Amazon · book review · Non ARC

Aaru: Hall of Hel (The Aaru Cycle: Book 2) by David Meredith

Aaru: Halls of Hel (The Aaru Cycle #2)

4 Stars

Publisher: Amazon

Date of publication: July 27th, 2018

Genre: Young Adult, Science Fiction, Dystopia

Series: The Aaru Cycle

Aaru—Book 1 (review here)

Aaru: Halls of Hel—Book 2

Where you can find Aaru: Amazon

Goodreads synopsis:

“… Let them have everything – health, food, a place to live, entertainment. They are and remain unhappy and low-spirited for the demon waits and waits…”
-Friedrich Nietzsche

Rose is a Veda.

In Elysian Industries’ virtual paradise of Aaru, that means she’s practically a goddess. She is immortal. She is powerful. A limitless paradise is hers and her friends’ to command. They are free from sickness and pain, old age and death. She should be ecstatic over her prestige and privilege, but the gilded utopia has lost its luster.

In a reality where anything can be hers with a thought, and Rose can master any skill instantly with nothing but her imagination, to what can she still aspire? She has all of eternity to fill, but what will her purpose be? Rose adores her sweet, Latin boyfriend, Franco. She loves wiling away endless immaculate days with her friends, but shouldn’t there be more to life than mere play? Also, Rose is dogged by a deep concern for her little sister, Koren, the Elysian Industries spokes-model and reality star back in the “Before” world.

Though Koren is wealthy, famous, and idolized by millions of adoring fans, her life is spinning out of control. Her parents’ marriage is on the rocks, and the boyfriend of her dreams, Jonas Perry, seems suddenly indifferent. Koren finds her celebrity increasingly isolating, her grueling work schedule exhausting, and the constant scrutiny of her personal life unwelcomed and intrusive. To top it all off, she has regular nightmares about the death of her friend, Kiku, and the still-at-large Magic Man who nearly stole away her everything.

Koren and Rose have more to fear from this quarter than they know. Magic Man’s obsession with the teenage idol has not lessened, and he is far from defeated. With vital aid from an unexpected source, his nefarious schemes to make Koren his own and to hack the Aaru mainframe are on track and moving forward. Unless the sisters can thwart his sinister designs, everyone and everything the girls hold dear could be destroyed.

My review:

I was so excited when I accepted the invitation to review this book. I will admit that I hyped up Aaru: Halls of Hel in my mind more than I should have. Usually, I get burned by the book. It ends up not being as good as I thought it would be. Not in this case. Aaru: Halls of Hel lived up to my mental hype.

Aaru: Halls of Hel takes place shortly after the events of Aaru. Rose has been made into the Arch Veda of Aaru. As she grows into the role that she was given, Rose deepens her relationship with Franco. She also becomes aware of Residents who were not allowed past the firewall because of different issues. While she is concerned about Koren, her first responsibility is Aaru and its Residents. Koren is not doing so well. She barely speaks to Rose. Her mother is cheating on her father. Her father is content to sit home and drink all day. Her boyfriend isn’t there for her and is seen stepping out with another girl. On top of it, she is having disturbing nightmares about Kiku’s death and the Magic Man’s assault. It is taking a toll on her and she is about to break. Hel is the Magic Man’s creation. Kept isolated in another computer, she is tortured and maimed. She has a dual nature. While loving and kind, she also is vicious. It is her dark nature that shows when she is in Aaru. How is Hel connected to Koren and Rose? Will Rose be able to look out for her sister and the Residents of Aaru? Will Koren reach a breaking point with her life? What is the Magic Man’s end game? And more importantly, who is the mysterious man helping him?

I was disappointed that I didn’t see as much as Rose as I did in the first book. I wanted to see more of what an Arch Veda could do in Aaru. I did like seeing her interactions with the other Vedas, though. I thought it was interesting what they could do and how much control they had over the Aaru’s landscape. I also liked reading about her relationship with Franco. I also wish that there was more interaction with Koren. But, that did come towards the end of the book.

Koren was a hot mess in this book. I felt so bad for her. She was spiraling out of control and had no safety net. I wondered as I read about her intense guilt over Kiku’s death and the Magic Man’s assault if she had received any sort of therapy for it. It seemed like Elysian Industries kept working her and turned a blind eye to what she was going through. She acted like the adult in her relationship with her parents. Which is sad for a barely 15-year-old. What I did like was how she was able to interact with Rose. Loved it!! I also got her confusion over meeting Hel. I would have been confused too.

I was a little confused when Hel was introduced. At first, I thought her chapters, which were brief, were Koren having nightmares about the Magic Man. I didn’t put two and two together until the Magic Man started interacting with Hel. He couldn’t have done that with Koren. Then I started to feel bad for Hel. What the Magic Man did to her was awful. What she was used for was awful. What she was programmed to think about Rose and Koren was frightening. Her skills were frightening. I winced at what she could do to the other Veda’s and Residents.  But, I am curious to see where her character development goes.

The Magic Man was as slimy as he was in the first book. What he did to Hel was awful. What he wants to do to Koren was as bad. I thought he got what he deserved when he was left in Mexico. But, I was also interested in his backstory. I wanted to know how he got the way he did. There were hints and I hope that more is explained in the next book.

As always, the secondary characters added more depth to the story. I will say that I thought Koren and Rose’s parents were awful in this book.

The first plotline in Aaru: Halls of Hel was the one with Rose. It showed Rose’s rise to Arch Veda. It detailed her relationship with Franco and the other Vedas. It shows her confusion about Quarantine after Dani was snatched away from her. Her relationship with Koren was also discussed even though they didn’t interact much with each other. It also showed her confusion when Hel arrived and wrecked havoc in Aaru.

The second plotline in Aaru: Halls of Hel detailed what was going on in Koren’s life. It showed how bad Koren’s life had become. She had no relationship with her mother and barely had one with her father. All she did was work. When she did decide to take a vacation, she ended up going back after a couple of days. Because of her work schedule, she wasn’t able to talk to Rose as much as she could. Her boyfriend was a huge jerk. Things did start to get better for her towards the end of the book but man, she was a mess.

The third plotline was about Hel. It showed how much she was tortured by the Magic Man. What happened to her when she was behind the firewall was horrific. Her joy at seeing Koren was heartbreaking because of what happened to make Hel react the way she did. The same went for when she saw Rose for the first time. She loved her and she hated her. All because of what the Magic Man did to her.

The secondary storylines, like the secondary characters, added depth to the story. The author did a great job at wrapping them up and incorporating them into the main storylines. I will say that I have a good idea at who Simon was, or at least who he is in Aaru.

The end of Aaru: Halls of Hel was insane. The author left all the storylines up in the air. Which in turn left it wide open for book 3. There was a twist in the plot that I did not see coming. It took me by complete surprise when Hel introduced that person in the book. I went “No way“. Then the book ended. So, yes, a bit of a cliffhanger but man, it was good.

I gave Aaru: Halls of Hel a 4-star rating. This was a fast paced book that I enjoyed reading. The characters and their situations were relatable. I will say that the twist at the end of the book took me by surprise. It left me wanting to know more.

I would give Aaru: Halls of Hel an Adult rating. There is sex and sexual situations that were not graphic. There is violence. There is language. I would suggest that no one under the age of 21 read this book.

I would reread Aaru: Halls of Hel. I would also recommend this book to family and friends.

I would like to thank the author for allowing me to read and review Aaru: Halls of Hel.

All opinions stated in this review of Aaru: Hall of Hel are mine

**I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book**

Have you read Aaru: Halls of Hel?

Love it? 

Hate it?

Meh about it?

Let me know!!!

ARC · book review · Loveswept · NetGalley · Random House Publishing Group

Swagger (Milwaukee Dragons: Book 2) by Liz Lincoln

Swagger (Milwaukee Dragons, #2)

4 Stars

Publisher: Random House Publishing Group, Loveswept

Date of publication: September 18th, 2018

Genre: Romance

Series: Milwaukee Dragons

On the LineBook 1 (review here)

Swagger–Book 2

Where you can find Swagger: Amazon | Barnes and Noble

Goodreads synopsis:

“Tight end,” noun: 1. a position in American football, 2. NFL star Marcus James, 3. what any hot-blooded woman can’t stop staring at every time Marcus walks by.

Bree Novak is so close to earning her Ph.D. she can taste it, but she’s supposed to be writing her dissertation, not giving lectures while her advisor slacks off. The semester gets even crazier when veteran tight end Marcus James—Bree’s celebrity crush—enrolls in her “Intro to Physics” class. The man’s even hotter in person than he looks on Sunday Night Football. So why is Bree hoping he drops out? Maybe it’s because Marcus, with his cocky smile and chiseled body, is the ultimate distraction. . . .

Drafted out of college years ago by the Milwaukee Dragons, Marcus is taking advantage of a season-ending knee injury to finish his bachelor’s degree. Plus, thanks to a required science credit, he’s also getting to know the geek goddess who teaches physics. With brains and beauty, Bree is living proof that opposites attract. She’s even kind enough to give Marcus extra help with the material, as if she didn’t have anything better to do. And the more time Marcus spends with her, the more he realizes he’s not just crushing on his teacher—he’s falling for her.

Don’t miss any of Liz Lincoln’s mouthwatering Milwaukee Dragons novels, which can be read together or separately:

My review:

Let’s start this review by looking at the cover. Mmmmhmmm. That is a fine specimen of a man right there. Definitely caught my eye on NetGalley when I was browsing Loveswept’s page. My only issue with covers like this, they overshadow the book and they tweak my mental issue of the main male character. And I have the same issues when it is the female main character on the cover. But, the cover did not overshadow the book. Nope. My mental image of Marcus was as good as the cover.

I was thrilled with how the author wrote Bree’s character. To have her teaching physics classes while working on her dissertation was empowering. But, the author didn’t make it easy for Bree. She showed exactly how hard it is for a woman to break into male-dominated careers. The attitude that her advisor and father had is unfortunately commonplace everywhere. I admired Bree for the perseverance in going after her dream and achieving it. I also could relate to her.

Marcus, oh Marcus. Is it possible that he can be brought to life from the book? Because I need someone like him in my life, pronto. I loved him. I liked his restraint with Bree. Even though he was attracted to her, he was willing to be her friend. He let her call the shots in the bedroom. He realized that he loved Bree before she did, which is amazing for a romance novel. Usually, the woman has the revelation first. When he screwed up (which I didn’t think was that bad), he gave Bree space. He understood that she was under a lot of stress.

I loved the secondary characters in this book. Bree’s friends were awesome. I wish I had a friend like Reina. I loved her spunk and love of life. I was a little peeved with Bree’s male friends. They saw how she was being treated by her advisor and didn’t do anything. Well, Kevin did something and Bree reamed him a new one. I have always said that secondary were the lifeblood of the book. And these were. They added more depth and humor to the storyline.

The chemistry and sexual tension that Marcus and Bree had were insane. You could cut it with a knife. I normally don’t do cheerleader chants in my head but I did with this one. I kept chanting “Do it, do it, do it“. I wanted them to have sex so that sexual tension and chemistry could be spent. But, once they did, it surged back up. The author did a fantastic job of keeping it up and going.

The sex scenes were beyond hot. That first sex scene was insane. Marcus had Bree screaming in pleasure. I had to put my Kindle down a few times and fan myself, the sex scenes were that good.

I do want to add that I loved that CTE was discussed in this book. CTE is something serious that athletes should worry about. I loved that Matt and Cassie had a foundation set up to do research on it.

The end of the book was great. The author did a great job at ending all the secondary storylines except for the one that involved Bree and her family. I got no sense of closure. I also wish that there was an epilogue. While Marcus and Bree made up, I wanted to see if they had their HEA.

What I liked about Swagger:

A) The cover

B) Bree’s career

C) Marcus

What I disliked about Swagger:

A) Bree’s freak out

B) Bree’s advisor

C) Bree’s family

I gave Swagger a 4-star rating. This is a sexy, fun read with relatable characters. Be ready for some steamy sex scenes!!

I would give Swagger an Adult rating. There is explicit sex. There is language. There is mild violence. I would recommend that no one under the age of 21 read this book.

I would reread Swagger. I would also recommend this book to family and friends.

I would like to thank Loveswept, Random House Publishing Group, and NetGalley for allowing me to read and review Swagger.

All opinions stated in this review of Swagger are mine.

**I chose to leave this review after reading an advance reader copy**

ARC · book review · Loveswept · NetGalley · Random House Publishing Group

Drawn to the Marquess (Imperfect Lords: Book 2) by Bronwen Evans

Drawn to the Marquess (Imperfect Lords, #2)

4 Stars

Publisher: Random House Publishing Group, Loveswept

Date of publication: September 4th, 2018

Genre: Historical Romance

Series: Imperfect Lords

Addicted to the Duke – Book 1 (review here)

Drawn to the Marquess – Book 2

Attracted to the Earl – Book 3 (expected publication date: February 26th, 2019)

Where you can find Drawn to the Marquess: Amazon | Barnes and Noble

Book synopsis (from Goodreads):

Destined to go blind, a rake sets his sights on the toast of society, lighting a fire of passion that scorches the night, in this captivating novel from USA Today bestselling author Bronwen Evans.

Stephen Hornsby, the Marquess of Clevedon, has one goal: to see every exquisite thing he can before he goes blind. His greatest joy, watching a woman shuddering in the throes of passion, will be gone. But before the darkness descends, he is determined to seduce a magnificent widow, Lady Penelope Fisherton. Unfortunately, his rakish reputation has preceded him; Lady Penelope spurns his advances. Being a man who relishes a challenge, however, her reluctance adds only luster to his desire for the last beautiful sight he’ll ever see.

Considered the belle of London society, Lady Penelope was married to a scoundrel who cared for no one but himself. Now that she’s free, she wants nothing to do with love, passion, or desire—emotions that abandoned her with a cruel husband. So why does her body react when Stephen smiles? As much as she’d like to avoid the rogue, her brother-in-law wants her fortune, and he’ll kill to get it. Stephen is willing to help, but he’ll take only one thing in return: Her. In his bed.

My Review:

I love historical romance. Something about reading about love in Regency/Victorian England gets to me.  I love reading about the ton and its many rules about how a woman in Society must act. I love reading about how some women chose to either toe the line or ignore the strict rules that were set in place. I love reading about rakes and how they become reformed. I loved everything about them. Of course, there are some historical romances that I don’t like. But for the most part, they are some of my favorite books to read.

I enjoyed reading Drawn to the Marquess. What I liked the most about this book was that the characters were damaged. Stephen was going blind. Penelope was a battered wife. The author was able to take what happened to these characters and turn them into strengths. This book was nowhere as dark as the earlier book, Addicted to the Duke but it was dark enough for me.

There were things that I didn’t like about Drawn to the Marquess. I didn’t like how no one knew that Stephen had issues with his eyes. He couldn’t see anything off to the side and couldn’t see in low light. Wouldn’t that have been an issue when he was at balls? Because electricity hadn’t been invented yet and candlelight is dim. But, Penelope figured it out soon after meeting him? Didn’t make sense to me. I am sure that his mother and sisters would have noticed something. Because of what their father went through years ago. The other main thing was Penelope not telling Stephen about her husband’s death until after the Frenchman hinted about it. While I could understand her reluctance and embarrassment. But still. Stephen was working to clear her name and he finds that out. I would have been furious too.

I did connect with Penelope. I understood what she went through after her husband died. I also understood her absolute horror and disgust when she found out what he was doing. I wouldn’t have been so….restrained….in my response to that. I wanted to hug her and tell her that it wasn’t her fault. That he hid it well. But, she also annoyed me a little. As I stated above, I thought she should have been more upfront about her husband’s death to Stephen.

I liked Stephen but I also pitied him. I couldn’t imagine knowing that I was going to go blind and seeing my vision go. I understood why he wanted to experience everything. He wanted those memories of what a sunset was like before he went blind. I even understood why he didn’t tell his family about going blind. He didn’t want to put his mother or sisters through that again.

While I figured out what role Penelope had in her husband’s death about halfway through, I was still surprised by it. It wasn’t exactly what I thought. As soon as she realized what a monster her husband was, she went out to take care of it. As she should have. Those people were her responsibility and she lived for 6 years without knowing what was going on. To me, that made her a hero.

The sex scenes were fantastic. Penelope was a wildcat in bed, once she realized that she could get pleasure from it. I loved the scene where she started describing what was going on while Stephen and she were having sex. That upped the hotness factor for me (and them).

The chemistry and sexual attraction between Penelope and Stephen didn’t go away after the first time. The author kept that amped up for the entire book. Even in the epilogue, all he had to do was look at her in a certain way and her toes curled. Loved it!!!

The end of the book was great. Stephen showed such courage when he went after Penelope. I thought the scenes after everything had happened was awesome. The author did a fantastic job at ending all the storylines. One storyline, which was a minor one, got wrapped up in the epilogue. I had tears in my eyes when I realized that both Penelope and Stephen had their HEA. I am also looking forward to book 3!!

What I liked about Drawn to the Marquess:

A) Characters were relatable

B) The connection I felt with both Stephen and Penelope

C) The sex scenes!!!

What I disliked about Drawn to the Marquess:

A) Stephen not letting people sooner about his eyesight issues

B) Penelope not being truthful about her role in her husband’s death

C) Penelope’s husband (what she found out he did).

I gave Drawn to the Marquess a 4-star rating. I enjoyed reading this book. I felt a strong connection to both characters. The storyline was great and easy to follow. I did have some issues with Penelope and Stephen but that didn’t factor into my rating.

I would give Drawn to the Marquess an Adult rating. There is explicit sex. There is violence. There is mild language. I would recommend that no one under the age of 21 read this book.

I would reread Drawn to the Marquess. I would also recommend this book to family and friends.

I would like to thank Loveswept, Random House Publishing Group, and NetGalley for allowing me to read and review Drawn to the Marquess.

All opinions stated in this review of Drawn to the Marquess are mine.

**I chose to leave this review after reading an advance reader copy**

ARC · book review · Loveswept · NetGalley · Random House Publishing Group

The Breakup (The Jordan Brothers: Book 2) by Erin McCarthy

The Breakup (The Jordan Brothers)

3.5 Stars

Publisher: Random House Publishing Group, Loveswept

Date of publication: August 28th, 2018

Genre: Romance

Series: The Jordan Brothers

The Hookup – Book 1 (review here)

The Breakup – Book 2

Where you can find The Breakup: Amazon | Barnes, and Noble

Book synopsis (from Goodreads):

Can two wrongs feel oh-so-right? This bride is about to find out—with the bad boy who makes an epic breakup worth her while.

Bella: I know I’m a princess. I’m used to getting what I want. But all I ever really wanted was a husband and a family. Unlike my sister, Sophie, I’ll never have a brilliant career to fall back on. So what’s a bride to do when she learns that Prince Charming is a cheating snake just a few days before her fairy-tale wedding? With my fiancé begging for another chance, the only way to save the wedding is to even things out with a little revenge sex—and local bartender Christian Jordan seems like the right man for the job.

Christian: If gorgeous Bella Bigelow thinks sleeping with me will somehow lead to happily ever after, I’m not going to turn her down. The guy she wants to marry is a jerk, and her sister is fooling around with my estranged twin brother, Cain. So what’s the problem? Besides falling for a woman who doesn’t know what she wants out of life? All I want to do is whisk her away from that church, take her to a cabin in the woods, and act out all our naughtiest fantasies. And I may just get the chance. . . .

My Review:

I enjoyed reading The Breakup. It was a book that was straight to the point. It had an easy plot to follow, likable characters and some steaming hot sex scenes. I needed to read a book like The Breakup. After some of the books I have read, it was a welcome turn of pace for me.

What is interesting about The Breakup is that it starts halfway through The Hookup. That was interesting to me because I haven’t seen too many books written that way. I got to see everything from the bar scene from Christian and Bella’s POV. It added an extra insight not only to the stress that Bella was going through but to Christian and Cain’s complex relationship.

I could not stand Bella’s fiancée. I wanted to kick him in the nads and punch him in the face. I couldn’t believe the stuff he put Bella through. The things he said to her. I felt so bad for her when she found the text messages and told Sophie why he did what he did. He tried to justify his actions to her. “Baby, you made me do it. You are boring in bed“. What the actual fricky frack???? No wonder she was so insecure about sex. Then to get her parents involved? W.T.F. So, yeah, I was happy when she left him at the altar. He deserved it.

Bella and Christian had insane chemistry. Every scene that they were in was through the roof. I found myself chanting “Do it! Do it!” What made it even hotter was that Christian refused to do anything with Bella until she was single. She came to him for a “revenge screw” and he turned her down. What guy does that?? A guy who has morals. Loved it!!

When Bella and Christian finally had sex, it was explosive. I knew that certain things were coming since Bella had told Christian that she didn’t like oral sex or butt play. Him teaching her to like oral was a no-brainer. But, I was surprised that anal wasn’t touched. Maybe because it was a line that she didn’t want to cross. Who knows. What I also liked is that the sexual tension continued. It wasn’t as red-hot as the first time but it was still there.

I liked that Christian was a bit of a straight arrow. He carried incredible guilt over what happened with his brother. He felt that he was the blame for Cain’s drinking. At the same time, though, he also stood up and took responsibility for his son. I did find it interesting that they wouldn’t know if Cain or Christian was the little guy’s father. Because they were identical twins, they have identical DNA. But he decided to take the responsibility. I loved how he handled baby mama drama. He wasn’t willing to rock the boat because he was afraid that she would go for full custody.

Bella was awesome in this book. I got a strong Runaway Bride vibe from her at the beginning of the book. I understood what she was going through, relationship-wise. She didn’t want to stay because he was a jerk but he was also familiar. Her taking off right before the wedding made me go “Oh yeah” and do a fist pump. The same thing when she let loose on Christian’s baby mama. I thought she was a little innocent for Christian, as weird as that sounds. Some of her phrases made me think “Is she from the 50’s?“.

I was disappointed by the last half of The Breakup. I had a feeling something like what happened was going to happen. I did an “ugggh” when it came around. A typical romance theme that I was hoping wouldn’t be in the book.

The ending of The Breakup was your typical HEA. I liked seeing what happened with Sophie and Cain. I also wonder if there is going to be a book 3. There are a brother and a sister that need romance!!!

What I liked about The Breakup:

A) Easy to follow plot

B) likable characters

C) steamy sex scenes

What I disliked about The Breakup:

A) Bella’s ex

B) Christian’s baby mama drama

C) The last half of the book.

I gave The Breakup a 3.5star rating. This book was a great read. It had an easy plot to follow. It had likable characters and some steamy sex scenes. I didn’t like Bella’s ex or Christian’s baby mama. I also didn’t like the last half of the book. But, overall, a good read.

I gave The Breakup an Adult rating. There is explicit sex. There is language. There is mild violence. I would recommend that no one under the age of 21 read this book.

I would reread The Breakup. I would also recommend this book to family and friends.

I would like to thank Random House Publishing Group, Loveswept, and NetGalley for allowing me to read and review The Breakup.

All opinions stated in this review of The Breakup are mine.

**I chose to leave this review after reading an advance reader copy**

ARC · book review · NetGalley · St. Martin's Paperbacks · St. Martin's Press

Dagger’s Edge (Brute Force: Book 2) by Lora Leigh

Dagger's Edge (Brute Force #2)

2 Stars

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press, St. Martin’s Paperback

Date of publication: August 28th, 2018

Genre: Romance, Suspense

Series: Brute Force

Collison Point – Book 1

Dagger’s Edge – Book 2

Where you can find Dagger’s Edge: Amazon | Barnes and Noble

Book synopsis (from Goodreads):

#1 bestselling author Lora Leigh is back–with a vengeance–in her latest novel of passion and intrigue, Dagger’s Edge, featuring the men of Brute Force. 

Ivan Resnova wants nothing more than to escape his hard, brutal past. Starting over is not so easy once you’ve been a powerful crime boss but now, instead of being punished for his alleged crimes, Ivan fears that the one woman he can’t forget is in danger of paying the price.

Crimsyn “Syn” Delaney thought the danger she’d faced was over, and that she could resume her life. She never imagined it would return with a vengeance and throw her back into Ivan’s world. But when an attempt is made on her life, she needs Ivan more than ever to keep her safe–even if she is in danger of falling deeply and dangerously in love. . .

My review:

I have a personal goal of not DNFing any book. I like to give books a chance. Sometimes a book will start rocky and then morph into a great book. I have never been challenged to finish a book until Dagger’s Edge. I had to talk myself out of deleting this book and sending a DNF to the publishers. I had to force myself to finish this book.

Dagger’s Edge is the 2nd book in the Brute Force series. Journey (aka CrimsynSyn“) is on the run from her family. Being pressured to married Beauregard and to restore favor to the Queen Mother, she leaves. She runs into Ivan, who she has always had a thing for. Besides being her best friend’s father, Ivan is the one man she wanted to run to. But can she trust this dangerous man? Will he be able to protect her?

When a book leaves me confused after the prologue, I know that it isn’t going to be good. That is what Dagger’s Edge did to me. Left me confused and going “What the heck is happening here” I reread the prologue to make sure I didn’t miss anything. I paged back to see if there was something before the prologue. Nothing. So I was left confused. And I stayed confused the entire book. I have a feeling that if I read book 1, then I would have a better understanding of what was going on. But I didn’t….so yeah.

That confusion trickled down to the characters and their relationships. I could not connect with Journey. At. All. She went between acting like a child and a mature woman for most of the book. She made life choices that had me questioning how she survived so long on her own. Seriously.

I respected Ivan but I didn’t like him. He rubbed me the wrong way. I did think at one point “He must have a lonely life.” So when he went all in with Journey, it didn’t fit in with the image that was projected.

There was sexual tension between Journey and Ivan. What I liked is that the author was able to keep the level of sexual tension for the entire book. There was no dip. It was thick in this book, which was one of the few enjoyable things in the book.

Let’s talk about sex. Journey and Ivan had a lot of sex. They were like freaking bunnies. In a van, in a plane, in a limo, the list could go on. One look and he was ripping her panties off. Which would have been great except, sex was related to pleasure/pain in every sex scene. I couldn’t get past it. Listen, I know a little pain is good during sex. I also know that there are people who get off on pain. But in this book, nothing was mentioned about that. It seemed like having sex was actually hurting her. To have it brought up all the time ruined the sex scenes for me.

The secondary plotline involving Journey’s family made me sick. The abuse she suffered at their hands was horrible. No wonder she took off. I don’t understand why she didn’t tell the Queen Mother?? Going with the plotline involving her family, I couldn’t understand why her cousin didn’t scoop her up like she said she could. Instead, she got bent over Ivan having her and got in his face. Which almost didn’t end too well for her.

The other storyline, which I won’t talk too much about, I saw coming from a mile away. Even with Ivan telling himself certain things, it still happened.

The end of the book was a cluster. Storylines were left wide open. I am hoping that is because the author is going to write a 3rd book. Minor things got resolved but all the major things didn’t. I was left scratching my head and going “OK” after the last chapter.

What I liked about Dagger’s Edge:

A) Ivan. Well, I respected him. Doesn’t equal to like

B) The sexual tension was kept up for the book

C) The ending. Because the book was over.

What I disliked about Dagger’s Edge:

A) Confusion while reading

B) The sex.

C) The secondary plotline

I gave Dagger’s Edge a 2-star rating. This book was a mess to read. I was confused most of the book. Which is a turn off for me while reading. But, saving it from a 1-star review was that  I respected Ivan. Also, the sexual tension was kept up for the entire book.

I gave Dagger’s Edge an Adult rating. There is explicit sex. There is explicit language. There is explicit violence. I would recommend that no one under the age of 21 read this book.

I would not reread Dagger’s Edge. I also would not recommend this book to family and friends. I also wouldn’t read any more of this series.

I would like to thank St. Martin’s Press, St. Martin’s Paperbacks, and NetGalley for allowing me to read and review Dagger’s Edge.

All opinions stated in this review of Dagger’s Edge are mine.

**I chose to leave this review after reading an advance reader copy**

ARC · Entangled Publishing, LLC · Entangled Teen · NetGalley

Project Prometheus (Assassin Fall: Book 2) by Aden Polydoros

Project Prometheus (Assassin Fall, #2)

4 Stars

Publisher: Entangled Publisher, Entangled: Teen

Date of publication: August 28th, 2018

Genre: Young Adult

Series: Assassin Fall

Hades Rising – Book 0.5

Project Pandora – Book 1 (review here)

Project Prometheus – Book 2

Where you can find Project Prometheus: Amazon | Barnes and Noble

Book synopsis (from Goodreads):

The Academy stole everything from Hades, their perfect assassin. Angry and leaving bodies in his wake, he finds two other ex-assassins doing the same thing.

Tyler and Shannon once killed for The Academy. Now they’re tracking and hunting down its scientists. So why is The Academy only after Hades?

Shannon will do whatever it takes to protect Tyler, even if it means teaming up with a former rival. While she seeks answers to her past, Tyler wants to learn the truth about the mysterious white room, which no one has ever seen except him.

As for Hades? He simply wants revenge.

They all need answers, even if it means returning to the organization where it all started.

My Review:

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Excited didn’t even begin to come close to what I was feeling when I saw that book 2 in the Assassin Fall series was up for review.  I had read and reviewed Project Pandora and was sucked right into the world that was created. A world that was intense and surreal. A world where teenagers were trained to be the perfect assassins. A world that was flawlessly carried over to Project Prometheus. So, yes, I was excited.

Project Prometheus starts off shortly after the end events of Project Pandora. Hades was taken from the hospital and is being held in the basement of Six’s father’s house. Tyler and Shannon are tracking down the scientists that worked for The Academy. After Hades takes care of business with Six’s father, he tracks down the other scientists to get answers. Will they get the answers that they want? Will Hades get his revenge? You need to read the book to find out.

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Hades is one of the most charismatic characters that I have read to date. His personality came off the page. I wondered as I read the book if Six hadn’t been killed if he would have been as focused on revenge. Part of me says “No” but a big part of me says “yes“. He loved Six and would have done anything for her. His reaction to her death was exactly what I thought it would be. He became cold-hearted. But, underneath that cold exterior, you could see peaks of a decent person coming through. Just a peak, here and there. It gave me hope.

Tyler was an enigma. After he was shot, I was expecting him to die. Instead, he defied the odds and lived. His memories of that white room peaked my interest. And his terror at that one Dr chilled me to the bone. Out of the 3 teenagers, Tyler was the more relatable to me. He connected with Caroline, even protecting her when the gunfight happened. I wish that more information was given about the white room and Project Prometheus. I have a feeling that he is going to be even more dangerous than Hades.

Shannon was a loyal friend (or is it girlfriend??) to Tyler. She had some interesting flashbacks too. Makes me wonder if she is part of another project. Her loyalty to Tyler was insane. She went out of her way to make sure he got medical attention when she could have dumped him at a hospital. She found Dr. Miller, a scientist who worked at The Academy and forced her to administer aid to him. I can’t wait to see where the 3rd book goes with her.

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Dr. Miller shocked me. I was not expecting the two major bombshells that went along with her plotline. One, I should have seen coming. Because of the hints that were given in both books. But the other one blew my mind away. It actually made me a little sad to see her go down that road. Only because I got a glimpse at a different person than what was exposed.

The end of the book was a whirlwind of activity. I am not going to go into the ending but I will say that there was a huge twist. A twist that I am not too sure if I am completely happy with it. Guess, I’ll have to read book 3 to find out what is going to happen.

What I liked about Project Prometheus:

A) Hades. I kinda had a crush on him

B) Tyler.

C) Shannon

What I disliked about Project Prometheus:

A) Just base information is given about the white room

B) Couldn’t figure out if Shannon was part of yet another project

C) Dr. Miller. Was NOT expecting what happened with her storyline

I would give Project Prometheus an Older Teen rating. There is no sex but there are sexual situations. There is language. There is violence, some of it graphic.

I would reread Project Prometheus. I would also recommend it to family and friends.

I would like to thank Entangled Publishing, Entangled Teen, and NetGalley for allowing me to read and review Project Prometheus.

All opinions stated in this review of Project Prometheus are mine.

**I chose to leave this review after reading an advance reader copy**

book review · Creativia · Non ARC

The Last Straw (Pigeon-Blood Red: Book 2) by Ed Duncan

The Last Straw (Pigeon-Blood Red Book 2)

4 Stars

Publisher: Creativia

Date of publication: November 25th, 2017

Genre: Suspense, Mystery, Thriller, Crime

Series: Pigeon-Blood Red

Pigeon-Blood Red – Book 1

The Last Straw – Book 2

Where you can find The Last Straw: Amazon

Book synopsis (from Goodreads):

When a teenage girl witnesses a carjacking gone bad, she is marked for death by a crime boss with no apparent motive. A black lawyer and a white enforcer with an unlikely history forge an uneasy alliance to protect the girl from a hit man with an agenda of his own. 

After they find out that the crime boss is the father of the black teenage carjacker, Paul Elliott – lawyer and close friend of the witness’s family – begins counseling them. 

As the long-simmering feud between Rico and John D’Angelo reaches boiling point, bodies start to pile up in rapid succession… and old scores will be settled.

My review:

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I like suspense/mystery/thrillers/crime books. I like them because most of the time they can get my pulse running. Also, I am unable to put the book down. That was the case with The Last Straw. This book had me hooked. You know a book is good when you start dreaming about the characters.

As much as I liked The Last Straw, I felt lost at times while reading it. I didn’t understand the connection between Rico and Paul until Paul explained it. I don’t like being in the dark about backstories. I don’t like starting a book and thinking to myself “What are they talking about? What happened?” Unfortunately, that happened in this book. So, if you are to read The Last Straw, you need to read Pigeon-Blood Red first.

I thought the characters were well written. They were 3D and had depth to them. I liked Rico. He was an uneasy anti-hero. He came across as first as an unfeeling killer but as I read the book, he definitely had feelings. He had a strong moral compass. He had no problem killing people but drew the line at killing children. He didn’t have any friends yet he felt compelled to protect Paul against a rival hitman. If there is a 3rd book, I can’t wait to see where the author takes his character.

I didn’t get that same sense of development in Paul. I didn’t feel the connection to him that I felt to Rico. I do think that Paul wouldn’t want to be a person to tick off. That’s for sure. Because he can definitely take care of himself. The end of the book showcased that perfectly.

The Last Straw’s plot was intriguing. Teenaged girl witnesses a botched carjacking. The carjacker is the illegitimate son of a notorious crime boss. She is marked for death but the first attempt takes out her father instead. Paul is determined to protect her from whoever is killing her. Rico is on the hunt for the person who attacked his escort girlfriend when his boss pulls him aside and asks him to take a job. The job: To take out a girl who will be testifying at the murder trial of his son. Rico passes, only to be brought back into it when he realizes that the girl’s protector is Paul. Determined to protect Paul and the girl from the hitman contracted, Rico has to go against a hitman who hates him. And one who is willing to do whatever it takes to finish the hit and take Rico down. Can Rico thwart him?

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This book is bloody. So, if you don’t like violence and blood in a book, don’t read it. I liked it because it was a no holds bars books. It didn’t hold back or pussyfoot around things. Instead, it was in your face and made you think about things. It also made me value the boring life that I live…haha. I also did wonder at one point in the book how the police were dealing with all the bodies.

The secondary characters definitely made the book. But the one that stands out for me was Beverly. She loved her son but she also wanted to see justice done. She went out of her way to make sure that the girl wasn’t going to be touched by her son’s father (which was a lie). She made herself into something from nothing. A strong woman who tried to instill right from wrong in her only child. I liked her.

D’Angelo was freaking nuts. When it was revealed why he hated Rico, I laughed. All that hatred over a woman….smh. He held onto that hatred like a dog with a bone. I could see that he was becoming unhinged towards the end of the book. I did wonder if he was going to go after Rico or try to harm Rico’s charges (can’t say, friends, because Rico didn’t have any). You have to read the book to what he does. I will say that he deserved what was coming to him at the end of the book.

Speaking of the end of the book, it was an explosive bloody end. There were a lot of deaths. Some deserved, some not. But it was the end of the book that put a smile on my face. A classy way to end the book!!!

What I liked about The Last Straw:

A) Well written characters

B) Intriguing plotline

C) Secondary characters that made the book

What I disliked about The Last Straw:

A) Need to read book 1 first

B) Paul’s character wasn’t as developed as Rico’s was

C) D’Angelo

I gave The Last Straw a 4-star rating. This book was a great read with well-developed characters. But you do need to read book 1 first to understand the relationships between Rico and Paul.

I would give The Last Straw an Adult rating. There is sex. Not explicit but it is there. There is graphic violence. There is language. I would recommend that no one under the age of 21 read this book.

I would reread The Last Straw. I would also recommend this book to family and friends.

I would like to thank Kelsey from BookPublicityServices for allowing me to read and review The Last Straw.

All opinions stated in this review of The Last Straw are mine.

**I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book**