Cruel Stakes (Vampires & Vices Book 2) by Nina Walker

Emoji Review by Rebecca Dixon

I just finished reading the second book in the Vampires & Vices series, Cruel Stakes, by Nina Walker! And guess what 😁😁😁?!!! If you thought Book 1 was GOOD… wait until you read Book 2! 🥳🥳🥳 (FYI – there are no spoilers below!)

OK! So I LOVED 💜 TWO things about the start of this book! The first is that it kicks off right where Book 1 left off! 🥳 Anyone who knows me KNOWS I do not like 😡 a time-lapse after a cliffhanger!! So this was pretty GREAT because we got to dive right into what happens next 🙌🏻! And the second great thing is that we get Adrian’s POV! YESSSSSSSSSS! 🤩🥳🤩 And it is GOOD 👏🏻 . Not only do we get a hint at how old this Vamp 🧛 Prince 👑 is, we also get a glimpse into his turning and some insight in his messed up relationship with the Queen bee 🐝 . I actually thought it brilliant 💡 of the author to make sure we read his POV at the VERY beginning of the book because it really becomes quite significant for the ending of the book!! And I love that kind of symmetry that comes full circle ⭕️ baby! And speaking of endings… can we say TWIST 🌪 ?! What the heck people!!! Didn’t see that coming 😵! I feel like I need to go back and re-read the book like a detective 🔎 to see if I can find any clues! 😆😆😆

As for our girl, she is just as sassy and strong-minded as ever 🙌🏻! But she DEFINITELY has a few more dilemmas to overcome in this book. Her V-Card, which I won’t say if she loses or not 😉, plays a much more dominant role! And that line she adamantly keeps drawn between hunters and vamps…starts to blur! I was actually super excited that this book dealt with a whole new mystery in the plot! It kept the plotline fresh 💨 and held my interest (I’m infamous for being a DNF’er in the second book of a series… so this is a great accomplishment 🏅of an author for me!) There were some… ‘oh dang 😱! … I can’t believe that just happened’ moments that actually caused me to msg my reading buddies saying “Did I really just read that?! 😮😮😮”

And what about the romance 💘 in this book? Does it get steamier?? Well, I can say one thing for certain …. it is clear this UF (Urban Fantasy) does not Fade-to-Black in that department! Woo hoo 👊🏻 ! I’m soooo not a fan of Fade-to-Black 🙄😆! So with this book, the series continues to be one where romance is the subplot and not the main plot. Don’t get me wrong though! There’s definitely chemistry with the HUNKY MMC who looks like Christian Grey (in my mind 😆,) snarks like Lucius Septimus (🔥🔥🔥,) and flies like Eric Northman (💜💜💜 !) But the steam 🔥 is more of a mist 🌬 and is PERFECT for those who love a UF that is light on the steam and heavy on the action 🤺!!!

This series still remains to be a great palette CLEANSER 🧼 , a lot of fun 🥳, and pretty original! Take it from this serial DNF’er… if I can stay interested in the second book of a series… then it must be pretty great 👏! Warning: THERE IS a cliffhanger at the end of this book! But honestly, it’s not too bad of a cliffhanger and nothing to keep someone from reading the book! Speaking of the next book, I am super excited to read Book 3 ‘Wicked Sun’ this December 🙌🏻 !

So if you are looking for a new UF (or maybe looking to try one for the first time,) this series is definitely a good choice! And it’s free on KU!!! So roll that dice 🎲 baby and give it a go! You’ve got nothing to lose!