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Review: Lying, Cheating Heart by Mindy Ruiz

Review: Lying, Cheating Heart by Mindy RuizLying, Cheating Heart by Mindy Ruiz
Series: Game of Hearts #2
Published by LLC on April 7, 2015
Pages: 375
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No More Lies!

Cassie Vera thought the biggest threat to her life disappeared the night her boyfriend, A.J. Vasillios, used his one-time-use power and saved her from certain death.

She was wrong.

The mythological hit list she was on is nothing compared to her freshman year at the University of Las Vegas. Rooming with Vegas’s future female royalty has pushed her estrogen tolerance to its limit. Worse, Cassie must take place in a time-honored tradition that tests her faith, while her boyfriend’s new job threatens to shatter her heart.

When age-old traditions change …

Cassie’s school year is interrupted when the future queens are ordered to represent their houses in an annual high-stakes competition. While at her ancestral home in Malaga, Spain, Cassie discovers the Greek gods have gifted her with new abilities. Cassie takes matters of righting an eighteen-year-old wrong into her hands. However, actions have consequences, and Cassie’s may very well end up costing her and the House of Hearts everything.

With her family’s future at stake and the love of her life choosing sides, Cassie must cheat death one more time.

When duty requires you to do the unthinkable, where will your loyalties lie?

Only a Cheating Heart Knows.

I was super excited to go back to Las Vegas and return to Cassandra Vera, her friends, and even her enemies. Book 1 of the series was exceptional, so I came into this read with some really high hopes.

Cassandra Vera and friends have grown up a bit; they’re ready for college at the start of this book. It opens the door to more characters, but all of your (and my) favorites are still there (see my note towards the end about this). Out of the new characters, Beaux is my new favorite. He throws a wrench in the A.J. and Cassie dynamic. Yes, it’s a bit triangleish, but it’s a little squarish, too, and I always find that interesting. In truth, Beaux and Cassie’s scenes together were some of my favorite. His unwavering loyalty is endearing, and his good looks and accent surely don’t hurt either. He’s the perfect opponent for A.J. in relationship terms. A.J., on the other hand, fell from my good graces, proving that you never know what to expect from Ruiz’s cast of characters. There’s one who will intrigue you for sure, and I enjoy how much he came into play as well.

The setting change and the resulting trials Cassandra and her friends face make for a gripping read all the way through the end. The quest the future queens must go through to get their powers, the games, and the poker tournament are all fabulous. And what a climax! It will have you at the edge of your seat, but so will a number of these scenes. The bit of the resulting fallout at the very end is compelling and will have you eager for the next installment of their tale.

I think, if anything, I would have liked a bit more reorientation at the beginning. Although I felt engaged with the story right away, there were a couple of points early on where I wish I had had reminders of who some of the people were. This likely wouldn’t be a problem for anyone reading the books back to back, but add a decent length of time and amount of reads in between books 1 and 2, and readers night need the refresher on a few side characters. There is a huge cast of characters in this series.

Overall, this book is a great followup to Enchanted Heart, which won Debut Novel of the Year at UtopYA2015 and I can’t wait to get my hands on Book 3.