Accidental Witness by Sam Mariano

4/5 Mind your business and don’t mess with the mob stars.
My great friend B. Truly and I will be doing a buddy read of this series.

Mia sees something she shouldn’t have. Worse yet, Vince, a mob family member knows what she saw. He doesn’t want to kill her, but he is interested in her. They fall in love. Happily ever after–Not.

Vince’s cousin, Mateo Morelli, is head of the crime family. Everybody (and I mean everybody) warns Mia that there is no way Mateo will let her live once he finds out what she saw. And he will find out. Mateo knows everything. So, Vince breaks up with her, hoping to spare her. Mia is heartbroken.
But it is all for naught. Mateo finds out anyway, takes her to his home, and points a gun to her head. He agrees to let her live, as long as Vince still wants her, but she has to move into his house, and for all intents and purposes, becomes Mateo’s mafia bride.

I won’t spoil the rest of the story, but I’ll just say that Mateo is just as bad if not worse than everyone warned Mia. He is all about controlling his friends and family, and if you want to live, you’d better be loyal to him. Period. The end. Again, everyone warns Mia, especially Vince, but she thinks she can play nice and befriend the hardened mob man. Boy, is she wrong.

The plot of this book was amazing. I have mixed feelings about some of the characters. Some of Mia’s actions did bother me. Like why didn’t you call the cops anonymously to report the fire next door? At the time you didn’t realize they were already dead. I thought Mia was way too naïve. (Hasn’t she seen the Godfather or Goodfellas?) I wanted to smack some sense in her.

However, even if she was Stephen Hawkings, she never could have outwitted Mateo, and he never would have let her go. So I guess what I’m saying is, it really didn’t matter that she was incredibly naïve and trusting.

I also don’t like Mateo–like at all. He’s a garbage human. Again, no spoilers, but what he did to Mia was so terrible, I don’t see how she can possibly like him in any way, shape, or form. From what B. tells me, I will start liking him in the following books. I hope he grows on me. From what B. tells me, he probably will.

Temptation Trials Part II by B. Truly

5/5 Actions have consequences stars
*********************This review contains spoilers for book one***********************

The Temptation Trials are over. The contestants now have to make their choices known at the Soul-bound Trial and attend the Temptation Ball. That should be easy, right? Not.

The regime packs the original couples and the other contestants they cheated with onto a cruise ship for the trip home because that’s the kind of people they are.

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out what happens next:

Somehow, Cali and Stef have to keep things cordial with their original boyfriends and the new guys because they still have to figure out what the big bad Eminence is up to.

The Soul-bound trial confirms their worst suspicions: It was never their choice to make. After the weirdness with Eminence’s strange book, they decide to talk to some priests who know more than they do. What they find out is bad, like judgement-day-type bad.

Yep, it’s going down. It’s all going down at the Temptation ball. The regime pulls out all the stops to humiliate the contestants in the worst possible way. Imagine being televised sitting at the table with your lover and your boyfriend watching a a big screen flaunting your infidelity to the world. But Cali, Stef, and the guys have to endure it if they have any hope of taking down the evil twisted Eminence.

It all goes to hell in a hand basket pretty fast. I won’t spoil the ending, but some shocking things happen.

Probably what I liked the best is the questions that Stef asked afterward. Are the Temptation relationships destined to fail because His Highest was warped and evil? Or did it all work for good for God’s purpose? Maybe Eminence was the ultimate match-maker.

Burned by Karen Marie Moning

4/5 stars.

I love this series. The mythology of the story and the world building are fantastic. So is the writing. Ms. Moning sure can craft a page-turning story. Having said that, Burned is my least favorite in the series so far.

*************************************Spoilers*********************************************

It’s not that this story wasn’t as gripping as the others; it’s that the characters did things I didn’t like or I thought they were inconsistent with their characters. It starts in the very Prelude. It is a flashback to Darkfever from Barrons POV. He goes to the hotel to try to get Mac to leave Dublin. In the original, he threatens Mac and leaves. In Burned, they engage in wild sexcapades all night long. Mac feels guilty and regrets it, so Barrons uses Voice to wipe her memory. I absolutely hated that the story was changed. I much prefer Barrons and Mac’s first time to be when she is Pri-Ya in the beginning of book four. This version seems contrived, more like the author wanted to go in a different direction than she actually omitted the “truth” in Darkfever. In Burned, Mac gets her memory back, she’s angry at Barrons, but it goes on a bit long and even she admits she’s acting stupid about it. The other part of the story that I didn’t like that Lor was faking Pri-Ya and Mac went along with it. I thought it would be so much more interesting if the Unseelie Princess was able to turn one of the Nine Pri-Ya and getting him to come back to himself.

I did like the parts with Jada Making her an alternate version of Dani who has aged five years in the Silvers. Going after Christian to save him from the Crimson Hag was necessary. I’m curious as to how the black holes will factor into this world AWC. I want to learn who this mistress of the King is and how she factors into the story. I have some theories about it, but I’ll have to keep reading to see if I’m right.

That ending. My goodness! I have to start Feverborn right away.

Iced by Karen Marie Moning (Fever #6)

5/5 Hoar Frost King stars

I put off reading this for a long time. I think I was sad that things were pretty much shorn up with Barrons and Mac’s story, and I wasn’t ready to let go. Also, I wasn’t sure I wanted to read a story so Danicentric.

I was wrong on all counts. I loved being in Dani’s head. She’s fearless, despite her young age. It’s hard not to love her zest for life and adventure. She’d rather risk her life, face death head-on, than live to old age in safety and boredom.

Ryodan is like Barrons. I get that. Hard to know. Still, he’s not fooling anyone. He cares about what happens to Dani. Even when she makes him so mad he threatens to break her legs.

Dancer is delightful. I hope he is in more of the coming stories.

Christian is the character I feel most sorry for. He has no control over the fact that he’s turning into a monster. He can’t help it. But he’s still not pleasant to be around. He’s lost the most in this post AWC world.

On to the next book. Hopefully, Dani and Mac get their stuff sorted.

Loving Kalvin by Siobhan Davis

5/5 Forgiveness Stars

The author gifted me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

This is my favorite Kennedy book of the series. I am quite shocked that it is considering how things were left between Kal and Lana in the Kyler books. I don’t want to get all spoilery so I will just say this: What Lana did to Kal in a prior book was an absolute deal breaker for me. If I were Kal, I might be able to forgive her to give myself some peace, but I would never want anything to do with her again.

There is no OTT drama in this one, and I enjoyed it more because of it. Kal sees all the pain he caused Lana and is willing to fight for her love. Lana beats herself up enough so that I don’t feel the need to do so. I still don’t like what she did, but I found myself cheering for this couple in spite of it. Then, in this book, she did another beyond horrible thing to him. Again, no spoilers. With these two betrayals, if I were Kal, I’d be looking into MGTOW.

At least Lana has to take some heat for her poor decisions. I’m glad the author wrote that in. It would have been harder to overlook and believe if she hadn’t. Kal’s reaction was totally believable too. Instead of storming in, he took a day to calm down and think things through. It didn’t stop him from telling her the truth though.
Sorry is far too easy a word for her to say. Sorry cannot even begin to compensate for how she’s treated me this time.

If he had folded, and told her all was forgiven, I probably would have thrown my Kindle across the room. Instead, this:
“I came to UF to fight for a second chance. To prove I could be the man you deserved, but things have changed. Now you need to prove you’re the woman I know you to be, because the Lana I knew didn’t lie, and she sure as hell didn’t allow herself to be manipulated into doing things she wasn’t comfortable with… But you’re not her, and I can’t believe in you, can’t trust you, not when I know what you’re capable of. And without that, there is no us.”

At this point I was fist pumping the air. Kal absolutely needed to step away and focus on himself and his responsibilities. He couldn’t worry about Lana’s feelings. She sure as hell didn’t worry about his. If the book had ended here, I would have been fine.

But it didn’t. No spoilers, but I did like the ending.

Barbarian’s Tease

4/5 Pink Hair stars

I love this cover. It’s one of my favorites. But Brooke–not so much. I didn’t like how she called Taushen names and got mad at him for a really stupid reason, IMO. Taushen is naïve and unsure. Brooke is the one with the power in the situation. I wished she’d been more empathetic at the start. As the story progressed, I started to like Brooke more. I still think she should not have played hard to get, then want to switch it around. Poor Taushen! She should know Barbarian’s don’t hit it and quit it.

With that ending, I’m kind of wondering if Ruby meant something different by Barbarian’s Tease.

Worth Any Cost by Brenna Aubrey

4/5 It’s about time stars.

I had to read this last book in the Mia/Adam saga to see them finally make the long-awaited trek down the aisle. This installment has some really good points. For example, there is far less of the stupid miscommunications that plague them in prior books. Having said that, Adam should have told Mia about the BOD ultimatum much sooner. For this book, I give the couple a B for communication.

I didn’t enjoy this one as much as the others. Perhaps it’s because there wasn’t as much conflict, or because there was way too much sex. (Did I really say that?) Yes, I did. I even meant it. By the time Adam arrived for the wedding I was skimming. Still glad I took the time to read it.

Now for that intro to the next book…I don’t know if I can read it. I already have no sympathy for Kat.

Barbarian’s Rescue by Ruby Dixon

4/5 3D chess stars.

Not my favorite IPB, but I did really enjoy it. Summer isn’t as annoying as I thought she’d be, and Warrek is wonderful. I wasn’t as fond of the plot in this one. Although I did enjoy motormouth with no filter Summer. Some of the things that flew out of her mouth are pretty funny.

The best part of the book is the epilogue. After that tease, I can’t wait to read Buh-brukh’s story.

It ain’t me, Babe by Tillie Cole

4 stars

Interesting plot of a young woman who after years of physical and mental torture escapes the only home she knows in a religious cult. She does not fall into society, but rather into another strange family — a motorcycle gang. These rough guys and gals become her protectors and friends. One becomes the love of her life.

Interesting read if you’re looking for that bad-boy who underneath the rough exterior is really good.