Monday, July 26, 2021

Recent Reread.....And so it continues, the battle of the ages


This is a reread.  I can’t believed  I didn’t do  review when I first read it.  Sybil of The Good, The Bad and the Unread have been jousting about this book for years now.  We’ve shown up in all corners of Romancelandia arguing who is better, Sebastian, Lord St Vincent of Devil in Winter (Sybil’s pick) or Derek Craven of Dreaming of You (my pick).  Wars have been waged.  Battles have been fought! Sides have been chosen and to be honest (though I’m not sure Sybil will) I think it’s pretty much a tie (though she will claim Sebastian won – she’s like that)  I recently did a reread of Dreaming of You so I thought a reread of Devil in Winter was in order.

This is the 3rd book in the Wallflower series and Sebastian has been a bit of a devil in the previous books.  OK, he’s been a big devil to the point he kidnapped the lady love of one of his few best friends.  He’s needed the money.  But things turn upside down in this book.  Evie Jenner is one of the Wallflowers.  She’s awkward, and speaks with a stutter.  And she wants to be in charge of her own life.  He family has kept her from her father whom she loves dearly and who is dying.  Now it just so happens that her father, Ivo Jenner and owner of a gaming hall, was a rival of Derek Craven, another gambling hall owner before his burned down in Dreaming of You.  So there is a connection between these two books.


Evie goes to see Sebastian one evening and knowing he needs money and she needs freedom, strikes a bargain with him.  She suggests they flee to Gretna Green and elope.  Sebastian is rather discombobulated at first.  He did not expect something like this from the little mouse that is Evie.  But he goes along with it and it’s delightful to see this extremely haughty, thinks he’s all that, aristocrat, dealing with this slip of a girl. Completely without realizing it’s happening, he melts for her and she of course realizes that he’s not at all the villain that he’s portrayed as.


I think I enjoyed this book even more this time around and I’m upping my grade.  Sebastian is a great hero.  Though of course, despite what Sybil might say, he’s not quite up to Dereks standards.  But close,  very close, but not quite there.


Lisa Kleypas, in my opinion, always has been and always will be the top reigning author of the historical romance.  I own and have read her entire backlist, from her very first book and an so looking forward to her newest book coming out (squeal of delight) in the next few days.  I must clear my desk to settle in and read it.


And one final note.  It’s very odd but Evie and I share the same last name.

Sunday, July 11, 2021

Hades Hangmen Series by Tillie Cole


In all my reading years, which are many; many, many many, I’m going through something I’ve never quite experienced before.  I started a new to me series, The Hades Hangmen series by Tillie Cole.  I went into with thoughts of how it might go.  It’s a series about a motorcycle club and in the first book It Ain’t Me Babe, the president, Styx, has a severe stutter and is unable to speak to anyone except his best friend and VP.  He communicates with ASL and his VP translates for the rest of the club until they all learn it themselves.  Fascinating premise don’t you think?  I thought it might be something light hearted.


But I couldn’t have been more wrong if I tried.  These are the darkest books I’ve ever read and I thought I’d read dark books before.  These books are truly brutal.  This motorcycle club are bad to the bone.  They have no hesitation in murdering people if they thing warranted.  They party a lot, surrounded by “party girls” and are very, very promiscuous.  The language is graphic and the sexual abuse of women if front and foremost.  And I can not stop reading them.  The premise of the story is when Styx was a boy, the son of the president and heir apparent, under strange circumstances, meets a young girl, Mae, who is obviously under stress.  It’s only a brief meeting but it lasts with both of them for the rest of their lives and they seek each other out.

It’s now years later, Styx is leader and president of Hades Hangmen and long past any boyish innocence and Mae, along with her two sisters is a sexual slave of a pedophilic cult.  She is attempting to escape after she witnesses the death of her older sister at the hands of the monsters.  Her two younger sisters are completely brainwashed and believe the horrific tales they are told and refuse to leave with Mae.


What follows is a series of books that are the most compelling books I’ve read in years.  They are SO outside my box but they consume me.  All the books are interwoven with the same characters throughout.  While the different books highlight different characters, it’s more one long story.  I know that is common in Fantasy books but I don’t really read a lot of those – Lord of the Rings excluded.


The heroes are brutal, they’re graphic, they experience no sense of guilt and to put it mildly they are crude.  But as I read on they have some amazing qualities too.  They are fiercely loyal to each other.  Although they kill, they don’t kill the innocent, only monsters who are most often worse than them.  Although they deal in illegal weapons, they stay away from the worst things gangs are known for, human trafficking, drugs, and other nasty criminal activities.  But above all and why I keep reading, no sooner finishing one book then picking up the next one, is their absolute and total devotion to their women.  They would do anything for them, even as the song says:


Look into my eyes
You will see
What you mean to me
Search your heart
Search your soul
And when you find me there
You'll search no more

Don't tell me it's not worth tryin' for
You can't tell me it's not worth dyin' for
You know it's true
Everything I do
I do it for you

Look into your heart
You will find
There's nothin' there to hide
Take me as I am
Take my life
I would give it all
I would sacrifice

Don't tell me it's not worth fightin' for
I can't help it, there's nothin' I want more
You know it's true
Everything I do
I do it for you

There's no love
Like your love
And no other
Could give more love
There's nowhere
Unless you're there
All the time
All the way, yeah

Look into your heart, baby

Oh, you can't tell me it's not worth tryin' for
I can't help it, there's nothin' I want more
Yeah, I would fight for you
I'd lie for you
Walk the wire for you
Yeah, I'd die for you

You know it's true
Everything I do
I do it for you

Everything I do, darling
And we'll see it through
Oh, we'll see it through
Oh yeah

Search your heart
Search your soul
You can't tell me it ain't worth dying for
Oh yeah

I'll be there, yeah
I'd walk the wire for you
I will die for you

Oh yeah

I would die for you

I'm going all the way, all they way, yeah

*Lyrics dedicated to Wendy and she knows why.*


Their women, for most of the books are those women who have escaped or been rescued from the cult by the men of the Hades Hangmen.  They have been violated and abused and virtually been used as sex slaves from a very young age and been programmed into believing it is their fault and they deserve what they get.  These young women have been isolated so much they don’t know anything about the real world.  They come to the men broken in the cruelest of ways.  And these rough and bad motorcycle club members heal them.  They are gentle and caring and worshipful.  And the women themselves, while broken in some ways are so incredibly kind and brave and grateful, they bring out a side in the men I don’t think they know they have.  This is why I’m having such a hard time letting go of these books.  The depth and width and breath of this love is powerful and beautiful.  There are some books that affected me so deeply I can remember almost every detail about them years and years later.  Some books I can’t let go of and I’ve read it and as soon as I read the last page, start the same book all over again and then again.  My book system just won’t let go.  But I’ve never had that happen with a whole series before, not like this.


I’m on book 6 now though before finishing it, I had to go back to read the third book as it’s affected me the most.


In a way it’s frustrating.  There are so many other books I keep buying and wanting to read but these seem to be the only books I’m able to read for the time being.  I’ve tried others but it’s not worked so I think I’ll just have to follow this reading river until it comes to an end.

These are all of them.

So far