Stranger in the Lake by Kimberly Belle

Book Description:

Published: June 9, 2020

Format: Audio/Scribd

Stars: 4

When Charlotte married the wealthy widower Paul, it caused a ripple of gossip in their small lakeside town. They have a charmed life together, despite the cruel whispers about her humble past and his first marriage. But everything starts to unravel when she discovers a young woman’s body floating in the exact same spot where Paul’s first wife tragically drowned.

At first, it seems like a horrific coincidence, but the stranger in the lake is no stranger. Charlotte saw Paul talking to her the day before, even though Paul tells the police he’s never met the woman. His lie exposes cracks in their fragile new marriage, cracks Charlotte is determined to keep from breaking them in two.

As Charlotte uncovers dark mysteries about the man she married, she doesn’t know what to trust—her heart, which knows Paul to be a good man, or her growing suspicion that there’s something he’s hiding in the water.

Review –

Charlotte, the narrator of this well-paced novel set in Lake Crosby, N.C., from author, Kimberly Belle, was raised in poverty, but she has achieved her dream of a better life by marrying Paul Keller, the richest man in the Appalachian tourist town of Lake Crosby, N.C., despite the local gossip that Paul drowned his first wife four years earlier.

Then one day she’s disturbed to spot a nervous-looking Paul talking to a strange woman. The next day, Charlotte finds the woman’s body floating under their lakefront dock, just like Paul’s first wife. When shown the body, Paul tells the police he’s never seen the woman. He later takes off without telling anyone where he’s going. Frightened and confused, Charlotte turns to Paul’s two best friends for support, one the town crazy, the other the police chief’s son, both with dark secrets of their own. Belle weaves an intricate web of connections among the characters as the action moves toward the surprising ending. 

This story had intrigue and mystery from the start. I loved the instant suspense of the gossip-inducing relationship and then the first crime right off the top. While Charlotte’s character is not universally loved in their small town, I happened to like her. She handled herself very well with all the drama and her character was one that was inspiring on how she tried to be loyal to those around her and strong willed to get through everything.

While I did guess the killer about two thirds through the listen, how it all played out was very exciting and shocking with each turn. The author sure knows how to write a story that had me on the edge of my seat the entire time. I loved the main characters. I loved the little side characters who helped fill the gaps in this story and shape it into its most interesting parts.

If you love a good mystery, this is it. Thrills, suspense, mystery… Stranger in the Lake has it all.

Walk the Wire (Amos Decker #6) by David Baldacci

Book Description:

Published: April 21, 2020

Format: Audio/OverDrive

Stars: 4

Amos Decker — the FBI consultant with a perfect memory — returns to solve a gruesome murder in a booming North Dakota oil town in the newest thriller in David Baldacci’s #1 New York Times bestselling Memory Man series.

When Amos Decker and his FBI colleague Alex Jamison are called to London, North Dakota, they instantly sense that the thriving fracking town is ripe for trouble. The promise of a second gold rush has attracted an onslaught of newcomers all hoping for a windfall, and the community is growing faster than houses can be built. The sudden boom has also brought a slew of problems with it, including drugs, property crimes, prostitution — and now murder.

Decker and Jamison are ordered to investigate the death of a young woman named Irene Cramer, whose body was expertly autopsied and then dumped in the open — which is only the beginning of the oddities surrounding the case. As Decker and Jamison dig into Irene’s life, they are shocked to discover that the woman who walked the streets by night as a prostitute was a teacher for a local religious sect by day — a sect operating on land once owned by a mysterious government facility that looms over the entire community.

London is a town replete with ruthless business owners, shady government officials, and religious outsiders, all determined to keep their secrets from coming out. When other murders occur, Decker will need all of his extraordinary memory and detective skills, and the assistance of a surprising ally, to root out a killer and the forces behind Cramer’s death. . . before the boom town explodes.

Review –

FBI consultant Amos Decker and his colleague, Alex Jamison, are summoned to the remote North Dakota Badlands when a hunter discovers the remains of a woman out on the Great Plains.

She appears to have had a post-mortem performed on her, reminiscent of those seen on TV cop shows – but this time, there was no slab, morgue or camera in sight. The reason why Irene Cramer’s murder merits an FBI investigation becomes rapidly clear when key questions surface about the woman’s mysterious past. As a teacher at a school managed by a local male-run sect, the Anabaptists, little is known about who she really was or where she came from.

Seeking information from the local community, Decker and Jamison observe the local town of London, North Dakota, which sits at the very heart of the fracking industry. Enriched with oil money, jealousy and a deep-set rivalry between its richest investors lie beneath a veneer of glitz and opulence.

But it is the nearby ‘eye in the sky’, the London Air Force Station, which may hold the answers. Acting as an early warning system, it can detect a nuclear threat to the US. Was Irene Cramer’s death connected in some way to the highly classified facility? When a mysterious government contact reaches out to assist their investigation, Decker realizes that this town holds secrets so explosive that their implications could destabilize the entire country .

I loved that Alex plays a key role here as well as Decker. She’s sometimes AWOL allowing Baldacci to bring in a few other regulars but this time the pair are partnered up the whole way. 

Readers of Baldacci’s other work will be happy to see a bit of a crossover here, featuring a character (or two) from another series. I won’t say more as it was a bit of a surprise, but well done and their presence doesn’t diminish the achievements of Decker and Alex.

There’s A LOT happening in this book. It’s a three-for-the-price of one kinda book. Or maybe more. And it’s unfortunate for some involved in nefarious dealings that they get tangled up in something bigger that might have otherwise seen them escape scott-free.

Decker and Alex are ostensibly there because a woman’s been killed. Kinda savagely but they’re not quite sure of the reasoning behind their involvement. Until they realise there’s a Department of Defence base nearby.

And then there’s the town of London which felt a bit like a character itself. It’s run by two families – the fathers arch-rivals of sorts, though reliant on each other for business. We meet the next generation of both families and there’s a clash between the old school vs new school way of doing things.

Baldacci’s inclusion of mining / fracking and its impacts on communities is also timely given it’s the subject of debate in many countries. (Along with the economic benefits to towns and its people vs environmental and long term impacts.)

In all honesty I could have done without one of the threads of this mystery. I can’t reveal too much but it overcomplicates things and (in many ways) felt redundant. Although having said that, I was able to follow what was happening; and it does give Baldacci the opportunity to mislead we readers—on several occasions—as we assume we’ve got it all solved.

There’s less reliance on Decker’s abilities here – though his impressive memory does come through when he needs it. I actually kinda like his superpower but it’s a reminder that he was (and is) a good investigator either way. 

I also continue to really like Alex, and we actually get a little more insight into both of their personal lives here.

We know about the murder of Decker’s wife and daughter that led him to crash and burn, but here we learn he’s cut off other family since and been reticent to re-establish contact. And I wasn’t sure I’d remembered (or knew) Alex had been married and there’s certainly a (back)story there!

I really enjoyed this book – the sixth in the series. It probably didn’t need to be as convoluted as it was, but Baldacci always manages to keep all of the balls in the air and doesn’t give us plot holes that cause us sleepless nights (or am I the only one who struggles if there’s a lack of closure?!).

Another excellent Amos Decker novel.

Every Last Word by Tamara Ireland Stone

Book Description:

Published: June 16, 2015

Format: Audio/OverDrive

Stars: 5

If you could read my mind, you wouldn’t be smiling.

Samantha McAllister looks just like the rest of the popular girls in her junior class. But hidden beneath the straightened hair and expertly applied makeup is a secret that her friends would never understand: Sam has Purely-Obsessional OCD and is consumed by a stream of dark thoughts and worries that she can’t turn off.

Second-guessing every move, thought, and word makes daily life a struggle, and it doesn’t help that her lifelong friends will turn toxic at the first sign of a wrong outfit, wrong lunch, or wrong crush. Yet Sam knows she’d be truly crazy to leave the protection of the most popular girls in school. So when Sam meets Caroline, she has to keep her new friend with a refreshing sense of humor and no style a secret, right up there with Sam’s weekly visits to her psychiatrist.

Caroline introduces Sam to Poet’s Corner, a hidden room and a tight-knit group of misfits who have been ignored by the school at large. Sam is drawn to them immediately, especially a guitar-playing guy with a talent for verse, and starts to discover a whole new side of herself. Slowly, she begins to feel more “normal” than she ever has as part of the popular crowd . . . until she finds a new reason to question her sanity and all she holds dear.

Review –

Touching tale of girl with OCD finding love through poetry.

Everyone has something they want to hide, even from their closest friends, and I empathized with her desire to keep her secret from her glittery, popular clique. She also just wants to feel “normal,” something that I think everyone  struggles with in high school. 

I loved her new-found friends in Poet’s Corner. Every one was so unique and yet they all shared these secret poetry sessions that made them into a family. Poet’s Corner is an escape, but it’s also where you find your true self, and I wish we had had something similar in my school. Hell, even now I would want to join a secret poetry club!

I think it’s so important that stories like Sam’s are given a bigger place in mainstream media. Every Last Word is a story about living with a mental illness. Sam has a therapist, she takes medication, and her parents are trained on how to handle situations when Sam feels overwhelmed or out of control. She has a set treatment plan that works (and that she and her therapist worked on together and continue to develop as Sam grows), and a therapist who is portrayed in a positive light and I think that all of that is so important. Sam struggles throughout the book with the idea of “normal.” She wants to feel that way and doesn’t see herself as such. But by the end, she realizes that there are all kinds of “normal.”

The most unique aspect of Every Last Word is how Stone weaves poetry into the storyline. The poetry opens the windows to the characters’ hearts and gives a depth to characters that you just can’t get with simple characterization. I felt every emotion with this book!

There is a pivotal point in the book (no spoilers) that changes the trajectory of Sam’s life. It gave me goose bumps and I cried ugly tears.

Though this is a young adult book, I highly recommend it to everyone!

 

 

The Drowning House by Elizabeth Black

Book Description:

Published: January 13, 2015

Format: Audio/OverDrive

Stars: 3

A gripping suspense story about a woman who returns to Galveston, Texas after a personal tragedy and is irresistibly drawn into the insular world she’s struggled to leave.

Photographer Clare Porterfield’s once-happy marriage is coming apart, unraveling under the strain of a family tragedy. When she receives an invitation to direct an exhibition in her hometown of Galveston, Texas, she jumps at the chance to escape her grief and reconnect with the island she hasn’t seen for ten years. There Clare will have the time and space to search for answers about her troubled past and her family’s complicated relationship with the wealthy and influential Carraday family.

Soon she finds herself drawn into a century-old mystery involving Stella Carraday. Local legend has it that Stella drowned in her family’s house during the Great Hurricane of 1900, hanged by her long hair from the drawing room chandelier. Could Stella have been saved? What is the true nature of Clare’s family’s involvement? The questions grow like the wildflower vines that climb up the walls and fences of the island. And the closer Clare gets to the answers, the darker and more disturbing the truth becomes.

Steeped in the rich local history of Galveston, The Drowning House portrays two families, inextricably linked by tragedy and time.

Review –

First off, I rarely rate three stars (I always feel bad when I rate below a four) but this book could have been a five if it had lived up to it’s blurb and hype.

Here’s what the author of The Drowning House wished to do: write the story of a grief-stricken, headstrong woman, Clare Porterfield, who returns to her island hometown and gets wrapped up in the mysteries of her past, and those of Galveston’s wealthiest family. These mysteries dovetail, stretching back to the Hurricane of 1900, and Clare hopes that solving them will bring her peace.

It’s a premise with potential. What reader doesn’t enjoy a strong-willed narrator? Who doesn’t like the slow unpeeling of mysteries, or the moody atmospherics of a disaster that continues to inform a community ninety years later? (The story is set in 1990.) The author’s debut offers the ravages of water, fire and wind, and a portrait of Galveston struggling to disentangle itself from a romanticized past.

But the book falls flat.

Claire Porterfield is a photographer, a snoop. She left her native Galveston under a cloud when she was fourteen. Fifteen years later, at a loss for how to live since the death of her six year old daughter, Claire is invited to come home and put her expertise to work creating a photographic exhibit of Galveston’s colorful past.

Lots of personal history awaits her discovery. Her best friend from childhood, Patrick Carraday, still lives on the Island (as the natives call it), working for his rich father, unmarried, going nowhere. Almost accidentally, Claire discovers one tawdry secret after another. But are they really secrets? Is she the only person who thinks so? And why does her mother dance so perfectly with Patrick’s father?

Galveston plays a major role in this novel: steaming, smoldering, blooming outrageously, earning its money by flaunting its seedy, honky-tonk history. People born on the Island (BOI) seem to understand the world, its foibles, and social obligations in an entirely different way than other folk do. The Island has always made its own rules about issues like Prohibition, gambling and prostitution and prides itself on being a place where a visitor can have experiences not available at home.

In the end, I think that’s the problem. Galveston dominates and overshadows the characters. I didn’t care about Clare’s journey or her past. Her loss and her crumbled marriage are so abstract as to almost not be believed. The writing in this is lovely, truly, but somehow the humanity got lost in it.

Sad.

 

 

Unexpected Reality(Unexpected Arrivals #1) by Kaylee Ryan

Book Description:

Published: July 12, 2016

Format: Audio/Audible

Stars: 4

Expect the unexpected. That’s what they say, but it’s easier said than done.

How do you expect a change so huge it rocks you to your core?

How do you prepare yourself for an event that will alter your life forever?

One breath
One second
One minute
One hour
One day at a time, you learn to live with your unexpected reality.

Review –

This book is really special because it captures Ridge and Kendall building a friendship to eventually falling head over heels for one another. I loved the humor and I really felt the connection between not just Ridge and Kendall but also Ridge and Melissa (NOT a love triangle!!).

The story is heartwarming, and heartbreaking in equal measures. I was completely immersed in Ridge and Kendall’s struggle to overcome the past and make a life for themselves. Ridge is a gorgeous, single dad. He may be a complete player but his son is his number one priority. Ridge finds out the hard way that life can always be unexpected and sometimes heartbreak is in the shadows. Ridge and Kendall’s relationship slowly starts to build and I love how it played out. I love that they did not just jump into bed with each other from the beginning. There are some ups and downs throughout but it builds to the story as well.

The storyline is well thought out and unique and the cover is beyond words. This is an incredibly beautiful character building romance that will grab you from the beginning and not let go until you finish the last page. I highly recommend this to everyone!

The Shuddering by Ania Ahlborn

Book Description:

Published: June 18, 2013

Format: Audio/Scribd

Stars: 4

Ryan Adler and his twin sister, Jane, spent their happiest childhood days at their parents’ mountain Colorado cabin — until divorce tore their family apart. Now, with the house about to be sold, the Adler twins gather with their closest friends for one last snowboarding-filled holiday. While commitment-phobic Ryan gazes longingly at Lauren, wondering if his playboy days are over, Jane’s hopes of reconciling with her old boyfriend evaporate when he brings along his new fiancée. As drama builds among the friends, something lurks in the forest, watching the cabin, growing ever bolder as the snow falls — and hunger rises. After a blizzard leaves the group stranded, the true test of their love and loyalty begins as the hideous creatures outside close in, one bloody attack at a time. Now Ryan, Jane, and their friends must fight — tooth and nail, bullet and blade — for their lives. Or else surrender to unspeakable deaths in the darkened woods.

Review –

This book could be described as an old-school creature feature in novel form. When a host of sarcastic twenty-somethings stage a reunion at a secluded winter cabin, a devastating blizzard traps them indoors, forcing them to circle the wagons against an onslaught of attacks from ashen, long-limbed monsters that legend has it only come out when it snows.

The creatures are introduced in a riveting prologue, but once the author  establishes her mundane characters, winter woods setting, the plot devolves into a slow plod toward a final confrontation. We know the monsters are there, we know our heroes will be forced to fight them, but Ahlborn insists on saving the good stuff until the finale.

Essentially, there are no twists or turns just very predictable actions by the cabin dwellers. For the first half of The Shuddering, tension and suspense are clearly lacking. Though a peripheral character does become the first to “bite the dust” (or should I say snow).

But then, suddenly, things start getting good. Once the characters are fully aware of their plight and begin to mount a defense, The Shuddering magically transforms from rich boy melodrama into a stark, unsettling tale of snowbound survival. Things get dirty, things get nasty, and when the author  finally forces her twenty-somethings to knuckle up, the book really delivers. It’s a few chapters  of good old-fashioned monster magic tacked onto the back end of some super predictable happenings.

The ending is right out of Twilight Zone or a Stephen King novel and you can see it coming a mile away. Is the book good? I gave it four stars just because I love a good spooky story and I don’t care how predictable it was! 

I wish I had waited and read it in the winter instead of a hundred degree Spring day.

 

 

Disgrace by Brittainy C. Cherry

Book Description:

Published: June 28, 2018

Format: Audio/Audible

Stars: 4

Each day I prayed for my husband to love me again.

After fifteen years together, he walked away from me, and into the arms of another.

I didn’t know how to cope. I didn’t know my worth. I didn’t know how to exist without him by my side.

All I wanted was for him to come back to me.

Then, Jackson Emery appeared.

He was supposed to be a distraction for my mind. A summer fling. A confidence boost to my bruised heart.

We were perfect for one another, because we both knew we wouldn’t last. Jackson didn’t believe in commitment, and I no longer believed in love. He was too closed-off for me, and I was too damaged for him.

Everything was fine, until one night my heart skipped a beat.

I didn’t expect him to make me laugh. To make me think. To make my sadness somewhat disappear.

When our time was up, my heart didn’t know how to walk away.

Each day I prayed for my husband to love me again, yet slowly my prayers began to shift toward the man who wasn’t right for me.

I prayed for one more smile, one more kiss, one more laugh, one more touch…

I prayed for him to be mine.

Even though I knew his heart wasn’t destined to love.

Review –

First and foremost, Disgrace is the story of a woman who has suffered horribly in her marriage – going home to find herself. After multiple (seven, to be exact) miscarriages, gut-wrenching betrayal, and an impending divorce, the heroine, Grace, doesn’t really know who she is anymore. She’s lived her life as the perfect daughter, the perfect community member, the perfect wife, and where has it gotten her? Going through a divorce at 30 with nothing to show for her marriage but damaged self-esteem and a douchebag ex.

What I loved most about Grace was that even though she was struggling to find herself and still kind of wanted to be the people-pleaser she’d been raised to be, she wasn’t ever weak. Confused, sure. But not weak. She never turned her back on Jackson, the hero, or his family, even though doing so would’ve made her life considerably easier. She was broken, but not beaten, and when push came to shove, she was a good person and a solid friend to Jackson. Her strength of character was nothing short of inspirational.  

And Jackson…oh, honey. My heart just broke for him. He’d lost his mother, his dad was the town drunk, everyone called him a monster, and he was stuck in a town where charity and kindness seemed available to everyone but him. And worst of all, he couldn’t leave because he’d promised his mom (on her deathbed, no less), that he’d take care of his father.

The ‘Prologue’ is where we first meet ten year old ‘Jackson Emery’ as he learns one of life’s heartbreaking lessons when he sees his mother walking out the door proclaiming that she’s not in love with his father any more. Life from that point onwards forever changes him and his father. 

So, here’s this (inwardly) sweet, gentle man stuck living a miserable lonely life in an awful town and pretending to be a complete asshole so that no one would ever know just how much their cruel nicknames and petty gossip really hurt him. He’s exactly what Grace says he is: a gentle monster. I loved every single word written from this gentle monster’s point of view. He was FLAWLESS.

Did he treat Grace badly in the beginning? Yes, he said some awful things to her. But his actions contradict his words, and it didn’t take long for Grace (and me as a reader) to see what a good man Jackson really is. Jackson is officially on my list of all-time favorite book boyfriends. (His former manwhore ways are completely forgiven)

There are so many other things I could say but I don’t post spoilers. There is sadness, frustration, a huge surprise twist and redemption.

So, long-story-short, if you love an emotional, deeply touching romance that’ll make you cry a little because it’s all so beautiful and so REAL, give this one a go. You won’t be disappointed.                   

 

 

I Know Everything by Matthew Farrell

 

Book Description:

Published: August 6, 2019

Format: Audio/Scribd

Stars: 5

A psychologist grapples with his own sanity as murder evidence mounts against him.

Police investigator Susan Adler is ready to close the book on a deadly car accident, but after the medical examiner discovers evidence of foul play, she knows she has a murder on her hands. The victim was the wealthy wife of Randall Brock, a renowned psychologist who treats patients with disturbing, brutal fantasies. And just like that, Susan’s got a suspect.

Randall has a violent past but knows he didn’t kill his wife. In the midst of his crushing grief, Randall receives a visit from a stranger with information to share about his wife’s death. But there’s a catch: in exchange for the stranger’s information, Randall must reveal dark secrets he’s kept hidden for years. As this shady figure applies more pressure and Susan closes in, Randall begins to doubt himself, clinging desperately to the pieces of his sanity.

Revelations and suspicious coincidences send shock waves through the investigation, and circumstances spin out of control. Susan must race to put it all together before it’s too late—before the next murder strikes too close to home.

Review –

The author opens with a gruesome prologue set in a basement, where an unnamed dying man chained to a wall surveys two corpses while hearing noises upstairs.

Chapter One jumps to psychologist Randall Brock’s research on talk-therapy methods designed to reduce and eliminate patients’ homicidal fantasies. Brock himself becomes a murder suspect after his wealthy philanthropist wife, Amanda, dies in an automobile accident the same night she’s received a humanitarian award. Police officer Susan Adler leads the investigation; she’s a single mother struggling to balance her commitment to criminal analysis while raising two sons whose father fails to take them on a promised ski trip to Vermont. Adler’s attractive new partner, Tommy Corolla, charms Adler and her children and wants to take her out after the case closes; he suspects Brock: “It’s always the husband.”

The night of the accident, a mysterious stranger catches Brock’s attention at the awards dinner, then shows up at his office after Amanda’s death. The stranger knows about the death of Brock’s brother when they were children, declares to Brock that Amanda was murdered, claims to have seen the whole thing, and offers to tell Brock who killed her in exchange for Brock’s revealing his own truths, although the arrangement will be off if Brock tells police about their encounters. The stranger seals the deal by revealing one of Amanda’s dirty secrets.

An intriguing premise inexpertly executed though some of the plot twists were predictable.

Great read!

Look for Me(Det. D.D. Warren #9) by Lisa Gardner

BookDescription:

Published: Februar 6, 2018

Format: Audio/Scribd

Stars: 4

In #1 New York Times bestselling author Lisa Gardner’s latest twisty thrill ride, Detective D. D. Warren and “Find Her”‘s Flora Dane return in a race against the clock to either save a young girl’s life . . . or bring her to justice.

The home of a family of five is now a crime scene: four of them savagely murdered, one—a sixteen-year-old girl—missing. Was she lucky to have escaped? Or is her absence evidence of something sinister? Detective D. D. Warren is on the case—but so is survivor-turned-avenger Flora Dane. Seeking different types of justice, they must make sense of the clues left behind by a young woman who, whether as victim or suspect, is silently pleading, Look for me.

Review –

The execution-style murders of a family and the disappearance of their eldest daughter once again bring together a seasoned homicide detective and a kidnap victim–turned-vigilante to find the killer.

In the Boston suburb of Brighton, it’s Detective D.D. Warren’s  least favorite kind of crime: the slaughter of a family. Juanita Baez, her boyfriend, Charlie Boyd, her 13-year-old daughter, Lola, and her 9-year-old son, Manny, are all dead, shot to death in their home. Conspicuously absent are 16-year-old Roxanna Baez and the family’s two elderly dogs. Warren and her team weigh the possibility that Roxy was abducted or the more chilling one: that she murdered her family. Turns out Juanita wasn’t always a perfect mother; the state removed her children five years earlier due to her drinking, placing the girls in the almost Dickensian Mother Del’s foster home, where all manner of abuse went on under the radar. In a rare instance of family reunification, Juanita regained custody, but the girls’ time in foster care changed them. In an awkwardly patched-in subplot, another Gardner regular, kidnap survivor Flora Dane, who now runs a support/empowerment group of sorts for women who’ve lived through similar trauma, realizes Roxy approached her group before disappearing, making Flora determined to find her before the police do. She and D.D. enter an uneasy, and entirely unexpected partnership, each exploring her own leads in a case that, while tragic, is a bit on the predictable side but not taking away from the energy of the chase and capture of the bad guy.

Great read!

Need: Ari and Jackson (Fettered #7) by Lilia Moon

Book Description:

Published: February 4, 2018

Format: Audio/Audible

Stars: 4

The end of the Fettered series.

Review –

This is the final book of the Fettered series and it gives us the story of Ari and Jackson. I’ve read two or three others but this is the first one that held my attention.

Ari is the beating heart of Fettered, which is a BDSM club. She is a switch, in other words she is a sub who can also be a Domme. She needs both to fully express herself. She has longed for the kind of relationship that she sees all her friends getting and knows because she is a switch it is a very difficult job to find someone who can let her fully express both sides of herself.

She has long derided the “baby doms”, the doms that have little experience and their skills are under-developed. Her bratty sub personality pushes too hard against unskilled doms and she often finds herself in training mode, which is part of her job, to let go and really surrender herself.

Jackson is a very interesting character. He has only been out of dom training for a few months, but he has been watching and longing for Ari. He knows he isn’t skilled enough for her yet, but realises that time is running out for him as he sees Ari desperately lonely and longing for a real relationship. He decides to take a chance and ask for an opportunity to show Ari what he can do.

I have always love Ari throughout the other books I’ve read and it’s really interesting to explore her personality more thoroughly. I really enjoyed seeing how a new Dom learns to find his feet in the kinky world. In most BDSM books I’ve read, it is always the sub who is new and this book really explores both sides of the BDSM coin and it is very interesting.