Tuesday, April 9, 2024

BLOG TOUR - Bride and Groom

   


DESCRIPTION:

Walking down the aisle in the packed church, sunlight glints off my ivory silk gown. This should be the happiest day of my life. But as I carefully lift my veil and greet my husband-to-be, my heart is pounding with fear. Does someone out there know what we’ve done?

Ethan gently squeezes my hand as he slides the golden ring onto my finger. But I know we aren’t worthy of happiness.

As I look down at my wedding ring, in a blistering flash, I suddenly remember another piece of that pitch-black, rainy night… but I try to focus on Ethan’s gorgeous blue eyes. I know exactly what he’s thinking. 
We can never tell.

All our family, friends and loved ones smile as they watch Ethan and I promise to be together 
until death us do part. But only we know what that really means…

Because we have already killed someone.

My dear, sweet new husband isn’t quite all he seems…

But then again, 
neither am I.

An incredibly addictive psychological thriller that will keep you up all night, gasping at the truly mind-blowing twists! A completely unputdownable, edge-of-your seat page-turner for fans of The Perfect Marriage, Freida McFadden and Shari Lapena.

BUY LINK:


You can sign up for all the best Bookouture deals you'll love at: http://ow.ly/Fkiz30lnzdo 


MY THOUGHTS:

Title:   Bride and Groom
Author:  Rona Halsall 
Publisher:  Bookouture 
Genre:   Psychological Thriller 
Format:  Kindle ARC 
No. of Pages:   321
Date of Publication:   April 5, 2024
My Rating:   4 Stars 

Separate secrets. A shared secret. Hidden lies. Till death to us part. Ethan and Nicci just got married despite a dark cloud hanging over their heads. With a foundation like that, what are the chances that they have happiness and forever in their futures?

Well, no doubt from day one - actually, even before they tied the knot - Ethan and Nicci’s lives were wrought with troubles. In fact, if there is a measure of accountability, this thrilling read explores who has a conscience that supersedes the other. Of course, there is no shortage of dilemmas facing this newly married couple, especially as there are shocking twists and turns in this latest book by Rona Halsall. Then, when the reader considers the likability of the characters, they can expect a roller coaster of feelings. 

It’s hard to believe that I have been reading these amazing books by the skilled and talented Rona Halsall since 2018! I have always found myself greatly entertained, and Bride and Groom is no exception. 

Many thanks to Bookouture and to NetGalley for this ARC for review. This is my honest opinion.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Rona is the #1 Best Selling author of psychological thrillers published by Bookouture. She loves to turn domestic storylines on their head to keep her readers guessing what the heck is going on.

Her 2023 release, THE BIGAMIST, has been short-listed for the International Writers Awards 2024, for Best Original E-Book, which is probably the peak of her writing career to date!

She has been a bit of a nomad during her adult life, moving around the north of England, before settling in Snowdonia, North Wales where she brought up her family while working as a business mentor. She lived on the Isle of Man with her husband and mad little Border Collie, Maid, for several years before returning to Wales. Recently, she has recruited a new member to the writing team - a Romanian rescue dog called Evie.

She is an outdoorsy person, who loves nothing better than stomping up a mountain, walking coastal paths and beaches and wandering round forests and woodlands while she's plotting her next book. She has three children and two step-children who are all grown up and leading varied and interesting lives, which provides plenty of material for new stories.

If you follow her Author page on Amazon, you'll get notifications whenever there's a new book on the way, or when promotions are running on her backlist titles. Go on... hit that Follow button!

Social Media Links:

Website: www.facebook.com/RonaHalsallAuthor  

Twitter: @RonaHalsallAuth

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/RonaHalsallAuthor/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/ronahalsall

Bookouture Email Sign Up: https://www.bookouture.com/rona-halsall 


Tuesday, April 2, 2024

Review - One By One

Title:  One By One
Author Freida McFadden
Genre:   Mystery & Thrillers
Publisher:  Poisoned Pen Press
Format:  Kindle ARC
No. of Pages:   217
Date of Publication:   April 2, 2024
My Rating:   5 Stars

*First published July 13, 2020
DESCRIPTION:

A heart pounding, twisting thriller from the New York Times bestselling author of The Housemaid and The Coworker!

One by one, they will get what they deserve...

Claire Matchett needs this trip. It will be a break from work and raising children. A chance to repair her damaged marriage. A week of hiking and hot tubbing with friends at a luxurious hotel in the woods, disconnected from the pressures of real life.

Then, on a lonely dirt road, Claire's minivan breaks down. With no cell reception, the group has no choice but to walk the rest of the way to their remote accommodation. But the forest is dark and difficult to navigate and, hours later, they are lost. Hopelessly lost.

As they venture deeper into the woods, the members of their party are struck down mysteriously, one by one. Are they being hunted? And by what—or who? As Claire's dream vacation descends into a nightmare, something becomes clear: only one of them will return home alive.

A taut story of betrayal and survival from New York Times bestselling author Freida McFadden that will leave you wondering if there's any way out of the woods…

Link to purchase the book

MY REVIEW:

Six. Five. Four. Three…one by one. How many will come out of the woods? 
Claire Matchett and her friends with each of their partners have a week planned that should reboot their lives. Hiking during the day, hottubbing at night. Sounds perfect. However, as the six of them are driving to their destination, Claire's minivan breaks down. None of them have cell phone reception, so they are forced to head out on foot, using rudimentary forms of methods for navigation.
However, things go from bad to worse. They soon become lost. What is more is that one of their party is soon found dead. An omen of things to come for sure, because the number of their party continues to dwindle. They know they are out there alone, so it seems one of hem must be a killer. But who? And why?
One thing that I really like about Freida McFadden's books is that as soon as you think you have the story figured out, there is a banger of a plot twist to really knock your socks off. Kudos to Ms. McFadden for surprising me yet again.

Many thanks to Freida McFadden, Poisoned Pen Press and to NetGalley for this ARC for review. This is my honest opinion.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

#1 Amazon bestselling author Freida McFadden is a practicing physician specializing in brain injury who has penned multiple Kindle bestselling psychological thrillers and medical humor novels. She lives with her family and black cat in a centuries-old three-story home overlooking the ocean, with staircases that creak and moan with each step, and nobody could hear you if you scream. Unless you scream really loudly, maybe.

To hear Freida talk more about herself in the third person, visit her website: https://www.freidamcfadden.com/


Author social media

Twitter: @Freida_McFadden

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Freida-McFadden-Author-of-Psychological-Thrillers-and-Medical-Humor-400860063303345/

Instagram: @fizzziatrist

Newsletter sign up: https://www.bookouture.com/freida-mcfadden/


BLOG TOUR - After I’m Gone

  


DESCRIPTION:

A grieving family. A sister’s promise. A secret that will tear them apart…

My husband 
Olly and I share a perfect life, our evenings spent curled in our candlelit flat talking about all the places we’ll travel. But my world is shattered with the news that my sister has died in a tragic accident, leaving her two girls, Hayley and Mia, behind. The secret I’ve buried deep in my heart means I was never meant to be a mother – but I made a promise to my sister. I’m all the girls have now.

I give them everything – school on time in clean uniforms, our family’s favourite chocolate-laced chilli bubbling on the stove when they get home – but I never imagined being a mother would be this hard. Hayley and I used to be so close, but now she’s a ball of rage, screaming and lashing out wildly. Olly and I are reaching breaking point.

Then I find a Polaroid picture hidden in one of the girl’s rooms: 
Hayley is lying about the night her mother died.

I need to find the truth – before anyone else does. Even if it means digging up the secrets that have held this family together for years. Even if it means revealing my own…

But when I do, will there be anything left of this fragile family to save?


A totally gripping and heart-wrenching story about keeping promises and dark secrets – and the sacrifices we make for the ones we love. Readers of Amanda Prowse, Jojo Moyes and Diane Chamberlain won’t want to miss this stunning page-turner.

 

Buy link: https://geni.us/B0CW1HTN5Msocial


MY THOUGHTS:

Title:   After I’m Gone
Author:  Clare Boyd
Publisher:  Bookouture 
Genre:   Women’s Fiction 
Format:  Kindle ARC
No. of Pages:   402
Date of Publication:   April 3, 2024
My Rating:   4 Stars 

One thing that Olly and Emily agreed on was their desire not to have children. However, when Emily's sister dies in an accident, her two girls, Hayley and Mia, are shuttled around a bit as Emily has to decide if she is willing to raise them.

Meanwhile, Olly is an aspiring writer, and Emily is none too pleased with the similarities between herself and his female protagonist. In fact, what Olly writes just might show the deep cracks in their marriage and as to what they want to do with their lives.

While Emily is struggling to navigate her new normal as an instant mother, she remains disturbed about the circumstances surrounding her sister's death. Deep secrets have seemingly been buried and just might be coming to the surface. 

While the book began to read to me as a psychological thriller, it is anything but. In fact, it is an excellent women's fiction novel with family drama and secrets. It was impossible not to feel compassion for Emily, Hayley and Mia, all for very different reasons. Equally heartbreaking and heartwarming, the story was fabulous throughout.

Many thanks to Bookouture and to NetGalley for this ARC for review. This is my honest opinion.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:


Clare writes all her books in a little green shed at the bottom of the garden. Before becoming a writer, she enjoyed a career in television, as a researcher in documentaries and then as a script editor in drama at the BBC and Channel Four, where her love of storytelling took hold

BLOG TOUR - A Death in Venice


DESCRIPTION:

Stunning views across the Grand Canal and a hotel suite fit for royalty… Lady Eleanor Swift is having a jolly good time on her Italian vacation, until a gondola ride is cut murderously short!

1924. Lady Eleanor Swift has been on a grand tour around Italy for a month with her butler Clifford. Finally arriving in Venice, she’s thrilled to be attending the famous carnival: all that’s needed is the perfect bejewelled costume for her faithful bulldog, Gladstone. But on her first gondola ride to take in the sights, a passenger collapses into the canal with a knife sticking out of his back.

Eleanor saw an argument break out between the gondolier and the victim, 
Councillor Benetto Vendelini, and it turns out they're rivals from the city's two great families. Vendelini’s murder is sure to reignite their centuries-long feud. While attending a glitzy ball that night, Eleanor learns of a plot to steal a precious family heirloom from the Vendelini household. Is the stolen item the key to solving this baffling murder?

In this floating city of tiny winding alleyways, Eleanor traces the missing heirloom to an antiques dealer in a far-flung corner of town. 
But when her handbag is snatched by a cloaked thief, she realises the murderer is dangerously close. Can Eleanor unmask this most cunning of killers, before she joins the other victim at the bottom of the Grand Canal?

An utterly gripping historical murder mystery set in Italy, full of intrigue and charming characters. Fans of T.E. Kinsey, Agatha Christie and Catherine Coles will be totally hooked by A Death in Venice!

BUY LINK:
Amazon: https://geni.us/B0CN6ZXXSBsocial

You can sign up for all the best Bookouture deals you'll love at: http://ow.ly/Fkiz30lnzdo

MY THOUGHTS: 

Title:   A Death in Venice
Author:  Verity Bright
Series:  Lady Eleanor Swift Mystery #17
Publisher:  Bookouture    
Genre:   Cozy Mystery
Format Kindle ARC 
No. of Pages:  340
Date of Publication:  March 28, 2024
My Rating:   4 Stars

Lady Eleanor Swift is prepared to enjoy her Italian vacation. Eleanor is accompanied by her ever-faithful butler Clifford, and as always, her very dear bulldog Gladstone. While enjoying a gondola ride, when a passenger falls into a canal, there is no doubt that foul play is involved. The victim had a knife sticking out of his back. As always, our inquisitive and talented amateur sleuth Eleanor sets out to solve the crime.

With an existing feud that has gone on for centuries, and with an argument that was made public, it seems clear from the beginning who could have been responsible for the man's murder. However, things are not as clear cut as they seem, and it soon proves that there could have been more than one person that could indeed be the murderer. Things get even more murky when an elaborate plot to steal something rather precious is discovered.

If I had a real bucket list, traveling to Venice would be #1 on that list. Therefore, watching Eleanor and Clifford working hard on solving the murder. with the beautiful and charming setting in Venice, this 17th book in the Lady Eleanor Swift series was a true delight. Not only was the setting exquisite, but Eleanor and Clifford are fabulous characters. I love Eleanor's quiet intelligence and Clifford's proper manner, all while never missing a beat. I also enjoy when Eleanor takes many of her trips, not only is Clifford always there, but the rest of her staff get to go along and enjoy the trips as well. This series could continue indefinitely and I would devour every book.

Many thanks to Bookouture and to NetGalley for this ARC for review. This is my honest opinion. 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Verity Bright is the pseudonym for a husband-and-wife writing partnership that has spanned a quarter of a century. Starting out writing high-end travel articles and books, they published everything from self-improvement to humour, before embarking on their first historical mystery. They are the authors of the fabulous Lady Eleanor Swift Mystery series, set in the 1920s.

https://twitter.com/BrightVerity

Sign up to be the first to hear about new releases from Verity Bright here: https://www.bookouture.com/verity-bright

Monday, April 1, 2024

Review - The Hollow

Title:  
The Hollow
Author Kiersten Modglin 
Genre: Psychological Thriller 
Format: Kindle ARC
Date of Publication: April 1, 2024
No. of Pages: 240
My Rating: 5 Stars 

DESCRIPTION:

It was the perfect place to grow up…and the perfect place to die. 

After experiencing a personal tragedy, Carmen McKenna finds Hunter’s Hollow—a bustling campground in rural North Carolina—to be her new home and worst nightmare. 

Despite the promises of a chosen family and a safe place to grow up, living next door to the Hunters’ two sons comes with its own set of challenges. Jack and Dean introduce Carmen to a world she’s never known—one filled with young love, first heartbreak, and sinister secrets. 

When a body is found at Hunter’s Hollow, instantly shattering the tranquil fa├žade that has surrounded the campground, the residents are forced to accept the truth: a killer is among them. As the police search for answers to no avail, Carmen leaves the campground in hopes of clearing her mind and healing her broken heart. 

Now, eleven years later and with the case still unsolved, Carmen returns to face the past and discover the truth about that terrible night. Before she can, a guest is reported missing from the campground and the circumstances are all too similar to the horror Carmen once faced. 

They say you can’t go home again, but when buried secrets call to Carmen from Hunter’s Hollow, she’s determined to learn the truth about what happened back then—and what’s happening now—if it’s the last thing she does. 

Returning to once again blur the edges between psychological thriller and romantic suspense, million-copy bestselling author Kiersten Modglin brings us a sun-soaked, nostalgic, and completely twisted romantic thriller.




MY THOUGHTS:

In this addictive and atmospheric read by Kiersten Modglin, Carmen is planning on a two-month stay at a campground known as Hunter's Hollow. It has been eleven years since Carmen was at the campground. When she was thirteen, her mother moved them to the site and Carmen had some good memories, but most certainly haunting memories as well.

In this story presented in both past and present, Carmen's experiences as a teenager and now as an adult, especially with the two Hunter brothers, Dean and Jack, are quite telling. Carmen and Jack are the same age, and as teens they were drawn to one another. Dean was the typical annoying older brother, but had a powerful impact on Carmen's life.

Something horrible happened when they were teenagers, a crime that was never solved. This is rather haunting to Carmen now that she is back. During her years away Carmen carved out a very good career for herself as a book illustrator, leaving the campground and its memories in her rear view. Carmen always felt a strong sense of unease that the case years before had never been solved. Dealing with that, as well as how both Dean and Jack impacted her life during her younger years, deeply affects Carmen.

Having had some memorable vacations at different campsites while I was younger made it quite easy to put myself in Carmen's shoes. The angst felt so real, as well as the uncertainty of the dangers that were present for her, but also when it came to matters of the heart. Needless to say, Hunter's Hollow was unlike any campsite I ever spent time at, but I was no less drawn to this engaging read. In fact, I stayed up and read it from cover to cover in one sitting. Thank you to Kiersten Modglin for writing yet another compelling psychological thriller that definitely cost me some sleep. 

Many thanks to Kiersten Modglin for this ARC for review. This is my honest opinion.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Kiersten Modglin is an Amazon top-30 bestselling author of award-winning psychological thrillers and a member of International Thriller Writers. Kiersten lives in Nashville, Tennessee with her husband, daughter, and their two Boston Terriers: Cedric and Georgie. She is best known for her unpredictable suspense and her readers have dubbed her 'The Queen of Twists.' A Netflix addict, Shonda Rhimes super-fan, psychology fanatic, and indoor enthusiast, Kiersten enjoys rainy days spent with her nose in a book.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/kierstenmodglinauthor 
Twitter: https://twitter.com/kmodglinauthor
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/kierstenmodglinauthor

Thursday, March 28, 2024

BLOG TOUR - CHEATER

Title:  Cheater
Author:  Karen Rose
Series:  San Diego Case Files #2
Publisher:  Berkley Books
Genre:   Mystery & Thrillers
Format:  Kindle ARC 
No. of Pages:   464
Date of Publication:   March 26, 2024
My Rating:   5 Stars

DESCRIPTION:

A shocking murder leaves an affluent retirement community reeling in this riveting, high-stakes second installment of the San Diego Case Files, from New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Karen Rose.

Death is not an unfamiliar visitor to Shady Oaks Retirement Village, which provides San Diego with premier elderly support from independent retiree housing to full-time hospice care. But when a resident’s body is found brutally stabbed and his apartment ransacked, it’s clear there’s someone deadly in their community. Detective Katherine “Kit” McKittrick quickly discovers that Shady Oaks is full of skeleton-riddled closets, and most tenants prefer to keep their doors firmly closed to the SDPD.

A longtime volunteer at the retirement facility, Dr. Sam Reeves honors his late grandfather’s memory by playing the piano for the residents regularly. So it shouldn’t be such a surprise when Kit crosses paths with him during her investigation, after she’d avoided the criminal psychologist—and the emotions he evokes—for the last six months.

Sam’s rapport within the retirement village proves vital to the case, and the pair find themselves working together once again—much to Kit’s dismay. But she is determined to apprehend the shadow of death lurking around Shady Oaks...and equally determined to ignore the feelings she’s developing for a certain psychologist.


MY THOUGHTS:

The San Diego Case Files series continues when a victim is found stabbed to death at the elite Shady Oaks Retirement Village. From independent living to hospice care, the residents get the best Shady Oaks can offer. It becomes clear from the very start to Detective Katherine "Kit" McKittrick that the murderer has to be someone in the community.

In a very somber setting, Kit runs into a volunteer at Shady Hokes and that is Dr. Sam Reeves, a man with who Kit has a connection, but it is one she does her best to deny. Although a busy criminal psychologist, Sam devotes as much time as possible to the residents, and has developed some very strong bonds.

While Kit begins her investigation, Sam proves to be more than instrumental when it comes to interviewing the various residents and staff. Death is never welcomed, even when natural causes is the case. But, when murder happens in a place where older residents expect nothing less than the best, it definitely leaves a bad taste. Although Same is helpful in a number of ways, his presence is problematic for Kit because of growing feelings for Sam that she is finding more and more difficult to ignore.

In usual Karen Rose style, she does an excellent job bringing both suspense and romance to her readers. The suspense carries from beginning to end and, personally, I enjoyed the slow burn of romance between Kit and Sam. I am sure that their next case will be just as intriguing as this one was, all while their personal relationship taking a turn. 

Many thanks to Berkley Books and to NetGalley for this ARC for review. This is my honest opinion...

Please enjoy the following excerpt:
CHEATER by Karen Rose
Berkley Hardcover | On sale March 26, 2024
Excerpt

Chapter One

Shady Oaks Retirement Village
Scripps Ranch, San Diego, California
Monday, November 7, 11:20 a.m.

Kit McKittrick allowed herself a moment to feel pity as she stood over the body of the elderly man lying dead on his apartment floor in the Shady Oaks Retirement Village. Then she squared her shoulders and proceeded to do her job.

The mood in the dead man's living room was subdued. The ME was examining the body while CSU took photos and Latent dusted for prints, but there was little of the normal scene-of-the-crime chatter to which Kit had become accustomed in the four and a half years she'd been in Homicide.

Everyone spoke in hushed whispers, like they were in church. Because it kind of felt like they were. Haunting melancholy music from a single piano was coming from the speaker mounted on the victim's living room wall. The music wasn't loud, but it was overwhelming nonetheless. Kit wanted to turn it off, because the music was so sad that it made her chest hurt and her eyes burn.

But neither the speaker nor its volume controls had been dusted for prints, so she couldn't touch it yet. Until then, she could only square her shoulders, ignore the music, and focus on getting justice for Mr. Franklin Delano Flynn.

The cause of death of the eighty-five-year-old white male was most likely the butcher knife still embedded in his chest. But she'd learned long ago not to assume. Still, a butcher knife to the chest was never good. It was a long wound, the gash in the man's white button-up shirt extending from his sternum to his navel. Whoever had killed him had to have had a lot of strength to create such a wound.

The victim had been dead long enough for his blood to dry, both the blood that had soaked the front of his shirt and the blood that had pooled on the floor around his torso.

His eyes, filmy in death, stared sightlessly up at the ceiling. His arms lay at his sides, his hands slightly curved. Not quite flat, but not quite fists, either. It wasn't a natural pose for the victim of a homicide who'd fallen after being stabbed. She wondered if his killer had repositioned his arms.

Mr. Flynn had been a hardy man, broad-shouldered, tall, and still muscular. Not in bad shape for eighty-five, she thought. He wore dark trousers, the pockets turned out, as if he'd been searched.

His shoes were black oxfords, buffed to such a shine that she could nearly see her own reflection. She wondered if he'd come home, surprising his attacker, or if he'd welcomed his killer into his home.

His living room had been ransacked, books knocked off shelves, knickknacks strewn on the floor. The sofa cushions had been slashed open, foam stuffing on the floor as well. The man's bedroom was in a similar state. The drawers in the kitchen had been opened and emptied, their contents dumped on the counters. Flour and sugar containers had been dumped on the kitchen's tiled floor. Someone had been looking for something and had left a terrible mess.

Kit wondered if they'd found what they'd been looking for. She wondered if Mr. Flynn had fought back.

Kit crouched on the victim's right side, leaning in so that she could better examine his hands. The knuckles of his right hand were scraped and bruised, but his fingernails were what caught her attention. They were mostly gone, clipped way past the quick, down into the nail bed.

That he'd fought back was a decent assumption, then. His killer hadn't wanted any evidence to be found under the man's nails.

Excerpted from Cheater by Karen Rose Copyright © 2024 by Karen Rose. Excerpted by permission of Berkley. All rights reserved.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Internationally bestselling author Karen Rose was born and raised in the Maryland suburbs of Washington, DC. She met her husband, Martin, on a blind date when they were seventeen and after they both graduated from the University of Maryland, (Karen with a degree in Chemical Engineering) they moved to Cincinnati, Ohio. Karen worked as an engineer for a large consumer goods company, earning two patents, but as Karen says, “scenes were roiling in my head and I couldn't concentrate on my job so I started writing them down. I started out writing for fun, and soon found I was hooked.”

Her debut suspense novel, DON'T TELL, was released in July, 2003. Since then, she has published more than fifteen novels and two novellas. Her twenty-sixth novel, QUARTER TO MIDNIGHT, will be released in 2022.


Karen's books have appeared on the bestseller lists of the New York Times, USA Today, London's Sunday Times, and Germany's der Spiegel (#1), and the Irish Times, as well as lists in South Africa(#1) and Australia! To date, her books have been translated into more than twenty languages.


A former high school teacher of chemistry and physics, Karen lives in Florida with her husband of more than thirty years.