Reviewed by Vicki
SERIES REVIEW: Invicta 1-3
AUTHOR: Piper Kay
PUBLISHER: Encompass Ink
BOOK ONE TITLE: Invicta: Salvation
LENGTH: 134 pages
RELEASE DATE: May 26th, 2014
As Kaiden McKenzie and Holt Mitchell prepare to celebrate their fifteenth anniversary, and the grand opening of their new club, Invicta, they take a look back on how their lives together began.
When Holt wakes up to an outraged father, he finds himself suddenly homeless and hungry. With the help and caring of a certain bad guy, Holt finds life isn’t quite so bad as it seems. All he needed was the right man to guide him along.
Kade has spent his life running from anyone and everyone who tries to get close, but when he meets up with Holt, he suddenly finds himself wishing for something more. Who knew he was someone’s knight in shining tattoos…
Well I didn’t hate it, but this book has issues…
Let’s start with a bit about the brief plot: This story starts with Kade and Holt having an argument on the night of their fifteen anniversary. Kade comes home from working late at the club they are about to open, and Holt is pretty pissed off. They work it out, then we flash back to their beginning…. We see a glimpse of their story, meeting as a one night stand, having some issues with Holt’s father, then ending up as go-go boys in a skanky club. There is some drama, with Kade’s father, and with the nasty owner of the club, and between Kade and Holt. But basically it’s massive amounts of dance move descriptions, some hot sex, and really bad editing.
I didn’t hate the plot, there just wasn’t much to it. I liked Kade and Holt, I liked the sex, and the drama, but there just wasn’t much more than that. What nearly drove me crazy was the dance move descriptions. Soooo much detail, names of moves I don’t understand, foot placements, body rolls, on and on. Some of the terms I questioned, considering it was 1999, were they twerking then? To Dubstep music? In a dance club in Houston? Maybe, but I’m not sure.
Then we have the editing. Ugh. Missing words, wrong words, and confusing descriptions. I read this sentence four or five times, and it still doesn’t make any sense to me:
“I straddle over his waist and he runs his hands across my chest, tracing the tattoos on him, and swirling my pinky around his nipple.”
Who is doing what there? I don’t get it… There were several things like that, I was pulled out of the story way too many times.
I didn’t hate this story, I almost liked it, but the bad editing and annoying dance move descriptions brought it down to below average for me. I think if a couple of beta readers and a decent editor had gone over this and cleaned it up, it would have been a good novella.
I’ll try the next one!
BOOK TWO TITLE: Invicta: Sanctuary
LENGTH: 201 pages
RELEASE DATE: October 12th, 2014
What is your sanctuary?
For Mickey, he never needed one, he was his own. Until now. In a situation spinning out of control, Mickey is forced to make a move and he’s not sure how to handle it. He’s an intelligent, self-reliant man who never depended on anyone for anything, but now he is alone for the first time in his life, scared.
By accident, he ends up at Invicta, the hottest new male go-go dance club in town. Owners, Kade and Holt, know the behavior all too well, but Mickey’s trust factor is leveling out on zero, until he spots Toryn. Sometimes sanctuary can be found in the strangest of places.
Oh no…. This book is kind of a mess.
Mickey is taking a few minutes to hide from his abusive boyfriend, and ends up in the parking lot of Invicta, where he is forced out of his car by Kade and Toryn, Kade actually has his fingers around Mickey’s neck. Then Mickey answers a phone call from the boyfriend, where we hear his dog is about to be abused or killed (I nearly shut my tablet off and walked away). Mickey heads home, Toryn and another man following behind, unbeknownst to Mickey, where they witness his fucked up relationship, and Mickey finally making a stand. They help Mickey leave and take him to Invicta, where a very bizarre chain of event occur… Mickey is feeling threatened, is an angry asshole, acts out, punches Toryn, then is sent to stay with Toryn at his apartment. What? Why? Where he and Toryn fight again, then fuck, and are all lovey dovey. My head was spinning from the odd behavior of both of these men, and the unexpected and out of place violence. They bond over their issues, have very hot sex, have a couple of confrontations, and there is a weird cliffhanger ending. They also ignore the dog, never feed her, never deal with Mickey’s banking issues which start off as being super important.
There were inconsistencies in the story.
Toryn: “No I was not abused, mistreated or neglected as a child. My real dad left before I was born, denied me to this day, but I don’t know him. My stepdad is my only dad. My parent’s rock, but inside, I always felt like something was missing.” (So his parents are ok, but his biological dad is gone.)
Toryn: “Personally, since finding out I was adopted, my best guess is the original parents just didn’t give a fuck either way, probably got dropped on my head or some shit when I was a baby.” (Now he’s adopted?)
Toryn: “Mickey, I’ll give you the short version. A few years back, I was out on the streets. My parents, who I hope burn in hell one day, kicked me out. So I was out there alone.” (His parent’s “rock” but they kicked him out and he hopes they burn in hell??)
So we go from having nice parents, to being adopted, to being thrown out over a couple of chapters.
Then there are the typos…
“I haunch over him”
“seeing how skiddish I’ve become”
“stay out of site, Toryn”
Mickey’s name misspelled to Mikey.
Twice one of them licked his bottom LIPS.
There were more along that line. I don’t understand why an editor didn’t catch these? This is what will ruin a story for me. I am not a very well educated person, but I read a lot, and this is what brings down what could have been a good book. I could have lived with the out of place violence, but when I see that many typos and inconsistencies it kills a book for me. The plot could have been ok, I got where the author was going, both men have issues with ex-boyfriends, and Invicta could have been a safe place, with the help of Kade and Holt. But that isn’t what came across to me at all. Mickey had a horrible experience at Invicta, which just turned violent, it wasn’t a sanctuary at all. Then the ending was just crazy. I won’t say and ruin it, but I was baffled.
I feel like I’m in the minority on this one, I took a look at Goodreads to see what others thought about this book and it had mostly decent ratings and reviews. I’ve tried to include some examples of my issues, so I don’t just come across as being a picky bitch. Again, I didn’t HATE this book, I could have ignored a typo here and there, but there were too many issues for me to like it.
BOOK THREE TITLE: Invicta: Retribution
LENGTH: 177 pages
RELEASE DATE: August 31st, 2016
Toryn Paine just found the man of his dreams in Mickey Thornton. He’s gentle and sweet, seductive and mysterious. Also just as mentally wrecked as he is. Besides the fact that he wears that body of his like a freaking Baltic God, he’s Toryn’s idea of perfection poured into skin and painted in ink. However just as things start getting good with Mickey, an unwanted blast from the past shows up and everything Toryn has ever wanted seems to be just out of reach.
He goes on the run to Kaiden and Holt’s lakefront cabin in the hopes of once again hiding from the man who nearly ruined him. But what fun is a secluded lake without someone to share it with? And will he ever be able to leave his past behind and start fresh with the most delicious man he’s ever seen?
Oh geez. There are so many things wrong with this book.
Let’s go over the plot first. This book picks up right where the last one ended, with Toryn riding away on a motorcycle to protect the Invicta guys from his evil ex. His plan is to get far away from them, so the bad guy doesn’t hurt any of them, including Mickey, his new boyfriend. He gets to a cabin, and almost immediately calls to have Mickey join him. Why he didn’t just take Mickey with him I do not know… The two then have a nice holiday at the lake cabin, fishing, swimming, visiting a local berry farm, and ignoring the poor dog they have with them. The perspective goes back and forth between Toryn, Mickey, Holt, Kade, and Marcus the bad guy. We spend waaaaaay too much time with the bad guy, pointlessly going on about how he’s going to get Toryn back. Then there is a big thing, and it’s over. But it’s not, because there is another big thing. If I didn’t love my tablet, I would have tossed it out the window in shock. What the fuck.
So this book continues with the poor editing and typos.
“At some point, Toryn got a conscious about it all though and that’s when things became difficult.”
“When they’re done, the sink back under.”
That’s just a couple of examples. Plus the writing was so choppy, sentences didn’t make sense, perspectives changed, I couldn’t figure out who was speaking or moving at times. There were timeline issues, things didn’t line up, ages of people were off. Again way too much time was spent describing dance moves. There was lots of porn star sex. And that poor dog! I spent lots of time worrying about the dog.
Then we have the issue of Toryn and his ever changing parents. See my review above for three contradictory quotes from the last book…
Here are quotes from this book:
Toryn: “It’s a long story, but my dad was a real dickhead. She let him run me out of the house when he found out I was…umm, gay. I hate that bastard for that shit, and it caused a lot of issues between me and her. He’s dead and gone now, but the scars still hang on for some reason or another.” (So now he’s not his stepdad, just his dad. Not to mention the quote about him being adopted from the last book, and that at first his parents “rock”.)
“Braxton: The man you thought was your dad, the one who was horrible to you, well he was not your biological dad we found out.”
Toryn: “What? What do you mean he wasn’t my biological dad? Yes, he was. He was there every single day to make sure I felt inadequate as a kid. To reassure me of what a fucking failure I was. When he wasn’t beating it into my head, or body, he was whispering it to me. Why do you think I left that shithole? It’s bad enough I watched him kick my mom’s ass too, reminding her of it as well, so I figured if I left, then their issues would get better, at least for her. I’m not sorry he is dead, I just fucking am not.” (But we’ve known he wasn’t his biological dad since the last book when he told Mickey his biological dad left before he was born and he’s been raised by a stepdad. He mentioned his STEPDAD several times! And he say’s here that he left, but earlier he says he was kicked out.)
You can see my confusion! The whole resolution of the dad issue just did not work for me at all. Nuff said.
So I had issues with the whole book pretty much. I’m also very confused by the five star ratings on Goodreads, maybe I am just way too picky.
I’ve seen these books around Facebook and Goodreads, and I was tempted to read them based on their lovely covers. I was excited to get them when the request to review them came to us, since I hadn’t gotten around to reading them on my own. Unfortunately I was very disappointed. I understand that this series is based on some of the men from Cocky Boys, the cover models are certainly hot. I’m sure that’s where all of the dance moves and porn star sex came from. But it felt like I was reading a step by step description written by someone watching go-go boys dancing, and porn stars having sex. It was very technical, not smooth. These men are cocky and violent at times, jumping from loving to fighting and arguing at the drop of a hat. Very emotionally dramatic. So it may be that this just isn’t my thing, and I get that. I am not a 20 something gay man.
I can overlook plot issues that I don’t care for, or a writing style that I don’t appreciate, but I can’t get past the inconsistent quality of the writing, and the poor editing. All three of these books had multiple grammatical errors, typos, missing words, incorrectly used words, choppy sentences, on and on. The plots had inconsistencies as well, the big one being the issue of Toryn’s changing parents. It all added up to a big mess for me. I didn’t enjoy any of these books and I’d have a hard time recommending them to anyone. Damn, I feel awful saying that, I really hate writing reviews like this, but I can’t fake it…