Monday, December 31, 2018

ARC Book Review: An Anonymous Girl by Greer Hendricks; Sarah Pekkanen

Release Date: January 8, 2019
Publisher: St. Martins Press
Format: ebook
Pages: 372 pages
Genre:  Suspense / Mystery
Buy: Kindle | Hardcover | Audio

Synopsis: 

Seeking women ages 18–32 to participate in a study on ethics and morality. Generous compensation. Anonymity guaranteed.

When Jessica Farris signs up for a psychology study conducted by the mysterious Dr. Shields, she thinks all she’ll have to do is answer a few questions, collect her money, and leave.

Question #1: Could you tell a lie without feeling guilt?

But as the questions grow more and more intense and invasive and the sessions become outings where Jess is told what to wear and how to act, she begins to feel as though Dr. Shields may know what she’s thinking…and what she’s hiding.

Question #2: Have you ever deeply hurt someone you care about? 

As Jess’s paranoia grows, it becomes clear that she can no longer trust what in her life is real, and what is one of Dr. Shields’ manipulative experiments. Caught in a web of deceit and jealousy, Jess quickly learns that some obsessions can be deadly.

Question #3: Should a punishment always fit the crime?

Review:

This book started off strong for me then slowly crept into Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn territory which I immensely disliked.  I liked this book better than Gone Girl and there were plot twists that I didn't fully anticipate.  Its very noir - where the heroine is very naive in the beginning and then slowly circumstances change her.  I would have liked a different ending but at least I didn't throw this book across the room like I did with Gone Girl.

This book is written from two different points of view. That of Dr. Shields and that of Jess. Not quite alternating chapters but you get the idea of who is speaking as soon as you read the first few sentences.  Dr. Shields is pretentious and ominous.

I will admit that this is a well crafted book and if you like Gone Girl you will definitely love this book, it just wasn't my favorite.





Disclaimer: I received an advanced copy of this book from the publisher through netgalley.com in exchange for an honest review.

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Friday, December 21, 2018

Book Review: Hellbent ( An Orphan X Novel) by Gregg Hurwitz

Release Date: January 30, 2018
Publisher: Minotaur books
Format: ebook
Pages: 413 pages
Genre:  Mystery/ Thriller
Buy: Kindle | Paperback | Audio

Synopsis: 

Taken from a group home at age twelve, Evan Smoak was raised and trained as an off-the-books government assassin: Orphan X. After he broke with the Orphan Program, Evan disappeared and reinvented himself as the Nowhere Man, a man spoken about only in whispers and dedicated to helping the truly desperate.

But this time, the voice on the other end is Jack Johns, the man who raised and trained him, the only father Evan has ever known. Secret government forces are busy trying to scrub the remaining assets and traces of the Orphan Program and they have finally tracked down Jack. With little time remaining, Jack gives Evan his last assignment: find and protect his last protégé and recruit for the program.

But Evan isn’t the only one after this last Orphan—the new head of the Orphan Program, Van Sciver, is mustering all the assets at his disposal to take out both Evan (Orphan X) and the target he is trying to protect.

Review:

I am very invested in this series.  I really like Evan.  He has stayed distant from society until recently when he has started to make connections in the real world which shake his normal existence. However he is still the deadliest assassin out there and while people are always trying to kill him this time its more personal.  When his handler and father figure Jack is targeted to draw him out Evan has had enough and goes after Van Sciver with a vengeance.  But now his main goal is not just to kill Van Sciver but also to find out who is pulling the strings of the Orphan program again. But his biggest obstacle will be the "package" Jack has asked Evan to keep safe because protecting it may cause cracks in his detached wall of solitude.

I think this book really made Evan feel real, you can see him wanting a normal life but it just doesn't seem like its possible.  I really wish/hope that there will be a way for Evan to have a life outside of his job. Looking forward to the next book which should pit Evan against his most deadly and powerful enemy yet.





Disclaimer: I received an advanced copy of this book from the publisher through netgalley.com in exchange for an honest review.

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Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Audio Book Review: The Royals books 1-5 by Erin Watt

Publisher: Harper Audio
Format: Audio
Narrator: Angela Goethals, Zachary Webber
Genre: Romance
Buy: Paper Princess | Broken Prince | Twisted Palace | Fallen Heir | Cracked Kingdom

Synopsis: 

Paper Princess: 
From strip clubs and truck stops to southern coast mansions and prep schools, one girl tries to stay true to herself.
These Royals will ruin you...
Ella Harper is a survivor - a pragmatic optimist. She's spent her whole life moving from town to town with her flighty mother, struggling to make ends meet and believing that someday she'll climb out of the gutter. After her mother's death, Ella is truly alone. Until Callum Royal appears, plucking Ella out of poverty and tossing her into his posh mansion among his five sons who all hate her. Each Royal boy is more magnetic than the last, but none as captivating as Reed Royal, the boy who is determined to send her back to the slums she came from.
Reed doesn't want her. He says she doesn't belong with the Royals. He might be right. Wealth. Excess. Deception. It's like nothing Ella has ever experienced, and if she's going to survive her time in the Royal palace, she'll need to learn to issue her own Royal decrees.

Broken Prince: 
These Royals will ruin you...From wharf fights and school brawls to crumbling lives inside glittery mansions, one guy tries to save himself.
Reed Royal has it all - looks, status, money. The girls at his elite prep school line up to date him, the guys want to be him, but Reed never gave a damn about anyone but his family until Ella Harper walked into his life.
What started off as burning resentment and the need to make his father's new ward suffer turned into something else entirely - keep Ella close. Keep Ella safe. But when one foolish mistake drives her out of Reed's arms and brings chaos to the Royal household, Reed's entire world begins to fall apart around him.
Ella doesn't want him anymore. She says they'll only destroy each other.
She might be right.
Secrets. Betrayal. Enemies. It's like nothing Reed has ever dealt with before, and if he's going to win back his princess, he'll need to prove himself Royally worthy.

Twisted Palace:
The hotly anticipated conclusion to the Royals series begun in the number-one New York Times best-selling novels Paper Princess and Broken Prince.
These Royals will ruin you....
From mortal enemies to unexpected allies, two teenagers try to protect everything that matters most.
Ella Harper has met every challenge that life has thrown her way. She's tough, resilient, and willing to do whatever it takes to defend the people she loves, but the challenge of a long-lost father and a boyfriend whose life is on the line might be too much for even Ella to overcome.
Reed Royal has a quick temper and even faster fists. But his tendency to meet every obstacle with violence has finally caught up with him. If he wants to save himself and the girl he loves, he'll need to rise above his tortured past and tarnished reputation.
No one believes Ella can survive the Royals. Everyone is sure Reed will destroy them all. They may be right.
With everything and everyone conspiring to keep them apart, Ella and Reed must find a way to beat the law, save their families, and unravel all the secrets in their Twisted Palace.

Fallen Heir: 
Easton Royal has it all: looks, money, intelligence. His goal in life is to have as much fun as possible. He never thinks about the consequences because he doesn't have to. 
Until Hartley Wright appears, shaking up his easy life. She's the one girl who's said no, despite being attracted to him. Easton can't figure her out and that makes her all the more irresistible. 
Hartley doesn't want him. She says he needs to grow up. 
She might be right. 
Rivals. Rules. Regrets. For the first time in Easton's life, wearing a Royal crown isn't enough. He's about to learn that the higher you start, the harder you fall.

Cracked Kingdom: 
These Royals will ruin you.  
Ever since Hartley Wright met Easton Royal, her life hasn't been the same. There are enemies behind every corner and dangers beyond each door. When tragedy strikes and steals her memories, she can't trust anyone, not even the blue-eyed boy who promises her everything will be all right.  
While Hartley's memory is full of gaps, her instincts tell her Easton is dangerous. She doesn't know if he's the snake in the garden or her chance at salvation. The chaos he brings wherever he goes is too much to handle, the intense feelings he evokes are too confusing to unravel.   
Easton wants her to remember. Hartley thinks it's better to forget. She might be right. Tragedy. Treachery. Trust. Hartley has to face the facts - in this world, you can't escape the Royals. Either you live by their rules or you die by them.  

Review:

The first 3 books in this series focus on Ella and Reed, the 2nd two are about Reed's brother Easton. This is a modern day fairy tale. Ella has been doing anything she can to stay out of foster care since her mother died.  Then Callum Royal shows up. Callum sweeps Ella into a fairy tale land of money, where rules don't really matter and drama runs high.

I really liked this series, so far (I'm sure there will be more). I've never seen Pretty Little Liars but from what I've seen of the commercials it has that type of feel.  It also reminds me of the show Elite on Netflix.  Obnoxiously rich kids who think the social status of high school is the most important thing in the world. The Royal family is broken.  After their mother committed suicide the boys have been lost and so has their father.  Ella seems to be the glue they need to bring them back together as a family but the in fighting and the manipulations of the people around them make happily ever after not so easy. 

This is a lot of drama but they are really fun books that keep you entertained. 





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Monday, December 10, 2018

ARC Book Review: Hunting Annabelle by Wendy Heard

Release Date: December 18, 2018
Publisher: Harlequin
Format: ebook
Pages: 304 pages
Genre:  Mystery/ Thriller
Buy: KindlePaperback | Audio

Synopsis: 

Sean Suh is done with killing. After serving three years in a psychiatric prison, he’s determined to stay away from temptation. But he can’t resist Annabelle—beautiful, confident, incandescent Annabelle—who alone can see past the monster to the man inside. The man he’s desperately trying to be.

Then Annabelle disappears.

Sean is sure she’s been kidnapped—he witnessed her being taken firsthand—but the police are convinced that Sean himself is at the center of this crime. And he must admit, his illness has caused him to “lose time” before. What if there’s more to what happened than he’s able to remember?

Though haunted by the fear that it might be better for Annabelle if he never finds her, Sean can’t bring himself to let go of her without a fight. To save her, he’ll have to do more than confront his own demons… He’ll have to let them loose.

Review:

Set in the 80's this is a creepy dark love story that reminds me a bit of Dexter. Heard is a new author and if this is her debut look out for more creepy fun to come. Sean spends most of his days at Four Corners sketching and wandering around. Diagnosed with Schizophrenia he is on a lot of medication that leave him missing time and in a haze.  The drugs are supposed to stop hallucinations and curb his desire to hurt people but Sean can still see colors swirling around other people and his desire to hurt hasn't gone away.

Annabelle is a med student looking for a place to scatter her grandmothers ashes. She takes a liking to Sean and then suddenly she disappears, her screams echoing in Seans head.  The police think he had something to do with it and his missing time and violent past don't help his insistence that he is innocent.  Determined to find her Sean goes on a quest to discover what really happened to Annabelle. While experiencing symptoms of withdraw from his medication, he starts to feel more clear headed and more like himself, but is that a good thing or a bad thing? What Sean finds is not what I expected and the ending almost felt like a cliff hanger.  I could totally see this turning into a series.

This is a fast paced thriller that leads you down twists and turns and has you routing for our flawed hero. Did he hurt Annabelle or is she really missing and if so who took her? Who are the bad guys in this book? The cops who set their sites on Sean because of his past, the mother who seems to want to keep her son medicated and locked away, or the well hidden predators that lurk and prey on innocents or is it Sean? Heard keeps you on the edge of your seat turning page after page just so you can find out the answers. Excellent.





Disclaimer: I received an advanced copy of this book from the publisher through netgalley.com in exchange for an honest review.

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Book Review: Escort Series 1-3 by Sloane Kennedy

Publisher: Amazon Digital Services
Format: Kindle
Genre: Romance
Buy: Gabriels Rule, Shane's Fall, Logan's Need 

Synopsis: 

This series crosses over with Barretti Security Series, The Finders Series, and The Protectors Series so for the most enjoyment, they should be read in order, but it is not required. You can find the correct reading order at the beginning of each book. I've also bundled all my series in the correct reading order under the title of A Family Chosen: The Protectors and Barrettis.

Gabriel's Rule: 
After nearly ten years of moonlighting as a professional escort, Gabriel Maddox is good at giving women the forbidden pleasures they crave. They don't need to know that something inside of him dies a little each time he does it or that his desperate need for cash is the only reason he can't walk away. They just need to know that to get what they want, they have to play by his rules.

Riley Sinclair is starting over. She's left dry, dusty Texas and her ultra conservative, fanatically religious parents and cheating, mean-spirited fiancé behind for a new life in Seattle. But one look at her stunningly gorgeous new neighbor Gabe brings back all the insecurities she's trying to escape.

Gabe can only offer Riley pleasure but when she discovers that his perfect outside hides something terribly broken on the inside, will she risk her heart to give him what he needs?

>Trigger Warning: To access the triggers in this book, use the "Look Inside" feature or download the sample and scroll to the page. Reading triggers may cause spoilers.

Can be read as a stand-alone story - no cliffhangers.

Shane's Fall: 
"You know what it's like, don't you? When the pain goes so deep inside that you need to try and find a way to let some of it out? But you don't actually let it out, do you? You become someone else - someone who doesn't hurt, someone who doesn't have to hide." -Savannah

Shane Matthews loves women, sex and money and as a professional escort, he gets to have all three whenever he wants. So what if he's not the same, naive person he was when he started - it's what he's good at. But life is catching up with Shane and he's losing the battle against an addiction that has haunted him for years. He's managed to keep the truth from his friends and family, but the pressure of pretending to be perfect may just be too much.

Savannah Bradshaw needs to get her life back under control before the fear and pain consume her. A brutal assault from someone she trusted has left her fearing sex and men and the dangerous method she uses to cope is stealing her life. She needs Shane to show her how to escape the pain, but as his best friend's little sister, he's keeping her at arm's length.

Savannah's desperate plan to bring them together for one night has Shane agreeing to show her the pleasure her body can experience, but she has to agree to his terms. Giving her what she needs should be easy, as long as he doesn't do something stupid like fall in love with her...

Trigger Warning: To access the trigger warnings for this book, utilize the "Look Inside" feature or download the sample and scroll to the appropriate page. Reading the triggers may cause spoilers.

Can be read as a stand-alone story - no cliffhangers.

Logan's Need:
After Logan Bradshaw's dreams go up in smoke, he's left broken and haunted by a cruel betrayal from his former business partner, a man he once thought of as a friend. His life as a professional escort helped pay for his future once, so maybe a few more jobs can give him back what he's lost. And if that means being a third for one night for a wealthy couple living out a ménage fantasy, then so be it. It might just be the final payout he needs to get his life back on track.

Dominic Barretti has everything money can buy, but it can't save his beautiful young wife as cancer steals her away from him. He also can't deny her one last request - a ménage encounter with another man. It's the perfect excuse to meet the man who's been haunting his dreams. On paper, Logan is the perfect choice to give his wife what she needs, but he doesn't expect his own fierce desires to flare up when the young man enters their lives.

Dom and Logan don't know it, but Sylvie Barretti has decided to play matchmaker from beyond the grave. Unfortunately, getting two broken men to find each other makes dying seem like the easy part.

Logan can't deny his attraction to Dom, but the surprise desire for another man has left him reeling and questioning everything he's ever known about himself. But when a threat from the past surfaces, will Logan be able to let go of the life he knew and embrace the one he needs?

Can be read as a stand-alone story - no cliffhangers.

Review:

Really great series. All of the books in this series except for Logan's Need are M/F romance, Logan's Need is M/M romance. Gabriel, Shane and Logan are all escorts, each fell into it for the money and for their own reasons. Gabriel hates it, Shane has always enjoyed it until recently and Logan finds it to be a way to keep him and his sister together since their parents died. Each has their own demons, Gabriel has a junkie for a mother, Shane overbearing parents and a dead sibling, Logan does everything for everyone else and not for himself and when he finds someone who makes him want more it scares the hell out of him because it doesn't come in the package he was expecting.

I love Kennedy's series, and this one is fantastic too. These can be read as stand alones but they are better when you read them either in the order of the series or the order the author has given on her website or in her books. All of her series seem to cross over so you find characters popping up in one series that you knew from another which I love. It also makes it seem like they never left and in each new book they are a little more progressed in their lives.





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Friday, December 7, 2018

Audio Book Review: The Point, Books 1-3 by Jay Crownover

Publisher: Harper Audio
Format: Audio
Genre: Romance
Buy: Better When He's Bad, Better When He's Bold, Better When He's Brave 

Synopsis: 

This series crosses over with The Breaking Point Series

Better When He's Bad: 
Welcome to the Point...
There's a difference between a bad boy and a boy who's bad.... Meet Shane Baxter.
Sexy, dark, and dangerous, Bax isn't just from the wrong side of the tracks, he is the wrong side of the tracks. A criminal, a thug, and a brawler, he was the master of bad choices, until one such choice landed him in prison for five years. Now Bax is out and looking for answers, and he doesn't care what he has to do or who he has to hurt to get them. But there's a new player in the game, and she's much too innocent, much too soft...and standing directly in his way.
Dovie Pryce knows all about living a hard life and the tough choices that come with it. She's always tried to be good, tried to help others, and tried not to let the darkness pull her down. But the streets are fighting back, things have gone from bad to worse, and the only person who can help her is the scariest, sexiest, most complicated ex-con the Point has ever produced.
Bax terrifies her, awakening feelings she never thought she'd have for a guy like him. But it doesn't take Dovie long to realize...some boys are just better when they're bad.

Better When He's Bold: 
Some men are just better when they're bold.
Welcome to the Point...
In a dark and broken kingdom, a ruler has to be fearless to control the streets and the ruthless people who run them.
Race Hartman is just bold enough, just smart enough, and just lost enough to wear the crown. Places like the Point will always have bad things and bad people, but the man in control of all that badness can minimize the devastation. Race has a plan, but can he prevent total annihilation without destroying himself? Brysen Carter has always seen her best friend's brother for what he is too pretty, too smooth, and way too dangerous to touch. Basking in Race's golden glow is very tempting, but Brysen knows she'd eventually get burned.
When she starts receiving threatening texts and someone tries to take her out in the parking lot, the only person interested in keeping her safe is the one man she can't allow herself to have.
Sometimes being bold is the only way to stay alive. But can she let Race save her life... if it means losing herself to him?

Better When He's Brave:
Some men are just better when they're brave.
Welcome to the Point...
Titus King sees the world in black and white, right and wrong. That is why as a teenager he left behind the only family he'd ever known to make a better life for himself. Now a police detective in one of the worst cities in the country, he can't deny his life has turned into a million different shades of gray.
The new criminal element in the Point has brought vengeance and destruction right to Titus' front door, and the difference between right and wrong is nothing compared to keeping those he loves alive. To add to his already strained moral compass, the beautiful and mysterious Reeve Black has made her way back to town, and she might be as dangerous to Titus as the guy trying to destroy the Point. Titus needs her in more ways than one.
Reeve knows all about how ruthless this new threat to destroy the Point can be. Instead of running away, she wants to help. She has a lot to repent for, and saving the city, plus the hot cop that she hasn't been able to forget, might just be the only way she can finally find some inner peace.
With an entire city poised on the brink of war, Titus and Reeve stand in the crossfire - and it will take two brave souls to fight for the ultimate love.

Review:

The point is a broken place, the police try to keep the peace but the criminal underworld runs the point. The kingpin of the Point has been bringing it to its knees with fights, prostitution, illegal betting and loans. Bax who just got out of jail wants to change that but he also wants answers. His brother Titus King is a cop in the point who wants to make sure Bax doesn't fall off the straight and narrow and wind up back in jail. Bax's best friend Race is missing and his sister Dovie is being harrassed by the head of the point as he searches for her brother. This is not a fuzzy above the law series.  All of these people have to bend rules and play by their own games in order to survive in the point but while they are bad they are are also very protective and loyal. This was an interesting series. Not sure I liked it as much as Crownovers Marked Men series but they are still a good read with a dark undertone.





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Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Book Review: Barretti Security Series 1-4 by Sloane Kennedy

Publisher: Tantor Audio
Format: Kindle
Genre: Romance, LGBT
Buy: Loving Vin, Redeeming Rafe, Saving Ren, Freeing Zane

Synopsis: 

This series crosses over with The Escort Series, The Finders Series, and The Protectors Series so for the most enjoyment, they should be read in order, but it is not required. You can find the correct reading order at the beginning of each book. I've also bundled all my series in the correct reading order under the title of A Family Chosen: The Protectors and Barrettis.

Loving Vin: 
After years of searching war torn Afghanistan for his MIA brother, Vincenzo Barretti has finally come home and now he's ready to settle back into life as co-founder of Barretti Security Group. But his home is no longer cold and empty the way he likes it.

Mia Hamilton needs a quiet place to hide from the press to try to rebuild her life. Being the daughter of a notorious serial killer is bad enough, but being the one who killed him has made her a target for every news agency in the world. She wants nothing more than to be left alone, but the reporters are relentless and will stop at nothing to get their story. With no place to go, she accepts an offer from Dominic Barretti to stay at his older brother's home until she can figure out what to do next. But she didn't expect the homeowner to return so soon or to feel something she's never felt when he's around.

Vin doesn't need or want a woman in his life and certainly not one that comes with so much baggage. So what if Mia evokes feelings in him he thought were long dead? She's a liability and he wants her gone. But forcing the quiet, strong-willed young woman from his life turns out to be a lot harder than he thought...

Can be read as a stand-alone story - no cliffhangers.

Redeeming Rafe: 
At the tender age of eight, Rafe Barretti lost everything. His parents, his childhood, his innocence. And the brothers who were supposed to protect him let him go instead. Twenty years later and he's finally ready to exact his revenge by taking away everything they hold dear - their company, their reputations, their futures. But even that isn't enough - their loved ones will have to pay too and all their precious secrets are fair game.

Former mercenary Cade Gamble's only job is to take down the hacker stealing sensitive, private information from Barretti Security Group and Cade is damn good at his job. But there's more at stake because the co-founders of BSG, Dom and Vin Barretti, are like family and no one touches Cade's family. The fact that the vengeful young man turns out to be the youngest of the Barretti clan doesn't matter. But when their tumultuous encounters turn into something more, Cade will have to decide between protecting the only family he has and giving in to his need to save Rafe from himself.

Can Cade help Rafe find redemption so he can forgive the sins of the past or will Rafe's quest for vengeance destroy them both?

Can be read as a stand-alone story - no cliffhangers.

Saving Ren:
Ren Barretti has finally come home after a year of being held captive by the terrorists who slaughtered his entire Special Forces team. But he can't escape the nightmares that torment him or the guilt that he was the only one to walk away. The life his older brothers have brought him home to doesn't exist for him anymore and to keep them and their loved ones safe from the rage and pain that consume him, Ren needs to disappear.

Police Detective Declan Hale has felt an undeniable pull towards the very straight Ren Barretti since the day Ren's brother married Declan's younger sister almost a dozen years earlier. But even though the Ren who has come home isn't the one who left, all of Declan's feelings come rushing back to the surface and he steps in to help the only man he's ever truly wanted. And even though there's no future for them, keeping Ren safe is all that matters and Declan will risk anything to make that happen.

Tough as nails former soldier and mercenary Jagger Varos has returned to Seattle after years of running from his past and he's hoping that joining Barretti Security Group will help him finally call the city he left behind home. But within weeks, his new beginning is tested after multiple run-ins with the gruff, infuriating Detective Hale. When he inadvertently discovers that Declan is hiding Ren from the very brothers offering Jagger a new start, Jagger finds himself torn between his newfound loyalty to Vin and Dom Barretti and the need to protect the young man he himself helped rescue from his captors.

For Declan and Jagger, it's hate at first sight but they soon realize that they will need each other if they have any hope of saving Ren from himself. And neither of them expects their mutual distrust in one another to grow into something else entirely or that Ren himself will find in both of them what he needs to rebuild his life and come to terms with who he really is.

Can the fierce attraction between three men become something more or will the demands of the real world tear them apart?

Can be read as a stand-alone story - no cliffhangers.

Freeing Zane: 
Criminal defense attorney Zane Devereaux is on the verge of having everything he's worked his entire life for. He's on track to become his firm's youngest managing partner and he has enough money in the bank to ensure he'll never have to be at the mercy of anyone ever again. He's left his past exactly where it belongs and refuses to look back. And he sure as hell isn't going to risk a repeat of his former mistakes by letting someone as sweet, sexy and endearingly vulnerable as Connor Talbot into his life. His bed maybe, but not his life.

Connor Talbot has no regrets about serving his country, even if it did cost him more then he'd imagined. Two years after an IED took his leg and left him with permanent brain damage, Connor is still struggling to put his life back together, but he's managed to find a makeshift family in Seattle that helps ease the pain of losing his own at a young age. Unfortunately, a string of bad relationships and an abusive ex have taken their toll on Connor and he's given up on finding the lifelong partner he'd always envisioned he'd have. But a chance encounter with a man he has absolutely nothing in common with except for an intense, white-hot chemistry has him thinking that maybe a no strings, physical relationship is exactly what's called for.

What begins as two men meeting each other's needs between the sheets turns into something neither one was prepared for but the wounds of the past run deep and both men will have to decide if a future together will cost them too much or if what they could have together is worth fighting for.

Can be read as a stand-alone story - no cliffhangers.

Review:

Dom, Vin, Rafe & Ren are the Baretti Brothers. Dom and Vin run a security firm. Several of the other characters in these books either work for them or know one of the other of them. Each book is a good story as well as a hot sexy romance. Vin's story is the only M/F book in this series all the rest are M/M or M/M/M. Each one deals with child abuse, child sex trafficking, PTSD from war, and the vulnerabilities they cause. Each of these men is broken in some way and their love for each other helps them to heal and free themselves from their pasts. While each is stand alone I would read them in order or read all of her different series in the order she suggests so you get the chronology. I read each series separately and I can see where crossovers were and how people connected but it may have been better to read them in a different order.





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Monday, December 3, 2018

Audio Books: Hitman Series 1-4 by Jessica Clare & Jen Frederick

Publisher: Tantor Audio
Format: Audio
Narrator: Iggy Toma & Kasha Kensington
Genre: Romance
Buy: books 

Synopsis: 

Last Hit: 
Nikolai: I have been a contract killer since I was a boy. For years I savored the fear caused by my name, the trembling at the sight of my tattoos. The stars on my knees, the marks on my fingers, the dagger in my neck, all bespoke of danger. If you saw my eyes, it was the last vision you’d have. I have ever been the hunter, never the prey. With her, I am the mark and I am ready to lie down and let her capture me. Opening my small scarred heart to her brings out my enemies. I will carry out one last hit, but if they hurt her, I will bring the world down around their ears.

Daisy: I've been sheltered from the outside world all my life. Home-schooled and farm-raised, I’m so naive that my best friend calls me Pollyanna. I like to believe the best in people. Nikolai is part of this new life, and he’s terrifying to me. Not because his eyes are cold or my friend warns me away from him, but because he’s the only man that has ever seen the real me beneath the awkwardness. With him, my heart is at risk... and also, my life.

Last Breath: 
Regan: I never really knew what misery was until the day I was kidnapped and sold for being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Two months later, I'm at a brothel in Rio when I meet Daniel Hays. He says he's here to save me, but can I trust him? All I know of him are his sarcastic retorts and his tendency to solve every dispute with his gun. He's also the only safe thing in my world, and I know it's wrong to fall in love with him, but I can't seem to help myself. He says he’ll protect me until his last breath but I don’t know if I should believe him or even if I can.

Daniel: For the last eighteen months, I’ve had one goal: to find my kidnapped sister. I’ve left the Army, turned paid hit man, and have befriended criminals all across the globe. In every brothel I raid or every human trafficking truck I stop, her face is the one I’m desperate to see. In Rio, I find Regan Porter, bruised but not broken and still sane despite her weeks in hell. I should leave her behind or send her home because the last thing either of us needs is to get involved. But with every passing minute, I find I can’t let her go.

Last Kiss:
Naomi: When I was kidnapped I thought only of survival. I don’t thrive well in chaos. That’s why I gave my captors exactly what they wanted: my skill with computers. Making millions for a crime lord who kept me imprisoned in his basement compound kept my family safe. When he was taken out, I thought my ticket to freedom had arrived. Wrong. I traded one keeper for another. This time I’m in the hands of a scarred, dark, demanding Russian who happens to be the head of the Bratva, a Russian crime organization. He wants my brain and my body. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t intrigued, but I can’t be a prisoner forever...no matter how good he makes me feel.

Vasily: At a young age, I was taught that a man without power is a puppet for all. I’ve clawed—and killed—my way to the top so that it is my heel on their necks. But to unify the fractured organization into an undefeatable machine, I need a technological genius to help me steal one particular artifact. That she is breathtaking, determined, and vulnerable is making her more dangerous than all of my enemies combined. But only I can keep her safe from the world that she now inhabits. Soon, I must choose between Naomi and Bratva law. But with every day that passes, this becomes a more impossible choice.

Last Hope: 
Mendoza: I grew up in the slums and lost everything I loved to poverty, illness, and death. I had only one skill to leverage myself out of my circumstances—violence. Being hired out as a mercenary hitman brought me money and built an empire. But all that I've fought for is in jeopardy. My next job: Steal secret information that could bring down world governments. Find my target. Destroy it. But then, I meet her.

Ava: Karma hates me. When my best friend Rose is kidnapped, I have no choice but to take a job as a mule for a pair of criminals intent on selling top-secret information to the highest bidder. I should have known that bad luck tends to cling, because the plane I'm on goes down. That I survived a crash-landing was a miracle. And so was being rescued by Rafe Mendoza—hot, sexy, dangerous. The thing is, he wants the information that I need to free Rose. I can't let him have it, but I need his help. And I need to fight this crazy attraction for this mercenary with hungry eyes. Rose is depending on me, and I won't let her down, no matter how appealing Rafe is. 

Review:

Great series, I loved Last Kiss, Naomi is on the Autism spectrum and her brutal honesty and need for direct communication often had me laughing out loud. I think out of the whole series this was my favorite. All of these book are hot steamy and filled with rough men who fall hard when they find the right women.  The women are tough and while they may be in horrible circumstances they are fighters.  Great escape from the holiday crazy. I also love the narration from Iggy Toma.





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Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Audio Book Review: Submissive Series by Tara Sue Me

Publisher: Penguin Audio
Format: Audio
Genre: Romance/ BDSM
Buy: Audible | Kindle 

Synopsis: 

The Submissive: It started with a hidden desire. Millionaire CEO Nathaniel West has always played by his own strict set of rules, ones he expects everyone to follow - especially the women he's dominated in his bedroom. But his newest lover is breaking down all his boundaries and rewriting his rule book. Abby King never imagined that she would capture the heart of Nathaniel West, one of New York City's most eligible bachelors - and its most desirable dominant. What began as a weekend arrangement of pleasure has become a passionate romance with a man who knows every inch of her body and her soul - yet remains an enigmatic lover. Though he is tender and caring, his painful past remains a wall between them. Abby knows the only way to truly earn his trust is to submit to him fully and let go of all of her lingering inhibitions. Because to lead Nathaniel on a path to greater intimacy, she must first let him deeper into her world than anyone has ever gone before...

The Dominant: Nathaniel West doesn’t lose control.

As the playboy CEO of West Industries, he governs the boardroom during the day; as a strict dominant with exacting rules, he commands the bedroom at night. He never takes on inexperienced submissives, but when Abigail King’s application comes across his desk, he breaks his own restrictions and decides to test her limits.

Abby’s combination of innocence and willingness is intoxicating, and Nathaniel is soon determined to collar her as his own. As long as she follows his orders and surrenders herself fully to him, no one will get hurt.

But when Nathaniel begins falling for Abby on a deeper level, he realizes that the trust must go both ways—and he has secrets which could bring the foundations of their entire relationship crashing down...

The Training: It started with a hidden desire.

Millionaire CEO Nathaniel West has always played by his own strict set of rules, ones he expects everyone to follow—especially the women he’s dominated in his bedroom. But his newest lover is breaking down all his boundaries and rewriting his rule book.

Abby King never imagined that she would capture the heart of Nathaniel West, one of New York City’s most eligible bachelors—and its most desirable dominant. What began as a weekend arrangement of pleasure has become a passionate romance with a man who knows every inch of her body and her soul – yet remains an enigmatic lover. Though he is tender and caring, his painful past remains a wall between them.

Abby knows the only way to truly earn his trust is to submit to him fully and let go of all of her lingering inhibitions. Because to lead Nathaniel on a path to greater intimacy, she must first let him deeper into her world than anyone has ever gone before…

The Chalet: Submitting her body was only the beginning.

Abby King didn’t know true passion until she gave herself to Nathaniel West, one of New York City’s most eligible bachelors and desired Dominants. Now, on the eve of her marriage, she realizes all her dreams are coming true. And with a romantic honeymoon getaway planned at a secluded Swiss chalet, she’s sure Nathaniel will find even more fantasies to fulfill…

Nathaniel never thought he’d settle down until Abby broke down his barriers and changed his plans. With their wedding only weeks away, he can barely wait to possess her completely—heart, body, and soul—and show her the true meaning of being both a wife and a submissive.

Only Abby has one more challenge in store before she becomes his: no sex and no collar for one month before the wedding. Nathaniel is willing to give it a shot but he has one scandalous stipulation—once that month is up, anything goes…

Review:

Super sexy, and hot.  I love Abby and Nathaniel.These 4 books are just about Abby and Nathaniel.  The rest of the series features them but doesn't completely focus on them. These four really show the foundation of their relationship I read the rest of the series to see how it progressed and wasn't disappointed.

Written before 50 shades of Grey and where EL James got some of their ideas, this book far surpasses 50 shades. At least Abby has a backbone.

Once again, Iggy Toma delivers a great audio performance as well.  Love his narration.





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Friday, November 23, 2018

Book Review: Conversion by Katherine Howe

Release Date: June 16, 2015
Publisher: Speak
Format: Paperback
Pages: 432 pages
Genre:  YA, Fiction, Depression
Buy: Kindle | Paperback | 

Synopsis: 

It’s senior year at St. Joan’s Academy, and school is a pressure cooker. College applications, the battle for valedictorian, deciphering boys’ texts: Through it all, Colleen Rowley and her friends are expected to keep it together. Until they can’t.

First it’s the school’s queen bee, Clara Rutherford, who suddenly falls into uncontrollable tics in the middle of class. Her mystery illness quickly spreads to her closest clique of friends, then more students and symptoms follow: seizures, hair loss, violent coughing fits. St. Joan’s buzzes with rumor; rumor blossoms into full-blown panic.

Everyone scrambles to find something, or someone, to blame. Pollution? Stress? Are the girls faking? Only Colleen—who’s been reading The Crucible for extra credit—comes to realize what nobody else has: Danvers was once Salem Village, where another group of girls suffered from a similarly bizarre epidemic three centuries ago

Review:

A modern take on the Crucible.  This book flips back and forth between modern day and the days during the Witch Trials.  While the Crucible wasn't really about the Salem Witch Trials it does show how hysteria and lack of attention can drive people to make claims that aren't true, and have people follow based on to fear and misunderstanding.

The story takes place at an exclusive girls school where several students are falling sick and the community is anxious for a reason behind it.  As more and more girls fall sick and the media attention explodes some take advantage of their new found fame and others find a way to use the illness to launch their own agenda but what is really causing all these girls to get sick?

The mind is a powerful weapon, against us and against society.  J Edgar Hoover went on a hunt for communists, people today are on the hunt for terrorists behind every door but maybe we need to look closer at what is really scaring us...change, feeling insignificant, out of control? This book could spur a lot of discussion if you really delve into it.  I think it would make a great book club book or even a good book to be taught in a classroom.







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Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Audio Book Review: Heart Shaped Box by Joe Hill

Release Date: February 6, 2007
Publisher: Harper Audio
Format: Audio
Length: 11 hours 3 minutes
Narrator: Stephen Lang
Genre: Horror, Thriller, Suspense
Buy: Audible Kindle 

Synopsis: 

Judas Coyne is a collector of the macabre: a cookbook for cannibals...a used hangman's noose...a snuff film. An aging death-metal rock god, his taste for the unnatural is widely known. But nothing he possesses is as unlikely or as dreadful as his latest discovery, a thing so terrible-strange, Jude can't help but reach for his wallet.

I will sell my stepfather's ghost to the highest bidder.

For a thousand dollars, Jude will become the proud owner of a dead man's suit, said to be haunted by a restless spirit. He isn't afraid. He has spent a lifetime coping with ghosts: of an abusive father, of the lovers he callously abandoned, of the bandmates he betrayed. What's one more? But what UPS delivers to his door in a black heart-shaped box is no imaginary or metaphorical ghost. It's the real thing.

And suddenly the suit's previous owner is everywhere: behind the bedroom door...seated in Jude's restored vintage Mustang...standing outside his window...staring out from his widescreen TV. Waiting - with a gleaming razor blade on a chain dangling from one hand.

Review:

Creepy and spine chilling I had a hard time pausing this book. 

Judas doesn't understand his attraction to the macabre and when someone auctions off a ghost he can't help himself but to buy it. Of course the whole thing was a set up and now Jude and his girlfriend are battling a ghost who is hellbent on killing them.

Fast paced, and spooky this book catches you and keeps you going.  As Judas and Marybeth (aka Georgia) take to the road to confront the woman who sold him the ghost, Judas starts to evaluate his life. Marybeth and Judas start to share more of their past and learn more about each other and as they try to survive they get closer. So for all its dark creepiness this book is also about redemption and love. Joe Hill definitely has established himself as a leader in horror writing on par with Stephen King. There were many twists and turns that I didn't see coming and the ending was not what I expected but in a good way.




Monday, November 19, 2018

Audio Book Review: Takeover Series Books 1-4 by Anna Zabo

Publisher: Tantor Audio
Format: Audio
Narrator: Iggy Toma
Genre: Romance/ LGBT
Buy: Audible | Kindle 

Synopsis: 

Takeover: Michael Sebastian thought that Curacao would be the perfect place to have a little fun in the sun - and between the sheets. So far no one has struck his interest - until Sam Anderson walks into the bar. With one look at his tense body and expensive suit, Michael knows that this is a man in need of release. And Michael is more than willing to lend a hand.

Shattered by the most intense sex he's ever had, Sam has to face the facts - one night with a handsome, dominating stranger is all he gets before returning to the closet he's been suffocating in for years. But when Sam starts his new job as the CEO of a failing technology company, he discovers that Michael is one of his new employees.
While Michael is desperate for another night with Sam, he knows he shouldn't get involved with his boss, let alone another man who can't accept who he is. But as they're forced to work together to save the company, the desire sparking between them becomes impossible to ignore.

Just Business: Justin White may not look like an up-and-coming corporate superstar, but his new boss knows that he has the smarts, grit, and determination to succeed. Now he just has to convince his company's CFO, Eli Ovadia. Unfortunately, Justin can't seem to keep his cool around the domineering Eli, and soon he finds himself taking their heat from the boardroom into the bedroom.
Still haunted by a tragic accident that left him with a wounded leg and broken heart, Eli has a need to be in control. But his desire for Justin makes him want to lose that control and push them both far beyond their limits. Will his need to dominate Justin drive him away, or will Eli find a way to be the man he needs for both of them?

Due Diligence: After Fazil Kurt breaks up with his girlfriend, a business trip to Seattle offers some much-needed time away. Sent by S. R. Anderson Consulting, Fazil is there to help audit Singularity Storage, a company they are trying to save. His first discovery is intriguing to say the least: One of Singularity's engineers is Todd Douglas, Fazil's first love.

He knows better than to get personally involved on a job like this. Back in high school, Todd broke Fazil's heart more times than he could count, but both men have grown so much since then - and Fazil never could say no to Todd....

Daily Grind: Brian Keppler, owner of Ground N'At, the coffee shop beneath SR Anderson Consulting, doesn't have time for a relationship. His most recent girlfriend broke up with him because he'd become married to his shop, which is falling apart without his favorite barista, Justin. As he struggles to stay afloat, the arrival of handsome British high-tech whiz Robert Ancroft becomes another complication. Rob quickly becomes a fixture at the shop with his sharp wit and easy charm, and Brian soon finds himself looking forward more and more to Rob's visits - to the point where his heart skips a beat when he walks in. But will Brian be able to come to terms with his previously unexplored sexual identity and find happiness now that he has a chance? 

Review:

I really enjoyed this series and really love Iggy Toma's narration.  He is excellent at different accents and draws you in with his voice. Out of all 4 of these I would say that Due Diligence is my least favorite just because I didn't feel the sparks as much as in the other books. Although I did like that it dealt with racism, antisemitism, and lgbt discrimination. All of the characters intersect through the books which is always fun, like a familiar friend showing up at a party unexpectedly.

These are hot steamy m/m romances the first two have some light bdsm in them the others not so much.





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Friday, November 16, 2018

Audio Book Review: Blood of My Blood (Jasper Dent book 3) by Barry Lyga

Release Date: September 9, 2014
Publisher: Hatchette Audio
Format: Audio
Length: 10 hours 52 minutes
Narrator: Charlie Thurston
Genre: Law/Crime/ YA
Buy: Audible | Kindle 

Synopsis: 

Jazz Dent has been shot and left to die in New York City. His girlfriend Connie is in the clutches of Jazz's serial killer father, Billy. And his best friend Howie is bleeding to death on the floor of Jazz's own home in tiny Lobo's Nod. Somehow, these three must rise above the horrors their lives have become and find a way to come together in pursuit of Billy. But then Jazz crosses a line he's never crossed before, and soon the entire country is wondering: "Like father, like son?" Who is the true monster?

The chase is on, and beyond Billy there lurks something much, much worse. Prepare to meet...the Crow King.

Review:

Just when I though this series couldn't surprise me or get better, it did. Whoa.  The Crow King is not who or what I expected and they might just be Jazz's undoing.

I loved this book. Watching as Jazz struggles to maintain his humanity or cross the line and become his father is fascinating to watch.  His friends know that Jazz walks a line and they hope he doesn't cross it. Dead bodies don't bother him, listening to the screams of someone being tortured barely registers a hitch in his heart. His friends know he is struggling but aren't sure how to help him stay human.

Well written and full of surprises, I am sad that this is the last that we will see of these characters. I know that Lyga wants to write a new series with these same characters a few years later but the publishers don't think there is a market for it! What? Crazy...any fan of this series would gobble it up.


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Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Audio Book Review: Game (Jasper Dent book 2) by Barry Lyga

Release Date: April 16, 2013
Publisher: Hatchette Audio
Format: Audio
Length: 13 hours 28 minutes
Narrator: Charlie Thurston
Genre: Law/Crime/ YA
Buy: Audible | Kindle 

Synopsis: 

 Hunt Killers introduced the world to Jasper (Jazz) Dent, the son of the world's most infamous serial killer. When a desperate New York City detective comes knocking on Jazz's door asking for help with a new case, Jazz can't say no. The Hat-Dog Killer has the Big Apple - and its police force running scared with no leads. So Jazz and his girlfriend, Connie, hop on a plane to the big city and get swept up in a killer's murderous game. Meanwhile, Jazz's dad, Billy, is watching... and waiting.

Review:

Jazz survived the impressionist, and now a NY city detective is banging on his door asking for his help in tracking down the Hat-Dog Killer. Although Jazz has been consumed with his father, Billly's escape from prison, Jazz agrees to help. Jazz, his girlfriend Connie and his best friend Howie all wind up as pawns in Billy's Game.

When all hell breaks loose in NY Jazz finds himself in hot water, the cops aren't sure if they should trust him or if he is as dangerous and crazy as his notorious father.  Jazz also discovers some personal information that rocks his world.

Another fabulous book in this series, it keeps you guessing. I love the characters who grow on me more with each installment. Well done and narrator Charlie Thurston does a great job holding your attention and keeping you interested.



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Monday, November 12, 2018

Audio Book Review: I Hunt Killers by Barry Lyga

Release Date: April 3, 2012
Publisher: Hatchette Audio
Format: Audio
Length: 9 hours 32 minutes
Narrator: Charlie Thurston
Genre: Law/Crime/ YA
Buy: Audible | Kindle 

Synopsis: 

It was a beautiful day. It was a beautiful field.
Except for the body.

Jazz is a likable teenager. A charmer, some might say.

But he's also the son of the world's most infamous serial killer, and for Dear Old Dad, "Take Your Son to Work Day" was year-round. Jazz has witnessed crime scenes the way cops wish they could--from the criminals' point of view.

And now, even though Dad has been in jail for years, bodies are piling up in the sleepy town of Lobo's Nod. Again.

In an effort to prove murder doesn't run in the family, Jazz joins the police in the hunt for this new serial killer. But Jazz has a secret--could he be more like his father than anyone knows?

From acclaimed author Barry Lyga comes a riveting thriller about a teenager trying to control his own destiny in the face of overwhelming odds.

Review:

My daughter has been pressuring me to read this for years and I just kept putting it off.  When I found a free audio version of it on Scribd, the time had come.  I was instantly hooked. Jazz was raised by the country's most notorious serial killer Billy Dent. Being raised in this unconventional way has given Jazz a unique perspective into serial killers.  He knows how to manipulate people, and has recurring dreams of death and killing. Jazz's biggest fear is turning into his father so he tries to use his talents to help the police solve crimes.

Jazz, his girlfriend Connie and his hemophiliac best friend Howie are wonderful characters. Well developed and funny. Where Jazz is dark, Connie and Howie balance his morose outlook on life.  Howie with his dark sense of humor about his condition and Connie who doesn't let Jazz slip into his fear.

I really enjoyed this book and can't wait to get my hands on the next one in the series. I read on the authors website that he would like to write a new series featuring the same cast of characters set about 5 or so years later. I really hope that comes to fruition.



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Friday, November 9, 2018

Book Review: White Fragility: Why its so hard for White people to talk about race by Robin J DiAngelo

Release Date: June 26, 2018
Publisher: Beacon Press
Format: Paperback
Pages: 126 pages
Genre:  Race, Racism,
Buy: Kindle | Paperback | 

Synopsis: 

In this “vital, necessary, and beautiful book” (Michael Eric Dyson), antiracist educator Robin DiAngelo deftly illuminates the phenomenon of white fragility and “allows us to understand racism as a practice not restricted to ‘bad people’ (Claudia Rankine). Referring to the defensive moves that white people make when challenged racially, white fragility is characterized by emotions such as anger, fear, and guilt, and by behaviors including argumentation and silence. These behaviors, in turn, function to reinstate white racial equilibrium and prevent any meaningful cross-racial dialogue. In this in-depth exploration, DiAngelo examines how white fragility develops, how it protects racial inequality, and what we can do to engage more constructively.

Review:

This book should be on every white persons TBR list (to be read). DiAngelo looks at race as not just good or bad but as more fluid. She states that our society is racist therefore it is impossible to escape racism and having bias. To acknowledge our own prejudice and intentional or unintentional racist views we first have to be open to hearing that we may hold racist views. It is the anger, fear, justifications and denial that we may have racist behaviors that holds us back from change. No matter how liberal or open minded you may think you are I can guarantee that you have probably said or done something unintentional that had racist undertones. The point is it doesn't matter that it was unintentional what matters is addressing it, looking at it and changing your behavior. We are all works in process and when we feel threatened, or invalidated we react with anger, frustration etc...deflecting from actually turning within to see how what we just did may have impacted others.We have to be aware that when someone gives you feedback its more about how what you said or did affected them. So being open to feedback and self reflection will help create change. Instead of being defensive maybe ask how you could have said something differently or what you could have done differently.

There were so many good pieces to this book I can't even pick them all out. Well done and thought provoking.








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Wednesday, November 7, 2018

ARC Book Review: Broken Ground (Karen Pirie Book 5) by Val McDermid

Release Date: December 5, 2018
Publisher: Atlantic Monthly Press
Format: ebook
Pages: 432 pages
Genre:  Mystery/ Thriller
Buy: Hardcover Paperback | Audio

Synopsis: 

Six feet under in a Highland peat bog lies Alice Somerville’s inheritance, buried by her grandfather at the end of World War II. But when Alice finally uncovers it, she finds an unwanted surprise—a body with a bullet hole between the eyes. Meanwhile, DCI Pirie is called in to unravel a case where nothing is quite as it seems. And as she gets closer to the truth, it becomes clear that not everyone shares her desire for justice. Or even the idea of what justice is.

Review:

DCI Karen Pirie heads up the historical case unit in Scotland. Karen is still suffering from the loss of her significant other and seems to be having a hard time trusting anyone around her.

Karen is out chasing leads on a series of historical rapes when she is asked to divert to Wester Ross where a body has been discovered, buried with some Long sought treasure. The body is well preserved by the peat and has more modern shoes leading the forensic specialist to call Karen.

I haven't read any of the other books in this series so it works well as a stand alone. McDermid's narration is flowing and really moves the story along. She describes the landscapes so well you can almost smell the peat and feel the wind on your face. This is a really good police procedural that has many components to keep you reading.

Karen seems to have caught the attention of her boss but not in a good way. Knowing that the woman wants to take hurt her position Karen doesn't trust the new arrival to her unit. With her faithful other detective in tow they dive into the mystery of the man buried in the peat, whose mystery reaches back to WWII.

I really enjoyed this novel and I'm putting these on my radar to keep up with any new ones!





Disclaimer: I received an advanced copy of this book from the publisher through netgalley.com in exchange for an honest review.

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