Review: Hard Time by Cara McKenna

Thursday, September 1
My rating:

My pounding heart went still, eerie as birds fallen silent in the wake of a gunshot.

He was big. Tall frame, wide shoulders-but not burly. His near-black hair was due for a cut, curling under his ears. Dark brows, dark stubble, dark lashes and eyes.

And he was handsome. So handsome it broke your heart.

A deck of cards was split between his hands, paused midshuffle. Some of the men wore navy scrub tops and bottoms, some navy tee shirts, a few white undershirts. This man wore a tee, with COUSINS stenciled on the front, above the number 802267. Those digits imprinted on my brain, burned black as a brand.

He watched me. But not the way the others did. If he was trying to picture me naked, his poker face was strong, though his attention anything but subtle. His entire head moved as I passed through his domain, but his eyes were languorous. Lazy and half-lidded, yet intense. A hundred looks in one. I didn't like it. Couldn't read it. At least with the horny jerk-offs, I knew where I stood.

I wondered what the worst thing you could do and still only get sent to a medium-security prison was. I hoped not to ever learn the answer.

And I hoped to heaven inmate 802267 hadn't signed up for any of the day's programs.


So close to a 5 star read, and then so far.

What I loved:

- The letters Collier writes for Annie are so sweet. The first one... oh my God, I was cringing at how awkward I felt for her, until I realised what was going on. And after that, it was all on! I looked forward to every single one.
- The way Collier builds Annie's trust. She does a dumb thing, and then freaks out over it, and Collier is so. damned. good. If I knew how to swoon, I would have totally done it over Collier.
- The time Annie takes to help not just Collier, but all the guys. She takes it seriously (I mean, as seriously as you can when you're mind-banging one of your charges.) I really enjoyed the time Ms McKenna took to build her characters.
- I love when an author can take a character that should be a deal-breaker, and makes you love him. I wanted all the goodness for Collier!

What I didn’t love:

- Ok. I liked Annie for some of the first half of the story, and then - so not so much. When she finds out what Collier is in for (because he's up front with her, like a decent guy) she flips the switch and becomes a judgemental, whiny, preach-y cow. Get your ass off that soapbox, lady - what did you expect him to do? She just turned into an annoying, high and mighty, you are wrong and I'm right and you have to kiss my boots type bitch and I was so out. From the time she started lecturing Collier, and being wishy washy about her feelings, and acting like he should be so thankful for every bone she throws him, I just couldn't handle her.

What I'm saying is: Collier deserved better than a person like Annie.


Cara McKenna can write. I love her stories, and the dirty dirty, and how unique and quirky I find her plots. The creativity was all there - the letters, the librarian angle, what she was doing in the prison, it was all awesome. But Annie ruined it for me. I would have liked to see a stronger, more supportive heroine with some spine. This one just had prickles.
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