Wednesday, June 29, 2016

#Wednesday Review - The King Slayer by Virginia Boecker (Young Adult, Fantasy) @virgboecker @littlebrown

Series: The Witch Hunter # 2
Format: E-Galley, 368 pages
Release Date: June 14, 2016
Publisher: Little, Brown (BYR)
Source: Publisher
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy


"I think, in time, you'll either be my greatest mistake or my greatest victory."
Former witch hunter Elizabeth Grey is hiding within the magically protected village of Harrow, evading the price put on her head by Lord Blackwell, the usurper king of Anglia. Their last encounter left Blackwell ruined, but his thirst for power grows stronger every day. He's readying for a war against those who would resist his rule--namely Elizabeth and the witches and wizards she now calls her allies.
Having lost her stigma, a magical source of protection and healing, Elizabeth's strength is tested both physically and emotionally. War always means sacrifice, and as the lines between good and evil blur once more, Elizabeth must decide just how far she'll go to save those she loves.



The King Slayer is the second and final installment in Virginia Boecker's The Witch Hunter duology. Things have definitely changed for former Witch Hunter Elizabeth Grey, one of the best hunters in all of Anglia. Accused of being a witch, she was then charged with treason, and sentenced to death by her own mentor Blackwell, who she trained with and worked with for three years. Thanks to the assistance of Nicholas Perevil, the most powerful wizard in Anglia, Elizabeth found herself living in Harrow with the very same people who she once hunted, and yes, killed. In fact, she's had to make more than a few adjustments to go from the hunter, to an ally.

But, without her stigma which gave her strength and quick healing abilities, Elizabeth is basically just a human looking to stay alive. After months of waiting for Elizabeth to fully heal from her injuries, she must face a council inquiry into whether or not she will be allowed to stay in Harrow or be forced to leave. Elizabeth has even made some new friends along the way who have tried to help her against Blackwell and his new army of Revenants, Witches, and Wizards. They include John Raleigh, a healer, and the person now holding Elizabeth's stigma. (If you want to learn more about John, there is a novella called The Healer). The others are Peter, Fife, George, and Schuyler who have come to trust the once Witch Hunter. 

This series is set in alternative history 16th Century England, 1558 to be exact. There are hints that Anglia is actually England, while Gaul, is France. With this being a duology, things move rather quickly from start to finish. Elizabeth has to make choices. She has to decide whether to kill Blackwell on her own, or rely on her new alliances to help defeat his machinations, which include Blackwell's attempt at kidnapping and bringing Elizabeth back to his castle where he now claims to be King of Anglia. Elizabeth is not an overly complex character that we need to tear down and build back up. She was trained for a purpose. She survived deadly trials, and became the best at what being a witch hunter. Yes, she was even the former King Malcolm's mistress.

But, now, without her stigma, she can't hide the fact that she is mortal any longer. She has to train harder than most, and take chances so that she can thwart Blackwell's plans for her. She has to take a chance that her new allies won't stab her in the back at the most inopportune times. She also has to take risks that may be thought of as being reckless, and extremely dangerous to one's health. She also has to forgive herself for her past actions. Had Elizabeth just walked away from the entire thing, I dare say she would have regretted it for the rest of her life. But, above all, she has to make sure that John doesn't succumb to the new power he has in his body. New power that is making him reckless. 

I am pleased at how this story and series ended. I loved that the author brings along even more interesting characters like Keagan Hearn from the Order of the Rose along for the ride. Keagan is a fascinating character who belongs to a resistance group that does hit and run protests against Blackwell and who takes a chance on Elizabeth's determination to go after Blackwell. Keagan and the rest of the Order of the Rose have some pretty brilliant abilities as well. I was surprised, yet not shocked by the Caleb situation. You can never go wrong by tossing in a few heart racing surprises to keep the reader happy. You can also not go wrong by tossing in a mystery that will be shocking to most. If you are waiting for me to speak about the romance, all I can say is that it is pretty apparent in what direction this story was fated. Yes, there are difficult challenges. Yes, one of them is hard headed and needed to be slapped silly. Yet, there's not doubt Elizabeth and John are adorable together.





Tuesday, June 28, 2016

#Blitz Day! Forevermore by Kristen Callihan (Fiction / Romance / Historical) @Kris10Callihan @ForeverRomance

Series: Darkest London # 7
Format: E-Galley, 336 pages
Release Date: June 28, 2016 
Publisher: Forever
Source: Publisher
Genre: Historical, Paranormal Romance



Isolated and alone, Sin Evernight is one of the most powerful supernatural creatures in heaven and on earth. As an angel of vengeance, he hunts down the darkest evil, but when his long-lost friend, Layla Starling, needs him, he vows to become her protector. Even though she will be horrified by the man he has become. 

Now a famous singer and the toast of London, Layla believes that Sin is only here to guard her from rabid fans and ardent suitors. However, the truth is far more sinister. Desperate to avoid losing Layla a second time, Sin will face a test of all his powers to defeat an unstoppable foe - and win an eternity with the woman he loves



Forevermore is the seventh and final installment in Kristen Callihan's Darkest London series. Forevermore features St. John (Sin) Evernight, and Layla Starling as the main protagonists. I dare you to read this book without relying on the synopsis to guide you into choosing to read, or not to read the book. While the synopsis is interesting, it has nothing to do with the actual events that happen in the story.  Forevermore starts out in 1868 Boston (US) with two characters (Lena & Augustus) who have played large roles in the fate of our characters. It ends in 1890 London (UK) where all of Callihan's previous characters from book ONE onward take a final bow, learn some important truths, and deal with a major villain who has set his eyes set on Layla. It is a chance for series regulars to finally understand a whole lot of what was happening behind the scenes while they were fighting danger, and finding love. 

Sin and Layla are not strangers to each other. In fact, one could say they were once best of friends who lost each other due to circumstances neither one of them could control. They later found a way back to each other in London thanks to the machinations of Augustus who has had his fingers in a whole lot of pies. Sin has been the sad sack of this series not quite fitting in because of his past with a certain Fae Queen. Layla is a much celebrated singer who travels the world, and is not only beautiful, but talented as well. Until she looses her voice, and has to return to England where Augustus awaits her arrival. Until she blacks out and starts aching for the taste of blood. Until she finds out that there is a whole lot more to her friend, Sin, than meets the eyes.




Sin has had a major change to his persona, IE he is now a Judgement Angel mentored by Augustus. But, he can't get over the loss of his three sisters Miranda, Daisy, and Poppy who continue believe that he betrayed them. They have no clue what he went through, and seemingly could care less. Until one bloody, brilliant, angry Layla sets them straight and makes them feel rotten to the core. Meanwhile, Layla has no clue who her real parents are, or what abilities she has access to that are rapidly coming out in all their glory. With Augustus asking Sin to watch over Layla to ensure her safety while she figures things out with her new being, Layla must walk the walk into London's society and try to pick out a husband who can protect her while also challenging Sin to prove he has no feelings for her.

If you have NOT read this series yet, you are in for a treat. This is the perfect opportunity to do so since this is the final novel in the series. Now, you don't have to wait for any of the books to come out! Callihan has created a world that is dark, vivid, dangerous, and filled with Demons, Werewolves, Shape-Shifters, Raptor Demons, and a cast that has had to deal with a slew of dangerous villains while also finding a love. It is a world that crosses steampunk with paranormal with historical with steamy romance.

By romance, I am of course referring to Callihan's sex scenes which are hot and heavy and dangerous to one's health. I hope that readers will enjoy the back story between Lena and Augustus as well. You may have not liked Lena in the past, but you'll love how the couple's road ends. This is a couple that has been around the entire time watching over Miranda & Archer, Daisy & Ian, Winston & Poppy, Jack & Mary, and ensuring that Sin and Layla would find each other.


One might think being an immortal was a blessing, never grow old, never grow sick, never die. At one time in St. John Evernight’s life, he considered it a blessing too. He would be around long after the simple humans who surrounded him were nothing but dust. They could stare all they liked at his “strange” hair and frosty green eyes. They could gossip and speculate about him until they lost their voices. It didn’t matter. He was untouchable, and they were but fragile sacks of blood and bone.
How naive he’d been. Because living forever merely meant a lack of escape from the desolation of regret and loneliness. He knew now that he could walk down Jermyn Street endlessly, see the sands of time shift and rearrange before him, and never be a part of life.
“Brooding, Mr. Evernight?”
Sin almost jumped at the sudden sound of Augustus’s voice by his side. Damn, the blasted man loved to startle him. He gave Augustus a passing glance. Dressed in conservative brown tweed and a bowler hat, the angel appeared every inch the English gentlemen, save for his dark coloring that marked him to be from Southern climes.
“It’s really quite the trick, popping up like a soap bubble whenever you choose, Augustus. You must teach me how one day.”
The man’s mouth twitched. “With your luck, you’d pop up in the middle of a parliamentary session.”
Yes, Sin had abominable luck. Or perhaps it was more a matter of making abominable choices.
“You’re brooding again,” Augustus remarked.
“I’m not brooding. This is simply my face.”
Augustus snorted but remained silent as they walked along, past Trafalgar Square and down Whitehall.  
“Care to tell me why you called me here?” Sin asked, when they came upon the grounds of Westminster. For the past year, Sin had been in Rome, soaking in the warmer temperatures, drinking espresso in cafes along the Piazza della Rotunda, under the shade of the ancient Pantheon. He’d eaten simple but delicious food, and listened to the rapid fire of Italian, and felt…well, not peace, but a measure of contentment.
Until Augustus had sent for him. Returning to England sat like a stone in his gut. But he would obey. Augustus was his mentor, and the man who’d given him salvation. The price was a lifetime of servitude. To be fair, his role was for justice, not evil, which was a nice change of pace.
A massive dray rattled past, kicking up dust and sending a fug of stale manure into the air. They hurried past the cloud and headed for Westminster Abbey. Sin hadn’t planned on visiting today, but here they were all the same. He wondered if Augustus somehow had led him to their usual meeting place or if Sin had merely headed that way because of the man’s sudden arrival.
He’d like to think the latter. It did not sit well with him having another control his actions. Not since a certain evil fae had kept Sin as a blood slave for years. Even now, the memory made his stomach turn.
Not a soul acknowledged them as they walked through the abbey and into the cloisters. Here, a rare bit of sunlight peeked through the constant cloud cover and cast lacy shadows along the walkway. The sound of their boot heels clacked out a steady rhythm as they strolled along.
 “Layla returns to London tonight.”
At the mention of her name, Sin’s heart stilled within his breast. He’d tried his best to ward off all finer feelings, to remain numb, detached from life. And yet he could not, for the life of him, remain immune to Layla Starling. His childhood friend. The one woman who could take his breath, his reason, simply by laying eyes upon her.
Stuffing his shaking hands into his trouser pockets, Sin forced himself to keep an even tone. “So then I am to begin watching over her?”
God, but he did not want to. It would be agony, staying so close to her and never being allowed to show his true feelings. And yet a thrum of anticipation went through him at the mere prospect of seeing Layla once more.
 “Are you ready?” Augustus asked, though his expression told Sin he fully expected an affirmative answer.
So Sin told him the only truth left to him. “I will not fail her.”




AUTHOR INFORMATION

USA Today bestselling author Kristen Callihan is a writer because there is nothing else she'd rather be. She is a three-time RITA nominee and winner of two RT Reviewers' Choice awards. Her novels have garnered starred reviews from Publishers Weekly and Library Journal, as well as being awarded top picks by many reviewers. Her debut book, Firelight, received RT Book Reviews' Seal of Excellence, was named a best book of the year by Library Journal, best book of Spring 2012 by Publisher's Weekly, and was named the best romance book of 2012 by ALA RUSA. When she is not writing, she is reading.


FOLLOW FOREVER ONLINE


Books in Order they were released:
Series Page on Goodreads

Ember, (Miranda) prequel to Firelight
Firelight (Miranda and Archer
Moonglow (Daisy and Ian)
Winterblaze (Poppy and Winston)
Shadowdance (Mary Chase and Jack Talent)
Evernight (Will Thorne and Holly Evernight)
Soulbound (Adam and Eliza May)

  

  



BUY THE BOOK HERE








Monday, June 27, 2016

#Monday Review - Boundary Lines by @MelissaFOlson (Urban Fantasy) #47North

Series: Boundary Magic #2
Format: E-Galley, 292 pages
Release Date: October 13, 2015
Publisher: 47North
Source: Publisher
Genre: Urban Fantasy


Fitting into the Old World isn’t going very well for Boulder boundary witch Allison “Lex” Luther: she may have earned a place in a vampire’s service, but now it seems as if every supernatural creature in town has found a reason to hate her. And when Lex and her partner are assigned to investigate the suspicious disappearance of two vampires during the night of the full moon, they find themselves with more questions than answers.
Was it murder…or mutiny?
The crusade for answers will lead Lex all over the Colorado Old World, from a prison cell for a broken werewolf to a haunted Denver brothel. And when Lex determines the responsible party, the hunt is just beginning: something has been awakened in Boulder, something as old and powerful as it is terrifying. Only the woman with death in her blood can stop what’s coming.





Boundary Lines is the second installment in Melissa F. Olson's Boundary Magic series. US Army Veteran Allison "Lex" Luther has had to make a few life style changes over the last month. Especially after keeping two vampires from kidnapping her twin sisters little girl Charlie, who is a powerful Null, and then learning that she is a Boundary Witch after surviving the encounter. Boundary Witches, as we've learned, are one of the more dangerous witches in existence. A fact that really doesn't make Lex any friends with the local coven. Witches like Lex have been accused of unspeakable crimes including child sacrifices, killing people with their minds, and raising the dead. 

Lex made a deal with Maven, the Cardinal Vampire of Colorado, to work for her while Maven makes sure Charlie stays safe until she reaches adulthood. Lex now works on solving tricky issues with her new partner/investigator, and former cop Quinn. Quinn who is also a reluctant vampire. Lex is still holding a bit of a grudge towards the "Old World." After all, they were responsible for Sara's brutal death in LA which you can read more about by picking up Malediction: An Old World story. But, in a world where witches, vampires, and werewolves have a tricky truce in place, and magic is feeling out of balance. Lex must do what Maven asks of her or lose any hope of seeing Charlie reach adulthood. 

Lex has some interesting friends as well. They are Simon and Lily of Clan Pellar.  Simon, the science geek, and Lily, the flighty one who gave Lex her first tattoos to help guide her magic. They have each tried to teach Lex about her new status as a witch, and have become her sidekicks in solving some twisted mysteries while making Lex not feel as though she is totally reliant on Vampires. Olson does a fairly impressive job of keeping the mystery close to her chest right until the very end. Had I not been introduced to the villain in a spur of the moment meeting with Lily, I would have been totally wrong.

I like that Lex has become a more aware character of her abilities, and her place in Old World. I like the friendship between Lex, Lily, and Simon. I like that they don't make her feel as though she made a big mistake by aligning herself with Maven and her vampires especially since things haven't exactly settled down. I like Lex and Quinn as partners, and I guess they will eventually be more than just that. I liked the addition of boundary witch Nellie Evans who I think is going to be a useful mentor for Lex in future installments. I like that Olson doesn't skim over the fact that Lex is a veteran with some issues that still present themselves in dark times.

For those who have read Olson's Scarlett Bernard's series, this is really the same world, but in different locations. Lex lives and works in Colorado, while Scarlett makes her home in LA.

Up next: Boundary Born





Saturday, June 18, 2016

#Stacking the Shelves / Bought, Borrowed, & Bagged # 21


Bought Borrowed and Bagged is all about the latest additions to your library – virtual or actual, with books that are  bought, borrowed, won or ARCs  you will be reading soon. Bought Borrowed and Bagged is a homage to to Barron’s Books and Baubles from Karen Marie Moning’s amazing Fever series, and is hosted by Braine over at Talk Supe. 

Thanks for Shopping by! 

Going Radio Silent Next Week. Yes, it is my FIFTH blogoversary!
WOOT! Yet, I haven't seen my family in THREE years so there you go!

Have a great weekend!

~Shelley~

This Weeks Reviews: 



Wednesday - Julia Vanishes by Catherine Egan (YA, Fantasy)

  Thursday - Break Me Like a Promise by Tiffany Schmidt (YA, Contemporary)

Friday - Steeplejack by A. J. Hartley (YA, Steampunk)

 Saturday - Reliquary by Sarah Fine (Adult, Fantasy)



Scheduled for Next Week: 

June 21, 2016 - Happy Birthday Gizmo's Reviews!

HAVE A Great Week!

*Received from Publisher, & NetGalley!*

*Finished Copies*







Friday, June 17, 2016

#Saturday Review - Reliquary by Sarah Fine (Adult, Fantasy, Magic)

Series: Reliquary # 1
Format: E-Galley, 280 pages
Release Date: June 14, 2016
Publisher: 47North
Source: Publisher
Genre: Adult, Fantasy


Mattie Carver’s engagement party should have marked the start of her own personal fairy tale. But when her fiancĂ©, Ben, is violently abducted the next morning, her desperate quest to find him rips her away from small-town life and reveals a shattering truth: magic is real—and Ben is hooked. It’s not the stuff of storybooks. It’s wildly addictive, capable of producing everything from hellish anguish to sensual ecstasy almost beyond human endurance.


Determined to find out who took Ben and why, Mattie immerses herself in a shadowy underworld and comes face-to-face with the darkly alluring Asa Ward, a rogue magic dealer, infamous hustler…and her missing fiancĂ©’s estranged brother. Asa has the power to sense magic, and he realizes Mattie is a reliquary, someone with the rare ability to carry magic within her own body, undetected. Asa agrees to help find Ben on one condition: Mattie must use her uncommon talent to assist his smuggling operations. Now, from magic-laced Vegas casinos to the netherworld clubs of Bangkok, Mattie is on a rescue mission. With Asa by her side, she’ll face not only the supernatural forces arrayed against her but the all-too-human temptation that she fears she can’t resist.





Sarah Fine, the author of such books as Sanctum, Scan, Of Metal and Wishes, Marked, and The Impostor Queen, returns with yet another series with the release of Reliquary. Reliquary features Matty Carver as a lab tech and veterinary assistant, who wakes up the day after her engagement party to find her fiance missing and most likely kidnapped. In searching for Benjamin Ward, Matty learns that Ben has been keeping more than his fair share of secrets from her. 

He is not only deep into debt, but is also hooked on magic that causes an addiction not unlike alcohol or cocaine. The fact that her own Grandfather knew that Ben is keeping secrets from her, and attempted to use magic on him, should have been the wake up call that knocked some sense into Mattie's head. But, more about that later. Mattie, known as the Queen of biting off more than she can chew, finds herself entering a world of magic. 

A world that is more dangerous than Mattie can imagine. A world that considers her to be a Reliquary, and a very powerful one at that. A Reliquary by definition is a container for holy objects. In Mattie's case, she is able to contain magics like Sensilo (sensing), Ekstazo (pleasure), Knedas (manipulation) and Strikon (pain).
As Mattie attempts to find out what happened to Ben, and who may have taken him, she encounters the one man who Ben hated more than anyone else; his older brother Asa Ward.

Mattie and Asa end up on a cross country journey from Sheboygan to Chicago, Kansas City, Denver, Las Vegas, and on to Bangkok, Thailand trying to stay one step ahead of Mob Like bosses who collect all sorts of magical relics. Can Mattie stay focused on getting Ben back, or will she fall for the dangerous and sexy Asa who pushes all of her buttons? 

I really hate to discuss the negatives I found, but seriously, I need to get them off my chest. First, let's talk about Ben. Ben, I absolutely, and totally loathe you. I hate you for putting Mattie through her ordeal. I hate that you thought putting your magic addiction ahead of yours and Mattie's future was a good thing. I hate that you actually used manipulation magic on her! I believe you should be down on your hands and knees begging her for her forgiveness every single day of your rotten existence.

Asa, oh Asa how I am confused by you. I loved that you are the dangerous type. I loved how you pushed Mattie, but kept her safe at the same time. I loved how utterly and absolutely heartbreaking your past was. A past that made you disappear into the magical world where you feel at home. I loved how much you and Mattie together made total and absolute sense to me. I am sorry that Mattie's head is set in one direction. I dare hope that you make a spectacular return in Splinter, the sequel to Reliquary

Mattie. Dear Mattie. I adore that you remained true to Ben regardless of all the crap he kept from you, and the ordeal you went through to get him back home. I don't mind that loyalty actually. In fact, I think it's a bit naive, but charming for a person to have. I have to say the scenes between you and Asa were sizzling hot, and dare I say, I prefer Asa to useless Ben? I would love if you can find out more about your abilities from your Grandfather. Do so before you no longer have him around. 

Alas, like others, I choose not to like the ending of this story. I choose to not like the choices that Mattie makes. I choose to hope that Mattie rediscovers a whole new life choice before it's too late.  



Thursday, June 16, 2016

#Friday Review - Steeplejack by A.J. Hartley (Young Adult, Steampunk, Fantasy)

Series: Alternative Detective # 1
Format: E-Galley, 336 pages
Release Date: June 14, 2016
Publisher: Tor Teen
Source: Publisher
Recommended By: 
Genre: YA, Fantasy, Steampunk



Seventeen-year-old Anglet Sutonga, Ang for short, repairs the chimneys, towers, and spires of Bar-Selehm, the ethnically-diverse industrial capital of a land resembling Victorian South Africa. The city was built on the trade of luxorite, a priceless glowing mineral. When the Beacon, a historical icon made of luxorite, is stolen, it makes the headlines. But no one cares about the murder of Ang's new apprentice, Berrit—except for Josiah Willinghouse, an enigmatic young politician, who offers Ang a job investigating Berrit's death. On top of this, Ang struggles with the responsibility of caring for her sister's newborn child.
As political secrets unfold and racial tensions surrounding the Beacon's theft rise, Ang navigates the constricting traditions of her people, the murderous intentions of her former boss, and the conflicting impulses of a fledgling romance. With no one to help her except a savvy newspaper girl and a kindhearted herder from the savannah, Ang must resolve the mysterious link between Berrit and the missing Beacon before the city is plunged into chaos



Steeplejack is the first installment in new to me author A.J. Hartley's Alternative Detective trilogy. 17-year old Anglet "Ang" Sutonga lives in a place called Bar-Selehm. One could say that the setting of the story is an alternative version of South Africa, especially with the most diverse cast that I can truly remember reading about. Ang is one of only a few individuals, and the only female, who works the high places of Bar-Selehm. Her work includes cleaning and repairing everything from chimney's to spirals to towers. 

After discovering her new apprentice Berrit murdered, and the Beacon that shines brightly over the city missing, Ang is pulled into a situation that can have dire consequences for people of all colors. Ang is what's known as a Lani. In other words, she's not white, nor black. The Lani came to the country as laborers, and now they do various jobs like being a steeplejack. Ang takes the burden on her shoulders to discover what really happened to Berrit, and ends up working for the only person who seems to really care; Josiah Willinghouse. 

Ang and Josiah make a deal. Ang will do what she does best; investigate who killed Berrit, and who had the means necessary to steal the Beacon which is made of a rare and valuable material called luxorite. That means Ang gets to dig into places only she would have access to, which puts a target on her back. Ang is such an interesting and fierce character. Ang is a character that you can relate to, except for maybe her family. Ang has her own moral compass, and I can honestly respect a whole lot of her choices.

She struggles to survive each day knowing that she can fall to her death at any time. She belongs to a gang lead by a man who is just vulgar, and pays peanuts to his gang. Her own family, two older sisters, are dysfunctional and horrible towards Ang. I do have one minor issue and that concerns a baby that Ang becomes responsible for. I shall not spoil the rest, nor will I say who it actually belonged to. Was just trying to figure out the point of that particular storyline. After all, Ang puts her life on the line time and time again.

Steeplejack is a story that is deep into racial and political tensions but not overtly to make the reader feel uncomfortable. One wrong move on Ang's part, or not discovering who the actual villains are, will push the country into a war that it cannot win. Hartley does an amazing job of keeping a strong pace, while also making readers confused about who would be responsible for intentionally tearing the country apart. His cast of characters is so diverse, that I challenge would be readers to jump in feet first and enjoy.



Wednesday, June 15, 2016

#Thursday Review - Break Me Like a Promise by Tiffany Schmidt (Young Adult, Contemporary)

Series: Once Upon a Crime Family # 2
Format: E-Galley, 416 pages
Release Date: June 7, 2016
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Children's
Source: Publisher
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary


No one is unbreakable.

All Magnolia Vickers has ever wanted was to follow father’s path as head of the Family Business. But new legislation is poised to destroy the Family’s operations in the black-market organ trade and Maggie’s recent behavior has wrecked the business-savvy reputation she’s worked her whole life to build.

She’s given an ultimatum: shape up or step aside.

Then Maggie messes up: she downloads a virus onto her father’s computer, and must sneak it off-estate for repair. When Alex, a tech whiz, uncovers the type of information on the machine, he offers Maggie a choice: her Family can give him a kidney, or he’ll irreparably scramble the data. Maggie agrees, but has no intention of keeping her promise or ever seeing him again. That night Alex shows up at her Family estate with copies of confidential Family files and a shocking revelation—the kidney is for him.

The Vickers aren’t willing to let Alex out of their sight, so he moves onto their estate and Maggie is assigned to be his keeper. A task she resents and he enjoys making as challenging as possible. But procuring black market organs is becoming increasingly difficult, and as Alex’s health declines, she’s surprised to find herself falling for him.

Like it or not, Maggie must accept that if she wants to save Alex’s life and carve out a place in the new legalized organ business, she’s going to have to fight for both.





Tiffany Schmidt's Break Me Like a Promise is the sequel to Hold Me Like a Breath and the second installment in her Once Upon A Crime Family series. This time around the story revolves around 19-year old Magnolia Grace Vickers, the daughter and heir apparent to her families black market organ business. In this world, there are only THREE main families who control the black market organ business; Vickers (Maggie), Landlow (Penny), and Zhu (Ming). 

For those who haven't read the first novel in the series, the story actually takes place FIVE months after Maggie lost the love of her life, Carter Landlow in a brutal massacre that has left the families in shambles. Schmidt does a fairly decent job of summarizing previous events including bring back Penny and Char back for this installment. Maggie is in a very dark place as the story opens. She can't move forward, and she chooses to hide her pain away instead of talking about it. 

Maggie and Carter were lovers, best friends, roommates, and each other's secret crush for years. So many years, in fact, that nobody took Maggie seriously when she claimed she had a boyfriend who she rushed off to see every chance she got. Now that Carter is gone, and her best friend Penelope Landlow is living with a relative in DC, it is up to Maggie to find a way to recover and recover quickly as the fate and future of her families business rides on an Organ Bill slowly making its way through Congress. 

Maggie is given an ultimatum by her father Holt Vickers. Either Maggie can pick herself off the ground, and by all means take off that dirty and disgusting smelling sweatshirt and take a shower! Or, she will get left behind in the shuffle that is sure to be forthcoming. Maggie's determination ends up putting her in a situation where she has to reach out to the most unlikely source for assistance. Assistance that comes with blackmail terms. With the Organ Bill making its way through Congress, Maggie must make her mind up on what side of the issue she will fall.

Organ donation, legal or illegal, is a serious topic folks and one that needs to be handled carefully. Hundreds of people die each year after being rejected by the FDA for everything from disabilities to making honest mistakes. Too often those who are on the waiting list die before the necessary organ is found. Bottom line. There are too many people waiting for organs that just don't exist. 

If you believe in the organ donor system, YOU SHOULD sign up. Get tested today. The life you may save by doing so is an incredible feeling. While I agree that organ swapping should be illegal, I can understand why people look for an alternate route to surviving. I would never, ever blame someone for trying to live longer than what they've been told.