Series Review: In the Company of Killers (J.A. Redmerski)

I have mini reviews for the In the Company of Killers series for you today. This series isn’t for everyone. It’s dark, violent, angsty, and suspenseful. I would say it’s rated R. I would caution potential readers that it is truly dark with many, many trigger warnings. It’s about a woman who breaks free from a Mexican drug and sex trafficking ring with help of an assassin, if that explains a bit. Every character in messed up in a deeply disturbing way.

Killing Sarai
Series: In the Company of Killers, #1
Author: J.A. Redmerski
Publication Date: June 8, 2013
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary, Dark, Romantic Suspense, Thriller

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★

My thoughts:

I’ve had Killing Sarai on my Kindle for years because friends raved about it. I’ve put off reading it for two reasons: 1. The series is SEVEN books long and 2. It’s super dark. Sarai escapes a Mexican drug lord who has abused her for years and ends up in the hands of professional killer Victor. This isn’t a love story between Sarai and Victor (as much as I might have wanted it to be), but a thrilling ride of violence and death to those who deserve it most. Killing Sarai was intense and addictive. I didn’t want to put it down, but was also scared to find out what came next. I wouldn’t say I loved reading it because it was torture in some ways. I guess all I can say is that I’m committed to reading at least the second book. (Let’s be real — I’ll end up reading the entire series.)

Reviving Izabel
Series: In the Company of Killers, #2
Author: J.A. Redmerski
Publication Date: December 4, 2013
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary, Dark, Romantic Suspense, Thriller

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

My thoughts:

Not going to lie. I thought I might take a break in between Killing Sarai and this book, but I couldn’t. I HAD to know what was going to happen to Sarai and Victor after the ending of the first book. Reviving Izabel surprised me in ways only the Nine Minute Trilogy by Beth Flynn has. Twists and turns came out of nowhere. When Victor warned Sarai not to trust anyone, I think he was really speaking to the reader. Man! This book was intense and blew my mind. I’m scared to find out what comes next in the third book, which is bound to be even darker since it is about their friend(?) Fredrik.

The Swan & the Jackal
Series: In the Company of Killers, #3
Author: J.A. Redmerski
Publication Date: March 3, 2014
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary, Dark, Romantic Suspense, Thriller

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

My thoughts:

Once again, MIND BLOWN. I was warned The Swan & the Jackal was darker than the first two books, but I don’t know that I was prepared for Fredrik. I don’t think anyone could actually be prepared for him or what he was willing to do to find Seraphina. Dude was disturbed. Knowing the reasons behind his actions… Well, that was just heartbreaking with a side of nauseating. Fredrik is one of those characters I knew I shouldn’t love, but can’t help it because he’s more vulnerable than I expected. So, yeah. Shock and awe with this third installment. How will J.A. Redmerski ever be able to keep the surprises coming?

Seeds of Inequity
Series: In the Company of Killers, #4
Author: J.A. Redmerski
Publication Date: September 25, 2014
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary, Dark, Romantic Suspense, Thriller

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

My thoughts:

Seeds of Inequity is probably my favorite book in the series so far. It wasn’t quite as shocking as some of the other books — even if my mind was blown on more than one occasion while reading it. What I loved so much about it was the levity it brought to the series. Even while it was being dark and twisted, it managed to be humorous at times. The addition of Nora’s character was so smart. She really got in everyone’s heads and put the team through some stuff. I loved how that changed some dynamics. It’s going to be very interesting to find out where things go after this book. It was a game changer.

The Black Wolf
Series: In the Company of Killers, #5
Author: J.A. Redmerski
Publication Date: June 29, 2015
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary, Dark, Romantic Suspense, Thriller

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★

My thoughts:

I took a break in between books 4 and 5 because I had to read an ARC, but I couldn’t wait to get back to this book. Unfortunately, it didn’t immediately pull me in. It wasn’t until about half way through when the story ramped up and I became more interested. Even then, I wondered what the point of everything was…right up until the very end. That ah-ha moment had me rethinking everything that happened in this installment of In the Company of Killers. In the end, my biggest complaints were I needed more Victor and Izabel time and more Fredrik.

Behind the Hands that Kill
Series: In the Company of Killers, #6
Author: J.A. Redmerski
Publication Date: May 7, 2016
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary, Dark, Romantic Suspense, Thriller

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

My thoughts:

After the end of the last book, I was a little nervous regarding Victor’s intentions and idea of taking Izabel on a vacation. I had no idea where things would go with that — and what happened wasn’t on my radar. This book was all about revealing some of Victor’s secrets. It was an education on the man in a stressful way. I’m not happy with where things left off between Victor and Izabel, but it sure is making for some interesting reading. I can’t wait to find out what happens next.

Spiders in the Grove
Series: In the Company of Killers, #7
Author: J.A. Redmerski
Publication Date: February 13, 2018
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary, Dark, Romantic Suspense, Thriller

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

My thoughts:

If I were to share my train of thought while reading Spiders in the Grove, it would go something like this:

Niklas is what?
Fredrik is what?
Victor is what?
Please tell me that’s a lie…
What is this? I don’t even…
IZABEL!
Ah, crap! Deal with the devil coming right up.
Ahhhh!!!!
That’s who…?
Woohoo!
I FREAKING KNEW IT!
I didn’t expect that.
I HATE IT!
That’s where it ends??? I need more now! Where is the next book?

Spiders in the Grove was non-stop revelations and crazy, crazy happenings. I was blindsided by so much! I wanted to say I loved every minute of it, but the subject matter would make that disgusting. The writing, though. It was pure genius and those twists and turns were perfection. I loved that we got real time POVs for all the characters. Also, the title is one of my favorites ever now. It matches the book so well.

I’m both happy and angry to be caught up with the series. I need that eighth book like NOW.

Overall thoughts on this series so far:

 This is one of the best dark romance/thriller series I’ve ever read. It is right up there with Beth Flynn’s Nine Minutes Trilogy for me. The twists and turns kept coming and I couldn’t stop reading.  I am on pins and needles waiting for the rest of the books.

Review: Unforgiven (Jay Crownover)

I am so excited to celebrate the release of UNFORGIVEN by Jay Crownover with you today by participating in the blog tour! UNFORGIVEN is part of the Loveless, Texas series and you can grab your copy now. Join Jay’s Group for details about all of her titles.

Unforgiven
Series: Loveless, Texas, #2
Author: Jay Crownover
Publication Date: February 25, 2020
Publisher: Forever
Genre: Contemporary Romance, Romantic Suspense
Note: This review is for an ARC and is my unbiased opinion.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ½

Synopsis:

From the New York Times bestselling author of the Marked Men series comes an irresistible and suspenseful romance between a tough Texas Ranger and his first love–a woman in danger who insists she doesn’t need his protection.
Hill Gamble is a model lawman: cool and collected, with a confident swagger to boot. Too bad all that Texas charm hasn’t gotten him anywhere in his personal life, especially since the only girl he ever loved has always been off-limits. But then Hill is assigned to investigate her father’s mysterious death, and he’s forced back to the town–and the woman–he left behind.
When Hill left Loveless, he broke Kody Lawton’s already battered heart. And now that he’s working on her father’s case, avoiding him is impossible. She can handle Hill and her unwanted feelings–until he puts his life on the line to protect her. Suddenly, Kody realizes that Hill could be taken away from her…for good.


I was immediately drawn into Kody and Hill’s story from the very beginning. They had such an emotionally charged connection that drew them together as well as kept them apart. I loved their dynamic and how they found their way to each other.

Kody and Hill’s romance almost felt like a side story compared to the romantic suspense plot of the story. So much was going on with the investigation into Kody’s father’s murder that it pretty much took over the entire book. I’m not really complaining about that. It was interesting.

What I am going to complain about it the ending. Was there really an ending? That was my question when the Epilogue suddenly began and then again when I closed Unforgiven for the final time. First, Kody basically just explained how things are working out for her with Hill. It wasn’t really an HEA in my opinion and left me disappointed and wanting more. Second, the romantic suspense aspect of the story wasn’t tied off. The Epilogue felt more like one big push toward the next book in that series. Granted, I am SUPER curious about that book now. So while I enjoyed reading Unforgiven, I just felt let down in the end.

Grab your copy of UNFORGIVEN today!

Amazon | Nook | Apple Books | Kobo

Add UNFORGIVEN to your Goodreads TBR here!

Grab your copy of UNFORGIVEN today!
Amazon | Nook | Apple Books | Kobo

———————

About JAY CROWNOVER:

  Jay Crownover is the international and multiple New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of the Marked Men Series, The Saints of Denver Series, The Point Series, Breaking Point Series, and the Getaway Series. Her books can be found translated in many different languages all around the world. She is a tattooed, crazy haired Colorado native who lives at the base of the Rockies with her awesome dogs. This is where she can frequently be found enjoying a cold beer and Taco Tuesdays. Jay is a self-declared music snob and outspoken book lover who is always looking for her next adventure, between the pages and on the road. Connect with her: Website | Facebook | Instagram | Goodreads | Reader Group IS-Blogger-1-1024x158

Review: Destructive (Jay McLean)

Destructive
Series: Combative, #3
Author: Jay McLean
Publication Date: January 6, 2020
Genre: New Adult, Romance, Suspense

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ½

Synopsis:

Some villains are made.
Some villains are born.
And some villains aren’t villains at all.

Nate DeLuca was born into a life he didn’t want.
Forced to walk a path that was already chosen for him.
Grandson to a mob boss, he’s forever torn between his duty, his honor, his legacy, and the truth.
But the truth is never simple, and it’s not at all what it seems.

In a world full of secrets, heartache, and betrayals, Nate only has one thing on his mind: redemption.
But with redemption comes destruction.
And that destruction might cost him his heart.

***

Three Lives.
Two Loves.
One ticking time bomb…
Tick tock.


Destructive is the third and final book in the Combative series. Each book builds on the last, so you don’t want to jump ahead because you will miss out on the build up and all the good stuff. You can find my review for the first book, Combative, here.

Woah.

If Combative left me slightly confused with its cliffhanger and Redemptive left me mind blown, then Destructive left me fulfilled. It was everything I didn’t know I wanted, but needed from Jay McLean and her characters. It tested everything I thought I knew about Nate, Ky, Madison, and Bailey. There were so many revelations, so many moments of clarity. It took McLean years to wrap up this story, and I now understand why. It both shocked and amazed. What a way to end such an explosive trilogy!

Review: The Reckless Oath We Made (Bryn Greenwood)

The Reckless Oath We Made
Author: Bryn Greenwood
Publication Date: August 20, 2019
Publisher: J.P. Putnam’s Sons
Genre: Fiction, Contemporary, Romance

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ½

Synopsis:

A provocative love story between a tough Kansas woman on a crooked path to redemption and the unlikeliest of champions, from the New York Times bestselling author of All the Ugly and Wonderful Things.

Zee is nobody’s fairy tale princess. Almost six-foot, with a redhead’s temper and a shattered hip, she has a long list of worries: never-ending bills, her beautiful, gullible sister, her five-year-old nephew, her housebound mother, and her drug-dealing boss.

Zee may not be a princess, but Gentry is an actual knight, complete with sword, armor, and a code of honor. Two years ago the voices he hears called him to be Zee’s champion. Both shy and autistic, he’s barely spoken to her since, but he has kept watch, ready to come to her aid.

When an abduction tears Zee’s family apart, she turns to the last person she ever imagined–Gentry–and sets in motion a chain of events that will not only change both of their lives, but bind them to one another forever.


I’ve been sitting here staring at the computer screen trying to figure out what to say about The Reckless Oath We Made. I keep thinking about the blurb and the “provocative romance” label. Those two words describe this book, but not in the way some might think. It was provocative in the causing a strong reaction way, not the deliberately sexy sort of way. It had a sweet but infuriating romance. I don’t know that I would place it firmly in the romance category, though. The Reckless Oath We made was more of a mystery in some ways. Zee’s sister LeReigne has gone missing. Zee is on a mission to find her without the help of the police. Instead, her stalker/self-appointed “champion” Gentry is going to help her. Despite being two incredibly different people, they fall in love along the way.

I was addicted to Bryn Greenwood’s writing from the moment I started The Reckless Oath We Made. There was such beauty in words that could be so ugly at times. The way she crafted and directed the story kept me on the edge of my seat wanting to know what was next. I loved the way she told this story through multiple points of view. Not only did we get Zee and Gentry’s POVs, but also several other characters’. All of those POVs gave a greater depth to this story and an even greater idea of who Zee and Gentry were and the things that happened.

Zee was a calculating, hard woman whose personal opinion of right and wrong is fluid. She’s willing to do whatever it takes to get her sister back. Some of the things she was willing to do did not sit right with me, but they made this book what it was. Gentry was an old soul with a strong sense of right and wrong who is determined to help his lady. He’s not only autistic, but schizophrenic. He speaks in Old English. (Even his POV is in Old English, which was a little frustrating at first.) Zee and Gentry were an odd combination that somehow worked in the most beautiful way. They saw each other in ways others missed. Their romance was inconceivable at first, yet totally understandable as things progressed.

The journey The Reckless Oath We Made took me on was not for the faint of heart. It was a beautifully ugly story. One that made both cringe and smile. It was weird and uncomfortable, yet totally enthralling. I really loved it. It reminded me of a Tarryn Fisher novel, which didn’t surprise me all that much since I decided to read this book based on Ms. Fisher’s recommendation of it on social media.

Review: Sunset Beach (Mary Kay Andrews)

Sunset Beach
Author: Mary Kay Andrews
Narrator: Kathleen McInerney
Publication Date: May 7, 2019
Publisher: McMillan Audio
Genre: Women’s Fiction, Mystery

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

Drue Campbell’s life and career have recently been derailed. The only thing she has left is the house her mother left her: a ramshackle beach bungalow with a missing roof in the once-sleepy town of Sunset Beach, which is rapidly becoming a hot spot for the rich and well-heeled, who are none too pleased about the shabby eyesore in their perfect neighborhood.

When Drue’s larger-than-life father unexpectedly turns up at her mother’s funeral and offers her a job at his law firm, Drue doesn’t know whether to be grateful or resentful that he has suddenly reappeared. She grudgingly accepts the job sifting through cold callers and shysters looking to get rich quick. But when her attention is caught by a suspicious murder case, Drue finds herself entangled in a decades-old mystery – one that may have dire consequences for Drue and the people she loves.


It’s been years since I read a book by Mary Kay Andrews. I’m not exactly sure why. I guess her books haven’t been on my radar or something because when I saw Sunset Beach available to listen to from my library I jumped on downloading it. I’m thankful I did for many reasons.

Sunset Beach was a fantastic book to listen to. I usually enjoy Mary Kay Andrews’ writing, but there was something about the narrator’s voice that made it even more captivating. There were some points in the story where it might have lost me (so much going on), but Kathleen McInerney’s voice kept pulling me back in. I actually want to find more books she’s narrated to read. That’s how much I enjoyed her voice.

As for Sunset Beach‘s content, I was impressed with the mystery. There were actually two of them. One was an old missing person case Drue stumbled upon relating to her father. I liked how that one took me back in time and slowly revealed itself. The other mystery was a couple of years old regarding the death of a young mother. I liked that one because it added a more intense level of suspense than the first mystery. Drue also stumbles upon this one at her father’s law office and decides to do some detective work of her own. Meanwhile, she’s also working, meeting new co-workers, annoying police detectives, repairing her relationship with her father and his wife, and maybe dating. There was just so much going on.

Back to those mysteries… Usually I am able to predict what’s going to happen in a mystery or who the bad guy is. That was not the case with Sunset Beach. I had my suspicions about what was going on with both mysteries. I was COMPLETELY wrong. I never would have guessed any of it. I was super impressed with that. Kudos to Mary Kay Andrews for stumping me!

Overall, Sunset Beach was a great listening experience. I think its release is timely with the summer coming up. It would be the perfect beach read.

Series Mini Review: Love Me with Lies (Tarryn Fisher)

This past weekend I knocked Love Me with Lies off my backlist. It’s been on there for years because I’m a fan of all of Tarryn Fisher’s other books. I’m so disappointed in myself for waiting so long to read it. It was crazy good — emphasis on the crazy. Here my thoughts after reading each book.

The Opportunist ★ ★ ★ ★

??????
That pretty much says it all.
I’m stuck using emojis for this review because I’m speechless after finishing this book. It was soooooo messed up, but in a good way. Only Tarryn can make me hate and love characters so much at the same time.

Dirty Red ★ ★ ★ ★

This one started out bad for me. I was so disgusted by Leah. I hate Leah, but I understand her now. She grew on me as her story went on. She’s not blameless, but Caleb isn’t either. I lost some respect for him in this one. The only person I started to respect more was Olivia.

Thief ★ ★ ★ ★

I think I liked this book? It’s hard to know because all of the characters were so messed up. I didn’t think I could end up liking them any less while also liking where the story went. I do think it was a fitting end to a crazy, addictive series.

Overall, this is a very messed up, crazy, addictive series. If you like books that will shock you and make you question everything a character does, read this series.

Review: Fearless by B.B. Reid

Fearless
Series: Broken Love, #5
Author: B.B. Reid
Publication Date: April 5, 2016
Publisher: B.B. Reid
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary Romance, Fiction

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ½

Synopsis:

Take one last ride with Keiran and Lake and the rest of the Broken Love gang in this fifth and final installment as they face stronger enemies and bigger obstacles while fighting to hold tight to the tattered existence of their love.

When faced with broken love…

Have you ever had the feeling you were a stranger?
Out of reach, I watched and mourned me.
Nothing moved. Breathed. Nothing lived.
I was in an alternate universe.
No longer an innocent.
I had blood on my hands, and I wasn’t even sorry for it.
I was only afraid for Keiran.
Of his reaction when the shock wore off.
It would be an explosion.
Of hurt, anger, and mistrust.
He’d know I lied.
And to him…
The betrayal born of my good intentions is worse than the act of murder.

…will you succumb to fear…

She was supposed to be my light.
The one who saved me from the monster.
But when I looked in her eyes that day, I didn’t see her.
I only saw my father’s killer.

Her love saved me from the monster.
Mine turned her into one.

…or will you be fearless?


I’ve had a love-hate relationship with every book in this series. The mystery / suspense plot that has continued throughout each book has been exceptional. The addictive quality of the writing has been as well. What has bothered me is the abusive relationships and the way they have been depicted. I have a real problem with anyone finding the male characters and / or the way they treat the women their lives worthy of swooning. Everyone in these books needs therapy. That’s made all of the books hard for me to review and rate. I have given them all three stars because that’s how I averaged what I loved with what I hated. You’ll notice this book gets three and a half stars. Here’s why.

I was very impressed with how the plot ended up wrapping up. B.B. Reid crafted a truly exceptional mystery that kept me hanging on. Things finally came full circle and all of the revelations were perfect.

Despite the fact that I don’t truly believe that Lake and Keiran should be together due to the nature of their past relationship, I appreciated the growth they showed individually and together. It did give me hope that maybe they could have a healthy relationship. There were a couple of tender moments that made me question my feelings about Keiran. I have to admit to swooning because they were so perfect for a romance novel. That disturbs me a little, to be honest.

I know this review doesn’t really tell you much, but I don’t want to give anything away. Fearless did a great job of wrapping all of the storylines up. I’m happy to be done with this series because it’s been hard on my heart and conscience. Although, I’m glad B.B. Reid has a book outside this series planned for the supporting characters Jesse, Diana, and Quinton. I’m really curious to see what’s next for those three. Hopefully it’s something a little happier.

Review: Fear You by B.B. Reid

Fear You
Series: Broken Love, #2
Author: B.B. Reid
Publication Date: March 11, 2015
Publisher: B.B. Reid
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary Romance, Fiction

Rating: ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

What happens when she’s had enough?

Lake Monroe has given in to her childhood tormentor too many times. She knows it, he knows it, and even their enemies know it. When he returned after being found guilty of a crime he didn’t commit—a crime he thought she set him up for, he returned darker than ever, demanding her body and her submission. To survive him, she knew she had to give in to fear once more or suffer the deadly consequences…

But Lake experienced what it was like to submit to the dark and demanding boy who invaded her dreams. Now she’ll experience what it’s like to fight him.

What happens when he wants more?

Keiran Masters has a past that is both shocking and dark. Once enslaved, he now has demons he can’t escape—demons that have followed him for ten years, demons he blames his beautiful obsession for. He promised to make her pay. He promised to make her break…

But after Keiran had conquered her body and tasted her submission, he found a new addiction instead—one he has no intention of giving up.

As secrets unfold,
Identities are revealed,
Danger closes in,
And they both discover what it really means to fear…


Fear You is the second book in the Broken Love series. It begins where the first book, Fear Me, left off. Without reading book one, you won’t understand the plot or the relationship dynamics. Just a warning: This book contains sensitive themes that will be disturbing to some readers. You can check out my review for Fear Me here, if you’re curious.

Like I said above, Fear You continues Lake and Keiran’s story. They’re not on good terms–not that they ever truly were on good terms. Lake has to deal with the fall out for what she’s done to Keiran. He’s back to torment her, but this time she feels she has the power to stand up to him. It is hard because Keiran is relentless. He’s not willing to give Lake up. She’s his obsession.There’s also the matter of Keiran’s past haunting both Lake and Keiran. His demons have shown up, and it puts both of them in danger.

Fear You was a little easier for me to stomach than Fear Me. The abusive relationship between Lake and Keiran was still there, but I got some answers I needed. I now understand why Keiran is the monster he is. I still hate it, but I understand it. Lake stood up for herself as much as she was able to without completely giving in to Kerian, so I appreciated that. There were actually a few loving moments in Fear You that bordered on sweet. I still believe they both need years of counseling and that this book needs a warning about abusive relationships and where to get help if you’re in one. Basically, Keiran and Lake’s messed up relationship was pretty close to what it was in Fear You. It was horrible and no one should live that way.

What was outstanding about Fear You was the writing itself. It was utterly addictive. The story that was wrapped around Keiran and Lake’s twisted love affair was so good. It was suspenseful and kept me wondering how it would all play out. It is the only reason I kept reading this series other than to hope I would get to see Lake and Keiran get some therapy. I couldn’t believe some of the twists B.B. Reid came up with. I loved how the plot wrapped up — with the exception of Sheldon and Keenan’s arc. They moved into dangerous territory. Fear Us, the next book in this series, is theirs and I’m worried it’s going to be another Fear Me / Fear You situation. I don’t know that I can handle another abusive relationship like Lake and Keiran’s. I guess I’ll find out since I’ve already started reading the third book.

Review: Fear Me by B.B. Reid

Fear Me
Series: Broken Love, #1
Author: B.B. Reid
Publication Date: January 26, 2015
Publisher: Bebe’s Reads LLC
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary Romance, Fiction

Rating: ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

I don’t believe in fairy tales and Prince Charming.

I believe in fear.

He taught me how to be afraid.

We first met on a playground on a wonderful summer day. It was the first time he hurt me and it wouldn’t be the last. For ten years, he’s been my tormentor and I’ve been his forbidden. But then he went away, and yet I was still afraid.

Now he’s back and wants more than just my tears. You see…he thinks I sent him away so now he wants revenge…and he knows just how to get it.

Warning: Fear Me contains sensitive themes.


Before I get into the nitty-gritty of my review, I feel the need to preface it with a few statements. B.B. Reid is a talented writer. She infuses her writing with passion and emotion, making her books highly addictive. I read Fear Me in one evening because I couldn’t put it down. It had some amazing twists and unforgettable characters. I feel the need to tell you these things because my review isn’t going to sound super positive. If you read the blurb above, you will notice the warning that this book contains sensitive themes. It truly does, and some of my negative thoughts revolve around those. I’ll get to that in a minute.

Fear Me is a book I downloaded for free. I had never read a B.B. Reid book before, and I wanted to give her books a try. Prior to actually starting Fear Me, I read reviews from some sources I trust. They were all super positive four and five-star reviews. One was by an author talking about how this book could disturb some but to remember it is fantasy. It’s not a real life situation. That made me even more curious, so I decided to give Fear Me a shot.

Fear Me is told from Lake Monroe’s first person point of view. From the beginning, Lake is filled with fear. Her childhood tormentor is returning to town for their senior year of high school. All Lake can do if try to fly under the radar and hide from Keiran Masters. Too bad Keiran isn’t going to let her do that. He has a plan to extract revenge against Lake, and she is going to be his unwilling participant. As Keiran sets his plan in motion to torment her, the fear Lake has of him forces her to abide by Keiran’s rules. She’s forced to give him everything he wants.

**Possible SPOILERS AHEAD (for sensitive themes not the plot)**

This book was royally messed up. It’s probably one of the most messed up books I’ve read. The things that happen in this book are so very wrong. Keiran uses Lake’s fear and her attraction to him to his advantage. He forces her to do things that should put him behind bars. He sexually assaults her constantly throughout this book and basically holds her captive. I hated the way his actions were romanticized. Stolkholm Syndrome is the only way to describe Lake’s feelings toward Keiran. Their entire “relationship” was sick, and I honestly don’t get how readers can can “ooh and aah” over their relationship or swoon over Keiran’s character. Under all his anger and aggression he might have loved Lake, but his actions were not loving and they were downright illegal. Keiran was controlling, manipulative, and savage.

The reason why I’m putting spoilers in my review for Fear Me is that I am uncomfortable that younger new adult readers may pick it up due to the new adult tag. I’m scared they’re going to romanticize Keiran and the things he does. No one should be in a relationship like this book portrays. Fear Me needed more than a warning that it contains sensitive content. It needed a statement saying that if you’re in a relationship anything like the one portrayed in this book, you should contact a help line with the phone number included.

Keiran’s not the only monster in this book. His friends aren’t much better. His cousin Keenan is a cheater whose girlfriend, Sheldon, looks past his indiscretions. He has no problem aiding Keiran in his torture of Lake. Dash is Keiran’s best friend who is also willing to help in any way. Then, there’s Quinton who helps keep an eye on Lake. They’re like the male equivalent of high school mean girls but only worse.

High school. That’s another thing that blows my mind about this book. It’s set in freaking high school. None of these guys act or are described as looking like high schoolers. They’re bigger and badder than that. They have power over people like I can’t even fathom. The things they get away with…it’s unbelievable. Maybe that’s what makes them so interesting?

One thing I feel like I need to comment on was that this was another one of those books where the characters are still in high school but the parents and guardians are rarely seen or heard from. They leave for extended periods of time and leave their kids home alone to attend school, etc. It makes all the things the characters do easier. They don’t really have to hide what’s going on from authority figures. I kept wondering who leaves their kids home all the time like this? My parents didn’t. My friends’ parents didn’t. I won’t leave my kid like that. Maybe some do. It just seemed way too convenient for the plot. I wish they had been around so it would have been harder for the kids to get away with stuff.

**END SPOILERS**

Now, I know what you’re wondering. If it was so horrible, how can I even give it 3 stars? Like I said earlier, B.B. Reid is a talented writer. I may have hated everything that was involved in the relationship Kieran and Lake had, but I was mesmerized by the story woven around it. It was a suspenseful mystery. There were so many secrets to uncover. There were so many fascinating revelations. Lake had amazing friendships with Willow and Sheldon. If Kieran hadn’t been such a monster, I probably would have loved this book. Despite my uncomfortable feelings regarding the sensitive subject matter, I have to read the next book. I need to know Lake that is going to be okay. I’m hoping Kieran gets the help he seriously needs. I guess I need some closure.

Review: The Butterfly Garden by Dot Hutchinson

The Butterfly Garden
Series: The Collector, #1
Author: Dot Hutchinson
Publication Date: April 26, 2016
Publisher: Thomas & Mercer
Genre: Thriller, Mystery, Horror, Fiction

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ½

Synopsis:

Near an isolated mansion lies a beautiful garden.

In this garden grow luscious flowers, shady trees…and a collection of precious “butterflies”—young women who have been kidnapped and intricately tattooed to resemble their namesakes. Overseeing it all is the Gardener, a brutal, twisted man obsessed with capturing and preserving his lovely specimens.

When the garden is discovered, a survivor is brought in for questioning. FBI agents Victor Hanoverian and Brandon Eddison are tasked with piecing together one of the most stomach-churning cases of their careers. But the girl, known only as Maya, proves to be a puzzle herself.

As her story twists and turns, slowly shedding light on life in the Butterfly Garden, Maya reveals old grudges, new saviors, and horrific tales of a man who’d go to any length to hold beauty captive. But the more she shares, the more the agents have to wonder what she’s still hiding…


The Butterfly Garden is the tale of a deranged serial killer called “The Gardener” keeping the young women he hold captives in his butterfly garden until it’s time for them to meet their fates. It is told in the alternating view points of a FBI agent and the victim of a serial killer. Maya had not been murdered (yet), but she faced a horrifying ordeal. As Maya delivers her story of being held captive and the events surrounding it to Agent Hanoverian, he has to trust that she will give him the details he needs to solve his case. He knows she is keeping something from him, something big, but he’s not sure what.

If I had to sum up The Butterfly Garden in four words they would be creepy, disturbing, horrifying, and unsettling. Those four words pretty much say it all. I could barely stomach the events poor Maya and the other victims had to endure. It hurt my head and my heart. It made me feel disgusted and uncomfortable. I hated reading it, but I couldn’t stop. There was something so addictive to the tale. I had to know Maya’s story.

The weird thing about this thriller was that the story was told straight to the reader. There were twists and turns, but they didn’t really pop out at you unsuspectingly. They were delivered in the order you would expect. The biggest surprise was one that left me unsatisfied. I didn’t see it coming, but I think that’s because it didn’t make sense to me. It was too much of a coincidence. I actually felt that it ruined things a bit for me. That being said, it was probably a twist some readers would love.

The Butterfly Garden was a dark, horrifying story. If you like dark thrillers, this could be the book for you. It was on the verge of being too dark for me — even with how addicting it was. I had to read it during the day and then read a romance later that night so I wouldn’t have messed up dreams.