Genre: Diiiirrrrrrttyyy

Short & Sweet – Beyond Shame, Beyond Control, Beyond Denial

February 9, 2017 Bonnie Adult, Book Reviews, Read in 2017, Short & Sweet Reviews 4 Comments

Short & Sweet – Beyond Shame, Beyond Control, Beyond DenialBeyond Shame by Kit Rocha
Series: Beyond #1
Published by Kit Rocha on September 15th 2012
Pages: 354
Genres: Diiiirrrrrrttyyy, Dystopian/Post-Apocalyptic
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository | Audible
Goodreads


three-stars

All Noelle Cunningham has ever wanted is a life beyond–beyond the walls of Eden, where only the righteous are allowed to remain, and beyond her stiflingly restrictive existence as a councilman’s daughter. But only ruins lie outside the City, remnants of a society destroyed by solar storms decades earlier.

The sectors surrounding Eden house the corrupt, the criminal–men like Jasper McCray, bootlegger and cage fighter. Jas clawed his way up from nothing to stand at the right hand of Sector Four’s ruthless leader, and he’ll defend the O’Kane gang with his life. But no fight ever prepared him for the exiled City girl who falls at his feet.

Her innocence is undeniable, but so is their intense sexual attraction, and soon they’re crossing every boundary Noelle barely knew she had. But if she wants to belong to Jas, first she’ll have to open herself to the gang, to a dangerous world of sex, lust and violence. A world where passion is power, and freedom is found in submission.

“She’d been cast out of Eden and straight into Hell.”

Outside the walls of Eden is complete ruin after solar storms destroyed much of the Earth, but many have found ways to survive and even thrive. Noelle Cunningham, a councilman’s daughter, has lived her entire life behind the heavily regulated walls of Eden but after getting caught in various compromising acts she is thrown out into the Sectors to fend for herself. She hasn’t walked the Sectors long before she’s drugged and is being stalked through the streets when she is rescued by Jasper McCray, an O’Kane lieutenant of Sector Four. When his protective instinct arises, he decides to take her under his wing. The O’Kanes, led by Dallas O’Kane, are the most dangerous gang in all the Sectors and their money is made from distilling alcohol and smuggling it into Eden where alcohol is forbidden. Sector Four is led with an iron fist but for the most part, it’s a non-stop party where regulations are non-existent like they are in Eden. Alcohol and sex are enjoyed without shame and Noelle will be in for an eye-opening experience.

This book has been on my TBR for years because the genre combination of post-apocalyptic and erotica was too intriguing a concept to pass up. Except there were like two sentences that reference the reason the world is the way it is, a chapter or two about conflicts between Sectors, and the rest was basically one giant orgy.

Yes, I know, it’s erotica (or as I like to call it, word porn) so I shouldn’t be surprised at all but word porn can have a storyline too, so excuse me. Anyways, Jasper ends up putting Noelle in the hands of Lex who decides to teach her how it’s done out in the sectors. No, not like, how to work or earn her keep (although I guess it is?) anyways… it was basically, “Hey, I’m Lex, here are some clothes of mine you can borrow because you can’t wear that to the sex party. I’ll introduce you to people later. I’m going to give this guy a blowjob, you should watch carefully because you’re going to also get down here and practice. And later we’ll have dance lessons because you’re going to be a stripper. Welcome to Sector Four!”

Get a girl a drink first, ffs. So yes, this is definitely erotica, don’t be fooled as I was by the post-apocalyptic aspect thrown in for effect.

Jasper and Noelle of course get cozy super fast and out in the Sectors you don’t get wedding rings. You get collars. Yes, like a dog, oh except it’s tattooed on you. You get collared and you’re supposed to be submissive because you’re owned and… what in the fuck did I read? The one aspect of this story that smoothed all these jagged flaws out was the topic of consent. It wasn’t all about the women because men got “taken care of” way more than the women did but the need for consent was always being brought up. The women were never forced into doing a single thing that they didn’t want to do, which was appreciated, even though half the time I was like

But if they were cool with it, then you do you.

The actual legitimate issue I had with this story though was Noelle herself. Rules that heavily restrict society in general is bound to cause turmoil and some massive rebelling and that’s exactly what got kicked Noelle out of her home. She comes off as cute and innocent because that’s what Eden instructed her to be but she’s still got that rebellious streak and it comes out through her interest in sex. It seems like an understandable curiosity at first but this chick is either thinking about sex, talking about sex, or bemoaning how terrible she is for being the way she is. You discover not a damn thing about her character other than this. As Navessa put it ever so eloquently: “she’s basically a clit with legs”.

Despite my abundant issues, this was oddly unputdownable. I’m intrigued by the fact that each story in the series focuses on a different couple but I am hoping that the world-building and characterization is built on as well.

Short & Sweet – Beyond Shame, Beyond Control, Beyond DenialBeyond Control by Kit Rocha
Series: Beyond #2
Published by Kit Rocha on March 13th 2013
Pages: 400
Genres: Diiiirrrrrrttyyy, Dystopian/Post-Apocalyptic
Format: eBook
Source: Freebie
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository | Audible
Goodreads


three-stars

She refuses to be owned.

Alexa Parrino escaped a life of servitude and survived danger on the streets to become one of the most trusted, influential people in Sector Four, where the O’Kanes rule with a hedonistic but iron fist. Lex has been at the top for years, and there’s almost nothing she wouldn’t do for the gang…and for its leader. Lie, steal, kill—but she bows to no one, not even Dallas O’Kane.
He’ll settle for nothing less.

Dallas fought long and hard to carve a slice of order out of the chaos of the sectors. Dangers both large and small threaten his people, but it’s nothing he can’t handle. His liquor business is flourishing, and new opportunities fuel his ambition. Lex could help him expand his empire, something he wants almost as much as he wants her. And no one says no to the king of Sector Four.

Falling into bed is easy, but their sexual games are anything but casual. Attraction quickly turns to obsession, and their careful dance of heady dominance and sweet submission uncovers a need so deep, so strong, it could crush them both.

Beyond Control centers around the relationship between Lex and Dallas and holy shit, these two be crazy. We learn that Lex wasn’t always in Sector Four, she used to be owned and was something of a sex slave in another Sector so she has issues with submission (as can be expected). Her and Dallas have been something of a thing for years but he hasn’t made her an honest woman and collared her yet so she decides to force his hand one day and gets his name tattooed across her stomach. He responds as she expected and bestows a gorgeous temporary collar on her made of leather and chains. They finally seal the deal by having sex (without an audience either!) because even though they’ve been at it for years, Dallas wouldn’t sleep with her until she was officially collared.

Goddamn, this is some romantic shit.

As hoped, we do find out more about the state of the world (only a little though) and the politics between Sectors plays a much larger part. Overall though, this one was a bit of a rocky read for me. I never much cared for the dynamic between Lex and Dallas and his continued insistence that she wants to be owned touched a bit of a nerve when you consider her past. Once again, the consent train comes barreling in to the station to make all the crazy shit okay. I just didn’t super buy it this time. And whether it’s because of the lack of characterization or what, but I don’t actually like any of these characters. I didn’t like Noelle’s doe-eyed, innocent act, Jasper was this seemingly brainless brute that just wanted to protect the pretty lady, Lex has clearly got some mental hangups due to her past but goddamn she’s angsty, and Dallas is the king of brainless brutes. Their sex scenes were also not nearly as hot as in the prior book mostly because the domination factor was through the roof and that got old quick.

I continue to have many of the same issues with these stories but they leave me completely riveted. It almost must be said that they definitely don’t read like the self-published books that they are. I may not have any partiality when it comes to characters but I have enjoyed meeting new couples with each story… definitely keeps things interesting.

Short & Sweet – Beyond Shame, Beyond Control, Beyond DenialBeyond Denial by Kit Rocha
Series: Beyond #2.5
Published by Kit Rocha on March 22nd 2013
Pages: 15
Genres: Diiiirrrrrrttyyy, Dystopian/Post-Apocalyptic
Format: eBook
Source: Freebie
Amazon
Goodreads


three-stars

Caution: this story is not meant to stand alone.

The Beyond Happily Ever After stories are vignettes and outtakes showing the O'Kanes in their daily lives, in between the adventures and often after their happy endings. These stories were written exclusively for readers and fans of the series, and will probably not make very much sense to anyone not familiar with the characters.

The stories are also available for free at kitrocha.com.

lol Yeah, I’m still reading these.

Beyond Denial consists of just 15 pages, seeing as it’s actually a deleted scene from Beyond Control (so make sure to read that one first). Since each book focuses on a different couple, I was anticipating a book between Ace and Rachel, but this deleted scene is actually between Ace and Jared. And they aren’t having a chat.

I’m growing to appreciate the openness of sexuality in these stories. The things that go on may seem a little extreme and crazy but I find the general absence of labels, shame, and taboos that we constantly deal with in society to be quite refreshing. I wasn’t sure if I’d be continuing these stories because they’re really not my thing… but they’ve got their hooks in me.

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Book Review – Cam Girl by Leah Raeder

December 3, 2015 Bonnie Book Reviews, New Adult, Read in 2015 1 Comment

I received this book free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Book Review – Cam Girl by Leah RaederCam Girl by Leah Raeder
Published by Atria Books on November 3rd 2015
Pages: 432
Genres: Contemporary Romance, Diiiirrrrrrttyyy
Format: eARC
Source: Netgalley
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository
Goodreads

Also by this author: Black Iris

four-stars

Vada Bergen is broke, the black sheep of her family, and moving a thousand miles away from home for grad school, but she’s got the two things she loves most: her art and her best friend—and sometimes more—Ellis Carraway. Ellis and Vada have a friendship so consuming it’s hard to tell where one girl ends and the other begins. It’s intense. It’s a little codependent. And nothing can tear them apart.

Until an accident on an icy winter road changes everything.

Vada is left deeply scarred, both emotionally and physically. Her once-promising art career is cut short. And Ellis pulls away, unwilling to talk about that night. Everything Vada loved is gone.

She’s got nothing left to lose.

So when she meets some smooth-talking entrepreneurs who offer to set her up as a cam girl, she can’t say no. All Vada has to do is spend a couple hours each night stripping on webcam, and the “tips” come pouring in.

It’s just a kinky escape from reality until a client gets serious. “Blue” is mysterious, alluring, and more interested in Vada’s life than her body. Online, they chat intimately. Blue helps her heal. And he pays well, but he wants her all to himself. No more cam shows. It’s an easy decision: she’s starting to fall for him. But the steamier it gets, the more she craves the real man behind the keyboard. So Vada pops the question:

Can we meet IRL?

Blue agrees, on one condition. A condition that brings back a ghost from her past. Now Vada must confront the devastating secrets she's been running from—those of others, and those she's been keeping from herself...

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‘We fell apart. Broke each other’s hearts and screwed up our friendship. Now I’m adrift, unmoored without her. I keep treading water, looking for land. All I can see is endless blue.’

After Vada Bergen and her best friend Ellis Carraway are in a car accident, Vada slips into a depression after being injured and left with the inability to do the art which gave her life. Vada and Ellis aren’t just best friends, their relationship goes beyond that, but Vada has always struggled to accept her feelings of love towards Ellis. Even so, their bond still can’t withstand the after effects of the crash either and they drift apart. Unable to go back to school since her injury will barely allow her to hold a pencil, Vada chances upon meeting a couple that introduces her to the world of being a cam-girl; performing sexual acts on camera for anonymous strangers for money. She renames herself Morgan and becomes the companies highest earner with her signature move: a silk tie wrapped around her neck.

Morgan performs for strangers with an unwavering emotional detachment, but then one of her clients begins asking for personal one-on-one chats and then finally to meet in real-life. Ellis comes back into her life as well only jumbling her thoughts and feelings further. Vada has to make the decision to take the chance on a man she knows nothing about, or to re-attempt to accept her perplexing feelings for Ellis.

‘This world is so thick with ghosts it’s a wonder anyone can breathe.’

Leah Raeder continues to amaze me with her powerful novels that tackle those difficult subjects that are too often just easier to ignore. In Cam Girl, she tackles depression, gender-identity, same-sex relationships, and she tackles the sex trade. At first glance, you would probably say that that’s likely to be a bit overwhelming, and you wouldn’t be wrong. Raeder manages to handle these various different topics and their multiple facets with ease though. Her lyrical writing style is once again present in all its glory, transforming an ugly subject matter into something beautiful.

The focus on not just same-sex relationships but the confusion Vada felt due to her mother’s insistence she wasn’t really feeling what she knew she was feeling was a tough pill to swallow. Also, the way the sex trade was presented is definitely a hot topic for conversation. It may be because I just read Tricks and Traffick so I struggle to see the sex trade in anything but a negative light, but Vada used her role as a cam girl as a way to regain her confidence in life. It can be argued that this is healthy or not, but I appreciated having a new spin on that topic.

For those who have yet to experience one of Raeder’s books, you should know they get quite dark and extremely graphic. Her characters all possess their own unique darkness which they spill across the pages for you to experience. It doesn’t make her novels easy to read, but they are honest, full of passion, and brings to light those dormant topics that we should all be discussing.

‘This is what they don’t tell you about losing someone: It doesn’t happen once. It happens every day, every moment they’re missing from. You lose them a hundred times between waking and sleep, and even sleep is no respite, because you lose them in your dreams, too.’

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Book Blitz + Giveaway! Bold Tricks by Karina Halle

December 17, 2014 Bonnie Book Tour, Giveaways 0 Comments

Book Blitz + Giveaway! Bold Tricks by Karina HalleBold Tricks by Karina Halle
Series: The Artists Trilogy #3
Published by Forever on December 16th 2014
Pages: 352
Genres: Diiiirrrrrrttyyy, Romance-Suspense
Format: Paperback
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository
Goodreads

Also by this author: Come Alive, Shooting Scars, Bold Tricks

The third and final installment in Karina Halle's USA Today bestsellingArtists Trilogy, now available in mass market paperback.

The Faster They Live, the Harder They Fall . . .

Raised by con artists, Ellie Watt has a lot of crazy childhood memories-but none crazier than being scarred with acid by the demented crime boss Travis Raines. Now Ellie is a full-grown woman who lives for revenge, and Travis is a full-blown drug lord who kills for pleasure. The sadistic bastard has kidnapped her good friend Gus as well as her mother, whom he's been holding as prized possessions in his heavily guarded lair. And Ellie has only one chance in hell of getting them out alive-using two dangerous men who love her to death . . .

One is Camden McQueen, a talented tattoo artist who's made a permanent mark on Ellie's heart. The other is Javier Bernal, her fiery ex-lover who's busted more than a few heads in his time. From the crime-ridden streets of Mexico City to the predatory jungles of Honduras, this unlikely trio forms an uneasy alliance in the deadliest game of all-a gun-blazing battle to the finish that will pit enemy against enemy and lover against lover. And Ellie must choose the right man to trust . . . or die.

About Karina Halle

Karina Halle is a former travel writer and music journalist and the USA Today Bestselling author of Love, in English, The Artists Trilogy, and other wild and romantic reads. She lives in a 1920s farmhouse on an island off the coast of British Columbia with her husband and her rescue pup, where she drinks a lot of wine, hikes a lot of trails and devours a lot of books.

Sins & Needles (The Artists Trilogy #1) by Karina Halle {Purchase}
On Every Street (The Artists Trilogy #1.5) by Karina Halle {Purchase}
Shooting Scars (The Artists Trilogy #2) by Karina Halle {PurchaseMy Review}
Bold Tricks (The Artists Trilogy #3) by Karina Halle {PurchaseMy Review}

Today marks the release of the final installment of Karina Halle’s ‘The Artists Trilogy’ in print (and with an awesome new cover to complete the collection!!) I’ve already had the pleasure of reading this entire trilogy and it is hands down one of my favorite Dark Contemporary Romances. Check out below for an excerpt for the book and also a giveaway opportunity!

The motel room was a lot nicer than the one we stayed at before. Sort of a Best Western, middle-ground quality of place. No roaches on the floors, no geckos on the wall. Shit mattresses, I discovered as I pounded my fist on the bed, but I didn’t care.
Camden had just put the final box on my bed, Violetta sprawled out on hers in a state of drug-induced euphoria, when I noticed Javier lingering at the doorway.

“I’m going to be meeting Dom in about twenty minutes,” Javier said to me. “Is that enough time for you to get ready?”

I frowned and he quickly added, “You know he’ll want you there, if this is going to get anywhere. I figured you might want to shower and look nice.”

He rapped his fingers along the doorframe, his mouth opening as if to say something else, then he turned and walked off.
Camden eyed me. “I’m going with you.”

“You might be kind of drunk, Camden,” I told him, though the determination in his voice warmed me like the finest cognac.
“I’ve never felt better,” he said, enunciating each word. His eyes, my god they were still such a clear fucking blue, even in the pallid light of the hotel room. They bore into me with such startling clarity, sending shivers down my back like trailing fingertips. He would be coming with me.

I wished he’d be coming in me. A vision of us in this hotel room, alone, him nailing me to the bed, the headboard banging, slammed into my head.

“Are you okay with that?” he asked.

I suppressed the thought, the flare of heat between my legs, and smiled quickly. “Yes, of course.”

Meanwhile Violetta’s head flopped to the side, her arm still bound to her stiffly in the sling, and started snoring lightly. I motioned to her. “Do you think it’s safe to leave her here?”

He watched her for a few moments, blinking a few times, before saying, “I think she needs to sleep it off.” He went and sat down on my bed. “I’ll be here when you get out.”

I grabbed my bag of clothes I had brought out of the car and brought it into the bathroom. I had a quick shower, trying to rub off all the grim – both real and imagined – with the flimsy hotel soap, then picked through my clothes. Everything that had been in my trunk was musty and wrinkled, some even dirty. I had a packet of unopened (and decidedly unsexy) Hanes underwear, a bra, another pair of jeans, a pair of gladiator sandals that I thought were dressy enough, a pair of Timberland hiking boots, a plain white tee shirt, a couple of wife-beaters, a coral-colored blouse, a plaid shirt, and a light blue tank dress that went to the ground. I wasn’t exactly known for my fashion sense and even with the cherry blossoms covering the scars on my leg, bringing me beauty that I didn’t have before, I didn’t see myself branching out anytime soon. Dressing up in my old clothes for Javier hadn’t exactly helped either.

I slipped on the tank dress, opting to go commando for the evening, and put on the sandals. I looked at myself in the mirror. Once again, I felt like a different person was staring back at me. This me, this Ellie, was tired and hardened. I rubbed the residue mascara away from under my eyes and applied a new coat. My skin was brown from the sun now and I didn’t need much else.

When I came out of the bathroom, Camden straightened up on the bed. I felt strangely shy in front of him, especially as his eyes trailed up and down the length of me.

“Do I look okay?” I asked him, feeling the need to say something. “I mean, if you can see me, that is.”

He bit his lip and stared, a multitude of emotions flashing through his eyes, too fast for me to pick up on each individual one. I thought I saw lust in there – maybe that’s what I wanted to see.

When he still didn’t say anything, I walked over to the dresser where I had my clutch purse left over from the other night at Travis’s and rifled through it for my lip stuff. His silence at my back was a heavy weight, laden with too many uncertainties between us. It was eating at me, burning through me, rendering me with a lead heart. There were so many things I had to focus on, to worry about, fucking impossible things, and yet I needed him to tell me I looked beautiful. I needed him to tell me I was something to him.

I heard him get off the bed and walk toward me, that heaviness, that warmth that he brought with his bones, teased at my back. He stopped, close enough to touch me, and I was about to turn around, perhaps to do something foolish, when he crouched down.

“How is my art?”

His hands found my leg, one of them lifting the hem of my dress, the other slowly moving over the cherry blossom tattoo. I sucked in my breath, holding completely still, trying to contain my nerves that were firing wildly as his fingers ran along the ridges of the ink. He touched me gently over every vine, leaf and petal, until I had to supress a shaky moan that that tried to escape from my lips.

“It feels fine,” I said softly when I found my voice.

“It looks beautiful,” he said.

“I had a beautiful artist,” I told him. I turned at the waist and look down at him, my blue dress glowing in his tanned hand, his other one placed firmly around my calf, his strong fingers imparting heat that sunk deep. He was looking up at me, lips parted slightly.

I couldn’t take a second more of this.

I turned and dropped to the ground, my knees rubbing against his.

I grabbed his face, his rough stubble pressing into my palms, and kissed him.

Hard.

There was surprise for a second, a hesitation, a pulse that refused to beat on. Then Camden kissed me back, his soft lips enveloping mine, his mouth opening to give me life. He put his hand behind my head, holding it there with power and control.
My heart was an elevator car, the cable suddenly snapped, and I was freefalling and falling and falling as his lips and tongue and hot, wet mouth took away every inch of my resolve. The more he kissed me, the deeper and longer we found each other, the thirstier I got for him. I felt like if we stopped, I would die, empty on the inside and forever longing.

There are TEN WINNERS. You heard that right. Ten lucky winners will receive the entire Artists Trilogy collection!
Open to US/Canada only.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Book Tour Review + Giveaway! Ashes to Ashes (Experiment in Terror #8) by Karina Halle

December 12, 2013 Bonnie Adult, Book Reviews, Book Tour, Giveaways, Read in 2013 6 Comments

I received this book free from Book Tour, the Author in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Book Tour Review + Giveaway! Ashes to Ashes (Experiment in Terror #8) by Karina HalleAshes to Ashes by Karina Halle
Series: Experiment in Terror #8
Published by Metal Blonde Books on December 11th 2013
Genres: Diiiirrrrrrttyyy, Paranormal, Romance
Format: eARC
Source: Book Tour, the Author
Goodreads

Also by this author: Come Alive, Shooting Scars, Bold Tricks

It’s been two months since Perry Palomino and Dex Foray’s relationship reached a new turning point, two months since Perry started a new life in Seattle, and two months since their Experiment in Terror show took on a new partner, ex-Wine Babe Rebecca Sims, and found a new level of success. But whenever there is light in their lives, the madness still has a way of coming back in.

When the team is sent back to the stormy Oregon coast to investigate a haunted school, Perry wants to use the opportunity to reconnect with her family and reintroduce Dex into their lives. Only Perry’s not the only one who’s reaching out – her grandmother Pippa has started appearing to her with disturbing warnings and Perry’s presence at the school has ignited a chilling new wave of supernatural phenomenon. Once used a century ago as a sanatorium to house children dying of tuberculosis, the school’s past residents are slowly coming back to life and with one thing on their mind. They want someone to play with, someone to join them. Forever.

Even when dead, some children get whatever they want.

And they want Perry.

About Karina Halle

Karina Halle is a former travel writer and music journalist and the USA Today Bestselling author of Love, in English, The Artists Trilogy, and other wild and romantic reads. She lives in a 1920s farmhouse on an island off the coast of British Columbia with her husband and her rescue pup, where she drinks a lot of wine, hikes a lot of trails and devours a lot of books.

Experiment in Terror series

Capture1

Darkhouse (Experiment in Terror, #1)
Red Fox (Experiment in Terror, #2)
The Benson (Experiment in Terror, #2.5)
Dead Sky Morning (Experiment in Terror, #3)
Lying Season (Experiment in Terror, #4)

Capture

On Demon Wings (Experiment in Terror, #5)
Old Blood (Experiment in Terror, #5.5)
The Dex-Files (Experiment in Terror, #5.7)
Into the Hollow (Experiment in Terror, #6)
And With Madness Comes the Light (Experiment in Terror, #6.5)
Come Alive (Experiment in Terror, #7) {My Review!}

Two months have passed since Dex and Perry’s trip to New Orleans and things have never been better. Rebecca has joined their Experiment in Terror team and the show is becoming more and more successful.  Their next haunted adventure takes them back to Oregon, back to where it all began. The location is a haunted school that used to be a sanatorium for children dying of tuberculosis over a century ago. Some of the ghostly children are friendly and only want someone to play with. Others are much more dreadful and have spine-chilling things in mind.

“To the thing that hurts you most. To the paranormal and to never being normal.”
He winked at me. “To us.”

On Demon Wings was holding the crown of ‘my favorite installment’ but Ashes to Ashes blew it out of the water. This was quite possibly the best installment to date. It was an intense page-turner that was thrilling and steamy and swoony and of course scary as freaking hell. Karina’s ability to describe these scenes of intensity in detail completely bring them to life and leave you feeling completely unsettled.

‘I waited, frozen on the spot, until I heard a dull slap, the sound of bare feet hitting the ground.
Someone coming out of the body cooler.
Someone dead.’

The best part of Ashes in Ashes is returning to Perry’s POV. Perry is such a fabulously intricate character and I really missed out on her thoughts and feelings in the previous installment, Come Alive. We’re also able to experience first-hand her dreamy visits to the Veil, her interactions with Pippa and the sense of foreboding that she exudes. Pippa feels as if something bad is about to happen and she hopes to be able to prepare Perry, but the threat is shrouded in fog and she isn’t able to determine who Perry should be fearing. Prepared or not, this is one threat that Perry will never see coming. This dramatic conclusion sets the stage for the undoubtedly exhilarating final installment of the Experiment in Terror series.

Chandler Bing I'm so excited I may vomit

Grand Prize Giveaway
(open to US and Canada):
A signed copy of Perception (a paperback compilation of all the e-book novellas), a signed copy of Darkhouse, a signed copy of Red Fox (with new cover) as well as a signed copy of Ashes to Ashes and an EIT tank top!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Release Day Feature + Giveaway! Bold Tricks (The Artists Trilogy #3) by Karina Halle

October 15, 2013 Bonnie Adult, Book Reviews, Giveaways, Read in 2013, Release Day Feature 11 Comments

I received this book free from Netgalley, the Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Release Day Feature + Giveaway! Bold Tricks (The Artists Trilogy #3) by Karina HalleBold Tricks by Karina Halle
Series: The Artists Trilogy #3
Published by Forever on October 15th 2013
Pages: 226
Genres: Contemporary, Diiiirrrrrrttyyy, Romance
Format: eARC
Source: Netgalley, the Publisher
Amazon
Goodreads

Also by this author: Come Alive, Shooting Scars, Ashes to Ashes

three-stars

The Faster They Live, the Harder They Fall . . .

Raised by con artists, Ellie Watt has a lot of crazy childhood memories-but none crazier than being scarred with acid by the demented crime boss Travis Raines. Now Ellie is a full-grown woman who lives for revenge, and Travis is a full-blown drug lord who kills for pleasure. The sadistic bastard has kidnapped her good friend Gus as well as her mother, whom he's been holding as prized possessions in his heavily guarded lair. And Ellie has only one chance in hell of getting them out alive-using two dangerous men who love her to death . . .

One is Camden McQueen, a talented tattoo artist who's made a permanent mark on Ellie's heart. The other is Javier Bernal, her fiery ex-lover who's busted more than a few heads in his time. From the crime-ridden streets of Mexico City to the predatory jungles of Honduras, this unlikely trio forms an uneasy alliance in the deadliest game of all-a gun-blazing battle to the finish that will pit enemy against enemy and lover against lover. And Ellie must choose the right man to trust . . . or die.

About Karina Halle

Karina Halle is a former travel writer and music journalist and the USA Today Bestselling author of Love, in English, The Artists Trilogy, and other wild and romantic reads. She lives in a 1920s farmhouse on an island off the coast of British Columbia with her husband and her rescue pup, where she drinks a lot of wine, hikes a lot of trails and devours a lot of books.

The Artists Trilogy
On Every Street (The Artists Trilogy, #0.5)Sins & Needles (The Artists Trilogy, #1)Shooting Scars (The Artists Trilogy, #2)
 

Following the disastrous outcome of the events in Shooting Scars, Javier, Ellie and Camden are forced to team up to right the wrongs. Having the three thrown together forces Ellie to finally choose between the two men that stole her heart.

Bold Tricks is the final installment of The Artists Trilogy where we finally get to see how everything culminates. Told from the sole point of view of Ellie, Bold Tricks maintains the violent and thrilling complexity we’ve come to expect. All loose ends are tied up sufficiently but without that picture perfect ending because that’s the least you could expect with a cast of characters like this. Is there a happily ever after? Well… I suppose that depends on which Team you’re on. I will say I was a bit disappointed at the portrayal of a certain character though, but won’t reveal who. My guess is it was a way of making Ellie’s choice a bit easier but that person’s actions seemed too out of character and didn’t fit as well with what we’ve come to expect.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, this is not my normal genre and if I didn’t adore Karina Halle’s writing from her Experiment in Terror series then I likely would have never picked this up. Contemporary Romance is not my go-to genre, but the fascinating cast of characters is what truly makes this series shine. They may be written in such a way that makes them incredibly realistic, but they are in no way average nor predictable. I’m incredibly sad to see this series come to an end and despite my slight disappointment, Bold Tricks is still a satisfying enough end and a fantastic trilogy overall.

1  WINNER: iPad mini pre-loaded with all three digital Artist Trilogy books (SINS & NEEDELES, SHOOTING SCARS, & BOLD TRICKS) preloaded, and ON EVERY STREET novella included!
5 WINNERS: A signed print Artist Trilogy (SINS & NEEDLES, SHOOTING SCARS, BOLD TRICKS) prize pack!
 
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Release Day Feature + Giveaway! Shooting Scars (The Artists Trilogy #2) by Karina Halle

August 20, 2013 Bonnie Adult, Book Reviews, Giveaways, Read in 2013, Release Day Feature 1 Comment

I received this book free from Netgalley, the Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Release Day Feature + Giveaway! Shooting Scars (The Artists Trilogy #2) by Karina HalleShooting Scars by Karina Halle
Series: The Artists Trilogy #2
Published by Grand Cen­tral Publishing Pages: 265
Genres: Diiiirrrrrrttyyy, Romance-Suspense
Format: eARC
Source: Netgalley, the Publisher
Amazon
Goodreads

Also by this author: Come Alive, Bold Tricks, Ashes to Ashes

four-stars

Sometimes the right choice can be the deadliest.

When Ellie Watt made the ultimate sacrifice for Camden McQueen, she never thought it would be easy. But walking away with her ex-lover, Javier Bernal, in order to ensure Camden’s safety has brought a whole new set of dangers. With Javier’s plans for Ellie growing more secretive by the moment, Ellie must find a way to stay ahead of the game before her past swallows her whole.

Meanwhile, Camden’s new life is short-lived. Fueled by revenge and pursued by authorities, he teams up with an unlikely partner in order to save Ellie. But as Camden toes the line between love and retribution, he realizes that in order to get back the woman he loves, he may have to lose himself in the process. He might just turn into the very man he’s hunting.

Told in dual POV from Camden and Ellie.

The Artists Trilogy

On Every Street (The Artists Trilogy, #0.5)Sins & Needles (The Artists Trilogy, #1)
On Every Street (The Artists Trilogy #0.5) {Purchase}
Sins & Needles (The Artists Trilogy #1) {Purchase}

I read Sins & Needles on a whim last year… it’s one of those romantic suspense novels that appeared to be just like all the others but managed to shock the hell out of me with how explosive and thrilling it really was.

And as far as Shooting Scars goes… no middle-book syndrome here! Shooting Scars is an action packed follow-up that takes you on a thrill ride that refuses to let up. It’s intense, exciting beyond belief and has the perfect amount of sexiness. This story is a definite favorite of mine… I love the rarity of flawed characters possessing such a mesmerizing story.

The dual-narrative was perfection and offered us the opportunity to witness Ellie facing head-on the issues that drove her and Javier apart… and how their reunion dredges up the same feelings that brought the two together in the first place. It also allows us the internal look at Camden’s dark transformation and just how deep his feelings for Ellie are and of the things he’s capable and willing to do to get her back. The ending will no doubt leave you anticipating the last piece of their story… it’s bound to be intense there’s no doubt about that. The Artists Trilogy is dark, seductive and extremely exhilarating.

I love this series so much, I wanted to share this with one of my readers. Not all of you have read this series yet so I’m giving you the option of any book in this series, including the prequel!

1 lucky reader can choose ONE of the following Kindle books:

On Every Street (The Artists Trilogy, #0.5)Sins & Needles (The Artists Trilogy, #1)Shooting Scars (The Artists Trilogy, #2)

On Every Street (The Artists Trilogy #0.5)
Sins & Needles (The Artists Trilogy #1)
Shooting Scars (The Artists Trilogy #2)

Open to U.S. addresses only. Sorry international followers!
Contest ends September 3rd, 2013

To enter use the Rafflecopter form below.
Remember to come back for more entry opportunities daily!!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Book Review – Come Alive (Experiment in Terror #7) by Karina Halle

June 29, 2013 Bonnie Adult, Book Reviews, Read in 2013 1 Comment

Book Review – Come Alive (Experiment in Terror #7) by Karina HalleCome Alive by Karina Halle
Series: Experiment in Terror #7
Published by Metal Blonde Books on June 23rd 2013
Pages: 438
Genres: Diiiirrrrrrttyyy, Ghosties, Horror, Romance, Zombies
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Amazon
Goodreads

Also by this author: Shooting Scars, Bold Tricks, Ashes to Ashes

three-stars

It’s one thing to bring the woman you love back into your life. It’s another to try and keep her there. For Dex Foray, con­vinc­ing Perry Palomino to open her­self to their bur­geon­ing rela­tion­ship has been more chal­leng­ing than hunt­ing ghosts, bat­tling demons and stalk­ing Sasquatch com­bined. Add in the fact that the only way they can keep their Exper­i­ment in Ter­ror show run­ning is to take on a third part­ner in the form of the mys­te­ri­ous Max­imus Jacobs — all while inves­ti­gat­ing a sin­is­ter voodoo sect in New Orleans — and you’ve got the per­fect South­ern storm and a recipe for dis­as­ter. Luck­ily, Dex has never been one to back down, even when his life –and heart — are on the line.

Come Alive is told from Dex’s POV.

The Experiment in Terror series

Darkhouse (Experiment in Terror, #1) {Purchase} FREE!
Red Fox (Experiment in Terror, #2) {Purchase}
The Benson (Experiment in Terror, #2.5) {Purchase}
Dead Sky Morning (Experiment in Terror, #3) {Purchase}
Lying Season (Experiment in Terror #4) {Purchase}

On Demon Wings (Experiment in Terror #5) {Purchase}
Old Blood (Experiment in Terror #5.5) {Purchase}
The Dex-Files (Experiment in Terror #5.7) {Purchase}
Into the Hollow (Experiment in Terror #6) {Purchase}
And With Madness Comes the Light (Experiment in Terror #6.5) {Purchase}

You have no idea how much it pains me to give this book only a 3 star rating. The Experiment in Terror series is one of my favorites, ever, and I was anticipating this so very badly ever since I got hooked on this series earlier this year. I can’t say for sure whether it was my extremely (and possibly unrealistic) expectations that made this not as good or not but I definitely had some issues that nagged at me.I started reading this series because I love ghost novels especially because they aren’t so paranormal as to be completely out of this world; that there are instances where you could really feel this being fact. I absolutely loved Perry and Dex as a team and I loved watching their relationship grow over installments. But what I loved the absolute most was the well-blended way that Karina Halle mixed the two together. It wasn’t a paranormal novel and it wasn’t a romance novel, it was a perfect amalgamation of the two. And therein lies the main issue I had with this novel: the lack of blending.

While Into the Hollow left Dex and Perry’s relationship at an imbalance, I understood and expected drama to have to be sorted out in Come Alive. What I didn’t expect was for it to take up practically the entire first half with no plot in sight. Now don’t go get me wrong, I love me some Dex and Perry but it just felt way too focused on their crazy (and oftentimes unnecessary) drama and their equally crazy sex life. For those of you adverse to this, Come Alive toed the line of erotica and while I’m not against this, this is not what I’ve come to expect from these novels. If I wanted to read erotica, I would read erotica.

The other big issue I had: the point of view. I did read ‘The Dex-Files’ and while I enjoyed these short glimpses into Dex’s point of view, they weren’t my absolute favorite. I was a bit leery when I found out that Come Alive would be told solely from Dex’s point of view but of course I reserved judgment. WELL. Dex is one crazy fucker, I think we all know that, but being inside his head and knowing each and every one of his (mostly sexual) thoughts was a bit much. He’s just too much sometimes and can be quite intense. I wouldn’t be completely adverse to a story from his point of view again, however, I think I’d like it more if it was shared with Perry’s POV because, well, Perry is the absolute best.

Regardless, I’m still a die-hard fan and will gladly read anything Ms. Halle writes because she really is an amazing writer of truly entertaining stories. While this is not my favorite installment, the ending did hold much promise for future installments so this is far from my last Perry and Dex story.

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Early Review – Tampa by Alissa Nutting

June 21, 2013 Bonnie Adult, Book Reviews, Early Review, Read in 2013 4 Comments

I received this book free from the Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Early Review – Tampa by Alissa NuttingTampa by Alissa Nutting
Published by Ecco on July 2nd 2013
Pages: 272
Genres: Contemporary, Diiiirrrrrrttyyy
Format: ARC
Source: the Publisher
Amazon
Goodreads

Also by this author: Made for Love

four-stars

Celeste Price is an eighth-grade English teacher in suburban Tampa. She's undeniably attractive. She drives a red Corvette with tinted windows. Her husband, Ford, is rich, square-jawed, and devoted to her.

But Celeste's devotion lies elsewhere. She has a singular sexual obsession—fourteen-year-old boys. Celeste pursues her craving with sociopathic meticulousness and forethought; her sole purpose in becoming a teacher is to fulfill her passion and provide her access to her compulsion. As the novel opens, fall semester at Jefferson Jr. High is beginning.

In mere weeks, Celeste has chosen and lured the lusciously naive Jack Patrick into her web. Jack is enthralled and in awe of his teacher, and, most important, willing to accept Celeste's terms for a secret relationship—car rides after school; rendezvous at Jack's house while his single father works late; body-slamming encounters in Celeste's empty classroom between periods.

Ever mindful of the danger—the perpetual risk of exposure, Jack's father's own attraction to her, and the ticking clock as Jack leaves innocent boyhood behind—the hyperbolically insatiable Celeste bypasses each hurdle with swift thinking and shameless determination, even when the solutions involve greater misdeeds than the affair itself. In slaking her sexual thirst, Celeste Price is remorseless and deviously free of hesitation, a monstress driven by pure motivation. She deceives everyone, and cares nothing for anyone or anything but her own pleasure.

With crackling, rampantly unadulterated prose, Tampa is a grand, uncompromising, seriocomic examination of want and a scorching literary debut.

‘The rage of lust was like an IV drip in my veins; I felt it beginning to spread inside me with the helpless awareness of someone realizing she’s been slipped a drug.’

Celeste has the intensity of a psychopath or even a serial killer when it comes to her sexual obsessions. The desperation in doing whatever it takes to satisfy her need was disturbing to say the least. Her complete disregard for how her actions would affect others in her life was unsettling. Celeste is hands down one of the most warped characters in literature I have ever had the pleasure of reading.

Comparisons to Lolita cannot be helped (although it could also be compared to Belinda by Anne Rampling, one of Anne Rice’s lesser known novels written under a pseudonym), despite the fact it’s actually quite different it still manages to touch upon the same subject. Unlike Lolita, this is not a retelling of events or even a confession but a first person accounting of the main characters sexual forays. But be warned, Celeste makes Humbert Humbert look tame in comparison. Nabokov wrote a truly lyrical story that managed to win over many readers despite Humbert’s wrongs; he became one to be pitied. Nutting has done the opposite with her character Celeste and does not ever intend for you to pity her or feel sorry for her affliction. She’s extremely lewd and vulgar and the pages reek with indecency and she’s not ashamed to admit it.

‘I found that sometimes it was a relief to do something unattractive in private, to confirm that I’m deeply flawed when so many others imagine me to be perfect.’

She found anyone that had begun to show signs that adolescence was leaving them to be completely foul and disgusting and was utterly envious of the female children of her class. The fact that she was flawless and appeared much younger than her true age I think was the only mitigating factor that prevented her from personally disgusting herself as she took extremely good care of herself to avoid showing signs of her age for as long as possible. It could also be said that her sexual encounters with the younger boys was seen as a purifying or cleansing ritual in her eyes. Bottom line, she was an extremely disturbed individual.

Tampa is a book that opens up the discussion that women are obviously not always the victim, that they can be just as guilty and just as psychopathic as their gender counterpart. It’s a topic that forces you to look at the stereotypes in society today whether it is gender stereotypes or even stereotypes based on looks alone. Also, it definitely brings to light how the pursuing of an older woman no matter the age of the pursuer has become slightly glamorized over time.

In an interview with Cosmo (incredible review, definitely worth a read), the author stated that there is a void in literature about female sexual psychopaths and she sought to fill it. I can’t think of any books related to the topic either but I have to applaud the fact that Nutting tackled this subject head-on and didn’t water it down simply to avoid controversy. The extensiveness of her sexual conduct did at times seem gratuitous and left you feeling just as empty as Celeste, however, there’s no denying this was an exceptionally scandalous yet efficiently written debut novel.

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Early Review – Fifth Grave Past the Light (Charley Davidson #5) by Darynda Jones

June 13, 2013 Bonnie Adult, Book Reviews, Early Review, Read in 2013 5 Comments

I received this book free from the Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Early Review – Fifth Grave Past the Light (Charley Davidson #5) by Darynda JonesFifth Grave Past the Light by Darynda Jones
Series: Charley Davidson #5
Published by St. Martin's Press on July 9th 2013
Pages: 339
Genres: Diiiirrrrrrttyyy, Ghosties, Romance, Urban Fantasy
Format: ARC
Source: the Publisher
Amazon
Goodreads

Also by this author: First Grave on the Right, For I Have Sinned, Second Grave on the Left

four-half-stars

Charley Davidson isn't your everyday, run-of-the-mill grim reaper. She's more of a paranormal private eye/grim reaper extraordinaire. However, she gets sidetracked when the sexy, sultry son of Satan, Reyes Farrow, moves in next door. To further complicate matters, Reyes is her main suspect in an arson case. Charley has vowed to stay away from him until she can find out the truth...but then dead women start appearing in her apartment, one after another, each lost, confused, and terrified beyond reason. When it becomes apparent that her own sister, Gemma is the serial killer's next target, Charley has no choice but to ask for Reyes's help. Arsonist or not, he's the one man alive who could protect Gemma no matter who or what came at her. But he wants something in return. Charley. All of her, body and soul. And to keep her sister safe, it is a price she is willing to pay.

Charley Davidson is at it again in the sexy, suspenseful, and laugh-out-loud funny fifth installment of the New York Times best selling series.

Charley Davidson series

First Grave on the Right (Charley Davidson #1) {Purchase}
For I Have Sinned (Charley Davidson #1.5) {Free!}
Second Grave on the Left (Charley Davidson #2) {Purchase}
Third Grave Dead Ahead (Charley Davidson #3) {Purchase}
Fourth Grave Beneath My Feet (Charley Davidson #4) {Purchase}

The dead guy at the end of the bar kept trying to buy me a drink. Which figured. No one else was even taking a second look and I’d dressed to the nines.’

Charley Davidson is, as usual, up to her elbows in work and she’s the only one equipped to handle it. Her apartment has suddenly been taken over by a few dozen ghostly blonde women who show no interest in passing, she almost gets shot after she enlists Cookie to help her in a recent PI case and add to that the ever-distracting Reyes is an arson suspect and he’s officially moved in right next door to her.

“My dad put himself through college by setting up cons and selling moonshine. He was a pretty famous moonshiner, actually.”

“My dad’s pretty famous too.” We all turned to stare at Reyes.

This series never disappoints and has gotten better and better with each installment. Charley Davidson is one of my all-time favorite female leads: she’s hilarious and snarky and totally badass but not in excess. And if Charley is one of my favorite female leads, Reyes definitely earns a spot on my favorite male leads. Fair warning, the steamy is in abundance in this installment! And oh my GOSH that ending! Not quite a cliffhanger but definitely leaves a smile on your face and makes you infinitely anxious for the next book.

“No, your other – Fuck, how many boyfriend’s do you have?”

“Including Herman, the maintenance guy at the Jug ‘N Chug who talks to celery?” If I didn’t know better, I could’ve sworn Reyes ground his teeth. I couldn’t blame him. I mean, who talks to celery in this day and age?

Fifth Grave Past the Light really begins to branch out as far as possibilities for future installments… and let me tell ya, I like the looks of it. This installment really spoke of the future development, the purpose and the potential of Charley Davidson. Darynda Jones has been slowly maturing and expanding on Charley’s character taking her past the snarky girl that we’ve all grown to love and I’m definitely looking forward to seeing where she continues to take it. This series is a highly entertaining and sexy supernatural mystery that is incredibly easy to fall in love with.

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Book Review – Second Grave on the Left (Charley Davidson #2) by Darynda Jones

August 19, 2011 Bonnie Adult, Book Reviews, Read in 2011 0 Comments

Book Review – Second Grave on the Left (Charley Davidson #2) by Darynda JonesSecond Grave on the Left by Darynda Jones
Series: Charley Davidson #2
Published by St. Martin's Press on August 16th 2011
Pages: 307
Genres: Diiiirrrrrrttyyy, Funny-ha-ha, Romance, Urban Fantasy
Format: eBook
Source: Library
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository
Goodreads

Also by this author: First Grave on the Right, For I Have Sinned, Fourth Grave Beneath My Feet

four-half-stars

If you hang around with dead people, life can deliver a whole world of trouble.

Take it from Charley Davidson, part-time P.I. and full-time Grim Reaper. The deceased find her very sparkly. Demons find her irresistible. And one entity in particular wants to seduce her in every way possible…

When Charley and Cookie, her best friend slash receptionist, have to track down a missing woman, the case is not quite as open and shut as they anticipate. Meanwhile, Reyes Alexander Farrow (otherwise known as the Son of Satan. Yes. Literally.) has left his corporeal body because he’s being tortured by demons who want to lure Charley closer. But Reyes can’t let that happen. Because if the demons get to Charley, they’ll have a portal to heaven. And if they have a portal to heaven…well, let’s just say it wouldn’t be pretty.

Can Charley handle hot nights with Reyes and even hotter days tracking down a missing woman? Can she keep those she loves out of harm’s way? And is there enough coffee and chocolate in the world to fuel her as she does?

Charley Davidson series

First Grave on the Right (Charley Davidson #1) by Darynda Jones {PurchaseMy Review}

Well, it’s official. Charley Davidson is one of my most favorite book characters of all time. Oh my gosh I love this girl. Yes, I’m having a silly fan-girl moment where I end up saying things like, “I’m going to be Charley Davidson for Halloween!” She’s not just funny, she is absolutely hilarious and I cannot get enough. If you’ve read the first novel (which you definitely should before reading this one or you’ll be super duper confused) then you’ll remember laughing practically every single page. I’ll admit, this one wasn’t AS funny, but I still wasn’t disappointed… I had to make sure to keep from drinking liquids when my eyes were on the pages for fear it would come out my nose. 🙂

I started this book the day that it came out and due to my current crazy schedule it was hard for me to find time to read… I still managed to read it in 2 days though. A bit sleep-deprived? Yes. A bit backed up on work from too many breaks? Yes. Was it worth? Oh heck yes!

‘Second Grave on the Left’ picks up right where ‘First Grave on the Right’ left off with a brand new mystery (or three) to boot. Darynda Jones? You’re an amazing writer and I kinda love you. You’ve now written two amazing novels that, well… I can’t get over how much I love these books. I totally dig a good grim reaper novel, I’m always up for a good laugh, throw in a mystery to keep me guessing (please do!), and then there’s the way you describe Reyes. To quote Charley: “Holy mother of banana cream pie.”

”He was like the desert, stark and beautiful, harsh and unforgiving, with the promise of treasure behind every dune, the allure of water hidden just beneath the surface.”

And if you need a visual? Whoever posted that picture on Goodreads of ‘Reyes Farrow’ totally hit the nail on the head. Lol

I’m not going to go into details about the plot or anything because I don’t want to give anything away to the non-readers of book 1 and because all I want to get across with this review is to say that you really need to read this series. If you’re looking for a serious mystery, this probably isn’t the novel for you. It’s one of those books that I’m sure if you spent a lot of time critiquing the story you’d find some holes but it’s such an enjoyable read that I don’t personally see a damn thing wrong with it. Not so much a cliffhanger ending but I most certainly cannot wait for January to roll around. And that cover? Awesome.

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