The Gunfighter’s Pursuit (Ride Hard #2)

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Emma Fairfax has a secret. She is not the prim and proper new schoolteacher this small Arizona town had been expecting from the East. Emma chased that poor woman away when she robbed her stagecoach and shot a man in cold blood. It wasn’t Emma’s fault. He would have shot her first. Now she was in a bind. No money. No place to go. A wanted criminal. Murderess! Her only way out was to pretend to be Miss Glendolene Rimmel, respectable schoolteacher.

And it was going remarkably well… until he rode into town.

Jackson Horn noticed two things straight away about the town’s pretty little schoolmarm. The sweet sashay of her hips when she walked… and that she was hiding something. As a Confederate soldier turned gunfighter after the war, he earned his money tracking down men for their bounties and hiring out his gun to the highest bidder. So he was good at spotting liars and thieves. He didn’t give a damn about the coin, what he really wanted was information on the man who framed him for murder. Each bounty, each kill brought him closer to his revenge.

The schoolteacher’s secret started out as a mild curiosity. A way to get closer to the straight-laced beauty’s charms.

Then she tried to kill him… twice.
Now Horn is determined to learn her secret. Determined to rein in her stubborn spirit and get her to accept his discipline and protection. He might even be falling in love with the feisty beauty… if he can get her to stop trying to kill him long enough!

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This is the second book in the Ride Hard series. It is set in the west, shortly after the American Civil War ended. This book could easily be read as a standalone.

Emma is terrified when she first meets Horn, convinced that he is a lawman tracking her down, ready to hang her as a murderess. Luckily for her, he is more of a bounty hunter – a hired gun – who has no intention of prohibiting a future with the lady he has fallen for.

The Gunfighter’s Pursuit is a short novel that I read in one sitting. It contains a couple of scenes of dubious consent, but I would not consider the novel to be “dark”.

If you are looking for a quick and easy read with dirty scenes and insta-love, this is one book I would recommend for a cozy evening in bed.

****

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Educated: a memoir (Tara Westover)

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An unforgettable memoir in the tradition of The Glass Castle about a young girl who, kept out of school, leaves her survivalist family and goes on to earn a PhD from Cambridge University.

Tara Westover was 17 the first time she set foot in a classroom. Born to survivalists in the mountains of Idaho, she prepared for the end of the world by stockpiling home-canned peaches and sleeping with her “head-for-the-hills bag”. In the summer she stewed herbs for her mother, a midwife and healer, and in the winter she salvaged in her father’s junkyard.

Her father forbade hospitals, so Tara never saw a doctor or nurse. Gashes and concussions, even burns from explosions, were all treated at home with herbalism. The family was so isolated from mainstream society that there was no one to ensure the children received an education and no one to intervene when one of Tara’s older brothers became violent.

Then, lacking any formal education, Tara began to educate herself. She taught herself enough mathematics and grammar to be admitted to Brigham Young University, where she studied history, learning for the first time about important world events like the Holocaust and the civil rights movement. Her quest for knowledge transformed her, taking her over oceans and across continents, to Harvard and to Cambridge. Only then would she wonder if she’d travelled too far, if there was still a way home.

Educated is an account of the struggle for self-invention. It is a tale of fierce family loyalty and of the grief that comes with severing the closest of ties. With the acute insight that distinguishes all great writers, Westover has crafted a universal coming-of-age story that gets to the heart of what an education is and what it offers: the perspective to see one’s life through new eyes and the will to change it.

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Educated: a memoir is making the rounds of bestseller lists right now. I saw an ad for it online and didn’t even realize that it was a new release. So the audiobook request in my library got scrapped, and I had to read it on my trusty old ipad.

I have to say, this is one book I could not put down. It is thoroughly engrossing and I read it in a day and a half. It is shocking that her story takes place in recent days. Ms. Westover was born in 1986. She grew up in the 90s and early 2000s. She was a child who watched Y2K madness on television, the same as me.

She also didn’t get a birth certificate until she was 9. She didn’t see a dentist or medical professional until she went to university. She had never heard of the Holocaust until she was a student at Brigham Young University. Her upraising, and that of her siblings, is so unique and atypical that it baffles the mind that whole networks of people still live like this, in the modern day, in the “first world”.

While reading Educated, I also streamed this interview she gave to The Economist on their youtube channel, which I highly recommend.

Learning about her survivalist prepper upbringing in an ultra-conservative family in the mountains of Idaho was super interesting. Especially given the juxtaposition between her childhood and the eloquent, thoughtful speaker she is today as a highly educated, well-travelled young woman.

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The Cowboy’s Revenge (Ride Hard #1)

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When Mason caught sight of the beautiful woman with honey-brown hair and violet eyes, he could think of only one thing…revenge.

For three longs years during the War Between the States, he was forced to wait to learn who had murdered his brother. The wait was over. He would take everything from the man; his wealth, his power…his daughter.

Annabelle was getting as far away from Vulture City, Arizona and her step-father as she could, even if she had to marry the boring banker’s son to do it. On the morning she planned to elope, a handsome stranger shows up claiming her step-father lost her in a poker game and she was now his.
 She will fight him tooth and nail every step of the trail even as his punishments get harsher and more creative.

Contains anal play, domestic discipline, and creative cowboy-style punishments.

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I am definitely on a kinky cowboy kick right now.

The Cowboy’s Revenge is a historical erotica set in the frontier, shortly after the American Civil War. This series consists of three short stories, each about 120 or so pages in length.

Zoe Blake is the queen of short, sexy stories that will leave your ladies bits tingling. There isn’t too much I can comment on the plot, without giving everything away. The perils of a short novel, I suppose. Mason is definitely an alpha male, intent on taking his revenge out on the stepdaughter of his enemy. Little did he know that she would be a beautiful young woman, full of spirit and receptive to his particular brand of kink.

There is an element of capture fantasy to this story that may turn off some readers. For me, it is more the lack of internal struggle in the heroine that dropped my review down from 5 stars to 4. I wanted to see her struggle with the idea of blending pain and pleasure, of essentially being kidnapped by the hero in the beginning … and this just didn’t happen.

If you are looking for some historical erotica that can you read in an evening, this could me the story for you.

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Girl, Wash Your Face

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With wry wit and hard-earned wisdom, popular online personality and founder of TheChicSite.com founder Rachel Hollis helps readers break free from the lies keeping them from the joy-filled and exuberant life they are meant to have.

Founder of the lifestyle website TheChicSite.com and CEO of her own media company, Chic Media, Rachel Hollis has created an online fan base of hundreds of thousands of fans by sharing tips for living a better life while fearlessly revealing the messiness of her own. Now comes her highly anticipated first book featuring her signature combination of honesty, humor, and direct, no-nonsense advice.

Each chapter of Girl, Wash Your Face begins with a specific lie Hollis once believed that left her feeling overwhelmed, unworthy, or ready to give up. As a working mother, a former foster parent, and a woman who has dealt with insecurities about her body and relationships, she speaks with the insight and kindness of a BFF, helping women unpack the limiting mind-sets that destroy their self-confidence and keep them from moving forward.

From her temporary obsession with marrying Matt Damon to a daydream involving hypnotic iguanas to her son’s request that she buy a necklace to “be like the other moms,” Hollis holds nothing back. With unflinching faith and tenacity, Hollis spurs other women to live with passion and hustle and to awaken their slumbering goals.

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love this book.

Rachel’s experiences resonated with me on a deep level. Her stories are at turns heart-breaking, inspirational, up-lifting and empowering. The way she approached her book, by addressing a different lie she told herself in each chapter, makes it easy for her audience to absorb her messages. It also means that you can go back and reference specific lies and lessons easily, without re-reading the book cover to cover.

I borrowed the audiobook through my library Hoopla account, but – and this is the first time I can ever remember saying this – I am going to purchase a physical copy of the book as well, so that I can read and reference the book over and over. Not because I can’t get through the audiobook. I loved it. I just want a physical copy too.

Ya’ll, that is how real this book is.

Rachel reads the audio version herself, and both the writing and her narration are superb. It feels like “real talk” with a trusted girlfriend. I don’t find “ra-ra” cheerleader type self-help books to ever be applicable in my life. I’m too much of a cynic I suppose. Rachel’s book is much more grounded in real-life examples that are easy to relate to.

If there is only one self-improvement title you read this year, choose this book.

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Taken by the Warriors by Marlee Wray

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First she was taken. Now she will be shared.

After the princess she serves is given as a mate to a powerful Ketturan warrior, Falise soon ends up as an unwilling passenger on a spacecraft headed for a far-off world. More disturbing still, she quickly discovers that as far as her captors are concerned, her body no longer belongs to her.

As the princess is stripped bare and claimed roughly by the ship’s captain, four of his companions set their eyes on Falise. The brutishly handsome barbarians plan to share her and use her in every manner possible, but first they must train her. She will learn to obey without question and take everything they give her or she will be punished in ways more shameful than she could have ever imagined. But when the journey is over, will she still want to return home?

Publisher’s Note: Taken by the Warriors is a stand-alone book which is the second entry in the Owned and Shared series. It includes spankings and sexual scenes.

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This book is much kinkier and more hardcore than the previous book in this “series”, Owning Their Pet. I was surprised by the very different vibe. The author introduces a second alien race, different from the one introduced in Owning. A Princess is forced to marry their leader as part of a trade agreement, and she is abducted by them before the marriage takes place.

The book follows the trials of the Princess and her handmaid, Falise, and is told from both their points of view, as well as two male points of view. There are scenes of dubious consent and vaginal and anal “trains”.

I hate to refer to erotica as “book porn”. I hate that term but it fits this story, IMHO. Taken by the Warriors didn’t have a love story – at least for me – and was such raunchy scene after raunchy scene. The plot barely served to explain the move from one sexcapade to another.

I found it difficult to keep track of the varying characters and the constant changes in the POV character. Overall, it almost felt like a completely different author than the one I had just read.

I will read the third announced book, but I am hoping that it is much more similar to Owning Their Pet, or I doubt I will continue with this author. This book was not for me.

*Please note that while I am referring to these two books as being part of a series, they are only loosely connected.

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Astrophysics for People in a Hurry (Neil deGrasse Tyson)

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The essential universe, from our most celebrated and beloved astrophysicist.

What is the nature of space and time? How do we fit within the universe? How does the universe fit within us? There’s no better guide through these mind-expanding questions than acclaimed astrophysicist and best-selling author Neil deGrasse Tyson.

But today, few of us have time to contemplate the cosmos. So Tyson brings the universe down to Earth succinctly and clearly, with sparkling wit, in tasty chapters consumable anytime and anywhere in your busy day.

While you wait for your morning coffee to brew, for the bus, the train, or a plane to arrive, Astrophysics for People in a Hurry will reveal just what you need to be fluent and ready for the next cosmic headlines: from the Big Bang to black holes, from quarks to quantum mechanics, and from the search for planets to the search for life in the universe.

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Astrophysics for People in a Hurry was on the bestsellers list for months in 2017 and 2018. It was the goodreads choice winner of 2017 and has sold more than one million copies. The author, Neil deGrasse Tyson, has been on numerous talk shows relating commentary on various topics, from his books to American politics and the infamous space force.

I chose to listen to this book, personally. It is read by the author and he is an excellent narrator, with a smooth voice. I do feel like I would have been able to remain more of the information had I read it … cosmology has always interested me, but I wouldn’t say my brain is particularly well wired to receive this type of information.

I definitely am not an astrophysicist in the making. Mathematics baffle me and philosophy infuriates me; there is a little too much of both in this science.

But I still love learning about the stars, the heavens, the big bang, evolution and various theories of the multiverse.

I do remember some random facts from Astrophysics for People in a Hurry. Such as this: thunderclouds produce gamma radiation just before the human eye sees the lightning flash. So as I told my Dad, I guess that still leaves hope for a real life Incredible Hulk.

Funny how it’s always the random, seemingly useless part of the explanation which will stick in my brain.

I highly recommend this book, and it really is a good choice for people in a hurry. The audiobook is less than 4 hours in length. I have good intentions of picking it up again someday and actually reading the print version this time, in the hope that I will retain more of the information.

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Owning Their Pet by Marlee Wray

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In this world, there are owners and there are pets.

When twenty-year-old village girl Melsint is purchased for use as a pet by Lord Evston Calex, she soon discovers that she will be shared with his brother, Commander Rocurt Calex. Her strict new owners quickly make clear that they plan to take their beautiful, virgin pet hard and often and they will not hesitate to punish her harshly for even the slightest hint of defiance.

Despite her shame at being treated as mere property, Melsint cannot hide her response to their painful, humiliating chastisements and rough, demanding use of her body. But as her training grows more intense by the day, she is left to wonder if she will ever be more than just a pet.

Publisher’s Note: Owning Their Pet is a stand-alone book which is the first entry in the Owned and Shared series. It includes spankings and sexual scenes.

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I discovered this book while searching for something new on Kindle Unlimited the other day and decided to check it out.

Owning Their Pet is a super kinky book! There is plot, but the book is certainly more heavily focused on physical intimacy than story development.

I thought that this book would be a MfM romance, with equal time given to each of the brothers, but there was one who definitely had more page time. No further details in case of a spoiled ending 😉

I thoroughly enjoyed this book, and the ending was not what I initially expected from reading the synopsis online. I plan to read the “companion book” (technically, they are considered standalones but take place in the same world), as well. However, I do wish that the author had taken extra time to further the plot and character development as well. For me, it is so important to be able to envision a fully functioning society, especially for stories that take place in alternate universes.

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