Jenn + Lana’s Review: The King by @skye_warren

THE KING
Series: The Masterpiece Duet #1
Genre: Dark Romance
Author: Skye Warren
Release Date: June 27, 2017

The highest stakes…

My father gambles every night, falling deeper and deeper into debt. When he hits the bottom, he places a new bet: his daughter.

I’m his entry bet to the biggest underground poker game.

Every kind of danger circles the velvet-covered table, but only one man makes me tremble.

A trailer park princess.

The son of a criminal king.

We don’t belong together, but I’m caught in a twisted game.

His eyes meet mine with dark promise.

And when he puts down his cards, I know I’m going to lose more than my body. I’m going to lose everything.

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LANA’S REVIEW

Damon Scott traded himself for me. He’s the only reason I’m safe. And I’m the reason he’s not.

Well…holy hell. I mean, damn, people. When Skye Warren first intrigued me with Damon and Penny back in The Castle, never in a million years did I imagine the depths of hell that these two truly go through. I don’t know how I’ll survive the wait until book two, because this book completely ruined me. It’s dark and gritty with barely any ray of hope to it. It builds the foundation to one incredibly powerful backstory and I couldn’t tear myself away until I read the entire book in one sitting.

Frustration flits beneath his calm surface. Even a hint of vulnerability. How many people can see it? I know that not everyone sees the kind side of him. He has weapons and suits and a million kinds of armor, all designed to shield his humanity.

Growing up in poverty to an drug addict mother and a gambling addict father, Penny barely had a chance for a normal life. Her genius mind and her gift for numbers her only hope to escape the meager life and hope for something more, until she catches the eye of one of the most dangerous men, a man that will eventually cost her everything.

The King takes you back years before the events in The Endgame trilogy; when Damon was just a young boy and Penny a seven year old girl. That fateful meeting sets in motion a chain of events that will forever change the course of Penny’s life.

Damon is the son to one of the most ruthless and evil underground criminals. A desperate attempt to escape his fate doesn’t go the way he hoped. To save a young girl from a fate worth than death, he makes the ultimate sacrifice. Now years later, when his father may be the King, he’s now the Prince of the underground crime. Dealing in drugs and women, his name is almost as feared as his father. When fate brings Penny crashing into his life again, nothing will ever be the same again.

There’s this heat coming off him, like he’s a fire and I’m thawing out. I know it’s not safe, being this close. He could burn me. But there’s also a small part of me that feels alive, only when he’s here. Only when he’s on top of me, his warm breath on my forehead.

Don’t expect much light with this book. It’s dark. Penny’s life is not an easy one and her ultimate fate is beyond devastating. The time transitions are smooth and flawless, eventually bringing us to parallel the time line in The Endgame. While you knew from the events in The Castle, that Penny suffered something horrendous, nothing prepares you for the true reality of it.

Admittedly, it was a tough pill to swallow, Penny being only 15 years old (eventually 16) in the present part of the book and Damon being 25. The age difference should be cringeworthy, and yet, it’s not. It’s hard to explain, and not wanting to give away parts of the book, I won’t even attempt. But if you’re worried about the age gap, don’t be. Penny lived a hard life and her 15 would be a sheltered girl’s 25. Skye Warren truly knows how to develop incredibly multi-layered characters full of depth. The King gives us only a hint, a small taste of the story between Damon and Penny. It gives us the backstory that I’ve been desperately craving, but now it leaves me even more desperate for the conclusion.

While this is a spin-off from The Endgame and could technically be read as a standalone, I highly recommend reading The Endgame first to truly appreciate everything that is Damon. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to rock myself in a corner somewhere until September.


JENNIFER’S REVIEW


I couldn’t gush enough about Skye Warren. If you know me at all, you know I am a HUGE fan. This series is one of my favorites of hers, after the Stripped and Endgame series. Lol. Ok. I love all her books. Leave me alone!! Her writing is able to capture beauty in the darkness. And there is A LOT of darkness in her books. Just gimme all the darkness.

à la Mode St. » fashion

We have something in common now. We’re both monsters. Not the kind you can see on the outside. He wears a secret smile on his handsome face. Bruises faded back to pale skin on my naked body. It’s only inside that something can never be repaired. Only inside that I never really leave the water. Inside that I learn to need the dark.

à la Mode St. » fashionThere was a turning point in this book that I loved. I could literally FEEL the words turning to a dark place. There is a pivotal before and after to Penny’s story, and to be completely honest, I prefer the AFTER. Skye’s writing just hits me harder when it’s darker and gritty and honest.

Penny. She is young and very smart, like genius with numbers, rain man style. Penny’s father has a gambling addiction, and Penny gets caught in the crossfire of her father’s addiction, and it doesn’t end well. Her body and mind are dragged through the fire, and let me tell you, I am glad that Skye didn’t give us all the details on this because I don’t think I could have handled it. Penny is ruined in this book, and Damon is on the other side to throw his soul off a cliff for her.

Damon. He is a tortured soul….literally. His father tortured his body and his mind when he was young. I am aching for more of him. I really appreciate that Skye included The Prince as part of the prequel to this story because it gives us more little morsels into what makes Damon tick. But I really do need MORE of Damon!!

Damon & Gabriel. Gabriel & Damon. Just put me in the middle of that delicious sandwich, please. I loved the snippets of Gabriel in this book (BECAUSE HE’S MINE!!).
à la Mode St. » fashion

Gabriel Miller is as bold as thunder, rumbling, unmistakable. Damon Scott is lightning, so bright he’ll blind you. They’re both forces of nature but only one will kill you just to touch him. Only one will burn you in a flash.

à la Mode St. » fashionMost of this book is a re-telling of the Endgame series, but from Penny’s pov. It definitely helped to fill in the blanks with Damon and Penny and how they get to where they are at the end of the Endgame series.

Yes, this ends in a cliffy. Do I care?

Not.

One.

Bit.

Skye could write cliffhangers all day long, and I wouldn’t stop reading them. It’s her words that matter and her words that I love.


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#DGRFave, Lana and Jenn’s Review: Ruckus by @lj_shen

RUCKUS
Series: Sinners of Saint #2
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Author: LJ Shen
Release Date: May 24, 2017

Rosie

They say that life is a beautiful lie and death a painful truth. They’re right.
No one has ever made me feel more alive than the guy who serves as a constant reminder that my clock is ticking.
He is my forbidden, shiny apple.
The striking fallacy to my blunt, raw, truth.
He is also my sister’s ex-boyfriend.
One thing you should know before you judge me;
I saw him first. I craved him first. I loved him first.
Eleven years later, he waltzed into my life, demanding a second chance.
Dean Cole wants to be my bronze horseman. My white knight has finally arrived. Hopefully, he isn’t too late.

Dean

They say the brightest stars burn out the fastest. They’re right.
She sets my mind on fire.
All smart mouth, snarky attitude and a huge heart.
In a world where everything is dull, she shines like fucking Sirius.
Eleven years ago, fate tore us apart.
This time, I dare it to try.
Getting to her is a battlefield, but man, that’s why they call me Ruckus.
Rosie LeBlanc is about to find out how hard I can fight.
And conquering her will be the sweetest victory.

AMAZONLANA’S REVIEW

Dean Cole was nothing like people pegged him. He was the worst kind of devil. One that hid behind a polite smile, preppy clothes, and good manners.

Confession time: I was equally ready to part with an ovary to get my grabby little hands on this book and dreading it. I know! I know! Quit looking at me like I’m crazy, I’ll splain everything. I was excited as hell for this book because I live for LJ’s words. LIVE for them. But a part of me was dreading it because Dean happened to date Rosie’s older sister in the previous book, Vicious, and even though their relationship was nothing big and happened when they were young, the last time I read that particular plot device, I absolutely hated it. I should have known better than to doubt the magic that is LJ Shen’s writing, though, because not only did she pull it off, she did so FLAWLESSLY.

She had no clue, this girl. No. Fucking. Clue. Who she was dealing with. I might’ve been nicer than Vicious, but I was still a HotHole. I was still a sinner…and I was still the wolf her grandmamma warned her about.

Dean has always had a thing for the baby LeBlanc sister; ever since he first laid eyes on her as a teenager. But then life happened, and in an effort to protect her older sister, Emilia, from his fellow HotHole Vicious, they began to date…entirely killing his chances with the younger sister. But his obsession with her never ended. Now she’s in New York, renting an apartment in the same building as him, and he knows nothing will stop her from having her now…not even her.

Because giving up was not in my dictionary. When I wanted something, I took it. And I fucking wanted her. A lot.

In the previous books Dean came off as the fun loving, quick to smile, anything for a good time party boy. It’s easy to write him off as a shallow party boy, but boy would you be wrong. This is a man of so many depths, it’s incredible. Shen wrote such a multifaceted character with Dean, it’s impossible not to lose your heart (and your ovaries) to the man. There’s so much beyond the party boy and dirty talker. But let’s be fair here, because the dirty talk?
Was.
On.
Point.

What am I doing to you?” He sounded menacing. Almost evil.
All-American, fresh-faced, lovely Dean had a very dangerous side, and he allowed me a sneak peek into it.
“You’re…” I stuttered. He tugged at my hair harder for the answer. It was painful, but at the same time, extremely hot.
“Say it, Baby LeBlanc.”
“You’re fucking me.”
“Hell, yeah, I’m fucking you. Feels good?”
“Y—yes.”
“Am I too deep?”
“N—no.”
“Am I too rough?”
“N—no.”
“Good. ’Cause I’m about to be.”

Rosie was an amazing heroine. Here’s someone dealing with a life-altering illness, yet it doesn’t diminish any of her spark. She has sass for days and isn’t afraid to put Dean in his place. Constantly. I loved how hard she made him work for it. And boy did he work for it.

Rosie was never the prey. She was, at times, the motherfucking hunter.

I loved the way these two complimented each other. I loved how their individual jagged pieces somehow fit together so effortlessly into something so beautiful and poignant.
Ruckus was everything I’d hoped it would be and yet so much more. It was angsty deliciousness filled with enough chemistry you felt like your fingers will burn just from turning the pages . It was packed full of feeling and so much depth, you can’t help but fall into the vortex of the story. It was beautiful. It was tragic.
It.
Was.
Everything.

There was zero menace in his tone. Dean ‘Ruckus’ Cole was a different kind of asshole to Baron ‘Vicious’ Spencer. He fucked you over with a polite smile on his face. In that sense, he was the Joker. In his mix of confidence, cockiness, good looks, and money, there was a dash of insanity thrown in. Enough to let you know that he meant every word he said.

LJ Shen is a freaking unicorn. Every book she releases is better than her last. If she gets any better at her craft I may have to build her a shrine and stalk her incessantly (at least more than I do now.)

What I’m trying to tell you here is…
Read.
The.
Damn.
Book.

Period.


JENN’S REVIEW

5 “after the flip, comes the boom” Stars!!!!!
Me going into this book:

Me at the end:
I knew I would love this book. But I didn’t expect my love for this book to compete for my love for Vicious’s book. To follow up after Vicious, which was basically perfection, I was skeeered. BUT LJ Shen just shoved her way into my heart with Dean ‘Ruckus’ Cole. How?! I have no idea. It was sneaky and genius.
à la Mode St. » fashion

Dean ‘Ruckus’ Cole was a different kind of asshole to Baron ‘Vicious’ Spencer. He fucker you over with a polite smile on his face. In that sense, he was the Joker. In his mix of confidence, cockiness, good looks, and money, there was a dash of insanity thrown in. Enough to let you know that he meant every word he said.

à la Mode St. » fashionI didn’t expect him to be mean. I expected to love him to death, but LJ Shen blew my mind out of the clean, crystal water and into the dirty gutter. Her words. Her feels. I loved the parallels the Shen draws in this book. There is NOTHING that I don’t love about LJ Shen’s books.

Rosie. WOW. Again, did not expect to love her show much. Stop making me FEEL so much shit, LJ Shen!!!! Rosie is sick. This is no secret. We know this when reading Vicious. We don’t know how strong she is, and the background story between Dean and Rosie. They love each other from the first sight, but they can’t be together, and they hurt each other left and right, and time is not on their side. But love is still there, after all the hurt and after all pain (AND DAMMIT, LJ SHEN, I’M CRYING WHILE WRITING THIS REVIEW!!!!!). Ok, breathe.

Dean…..dear god, where do I begin? He’s a manwhore. And don’t we just love a good manwhore? Hell, yes. He is an asshole, like Vicious. I mean, all 4 of these guys are called the Hotholes. Lol! But there is a goodness to Dean, deep down. It takes him a while to find it. And Rosie isn’t the one to change him. Again, it’s what I love about this series! The girl doesn’t change the asshole. The asshole essentially stays an asshole but tweaks the slightest parts of themselves to be loved by the girl.

It’s funny that I’m touching on all the emotional parts in this book because damn, it was all kinds of hot. And not like a little steamy hot…..like your brain can’t even wrap around the temperature of this book.
à la Mode St. » fashion

”You’re fucking me.”
“Hell, yeah, I’m fucking you. Feels good?”
“Y-yes.”
“Am I too deep?”
“N-no.”
“Am I too rough?”
“N-no.”
“Good. ‘Cause I’m about to be.”

Did you just feel that quote in your ovaries??? Yeah, you did!!!
à la Mode St. » fashionI didn’t know what to expect from the ending. To be honest, I was expecting the worst. I was gearing up for it because I didn’t want to lose my heart and my mind if something bad happened. And I can’t even tell you if there is a happy ending because just saying whether or not there is one will give it away because again…..LJ Shen is genius…..but I will say that I was happy WITH the ending. 🙂

Don’t mind me. I’ll just be over trying to pick up the pieces of my heart and tears after this book.


READ THE SERIES IN ORDER

DEFY | VICIOUS | RUCKUS

Blog Tour & Jenn + Lana’s Review: The Castle by @skye_warren

THE CASTLE
Series: Endgame #3
Genre: Dark Romance, Contemporary
Author: Skye Warren
Release Date: April 4, 2017

THE CASTLE by SKYE WARREN IS NOW LIVE!
The trilogy is now complete! #OneClick now!

THE FINAL BOOK IN THE TRILOGY!

Safe in the ivory tower…

Gabriel Miller swears he’ll keep me safe. Enemies lurk outside, waiting to strike. An army held back by these walls.

Except some animal instinct warns me the danger is much closer. It’s already here. Is Gabriel my protector or my enemy? Is this house a castle or a cage?

There’s nowhere for me to go, no one left for me to trust.

No escape from a past determined to capture its prize.

 

 

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LANA’S REVIEW

So bright. So beautiful. I used to wonder if it would burn to touch you.”
“Now you know. It doesn’t.”
“Oh, little virgin. You definitely make me burn. And I’m addicted to being ash.”

Alright, confession time.
True story. And usually the mere thought of a trilogy is enough to make me break out in hives. Why? Because I’ll usually find book two to be more filler, and I’m pretty much bored and uninterested by book three. So you may be asking yourself, why on earth did this crazy heifer read a trilogy then? And to that, my doubting friend, I only have one answer for you. Skye Warren wrote it. It doesn’t matter what this woman writes. She can write the damn alphabet and I’ll read it.

If I can describe this trilogy for you in one word, it’ll be intense. And not only does it start that way in book one, but it only gets more and more intense as the story progresses.

He fucks me like I’m the enemy, like he can vanquish me.”

Not only was I still riveted to every single word of this book and story, but I was fully invested and addicted. It doesn’t get more intense than Gabriel. It just doesn’t. And the man only gets better and better with each look into the depths of his dark soul.

A sense of inevitability overcomes me, the same as watching the moon rise in the sky. There’s no way that we can change the tides. All we can do is cling to the mast, the way I’m clinging to Gabriel now. He’s my ship, my center. My only hope for surviving the night.”

Skye Warren is a literary genius. The way she weaves her words is downright magical. Greek mythology, chess analogies, and dark intensity all wrapped around a romance that’s as erotic as it is forbidden. An innocent virgin falling for her captor and protector. A man who has seen too much darkness in his life to be anything less than a monster, allowing some of her light to seep through his heart’s cracks. All of it blended flawlessly through a captivating story of betrayal and vengeance that goes to show that monsters are real and can break even the strongest of spirits.

I’m not made of marble or anything hardy like that. I’m built from crystal flutes and rare silk. From the brushstrokes of my mother’s portrait. I’m a shadow of a human being, only a cautionary tale whispered from mother to daughter. A collection of dangerous words. I’m a myth. And as long as I don’t speak, I can bury myself.”

The Castle was the perfect conclusion to a series that captivated me from the very first. The Endgame trilogy was a story that kept me glued to the pages. The intensity built with each new book. With each secret that gets revealed. With each depravity that comes to light. It was addicting. It was heart pounding. It was completely unputdownable.

Oh, little virgin. I love you with every cold bone in my body. I love you with every dark thought, every violent impulse. I love you enough to leave the walls I’ve carefully built, the iron bars I refined, the castle I made.”

I forever worship at the altar that is Skye Warren and kept wait for more. So if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to rock myself in a corner somewhere, drinking my feelings, until The King comes out. Because DAMON!!!!


JENNIFER’S REVIEW

5 – Do you even have to ask how many stars I’m giving this??? – Stars

A Love Letter to Skye Warren…..Maybe more like a Crazy Fan-Girl Letter….Same thing.

Ok, this should be a book review for The Castle. But let’s be honest. Everyone KNOWS The Castle was brilliant, and if you don’t, then you should obviously read it (After The Pawn & The Knight). But what I really want to do is write a love letter to Skye Warren. Because I’m in luuuurve with her. Ok, not really….Well, maybe a little.
GABRIEL. Can I have him? Seriously, I want you to write a Gabriel story EVERY…..DAY and send me the story. No one else. Just me. Especially not Lana. BECAUSE HE’S MINE!! That’s why I want you in my basement. So no one else can have Gabriel. It’s a completely reasonable request.
Dear, Skye. I’m just over here with your favorite thing to lure you into my house so I can lock you up in my basement. (Jk. I’m not a crazy person…..not really.) Seriously. I want to meet you. And brunch with you. And just…..talk. Because you are brilliant. I love your words on pages. I love your STORIES. Ugh, your stories. I love those people in your head that talk to you and make you put them on paper. Ugh, all your characters. I am completely intimidated by you. This whole series and all of your books leave my jaw on the ground.

Ugh. This letter is getting cray. I should probably go before people think I’m cray.

Actual Review for The Castle:

Seriously.


Start the series today with THE PAWN!

TOTALLY FREE!

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* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

THE PAWN is a full-length contemporary novel from New York Times bestselling author Skye Warren about revenge and seduction in the game of love. It’s the first book in the brand new ENDGAME series.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Grab THE KNIGHT now!

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Skye Warren is the New York Times bestselling author of contemporary romance such as the Chicago Underground series. Her books have been featured in Jezebel, Buzzfeed, USA Today Happily Ever After, Glamour, and Elle Magazine. She makes her home in Texas with her loving family, two sweet dogs, and one evil cat.

Contact Skye:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/skyewarren
Twitter: https://twitter.com/skye_warren
Instagram: https://instagram.com/skyewarrenbooks
Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/user/SkyeWarrenBooks
Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/sk

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