Happy Monday, everyone! Welcome back to the Monday Blog. This week’s topic, is the Valentine series. There are two parts to this series: the primary series, and the companion books, known as the Valentine Apart series. The primary books focus on Val, her family and friends, and the conflict between her and John Rafferty, her father’s former boss. The Valentine Apart series provides the backstories of four characters from the primary books: Allan Avery, Mac Avery, Lola Vencent and Jo Fuentes.
The Valentine Series
Our story begins with nineteen-year-old Valorie Entienne (aka Val, aka Valentine) heading out to L.A. from Chicago in order to find her father, Vincent Entienne. Vincent is an employee of mob boss John Rafferty, and has decided to get out of the business. In order to do this, he had to go see Rafferty in person. When Val doesn’t hear from her father for several days, she decides to go to L.A. and find out what happened to him. She leaves her cousin Veronica behind, climbs into her classic Ford Mustang, and hits the highway. She encounters her father’s partner, Jacob Price, who is acting as Rafferty’s eyes and ears. She also meets Melinda St. James, a fourteen-year-old orphan who is on her way to Oklahoma, but ends up riding with Val to L.A.. Val, despite several pit stops, eventually makes it to L.A. and rescues her father. When she confronts Rafferty, she learns the reason Vincent wanted to quit: Rafferty wanted Val to work for him, basically as a hitwoman (or Valkyrie). Val also meets another Rafferty employee: Lola Vencent. The pair have a misunderstanding, and later, become friends.
The second book explores Val’s reputation as Valentine, and as the Patron Saint of the Weak. She meets her cousin, Victoria, who happens to be Veronica’s younger sister. No one in Val’s household knew anything about Victoria’s existence, but they welcome her into their home, and ultimately protect her from Rafferty. Val and her family learn more about Victor Entienne’s (Veronica and Victoria’s father) death, and Val finally remembers an event from her childhood, which led to her reputation. In book three, Val receives a lesson in the Entienne family history, when she meets her grandfather, Lorenzo Entienne. She even travels with him to Sicily. When things turn sour, she turns to Lola for help. Upon returning to the United States, Val learns her dealings with her grandfather are far from over.
Which brings us to book four, in which some of the characters find themselves facing their pasts. There’s Mac’s sanity, Allan’s relationship with his father, and Lola’s father’s death. The book ends with Val and company coming together and reaching a critical decision: John Rafferty needs to die.
The fifth and final book is a work in progress. I don’t want to post any spoilers here, but I can tell you this: Veronica is the one you’ll want to keep an eye on. Val is going to have to make some difficult decisions, and do some horrible things, if she ever wants to free her family from Rafferty.
Valentine Apart Series
The good things about these books, is you don’t necessarily have to read them in order. They are companion books to the primary series, and they don’t follow a set storyline. Each book can stand alone. Although, when you reach the end of each book, you make recognize a scene from a book in the primary series. All of the stories featured in this series take place before the main characters in them meet Val. Readers get to peek into Allan and Mac’s lives as hitmen, learn how Lola Vencent became Rafferty’s Valkyrie, and the events that led Jo Fuentes to the Syndicate. One thing that definitely separates this series from the books in the primary series, is the level of violence. The body count is much higher in these three books, since it focuses on some of the characters’ lives as hitmen. There is some mild swearing, too. But, like I said, it’s mild.
So, are the Valentine books only about a girl with a pair of guns? No. To arrive at that conclusion would be selling the series short. These books are about the complicated lives of a young woman and the people in her life; people who finds themselves caught up in the net of the criminal world. After seven years of working on this series, it’s time for the story to come to an end. I hope my readers won’t be disappointed.
Next week: The Our Lady series.