New Release Review | Brutal Game by Cara McKenna

Brutal Game by Cara McKenna | #2 in Flynn and Laurel
Erotica, Contemporary Romance
Published on November 22nd, 2016
ARC from Cara McKenna



Book Blurb:

Eight months ago, Laurel walked into an underground boxing gym and found herself mesmerized by a stranger named Flynn—a man who fights hard and loves harder. Since then he’s taken her places where fear and curiosity clash in exquisite pleasure, where trust is the price of ecstasy, and in time their brutal games have become her kink as much as his.

But when real life intrudes and hard decisions demand action, will these two whose bond is rooted in fantasy take shelter in each other’s arms, or discover that lust is no substitute for a lasting commitment?

| Book Review |

When I finished Willing Victim by Cara McKenna a few years ago, I was completely satisfied with the way things ended. It was a thrilling ride – at times deep, at times shallow, but always perfect. When I found out we were getting a sequel, there may have been squealing. Brutal Game was the follow-up I didn’t even know I wanted, so I began looking forward to it immediately. Did it live up to my expectations? Not really. That’s not to say it wasn’t a decent read, it just didn’t live up to its predecessor in my opinion. While this book was as intense as the first, it was a different kind of intensity that I just didn’t enjoy much. There were parts where Flynn didn’t feel like Flynn to me, and it wasn’t until I began reading this book that I realized how little I really knew [about] Laurel. And I fear maybe this book was a bit too real for me.

I do love their fierce determination to be together – Flynn insisting he knew it wasn’t going to be easy with them, but she was important enough for him to stay; Laurel candidly telling him he’d ruined her for any other man. And yeah, I’m a fan of their sex life at the beginning of the story. But it was things that maybe shouldn’t have held such impact that did.


When Laurel is contemplating what to do about their unplanned pregnancy, there was a point where it felt to me like she was all but begging Flynn to help her with her decision about what to do. His response, ‘your body, your choice,’ may have made him seem supportive in another scenario, but in this one, it felt like a copout to me. And Flynn has never struck me as the copout type. It’s not until the pregnancy is no longer an issue that he even weighs in, and it felt incredibly sad to me. I felt like Laurel was handing him rights, saying ‘Hey, yeah. I’m pregnant. This is my body, but I want us to decide what to do. And he essentially hung her out to dry and make the choice alone.



 I thought Flynn’s sister, Heather, was a nice addition to the story. She was very supportive of both Flynn and Laurel, and I think she was able to remain neutral about things and not impose her views on their situation. And interestingly enough, while his character has still maintained an air of mystery, I think Flynn is more transparent than Laurel.

While I didn’t enjoy this Cara McKenna book as much as previous ones, I think a lot of people are going to love it. I was looking for more heat and sexiness here, and because it wasn’t the dominating force in this story as I’d hoped, I was disappointed. But even saying that, I think Brutal Game is a must read for McKenna fans, especially (and only if) you’ve already read Willing Victim.

| Rating |


Series: Flynn and Laurel

willing-victim brutal-game


9 thoughts on “New Release Review | Brutal Game by Cara McKenna

Add yours

  1. I appreciate your thoughts, for sure. I even agree with your spoiler. It was sad, and frustrating. I agree that in trying to show support, he really made her feel alone. However, I think what I did appreciate was the realism there. I like when authors take books and give them realistic flaws. It felt like the way things might have played out in real life.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I do think this was incredibly realistic, and maybe if it hadn’t been in conjunction with Willing Victim, I might have been able to appreciate it more. While Willing Victim was very realistic, there was a bit of a fantasy quality to it as well. I was looking for more of that with Brutal Game, so my expectations were shot. 😦


      1. That is DEFINITELY true. Willing Victim was all at about the fantasy and physical connection, as they were learning each other. Brutal Game took a serious and realistic turn that wasn’t anticipated at all.


  2. That’s really disappointing to hear :/ Especially the spoiler on both their parts. Did she make it a non-issue or did nature? Because that’ll be a deal breaker for me and reading this one. I may just leave it at the end of Willing Victim since I loved that one so much.


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