He gave Arthur to Sir Ector to raise. In some stories, Ector knew who Arthur was, in others, he didn’t. Ector already had a son named Kay. Please, don’t ask me how much of the Arthurian tales I already knew before I even started reading the CDM series. I may end up embarrassing myself. And I swear, Disney’s The Sword in the Stone had nothing to do with my Arthurian education. Probably. Yeah, I’m rambling today.

So, Kay. Assassin of the Cavalieri Della Morte. Doesn’t fail. Doesn’t kill innocents. Has a Spidey Sense. Just about to get into serious trouble. He’s in Rome and his hit has just gone bad. The target somehow got switched on him and now Russian pros are on his tail. Injured and bleeding, he has to get away from them somehow. He needs a car that no one has seen him with. So what does he do? He carjacks a pretty tourist.

Evelyn is a British tourist. She just won a luxury trip to Rome, and is sitting outside in her car, trying to find the paperwork she needs so that she can check into the hotel, when a stranger gets into her car, points a gun at her, and then carjacks her. She’s pretty sure that she isn’t going to live another minute, but he drags her into a No-Tell Motel, and the story builds from there.

OK, Kay. I’m not sure what I feel about Kay. I know that I’m not neutral on him, but other than that, he’s confusing AF to me. I think he’s confusing himself right now, and I’m pretty sure he’s confused Evelyn all to fuck. I think that Kay was emotionally stuck a little bit, which could be why I have a hard time getting a good read on him. He goes back and forth between different emotional states. I think I really like that. I think that it made him a lot more human than he might otherwise have been. Claire showed us a flawed man who is trying to come to grasp with things that are beyond his control.

Evelyn. Hmmmm… Most of the time I thought that she was a pretty good character. She didn’t really do the damsel in distress thing, except when it was appropriate to the story, but even then, she wasn’t going to go gently into that good night. She was going to fight as hard as she could and leave her mark. I do think that she was slightly naive a couple of times, at least towards the beginning, and Kay may have been an asshole for being as blunt as he was when he was explaining the facts of life to her, but I think she needed to hear it bluntly to get it into her head.

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There are a couple of things that happened that I didn’t really guess, but it was more like wouldn’t it be interesting if… There were other things that I thought the same thing about which didn’t happen. I’ll leave it to you to try and guess which ones were which.

OK, that’s all for this one. Go check it out, as well as all the other CDM books. Happy reading!

Yolanda Olson-Martyris

Martyris is the 3rd of the Cavalieri Della Morte books, and the second one I’m reviewing here. It is dark. It is dazzling. It is disturbing. In short, it’s a very Yolanda book. And that? That is a very, very good thing. It’s also a fairly quick read, but one that left me awake far into the night thinking about it because it just stayed in my head that way.

Because it’s short, my review is going to be short. Also, I don’t want to give anything away. And I think that it would be very easy to give something away if I weren’t very careful. And as I always find it better to err on the side of caution, at least when reviewing, short it is.

This is the story of Gareth, one of the CDM, and his true love, Bentlee, his favorite girl. Gareth likes to see himself as sort of the good guy, but he kills with his hands, instead of a weapon. Well, with metal gloves that he wears, but still, you get the idea. He’s good at what he does, but I don’t think he’s all that happy about that fact, or the fact that he’s doing it.

We only get one POV here, Gareth’s, so we only get to know Bentlee through him, and it is truly obvious how much he loves her and wants to protect her from the world. It is pretty atypical of a book that lives in the MF section of the romance world to be all the male POV, so it’s something that is really exciting to me, and it really gives a kind of intimacy to the book that wouldn’t otherwise exist, I think. I really like Gareth, although it almost seems like I shouldn’t, but there’s just something about him that’s impossible to not like. I like Bentlee and I think that anyone he loves the way that he does would be someone that I would like.

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Um… Wow.

OK, go check it out. I don’t know whether or not to wish you happy reading, so I’ll let you decide on your own.

Dani Rene-Beautifully Brutal

Welcome to the Cavalieri Della Morte. It’s a 13 book series that is set in the same world and all interconnected. Dani Rene’s Beautifully Brutal┬áis the first book in the series, and the rest of the books will be releasing once a week over the next several weeks.

Cavalieri Della Morte is Italian for Knights of Death. Cavalieri comes from the same base as the French chevalier, as well as the words cavalier and cavalry. Chivalry also comes out of cheval. They all have their base in the Old French word cheval, meaning horse. While cavalieri, chevalier, and cavalier all originally meant horseman or horse rider, they all turned into words for knight. Cavalry meant an armed force on horse, and in the military, these days, it has turned into meaning the motorized armored forces. Why yes, I am a bit of a word nerd, and what’s even scarier is that I was able to pull all of this out of my head without having to look it up. I’m a total wiz at Trivial Pursuit.

Anyway, now that we’ve walked away from that tiny digression, let’s talk about the actual book. The Cavalieri Della Morte in this series is a group of men who are basically elite assassins. They get given a name, they go handle the problem. And Lance Knight is probably the best. He’s also the right hand man of the leader of the CDM, Arthur, at least until one fateful mistake.

Lance ended up on the streets of NOLA when he was young, and Arthur took him in and raised him. He also trained Lance to be one of his knights. Then, when Lance was 18, Arthur and his wife had a daughter named Giuliana. Eighteen years later, Lance and Giuliana have fallen in love and are hiding it, right up until her dad walks in on them kissing passionately. Then Giuliana is sent away and Arthur tells Lance that he will make it so that he no longer loves her.

So, I totally hate Arthur. I mean, yeah. Die in fire and burn in hell levels of hate. But I like Lance and Giuliana a lot. Lia is very resourceful and very determined. I mean, she gets herself out of at least one bad situation. She had to be smart enough to bide her time, watch, and pick the perfect time in which to make the move, and she does. I also like that she doesn’t really have any delusions about her father or Lance. She knows that they are both killers.

Lance seems like a character that I might dislike immediately, but oddly enough, I did not. I think that he very much has his own code and will stick to it. It definitely isn’t my code or your code, but it is the one that he has developed and the one that he wants to stick with. But, I definitely like him and the way that he handled everything that came up in the book.

I am not reviewing all the rest of the books in the series, for reasons, but I will be reviewing some of them. That doesn’t mean that I won’t be reading them and that things that I learn in various books won’t show up in reviews for other books. I will, as always, keep the spoilers down, because you know me. I am looking forward to the rest of the series, and there are some really fantastic authors in there. I’m sure they are all fantastic, I just haven’t read some of them yet.

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OK, first of all, I’m sure that you notice the name thing, just like I did. And yes, the names are all like that. We see a couple of other Cavalieri, and the naming convention follows along with them too. It’s going to be really interesting, for me at least, I don’t know about the rest of you, to read the rest of the stories and to see how they fit in with everything and if it happens in the way in which I think it might. And yeah, I mean Arthur being betrayed by his right hand man with his beloved female? In the legends, it’s Artie’s wife Guinevere, here it’s Artie’s daughter, Giuliana. See what I mean?

OK, that’s all I have to say about this one. Go find it and read it. Happy reading!