Finale (Caraval #3) by Stephanie Gerber

Book Description:

Published: May 7, 2019

Format: Audio/OverDrive

A love worth fighting for. A dream worth dying for. An ending worth waiting for.

It’s been two months since the Fates were freed from a deck of cards, two months since Legend claimed the throne for his own, and two months since Tella discovered the boy she fell in love with doesn’t really exist.

With lives, empires, and hearts hanging in the balance, Tella must decide if she’s going to trust Legend or a former enemy. After uncovering a secret that upends her life, Scarlett will need to do the impossible. And Legend has a choice to make that will forever change and define him.

Caraval is over, but perhaps the greatest game of all has begun. There are no spectators this time—only those who will win, and those who will lose everything.

Welcome, welcome to Finale. All games must come to an end…

Review –

“Picking up just after the end of Legendary (2018), Garber continues to build the world of Caraval with a final installment, this time focusing equally on both Dragna sisters’ perspectives.

After they released their long-missing mother from the Deck of Destiny, Scarlett and Donatella hoped to rebuild their relationship and gain a new sense of family. However, Legend also released the rest of the Fates, and, much to their dismay, the Fallen Star—essentially the ur-Fate—is only gaining in power. As the Fates begin to throw Valenda into chaos and disarray, the sisters must decide whom him to trust, whom to love, and how to set themselves free. Scar’s and Tella’s passionate will-they-or-won’t-they relationships with love interests are still (at times, inexplicably) compelling, taking up a good half of the plot and balancing out the large-scale power games with more domestic ones. Much like the previous two, this third book in the series is overwritten, with overly convenient worldbuilding that struggles nearly as much as the overwrought prose and convoluted plot. While those who aren’t Garber’s fans are unlikely to pick up this volume, new (or forgetful) readers will find the text repetitious enough to be able to follow along.” Kirkus Review

I was disappointed with this final book of the Caraval series. I loved the other two, but for me, this one fell flat. It’s true that the sisters had their hands full with fighting the Fates, keeping their romances alive and surviving to love another day, so I don’t know why I felt like there should have been more.

The thing I COULDN’T get enough of was the vivid imagery and the lush fantasy with which the author filled all three books in the series. Her descriptions are colorful and majestic.

 

 

 

 

Sweet Addiction (Sweet #6) by Maya Banks

Book Description:

Published: April 3, 2012

Format: Audio/Audible

He awakened a need within her…

Cole is successful beyond his dreams. He can have any woman he wants, but there’s only one he can’t stop thinking about. His childhood sweetheart, Renita. He’s never forgotten his first taste of innocent love and the desire that consumed them—or the pain he brought upon her…

But now she belongs to another…

Her long ago brush with submission awakened a longing in Ren that drove her to walk the darker edge of desire. She’s become a beautiful woman at ease with her sexuality and unapologetic about her need for a dominant man. When Cole finds her again, he’s gutted that she belongs to another. Ren’s current master agrees to give her to Cole for a short time, but then she must return to his keeping. And though Cole agrees to this bargain, he knows he will never be able to let Ren go again…

Review –

When I started Sweet Addiction I had only read the first and third book in this series. I totally planned read all of them, but it will never be in order and that frustrates me since I am a go in the order kind of reader. 

This book is not for the faint of heart. It deals with some tough issues, one of which is a love triangle. Ren is at the center of this triangle. Early in her life she met and fell in love with Cole. He waited patiently for her to grow up to a mature age, but she never doubted he was the dominate man she craved. They experimented with BDSM, but they were both young and inexperienced. When Cole hurts Ren in an accident, Ren forgives him knowing he didn’t intentionally injure her, but Cole can’t forgive himself and leaves her. Broken hearted, both moved on with their lives.

We first learn  about Lucas, Ren’s Dom and lover. Owning nightclubs, he is well off and can afford to accommodate his passions. He takes on subs and is loyal and honest with them during their relationship, but they never last forever. He is also known to like to watch other men take his subs, something he has not done with Ren yet. The couple has a very brutally honest relationship built on trust, but neither one realized they had fallen in love, nor admitted it to each other.

When Cole comes back into Ren’s life, her world is turned upside down. He wants her back, but she has moved on. Lucas realizes he loves her and wants to keep her, but to do so she must move on from her past. So Lucas gives Ren to Cole for two weeks at which point he wants Ren back for her to make her decision. What I didn’t like is he never once explains this to Ren. Ren goes into believing she is just being shared with Cole for one night and her trust is severely pushed when Lucas just leaves. I was actually angry at this part of the book at both men, but also at Ren for being so accepting to what ever happened. Sub doesn’t mean doormat!

Next we find out more about Cole. We get to see that he has never found anyone to satisfy him like Ren. Anyone who came close was already claimed by someone else. He works for Damon’s (Book #2 is Damon’s) sex club getting subs ready. This isn’t his day job by any stretch. He also successful in real estate and investments. He views this time as his to win Ren back, doing everything he can to show her he won’t leave again.

Finally, we learn about Ren. She has a decision to make, but there are things that take that decision away. She’s in love with both but really can she have either? Honestly, I am not really sure I like Ren for most of the book. I liked her honesty, recognizing her need for dominance, for pursuing her career, but I felt she got run over by these men and lost her own personality in the mix.

The end was probably the best way to end the book, but I didn’t care for it. Again the guys do something to her and don’t bother to explain it. I know Dom’s don’t need to ask, but when you are dealing with an emotional situation with a sub, you need to be upfront and honest instead of planning a scene to explain it.

This is a darker look at BDSM than what I have seen from Maya Banks before. I by far haven’t read all of her books, but the ones I have are a little lighter. There are menages, anal, spankings, bondage, and more in this book. It is deep. I loved the two heros of the book except for their two slip ups. They were Dominant, but they also read the sub and knew what she wanted and needed. But I found Ren to be to compliant to everything. She didn’t have to be bratty to have a personality, but I didn’t see one from her as much.

The book is extremely steamy with some incredibly hot  sex scenes. Many layers to each scene both in the bedroom and out. This deals with lost love, new love and the time to heal between.

 

When It Rains by Lisa DeJong

Book Description:

Published: September 25, 2103

Format: Audio/Audible

One night changed my life forever.

Beau Bennett has been my best friend since I can remember. He was my first crush before everything came crashing down, and now he wants more, but it’s more than I can give him. Things are different now. I wish I could tell him why, but I can’t.

I haven’t told anyone.

I never knew how much I really needed him until the day he left for college, and I was completely alone.

Then one day, Asher Hunt rides into town with his dark, captivating eyes and cocky grin. He doesn’t care who I used to be, he’s simply breathing life into what’s left. People warn me to stay away from him, but he helps me forget the pain that has held me hostage for so long; something I thought was impossible before he walked into my life.

I’ve been hurt.

I’ve been saved.

And I’ve found hope.

I thought my story was written that night, but now I know it was only a new beginning. Until one secret turns my world upside down…

Again.

Review –

The basic story line follows the heroine, Kate, who has grown up living next door to a guy, Beau. They’ve been inseparable best friends and as they got older, they both knew in their hearts that they were each other’s forever. Unfortunately, one rainy night without Beau there to protect her, a guy rips away a part of Kate’s life, taking something from her that she could never get back.

Ashamed and confused, she kept her nightmare hidden from everyone in her life for over two years not even telling Beau despite how desperately he cared for her and tried to get her to open up to him about it. He knew something was wrong but he didn’t know what and he was willing to wait for her, be there for her and support her no matter what.

But Kate didn’t feel worthy of his love and kept pushing him further and further away… and finally when he left for college, she severed nearly all their ties wanting him to go on and find his happiness without her.

At this point in her life, Asher walks in. Gorgeous, mysterious and totally into her, he pushes her to face her fears and get back the pieces of her life that were stolen from her. For whatever reason, he is the one she can accept help from and she falls hard for him. But he is hiding a huge secret… one that that quite literally changes everything… … and that he doesn’t reveal until it’s too late. Faced with the tragic outcome of his secret, Kate turns back for support to the one person who has been there all along for her and never stopped loving her, Beau.(que the tears)

The ending is bittersweet but, people aren’t perfect and life certainly isn’t a fairy tale. Sometimes it throws curve balls that change everything you’d planned, and sometimes it hands you a lifeline that helps you survive. Overall, the writing is beautiful, and the story is very well put together and truly made me feel

Excellent read, but be sure to keep Kleenex handy.