Given (Highest Bidder #4) by Lauren Landish and Willow Winters

Book Description:

Published: March 3, 2017

Format: Audio/Audible

I knew she’d ruin me. But I wanted her anyway.

I was born into wealth and my name comes with a reputation.
One I’ve upheld and leveraged for power.
Now everyone owes me and I plan to keep it that way.

Until she’s offered to me. My sweetheart. Only for a single month to repay a debt.
Her tempting curves call to me and beg me to risk it all.
I shouldn’t take her, I shouldn’t even consider his offer.

Women like her bring men to their knees.

But there’s something in her baby blues. They’re haunted by what lies behind them.
She sees through me, leaving me nowhere to hide.

I knew taking her would destroy me, but it only took one taste.

Now I’m addicted. And I’m not giving her back.

*Given is a full-length standalone DARK romance with an HEA, no cheating, and no cliffhanger.

Review –

While I like usually enjoy the writings of Lauren Landish, this one fell flat. It was very predicitable and totally unrealistic, especially when it came to Arianna’s injuries from the whipping Danny gave her. Supposedly it was done over three hours and when rescued Zander had his doctor stitch her up and that night she felt well enough to cuddle is bed ???!!!!! I DON’T THINK SO.

Given is the fourth book featuring the men of Club X, it is however the first I’ve read may go back for the others, if nothing else, to see if they are more realistic.

 

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Sometimes I Lie by Alice Feeney

Book Description:

Published: March 23, 2017

Format: Audio/OverDrive

My name is Amber Reynolds. There are three things you should know about me:
1. I’m in a coma.
2. My husband doesn’t love me anymore.
3. Sometimes I lie.

Amber wakes up in a hospital. She can’t move. She can’t speak. She can’t open her eyes. She can hear everyone around her, but they have no idea. Amber doesn’t remember what happened, but she has a suspicion her husband had something to do with it. Alternating between her paralyzed present, the week before her accident, and a series of childhood diaries from twenty years ago, this brilliant psychological thriller asks: Is something really a lie if you believe it’s the truth?

Review –

Buckle up and hang on because reading this is like being on an out of control roller coaster .

A pathological liar, a woman in a coma, a childhood diary, an imaginary friend, an evil sister—this is an unreliable-narrator novel with all the options.

Amber narrates most of the book and she starts out in a coma on Boxing Day(it take place in England) and we won’t truly find out what put her there until the end of the book. She can’t remember the accident at all and it’s a story so complicated that even after the truth is exposed, it will take a while to get it straight in your head.

As Amber lies in bed recalling the events of the week that led to her accident, several other narrative threads kick up in parallel. In the present, she’s visited in her hospital room by her husband, a novelist whose affections she has come to doubt. Also her sister, with whom she shares a dark secret, and a nasty ex-boyfriend whom she ran into in the street the week before.

He works as a night porter at the hospital, giving him unfortunate access to her paralyzed but not insensate body. Interwoven with these sections are portions of a diary, recounting unhappy events that happened twenty-five years earlier from a ten-year-old child’s point of view. The author has loaded her debut effort with possibilities for twists and reveals—possibly more than strictly necessary—and they hit like a hailstorm in the last third of the book. Blackmail, forgery, secret video cameras, rape, poisoning, arson, and failing to put on a seat belt all play a role.

The ending will leave you shaking your head and re-reading the passage over and over again!!!!!

Great read!

 

Blackwood by Celia Aaron

Book Description:

Published: January 8, 2017

Format: Audio/Audible

I dig. It’s what I do. I’ll literally use a shovel to answer a question. Some answers, though, have been buried too deep for too long. But I’ll find those, too. And I know where to dig—the Blackwood Estate on the edge of the Mississippi Delta. Garrett Blackwood is the only thing standing between me and the truth. A broken man—one with desires that dance in the darkest part of my soul—he’s either my savior or my enemy. I’ll dig until I find all his secrets. Then I’ll run so he never finds mine. The only problem? He likes it when I run.

Author’s Note: This is a standalone mystery/suspense romance with violence and explicit/intense sex. If you need a trigger warning, then this isn’t the book for you.

Review –

Elise Vale is working on her Ph.D in archaeology, focusing on Choctaw culture. She has the perfect site in mind for her next dig, Blackwood Estate, located in the Louisiana Delta Region. She hopes to find not only some Native American artifacts, but also to uncover a mystery. She has a hidden agenda and she’s willing to do anything to solve a mystery that’s been plaguing her.  Now, the only thing she has to do is to make sure the owner of the Estate allows her to survey the land.

Garrett Blackwood is the thirty-two years old reclusive owner of Blackwood Estate. A former history professor, Garrett has a nasty reputation. He doesn’t want anyone digging on his property and makes sure Elise knows that. But Elise doesn’t let Garrett deter her and she’s ready to do anything to find out THE TRUTH, even forging the documents she needs to get the funding.

As time passes, Elise realizes that digging for answers can be dangerous, but also that Garrett might be the biggest mystery on Blackwood Estate.

Mysterious, sexy and fascinating, Blackwood, was fantastically written in such an intriguing way. I couldn’t put it down for one minute, the mystery/suspense and also the multitude of twists and turns sucking me in from the start. The storytelling was really engaging, the story becoming more and more captivating with every single chapter. The author did a wonderful job blending the thriller/mystery aspect with the erotic. The story was hot and passionate with plenty of sexy times that I’m sure will leave you hot and bothered.

The two main characters were well portrayed, fascinating and I enjoyed reading about them. The chemistry between them was hot…to say the least from the beginning. I enjoyed how their relationship unfolded – gradually – their entertaining interactions and how sexy they were at times. The sex scenes between them were extremely hot, their connection being so palpable as the story unfolded.

Elise was a great heroine, smart, loyal and courageous, she was a strong character and I have to say that I loved her determination. Garrett was a very intriguing hero. While at first, he’s rude and grumpy, as the story unfolded and his relationship with Elise started to change, he became a total different man – kind, sweet, caring, but still gruff and so very manly. I liked these two together and how perfectly they completed each other. The romantic aspect was well done and the rough sex handled very well.

All in all, Blackwood, was a fantastic mystery/thriller I recommend if you are looking for a gripping read filled with steam, action and suspense.

 

The Next Girl (Detective Gina Harte #1) by Carla Kovach

Book Description:

Published: April 2, 2018

Format: Audio/Audible

She thought he’d come to save her. She was wrong.

Deborah Jenkins pulls her coat around her as she sets out on her short walk home in the pouring rain. But she never makes it home that night. And she is never seen again …

Four years later, an abandoned baby girl is found wrapped in dirty rags on a doorstep. An anonymous phone call urges the police to run a DNA test on the baby. But nobody is prepared for the results.

The newborn belongs to Deborah. She’s still alive.

Review –

Four years ago, wife and mother Deborah Jenkins disappeared without a trace. The police did everything possible to find her but it was all to no avail. Her husband, mother, and two young children have all come to terms with her probable death, and although it hasn’t always been easy, each of them has begun to figure out what life will look like without Deborah there. And then, an abandoned infant is found outside a nearby library, an infant who’s DNA matches Deborah’s, and suddenly, the investigation into Deborah’s disappearance is active once more.

Detective Gina Harte remembers the Jenkins case well. She wasn’t the lead investigator back then, but she’s familiar with the investigation nonetheless, and now that Deborah’s case is in the forefront of everyone’s minds again, she’s determined to reunite the woman with her family, no matter what it takes. Of course, this is a lot easier said than done. The original detectives did their job thoroughly, and in spite Gina’s efforts to find something they missed, nothing jumps out at her. But Gina knows that Deborah is out there somewhere, most likely the victim of unimaginable horrors. After all, how else could she have given birth to the baby girl who was left outside the library?

Gina would love to devote all her attention to the Jenkins case, but her personal life is pretty messy. Her adult daughter is in the process of planning a memorial celebration for her late father, a man who had once turned Gina’s very existence into a living nightmare. Gina doesn’t want to participate in the celebration, but neither does she want to ruin her daughter’s memories of her father, so she keeps the truth to herself, something which pushes the two women further apart. And, as if all that isn’t enough, Gina is sleeping with one of her direct superiors. Neither of them would go so far as to call what they have an actual relationship, but they’re both aware it’s very much against the rules, so they’ve been meeting in secret for the past several months.

The story is told from four different points of view. Most of our time is spent with Gina, but we also see things from the perspectives of Deborah, her husband Luke, and Deborah’s captor. For the most part, this narrative style works well, although spending a significant time in Deborah’s head took a little bit away from the mystery itself. The identity of her captor isn’t revealed until the end of the story, but his motivation for abducting Deborah is laid out pretty early on. Fortunately, there were still a number of things to be discovered about Deborah’s ordeal, and Gina’s race to uncover the truth definitely kept me listening.

If violence against women is a trigger for you, you’re might not want to pick up this book. Deborah suffers horribly at the hands of her abductor, and the author goes into quite a bit of detail about what has been done to her over the years of her captivity. Plus, Gina’s former husband was terribly abusive, and she is still dealing with flashbacks and nightmares about the abuse.

I thoroughly enjoyed with book and look forward to reading the next one.

 

Silent Boy by Sarah A. Denzil

Book Description:

Published: January 22, 2017

Format: Audio/Audible

n the summer of 2006, Emma Price watched helplessly as her six-year-old son’s red coat was fished out of the River Ouse. It was the tragic story of the year – a little boy, Aiden, wandered away from school during a terrible flood, fell into the river, and drowned.


His body was never recovered. 
Ten years later, Emma has finally rediscovered the joy in life. She’s married, pregnant, and in control again…… until Aiden returns.

Too traumatized to speak, he raises endless questions and answers none. Only his body tells the story of his decade-long disappearance. The historic broken bones and injuries cast a mere glimpse into the horrors Aiden has experienced. Aiden never drowned. Aiden was taken.

As Emma attempts to reconnect with her now teenage son, she must unmask the monster who took him away from her. But who, in their tiny village, could be capable of such a crime?

It’s Aiden who has the answers, but he cannot tell the unspeakable.

Review –

Silent Child tells the story of a parent’s most fervent prayer answered after their worst nightmare, but with complications.  While Emma Price’s son Aiden is returned to her after ten years, he is far different from the energetic, little boy whose red jacket was fished out of the flood swollen river. His body tells the tale of imprisonment and sexual assault that he can’t bear to utter and so he remains deliberately silent.

By the time Emma received that phone call from the hospital, she’d finally come to terms with Aiden’s disappearance and supposed death.  No longer with his father, her high school boyfriend Rob, she is currently married to a man named Jake and is pregnant with his child.  Aiden’s reappearance back into her life initially evokes obvious joy, but when she realizes how broken her son is, her happiness quickly turns to horror, grief, and an eventual terror and uncertainty about what Aiden might do to his new baby sister.  Her husband and the ex-boyfriend who’s now back in her life only serve to complicate matters more.

Right off the bat, Jake (the husband) comes off as a complete asshole.  There’s a part in the beginning where he fat shames her.  Um, she’s your wife, and she’s pregnant with your fucking child, but it was when Emma mentioned how he had to “train” her that my suspicion meter really went up.

Jake is an excessively tidy person whereas Emma is much messier, but when she moved in with him, she learned that in Jake’s house everything has its place.  Rob (the ex) points this out a bit derisively, and there’s a point where Emma recalls how Jake moved her beloved childhood desk to the garage, replacing it with a newer one (that Emma in no way asked for or wanted), because it didn’t fit in with his perfect scheme.  Throwing a potentially unpredictable Aiden into the mix upsets everything, though Jake does try to be supportive for Emma’s sake.

The author does an excellent job of showing how uncaring the media can be when there’s a story to be had.  The well-being of those involved means nothing, and a perfectly valid outburst is ripe fodder to be used against you, as Emma learns to her regret.

This is one of her many hard lessons.  Some of us are lucky to have a sheltered youth, but then as adults, we have a better understanding of what the world is, but there’s often more than one awakening to this truth, and the lesson Emma learns about masks and the ones who wear them breaks down her trust and that shelter even more.

By the middle of the story, I had a suspect, and the narrative did nothing to discourage me, which I thought was fantastic.  It’s a red herring.  Ms. Denzil wants us to suspect this person. Then later another character seems just as guilty and could there be an accomplice ?
Although the story has a happy ending, it’s muted and not really celebrated. I loved the book and I think any one who appreciates a good psychological thriller will want to add this one the their list to be read.
Five stars!

Ruined (Decadence After Dark #3) by M. Never

Book Description:

Published: June 2015

Format: Audio/OverDrive

Kayne Roberts.
Kayne Rivers.
Kayne Stevens.

No matter his name, one fact remains the same. He’s the man who enslaved me, ensnared me, claimed me and ruined me… For all other men that is.

My life.
My love
My happiness.
All belong to him.
I belong to no one but him.

He owns me.
And I own him.

Review –

Ruined is the third book in the Decadence After Dark series and is a novella epilogue to Kayne and Ellie’s story. Ruined cannot be read as a standalone.
Ellie and Kayne have been through a lot – together and apart – since they first met. From the beginning of this series, when these two characters were first introduced in Owned, readers were brought into this captivatingly, dark world of BDSM, prostitution, and drug dealing. Only that world wasn’t as black and white as it seemed. The second book, Claimed, picked up a year after the ending events of Owned and Ellie was thrust back into Kayne’s world by her own choosing. Ruined is the follow-up epilogue to the previous books.
While short, the author  takes readers on an emotional journey that will tug you in so many different ways and have you experiencing a vast array of emotions just as the previous two books have done so. The way that Never wraps up Ellie and Kayne’s story is done in an utterly spectacular manner that leaves readers with a sense of peace when thinking of this couple,( I still don’t like her crawling away though) especially since those of us have read this series from the beginning know that these two characters have not had it easy.
This is such an utterly gripping and captivating series, Decadence After Dark is dark and not for the faint of heart, but it also is a bright spot. Ellie and Kayne’s “love” story is a unique one for sure, but it’s theirs. From the very beginning I have fallen in love with this couple and had high hopes for them. M Never did not disappoint!

Claimed (Decadence After Dark #2) by M. Never

Book Description:

Published: March 8, 2015

Format: Audio/Audible

With one look he consumed me.
With one touch he marked me.
With one kiss he owned me.
With one whisper he claimed me.

“No matter where you go or who you’re with, you’ll always be mine.”

Ellie Stevens thought she had moved on from the domineering man who abducted her. Now living in Hawaii and following her dreams, no one is going to keep her down. But things aren’t always as they seem.

Kayne Rivers reluctantly let Ellie go, but just because she’s gone now, doesn’t mean she’ll be gone forever. She is his, and he won’t stop until he’s reclaimed her as his own.

***Content Warning***
Claimed is a dark erotic romance. Please pay close attention to the use of the words dark, erotic, and romance. It has intense sexual situations, a Master/slave relationship, mild abuse and some violence. Reader discretion is advised.

Review –

Great ending to Kayne and Ellie’s HEA. A little suspense, a lot of romance, hot sex, and kinky hot sex. Plus we get to see more of Jett and his girl London. Beware there’s a four-some in this part as well as some F/F. Don’t really like that he makes her crawl around.

Ellie was so much stronger in this book and got out of her own head enough to just be herself and be honest about what she wanted. Kayne  was very dominating in an almost wicked way in Owned but in this book he was no longer wicked, just in love and his need was more devouring than dark. I loved that Jet and  London were a big part of this book too. Besides all the feels this book had a TON of sex! Like A TON!!!! It was hot, exciting and adventurous.

Muffy and  Sam are both incredible narrators and they seriously didn’t disappoint in this book. I could listen to them both all day every day! This is about 90% Muffy & 10% Sam which was okay with me since she does a great male voice too!

 

Innocence Defied (New York #3) by Lainey Reese

Book Description:

Published: July 16, 2013

Format: Audio/Audible

Gage Hollister is a Southern Dom looking for a full time sub/slave. When his family’s business brings him to New York City for an indefinite stay, he decides that now is the time to find her. Night after night he prowls the local BDSM club in search of a woman whose need to be dominated equals his thirst for true submission. As the search drags on he begins to wonder if his perfect match even exists. When he is asked to play chaperone for a family friend embarking on her first trip as an adult; he welcomes the chance for distraction from his thus far fruitless endeavor.

Zoe Marshall is the youngest sister to Gage’s best friend and she has been in love with Gage for as long as she can remember. She has saved herself for him and him alone. Now, after careful planning and a bit of luck she finally has her opportunity to show Gage that she’s all grown up and ready to be his. Although he believes himself too old and jaded for an innocent like her, Zoe will not relent until she belongs to him in every way.

Soon Gage’s resistance crumbles and Zoe’s dreams become reality but their budding love is tested when her brother discovers them. As those bonds of friendship strain under betrayal and broken trust, Zoe is confronted with having to choose between the man she loves and the brother she worships. Will having the love of her man cost her the love of her family? If so, is her heart strong enough to survive that loss? Is their love?

WARNING
This book contains graphic language, BDSM elements, M/F/M ménage, a Southern Dom who’s a gentleman; and the woman who brings out the scoundrel in him.

Review –

We met Gage Hollister in the last book in this series and he made quite an impression but we soon find out there is a whole lot more to Gage but all it takes is one little woman to turn him upside down and inside out. I really felt for him because Zoe Marshall, Gage’s best friend, Brice’s little sister has decided he’s the one for her and despite their 13 year age different she aims to make him see her as a woman. Gage finds himself in one hell of a mess when he finds Zoe irresistible and despite her innocence and lack of experience they fall head first into a BDSM relationship.

I felt Gage did a very good job of trying to dissuade Zoe from getting involved with him, and while I didn’t care for the little game she played to grab his attention I reminded myself how young she is and how little life experience she has. Did I think their relationship was ideal? No, the age and experience level differences were huge but I do believe Zoe knew her mind and once Gage was on board it was easy to see that they were meant to be. I like that Gage slowly introduced Zoe into the lifestyle and how careful he was with her from the start. I was not surprised by the reaction of Brice, Cade and Trevor and to be honest I was truly surprised Gage didn’t wind up in the hospital BUT, and this is huge, I love how Gage reminded Brice that he trusted him with his wife but he wasn’t good enough for his sister.

One of my favorite things about this book is getting to see Cade, Trevor, and Riley from the first book and Brice and Terryn from book two. I loved watching them all interact with one another and even when they were at odds, you could still see the love, admiration, and friendship between them all. I especially loved Terryn’s insight and her level head regarding Zoe and Gage’s relationship.

Another great book in the New York series.

Black and Blue by Anna Quindlen

Book Description:

Published: August 10, 2010

Format: Audio/Library Book

For eighteen years, Fran Benedetto kept her secret. And hid her bruises. And stayed with Bobby because she wanted her son to have a father. And because, in spite of everything, she loved him. Then one night, when she saw the look on her ten-year-old son’s face, Fran finally made a choice–and ran for both their lives.

Now she is starting over in a city far from home, far from Bobby. And in this place she uses a name that isn’t hers, and cradles her son in her arms, and tries to forget. For the woman who now calls herself Beth, every day is a chance to heal, to put together the pieces of her shattered self. And every day she waits for Bobby to catch up to her. Because Bobby always said he would never let her go. And despite the flawlessness of her escape, Fran Benedetto is certain of one thing: It is only a matter of time…

Review –

“Frannie, a nurse, fell deeply in love with Bobby, a handsome New York cop who at the time seemed attractively “tasty and dangerous,” as well as kind and thoughtful. But after 17 years of marriage, Bobby has become more dangerous than appealing. Tired of being beaten up, and now coping with a broken nose, Fran takes her ten-year-old son Robert and flees their Brooklyn home. Helped by a women’s organization, she and Robert are given new identities and a new place to live: a duplex in Florida. Now known as Beth Crenshaw, Frannie also tries to make a new life for herself and Robert, whom she loves with a fierce and protective devotion. She finds a good friend in the resilient Cindy and a satisfying job as a visiting health aide. She grows close to her patients, especially Mrs. Levitt, a Holocaust survivor. But Frannie can’t relax her vigilance: Bobby has resources and investigating tools that might make it easy to find her, and so while her life is increasingly normal she dates Mike, Robert’s nice soccer coach she’s still afraid. The tension is nail-biting but nicely complemented by perceptive insights, as in Frannie’s meditation that “whenever I thought about leaving, I thought about leaving my house . . . balloon shades and miniblinds . . . mugs for the coffee . . . small things; routine, order that’s what kept me there for the longest time.” Inevitably, Bobby catches up with her and exacts a terrible revenge, but an appropriately bittersweet ending gives Fran, who’ll always wonder whether she was right to flee, a new love and life. Quindlen writes about women as they really are neither helpless victims nor angry polemicists, but intelligent human beings struggling to do what’s right for those they love and for themselves. A book to read and savor.” Kirkus Review

When I first started listening to this book I thought that at the end Fran would kill Bobby, what happened is much worse. When you’re done reading or listening you will be left thinking for a long time.

 

 

The Edge of Dominance (The Dom of Her Life #4) by Shayla Black,Jenna Jacob, and Isabella LaPearl

Book Description:

Published: September 13, 2016

Format: Audio/Audible

Now that Macen “Hammer” Hammerman shares the bond he’s long craved with Raine Kendall and his best friend, Liam O’Neill, he should be looking forward to a bright future. But recent trauma has exhumed the demons Hammer thought long buried. He must confront them while Raine fights to forget her past and Liam struggles to keep their new family intact.

When a shadowy figure emerges, determined to right old wrongs, he sets in motion a plot that threatens to tear the trio apart forever. With emotions running high and forces mounting against them, can they battle their foes and bury their ghosts so they can live happily ever after?

Review –

I love BDSM stories and this series is a great one.

This book is just a guilty pleasure crazy ride.  The story goes in directions that really cannot be anticipated from the prior books and I loved it!

The trio is really challenged in this book as external forces threaten their happiness.  Finally, we learn about Macen’s past and it is his past which threatens them.  I thought this was the most emotional that we have seen Macen and I truly felt that with his emotional breakthrough in this book, the trio is on the best footing ever.

This book has a bit of a suspense/crime mystery involved as Macen is in danger of spending most of his life in jail.  The question for the friendly characters is who is out to get him.  This threat to Macen and the accompanying loss of control forces Macen to examine his life and make deep emotional changes.  I loved his struggle in this book (he’s been my favorite in the series).  I also loved how he has to lean on Liam and Raine (whereas previously he has been the steady one for them).

I loved the new characters that we got to meet.  Liam’s parents come to visit and their arrival changes the dynamic of this book.  There are some surprising twists that some readers might have to adjust their thinking for.  I especially loved Liam’s dad.  There is one scene toward the end that might be the biggest hoot in the series!

This book really shows the three developing a true equal relationship.  Throughout the four books in this series, these characters and their relationship has changed and grown.  The relationship between three people is deeply complex and I have really enjoyed the journey these characters have taken.

Of course there is a lot of hot sex, but it is really the emotional connection between these characters that is the most important.

The series is nicely wrapped up and there is a sweet epilogue.