Joint Review: In Spades and House of Cards by K. Pinson

I had the privilege of receiving House of Cards from the author in exchange for a review. Long before that though, I already had In Spades sitting in my kindle. Now it's always been my habit to go to Goodreads whenever a title catches my eye. So I found out that In Spades has a sequel, and that its ending is quite a cliffhanger. I also read the two excerpts from the sequel, so I already knew what the major conflict would be. As someone who don't really like cliffhangers unless the next book is coming out soon (like the very next day..! hahahah, kidding. More like Katy Evans releasing Remy two weeks after Mine :D), I decided to just read In Spades when House of Cards came out.

In Spades (Mirrored, #1)

In Spades
Book 1 of the Mirrored Series
Released April 13, 2013

3.5 stars

I enjoyed In Spades. I think it started out strong and has a really good story premise. Avalynn was only a teenager when she ran away because of her father's constant verbal and physical abuse. Her mother wasn't neglectful or cruel, but she was powerless to protect her Avalynn from her father. When her baby sister Abby was born, she couldn't stomach the thought of leaving her in their father's company. She returned to take Abby away, but things went downhill when her father caught her.

The next days were terrible, and Abby had to go through foster care for a while. When Avalynn finally reached legal age, she gained custody of her sister and had since then dedicated her life raising her.

I am not the hero of this story. Abby saved me, not the other way around. She was the reason I fought to live every single day... If it weren't for the responsibility of taking care of Abby and loving her with all that I had, I would have given up long ago.

I admired Ava for her strength and unconditional love for her sister. She even had it in herself to love her parents too, regardless of everything they had been through. It's actually quite painful to read her recollections of the past. They used to be a normal, happy family--until her dad became addicted to alcohol. :(

At the present setting of the story, Ava is working as a teacher at an elementary school during the day, At night, she works part time as a bartender at a bar where live bands are the main attraction. The most popular of them is In Spades.

Daxton is the lead singer of In Spades. His and Ava's interaction had been limited to hi's and hello's, and the occasional drink order. One night of drunken after-work revelry though, Dax and Ava finally acknowledged their attraction to each other (very emphatically I might add!).

It wasn't smooth-sailing for both of them, although I must say, Dax's patience and care for both Ava and Abby made their situation a lot easier to handle. Abby was never a problem because Dax adored her too. He's actually a little too good to be true.. but he is a really good match for Ava.

You're not broken baby. You are only missing a piece. Like a jigsaw puzzle that looks like nothing but a bunch of colors and lines and makes absolutely no sense until the final piece is placed. It isn't until that moment that the entire puzzle comes together... I'm your missing piece and you're mine. 

As for Abby, she's a sweetheart! I love how she appears in my mind as I read her lisping lines. I am confused though because she's said to have mild autism... I might be just clueless about children with mild autism, but she seemed like any normal kid to me.

As I've said earlier, this book is a cliffy! You'll want to know what happens next ASAP.

House of Cards (Mirrored, #2)

House of Cards
Book 2 of the Mirrored Series
Released November 2013

3.5 stars

This one starts right after the events of the cliffhanger at the end of in Spades. I was a little nervous at the beginning though. If you read the blurb, you'll already know what happened to Dax :( and that's what I was nervous about.

When a main character suffers temporary amnesia, I'm always scared to read him or her becoming attracted to another person, or unconsciously doing something that will utterly rip out the heart of the person they forgot they loved. UGGHH, I absolutely hated stories like that..! It feels too much like cheating, and I absolutely don't like cheating in the books I read.

So that aside, House of Cards had several heart-clenching moments. I liked that this time several chapters were narrated through Dax's POV. It would have been too painful seeing it all unfold through Ava's eyes..! Aside from that, there were vital events that did not involve Ava. One scene in particular between Abby and a post-accident Dax was a little painful to read..! ='(

In the end it was also because of Abby that Dex was able to come back mentally, physically and emotionally. She's just as strong as her older sister, and she's definitely the light in this story.

The beauty of a child is the hope is the hope that they encompass. It's unwavering and unable to be broken by even the grimmest of circumstances.

I am thankful too that Dex listened to his heart! Goodness, otherwise I would have thrown a hissy fit. He woke up a different person, thinking his heart belonged to another woman. It would have been so easy to fall into such a crappy trap of fate. I also breathed a sigh of relief that Ava didn't completely fall apart. She did hurt and she needed time on her own, but she didn't dive down the deep end herself.

I particularly liked this line near the end by Dax:

I'm claiming my family. I'm taking them back. The fact that they let me back into their lives without questioning anything just proves to me all the more that this is exactly where the fuck I need to be. Because that's what family does. They know you fuck up, they harp on you about it. They are the most judgmental when it comes to your faults. But they love you anyway. They will always still love you anyway.

House of Cards ends with everything tied up neatly in a pretty pink bow. I thought it was too short though, which is probably why I couldn't get too "into the story" this time. It's a shame because the events in House of Cards theoretically should evoke more emotion from the reader. It's also lacking something in my opinion, although I can't really pinpoint what that is. It just felt that way.

Oh, and lastly! I'm really hoping that something better will be in store for Kate. She is Ava's closest friend and is obviously in love with Tripp, a member of In Spades and Dex's best friend. Due to Dex losing his memory, they had to stop their blossoming relationship because they didn't want to complicate things between them and Ava and Dex. After the events in House of Cards, I'm hoping that Faith and Tripp will stop torturing themselves and just settle their issues (because there surely were other things in there, even without the excuse of Dex losing his memory and forgetting Ava). I'm hoping that Queen of Hearts, Book 3 in the series, will be about Faith and Tripp!

Red Heading Flourish Divider Clip Art

Book synopses:

In Spades (Mirrored, #1)
Avalynn has been running from her past for a couple of years now....never very far but always extremely fast. With an alcoholic father, a void of a mother and a town full of gossip, she struggles to find her place in the world.The only thing that saved her on her path of self destruction is her beautiful little sister, her miracle. Desperately trying to save Abby from a life that Avalynn has been trying so hard to escape from, she plots to take Abby away.The plan going dangerously astray, leaving Avalynn beaten and broken in what once was the hallway mirror in her childhood home. Avalynn finally comes to in the hospital after nearly being beaten to death. Father-Dead, Mother-Missing, Abby-In foster care--Everything changing in the blink of an eye.

Avalynn immediately sets to work to get her life in order , receive custody of precious Abby and focusing every ounce of attention, giving Abby the the life she deserves. Avalynn, now a 22 year old Elementary School Teacher and New Mommy, struggling to raise a beautiful and feisty five year old whom was just diagnosed with Mild Autism Disorder. Lots of challenges for her to face in the midst. Avalynn is ready to go at them all head on if it means Abby is raised in a happy and healthy home. Abby is the only thing she cares about...not even caring about herself or her life...that is...until she meets him. The man that can shatter her entire world with one glance. Their relationship a roller coaster ride from start to finish. One that Avalynn never wants to get off of..but she may not have a choice. Her happily ever after coming to a screeching halt yet again. Heartbreak, love, loss and hope--This story has it all, In Spades.

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House of Cards (Mirrored, #2)
Daxton James holds the world in the palm of his hands. He has finally met the love of his life and is more than ready to start a family with her and her precious daughter, Abby. He has the best friends that anyone could ask for, a career doing two things he loves the most-music and helping people and his family piecing themselves back together, slowly but surely. Everything has fallen into place in his life and he couldn't be more happy about it.

There is only one problem---He can’t remember any of it.

Daxton was involved in a serious accident which has left him fighting for his life, while his loved ones wait in the midst, unsure if he is even going to come out of it alive. Thankfully he does, but his short term memory can’t say the same. He only remembers the Daxton he had been years previous. The playboy, the rock star and hopelessly devoted to a woman that is not Avalynn Wright. 

The doctors tell Avalynn to just let his memory come back on it’s own and to not push him too much, fearful that forcing his memory will cause permanent scarring and trauma. Avalynn is so thankful to have Daxton alive, that if letting him go will keep him happy and healthy, she will do just that, even if it means killing off herself; bit by bit. Avalynn struggles to get a grasp on what is a reality and what is created by the stresses of her life which causes her to downward spiral, with nobody there to break her fall.

Will Avalynn and Daxton make it through this or is their relationship built only as strong as a House of Cards, ready to crumble at any moment?



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