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review 2016-09-25 01:35
Willing Victim
Willing Victim - Cara McKenna

First read April 2013.
Read again September, 2016. Just as great the second time.

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text 2016-03-07 19:44
Drive It Deep › Cara McKenna 99 cents
Drive It Deep - Cara McKenna

Jeremiah Church and Raina Harper have been close since they were kids, back when life was all about hot Nevada summers spent running wild on the backs of their motorcycles with their friends. Now in their thirties, their lives are changing, and so is the way Miah looks at Raina—a sizzling tension has begun to smolder, impossible to ignore.


 Miah is a man of simple pleasures—after a long day overseeing his family’s cattle ranch, a cool drink in his hand and a barstool under his backside are all he needs. Except lately, Miah’s begun looking at his bartender differently. Raina is Miah’s polar opposite—she’s as hot-headed as he is self-possessed, as wild as he is steady. And though they’re a recipe for disaster, the mutual attraction brewing between them is too tempting to deny.


 But when bottled-up desires hit this hard, this fast, after so long, the results are positively explosive. And while the affair is hot enough set the badlands on fire, when the flames burn out, will their lifelong friendship survive, or go up in smoke?

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text 2016-01-21 18:32
New books to read

I have gotten a bunch of new books, both ARC's and real books lately. I thought I list them, to be honest, the list got a bit long, longer than I had planned it. But apparently I have gotten quite a lot of new books. I should probably think about not requesting more...hahaha yeah right...

 

In an epic novel that reimagines the Hundred Years War—in a world where angels and demons choose sides on the battlefield—England and France find themselves locked in a holy war, but which country has God's favor?

England, 1337: Edward III is beset on all sides, plagued by debt and surrounded by doubters. He refuses to pay homage to the newly crowned Philip Valois of France and seeks to secure his French holdings, but he's outmanned. Philip can put 50,000 men in the field, but he is having his own problems: he has summoned the angels themselves to fight for France, but the angels refuse to fight. Both kings send priests far and wide, seeking holy relics and heavenly beings to take up the cause of their country, but God remains stubbornly silent, refusing to grant favor to either side.

Meanwhile, among the poor and downtrodden, heretical whispers are taking hold: what if God—who has never been seen to do anything for them—is not the rightful leader of the heavens after all? And as Edward’s situation becomes increasingly desperate, even his counselors begin to believe that if God won’t listen, perhaps they can find a savior not from Heaven, but from Hell.

In a sweeping tale packed with courtiers and kings, knights and priests, and devils and angels, Mark Alder breathes fresh and imaginative life into the Hundred Years War in this unique historical epic.

 

*************

 

When brilliant FBI agent Kendra Donovan stumbles back in time and finds herself in a 19th century English castle under threat from a vicious serial killer, she scrambles to solve the case before it takes her life—200 years before she was even born.

Beautiful and brilliant, Kendra Donovan is a rising star at the FBI. Yet her path to professional success hits a speed bump during a disastrous raid where half her team is murdered, a mole in the FBI is uncovered and she herself is severely wounded. As soon as she recovers, she goes rogue and travels to England to assassinate the man responsible for the deaths of her teammates.

While fleeing from an unexpected assassin herself, Kendra escapes into a stairwell that promises sanctuary but when she stumbles out again, she is in the same place - Aldrich Castle - but in a different time: 1815, to be exact.

Mistaken for a lady's maid hired to help with weekend guests, Kendra is forced to quickly adapt to the time period until she can figure out how she got there; and, more importantly, how to get back home. However, after the body of a young girl is found on the extensive grounds of the county estate, she starts to feel there's some purpose to her bizarre circumstances. Stripped of her twenty-first century tools, Kendra must use her wits alone in order to unmask a cunning madman.

 

*************

 


The New York Times bestselling author of Labor Day and After Her returns with a poignant story about the true meaning—and the true price—of friendship

Alcohol cost Helen her marriage and custody of David, her seven-year-old son. Though she once had aspirations to be an art photographer, she makes ends meet taking pictures of grade-school children and working society parties for a catering company. Recovering from her addiction, she spends her evenings checking out profiles on an online dating site; weekends, she has awkward visits with her son, but he seems to be drifting away from her, fast.

When she meets Ava and Swift Havilland, the vulnerable Helen is instantly enchanted. Wealthy, connected philanthropists, they have their own charity devoted to the care and welfare of dogs. Their home is filled with glamorous friends, edgy art, and fabulous parties.

As Helen increasingly falls under the Havillands’ influence—running errands, doing random chores, cataloguing Ava’s art collection—Ava and Swift hire a good lawyer to help her regain custody of her son. But the debt Helen owes them is about to come due.

David witnesses an accident involving Swift, his grown son, Cooper, and the daughter of the Havillands’ Guatemalan housekeeper. With David’s future in the balance, Helen must choose between the truth and the friends who have given her everything.

 

*************

 

An enthralling Edith Wharton-meets-Little Women debut about a family of four artistic sisters on the outskirts of Gilded Age New York high society that centers on the boldest—an aspiring writer caught between the boy next door and a mysterious novelist who inducts her into Manhattan’s most elite artistic salon.

The Bronx, 1891. Virginia Loftin, the boldest of four artistic sisters in a family living in genteel poverty, knows what she wants most: to become a celebrated novelist despite her gender, and to marry Charlie, the boy next door and her first love.

When Charlie proposes instead to a woman from a wealthy family, Ginny is devastated; shutting out her family, she holes up and turns their story into fiction, obsessively rewriting a better ending. Though she works with newfound intensity, literary success eludes her-until she attends a salon hosted in her brother's writer friend John Hopper's Fifth Avenue mansion. Among painters, musicians, actors, and writers, Ginny returns to herself, even blooming under the handsome, enigmatic John's increasingly romantic attentions.

Just as she and her siblings have become swept up in the society, though, Charlie throws himself back into her path, and Ginny learns that the salon's bright lights may be obscuring some dark shadows. Torn between two worlds that aren't quite as she'd imagined them, Ginny will realize how high the stakes are for her family, her writing, and her chance at love.

 

*************

 

When Darren Hatman reports his daughter missing, DI Wesley Peterson isn't too concerned. Leanne Hatman is an aspiring model, keen to abandon her native Devon for the bright lights of London. However, Darren's claim that a photographer has been stalking Leanne soon changes Wesley's opinion.

Leanne works at Eyecliffe Castle, once home to the wealthy D'Arles family and now converted into a luxury hotel. When Darren himself is found brutally murdered in the castle grounds, the police fear is that Leanne has met a similar fate. But, if so, where is her body?

Meanwhile, Wesley's friend, archaeologist Neil Watson, recently returned from a thrilling Sicilian excavation, makes a disturbing discovery near Eyecliffe Castle and surprises Wesley with the news that, while in Sicily, he met Leanne's alleged stalker.

With Eyecliffe Castle becoming the scene of another violent death, Wesley suspects a connection between the recent crimes, the disappearance of two girls back in the 1950s and a mysterious Sicilian ruin called the House of Eyes, a place feared by superstitious locals.

As he works to solve one of his most challenging cases yet, Wesley must face alarming revelations, rooted in centuries of fear and evil . . . as well as dealing with a nightmare of his own.

 

*************

 

New York Times bestselling author Jeffery Deaver returns with his next blockbuster thriller featuring forensic detective Lincoln Rhyme.

Amelia Sachs is hot on the trail of a killer. She's chasing him through a department store in Brooklyn when an escalator malfunctions. The stairs give way, with one man horribly mangled by the gears. Sachs is forced to let her quarry escape as she jumps in to try to help save the victim. She and famed forensic detective Lincoln Rhyme soon learn, however, that the incident may not have been an accident at all, but the first in a series of intentional attacks. They find themselves up against one of their most formidable opponents ever: a brilliant killer who turns common products into murder weapons. As the body count threatens to grow, Sachs and Rhyme must race against the clock to unmask his identity--and discover his mission--before more people die.

 

*************

 

Leeds, 1914. Sisters Julia and Margaret Wood are struggling to rise above devastating poverty, while the threat of war looms large over their community. Angry feelings about foreigners have reached boiling point; their German-Jewish father's search for work proves hopeless, leaving entrepreneurial Julia to keep the family afloat by hawking homemade pies on the streets of Leeds.

Her beautiful elder sister Margaret, an apprentice milliner and new member of the suffragette set, seeks a faster way out of the daily grind, pinning her hopes on a rich suffragette's journalist son, Thomas.

But as the war rages on, it is left to Julia to discover the true meaning of courage and family, as she learns to look forward to the start of the new day - and the promise of a better life ahead.

 

*************

 

The author of Hard Time and Give It All is back with a new series centred on a daring married couple set to explore their fantasies and those of the stranger they've invited to play.

When he's working, Mike Heyer is all business - every inch the alpha male, with the hard, capable body to back up his persona. But at home he can be a different man entirely, harboring appetites only his wife gets to glimpse...

 

When Samira first learned of her husband's fantasies, she was reluctant, even alarmed. But after witnessing the way they set him on fire, she yielded, and happily indulged. As their games have intensified, so has the rush. And now so has the risk - they're poised to take Mike's indecent desires to the next level, by opening their bed to a sexy, brazen stranger. A man seeming custom-made to grant every last one of Mike and Samira's sinful wishes.

 

Welcoming someone new into their lives was always a dangerous proposition, but the couple imagined if anything was at stake, it was their privacy...not their hearts.

 

*************

 

A powerful story of love and loss from internationally bestselling author Tamara McKinly.
So this is Paris, she thought in awe. Spread out before her beneath a clear blue sky, it was like a precious gift after the smog and filth of London. No wonder it was called the city of love . . .

After a spiteful rumour ruins her career in London, Annabelle Blake must travel to Paris to start afresh. There she makes the acquaintance of Etienne and Henri - one a poet, the other a painter - both charming, talented and handsome. They spend their days flirting and drinking with the city's artistesand Bohemians, and soon Annabelle too is swept up in the exotic and exhilarating world of 1930s Paris. But as ever more young people are drawn to the fight against Fascism in Spain, Annabelle must wake from the dream and confront the reality of war. A lifetime later, gifted artist Eugenie Ashton falls in love with Paris the moment she sets foot outside the Gare de Lyon. Like her mother Annabelle before her, the artistic delights of the city are a bright new world to her: but Eugenie will soon find that in its shadows are hidden the secrets of her family's past.

 

*************

 

California, 1993: Neil Collins and Adam Tayler, two young British men on the cusp of adulthood, meet at a hostel in San Diego. They strike up a friendship that, while platonic, feels as intoxicating as a romance; they travel up the coast together, harmlessly competitive, innocently collusive, wrapped up in each other. On a camping trip to Yosemite they lead each other to behave in ways that, years later, they will desperately regret.

The story of a friendship built on a shared guilt and a secret betrayal, The Faithful Couple follows Neil and Adam across two decades, through girlfriends and wives, success and failure, children and bereavements, as power and remorse ebb between them. Their bifurcating fates offer an oblique portrait of London in the boom-to-bust era of the nineties and noughties, with its instant fortunes and thwarted idealism. California binds them together, until-when the full truth of what happened emerges, bringing recriminations and revenge-it threatens to drive them apart.

 

The Faithful Couple confirms Miller as one of the most exciting and sophisticated novelists in the UK - someone who can tell a great story, with a sense of serious moral complexity. This is that rare bird: a literary novel with mass appeal as well as the potential to win prizes.

*************

 

A woman disappears

One moment, Selena Cole is in the playground with her children and the next, she has vanished without a trace.

A woman returns

Twenty hours later, Selena is found safe and well, but with no memory of where she has been.


What took place in those missing hours, and are they linked to the discovery of a nearby murder?

‘Is it a forgetting or a deception?’

 

*************

 

 

From the acclaimed author of The Bones of You comes a haunting and heartbreaking new psychological thriller about a man thrust into the middle of a murder investigation, forced to confront the secrets of his ex-lover's past.

"I was fourteen when I fell in love with a goddess. . ."

So begins the testimony of Noah Calaway, an ex-lawyer with a sideline in armchair criminal psychology. Now living an aimless life in an inherited cottage in the English countryside, Noah is haunted by the memory of the beguiling young woman who left him at the altar sixteen years earlier. Then one day he receives a troubling phone call. April, the woman he once loved, lies in a coma, the victim of an apparent overdose--and the lead suspect in a brutal murder. Deep in his bones, Noah believes that April is innocent. Then again, he also believed they would spend the rest of their lives together.

While Noah searches for evidence that will clear April's name, a teenager named Ella begins to sift through the secrets of her own painful family history. The same age as April was when Noah first met her, Ella harbors a revelation that could be the key to solving the murder. As the two stories converge, there are shocking consequences when at last, the truth emerges.

Or so everyone believes. . .

Set in a borderland where the past casts its shadow on the present, with a time-shifting narrative that will mesmerize and surprise, The Beauty of the End is both a masterpiece of suspense and a powerful rumination on lost love.

 

*************

 

The darkest day of Sam Capra’s life was when he watched his brother, Danny, executed by extremists on an online video. But now, evidence has surfaced that Danny may still be alive—leading a secret, hidden life for the past six years while the world believed him to be dead. What’s more, Sam discovers that Danny may be plotting a murder that could change history: assassinating the Russian president. Determined to stop his brother from committing a murder that may cause a war, Sam goes undercover in a one-man mission to save the world-and to save his brother.

 

*************

 

New York Times and #1 international bestselling author Linwood Barclay delivers the second spine-chilling thriller set in the troubled town of Promise Falls, following the electrifying cliffhanger ending of Broken Promise...
 
After the screen of a run-down drive-in movie theater collapses and kills four people, the daughter of one of the victims asks private investigator Cal Weaver to look into a recent break-in at her father’s house. Cal discovers a hidden basement room where it’s clear that salacious activities have taken place—as well as evidence of missing DVDs. But his investigation soon becomes more complicated when he realizes it may not be discs the thief was actually interested in....
 
Meanwhile, Detective Barry Duckworth is still trying to solve two murders—one of which is three years old—he believes are connected, since each featured a similar distinctive wound.
 
As the lies begin to unravel, Cal is headed straight into the heart of a dark secret as his search uncovers more startling truths about Promise Falls. And when yet another murder happens, Cal and Barry are both driven to pursue their investigations, no matter where they lead. Evil deeds long thought buried are about to haunt the residents of this town—as the sins of the past and present collide with terrifying results.

 

*************

 

The genteel façade of London’s Hampstead is shattered by a series of terrifying murders, and the ensuing police hunt is threatened by internal politics, and a burgeoning love triangle within the investigative team. Pressurised by senior officers desperate for a result a new initiative is clearly needed, but what?


Intellectual analysis and police procedure vie with the gut instinct of ‘copper’s nose’, and help appears to offer itself from a very unlikely source – a famous fictional detective. A psychological profile of the murderer allows the police to narrow down their search, but will Scotland Yard lose patience with the team before they can crack the case?
Praised by fellow authors and readers alike, this is a truly original crime story, speaking to a contemporary audience yet harking back to the Golden Age of detective fiction. Intelligent, quirky and mannered, it has been described as ‘a love letter to the detective novel’. Above it all hovers Hampstead, a magical village evoking the elegance of an earlier time, and the spirit of mystery-solving detectives.


Guy Fraser-Sampson is an established writer best known for his series of ‘Mapp and Lucia’ novels which have been featured on BBC Radio 4 and optioned by BBC television. This is his debut work of detective fiction, and the first title in the Hampstead Murders series.

 

That's it (I think)! Any book here you want to read? 

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review 2016-01-20 21:58
After Hours - Cara McKenna,Lucy Rivers,Tantor Audio

After Hours

The Characters:

Erin Coffey
Kelly Robak

The Story:

She didn’t have to call him. She didn’t have to ask. When she needed him, whether she wanted to admit it or not, he was there. That’s what I love about Kelly. He’s capable and strong and trying to do good in a world that didn’t deal him the best hand. Almost no one gets the dream childhood you see on TV but Erin isn’t about to let that stop her from living life. A good life.

Erin and Kelly have chemistry right off the bat. I was a little hesitant at first but once the story got rolling I found myself in wrinkled from two hours in the bathtub listening. The narrator did an excellent job with the characters.

The Random Thoughts:



4 Stars

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review 2015-11-24 00:00
Willing Victim
Willing Victim - Cara McKenna Right now MMA/underground fighter heroes are trending in New Adult and steamy contemporary romance, but McKenna’s book was (traditionally) published in 2010, which means it was written in 2008/9… a while ago, long before the trend. It’s gritty with lots of sex, and it is so much better that anything else I’ve seen in this sub-genre. It works in a way that romance—and especially steamy romance—often doesn’t.

First, the characters are interesting and complex. The plot is a woman’s erotic exploration of sexual interest she doesn’t fully understand. Both characters come to the budding relationship with their own reasons for this interest, and they are both wary of the exploration for good reason. Our hero Flynn has already come to terms with his connection of masochism and sex, but he moves beyond this connection and into more vulnerable territory as the story goes on. Laurel also finds it easier to explore her sexual interests, but the emotional side is much more rocky.

Second, the book steers clear of so many clichés of the ups and downs of romance. This isn’t a roller coaster of drama. The characters have no major fall-outs, and almost the entire plot revolves around two settings: Flynn’s fight club locale and his apartment. What keeps us reading (aside from steamy sex) is the emotional progression. The overall dark tone doesn’t drag the book down because the characters are funny and insightful, and each conversation reveals new information about their past and their vulnerabilities. Their humor is dry and witty all the way through. What Laurel flops back on Flynn’s bed and says, “You’re still by far the best lay of my life,” Flynn thrust a victory fist in the air.

If you’ve been reading any of the trending New Adult titles, I’d take a break from the Amazon top list and explore this book instead.
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