Barbed Wire Heart
Never cut the drugs--leave them pure.Guns are meant to be shot--keep them loaded.Family is everything--betray them and die.Harley McKenna is the only child of North County's biggest criminal. Duke McKenna's run more guns, cooked more meth, and killed more men than anyone around. Harley's been working for him since she was sixteen--collecting debts, sweet-talking her way out of trouble, and dreading the day he'd deem her ready to rule the rural drug empire he's built.Her time's run out. The Springfields, her family's biggest rivals, are moving in. Years ago, they were responsible for her mother's death, and now they're coming for Duke's only weak spot: his daughter.With a bloody turf war threatening to consume North County, Harley is forced to confront the truth: that her father's violent world will destroy her. Duke's raised her to be deadly--he never counted on her being disloyal. But if Harley wants to survive and protect the people she loves, she's got to take out Duke's operation and the Springfields.Blowing up meth labs is dangerous business, and getting caught will be the end of her, but Harley has one advantage: She is her father's daughter. And McKennas always win.

Barbed Wire Heart Details

TitleBarbed Wire Heart
Author
ReleaseMar 6th, 2018
PublisherGrand Central Publishing
ISBN-139781538744093
Rating
GenreMystery, Fiction, Adult

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Barbed Wire Heart Review

  • Paromjit
    January 1, 1970
    "Never cut the drugs--leave them pure. Guns are meant to be shot--keep them loaded. Family is everything--betray them and die."This is a brutal and violent family drama set in the mountains and forests of poverty stricken North County. This is redneck country, where men who rape and abuse women are easily forgiven, after all, women are to blame for being such a terrible temptation. Harley McKenna is 22, and the only daughter of the feared Duke, crime boss and the law, whose momma died at the han "Never cut the drugs--leave them pure. Guns are meant to be shot--keep them loaded. Family is everything--betray them and die."This is a brutal and violent family drama set in the mountains and forests of poverty stricken North County. This is redneck country, where men who rape and abuse women are easily forgiven, after all, women are to blame for being such a terrible temptation. Harley McKenna is 22, and the only daughter of the feared Duke, crime boss and the law, whose momma died at the hands of Carl Springfield when she was a young child. This instigates a blood feud and war against the Springfields that is to define Harley's blood drenched life as Duke grooms her to take over his criminal empire. Harley is the apple of her father's eye, as she is raised by Duke to survive and rule. Harley feels a myriad of feelings towards Duke, love, hate, resentment whilst worshipping the ground he walks on, in every way possible she is a daddy's girl. She is now planning to wage war against everything Duke stands for, the deepest betrayal, to protect everyone and everything that matters to her. Like so often with plans, it barely survives the battlefield. The narrative goes back and forth in time, focusing on significant issues and events in Harley's life that have shaped who she is, such as the first time she saw her father killing a man at 8 years old, the day her beloved Uncle Jake was killed, her encounters with the Springfields, and how Brooke ends up being her best friend. Interspersed are the lessons that Duke metes out, such as her training to become the best shooter in town, an expert with a knife, and good at hunting and killing people with impunity. Duke protects her, keeps her from school and ensures she has companionship with Will, but is not beyond terrorising her to teach her all that he knows as he moulds her in his image. Harley's totally committed to protecting the rubies, women who have been abused, who reside at the Ruby, run by Mo, an enterprise she inherited from her momma. As she begins to destroy Duke's meths business, she reflects on when she turned from Duke and turned to Will instead, and how the McKennas fall hard and fast, loving only one in their lives. Harley may be her father's daughter by nurture, but by nature, she is her momma's, to whose grave she brings offerings from the forest. More than anything, she is determined to deal with the racist and murderous Carl Springfield, but will family secrets impede her?This may not be a book for everyone, many may find the level of brutality, abuse and violence too much for them. Indeed, Tess Sharpe has issued her own warnings of trigger issues. Sharpe has written a gritty story that I found utterly compelling. Women take front and centre stage in the narrative, being at the end of horrifying rape and abuse, and Harley is willing to do whatever it takes to ensure that they are protected. Harley is a product of her environment and upbringing, with all that entails, so it is hardly surprising just how much blood letting there is in her quest. It informs how she conducts herself and whilst this might make some uneasy, I loved her character. Not everything is perfect, there are aspects of the ending that did not sit well with me, but that does not affect how superb I thought the novel is. Providing you can handle the brutality and abuse issues, this is a great read which I recommend highly! Many thanks to Grand Central Publishing for an ARC.
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  • Tess Sharpe
    January 1, 1970
    Hi everyone, Tess Sharpe here! I just wanted to drop the link to a list of Trigger Warnings for the book for anyone who needs it: Trigger Warnings for Barbed Wire Heart--TS
  • Chelsea
    January 1, 1970
    One of the few recent arcs I’m glad to have taken a chance on! I knew as soon as I heard the pitch ‘feminist Breaking Bad’ that I had to have this book, and I ended up actually enjoying it a lot despite some minor qualms.The novel follows 25 year old Harley, daughter of Duke McKenna, the infamous crime boss of her home, North County. The novel recounts Harley’s unconventional childhood as well as attempts to stop an impending turf war with the Springfields, the people responsible for the death o One of the few recent arcs I’m glad to have taken a chance on! I knew as soon as I heard the pitch ‘feminist Breaking Bad’ that I had to have this book, and I ended up actually enjoying it a lot despite some minor qualms.The novel follows 25 year old Harley, daughter of Duke McKenna, the infamous crime boss of her home, North County. The novel recounts Harley’s unconventional childhood as well as attempts to stop an impending turf war with the Springfields, the people responsible for the death of Harley’s mother.This book is kind of badass. I mean, how often do we get to see criminal ladies as leads in novels? And with a feminist, girl-power twist? And moral ambiguity? More of this, please! Mo knows every story, every detail, every bruise and broken bone on every woman’s who’s ever lived here’s body. Sometimes I think I understand, and then something happens, like today, and I realize I’ve just scraped the surface. Of the evil in the world. Of the good. Of the strength in every woman. It’s a pretty violent novel, which can be a good or bad thing depending on what type of reader you are. I appreciated the grittiness the violence added to the story.This is a novel I would say is close to a character study. Harley is an extremely developed character with a lot of backstory. She is flawed, but good hearted, scary but will do anything for those she cares about. One of the better written characters I’ve read in awhile.I liked the way the story was structured. It incorporates years of Harley’s past by starting chapters describing the first time things happened in her life, such as the first time she saw her father kill someone. My childhood wasn’t bikes and swim parties, it was full metal jackets and other men’s blood crusted beneath Duke’s fingernails. There is a romance, which I wasn’t completely sold on, but it also wasn’t a huge part of the story. I liked both characters enough on their own that I didn’t mind it.I was pleasantly surprised to see that Harley’s constant companion is her loyal pit bull, Busy, who she rescued as a puppy. There are a few quotes that kind of perpetuate the lockjaw myth, but I’m always on the lookout for positive pit bull portrayals, which this was for the most part.My only qualm with the novel is that it could get a little on the dramatic side for my taste. There were some lines that would definitely feel silly if said in real life, but the drama definitely fit the overall vibe of the book.Recommended for anyone who’s ever wished there was a show like Breaking Bad or Sons of Anarchy with a female lead. I wouldn’t really call this a thriller, but if you’re interested in a kickass, violent novel with a strong MC, I would encourage to keep a look out for this one when it hits shelves in March!
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  • Elise (TheBookishActress)
    January 1, 1970
    morally ambiguous drug dealer girl written by Tess Sharpe herself??? yesalso this COVER REVEAL youredoingamazingsweetie.jpg
  • Magdalena aka A Bookaholic Swede
    January 1, 1970
    To be reviewed!
  • Bonnie
    January 1, 1970
    DNF @ 16%
  • Yvonne (It's All About Books)
    January 1, 1970
    Finished reading: February 26th 2018 "Sometimes you've got to save people from themselves. Even if they don't want it or know it." *** A copy of this book was kindly provided to me by Netgalley and Grand Central Publishing in exchange for an honest review. Thank you! *** (view spoiler)[As much as I love the mystery/thriller genre, plots can start sounding similar after reading one too many of them. This is probably part of the reason why I ended up enjoying Barbed Wire Heart that much; this t Finished reading: February 26th 2018 "Sometimes you've got to save people from themselves. Even if they don't want it or know it." *** A copy of this book was kindly provided to me by Netgalley and Grand Central Publishing in exchange for an honest review. Thank you! *** (view spoiler)[As much as I love the mystery/thriller genre, plots can start sounding similar after reading one too many of them. This is probably part of the reason why I ended up enjoying Barbed Wire Heart that much; this thriller is like a fresh breath of air or an oasis in the middle of a desert. And by this I don't mean this story is a softie and has a low adrenaline level. On the contrary: Barbed Wire Heart is a mean trigger-happy powerhouse that isn't for the weakhearted. Why mention an oasis then? Because this story is pretty darn original and simply different from most popular thrillers out there today. Barbed Wire Heart isn't about the good against the bad; the lines are more blurry than that. The main character Harley McKenna is the daughter of what is basically a druglord and she is one heck of a badass female lead. Her daddy has been teaching her the tricks of the trade ever since she was little, which was necessary because of their rivalry with the Springfields. This book doesn't dance around the dirty details of their war and problems and trigger warnings are in place for violence, abuse, rape, guns and drugs among other things. Barbed Wire Heart isn't afraid to go ugly and for me it was one of the stronger assets of this story. Because it makes Harley and her history feel real; the messiness and sometimes shocking details making you root for her and hope she will be able to achieve her goals... Both her character and the other important ones are very well developed and fleshed out, and it was great seeing the dynamics between them. The story itself switches between present and seemingly random bits of her past, always told from her POV, and this mix help show how she became the woman she is today and why she is doing what she does. The writing style is excellent and the direct and bold way of describing the situations added to the authentic feel of it all. Another element I could really appreciate was just how much it showed the power of women and especially the Rubies (abused women Harley helps protect) having enough and not taking abuse any longer. There are some heavy scenes included in the plot, but the overall (feminist) message is clear: stop underestimating women, because they will fight back. Barbed Wire Heart isn't just a drug inspired criminal story where two different families are taking it up against each other. It's so much more. And it's without doubt one hell of a ride.Harley McKenna is the only child of North County's biggest criminal. Everyone fears Duke McKenna, and with a reason since he has killed more men and cooked more meth than anyone around. But The Springfields are always right around the corner, waiting for their chance to strike and take over... Years ago, they killed Harley's mother, and Duke wasn't able to get his revenge because the cops got the one responsible first. Now he's out of jail and coming for Duke's one weak spot: his daughter. But they don't realize that Duke has been training Harley for years, showing her how a true McKenna has to act. But Harley realizes something will have to change if she wants to survive and protect the people she loves... And she has a plan.Boy, this book was GOOD. It's not the easiest story to read and there are a lot of trigger warnings involved for those who are sensitive to violence, abuse etc, but if you can stomach them, you will find Barbed Wire Heart is one hell of a ride. It's a trigger-happy crime story with a high dose of girl power, adrenaline, action, a splash of family drama and plot twists that you won't see coming. From the writing style to the underlying feminist message, the originality of the plot and the excellent character development... This story simply blew me away. (hide spoiler)] P.S. Find more of my reviews here.
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  • Re8ecca
    January 1, 1970
    I read an early manuscript and absolutely loved it. Could not put it down. A feminist Sons of Anarchy - tense, violent and real. But what really carries the book is the relationships. Love in a myriad of forms, some unexpected, some unforgivable. Difficult choices between the future and the past. Highly recommend.
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  • Ava
    January 1, 1970
    PSA: Tess Sharpe's Adult novel BARBED WIRE HEART is a masterfully crafted feminist brutal tale about love and family and the lengths you're willing to go to for those you love. It's dark and bloody and horrifying, but it's real. If you loved her masterpiece FAR FROM YOU and read Adult, consider checking this one out. It's damn good. Note: There are extensive trigger warnings needed for this book. On Sharpe's twitter she links to a page with all of them listed. Be careful. <3
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  • Ashley Blake
    January 1, 1970
    Damn. If you need some hardcore feminist rage in action--and who doesn't?--this book is GOLD.
  • Holly
    January 1, 1970
    There's nothing stronger than a woman who's risen from the ashes of some fire a man set. This was good! I didn't love it, but I appreciated a lot about it. It went in a different, (better) direction than what I was expecting, though I liked that about it. It was brutal and dark and hopeful and very feminist. And it's actually decently light on the graphics compared to some novels I've read, yet Tess manages to get the point across directly and indirectly. But there is A LOT of gruesome and gros There's nothing stronger than a woman who's risen from the ashes of some fire a man set. This was good! I didn't love it, but I appreciated a lot about it. It went in a different, (better) direction than what I was expecting, though I liked that about it. It was brutal and dark and hopeful and very feminist. And it's actually decently light on the graphics compared to some novels I've read, yet Tess manages to get the point across directly and indirectly. But there is A LOT of gruesome and gross, so be sure to look at the trigger warnings before going into it. I'm not sure if I'll write a long review on it, but it's definitely a story worth reading, I think.
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  • Kara
    January 1, 1970
    I read almost half of this and I am calling it quits. I absolutely loved this author's YA debut, Far From You. But this book was a big hot mess and not for me at all. Everything felt forced. The violence, the drama, the abuse, the explosions and stabbings all felt put there just for the sake of having it in there. In my opinion it went too far. Look, I read a book about a drug lord carving his initials into the love interest's back, so I can handle violence. But the author must do a convincing j I read almost half of this and I am calling it quits. I absolutely loved this author's YA debut, Far From You. But this book was a big hot mess and not for me at all. Everything felt forced. The violence, the drama, the abuse, the explosions and stabbings all felt put there just for the sake of having it in there. In my opinion it went too far. Look, I read a book about a drug lord carving his initials into the love interest's back, so I can handle violence. But the author must do a convincing job of making me believe it's there for a reason. This just went ridiculously far to the point that it was a bad joke. After a while I was rolling my eyes. For example:I drag the knife up his chest to his throat. "Now here..." I tap the blade against his neck. His Adam's apple bobs frantically as his breath stutters in the back of his throat. "Here's the sweet spot. Fast, efficient. You drown in your own blood for a little while, but it doesn't hurt as much as, say, getting gutted." I smile at him, my sweet smile, like I'm handling him some lemonade at Youth Group. "So which one is it gonna be, Tripp?"It was also all over the place to the point where it almost didn't have a plot. It flips back and forth from past to present, but all the flashback scenes are from different years, so Harley is all different ages and there doesn't seem to be any rhyme or reason as to why each scene is placed where it is which makes it read disjointed and meandering. Then twists will come out of nowhere, but there's like zero foreshadowing. I just wasn't impressed. It is a RESOUNDING DNF.
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  • J. Taylor
    January 1, 1970
    Finally another book from the author of Far from You, about damm time, like four years since this is coming out 2018. Also, what an amazing premise? Need it now.
  • MollyK
    January 1, 1970
    Advanced reading copy won through Goodreads giveaways.So normally when I think of California I think of Real Housewives, so this book was total culture shock for me. When I first started reading the book, the setting was so reminiscent of Appalachia that I had to Google Northen Calafornia. That's a mark of a great book for me. When you get a chance to learn along with getting all the feels.The story is from the point of view of Harley and weaves back and forth in time. Normally I don't like that Advanced reading copy won through Goodreads giveaways.So normally when I think of California I think of Real Housewives, so this book was total culture shock for me. When I first started reading the book, the setting was so reminiscent of Appalachia that I had to Google Northen Calafornia. That's a mark of a great book for me. When you get a chance to learn along with getting all the feels.The story is from the point of view of Harley and weaves back and forth in time. Normally I don't like that style, but for this book it works wonderfully. Bit by bit the story and the interconnections of all the characters develop. It also helps to ratchet up the tension. This is the right book at the right time. Women banding together, taking control and making their world a better place.
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  • Brittani
    January 1, 1970
    I am obsessed with this book. Once I started it I couldn't put it down and after I finished it, I kept thinking about it. I think this was pitched as "feminist Breaking Bad" and I see that, but it reminded me so, so much of Justified. So if you like Justified or Breaking Bad or just, you know, damn good books, I HIGHLY recommend this one. It was intense and dark and real. Harley is an incredible main character and I loved her from page one. She has such a protective instinct for the women in her I am obsessed with this book. Once I started it I couldn't put it down and after I finished it, I kept thinking about it. I think this was pitched as "feminist Breaking Bad" and I see that, but it reminded me so, so much of Justified. So if you like Justified or Breaking Bad or just, you know, damn good books, I HIGHLY recommend this one. It was intense and dark and real. Harley is an incredible main character and I loved her from page one. She has such a protective instinct for the women in her county and it was so nice to get a female main character in a story like this. I'm going to be thinking about this one for a long time.A list of trigger warnings, courtesy of the author (there are a lot):http://sharpegirl.tumblr.com/post/165...I was provided a free copy of this on Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
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  • Amy
    January 1, 1970
    BARBED WIRE HEART is the feminist thriller I didn't know I'd been waiting for. I read it in two days because I couldn't put it down. Propulsive & gritty, Harley McKenna's world of North County will take your breath away. & Harley herself is a badass, often conflicted, but tremendous protagonist – the action will keep you flipping pages, but Harley will have you reading carefully (& re-reading!)
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  • Moxxi
    January 1, 1970
    Sometimes I think I understand, and then something happens, like today, and I realize I've just scraped the surface. Of the evil in the world. Of the good. Of the strength in every woman.Score - 93%This novel is a ride and a half. I'm gonna make a few things clear. I don't like mystery or thriller novels. I think they're dull, or annoying, or boring, or over-dramatic. This was not the case. Not even close.We follow a fantastically hardened protagonist, the daughter of the county's kingpin. But w Sometimes I think I understand, and then something happens, like today, and I realize I've just scraped the surface. Of the evil in the world. Of the good. Of the strength in every woman.Score - 93%This novel is a ride and a half. I'm gonna make a few things clear. I don't like mystery or thriller novels. I think they're dull, or annoying, or boring, or over-dramatic. This was not the case. Not even close.We follow a fantastically hardened protagonist, the daughter of the county's kingpin. But when she's not taking care of daddy's finances, she's helping run a home for runaway victims of abuse. So, as you can see, we've got a badass here with a heart of gold. She's hard, she's cruel, but for all the right reasons.This was so gripping, too. It is definitely more thriller than mystery, and it shows. It's not one of those pretentious psychological thrillers, no. It's action-packed, fantastically atmospheric, and amazingly written. The novel flips between present day and flashbacks in a way that weaves so brilliantly.Even if you're like me and don't like mystery/thrillers, you will like this. You will love Harley, you will be so fascinated with the intersection of drug culture and abuse, and you will feel fucking empowered as a woman. Highly recommend.The only downside? It's not gay, which I was expecting, especially given Sharpe's debut novel Far From You which I will reread the second I can. But the straight romance was very subtle and not heavy-handed or insta, so all good.Trigger warning: drug use, child abuse, domestic abuse, rape.I received a free uncorrected copy from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
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  • viktoria
    January 1, 1970
    tl;dr review: My feelings towards this are as ambiguous as Harley's morale code: technically a bit a dubious by normal standards, but leaning towards good? My English major side loved it; my reader side feels ambivalent. I do think the feminist Walter White/Breaking Bad comparison is legit enough.P.S. There was a lot of hype or speculation about the Harley being bi and bi representation, and Harley is not, just to warn anyone who might've been excited or expecting it.P.P.S. The author listed som tl;dr review: My feelings towards this are as ambiguous as Harley's morale code: technically a bit a dubious by normal standards, but leaning towards good? My English major side loved it; my reader side feels ambivalent. I do think the feminist Walter White/Breaking Bad comparison is legit enough.P.S. There was a lot of hype or speculation about the Harley being bi and bi representation, and Harley is not, just to warn anyone who might've been excited or expecting it.P.P.S. The author listed some trigger warnings here for anyone who needs or wants them. There's definitely some heavy things in here, so take care. <3
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  • Sarah Canfield
    January 1, 1970
    For fans of Gillian Flynn and Tara French, Tess Sharpe has written an incredible story of a young woman forging her own path in a world normally dominated by men. Her father is the King of North County where he runs drugs and guns and protection and Harley has been a part of his business since she turned 16. Now, at 23, she comes to a turning point and reforms how the county will work in the future. Throw in a hotel she owns where battered women and children live (the Rubies) and are protected b For fans of Gillian Flynn and Tara French, Tess Sharpe has written an incredible story of a young woman forging her own path in a world normally dominated by men. Her father is the King of North County where he runs drugs and guns and protection and Harley has been a part of his business since she turned 16. Now, at 23, she comes to a turning point and reforms how the county will work in the future. Throw in a hotel she owns where battered women and children live (the Rubies) and are protected by her, a biker gang with whom her father has an alliance, family secrets and the man that has been her touchstone since they were children and you get a fast moving, action filled novel. Highly recommended.
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  • Torrey Grennan
    January 1, 1970
    I received this book through a Goodreads giveaway.This is a dark and gritty thriller told from a woman's perspective. Instead of a world of black and white we enter a world of varying shades of grey. The story follows Harley, the daughter of the criminal king of a Norther California backwoods county, as she strives to create her own life. The author does a good job of interspersing snippets from Harley's past to better explain her current day actions. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and look forw I received this book through a Goodreads giveaway.This is a dark and gritty thriller told from a woman's perspective. Instead of a world of black and white we enter a world of varying shades of grey. The story follows Harley, the daughter of the criminal king of a Norther California backwoods county, as she strives to create her own life. The author does a good job of interspersing snippets from Harley's past to better explain her current day actions. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and look forward to reading more from this author.
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  • Mary Urban
    January 1, 1970
    If Walter White had a badass daughter with a moral compass, if True Grit were set in modern-day rural California, if Elmore Leonard met Winter's Bone, you'd have this gritty gem of a thriller packed with solid moral and emotional conflicts.
  • V
    January 1, 1970
    So I didn't love it quite as much as I loved Far From You but to be fair I loved FFY a heck of a lot.This book is gloriously rageful and I'm excited for it to be out in the world. A book for our times.
  • michelle (magicalreads)
    January 1, 1970
    4.25 stars
  • Sara
    January 1, 1970
    Thanks to Grand Central Publishing for the ARC. Couldn’t put this down, read it in one day. Some of the most compelling characters I’ve met in a long time!!!
  • Rowan Bradley
    January 1, 1970
    Another bad ass heroine from Tess Sharpe!I won a copy from a Goodreads giveaway, thank you
  • Manal
    January 1, 1970
    my soul is ready to be crushed