Since We Fell by Dennis Lehane

Book Description:

Published:

Format: Audio/Audible

Since We Fell follows Rachel Childs, a former journalist who, after an on-air mental breakdown, now lives as a virtual shut-in. In all other respects, however, she enjoys an ideal life with an ideal husband. Until a chance encounter on a rainy afternoon causes that ideal life to fray. As does Rachel’s marriage. As does Rachel herself. Sucked into a conspiracy thick with deception, violence, and possibly madness, Rachel must find the strength within herself to conquer unimaginable fears and mind-altering truths. By turns heart- breaking, suspenseful, romantic, and sophisticated, Since We Fell is a novel of profound psychological insight and tension. It is Dennis Lehane at his very best.

Review –

“The clinical term for what ails journalist Rachel Childs is “agoraphobia.” Even if the term didn’t appear twice in the novel, it’d be easy enough for the reader to identify—and identify with—her pain thanks to Lehane’s delicate, incisive rendering of her various symptoms. They include panic, rage, depression, and, most of all, self-loathing. (“That’s who I’ve become,” she thinks to herself. “A creature below contempt.”) The reasons behind Rachel’s breakdown are likewise cataloged in short, vivid strokes: a childhood spent mostly with her brittle, brilliant mother who refused to tell her anything at all about her father, leading to a yearslong search for that father culminating in desolation and heartbreak. The coup de grâce to Rebecca’s self-esteem comes when her meteoric rise to prominence as a Boston TV reporter literally crashes from her on-camera nervous collapse while covering the aftermath of the 2010 Haiti earthquake. Through all these jolts and traumas, one person is always around, whether close or from a distance: Brian Delacroix, a witty, handsome Canadian-born businessman whom she first meets as a private investigator, later through his occasional “keep-your-chin-up” e-mails, and then, after she’s all but locked herself away in her apartment, outside a South End bar. Brian gradually becomes the only one who can even begin to draw Rachel out of her deep blue funk, first as a confidant, then as a lover, and finally as her husband. Happily ever after? You know there’s no such thing in a Lehane novel if you’ve dived into such rueful, knotty narratives as Mystic River (2001), Shutter Island (2003), and World Gone By(2015). It spoils nothing to disclose that Brian isn’t quite who Rachel thinks he is. But as she discovers when she tentatively, gradually subdues her demons to seek the truth, Rachel isn’t quite who she thinks she is either.” Kirkus Reviews

Great read!

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Flesh, The Complete Series by Sky Corgan

Book Description:

Published: July 15, 2016

Format: Audio/Audible

All 17 installments PLUS Before Flesh, the sequel to The Flesh Series.

Looking to explore the lifestyle for the first time? Want to experiment without having to commit to a Dominant? Then come to Flesh. Flesh is the perfect entryway to all things kink related. Come find out what the lifestyle is all about in a safe, controlled environment. We’ll tailor your scene to your needs. Whether you’re new to the lifestyle and just want to get your feet wet, or you’re into the hardcore stuff, we can create the perfect experience for you. Simply fill out a list of the things you want to try, and we’ll pair you with a Dominant who will fulfill your desires. It’s all about you. Let us introduce you to the pleasures of the lifestyle without all the stresses and worries of having to attend munches constantly and search for that one perfect Dominant. At Flesh, everything is arranged for you. Safe, sane, and consensual. Sky Corgan is the USA Today bestselling author of Unmatchable and The Billionaires Club.

Review –

I’m sorry, but all I have to say is DON’T READ IT or LISTEN TO IT. The narration is horrible and the story line is so unrealistic and out of left field that i just kept shaking my head and rolling my eyes the entire time.

Enough said.

 

The Sister (The Boss #6) by Abigail Barnette

Book Description:

Published: August 22, 2017

Format: Audio/Audible

Sophie Scaife finally feels like her personal life is on the right track. Her marriage to her devastatingly sadistic billionaire Dom, Neil Elwood, is as sexually adventurous as ever. Their relationship with their lover, the glamorous and rich El-Mudad ibn Farid ibn Abdel Ati, is growing closer. Even sharing guardianship of Neil’s granddaughter with his ex is going smoothly.

But a trip to Sophie’s hometown leads to a heartbreaking discovery, and she’s forced to confront a family she never knew. When they ask her for a life-changing favor, she must choose between helping them and healing herself—unless she can find a way to do both.

While she navigates the unrelenting emotional pressure, long-simmering tensions come to a head in her professional life with dramatic consequences. Reconciling what her heart wants with fears for the future, Sophie must learn to let go of the past and embrace possibilities she never knew were options…

Review –

In The Sister, the sixth installment in The Boss series, you can expect a lot of movement in regards to romantic, family, and work relationships.

I wanted to love this book. I really did. and I did enjoy it! I enjoyed the dynamic between Sophie, Sasha, Susan and Molly. AND the fact that Sophie finally admitted to herself that she didn’t want to be in Mode anymore and gave it to Deja, and that she finally understood that she didn’t have to feel guilt about what she has.
As far as El-Mudad, Sophie and Neil… yeah I don’t know if I’m feeling it. I came into this series with a love for Sophie and Neil’s love and bringing in a third person just doesn’t allow focus on Sophie and Neil. I don’t know, I don’t necessarily hate it or even dislike it. The whole polygamy aspect doesn’t bother me. Plus I LOVE El-Mudad. Maybe if that had been the initial plot I wouldn’t be on the fence about it. I do appreciate the respect that all three have for each other through it all though. Just not sure if I’m ready for the full focus to no longer be on Sophie and Neil. In the beginning the love between them was so BIG it didn’t seem like there was room in their hearts for anyone else.

The Ex (The Boss #4) by Abigail Barnette

Book Description:

Published: November 22, 2014

Format: Audio/Audible

Magazine editor-in-chief, bride-to-be, and soon-to-be-step-grandmother at twenty-six, Sophie Scaife is looking forward to married life with her fiancé and Dom, wickedly sadistic billionaire Neil Elwood. As they enter unexplored sensual territory, Neil leads Sophie to the very edge between pain and pleasure—and she discovers a surprising new side to her sexuality.

While Sophie balances her hectic work routine with her devotion to her unconventional family, Neil has to adjust to life as a retired mogul. With their big day drawing nearer, they have to forge through pre-wedding jitters, personal crises, and an unexpected houseguest to get to their kinky ever after.

But a decades old trauma still haunts Neil. When the private details draw public interest, Sophie learns that the scars of his past are greater than he let on—and he’ll need all of her love to heal them…

Review –

After the last book lulled me into a bit of rut with Sophie and Neil, they are back and more riled up than ever.  Our favorite pair is finally engaged and after the tease of the third book, the wedding is finally on the way. As a reader, I was ready for the wedding jitters, the dramatics of potentially leaving one another at the alter… I was not ready for rape to come into the picture. I didn’t fully realize that a small plot line that came up twice or so in the previous books would come to blow up in the way that it does in the fourth book in the series.

It is surprises like this that come completely out of the blue which truly make these books so special. I can jokingly say that I read them for the sex, and that’s not completely wrong. Where I sometimes deviate from that line comes in these moments. The author doesn’t hesitate to address issues like a dominant who rapes a submissive, when BDSM goes horribly wrong. She alternates between these very serious issues while leading the reader on a terrible journey of persistent wedding horrors with a side stop Losing Your Best Friendville.

In a way, it’s like getting sucker punching multiple times – each in a different muscle group so that you never quite recover.

Reading so far into a series makes the character development all the more satisfying, and this book is probably one of the best examples of that I’ve read in the recent year. From the first book, you watch Sophie grow from uncertain and pushed-around office girl to confident magazine editor and growing socialite. That doesn’t mean she isn’t immature in other areas, and you, as the reader, can watch her grow through them. Her sexuality is one of those issues. As Neil and her explore different depths in more ways than one, Sophie has to deal with reclassifying herself and learning that perhaps there is more to her sexuality than meets the eye. As per her usual self, she doesn’t take it “exceedingly” well. Neil’s own issues with his past rape dominate other parts of the book.

Now about the sex, the scenes that you’re all thinking of? Oh they are there, don’t you worry. Our favorite BDSM couple goes deeper (get it?) than before, and definitely explore uncharted territories that were not on the original ship manifesto. Somehow it doesn’t seem to matter what places the author takes them, because it is too hot to even care. Bring out the fans, readers – you will need them in this book.

Per usual, The Ex is trying to knock you out by mixing that heavy-laden mixture of real-life issues and overly sensual and well-written sex. Spoiler alert? They will suceed.

Now on to #5.

 

 

Wolfhunter River (Stillhouse Lake #3) by Rachel Caine

Book Description:

Published: April 23, 2019

Format: Audio/Audible

She can’t ignore a cry for help. But in this remote hunting town, it’s open season.

Review –

Wolfhunter River is Rachel Caine’s third book in her Stillhouse Lake series (after Stillhouse Lake and Killman .

Gwen Proctor is an amazing character—flawed, brave, vulnerable, fierce, and utterly protective of her children. I found the first two books in this series absolutely spectacular, tautly plotted and full of action and suspense, and they provided a disturbing view into the heart of evil and how it can spread.

I found that this book took a little longer to build up steam, and once it did, there was so much going on and so many things were tangled together that the plot even got a little muddled. It felt like in trying to build on the intensity of the first two books, the author thought she had to triple the suspense. Fortunately, there is still a lot of character development, and we learn more about Sam’s life before he and Gwen met.

This book might be more of a standalone than the first two books were, but I’d still recommend you start reading the series from the beginning. Caine sure does love to keep you guessing about how the plot will unfold! I’m not sure if she intends to keep writing about Gwen, but I hope she does, because she’s definitely full of possibilities.

If you’re a fan of creepy, well-written, suspenseful thrillers, I’d encourage you to pick up this series, starting with Stillhouse Lake. You may find yourself wondering just how you’d react if faced with the same situations Gwen was, and whether you’d be a total badass like she is.

 

The Girlfriend (The Boss #2) by Abigail Barnette

Book Description:

Published: August 17, 2019

Format: Audio/Audible

Unemployed, blacklisted, and pregnant, Sophie Scaife’s life is totally upside down. Her relationship with publishing magnate Neil Elwood is on the rocks. Her best friend’s career is igniting. And Sophie is afraid she’ll make one of the toughest decisions of her life alone…

When a devastating diagnosis forces Neil to return to London, Sophie throws caution to the wind to follow her heart across the Atlantic. Keeping a scorching D/s affair as red-hot in sickness as it was in health is a challenge, even for two lovers as inventive as Sophie and Neil. But Sophie is more than willing to try anything her Sir commands, and their fantasies of control become a welcome refuge from the daily stress of illness.

While Neil’s wealth and privilege make adjusting to her new situation easier, Sophie finds herself rebuilding her life around an uncertain future. And while both of them face the changes between them head-on, they’re all too aware that their happiness may be fleeting—and Sophie could lose Neil forever.

Review –

The Boss ends with the cliffhanger that Sophie is pregnant, and The Girlfriend picks up from there. I pretty much guessed how that plot was going to be resolved by the blurb for this book, and I was right. Though I have no problem with the manner in which the situation was resolved, it was very unpleasant to read about it.Now, after finishing the book, I have to wonder why that sub-plot was even there to begin with. One of the author’s criticisms of “Fifty Shades of Grey” (in her wonderful “Jenny Reads Fifty Shades” series on her blog) was that there are pointless sub-plots that do nothing to really move the story forward. I think the pregnancy cliffhanger/subplot was pretty much the same thing. If anything it existed merely so that the author could point out just out feminist, PC, and not-FSOG this book is/tries to be. And really, that continues through the entire story.

There is a very REAL depiction of what it’s like to be a care giver to a cancer patient on high dose chemotherapathy and the changes mentally and physically that the patient can undergo. The book also talks about using the good days of cancer treatment to keep the relationship alive by having inventive sex. I feel  because this book is written by a female all of this information was done magnificently. A male wouldn’t have been as caring in the detail. There also is a description of an abortion that is very graphic and therefore could be a trigger for some readers or listeners.

I really liked this book more than the first because we came to see Sophia and Neil is much more depth.

 

 

 

 

The Boss (The Boss #1) by Abigail Barnette

Book Description:

Published: July 15, 2013   

Format: Audio/Audible

Sophie Scaife almost ran away once, trading her ticket to college for a ticket to Tokyo. But a delayed flight and a hot one-night stand with a stranger changed her mind, putting her firmly on track to a coveted position at a New York fashion magazine.

When the irresistible stranger from that one incredible night turns out to be her new boss – billionaire and publishing magnate Neil Elwood – Sophie can’t resist the chance to rekindle the spark between them… and the opportunity to explore her submissive side with the most Dominant man she’s ever known.

Neil is the only man who has ever understood Sophie’s need to submit in the bedroom, and the only man who has ever satisfied those desires. When their scorching, no-strings-attached sexual relationship becomes something more, Sophie must choose between her career and heart… or risk losing them both.

Review –

I believe this may be the first BDSM/contemporary romance written by a woman that Ive read and I found that not only are the sex scenes amazingly hot, but the characters are well developed and seem like real people, not caricatures. This book portrays a good relationship with proper communication, boundaries, and an equal partnership even with the economic/age disparity. The D/s aspects of the story make sure to stress concepts like consent, safewording, and aftercare. The wealth of likeable and love-to-hate characters span a wide range of diversity and don’t fall into the usual clichés you’d expect from this kind of story, which is refreshing and wonderful.

The build-up to the cliffhanger and the cliffhanger itself was expertly done and my heart is currently aching wondering how the heroine and hero will handle the next stage of their lives. I’m looking forward to the second book.

My recommendation is: if you can get over the age difference (twenty-four years), navigate through the sexual athleticism, and the fact of the cliffhanger ending, you’ll enjoy this novel.

This is a series of seven books and I don’t know if I will read them all, but I’m definitely reading the next one to see what happens.

 

 

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.

 

Jane Doe by Victoria Helen Stone

Book Description:

Published: August 1, 2018

Format: Audio/Audible

A double life with a single purpose: revenge.

Jane’s days at a Midwest insurance company are perfectly ordinary. She blends in well, unremarkably pretty in her floral-print dresses and extra efficient at her low-level job. She’s just the kind of woman middle manager Steven Hepsworth likes—meek, insecure, and willing to defer to a man. No one has any idea who Jane really is. Least of all Steven.

But plain Jane is hiding something. And Steven’s bringing out the worst in her.

Nothing can distract Jane from going straight for his heart: allowing herself to be seduced into Steven’s bed, to insinuate herself into his career and his family, and to expose all his dirty secrets. It’s time for Jane to dig out everything that matters to Steven. So she can take it all away.

Just as he did to her.

Review –

When her best friend commits suicide after being dumped by a worthless man, Jane, a self-described sociopath, decides revenge will be slow and sweet.

In this suspenseful, creepy thriller, Jane travels to Minneapolis after her friend, Meg, commits suicide. Jane isn’t sure she herself has ever felt love, or any emotion other than hatred for her abusive family. But college roommate Meg gave Jane her best chance at seeing how normal people lived. When Meg became involved with Steven, though, she turned from a funny, bold woman into a submissive girl who accepted Steven’s cruel comments and control, until in her despair she killed herself. Now Jane has insinuated herself at Steven’s company. She pretends  to be just the sort of woman Steve wants—meek, mousy, and needy. It’s fascinating to hear Jane, who narrates the novel, comment on her plans and observations of others. The author does a fantastic job of creating in Jane a complex character, making her both scary and more than a little appealing. As the novel progresses, our view of Jane gradually shifts. Is Jane really a sociopath or the rare woman who doesn’t care what others think? And which of us wouldn’t at least dream of sweet revenge against those who cause such pain? Stone even provides the perfect ending, which can’t be commented on without ruining its perfection.

This beautifully balanced thriller will keep readers tense, surprised, pleased, and surprised again as a master manipulator unfolds her plan of revenge.

Fantastic  read !

The Perfect Stranger by Megan Miranda

Book Description:

Published: April 11, 2017

Format: Audio/OverDrive

Confronted by a restraining order and the threat of a lawsuit, failed journalist Leah Stevens needs to get out of Boston when she runs into an old friend, Emmy Grey, who has just left a troubled relationship. Emmy proposes they move to rural Pennsylvania, where Leah can get a teaching position and both women can start again. But their new start is threatened when a woman with an eerie resemblance to Leah is assaulted by the lake, and Emmy disappears days later.

Determined to find Emmy, Leah cooperates with Kyle Donovan, a handsome young police officer on the case. As they investigate her friend’s life for clues, Leah begins to wonder: did she ever really know Emmy at all? With no friends, family, or a digital footprint, the police begin to suspect that there is no Emmy Grey. Soon Leah’s credibility is at stake, and she is forced to revisit her past: the article that ruined her career. To save herself, Leah must uncover the truth about Emmy Grey—and along the way, confront her old demons, find out who she can really trust, and clear her own name.

Everyone in this rural Pennsylvanian town has something to hide—including Leah herself. How do you uncover the truth when you are busy hiding your own?

Review –

Megan Miranda’s The Perfect Stranger is billed as being a sequel to her highly successful All the Missing Girls, although as far as I can tell, there are no common characters or plot threads, unless one counts the fact that one of the characters in The Perfect Stranger is a “missing girl”!  If you haven’t read the first one you will have no problem with this one, it’s a  standalone, and is a thoroughly enjoyable and intriguing read that asks some interesting questions.  How well we can ever know another person?  How honest and accurate are our self-perceptions?  Just how far would you go for a friend who’d done a lot for you?

Megan Miranda does a terrific job in this book of creating and maintaining an atmosphere of menace and uncertainty.  She skillfully and slowly feeds the truth about Leah’s situation, hinting at what she’s running from and slowly fitting the pieces of the puzzle together – although it’s not until well into the story that we finally discover the nature of the terrifying events that set her on the path she’s now travelling.  And there’s also the fact that Leah is somewhat of an unreliable narrator, something the author plays with so cleverly that there are times the reader even questions the fact of Emmy’s existence, wondering if the police are right and she’s just a figment of Leah’s obviously active imagination.

On the negative side, however, there are times when there is perhaps just a little too much going on, there are a few plot-threads that are not suitably resolved, and a couple of large inconsistencies that really had me scratching my head – and not in a good way. The mystery is full of satisfying twists and turns, with a few suitably head-shaking moments of realization along the way, but the ending is somewhat of a let down.  Things end well for Leah and Kyle, but it’s all a little low-key, so while I was pleased that everything was nicely tied up, I’d expected something a little… well, MORE.

With all that said, however, I enjoyed The Perfect Stranger enough to recommend it to fans of adult angst filled  mysteries.  It caught my interest early and kept me listening to the end.