Death of a Macho Man (Hamish MacBeth #12) by M.C. Beaton

Book Description:

Published: 2009

Format: Audio/OverDrive

Randy Duggan is the macho man of the title of this work of fiction. He claims to be a professional wrestler and he becomes known in the small village of Lochdubh for his tall stories. When Randy is found murdered, Constable Hamish Macbeth hopes that the killer is not one of the villagers. However, there is enough local resentment against Randy, that someone in quiet, peaceful Lochdubh may have been driven to slaying this macho man.

 

Review –

This is the twelfth book in a series of cozy mysteries featuring lovable Highlander, Hamish Macbeth, the constable for the sleepy village of Lochdubh in northern Scotland. In this book, village life takes center stage and the village characters beguile the reader, giving the book that cozy feel. Moreover, readers will enjoy the dynamics between Hamish and is ex-fiancée, Priscilla Halburton-Smythe, as they try to achieve a détente and resolve their relationship. The book is laced with sly humor throughout that is engaging, keeping the mood of the book light and highly enjoyable.

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First Life (Everlife #1) by Gena Showalter

Book Description:

Published: February 23, 2016

Format: Audio/Audible

ONE CHOICE.
TWO REALMS.
NO SECOND CHANCE.

Tenley “Ten” Lockwood is an average seventeen-year-old girl…who has spent the past thirteen months locked inside the Prynne Asylum. The reason? Not her obsession with numbers, but her refusal to let her parents choose where she’ll live—after she dies.

There is an eternal truth most of the world has come to accept: Firstlife is merely a dress rehearsal, and real life begins after death.

In the Everlife, two realms are in power: Troika and Myriad, longtime enemies and deadly rivals. Both will do anything to recruit Ten, including sending their top Laborers to lure her to their side. Soon, Ten finds herself on the run, caught in a wild tug-of-war between the two realms who will do anything to win the right to her soul. Who can she trust? And what if the realm she’s drawn to isn’t home to the boy she’s falling for? She just has to stay alive long enough to make a decision…

Review –

I have had this book on my TBR list for a long time and had good and bad things about it, so I thought it was time to decide for myself.

Hate it too strong a word to describe how I felt about the book, but comes very very close.

First of all, young adults must be very smart because this book is as confusing as Hell. There is a Firstlife and a Everlife and when you turn 18 you must decide in which realm to spend your time after your Firstlife is over. Troika, which is light and Myriad, which is dark.

I kept listening to the book just so I could finish it and be done but near the end the action picked up (Ten’s crazy Aunt kills her) but she’s saved by both Archer and Killian, who are both trying to recruit her into their realms. They wear shells and don’t get started on them…if they are killed inside the shell before making it out, they die. If they get out in time they are spirit until they get another shell.

Anyway, after Ten is saved a lot of stuff happens but the worst are Archer is killed(really killed) and Killian is a prisoner. Ten, herself, is dies but before she does she pledges herself to Troika and vows to save Killian, who are all intents and purposes is her boyfriend.

Whew!!!!

I rated the book two stars because it did pick up at the end and I’m planning to listen to the second in the series, Lifeblood, but I’ll be in to hurry. I hate cliffhangers, but it will drive me crazy if I don’t find out what happens.

Just a character note: I hated Ten. Though she had a high pain tolerance, I found her whiney and tedious.

I think the cover is fantastic!

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Cell 8 (Grens & Sundkvist #3) by Anders Rosalind and Borge Hellstrom

Book Description :

Published: January 3, 2012

Format: Audio

Detective Superintendent Ewert Grens of THREE SECONDS returns in a riveting mystery that centers on perhaps the most controversial subject in the modern criminal justice system: the death penalty.
In Ohio, seventeen-year-old John Meyer Frey rots on Death Row for the brutal murder of his girlfriend. The victim’s father hungers for revenge, while a prison guard is torn by compassion for the young man. When Frey unexpectedly dies of heart disease before he either receives his just punishment or achieves redemption, the wheels of justice grind to a halt.

Six years later, on a ferry between Finland and Sweden, a singer named John Schwarz viciously attacks a drunken lout harassing a woman, leaving the man in a coma. The Stockholm police arrest Schwarz for aggravated assault, but when Grens learns that the assailant has been living in Sweden under a false identity, he begins to suspect that something darker and more complex underlies the incident. Following his intuition, Grens launches an investigation that spans from Sweden to the United States and reveals a startling connection between the Frey and Schwarz cases.

Featuring a multilayered plot with a killer twist, CELL 8 takes readers on a gripping, page-turning journey that explores the devastating repercussions of the death penalty as well as the fallout from the conflicting desires for public justice and private retribution.

Review –

This was a first time listen to this author’s work and I loved it. I will definitely  be trying to find the others in the series.

This is a heart-wrenching story of a man named John who was seventeen when he was convicted of murdering his sixteen year old girlfriend although he claims he didn’t do it.  Several years go by and now  he sits waiting for his day to be executed.

One of the main prison guards feels compassion for the young man and believes in his innocence and so with several others they fake the man’s death (really cool the way they did it) and send him on his way to Sweden with a fake identify. There he lives peacefully, marrying and having a son, until one night on his job he kicks a man in the face and almost kills him. He is arrested and little by little they find out that he is none other than a convict from Ohio who everyone thought was dead. 

This is where things become political and finally he is extradited to the United States and put to death. THEN there is a GIANT surprise twist and we find out the identity of the real killer and what was put into motion all those years ago come to fruition. 

Fantastic book.

Five stars *****

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Dominated (The Enforcers #2) by Maya Banks

Book Description:

Published: May 3, 2016

Format: Audio/Audible

To save her, he had to betray her…

In Drake’s shadowy world, his enemies would exploit any weakness he had in order to bring him to his knees, and so he’s never allowed himself to care about anyone…never exhibited any vulnerability, and it made him a force to be reckoned with. Until Evangeline—his angel. A woman who slipped past his defenses like no one had ever managed. She was his to protect and ultimately, to do that, he had to do the unthinkable and drive the only good thing in his world away.

But he will stop at nothing to get her back…

Devastated and destroyed, Evangeline doesn’t know what made Drake turn on her in such a shocking manner. She only knows she’ll never be the same. He once freed her from all her inhibitions, only now she is a prisoner to never-ending pain. But when Drake finds her again, she realizes there is more to his world than she ever imagined, and she must decide if she can once more trust—and submit—to the man who holds her wounded heart in his hands. And he must convince her of just how far he’ll go to regain her love and forgiveness.

Review –

Drake is dominant, powerful, alpha male feared by many and he’s surrounded by a group of other alpha males whom he considers to be brothers and enforcers. Drake prides himself on having no vulnerabilities or weaknesses, until he loses Evangeline in a bid to protect her.

Drake was going to hold a meeting at his apartment with unsavory men from a mafia-like group and to make sure Evangeline was no where around because if the men saw the way he looked at her they would see how much she meant to him and could use her to get to him.

Evangeline had no idea of the seriousness of this meeting and decided to surprise him by hosting it for him and when Drake came in with the other men in tow he about died. He had to think quick so he demeaned her with every foul word he could think of and treated her as if she were a prostitute off the street. Drake moves the meeting to his office and Evangeline packs a change of clothes and leaves. Her plan is to regroup before heading home, but Drake turns New York City upside down in his desperation to locate her. Drake’s men, especially Silas and Maddox, are also devoted to her.

Their relationship has had its ups and downs and while  Evangeline forgives Drake, she’s still not entirely sure of her place in his life. She also knows that there are many things that Drake isn’t telling her, such as the nature of his businesses. They do reconnect as he encourages her to voice her fears and concerns. Evangeline also challenges Drake to provide the domination she’s come to crave.

I won’t go into any spoilers but suffice it to say there is a HEA and it is a white-hot read/listen.

The next book in the series is KEPT and it is about Silas. I can’t wait to start it. He is a big, brooding, quiet man who is sexy as Hell!

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The Night Stalker (DCI Erika Foster #2) by Robert Bryndza

Book Description:

Published: June 2, 2016

Format: Audio/Audible

In the dead of a swelteringly hot summer’s night, Detective Erika Foster is called to a murder scene. The victim, a doctor, is found suffocated in bed. His wrists are bound and his eyes bulging through a clear plastic bag tied tight over his head.

A few days later, another victim is found dead, in exactly the same circumstances. As Erika and her team start digging deeper, they discover a calculated serial killer – stalking their victims before choosing the right moment to strike.

The victims are all single men, with very private lives. Why are their pasts shrouded in secrecy? And what links them to the killer?

As a heat wave descends upon London, Erika will do everything to stop the Night Stalker before the body count rises, even if it means risking her job. But the victims might not be the only ones being watched… Erika’s own life could be on the line.

Review –

This is only the second book in the DCI Erika Foster series and I’m totally hooked.

I just love DCI Erika Foster…she’s abrasive, yet extremely loyal, willing to go as far as necessary to solve a case. Her and her team will do whatever it takes to get the bad guys and that is clearly evident in this book. Erika is certainly a force to be reckoned with.  She may not always see eye-to-eye with her bosses and her co-workers – those that are equal to her – but those that work for her know her dedication to the job and are usually willing to go to bat for her.

The one thing that does make my blood boil in this book (and in the first one as well) is that the upper ranks of the police department are made to look totally incompetent and just plain stupid. It’s like without Erika no crime would get solved. And once she does bring in the killer, she is not even given a pat on the back and her promotion is given to someone less talented. You would think after a while that they would come to expect the unexpected from her. I guess I’ll have to wait for other books in the series to see if they wise up.

I found myself completely invested in this story right from the beginning because it’s another fast-paced, shocking thriller and even though this one takes place in the sweltering heat of the summer, it’s still has that chilling factor to it that all good mysteries do. 

Excellent read/listen.

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Between Shades of Gray by Rita Sepetys

Book Description:

Published: March 22, 2011

Format: Audio/OverDrive

Lina is just like any other fifteen-year-old Lithuanian girl in 1941. She paints, she draws, she gets crushes on boys. Until one night when Soviet officers barge into her home, tearing her family from the comfortable life they’ve known. Separated from her father, forced onto a crowded and dirty train car, Lina, her mother, and her young brother slowly make their way north, crossing the Arctic Circle, to a work camp in the coldest reaches of Siberia. Here they are forced, under Stalin’s orders, to dig for beets and fight for their lives under the cruelest of conditions.

Lina finds solace in her art, meticulously–and at great risk–documenting events by drawing, hoping these messages will make their way to her father’s prison camp to let him know they are still alive. It is a long and harrowing journey, spanning years and covering 6,500 miles, but it is through incredible strength, love, and hope that Lina ultimately survives. Between Shades of Gray is a novel that will steal your breath and capture your heart.

Review –

“They took me in my nightgown.” The opening sentence of this superlative first novel by Ruta Sepetys demonstrates the strength of its unembellished language. Thus, 15-year-old Lina Vilkas, along with her mother and younger brother, is deported from her Lithuanian home by the Soviet secret police in 1941, and begins a cattle-car journey through a series of forced-labor camps that will span 12 years and 6,500 miles.

Apart from a few overly dramatic metaphors, Lina recounts her story with a straightforward clarity that trusts readers to summon images of starvation, disease and death, and grounds them in a reality young adults can understand.

As expected in Y.A. fiction, Lina has both a love interest and a special skill. Her relationship with another refugee is one of attraction amid desperation, their physical desire tamped down only by the limits of their emaciated, louse-­ridden bodies. Lina’s talent for drawing likewise plays a role: in her attempts to get a coded message to her father; in the assignments she is given by her Soviet captors for map-­copying and portraiture; in the flashbacks to her life as a promising art student.

The book does not lead us through the entire twelve years of the horrible conditions at the labor camp but does give us a glimpse into the life she had after being freed, and for that I was grateful. Parts were very heart-wrenching and seemed almost to horrible to have really happened .

I truly enjoyed this book but not as much as her second book, Salt to the Sea, which I rated FIVE STARS and think everyone should read. This one too, will leave you thinking for some time to come.

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Separation Games (The Games Duet#2) by C.D. Reiss

Book Description:

Published: January 3, 2017

Format: Audio/Audible

These are the unbreakable rules in the game.
Stay collected. Compartmentalize. Think your next move through. Never let your heart dictate your tactics.

The heart is impulsive.
The heart makes bad decisions.
The heart doesn’t see the long game.

Because the heart may have decided to get Adam back, but when the endgame comes, the heart’s going to be the first thing to break.

Review –

This book takes up where the other left off.

Adam  has discovered that by breaking Diana sexually and making her submit to him, he now doesn’t love her in the same way. He has never been able to love a submissive.

The tables have turned and now Diana is the one trying to put their marriage back together and Adam is the one walking away.

This installment is mostly told from Diana’s point of view. I felt for her on so many levels, her desire to get back what was once hers and now out of her reach. I felt her pain, but I also felt how strong she was and how determined she was to put it all on the line in order to finish the game she started. Only Adam and his sadistic dominance could satisfy her and she HAS to get him back.

Towards the end of the book we get to see things from Adam’s POV and see what was hiding in his heart and thoughts and once again he held his position of perfection. A man who is out to right his wrongs once and for all no matter the costs. I simply adore EVERYTHING about him.

Adam tries to use sex to keep Diana at arm’s length while Diana uses sex to communicate where her words fail. The sex (and there’s a lot of it) is electric, inventive and off the charts HOT, and you will  never look at LEGOS the same way again.

The end of Adam and Diana’s journey is almost like a drop after sub space as you process everything. Aftercare is a must!

And I can’t explain with enough words how great this was and how happy the development through the whole book made me and those few last chapters in particular * SWOON*

Five Stars *****

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The Other Woman(Jane Ryland #1) by Hank Phillippi Ryan

Book Description:

Published: September 4, 2012

Format: Audio/OverDrive

Jane Ryland was a rising star in television news…until she refused to reveal a source and lost everything. Now a disgraced newspaper reporter, Jane isn’t content to work on her assigned puff pieces, and finds herself tracking down a candidate’s secret mistress just days before a pivotal Senate election.
Detective Jake Brogan is investigating a possible serial killer. Twice, bodies of unidentified women have been found by a bridge, and Jake is plagued by a media swarm beginning to buzz about a “bridge killer” hunting the young women of Boston.
As the body count rises and election looms closer, it becomes clear to Jane and Jake that their cases are connected…and that they may be facing a ruthless killer who will stop at nothing to silence a scandal.
Dirty politics, dirty tricks, and a barrage of final twists, The Other Woman is the first in an explosive new series by Hank Phillippi Ryan. Seduction, betrayal, and murder—it’ll take a lot more than votes to win this election.

Review –

This was my first read by this  author and I’m fairly certain I’ll be reading more, of this series in particular.

The first in a series. Jane Ryland is a reporter. She gets fired from her TV job and gets a newspaper job. She is in love (or at least, has the potential to be) with Jake – a cop, but they can never be together because of their jobs.

I actually like that Jake and Jane don’t do anything sexual in the book. For one thing, I feel like they really are getting to know and love(?) each other as people instead of just lusting after each other. Too many books out there today have “insta-love” between the two main characters and it is just TOO unbelievable .

This book is about a political campaign and all the back-stabbing and scandal that goes along with it, however, it is a bit confusing and with tons of twists and turns it becomes a tangled mess.

Did I enjoy it? Yes, I did. Twists and turns, multiple plot lines and points of view don’t bother me.

If you like a good “whodunit” give this book a try.

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Mr. O by Lauren Blakely

Book Description:

Published: May 2, 2016

Format: Audio/Audible

Just call me Mister O. Because YOUR pleasure is my super power.

Making a woman feel ‘oh-god-that’s-good’ is the name of the game, and if a man can’t get the job done, he should get the hell out of the bedroom. I’m talking toe-curling, mind-blowing, sheet-grabbing ecstasy. Like I provide every time.

I suppose that makes me a superhero of pleasure, and my mission is to always deliver.

But then I’m thrown for a loop when a certain woman asks me to teach her everything about how to win a man. The only problem? She’s my best friend’s sister, but she’s far too tempting to resist–especially when I learn that sweet, sexy Harper, has a dirty mind too and wants to put it to good use. What could possibly go wrong as I give the woman I’ve secretly wanted some no-strings-attached lessons in seduction?

No one will know, even if we send a few dirty sexts. Okay, a few hundred. Or if the zipper on her dress gets stuck. Not on that! Or if she gives me those f*&k-me-eyes on the train in front of her whole family.

The trouble is the more nights I spend with her in bed, the more days I want to spend with her out of bed. And for the first time ever, I’m not only thinking about how to make a woman cry out in pleasure –I’m thinking about how to keep her in my arms for a long time to come.

Looks like the real Adventures of Mister Orgasm have only just begun….

**MISTER O is a standalone romantic comedy and it follows supporting characters first introduced in BIG ROCK** (Which I have not read)

Review –

“They say men have sex on the brain 99.99 percent of the time. You’re not going to catch me trying to dispute that…In my case, though-and I suppose, in my defense-sex is part of my job.”

Well, heck, Lauren Blakely, when your main man opens with this statement, where can things go but up?

The author  has artfully delivered another wonderful friends-to-lovers story, complete with characters that I wish I could actually spend time with, sizzling chemistry and a feisty cat named Fido.

Nick Hammer (yes, that’s his real name, thank you very much), cartoonist extraordinaire, and master of giving women orgasms beyond description,  has fallen for the sister of his best friend and he knows that’s taboo.

But, when red-headed Harper, a magician by trade, asks him for help in the dating department he can’t say “No” and as time goes by and he developed more than sexual cravings for her, he knows he’s done for.

Fantastic book, sexual tension with humor thrown in. Perfect!!!!

I have not read or listened to BIG ROCK, but I’m thinking I’ll have to add it to my SBTBR list. (Smutty Books To Be Read)

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Mastered (The Enforcers #1) by Maya Banks

Book Description:

Published:December 29, 2015

Format: Audio/Library Book

What he wants, he takes with no remorse or guilt.

She stood out in his club like a gem, unspoiled and untouched. A lamb among wolves, she clearly didn’t belong. Drawn to her innocence he watched as she was surrounded by men who saw what he did—but no one but him could touch her. He summoned her to his private quarters. He sensed her fear. He also recognized the desire in her eyes. And he knew she wouldn’t leave before he possessed her. She had no need to know his secrets. Not until he had her under his complete and utter control.

What he wants, she isn’t sure she can give him.

The moment he told her want he wanted, she couldn’t resist. Instinct told her to run, but her heart said stay and walk the fine line between pleasure and pain. Though she wasn’t sure she could ever completely surrender, the primal part of her wanted to try, even knowing this man could break her in ways she never imagined. Because once he possessed her, he owned her and it would be too late to turn back. She can only pray that he doesn’t destroy her in the end.

Review –

Mastered is the first novel–and an emotional roller coaster–in a new erotic series by the very talented Maya Banks. If you’re a fan of really getting into a character’s mind while going on a journey of the heart, I think Drake and Evangeline will have you intrigued.

Evangeline  was unsure of herself, doubted her good looks and her  sex appeal, but knew she was a loyal friend and would protect those she loved. Drake started off all bad-ass alpha so it was a rocky beginning, but he turned out to be such a tortured character.

In the book we spend a lot of time  in Drake and Evangeline’s heads. This had a big psychological element to the plot, both with how the main characters evolved and with how they were becoming accustomed to their Dominant/submissive relationship. Drake realizes that “his angel” isn’t like any of the other women he has had before. She doesn’t want gifts of jewelry, money, or expensive clothes. All she wants is his trust and his time. Evangeline is naive and has no clue of Drake’s “other” business, aside from the sex club and he means to keep it that way.

What he has to do at the end is horrible for both of them, but especially Evangeline. All the faith, trust and respect that Drake had given her is forever shattered. 

The book ends with a cliffhanger but I’m lucky enough to have it queued up and will be listening to it very soon.

Fantastic book with great, completely believable characters and VERY hot sex scenes.

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