The Handmaid’s Tale (2017)

A few months ago I mentioned in my review of Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale that I was hurrying through the book to be able to watch the new series on Bravo.

Tonight was the season finale and it was amazing.

This is one of the few shows that – in my opinion – has far surpassed the depth and entertainment value of the novel.

I love admire am in awe of the world of Gilead that the show’s creators have created, from the descriptions in Atwood’s novel. It is not a place I would want to live in, though I very much fear that it is the direction some parts of the world are headed in (you listening Missouri?!)

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I don’t want to talk to much about the plot and ruin it, but I will say that the show has built on the base structure provided by the book and made it better. You see the Mexican and Canadian approaches to the collapse of the United States and even though villains abound in Gilead, there are few characters I cannot empathize with, or feel sorry for, at some point in the tale.

Even Mrs. Waterford.

I find myself bouncing between disgust at her actions and pity for the world she has trapped herself in, one partially of her own creation.

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Nick is the most difficult character for me to pin down. He seems to be a decent guy but he isn’t a bystander in Gilead. He is an active participant. An undercover Eye. Nick was a member of the coup that took down the government of the United States of America. He knows June has a daughter and he isn’t helping them. He isn’t the good guy as much as we I may be rooting for him to be.

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The most exciting point in the finale for me, was the first glimpse of Hannah in Gilead and I cannot wait for the second season to begin airing!

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xx

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(or, as seen on Bravo if you’re Canadian)

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Wild Cat – a review

Wild Cat is the eighth book in the Leopard series by Christine Feehan. This series has really been improved with each book, and I loved Wild Cat and the previous couple of novels as well. The stories have become much more engrossing than the earliest ones, and I love the community feel when there are different characters mixing together.

If you are familiar with Feehan’s other series, you will notice that the Leopard books are much more erotic and sexual than the others, which are fairly tame (at least by my standards). I love this aspect and the pseudo-bdsm nature of the relationships.

Wild Cat features one of the heroes for whom we have been long awaiting a love story: Elijah Lospostos. Here are the deets of the book.

wild cat

A simple request for Siena Arnotto: deliver a gift to her grandfather’s friend. One look at Elijah Lospostos, hard-bodied and stripped to the waist, and Siena succumbs to a feline stirring she never felt before, and to Elijah’s reckless and pleasurable demands. But when that pulse-throbbing moment ends in the murder of an unexpected intruder, Elijah accuses the shaken and confused Siena of setting him up.

Then Siena discovers the truth of her Leopard heritage, of the secrets in her grandfather’s inner circle, and the sinister plot of revenge that has put her in jeopardy. When Siena’s grandfather is assassinated, she realizes the only man she can trust is Elijah. Now as her Leopard rises from within, Siena and Elijah share not only an animal instinct for survival—but a desire so raw and wild it may be the only thing that can save them.

—                —                 —

(Please note that this review contains minimal spoilers. I did my best to leave out the big things and any spoiler you find is from one of the first handful of chapters).

Wow, does Elijah Fuck The Hell Up. He doesn’t really “do” gravelling either to make amends. The arrogant bastard just decides that Sienna should forgive him because he regrets his actions, and more or less bullies her into doing so.

My last two sentences probably make Elijah sound absolutely irredeemable, right? Well, not quite. He didn’t physically harm her. He humiliated Sienna and caused her to lose all confidence and trust in herself which is arguable worse, but I’m more willing to accept this because it is not the result of a gender imbalance.

Also, in his (incorrect) understanding of the situation, Elijah did believe that Sienna had just tried to assassinate him. So ya, I’d probably do a whole lot more in that situation than just throw a naked woman out of my house and call her a few choice terms. And he does his damnedest to protect her after realizing his mistake.

Some of the readers who interact on the author’s social media and website are really not fans of the Leopard series. The sex is too headed or the men too overbearing. They maintain that this is emotional abuse, claims that were commonly thrown at this book, and the previous. I wholeheartedly disagree.

I love the story and the characters. It was sweet to see Sienna integrate into his world by mixing with past heroines, and I wish that Drake and Eli had had expanded roles. This is one that I would read again and again.

If you are looking for a book that exemplifies the type of simpering romance where the hero caters to the heroine’s every whim, these are not the books for you. If you like pushy alphas who lead in a relationship and are incredibly possessive of their ladies, we’ve probably found your niche.

* * * * *

xx

Reaper’s Fall Release Tour Day Two

This is day two of the Reaper’s Fall Release Tour. The link to day one is a little further down, by the excerpt. I cannot wait until this comes out Tuesday. Squee!reaper's teaser 5

Isn’t that a hot beginning to a post! *fanning self*

Blurb:

The New York Times bestselling author of Reaper’s Stand is back in her “uber-alpha rough world of MCs”* as one woman’s future is rocked by the man whose hardcore past could destroy her…

He never meant to hurt her.

Levi “Painter” Brooks was nothing before he joined the Reapers motorcycle club. The day he patched in, they became his brothers and his life. All they asked in return was a strong arm and unconditional loyalty—a loyalty that’s tested when he’s caught and sentenced to prison for a crime committed on their behalf.

Melanie Tucker may have had a rough start, but along the way she’s learned to fight for her future. She’s escaped from hell and started a new life, yet every night she dreams of a biker whose touch she can’t forget. It all started out so innocently—just a series of letters to a lonely man in prison. Friendly. Harmless. Safe.

Now Painter Brooks is coming home… and Melanie’s about to learn that there’s no room for innocence in the Reapers MC.

reapers fall

Excerpt #2 (see yesterday’s post for the 1st excerpt)

“You’re not going back to the party.”

She cocked her head, and I saw the confusion in her alcohol- glazed eyes as she wrinkled her nose at me. All cute, like a rabbit.

“You look like a bunny.”

“You look like an ax murder,” she said, frowning. “And I thought London was looking for me. Aren’t we going the wrong way?”

“I lied. I do that a lot,” I told her, staring at her lips. I reached out, catching her chin in my hand, running my thumb across her lips. Our eyes locked, and I don’t know if her pulse started to rise but mine sure as fuck did. What the hell had I been thinking, writing to this girl? She was so pretty and perfect and had this amazing, magical life just waiting for her and all I could think about was dragging her down into the dirt and shoving my cock into every hole she had.

She’d scream while I did it, too, the same sweet screams that played in my head every night while I jacked off.

I hated myself.

“Why did you lie?” she asked, her voice a whisper.

“To get you away from Taz. It’s not safe with him.”

Mel’s forehead creased in confusion, her brain moving so slowly I could practically see the wheels turning behind her eyes. She might be smart as fuck most of the time, but she’d transitioned to drunker than fuck tonight. Kit. Kit and Em. They’d done this to her.  

I leaned in closer, catching her scent. For an instant I swayed, so tempted . . .

“They told me all about you,” she whispered.

“Who?”

“The other girls. Kit, Em. Jessica. I know how you operate,” she continued. One of her hands rose, touching my chest. Fire burst through me, because if I’d wanted her before I was desperate for her now. She was so soft, so sweet . . . so perfect.

Then her words sank in.

“What did you just say?”

“They told me all about you,” she said, eyes dropping to stare at  my lips. “They told me you have a Madonna-whore complex.” I froze.

“A what?”

“A Madonna-whore complex,” she repeated, her voice earnest. “You like to screw dirty girls and you put clean girls on pedestals, where they can stay perfect and pure. That’s pretty messed up, Painter. There’s no such thing as Madonnas and whores. We’re all just people.”

The words stunned me. What the hell was she talking about? Just because I didn’t want her dragged down in the drama and bullshit of this life didn’t mean I had some sort of fucking complex. And who the hell were the Hayes sisters to have an opinion? I couldn’t tell what pissed me off more—the fact that they’d talked to Mel about me or that they hadn’t done a better job of scaring her off.

She wasn’t supposed to be here.

“Kit and Em are crazy, and that friend of yours—Jessica? She’s like a car crash. You don’t belong here, Mel.”

“And where do I belong?”

“With some nice kid who’ll treat you like a queen and work his ass off to give you everything perfect for the rest of your life.” The words were practically a growl.

Her eyes widened.

“What if I don’t want perfect?”

“Too fucking bad, because that’s what you’re getting.”

reapers fall bannter

Reaper’s Fall is the newest standalone in the Reaper’s MC Series.  Painter & Melanie’s story will be available on November 10th and is currently up for Pre-order!

Available at the following retailers:

Amazon US: http://amzn.to/1DsDyRt

Amazon UK: http://amzn.to/1yYt1Rn

Nook: http://tinyurl.com/pljucpa

iBooks: http://tinyurl.com/pwfxzyj

joanna wylde

Joanna Wylde is a New York Times bestselling author and creator of the Reapers Motorcycle Club series. She currently lives in Idaho.

Stalk Her: Website | Facebook | Twitter |  Goodreads

reaper's fall pre-order

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Reaper’s Fall Blog Tour Day 1

I am very excited that Reaper’s Fall (Joanna Wylde) is coming out on November the 10th and have every intention of getting out a review on it forthwith.

I’m have the chance to release an excerpt and some yummy pictures on here, to help promote Joanna’s newest novel, so here it is.

reapers fall

Blurb:
The New York Times bestselling author of Reaper’s Stand is back in her “uber-alpha rough world of MCs”* as one woman’s future is rocked by the man whose hardcore past could destroy her…

He never meant to hurt her.

Levi “Painter” Brooks was nothing before he joined the Reapers motorcycle club. The day he patched in, they became his brothers and his life. All they asked in return was a strong arm and unconditional loyalty—a loyalty that’s tested when he’s caught and sentenced to prison for a crime committed on their behalf.

Melanie Tucker may have had a rough start, but along the way she’s learned to fight for her future. She’s escaped from hell and started a new life, yet every night she dreams of a biker whose touch she can’t forget. It all started out so innocently—just a series of letters to a lonely man in prison. Friendly. Harmless. Safe.

Now Painter Brooks is coming home… and Melanie’s about to learn that there’s no room for innocence in the Reapers MC.
— —

Excerpt #1
Mel,

You know, I write these fuckin’ letters to you, but they’re fake. I ask about your friends and your school and whether you’re meeting people. It’s bullshit, Mel.

Here’s my reality.

Yesterday I stabbed someone before he could stab me. Puck and I sold some shit to a bunch of white supremacists and we turned around and sold the same damned thing to some Mexicans. We had pudding with our dinner for dessert.

Then I jacked off three times thinking about you.
Those are the highlights. Like a fairy tale, right? Remembering you keeps me going, which makes no fucking sense at all. I hardly touched you. I still think about what you smelled like when you sat next to me on the couch, though. You were just this little thing and you shivered under my arm. I know you were scared of the movie and I could’ve picked something else, but I wanted the excuse to hold you.

That’s when I started thinking seriously about us fucking.

I had this vision of shoving you into the cushions face- first, then ripping down your jeans and pushing so deep you’d feel it in the back of your throat. That’s the kind of guy I am, Mel, and that’s why you should stay the fuck away from me.

You give me the chance, I’ll pin you down and keep pumping no matter how hard you try to get away. I dream about it every night, I jerk off to it, and today I gave serious thought to killing a man because he has the same fantasies about you as me. That first night, I promised London I wouldn’t touch you, but my cock had already been hard for hours.

Good thing she showed up when she did—saved your ass. How’s that for luck?

When I took you to dinner, I was going to be good. Tried to be good. I know you didn’t understand why I asked you out or what it meant. They needed you out of the way, Mel. That was my job—to keep you busy. And I promised London I wouldn’t pull shit on you but she’d been lying to us all along and I kept wondering if that meant my promise didn’t count anymore.

Pretty damned sure it hasn’t counted for a while now.

You were talking and smiling and blushing. My dick was so stiff it nearly snapped in half when I tried to stand up. Took everything I had not to throw you on my bike and ride off with you . . . I want to tie you up and come in your ass and shove my cock down your throat until you choke. I want your hair in little-girl pigtails so I can hold on tight while I fuck your face. I want you to cry and scream and give me everything. I want to fucking OWN you. How’s that for reality, Mel? You still want my advice about boys?

I’m coming home soon. You should run away while you still can, Mel. I’ll make you dirty, so dirty you’ll never be clean again. I’ll make you pay me back the hard way. You think you’re all grown up, but you’re not. There’s so much I could teach you . . . do to you. Jesus, if you only knew, you’d never write to me again.

You should move to Alaska.
Change your name.
Good luck, though, because I’ll find you and take you and—

Fucking hell.

I dropped my pencil, wondering why I’d thought this was a good idea. I wasn’t going to send it, of course. I’d send her some friendly little note and tell her she should be dating and having fun. But some part of me thought writing my real thoughts out might fix my obsession. Instead my dick was like a rock. Again.

Still.

Always.

Delicious, right? There is a second excerpt that I will post tomorrow.

There is nothing sexier than a man with a beard and tattoos and a reaper's fall teaser 4baby.

reaper's new teaser use 2

About the Author:

joanna wylde

Joanna Wylde is a New York Times bestselling author and creator of the Reapers Motorcycle Club series. She currently lives in Idaho.

Stalk Her: Website | Facebook | Twitter |  Goodreads

Reaper’s Fall is the newest standalone in the Reaper’s MC Series.  Painter & Melanie’s story will be available on November 10th and is currently up for Pre-order!

Available at the following retailers:

Amazon US: http://amzn.to/1DsDyRt

Amazon UK: http://amzn.to/1yYt1Rn

Nook: http://tinyurl.com/pljucpa

iBooks: http://tinyurl.com/pwfxzyj

xx

No Place to Run – a review

No place to run is the second novel in Maya Banks’ KGI series which features a post-military career family of 6 boys who start their own consulting business together, covering everything from outsourced government jobs, to private hostage rescues and corporate security.

Here’s the blurb:

KGI 2

Sam Kelly was her first love.

The last person Sam Kelly expected to pull wounded from the lake was Sophie Lundgren. Once they shared a brief, intense affair while Sam was undercover and then she vanished. She’s spent the last months on the run, knowing that any mistake would cost her life and that of her unborn child—Sam’s child. Now she’s resurfaced with a warning for Sam: this time, he’s the one in danger.

Now he’s her last chance.

Sam has too many questions to let her slip away again—like why she disappeared in the first place. This time he vows not to be seduced. But one look in her eyes, and the passion burns again, and Sam knows he’ll do anything to keep her and his child safe. However, Sophie’s dark past is more dangerous than he imagines, and the only way for either to survive it is to outrun it.

—                      —                       —

I found this second novel to be very different from the first. Possibly because a lot of pages in The Darkest Hour were devoted to establishing the characters and KGI’s business, the story felt more emotionally intimate between the characters and you see the softer side of them, as their missing family member returns home after a year in hell.

But in No Place to Run, the introductions have already been made. There are more pages available to devote to the plot and plenty of action. Gunfights, knife fights, helicopters and grenades galore.

I really admire Sophie. She has been on the run for five months, pregnant the whole time, and is at the end of her ability to protect herself and her unborn child. But when she arrives in Sam’s arms, she doesn’t turn into a silly little fool. She keeps thinking and playing the angles, trying to figure out the safest path forward.

I don’t blame either Sophie or Sam for not immediately trusting each other with everything that has happened. I actually really liked that the author kept true to the natural feelings of distrust and reluctance between the characters, despite their mutual attraction. It felt more realistic and allowed the reader to see a different side of the Kellys than was established in the previous instalment.

The boys were all super sweet and devoted to Rachel in book one. This time around, you get a small sense of what it would be like to be standing on the other side from them, during certain scenes told from Sophie’s perspective. They are certainly an intimidating and formidable force!

I’m glad that I choose to re-read these novels this week and will be posting the review for the third – Garrett’s – shortly. If No Place to Run sounds to your taste, you can try it out by reading the first chapter and a bit on Amazon.

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xx

Review: Captured Miracle books 2 & 3

I reviewed the first book in the Captured Miracle series by Alannah Carbonneau a few days ago. Click here if you haven’t read it already.

I’m reviewing the second book, Bleeding Heart, and the third book, Divided Souls together in this post.

I’m not sure of the word count – I read the ebooks – but they definitely felt short. And young. I read all three books in the same day and by no stretch of the imagination did I spend the whole day reading on the couch.

I don’t think they were novella sized, but definitely not the length of romance novel I am used to either. As in the first post, this is a “dark romance” series that is really more of a light grey. I felt like they were YA novels, not grown up enough for me.

Here are the covers:

woman wearing black corset and pearls against retro background

With no hope of running from Calix, Nova does the only thing she can do. She accepts him. She accepts his darkness and cherishes his edges. After their wedding only two weeks into her capture, Nova is taken across the world to honeymoon with Calix in lavish romance that tricks her mind and heart into falling deeper than the blue abyss of the ocean, in love, with a monster.

But it’s not all bliss and romance, because Calix really is a monster, and he’s more than determined to keep Nova as his own – forever. Even the revenge that powered his every action has withered in comparison to the need Calix feels to possess Nova to completion. However, there are some actions that even true love cannot forgive.

In the quest to bind her irrevocably to him, will Calix overstep his boundaries and push Nova away from him forever?

divided souls

Nova has been home for nearly two months, dying inside, as her soul struggles to continue living life without Calix – her husband, her lover, her captor. With the help of her sister, Nova finds a way to escape the rescuing clutches of her father to return to Calix.

Through all the damage done, and all the horrors stripped to stand exposed, can the wrongs enacted become right? Can the monster lurking beneath Calix’s very handsome skin remain dormant – or will that monster ruin all the beauty thriving – in a moment of fear.

When life hangs in the balance and our true nature is tested, will instinct prevail over compassion? And can forgiveness exist for a future when the past is tainted with bloodshed?

—                      —                         —

Unfortunately, I didn’t love these books. The premise to the story is good, but the writing reminded me more of an amateur who writes stories on one of the many sites that litter the web. Not something worth purchasing.

To begin with, none of the characters had any depth. They fell flat, their confrontations juvenile and nothing was a surprise. I could see where the author was going from stage one and nothing surprised me. All of the books were predictable.

*

Spoiler alert

*

Calix gets Nova pregnant by arranging for Doctor Lady to give her a fake Depo shot? Called it. She gets “rescued” early in her pregnancy and they are separated for weeks before she runs back to Calix? Saw that coming. Etcetera, etcetera.

Unfortunately all these things add up to only getting a two and a half stars from me. I had high hopes for the series when I first read the book blurb but better luck next time I guess.

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xx

Craving Absolution by Nicole Jacquelyn – a review

Nicole Jacquelyn writes an outlaw MC series that is full of strong-willed, dominant bikers with out-spoken alpha females at their sides.

The third book in the series is Craving Absolution. It features Casper, who was introduced in book 1 as a prospect to the Aces MC, and is now a full-patch member. His heroine is Farrah Miller, the main supporting character in book two and the daughter of the Club President.

craving absolution

Book Blurb:

Farrah Miller and Cody “Casper” Butler have a longstanding relationship that both refuse to discuss.

It isn’t romantic.

It may not even be classified as a friendship.

Casper’s been saving Farrah from herself for longer than he’d care to admit, watching silently as she drowned herself in alcohol. Then, when she finally got her act together, he left. He told himself he was giving her time to sort herself out. He tried to give her space.

But getting shot in the chest can change a man’s perspective, and Casper’s done waiting.

When he shows up on her doorstep one night, everything changes.

He’s the man who’s seen her at her very worst.

She’s his weakness.

He runs when things get hard.

She never lets anyone see below the surface and is terrified of being abandoned.

He knows it’s a long shot, that there’s a good chance she’ll never drop her guard for him—but he has to try. Because a life with Farrah is exactly what he wants—even if he has to fight her for it.

—                   —                    —

I really liked Farrah’s character, she was my favourite part of this book. She is a strong chick and is an example of how someone who suffers from panic attacks and anxiety and is completely unsure of herself in relationships, can still be strong and opinionated. Having panic attacks doesn’t make her weak, and it isn’t a character flaw.

IMHO, Jacquelyn is excellent at adding depth and development to her characters, allowing them to change and mature through the events of the story. Often, this is a recurring failure in romance novels so character growth is one of my favourite aspects of the Aces MC books.

Farrah moves on from barely acknowledging her father’s existence after meeting him in book 2, to reaching out to him and Vera (her stepmother), trying to establish some sort of emotional connection to them and including them in her family. She also embraces a maternal, nurturing role as she takes on being a parent to two children, despite never having a childhood herself and certainly lacking responsible parents growing up.

Although romance novels typically feature a couple as dual main characters, I definitely felt that this one was ‘the Farrah story’. The reader spends most of the pages in her perspective and Casper has little character development in comparison to the vast amount that Farrah experiences. Casper is more the companion piece to her character and a way to move the plot forward. I would have liked to see him grow up a little more and be more in control of himself and his destiny.

I really liked this installment in the series and cannot wait to read the next.

* * * *

xx