Asunder (Iron Bulls MC #1) by Phoenyx Slaughter

Book Description:

Published: 2015

Format: Free Digital Book

Karina:
For most of my life I thought Logan and I were meant to be together. We grew up next door to each other. Neither of us had happy homes, but together we found a sort of peace. He was only three years older than me, but when you’re a child, that’s a lot. I looked up to him. Loved him with everything I had.

He kept me safe. Protected me. Eventually I gave him everything. My heart, my love, my virginity. He disappeared without a word. When I finally found him, he said I couldn’t be part of his life anymore.
He broke my heart.

Then I met Dante, and the perfect plan to get even with Logan began to form in my mind. Dante is older, dark, dangerous, and the Sargent-at-Arms of the Iron Bulls MC. The same MC Logan joined when he left me.

Dante:
Karina Rivers was supposed to be a one-time afternoon distraction. I’m way too old and twisted for someone as innocent as her.
I want her anyway. She doesn’t realize she has the power to tear this MC apart.

Review –

I love a good MC contemporary romance and the author, Phoenyx Slaughter, really delivers in this book.

Karina is more than a little upset with Logan for breaking up with her the way he did so she has a scheme to make him jealous. She plans to hook up with Dante, a much older and rougher man in the same motorcycle club as Logan.

She doesn’t have long to wait because Logan walks in on her and Dante in a very compromising situation that has to deal with a pool table in the MC clubhouse. Logan doesn’t give her the huge jealous reaction she was looking for, instead, he just seemed concerned that she was there, period!

What started out as a scheme to make Logan jealous has become secondary once she gets to know thirty-four year old Dante and soon he feels more for Karina than just a casual lay. Soon she’s living with Dante.

They have a very unique but strange (she calls him “Daddy”, which makes me cringe ever time she does) relationship and he’s very protective of her and wants what’s best for her.

All this time Logan is seething and finally kidnaps Karina but she calls Dante but it goes straight to  voicemail. Will he be able to get to her in time?  END   Talk about a cliffhanger, so naturally I had to buy the next in the series and will report on it later.

 

 

Love Restored (Gallagher Brothers #1) by Carrie Ann Ryan

Book Description:

Published: September 13, 2016

Format: Audio/OverDrive

In the first of a Montgomery Ink spin-off series from NYT Bestselling Author Carrie Ann Ryan, a broken man uncovers the truth of what it means to take a second chance with the most unexpected woman…

Graham Gallagher has seen it all. And when tragedy struck, lost it all. He’s been the backbone of his brothers, the one they all rely on in their lives and business. And when it comes to falling in love and creating a life, he knows what it’s like to have it all and watch it crumble. He’s done with looking for another person to warm his bed, but apparently he didn’t learn his lesson because the new piercer at Montgomery Ink tempts him like no other.

Blake Brennen may have been born a trust fund baby, but she’s created a whole new life for herself in the world of ink, piercings, and freedom. Only the ties she’d thought she’d cut long ago aren’t as severed as she’d believed. When she finds Graham constantly in her path, she knows from first glance that he’s the wrong kind of guy for her. Except that Blake excels at making the wrong choice and Graham might be the ultimate temptation for the bad girl she’d thought long-buried.

Review –

I have read the Montgomery Ink series so I was acquainted with the characters that showed up during this, the first of the Gallagher Brothers  books.

Graham Gallagher and his brothers restore houses that are historical landmarks and other properties and he is a dark, brooding, grumpy man with a long beard, a piercing and ink.

Blake Brennen, who has been estranged from her parents since the birth of her daughter, Rowan, ten years ago, is the executor of her family’s estate so she is the contact person  and she and Graham butt heads from the start.They’re both such strong personalities that they are like magnets bouncing off of each other but you know with just one turn they will connect in such away pulling them apart will be a near impossibility. But Blake has a history that haunts her, a history that changed her world, a history that sent her on the run for years, but now she’s back home and forced to face that history while keeping herself and her secrets close to the heart.

Blake works at Montgomery Ink and pierces as well as tattoos so she comes into contact with the Gallagher brothers almost every day because, Jake Gallagher is engaged to Maya Montgomery.

To make a long story short, Graham and his wife (now ex),Candace, lost a child and their marriage didn’t survive. Blake, got pregnant and the father became a drug addict and died and his parents have always blamed her and said they would have the baby taken away from her, so she moves often and tries to keep Rowan a secret.

Blake, discovers that Chris’s parents have found out where she lives and are taking her to court for full custody.

The Gallagher and the Montgomery’s band together and help Blake keep her daughter. There is drama but it all works out.

For a contemporary romance, this one had minimal sex, but it was well written and the chemistry between Graham and Blake was hot.

A great Summer Time read.

 

Home (Myron Bolitar #11) by Harlan Coben

Book Description:

Published: September 20, 2016

Format: Audio/Audible

Ten years after the high-profile kidnapping of two young boys, only one returns home.

A decade ago, kidnappers grabbed two boys from wealthy families and demanded ransom, then went silent. No trace of the boys ever surfaced. For ten years their families have been left with nothing but painful memories and a quiet desperation for the day that has finally, miraculously arrived: Myron Bolitar and his friend Win believe they have located one of the boys, now a teenager. Where has he been for ten years, and what does he know about the day, more than half a life ago, when he was taken? And most critically: What can he tell Myron and Win about the fate of his missing friend?

Harlan Coben delivers a thriller about friendship, family, and the meaning of home.

Review –

There is something very special about reuniting with a cast of characters you haven’t read about for some time. Myron Bolitar and Windsor Horne Lockwood III, (Win) are two of my favourite characters in all of fiction,(next to Harry Bosch) and we haven’t seen them (besides brief appearances in Coben’s YA Mickey Bolitar trilogy) since 2011’s Live Wire. That is a very long time to wait.

Home brings these characters back, alongside the classic cast: Esperanza; Big Cyndi, Myron’s parents. Heck, even the kids wh0 starred in Coben’s YA series play a vital role in proceedings, and it’s great to be reunited with Mickey, Ema and Spoon. Their presence adds a cool continuity to things. So, sure; this book is for the fans. The readers, like me, who clamour each and every year for a new Myron novel. But there’s plenty here for “non-Myron” fans to enjoy. If indeed there even are such people out there.

There’s a big mystery here, and there are surprising twists (unleashed rather late in proceedings, admittedly, but no less effectively than in other novels) but it’s the emotion of the characters that really lifts Home above the rank and file. The heart and soul of this novel are the twin families coping with the loss of a child, and the extremes parents go to in order to protect them.

Ultimately, it’s just great to be back with Myron and the gang. The novel’s ending is possibly conclusive – – with a real lump-in-the-throat moment –(with 28 minutes left tears formed in my eyes and at 19 minutes left they started to fall) – so who knows when we’ll see these characters again? In many respects, I wish I’d taken my time with the novel and truly savoured it. Instead, I smashed through it in almost one sitting. That’s the true evidence of Coben’s class: his books are so gripping, you can’t put them down or turn them off.

Five stars *****

 

What She Knew by Gilly MacMillan

Book Description:

Published: December 1, 2015

Format: Audio/OverDrive

In a heartbeat, everything changes…

Rachel Jenner is walking in a Bristol park with her eight-year-old son, Ben, when he asks if he can run ahead. It’s an ordinary request on an ordinary Sunday afternoon, and Rachel has no reason to worry—until Ben vanishes.

Police are called, search parties go out, and Rachel, already insecure after her recent divorce, feels herself coming undone. As hours and then days pass without a sign of Ben, everyone who knew him is called into question, from Rachel’s newly married ex-husband to her mother-of-the-year sister. Inevitably, media attention focuses on Rachel too, and the public’s attitude toward her begins to shift from sympathy to suspicion.

As she desperately pieces together the threadbare clues, Rachel realizes that nothing is quite as she imagined it to be, not even her own judgment. And the greatest dangers may lie not in the anonymous strangers of every parent’s nightmares, but behind the familiar smiles of those she trusts the most.

Where is Ben? The clock is ticking…

Review –

Author Gilly Macmillan alternates between two narrators in her mesmerizing debut novel: Rachel Finch, a grieving mother whose eight-year-old son, Ben, disappears from the Leigh Woods in Bristol, England  10 months after her husband left her for another woman; and Detective Inspector  James “Jim” Clemo, who tirelessly searches to find Ben.

Rachel can’t forgive herself for letting her son run ahead of her in the forest, and Jim blames himself for not solving the case sooner. In the aftermath of the investigation, Rachel learns disturbing things about her past and comes to the painful conclusion that she can trust only a few people in her life. Meanwhile, Jim suffers from severe depression that leads to acute insomnia and panic attacks, causing his department to mandate counseling sessions. The suspense intensifies as suspects are ruled out, and the media relentlessly pursue Rachel for negligent supervision of her son. 

Excellent book that will keep you guessing to the end.

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Chained (Caged #2) by D. H. Sidebottom

Book Description:

Published: July 15, 2016

Format: Purchased E-Book

I had once thought that when I found the light I had been searching for in that long, dark tunnel that it would finally give me the gift I had been holding on for.
I had scoured the joyless night sky for peace, a peace that only the brightness of the stars could grant.
And I had endeavoured to catch that single magic snowflake in the middle of a howling snowstorm.
I had been looking. Forever.

But little did I know that it WAS the sinister darkness in the tunnel that was the gift. It WAS the black reservoir of the deepest, darkest night that would be the very thing to give my chaotic soul peace. And it WAS the heaving rush of the bleakest blizzard that was filled with magic.

Anderson Cain WAS the darkness.
He WAS the black peace in my soul.
And within the raging pool of his wild green eyes WAS the magic.
The magic that saw me. The real me.
He made sure I saw me too. All of me. He’d told me he would make me accept who I really was.

I was Kloe Grant. And now – now I am the epitome of what he wanted me to be.

But when I finally let go, and I allowed that darkness to find me, neither of us was prepared for who I really was.

Death itself.

 

Review –

Chained picks up right where ‘Caged’ left off. Immediately, the reader is plunged back into the screwed up pasts of Anderson and Kloe. Forcing Kloe to confront the memories that haunt her, Anderson is still out for revenge and plans to use Kloe as the means to exact that revenge on his father.

The characters are all the right and wrong things in the world. These two have seen more than their fair share of evil. The ways that they decide to deal with those evils are cruel and unusual, but in the end it was so beautiful. I cried throughout the story for the lives they led, the love they never knew, and the love they found. There are so many dark elements in this story, but they are portrayed so beautifully.

Just like Caged, this book will blow your mind and play with your emotions. There were so many twists and turns that I didn’t see coming…and a few that I did. I don’t want to spoil anything. This is one that you need to experience firsthand. Prepare to be shocked and left with an uneasy, disturbed feeling. If you’re a fan of dark, erotic stories, this series is a must read!

This book contains extreme violence, strong adult language and scenes of dark sex, including M/F/M.

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Six of Crows (Six of Crows #1) by Leigh Bardugo

Book Description:

Published: September 29, 2015

Ketterdam: a bustling hub of international trade where anything can be had for the right price—and no one knows that better than criminal prodigy Kaz Brekker. Kaz is offered a chance at a deadly heist that could make him rich beyond his wildest dreams. But he can’t pull it off alone…

A convict with a thirst for revenge
A sharpshooter who can’t walk away from a wager
A runaway with a privileged past
A spy known as the Wraith
A Heartrender using her magic to survive the slums
A thief with a gift for unlikely escapes

Kaz’s crew are the only ones who might stand between the world and destruction—if they don’t kill each other first.

Review –

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You need to know that Leigh Bardugo’s Six of Crows is related to her Grisha trilogy, but you can read this first book of the related series without reading the trilogy first.(I did NOT read the Grisha trilogy) The content is consistently mature and a better fit for more mature teen readers and adults.  Characters are complex, flawed, and sometimes responsible for despicable acts, such as plucking out a man’s eye in one gruesome scene. More bloodshed includes arena fighting in prison where a man is mauled to death and wolves are killed, a gang shooting where a boy is left for dead, a knife wound that nearly kills a main character, and more. Backstories of the main characters can be jarring, such as a recalled childhood scene of a character being buried in corpses on a barge, imprisonment and near-starvation, and characters being beaten and forced to work in brothels. No details are given about life in the brothels, but there’s some kissing and nakedness in other scenes.Readers will learn the backstories of these characters as the novel progresses, each bringing up themes of survival and overcoming loss. Though greed and revenge seem to motivate characters on the surface, there’s also an underlying desire for connection.

I’ve read reviews that raved about this book but for me it was a three and a half to four star book. It was entertaining and the narrators, and there were several, did a great job. I will read the next in the series, Crooked Kingdom, but only because I hate not finishing a series, not because I can’t wait.

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The Girl in the Red Coat by Kate Hamer

Book Description:

Published: February 26, 2015

She is the missing girl. But she doesn’t know she’s lost.

Carmel Wakeford becomes separated from her mother at a local children’s festival, and is found by a man who claims to be her estranged grandfather. He tells her that her mother has had an accident and that she is to live with him for now. As days become weeks with her new family, 8-year-old Carmel realises that this man believes she has a special gift…

While her mother desperately tries to find her, Carmel embarks on an extraordinary journey, one that will make her question who she is – and who she might become.

Review –

When I started this book I had high expectations but at the end I felt let down.

Sensitive eight-year-old Carmel  is spirited away by a man who claims to be her estranged grandfather. As Beth, her mother, desperately searches for her, Carmel realises that her kidnapper has not taken her at random: he believes she has a special gift. Told in the alternating points of view of the grieving mother and the missing daughter, it keeps the reader turning pages.

Carmel’s sections hold most of the action of the story: we watch her slowly understand her captor’s bizarre plans and struggle to retain her identity as months, then years, pass. As she loses track of time, so does the reader: her captivity takes on an aimless, dreamlike quality. Characters drift in and out of the narrative like ghosts. and  the author does this to help  convey Carmel’s mental state.

For a thriller, I didn’t really see anything that traumatizing, except the initial kidnapping and some readers may question the story’s sudden and tidy ending, which feels less the result of the characters’ actions and more the workings of chance. But Hamer’s novel aims to be more than a thriller, and the real heart of the book is not its suspense, but its explorations of grief and how we live through it.

All in all, I’m glad I read it, but once was enough.

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The Watchman (Elvis Cole #11, Joe Pike #1) by Robert Crais

Book Description:

Published: February 27, 2007

To pay back an old debt, Pike is coerced into protecting Larkin Barkley, a hard-partying young heiress whose life is in danger after a “wrong place wrong time” encounter that quickly escalates and spins out of control. The enemy is shadowy, violent and relentless—but the fierce, focused Pike, one of the strongest characters in modern crime fiction, is equal to the challenge. The breathless pace and rich styling are sure to appeal to readers of hard-boiled fiction in general, but since up to now Pike has mostly remained in the background, some fans of the Elvis Cole series (The Forgotten Man, etc.) may find the explicit picture that emerges of Pike at odds with the image they’ve constructed for themselves.

Review –

I’ve read six other books in the Elvis Cole series but I had no idea this was the first one where his partner, Joe Pike, took the lead.

I love the character of Joe Pike. He’s a big brute of a man, with red arrow tattoos on his biceps, wears sunglasses all the time, even at night, rarely says more than a couple of words at a time and is the best guy to have on your side if you’re in trouble.

Larkin needs such a man to protect her from men in an Ecuador drug cartel and protect her he does. Never before have we seen emotion from Joe but we do in this book and at one point he admits to having fallen in love with Larkin, although he does not tell her or anyone else.

I love this series and again I wish had started reading them in order.

Give this series a try.

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Blonde Hair, Blue Eyes by Karin Slaughter

Book Description:

Published: June 4, 2015

A missing girl in the news reminds Julia Carroll of herself: nineteen, beautiful, blonde hair, blue eyes.

Julia begins to dig deeper and plans an article for her college paper. She becomes gradually more obsessed with the case, never imagining how close she herself is to danger.

Review –

This is a very short, sixty-seven page, story about Julia, the sister that was kidnapped and killed in Pretty Girls also by Karin Slaughter.

The story chronicles the day she was kidnapped from morning until that night when she is pulled into a van. It;s horribly creepy and sad because the reader knows what awaits her, that being, many days of captivity, rape and torture before she is brutally murdered.

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The Devil’s Star (Harry Hole #5) by Jo Nesbo

Book Description:

Published: July 6, 2006

A young woman is murdered in her Oslo flat. One finger has been severed from her left hand, and behind her eyelid is secreted a tiny red diamond in the shape of a five-pointed star – a pentagram, the devil’s star.

Detective Harry Hole is assigned to the case with his long-time adversary Tom Waaler and initially wants no part in it. But Harry is already on notice to quit the force and is left with little alternative but to drag himself out of his alcoholic stupor and get to work.

A wave of similar murders is on the horizon. An emerging pattern suggests that Oslo has a serial killer on its hands, and the five-pointed devil’s star is key to solving the riddle.

Review –

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Highlights of this book:

  • Harry is now drunk most of the time and his job is on the line.
  • It’s been three years since the murder of his partner, Ellen Gjelten.
  • He has broken promises to Rakel and she is fed up.
  • A serial killer is on the loose in Oslo killing women and cutting off a finger and leaving his calling card of a red diamond in the shape of a five pointed star.
  • Tom Waaler has a talk with Harry and openly suggests he sell his soul to the devil.
  • Harry lays his card on the table to Waaler and tell him he knows he intimidated the only witness that could identify him in connection to Ellen”s murder and arms running.
  • Harry pretends to go “in to business” with Tom Waalar
  • Man is framed by the real serial killer so Harry rescues him from jail and then they are both being hunted by everyone, especially Tom Waaler and his minions.
  • Harry discovers the identity of the real killer.
  • Oleg is kidnapped by Waalar
  • Waalar finally gets whats coming to him.
  • Harry gets to keep his job.

Five stars *****

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