Skye Warren-Two for the Show

Skye has given us the second book in Eva and Finn’s series with Two for the Show. This is part of the larger Morelli/Constantine series. There is also a connection to the book I reviewed last week by Skye and Amelia Wilde because Carter, the MMC in that book, is Eva’s brother. It’s a small world in this universe.

As a quick refresher, Eva is a Morelli, and she keeps her family running well. Her mother wants to worry her off, Eva doesn’t want it. Finn comes to a party where Eva is and is being badgered by her mom. Finn talks Eva into running away with him. Eventually, they end up faking an engagement to get people off her back. Finn isn’t worried because he’s never getting married due to the family curse.

OK, from here is stuff about this one. There will probably be some spoilers, but as usual, I will try to keep the spoilers down. I make no guarantees though, so if you are interested in this but you haven’t read the first one yet, then be careful. You have been warned.

So, Finn has just basically eviscerated Eva, and she feels like her heart has been ripped out of her chest. She’s holding it together, but not well. Plus, she found out some really interesting news right after Finn told her to sling her hooks. There’s just so much going on, and she isn’t sure how to deal with it, so she’s focusing on her sister’s wedding, which of course, Eva planned. It’s going well when all of a sudden, Finn walks in, and the world basically crashes down.

Finn is dealing with his own reactions to his actions. He keeps trying to tell himself that he did the right thing, and every time he sees his dad, he’s just more and more convinced that he did the right thing. No matter how horrible he feels about it. Then he walks into a wedding reception and everything changes.

I feel like Eva has so much on her shoulders. She takes on so much, and she really does hold all the Morelli offspring together, I think. Which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but other people in her family should step up too. Although Leo is always there for her, threatening to kill any men who upset her. I like that she really isn’t a damsel in distress. While having Finn rush in to rescue her from her mother isn’t a bad thing, it isn’t a necessary thing. She really can hold her own. At least in public, most of the time. I also like that she calls Finn on his bullshit. Which is good, because he needs someone to do that.

I mostly like Finn. I think that he is a good man. He really does have the weight of the world on his shoulders, and while his little brother does try to help, Finn is hiding the secret so hard that it is just impossible to do much else. I do feel sorry for him that he has to deal with this so much. I am angry at him about some things though. I think he’s just so fatalistic about what is coming that he sees it as a foregone conclusion and isn’t willing to fight it for himself. I think that he should get all the testing, evaluations, imaging, whatever he can have done. He’s superrich, and he can afford to have it all done.

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

Amelia Wilde & Skye Warren-Force of Nature

So, Force of Nature is the next part of the series after The Crash, which is a prequel novella. If you haven’t read The Crash, don’t worry, it’s included in this. And I have one very important thing to say about this book and that is that I hope that Skye and Amelia are working really hard on the next book and that it will be out soon, because damn.

So, Carter and June have crashed on the deserted island, and there is someone after them. Carter pulls June into the jungle before the bad guys come, because they are coming. But when he runs out to get supplies from the crashed plane, someone shows up, and Carter ends up doing what he does best.

Carter is developing feelings for June, even though he knows that he shouldn’t. She’s too sweet, innocent, and naive to be part of his world, and she’s not in the mission parameters, but there’s still something about her.

What Carter doesn’t tell June immediately is that they aren’t the only people on the island. They’ve been following trails, manmade trails. Carter doesn’t know what to think about that.

Theo’s mom left the world many years ago and brought her son to this deserted island so that he wasn’t ruined by the outside world. He’s supposed to wait for the cities of men to burn and then help repopulate the world with pure people.

Carter is interesting. I think that he thinks that he is more evil than he really is. I mean, he’s a Morelli, so there is some evilness there, but I think that he has a worse view of himself than is really there. He is very determined and a little obsessive, I think. And able to lie to himself convincingly.

I like June. For all that she looks all sweet and innocent, she really isn’t. She has a lot of guts and determination. She isn’t going to let Carter down, and she isn’t going to complain, even when her feet are cut open and bleeding. I have some mad respect for her.

I don’t have much of an opinion on Theo yet. I mean, yeah, we get to see him interact with Carter and June, but I feel like he’s still a bit of a blank slate.

Anyway, that’s all for this one. Go check it out! Happy reading!

Vanessa Vale & Renee Rose-Warrior

Renee and Vanessa are back with the 3rd book in the Alpha Mountain series Warrior. This is Quincy and Kennedy’s story.

Ford and his team are still trying to clear his name from his dishonorable discharge. They haven’t quite succeeded yet, but they haven’t given up. Kennedy is still researching and analyzing all the data he can get ahold of. Meanwhile, they are still taking jobs and growing the business. One thing they have done is to buy a helicopter and hire a former Naval pilot.

Quincy is that pilot. She was stationed in the same places as the guys’ SEAL team several times, and she flew them on missions. One time, when they were all in the same place, she and Kennedy got it on. Of course, they went their separate ways after, because neither of them really want a relationship, and Kennedy’s a man-whore. Quincy doesn’t want to risk catching feelings over him. Staying away from each other is going to be harder now, considering that they live in the same bunkhouse, just down the hall from each other.

I like Quincy. I think that she has worked really hard to become who she is. Part of it is that she felt she had to prove herself to her Admiral father and her three older brothers, who are also all high ranking Naval officers. But the fact is that she got there on her own, no matter who she decided she needed to prove herself to. I think that she is really strong and I definitely wouldn’t want to mess with her. She can hold her own for sure. I like her mom, and she lays some truth on Quincy at the right time. I know I don’t like her dad. I get where he is coming from, he loves his daughter and he wants her to be safe, but he never really knows her.

I think that Kennedy is a good man. He knows who he is and what he wants, which is more than a lot of people can say. He isn’t willing to let other people use him for their own ends, and he isn’t going to let anyone dictate his life. He is very protective of his team, which would include Quincy even if he didn’t want to have a relationship with her. He does have to fight his protective instincts when it comes to her, because if he tries to smother her, she will smother him with a pillow.

That’s all for this one. It is definitely worth the read, so go check it out. Happy reading!

Alta Hensley-Sick Crush

Sick Crush is another Alta book. It is an expansion of a short story that she wrote, called Mr. D. I haven’t read it, but odds are that I have an anthology with it somewhere. My TBR is just insanely huge, and getting bigger and bigger every day.

So, we have Corrine, who is 19. She has just moved away from LA to live in a small town and to finish high school there. Her mom is a famous movie star, and Corrine has no clue where she is at any point in time. But Corrine is used to that. She’s trying to manage going to school, but she is also dealing with a stalker. She knows that there is someone there, because she can see them in the shadows. When she’s late to school again, she gets called into the principal’s office, Mr. D. He tells her that she has detention.

That afternoon, after detention, Mr. D came out of the school and he found Corrine bent over her car, trying to figure out why it wasn’t working. Mr. D saw her, arranged to have her car towed, and took her home. When she got home, Corrine discovered that all the doors in her house were open, which they shouldn’t’ve been since she closed all the doors before she went to school. Then Mr. D came back and her her screaming, and took her to his house so that she would be safe.

This was a pretty short read, and it is packed full of story. I loved the story, and the premise of the story, and all the twists and turns. The one problem I had with the book was that the ending felt a little abrupt to me. It’s like when you see this gorgeous delicious cake and you ask for a piece of it. You are expecting a good sized piece, but instead you get a teeny, tiny, itsy, bitsy, minuscule sliver. It’s enough that you get a good taste of the cake, but you aren’t satisfied because you were hoping for more. That’s kinda how I feel about the end. I’m Ok with it, I just wanted a little more to it. But that’s my opinion, and your mileage may vary. Like I said, I really liked the story and what happened in it.

I know that this is a short blog post, but the story is short, and if I talk more about it, then I’m going to give stuff away, and you know how much I hate that.

Amelia Wilde & Skye Warren-The Crash

Amelia and Skye are bringing us back into the Morelli world. The Crash is about Professor Carter Morelli and photographer June Porter, who have to deal with a plane crash on a small deserted island. This is a really quick read because it is just the prologue to the rest of the story, which will be out in a couple of months ago. So, just be aware that it is short when you start reading it.

Carter works for Oxford, and he’s getting ready to fly his very own plane to an outpost out in Mauritania. He’s just waiting for a passenger, a photographer named June. He has an idea of what she is going to look like, but when June walks in, he is surprised. She isn’t anything that he expected. And, oh, she’s afraid of flying.

Like I said, this is a really short story, just enough to whet our appetite, so to speak. We get to learn a bit about our main characters, June and Carter. I really can’t wait to see more of them and to get more of this story, because I am quite interested in what is going to happen.

So, yeah, this is a short blog post, but it’s a short story. Go check it out. Happy reading!

Renee Rose & Vanessa Vale-Alpha Mountain: Rebel

So, Rebel is the second book in this series. It’s all about a group of former Navy SEALs who now have a private security firm based in a small town in Montana. Rafael, whose call name is Hayes, is one of the guys, and he is all about Megan, who is a deputy sheriff.

Megan has made it very clear to Hayes that all she wants is sex. She doesn’t want a relationship, for so many reasons. She was abandoned by her parents at different times, and she has decided that no one can be trusted, and she isn’t going to let anyone in. No matter how many orgasms they give her. After their first encounter, Megan goes on about her own life, and doesn’t give Hayes a lot of thought. Really she doesn’t.

Meanwhile, Raf is just trying to figure out how he’s going to get Megan to admit that she’s his, even though she’s not quite ready to admit it. Or even admit that anything might be happening other than a good time in bed. He’s been a bit bothered about not hearing from her until he pulls up on a traffic stop that Megan and her partner are doing. Being the dedicated former SEAL that he is, he decides that he will pull over a bit behind the traffic stop just in case something goes wrong and she needs him. When the stop is over, Megan comes to talk to Hayes, and he tells her that he’ll be at her house waiting for her, because the whole adrenaline from the traffic stop must be making her all wound up.

So, for the next few days, Megan and Raf hook up, and she kicks him out as soon as everything’s done. She doesn’t want a relationship. Raf is upset about it during the day, but at least he is with her for a little while, and it is still giving him the chance to convince her that they belong together.

But then, Megan’s past raises its ugly head, and what she and Hayes may or may not have had is very suddenly up in the air.

I like Megan. She has done a lot for herself. She really did turn herself into someone that she was proud of, and I am really impressed with her. She is very competent and terrifyingly good at everything that she chooses to do. I love her whole let’s just keep it sex attitude, and how it seems to put Hayes on the back foot. It’s a real reversal in the genre.

Raf sometimes bothers me. He knows that she’s really good at what she does, but then he pulls up on her traffic stop and he has to stay there and wait to see if something happens so he can ride to the rescue. To me, that felt like he was undermining herand doubting that she could do her job. It just irked me a bit.

Overall though, I really did enjoy the story. Megan and Raf are both stubborn and determined, and I really respect them both for that.

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

Alta Hensley-Queen of Hearts

We’re back with the second book in Alta’s Wonderland series, Queen of Hearts. There is one more book to come in the series, so if you are one of the people who like to read a whole series when it is all finished, you are just about able to do that. There are likely to be spoilers in this one for King of Spades, so if you haven’t read that one yet, be wary of reading my review. I try to keep them down, but it does happen.

So, when we last saw Lyriope and Nick, there was fire and chaos. Lyriope took advantage of the chaos, and now she’s in Italy. Which of course Nick doesn’t like at all. He’s going to go out and find her, no matter what. Even if his own people are telling him that he’s distracted by her.

Off Nick goes to Italy, grabs Lyriope, and spirits her away to a small town that he owns. He’s going to keep her there, and they will just stay hidden away under the radar. And he’ll show her around to his favorite places.

I think that Lyriope is really starting to come into her own in this one. She isn’t just reacting to what is happening all the time. She is actually doing something about it. It may not always be the right thing, but it is something. And I think that is a good thing for her. Everyone has pushed her around, so her making some of her own decisions about her life is going to be a good thing, IMO.

Nick. Hmmm. Well. I didn’t like Nick all the time in the last book, but it’s better now. Mostly. I think that Lyriope is good for him, and she is changing him for the better. I think that he is learning some things too, and I think that he needs to see Lyriope making her own choices.

I can’t wait to read the next one. It’s going to be explosive, I think.

Skye Warren-One for the Money

Skye is dipping back into the Morelli/Constantine world with One for the Money. The main characters in this one are Finn Hughes and Eva Morelli. It’s at least a duet, so be aware of that when you go in. Hopefully Two of the Show will be out soon enough, because I am just dying to find out what is going to happen with Finn and Eva.

So, Eva Morelli is the one that keeps her family on track. She takes care of all her siblings, helps them navigate all the bumps and cracks that come with being part of the Morelli family. She manages her parents, and keeps everything going. In other words, her entire family depends on her, and if she collapses, the family will collapse. Which is entirely unfair to Eva. She is 33 and doesn’t really have a life, other than taking care of her family. At a gala for orchids that she organized, Eva’s mother tries to introduce her to an older gentleman who is looking for a new wife. Eva is very much not interested. But, for Eva’s mother, the best thing that a woman can do is to be married because it will give her safety and stability, and at their level of wealth, marriages are more like a contract and less like a love thing. This older guy would be perfect. All Eva would have to do is pop out a couple of kids, look pretty on his arm, and be the perfect society wife. That is very much not what Eva wants.

In walks Finn Hughes. The Morellis and the Hughes all know each other and they all are at that rarified level of society that being richer than sin leaves you at. He hears Eva’s mom, and comes to rescue Eva, saying that they had plans. Then he bet Eva 25ยข that he could show her a good time and they could have fun. Which they did, by going to an illegal poker game. Eventually, Finn suggests that he and Eva fake date, which would keep her mom off her back for a little while.

Finn is ridiculously charming, and a lot of fun to be around. He acts like a party boy who has no worries, but that’s all a very charming facade. He’s actually dealing with a family curse, so he’s taking care of his father, running the family company behind the scenes, and hoping that his younger brother doesn’t get kicked out of school again. And he’s doing all this not planning on ever having a family or children or falling in love, even though he has Eva on the brain.

I am really not all that charmed by Eva’s parents. They have done a real job on her. She really is made to be responsible for everyone and has to manage all those personalities and take care of everyone, but no one really takes care of her. In fact, I don’t necessarily care about most of her family. I know I’ve read them in other books and liked them fine then, but not so much here. I think that Eva is both really strong and really fragile, if that makes sense. She’s really strong because she’s had to be, and she has built a scaffolding around herself that will hold her up, but at the core, she hurts a lot and it is easy to hurt her. She can and will hide it though, and keep that whole perfect society woman mask on her face. Eva has a really loving heart though, and she just wants to love and be loved.

Finn. Now there’s a whole other thing with him. He is burning all the candles at both ends and the middle. He’s determined to grab onto life as much as possible and to wring all the fun out of it. I can understand why, since he is counting down the days until the curse hits him. But, I also think that he is being kind of prematurely fatalistic. I’m thinking that there may be something to do. I wonder how much research anyone has done into anything, because I feel like nothing has really happened there. I guess I will have to wait. I do like him though. He really just wants to have a normalish life.

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

Hailey Turner-The Prince’s Poison Vow

Decades ago, when I was a kid, I discovered the fantasy genre. I was all about the sword and sorcery stuff for a long time. Then I discovered the epic saga fantasy stuff. Thanks Rankin and Bass for the animated Hobbit and Lord of the Rings movies. I still sing Where There’s a Whip, There’s a Way and Frodo of the Nine Fingers. I read LOTR and the Hobbit, and even the Simarillion. I may not always read as much high fantasy or sword and sorcery types now, but I’ve never lost my love of them. Why, you may ask me, am I bringing this up? Because Hailey Turner has brought a high steampunk, sword and sorcery, queer fantasy saga to the world. And oh my fuck. The Prince’s Poison Vow is the first book of the Infernal War series, and I can’t wait for the next one. Hailey has said that she set a pre-order for April 2023, but she hopes to move it up, and I really hope she does.

Now, when I say that this is a queer fantasy, I very much mean it. Of the 4 main couples, 2 are MM, one is FF, and the other is MF. One of the main characters is canon as bi, at the very least. No one ever says queer, gay, bi, or any of that. The various sexualities are just normal in the world. The only time the gender of the person you are with matters is if you need an heir, which does happen in two of the couples. The story is broken up into sections. The first section takes place 15-20 years prior to the rest of the book.

The world is called Maricol and it is infected with revenants. There are spores that get into people and turn them into revenants. Then there are the wardens who are able to withstand the poison lands and the spores. They guard the borders in between the cleansed lands and the poisoned lands. Maricol is broken up into different kingdoms, some ruled by kings and queens, others by emperors and empresses, and others still by a ruling body. Each country is watched over by one of the Star Gods, who are literally the gods of Maricol, and they are pretty active in the world.

OK, now that there is all this background, lets actually talk a little about the story.

We start out in chaos in Amari, which is the capital of Ashion. We meet a young Blaine who is holding a tiny baby, and trying to stay hidden while his father fights off people who are trying to kill them. The reason that the city is in flames is that assassins have been sent out after all the members of the ruling family’s bloodline, and I do mean every single member, no matter how distant. The newborn that Blaine is carrying is the unnamed last born daughter of the queen of Ashion. Blaine and his father get her to an airship where the two children are able to escape.

Then we have Alasandair, who is the middle child of the royal house. He is secreted away in a sub, and taken to be a tithe to be trained as a warden. While he is being transported, his memories and magic, called starfire, are hidden away. Alasandair dies under the river, and Soren is born.

Eimarille is the heir to the throne of Ashionen, and is 10 at the time of the Inferno. She is taken to the kingdom of Daijal, which is the kingdom with is probably behind the coup of Ashionen. She is going to be raised by the King of Daijal, and will eventually marry his son so that the two countries are combined under Daijalan rule.

Then we fast forward and get to the more current times of the story. Soren, who is now a Warden, meets and saves an Imperial Prince, Vanya. Eimarille is in a very happy relationship with her lady-in-waiting and pet assassin, Terilyn. Blaine is happily married to Honovi, who is the jarl of Clan Storm of E’ridia, a country that specializes in airships. And Caris, the baby, is still a teen, living in hiding where she was placed, and doesn’t know who she is. She’s fascinated with engineering, and is very good at it.

So, yes, you’ll see that I’m skipping everything after the beginning. That’s because it’s literally impossible to summarize. It’s all wrapped in together, full of intrigue, mystery, magic, love, duty, honor, espionage, and ruthlessness. When I say that it’s an epic saga, I’m not just yanking your tail.

The first section is several chapters, and each capter was a different POV, which did scare me, because I thought that it was going to turn into a Game of Thrones thing, but when you get into the more current times, the POV changes become fewer. Primarily, we have Blaine, Honovi, Soren, Vanya, Eimarille, Caris, and eventually Nathaniel. We do get a couple here and there from other important, but secondary, characters. And it helps that the later sections of the book tend to follow one part of the story.

This book is so worth reading, even if you don’t normally read queer books. There aren’t very many sex scenes, but there are a lot of emotion scenes in the book which will really drag you into the story. I mean it. Go get this book and read it if you have ever liked any kind of fantasy.

OK, that’s all for today. You’re probably thinking that’s way more than enough for today. Happy reading!

Grace Goodwin-Beast Charming

We’re back to the Interstellar Brides world. This book is about one of the Atlan warlords who live on the Colony. Some of them have been roped into a reality show of sorts to help the Atlans find their mates. Yeah, they all have kind of a fairy tale theme to it. I bet you can’t guess which one Beast Charming is. That’s right it’s Pinocchio! No, seriously, it’s Cinderella inspired.

We start with Tane, an Atlan whose beast is close to a Mating Fever and being lost forever. It’s his turn to find a Bride, and he’s doing it on Chet Bosworth’s reality show. For his turn, they are having a huge Bride Ball. It currently boasts 300 eligible and beautiful young women hoping that they are his mate. Side note, there are a buttload of other Atlans and Prillions standing guard at the ball, hoping that they meet their mates. Meanwhile, he’s stuck in a ridiculous outfit, looking just like Prince Charming, if Prince Charming was a huge alien who had a beast inside of him. Tane is standing at the end of the stairs, meeting each and every young woman who is walking down the stairs, trying to be his bride. Too bad he already knows she isn’t.

Then we have Elena. She is standing outside the ball in a gorgeous dress that doesn’t quite fit her. She hasn’t been invited, but she has to get in anyway. That’s because she’s responsible for Abby, an 18 year old social influencer whose billionaire father hates aliens. Abby, while being a lovely person, just wants to get her father’s attention, and ending up on TV at the Bride Ball will certainly do it.

All is going well and Elena and her partner in crime have managed to get into the ball. Elena has ended up in the receiving line in front of Tane, and Tane recognizes her as his mate. He takes her out for a dance, then he takes her into a side room, and well, takes her.

Sadly, Tane doesn’t know Elena’s real name because she came in on a stolen invite. So, when Abby gets found and our three lovely ladies have to run away, Tane doesn’t know where to find her. His only clue is a locket that a paparazzo stole off Elena’s wrist when she hit him.

I liked Elena. She is very protective over anyone she considers hers. She will go to war, almost quite literally. She will definitely do things that she wouldn’t have thought that she would. You see that by her going to rescue Abby. You also see it in what she does about Tane later in the book. Even better, she does it without warning Tane.

I love Atlans. I think they are my favorite of Grace’s guys. That pretty much automatically means that I like Tane. I think that he’s a good guy, and it’s obvious how loyal he is and how loving he is.

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

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