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.

Keeping Kyler by Siobhan Davis

4.5/5 Jerry Springer stars!

OTT- The drama is strong with this one!

Just when you think things couldn’t get more insane, they do. No one in this book has a filter and everyone needs a cold shower to combat the raging hormones. The adults are no better than their teenage kids. With the exceptions of Jill and Rose (who have very minor parts) Faye is the only girl described as have any virtue.

The rest of the girls, including complete strangers, only want to rip their underwear off at the sight of the Kennedy boys.
I’d call out the author on slut-shaming, but I can’t because it’s more like slut bragging.

I mean when Whitney says this, you can hardly feel sorry for her: I give great head or so I’ve been told.

TMI- As no one has a filter or a maturity level above fifteen, you can just imagine how they let it fly. Brad, dude, you didn’t need to confess your undying love for Faye in explicit detail. Everyone knows, dude. You just don’t learn from past mistakes, do you? Can’t blame Kyler for not trusting you. Faye, I know you feel bad, but you need to stay away from Brad. Your presence just makes things worse. Take a step back and stop making it about you.
Brad isn’t the only one with TMI. All the girls and women other than Faye can’t keep their mouths shut about all the ways they would like to further debauch the Kennedy brothers. Kyler comes across as a real elitist prick when he shoots down the waitresses and some of the other girls. He even calls them horrible names. Yet, they still want to do the dirty with him. Seriously??? It’s called self-respect. If he spoke to me that way I’d have to introduce him to my middle finger.

PDA- Kyler and Faye are the perfect couple and they love to demonstrate it in front of others. Note to Faye and Kyler, if different people at different times are commenting on your handsy behavior, then you probably should get a room.

WTH- This could probably go under the OTT heading but it works well here too. Some of the drama was just unbelievable. There was no need for Adam’s children to meet Faye at the Kennedy house. A more neutral location would have worked better. As expected everything went to hell pretty quickly. There are other instances of a more private, less dramatic option being available, but the characters choosing the most OTT scenario they could dream up. Even if it defies all logic. I’m of two minds on this. It annoyed me enough to take off a half-star, but at the same time, it makes the story that much more page-turning. I’ll leave it for you to decide.

HEA-After Faye and Kyler take out the trash, they can finally concentrate on being a normal couple. I will be waiting to see what happens next with Kal.

Man taking out garbage

Knight of a Trillion Stars by Dara Joy

4 Trillion out of 5 Trillion stars.

Lilyn of Sci fi and Scary recommended this book to me, and I’m glad she did. First of all, as you can probably guess from the cover, this book was written in the nineties. Even if you read another edition it doesn’t take long to realize that Lorgin is not a hero of the third wave feminism variety. He is refreshingly masculine, although he does get bossy pants at times. I didn’t mind. I was too busy enjoying it. I couldn’t help but compare this to Ruby Dixon’s IPB series as I was reading. While I do like the Blue Barbarians more, Lorgin grew on me quite a bit. He started off as a pushy, ignorant alien, messing up Deanna’s life. By the end I realized what a perfect match they were for each other. Great story and cool world-building. At some point I would like to read more about his Familiar brother, Rejar.

Prison Planet Barbarian by Ruby Dixon

5/5 Keffing stars!

This was different. A bit darker and edgier than the IPB and I absolutely loved it! Jutari, a contemporary of Mardok, is a modern day Messakah, unlike the Sakhui
of the Ice Planet. But never fear, with or without a khui, he will claim his woman as his mate. And woe to any alien who tries to get a piece of his action!

If another touches you, you tell me and he’ll be murdered within the hour. You belong to Jutari and Jutari alone.

I loved the ending. I was wondering if Ruby was going to have them end up on Not-Hoth. The way things were handled worked for me. I say this about all of them, but I really loved this one!

The List by Alice Ward

4/5 this guy doesn’t know what hit him stars.
Buddy read with my excellent friend Brandy.

I won’t go on about they synopsis. You can read it and see what it’s about. Instead, I’ll focus on why I found it a unique read in a genre that is usually the same stuff re-hashed over and over in maybe six or seven different ways.

Yes, Xavier is a billionaire player. Same old same old, right? Not exactly. This guy has NEVER had a serious relationship. He blames his upbringing. His father was an alcoholic who beat his mom on a regular basis. To say this guy has baggage is the understatement of the year. But he’s good-looking and self-made wealthy. He’s never been shot down before. Until he meets Riley.

Riley is a bit insecure. She knows herself and her own faults very well. She has been hurt before and doesn’t want a repeat. That’s why she distances herself from Xavier. Her achille’s heel is that she gets attached too easily. But when the persistent billionaire tracks her down, she doesn’t turn him down twice.

Xavier gave me whiplash with his on again off again. One moment he can’t see her anymore. The next he wants to go out again. He can’t commit, but he can’t stay away from her either. Poor Riley doesn’t know what to think. The thing is, she’s not going to grovel for crumbs of his attention. And when another man asks her out, she doesn’t stay home and pine for him.

This drives him insane. My favorite part of the whole book is when he finally admits to Riley’s friend that he loves her. He actually touches his lips, he’s so shocked the words came out of his mouth.

I had a small pet peeve at the end that took it from a 4.5 to a 4.0. It was a bit unrealistic to me. Why did he bring Riley along to tell the guys they had to destroy the list? And why did Riley have to put in her two cents? The reader knows her and knows she’s not overbearing. His friends don’t. Even if they agreed to destroy the list, there’s no way they aren’t thinking she’s a pushy bitch and Xavier can’t stand up to her. Xavier may have to listen to Riley, but Julian and Davis are under no obligation.

This story is more about the journey than any stunning revelations. It is fun to see Xavier’s character growth and Riley come out of her shell.

Shattered by Jonathan Allen and Amie Parnes

3.5/5 stars

The past election cycle was a wild one. So many things I believed could never happen did. But one thing I did believe on election day: HRC would win. I didn’t think it would be a blowout the way the media portrayed, but I did think she would be victorious. The reason I wanted to read this book is to try to find out why myself, the media, and the campaign got it so wrong, and were there warning signs prior to the election that were unheeded or ignored?

The prologue provides a lot of interesting information I previously didn’t know. The authors began writing this in 2014, and the title was supposed to refer to the glass ceiling Hillary was going to shatter. The authors had agreed they would not release the book before the election, and conducted all interviews on background to provide anonymity to the sources.

HRC received more votes than any Republican nominee ever, and about three million more than Trump. So how did she lose the electoral map?

Interesting facts I learned: Bernie Sanders was no more a democrat than Donald Trump was a Republican. The independent self described socialist had to run under the democrat banner to even have a shot. Both he and Donald Trump were seen as anti-establishment outsiders. While there were plenty of Bernie supporters who would never vote for Trump, there were more that would never vote for HRC. When a large swath of working-class in the fly-over states can identify more with a Republican billionaire from New York than the democrat candidate who they saw as an elitist, you’ve got a major PR problem in the democratic party.

Elizabeth Warren was considered as a running mate for Hillary, but ultimately Tim Kaine was selected. This stunned me, and I do believe this was a grave mistake. Warren would have attracted a lot of the Bernie voters. But the campaign thought it would be “too many women on the ballot.”

Donald Trump not only contributed money to HRC’s senate campaign, but called Bill before the primary season to ask his political advice on running and Bill gave it to him. At that point, he didn’t see him as a threat to his wife’s campaign.

The campaign strategy was more concerned with turning out the base than spending money to persuade undecided voters or attracting new voters. The campaign manager, Mook, was reticent to send boots on the ground to many states, including the Rust Belt. Only Bill saw the foolishness of this strategy and tried to turn the ship around. Mook came across as a real tightwad and the campaign didn’t spend any money on polling, preferring to use the much cheaper analytics to gauge the winds of the electorate. This was one of their biggest mistakes.

Despite the many foibles and missteps of the Trump campaign–and there were many–it was the drip, drip, drip of the HRC e-mail server scandal that would never go away. The contentious primary with Bernie Sanders that went on way too long did permanent damage to Hillary and reinforced Trump’s message.

Although the authors and many other people believe that Hillary won all three debates, her message could not be broken down into the easy-to-digest sound bites that Bernie and Trump both were able to accomplish. Terrible campaign slogans didn’t help. Neither Breaking Barriers or Stronger Together come across as strong messaging. I’m sure in different parts of the country, voters heard different reasons why they should vote for HRC, but where I come from all I heard was “because she’s a woman” or “it’s her turn.” Neither of those reasons are good enough to win an election.

So should you read this book? Only if you geek out on facts and figures. I do wish the authors had used a more chronological approach because when you go back and forth in flashback, it’s hard to keep track of what happened when.

Fire in His Kiss by Ruby Dixon

4.5/5 stars
I like Sasha and Dakh’s story even more than Claudia and Kael’s. There are elements of the story that never change: the fawning adoration the dragons have for their mates, but we learn a few new things too. Apparently more came through the Rift than the Drakoni. Emma’s story sounds interesting. Can’t wait for next book.