Review of The Facilitator by Tracie Podger

the-facilitator

I’d never read this author before, but when I saw the book on THE Book Club on Facebook, I offered to read and review as the blurb sounded intriguing.

Now before I start my review, I will say this book is not for those easily offended or with sensitive dispositions. The language is graphic and the sex is frequent, descriptive and includes M/M, M/F/F and light BDSM. Of course, as I’m not easily offended, I dived right in!

Lauren Perry is going through a painful divorce. Her husband (and childhood sweetheart) Scott, cheated on her with his assistant at the company they both work for. She feels worthless, unattractive and worst of all, she’s terribly lonely.

And then she has a chance meeting with a stranger at a bar and, taking a risk for the first time in her life, she sleeps with him.

Filled with regret, Lauren runs out on the mystery man while he is sleeping, only to later find out he is Mackenzie Miller, the man who her boss, Jerry, has sold the majority share of his company to.

But Lauren can’t stop thinking about Mackenzie, and when he offers to fulfil every sexual desire Lauren has (including those she doesn’t even know she has yet), she reluctantly accepts. Horrified at her reaction to some of her darkest desires, Lauren continually fights her feelings, her emotions, but what started out as a game becomes something much more, much deeper and Lauren finally begins to realise who she really is.

Whilst this book is badged as contemporary romance, it is much more erotic than that, but unlike some erotic romance novels, this novel has a believable and progressive plot and is much more about discovery and growth through sexual fantasies than purely graphic sex.

Lauren intrigued me as a character. For someone who, although married for a long time, had limited sexual experience, she jumped really quickly into what Mackenzie was offering, but I didn’t find her decision far-fetched, rather that Mackenzie was terribly persuasive.

Now Mackenzie, ahh Mackenzie, where do I find one of those? I loved the way his character was slowly revealed. We gradually see the onion layers peeled off to reveal the man behind the mystery. I thought he was a brilliant character, well crafted, well developed and hot, hot, hot.

I had one pet peeve – the use of the word panties from an English girl. But that is just a personal pet peeve and in no way detracted from my enjoyment of the book.

I really enjoyed being a part of Lauren and Mackenzie’s journey. The Facilitator is an easy read, the story flowed well, and I didn’t get bored at all – and Tracie Podger has a knack for writing very hot sex scenes!

Mackenzie and Lauren’s story isn’t over. I can’t wait for part 2.

 

Review Time – Hard to Protect by Incy Black

hard-to-protect

Hard to Protect is the third book in the ‘Hard to’ series by Incy Black and I, for one, have not been able to wait to get my hands on this book.

Will Berwick, leader of the Assassins at The Cube, a plausibly deniable secret team hidden deep within British Intelligence is given the unenviable task of breaking down Angel Treherne, a psychotherapist who The Service believe hold the key to finding her brother, Rhys, a brilliant scientist who has developed a potentially explosive drug that could transform how soldiers fight.

Angel is also tasked with breaking down Will, of getting inside his head to make sure he’s fit for active duty after he was almost fatally shot. Problem is, Will’s for the ‘Sorry, sweetheart, only way you’ll get inside my head is when I’m no longer breathing’.

But that’s not the only problem.

Angel, icy-cold, bitter, desperately trying to keep a hundred balls in the air all under a cool exterior – and that exterior is beginning to crack.

My Review

Hard to Protect is fast-paced, abundant with twists and turns and sexual tension between Will and Angel.

Angel is not a warm character – at first. She’s holding a bunch of secrets which she has, over many years, figured the best way to keep is to come across as hard, icy, bitchy even. But I loved her from the beginning because Ms Black drops in these little nuggets which, if you’re paying attention, give you a brief glimpse behind the veneer Angel is living under. She’s sassy, brilliant, beautiful, and as her secrets unfold, your heart bleeds for her. What a woman!

Will, my goodness, what can I say about Will….in Ms Black’s previous novels, Will comes across as a bit-part player, and certainly in Jack Ballantyne’s book, Hard to Forget, he seems something of a gofer. How wrong can you be!

Will oozes sexuality from the very first line in the book. He is complex, deep, has more chips on his shoulder than my local chip shop serves in a week, and he is horrible to Angel at times – but – he is hot, hot, hot. And, in the same way Ms Black slowly reveals Angel’s character, the same can be said of Will. Everything he does is for a reason, and this is why you forgive the actions he takes and the way he goes about his business.

When you put together two people, very different, both wanting—no needing—things from each other that neither one is willing to give, then you have conflict in abundance, which makes you keep turning those pages faster and faster.

Ms Black is one of the most unique voices out there. Even if her name had not been on this book, I would have instantly recognised Hard to Protect as one of her novels. Her style – deep third Point-of-View – is some of the best I have seen. She puts you right in the characters heads; you share every thought, every action as it is happening which is incredibly difficult to achieve and yet she makes it look easy.

If you like fast paced thrillers with believable sexual tension between alpha males and strong, capable women, then Incy Black’s novels will not disappoint.

Hard to Protect is out on 20th March 2017.

Ms. Black’s other novels, Hard to Forget and Hard to Hold, are available right now.

Thank you to the publisher, via NetGalley, for an opportunity to read Hard to Protect. I absolutely loved it!

 

Warped by Marissa Farrar

warped

Before I start my review, I’d just like to say “Wow” to that cover. How gorgeous is that, and how very Vee!

Warped is the second novel in the Mercenary Series. If you’d like to read my review of the first in the series, Skewed, you can do so  here.

Note – the following review contains spoilers of the first novel – Skewed – but no spoilers of Warped. If you have not yet read Skewed, you may not want to read this review.

 

The novel begins right where we left it at the end of Skewed. Vee and her sister are now being protected by Tony Mancini, a rival of her father, after Vee’s sister, Nickie, decided to take matters into her own hands and reveal their Witness Protection identities. Tony has vowed to keep them safe until Vee can testify against her father; problem is, what happens then?

X, who was shot by Tony at the end of Skewed, turns up in hospital, lucky to be alive, but with everything intact – except his memory. He might not remember who he is, but he knows one thing; he’s not your run-of-the-mill individual.

When a man called Harvey turns up at the hospital claiming to know who X is and offers him a place to stay while X recovers, X is understandably suspicious, but realises he has little choice as he grapples with the dark space where his memories should be.

I loved being back with Vee and X again. Vee is the same tough, independent character she was in the first and X is just as mysterious and sexy, although we do get to see more of the man beneath the stone heart in this one, which I loved.

Sadly (for Vee), Nickie is still the same selfish, irritating and downright frustrating girl she was in the first novel. I wanted to hit her in that one, but in this one, she takes my intense dislike of her to a new level. Vee is a better girl than me; if Nickie were my sister, I’d have cut her from my life long ago.

Marissa’s writing is as wonderful as ever, with prose that almost sings along the page. She has a fabulous way with words; her descriptive text is enough to draw you a detailed picture, but not so much that you find yourself skipping paragraphs, and her dialogue is punchy and informative.

If I had one criticism about the book, it would be the character of Harvey. His offer to help X, and potentially put his own life in danger just didn’t seem to have enough motivation for me. This wasn’t someone offering to do your shopping or pick your kid up from school. This was volunteering to get involved with someone who could get you killed. Perhaps if X had something over Harvey, that Harvey owed him a debt of gratitude in some way, then it wouldn’t have jarred as much as it did.

However, that is a minor gripe in a book that I otherwise thoroughly enjoyed.

Link to purchase Skewed can be found  here

Link to purchase Warped can be found  here

Link to preorder Flawed (the third book in the Mercenary series) can be found  here

 

Review of Frailty by Betsy Reavley

frailty

A missing child. Frantic parents. Police at a loss as to where she may be.

Danny and Libby Bird are about to experience every parent’s worst nightmare—their eight year old child, Hope, trots to the local shop which is at the end of their road and a journey she has made many times before…..and then she never makes it home.

Where is she?

What would you do if this was your child?

I purchased my kindle copy of Frailty on 15th November with every intention of digging right in….and then I became distracted and somehow, it trickled further and further down my TBR pile. And then I received a text from my sister…

“Jesus, I’ve just finished listening to a book called Frailty by Betsy Really……It’s a shocker but I couldn’t stop listening to it. It’s probably the only book to affect me in the heart….read it.”

My reply….”It’s on my TBR….and just got bumped.”

And so I sat down today to read it….and didn’t stop until I’d finished.

I honestly don’t know what to tell you about how this book made me feel, but Betsy Reavley has triumphed with this novel. I associated most with Libby, Hope’s mother. God, how I felt her pain as her whole life unravelled. But my heart also cracked for Danny, Hope’s father, and Danny’s parents who are surely the parents-in-law sent from heaven, unlike Libby’s own parents who I had an overwhelming urge to throttle!

The novel moves at just the right pace; not so quick that it moves too fast through the emotions, but not so slow that you are willing it to get a move on. And the ending has a very satisfying ring to it (I won’t share whether the ending is a sad or happy one).

And if you’re into audio books more than written, my sister’s final comments….

“Probably the only book I’ve listened to where I’ve had heart palpitations, and the narrator was so perfect for the story….loved it.”

What’s that? You haven’t got a copy yet? What are you waiting for!

 

 

 

Silver by Mark L Fowler

silver

I saw this book on THE Book Club on Facebook (TBCONFB) in their spin off review group, and the premise was so interesting to me that I volunteered to read it.

Two authors have died in the same gruesome way as their book endings, and yet the police don’t suspect foul play. When a third author, Joy Haversham, dies, her manuscript “Silver” is unfinished, and this time, unlike with the other deaths, a man—Gil Ray—is charged and convicted of causing Joy’s death. At the prison where Gil is being held, guards begin to fall ill and, in some cases, die in mysterious circumstances and as Gil’s release date gets ever closer, Joy’s husband, Roger, starts behaving rather oddly and her daughter, Grace, turns to former journalist, Nick Slater for help and support. Could “Silver” hold the answers to Joy’s death?

Nick Slater is a one-time successful novelist, although his second book was poorly received and his third one doesn’t look like it will get off the ground either. Nick covered the original Joy Haversham trial and as the killer gets closer to being released from prison, Nick finds himself, once more, embroiled in the Haversham family.

My Review

This book could have been great. As I said at the beginning of this post, the premise is very interesting, but the book didn’t hit the mark for me. It took quite some time to get into it – at least a third of the way – before it began to mildly pique my interest.

I couldn’t connect with any of the characters and I think it was because the writing style was very much ‘narrator’ rather than inside the characters heads. The style created too much distance for my personal tastes, almost as though a third party was watching the events unfold and reporting on what they saw. As the book reached its climax, I would have loved to have been firmly in Nick’s head, seeing and feeling things from his perspective, but alas, it was not to be.

The narrator style also created quite a bit of head hopping without a definitive scene break, especially where the author wanted to get something specific across, and I found some of the transitions clunky which, in turn, jerked me from the story in a very uncomfortable way.

I should also mention that although this is marketed as a thriller, there are supernatural elements to the story which definitely add mystery, although I don’t feel the explanation as to how they came about was fully fleshed out.

I also found the character of Christine, a work colleague of Grace and ex (of sorts) of Nick Slater to be superfluous and not really adding anything to the story. If her character was completely removed, nothing would have changed in the story.

This is Mark L Fowler’s first novel. On the positive side, he shows promise. But in his next novel, I’d like to see his writing much deeper, getting right into the characters heads and having a good old poke around, which, in turn, will give the reader more chance of connecting deeply with the characters – and ultimately caring about what happens to them.

 

 

 

 

Review Time – My Girl by Jack Jordan

my-girl

Last year, this book was receiving a lot of attention on THE Book Club on Facebook, and so I did what I always do – I downloaded it….and forgot all about it.

Fast forward to 2017 and I am making a concerted effort to cut through that TBR pile, to refrain (not always successfully) from buying more books until I’ve put a serious dint in what I already have. Of course, that doesn’t stop me adding to my Wish List 🙂

I don’t know what made me choose this from the hundreds I have, but I am so glad I did.

Paige Dawson has lost everything. Her daughter was murdered ten years ago, and no one has ever been brought to justice; her husband, unable to cope with Paige’s grief—and his own—slashes his wrists in the bath, and to top it all off, Paige is probably going mad.

Paige drowns her grief in alcohol, lots and lots of alcohol, but when she is clearing out her husband’s study and finds a gun, questions start to seep into her alcohol infused mind. Why  did Ryan have a gun? Did he know more than he was letting on about their daughter’s death?

Paige begins to dig…and finds more than she bargained for.

My Girl is split into three books – but the transition isn’t clunky. Instead it is jaw-droppingly brilliant – and more than a little terrifying.

At the end of Book 1, I actually muttered out loud “Jack Jordan, you utter genius”.

I may not have seen it coming because I am incredibly gullible, but even if that is true, it doesn’t detract from how fabulous this book is and how much I enjoyed it.

Now don’t get me wrong; about ninety minutes from the end, I had to take a break. It was just too hard. You know that old saying “truth is stranger than fiction?” Well, none more so than in this book (when you read it, you will know what I mean).

My Girl is fairly short for a novel – only 248 printed pages – but the story doesn’t need anything more than that. Jack hasn’t padded the story out just so he can get over 300 pages. It’s told – beautifully told – in exactly the amount of time it needed to be.

Bravo Jack Jordan.

Five humungous stars!

Vicious by L. J. Shen

vicious

I read a lot of different genres; Crime, Thriller, Psychological Thriller, PNR, Straight romance, Romantic Suspense, Erotica, Fantasy, well, you get the picture.

Most of my inability to settle on one comes from my low boredom threshold. And it’s when I sit down to books like Vicious, that I’m grateful for that easy tedium.

I saw Vicious recommended on Wopsywoobookblog (Great name, right!) and the review she wrote made Vicious sound right up my street.

It was.

Ten years ago, Baron Spencer Jr, aka Vicious, ruined Emilia’s senior year in high school. He bullied her, tortured her, threatened her, but it’s when she started dating one of his closest friends, that Vicious truly lived up to his name. He threatened her parents and her sister, Rosie, (who suffers from Cystic Fibrosis) would be homeless and jobless unless she took his $20 grand and disappeared. For good.

Ten years later, Emilia is living in New York with her sister. Broke and in debt with a desperate need to keep her sister in medication, Emilia is working two jobs trying to make ends meet. Her day can’t get any worse when she is fired from one job and mugged en route to her second, a waitress in a bar frequented by New York high rollers.

Except it does.

Putting her best smile on because she needs the tips, she is horrified when the table she is serving just happens to have Vicious sitting at it. Ten years may have passed, but Vicious still owns her ass. And he has aged well. Very well. In fact, all those earlier feelings she repressed back in high school come roaring back.

But Vicious didn’t get his nickname for nothing, and the years haven’t softened him at all. In fact, he’s even more cruel, more dangerous, more vile. But he needs something from Emilia. Something only she can provide. And he’ll do anything to get it.

My Rambling thoughts

I should have hated this book. Vicious appeared to have no redeeming features. We all like a bad boy, but there has to be a reason for him to be a bad boy, and yet Vicious seemed to like being evil, for the sake of being evil.

Of course, life is never that simple, and we get some way in to the book before Vicious’s motivation and reasoning for his behaviour starts to become clear. And by then, I was hooked. No strike that, I was in love.

There’s nothing new to the plot here; bad boy, good girl. It’s formulaic. But don’t let that put you off. Some of Vicious’s one liners had me laughing out loud, even though I was simultaneously cringing and feeling strong empathy for the poor soul on the receiving end.

Sometimes, you just need to read a book that’s easy, that doesn’t require you to concentrate hard, that’s a wild ride – and has your emotions all over the place.

Look no further.

Five massively brilliant stars