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Cam Girl by [Raeder, Leah]
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Cam Girl Kindle Edition

4.0 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews

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Length: 432 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
Page Flip: Enabled Language: English

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Product Description

“Darkly erotic…a must read” (Publishers Weekly, starred review)

From the USA TODAY bestselling author of Unteachable and Black Iris comes a new, sexy romantic suspense novel about two best friends who are torn apart by a life-shattering accident…and the secrets left behind.

Vada Bergen is broke, the black sheep of her family, and moving a thousand miles away from home for grad school, but she’s got the two things she loves most: her art and her best friend—and sometimes more—Ellis Carraway. Ellis and Vada have a friendship so consuming it’s hard to tell where one girl ends and the other begins. It’s intense. It’s a little codependent. And nothing can tear them apart.

Until an accident on an icy winter road changes everything.

Vada is left deeply scarred, both emotionally and physically. Her once-promising art career is cut short. And Ellis pulls away, unwilling to talk about that night. Everything Vada loved is gone.

She’s got nothing left to lose.

So when she meets some smooth-talking entrepreneurs who offer to set her up as a cam girl, she can’t say no. All Vada has to do is spend a couple hours each night stripping on webcam, and the “tips” come pouring in.

It’s just a kinky escape from reality until a client gets serious. “Blue” is mysterious, alluring, and more interested in Vada’s life than her body. Online, they chat intimately. Blue helps her heal. And he pays well, but he wants her all to himself. No more cam shows. It’s an easy decision: she’s starting to fall for him. But the steamier it gets, the more she craves the real man behind the keyboard. So Vada pops the question:

Can we meet IRL?

Blue agrees, on one condition. A condition that will bring back a ghost from her past.

Now Vada must confront what she’s been running from. A past full of devastating secrets—those of others and those she’s been keeping from herself…

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 3624 KB
  • Print Length: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Atria Books (3 November 2015)
  • Sold by: Simon and Schuster Digital Sales Inc (AU)
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00UDCI124
  • Text-to-Speech: Not enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Screen Reader: Supported
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #209,049 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)

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By Kristy - MPBB TOP 500 REVIEWER on 5 November 2015
Format: Kindle Edition
Cam Girl is unlike anything we have read. Leah Raeder’s poetic and artistic view from her main character was unique. This book takes you into a different world, it's is a beautifully written story about a moment in time that not only changes one girls future but the future of two others. Her path to adjusting to this new life laid out in front of her, her road to self discovery and acceptance of who she really is. The are so many twists and turns your head will spin.

Her name is Vada and this is her story.

Vada and her best friend Ellis are close, so close they cross that line to something more. After a night out they are in a car accident, a car rear ended them, killing the other driver and leaving Vada with a severely injured arm. It was just that, an accident. But that doesn't make the guilt any easier, nor does the secret she is keeping from this night.

Vada is an artist and her future of continuing her passion has come to a halt now she doesn't have proper function of her arm. She may not physically be able to continue her passion but the imagines of artistic moments continue to flood her mind. The way she describes life, the contrast and depth she sees around her is magical. Living with such passion is torture, her outlet in life was her and now it's been taken away.

On top of all that she is struggling with her sexuality, she is attracted to both guys and girls. She's in love with Ellis but is internally being held back. She was brought up in a conservative culture by her mother, she's meant to get married to man, always thinking she would end up with a man even though she's attracted to girls. Making her in more confused about being in love with a woman. Vada has always held back with sharing just how important Ellis is to her.
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Format: Kindle Edition
If you are looking for a fun, light and breezy read - Cam Girl is not for you.

If you are looking for a darker, grittier read, then keep reading.

Cam Girl had me on edge from the minute I started reading. It is not your regular love story, but at the same time, love is at the forefront of every move our leading ladies make.

Vada's future career is destroyed in a car accident. Her best friend and sometimes more Ellis was also involved in this accident.

The story is told from Vada's point of view, and it is her story of survival, grief, her struggles. But mostly I felt that it was her story of self discovery. Confused emotionally and sexually, she has a constant push/pull relationship with Ellis.

But Ellis - not sure what it was, but boy she annoyed me most of the time. She came across as whiney most of the time. I could understand her fellings at times, but still. I did not connect with her at all.

There was a bit of suspense, a bit of mystery over events and certain characters.

I enjoyed the banter between Vada and Dane - witty, sexy, fun.

I did feel that the story did drag a little bit in the later stages. Vada and Ellis went round in circles for a long time, the same argument over and over and I did start to skip those pages.

But in the end, I was happy with where the story took us. It is not a hearts and flowers kind of book, but it will suck you in.

Leah Raeder is an amazing writer, and I look forward to what she gives us next.
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Format: Kindle Edition
Oh this book held such promise. The first chapter had me in hook, line and sinker. There’s mystery, there’s suspense and there’s messed up romance. There were parts of this book that I reread to make sure I was understanding it.
This story is interesting and engaging about a very toxic relationship. There are secrets and some horrific details to confront. I had to stop and start because the content was so frustrating to me but in turn, when I was having a break from the book, I was thinking about it. Love it when a book does that.
I really enjoyed the dynamics, the twists, the turns, the originality of the plot but I wanted to see more of Ellis’ story but I can see why it wasn’t. The author certainly has a wonderful way with words but I found it very flowery and that distracted me from the plotline, again, I think that was a prime reason of why I had to put the book down a couple of times for fear of skipping past bits. Some bits were a little slow paced due to the padding of flowery words but other parts were fast paced and had me gripped to the story.
As controversial as the topic is, I do think this a read that should be shared. As tough as it is to say, the most engaging part of the story was the prologue and author’s short piece about their own lives.
Now, as much as some aspects frustrated me, I would highly recommend this read and it’s made me want to seek out the author’s other works.
I was kindly given an ARC by Simon & Schuster Australia for my honest opinion. Receiving this book did not sway my opinion in any way.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) (May include reviews from Early Reviewer Rewards Program) 4.4 out of 5 stars 66 reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This is a Must Read 1 December 2015
By JLinhart - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Do you ever read a book and think I’m not sure 5 stars is a high enough rating, because it is so beyond anything else you have read? That’s how I feel about this book.

Wow can Leah Raeder write! I’ve read her other books so this isn’t really a huge surprise but how much depth this story has amazes me.
This book is emotional, it has an element of suspense, it makes you think about social issues that most of us don’t think about…gender roles, who we love, who we are deep inside, how we treat others who don’t fit the norm and the toll it takes on those people.

The story…god I don’t want to say much because it is better read a bit blind. But in a nutshell the main characters are Vada and Ellis who are best best best friends, which at some point the lines of friendship got blurred. One really knows how she feels while the other feels it but is fighting herself on it. One night after a fight about this particular problem there is a terrible car accident that really changes the lives of both main characters and the driver of the other vehicle…which then introduces us to the other characters in the book.

There are so many facets and twists to this story that I really don’t want to say anything more. Except this is a book you absolutely must read. It’s a book that will stay with you for a long time…actually I hope it stays with you forever. It’s a book that I hope will open your eyes and hopefully your heart. It’s a book that will teach you about something that is not talked about often, but should be. It’s a book that will make you look at people with a whole new light and hopefully it will teach you tolerance and open your mind a bit to the fact that we are all very different and to embrace those differences, celebrate them vs ostracizing people for them. I write sort of cryptic reviews so that I don’t spill any beans but I hope after you read this book the things I am saying make sense.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Put Cam Girl on Your Must-Read List!! Beautiful, Heartbreaking and Lyrical 9 November 2015
By Ellen - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I can't quite put into words the beauty, heartbreak, emotions and sensuality of this book. Of course, Leah Raeder has a gift with words, that was evident from Unteachable and Black Iris. But Cam Girl took so many twists and turns that my head (and my heart) were left reeling.

A book about love, acceptance, sexuality and I think also friendship and loyalty, Cam Girl is one of my favorite books of the year. There is a rawness to Ms. Raeder's writing that is addictive and very real and very challenging. Vada and Ellis kept me constantly guessing, constantly on edge and ultimately, left me with a much deeper understanding of the human condition.

Vada is an artist who has become unable to draw like she had in the past. She is forced to drop out of grad school. But she never stops thinking like an artist and seeing the world through a artist's eyes.

"Art is an imperfect impression of the world. As the self is an imperfect impression of the soul."

This story is about losing love, finding love and learning to love yourself. I highlighted so many parts of this book, that I can't possibly pick out my favorite quotes! Vada and Ellis' journey was suspenseful, sexy and breathtaking, and I'm not revealing more of the plot other than to say read the blurb, and then dive right into this fabulous, sexy and beautifully written book. Ms. Raeder's prose is lyrical and her words come alive on the page.

"My love is savage and rapacious. It isn't content to the touch. It wants to be inside, crawl into the marrow, caress each vein until the cells are all mixed up and there is no you and me anymore, no secrets or shadows sliding between our skin."

Be prepared to be challenged. Cam Girl is not your everyday story. It is filled with unforgettable characters and a story I won't soon forget. Another must-read from Leah Raeder.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The world needs Leah Raeder 22 November 2015
By Devon Anderson - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I have so many words I can use to describe how this book made me feel, but I will stick with the one that is screaming at me from behind my eyelids: yes.

this book speaks to me on so many levels. but it's not about me, but it kind of is.

Leah took me on a ride I didn't want to end. like the changing of the seasons, I was transformed like the characters. the climate of the book followed the path of the climate of the seasons, and that mesmerized me.

I don't want to spoil anything, but I have been Vada. and I had an Ellis, but not in the way I wanted: I'd only recently discovered things about me that Vada and Ellis knew, and I've only since realized it's okay.

this book didn't rip me open; it gathered pieces of me that I hadn't noticed had strayed. and it put them all in a basket for me to keep close, not to allow them to stray again.

please read this. please share this book.
the world needs this book.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Leah Raeder hits it out of the park again!! Love her writing!! 8 November 2015
By Cynthia Parten - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I received this ARC from NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.

Leah Raeder has this amazing ability to create characters that aren't very likable, but you still care about them. That's kind of how I feel about Vada. From the beginning, I found it hard to like her or understand her. She pushed every single person in her life out of it. But I kind of understood where she was coming from. I have to say that I probably would have acted very similar to Vada in her situation. Maybe that's why I still found it easy to care about her and what happens to her.

Vada and her best friend/sometimes lover Ellis are in a horrible car accident. Vada is driving and a car rear ended them, killing the other person in the car. Despite the fact that the police ruled it an accident. Vada and Ellis are both still racked with guilt. Vada is devastated because her arm was badly hurt in the accident and she is an artist. I felt her devastation so clearly at the fact that she couldn't do what made her happy and complete. She had this way of imagining how she would draw everyone in her head and her vivid imagery was so poignant that I was as devastated as Vada that she couldn't physically create those images herself.

On top of all that, Vada is struggling with her sexuality. She is attracted to both guys and girls, but she is undoubtedly in love with her best friend, Ellis. Vada is Puerto Rican and that added a layer of depth to her confusion. Because of her conservative culture, she didn't want to admit to anyone that she was in love with a girl. She refused to tell anyone just how important Ellis was to her. This felt like such a real struggle for me. The way Vada explains it is that she always had this idea in her head of who she was supposed to end up with. And yes, this idea of a wedding to a man and beautiful children was influenced by her culture and her mother. But that doesn't make the idea (or her confusion) any less real. Vada thought that even though she was attracted to girls, she would always end up with a guy. How many of us can relate to this? Vada needed to realize that maybe her life would turn out differently from this idea she grew up with and that would be okay. Her journey to realize this was filled with pain and so much anger.

Vada pushes Ellis away and they end up living separate lives for a while. Honestly, I wasn't even sure I liked Vada and Ellis together at first. Their relationship struck me as extremely codependent and it seemed like they hurt each other more than they loved each other. It turns out that Ellis is keeping a secret too and once I understood this, I understood Ellis's motivations a little better as well. When Vada works as a cam girl, it made perfect sense for her character. Working as a cam girl allow her to keep everyone at arm's length. She has these sexual connections with strangers online and whenever anyone tries to make a connection in real life, she again just pushes everyone away. It was so incredibly frustrating. Her push and pull relationship with Ellis just made me want to shake both of them and it gets even worse when Vada meets "Blue." Blue is a client online who pays her to perform for him and no one else. The problem is that she starts falling for him. I can certainly see why because Blue is sexy and mysterious and seems to understand her in ways that not many people do. The problem is that because he is a stranger, she opened up to him in ways she never did with Ellis. She told him everything about herself. I was equal parts excited and terrified because she was taking personal risks with someone she knew nothing about. And she kept pushing Ellis (a REAL person) away for the thought of an imaginary person online. I do have to say also that the reveal of Blue's identity was a bit disappointing. I just did not want Blue to be who it ended up being . . . if that makes any sense.

Vada also starts getting close to Max, the father of the man who died the night of the crash. They become something like friends, but not really. It's more like they both lost something that night and they talk to the one other person who can possibly understand it. It is evident from the beginning that Vada is hiding something related to the crash. Ellis was drunk so she doesn't remember much and Vada wants to keep it that way. At some point, Max starts digging around too. I had a hard time understanding Max. He said that he didn't blame Vada for the crash, that it was an accident, but then he starts digging around in the details and also digging in Ellis and Vada's lives. That should have been a red flag for Vada, but she was a glutton for punishment (obviously).

There was one issue I had with the book, other than the identity of who Blue was. First, the pacing towards the second half of the book was a bit slow. There were two mysteries: the mystery of who Blue was and the mystery of what really happened the night of the accident. And in the middle of this was Vada's confusion about her sexuality. But there was a part of the book where it dragged so much because there was no focus on the mysteries and no real focus to Vada's confusion. For the longest time, it was about Ellis and Vada trying to repair their relationship. And yeah, I get that. I really do. The problem was that nothing was happening. It was several chapters of Vada and Ellis having dinner together and reconnecting. Sorry, but as important as this part may have been, it was just a bit boring.

The bottom line is that while the pacing may have been a little off in certain parts, Leah Raeder still creates a story with incredible three dimensional characters and a plot that will keep you guessing until the very last page.
5.0 out of 5 stars Some of us have to learn everything the hard way 18 June 2016
By Brian K. Miller - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I have many problems with the story in this book. To be honest, I'm not even sure why I bought it or how long it has been in my library. As fate would have it, I finally began reading it the day before the mass shooting at Pulse, a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida. Jung's beloved synchronicity drives some of the worst nightmares in my life and this past few days has been no exception. However, my personal responses to this book are irrelevant.

"Cam Girl", by Leah Raeder is a masterpiece of artistic modern realism. It is built on a foundation of self-loathing finding redemption through self-acceptance guided by artistic thinking. Color is key to everything in the book. The metaphors, the foreshadowing, the inner life of the main character, all of it is wrapped up in a constantly shifting kaleidoscope of color. For someone who is not accustomed to artistic thinking, this is going to be a very confusing read, while anyone whose life is immersed in color and form will find depths and layers here that are extremely difficult to find in modern writing. That does not mean they will like what they find.

The story opens with a car accident described in time-lapse perfection. It unfolds in eerie, haunting precision moment by moment with each tiny detail wrapped in colors that at first seem unrealistically lurid and flamboyant. Each of these colors gains greater depth and meaning as the story itself opens up in the reader's mind. Vada, the main character, is an artist. As a result of this accident she loses her ability to draw and paint. The inability to express herself creates a huge reservoir of self-loathing that drives her down one self-destructive path after another. Her redemption finally arrives in "Blue", a client of her life as a cam girl that showers her with praise, guides her in self-examination, and releases her from the isolation created by the loss of her art. Along the way there is a colorful cast of wacky characters, all of them bent, broken, tortured souls cast adrift on the ocean of life and left to sink or swim on their own volition. No one helps anyone and yet everyone helps everyone, but the key to this story is the relationship between Vada and Blue.

This book is a technical and artistic masterpiece. That is why I have given it five stars. The story itself is not one that resonates in my life. However, I can see how many people in today's world, both those who are gender-fluid and those who are trying to support someone who is gender-fluid, will gain a deeper understand of themselves and their relationships through reading this book.

Some of us have to learn everything the hard way. Those are the people who will read this book over and over again for the comfort it brings them.