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    SERIES REVIEW: Haven Hart Books 1-7 by Davidson King

    ***Long post. you can skip to the end for the tl,dr version if preferred

    Never judge a series by its spin-off is a lesson I learned from Haven Hart.

    I read Joker’s Sin series first, and I’m sad to say, I wasn’t too impressed. I didn’t bother with Haven Hart after that. Then on a whim, I decided to pick up Snow Falling, since heck, Joel Leslie and Philip Alces were narrating, and these two are always fantastic. Plus, I was also in the mood for some mafia romance.

    I ended up binging the entire series! That GOOD!

    These are not-so-mini reviews of the seven books in the main Haven Hart universe. The books should be read in order.

    Snow Falling: A man with a dangerous past and a man with a dangerous future find love amidst murder and mayhem. But with Snow’s life being threatened at every turn, will Christopher’s best be enough to prevent Snow Falling?


    I didn’t have much expectations going in. I thought it would be the usual mafia romance. Little did I know, I would be completely charmed by the delightful titular character, Snow. This ray of sunshine also charmed a houseful of mobsters, especially the boss, Christopher Manos.

    Snow saved Simon, Christopher’s 8-year-old nephew, from a dire fate, putting himself in grave danger in return. Christopher offered the homeless Snow protection and a place to stay, hiring him as Simon’s companion.

    It was a joy to watch the much-feared mob boss, Christopher Manos, become simply Chris. I loved how he was drawn to Snow without seeming to realize it. He instinctively let him take the lead, and it was so endearing that Snow didn’t even realize how much power he had having the Christopher Manos in his corner. Our boy asked for so little, and here was Chris, ready to give him the world!

    It’s a fabulous book to open the series. It showed a glimpsed of Haven Hart from its underbelly. It touches upon some dark themes, but still relatively lighter than the other books. The plot had many surprising twists and dark secrets to uncover. I was completely riveted!

    Rating:
    4.5 Stars – perfection is only half a step away

    Soundtrack: Naked
    Artist: Jaymes Young
    Album: Feel Something


    Hug It Out: When a mole is discovered within Riordan’s organization, relationships are compromised, and people’s lives are in danger. Time isn’t on their side, and they discover answers can’t always be found by hugging it out when someone is hell-bent on eliminating each and every one of them.

    So I tried reading this a couple years back, but I wasn’t feeling it. I was a bit skeptical (and admittedly judgey) about Teddy’s job. Like seriously, a professional hugger? I don’t even like hugging my relatives.

    Second time’s the charm because past the first couple of chapters, I got the hang of it. It’s a cute story of an assassin who was gifted with a professional hugger. He didn’t know what to do with him, so he ended up falling in love.

    I wasn’t as interested in the romance as I was with Riordan’s organization and his co-workers. He works for Black, an enigmatic and intimidating Thor of a man, who suddenly discovered somebody plans to launch a hostile takeover of his assassin company. Riordan and a few other trusted assassins work to uncover who was behind it.

    This installment introduced many of the characters who star in the succeeding books. The plot is as suspenseful and more action-packed. It also hinted at the presence of the nameless, faceless, hella mysterious heir to the Haven Hart founding family via the presence of Poe. He is an artist Snow befriended, and also the Hart heir’s representative. I was dying with curiosity!

    Rating:
    4 Stars – minor quibbles but I loved it to bits

    Soundtrack: Bullet Holes
    Artist: Gregory Alan Isakov
    Album: Evening Machines


    A Dangerous Dance: Bill and Mace’s traitorous hearts draw them closer together no matter how hard they fight the inevitable. With the lives of their loved ones hanging in the balance, they find themselves in the middle of a dangerous dance.

    This is an enemies-to-lovers story of Bill, Christopher Manos’s underling who became Snow’s best friend, and Mace, an assassin from Black’s organization. They were forced to work together.

    I didn’t expect Bill to get his own book. He was a goon from the Russian mob who threatened Snow. He had been given a second chance by Christopher after Snow asked to spare his life. He was mostly in the background, so I was surprised that he was suddenly Snow’s best friend.

    Mace was more memorable because he’s a flashier character. That’s all I’ll say about him because he and Bill weren’t that interesting. However, both are great as secondary characters.

    Their story felt very much like a mid-series book. It picked up the threads from the previous book and ended in an HFN. Not so satisfying but understandable given how things went.

    Rating:
    4 Stars – minor quibbles but I loved it to bits

    Soundtrack: Born Killers
    Artist: Selebrities
    Album: Lovely Things


    From the Ashes: Unknowingly sharing the same goal—burying their own pasts deeper than the fires of hell can reach—Black and Quill are unaware that jumping into that fire will do more than ignite their feelings, it could lead to their own demise.

    I was excited about this because Quill piqued my interest when he first appeared in Book 2. I was thrilled he’s paired with Black because they’re total opposites.

    Quill is the colorfully tattooed smallish barista who latched on to Black and flirted every chance he got. Black is this grumpy giant who couldn’t understand why Quill, 20 years his junior, was interested in him. After the events in Book 3, he hired the young man to do deliveries.

    At first, the story was cute and amusing with Black trying to fend off the relentless Quill. Then things took a darker turn when it was revealed Quill was a victim of domestic abuse. Black was in full protective mode because he took such crime personally.

    Why he takes it personally was a story so tragic and horrific it triggered my anxieties. And I’m normally the type of reader who’s barely ruffled by blood and gore scenes. The author didn’t make it too graphic, it was just that terrible. You can feel how heartbreaking it was for Black to talk about it. Also, the scene where Quill was being hunted had me holding my breath. I was so terrified for him!

    My heart went out to Black and Quill! I am so glad this is romance, and the happy ending is guaranteed, or else I would be completely devastated.

    Rating:
    4 Stars – minor quibbles but I loved it to bits

    Soundtrack: Born In Flames
    Artist: In This Moment
    Album: Mother


    Snow Storm: The city of Haven Hart rests under the heel of Christopher Manos. Snow has found a home, a family, and the love of one of Haven Hart’s most powerful men. When Christopher and Simon are kidnapped, Snow risks everything to find his family. Snow calls in every favor he is owed, risking his life promising favors in return, all to save his family and the man he loves.

    This installment returns to Christopher, Snow, and now teen, Simon. The happy couple wants to celebrate Simon’s birthday. Chris promised his nephew the two of them would go camping so that they could spend some quality time together. En route, they were ambushed and kidnapped.

    Manos family skeletons were unearthed when Christopher came face to face with their kidnappers. The lengths Snow would go through to save his family knew no bounds. He even went so far as break his friendship with Poe by asking him to do the unthinkable, betray the Hart heir.

    This part was particularly juicy because I was hungry for crumbs about the Hart heir. Poe guarded his secrets like a dragon guarding his hoard. I’m so tempted to skip to the 7th book!!!

    Anyway, Snow was wonderfully brave and smart, even if he had to hurt Poe in process. Thankfully, they reconciled later on. With Black’s help, Snow hatched a clever rescue mission. This book also has a mid-series feel to it, bridging the past events to the present and laying down the seeds of things revealed in the next book. It’s not as dark as the previous book but still very gripping!

    Rating:
    4 Stars – minor quibbles but I loved it to bits

    Soundtrack: Find You
    Artist: Ruelle
    Album: Rival


    Triple Threat: Lee, Jones, and Ginger deal with dangerous situations and mounting stress daily working for the most powerful assassin organization in the world. All of those things seem like a walk in the park compared to the friction that sparks between them. When all three are assigned to the same job, ignoring the heat from the inferno of desire becomes impossible.

    Lee, Jones, and Ginger are Black’s people. Jones is the muscle and Lee’s best friend, while Ginger is the recruit. Lee is a hacker who went to the dark web to track down human traffickers who were running an auction. Then they discovered Ginger’s brother being sold and rushed to save him.

    This is a road trip poly romance running alongside a vigilante mission to take down the human trafficking ring. It had Jones and Lee pretending to be buyers while Ginger worked in the shadows since his close resemblance to his brother would give them away. They had to follow instructions and codes to various locations before they could retrieve their “merchandise.”

    Given the stomach-turning crime tackled here, the author did a good job keeping things from becoming too disturbing. The plot brings various arcs together and edges closer to the finale. I love how things are starting to fall into place. At the same time, it had me asking burning questions!

    Rating:
    4 Stars – minor quibbles but I loved it to bits

    Soundtrack: Bloom
    Artist: Murder By Death
    Album: The Other Shore


    Raven’s Hart: Haven Hart stands on the edge of good and evil. Having balance between the two is the only thing keeping the town from crumbling to the ground. For years, one man has been charged with maintaining that balance. Poe. The air of mystery surrounding Poe is one of necessity. Poe will need the help of his friends to fight the ultimate battle; not just save Haven Hart but everything and everyone he holds dear to him.

    Finally, Poe’s book!!!!

    I will not say much about the plot. All you need to know is that it’s so worth it to read the first six to get to this! My jaw dropped to the floor at the revelations. And that’s just in the opening chapters!

    I was also floored to know the true measure of the weight and heartache Poe carries. This guy is holding Haven Hart together single-handedly. And doing it while barely holding himself together. It’s a wonder he’s still standing, the poor man! Poe is amazing!!!

    Davidson King definitely saved the best for last! Haven Hart was never the same after this!

    Rating:
    4.5 Stars – perfection is only half a step away

    Soundtrack: You
    Artist: Tally Hall
    Album: Good & Evil

    The Haven Hart series is about family. The good ones, the ones people found, and the ones they’d rather forget. I loved how the main characters were so alive and real, I felt like I knew them personally. Their stories moved me, scared me, amused me, made me feel like I’m part of their lives. Their stories are a delicate balance of good and evil, much like the city that gave the series its name.


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    REVIEW: Silent Knight by Layla Reyne

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    Fog City: Silent Knight – Layla Reyne

    I won’t let anything happen to you.

    Fourteen years ago, Braxton Kane’s feelings were forbidden.
    As an officer, he couldn’t fall for an enlisted… no matter how much he longed for Holt Madigan.
    Now—as a police chief in love with a digital assassin—his promise to always protect Holt is becoming harder to keep.

    I’ll protect you.

    Holt doesn’t understand why his best friend has been pushing him away for months.
    But when Brax’s life and career are threatened, Holt refuses to allow the distance any longer.
    The Madigans protect their own, and Brax is family, whether he believes it or not.

    I won’t let anything happen to you either.

    Forced together, Holt realizes his feelings for his best friend have changed.
    His desire to explore the promise their single night together held is undeniable.

    His resolve to protect the man who has always protected him is unshakable.
    But if Holt wants a future with Brax, he’ll have to search and destroy the person who attacked him—before Brax activates the kill switch and sacrifices himself.

    Love and devotion. Friendship and trust. Family. It all comes down to this. Holt and Kane, together at last, in the final book of the Fog City romantic suspense series.


    Saving the last for the best Madigan of ’em all!

    Silent Knight is the most awaited finale of Fog City, a series about the notorious Madigans. I’ve been waiting for Lil H’s story ever since he and Brax had those moments in the Hawes’ Fog City trilogy.

    Holt Madigan, hacker, ex-soldier, dad, and all-around sweetheart, had had it worse in the first books when his wife, Emilia, turned out to be a traitor in their midst. His best friend, Police Chief Braxton Kane, has been his rock for decades. Now, Brax’s life is in danger, and Holt will do anything to save the person who saved his life.

    Their story started 14 years ago when they were in the military. Then-captain Brax first set eyes on the young private stepping off the plane and immediately fell in love. He promised himself he would do everything to make sure that soldier would board the plane home alive.

    Due to military regulations, a relationship was forbidden, and Brax kept his feelings for Holt under lock and key. However, the two became best friends. Their bond remained strong even after returning to civilian life and Brax learning the truth about Holt’s family.

    The first half is told in flashbacks from Brax’s POV. This part made my chest hurt. The pining alone was worth 5-stars. Poor Cap had it bad for the Private. So bad that he forced his way into a mission to protect the young soldier, helped him transition back to civilian life while he’s still halfway across the world, forced to silently endure Holt getting married to another person, moved across the country to live in the same city as him, risk his career to protect him and his family of assassins. Never once letting his best friend know how he truly felt for him. Not even that night he helped the pan/demisexual Holt lose his virginity. Damn the man and his military discipline!

    The second half covers the present and is told from Holt’s POV. This is where most of the mystery and the suspense came in. All the Madigans rallied to Brax’s side to uncover who was behind the threats. I loved how everyone considered him family and pretty much already assumed he and Holt were a given. The only one who needed to realize this was Holt.

    This part lost me at some points. The mystery wasn’t as riveting as it was supposed to be. There was a big to-do with the investigations, where I danced with glee at the cameos from Jamie, Aiden, Mel, and Nic, characters from Agents Irish and Whiskey and Trouble Brewing. There were also some attempts at plot twists. But at the end of it all, everything still came down to the default bad guy. So there weren’t any major surprises. The big showdown, while fitting Holt’s character, also felt anti-climactic.

    The suspense bit might not have been strongly delivered but the rest of the story, and the romance, in particular, was what made this book my favorite in the series. It is a beautifully rendered love story about falling for one’s best friend and a deeply rewarding requiting of a silent and unconditional love. And the way this book was written, which felt more intense and angstier than the rest, hit me harder in the kokoro.

    There is a strong sense of family that ties everyone together, from the Madigan siblings to their significant others to their organization members, and their friends. It is these characters and their bonds that kept me returning to Fog City and its sister series time and time again

    The epilogue wasn’t what I was looking for, not enough Brax and Holt. But it left an opening for possibly another spinoff. And it looks like Brax is going to play a big part here too!

    Overall, Silent Knight might not be as flashy as Hawes’ books or as bombastic as Helena’s, but it is the one that spoke the loudest and the most heartfelt.

    Rating:
    4 Stars – minor quibbles but I loved it to bits

    Soundtrack: How Can I Protect You
    Artist: Restless Modern
    Album:

    P.S.

    Silent Knight is best experienced after the Fog City trilogy and Queen’s Ransom. The Madigans wouldn’t have it any other way.

    While you’re at it, pick up the equally fantastic partners-to-lovers romance between FBI agents, Aiden Talley and Jameson Walker, in Agents Irish and Whiskey.

    Because these guys are a tight-knit bunch, also check out Aiden’s sorta-ex-turned-friend, US Attorney Dominic Price, and Nic’s partner, FBI Agent Cameron Byrne in Trouble Brewing


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    US | UK

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    SILENT KNIGHT

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