The Wicked King (The Cruel Prince #2) by Holly Black

Book Description:

Published: January 8, 2019

Format: Audio/OverDrive

You must be strong enough to strike and strike and strike again without tiring.

The first lesson is to make yourself strong.

After the jaw-dropping revelation that Oak is the heir to Faerie, Jude must keep her younger brother safe. To do so, she has bound the wicked king, Cardan, to her, and made herself the power behind the throne. Navigating the constantly shifting political alliances of Faerie would be difficult enough if Cardan were easy to control. But he does everything in his power to humiliate and undermine her even as his fascination with her remains undiminished.

When it becomes all too clear that someone close to Jude means to betray her, threatening her own life and the lives of everyone she loves, Jude must uncover the traitor and fight her own complicated feelings for Cardan to maintain control as a mortal in a Faerie world.

Review –

Holy Crap,  High King Cardan, could you be more of an a$$hole?

One minute you think he might be a good guy and then he does the unthinkable and after marrying Jude and taking her to bed! (eye roll, head shake)

My first reaction on finishing was basically just: WHY DON’T YOU JUST PICK UP MY LIMP CARCASS AND TOSS IT 50 FEET  INTO THE SEA TOO. The story is excellent in the most beautiful, clever, and perfectly poisonous way. I am reeling and also want to s c r e a m myself into the next dimension because I seriously need book three, which won’t be out until November of this year.

A mortal raised in the realms of Faerie by the devious General Madoc, Jude Duarte has learned to play games of politics and intrigue quite well. By manipulating her onetime nemesis, Cardan (the titular Cruel Prince of the previous book, and Wicked King of this one), onto the throne and binding his will to hers for a year and a day, Jude has bought time for her young foster brother, Oak, whom Madoc would have thrust into power and controlled from the shadows. Using all of her resources — her spy net work, her inability to be glamoured, and her innate physical and intellectual talents — Jude manages to keep Cardan’s numerous rivals in check. The growing trust between Jude and Cardan blossoms into an unlikely romance and ultimately a clandestine marriage — but one final betrayal threatens to undo all of Jude’s plans. The plot itself twists, turns, and dovetails perfectly with the assured character development; in this way, Black proves herself a master storyteller. This book was dark, provocative, full of royal intrigue, and power plays galore

I can’t wait until November for The Queen of Nothing!

Five stars!!!!!!!

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The Ex (The Boss #4) by Abigail Barnette

Book Description:

Published: November 22, 2014

Format: Audio/Audible

Magazine editor-in-chief, bride-to-be, and soon-to-be-step-grandmother at twenty-six, Sophie Scaife is looking forward to married life with her fiancé and Dom, wickedly sadistic billionaire Neil Elwood. As they enter unexplored sensual territory, Neil leads Sophie to the very edge between pain and pleasure—and she discovers a surprising new side to her sexuality.

While Sophie balances her hectic work routine with her devotion to her unconventional family, Neil has to adjust to life as a retired mogul. With their big day drawing nearer, they have to forge through pre-wedding jitters, personal crises, and an unexpected houseguest to get to their kinky ever after.

But a decades old trauma still haunts Neil. When the private details draw public interest, Sophie learns that the scars of his past are greater than he let on—and he’ll need all of her love to heal them…

Review –

After the last book lulled me into a bit of rut with Sophie and Neil, they are back and more riled up than ever.  Our favorite pair is finally engaged and after the tease of the third book, the wedding is finally on the way. As a reader, I was ready for the wedding jitters, the dramatics of potentially leaving one another at the alter… I was not ready for rape to come into the picture. I didn’t fully realize that a small plot line that came up twice or so in the previous books would come to blow up in the way that it does in the fourth book in the series.

It is surprises like this that come completely out of the blue which truly make these books so special. I can jokingly say that I read them for the sex, and that’s not completely wrong. Where I sometimes deviate from that line comes in these moments. The author doesn’t hesitate to address issues like a dominant who rapes a submissive, when BDSM goes horribly wrong. She alternates between these very serious issues while leading the reader on a terrible journey of persistent wedding horrors with a side stop Losing Your Best Friendville.

In a way, it’s like getting sucker punched multiple times – each in a different muscle group so that you never quite recover.

Reading so far into a series makes the character development all the more satisfying, and this book is probably one of the best examples of that I’ve read in the recent year. From the first book, you watch Sophie grow from uncertain and pushed-around office girl to confident magazine editor and growing socialite. That doesn’t mean she isn’t immature in other areas, and you, as the reader, can watch her grow through them. Her sexuality is one of those issues. As Neil and her explore different depths in more ways than one, Sophie has to deal with reclassifying herself and learning that perhaps there is more to her sexuality than meets the eye. As per her usual self, she doesn’t take it “exceedingly” well. Neil’s own issues with his past rape dominate other parts of the book.

Now about the sex, the scenes that you’re all thinking of? Oh they are there, don’t you worry. Our favorite BDSM couple goes deeper (get it?) than before, and definitely explore uncharted territories that were not on the original ship manifesto. Somehow it doesn’t seem to matter what places the author takes them, because it is too hot to even care. Bring out the fans, readers – you will need them in this book.

Per usual, The Ex is trying to knock you out by mixing that heavy-laden mixture of real-life issues and overly sensual and well-written sex. Spoiler alert? They will suceed.

Now on to #5.