Book Review: Reclaim by Beth Yarnall

I’m a little conflicted about this book, and because I want to write about my conflictions, this review is going to contain spoilers and possible triggers for rape. Proceed with caution.


I received an ARC of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

One-Sentence Synopsis
An investigator and attorney team up to clear a woman of murder and end up in a complicated sexual relationship. For a full synopsis, see this book’s Goodreads page.

Sleuthing Duo
Nolan is an investigator at Nash Security who bemoans his lack of luck. After screwing up an investigation, he’s determined to prove himself. So he teams up with Lila, an attorney looking to help clear a young mother of the murder of her child. The case is weird because all evidence points to an accidental death, and yet for some reason, the woman plead guilty. So Lila and Nolan proceed down the rabbit hole to figure out what the heck is going on.

The attraction between the two is major, but Lila doesn’t want anything serious. She’s a mystery to Nolan, who knows she’s hiding things about herself but wants to know her more. All Lila wants is sex, pushing Nolan away any time he tries to get closer to her. Nolan freaks out a few times, but even when he lashes back at Lila out of hurt, she seems okay with it.


But as Lila’s feelings get stronger, she starts to realize that she wants Nolan. She just knows that when she tells him the truth about how she lives, he’s going to turn away from her. It isn’t until things get highly emotional that she breaks down and takes him to see her secret. Nolan has gone through all the possibilities of what her secret could be, but isn’t prepared for what she shows him. And truthfully, I didn’t see it coming either.

I’m going to back up here and say that the previous books were pretty heavy. Murder accusations, human sex trafficking…they were hard to read. And there were parts in this one that were hard to read too, like prostitution and rape. But the big secret seemed to be on a whole different level than the rest, and my first reaction wasn’t super positive. Lila is a major hoarder.

Now I Get It
While I first questioned how the heck hoarding was on the same level as human trafficking, I have to admit that the levity of Lila’s situation came through in the writing and the emotion of the characters. It’s easy for us to watch tv shows about hoarding and wonder why they can’t just get rid of the stuff, but it really is a mental health issue, and Lila knows it. She’s ashamed and wants to live a normal life. She just can’t. It becomes understandable why she doesn’t want to tell Nolan.

True Life
There’s also no happy wrap up here. Nolan is freaked out, and rightly so. He actually questions whether he can be with Lila when she has this problem. This doesn’t fall into the normal romance genre view of the hero who would do anything for the woman he loves, but it was so real and true and kind of refreshing. Had Nolan fallen into that standard hero way of thinking, it wouldn’t have fit with this book or with this series.

The Romance Factor
The romance part of this book was one of the things I was conflicted about. I didn’t get the romance vibe in the usual way. The vibe in this one was way more realistic and less full of breathless and sweet emotions. Nolan wants to get to know Lila and eventually she wants to get to know him, but there are obstacles for both of them. And honestly? Things don’t resolve by the end of the book. Which is actually something I enjoy in the grittier novels. There’s not a HEA, but there is a sense of hope that the characters are going to make it, or at least give it a good try. 3/5

The Steam Factor
These two are up in each other’s business almost right from the start, and for awhile, the actual case they were on seemed to be forgotten. Sexy times are hot and there’s some pretty weird foreplay, but weird is good. I thought the focus in this book was way more on Nolan and Lila’s sexual relationship than it was about the case they were on, which was a bit of a shift from the first two in the series. 5/5


Final Thoughts
I liked this book. Once I got over the unexpected twist and realized just how much conflict it was bringing between the characters, I was able to read it with the seriousness it deserved. Both Lila and Nolan were flawed. I love that feel of reality though, and the conflict was through the roof. Though not my favorite of the series, it was still a good read. I recommend giving it a read…even with the spoilers.

Book Review: Dark Lover by J.R. Ward

Note: Since I wrote this review, I’ve actually read two more in the series and I am now officially involved. Books 2 and 3 were amazing. Of course, because I’m me, I decided to go ahead and post this review instead of one for the others, but I may come back later with a review of the series as a whole. 

I’d heard a lot about the Black Dagger Brotherhood series, but it wasn’t really on my radar. It sounded like something more fantastical than I usually like to read and I got a little oversaturated on vampires in my youth. But then I found that the publisher had made a Black Dagger Brotherhood playlist on Spotify and I decided to give it a try. Needless to say, I was hooked and had to see the world in which this music fit.


One-Sentence Synopsis
The leader of a pack of vampire warriors feels obligated to protect the daughter of one his men and help her through her own transition. For a full synopsis, see this book’s Goodreads page.

Hail to the King
Wrath is supposed to be king of the vampire world, but he doesn’t want the role. At all. So he leads his brothers, a pack of warriors who fight entities known as lessers, into battle to save the vampire world and eradicate the evil faction run by a figure known as the Omega.

When his fellow warrior Darius asks him to take care of his daughter and help her through her own impending transition (btw, she has no idea she’s a vampire), Wrath refuses. But when Darius disintegrates in a car bombing, Wrath has no choice but to seek out the woman as an obligation to his brother.

Beth is definitely undergoing some changes, but she chalks it up to a stressful work schedule. She’s attacked and almost raped one night, and becomes edgy and more than a little fearful. So the first time Wrath shows up to talk to her, she freaks out. It’s not long though before she realizes how much he cranks her gears.

A Rich and Involved World
There is so much going on this book, and I’m assuming it’s because it’s setting the stage for the future books (I think there’s like 346 of them or something like that…just kidding. But there are a lot…14, I think?). It’s also setting up the world to give the reader that foundation they need for future stories. It touches a bit on the different warriors and we get a glimpse of their personalities and stories, which did an epic job of piquing my interest. I’m having to try really hard not to go read all of the future synopses if I don’t want spoilers.

Bad Guys Have Feelings Too
Some of the story is told from the point of view of Mr. X, one of the lessers who’s doing some recruitment of his own and is…I’m pretty sure…running the Cobra Kai dojo from The Karate Kid movie. The guy is sadistic, but also interesting and kind of a great villain.


Cast of Characters
Then there’s Butch, the cop who has a thing for Beth; Jose, Beth’s cop friend; Marissa, Wrath’s shellan (mate) who he doesn’t actually want to mate with and who’s pretty upset about it until she meets Butch; and Havers, Marissa’s brother who’s a doctor running weird experiments on himself. And a bunch of other minor characters who may or may not be minor later. Also, there’s an entity know as the Scribe Virgin who is already rocking my world and who I can’t help but see as Lady Gaga. So entertaining!

Pure Crack
Here’s what’s fun about this book. It’s not the most well written book I’ve ever read. I’m also aware that part of me finds the names of the vampires to be a little silly. But I can admit when those things don’t matter and in this case…they don’t matter. This book was pure crack. The world sucked me in and got me invested in these characters, even the ones who weren’t super likable. Also, I’m not generally a fan of alpha males, and I feel like all we have in this book (maybe with the exception of Havers) are alpha males. And yet…I’m okay with this. I enjoyed Wrath and Beth and then I really enjoyed the Butch/Marissa subplot (which doesn’t resolve, so yay for more of that).


There’s also a dragon. I think. It seemed like a dragon. And I need to know more about this Omega thing. And Lady Gaga. Also, I’ve been Pinteresting things and there seems to be a lot more characters than those in this book, which is just another reason for me to keep reading. There’s some violence and action, but I’m also kind of hooked by the fact that the vampires jam out to awesome rap music. It all comes full circle back to that Spotify playlist.

The Romance Factor
Wrath is so broody that I didn’t feel the romance right away. At first, it was all lust, though there was that protectiveness that started showing, which was pretty intense. But man, when he realized he was in love…whoa. Even though the romance had some dark tones to it, it was still pretty great. 4/5

The Steam Factor
I have to admit that after hearing people talk about the sex in this book, I expected it to be way dirtier than it actually was. Don’t get me wrong, it was well written and still pretty hot, but it was nowhere near as explicit as some of the things I’ve read. 3/5

Final Thoughts
Yes, I said I didn’t think it was well written, but I also know that I’m pretty hard on the first book of any series, and considering there are a bunch more in this one, I’m willing to bet the author finds her feet fairly quickly. Also, well-written or not, she knows the techniques to keep people coming back. Because now there’s absolutely no way I can’t finish the series. I have to know what happens. Well played, J.R. Ward…well played.