A Far Better Thing – JD Wilburn

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.
I struggled to get into this book for a while, but I came to the conclusion in the end it was me, not the book, so whilst it took me a while to get into it, and therefore review it, I ended up actually quite liking this one, much to my surprise.

Bo Alexander is a detective for the Galveston PD. We first meet her on a stakeout trying to get information about the Voleurs – a well-known biker gang, who are up to something on the island – but she can’t work out what.

In the undertakings of her job, she encounters Cass Halliburton, the number two of the Voleurs, essentially her enemy and the person she needs to get the better of in order to make her operation work. The only problem is their attraction to each other.

To be honest, neither character is particularly likeable, yet somehow that seemed to be ok for me. Bo has issues, many of them, mainly related to her past. Cass has them too, from her past and choice of employment. I wouldn’t say I found either character redeemable, but I found them interesting. There was enough intrigue and subterfuge within the narrative to make me want to keep reading once I got past the first quarter of the book, though I wasn’t surprised by the eventual reveal.

The ending was a downer for me, but I’m hoping it means there will be another part to the series.

This is a good first-time novel for Wilburn and I will definitely be interested in their next book, whether that’s a follow-up to this or not. I wouldn’t recommend this if you’re not into dark characters who screw up a lot.

I received an e-ARC via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

The Devil Incarnate – Ali Vali

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.
I had every intention of reading all of the books in this series and had taken the upcoming release of this book as the opportunity to read the series, even go far as purchasing them all – then life got in the way. I didn’t want to wait to review the book, so this review comes with a disclaimer. I’m reviewing this, the somewhere between the 8th and 10th book of the series depending on how you count, without knowing anything that happened in any of the other books.

Despite the disclaimer I’m happy to say I loved it. It’s a solid 4.5 star book for me and I hope that I’ll be able to up that to a 5 once I’ve had the opportunity to go back and catch up on the past and how the characters got to where they are now.

Being a mobster, Cain isn’t necessarily supposed to be a likeable character, but I enjoyed her redeeming qualities nonetheless. I loved her relationship with Emma and their children, as well as her relationship with her friends and associates. Cain is a character with lots of depth and is extremely well written.

There were certainly some moments that were confusing for me, because the cast of characters is large and dependent on information I clearly didn’t have, however none of that stopped me enjoying how Vali threads together the narrative and the characters and how everything fits together.

Like most series the introduction of so many characters can mean that the characters you love the most don’t appear as much in the later books as you’d like and I found myself wanting more Cain and Emma – so I’m interested as to whether this will still be the same once I’ve read more.

I can only say I would imagine that if you’ve read the rest of this series, you’ll again enjoy this one, but as someone coming fresh to the series, I’d encourage you to give it a go (perhaps with the first book unlike me).

I received an e-ARC via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Lawless – Jenna Rae

Rating: 4 out of 5.
This was a well written interesting book, full of uncomfortable topics that’s hard to describe as enjoyable because of those topics, but was nonetheless a good read.

I have to admit I think I must have misread the blurb for this – I was convinced a romance was going to be appearing somewhere in the narrative, but it didn’t. I wasn’t actually disappointed in that fact, as it would have been really strange, but this is a straight up mystery.

Kate is undercover in the town of Lawless. She used to be a desk based analyst but she wanted to do something different, get ahead in her career. She thinks she’s trying to infiltrate a drug ring, but her handler hasn’t necessarily been all that clear, she just knows she’s living in a trailer park, pretending to be straight and trying to find a way to become friends with the drug dealers girlfriend.

As Kate finds the “in”, we find out more about her as she interweaves elements of her own life with the back story she’s using as her cover up. It’s a clever way of getting to know both sides of Kate and one that serves itself well as well the paranoia of being undercover creeping in, alongside the self-doubt.

As is the way with these kinds of topics, they become intertwined with lots of others, and there is much discussion of many unsavoury topics. I found myself a little confused at times with the many characters and how they all fit into things, especially towards the end. Whilst this does essentially help in aiding the mystery element I guess, it’s one of the things stopping it from being a five star book for me, as I needed just a little more help in mapping out how they all fit together and how Kate came to her conclusions.

The other main characters in the book are written really well, providing great narrative foils for Kate and showing the realities of drugs etc. on life in small towns. It’s a really relevant book for today’s society, and not one I’ve encountered in this way in sapphic books before, so if you’re into mystery and or crime books, I’d definitely encourage you to give this one a go.

I received an e-ARC via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.