THE MOON SHINES RED by Pamela Sparkman

Paranormal Romance Standalone

GRIN AND BEARD IT by Penny Reid

Winston Brothers Series #2

HARD RULES by Lisa Renee Jones

Dirty Money Series #1

THE HARD COUNT by Ginger Scott

In our twisted world, a boy from West End is the only shining light.

WILDER by Rebecca Yarros

The Renegades Series #1

Friday, June 23, 2017

Cover Reveal: The Queen's Rising by Rebecca Ross

   

With gorgeous description and detailed rendering of a world where not everything and everyone are what they seem, Rebecca Ross weaves an intricate tale of revenge, loyalty, and, ultimately, self-discovery. Don’t miss the beautiful cover for Rebecca Ross’s debut young adult fantasy, THE QUEEN’S RISING, and pre-order your copy today!

   

THE QUEEN’S RISING Synopsis:

When her seventeenth summer solstice arrives, Brienna desires only two things: to master her passion and to be chosen by a patron.

Growing up in the southern Kingdom of Valenia at the renowned Magnalia House should have prepared her for such a life. While some are born with an innate talent for one of the five passions—art, music, dramatics, wit, and knowledge—Brienna struggled to find hers until she belatedly chose to study knowledge. However, despite all her preparations, Brienna’s greatest fear comes true—the solstice does not go according to plan and she is left without a patron.
Months later, her life takes an unexpected turn when a disgraced lord offers her patronage. Suspicious of his intent, and with no other choices, she accepts. But there is much more to his story, and Brienna soon discovers that he has sought her out for his own vengeful gain. For there is a dangerous plot being planned to overthrow the king of Maevana—the archrival kingdom of Valenia—and restore the rightful queen, and her magic, to the northern throne. And others are involved—some closer to Brienna than she realizes.
With war brewing between the two lands, Brienna must choose whose side she will remain loyal to—passion or blood. Because a queen is destined to rise and lead the battle to reclaim the crown. The ultimate decision Brienna must determine is: Who will be that queen?

Add it to your Goodreads Now!

 

THE QUEEN’S RISING Pre-Order Links:

Amazon | Kobo | Barnes & Noble | HarperCollins

  Rebecca Ross Bio: Rebecca Ross received her Bachelor’s degree in English from the University of Georgia. In the past, she has worked at a Colorado dude ranch, as a school librarian, and as a live-time captionist for a college. She resides in Northeast Georgia with her husband and her dog. THE QUEEN’S RISING is her debut novel. Visit her on the web at www.rebeccarossauthor.com or on Twitter @_RebeccaRoss.          

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads | Pinterest | Instagram

   

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Cover Reveal: The Time In Between by Kristen Ashley

   

From New York Times Bestselling author Kristen Ashley, comes the third and final book in her The Magdalene series—THE TIME IN BETWEEN—releasing August 29, 2017! Don’t miss the beautiful cover below, and pre-order your copy today!

   

About THE TIME IN BETWEEN (The Magdalene Series #3):

After a painful loss, Cady Moreland is coming to Magdalene to start the next chapter of her life. A chapter that began eighteen years ago but had a heartbreaking ending. The time in between was full of family and friendship, but Cady could never get the man she fell in love with all those years ago out of her heart.

Coert Yeager has learned to live without the girl who entered his life right when she shouldn’t and exited delivering a crippling blow he never would have suspected. The time in between was full of failing to find what he was missing…and life-altering betrayal.

But when that girl shows up in Magdalene and buys the town’s beloved lighthouse, even if Coert wants to avoid her, he can’t. A fire in town sparks a different kind of flame that won’t be ignored.

As Cady and Coert question the actions of the two young adults they once were thrown into earth-shattering circumstances, can they learn from what came in between and find each other again?

     

Preorder your copy of THE TIME IN BETWEEN today!

 

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo


Add to your Goodreads

 

And don’t miss the first titles in the The Magdalene Series!

THE WILL

SOARING

    About Kristen Ashley: Kristen Ashley was born in Gary, Indiana, USA and nearly killed her mother and herself making it into the world, seeing as she had the umbilical cord wrapped around her neck (already attempting to accessorize and she hadn't taken her first breath!). Her mother said they took Kristen away, put her Mom back in her room, her mother looked out the window, and Gary was on fire (Dr. King had been assassinated four days before). Kristen's Mom remembered thinking it was the end of the world. Quite the dramatic beginning. Nothing's changed. Kristen grew up in Brownsburg, Indiana and has lived in Denver, Colorado and the West Country of England. Thus, she's blessed to have friends and family around the globe. Her family was (is) loopy (to say the least) but loopy is good when you want to write. They all lived together on a very small farm in a small farm town in the heartland. She grew up with Glenn Miller, The Everly Brothers, REO Speedwagon and Whitesnake (and the wardrobes that matched). Needless to say, growing up in a house full of music, clothes and love was a good way to grow up. And as she keeps growing, it keeps getting better.
 

Review: Stay by Sarina Bowen & Elle Kennedy




Title: Stay
Series: WAGs #2 (Wives and Girlfriends)
Author: Sarina Bowen & Elle Kennedy
Release date: June 20, 2017
Cliffhanger: No
Rating: 4 stars




Synopsis:

Can you fall in love with someone you've never even met?


Hailey Taylor Emery has a hunch that her favorite client at Fetch—an anonymous virtual assistant service—is actually hockey star Matt Eriksson.

Although it's against the rules for her to check his file, she's 95% sure she spends at least part of each day texting with her lifelong crush and catering to his every need. Still nursing a wounded heart thanks to her recent breakup, Hailey is perfectly content with some harmless online flirting... until she has to meet her client. Face to face. Cue: utter panic.

Matt Eriksson is no stranger to heartbreak. He's still not over the destruction of his marriage, and it sucks to be the only guy on the team who knows the truth—that hockey and long-term relationships are a toxic mix. He barely sees his kids, and dealing with his ex makes him feel insane. The only person in his life who seems to understand is someone who won't show her pretty face.

But it's nothing that a pair of fourth row hockey seats can't fix. Hailey can't resist the offer. Matt can't resist Hailey. Good thing he doesn't have to. Fire up the kiss cam!

Warning: Contains rabid hockey fans, misunderstood dick pics, hockey players at the opera and exploding ovaries.

Add to Goodreads: http://bit.ly/2eXEfj9

Amazon | Paperback | iBooks | Kobo | B&N
 



REVIEW

This book was just what I needed after the intense fantasy book I had just finished. It was just pure sexy, light and frothy fun. To be honest, since reading Good Boy, I wasn't especially excited about reading Matt's book. In fact, I could barely remember who he was. But it didn't take long for me to this was a special guy with a lot to offer.

The single dad trope is hot right now, but it's not one that particularly draws me. However, Matt's love and devotion to his twin daughters would melt even the most cynical reader's heart. But on top of that, he's just an all-around good guy. Instead of the typical athlete manwhore, what we have here is a man who isn't the slightest bit interested in partying and getting laid on a nightly basis. He's not egotistical, arrogant, or vain. And wow, was that ever refreshing.

Matt is nursing a lot of guilt over the dissolution of his marriage. His ex-wife and mother of his daughters never lets him forget that he was a failure as a husband. Not for a second. Constant time on the road away from his family was a big factor that caused the erosion of their happiness. So the last thing he is interested in is looking for a serious relationship with someone new. It's better off for everyone if he's single, because as far as he's concerned, he would only end up disappointing her. Being alone is a price he grudgingly accepts in order to play hockey and live his dream.

Hailey and her ex-husband are co-owners of the assistance service Fetch. Unlike Matt, she has a very amicable post divorce relationship with her former spouse. They were best friends first, and that's what they remained. At first I thought it was extremely odd and awkward for them to continue to run a business together and see each other on a daily basis. And yes, it might have been a little uncomfortable at times. But overall, it was admirable to see how they could handle themselves with maturity and class. They just realized that their love was not of the romantic or passionate kind and moved forward.

Jackson and I were pals forever. Then we were a couple . One day in high school he kissed me instead of hugging me goodbye . And that was that.

Hailey is highly inexperienced when it comes to men. As in...she's never been with anyone except her ex-husband. So when her athlete crush Matt Eriksson starts using Fetch, their messages online were the perfect safe buffer to ease her into putting herself out there. In their IMs, she can banter with the best of them and hold her own. But get her face to face and it was a whole other story with him. It took her a little while to ease into a comfortable spot with him in order for her to be herself. But I loved how understanding and sweet he was about her nervousness. He made it his goal to not only make her feel comfortable, but confident.

The poor girl needs to get her mojo back, and I’ve decided I’m the man for the job. Just call me Matt the Mojo Maker.

Matt and Hailey had a very straightforward, low drama relationship and I really enjoyed that. His real conflict was in letting go of his guilt and finding a way to balance his career and personal life. There was some minor conflict with both of their exes, but nothing unpleasant or frustrating. As their romance blossomed, she got to meet the WAGs, Matt's teammates, and spent time with his adorable daughters. The story was so charming, and to be honest, much sexier than I had anticipated for some reason. Matt came out of nowhere and cranked up the heat on Hailey like you wouldn't believe.

This fantastic author team really impressed me with the first in the series, but I think this is my new favorite of the two. If you haven't started them yet, don't hesitate! After the hint at the end about who's in line for the next book, I'm more than a little intrigued and ready to sign on for more.

All I know is that I love every second I spend with Matt. He’s so… real. Warm and gorgeous and funny and how the hell did I ever get so lucky?


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Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Cover Reveals: The Gamble, Sweet Dreams, & Lady Luck by Kristen Ashley


THE GAMBLE by Kristen Ashley 
SWEET DREAMS by Kristen Ashley 
LADY LUCK by Kristen Ashley 
Release date: June 20, 2017


ANNOUNCING THREE BEAUTIFUL NEW TRADE PAPERBACK EDITIONS FROM THE COLORADO MOUNTAIN SERIES!



THE GAMBLE



Life isn't meant to be perfect. It's meant to be lived . . .

Nina Sheridan thought she'd found the perfect man who would become the perfect husband. She was wrong. When Nina realizes the man she planned to grow old with doesn't know her at all, it's time to rethink her idea of perfect. And what better place to get her life in order than a remote Colorado mountain town halfway around the world?

Gnaw Bone, Colorado, may not be flashy or cosmopolitan, but it's got a brand of hospitality all its own. Nina isn't entirely sure she's ready to trade the life she thought she wanted in England for cozy evenings in her mountain retreat, and she definitely isn't sure she's ready to handle the connection she feels to the owner of her rental house, Max Holden . . .

Nina didn't come to Colorado to find love, but even the best-laid plans can go awry. Now, if Nina can let go of her past, Max-and a future in Gnaw Bone-might just be the perfect second chance she's been waiting for.


Buy the Book!
Amazon: http://amzn.to/2pGUXVV
Barnes & Noble: http://bit.ly/2qbOF44
IndieBound: http://bit.ly/2raSZ28
Target: http://bit.ly/2pHrHiX

Add The Gamble to your shelf on Goodreads: http://bit.ly/2ptNSwR


SWEET DREAMS



When you lose everything, anything is possible.

Lauren Grahame needs a whole new life. A simpler life. After leaving her cheating husband, she moves to Carnal, Colorado, takes a job as a waitress, and realizes she might have finally found the hometown she'd been searching for. Except things are about to get a lot more complicated . . .

Lauren's fresh start does not include her growing feelings for her boss, Tate Jackson. She'll take the new friends, the new job, not to mention the incredible banana bread from the local coffee shop, but love is not on the agenda.

However, the people of Carnal know chemistry when they see it, and they're not about to let Tate and Lauren miss their chance.




Buy the Book!
Amazon: http://amzn.to/2rb5k6H
Barnes & Noble: http://bit.ly/2pGOESz
IndieBound: http://bit.ly/2qb20Ky
Target: http://bit.ly/2pHrHiX

Add Sweet Dreams to your shelf on Goodreads: http://bit.ly/2ptNlLd


LADY LUCK



All you need is a little luck.

Lexie Berry has had nothing but bad luck. You name it, Lexie has probably survived it-or worse. But there's only so much bad luck a girl can take, and now one promise is all that stands between her and a brand-new life.

When that promise brings her to Carnal, Colorado, Lexie isn't sure the rough, yet strangely charming, town is for her. But there's something Carnal has that might just make staying around worth it . . . and that's Ty Walker.

For five years, Ty was imprisoned for a crime he didn't commit. Now he wants revenge on the people who framed him. Lexie knows there's a difference between vengeance and justice, and she'll do everything she can to make sure Ty gets the latter. And with the good people of Carnal on their side, Lexie and Ty might finally find their luck is changing for the better.




Buy the Book!
Amazon: http://amzn.to/2raJy2O
Barnes & Noble: http://bit.ly/2r9wr13
IndieBound: http://bit.ly/2qbXAmt
Target: http://bit.ly/2qc08kt

Add Lady Luck to your shelf on Goodreads: http://bit.ly/2qBpB8d



Giveaway

Enter to win 1 of 5 sets of The Gamble, Sweet Dreams, and Lady Luck! http://bit.ly/2r26Avw

About the Author


Kristen Ashley grew up in Brownsburg, Indiana, and has lived in Denver, Colorado, and the West Country of England. Thus she has been blessed to have friends and family around the globe. Her posse is loopy (to say the least) but loopy is good when you want to write.

Kristen was raised in a house with a large and multigenerational family. They lived on a very small farm in a small town in the heartland, and Kristen grew up listening to the strains of Glenn Miller, The Everly Brothers, REO Speedwagon, and Whitesnake.

Needless to say, growing up in a house full of music and love was a good way to grow up.

And as she keeps growing up, it keeps getting better.



Social Media Links

www.kristenashley.net
www.facebook.com/kristenashleybooks
www.twitter.com/kristenashley68

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Release Day Launch: All I Am: Drew's Story by Jodi Ellen Malpas



Title: ALL I AM: DREW’S STORY (A THIS MAN NOVELLA) 
Author: Jodi Ellen Malpas 
Release date: June 18, 2017 

From #1 New York Times bestselling author Jodi Ellen Malpas comes a new novella in the This Man series. You don't need to read the series to enjoy this story, but if you're already a Jesse Ward fan, just wait till you see the advice he gives Drew about falling in love.


Synopsis:

I thought I had control. I was so, so wrong...



I don't need a relationship. I have Hux, a decadent club where I quench whatever raw desire I choose. I take pleasure and I give it - no strings attached. So when Raya Rivers comes in asking for someone cold, emotionless, and filthy... well, no man ever takes his wicked pleasure quite the way I do.

Only Raya is different. Vulnerable. And carrying some deep sorrow that gets past all my carefully constructed walls and inexplicably makes me care. Now craving controls me. Ice has given way to red-hot need.

But Raya has no idea about my other life - my real life. That I'm daddy to an adorable little girl. My two worlds are about to collide with the force of a supernova. Once Raya knows the truth, will she be able to accept all I am?



Excerpt


‘What do you want, Raya?’

She steps toward me tentatively, as if she’s questioning what she’s doing. And when she reaches me, her chest pressed to mine, she gazes up at me. ‘I don’t know.’ Her eyes are wild and unsure. ‘But I know that every time we’re close, something powerful takes over. And you’re trying hard to fight it. You’re warm and cold. What are you scared of?’

‘You.’ My mouth is on her before I can think better of it, and I’ve lifted her from her feet before my tongue breaches the seam on her lips. We should talk, but this is the only thing I know what to say right now, and when her arms circle my shoulders, her mouth opening up, inviting me in, I know she’s okay with it. I know she gets it.

With one arm around her waist holding her to me and one secured on the nape of her neck, I walk to my office, my kiss deep, my blood racing, my heart bouncing off my ribcage. I set her on her feet and take the hem of her dress, pulling it up over her head, losing her lips for just a second in the process. She wrenches my shirt open, scattering buttons in the process, her hands immediately finding my skin beneath. My forward steps encourages her backwards, our kiss deepening as she unfastens my trousers and I push her knickers down her thighs.

We’re all over the place, desperation getting the better of us, a mess of tongues, hands and bodies. I pull some strength from nowhere, seize her hands and break our kiss, breathing heavily. Her unsure brown eyes soon prompts me to start ridding myself of the rest of my clothes, all under her watchful gaze. Until I’m naked.

‘This wasn’t supposed to happen,’ she whispers.


Buy the Book:

Barnes & Noble: http://bit.ly/2opEkNZ



About the Author


Jodi Ellen Malpas was born and raised in the Midlands’ town of Northampton, England, where she lives with her two boys. Working for her father’s construction business full-time, she tried to ignore the lingering idea of writing until it became impossible. She wrote in secret for a long time before finally finding the courage to unleash her creative streak, and in October 2012 she released This Man. She took a chance on a story with some intense characters and sparked incredible reactions from women all over the world. Writing powerful love stories and creating addictive characters have become her passion, a passion she now shares with her devoted readers.



Social Media Links

www.jodiellenmalpas.com.uk
www.facebook.com/jodiellenmalpas
www.twitter.com/jodiellenmalpas

Add All I Am: Drew’s Story (A This Man Novella) to your shelf on Goodreads: http://bit.ly/2okoIw0
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Giveaway

Enter to win 1 of 15 free ebook downloads of All I Am: Drew’s Story (A This Man Novella)! 

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Review: Sugar & Gold by Emma Scott


Title: Sugar & Gold
Series: Dreamcatcher #2
Author: Emma Scott
Release date: June 13, 2017
Cliffhanger: No
Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️


Synopsis:
***A new adult STANDALONE from the author of Full Tilt and The Butterfly Project***

Nikolai Alexei Young was born with a special gift…one he’d do anything to lose. The heart and soul of every person he comes into contact with is an open book to his heightened senses. Colorful emotions, whispers of thoughts, the sour tastes of old memories…He feels them all. The sci-fi books would call him an empath. For Nikolai, his ability has made him an exile. He roams the U.S. alone, avoiding the glut of life in big cities, and using his innate talents to win money in underground poker games. Just enough to keep going, one town to the next. He has no hope that his life can be anything else, until he meets her…

At nineteen, Fiona Starling was trapped in an ugly, desperate situation until she freed herself the only way she knew how. Now three years later, living outside Savannah, Georgia, she is rebuilding her life on her own terms; seizing every moment and saving every penny so that she might fulfill her dream of moving to the raw wilderness of Costa Rica. But behind her carefree smile beats the heart of a lonely young woman haunted by her past, until a chance encounter with a tattooed stranger changes everything…

Fiona takes Nikolai under her roof for three sultry nights, waiting out the rain of a summer storm. She grows more and more fascinated by this brooding stranger with whom she shares an intense physical connection—a connection so strong, she wonders if there is something between them beyond lust and passion. Nikolai is shocked to discover that Fiona calms the raging turmoil in his heart. She alone silences the din of other people’s lives, and envelops him in the sweet beauty of her inner self. Every moment he’s with her—every touch of her skin—brings him closer to the peace that’s been eluding him his entire life.

But Fiona harbors secrets that she is too terrified to reveal. After Nikolai confesses his unique ability, she is caught between wanting to believe him and fearing he’ll eventually unearth her own dark past. When the unthinkable happens, Fiona’s plans come crashing down, and Nikolai discovers his hated ability might be the only thing that can save the woman he loves.

Sugar & Gold is a new adult romance with shades of the paranormal and is the second book in the Dreamcatcher novels, a series of interconnected STANDALONES. It is NOT necessary to have read How to Save a Life (Dreamcatcher #1) first in order to follow the story, but characters will appear across all novels. Intended for readers 18 and up.


Purchase on Amazon: http://amzn.to/2tzN8E1

Review

It's hard to believe I've only been reading Emma Scott's books for a year now, but in that time I have discovered the of the beauty and grace of her writing. Her skill at easily drawing out my emotions for her characters has quickly made her one of my top auto-read authors. It doesn't matter what genre or subject matter she decides to explore, I'll be first to add it to my TBR.

That being said, sometimes I just can't shut off my inquisitive mind when reading, and in this case, that prevented it from being a big winner for me like they have been in the past. There were too many times I kept stopping to question the validity of different aspects of the plot. In other cases, I just wanted more of an explanation or closure. But judging my the overall excitement for this book, I know that I'm in the minority with my pickiness this time so please don't let me scare you off from checking this unique story out.

Fiona Starling is twenty-three, but only now is she getting her first taste of independence and freedom. After surviving childhood lacking in love, she reached adulthood vulnerable to the manipulative man who swept her into his web of lies. It took her years to escape the abuse at his hands, but his words still have the power to mark her every single day. His taunts and insults are a constant soundtrack to her psyche, tearing into her self-worth until she can forcibly turn down the noise.

I believed Steve had rescued me; only to find out he was carrying me off to a colder winter. A different kind of prison altogether.

Everyone has a dream. Hers is a simple one: finding peace. And Costa Rica is her plan to finally break free from the chains that still bind her.

Nikolai is a tortured man, struggling to just find some semblance of peace himself. Unlike Fiona, it isn't just one person who invades his head, it's him against the world. Every person he comes in contact with transmits emotions and sometimes even thoughts through a color and image aura he's named the ken, that only he can see. His unwanted ability to read people leads him to a lonely life on the road playing poker for a living and trying to limit human contact for his own sanity. Up until now, the only momentary escape he can find is the pain at the end of a tattoo needle. But his canvas is almost completely covered, and he's not sure how he can manage without that small comfort when it's gone.

Then he meets Fiona, and during their one night of passion something inexplicable falls into place.

It was her voice that echoed in the hollowed out place inside me that belonged to everyone but me. But she was there now and she filled it up with all that was her and I felt whole for the first time in my life.

Fiona is the first person he's met who radiates kindness, care, and compassion. The only ugliness surrounding her is the one that haunts her, and he wishes with everything he has that he can take it all away for her. When they're together, the buzz of their intense attraction is only a bonus. The real prize is the comfort and the quiet they both give each other. Though neither has any experience with a healthy relationship, and she doesn't want to alter her plans to leave the country they're both willing to try.

Fiona… My shield. Protecting me and giving me rest. And I lay beneath her, strong and unwavering. A foundation she could rely on.

Until one devastating event knocks their lives off course in a way neither could have anticipated. I have to say, the direction that the story went took me completely off guard. To be 100% honest, I didn't love this twist. I felt as if there were too many details that didn't seem at all plausible.

The main characters were sweet together, the secondary characters endearing and supportive friends. I did enjoy this couple, and the PNR element was one that I was really interested to read about. But the nagging plot points were rearing their head.

Issues aside, what I loved most about this book was Fiona's journey to self-empowerment. Spousal emotional abuse is an important topic to be educated about, and I feel as if it was very delicately and respectfully addressed. Fiona came out stronger in the end, realizing that she alone was relinquishing her power to him, and she had to make the choice to own it and take it back.

While this wasn't a huge five star win for me, I know that many others loved it wholeheartedly, so I urge everyone to give this a chance if it sounds like something they would enjoy. It was an original story with a miraculous kind of love that had the strength to heal two very broken people.

*Though Sugar & Gold is connected to How to Save a Life with recurring characters, this is a complete STANDALONE. I did not read HTSAL and had no issues whatsoever.


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Friday, June 16, 2017

Review: Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo


Title: Six of Crows
Series: Six of Crows #1
Author: Leigh Bardugo
Release date: September 29, 2015
Cliffhanger: Yes
Rating: 5 stars

Synopsis:
Criminal prodigy Kaz Brekker has been offered wealth beyond his wildest dreams. But to claim it, he'll have to pull off a seemingly impossible heist:

Break into the notorious Ice Court
(a military stronghold that has never been breached)

Retrieve a hostage
(who could unleash magical havoc on the world)

Survive long enough to collect his reward
(and spend it)

Kaz needs a crew desperate enough to take on this suicide mission and dangerous enough to get the job done - and he knows exactly who: six of the deadliest outcasts the city has to offer. Together, they just might be unstoppable - if they don't kill each other first.



REVIEW


Leigh Bardugo is a master storyteller. I'm sure this isn't news to many, but it was a fresh discovery for me. I couldn't get enough of this highly compelling story. I was up until 1:30 in the morning, bleary eyed and racing through the pages. This book, about a gang of hustlers and thieves who embark on their impossible quest, was easily one of the best I've read all year. With six main characters traipsing through an intricate world spanning the brothels, alleys, and dark corners of Ketterdam, to the Ice Court fortress, there was so much to learn and experience. This series follows the events that take place in the Grisha series, but you do not have to read those to learn your way around this one.

The Dregs are a top gang in Ketterdam led by the mysterious and cunning Kaz Brekker. Since working his way up as Per Haskell’s prized lieutenant, he's brought prosperity and respect. But most of all fear. You learn not to cross Kaz, because he'll always be ten steps ahead of you with a gun aimed in your direction. There is no job too dirty or dangerous for him as long as there is a profitable payout worth his time.

Kaz learned a tough lesson on the streets as a little boy: you're either the mark or the predator, and he's vowed to be a victim no more. His innocence was lost in the murky waters surrounding the slums of the Barrels, and now he lived for nothing more than the sweet taste of revenge. Revenge plots have always been a particular weakness of mine, so this was enough to make me rub my hands together in glee.

He’d heard there were sharks in these waters, but he knew they wouldn’t touch him. He was a monster now, too.

When Kaz is offered the chance at riches beyond his wildest imaginings, it didn't take him long to take on this seemingly suicidal operation. He's either the most gutsy criminal I've ever seen, or the most reckless. I can't decide which. He's tasked with infiltrating the most highly secured fortress known to man: the Fjerdian Ice Court. The creator of jurda parem, a dangerous drug that enhances the powers of the Grisha people's magic, is being held prisoner there. Without an interception, this powerful weapon could be used to decimate untold numbers of people in the wrong hands.

Quickly, he assembles his crew and begins plotting. He's a mastermind at schemes, and it will take every trick he knows to come through this impossible feat alive.

“For every trick you’ve seen, I know a thousand more. You think a year in Hellgate hardened you up? Taught you to fight? Hellgate would have been paradise to me as a child.

Through third person, multiple POVs, we are slowly introduced to his crew of outcasts.

Inej: Kaz's right hand and spy, silent and lethal with her knives.
Matthias: the former Fjerdan witchhunters and ex-Hellsgate prisoner.
Jesper: the Zemeni sharpshooter.
Nina: the Grisha Heartrender.
And Wylan: the demolition expert.

Each has their own fully fleshed out backstory, and three-dimensional subtleties and nuances that make them come to life in the most incredible way. You'll find yourself rooting for them despite their flaws and vices. Cheering over their victories, and feeling heartsick over the tragedies they've survived. I particularly loved Inej and Nina. They were equally strong and brilliant women who had a limitless amount of courage. There was some angst involved with the two of them and their love interests, but this was not on the forefront of the story. The story was impressively character driven, with a high level of action and suspense fueling the book. I was on the edge of my seat until the very end.

This fantasy book was on a level all its own. It was the perfect package for me and I can't wait to find the time to get to the conclusion in Crooked Kingdom.

I have been made to protect you. Only in death will I be kept from this oath.


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