Beyond the Wild River (Sarah Maine)

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For fans of Kate Morton and Beatriz Williams, a highly atmospheric and suspenseful historical novel, set in the 1890s about a Scottish heiress who unexpectedly encounters her childhood friend in North America, five years after he disappeared from her family’s estate the night of a double murder.

Nineteen-year-old Evelyn Ballantyre has rarely strayed from her family’s estate in the Scottish Borderlands, save for the occasional trip to Edinburgh, where her father, a respected magistrate, conducts his business—and affairs of another kind. Evelyn has always done her duty as a daughter, hiding her boredom and resentment behind good manners—so when an innocent friendship with a servant is misinterpreted by her father as an illicit union, Evelyn is appalled.

Yet the consequence is a welcome one: she is to accompany her father on a trip to North America, where they’ll visit New York City, the 1893 World’s Fair in Chicago, and conclude with a fishing expedition on the Nipigon River in Canada. Now is her chance to escape her cloistered life, see the world, and reconnect with her father.

Once they’re on the Nipigon, however, Evelyn is shocked to discover that their guide is James Douglas, the former stable hand and her one-time friend who disappeared from the estate after the shootings of a poacher and a gamekeeper. Many had assumed that James had been responsible, but Evelyn never could believe it. Now, in the wilds of a new world, far from the constraints of polite society, the truth about that day, James, and her father will be revealed…to stunning consequences.

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Last year I read and reviewed Maine’s debut novel, The House Between Tides, which turned out to be one of my favourite books in 2017. So I was eager to read this new book, Beyond the Wild River, which is set in the late 1800s in Canada.

Unfortunately this book set a much slower pace and I had a very difficult time getting through it. It seemed to take forever for the hunting party to reach Canada and come across James. There was a lot of build up to this point, and I just lost interest in the story.

For avid fans of historical fiction, this book would probably be an amazing new story. I do believe that the author is a great writer. This book just didn’t do it for me.

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Jason & Cadence (The Wolf’s Mate #1)

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For 14 years, alpha wolf Jason has watched his partially marked mate Cadence live her life without him. Circumstances force his hand and he must find a way to get her to uncover her buried memories of their past before someone else steps up to take her from him.

For as long as she can remember, hybrid wolf Cadence has loved Jason with every fiber of her being,but he’s consistently shoved her away until the love that’s there is bound tightly in anger and shame. No one can take his place in her heart, but that doesn’t mean that there aren’t wolves willing to try.

Will Cadence be able to get through Jason’s icy demeanor to the heart of the boy she’s always loved? Can Jason undo the past so they will have a future together?

This book contains red-hot werewolf loving, plenty of neck biting, and misuse of a kitchen counter. The Wolf’s Mate is a book for mature audiences only and contains sexually explicit content.

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This is the first book in the Wolf’s Mate series by R.E. Butler. A friend recommended it to me.

I had mixed reactions to this novel. The writing style felt juvenile to me and I had a difficult time getting into the story, although it did get better as it went on … or I just adjusted to the author’s style.

I enjoyed the storyline of Jason marking Cadence as a child, and then having to retreat and wait for her to grow up while trying to control his wolf. Call me a sucker, but I think that is a sweet tale of childhood romance.

I was less impressed with some of the convoluted storylines. For example, the idea that the previous Alpha’s Law still prevented anyone in the pack from discussing the truth with Cadence. Those two Alphas are still alive, just retired, and they should have been able to talk to her themselves, or lift the order once she was of age.

Overall, I enjoyed this short novel but hope that the series improves or I probably will not continue beyond the next one or two.

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Submission Games (a Krinar novel)

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It was only supposed to be one night…

Noelle Keene tries to stay away from the Krinar. Even after her best friend fell head-over-heels for one of the mysterious aliens, Noelle doesn’t trust the lethal invaders, especially since her small town upbringing has taught her to fear the worst. Besides, alpha males just aren’t her type. But when a handsome one-night-stand follows her from New York to West Virginia, there’s only one way to protect her family from the dangerous K. Noelle strikes a simple deal: one month. She’ll be all his for one month, and then he’ll leave her alone forever. But this isn’t a game, this is a hunt, and nothing will stay simple for long. With unrest brewing and Noelle caught in the middle, will her plan to save everyone cost her everything?

This novella is a companion to Domination Games, but can also be read as a standalone.

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* As stated in the blurb, this could be read as a standalone, but it would be very beneficial to read Domination Games first. I received this book as an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Submission Games is CRAZY sexy. I definitely think it is the most erotic of all the Krinar novels I have read. It is a self-contained story in a novella, but I like that it wasn’t insta-love (at least for the heroine), unlike most novella length romances. As usual, I wish it was longer. But I have never been a huge fan of the shorter length novels.

Submission Games is a fantastic one-sitting book that will leave your panties wet and your nether bits tingling. I definitely recommend picking up this book as soon as it is released, on July 31st, 2018. Bonus, it will be available on Kindle Unlimited!

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Alpha’s Mission (Bad Boy Alphas #8)

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THE MONSTER WANTS HER. HE WON’T BE DENIED.

I’ve become a monster.
I hear blood moving in people’s veins. Scent their emotions.
I want to feed. To hunt. To mate…

I’m no longer a human–my life is over. I’ve left everyone I love. I’ve
gone rogue from the CIA.
My only hope is my handler. Annabel Grey is tough enough
to face my monster. If I lose control, she won’t hesitate to take me out.
But I’m not the only predator out there. Someone’s hunting Annabel. She
needs my protection.
But if I don’t get my animal under control,
I may be her biggest threat yet.

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Yes! Another book in the series … I knew the wait wouldn’t be long!

This story is a little bit different from the previous ones in the series. Dune has only recently turned for the first time. He didn’t grow up in werewolf society and has no idea of how to control the beast within, or the sudden urges driving his behaviour. He is also terrified that he will lose control and hurt the woman closest to him, his handler and love interest, Annabel.

I enjoyed the different perspective this book brought and hope that the authors incorporate these characters into future books as background characters, which it looks like they are setting up.

I did not give Alpha’s War five stars because the plot line was much too predictable. I would also prefer to see these books grow into full length stories, rather than short novels (less than 80 000k), even if that means a longer wait between books.

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Bad Boy Alphas

Bad Boys Alphas is a fantasy/romance series written by Renee Rose and Lee Savino. They feature a set of alpha male werewolves who are destined to mate one specific woman, whether she is wolf, human or another breed of shifter.

I discovered these books a week ago and have already devoured all seven.

Yup, allllllll seven!

I’m surprised I’m not dreaming about werewolves yet.

I have officially finished everything published (to date) in this series, but the good news is that it looks like the authors publish a new one every three months or so, which means, they will hopefully release more very soon!

I love these books because they are quick reads, have dominant alpha heroes and steamy sex, and can be read non-sequentially.

I do find that they tend to be carbon copies of one another; if you’ve read one, you’ve read them all type of thing. For the most part, the relationship is the same. I would love to see a book where the female struggles a lot more with finding out her insta-love is a werewolf, and with adopting the werewolf lifestyle, which involves domestic discipline. For another matter, I also think the authors are using a little too much artistic licence with their assertions that anal sex doesn’t hurt, doesn’t require much prep, and that every woman is going to love it.

Overall, I highly recommend these books. They are dirty, sexy, easy-to-read romance novels with a healthy side of fantasy!

Here is the cover and blurb for book one. These books are all available on Kindle Unlimited, at least at the time of this posting.

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MINE TO PROTECT. MINE TO PUNISH. MINE.
I’m a lone wolf, and I like it that way. Banished from my birth pack after a bloodbath, I never wanted a mate.

Then I meet Kylie. My temptation. We’re trapped in an elevator together, and her panic almost makes her pass out in my arms. She’s strong, but broken. And she’s hiding something.
My wolf wants to claim her. But she’s human, and her delicate flesh won’t survive a wolf’s mark.

I’m too dangerous. I should stay away. But when I discover she’s the hacker who nearly took down my company, I demand she submit to my punishment. And she will.

Kylie belongs to me.

The World Without Us by Alan Weisman

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Most books about the environment build on dire threats warning of the possible extinction of humanity. Alan Weisman avoids frightening off readers by disarmingly wiping out our species in the first few pages of this remarkable book. He then continues with an astounding depiction of how Earth will fare once we’re no longer around.

The World Without Us is a one-of-a-kind book that sweeps through time from the moment of humanity’s future extinction to millions of years into the future. Drawing on interviews with experts and on real examples of places in the world that have already been abandoned by humans–Chernobyl, the Korean DMZ and an ancient Polish forest–Weisman shows both the shocking impact we’ve had on our planet and how impermanent our footprint actually is.

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The World Without Us is a far-reaching overview of the world before us, the world after us and how humankind have shaped the world we inhabit.

Author Alan Weisman takes the reader on a tour of how the planet would change if humans were to suddenly disappear from the earth tomorrow. How long would it take your house, your city to disappear. He draws upon a wide variety of sources and experts in this examination.

I have always wondered how the world would adapt and evolve without people to mess up its natural systems, and Weisman does a great job of explaining this. He blends the disciplines of ecology, paleontology, archaeology and modern engineering to create a comprehensive view of our effects on the planet, and in many ways, how fleeting they are in terms of geologic time.

I listened to this book and it was very interesting! However, the book is written with the use of many sources and it sounds like Weisman used MLA style citations. He often explains, “so and so said” and includes that individual’s credentials as proof to his claims. While this makes his claims credible, as a listener, it was annoying. That is the one thing about reading versus listening – when reading you can skip those parts! It would have been better to omit those bits in the recording, IMHO.

I also found that the narrative became repetitious as time went on. I had to really push to get through the second half of this book. I would have preferred a few less examples and random facts, such as the linguistic origin of a specific place name.

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A Higher Loyalty by James Comey

Former FBI Director James Comey shares his never-before-told experiences from some of the highest-stakes situations of his career in the past two decades of American government, exploring what good, ethical leadership looks like, and how it drives sound decisions. His journey provides an unprecedented entry into the corridors of power, and a remarkable lesson in what makes an effective leader.

Mr. Comey served as Director of the FBI from 2013 to 2017, appointed to the post by President Barack Obama. He previously served as U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York, and the U.S. deputy attorney general in the administration of President George W. Bush. From prosecuting the Mafia and Martha Stewart to helping change the Bush administration’s policies on torture and electronic surveillance, overseeing the Hillary Clinton e-mail investigation as well as ties between the Trump campaign and Russia, Comey has been involved in some of the most consequential cases and policies of recent history.

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I LOVED this book!

I listened to the audiobook during my commute this week and found myself lingering in the car in my driveway, or sitting in the parking lot at work to eat my lunch, just so that I could keep listening.

There is so much information and misinformation out there right now, especially in the realm of American politics, that I didn’t know how I felt about the firing of Director Comey. I knew I didn’t respect how it was done, but then Trump can always be counted on to show little to no class. But as to the substance behind the firing? I just didn’t know what to think.

This book has completely made up my mind.

Admittedly, I am only receiving one opinion – that of James Comey. However, his arguments are clear, concise and logical. In his book, he comes across as confident but still possessing of humility. He admits when he was wrong, and when he could see another person in his position making a different call, and still find it justified.

In the end, Director Comey was caught in the middle of the nasty crossfire of partisan politics in the lead-in to – and following – 2016’s election. There really was no win there.

Listening to this book makes me hope that in the near future, after the Russia investigation is completed, Robert Mueller will also write a book. And that it will be read by Mr. Comey. All else aside, the former FBI director has a very soothing voice and is a great companion during the daily commute.

I highly recommend this book and have just passed it over to my Mum to read, as she and my Dad were both interested when I told them about it 🙂

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